Thursday, 29 December 2011

What Happens when a saint dies



Grave
A burial place



Hades
The underground abode
of the dead in Greek mythology



Sheol
The abode of the dead
in early Hebrew thought



Hell
(Gehenna)
Destruction outside of Jerusalem



Thinking that the people of God goes to heaven upon death, pulls the rug right out from under the Bible. The Scriptures must be our standard for truth. Besides, why is there a resurrection of the dead when in fact, no one is really dead?


It is in the resurrected body (in the flesh) that a saint will be able to live again,

For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the Earth. And though worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).

All living things go to the same place,

Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both...all have the same breath ... all go to the same place; all came from dust, and to dust all return” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).


What
happens
when a saint
dies?




When a saint dies, he is not alive somewhere else. He is dead. He does not ascend to Heaven or descend to Hell. Instead he remains in the ground “Resting In Peace” until such a time as he is awakened by resurrection. In this brochure we have included several verses taken straight out of the Bible to explain this belief. Please consider them as we have put a lot of time into this.

In the grave there is silence, just like sleep,

Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon you: let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol” (Psalm 31:17).

Jesus used sleep and death interchangeably

After that he said to them, ´Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I go so that I may awaken him out of sleep´ … Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, ´Lazarus is dead´” (John 11:11-14).

Dead saints are asleep in the dust of the earth

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).

The resurrection is when the dead saints come to life

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. That is the first resurrection” (Rev 20:4).

The grave is the resting place of the dead. In Hebrew, the word used is Sheol. In Greek that word is Hades. The common Greek mythological understanding of Hades has corrupted contemporary understanding about death. Think about it, when was the last time you read a verse that made it seem like dead people were living in some disembodied state?

Awaking from sleep is rising from the dead

[Jesus] said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.' ... Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead ...' (John 11:11-14).

Dead people do not know anything

For the living know they will die: but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

Sheol is a place where nothing happens

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

The dead have no ability to think, act, or communicate (with God or other humans).
They are in a state of dreamless sleep, until the return of the Messiah, when they are raised first, before the living are changed (1 Thes 4:15-17).
Since there is no consciousness in death, there is no perception of time. From the perspective of the dead person, no time passes at all. One moment they are alive, the next they are at the resurrection. However, from the perspective of the living, the one who has died may have waited thousands of years.

The resurrection is in the centre of the Christian hope. This is why Paul says that without the resurrection “we [Christians] are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

The resurrection is connected with the return of the Christ,

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Cor 15:20-23)



The voice of Jesus commences the resurrection,

Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to the resurrection of life” (John 5:28-29).



Original by Living Hope International Ministries


The Bible is not afraid to be tested


Perhaps the Bible had just .
one author.

Perhaps it was the God of .
the Universe.


What if the Bible is True?


Miraculous Unity
-There is a great amount of agreement, sometimes “point by point,” throughout the Bible. This is miraculous when one considers that the 66 books were written by at least 40 writers, each from vastly different cultures, different backgrounds, in different locations, and in different circumstances.

The Bible is
NOT
Afraid to be Tested



Are you surprised?




Don’t Be!!

Question: How do we know that the Bible has been accurately passed down to us?

Answer: We have more than 5,000 manuscripts existing today and there are several million people who still speak the original languages (Hebrew & Greek). We do not depend on a translation because we have direct access in the original languages.*

*Between the 99.5% accuracy “word for word” of the ancient manuscripts, and the fact that there are more extant manuscripts of the Bible than any other ancient writing proves strong reliability that far exceeds all other books of antiquity.



Science and Medicine
-The book of Leviticus contains amazing medical insights far ahead of its time including circumcision on the 8th day, washing hands after touching someone infected, quarantine of those who had been in contact with the dead, and many other sanitation procedures which we take for granted today but they couldn’t have known about without divine guidance.



100% perfect prophecy
This is one of the many proofs we have that the Bible is completely accurate beyond human reason. (I Thess. 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good).

