I'M SCARED—OF GOD AND HELL!

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Perhaps if you've been reading some of our other stories, you may be learning that God really is A WONDERFUL, KIND AND LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER! 

But still you hear these terrible stories about how God will put bad people in HELL and torture them and burn them for ever and ever! 

You hear that as soon as we die, we either go to heaven right away, or we go to HELL and be tortured for always! Some people even tell you that even if you are going to get to go to heaven, you still have to go to PURGATORY and be tortured for a few thousand years to get rid of your sins!

They say that God is made happy when He hears the wicked people screaming in pain, and you wonder HOW CAN A GOD OF LOVE DO SOMETHING HORRIBLE LIKE THAT??

WELL, as always, the TRUTH sets us free from fear. The Bible does NOT teach that we go to Heaven or Hell when we die. 

It does not say people will be burned forever and ever, although there are a few verses that seem to say that, when we don't understand what they mean. 

AND the BIBLE never heard of a place called PURGATORY!! You can search from cover to cover and you will not find it in the Bible!

LET'S LEARN THE TRUTH, SHALL WE?

THE 'DEADER' GOES BY

 Tom and Tony were bored with life. It had been raining and raining and raining for I don't know how long, and they had played with all their toys until they had lost interest in everyone of them.

Tony, the smaller of the two, was at the window, mournfully repeating the old refrain: "Rain, rain, go to Spain"; but the rain was very obstinate this afternoon. It just wouldn't go.

Suddenly, however, Tony raised a shout of eager interest.

Something was happening in the street. “Tom!" he cried, “come here and have a look! There's a deader going by."

“A what going by?" asked Tom.

“A deader. See, look at the lovely flowers and the nice shiny cars."

“What a long procession!" exclaimed Tom, running to the window. “My, what a lot of cars! That must be Mr. Jones's funeral. "

“I 'spect he must be pretty hot by now," said Tony.

“Hot! Why ever should he be hot?"

" 'Cos he was a bad man, and Satan must have popped him into the fire right away."

"How do you know he was a bad man?" asked Tom, surprised at his little brother's certainty as to poor Mr. Jones's fate.

" 'Cos," replied Tony solemnly, "I heard him swear one day when he was in our house. And he used to smoke. And I heard Mamma say he went home drunk one night. So I ' spect he'll be poked down and down where it's very, very hot, and he'll smell like roast…"

"Tony!" cried a voice from the other side of the room. "What is that you're saying?" "Hello, Auntie," said both boys together, turning around. "We didn't know you had come."

"I think I came just in time," said Auntie.

“You did," said Tony eagerly. "Come and see the deader going by! He's almost gone now, but you can still see the cars."

"Tony," said Auntie, "you shouldn't speak like that about a funeral. Poor Mrs. Jones and all the family are very, very sad about it, and you should be sorry for them and not make fun about it."

"We weren't making fun," said Tom indignantly. "We were only looking, and Tony was saying where he thought Mr. Jones had gone."

"But Tony was quite wrong," said Auntie, "and you should both have known better."

”But that's what my teacher told me happens to bad people," said Tony with a grieved air.

“Then he was wrong."

"But it was a lady."

“Then she was wrong," said Auntie; "and if you will come over here by the fire, I will tell you all about it." Glad for any sort of change, the two little boys rushed over to grab the most comfortable seats beside the fire. "Now go on, Auntie," said Tom, now as interested as Tony.

"Well," said Auntie, "I am going to tell you just what is found in the Bible. For that is God's Book, where He tells us how man came into this world and what happens to him when he goes out of it.

"First of all, how did man come into the world? I am going to read a text in the second chapter of Genesis, verse seven: 'The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.' Now, Tony, how many things go to make up a man?"

"Two things," said Tony.

"Good boy," said Auntie. "That's right. First, the dust of the ground, and second, the breath of life. The two together make a 'living soul.' Separate them, and death comes. Do you see?"

"I s'pose that's what makes a deader," said Tony.

"Yes," said Auntie, with a smile, "a deader. We read of this separation at death in Ecclesiastes, chapter twelve, verse seven, where it says, 'Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [which is another word for breath] shall return unto God who gave it.' So you see that when the body and the breath are separated, there is no more a living soul"

This was rather deep for Tony.

"Do you mean there is nothing left to be poked down into a fire by Satan?" he said after a pause.

"That's exactly right," said Auntie. "There just isn't anything left. Now, if I turn over the page I read here in chapter nine, verse five, that 'the dead know not any thing'; and again in verse ten, 'There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave.' It couldn't be plainer, could it?"

