March 31, 2013

Time Worse Than Lost

Many things like video games and time spent watching vapid gossip-laden television shows is time poorly used or not well spent. Most rational and productive people will acknowledge this fact. Yes, we could all utilize our time better but more often than not, it is not a crime to be stupid or sometimes careless with our time, it is just, well, stupid and careless.  No harm no foul. Many would just say it is lost time. Much of the time we spend alive on earth is lost time. A perfect example of non-sinful lost time is sleeping as we are literally unconscious and unproductive due to our bodies natural needs.

Past-time in the world is lost time, but sinning time or time spent in sin is worse than lost. Sin time is not just time poorly spent but it is time negligently spent. Why? Because not only is in unproductive, it is counterproductive. Not only is it destructive to this life but it is detrimental to the next. It is not just time spent in indifference it is time spent in defiance. It is time spent as an enemy of God. Therefore, it constitutes foolishness. Foolishness is not just an absence of wisdom, it is active stupidity. Defiance of God is stupidity. If no forgiveness is sought for the sin and the sin is not repented of…it will need to be accounted for one way or another. Sin does not and cannot just disappear down the rabbit hole (Genesis 9:5). If not, it stays marked against our account. This is never a good thing. Actually, it is a really bad thing…as in an evil thing.

Who can give a good account of doing evil? I’ll tell you who…no one. We are barely able to get ourselves pardoned. As a matter of fact it is nothing we do that gets us pardoned. We have the complete ability to doom ourselves but we have no ability to save ourselves...yet we willingly continue to sin. This is practically the epitome of foolishness. We are poster children of lunacy. It is only through the work of God Himself that we are exonerated from the time we squandered in sin. Sinful living is literally like puncturing holes in the life raft that preserves our life or cutting the cords that attaches us to our parachute. It is like digging a hole that we cannot get ourselves out of and only only to dig deeper with more sin.

The First Rule of Hole-Digging: Once you’re in them, stop digging.

Once in a hole, the more you dig the deeper you go and the farther you get from your escape. Any effort of your own only damns you more. You need to wait for someone to reach down to you and pull you out. When men live in sin, they do nothing but continually undo themselves. We were put on this earth to bring glory to God, by sinning we do the exact opposite. Instead or building God up, we end up digging ourselves down farther away from Him. By not lifting up God in praise we lower ourselves to spiritual death. We dig our own graves.

John 17:4 ~ “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”

We should be working out our salvation with fear and trembling but instead, those that sin work out their damnation with no fear and only stupidity for the world to see. So as a man sows in seed-time so he will reap in that harvest time.  To sow sin in the time of sowing reaps a harvest of judgment. Sow sin, reap death. Sow righteousness, reap life.

Galatians 6:8 ~ “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Every one of our days is numbered as God has appointed them all. If God valued them enough to give them to us should we not also greatly value them seeking to improve ourselves and the world around us through holy behavior? Should we not apply the Godly wisdom gleaned through hours in the Scriptures? It is in this wisdom that lies the fear of the Lord. The Lord that has made us and allotted our days. Part of this wisdom is to know the acceptable will of God. His will is that we be conformed to His Son.

Romans 8:29 ~ “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

If we have not lived in God, in Christ we have invariably sinned and strayed. Therefore if we have not lived in Him we have not truly lived nor will we ever live. If we have not truly lived…then it is all just wasted time or time worse than lost.

The Second Rule of Hole-Digging? Once you’re in them, stop digging, especially if its your own grave.

March 28, 2013

A Fate Worse Than Death

Jesus talked a lot about love. He also talked a lot about death. Jesus talked a lot about death because He loved people. Jesus died for us so we could live because He loved us. So if Jesus talked a lot about death because He loved so much…I guess I will too, because I love people too.

When you go through an academic course totally dedicated to death you tend to sober quickly to sin's intrinsic role in the destruction, decay and final demise of a human. It is obvious to me being a theologically-minded person that sin is a horrid condition that inevitably leads to everyone’s suffering and physical terminus.

