Tag Archives: Eternity

Choose You, This Day

Psalm 119:147-149 (NASB)

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Your words.
148 My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances.

There is a God-prescribed path to Life (living as He, Our Creator, has intended) and a sustaining of that Life-force in us.

Jesus Christ, the God-Man is God’s fulfillment of His Word in the flesh. He said of Himself: “I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life.  No one comes to the Life-giving Father but through Me.”

There are many paths but only One Way. There are many places offered as sources of truth, but only One that is trustworthy.

Psalm 119:160 (NASB)

160 The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Every cultural shift or “progressive” mentality away from HIS Word is a variance from His True North and Life. His prescription for humankind is forever. Any alteration based on “another” syllogistic logic, in order to be more stylish or in vogue…”in step with the times”, is dangerous; a move toward that which is false and death.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NASB)
26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:
27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today;
28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

He has presented us with a choice, every moment of every day. Who…what will we follow? The choice comes with a promise of blessing or curse, Life, or death;  certainty of physical AND most importantly spiritual death.

In 2018, I commend to you the Life Giver and His forever True Way. Go North, True North…

And be blessed,

Mitch

A Final Thought on HELL

In my last three posts I’ve espoused quite a bit on the subject of Hell.  I’d like to take a final (for now) post to summarize and add a few concepts that I’ve not had the opportunity to cover in those posts.

I’ve had the great honor and privilege to sit under and be taught by some great men of God.  One of these individuals was Dr. Darrell Orman (no physical relation to me, although we certainly have a Spiritual relation), Pastor of First Baptist Church of Stuart Florida.  These individuals have taught me how to study and discern not only the truths of Scripture, but of the world around me.  And this has then translated into the development of my world view (essentially my theology).  Usually when you look at a building you do not see the foundation that it is sitting upon.  So you do not see the footers that were dug and poured that form the basis for holding that building up.  The same is true for an individual’s life.  You may not always see the foundation for which I base my arguments on, but I at least want you to have a clear enough picture to be able to discern for yourself their validity or their ineffectiveness. I’ll attempt to provide some of those insights here.

I’ve stated that I believe Hell is a finality.  It is an end state that is eternal.  In Isaiah 66:22-24 the prophet writes that the New Heavens and the New Earth which the Lord will make shall remain before Him.  A reference to the end state of humanity.  God says that one day this Earth (present day) and the Heavens above it will pass away and He will make a New Heavens and a New Earth to replace them and that the new creation will remain before him, that is it will exist forever and ever.  This is referenced again by John in Revelation 21:1.  Personally I think this is pretty exciting.  During the first Creation (Genesis 1) you and I were not around to witness the great work that God did.  But the second time around, I get a front row seat.  Imagine being able to witness first hand the Glory and the Splendor of all of Creation being brought into existence right before our very eyes.  How awesome will that be?  But also note what will transpire in that new Heaven and Earth.  Once a week and once a month God will bring all flesh (you and I) before Him, and those that are His children will go forth and look upon those that have transgressed (Sinned) against Him.  I believe this is God’s baseline.  His constant reminder to us of the great work he has done for us.  We will never, ever forget the great Mercy, and Grace, and Love he has shown us and the great work he performed on our behalf.  Hell is a finality (for all of eternity) because an eternal Hell balances an eternal Heaven.  Just as God’s great Mercy is for all of eternity, so is His great Judgement for all of eternity.  That is why this life is so precious and important.  The choices we make now will impact us for all of eternity.

I’ve also stated that Hell is God’s holding place (prison) for Sin.  The passage in Isaiah tells us that those who have transgressed against him (along with this passage in Revelation 20:10-15) will be imprisoned there and that they will not die.  I have heard theologians teach that everyone, part of God’s family or not (we would say the saved and the unsaved) will receive a new, incorruptible body.  Those in Hell will remain there and they will not die because their incorruptible bodies will not succumb to the fire.  But at the same time, they will not experience relief from that fire.  This is not a foreign concept to us. Most countries today have individuals that they imprison for life with no chance of parole.  If we, as humanity can see fit to imprison those within society that we deem unworthy of freedom, how much more can a Holy and Just God see fit to imprison those who have transgressed against him for all of eternity?

