Author Topic: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"  (Read 1098 times)

Michael:D

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The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« on: February 08, 2017, 09:37:00 AM »

Warning: May contain articles depicting graphic violence
(but don't worry, they deserve it...)




"Fire and Brimstone" sermons have long been a staple of many Christian denominations. For many, these represent the epitome of biblical teaching. If people are not warned early (and often) that they are "going to Hell if they do not change their ways" then there is little that a message of Love and Grace can do in modifying the behaviors of those who hear the word of God.

Typically the stuff of revival meetings and crusades, these homiletic presentations can move even the most pious in the congregation to feelings of utter shameful unworthiness and guilt for having personally sent Jesus to die on the cross for their sinful nature.

An eternity spent in the fiery pits of hell is the fate reserved for those who do not simply believe! And by believe we mean: repent of your sins and ask for forgiveness, ask Jesus to come into your heart, turn away from your wicked ways, confess your sins and strive to walk in moral perfection so that God will not have to express his disappointment in you by casting you into the lake of fire to suffer for all eternity (which is - according to the Bible - the true fate of all sinners.)

Many Churches of today shy away from the practice of browbeating their congregations by bible thumping and finger pointing and choose rather to focus more on entertainment value to fill the pews. It has long been my opinion that for entertainment value it is hard to beat the sheer horror of a terrifying sermon focused on Hell-Fire and Damnation.

By posting this topic I hope to spark a conversation about Hell and the specific versus from scripture that are often used to support those ideas expressed by "Fire and Brimstone" preachers; those who desire to have us squirming in our seats and/or running to the alter.

Please share opinions, links, pictures, audio and video, etc. - - -

« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 07:03:49 AM by Michael:D »

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 02:24:09 PM »
As I have been searching the internet for articles and or recordings featuring "Fire and Brimstone" sermons there is one factoid I hear (see) repeated fairly regularly - and I am about to do it again here:

"Jesus spent more time talking about Hell than any other preacher in all of the Bible."

There must be some truth in that statement, or else why would it be so recurring? This also begs the question, if we are to believe there are actually two gospels - The Gospel of the Circumcision and The Gospel of the Uncircumcised - are we also to infer that the message of Hell was directed only to the "Lost Sheep of the House of Israel?"
 

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 03:01:39 PM »
I came across this lesson on Hell which offered-up several Bible passages:

The Message I Tried To Talk Myself Out Of

The article opens with:

Our topic this time is a controversial one. Dr.  Rogers said, "I've actually tried to talk myself out of this message. And I'll tell  you why. It's not a happy one. I'd much rather say something about joy, life,  victory - but I'm convinced the missing message in today's church and especially  on the air waves is the message concerning Hell. And I believe we're reaping  the consequences of failing to bring that message. The reason we have so much  so-called Hell in our world is because we have so little in our pulpits.


If you were composing a "Hell Fire and Brimstone" message you might find these useful:


2 Corinthians 5:11
Revelation 21:7-8
Revelation 14:10-11
Revelation 20:10
    the prince of the power of the air? (Ephesians 2:2),
    the father of lies (John 8:44)
    a murderer (John 8:44)
    your adversary (1 Peter 5: 8 )
    your enemy (John 10:19, Matthew 13:39)
    and a destroyer (John 10:10, Psalm 17:4)
Ephesians 2:2
Job 1:7
1 Peter 5:8
Matthew 25:41
Mark 12:28-34
Revelation 21:27
Luke 13:28
Luke 16:23-25
Revelation 21:23
Matthew 8:11-12
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
Psalm 30:5
Proverbs 11:7
Revelation 14:1-20
Matthew 18:8



The article also offered the following:

In Closing...

God doesn't want you to go to Hell. I want to tell you, dear friend, God has placed a blockade on the road to Hell, and it is the cross of Jesus Christ. If you go to Hell, you'll have to climb over His cross to get there. God is lifting up the blood-stained cross of the Lord Jesus Christ saying, "Please, don't go to Hell!" It was created not for you but for Satan and his minions. God is pleading with you today. With nail-pierced hands Christ is pleading with you today. The Holy Spirit is pleading today. And if you have loved ones who are lost, tell them about the Lord Jesus.

Soon we're going to meet the Lord. Jesus died to save you from Hell. With His blood He paid your sin debt. Your sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell, but it will never be overlooked. Come to Jesus. Trust Him. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." You don't have to go to Hell if you don't want to.


