Posted in hell, theology

Will they repent in hell? Will they finally be sorry?

By Elizabeth Prata

Sometimes we think that when people die outside of Jesus and they earn their final resting place in the fires of hell, they will be sorry. That at least we might have the comfort of knowing they see Jesus for who He really is, see their sin for what it was, and repent. Everyone should bow to Jesus in true repentance, and so, we might be tempted to come up with a fantasy of everyone being sorry and being contrite and repentant in the end.

Will the abuser be sorrowful for his deeds against his family?
Will the molester be repenting for his evil?
Will the serial adulterer be sad for what he did to his wife?
Will the neglectful parent be contrite for their perfidy?

No. They will not.

They will not repent in hell.

But this gives us two lessons.

1. Never underestimate the power of sin.
2. The hell-dwellers’ unrepentance should make us love Jesus for the savior He is. We need a power outside of us to bring us to repentance.

First, what in the Bible tells me they will not repent? Do I even have grounds for saying so? Hell is a very powerful motivator, isn’t it?

First, the Pharisees knew Jesus was from God. Nicodemus said to Jesus that ‘We know you’re from God…” (John 3:2). They personally saw His miracles. For example, no one had ever, in the history of time, been healed of blindness. (John 10:21). Yet they would not repent despite clear proof and sure knowledge of Hades. They saw Jesus for who He is, and refused to repent.

Lazarus’s Rich Man…he lived an expensive life of wealth and comfort. Lazarus the poor man lay at the rich man’s gate begging, with sores. When Lazarus died he went to Abraham’s bosom and a peaceful rest. The Rich Man went to Hades and torment.

Yet the Rich Man kept ordering Abraham to “send” Lazarus topside to perform tasks for him. Even though the situation was explained to the Rich Man, that he’d had his comforts and now Lazarus was receiving his, the Rich Man displayed not an ounce of compassion or generosity for poor Lazarus. He just kept wanting to disturb Lazarus from his rest to go do more stuff for the Rich Man.

In Revelation 16:9, it says,

They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

They knew the plagues were supernatural and further, they know it was God’s doing. They did not repent. The Tribulation is hell on earth, wrath poured out. What makes anyone think that if someone is removed to a different location, hell under the earth instead of on the earth, that at last they would be sorry?

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luke 13:3 above indicates the timeline. Repent, OR perish. The time for repentance is topside. (Not that any person can change locations after death, but even repentance will not be possible, nor remorse.) The Rich Man was only sorry that his brothers might have to come to Hades, but he never said he was remorseful for anything he had done.

1. Never underestimate the power of sin in an unregenerated heart.

Eve and Adam sinned. They personally knew God. They lived in a perfect state of being- emotionally and physically. They sinned.

Lucifer was the most beautiful, the most high angel. He dwelled in glory in close proximity to God. He watched the power of God create the universe. Yet, Lucifer sinned.

Sin is the most powerful force in the universe under God. Sin enslaves. What can enslave a person? Something so powerful you cannot extricate yourself. A force beyond your control or ability to cope. That’s powerful.

Sin kills. That’s powerful.

People underestimate sin’s draw. They dabble. They worship their sin. They succumb to temptation. Sin is powerful.

2. Therefore, hell-dwellers’ unrepentance should make us love Jesus all the more for the Savior He is. Without Him, no one would be saved! We need a power outside of us to bring us to repentance. Grace is MORE powerful!! He chose to save us, despite our unrepentance and our hell-bound trajectory. He saved us with grace, grace, grace. What relief! What joy!

No, repent while you can, While the Light is here, before the darkness comes…while it is day, before the night.

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7).

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. (John 12:35)

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Here is a VERY sobering essay from Banner of Truth:

The Lake of Fire: What’s It Like, Who Goes There, and Why?

 

wrath

Posted in hell, theology

What about hell?

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to speak of Jesus’s love, mercy, grace, salvation, and sanctification. However I also think it is important to speak of His justice, wrath, and consignment of the rebellious to hell in torment forever. Jesus spoke both of His kingdom to come and hell constantly. Yet, we don’t. We should. Many of those on earth won’t be joining Him in His kingdom to come unless they repent of their sins and believe on Him. Jesus taught quite a bit on wrath, hell and the consequences of sin. I read this week for background to this essay that the Bible runs 3-to-1 on wrath vs. love as a topic.

As Bible.org sums it up,

It may be worth noting that in Deuteronomy 28 (and following), the blessing section (28:1-14) is a great deal shorter than the cursing section (28:15-68).

Paul taught that thinking about and teaching about the rapture and the joy to come is encouraging. It is, but remembering the wrath we ourselves were under before salvation and is still poised over every unbeliever is a worthwhile thing to ponder, too.

I started a new book this week, John Gerstner’s treatise, Jonathan Edwards’ on Heaven & Hell. It’s quite illuminating. Though hell should not be a popular subject, (after all it’s the weightiest in the universe), it should not be marginalized, either. Here is the blurb on the book-

Dr. Gerstner was an ardent student of the famous Jonathan Edwards. In this short work, previously published by Baker, he examines the teaching of Edwards on the subjects of heaven and hell.

Hell is a real place and unconverted people will be cast there at the Day of Judgment. If it not real, then where did Jesus descend to during his three-day death to proclaim to the spirits bound there? (1 Peter 3:18-20). Though people try to debate this, dampen, it (annihilationism, universal salvation), hell is real.