I hear the old saying go through my head often, “Chose the lesser of two evils.” If a Christian has a choice, which are they to choose-death or choose to sin? I as a Christian that wishes to obey God and pursue holiness rightfully should choose to die over choosing to sin. God’s eternal life on the other side should seem much more appealing to a believer than staying on this side of the grave racking up more offenses against God’s holiness and incurring wrath or punishment.

In a way, sin is literally worse than death. As a believer it would be better for me to undergo death to this physical body than to continue to perpetrate sin and condemn my soul to an eternity separated from God's love and that of my brethren. It is better to surrender to death than succumb to the vileness and wretchedness of sin.

Matthew 10:28 ~ “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

In the eternal spiritual state of things, sin is more lethal or toxic than death. Sin therefore must be a dreadful thing as many will willingly endure sickness and pain longer before succumbing to the desire or wish to die from discomfort of a disease. Death is indeed an enemy but not so much as sin itself. Death may be the enemy of natural life but sin is the enemy of the immortal soul.

Death may temporarily separate us from our nearest relations including a spouse but sin unanswered and unforgiven has the ability to separate us from not only from our loved ones but also from God forever. Death is indeed and enemy but sin is worse, for it brought death and all
the evils that come by death.

Sin will separate a person from God while alive unless that person repents. Sin will separate a person from God's love in Hell for eternity because once dead in their sins, unrepentant sinners have no second chance. Death does not separate one from the love or God as repentant sinners will go to be in the presence of holy God after death if they are righteous in Christ. Sin on the other hand will separate us from the love of God forever and put us in the presence of His wrath.

Romans 8:38-39 ~ “…I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 59:2 ~ “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Death is horrifying and is the king of terrors.

Job 18:13-14 ~ “It eats away parts of his skin, death’s firstborn devours his limbs. He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors (Satan).

It is very grim thing death. Most people are afraid to die, yet ironically, they are not afraid to sin and should be because it is sin that is the cause of death. Sin is the sine qua non or essential ingredient of death. It is the very act of sins that puts death in our path and puts the dead in death. Sin is the sting of death. Sin is therefore a vastly greater enemy than death itself...which we are often terrified of.

1 Corinthians 15:56 ~ “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

So why is it that we willingly sin with reckless abandon and never consider the consequences? Death although it stings and definitively kills, it cannot curse a man to eternal condemnation. So therefore I must conclude that sin is more dangerous and more terrible than death itself.  Without sin there would have been no death. If there had been no death there would’ve been no terror in death.

So it is easy to see then that when Jesus Christ takes away the sin of the sinner he therefore takes away death’s sting since there is no longer any reinforcements to hold up death. The skeleton of death is removed and death becomes a mere shadow of its former self. Jesus by disarming the contaminating and satanic fuel of sin simultaneously disarms the warhead of death. He also defuses Hell as He allows the repentant sinner escape from that fate. So for me, I find it strange that some will embrace the very thing that will inevitably kill them and condemn them. It is like hugging a bomb or riding our sin straight to Hell. A literal rocket ride to Hell.

Hebrews 2:14-15 ~ “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

When the sting is taken from death by Christ, there is no danger or fallout and cause of fear. When we behold the Prince of Peace in all His glory, the King of Terror has no sway over our lives.

Death robs us of natural / temporal life, but sin deprives us of spiritual life therefore it kills us eternally. Death kills only the body, but sin can kill the soul and the death of the soul and the second death becomes worse than the death of the body. Men may kill our bodies but God can destroy us or damn us forever. Therefore I fear no man but I humbly submit to God. It can therefore be concluded that sin kills us deader than death kills us…and it does it while we are still alive. Repeated a different way: 

Sin can kill us deader than death even while we are still living and breathing in this life. Yet we embrace sin like it is our friend, not our enemy. 

It seems almost pathological in its inability to recognize a threat and avoid it.

Death brings corruption and decay to the physical but sin brings decay and corruption to the soul. Death makes every man say into a shadow. Death makes man see the worm as a partner in decomposition. Strangely, sin corrupts us more than death, because He who died without sin saw no corruption and it is this purity that makes us stink that much more to Him. Sins rot and corrupt our souls, and anything that corrupts the soul destroys the true essence of the man. Therefore sin is much worse than that which corrupts the body. Sin therefore is like hugging a half rotten corpse and liking it. Again, this seems not just pathological is the sign of a warped and sick mind.