What other versus would you include in your "Fire and Brimstone" message or what others have you seen employed?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 03:11:55 PM by Michael:D »

GregD

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2017, 11:49:14 PM »
I don't know how many more "fire and brimstone" verses there are but I'd say you listed most of them. Thank you for starting this topic. Most Christians take the whole idea of hell for granted and never look into the Bible verses that talk about it. I created a document that lists all the times the word hell is used in the New Testament. Click here to see it (right click to download it). I thought this would be useful for any further study into hell.

What you'll find is that there are 3 different Greek words translated "HELL" in the New Testament: Tartarus, Hades and Gehenna. We'll take a look at those words later, I only mention them here to explain why they appear in the above linked document.

I had heard what Mike:D said about Jesus preaching more on hell than any other subject too. I had a really hard time agreeing with that so I did a quick search in the New Testament on 3 words, hell, heaven and love. The results, although not scientific proof, sure make you wonder how that claim is possible. I looked in the KJV and here is what I found:

Hell mentioned 17 times in the Gospels (15 by Jesus and 2 in ACTs), 1 by James and 1 by Peter, 4 times in Revelation. Total of 23 times. Paul never mentions hell (I wonder why)?

Heaven is mentioned 144 times in the Gospels, 24 in ACTs, 20 times by Paul, 5 times in Hebrews, 2 times by James, 4 by Peter and 57 by John (in 1John and Revelation). Total of 256 times.

Love is mentioned 51 times in the Gospels, 0 in ACTs, 75 times by Paul, 3 in Hebrews, 3 by James, 6 by Peter, 40 by John in 1/2/3John and Revelation and 2 times by Jude. Total of 180 times.

Hell = 23 mentions (in the entire New Testament), Heaven = 256 times and Love = 180 times.

Sounds like love and Heaven were a much more important subject to Jesus that hell was.

I do agree that the preaching of hell... fire and brimstone... has been lacking in most churches in recent years. For better or worse, I think it's a fact. What this forum line hopes to accomplish is start a conversation on hell and see what the Bible says about it. Paul tells us in 2Ti.2:15 that we are to study to show ourselves approved by God. Too many of us have sat back and let others do our thinking for us. We are happy to just lap up what our teachers, preachers, grandparents or TV evangelists tell us is truth and never look for ourselves.

Hopefully, this little forum topic line will spark some interest in what could be called the single most important topic (besides salvation) in the world today.

What happens when we die, with and without Christ.

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 09:31:32 AM »
Wow, thanks for the contribution Greg - good stuff!

Quote
Hell mentioned 17 times in the Gospels (15 by Jesus and 2 in ACTs), 1 by James and 1 by Peter, 4 times in Revelation. Total of 23 times. Paul never mentions hell (I wonder why)?


According to these statistics the word Hell was uttered more times by Jesus so it would stand to reason that he "Preached more on Hell than any other preacher in the Bible" of course many Fire and Brimstone preachers imply that preaching Hell was Jesus's top priority; the statistics supplied by GregD here certainly cast that "opinion" in doubt.

I really think if Jesus was sent to Earth to save us all from going to Hell then Hell would at least be represented by a single, unmistakable name. The fact the King James Bible translates three separate Greek words (Tartarus, Hades and Gehenna) as Hell is not a truth that can easily be swept under the rug. When one takes the time to investigate this discrepancy it is easy to see that the Force of Conviction about Hell is delivered far greater by the performances from the pulpits than from the free-standing scriptures.

Here is an excellent example of preaching "Hell Fire and Damnation" to instill the Fear of God into all that hear and believe. (Thanks GregD for the link.) This is the sort of teaching that should have anybody concerned with the fate of their "immortal soul" running to the Bible in an effort to learn the truth for themselves...

Must See TV:


With a concept as literally damning as "Hell," I would really like to know how we should weave the following into the "Fire and Brimstone" rhetoric?
(Remember it was John who also wrote the book of Revelation):


1 John 4:1-21

        Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
        Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
        And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
        Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
        They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
        We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

        Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
        He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
        In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
        Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
        Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
        No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
        Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
        And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
        Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
        And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
        Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
        There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
        We love him, because he first loved us.
        If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
        And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 10:10:46 AM by Michael:D »

GregD

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 02:17:57 AM »
Another great post Mike:D.

Funny you should mention "immortal soul". It's an interesting point that the term is never used, in any version of the Bible that I have ever read. If you do a search for "immortal" in the King James version (KJV) or the New King James version (NKJV), the word appears once and it refers to God (see 1Ti.1:17).