Prophecy Scripture Odds
Isaiah’s naming of Cyrus nearly Isaiah 44:28-45:3 1/10,000
two centuries in advance

Daniel's 400 years of precisely Daniel 8 1/1,000,000
predicted history

The detailed prophecy of the Ezekiel 26 1/100,000
destruction of Tyre, hundreds
of years in advance

>More than 500 years before the time of Jesus, Daniel predicted to the year when the Messiah would be killed (Daniel 9.25-26)

These were unbelievable predictions! The likelihood that these prophecies came true by some random chain of events is all but impossible. Also remember that this is only an extremely short “glimpse” of predictions spoken of in the Bible by God's prophets. Of the events that were to have taken place by now, every one happened just the way they predicted it would. No other "sacred writing" has such perfectly accurate predictions of the future.
-In 33 AD, Jesus was crucified (a prophecy) and died (a prophecy). Three days later he rose from the dead (another prophecy), after which he was seen by over 500 witnesses. These miracles and others were done many times in front of thousands for over 3 years.



Archaeology
-No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm the Bible’s reliability. In addition, dozen of times the descriptions given in the Bible have led to great archaeological discoveries.




-About two thousand years elapsed between the time the Dead Sea Scrolls were deposited in the caves of the barren hills surrounding the Dead Sea and their discovery in 1947. The fact that they survived for twenty centuries, that they were found accidentally by Bedouin shepherds, that they are the largest and oldest body of manuscripts relating to the Bible and to the time of Jesus of Nazareth make them a truly remarkable archaeological find offering credence to the accuracy of the Masoretic Texts written much later.

- As well as consistency throughout, and brutal honesty of the Bible writers, archaeology confirms our reasons to believe in the Bible, If Luke was so painstakingly accurate in his historical reporting, on what basis may we assume inaccuracy in his reporting of matters that were far more important, not only to him but to others as well; such as, the resurrection of Jesusthe most influential evidence of Jesus' authenticity of being Christ. This, says Luke, was firmly established by “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3).
(Luke is the gospel which gives the most information about locations and rulers)

-Sir William Ramsey, one of the greatest archaeologists of all time, spent 30 years of his life trying to disprove the New Testament, especially Luke's writings. After much intensive research, with many expecting a thorough refutation of Christianity, Ramsey concluded that Luke was one of the greatest historians of all time and leading Ramsey to become a Christian. (This is a rather ironic pattern followed by many who have tried to disprove the Bible through their own research and ended up believing it)

The longer archaeology does its work
the more the bible is proven true

-Some scholars argued that King David was a myth, until 1993 when a stone monument was discovered at Tel Dan, near the border of Syria and Israel. It mentioned a victory over King David and the house of David, just as indicated in I Kings 15:20.



JERUSALEM Nov 10, 2005
-Archaeologists digging at the biblical home of Goliath unearthed a shard of pottery bearing an inscription of the Philistine's name a find they claimed lends historical credence to the Bible's description of David's battle with the giant.



The New Testament Record has never been successfully refuted
Christians were strongly persecuted by both the Jews and the Roman government. If the New Testament writings were false, these two groups would have produced a great deal of evidence to stop the growth of this "sect." None exists. Furthermore, the New Testament writings circulated during the lifetimes of thousands of people who had actually seen Jesus' miracles and other historic events. No one ever refuted the New Testament writings.


Original article by Living Hope International Ministries

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Preterism 101

Time statements during the first century before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Credit to David Green. Be sure to check "about to" in bold with Greek word because not every English Bible Translations have it. 

1. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matt 3:2).

2. "Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?" (Matt 3:7).

3. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees" (Matt 3:10).

4. "His winnowing fork is in His hand" (Matt 3:12).

5. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt 4:17).

6. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt 10:7).

7. "You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes" (Matt 10:23).

8. "the age about to come" (Matt 12:32).

9. "The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds" (Matt 16:27).

10. "There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matt 16:28; cf. Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27).

11. "'When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?' '… He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.' '… Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.' … When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them" (Matt 21:40-41,43,45).

12. "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Matt 24:34).

13. "From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matt 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69).

14. "The kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15).

15. "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. … They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them" (Mark 12:9,12).

16. "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Mark 13:30).

17. "Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?" (Luke 3:7).

18. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees" (Luke 3:9).

19. "His winnowing fork is in His hand" (Luke 3:17).

20. "The kingdom of God has come near to you" (Luke 10:9).

21. "The kingdom of God has come near" (Luke 10:11).

22. "What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others … The scribes and the chief priests ... understood that He spoke this parable against them" (Luke 20:15-16,19).

