Posted in theology

How can we deal with knowing someone we love is probably in hell?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Yesterday I posted an article about the fact that hell exists, why it exists, and why people go there (and how to avoid it). Here-> Betty White talks about her own death with Larry King. I was asked about how to handle knowing a loved one is very likely in hell enduring eternal torment. It’s a troubling question, an important concept to dig though – if tough on the heart and mind.

Continue reading “How can we deal with knowing someone we love is probably in hell?”
Posted in theology

Betty White talks about her own death with Larry King

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Actress and animal advocate Betty White died last week. She was 99 years old. She was just two weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

She had longevity not only in years that the Lord graciously gave her, but had longevity in her career that she loved so much. It’s a wonderful thing to love what you do and be given so many years to do it.

When she died, as many times happens with a celebrity death, the concept of death suddenly becomes real to people. It does to me, it brings the afterlife into the forefront of my mind. I am in Christ and I fear death no more. The curiosity I’d had about what happens two seconds after my last breath is finally satisfied in the certain knowledge that I will be with Jesus in heaven. I do not know what I’ll be doing, apart from praises and songs of worship to Him, but given His intellectual creativity these last 7000 years, I know it’ll be wonderful.

Continue reading “Betty White talks about her own death with Larry King”
Posted in theology

The Permanence of an Electrolux, and waste

By Elizabeth Prata

Source: WBEZ.org

I grew up in a family of means, where the breathless rush of the ‘new’ was king. We bought the first and newest of everything. Color TV? Got one. Remote control? First on the block to have it. 27″ TV? Over there in the living room. Pong just came out? We played it. Central vacuum? Installed. And so on.

When I met my husband in 1990, I decided to switch gears, and we went the frugal route. Downsize. No debt. Use things till they break, and then if possible, fix them instead of buying new. I sold my new house with its mortgage, and he sold his. He owned a camp by a lake that had been in the family since the 1950s. Thus, it had no mortgage. “Camps” were the name for a summer seasonal dwelling by the lake to which the family would decamp from the city. The places were usually small and closed up after Labor Day. In the 1950s, moms would take the kids to camp and stay for the summer while dads worked in the city and arrived at ‘camp’ on weekends.

I was amazed that most of the furniture in the camp to which I and my husband moved still contained its original furniture. Floor to ceiling pole lamps, coiled, braided rugs, rattan rocking chair, heavy black dial phone, lol, and so on.

The vacuum cleaner was an Electrolux and it weighed a billion pounds. When I asked if we were going to get a new vacuum, he said why? it still works. And it did.

This was a new concept to me, no waste, keep using old things that still worked. My life had been one of disposable consumerism, so this was refreshing attitude because it took a lot of the weight off in needing to keep up with the latest and greatest.

When he and I later downsized again and moved onto the sailboat and cruised down the Atlantic Seaboard from Maine to the Bahamas, we passed a lot of garbage scows and barges. NYC harbor was full of garbage barges with piled-up trash, heading to some landfill or other. It was the first time I’d been visually confronted with the enormity of waste. It made me sad.

I love the beach. I spent a lot of time there growing up and in my early adulthood. I am fascinated with edges of things. The equator. The Southern US border. The tide line where the water meets the sand. At the tide line in the north there is usually a line of dead seaweed, kelp, broken shells, and other ocean detritus. It’s sort of an ocean version of the trash line except it’s natural and organic. It’s a great visual to show where the tide had been.

EPrata photo

You know what else makes me sad? Hell.

I think of all the piled up trash and the seaweed languishing there above the tide line and I envision those as flesh. All that wasted flesh that did not honor God. All that wasted flesh that Jesus disposes of in hell. I can’t imagine the piles of people in the gaping maw of hell. The Flood, all peoples on earth except Noah and his family cast into hell, the billions of people since all waste.

The worst waste is the people who did not honor God. Gentiles, AKA Pagans, do not honor God. They cannot. They are corrupt through and through with sin and God hates sin.