There is indeed a fate worse than death and it can be seen and endured in this life. It is a life in sin, which in reality is a life in eternal death. It would take a mentally sick person to enjoy this. At least a death in Christ grants an eternal life but a death in sin (after a life in sin) kills us deader than the dead-ness we lived before in a sinful unrepentant life.

It is no accident that Jesus told the Pharisees and the Jews that their great misery was not that they would die. He told them that their worse fate in this life would not be death but rather that they should die in their sins.

John 8:21 ~ “Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

It would be better to die in a roadside ditch or in torture than to die in sin. Torture in this life is temporary but to die in sin results in torture eternally in death. In the long-view it is better to die regardless than to go on sinning. It will inevitably create a separation between us and God permanently.

If you haven’t heard it before than you heard it from me here first…sin is worse than the Devil.

The Devil is a scumbag and a hater of mankind yet it is not he that damns man, it is God that damns man (actually its man that damns man but God has the power and authority to follow through with it). Our sin does more damage to us without Satan in the picture than the Devil will ever have time to do to us. Sin will undo a man easier than the Devil ever could. We through our own sin can condemn ourselves to Hell without one ounce of help from Satan. Sin is so thoroughly dangerous that it not only corrupts and destroys us physically and spiritually, it is the very thing that undid Satan and the fallen angels. We must never forget that Satan was not created sinful as God would never create sin or evil. Sin is what makes the Satan the Devil. Sin puts the demon in the devils. Satan now seeks to destroy but he cannot compel a man to sin…man does that volitional, or on their own.

The Devil is a tempter but it is man who sins. It is humanity’s own sinful lusts that trip us them up. Our own desires are more dangerous to us than the Devil. This is why we are called to join together with other Christians. It is to protect us from ourselves. The biggest danger for a Christian does not come from outside, it comes from within. We are our own worst enemy. The Devil hates us and tempts us but it is clearly man who sins, and sin damns. It is ironic that neither of these are force upon man by the Devil. We chose to sin and God condemns unrepentant man. Hell is the punishment for the horrid crime or sin. Therefore if Hell after death is punishment for sin, then the sin must have been worse than Hell.

If God is perfectly just than the punishment for sin must perfectly fit the crime for it to be fair and just. If Hell is so horrible we have a genuine indicator of just how heinous sin is. God meters out the punishment to be equal to the trespass, never more, never less. If we understand God to be the perfectly just Judge, this must be assumed to be true. The very magnitude of Hell’s punishment argues for the unquestionable enormity of sin’s criminal nature. Sin is a rebellion against the holiness of a perfectly holy God that wished only to love us and have us glorify Him but because of our rebellion we do not bring Him glory we bring Him shame due to our criminal rebellion. Because He is perfectly holy and perfectly just He deserved only worship and glory but instead He was ignored and mocked (yet God is not mocked-Galatians 6:7). Instead we worship every creeping thing, other men/women and stone or wood idols.

In the end it is not so much Hell that inflicts the pain on the unrepentant sinner as it is the very sins committed by the sinner in this life that will afflict the sinner in some shape or form in the next. It is my honest belief that if one goes to Hell, they earned it and it will be the very sins that condemned them here that they will be given over to forever to torment them there. Sin and unrepentant sinners make the need for Hell and condemnation a necessity. If there had been no sin and no sinners, there would be no need for Hell, condemnation and punishment. Hell is just a place for those who refuse to stop rebelling. Therefore sin is worse than death and the Devil and perhaps, might be worse than Hell itself because sin and rebellion against God is what makes Hell necessary.

Those that tell you that Hell is not eternal or doesn’t exist for the purpose of eternal damnation do not have a proper understanding of their sin. Nor do they have a firm grasp on God's principles, logic or sound reasoning. They do not have a firm grasp of the gravity and weight of sin. Those that live their lives in the righteousness of Christ in this life help to usher in the Kingdom of God here and now but those live in an unrighteous manner in his life help usher in a piece of Hell into the here and now. Somehow I feel it vastly more beneficial to live a righteous life in Christ. Additionally, based on the aforementioned reasoning, it is easy to see why the world appears so screwed up at appears at time...Hell breaks through in the people that allow it in their sins.

