Hope Beyond Hell – The Righteous Purpose of God's JudgmentTime 2022-10-26 11:29:40
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Does God torture people in Hell forever?
Not if the Bible is correctly understood.
Even in judgment, God is loving and merciful. Hell fire is spiritual, not literal, and NOT forever!
We Christians have a problem, a very serious problem. This two minute audio explains why: Listen Now!
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Narrated by George W. Sarris, M. Div. Narrator of the 2011 revision of The Holy Bible, New International Version by Zondervan Publishing House.
Facing the Problem
Picture yourself as a missionary to the Muslim nation of Senegal, West Africa. The date? September 26, 2002. About a year prior, you befriended your neighbor, Abdou Ndieye, a Muslim merchant. Only a few weeks ago, he graciously accepted your invitation to study the Bible with you. You are thrilled. Abdou is the first Muslim with whom you have begun sharing the Good News. Today you prepare to explore another portion of God‘s Word with him, but something terrible has happened. You cannot believe what you are hearing and seeing on the news. The Joola, a Senegalese ferry, has capsized killing almost 2,000 people. You remember that Abdou‘s wife, Astou, and his 14 year-old daughter, Fatou, are on that ship. You are in shock and cannot believe what you are seeing—a ship‘s underside sticking up out of the sea with helicopters hovering overhead. You hurry next door. As you knock on the door, you hear deep groans and wailing. You slowly enter. Abdou is prostrate on the floor. He pleads before Yalla (Wolof for Allah), “Why? Why? How could you let this happen?” He goes into spasms of weeping, beating his hands against the floor. Feeling utterly helpless, you pray, “God help me comfort my friend.” Abdou lifts his eyes, hardly able to recognize you for the tears. “My wife and daughter have died a terrible death! Tell me I will see them again; tell me they are safe in God‘s arms! Has your Jesus taken them to His heaven?” You are lost for words. The silence is deafening. “Answer me, Christian, will I see them again? Are they in a better place? Tell me!” You remain speechless. What can you say? Where is the Good News when you need it most?
Facing the Problem (Introduction)
Are you at peace regarding the eternal destiny of your children, parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents? Are you experiencing abundant joy in your “personal” salvation while unsure if some of your dearest loved ones might suffer throughout eternity? How is that possible if you really love them as much as you love yourself? You see, we Christians have a problem, a very serious problem. The problem is our belief that hell is “eternal” and that most of humanity will suffer endlessly. Deep inside we know something is not right, but we suppress our questions and doubts because we “think” the Bible teaches it. What inner conflict rages within us! It is futile to find satisfying answers to the problems this issue raises. For example:How can an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God create billions of people, knowing most will be tormented in hell forever?Is the power of our “free will” to damn ourselves for eternity really absolute, exceeding the power of God’s “free will” to save us, His very own property? “All souls are mine” (Ez. 18:4). If so, who suffers most in eternal damnation, man or God who loves man with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)?“How can Christ be considered greater than Adam if Adam has the power to condemn more people than Christ has the power to save?”
Please do not accept pat answers to these critical questions. Jesus commands us to judge for ourselves what is right (Lu 12:57). What is right about a punishment that never ends?
How has this teaching affected the spread of the “Good News”—the Gospel? Think about it. An “eternal” hell…maligns God’s character before the world.contradicts His unending and unfailing love for all people.makes our worship stem more from fear than of true affection.denies His unlimited power to accomplish all His will.makes man’s will greater than God’s will.infinitely minimizes Christ’s triumph over death and the evil one.denies that Christ fully accomplished His mission on earth.violates God’s divine witness revealed in every conscience.negates the most glorious promises in the Bible.ignores the testimony of the early Church.robs most of us of true and lasting peace and joy.affects what we become; like parent—like child.hinders world evangelism. (Remember Abdou?)
“Test all things” (1Th. 5:21). Have you tested this teaching?
For most of my life the fear of hell stalked me, ever waiting for an opportune moment to raise its ugly head. Just the idea was like a sword slicing through me. It has been the greatest stumbling block to my faith. In fact, I almost gave up on Christianity because of it.
Hell is a horrifying thought. Millions have been terrorized by it. Some have even killed their children to spare them such a fate; remember Andrea Yates from Houston who drowned her five children? If we would truly grasp the horror of it, we would go insane. Our every waking moment would have to be spent snatching whoever we can out of the fire or nothing but constant guilt would torment us. Can you imagine the horror of suffering “forever? ”What is a billion years? It is but a second in eternity. Who could possibly imagine such horror? What if you or one of your loved ones should go there? Does this thought affect how you feel about God?
This theme has gripped my heart as it afflicts millions of people and dishonors God before the world. After years of wrestling with this topic, studying the Bible, and reading the works of others, I have found that hell, whatever it consists of, is a judgment given from the disciplinal hand of a loving Father. Though the symbolism surrounding it seems severe, it ultimately serves a good and remedial purpose. One of our greatest presidents agreed. In Abraham Lincoln the Christian, William Johnson, stated:
Abraham Lincoln did not nor could not believe in the endless punishment of anyone of the human race. He understood punishment for sin to be a Bible doctrine; that the punishment was parental in its object, aim, and design, and intended for the good of the offender; hence it must cease when justice is satisfied. All that was lost by the transgression of Adam was made good by the atonement.1
That is the message of this book. It is indeed good news for those tormented over the destiny of lost loved ones! Millions in our land can relate. Though the subject is hell, the book is really about God. What is He like? A popular Christian cliché some time ago was: “God is good—all the time!” Well, you will find solid support for it here. God is good even in His judgments! They are not infinite and horrendously cruel, but just, righteous, and remedial.
If you think that I am manipulating the Scriptures in this book, then please leave it. But if not, be ready to fall in love with an amazing and wonderful God!
Solving the Problem
We have a problem because we have misunderstood God’s judgments. I know this may sound radical, or even outrageous, but the Bible, in my view, clearly shows that all God’s judgments serve a corrective purpose. Please judge the evidence yourself. God is far more loving and powerful than we ever thought.
Listen to or Read “Hope Beyond Hell” The Righteous Purpose of God’s Judgment.
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