23. "These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22).

24. "This generation will not pass away until all things take place" (Luke 21:32).

25. "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us'" (Luke 23:28-30; Compare Rev 6:14-17).  

26. "We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21).

27. "I will come to you … In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.' … 'Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?'" (John 14:18,20,22).

28. "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:22).

29. "This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days'" (Acts 2:16-17).

30. "He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31).

31. "There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked" (Acts 24:15).

32. "As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come" (Acts 24:25).

33. "Not for [Abraham's] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned" (Rom 4:23-24).

34. "If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die" (Rom 8:13).

35. "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us" (Rom 8:18).

36. "It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand" (Rom 13:11-12).

37. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Rom 16:20).

38. "The time has been shortened" (1 Cor 7:29).

39. "The form of this world is passing away" (1 Cor 7:31). 

40. "Now these things … were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Cor 10:11).

41. "We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor 15:51-52).

42. "Maranatha!" [The Lord comes!] (1 Cor 16:22).

43. "not only in this age, but also in the one about to come" (Eph 1:21).

44. "The Lord is near" (Phil 4:5).

45. "The gospel … was proclaimed in all creation under heaven" (Col. 1:23; Compare Matt 24:14; Rom 10:18; 16:26; Col. 1:5-6; 2 Tim 4:17; Rev 14:6-7).

46. "things which are a shadow of what is about to come" (Col. 2:16-17).

47. "we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord ... We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds … You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief" (1 Thess. 4:15,17; 5:4).

48. "May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23).

49. "It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire" (2 Thess 1:6-7).

50. "Godliness … holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come" (1 Tim 4:8).

51. "I charge you … that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 6:14).
  
52. "...storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed" (1 Tim 6:19).

53. "In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self … Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women … These also oppose the truth ... But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all" (2 Tim 3:1-2,5-6,8-9).

54. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead" (2 Tim 4:1).

55. "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2).

56. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

57. "He did not subject to angels the world about to come" (Hebrews 2:5).

58. "and have tasted … the powers of the age about to come" (Hebrews 6:5).

59. "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it's end is for burning" (Hebrews 6:7-8).

60. "When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear" (Hebrews 8:13).

61. "The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation" (Hebrews 9:8-10; Compare Gal 4:19; Eph 2:21-22; 3:17; 4:13). 

62. "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come" (Hebrews 9:11).

63. "Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin" (Hebrews 9:26).

64. "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come" (Hebrews 10:1).

65. "as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).

66. "the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27).

67. "For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay" (Hebrews 10:37).

68. "For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come" (Hebrews 13:14).

69. "Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty" (James 2:12).

70. "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you … It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!" (James 5:1,3).

71. "Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord" (James 5:7).

72. "You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:8).

73. "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:6).

74. "He … has appeared in these last times for the sake of you" (1 Peter 1:20).

75. "They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead" (1 Peter 4:5).
  
76. "The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer" (1 Peter 4:7).

77. "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17).

78. "as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed" (1 Peter 5:1).

79. "We have the prophetic word … which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).

80. "Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep" (2 Peter 2:3).

81. "In the last days mockers will come … For this they willingly are ignorant of" (1 Peter 3:3,5).

82. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God" (2 Peter 3:10-12).

83. "The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8).

84. "The world is passing away, and its desires" (1 John 2:17).

85. "It is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).

86. "Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18; Compare Matt 24:23-34).

87. "This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world" (1 John 4:3; Compare 2 Thess 2:7).

88. "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation … About these also Enoch … prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly'" (Jude 1:4,14-15). 

89. "But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, 'In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.' These are the ones who cause divisions" (Jude 1:17-19).

90. "to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place" (Rev 1:1).

91. "The time is near" (Rev 1:3).

92. "Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come" (Rev 2:25).

93. "I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world" (Rev 3:10).

94. "I am coming quickly" (Rev 3:11).

95. "And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (Rev 12:5).

96. "And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth" (Rev 18:24; Compare Matt 23:35-36; Luke 11:50-51).

97. "to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place" (Rev 22:6).

98. "Behold, I am coming quickly" (Rev 22:7).

99. "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near" (Rev 22:10; Compare Dan. 12:9).

100. "Behold, I am coming quickly" (Rev 22:12).

