Monday, March 24, 2008
**In This Issue**
- In Speaking
of Real Places, What about Hell?
What Does the Bible Say About...?
Welcome to the
Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory. RHG is a co-ministry
with Creation Science Ministries. Feel free to send this to your relatives
of Real Places, What About Hell?
Are you uncomfortable yet?
The subject of Hell is not something that many people
want to discuss, or even think about very often. Taking this thought just
a bit further, the prospect of unsaved people being
tormented in outer darkness, or as I equate it, living
in eternal separation from God forever, is not a
pleasant thought. I am sure that many people
are hoping that Hell is just an
allegory, or that unsaved souls simply cease to exist after death.
Doesn't that sound better?
Well, according to
an October 21, 2003 Barna Group
article entitled Americans Describe Their Views
About Life After Death, 81 percent
of the Americans who were surveyed
believe in some form of afterlife. 71
percent of those surveyed say that they believe in
Hell. But how the
71 percent defined "Hell" varied from person to person. According
to Barna, only one-third of Americans believe that Hell is an actual place of
punishment. The survey explained:
While there is no dominant view of Hell, two
particular perspectives are popular. Four
out of ten adults believe that Hell is "a state of eternal separation
from Godís presence" (39%) and one-third (32%) says it is "an actual
place of torment and suffering where peopleís souls go after death."
A third perspective that one in eight
adults believe is that "Hell is just a symbol of an unknown bad outcome
after death" (13%). Other respondents
were "not sure" or said they that they do not believe in an afterlife
So, armed with all of this information,
where do we go from here?
What does the Bible say about Hell?
The Bible describes a place of punishment for those who die in their
sins (Ps. 9:17). Three different
words are translated "Hell" in the King James:
Sheol is the grave
or pit; the place of the dead: (Job 24:19; Ps.
31:17). Sheol is described as deep (Job 11:8), dark (Job 10:21,22),
and having bars (Job 17:16). The
dead "go down" to it (Num 16:30,33; Eze 31:15,16,17).
Hades is the home
of disembodied spirits. Hades refers to
the abode of the unsaved dead prior to the great white throne judgment (Rev.
20:11-15). Hades is a prison (1 Pet 3:19) with
gates, bars and locks (Matt 16:18;
Rev 1:18); and Hades is
also referred as "down to" (Matt 11:23 Luke
Gehenna was the
name of the trash heap outside Jerusalem in the time
of Christ Jesus: This
is where the dead bodies of animals, criminals,
and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire.
It was always kept burning. Because of this,
through the process of time,
Gehenna became the idiom for the place of
everlasting destruction. Jesus used
it in this way 8 times (Matt 10:28 18:9; 23:15,33;
Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5).
The Rich Man and Lazarus:
The most agonizing description of Hell is Jesus' story of the rich man
and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31,
where the wicked rich man ended up in torment in Hades
by flame, while Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.
The rich man was quite conscious of his
situation, and longed for just a drop of water to
soothe his tongue, "for I am tormented in this flame." Jesus frames this
as a true story and not as a parable.
Why Did God Create Hell?
Hell was not created for humans, but for Satan and his angels (Matt
25:41). God gave His Son,
to die for mankind so that all who believe in him can have eternal life (John
3:16), and He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). But,
those who reject the sacrifice of the Lamb of God will be subject to the
punishment their sins deserve (Rev. 21:8). Another way of
saying this is, we can live and be judged by the law, or can believe on Him,
live, and be judged under grace. God is merciful and patient and
full of love, but He is also perfectly holy and perfectly just, and nothing that
defiles can be allowed into Heaven (Rev. 21:27).
Unfortunately many Christians say,
"Yes, I do believe in Hell,"
however, we often do not act like it. If
we truly recognized that the unsaved people in our lives might die tomorrow and
end up in eternal punishment, we might better
appreciate the necessity of sharing
with them the good news of the Gospel.
Hell is neither a scare tactic, nor
should it be used as one. Hell is a real danger
that every one of us faces. The great gift of
our loving God is freedom from that punishment, and eternity with Him in
Paradise. No longer under the law, but under His grace.
Two Scriptures verses for which I am
For God so loved the world, that
He gave His only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJVER
And it shall come to pass,
that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 2:21 KJVER
I would also remind everyone of what we
are directed to do in 1 Peter 3:15:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be
ready always to give an answer to every man that asks
you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
What Does the Bible Say About...?
In this section of the
Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.
If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having
printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.
The question for this issue is,
"Were the guards watching Jesus' tomb Jews or Romans? How else
was the tomb secured?"
The first method of securing
Christ Jesus' tomb was the rolling of a large stone
across the doorway (entrance) to the tomb.
Evidently, this was not enough of an impediment so
satisfy the Jewish leaders since Matthew 27:60
indicates that Joseph of Arimathaea rolled it
himself, or authorized a group of men to do it.
Now, if a small group of men could move the stone
into position, it stands to reason that a similar
number of men could remove it. Because of this
possibility, the Jewish leadership was concerned
that Jesus' disciples could steal His body and claim
that He rose from the dead.
This is why they went to Pontius
Pilate asking for an additional guard to watch the
tomb. The fact that they made this request of
Pilate leans toward the belief that force guarding
the tomb was Roman. If the Jewish leaders drew
on their own Temple guard for this contingent of
men, in all likelihood would not have had to go to
Pilate and seek permission for an additional guard.
As it says in Matthew 27:65-66, the Roman governor
acceded to their request:
Pilate said to them, You have
a watch; go your way, make it as sure as you can.
So they went , and made the sepulcher sure, sealing
the stone, and setting a watch. KJVER
The seal spoken of in this
passage was an official Roman seal, which, if
broken, would give evidence of the opening of the
tomb. Evidently, the Romans were somewhat
concerned about the care given to human remains.
One ancient tablet found in the Middle East, known
as the Diatagma Kaisaros, that dates back
to the approximate time of Christ Jesus' earthly
ministry, threatens grave robbers with capital
Matthew Chapter 28 tells us that
at Jesus' resurrection, the stone was rolled away,
breaking the seal, and that the guards were
overpowered. When the Jewish leaders heard
this, they bribed the guards into telling a story
that the body of Christ Jesus had been stolen.:
"... they gave much money to
the soldiers, Saying, Say you , His disciples came
by night, and stole Him away while we slept.
And if this come to the governor's ears, we will
persuade him, and secure you,"
Matthew 28:12-14 KJVER
It must have been "much
money," for the death penalty was in force for
Roman guards who fell asleep while on duty.
These guards must have been aware of the possibility
that Pilate might not be persuaded by the arguments
of those who were subject to him, as influential as
they might have believed themselves to be, in their
own eyes. Nevertheless, those who are familiar
with the Scriptures know the real story: That Jesus
rose from the dead, just as He had predicted He
would. The Apostle Paul enumerated the
witnesses of this great event when he says of Jesus:
And He was seen of Cephas,
then of the twelve. After that, He was seen of
above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the
greater part remain to this present time, but some
are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of
James; then, of all the apostles. And last of
all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of
due time, 1 Cor. 15:5-8 KJVER
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so
must the Son of man be lifted up:
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