If you are looking for a resource on the topic of hell, here are a few items for you-

Described as

a. Everlasting punishment. Mt 25:46.
b. Everlasting fire. Mt 25:41.
c. Everlasting burnings. Isa 33:14.
d. A furnace of fire. Mt 13:42,50.
e. A lake of fire. Rev 20:15.
f. Fire and brimstone. Rev 14:10.
g. Unquenchable fire. Mt 3:12.
h. Devouring fire. Isa 33:14.
4. Prepared for the devil, &c. Mt 25:41.
5. Devils are confined in, until the judgment day. 2Pe 2:4; Jude 1:6.
6. Punishment of, is eternal. Isa 33:14; Rev 20:10.
7. The wicked shall be turned into. Ps 9:17.
8. Human power cannot preserve from. Eze 32:27.
9. The body suffers in. Mt 5:29; 10:28.
10. The soul suffers in. Mt 10:28.
11. The wise avoid. Pr 15:24.
12. Endeavour to keep others from. Pr 23:14; Jude 1:23.
13. The society of the wicked leads to. Pr 5:5; 9:18.
14. The beast, false prophets, and the devil shall be cast into. Rev 19:20; 20:10.
15. The powers of, cannot prevail against the Church. Mt 16:18.
16. Illustrated. Isa 30:33.

John Gerstner (RC Sproul’s mentor) was an ardent student of Jonathan Edwards’ works, as noted above. From Gerstner’s essay on Edwards’ Rationale of Hell, we read Gerstner’s thoughts interspersed with Edwards’-

“those that have a sinful fear of God fear God as evil, but a right fear fears him as great and excellent.” (Edwards). Thus there is a right and wrong fear of God. This wrong fear of God, fearing him as an evil and dreadful being, drives men from God.

“A sinful fear makes men afraid to come to God.” (Edwards)

But, on the other hand, there is a proper fear of God, as the good and holy being that he is, and this right fear makes men afraid to go from him.

Eve and Adam had a sinful fear of God and they fled from Him. Those who are in Him would have a healthy fear to flee away from Him, but instead fly toward Him in all circumstances. On so many levels, once we are converted, everything turns upside down (or right side up, depending on yoru perspective!)

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luke 3:7).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell? (Matthew 23:33)

I’m sorry not to be uplifting or sentimental today. Sometimes I feel the weight of the lost and their permanent eternity, or I give a mournful shaking of my head when I see important topics being shunted aside, and I feel compelled to write about the more unpopular subjects. Hell might not be popular, but it is very real. I recommend John Gerstner (especially at Ligonier.org) and Jonathan Edwards for credible treatment of the subject.

wrath 3

Posted in death, discernment, hell, jesus, love, sin, wrath

When love includes hate

I had a Twitter interaction this week. With an opening like that, you know how the rest of this is going to go.

There are Christians on Twitter who tweet verses about God’s love. This is fine and great. I do that too! But there is an overemphasis in social media on God’s love, and rarely presentation of our personal sin, or His wrath, or the world’s curse or death, or hell. Yet Jesus spoke more of hell than heaven.

As the writer at Bible.org stated,

It may be worth noting that in Deuteronomy 28 (and following), the blessing section (28:1-14) is a great deal shorter than the cursing section (28:15-68). 

Speaking only of hell or wrath isn’t good either. God is a balanced and perfect God, and speaking of any and all of His attributes is always fruitful. But the excessive focus on “love” is, well, sickeningly sweet to me. Presenting only the ‘good’ attributes like love to the world, gives the world a picture of a Holy and Sovereign God as needy and wimpy.

Here is how the Twitter conversation went. I saw this tweet being re-tweeted by someone who I follow and follows me:

So I replied with this from Revelation 19:11,

And she valiantly and staunchly tweeted back:

She didn’t even tweet back a verse of love, but instead chose to deliberately cut out the part of the verse that says He makes war and judges. Those attributes are not so popular, and they get very little airing on public forums like Facebook, comment sections, and Twitter. So I answered:

And there was no reply.

I had heard a Phil Johnson sermon this weekend that I enjoyed. (What Phil Johnson sermon ever isn’t to enjoy? 🙂 Here is the part where Pastor Johnson was explaining how an overemphasis on Jesus’ love diminishes even the holy attribute of His love to a man-centered false notion of love that is far from the truth. Here is Pastor Phil Johnson:

Love Not The World

Now this is vital, because there are a lot of people who want to make the principle of love a kind of ethereal goodwill that is strewn about indiscriminately on every conceivable object. In fact, in the culture of American Christianity, if you include the mainstream denominational groups and everyone in our society who uses the label “Christian,” I think it’s fair to say that the prevailing notion of Christian charity in society at large is an idea of love that is always benevolent, always congenial, always positive about everything. 

I hear this all the time. Years ago, when I first began to investigate and catalogue the Christian resources on the Internet, I made a large list of links to other Christian Web sites. And in order to keep them all straight in my own mind, and in order to help Christians who might not be very discerning about doctrinal dangers on the Internet, I classified my links to other web sites Web sites according to their doctrinal soundness. So there’s large a category of links I have labeled helpful, and then there are other categories called “Bad Theology” and “Really Bad Theology.” And then a few years ago I found I had to add a category called “Really, Really Bad Theology.” And I’ve annotated every link on those pages to help explain why I categorize them as bad.

