Category Archives: HEAVEN & HELL

If God is everywhere, is He suffering in Hell?

IF GOD IS EVERYWHERE, IS HE SUFFERING IN HELL? HOW CAN PEOPLE IN HELL BE SEPARATED FROM HIM IF HE IS OMNIPRESENT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

These resemble the conundrums Bible skeptics like the throw out to make Christians stumble. With the believer in Christ dazed, he grows silent, and the scoffer slyly relieves himself of a further confrontation with the truth. Yet, the scoffer will not escape the Divine wrath he himself will face in Hell if he dies in his sins! God is absolutely everywhere; to wit, He is omnipresent. So, then, what of His relationship to those in Hell?

Let us turn to Psalm 139 for the answer. We see God’s omniscience (“all-knowledgeable”): “[1] O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. [2] Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. [3] Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. [4] For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. [5] Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. [6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

Then, we note His omnipresence (“all-present”): “[7] Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? [8] If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. [9] If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; [10] Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. [11] If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. [12] Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”

Next, we see His omnipotence (“all-powerful”): “[13] For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. [14] I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. [15] My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. [17] How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! [18] If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

Finally, in verses 19-24, King David closes the chapter by responding to the foregoing affirmations: “[19] Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. [20] For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. [21] Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? [22] I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. [23] Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: [24] And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Nothing is hidden from the Creator God’s view (verses 7-12). Even acts committed in pitch darkness are as visible to Him as deeds done in broad daylight! Strange as it sounds, His Word, the Holy Bible, “sees” all things as well. That stunning revelation is discovered in Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his [the Bible’s!!] sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

God is God, so He is everywhere. Yet, since He is God He can also hide Himself from any particular being if He so chooses. He can be present but not reveal Himself to that individual: the knowledge of His presence can be removed as well. That is to say, He is able to withdraw intimate communion, remove awareness of presence, and still be literally there. A crude example that may aid our understanding here is to consider someone nearby who is daydreaming. Physically, he or she is next to us but his or her attention is elsewhere. Despite close proximity, personal interaction with the person is impossible. He or she is unavailable on a heart-to-heart, spirit-to-spirit basis. The same is true of someone sitting right next to us who refuses to pay attention to what we have to say.

In the case of sin, a man’s spirit is dead—separated from God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:1-3). There is no fellowship because of the barrier of sin. Regeneration, or the Holy Spirit giving life to that dead human spirit, is the answer (Titus 3:4-7). The Holy Spirit uses the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) as the means whereby He gives life to the believing sinner (see Ephesians 2:4-9). The death of Christ becomes the sinner’s death to sin’s penalty and power, the burial of Christ is the putting away of the sinner’s old identity in Adam, and the resurrection of Christ becomes the sinner’s new life (see Romans chapter 6). This is how a lost person becomes a saint, moving from Adam to Christ—positionally and practically!

Until trusting the Gospel, lost people live in God’s creation, function in His sight, and yet cannot have a personal relationship with Him. They must exercise faith in Christ to gain union with Him. It does not matter how many church memberships, tithes, and prayers are on their account, they are still sinners, fallen short of His glory and righteousness. If they want eternal life and forgiveness of sins, if they want to be saints, they will have to rely on what Jesus Christ did at Calvary to pay for their sins. Nothing they do will ever replace or supplement His finished crosswork!

As long as there is breath in the lost person’s physical body, he or she can trust Christ and have intimate communion with Father God. That person can pass from spiritual death to spiritual life. His or her eternal destiny is not yet fixed. Once the soul leaves the physical body at death, however, the separation of a sinner from God is permanent. It can never be reversed, as temporariness has been traded for eternality. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The finality of Hell makes it all the more horrific. Hell transitions into the Lake of Fire, the place where lost human souls and evil angels (including Satan) wind up in Revelation chapter 20, especially verses 11-15. The Lake of Fire is the final destination of all creatures doomed to suffer the eternal wrath of a holy, righteous God. They are never released. They can never enjoy God’s love or presence. Why this harsh penalty? That is where they chose to go when they previously rejected His love and presence!!! It is not His fault they were foolish! They should have come to Him when He graciously offered them a friendship! More than enough time was given them on Earth to react positively to His Word.

