annihilationism

A Plea from Hell

Sunday, June 12, 2016

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:27-29 KJV).

We peek into the spirit world and hear the cries of the souls in hell!

Some of the Bible’s most graphic statements about hell are in the account of the rich man and Lazarus—Luke 16:19-31. The rich man is lifting up his eyes being in torments, and he sees Abraham afar off and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom (verse 23). Lazarus is comforted and the rich man is tormented beyond comprehension (verse 24,25). The rich man begs for just one precious drop of water… a drop that he is still expecting some 20 centuries later!

Not long ago, I stood in an ancient cemetery, reading the names and dates on the graves. In one area, a wrought-iron fence sectioned off 56 tombstones. These were local Roman priests who had served and died—some over 150 years ago. As I stood over these plots, I remembered today’s Scripture and I imagined their cries: “Please tell them not to come here to this place of torment!” Indeed, as it has been rightly stated, the strongest spirit of evangelism is found in the flames of hell. It is one thing for a Christian to preach about hellfire he has never experienced and will never experience. It is quite another to be in hell and remember your family and friends on Earth are soon to meet you!

Beloved, with Bibles in every home, we in the United States of America have no excuse whatsoever. Having access to God’s written Word, millions still leave this world every year totally unprepared. While those in hell, like the rich man, have no desire to turn to God, if God allowed you to listen, you could hear the billions of souls crying out: “Testify unto them [preach Christ crucified!], lest they also come into this place of torment!”

Captive!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV).

Satan is desperately trying to keep his captives from hearing God’s truth!

A lady visited my home yesterday to invite my family and me to an upcoming program at her (nearby) church. Knowing her cult, I determined the best way to approach her was to mention the verse on her booklet’s cover. As I suspected, her religious tradition denied the everlasting nature of hell (“annihilationism”). The “wicked” would simply be burned up and become nonexistent, never suffering forever in fire and brimstone as the Bible teaches.

Yes, she was highly trained in her religion, arguing that the Bible verses commonly interpreted as “everlasting torment” were really “representations.” Still, she could not clearly explain what she meant—only that those passages were not literal. She grabbed Bible verses here and there to validate her denomination. I cautioned her that religious groups ignore verse contexts, politely “hinting” that I was aware of her dishonesty (without me ever actually saying “liar, liar”).

She did not know the Gospel by which we are saved today. (Once I gave it to her, she did not accept it). We talked about many Bible topics for about an hour before she, convicted by the Word, had to “hurry home.” She was very knowledgeable of verses to support her theology. But, she was surprised that someone (me) would mention verses she did not understand. Exiting my front door, with me following, she again said, “A loving God could not send people to suffer hell forever.” One final time, I gave the Gospel of Grace. I told her that God loved sinners so much that He did everything He could to prevent them from experiencing eternal judgment. He sent His Son to die for their sins. Rejecting Christ again, she hurried down my driveway to her vehicle.

Saints, let us preach God’s Word, patiently, gently, lovingly. What people do with it is their responsibility. We did ours! 🙂

Seconds from Eternity

Monday, March 14, 2016

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:1,2 KJV).

Friend, today is the day to trust Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary. You may not have tomorrow!

Recently, a certain schoolteacher was driving to work. Suddenly, a 200-pound (90.7-kilogram) iron manhole cover inexplicably flew upward from the roadway. It landed right on top of her car’s windshield—driver’s side! Sadly, her earthly life ended right there, instantly. Just like that, with the snap of a finger, a blink of an eye, it was over! There was no turning back—wherever death found her, eternity still keeps her today. Think of how many factors had to occur just right to take her life. The cover flew off precisely at the moment her vehicle was nearby, it flew exactly the distance to her car, and it precisely hit the windshield on her side (not the back, or the passenger’s side, but the driver’s side). We need to appreciate just how close death really is for any one of us!

Imagine when a lost person dies. Earthly scenes fade to darkness. The overwhelming sensation of falling to Earth’s center… the soul plunging into hellfire… the pain of being burned alive becomes more pronounced… screams and wails all around… memories of rejected Gospel messages flood the mind. Horrible, just horrible. Every soul without Jesus Christ will experience it forever!

A lost person’s heart is very deceitful. He or she will continue to put off salvation, saying, “I have plenty of time to get saved, preacher. Let me enjoy having a good time in sin now. When I am ready, then I will clean up my life and trust Jesus Christ.” They will certainly have a good time, but they just may run out of time to trust Jesus Christ. My what a foolish gamble! They just may lose their eternal soul in literally a “heartbeat.” They think they have years to spare, but they may just have a few seconds. Something to think about!

When the Roll is Called Up Yonder #4

Saturday, April 11, 2015

“To die is gain…. Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:21,23cd KJV).

The chorus of James Milton Black’s classic 1893 hymn “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” highlights today’s Scripture.

“When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

Religion’s “sin of presumption” forbids anyone from claiming or believing in assurance of immediately going to heaven upon physical death. Theologians argue, “No sinful person can enter heaven without first being cleansed.” Hence, a purgatorial state is speculated to exist: the “faithful” soul, post-death and pre-heaven, is allegedly tormented to atone for any un-paid sins (sounds like hellfire to me!). Dear friends, purgatory belittles—and ignores—the efficacy of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Jesus paid for a Christian’s sins in full (Romans 4:1-8; Colossians 2:13), so why would the Christian have un-paid sins? Friends, religion never makes sense (frankly, purgatory does not make sense because it is a money-making gimmick).