101. "Yes, I am coming quickly" (Rev 22:20)

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Godly Woman’s Guide to Appropriate Apparel For all Ladies and Young Ladies


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
(Romans 12:1, 2 NKJV)



Dear Ladies and Young Ladies,

We live by the word of God. Everything we say and everything we do is modelled by the Bible.

Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 NKJV).

The clothing styles of our day present a challenge to all of us. We must take the extra time to shop wisely and not compromise on how we dress, not only at church, but everywhere we go.

After much prayer and consideration, we present these guidelines as a tool to equip and assist you with evaluating how you currently dress and modifying it accordingly, based on God’s standards. We trust you will receive them in the same spirit of love and concern.

Ladies and young ladies, be feminine, but be modest.



THE FASHION CHALLENGE

The marketplace is full of fashion that has been designed by people who are trying to lure women into accentuating sexual appeal. It is everywhere, from the racks in the stores to the mannequins on display, to television advertising, television shows, and magazines.

At times, it may seem that adhering to God-pleasing, modest dress is practically impossible. Know that it is possible! It may mean taking more time to shop for the right outfit, trying on many items before purchasing, layering tops for maximum coverage, choosing a larger size, or tossing out items from your current wardrobe that fall short of a Godly standard.

with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV).



CLEAVAGE

Never acceptable, not even a hint.

It is never appropriate to reveal the feminine aspects of your body to anyone other than the man to whom you are married. Your tops need to be two inches above your cleavage to insure coverage in all positions. Brassieres should be discreetly worn at all times, meaning the straps do not show or the colour/design does not draw attention under your clothing.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3 NIV).



TIGHT CLOTHING

As Godly women, we dress to look nice and honour God's ways. Skin tight clothing overemphasises the shape of your body. Give yourself permission to go up a size.

Spaghetti straps, strapless tops, halter tops, and backless tops should always be covered by a sweater or a jacket.

Shorts above the knee of any length are considered recreational wear and are not appropriate when coming to social gatherings.

Skirt lengths should be no shorter than “at the knee” when standing, sitting, or kneeling.

As you dress every day, stand in front of a mirror and make sure that your cleavage, midriff and thighs are covered in all positions. Raise your arms over your head and kneel down to check all areas.

Panty lines and panties need to be discreetly covered.



TATTOOS & PIERCINGS

Many have asked us for insight on this subject. First of all, let us say that our comments concerning tattoos and piercings are not meant in any way to make someone who already has them feel any condemnation.

If you are considering tattoos and piercings, please study God’s word and pray before making this life long decision. Bible references are provided on the next page to assist you. Many people have shared with us that they regret getting tattoos when they made the choice in their youth in a moment of emotion.

Many people who have multiple piercings and/or tattoos admit that they find themselves obsessed with acquiring another. Others have admitted they are “addicted” to this behaviour.

Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD” (Lev 19:28)



BIBLE REFERENCES

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1,2)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV).



NO CONDEMNATION…

Again, if you already have tattoos, we do not condemn you. We love you and we want you to know the Bible principle in Romans 8:1, which says that there is no condemnation to those ... who no longer walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.



Original by Alice Stephens
W.O.W. - Women of Wisdom Ministry - Faith Assembly of God, Orlando, FL
407-275-8790, ext. 123 - stephensa@faithassembly.org

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Atheism vs Theism


The Logical Case For Theism

An atheist from the University of Windsor emailed me and asked for my best argument for the existence of God. I wrote him these logical syllogisms:


Everything that had a beginning is finite.
Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
Therefore, everything that is finite had a cause.


Everything that is finite had a cause.
The first cause cannot have a cause.
Therefore, the first cause cannot be finite.



Everything is either finite or infinite.
The first cause cannot be finite.
Therefore, the first cause is infinite.


Everything that is finite indicates the existence of a first cause.
The first cause is infinite.
Therefore, everything that is finite indicates the existence of the infinite.


That which is infinite had no beginning.
That which had no beginning needs no cause.
Therefore, that which is infinite needs no cause.


That which is infinite needs no cause.
Our first cause is infinite.
Therefore, our first cause needs no cause.


Effects cannot be greater than their cause.
Humans are sentient, intelligent, moral beings.
Therefore, our cause must be greater than us in consciousness, intelligence, and morality.