CONCLUSION

Yes, God is everywhere, including Hell, but He surely cannot suffer His own wrath. That is most silly. Furthermore, the souls in Hell are unable to enjoy His presence there. He sees their souls and hears their cries but will do nothing to rescue them. They have decided to reject His Son Jesus Christ forever. No, they are certainly not reformed—only growing more antagonistic toward Him because they have been fully given over to their preference (sin). They are not sorry they have sinned; they just regret to be suffering punishment for it. The God of the Bible values free will, and knows they have no use for Heaven. He cannot use them for His glory either. All they care about is self. They spurned His beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and trampled under foot His self-sacrifice on Calvary offered to pay for their sins. How can we expect Him to overlook such folly?

Also see:
» How can a “loving” God send people to Hell forever?
» Are the flames of fire in Hell literal?

» Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

Are the flames of fire in Hell literal?

ARE THE FLAMES OF FIRE IN HELL LITERAL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Scripture describes Hell as “everlasting fire.” For instance, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Celebrated “Christian” preachers and teachers have wondered—and even publicly questioned—whether these are literal descriptions or merely figures of speech. They say that, contrary to popular belief, Hell may not necessarily be actual flames (as we would think of, say, a furnace or campfire). Perhaps, they suggest, the word “fire” really describes the burning remorse and searing emotional pain of being separated from God forever. Is that so? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

No doubt, the Bible does employ figures of speech. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Surely “Lamb” is a figure of speech. Was Jesus an actual wool-bearing creature? No (obviously). “Lamb” describes His character as opposed to bodily appearance. Christ said in Luke 13:32, “Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” King Herod was certainly not a bushy-tailed animal in outward form; he was a sly, foxlike person in personality. However, when we come to the issue of Hell and its “fire” in Scripture, a figure of speech does not appear to be the case.

Friends, we should be careful never to allegorize or spiritualize the Bible (“it says this, but it really means that”). Such examples would be, “The word ‘Israel’ is actually ‘the Body of Christ,’” “‘Jerusalem’ really means your hometown,” and so on. This is nothing but employing (limited) human reasoning to make sense of (profound) Divine thoughts. It will never work and it will never get us to Bible truth; we must let the Holy Spirit teach us, and not human philosophers (1 Corinthians 2:1-16)!

In Luke chapter 16, we read (Christ speaking): “[19] There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: [20] And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, [21] And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; [23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”

The rich man’s physical body was buried in the ground on Earth’s surface (verse 22). While Lazarus (poor) was not buried, he nevertheless is physically dead as well. Yet, in spirit form, both are still very much alive and conscious of their surroundings. The rich man’s soul is thirsty, as he is “tormented in this flame” (verse 24). He desires Lazarus to dip his finger in water and give him some relief. If this thirst were a “thirst for God” (as the feel-good preachers claim), what then are we to make of Lazarus dipping his finger in “water?” That would not make sense! Lazarus was to get some of God’s presence and bring it to the rich man’s soul? How exactly was Lazarus to ease burning remorse and searing emotional pain? No, there is an actual soul involved, there is an actual flame involved, and there is actual water involved—except they are in the spirit world. There is more than searing emotional pain going on here. An external source troubles a soul in Hell.

In the material world, physical fire inflicts injury on physical skin, and physical water quenches physical fire. Likewise, in the spiritual world, there is spiritual fire that inflicts injury on man’s spiritual makeup, and spiritual water quenches that spiritual fire. We can understand that only to some degree, as we have not experienced it ourselves. Nevertheless, the Bible says it and we should believe it. The soul has fingers, and they can be dipped into spiritual water just as we can dip our physical fingers in physical water. As our physical eyes see, so our souls can see. Otherwise, “eyes” in the passage is nonsense as well. Our souls have tongues as well. They have memory. (Scary to say the least!)

