Thursday, October 07, 2004An eternal perspective towards the lost...
Four words in the King James version of the Bible are translated into "hell"; one Hebrew, the three others Greek words.
-Hebrew word meaning "world of the dead".
-Not an eternal place for souls (see Psalm 86:13; Psalm 49:15).
-Both righteous and unrighteous souls went to Sheol (Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13; Psalm 16: 10)
-The righteous and the wicked did not experience the same thing in Sheol. The righteous experience rest, while the wicked experience imprisonment (2 Kings 22: 20; Jonah 2: 6)
-Greek word meaning "place of departed souls"
-it is synonymous to Sheol - same word, different language.
-Proof: in Psalm 16:10, we have the word Sheol (translated hell) and in Acts 2:27, Peter quotes this passage but the word translated "hell" is Hades.
-the account in Luke 16 adds detail to how things work in Hades: the wicked are in torment and are separated from the righteous who are experiencing rest (Abraham's bosom)
-Greek word from a Hebrew name; it means "the valley of the son of Hinnom".
-the valley of Hinnom was the city dump where garbage burned day and night, year round. Before becoming a dump, this valley was a place where the wicked worshiped the false god Molech (which consisted of burning infants alive). All in all, the valley of the son of Hinnom was the perfect picture of a terrible cursed place.
-unlike Sheol/Hades, Gehenna is a place of spiritual AND PHYSICAL punishment (see Matt. 10:28).
-and again, unlike Sheol/Hades, Gehenna is a place of eternal punishment (see Mark 9: 42-48: if the worm never dies, then there is always a body to eat, and if the fire is never quenched, then there is always a body to burn).
-Greek word meaning "the deepest abyss of hell"; and in this context hell is the Greek version of hell which was a subterranean, dark place where wicked spirits were punished.
-it would seem that Tartaroo is yet another section reserved for wicked angels, or demons (see 2 Peter 2: 4).
So, what is the purpose of all these "hellish" places ? Here is, as far as I understand it, what happens to a wicked person when he dies:
1. the soul of the wicked goes to Hades/Sheol where he is imprisoned and in torment. His physical body remains in the grave where it decays naturally.
2. when the hour of the Great White Throne judgement comes (Rev. 20), the soul of the wicked is brought out of Hades/Sheol where it is joined with his resurrected body.
3. the wicked is judged and condemned for his sin.
4. the wicked is cast to the Lake of Fire (Gehenna), both bodily and spiritually, where he will suffer torment forever.
Now, why did I preach on this a couple of weeks ago? Well, contrary to what you might believe, I didn't do it to review the doctrine of Hell. Rather my goal was to help maintain an eternal perspective in my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
What I mean by an "eternal perspective" is to remind ourselves of the big picture, not the day-to-day stuff. For example: reminding ourselves that the world isn't suppose to be good and getting better; reminding ourselves that our retirement savings isn't important in the grand scheme to things; reminding ourselves that we have a spiritual race to run for the Lord...etc.
My point: The wicked are going to Hades, where they will be tormented for a time, and then they will take part in the Lake of Fire forever. This is a terrible thing, especially when we realize that all of us (even the most righteous of Christians) deserve no less. The only reason I am not going to suffer this condemnation is because God was gracious to me. Like Joshua the High Priest in Zechariah 3, I am a brand plucked from the fire!
Now consider those who haven't received God's gracious gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. What a terrible punishment! And that's exactly what we should keep in mind when we read Matthew 5: 38-45:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
How could a Christian, who keeps in mind the terrible events that will befall the wicked, give an unbeliever a hard time? Think about it, even death row inmates get extra privileges like favorite meals, family and religious visitations...etc. Our justice system allows this because they, justly, figure that the inmate will suffer a bad enough fate, there is no reason to aggravate him anymore.
So let me ask you the following questions:
-do you aggravate the lost?
-or do you rather have a heart for them?
May God help us to keep an eternal perspective.
God bless you all,