And to this day, nearly every week of my life, I get e-mail messages from people who are convinced that it is inherently unloving to label anyone else’s ideas bad theology. And they write me to chide me for posting my disagreements with other Christians’ doctrine on the Web. 

But the love that is called for in the New Commandment is not a vague, indiscriminate congeniality. Real love for the truth necessarily involves hatred for error.

Real love for God includes hatred of error. One error is the gauzy exclusive focus on Jesus-as-boyfriend, “in love” with His bride wearing a wrath of braided daisies and never the Crown of many diadems. Here is where the rest of the Revelation 19:11 verse takes us. To verses 12 and 13:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

The picture of Jesus than the one where He is smilingly depicted as sitting among the disciples among a field of, um, daisies is the one that social media and immature Christians exclusively present. The picture of Jesus as a bloody, judging, sin-avenger? Not so much.

Both pictures are true. Always tweeting, showing, describing, or even living, one picture of Jesus exclusively and not the entirety presents a false God.

John MacArthur’s sermon “Why the World Hates Christians, Part 1” also urges us Christians to speak of Jesus and His holy attributes of wrath, sin, judgment etc. It’s important. Don’t neglect putting them out into the world, he said, because it’s sin if we don’t. Here is Pastor MacArthur:

The world will hate you if you “start identifying evil as evil. We don’t want to do that. Let me help you. The Pope is evil. He is from the Kingdom of Darkness. He is anti-christ. Anyone who would say atheists are going to heaven, is anti-christ. Jesus said you will die in your sins and where I go you’ll never come because you believe not on Me. Not only do you need to believe on god but on Jesus Christ.

Homosexuality is evil. Gender identity tampering is evil. Adultery is evil. Fornication is evil. Lying is evil. Pride is evil. Self-centeredness is evil. Self-righteousness is evil. That’s why they killed Jesus, because He said their religion was evil. … 

John 7:7 says that the world hated Me before they hated you, because I testify of the world that its deeds are evil. If we don’t SAY that, we’re sinning. You can say it in love, but it has to be said.

Call evil what it is: evil.

We must love and talk of the attributes of God that the world hates to hear about, such as judgment, hell, wrath, and sin. If we don’t, who will?

Posted in death, hell, judgment, prophecy, second coming, sin, wrath

Preaching wrath-sin-death-judgment as well as salvation-grace-redemption-hope

“Wrath”. EPrata photo

A third of the Bible is prophecy. There are fulfilled prophecies, prophecies that have been fulfilled and will be again (double prophecies, Pentecost, Acts 2:14-21), and prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. (Christ’s second coming)

There are complicated prophecies, (Book of Obadiah, Daniel’s prophecies) and simple prophecies. (Messiah will be born of a virgin, (Isaiah 7:14). Prophecies that involve war upon nations (Ezekiel 35:4) and prophecies that involve just one individual. (Eve will be the mother of all the living, Genesis 3:20; Mary a virgin would give birth, Luke 1:35).

Many Christians are fascinated by prophecy and study them diligently. But there is a prophecy that many people don’t like to study and it is one that affects all people, Christian and non-Christian alike.

Jesus said He is coming again to judge the living and the dead. (Ecclesiastes 3:17; Jeremiah 17:10). Non-believers will be judged based on their works and condemned, and believers will be judged not unto condemnation but still, judged according to our works.

No Christian likes to be thinking about the prophecy of being weighed in the scales and found wanting. No one likes to think they have disappointed Jesus. We all want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23). Not all of us will. Some will enter heaven by the skin of their teeth. (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Yet Christians are told several times about our coming judgment (not unto condemnation, but according to our works).

Believers are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12). We will all have to give an account of ourselves. Jesus will judge the decisions we made, whether they were founded on the flesh or upon Him.

One subset of judgment will be teachers of His word. Teachers of the Bible will be judged more strictly-

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1).

Grumblers will be judged-

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! (James 4:11, James 5:9).

“Doom sky”. EPrata photo

All non-believers will be judged. As much as a Christian cringes at the thought of being judged by the Mighty Righteous God, non-believers absolutely hate us even mentioning it to them! The lost person becomes angry at the very thought of them having failed the standard God sets forth. Yet it will happen, at what is called the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15.

This judgment does not determine salvation because the lost person’s eternal state is fixed at death. Everyone at the Great White Throne will be an unbeliever who has rejected Christ while they were living and is therefore already doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12). The judgment they will be experiencing is their life works projected like a mirror against a holy and righteous God and the level of their torment assigned. Yes, there are different degrees of punishment in hell.

Believers should think about this most difficult subject for several reasons. First, because as each person is cast (thrown) into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15) we can easily what John Bradford said. He was a martyr, imprisoned for the faith in 1553. As prisoners were paraded to the execution stake, Bradford would exclaim,

The pious Martyr Bradford, when he saw a poor criminal led to execution, exclaimed, “there, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” He knew that the same evil principles were in his own heart which had brought the criminal to that shameful end. (Source A treatise on prayer by Edward Bickersteth (1822).