“[25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. [27] Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: [28] For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. [29] Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. [30] And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. [31] And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

People are not sorry when they die and go to Hell. They do not want anything to do with God then just as they do not want anything to do with Him now. The rich man did not ask for forgiveness, he did not confess his sins or apologize for anything he did. All he wanted was his way, even if it meant arguing with God’s man Abraham! In Hell, lost souls are completely given over to sin. There is no limit to their hatred for God; it is endless. They are not remorseful for what they have done but they are sorry for getting caught (sorry for now suffering severely and endlessly). There is unfathomable emotional trauma in Hell, no doubt, painful memories of rejecting the Gospel, but there is much more pain than that.

Let us turn to Mark chapter 9 for amplification (Christ speaking again): “[43] And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [45] And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [47] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: [48] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [49] For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. [50] Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”

In the spirit world, fire does not consume—it preserves (verses 49-50)! This is where it is unlike the physical world, wherein fire eradicates. Like physical salt preserves meat, spiritual fire conserves souls. Remember Exodus chapter 3? “The bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed” (verse 2). The LORD God in His wisdom has invented a fire that does not annihilate; it can burn continually and whatever it burns can thus burn forever as well. Souls are endlessly tormented in Hell. The suffering never ends, and the fire is never quenched (verses 44,46,48). Their “worm”—or weakening soul—never passes out of existence. Sin continually distorts them, disfiguring them further and further, but they are just as aware of their surroundings as ever before. Indeed, it is horrible, but sin has a penalty—and it is eternal!

Thankfully, the God of the Bible loved us, and sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, to be our sacrifice, our fully-satisfying payment, that we not be sacrificed in Hell. We do not have to go to Hell unless we want to do so! Friend, come by faith in Christ alone to Almighty God, and be forgiven and saved for Hell today… before it is too late!

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). You may also read all of Romans chapter 3.

Also see:
» How can a loving God send people to Hell forever?
» Is Luke 16:19-31 a parable?
» Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

Why are lost people not judged for their works immediately after physical death?

WHY ARE LOST PEOPLE NOT JUDGED FOR THEIR WORKS IMMEDIATELY AFTER PHYSICAL DEATH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in Revelation 20:11-15: “[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

In verses 12-13, the dead are “judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works… they were judged every man according to their works.” This occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment, not immediately after physical death. When unsaved people (those without Jesus Christ) die and go to Hell today, they are not judged according to their works. There is a great delay until Judgment Day. Why?

The Great White Throne Judgment (see passage above) will occur after the 1,000 years (Millennial Reign—see Revelation 20:1-10). Those 1,000 years will follow the seven-year Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ (see Revelation chapters 1–19). The seven-year Tribulation will come after the Rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13). The Rapture will conclude the Dispensation of Grace (see prior Thessalonian verses). In other words, there is a long time between physical death and lost people being judged according to their works. Why is there a delay between suffering in Hell and being sentenced to agonize in the Lake of Fire? Why are the unsaved not instantly judged after death and immediately enter the Lake of Fire?

It is really quite simple. Lost people’s “works” are not over yet. Although they may be physically dead, their writings remain with us even now, their policies still affect us, the religions they invented remain, and so on. They are still inflicting damage on society, still misleading the masses, and still promoting Satan’s policy of evil. These are their “works,” although they are no longer physically present here on Earth. God is letting the fruit of their work bear out entirely. Until all that influence is destroyed with the present heaven and earth (see Revelation 20:11), the degree of eternal penalty of the lost will not be determined.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?
» Why did God not accept Cain’s sacrifice?
» Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?

How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire?

HOW ARE THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET “CAST ALIVE” INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 19:20 says as pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire? Does that mean they will be unconscious once they wind up in there?

When the Bible text says thus, it means that the Beast and the False Prophet will not experience physical death before entering the spiritual realm. They will be alive on Earth and Jesus Christ (at His Second Coming) will suddenly pick them up physically and toss them right into the Lake of Fire. In other words, there will be no burial for either, and thus no bodily trace of them left on the planet. They will not defile the Earth once the Second Coming occurs; namely, their graves will not even be here to corrupt the Promised Land.