I’ve stated that we (humanity) are faced with a choice as to where our destiny lies.  Essentially the question that Nicodemus asked of Jesus Christ as recorded in John.  And Jesus’ answer, in John 3:16 tells us that we simply need to believe in Him. Jesus tells us that we have that choice to make.  We may believe in Him and have eternal Life, or we may reject Him and join the vessels of dishonor in Hell.

I’ve stated that God allowed us (humanity) to be immersed in that which was not Him in order that we could truly make that choice for His Honor and His Glory.  This is a theological conclusion on my part and is based on us being joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17) having suffered through being transgressors of God and bought and paid for with a price that He paid.  And from this standpoint, Hell is a part of God’s great plan.

A great many people in the world today think that Christianity wants to threaten them with the prospect of Hell.  Many want to turn Hell into a threat that God makes in order to get us to do what He wants us to do (if you don’t do good you’ll go to Hell).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God doesn’t need to threaten us to have us do his will.  He is, after all, God.  Hell is not a threat, it is a consequence.  It was not created for us and we have to choose to end up there.  It is however, very much a reality and an integral part of God’s great plan.  In order to show us who He is, God first chose to show us who He is NOT.  And that required a place to keep that which God cannot have within his presence, Sin.  And thus we have Hell.

Hell makes perfect theological sense if you work it through.  But the only way you will escape it is through the person of Jesus Christ and his death on the Cross.  You cannot escape it by explaining away its existence as the Evolutionists try to do.  You cannot escape it by ignoring it as the Agnostics try to do.  And you cannot escape it though your own good works and efforts.  You must be rescued from it by Jesus Christ himself through belief in Him.

I truly hope that you realize you need to place your trust in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and believe in Him so that you do not spend an eternity in the finality that is a very real Hell.

Hell: Is it For You or Me?

In my last couple of posts I’ve espoused the idea that Hell is God’s holding place for Sin for all of eternity.  But I haven’t fully explored what that entails.  Particularly, will we (humanity) find ourselves there?  It is a reasonable question after all, because we know there is evil in the world and if Hell is God’s prison for evil, will we (any or all of us) find ourselves there?

Unsurprisingly, this question haunts a lot of individuals in the world today.  Dr. Stephen Hawking is so disturbed by it, he has devoted his life to trying to answer it.  And if you think I stretch the bounds of reason here, look at the last few pages of his book The Grand Design. S.W.Hawking and L. Mlodinov (Sep 2010), ISBN-13: 978-0553805376.  Look at the last few pages of the vast majority of any Evolutionist’s book.  They usually conclude with the thought that if evolution is true, there is no God, and if there is no God, there is no Heaven, and by contrast, if there is no Heaven, there is no Hell.  Ahhhhh finally!!  We’ve escaped Hell.  The Evolutionist’s means of escaping Hell is by disproving it.  By-the-way, the Agnostic’s means of escaping Hell is to ignore it (after all, what do they care?  An Agnostic is impartial by definition).  The Theist however escapes Hell by trying to understand it.  It is up to you as to which path you choose.

The Creator’s answer is yes, some of humanity will find themselves locked away in Hell for all of eternity.  Jesus Christ himself told the story of a certain rich man who found himself in a place of torment (Hell) in Luke 16:19-31.  Here we have a man alive on the earth who died and found himself in Hell.  So if we are to take the Creator’s word for it, the answer would seem to be yes, we (humanity) can definitely end up in Hell.

However, knowing that mankind can end up in Hell, does not necessarily mean that Hell was created for mankind.  Actually Peter tells us that it is God’s desire that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  In other words, God does not desire to see anyone in Hell.  That doesn’t sound to me like God created Hell for humanity.  Rather that he is saddened that some of humanity gets swept into Hell along with the rest of the evil host.