Effects cannot be greater than their cause.
Humans are sentient, intelligent, moral beings.
Therefore, our cause cannot be an unconscious, unintelligent, amoral thing.


The only logical conclusion which my mind can come to is that there is a God who created us and who is greater than us.

Jesse Morrell

Friday, 4 November 2011

A most surprising quiz on hell!

The Bible warns about the judgment of God and banishment to hell. But did you know that many popular ideas about hell actually sprang from ancient pagan myths and not from the Word of God?

In the following quiz, see if you can spot the biblical truth and the traditions of men. After the quiz, you'll find the correct answers -- and references to appropriate biblical passages for further study.


1. According to the Bible, the human being is:
a) a mortal body housing an immortal soul;
b) a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury;
c) a perishable creature wholly dependent on God for existence.

2. Two historical events which biblical writers use most often to illustrate God's final judgment against the wicked are:
a) expulsion from Eden and the collapse of the Tower of Babel;
b) the fall of Jerusalem and the defeat of the Spanish Armada;
c) the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

3. Based on an actual event, the Bible uses the expression "eternal fire" to signify:
a) fire that destroys forever (Sodom and Gomorrah);
b) fire that cannot destroy what is put in it (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego);
c) fire that continues to burn indefinitely (the Burning Bush of Moses).

4. The "brimstone" in "fire and brimstone" is:
a) a symbol of terrible torture;
b) burning sulfur that suffocates and destroys;
c) a preserving agent that keeps someone alive forever.

5. Throughout the Bible, "gnashing of teeth" denotes:
a) excruciating pain and agony;
b) gingivitis;
c) extreme anger and hostility.

6. When the Bible portrays "smoke rising" to warn of judgment, we should think of:
a) people suffering horrible pain;
b) a completed desolation or annihilation;
c) a closed arena when cigarettes were still allowed.

7. When Scripture speaks of smoke rising "forever," it signifies:
a) a destruction that will be irreversible;
b) conscious torment that never ends;
c) a battery-powered rabbit that short circuited.

8. The "worm" in the expression "worm that dies not" is:
a) a maggot that feeds on something dead;
b) a symbol for a pained conscience;
c) a figure of speech standing for everlasting agony in torment.

9. Throughout the Bible, the expression "unquenchable fire" always signifies:
a) fire which burns forever but never burns up what is put in it;
b) fire which comes from a volcano;
c) fire which is irresistible and therefore consumes entirely.

10. The Old Testament's final description of the end of sinners states that:
a) God will put fire and worms in their flesh and they will feel their pain forever;
b) they will be ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous;
c) neither of the above.

11. John the Baptist warned of "unquenchable fire," by which Jesus would:
a) burn up the "chaff";
b) torment the lost forever and never let them die;
c) purge sinners of all evil and then send them to heaven.

12. Jesus compared the end of the wicked to:
a) someone burning chaff, dead trees or weeds;
b) a house destroyed by a hurricane or someone crushed under a boulder;
c) all the above.

13. Jesus personally described Gehenna (hell) as a place where:
a) God is able to destroy both soul and body;
b) God will perpetuate the soul in everlasting agony;
c) Satan reigns over his evil subjects and tortures damned humans.

14. The phrase "eternal punishment" signifies:
a) punishment which occurs in the Age to Come rather than during this life;
b) eternal life in horrible agony and pain;
c) punishment which has everlasting results;
d) (a) and (c) but not (b). 
 
15. The context and "punch line" of the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus talk about:
a) what happens to the wicked after resurrection and judgment;
b) the urgency of responding to God while there is opportunity;
c) details about the "intermediate state" between death and resurrection.

16. Throughout his writings, Paul says that the lost will:
a) go to hell and burn alive forever;
b) die, perish, and be punished with eternal destruction;
c) go to heaven but hate every minute of it.

17. The New Testament uses the adjective "immortal" to describe:
a) the soul of every person, good or evil;
b) the resurrection bodies of the saved but not of the lost;
c) no human being now or hereafter.

18. The Jewish-Christian books of Hebrews and James contrast salvation with:
a) unending conscious pain;
b) inescapable destruction;
c) going "gently into that good night."

19. Peter's epistles say that the lost will:
a) be burned to ashes like Sodom and Gomorrah;
b) perish like brute beasts;
c) both the above.