These two men, the Beast (Antichrist, political leader) and the False Prophet (religious leader), will have deceived the world for the seven years leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Now, they will experience the wrath of God, eternal judgment, in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Sulfur).

Even after 1,000 years in the Lake of Fire, they will still exist. They will not be consumed, for the fire will preserve them! Look at Revelation 20:10: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet ARE, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” You will notice in the earlier nine verses that 1,000 years have passed since the close of chapter 19 (our study’s opening verse). Stated another way, it is a millennium later that Satan himself meets the fate of the Beast and the False Prophet. They three, along with all of God’s other enemies (unsaved mankind and fallen angels), will “be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” There is no ended punishment; it is a literal eternity of suffering, full consciousness! If you want to see the human element added to the Lake of Fire, look at verses 11-15.

Perhaps this may help you better understand the Beast and the False Prophet being cast alive into the Lake of Fire. Remember, there are other people who do not die in Scripture. For example, Elijah never died physically—he was caught up alive into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Neither did Enoch die physically—he too simply went to be with God (Genesis 5:23-24). Members of the Church the Body of Christ who are alive at the Rapture (future) will never experience physical death either (1 Corinthians 15:51-54—“we shall not all sleep [die physically];” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17—“we which are alive and remain… we which are alive and remain…”). As Elijah, Enoch, and the living Church the Body of Christ meet eternal bliss without enduring physical death, so the Beast and the False Prophet meet eternal damnation without experiencing physical death!

Also see:
» Are 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 14:10 contradictory?
» Did Pharaoh drown in the Red Sea?
» How can a “loving” God send people to hell forever?

Is Hell almost full?

IS HELL ALMOST FULL? WILL IT EVER RUN OUT OF ROOM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Lord Jesus Christ revealed some staggering truths in Matthew 7:13-14: “[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Understandably, people dislike the Bible here. They want to believe that everyone is God’s child, and that everyone will go to Heaven eventually (an incorrect idea known as “universalism”). Therefore, they dismiss the ideas of Hell, divine wrath, God’s judgment against sin, justice in the afterlife, as fiction. However, if we are to be Bible believers, we must face the truth of the Bible and believe the truth of the Bible. Jesus Christ said more about Hell than He did about Heaven. Hell is indeed the real, eternal fate of all who die without faith in Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins.

We can search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, cover to cover, and find the majority always going against God. At any and every point in human history, we find just a very small fraction of believers when compared to the global, national, or municipal human population. Remember, for example, the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! There were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:24-25)! Consider the 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel in Elijah’s day (1 Kings 19:18)! Think of the approximately 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)! We could go on and on and on, but we trust the point has been made with these Scriptures.

So, the Holy Bible causes us to conclude that Hell is real place. The Holy Bible also shows us that many people have gone there in history, many are going there today, and many will go there in the future. When we think about the Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 7, and the above sample verses, that leads us to only one conclusion. There are billions of people in Hell today—and billions more will eventually arrive there! Of course, the questions naturally follow. Has Hell almost reached its capacity? Will Hell ever run out of room?

Hell is a spiritual place; we cannot see it with physical eyes or touch it with physical hands. As we know, the dimension in which it is situated is not the same as the dimension in which we exist. Whatever laws are appropriate here are not necessarily applicable there: we cannot take the laws of physics and nature that are true here in this dimension and make them fit another dimension. We do not know enough about the spiritual world. Personally, I have never been there, and neither have you, and all we have is the Bible’s testimony that Heaven is real and Hell is real. While there are various things in the spiritual world that we would recognize—fire, chariots, weapons, trees, water, animals, light, darkness, musical instruments, governmental organization (crowns, thrones), bread, et cetera—other elements we would not know or understand. There is no limit of time, for example. (When you think about it, endless time is the most unsettling aspect of Hell.)