It seemed like the Electrolux was going to last forever, but it eventually died. Boy did my husband ever get his money’s worth out of that thing! Almost 50 years of life. But eventually it gasped its last and it went to the landfill where all the other waste went. No matter how permanent the vacuum cleaner seemed, no matter how well made it was, it eventually ran out of days for its life span.

Hell is real. It is a place where people who have denied Christ, sinned, loved the world will be cast to endure active, conscious punishment forever. Cast, thrown, like when you throw a used tissue into the trash. You don’t place it there, you throw it. You’re hurled without a second thought. That is how the people who did not repent will be thrown into the lake of fire which burns for all eternity.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

This is weighty! This is huge! This requires some thought!

Hell is not a pleasant topic, but it is real and there are already billions of people dwelling there. My father died at the scene of a car crash in 2014. I am 99.999% sure he was outside of Christ. He was a rabid atheist for all his life, so… The concept of hell became personal to me on that date. Looking out over a beach and seeing the piles of dead seaweed reminds me of all the wasted flesh in hell, groaning and gnashing teeth, fists up against God and tormented forever. Jonathan Edwards said in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,

'Tis 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 Forever, 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 our 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; 'tis inexpressible and inconceivable: for who knows the Power of God’s Anger?

Sheol, the barren womb, land never satisfied with water, and fire that never says, ‘Enough!’ (Proverbs 30:16)

No matter how long we live and however permanent things seem, they’re not. Whether you dispose of items as soon as the next pretty, shiny things come along or whether you keep it as long as possible, eventually things get thrown out. There is waste no matter how much we recycle. Of bodies, of human flesh that dies, that is the one thing that lasts FOREVER. The question is, where will you spend it?

Posted in bible jesus, hell, punishment

Back to Basics: What is hell?

This “Back to Basics” series explores some of the more basic doctrines of the Bible Believing faith of Christianity. After the rapture there will be millions of new believers who must come to grips, and quickly, with the basic tenets of our faith. This series is a primer. Other entries in the series are

Hello, Holy Spirit!
What does it mean to be born again?
What’s the Gospel?
What is prayer?

Hell is real. The current American culture doesn’t want to believe that hell is real. Liberal Christians all around the world don’t believe it is real either. Rob Bell wrote a book called “Love Wins” in which he says “A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” It should be noted that Mr Bell has become apostate by now.

Of course, Mr Bell is completely wrong, at least about the doctrine of hell being a misguided teaching. Jesus taught it. Was Jesus misguided? Certainly not.

Continue reading “Back to Basics: What is hell?”
Posted in theology

Of hell and the Gospel

By Elizabeth Prata

I’ve been wrestling with whether to give the Gospel “one more time” to a person who resists and in fact, had blasphemed the other times I’ve shared. I looked up the verse from Matthew 7:6, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

Though everyone needs the Gospel, when someone has repeatedly rejected it, I think it’s important to choose not to give them further opportunity to blaspheme, nor entrench themselves in further sin at my cause. It’s a hard decision to make in these days of ‘love love love’ and ‘let go and let God’ but God is holy too, and His word warns us to be discriminating about sharing holy things with dogs and swine.

Here is the commentary that helped me clarify what to do, and when-

Continue reading “Of hell and the Gospel”
Posted in life, theology

Your Worst Life Now

By Elizabeth Prata

I saw this meme on Twitter. The ‘best life now’ mantra offends me.

I’m personally glad that this is my worst life now. It’s hard and upsetting. I can’t wait until there is only joy and peace.

As for the unsaved, sadly, John MacArthur said at the Strange Fire conference some years ago,

All peoples need to hear this mantra, which is no mantra but only absolute truth:

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

 

Posted in theology

The opposite view of Elisha’s servant

By Elizabeth Prata

During preparation for battle, prophet Elisha’s servant was weak kneed and worried. There seemed to be a lot of them and not a lot of us.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17Then 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 6:15-17).

Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel saw the throne of God in heaven through visions. Paul (we assume) was lifted up to heaven and saw things he could not express. John, Peter, James saw heaven come down in the form of a transfigured Jesus in His glory. These men had glimpses of things beautiful and glorious. Paul (we assume) seemed especially affected, the way we spoke of the experience in 2 Corinthians 12:7. He said what he saw was of surpassing greatness. The word surpassing here in Greek is hyperbole, you might recognize the term. Here it is in a strong emphatic meaning beyond measure, excessively beyond, surpassing excellence.

This all makes me want to see heaven even more! But what about the opposite? What if we could pray to the Lord as Elisha did, and say, “Lord, open their eyes and show them their future, in punishment and torment in the Lake of Fire, where the worm does not die.” If people could see hell, would they repent? Would they believe God means what He says?

Just imagine for a moment that the eyes of all unconverted men were opened to see the situation in which they stand. Oh! What doleful cries of agony and terror would rise from every dwelling, when they saw that the Almightiness of Jehovah is all ready to be let loose upon them, body and soul, forever. ~M’Cheyne, “The Believer’s Joy”

Would they be aghast, not at seeing God who encircles His throne with holiness and glory so strong it wold kill you to merely glimpse it, but the orange-lit fires of hell, a blazing furnace of sulphur, where the screams and cries of the damned echo eternally.

Jonathan Edwards evoked the picture of hell in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. His preaching about our sin and its just and due punishment, sent people flinging themselves into the aisles at the thought of such wrath for sin. Edwards wanted, not to scare them, but to awaken them to the fact that there does exist a just punishment for sin, and that the day of reckoning may come sooner rather than later for any person in the church that day.

The veil had been momentarily lifted through Edwards’ word pictures and viewing that scene in their mind’s eye was one of grief and pain for the hearers. Stephen Williams, who had attended the sermon that day, said that “The [sic] shreiks and crys were piercing and amazing.”

Until salvation comes, unrepentant sinners stand on a precipice so gaping, the fires so hot, hell so yawning, and that the punishment is eternal, that it is hard to grasp the weight and fact of it. Truly, the unregenerate mind does not even try to grasp it.

Fortunately, though God allowed Elisha’s servant to glimpse his majesty and might, we don’t need God to allow glimpses of hell in order to visualize the fact of coming punishment, nor do we need vivid word pictures like Edwards’, as helpful as sermons like his were and are. Any person at any time can read about it in His book, the Holy Bible. Jesus explained about it, the Spirit inspired other verses and passages about the reality of hell. It’s the opposite of bountiful joy, eternal torment. Jesus spoke more about hell than any other issue.

Jesus talks about hell more than he talks about heaven, and describes it more vividly. There’s no denying that Jesus knew, believed, and warned against the absolute reality of hell. Source

It begins and ends there. Learn about a holy God who judges and saves. See the written, inspired descriptions of joys abounding in heaven and torments unspeakable in hell. Comprehend the law and grace available to your inquiring eyes.

In that moment, God gave Elisha’s servant a mercy in allowing him a glimpse of God’s protective might. But in reading the Bible, we can not merely glimpse, but absorb and enjoy learning about Jesus, His love and His wrath- both.

Edwards’ word pictures alone were enough to startle a congregation and elicit moans and cries on the spot. Imagine the real reality of the lake of burning sulphur, of not being lovingly placed there, but thrown, like a used tissue. Of being in it forever. read His word on to gain knowledge of our sin, His punishment for it, and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, the gracious remedy.

fire fall down

Posted in prophecy, theology

The only glory they’ll ever see…

…is when they are standing at the Great White Throne. It will be the ultimate flashbulb moment.

Psychologists have a thing called ‘Flashbulb memory”. It’s that moment when a piece of extremely emotional or traumatic news was heard. Cognition Magazine explains,

“Almost everyone can remember, with an almost perceptual clarity, where he was when he heard, what he was doing at the time, who told him, what was the immediate aftermath, how he felt about it, and also one or more totally idiosyncratic and often trivial concomitants.”

