Hell – The Juxtaposition Of Postulation & Reality (Part 1): Sermon By Bishop Gobanga
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 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. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
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. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.Luke 16:19-31 (KJV)
Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me. Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.Matthew 25:41-46 (AMPC)
Damnation is a state where the human soul is cut off from God. Salvation is the state where the human soul is united with God.
Salvation and damnation are not imposed on us from the external but they emanate from who God is. It is God’s nature to want to save people.
Your comprehension of heaven is informed by the knowledge you have of hell.
The Bible is full of images and symbolism about heaven. The language of imagery does not imply that it is giving you a literal description of heaven. The Spirit of God uses the language of symbolism to express that which is not expressible in human language.
We are not to be caught up in symbolism but in the reality.
Crowns – signify that those that are united in Christ will share in His splendour and majesty.
Gold – suggests the timelessness of heaven because it does not rust or perish. It also symbolises the preciousness of heaven because heaven is very precious.
The infinite beauty of heaven cannot be expressed by the finite human mind. The human mind cannot bring out the reality of what heaven is.
Your ability to imagine things cannot bring out them in their perfect state. Imagination enables you to comprehend but cannot make you elucidate the reality of a thing.
The doctrine of hell has been distorted by the Church to manipulate and cause fear in people.
The devil has used the idea of burning in hell forever to show God as unjust. This is not true and we shall prove it in Scripture.
We serve a God of forgiveness. When He punishes He does so in measure to His justness and His punishment is with a finality.
The promise Jesus gave the thief was a futuristic one. The Bible does not say when the thief joined Jesus in paradise.
And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.Luke 23:43 (AMPC)
Religion has basically convoluted the definitum of the Scriptures. It is important for us to realise that Jesus spent the entire Sabbath in the grave waiting to be raised.
Jesus said to her, Do not cling to Me [do not hold Me], for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.John 20:17 (AMPC)
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ affected the Father because even while He was on earth, He and the Father where still united as One. Whatever was going on earth was also going on in the spirit.
The wages of sin is death. It is not eternal torment in some place called ‘hell’. If Jesus did not pay the death penalty for our sins, it means that we should pay for our sins while we live.
The Bible makes it clear that every unrepentant soul will pay for its sins. Every unrepentant sinner will pay for their sins if the don’t believe in Christ.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life.John 5:24 (AMPC)
Sinners will perish while those who are faithful will receive eternal life.
Death is described as the thoughts of the person perishing where the dead know nothing and lose their consciousness. Death is obliteration.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; and they have no more reward [here], for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hatred and their envy have already perished; neither have they any more a share in anything that is done under the sun.Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 (AMPC)
The dead praise not the Lord, neither any who go down into silence.Psalm 115:17 (AMPC)
When his breath leaves him, he returns to his earth; in that very day his [previous] thoughts, plans, and purposes perish.Psalm 146:4 (AMPC)
Sheol (Hebrews), Hades (New Testament) – grave, pit, the world of the dead, the tomb. This does not co-relate with the English rendering of the same.
Gehenna (Greek) – Hinnom – a deep gorge.
Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Hinnom Valley.Nehemiah 11:30 (AMPC)
And Josiah defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom [son of Hinnom], that no man might ever burn there his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech.2 Kings 23:10 (AMPC)
This valley/gorge was an object of horror to the Jews. It served as a receptacle of bones. The place where the refuse of every unclean thing was deposited. The fire in this place burned continually, so as to consume the absolute corrupt things in the land and to manage the smell of what was thrown in. It came to serve as representation of absolute ruin.
The English word ‘hell’ has become to be associated with the lake of fire. Yet, hell, the grave, does not have fire. When people die, they do not go to some place that has fire, they go to hell i.e. the grave.
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:13-15 (NKJV)
The Lake of Fire is mentioned in Revelation 20:13-15. Those who enter the Lake of Fire suffer complete destruction. It is punishment which is eternal and permanent. The process is not permanent, but the aftermath of the punishment is permanent.
Anyone who knew about Hinnom knew that everything that was thrown in was consumed completely. It was a symbol of destruction of every wicked thing.
The Lake of Fire – the Valley of Gehenna – became a representation of a place of destruction. Hell does not have fire.
[The wicked are sentenced to suffer] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent towns—which likewise gave themselves over to impurity and indulged in unnatural vice and sensual perversity—are laid out [in plain sight] as an exhibit of perpetual punishment [to warn] of everlasting fire.Jude 1:7 (AMPC)
These cities in Jude 1:7 are not still burning today, yet the word ‘eternal’ has been used. The process of burning was not eternal, but the outcome was permanent or eternal. When God destroys, He ensures that nothing remains. The fire burned until each and everything in these cities where consumed and after there was nothing left to burn, it went off.
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.Jeremiah 17:7 (AMPC)
Those that have died before us have not yet been judged. For judgment to happen, God only judges the living and not the dead. For judgment to happen, the dead must first be raised from the dead. This is what will happen on Judgment Day.