I was asked to lead a singles Bible study about 16 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,  One of the members of that study asked me what I thought the difference between angels and humans was.  The question really boiled down to whether or not an angel could experience mercy and grace. I do not (personally) believe they can.  We are two different types of vessels,  In the case of humanity, we have the distinct privilege of being made in God’s own image. When God created us, He made family, His family,  I, for one, am more than happy being the weaker of the vessels.  An angel will never know the honor and the privilege of being a part of the family of God.  Angels certainly get to watch God’s plan play out on a stage and an scale I could only hope to understand.  But that is not worth trading to be a part of the family of God,

So I believe that God created Hell for the vessels of dishonor He created for the purpose of introducing Sin into creation.  Mankind was created as God’s very own family and then was allowed to be put to the test with that Sin.  Adam, on behalf of all of mankind (yeah, I know, but before you give Adam a bum rap, consider that you or I would have done no different), failed that test,.  And God then had to set his plan into motion to rescue us by paying the price for that Sin in our stead.  Had we never been in that Sinful state we wouldn’t have needed rescuing, and by not being rescued we would have never known God’s Mercy, and Grace, and Love.

A few years ago, Rev. Rick Warren wrote a book titled The Purpose Driven Life.  You may take several things away from that book, but the one thing that kept hitting me in the face was It’s not about me, it’s all about God.  People keep asking question like “If God did not want anyone to perish, why didn’t he just put us all into Heaven to begin with?”  Well, it is His show, His plan, His design, and it is for His Glory and His Honor.  It is all to Glorify Him.  And that alone is good enough for me.  But my theology also allows me to reason that perhaps God wanted a family that actually knows Him on a personal level, that understands His Mercy and His Grace.  And knows of His Love like none other in all of creation.  And that required us to know what was NOT Him to begin with.

But God did not want just want dedicated servants.  I believe he has those with the Angels.  Both the ones created to serve His purpose in good, and those created to serve His purpose in evil.  No, God wanted his family to choose Him because they desired to of their own free will.  And thus he gave us a choice.,  We may choose.   Choose rightly, and spend eternity in Heaven, choose wrongly and spend eternity in Hell.

Astute theologians should recognize at this point that we have a paradox,.  The Youth Pastor and Worship Leader of my home church growing up pointed out to me that perhaps I was asleep during certain studies and that there actually is a study of these paradoxes in theology,  My Youth Pastor was Rev. Mitch White and he has been a great friend and mentor over the years.  The study he recently introduced me to is antinomy, literally two competing but equally true ideas.

I don’t know how it is that God can be 100% in control and that at exactly the same time you and I have the free will to live our lives and to either choose or reject Him.  Louie Giglio said in one his Passion Series that it is a great mystery that God can be completely in control and mankind can have free will at exactly the same time.  We cannot resolve or know all paradoxes in this life.  But I do know this, you and I have a choice, and that choice is Heaven or Hell.  And the choice is final, for all of eternity.

Hell: A Finality?  Very much so.  I would surmise that it takes an eternal Hell to offset an eternal Heaven.  I choose to believe on Jesus Christ, that He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  I believe with all my heart that I have chosen wisely.

Hell: Fantasy or Finality?

A while back I had a post here in which I mentioned Hell.  In that post I based arguments on some assumptions that were given’s up front in my discussion and I purposely did not offer a definition or an explanation of Hell for the stated reason that I wanted to revisit the subject of Hell in more depth one day.  Let’s make that day today.

But before I get to the actual subject of Hell itself, which I may actually have to address in several separate posts,   Please allow me to lay some groundwork with a short examination of why I believe we have both good and evil in the world.

I had a friend of mine (my friend is a lawyer and is quite intelligent.  He passed the Florida Bar the first time he took it.) once tell me that he believed people were born in a neutral state.  That is a person comes into this world without any disposition towards good or evil.  As time goes on, a person is then influenced by good and evil forces within their lives and they are pushed and pulled towards one side or the other.  Kind of like Star Wars.  You either choose the light side of the force or the dark side of the force.  It is amazing to me the number of people in the world (I would guess the vast majority, although I have no definitive statics on this) that have this exact same philosophy.  There is one religion in the world that does not teach this, and that religion is Christianity.  And thus it is even more amazing to me the number of Christians that seem to hold this basic belief.