The prototypical event in past cognition studies was the moment President Kennedy was shot. More recent studies use the moment the news broke about the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001.

When I was a teenager, my father gave me a 1940s Argus camera, similar to the one above. It had the kind of flash you mounted on top of the camera. It was extremely bright, and you had to pop the bulb out after, which was extremely hot. The photo subject always involuntarily blinked in the microsecond after the flash went off, due to the brightness. You know when they closed their eyes, the reverse negative of the image is emblazoned on the inside of their eyelids. That’s a real flashbulb moment.

When the unsaved are exhumed and gathered to the Great White Throne, they will see Jesus in His glory. They will account for their lives, and try to explain their sin. However, they will be found without excuse. When the judgment is done, they will be sent to outer darkness.

They will see the Ancient of Days, hair white as wool, glorious in light and power. They will see. Their eyes having been blind on earth to Him, will now see Him AND His glory. It will be bright.

Then they will be cast into outer darkness, fire, and torment forever. The darkness will be complete, palpable, utter. It will contain no hope, no glimmer, no crack at all. Even when waving one’s hand in front of one’s face, the sinner will find no relief from the ink. The only light they will ever see will be the glory light of God emblazoned on the inside of their eyelids forever. The actual glory will be unreachable, its chasm unbridgeable. It is the ultimate flashbulb moment.

Sister, we have been forgiven of our sins, the sins that would have sent us to that throne to plead our case, only to be finally rejected and sent to the Hopeless Dark. Our flashbulb moment will last for eternity. We will see Him and not be consumed by wrath. We will enjoy the brightness of His glory through glorified eyes. Let’s take a moment to be grateful for His grace today, and to remember the destiny of others. Be a witness to His name.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15).

Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30).

By Elizabeth Prata

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Weepers and gnashers: the importance of examining ourselves

I saw this clip on Todd Friel’s Wretched Youtube page last night and it was extremely moving to me. It was also convicting. It DID spur me to check myself and examine as to whether I am in the faith.

This is important to do, because as the video title suggests, there will be two types of people in hell. The two types are based on the verse from Matthew 13:50, where at the end of the age, angels will

throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

By the way, when you study angels you notice how active they are in executing all God’s commands, especially in Revelation. Anyway, in the clip, Dr Sproul explains what the weeping and what gnashing of teeth is.

The weepers are weeping because they were self-deceived all along and were not saved when they thought they were. Jesus will declare to them, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23). Hence the urgency to check one’s self to see if we are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The gnashers are angry. They refuse to acknowledge God for who He is, even while they are justly tormented in the fires of hell. How can this be, one might wonder, when the entire lake of fire has been prepared by God for the devil and his angels, and the unforgiven sinners? The fires are real, they are in them. How can they not acknowledge God?

Revelation gives us a clue as to the depth of sin and the anger at God’s authority. Even while they were alive and under punishment of God’s plagues, they did not repent. Revelation 9:20-21 has the first instance. The Lord sent an angel to open the pit and release hordes and billions of demons, which were so many they clouded the sun upon their release. The demons were given authority to plague mankind with sores and pain. A third of all mankind is killed! Further billions will be laying around writhing at the sting of demons, and yet-

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

To make the depth of their depravity even more pointed, the next verse from Revelation shows clearly that they KNOW it is God sending the plagues, and they did not repent. Instead, they cursed his very name!

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. (Revelation 16:9).

And again in verse 11 when another plague was sent, they did not repent but instead cursed the name of God again. Instead, they began assembling at Armageddon to fight him!

This all goes to show the power of sin. The power of sin to delude us as to its power. It can blind us. Am I self-deceived? Am I not in the faith? Will I hear those dread words ‘depart from me?’ Will I be weeping?

Please watch the short video and ponder the gravity of it all. The cross of Jesus split history. It split the whole of humankind into two types of people- saved and unsaved. It split the world into Gospel-loving and hell-bound. The cross stands alone as the point of beginning or the point of departure.