"No," said Tom. "It's very plain. But don't good people, then, go to heaven when they die?"

"How can they?" said Auntie. "The same thing happens to them as to the bad people. The two parts; the dust and the breath; separate, and there is no more living soul. The people are simply dead."

"But, Auntie," asked Tony, reluctant to let go of his idea, "won't the bad people ever be poked down into a big, hot fire?"

"And won't the good people ever go to heaven?" asked Tom.

"Oh, yes," said Auntie. "While it is perfectly true that the dead know nothing, and are as fast asleep as tired little boys after a hard day's play, yet one day they will all wake up and come to life again. 

Jesus has told us that. He said: 'The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.' That is found in the fifth chapter of John, verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine; but there are other texts that say the same thing.

There is no doubt whatever that the dead will be raised to life, and then the good people will be rewarded and the bad people punished."

"But, Auntie," asked Tom, "when will it happen? Thousands of years in the future?"

"I don't think so, dearie. You see, Tom, there is a definite time fixed by God for the dead to be raised. In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, the fourth chapter and sixteenth verse, we are told that 'the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven: . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise.' From this it is clear that all the good people who have gone to sleep in death believing in Jesus will be awakened by His glorious voice calling to them when He comes again. And many today believe that it will not be very long before that happens."

"But, Auntie," said Tony, with a worried look on his face, "what about the fire for the wicked people? Isn't there anything about that?"

"Oh, yes, Tony," said Auntie. "That is just as clear, too, though there is only time to read you one text now. Here it is in the twentieth chapter of Revelation and the ninth verse. Here you have the story of what happens to all the wicked people who are brought back to life to hear their final sentence from God. It says, 'Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.' "

"A-a-a-a-h!" exclaimed Tony as though fully satisfied at last. "I knew they'd get it sometime."

"And the fire will burn up everybody and everything bad?" asked Tom.

"Yes, dear," said Auntie. "Everything bad will be burned up, and God will make a glorious new home for all the people who love Him; and in that happy, happy land there will be no more sickness or pain, and nobody will ever die any more."

"And we shall never see a deader going by again?" said Tony. "No, dear," said Auntie with deep feeling; "thank God, never, never again. "

 

What and Where Is Hell?

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In our Page about Death we learned what happens to a person when he dies. We saw that those who accept Jesus as their Saviour and obey Him, are sleeping in their graves until He comes back to awaken them at the resurrection.

There are many, however, who pay no attention to what the Bible teaches; they will not listen to Jesus; they refuse to obey His commandments. It is impossible for Jesus to take them to heaven in their sins. What will become of them? In looking for the answer to this question, we need to know exactly what the Bible teaches. Only God can give us the true answer.

Genesis 3:3-5 tells us who first promised man that he could disobey God and never die.

“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

This is the only text in the Bible that promises man that he can disobey God and have eternal life and it was Satan's Lie! The Bible tells us that it was Satan who spoke through the serpent to fool Eve.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9

Jesus told us plainly what Satan is.Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

When Jesus wakes up the dead and calls them from their graves we call it the Resurrection. Jesus said there would be two resurrections.

“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29

Jesus told us that most of the people would not go to heaven because they would not let Him help them to be ready for heaven. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14

How sad it is that there are far more wicked people in the world than there are good people. All who refuse to follow the right way will be lost. Those who are not willing to live according to God’s laws here, would be most unhappy in heaven.

Many religions of the world teach that when a wicked person dies he goes immediately to a place called "hell." where he is tormented with fire forever. Many heathen religions have taught this for centuries. Several hundred years ago this false teaching came into the Christian church.

Others say that a good God would not torture someone forever because of a few years of wrong living. They believe that there really is no hell, and that this is just God’s way of threatening people to make them do what is right. They make God to be the liar! But, the question is, What does the Bible teach?

 Let the Bible tell us what reward sin brings: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The wages of sin is death; not life. If, as many people believe, the dead live for ever in hell fire, then they would really have eternal life too, just as do the righteous. The difference would be that the righteous live in peace and happiness, while the wicked suffer.

We know that there are not any people in hell now because Jesus told us when all men will receive their reward: “For the Son of man [Jesus] shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

This verse, tells us that no one will receive his reward until Jesus comes with all His angels. Therefore the wicked are not now in hell. So where are the wicked dead people now?

“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29

Jesus teaches that the wicked sleep in their graves until the resurrection day, when they will come forth to receive their punishment. They are not now suffering in hell!