March 23, 2013

Revealing Christ In The Old Testament XVIII: Black Eyes and Thickskin

Girl with Black Eye

The Saturday Evening Post
Oil on canvas
34 x 30 in.
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut


I will be skipping over Isaiah and Jeremiah for now as there is a lot to cover so I will save them until the end. As for Daniel I have done a series on Daniel and Revelation already so I will be skipping Daniel completely as I have covered that ground in the Apocalypse Prophecy series last year. As such I will move on to Ezekiel.

For a time Jeremiah and Ezekiel were contemporary. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel will have to preach and prophesy to hammer-headed people. Like Jeremiah he took up the theme concerning the future of his people. Ezekiel was a priest as well as a prophet, and in the thirtieth year of which he speaks, God withdrew His presence from His sanctuary at Jerusalem, and His chosen people were afterwards represented by the captives in Babylon. To these He promised to be "as a little sanctuary" in the land of their captivity, indicating that He would not confine His glory to any particular spot. The people had made the Temple their object of worship instead of God so God removed them from their Temple.

Vision of the Cherubim.

First is the vision of the Cherubim. Ezekiel stands out as a man entirely at God's disposal. To prepare him for service the Lord granted him a double vision. In the vision of the cherubim Ezekiel saw four living creatures which were absolutely at God's disposal.

Ezekiel 1:12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.

The same unwavering shadowing the Lord expected from Ezekiel. It is the same devotion that God expects from us also. There is the image of the lion, the strongest, the ox, the most steadfast and enduring; the eagle, the one that soars the highest; and we had man made in the image of God. These four bring the highest forms of natural life. They move with the synchronicity of one creature. In the midst of "the enfolding fire," we see an image of God's will perfectly executed, as His redeemed saints will fulfill it

Parallels: Vision of the Lord

We barely start reading and we immediately encounter Christ in Ezekiel. The prophet beholds Him in vision in the very first chapter. For surely the "Man" upon the throne can be none other than Jesus, Son of the invisible God. We recognize in this vision the prophetic announcement of the Incarnation.

It is interesting that within Ezekiel there is minutiae and detail in the prophecy(ies) that is equivalent to the Revelation of John. What is even more interesting is that the minutiae in some cases is similar at many points if one reads closely enough. As with Revelation the One discussed is not totally clear but the signature of Jesus Christ is all over the descriptions in their glory. Ezekiel saw a Man…

Ezekiel 1:26 ~ “Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.

John the Revelator saw

Revelation 4:2 ~ “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

They both saw the rainbow the symbol of the covenant (Genesis 9).

Ezekiel 1:28 ~ Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.

Revelation 4:3 ~ This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

They both saw the purity of God's presence, which nothing can escape. In Ezekiel it appeared as a firmament or vault of sparkling crystal.

Ezekiel 1:22 ~ Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome.

In John a Sea of Glass

Revelation 4:6 ~ Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.

Revelation 15:2 ~ And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God

As I continue to read the opening of Ezekiel I continue to have my memory rattled by echoes of Revelation.

They both had a vision of lamps of the fire of the Spirit.
They both had a vision of the four living creatures, with the sound of many waters.
To both was given a book which he was commanded to eat, and then told to prophesy.

…and so on.

The "glory” in this book is in the manifestation or presence as revealed by the Son, Jesus Christ. It is interesting that Ezekiel would say that the Spirit entered him and it was at that point that he heard Him speak to him. I believe here we see a direct allusion to the Holy Spirit as another or like kind or another of the same kind (John14-16).

A Vessel For God’s Use

Like the modern day believer who is commanded to take the Gospel out into the world, Ezekiel was commanded to be a prophet of God. Whether they accept or reject the believer or Ezekiel is irrelevant. What the world should not be able to deny is that, “a prophet was among them [the world]." In other words, for us, the work of God should be so obvious in our lives that even those that reject God or those in secular culture should note something different about us just as they did in Ezekiel’s time. Ezekiel was a faithful and obedient prophet and he spoke when the Lord opened his mouth. He was willing to be mute when the Lord closed it. There was no mistake when the Lord spoke forth through Ezekiel. Can God use us in like manner?