Over time the phrase has been amended to say “There but for the grace of God, goes I.” Any one of us could be that person facing the wrath of Jesus, condemned and tossed into the torment forever, unless it had been Him sovereignly saving us. We are no longer under wrath, but at one point in our lives, we were. Don’t forget that.

Second, the Christian should ponder these things because we must give the full counsel of God as we witness. (Acts 20:27). We must share the bad news before we can get to the Good News. The bad news that there is no one righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10). We all fall short of the glory of God and are destined for the Lake of Fire forever, to be punished for our sins by the Judge. We tend to shorten the witnessing moment because we expect the outrage and anger when sharing that the person we are talking with is a sinner in need of the grace of Jesus. It’s hard to make someone angry. Even pastors shorten the counsel of God, by omitting the sin-death-wrath-punishment part and then quickly get to the part that they think is more palatable, or “attractive.”

“Red heaven” EPrata photo

The full counsel means both sides, His sovereign choice of the people He elects to salvation, and the personal responsibility of each man to repent and believe else be eternally responsible for their sin. Spurgeon said of the full counsel of God

Running away with half a Truth, they are like men that go through the wilderness wearing only one shoe—they become lame in one foot—and that makes them limp all over. It does not matter which foot it is that is lame—the man is a cripple if either foot is thus afflicted.

Think often of the prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus. He spoke of it more often than anything else. The Bible refers of it constantly. Within the Second Coming are a host of different prophecies. I agree, they are interesting to study. However, we need to remember that we labor for a holy God and He will return to judge the living and the dead.

Acts 10:42
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.

Romans 14:9
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.


2 Timothy 4:1
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction

———————————————–

Further reading

What does it mean to preach the whole counsel of God

The whole counsel of God

What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?

Posted in comfort, death, Father, hell, john b. prata, rejection

"My failure to provide for my children is intentional" & My father’s ashes

I received an email stating that “sometime next week,” they were going to spread my father’s ashes. If I wanted to go, my aunt, my dad’s new wife, and my brother were probably going to be there.

I sent back a reply, saying I had no plans to attend, but out of curiosity since my dad owned two residences, was the ash-spreading going to be in FL or RI? I got a reply, “RI, off Beavertail.”

Beavertail is a lovely promontory with a lighthouse overlooking the Bay and was a favorite place my father liked to go. The family would take Sunday drives and would often end up there, the salty wind whipping, the whitecaps on the bay foaming, picnics on the hill, searching for periwinkles in the tidal pool.

http://www.Jamestown-ri.info

It makes sense that they’d want to spread his ashes there. It will make for a poignant send off, and all three of those people who will probably be there will in all likelihood feel saddened and melancholy and perhaps smile wistfully at some memories. None of them are saved by grace of Jesus so none of them know the truth.

I do.

My father never repented of his sins and right now is in hell, paying for them. It is where he will be forever. There is nothing one can say at any kind of a trumped up ceremony, ashes flying in the wind over the sea. I will not be present when his ashes are scattered, but I will be present when his ashes are re-gathered and he stands before the judgment seat.

And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)

Knowing this, it is a hard thing, but I trust my Lord and it is a just thing. There but for the grace of God go I. John Prata’s legacy is a sad one. His heart is expressed in the form below. His Trust reads thus:

The legacy of a hard and bitter man, angry and proud, is an eternal one that he will have to bear for all of eternity. It will be an agony.

It is a hard thing for a daughter, who still hoped against hope that somehow, she could make her daddy proud. That he cared. That somehow underneath it all, a dad really loved his children. That never mind the inheritance, somehow there would be a final letter, an acknowledgement, a word, saying, “It was all a mistake, I loved you after all.” How can it be, that a father can coldly ignore his children while he is alive, then go to legal lengths to prove his rejection wasn’t a mistake? Isn’t blood supposed to be thicker than water? Triumph in the end? No, blood is only as thick as the sin that runs through it.

His rejection is being turned back upon himself at this very moment. He is learning the sin of exasperating and rejecting his children. (Ephesians 6:4). He is learning the cost of rejecting Jesus. (John 3:36). And he’ll soon learn the finality of Jesus’ rejection of him. (Revelation 20:15).

My sadness over my father is going to be short, not eternal like his. When I die, my inheritance will be manifold. My Father will never leave me or abandon me. I am provided for. The emotionality of wounds on this side are softened by knowing that I have a spiritual joy to look forward to of a real Father who provides and loves and cares and does not forsake His children. My sadness now will be wiped away by my real Father then. The contrast is stark.

–The legacy of an angry and bitter father who split his family and reveled in wounding and rejecting.
–The legacy of a compassionate and holy Father who gathers His family and revels in restoring and reconciling.

–The legacy of a proud and greedy father who held on to money more than love but now has neither- forever.
–The legacy of a generous and benevolent Father who delights in giving as one of many expressions of His unconditional love.

If my father sought to permanently hurt or wound by that final pen stroke on 15 September 2009, he is sadly mistaken. My real Father promises:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17

I will be so consumed with the joys of the New Heavens and New Earth and being with Jesus that my mind will have no room to be wounded over the petty pen strokes of a man who for 50 short years was named a “father” to me, a relationship that will soon not even have any meaning, (Psalm 27:10) a person whom the Lord in His grace will allow me to forget.

Yet though his life was long, his memory will be longer, eternally long.