What would be the need of calling the wicked from their graves in the resurrection day if they were already in hell? Why should they come up for judgment, if they were already suffering in hell for hundreds of years? That would be very unreasonable.

The fact is that hell-fire was really not prepared for people, but for Satan and his rebel host. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41

They will be punished in the lake of fire at the final judgment. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6

This is called the Second Death: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14, 15

Sadly though, many people will also die in that Lake of Fire because they refused all their lives, to allow Jesus to be able to save them and remove sin and rebellion from their hearts.

No sin defiled heart can enter heaven. It was sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. You don’t want to hold on to it, instead, let Jesus free you from sin and write your name in the Book of Life!

The Bible tells us about that day when the wicked are destroyed forever. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1

Stubble is what is left in the field after the grain has been harvested. It is very dry and burns very hot and very quickly. When the fire has done its work only ashes are left; we see no picture of people suffering for eternity.

“And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 4:3

Jesus said that the wicked are like weeds. “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares (weeds) are the children of the wicked one.” Matthew 13:38

He said the weeds will be burned up. “As therefore the tares (weeds) are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.” Matthew 13:40

He also tells us when this will happen:As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:40-42

How nicely this goes along with the statement of Jesus in Matthew 11:22 where He speaks of a day of judgment as a future event. It would be wrong to think that a person is being punished before he has been judged!

Here is another reason we know there is no eternally burning Hell; because the place where the destruction of the wicked takes place is right here on this earth! “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:9

You may ask, "But do not some texts speak of eternal torment which will last forever, of eternal fire, and unquenchable fire?" Yes, there are those texts, but let’s look at some other Bible texts and see if they will help us understand these other more difficult texts. We must always remember that the Bible does not contradict itself!

Over here in Exodus 21:6 we are told how long some Hebrew servants were to serve their master? “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.”

Now we certainly know that in this case, the term "forever" means as long as the servant lived, and no longer.

Now notice the period of time Samuel’s mother said he was to serve the Lord in Shiloh. “But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.” 1 Samuel 1:22

And a few verses later we see what she meant: “Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” 1 Samuel 1:28

The term ‘forever’ was as long as the servant or Samuel lived. In both the Old and New Testaments, the term forever is used more than fifty times with reference to something that has already come to an end.

Let’s see how long Jonah said he was in the fish. “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.” Jonah 2:6

I’m sure it must have felt like ‘forever’ but how long was it really? “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

 In the case of Jonah, the term "forever" was a very short period of time.

What does the Bible say about the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7

Those wicked cities are not still burning today. What does the Bible say they are now? “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:6

Peter tells us that when the fire had completed its work, nothing was left but ashes. That is exactly what Malachi 4:3 said would be left of the wicked after the fire of destruction in the last day had done its work.

God said an unquenchable fire would burn Jerusalem if the people continued to rebel and disobey His commandments.

“But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” Jeremiah 17:27

Even though God had said the fire would be unquenchable, we would not think that this fire is still burning today. When God said, through the prophet Jeremiah, that the fire would be unquenchable, He meant that no man would be able to put it out until it had done its appointed work of destroying the city.

Is God anxious to burn up the wicked? No He says clearly He wants to be able to save them. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11

In Isaiah 28:21 we are told that the terrible work of destroying the lost is a "strange act" for Jesus to do. His whole life was spent and sacrificed in trying to help save men. It will be a fearful, heartbreaking time when Jesus at last comes to do "His act, His strange act" of destroying those who have rejected His pleadings and for whom He gave His life.

Remember that not one person will be destroyed unless he has rejected the opportunity to be saved. Jesus will save all who will accept Him as their Saviour. Those who knowingly cling to sin must pay the penalty—the second death.

God will soon set fire to the horrible rubbish pile of sin in this old world. He is going to clean the universe of the very memory of sin. Sin will be destroyed wherever it is found. In mercy Jesus pleads with you to forsake sin so that you will not be destroyed at last.

Jesus wants to save each one of us. He cannot bear to think of even one soul being lost. He suffered and died on the cross to open the doors of Heaven for each person! Will you not say, "Jesus, I surrender all"?

NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, YOUNG OR OLD, WEAK OR STRONG, JESUS WILL SAVE ALL WHO COME TO HIM AND ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND POWER TO LIVE A LIFE THAT PLEASES HIM. 

NO ONE WILL BE LEFT OUT OF HEAVEN WHO REALLY, TRULY CHOOSES TO GO THERE!

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