We are not in a unique or different situation from Ezekiel when we go to evangelize the world and are roundly and soundly rejected (if not mocked outright).

Ezekiel 3:5-11 ~ “You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”

Ezekiel was charged with taking God’s word to difficult and inflexible people. Sometimes we are too. We need to get thicker skin to do the work Jesus Christ has called us to. I know this from personal and recent experience  I mean good grief, Ezekiel was charged with speaking to dry bones! Jesus had to do the same in the form of the religious people of his time, the rich and the spiritually destitute. It required that Jesus and Ezekiel needed to be resilient and "harder than flint." We also need to be thick-skinned and resilient in the face of adversity. We do this by residing in Christ, His word and His principles. We cannot cave into the push-back from culture. 

This means we must stand fast in our theologies and doctrine. We must stand fast on the Inerrancy of Scripture and other core truths of the Bible while simultaneously being understanding of the fact that people can be sincere in their beliefs and still be sincerely wrong. It is up to us to correct them if their error leads them down the primrose path to false teachings and heresy. Jesus confront false teaching and error with truth of Scripture, not ecumenicalism and a watering-down of God's word. We must be impervious to unbiblical criticisms by depending on the Lord and be able to respond in a rational and reasoned manner to still win people to the truth of Christ (therefore the faith). Sometimes we are going to get black eyes. It is better for us to get black eyes for the Faith than it is to give black eyes to the Faith with negligent behavior or failures to carry-out our duty to Christ

Do we honestly believe it will be easier for us than it was for them? Seriously? If it was an easy task all of us could do it and everyone would respond. If it was easy everyone would be Christian. Such is not the case. You should consider this and ask yourself why. It is why many never find God and die in their sins to face condemnation. Another question you need to ask yourself is this:

Did they die in their sins due to their hardness of heart or were they condemned because you did not take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them in a firm and forthright manner (or both)? If is someone you care about, isn't it worth taking the risk to try and determine which?

So remember, black eyes for the Faith, not given to the Faith. Learn to take it on the chin, keep smiling...and preach the Gospel in season and out (2 Timothy 4).

2 Timothy 4:1-2 ~ In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

March 21, 2013

Unquenchable Fire & A Maggot That Never Dies, Part II

In continuance of my last post on Hell I will discuss the torments that await the unrepentant sinner as outlined in the Bible.

Firstly, the torments themselves will be universal. It will not be a singular or dual torment but all torments will be combined. Hell is the place of torment.

Luke 16:28 ~ “…for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’

It is the epicenter and focus of all punishment, sorrow, pain, wrath, vengeance, etc. If a you go through so much pain and discomfort with a single disease, what would a complication of multiple diseases be? If a whipping is painful what of additional tortures, what would all be simultaneous?

If these torments fall on you, you will be inflicted with complete torment. It will not be localized torment or on one or two body parts, but all over: body, mind…everywhere. The whole person has sinned against God, the whole person is guilty so the whole of you will be tormented. All the parts of your the body have been instruments of unrighteousness, and therefore all the members will be punished. As man is defiled from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, so will he be plagued. Sores will encompass not just your body like Job but also your soul and this would last for eternity.

The very senses which you have indulged in and gratified will be filled with pain and torment. They very sins that you pursued during their life will torment you for eternity. The eyes that lusted after objects of beauty and sexual desire will bear witness only to horrors and demons, deformities and damned wretches. Your ears that took pleasure in music will hear only the screams of the condemned, the grinding and snapping of broken teeth or shatter wills or the moan of eternal pain. The nose that could smell the perfumes and fresh autumn air will only gag on burning flesh, foul rotting putrescence, sulfur and death.

The reality of Hell will come with bludgeoning force day by day, minute by minute, second by second in a never-ending nefarious parade of discomfort and fear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be a forever remembered memory that you who are now in Hell will never again get the chance to collect on and you will be reminded of this fact through pain and torment forever. Your conscience will be utterly violated over and over like a parasite or maggot turning over and over in your brain.