“Are there not many here that have lived long in the world, that are not to this day born again, and so are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh sirs, your case in an especial manner is extremely dangerous; your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Don’t you see how generally persons of your years are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful dispensation of God’s mercy? You had need to consider yourselves, and wake thoroughly out of sleep; you cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.” (Jonathan Edwards)

When my father woke, it was not to mercy but to wrath, it is too late for him.

No, I have the better part, the much better part. Peace with Jesus, an infinitely long communion with Him, and good and serviceable tasks to perform for Him, worship of Him, in short, enjoying Him forever. There IS a blood that is thicker than water, thicker than anything on earth or heaven. It is the blood of Jesus. This blood covers sin, sustains us as a family, keeps us in His fold.

This is much more pleasing to the Lord than the stained and angry soul that descends to the pit, with the daughter looking down and mourning that final rejection.

source
Posted in hell, jonathan edwards, judgment, wrath

The holiness of the everlasting wrath: Jonathan Edwards

You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.

(Psalm 119: 118-120, 136)

EPrata photo

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.

It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For “who knows the power of God’s anger?”

Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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Further Reading:

Jonathan Edwards on Heaven, part of a 16-sermon series, Heaven, A World of Love

Posted in God, hell, holy, judgment, torment

Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead

The Glorious Return

29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: (2 Timothy 4:1)

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)

The Judgment of Babylon

God will judge all people for their lives. No one these days likes to think about the LORD as judge, not even some Christians. Of course, the difference between Christians and non-believers is that though our lives will be examined and assessed, we will not be judged in wrath. Jesus exhausted God’s wrath for our sins while He was on the cross. There is no condemnation for us now. (Romans 8:1). Even at that, it is still excruciating to think of Jesus staring at our heart and soul with His piercing eyes (Revelation 1:14) and know all our words, deeds, and even motives as He sends our works through the fire to either become silver and gold, or burn away as hay and stubble. (1 Corinthians 3:12)

For those who are not in Christ, the judgment will be terrible. Who can stand?

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; (Psalm 5:5)
The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. (Psalm 9:7)
He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. (Psalm 9:8)

God is holy and He judges. He knows each and every word the unsaved say. He sees all their deeds. He knows motives in the heart. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men! (Proverbs 15:11)

Make no mistake. Jesus is a loving God, but He is a holy God who judges all men.

As a part of his sovereignty and authority, God is executor of his righteousness within the created order. Jesus Christ shares in this ongoing work.

(Source: Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes)

He judges individuals, nations, rulers, families, cities, and His own people. The eternal punishment of the ungodly is sure. (certain Ro 1:18 See also Pr 10:24; Isa 13:11; 26:21; 66:16; Jn 5:28-29; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6; 1Th 5:3; Heb 2:2-3. Source: Manser). It will be everlasting,(2Th 1:8-9, Isaiah 33:14), and the wicked will be forever separated from God’s presence.

God is serious business. He means what He says, that all rebellion will be judged and punishments meted out accordingly. I am firm on this today because as I said earlier, man does not like to think of God’s judgments. But we must.

They diminish His holiness by vain talk and babblings about visions, as Beth Moore does when she says God calls her “Honey” and “Babe” in her alleged visions. They besmirch His majesty and His wrath by writing books about erotic encounters, as Anne Voskamp did in her book One Thousand Gifts (“I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God.” etc.) They blaspheme Him like in The Shack by William P. Young, by portraying God as a female pancake making Aunt Jemimah who says “Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”

Oh, but God does both.

God is a MAJESTIC JUDGE, potent in holiness and coming in wrath to judge all the living and the dead.

The following verses speak to judgment

JUDGMENT.
The General: 1 Chr. 16:33; Job 14:17; Job 21:30; Job 31:13–15; Psa. 9:7; Psa. 50:3–6; Psa. 96:13 Psa. 98:9. Eccl. 3:17; Eccl. 11:9; Eccl. 12:14; Ezek. 18:20–28; Dan. 7:9, 10; Amos 4:12; Matt. 3:12 Luke 3:17. Matt. 7:22, 23; Matt. 8:29 With 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. Matt. 11:22 Matt. 10:15. Matt. 12:36, 37, 41, 42 Luke 11:31, 32. Matt. 13:30, 40–43, 49, 50; Matt. 16:27 Mark 8:38. Matt. 22:13 vs. 11–13.; Matt. 23:14; Matt. 25:1–14 [Luke 19:12–26.] Matt. 25:15–46; Mark 4:22; Mark 13:32; Luke 10:10–14; Luke 12:2–5; Luke 13:24–29; Luke 20:45–47; John 5:22; John 12:48; Acts 2:19–21; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:5–10, 12–16; Rom. 14:10–12; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Cor. 4:5; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 6:2; Heb. 9:27; Heb. 10:27; 1 Pet. 4:5, 7; 2 Pet. 2:4, 9; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10–12; 1 John 4:17; Jude 6, 14, 15, 24; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 6:15–17; Rev. 11:18; Rev. 20:11–15; Rev. 22:12.