There are a couple of fundamental problems I believe you should have with this thinking.  The first is “Where did the first evil person get their influence from?”  For that matter where did the first good person get their influence from?  If we indeed started out neutral, and are still born that way today, how did good and evil come to exist to begin with?  And who was it that first defined what was good and what was evil?  I’ve addressed this conundrum of morals in this previous post.

The second problem I believe you should have with this philosophy is that you should ask yourself the question “Which side is winning?  Good or evil?”  Is there more good in the world today or is there more evil in the world, and why?

People want to believe that both forces have existed from the beginning of time (they have, from humanity’s standpoint) and that the great struggle is for humankind and we are caught in the balance waiting to see who will win, the forces of good or the forces of evil.

Christianity however teaches that people are born into sin.  That is they are alienated from God.  Having a propensity towards evil and that there is no good in them.  Paul of Tarsus made this argument rather eloquently in Romans and every Christian should be familiar with it.

But were good and evil always present?  Meaning did they both exist equally before the beginning of time?

Let’s see if we can ask some theological questions that will help us with this question.  The first question I would like to ask is: Where did God come from?  A Christian’s answer should be God has always been and always will be.  He had no beginning and He has no end.  God Is.  My second question would be: Is God good, or is God evil?  And once again, a Christian’s answer should be God is good.  My third question would be: Is there any scenario ever where God’s will is not fulfilled?  Now before you answer that, think about it very carefully. Is there anything (anything at all) that God does not know is going to happen or exactly how it is going to happen?  Is there any scenario where God could ever lose a battle?  Is there anything that could ever surprise God or catch him off guard?  Is there anything that God could not change should he so desire?  By definition, God is in absolute control.  It is His show.  It is His creation.  He is preeminent.  He, and He alone is supreme.  Therefore, your answer should be No.  God’s will is always fulfilled.

So my next question would be: Where did evil come from?  Well if it existed before time, wouldn’t God have been aware of it?  He should have been.  And would not God have been able to erase it?  Why wouldn’t He?  He is, after all God.  It does not theologically follow that evil existed either prior to or current with God’s own existence.  Evil has not just always existed without beginning or end.  Evil came into existence just like anything else in creation with God’s full knowledge and approval.

So the real wonderment then becomes the understanding that it was created along with the everything else.  Now I personally don’t believe that God, in a single act just brought Sin into existence.  What I believe he did is, he created the avenue for Sin to come into existence knowing full well that it would fulfil the course he set it on.  This is explained in Romans Chapter 9.  In Romans 9:21 Paul asks the question as to whether God has the power and the wherewithal to make both good and bad vessels.  Paul concludes that he does.  I believe God created Satan for the express purpose of bringing Sin into existence.  He created him as a vessel of dishonor.  Why would God do such a thing?  Paul answers this question in Romans 9:17 and in Romans 9:22-24.  God allowed Sin to come into existence through a vessel of dishonor that he created in order to show his great purpose.

And what of HellHell is God’s containment vessel for that Sin.  Hell is the holding place where he is going to keep it locked up for eternityHell is the prison that will separate the unrighteous from the righteous for ever and ever.

And from that consideration – Hell is very much a finality and not fantasy.  Next – Further Considerations of Hell.

Is It Your Time?

I recently heard a young woman giving a speech during which she proclaimed to all within her age group that today was her generation’s time.  This is a somewhat common phrase heard in most cultures around the world.  The idea that now is your time (or our time) is an expression fairly well understood by most people of the world.  It embodies the sentiment that a generation should seize the moment (carpe deim – as it were) and lead the way into the future.