Most people seem to see fires that are unquenchable, but most fires burn out after what can be burned has been consumed.
The amazing thing with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is that they were completely destroyed such that even archaeology hasn’t been able to ascertain their exact locations. When God destroys, nothing remains.
As soon as everything was consumed by the fire, it fire burned out. The fire would have continuing burning if everything had not been burnt out.
It is impossible for them that are consumed to burn forever.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)Psalm 104:35 (AMPC)
After the wicked are judged, that will be their end. The Bible teaches that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both the wicked and the righteous. The wicked shall face the Great White Throne of Judgment while the righteous will appear before the Seat of Christ.
For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord [in the end] shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the evildoers will be no more; though you look with care where they used to be, they will not be found. But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the [uncompromisingly] righteous (the upright in right standing with God); they gnash at them with their teeth.Psalm 37:9-12 (AMPC)
The myth of eternal torture is a pagan doctrine. This is a complete misinterpretation of Who God is. It is not biblical.
The wicked will not always be there. When there are judged, they will be gone forever.
In Luke 16:19-31, Lazarus did not go to heaven and neither did the rich man go to hell. People have taken this parable to be a literal representation of the afterlife. But that is a misinterpretation of this parable. A parable is a story designed to make a point. We must accept this story as a parable and nothing else.
With the parable, the Spirit of God desires to communicate that Lazarus serves as a type of all Gentile converts who become children of Abraham, while the rich man serves as a type of the Jews who rejected salvation.
The Bible does not tell us whether Abraham’s bosom was hell or heaven. We must take the verse for what it says, and not add or take away anything.
Abraham’s bosom signifies a very close and loving relationship. The reference to the very close relationship between Abraham and Lazarus, does not speak of a time or place. It simply speaks of the nature of the relationship.
Abraham is not reclining in heaven waiting for people to come.
The story of Lazarus and the rich man is meant to be a depiction of that there will be eternal life. Some shall receive eternal life and others eternal damnation.
And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.Luke 16:24 (AMPC)
Luke 16:24 – The word that is used in the original rendering is Hades and not Lake of Fire. There is no mystery about what happened to the rich man. The lifting up of his eyes simply meant that he rose from the dead. The rich man was not in torment because of fire but because of the atrocities that he had committed.
It is the word of God that people have rejected that sends people to hell. Not God. What torments people in the Lake Of Fire is the consequences of their sin.
There are those whose judgment will prolong for a very, very, very long time, more than others. The Bible is very consistent. You cannot reap that which you did not sow. The evil that you commit is what will torment you, but what judges you is the word of God that you reject.
The rich man was basically going through mental torment (sorrow, stress, duress) when he considered the life that he had lived. He was gripped with intense fear of what he had done and the gravity of what was befalling him.
The rich man requested that Abraham send Lazarus to his brothers. When people are dead, they lack consciousness of time. It’s possible that much time had passed since the rich man’s death. it’s upon those that are alive to hear the Gospel.
And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father’s house – For I have five brothers – so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them. But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent (change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead.Luke 16:27-31 (AMPC)
You and I no longer need an angel or a dead person to come to us to warn us. We already have the warning.
While alive, you have an opportunity to make things right. It is not the seed of iniquity that will torment you, it is the fruit of evil that will consume you psychologically, emotionally and physically.
The rich man was being tormented by fear because he saw his punishment coming, but not soon.
When Abraham talks of the gulf between them and the rich man, he means that sin separates man from God.
People who continually sin create a barrier between them and God. God cannot bless people who live in sin and He cannot protect them. He only protects the righteous. The rich man’s sins had cut him off from God making him unable to partake of anything that was good.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation abetween you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.Isaiah 59:1-2 (AMPC)
For you to be able to escape the fire of the consequences of what you have done, heed to the word of God.
Darkness simply means that you are existing in a reprobate, degraded state with no ability to grasp truth and everything around you is deception. It also signifies judgment.
Darkness is Biblical language of symbolism that represents the state of they have been separated from Christ. To be found not to be in Christ is to be found in death or in darkness.
Just as a full day in the natural consists of both light and dark, in the spirit realm there are two loci of existence – light and darkness. Light is life and the knowledge of truth. That is why you cannot be in the Kingdom and in the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.James 4:4 (NKJV)
You cannot be in the world and the Kingdom of God. Simply coming to church will not earn you a ticket to heaven.
The best thing that you can do while you are alive is to learn from the lives of they that have gone before you and to abide to the Gospel of salvation that is being preached.
It is typical of the human nature to reject that which the word of God says.
The dead have nothing to do with the living. The dead do not appear to the living. The devil can use the soul of parted person to speak to you. He has the tendency of super imposing himself on the imagery of dead people and giving instructions that may seem godly but they are not.
Jesus used Abraham in the parable to illustrate a point. It does not mean that Abraham was present.
The story is supposed to depict that there will be resurrection and that some will inherit eternal life, while others will inherit eternal damnation.
The old heaven and the old earth will be destroyed. The Lake of Fire will be on this earth.
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