When we wonder if Hell is going to run out of room, we are thinking of it from our physical point-of-view. We think of a physical building being able to hold only so many flesh-and-blood bodies before it reaches capacity. However, Hell is not like that (for the Bible is true that Hell can hold all of God’s enemies). We do not know the size of a human soul other than it is smaller than the physical body that houses it. A human soul could be the size of a human hand… or the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Whatever size the human soul is, Hell is large enough to contain all those billions that have died before us, and it is large enough to handle billions more. Has Hell almost reached its capacity? (No. More are still destined there if they die without Christ!) Will Hell ever run out of room? (No. It will always have vacancies!)

That is why it is important, dear friend, to not go another day without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Do not delay. We are all sinners by birth, and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). However, the Lord Jesus Christ came to die for our sins, to shed His blood to pay for our sins, that we be made righteous of God in Christ. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Romans 3:24–4:8: “[3:24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [3:25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [3:26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [3:27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [3:28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [3:29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: [3:30] Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. [3:31] Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

“[4:1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [4:2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [4:3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4:4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [4:5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [4:6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [4:7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [4:8] Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Also see:
» How can a loving God send people to Hell forever?
» Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?
» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?

Is there time in Heaven? What about in eternity?

IS THERE TIME IN HEAVEN? WHAT ABOUT IN ETERNITY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

There is a common idea—I even once held to it—that there is no time in Heaven. A related idea is that there is no time in eternity. I will show you what verses caused me to reject those positions. You can consider them and decide for yourself what you will believe about it.

It is interesting that the Apostle John, in the Book of the Revelation, provided what are evidently the only Bible verses on this subject.

Firstly, we deal with the question about time in Heaven. Revelation 8:1 comments: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” During the judgments of the future Tribulation period, there will be “silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” Such horrific events are about to fall on planet Earth, and the angels watch in awe and silence! According to Psalm 83:1, even God is silent here! Evidently, there must be some reckoning of time in Heaven, or Revelation 8:1 is meaningless.

Now, to our second question. Will there be time in eternity? Yes, according to Revelation chapter 22, verse 2: “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” In the ages to come, on the New Earth, the tree of life will bear a new manner of fruit “every month.”

Time as we know it had a beginning, according to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” However, now that it has begun, it will never end. There will never be a cessation of time, for time is necessary to have activity. Eternity is not the absence of time, but rather endless time.

Also see:
» How old will we be in heaven?
» Is faith in Christ alone enough to go to heaven? Do not the devils believe?
» Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight?

Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

WHY IS HELL FOREVER IF LIFE ON EARTH IS BUT DECADES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A religionist and professing Christian contended that there was no way a “loving” God would send somebody to Hell forever. This sincere man even took it a step further by asserting something I had never heard before (or since). How could a life of sin lasting only 70 or 80 years result in damnation in Hell forever? Is this not an extreme or unfair penalty? Why have a sentence in Hell unequal to the time spent living on Earth? It is a rather interesting argument. We would be happy to use the Scriptures to expose it as utterly specious!

Why does punishment in Hell last forever if life on Earth is limited? That is, why are people not punished in Hell for the same amount of time they committed sins on Earth? The person confused by denominational teaching finds this incongruent. Surely, Hell could not be forever because people did not sin forever on Earth. Right? Actually, here, God’s omniscience has taken a backseat to man’s imperfect mind. Man is completely unqualified to correctly evaluate God’s thoughts or habits. Never forget, my friend, what Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The Bible is quite clear that we have no capacity to think divine thoughts. Since we are creatures, and not the Creator, we are limited. We do not have all the information and all the insight that Almighty God has access to when He makes decisions and decrees. As humans, we have very limited information. We have weak minds to process what little information we do have. Therefore, we have a very shallow sense of what life is all about. We also have a very shallow awareness of what creation is all about. Every day, the human race makes new discoveries. We do not have all the answers! It is very unfair and ridiculous when we use our pea-sized brains, operating on limited information, to disparage or deny something Almighty God does or says in His omniscience. We do not sit on the judgment seat and dictate to Him what He “should” think, do, or say. He is God, we are man, and that is that!