According to Opportunity and Works: Gen. 4:7; Job 34:11; Prov. 11:31; Prov. 12:14; Prov. 24:11, 12 Psa. 62:12; 2 Tim. 4:14. Isa. 3:10, 11; Isa. 5:15, 16; Isa. 24:2; Isa. 59:18; Jer. 17:10, 11; Jer. 32:19; Ezek. 7:3, 4, 27; Ezek. 9:4–6; Ezek. 16:59; Ezek. 18:4 [vs. 5–9.] Ezek. 18:19–32; Ezek. 33:18–20; Ezek. 39:24; Hos. 4:9 Hos. 12:2. Amos 3:2; Zech. 1:6; Matt. 10:14, 15 Matt. 11:24; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; 10:12–15. Matt. 12:37; Matt. 23:14 Luke 20:47. Mark 14:21; Luke 11:49, 50 v. 51.; Luke 12:47, 48 [See parable of the vineyard, Isa. 5:1–6. Of the farmer, Isa. 28:24–28. Of the wicked tenant farmers, Matt. 21:33–36. Of the talents, Matt. 25:14–30.]Luke 13:6–9; Luke 19:12–27; Luke 21:1–4; John 3:19, 20; John 5:45; John 9:41; John 12:48; John 15:22, 24; Rom. 2:5–12, 27; 1 Cor. 3:8, 13–15 v. 12.; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 2:15, 16; 2 Cor. 11:15; Gal. 6:5–10; Eph. 6:7, 8; Col. 3:25; 1 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 2:2, 3; Heb. 10:26–30; Heb. 12:25; Jas. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20:12, 13.

(Source: Swanson, J., & Nave, O. (1994). New Nave’s Topical Bible. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.)

Why am I writing about judgment? Because it is infrequently discussed these days. It is an unpalatable topic for too many people. But our God is holy and He is glorified in judging the wicked. Judgment in Holiness is one of His sovereign attributes and as such is is profitable for men to ponder His great and mighty decisions.

Anyone not in Christ has not been forgiven of their deeds, which are hostile to God and against Him as enemy. He will judge them and they will then endure eternal torment in hell forever to pay the penalty for those sins. DId you know that…

And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Matthew Henry Commntary speaks of that verse from Isaiah-

But our Saviour applies it to the everlasting misery and torment of impenitent sinners in the future state, where their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:44); for the soul, whose conscience is its constant tormentor, is immortal, and God, whose wrath is its constant terror, is eternal. (3.) What notice shall be taken of it. Those that worship God shall go forth and look upon them, to affect their own hearts with the love of their Redeemer, when they see what misery they are redeemed from. As it will aggravate the miseries of the damned to see others in the kingdom of heaven and themselves thrust out (Lu. 13:28), so it will illustrate the joys and glories of the blessed to see what becomes of those that died in their transgression, and it will elevate their praises to think that they were themselves as brands plucked out of that burning. To the honour of that free grace which thus distinguished them let the redeemed of the Lord with all humility, and not without a holy trembling, sing their triumphant songs.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1218). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Oh, yes, the gratitude that we are spared! The humble thankfulness with which we sing His praises. Our Redeemer! We are a blessed group, never forget His lovingkindness to those whom He chose for Himself. We are His trophy of grace, and looking upon the wicked in torment, how much more will be fall to our own knees in crushed and broken contriteness and relief to worship such a God!

Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28)

Posted in death, hell, john prata

In Memoriam: John Baptiste Prata, Jr.

One never knows when the numbers of our days will reach the last digit. It did for my 81-year-old father on December 15, 2014. He never expected a short vehicular errand to result in his last breath on earth, but it did. The fatal crash, which sent two others to the hospital, sent John Baptiste Prata, Jr to his eternal destiny. He did not know the Lord.

The news reports say that he was attempting to make a left turn onto a busy highway, and failed to yield to oncoming traffic. He left this earth the way he lived, failing to yield to the Holy One, who for all of my father’s 81 years, stood ready to forgive his sins. But my father never repented. He failed to yield.

Naples Daily News: Driver in fatal wreck identified

NBC-2: Fatal crash on US-41 in Collier County

As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15)

Posted in demons, end time, hell, prophecy, sky booms, sky quakes, sounds of the apocalypse

Sky Noises/Sounds of the Apocalypse continue to perplex, frighten

In January of 2012 I wrote a report of the global sky sounds people have been hearing. Variously called sky hums, sounds of the apocalypse, or sky quakes, they have appeared recently and have not only been heard by many, but have been recorded and reported on by mainstream news. I wrote:

Strange noises in the sky: hums, booms, and other apocalyptic escapades
The noises are usually a low pitched hum that veritably drives the residents crazy, or a boom from the sky that people liken to a sonic boom. When they occur, the authorities receive dozens to hundreds of phone calls asking if there had been an earthquake. In most cases, the boom is not related to a military activity nor aeronautic exercise, not to a quake, and not to drilling or explosives. These things are checked out and the usual explanation is usually absent, leaving residents to wonder what is the cause of the noise. That’s why they are termed mysterious.”

Since the general emergence of these sounds; a few years ago, they have continued to perplex and frighten. Just this week in St. Paul, Minnesota, another spate of sounds frightened the residents there.

St. Paul Residents Ponder Loud, Mysterious Noise Heard Thursday Morning
A loud, strange noise early Thursday morning woke up some residents in St. Paul and frightened others. People heard it for about an hour, in and around the Highland Park and Mac Groveland neighborhoods. KSTP called Ramsey County dispatch and sent a crew to investigate. Dispatch said they received about 10 calls from homeowners wondering what the noise was. They sent out a few officers to investigate but they couldn’t find anything. The howling traveled for miles, right through the walls of homes.”