20. John interprets his vision in Revelation of a "lake of fire" as:
a) a picture of indescribable, everlasting torture;
b) a place Eskimos might like to visit;
c) the second death.


CHECK YOUR ANSWERS BY THE BIBLE . . .


1. I hope you marked (c). According to the Bible, the human being is a perishable creature wholly dependent on God for existence.

The notion that your mortal body houses some kind of immortal soul sprang from the pagan Greeks and was popularized by the philosophers Socrates and Plato. The "tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury" line originated with Shakespeare's fictional Macbeth, not with the Word of God.

Genesis 2:7; Psalms 103:14-16; Romans 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:16.



2. Again the correct answer is (c). Biblical writers point back to the Flood and to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to illustrate the fate awaiting the lost.

Adam and Eve walked away alive after their expulsion from Eden, something no one cast into hell will ever do, and the Bible does not say the Tower of Babel collapsed. Jerusalem's fall and the defeat of Spain's navy armada don't qualify here, either.

On the Flood, see Genesis 6-9 and 2 Peter 3:5-7. Concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, see Genesis 19:24-29 and 2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7.


3. In the Bible, the expression "eternal fire" signifies choice (a), fire that destroys forever, as with Sodom and Gomorrah.

Popular tradition says hell will be like Moses' Burning Bush which never went out, or like the non-consuming furnace into which their enemies threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. However, the Bible warns that hell is a consuming fire which destroys both body and soul.

Jude 7; Matthew 25:41; Matthew 10:28.


4. This time (b) is biblical. The "brimstone" in the expression "fire and brimstone" is burning sulfur that suffocates and destroys.

The figure comes from the destruction of Sodom, which was incinerated without a trace. God is love, not an eternal torturer. The Bible really means it when it says the wages of sin is death!

Genesis 19:24-25, 29; Deuteronomy 29:22-23; Psalms 11:6; Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 14:10; Romans 6:23.


5. Surprise! Throughout the Bible, "gnashing of teeth" denotes (c) extreme anger and hostility.

The picture of people grinding their teeth in unending torment owes more to Dante's Inferno than it does to the Bible. We learn about gingivitis, of course, from a television commercial for a brand of mouthwash.

Job 16:9; Psalms 35:16; Psalms 37:12; Psalms 112:10; Lamentations 2:16; Acts 7:54; Matthew 13:43, 49-50; Matthew 22:13-14; Matthew 24:50-51; Matthew 25:30; Luke 13:28.



6. Again (b) is biblical. Smoke rising symbolizes a completed desolation or annihilation, if we let Scripture interpret itself.

This figure of speech also originates with the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, and appears in both the Old and New Testaments afterward. Hell might well involve conscious pain, but conscious suffering will be according to God's perfect justice and will stop with the death of both body and soul in hell. (You didn't guess the one about cigarettes anyway, did you?)

Genesis 19:27-28; Isaiah 34:10-15; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 18:17-18; Malachi 4:1-3.



7. See for yourself! When Scripture speaks of smoke rising "forever," it signifies (a) destruction that will be irreversible.

That battery-powered rabbit came from the television commercials -- it is no more biblical than the other choice, the notion of unending conscious torment.

Isaiah 34:10-15; Revelation 14:11.



8. Another big surprise for most folks! The "worm" in the expression "worm that dies not" is (a) a maggot that feeds on something dead until there is nothing left on which to feed.

The idea of everlasting agony in torment originated with former pagan Greek philosophers who also thought human beings had a "soul" which will never die. More tender-hearted traditionalists later defined the "worm" as a pained conscience. If they had read Isaiah 66:24 in context, they could have avoided the confusion to start with.

Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:47-48.



9. This time (c) is correct. The expression "unquenchable fire" in the Bible always signifies fire which cannot be resisted and which therefore consumes entirely.

Long after Christ, certain church fathers invented the doctrine of hell as a fire which burns forever but never burns up what is put in it.

Isaiah 1:31; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 17:27; Ezekiel 20:47-48; Amos 5:5-6; Matthew 3:12. Contrast human fire which can be quenched or put out, mentioned in Hebrews 11:34.


10. No surprise here if you chose (b). The Old Testament's final book describes the end of sinners as ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous.