To drive this point home, we appeal to 1 Corinthians 2:10-14: “[10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The “natural” (unsaved, unredeemed, un-regenerated) man “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” He cannot process the things of the Spirit of God. He is unable to have the spiritual insight needed to properly evaluate the situation or teaching. He cannot understand the words that the Holy Ghost teaches. Hence, he dismisses God’s words as “foolishness.” He will thus “re-translate” verses, deny verses, remove verses, and/or add verses. Whatever he deems necessary, he will do, provided that his opinions or pet denominational beliefs are upheld. In his mind, the Bible cannot be right!

However, those willing to let the Holy Spirit teach them will be provided the ability to judge between God’s truth and Satan’s error. Someone who is steeped in a denomination, religion, or similar perverted system, is not relying on the Spirit of God for insight. He or she is depending on something other than the Holy Spirit, which is why he or she has difficulty with the teachings of the Bible. In fact, they will claim to be a “Christian,” and yet, contradict the clear teachings of the Bible (recall the man in our opening remarks). They lack the Holy Spirit, or they have quenched Him, so His teaching ministry is absent from their lives. Without Him, they cannot understand divine thoughts or teachings.

Now we move on to addressing the issue of why Hell lasts forever. A very helpful Scripture is Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” The answer to this question is found in verse 10: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” God says He “searches the heart” and “tries the reins.” To wit, He evaluates our innermost being. What He, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, has discovered in the human heart is delineated in Mark 7:20-23: “[20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

Notice the issue here is not the deeds (although they are surely horrific). No, the deeds are the symptoms of an underlying condition—the heart. The heart is the most serious of matters because it is the source of those evil works. Man’s heart is the problem because it is “desperately wicked”—not just “wicked” but desperately wicked!” The heart has intense desires to commit evil deeds. Evil actions are the outward result of evil thoughts and motives on the inside! Mark 7:21-23 again, “For from within, out of the heart of men…. all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” The actions are offensive to God, yea, but His main controversy is the heart that generates those acts. As someone once aptly stated, “We are sinners, not because we sin. We sin because we are sinners.” Being a sinner comes first—sinning follows. If we get that one point straight in our thinking, the rest of this matter is ever so easy to grasp.

King David of old did not have a completed Bible like we do today, but the Holy Spirit did cause him to write in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was shapen in inquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Whether David in his mother’s womb, or we in our mothers’ wombs, our sin nature is conceived therein. This is long before the individual has a chance to sin. The emphasis is on the nature, the component of the person that will produce the sins in his or her post-womb life. Man in his makeup is a sinner; he behaves sinfully because he is a sinner by nature.

Consider a very plain and clear analogy (not original to me). We can pick all the oranges from an orange tree, but it remains an orange tree because it is naturally an orange tree. Furthermore, we can hang apples on the orange tree, but it, by nature, is still an orange tree. It does not transform into an apple tree! It will never produce apples! No matter how you alter its outward appearance, the orange tree will always be an orange tree on the inside and it will always produce oranges. Similarly, a person with a heart of sin can do good works, religious works (nice outward form), but his or her sinful nature remains. That sinful nature (heart) is still offensive to God. If he or she is to be accepted of God, there must be a change in nature. The sin nature must be dealt with. Where can the sin nature of man be changed? Not Hell. The sin nature of man is remedied at the cross of Christ.

In the Apostle Paul’s epistle to Colosse, he said by the Holy Spirit: “[11] In whom [Christ, verse 9] also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. [13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:11-15).

An inward circumcision occurs the moment one trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour. He or she is cut off from the fleshly identity in Adam (go back to Psalm 51:5). This is done “without hands,” meaning something God does rather than man. It is not a physical circumcision (done by men’s hands in religion—particularly Judaism). Rather, it is a spiritual circumcision. Colossians 2:11 speaks of the “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” This is a sinner moving to the position of a saint, a lost person becoming a Christian, a child of Satan being placed into God’s family.