Now, there is a difference between these particular sounds, and other sounds that normally occur and startle residents. For example, the transformer in front of my house was struck by lightning and blew up, and it made an enormous sound which scared me (and the cats) like to death. However, it was the suddenness of the sound and the loudness of the sound and not the sound itself which was startling. I recognized it as a normal, if very loud sound. The same with a thunderclap and the same with the boom associated with the earthquake that happened near GA this week, and the same with sonic booms that occasionally happen as jets takeoff at the Air Force Base some distance away. We have a catalog of sounds in our head and when we hear one we classify it. The brain immediately categorizes those sounds as infrequent but normal.

Not so with these sky booms. They aren’t even particularly loud, but it seems that is it the quality of the sound that spooks people. They are unclassifiable. Here are some quotes from people who heard the St. Paul noise-

Howling sound ‘creeps out’ St. Paul
–“It was kind of a howling, kind of a scraping, kind of a metallic sound,” said Aaron Buesing.
–Trudy Moloney explained it as “kind of a somber music and eerie sounding.”

MYSTERY HOWL: What caused haunting St. Paul sounds?
Although some likened the sound to a whale song, others admit the spine-tingling tones seemed a little ghastly.

St. Paul residents try to place eerie early morning noise
Part ocean waves, part wild animal call, part distorted howl
Descriptions included scraping metal, industrial grinding, voices over a loudspeaker, even music.

Quite often, the noises are described as metallic, spooky, and eerie. They describe them as chains clanking or sometimes, something straight from hell.

In this report from the UK, also from last week,

Coventry residents left baffled by mystery ‘Independence Day’ noise
Reports have come in describing a loud noise in the sky which lasted around one minute and was heard by residents in Whitley, Walsgrave, Stoke and Wyken. Mitch Wise, 19, from Walsgrave, said the noise was so loud he could hear it inside his house despite all the windows and doors being closed. He said: “I did think it sounded like something out of Independence Day, that kind of noise.” [Independence Day, the alien invasion movie]

Or this from Kentucky, also this week:

Booms in the Night; Officials scurry to locate source; MSU professor offers explanation for strange sounds
A series of strange noises awakened Murray-area residents in the pre-dawn hours Friday, causing law enforcement agencies to answer several calls related to mysterious sounds that were being reported.  Dr. George Kipphut, chairman of the Murray State University Department of Geosciences, said he is relatively certain that a phenomenon known as a frost quake is the cause of the eerie resonance…. I’ve never heard one, and this is unusual for this climate we live in,” Kipphut said.  Kipphut said frost quakes — officially known in the geological community as cryoseisms — are more associated with the extreme northern portions of the United States into Canada.”

Even when the loud booms and explosions are heard and there is likely a natural explanation, like cryoseisms, it seems that there exists something weird with these, as well. In the above story, they are happening in places where they don’t usually. In the article below, they are happening much more frequently than they ever have.

A cryoseism is a frost quake. As Wikipedia explains, “They may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. As water drains into ground, it may eventually freeze and expand under colder temperatures, putting stress on its surroundings. This stress builds up until relieved explosively in the form of a cryoseism.”

This past January in Vermont, apparently several cryoseisms occurred. As Gib Brown, who works as both a geology and physics educator, explains, “I thought a tree fell on my house,” Brown recalled. “I looked outside, I looked up and down the street, couldn’t see anything. It had to have been a cryoseism.”  Brown likened the phenomenon to the way potholes can be formed by freezing water, except under the earth, where their invisibility adds to their mystery. Brown called the frost quakes fairly rare but not wildly unusual. “I would say the numbers this year are way above average,” Brown said.” [underline mine]

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Let’s turn from the fact of these noises and the reaction to them … to the Bible. I’d said in the blog essay I wrote two years ago that the Bible specifically does not address the noises as a sign. Though officials have searched for an explanation (airplanes, drilling, ice, etc) they have come up empty. Neither biblical nor secular explanations seem to be coming to the fore. So from this paragraph forward there is only speculation on my part. However there is perhaps an application to the end times that I want to share.

First, there are these verses from Jeremiah 25:30-31

You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them:

“‘The Lord will roar from on high,
and from his holy habitation utter his voice;
he will roar mightily against his fold,
and shout, like those who tread grapes,
against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth,
for the Lord has an indictment against the nations;
he is entering into judgment with all flesh,
and the wicked he will put to the sword,
declares the Lord.”

Verse 31, ‘the clamor’ also is translated ‘a noise.’ Pulpit Commentary says of ‘a noise’, the word is used elsewhere for the tumultuous sound of a marching army, or the roar of waters.

Many people say that the noise they’ve been hearing includes a clanking or a metallic sound. I’ve said before that I often wonder if it is leak-through from the unholy angels gathering for the great unleashing upon the world. When prophet Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes, I wonder if in addition to seeing the angelic army … if he heard anything too.

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

The fear.

There is fear of the LORD, which isn’t a scary fear for a Christian. CARM says of the fear of God:

Yes, we should fear God because He is the Almighty Creator who can discipline us should we rebel against Him. He is so holy and so awesome that being in His presence brings an inspiring fear. … When anyone experiences the Majesty of the Lord, he naturally is humbled and the awesome greatness of God automatically produces a normal and healthy fear.