There will be two types of people in hell…

 

I thank God that there are and were men to preach the truth, even the unpleasant truths of scripture, such as hell, self-delusion, and false conversion. It’s important. Now, how do we examine one’s self? Further resources are listed below.

Sermon series:

Undoubtedly the sincere claims people make are sometimes far from reality. As chilling as that thought may be, there are countless well-meaning people who believe they’re saved, but they aren’t. Could you or someone you know be one of them? How do you know your faith is built on a solid foundation? Or is that something you can ever know this side of eternity?
Determine for yourself whether you are a Christian. John MacArthur shows you how to assess your spiritual condition in Examine Yourself.

If you don’t want to go through a series of sermons, here is a 15-page free booklet called Is it Real? 11 Biblical Tests of Salvation.

If you don’t want to read a 15 page booklet, here is a 5-page free booklet called Examine Yourself.

If you don’t want to read 5 pages, here is a 515 word essay from GotQuestions on What does it mean to examine yourself?

If you don’t want to read 500 words to examine yourself, then I direct you back up to the top to re-watch the clip, where there will be two types of people in hell. I’m not saying that if you don’t follow through in looking at these particular resources you’l go to hell, but I’m emphasizing that the power of sin to delude us is great and must be constantly watched against. There is nothing more important than checking one’s self to make sure we are not one of the two types. It’s the best thing you could do all day or for all eternity. 🙂 If nothing else, you will receive assurance! This illustration by artist Boris Sajtinac is all too vivid!

apostate church by boris sajtinac

Believe me, I checked myself immediately after watching the clip. I know the power of sin to delude me is too great. I’ve seen it happen to others and I know it dwells inside myself. Please, pray and check, and be assured, dear sister.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

One day as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day

The reality of a faith-filled life is a beautiful thing. Jesus’ sweet intercessions, His providential care, the magnanimity of His salvation, the ongoing gratitude we feel during increased sanctification, are all wonderful buttresses to the daily grind we experience. It’s wonderful to have Him to focus upon as the object of our adoration and awe.

Just as pondering His love and kindness is an encouragement, His wrath and judgment are weighty topics that should be mulled over as well. The fact is, many human beings will populate the Lake of Fire for all eternity, a devastating thought if you really chew on it for a while.

I’ll be posting a three-part series on the verse from Romans 9:22 about the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. I’d found a wonderful sermon from Robert Murray M’Cheyne, his last sermon in fact. He raised three important points about God’s electing people to be His ‘vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,’ and I intend to post them piecemeal over the next 3 days.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about the reality of hell for the lost. One of the verses I studied today was this from 2 Peter 3:8.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8).

In context, Peter is assuring his readers that the Lord’s final plan regarding His return and the judgment WILL come to pass. God is not slack concerning His promise, Peter goes onto state. The point of the verse was to remind the audience that God is outside of time and in control of everything. We read a parallel to the time thing in Psalm 90:4,

For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary explained the thousand year/day v. day/thousand year part of the 2 Peter verse.

No delay which occurs is long to God: as to a man of countless riches, a thousand guineas are as a single penny. God’s œonologe (eternal-ages measurer) differs wholly from man’s horologe (hour-glass). His gnomon (dial-pointer) shows all the hours at once in the greatest activity and in perfect repose. To Him the hours pass away, neither more slowly, nor more quickly, than befits His economy. There is nothing to make Him need either to hasten or delay the end. The words, “with the Lord” (Ps 90:4, “In Thy sight”), silence all man’s objections on the ground of his incapability of understanding this

When reading the J-F-B about the gnomon, œonologe, and horologe, I got pretty excited! More stuff to study. But for today’s thought, back to the beginning of thinking over the fate of the lost in the Lake of Fire for all eternity, it might be helpful to see the thousand year part of the verse this way. Though there is not a literal ‘day’ in heaven or in hell:

–Those who are with the Lord in heaven experience such post-life joy that a thousand years passes as one day.
–Those who are with the Lord in hell (He is not there but His wrath is), experience such post-life torment that one day is as a thousand years.

It is a sobering thought.