Saint Paul undoubtedly knew where he was going upon death. He was not going to sleep in a grave, not going to “die like a dog and pass into non-existence,” and not going to suffer “purgatorial cleansing.” Paul affirmed, We are confident [fully assured!!!!], I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. today’s Scripture). He had such confidence because Jesus Christ was reliable, faithful. Had Paul been relying on his works, he could not be confident. Yea, to rely on faulty works is sure to introduce doubt! Beloved, the payment for sin is Jesus Christ’s suffering at Calvary, not our temporary suffering in purgatory!

Brethren, whether the Lord happens to call our name in physical death, or calls our name while we are living at the time of the Rapture, up we will go to Heaven to meet our Saviour and be with Him forever. We will be there in Heaven because, at Calvary, He paid the “airfare!” Let us keep looking up for our flight! 🙂

Riches and the Four Gospels #5

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

Observe how Jesus’ audience responded to today’s Scripture: “[26] And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? [27] And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. [28] Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. [29] And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, [30] Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

Jesus’ audience did not comprehend that those who could be saved in Israel’s program were those who sold their possessions and gave to the poor. The rich, however, would be greedy, worshipping “mammon” (their material wealth; Matthew 6:24-34). They would fall into the snare of the Antichrist—and once they would accept his mark or worship him in order to keep the value of their possessions, the Bible says they would be damned to everlasting hellfire (Revelation 14:9-11).

The Apostle Peter, representing all members of Israel’s little flock, responded, “Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.” Jesus assured them that He knew that they had abandoned their houses, families, businesses, and so on, for the sake of God’s kingdom. He reassured them that they would receive “manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” What did He mean?

Though believing Jews had lost their flesh-and-blood family members, and their material possessions, they had gained many brothers and sisters and spiritual wealth in Christ. These Messianic Jews would behave like family now by taking care of each other’s physical needs….

Aerial Attack! #10

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines(2 Samuel 5:24 KJV).

Some 3,000 years ago, Israel had aerial military support, and it is only a preview of the “fighter jets” yet to come!

While we have only briefly scratched the surface, we can list some of the various weapons Jesus Christ will bring with Him at His Second Coming, as He majestically flies over the Middle East on a white horse to fight for His nation Israel (Revelation 19:11):

  • Plague and pestilence (Habakkuk 3:3-5) will afflict His enemies (those who have fought against Jerusalem), instantly consuming their flesh, eyes, and tongues (Zechariah 14:12).
  • A consuming fire will wipe out His enemies (Psalm 97:3,5; Isaiah 66:14-16), especially those who have united against Israel and assembled in her land to overrun Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:12), it will burn up Israel’s idols and all the other elements of pagan religion (Micah 1:3,4,7), and it will expose (subterranean) hell (Psalm 97:3,5; Deuteronomy 32:22) so that Christ’s enemies can be cast into it. God’s memorial against sin will be erected so that, in the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 14:9-11), believers can view those wicked souls burning (Isaiah 66:23,24; Mark 9:43-50). Jesus Christ will control this fire with His spoken word, instructing it where to go (Revelation 19:15; cf. Amos chapters 1 and 2), eventually causing it to overtake the Antichrist himself (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and his false prophet (religious leader) and instantly whisking them away into everlasting hellfire (Revelation 19:20).
  • Lightning (Psalm 97:4), strong winds (Jeremiah 25:32), thunder (Isaiah 29:6), and storms and hailstones (Isaiah 30:30) will be useful in fighting against Satan’s angelic and human allies.
  • Tens of thousands of angelic soldiers will also accompany Jesus Christ back to Earth (Jude 14; Revelation 19:14). One angel slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36)—just imagine an army of tens of thousands of angels!

Before we conclude this devotionals arc, we will briefly examine how we have an appointment for a similar future battle, but in the heavenly places….

A Glass of Water

Saturday, July 5, 2014

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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(Luke 16:23,24 KJV).

May we never take a glass of water for granted again!

A bygone Bible teacher wrote that he would literally thank God when he would drink a glass of ice-cold water (see today’s Scripture). The brother had relied completely on the Lord Jesus Christ for his soul salvation unto eternal life, so he had the assurance of the forgiveness of sins and he knew that he had a home in heaven. He knew that Jesus Christ had tasted God’s wrath on his behalf at Calvary, so he would never have to face that wrath in hellfire. The rich man’s plea in today’s Scripture would never be his in eternity.

Interestingly, the rich man had rejected the God of Bible during his earthly life, and he was neither repentant nor accepting of God in everlasting hellfire; he merely wanted water and comfort. By no means was the context of today’s Scripture a parable (Luke 16:19-31)—never once did Jesus’ parables contain proper names (notice “Lazarus” was a real person). To imagine such a place where so much as one single drop of water is coveted and never granted, is to understand why the Scriptures make reference to “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; Luke 13:28) and “a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42, which Jesus interpreted literally in verse 50). The rich man’s soul would always cry out, and would always be deprived of even one drop of water!

We Christians should never forget—yea, not even for one second—the terrible destiny from which God Almighty saved us. Every time we drink ice-cold water, may we thank our Lord Jesus Christ that we will never face “water-deprivation” in eternity. May we be motivated to share the Gospel of Grace with our lost loved ones, that they not echo the plea of today’s Scripture in eternity!