But we do not need to fear God’s judgment. As for satan, we need not fear him because Jesus has already overcome satan. We only need resist satan and he will flee from us. (James 4:7).

The unsaved don’t fear God. They do not fear satan either. They unknowingly serve satan. If they happen to have encounters with the supernatural, often times satan’s ministers appear as angels of light, (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) or in new age terms, ‘spirit guides.’ Since satan chooses either to allow himself to be culturally diminished (as in a pointy horns and a red tail made fun of on Halloween) or as a gentle spirit guide, muse, or another kind of other worldly helper, the unsaved don’t fear satan.

What would people think whose incorrect notion of satan or spirit guides were to be unmasked and they say the demons as they really are?

I believe they are getting a taste of it with these sky noises. If these people who heard the sky noise for one second and were frightened out of their wits, what will happen when they see the very demons of hell unleashed?

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.a 2He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. (Revelation 9:1-3)

Read the rest of Revelation 9.

These demons are allowed to torment any person during the Tribulation who does not have the seal of God on their foreheads. How would you feel to see a demon chasing you? Biting you? Tormenting you? The Greek word for torment in the verse is literally “torture”.

These sky booms have no liken in the world. They aren’t made naturally. They frighten people, and I believe the sounds are made supernaturally.

Matthew Henry said of the Jeremiah verse, “Who can avoid trembling when God speaks in displeasure?” And who among the unsaved can avoid trembling when the demons of hell sound their chains their appearance?

You know how it energizes the arena when Queen’s “We will rock you” STOMP STOMP CLAP comes over the loudspeakers? Of course it would incite the demons’ maniacal glee to know the time is near. Because they know. (Matthew 8:29). I wonder if the restless demons in gloomy dungeons (Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4) are chanting “we will, we will bite you!” CLANK CLANK CLAP

It’s interesting to think hypothetically of the sky booms as a demonic version of this:

The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus paid it all, and we no longer need fear God in a bad way nor fear what satan can do to us. If you repent, nothing on earth can frighten you. Not an eerie noise, not a demon masquerading as an angel of light, not even satan.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Repent, for the time is near.

Posted in death, eternity, hell, jesus

When it is your turn to die

When it is your turn to die

You notice that the second before the plane crashed, the Dayton Ohio air show announcer said as wing walker Jane Wicker positioned herself on the upside down wing: “Jane Wicker, on top of the world!” One second later, she was dead.

I often speak of the soon return of Jesus. Today is one day closer to His return than yesterday was. Paul used to speak of His soon return often. As a matter of fact, every New Testament book except Philemon speaks of Christ’s coming. You need to be ready.

However, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. Yes, Jesus could come, but death could come also.

James 4:14 says “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

I often wondered what Ms Wicker was thinking as she sat on the upside down wing. Nothing indicated that one second later she wold be dead. Did she think she had loads of time left to ponder the deep mysteries of faith and salvation? Had she put it off until tomorrow, but tomorrow never came?

I hope she was saved by grace of Jesus.

If you are not saved, then do not put off to tomorrow what should be done today. God has appointed you to a limited number of days in this lifetime. You do not know what that number is.

“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” (Psalm 39:4-5)

Taking care of business means coming to grips with a few things. First, this life is not all there is. We are given a limited number of days to dwell upon the earth, but this body and this life is only phase 1. After death, there is a phase 2. If you have repented of your sins and believed on the resurrected Jesus as Lord and Savior, you will go to heaven and be with Him. You will be given a glorified body that is impervious to death or sickness, has no sin nature, and can withstand the full blast of His glory and Holiness. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50; Philippians 3:21).

If you rejected Jesus in this life- and you don’t have to actively reject Him but passively fail to accept him (doing nothing is the same as rejecting) then you will go to hell after you die. This is a place of eternal separation from God and you will be given a body that can withstand the full blasts of the punishment that will be inflicted on you as eternal payment for your sins and crimes against Him. (Revelation 14:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)

It is a lie that you will be annihilated, that there is nothing else after death. It is a lie that hell is only temporary. It is surely eternal, as your sins are eternal and as Jesus is eternal. (Matthew 25:46). That is why Christians can dwell with Him forever, (Matthew 28:20; John 14:3) because He is eternal and He paid the price for our sins eternally when He took God’s punishment on the cross. (Romans 3:23-24).

You say, “God is loving, He would never send people to hell for punishment.” Really? It pleased Him to crush His Son! (Isaiah 53:10). Jesus absorbed all of God’s punishment while He was on the cross. Is God loving who would do that? Yes, He was making a way for YOU, whom He also loves. Jesus did that voluntarily, because He loves you. If you reject Jesus though, you reject the way to heaven. (John 14:6).

Eternity is real and it is permanent. You do not know what today will bring. Ms Wicker didn’t. The pilot in the first video, I hope his brush with death made him think of the afterlife, too. I hope these few words from my heart makes you think of the afterlife. For the Christian, it is a joy to ponder the time we will be with Jesus. For the unsaved, there is dread and fear of the unknown. But you can know, your eternity could be secure- if you repent. (Mark 1:15).

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Further reading:

Repentance

What is repentance?

The resurrection body

Is hell eternal?