If you look up the word "immortality", you'll find it appears 5 times in the New Testament. 3 of the times it is used refers to us... AFTER RESURRECTION. Read 1Co.15:53 & 54:

53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY."

We are not naturally immortal. We are mortal. We are born, dying. Paul is telling us in 1Co.15 that we must "put on" immortality. When do we do that? At the resurrection (rapture).

In 1Ti.6:16 Paul tells us that Christ alone is immortal. 2Ti.1:10 tells us that we receive immortality "through the Gospel" because Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. Until then, we are not immortal. Rom.2:7 says that by patient continuance in doing good we seek for glory, honor and immortality. We seek it, we don't have it.

So, you may be wondering what this has to do with a discussion on hell. Glad you asked. ;) Since we are not inherently immortal what threat is there in a fire and brimstone hell after we die?

The question now becomes, what is death? Glad you asked that too.  ;D

To sum up, death is not life. Sounds reasonable doesn't it? But aren't we saying precisely the opposite most of the time? When a loved one passes away, we say (assuming they were saved) that they're "in a better place" or they are "with the Lord now". But, what does the Bible say about death?

Psa.115:17 The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. (I don't know about you but if I'm in Heaven, I'm gonna be praisin' the Lord with all my heart.)

Psa.146:4 When a man dies, in that very day his thoughts perish.

Ecc.9:5 The dead know not anything.

Ecc.9:10 There is no work... nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave.

Death, in the Old and New Testaments is equated to sleep:

Psa.13:3 Lest I sleep the sleep of death.

Dan.12:2 Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.

Act.7:60 When Stephen died, he fell asleep.

Joh.11:11-14 Lazarus sleeps...  Jesus spoke of his death.

1Co.11:30; 15:6, 18, 51 Paul said death was sleep.

1Th.4:13-16 Those which sleep in Jesus will be resurrected.

So again, the subject of death is directly related to our study on hell. Since we aren't immortal and when we die we are not alive somewhere else, we're dead, we perish, we do not exist... where is the threat of fire and brimstone?

There is a whole lot more that needs to be said (and will be said) on this matter, but I think I'll stop here and give you all a chance to catch your breath, stop calling me names  ;D and do some research on your own. Please, ask questions, show me where I'm wrong. Don't take my word or anyone elses word for anything you see here. God says that we are to study in order to be approved. That's what we're doing here.

PS. I wanted to address probably the single most misquoted verse in the Bible, 2Co.5:8... to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I have heard very prominent Bible teachers and preachers misquote this verse. Take a look at it yourself and see what it really says.

PPS. I posted a pdf file that I put together from several different sources. You can read it here.

Until next time, God bless you for joining us in studying His Word. He will bless you for your efforts.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 07:47:10 AM by GregD »

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2017, 09:49:17 AM »
Learning what the Bible has to say about death is key to making sense of what it is telling us about what is to occur after death. The information you presented GregD is valuable material for anyone serious in their search for understanding in these matters and should be considered central to any discussion about the doctrine of Hell.

---

I have been noticing lately that very often Christians are being depicted in the media in the light of their beliefs on Hell. A non-Christian might get the impression that Christians think they are better than non-Christians because they get to go to Heaven but the sinners have to go to Hell. It is almost like the evil, bratty step-sisters in the tale of Cinderella, where they get to go to the ball because it is their privilege but lowly Cinderella must stay behind to tend to her chores. In that parallel the evil occurs within those who perceive themselves to be privileged and the perceived lowly and meek is the one who wins out in the end.

Comparing a true belief to a fairy tale may seem a bit of a stretch, but is it really? To many of the unbelievers our faith looks like we have fallen prey to a fairy tale. (1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.) Even the adoption of Santa Clause as the worldly symbol for Christmas merely mocks the Christian in their belief in a Risen Christ.

Far too many Christians think of their faith as something they are doing rather than the gift that it is from God. (Ephesians 2:8 - 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,)

I personally feel that expressing a fervent belief in the punishment of Hell is to enjoy feelings of vengeance reserved for God the Father. By thinking thoughts of casting sinners into Hell are we not guilty of the act itself? Is it not those accusing unbelievers who are really being threatened in Matthew 5:22? (...But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.)