Every generation that comes along encounters a point where they (the collective of the generation) believes it is their time.  But what does this really mean?  Does anyone, or any one generation really own time (or even a segment of time)?

Time is an interesting thing.  We mark time as humans because we know things from a finite perspective.  We experience a beginning, birth, and we at least perceive an end (death).  We know history from this finite perspective as well.

For the Atheist, especially those that ground their beliefs in an Evolutionary model, time is a critical component.  It is used as both a validator of their model as well as a marker of why we are at the place we are within that model.  By this I mean that time, and lots of it, are necessary for their model to make any sense or to even work.  And time also serves as a marker within their system to explain how we (mankind) got here and to predict where we are going.

But time is literally a linear thing.  It stretches in both directions from the point we find ourselves within it until it literally out distances itself from our present day means of comprehension.  Consider the fact that some (and I stress some, not all) Scientists place the age of the Universe at approximately 13.77 billion years old.  This “age” is calculated based upon a singularity (in this case the Big Bang event).  But what about time before the Big Bang?  Did it not exist?  Despite the fact that Dr. Stephen Hawking’s lastest work on the subject, The Grand Design, might suggest that you can indeed get something from nothing (a mental and mathematical gyration of adding matter and anti-matter (a 1 and -1) together, he simply cannot erase time.  What was before the nothingness?  What was going on while we were sitting around waiting for the nothingness to combine that matter and antimatter together in order to produce the Big Bang (yes, I’ve greatly simplified the theory and boiled it down to something a layperson can discuss – the essence is still the same)?  What happens after the eventual end to the Universe when everything collapses back in on itself?  Does time suddenly stop?  Just because everything known and unknown ceases to be?  Common sense would dictate not.  If Scientists wanted to be fair about their supposed age of the Universe they would simply proclaim it to be infinite, stretching beyond any hypothesized singularity or event and extending it to limits heretofore uncalculated and unimagined.

However, if they were honest in doing so, they would also produce an ironical paradox for themselves in that the Evolutionary model is built upon bounded, and calculated, periods of existence.  Once you step into the realm of the infinite, you begin to build a Theistic model, and that is something they reject.

For the Theist this is not a problem.  When you have a God at the head of your model, you understand that God created (literally started) time himself.  My Theistic model holds that God exists outside of time.  He is not part of it, and thus is not subject to its rules, limitations, and properties.  God, and God alone, is the Supreme being who created the model, including time, that we find ourselves within.  And what existed on the other side of the beginning?  Why God, of course.

Time is also interesting in that no one person or generation has any more or less time than any other generation or person.  We all mark time exactly the same and we all co-exist within that period of time that we are a part of with others.

My Theistic model also places us into eternity.  An eternity in which we continue to mark time (Isaiah 66:22-24) (Revelation 22:2) by month, and by extension, by year.

And given that we all face an eternity of time (although our eternity certainly had a beginning, and yet is without end) one might beg the question “When is your time“?

From the Theistic perspective, you should seize the day, but not because now is your time, but because what you do today determines the remainder of your disposition throughout all of eternity.

In reality, it is all of our time, both young and old, and everyone in between.  And our time is only what is allotted to us here in this present life on Earth.  And that time is the determining factor of all of eternity for all of mankind.  It is actually the one thing that makes Atheism such a sad state of affairs.  Because theirs is a gamble that once the perceived end is here, there is no more time (for them) and nothing matters any more (why it mattered before or matters now is a great mystery I have questioned many times before in this blog).  However, if the Atheist gambles incorrectly, and the Theistic model proves true (as I believe the evidence supports), they then have an eternity to exist with the consequences of a life choice made during A Brief History of Time (pun intended).  And during an eternity, 13.77 billion years will seem but a blink of an eye to us all.

So my rhetorical question: Is It Your Time? should be answered with a resounding “Yes!” and each and every one of us should make the most of it.  Moreover we should all take that time, granted since our beginning, to determine for ourselves, will we, or will we not, care what happens for an eternity?

The Theistic model says: Yes!  I do!  After all, Its Only Time.