Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hell and The Lake of Fire (Part I)


Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(II Timothy 2:15)

Hell and the Lake of Fire

Revelation 19:20-21; 20:7-10

Those who know me understand that I am all about teaching truth.
And since there exists today a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about the place called hell and the eternal destination for all those who elect NOT to believe in the Gospel of Grace called the Lake of Fire; I decided there is a need to teach on this topic.

Question: do people believe in the existence of hell today?

I shared the answer to this question with the class the other evening.
I think you’ll be surprised when you hear the answer.

Most Don't Believe in Hell
By Lee Webb
CBN News Anchor
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Pope Benedict used a mass in the suburbs of Rome, Sunday, to remind people that hell is a very real place.
"Jesus came to tell us everyone is wanted in paradise, and that hell, about which little gets said today, exists and is eternal for those who shut their hearts to His love," said the 79-year old pontiff.

But the latest research from Barna Associates shows that only 32 percent of adults see hell as, "an actual place of torment and suffering where people's souls go after death."

Why the low number?  Some well-known evangelical leaders agree with the Pope that the Church has been ominously silent about hell.

Stroll the streets of America today and you'll find that eternal destiny is not a subject most people even want to talk about.  When they do, their thoughts on the matter are quite diverse.

Question:  Do you believe there is a place called Hell?
Response:  Yes, sir.
 
Question:  Why do you believe that?
Response:  Basically, my belief in Christianity has taught me that.

Question:  Do you believe that all people, when they die, would go to heaven?
Response:  Hmmm. Good question. Yes.

Response:  I don't know, I think it would have to be something very, very, extremely bad to go to hell."

Response:  Honest belief?  This is hell.  We are in hell now.  It has to be better in the next life."
That confusion doesn't surprise the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Paige Patterson.  He lays the blame squarely on the church.

"You can traverse the entire United States on any given Sunday morning, and you very probably will not hear a sermon on the judgment of God or eternal punishment," he said.  "Evangelicals have voted by the silence of their voices that they either do not believe in (the doctrine of hell) or else they no longer have the courage and conviction to stand and say anything about it."

Author and theologian R.C. Sproul is even more direct.
"I think what we face in the church today is a virtual eclipse of the character of God," he said.
The irony is that evangelicals consider one sermon among the greatest evangelistic messages ever preached.  It was delivered by Jonathan Edwards in 1741 during the height of the Great Awakening. The title: 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.'"

Edwards proclaimed, "O sinner!  Consider the fearful danger you are in: 'Tis a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell."

Why don't preachers preach like this today?
"I can't think of anything more politically incorrect to preach in 21st century America than the wrath of God, or the justice of God or the doctrine of Hell," Sproul said.

Even 30, 40 and 50-years ago years ago, sermons that addressed the consequences of dying apart from Christ were commonly heard.  But in recent years, many evangelical pastors have bristled at the thought of being labeled a "fire and brimstone" preacher and turned to a kinder, gentler approach.

*****

It’s only my opinion of course, but one of these approaches to Bible teaching/preaching will put people in the pews on Sunday mornings and one will not.  It is fairly easy to recognize which path the majority of evangelicals have chosen to take…
And yet church attendance continues to decline…

The Barna Group reports indicate that there is a 66% drop in church attendance for the 18 to 29 year olds.  Folks this age bracket represents the FUTURE of the church in America.  Obviously there is a problem! 

I’m not going to sugarcoat Bible Truths.
It is what it is.

We are currently living in God’s Age of Grace but terrible days lie ahead.
God’s grace will end and will be replaced by His wrath.

What should the people of this world expect?  Do you honestly believe you can continue to reject the Creator God without consequence?  Let’s be honest.   

*****

Hell is real; and the Lake of Fire is real too.
However, they are NOT one and the same!
But what does this book say?

Sheol (Hebrew) for Hell
Hades (Greek) for Hell

Sheol/Hades: is the non-permanent place or temporary address of the disembodied souls of the dead.  It’s not the grave or the sepulcher, and it is the eternal location of the souls of the dead.  Prior to the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection, both the souls of the Believers (men and women of faith) and the unbelievers went there after they died.

Sheol/Hades has two separate halves. 
On one side is Hell.  On the other side is Paradise. 
One side is reserved for torment. 
The other side is a “safe haven,” if you will and is reserved for Believers. 
This place has been referred to as “Abraham’s Bosom.” 

Please open your Bible and turn to the book of Luke chapter 16.


The Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 19

19: “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.

20: “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at the gate, covered with sores,
21: and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking the sores.

22: “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom (or the opposite side of Hades also known as Paradise); and the rich man also died and was buried.

23: “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in (what’s the next word) torment, and saw Abraham far away (we know from this that those in hell and those who are in paradise can see into both places) and Lazarus in his bosom.

24: “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame,’

25: “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life your received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.

26: ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

27: “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house –

28: for I have five brothers – in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29: “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

30: “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’

31: “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Now I want to show you something while I’m here.
I would be failing as your teacher, if I skipped over this.
Please turn to Luke chapter 23.

This is the only place in the four gospels where this conversation is recorded.

Luke 23:
39: One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying “Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and Us!”

40: But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, (obviously a faith statement from a dying man) since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

41: “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

42: And he was saying, “Jesus remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

43: And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in (where) Paradise.”
What was Jesus saying to this man?
Was Jesus saying, “I’ll see you this day in Heaven?” 
Nope...Wrong answer.

I’ve heard numerous sermons on this Bible passage and that was their message.
It was the wrong message though because that is not what Jesus said.

Jesus said, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise (or Abraham’s Bosom/Sheol).

Why did Jesus say He would be there in Paradise on this very day?
Follow me please.

Ephesians 4

8: Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES (all those Believers who died while waiting for the arrival of their Messiah), AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

9: (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also (read carefully) had (past tense) descended into (where) the lower parts of the earth?
(Hell/Hades/Sheol/Abraham’s Bosom.)

…Or to put it another way,
Jesus, after His burial, and before His resurrection, descended into the Paradise side of Hell, and brought all those souls who had been waiting there to Heaven.
The Way was now open because of His substitionary sacrifice. 

Now the souls of all Believers who pass from this life into the next have access to heaven because of their faith in what Jesus has accomplished. 
The Lake of Fire is a very different place.

The Lake of Fire is the permanent place of eternal punishment for both soul and body.
This shall be their assignment after the Great White Throne Judgment.
(Revelation 20:11-15)

(To be continued)


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