When a believing sinner recognizes and relies on by faith the death of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for his or her sins, God takes that person out of Adam and puts him or her into Jesus Christ. The person, once identified with Adam (sin and spiritual death), is now identified with Jesus Christ (righteousness and spiritual life). Please read Romans 5:12-21, which provides more detail. Our body of sin, our blood relation to Adam, was crucified with Christ on Calvary (see Romans 6:1-23). This is something religion cannot do. This is something we cannot do. It is something that only God can do in His omnipotence and omniscience. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In Genesis chapter 17, the LORD God gave Abraham and Israel the rite of physical circumcision to outwardly signify a spiritual circumcision they had on the inside because of faith rather than works (cf. Romans 4:11-13). Unfortunately, the Jews eventually became too obsessed with the religious rite. Eventually, the spiritual circumcision accomplished by faith was ignored and (outward) religious works were emphasized. Romans 2:28-29 corrects this inattentiveness: “[28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

God is more interested in a Jew’s spiritual circumcision than the physical circumcision. Physical circumcision means nothing if there is no inward corresponding circumcision of the heart. After all, the spiritual circumcision is the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death. Those who die with the Adamic nature, lacking the new nature in Christ, not being spiritually circumcised on the inside, automatically go to Hell. Again, their sinful nature is unchanged, so Hell is their only destiny. Although they may have “cleaned up” their lives with religious good works, religion could not furnish them with a new nature. Only faith in Calvary’s cross could give them a new nature—and they remained in unbelief, so Calvary’s merits are inapplicable to them!

CONCLUSION

If we look at how soul salvation operates in the Holy Scriptures, listening to the words of the Holy Ghost, we understand how Hell can last forever despite sinful living on Earth being limited to decades.

God’s way of enforcing punishment is much different from ours. Punishment in Hell is not based on how long you committed sins on Earth. We do not go to Hell because we commit sins (deeds); we go to Hell because we are sinners (nature). Sins (plural, actions) are the result of our nature inherited from Adam; that nature is called “sin” (singular). While sinful actions are offensive to God, the origin is man’s sin nature. God will never approve of man’s fallen nature. This is why people can reform their behavior and still be unacceptable to God. God is not trying to improve the behavior of man—religion does this. Religion deals only with the symptoms. God wants the nature of man to be dealt with. Christ’s crucifixion at Calvary addresses the sinful nature, the root cause.

Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork takes care of both the nature and the actions of sinful man. Christ died so that we in our fallen nature would be put to death with Him, and resurrected with a new nature in Him to walk in righteousness (see Romans chapter 6). He also shed His blood in order for that blood to wash our sins, our sin debt, away (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Christ Jesus offered himself as a fully satisfying payment for our sins. Religion cannot do this. We cannot do this. But, we can trust Jesus Christ to do it for us. Us relying on God’s Son is what pleases Him.

The reason why suffering in Hell lasts forever is that the sinful nature of man is never lost in Hell. Hell is not a place of reformation or rehabilitation. Neither is it a place of regeneration. Hell is a place of punishment, never-ending punishment. By nature, a person in Hell will always be evil. God’s wrath against their sin nature is never satisfied because their sin nature will always exist. He or she has never lost—and will never lose—the sinful nature inherited from Adam. No amount of suffering will change their nature. Thus, the punishment never ceases.

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHY IS HEAVEN FOREVER IF LIFE ON EARTH IS BUT DECADES?

Those who argue, “Punishment in Hell should equal the length of sinful living on Earth,” never argue the (unintentional) conclusion that must also be reached: “Life in Heaven should equal the length of righteous living on Earth.” If it were valid to contend a limited Hell because of limited earthly living, then a limited life in Heaven could be argued too. After all, just as we can do a limited number of evil works on Earth—70 or 80 years, or so—so we can do so many good works on Earth. A short “good” life on Earth would result in just a short time in Heaven, not eternity. See, again, this is all erroneous. It just accentuates what we discussed throughout the main part of the study. The issue is not good or bad works; it is about someone who has a new nature in Christ (Heaven-bound), and someone who has only the sinful nature in Adam (Hell-bound). Those in Heaven never lose their new righteous nature in Christ, so they live in Heaven forever. Those in Hell never lose their Adamic sin nature, so they live in Hell forever.

Also see:
» How can a “loving” God send people to Hell forever?
» Is Luke 16:19-31 a parable?
» What is the “foolishness of God” in 1 Corinthians 1:25?