1 John 1:8
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2017, 08:11:38 AM »
"That any should suffer forever, lingering on in hopeless despair, and rolling amidst infinite torments without the possibility of alleviation and without end; that since God can save men and will save a part, he has not proposed to save all - these are real, not imaginary, difficulties... My whole soul pants for light and relief on these questions. But I get neither; and in the distress and anguish of my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to me why sin came into the world; why the earth is strewn with the dying and the dead; and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects, that has given a moment's ease to my tortured mind... I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers - upon death-beds and grave-yards - upon the world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever: when I see my friends, my family, my people, my fellow citizens when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger - and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned, and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do so, I am struck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it." - Albert Barnes

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 02:11:32 PM »
In the midst of this discussion on Hell, I just happened to be listening to this recorded exposition by James Coram on "Universal Salvation."  I find it to be a most excellent and inspired counter-position to the "Hell Fire" sermon of Charles Lawson (presented earlier - above) and happily submit it to this discussion.   

This message proves beyond doubt that you needn't threaten Hell to have reason to pound a pulpit...


This recording is being published here with the
express permission of Concordant Publishing Concern, for
personal use only, not for re-distribution.

GregD

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 02:50:16 AM »
Wow, a lot of things to comment on here.

I like your Cinderella analogy. Truth is, too many Christians look down their noses at non-Christians. "I made the wise choice to accept Gods offer and they didn't". "They deserve what they get". If you truly believe that they are going to an eternity of pain and awful suffering, you should be screaming the salvation message from the roof tops. If God is sending the vast majority of humanity to hell, FOREVER, do you think he wants you sitting on your duff and doing nothing about it? Of course not.

Unfortunately, Mike:D is correct in his statement that we Christians are seen as wacko or at the very least insensitive because of our belief that those people that are not members of our exclusive little club are doomed to eternal torment. In fact, most of us are very cold towards and dismissive of non-Christians. No wonder the pews are so empty now.

As Mike:D said above in quoting Eph.2:8&9, faith is a gift from God, not a gift we give to God. Rom.12:3 says that "God imparts to each the measure of faith". In Php.1:29, Paul tells us that "to you it is graciously granted, for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also". These 3 passages alone are proof positive that faith doesn't come from us, it comes from God. God chooses who believes and who doesn't. If you have faith in the Lord today, thank God for it because you had nothing to do with getting it.

Moving on to Albert Barnes... whoa, what a terrible place to be... "It is all dark, dark, dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it". If only there was good news to give him. Some small thread of hope we can offer him. Oh wait, there is... Jesus Christ is the savior of all men, especially of believers (1Ti.4:10). At least Mr. Barnes felt the awesome weight of his fellow man being tortured eternally and tried, through his commentary, to warn everyone. That's more than most of us do.

I have not had a chance to listen to the James Coram audio (although I have listened to several of his recordings so I think I've already heard it). I will make sure I listen again so we can talk about it here.

So, I don't want to make this posting another book length post but I teased a little at the end of my last post about 2Co.5:8 being seriously misinterpreted. Most people quote the verse as saying "for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". This gives the false understanding that the instant you die you're in Heaven if you're a believer (and apparently in hell if you aren't). Let's take a look at the passage and see what Paul is really saying.

2Co 5:1 - 10  For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3  if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4  For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5  Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6  So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7  For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9  Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NKJV)

Paul is talking about our "earthly house, this tent" (our body) and our "Heavenly building" from God. Verse 2 says that we "groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed" with that Heavenly body. Verse 4 goes on to say that we desire to be "further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life". Verse 6 says that we know that "while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord".

So now, verse 8. "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord". This doesn't say that we are instantly present with the Lord but rather, because of all the earnest desire to be rid of our mortal bodies it is preferable to be "absent from the body" so we can be "with the Lord". There is nothing in the context of this passage that says that being with the Lord is immediate upon death.

I look forward to listening to Mr. Coram's audio recording and discussing it here.

One more thing, I see that there have been 78 views of this thread. If you are reading these posts and either agree, disagree or have more questions, please add your thoughts to this thread. We would love to get a dozen or more people involved in our excursion through hell.  ;)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 04:54:31 AM by GregD »

Michael:D

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 04:18:53 PM »
I have waited just about as long as I could (to continue this discussion,) in the hopes that someone else might jump in here and offer their two cents...
I thought someone would surely want to chime-in here with Luke 16:19-31

So allow me...


Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

19 "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 "Then 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.' 25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'

27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "


Granted; Jesus offered this as a parable, and many believers will offer these versus as proof of a Burning Hell of Eternal Torment. For the sake of argument one must ask, "Why would Jesus speak of this place in contrast to another place, a place of comfort? Does this not seem to suggest a dichotomy of expectation for after death?"  This seems to include a foreshadowing of the resurrection (Luke 16:31) - Where did this imagery originate if not right here in the Bible? - worth a closer look, I'd say...