Long after Malachi, the apocryphal book of Judith introduced the non-scriptural idea that God will put fire and worms in people's flesh so they will feel pain forever.

Malachi 4:1-3.



11. John the Baptist warned of "unquenchable fire," by which Jesus would (a) burn up the "chaff". Not surprising, since fire that cannot be extinguished (quenched) does exactly what we expect fire to do!

Missing this biblical truth, some later theologians claimed that God will torment the lost forever and never let them die, while others theorized that God will purge sinners of all evil and then send them to heaven. Both theories have modern advocates, but neither of them reflects the Bible's teaching.

Matthew 3:12.



12. Jesus compared the end of the wicked to someone burning chaff, dead trees or weeds, and also said it will be like a house destroyed by a hurricane or someone crushed under falling rock. Check (c) here to be correct.

Matthew 3:12; Matthew 7:19; Matthew 13:30, 40; Matthew 7:27; Luke 20:17-18.



13. Choice (a) is accurate on this one. Jesus personally described Gehenna (hell) as a place where God can destroy both soul and body -- the entire person.

The just and loving God of the Bible who loved sinners will certainly not perpetuate the soul in everlasting agony. On the other hand, if you pictured Satan reigning over his evil subjects and torturing damned humans, you might be watching too much late-night television!

Matthew 10:28.


14. If you selected choice (d), you are right on target. By describing hell's punishment as "eternal," the Bible tells us that it is a punishment which occurs in the Age to Come rather than during this life, and also that its results will be everlasting.

You'll find nothing in Scripture about eternal life in horrible agony and pain. Jesus warns of everlasting punishment -- which Paul further explains as everlasting destruction.

Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9.



15. The context and "punch line" of the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus concern (b) the urgency of responding to God while there is opportunity.

When they read this passage carefully, most people are surprised to find that the context of Jesus' parable has nothing to do with what happens to the wicked after resurrection and judgment, or even about a so-called "intermediate state" (which is not necessarily the same as what happens after resurrection and final judgment).

See Luke 16:9-16 for the context, and Luke 16:31 for the "punch line."



16. It's choice (b) again. Throughout his writings, Paul says that the lost will: (b) die, perish, and be punished with eternal destruction.

If you picked choice (a) "go to hell and burn alive forever," you will really be surprised when you look for anything like that in Paul's writings. Choice (c) is wrong, since all who finally inhabit God's eternal kingdom will enjoy every "minute" of unending eternity!

Romans 6:23; Romans 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 3:17; Philippians 1:28; Philippians 3:19.



17. The New Testament uses the adjective "immortal" to describe (b) the resurrection bodies of the saved but not of the lost.

Some philosophers in Paul's day taught that every person has an immortal soul -- a doctrine which later crept into the Christian church but is now increasingly rejected as unbiblical. Still others said no one will ever be "immortal" or deathless. Scripture rejects both those errors, when it declares that there is life only in Christ but promises that all who truly trust him will live forever! You will always be correct to remember that the Bible always ascribes immortality to the saved, never to the lost; always in the resurrection, never now; and always in a glorified body, never as a disembodied "soul" or "spirit."

1 Corinthians 15:54-57; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 5:11-13.

18. Did you choose (b)? Good for you! The Jewish-Christian books of Hebrews and James do indeed contrast salvation with inescapable destruction.

Read every word and you'll never find a hint of unending conscious pain. Going "gently into that good night" is poetic but comes from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas rather than the Bible.

Hebrews 10:27, 39; Hebrews 12:25, 29; James 4:12; James 5:3, 5, 20.

19. Choice (c) is correct. Peter's epistles clearly say that the lost will be burned to ashes like Sodom and Gomorrah and will perish like brute beasts.

2 Peter 2:6, 12; 2 Peter 3:6-9.

20. John is careful to define the "lake of fire" in Revelation as (c) the second death.

Read from Genesis to Revelation and you'll never find a picture of indescribable, everlasting torture. Does that come as a surprise?

Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8.


For a thorough investigation of everything the Bible says about the destiny of the lost, you might wish to read The Fire That Consumes, by Edward William Fudge. This detailed book has stirred a worldwide rethinking of the doctrine of hell among evangelical Christians, and was a selection of Evangelical Book Club.

Original by Edward Fudge