As stated before the torments will be without pause. You will be tormented day and night and there will be no rest. There will most likely be no sleep either.

Revelation 14:11 ~ “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The duration of the torments will be forever. Even if the torment was universal and even if one knew that they were to have an end, that would be at least some comfort. But here is the true torment of it. The pain and misery will be the same today as it was yesterday, and will me tomorrow and forever. It will be intense if not increasing. Even after you have been in hell a billion years it will be Hell just as much at day one as in the year one billion.

So who will be the inflictors of your torment? First will be Satan obviously. There will also be your conscience and God Himself who will torment you. The Devil will be the tormentor. You will be tormented with demons and by demons. You’ll be delivered to the nefarious prison guards…

Matthew 18:34-35 ~ “And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

If the Devil and his hoards can only do things to us now by permission, what will happen when the Devil and his minions are commissioned to do their dirty work to the sinner in the hereafter? They will be held back by no such restraints. Sick malice, perversion and twistedness will be unleashed on the sinners who forfeited their right by choice to the Gospel of Christ. Who will be able to tolerate the Devil's rage once it has been turned loos by God’s permission? I suggest that none can stand without turning to madness or some form of dementia that will further compound and exacerbate the hell of Hell.

Your conscience will be the second tormentor. You will forever be reflecting on the fact that you once had a chance a choice to avoid your current fate in affliction. Your conscience will constantly accuse you eternally. The more the Devil and other torments afflict you externally the more your conscience will do similar affliction internally. You’re going to be barbecued both on the outside and the inside. As a point of contrast to the exterior pain, the internal might actually be worse than outside torment. With no rest and nowhere to run from the outside torment it will be an endless circular torment. Turn inward to avoid the external torment and face the internal torment. Flee the internal to face the external. Over and over and over…

The maggot (worm) that never dies is within a man. The real word here is σκώληξ or maggot. The Hell being referred to here is Gehenna. Gehenna is literally the transliteration of the Hebrew phrase ge hinnom or "Valley of Hinnom". This valley, just south of Jerusalem, is where the apostate Jews offered human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35). King Josiah ended this abominable this practice and converted the site into a city dump where rubbish burned constantly (2 Kings 23:10). The fire never went out. The garbage that was not consumed by the fire in the center near the fire or that fell outside the edges were decomposed by parasites and maggots and it gave the image that the maggots never died as there was always a continuing cycle of garbage being dumped there, hence the worm that never died. External fire and internal worms are Old Testament pictures of destruction (Isaiah 66:24). Therefore Gehenna or Hell became a picture of the place of eternal torment and punishment. Sadly, Hell will not just be a dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem that people will just go to visit, these conditions will be perpetual.

It would be a dreadful thing to be eaten up of worms, to be continually vexed with the gnawing of worms, but this worm will gnaw the spirit.

Mark 9:47-48 ~ “And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched…”

If a guilty conscience is a horrible thing here in this life, how much more will it plague you when all the guilt and anxiety is unleashed on you for eternity? It will whip you over and over. You knew that the wages of sin was death and that the judgment of God is in perfect justice yet you continued in your disgusting repulsive sins. Like a dog you continued to return to your vomit. There will be no mitigation from the mental voice…damned…lost… damned …lost… damned …lost… damned …lost… damned … damned … damned….

(***insert sinister laughing of demons here****).

Then there will be the torment from God. God was long-suffering and His forbearance was great…but no longer. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year God stored up His wrath in an ever-increasing pile of judgment against you. It will be in Hell that this wrath is poured out for eternity. Like a fists of judgment coming down upon your head like a gavel of justice. Hands that could’ve been of tender love are now forever stony fists of pain. God was patient and withheld judgment but in Hell, His mercy and grace will disappear for the unrepentant and will be replaced with the judgment that wickedness has earned.

God will rain flaming cinders and upon wicked sinners in a vicious cyclone of wrath.

Psalm 11:4-7 ~ “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

There will be degrees of torment. Though it will be intolerable for all, some torments will be more tolerable than for others…

Matthew 11:24 ~ “But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Those who have lived long in sin will suffer greater. The longer men have lived in sin the greater their torments will be in hell.