GregD

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2017, 04:50:46 AM »
I wanted to comment on something that Mike:D posted back on Feb. 9th and I totally forgot. He posted part of an article written by Dr. Rogers where he says:

Quote
The reason we have so much  so-called Hell in our world is because we have so little in our pulpits.

I couldn't disagree with this more (surprised... arn-cha?  ;) )

I think there are two... if not more... reasons why there is "so much hell in the world today".
  • 1: The curse, i.e. the fall. We can't help it. We live in a fallen world.
  • 2: The gospel. To clarify, what we are teaching the world today about God is that He will punish, for all eternity anyone who doesn't love Him.

The correct gospel is that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. Joh.3:17 says that God sent His Son to save the world. Joh.1:29 says that Jesus came to "take away the sin of the world". 2Co.5:18-20 says that we are reconciled to God, through the work of the cross, through the death of Jesus. Our gospel, our good news to the world should be that Jesus is a successful savior. He came to take away the sin of the world and to save or reconcile us with God and that's exactly what He did.

If we would start teaching this gospel... the correct gospel, I'm convinced there would be less "hell in the world".

GregD

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Re: The Case for "Fire and Brimstone"
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 05:23:13 AM »
I should have done this reply first so it would immediately follow Mike:D's post on "Lazarus and the Rich Man". I'm sorry if the order of posts is confusing.

The following is an excerpt from a larger commentary I have on death but it speaks directly to the Lazarus parable. It should be remembered that Jesus spoke in parables, not to make His teachings easier to understand but to make them more difficult.

Mat.13:10-17: 10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 

So, parables were not meant to clarify Jesus' teaching but to confuse it. This was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Ok, here is the excerpt on the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man:

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The Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31

Believe it or not, this is the ONLY place in the entire New Testament that suggests that a lost soul goes into a fiery hell immediately at death. This idea is not taught anywhere else - not by Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter or Paul.

Jesus often told parables. While containing many practical lessons, parables are not meant to be taken literally. Here are 9 reasons why the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is definitely a parable:

1.   Jesus often began his parables in the book of Luke with the phrase, ?a certain...? See Luk.12:16; 13:6; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:11-12; 20:9 (KJV).
2.   A man cannot literally enter into ?the bosom? or chest of Abraham.
3.   It is impossible for anyone who is literally burning in fire to carry on a normal conversation.
4.   Can those in heaven and hell talk to each other?
5.   The rich man was represented as being ?bodily? in hell, with eyes, a mouth, a tongue, etc. This is obviously symbolic. If the rich man?s grave was dug up, wouldn?t his body be there? Of course.
6.   A real man burning in fire would not ask for a little water to cool his tongue. (He would ask for the fire brigade!)
7.   Jesus Christ did not interpret every parable He told. Yet He did interpret the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13. In His interpretation of this parable, Jesus said plainly that hell-fire occurs at the end, rather than at death. Read Mat.13:40.
8.   Consciousness at death contradicts the rest of the Bible. Ecc.9:5,10; Psa.6:5; 115:17; 146:4; etc.
9.   2Pe.2:9 says that the lost will not be punished until ?the day of judgment? which occurs at the end of the 1000 years (see Rev.20:11-15).

The purpose of this parable was to teach the greedy Pharisees that contrary to their present opinions, the rich are not necessarily blessed and the poor cursed (16:14, 22-23), that a man?s destiny is fixed at death (16:26), that speaking against Him with their ?tongues? would result in their going into hell-fire (16:4), and that if they would not believe Moses and the prophets, a resurrection would not convince them (16:29, 31). Thus Jesus declared that we must believe Moses and the prophets.

Nowhere in the writings of ?Moses and the prophets? do people instantly go to heaven or into hell-fire at death. Why did Jesus use the name Lazarus? Because this parable was also a prophecy. At the end of His life Jesus would resurrect a real person named Lazarus, yet this miracle would still not convince the Pharisees that He was the Messiah. Joh.11:1-53.

Note: We should interpret parables in the light of the rest of the Bible, rather than the rest of the Bible in the light of one parable. 

The point of this excerpt is that we shouldn't take this parable as proof that hell exists. This was an object lesson, specifically for the pharisees, that started back in Luk.15:1 with the parable of the Lost Sheep, the parable of the Lost Coin, the parable of the Prodigal Son, the parable of the Bad Steward and finally the parable of Lazarus. All 5 of these parables were directed at the pharisees who thought they were righteous, Godly men. Turns out,  not so much.