Isaiah 65:20 ~ “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.

Just as the righteous person stores up treasures in Heaven, the unrighteous will store up torment and wrath in Hell. Those that have sinned to a greater degree will pay to a greater degree. Those that have had more means will be held accountable to a greater degree. The more expense God has needed to pour into someone over time to only be rejected will be reflected in their eternal punishment. The more convictions men have had for their wrongs and still ignore them, the greater their damnation will be. The more people know how to be righteous but do not practice it
The worse it will be for them.

And so it will go…forever.

If your skin is crawling perhaps it is a physical manifestation of warning of what is to come if you do not seek Christ and repent. Perhaps it is a little taste of what it will be like when the maggot turns within you without dying? Disgusting you say? Of course it is...that is Hell!

Of course you should be afraid…very afraid. A proper fear of God is never a bad thing. I have no reason to lie to you nor would I. Even if I had something to gain from telling you all this I could not bring myself to deceive you. I cannot lie and tell you things will be fine if you don’t repent. It would just show you that I hate you. Only someone who hated another person would allow them to condemn themselves without at least warning them of their impending doom if they continue unabated on their hell-bound course. It really takes hating someone to allow them to go to Hell without at least telling them of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is one place the world totally gets it backwards. I am told I am a hater if I tell people of their sin and tell them they need to change and repent of it. The truth is if they do not repent and I say nothing to them about their wickedness...what kind of friend am I being to them? If you truly love people like you have been commanded in the Bible, you would never allow this to happen would you? Do you now understand why it is so important to evangelize people to help them? I sure hope so. I do and it is why I have written this and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ whenever I can.

March 20, 2013

Unquenchable Fire & A Maggot That Never Dies, Part I

Hell. Not a nice place. It probably goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway. All of it. So hold on and pray you don't have a weak stomach.

Since many are focused on the good that comes with salvation in Heaven and on Earth, eternal damnation is often glanced over or trivialized. This has become so commonplace in today's culture that there is now a growing trend to lead people to believe that Hell is not permanent or eternal. The bigger lie that is now being pushed is that it might not even exist. Let's get this straight. Jesus spoke of Hell and alluded to the fact that it was's real. If its real, people should understand just how much of a dreadful thing it truly is. Modern horror movie portrayal of it is a Sunday picnic compared to what people can expect if they die in unrepentant sins and go there. Personally, I believe that Hell is not preached or talked about enough. Many have not idea just how much they have been spared the eternal wrath of God if they repent and seek Christ. The grace of God is lost on many because the idea of sin and Hell is almost absent from the public forum and the pulpit today. John Stott is wrong, man's soul will not be annihilated. Rob Bell and his postmodern doublespeak is also wrong, God's love does not win and eventually pull people back out of Hell. The Scripture never states these things so we should not begin to belief these man-made myths.

First off, whatever can be said about Hell it must be compounded with the fact that it is permanent or an unending state. It isn't going to be like the 10 minutes your spend watching a portrayal of it on a screen in movies like Hellraiser or Constantine where the protagonist usually gets a second change to live happily-ever-after. It will be a reality, permanent and the person involved will live tormented-ever-after.

A Furnace of Fire

Anyone that has stuck their face near a fireplace or stood too close to a bonfire knows what it is like to have the hair singed off their face and how intolerable the heat is. Now think of immersing yourself in said heat and turn up the thermostat and do so for eternity. It will be painful enough to grind your teeth over.

Matthew 13:41-42 ~ “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Those who make sin their stock and trade will be chucked into a furnace of fire which won’t actually destroy them but rather torment them forever and make them lament and gnash or grind their teeth in discomfort. Straining and grinding against the pain and discomfort.

A Bottomless Pit

The Devil is the messenger or angel of the Abyss or bottomless pit.

Revelation 9:11 ~ “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).”


Hell is referred to in the Bible as a prison. Hell is set out for what is repugnant and disgusting and in violation of what is proper.

Matthew 5:25 ~ “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 

Prisons are horrible places to live in. A person must always watch their backs and keep an eye over their shoulders and there is constant anxiety and unease. Hell is worse than all prisons put together.

The Lake the Burns with Fire and Sulfur

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Those condemned to this lot will be at least head above the surface so that they will not drowned in a lake of fire and brimstone. Strangely, they will be like the bush on Mt. Sinai. They will be immersed or burnt with fire but they will not be consumed.

The Absolute & Outer Darkness

It is interesting to note that Hell will burn but will be dark. The flames of Hell will apply heat to the tormented but apparently not light, at least not in the same context. There will again be a grinding of teeth.

Matthew 22:13 ~ “Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The assumption that can be made about being bound is that there will be no resistance possible as the person will be bound in the darkness. It is here we really start to get the “feel” of hopelessness. It might be that the darkness itself is what binds.

2 Peter 2:4 ~ “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment..."

We all know this fear. The blackness of pitch black suffocates a person and there is a feeling of utter helplessness in this absolute darkness. Jude accurately calls it the (v.6) ζόφον /blackness and (v.13) ζόφος τοῦ σκότους / the blackness of darkness. I’m not sure about you but this sounds dreadful compounded with all the other elements mentioned earlier.

Jude 6 ~ “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day…”

Jude 13 ~ “Wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.


Hell is destruction. Specifically it is moral destruction and a destroying of man’s well-being. Unrepentant sinners will be punished with everlasting destruction removed from the presence of the Lord. It might be that it would’ve been better that these people had not been born. To live unrepentant and be banished from the possibility of being in the presence of God forever which to me is a fate worse than death.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ~ “…in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…”

Wrath, Punishment & Damnation

Hell is a state of eternal punishment, or more properly (based on what we understand from the descriptions above) it is damnation. A permanent tormented state facing the wrath of God for eternity. No one can truly understand its dreadful awfulness until they enter that punishment. It becomes so dreadful for some that towards the end of their lives they start to hope for annihilation but that would only be a gift in lieu of the punishment. It sounds terrible because it is terrible. We know how traumatic God’s punishment can be when it is uncorked even a little in our lives…can we even remotely imagine the restraints pulled out and His cup of wrath being dumped out on us fully? I suspect we cannot properly imagine that. Damnation is therefore literally a second death. It will be an odd death in a really bad way as it will be a live death or living death. People will be resurrected to physical bodies only to have these resurrection bodies tormented in eternity. It will be a death that never really dies. For me this is where Hell really scares the living-daylights out of me. They will live this death and suffer it forever for rejecting God deliberately or inadvertently. Spooky stuff if you ask me. The kind of stuff that makes my skin crawl. As we can see in the verse below, Hell will also be an eternal state of shame and contempt.

Daniel 12:2-3 ~ “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.


Hell is a curse and accursed. To be in Hell is to be in an accursed state, under the curse of God.

Matthew 25:41 ~“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

All these punishments will be of a severity and intensity that I believe words cannot convey well in this lifetime. There will be no relief from them. The punishment to come will make the strongest cower. It will be enough that when God comes in judgment on His great day of wrath, people will run for the hills in Revelation 6:15-17.

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Great men will cower like children and they’ll hide in the rocks and say ask that the mountains fall on them. The sad fact of the matter is that in this premeditated suicide attempt, they will only hasten their arrival at a similar fate in eternity. Just like the Great Day of the Lord, the wrath will be expended and it will be merciless and pitiless. 

In all these elements of Hell we ironically see a lot of what Jesus Christ already suffered in His life here on earth in some form, mostly in the last week of his life: Shame, contempt, pain, suffering, punishment, etc. It is therefore paradoxical that He Himself who did not deserve such a fate would suffer these things so that we that did deserve such a fate…would not have to. It is the story of the Gospel

The other thing I think of is this. It would take someone really hating someone else to wish this fate on another human being, yet this is what we allow or subject people to if we do not make the effort to preach the Gospel to them. If we do not preach the Gospel, it just shows how much we really hate people and frankly...that just isn't Biblical.

So what of the specific torments? More in the next post…this was enough wrath to stomach in one post. I think I will now need to vomit knowing people are being lost to this place hand-over-fist. Sorry for the dark brooding nature of these next two posts but truth is truth and people need to know or some will be condemned, totally oblivious to what is coming...
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