Weekend Wisdom – Thomas Allin

Who would dare so much as to smile, if he really believed endless torments were certain to be the portion of some members of his household? Marriage would be a crime; each birth the occasion of an awful dread. The shadow of a possible Hell would darken every home, sadden every family hearth. All of this becomes evident when we reflect that to perpetuate the race would be to help on the perpetuation of moral evil. For if this creed be true, out of all of the yearly births a steady current is flowing on to help fill the abyss of hell, to make larger and vaster the total moral evil which is to endure forever. “The world would be one vast madhouse,” says the American scholar Hallsted, “if realizing and continued pressure of such a doctrine was present.”

From Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin

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God Always Finishes the Work He Begins

The pattern of harvest, as established in the Old Testament, begins with “firstfruits,” then the main harvest, and finally the gleaning of the fields by the needy and destitute, assuring that not one kernel would be lost.

The very fact that we have borne the image of Adam guarantees that we will also bear the image of Christ. First the flesh, the earthy, then the spirit, the heavenly. First the man of earth, then the man of heaven. Thus Paul so confidently declared,

As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (I Corinthians 15:49).

He could not more forcibly present God’s guarantee that the very fact you exist as a human being is proof and assurance that one day you will bear the image of God’s heavenly Adam, Jesus Christ. God always finishes the work He begins, including that of making man in His Own image which He began in the Garden of Eden.

The “Last Adam” is not an idle poetic expression that Paul used referring to Jesus. As the context of his words show, he intended to establish the fact that just as we all sprang from Adam the first man, and therefore bear his image, so in the very same way the “Last Adam” is the first spiritual man. The first Adam was the first of the old and earthy creation; the “Last Adam” is the first of the new and heavenly, or spiritual creation.

In Romans 5, the inevitability of bearing the image of the Man from Heaven is underscored. Jesus is the firstborn of the new creation just as Adam was the firstborn of the old creation. The work of Jesus far surpasses the work of Adam. What Adam did unto death, Jesus much more accomplished unto life. Jesus, the “Last Adam,” will make alive all who died in the first Adam.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (I Corinthians 15:22).

Bert Bauman The Gospel, page 16

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Jesus Has the Keys

Keys lock and unlock things. That’s their purpose.

In Revelation 1:17-18 Christ says,

Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He Who lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Think of it: God sent His Son “to be the Savior of the world” (I John 4:14); and now Christ has possession of the keys of death and hell. What do you think the “Savior of the world” (John 4:42), the One Who came to set captives free (Luke 4:18), is going to do with “the keys of hell and of death”? Lock, or unlock them?

Are you afraid of death or hell? Well, you needn’t be. Now that Christ has the keys to both of them, it’s of little wonder that He prefaced His powerful declaration with, “Fear not!”

From Daily Email Goodies by Clyde Pilkington, Jr.

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Did Jonah Go to Hell?

Did you realize that Jonah went to “hell” (King James Version) and got out? That’s right – he went straight to the womb or “belly of hell” (Jonah 2:2, KJV) and then God brought him back again! These words come directly from a version that many people consider to be very authoritative.

Jonah 2:2 “… out of the belly of hell cried I …” and 2:6 “… Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”

Jonah chapter two proves that whatever “hell” in the King James Version may be, it is a place where God gets people out, as in the case of Jonah (2:6).

Whatever “hell” really is, its door outward is open to ultimate salvation.

From The Ultimate Reconciliation of All by George Howe

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The Works of the Devil

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

Satan is the author of sin and rebellion, and he “has sinned from the beginning.” The result of that rebellion was death.

This verse states explicitly that the purpose for which Jesus came into the world was to destroy the works of Satan. In order to destroy the works of Satan, Jesus must destroy death and the rebellion that leads to death. If billions of people were to remain forever in a “devil’s hell,” how would that fit with the fact that Satan will be rendered powerless and his work will be destroyed?

From The Ultimate Reconciliation of All by George Howe

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God Will Not Cast Off Forever

The Lord will not cast off forever. But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies, for He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamen. 3:31-33)

O, what a precious declaration is this! Though God cause grief, yet He will have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies, for He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. This is the principle of the divine government. God does not afflict for the purpose of afflicting, but for the good of the sufferer. How, then, can endless torment be inflicted?

From 100 Scriptural Proofs That Jesus Christ Will Save All Mankind by Thomas Whittemore.

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Weekend Wisdom – David Hayward

One of the most difficult things to do as we deconstruct our beliefs is letting go of ones we’ve held for our whole lives.

Take Hell for instance.

I remember the night when I quit the ministry. I was lying on my bed in the dark. Lisa, being a nurse, was at work. I was lying there thinking about what I’d done… the decision I’d made and the announcement I’d given. I was finished. It was over. Suddenly, waves of fear swept over me… fear not just over what I was going to do with my life, but fear in having angered God, or at least disappointed him, and the terror of the very punishments I had stopped believing in. Even though I didn’t really think that way anymore, the residue of the power of belief stuck to me like glue.

My rational mind told me that this whole mythology was a clever tactic to terrify me into compliance. But my religious mind didn’t want to let it go. Or, rather, it was afraid to let it go in case it was true. The battle that took place in my mind was not imagined but very, very real. I broke out in cold sweats as absolute existential terror gripped me in the dark night.

So, as the cartoon suggests… with his smile but also his concerned eyes… deconstructing our beliefs can be a momentarily worrisome time, but also an eternally happy one.

Read the complete post at Naked Pastor.

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Danger of Hell Fire

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell [Gehenna] fire.  Matthew 5:22

Gehenna, also known as the Valley of Hinnom, was once the garbage dump of the city of Jerusalem located just outside of its walls to the southwest in a deep, narrow valley. It was also the place where the bodies of executed criminals, denied a burial, were disposed. Fires were kept in a constant state of burning there to destroy the rubbish and the bodies, and to minimize the awful smell. This explains why it was called an “everlasting fire,” and whatever the flames didn’t devour, the maggots finished. This explains the place of “hell fire.”

Gehenna is not another name for the imaginary fiery hell of religious tradition. The mistake that religious teachers in general always make upon seeing the word “ judgment” in Matthew 5:22, and other verses similar to it, is that they think that this judgment is the one that follows death. However, it is not that judgment. The judgment in Matthew 5:22 simply refers to the temporal judicial process that was in place in the days of the apostles to punish convicted lawbreakers, as well as the judicial process that will exist in the theocratic Millennial Kingdom – but it still won’t have anything to do with the judgment that occurs beyond death.

From Issue 290 of the Bible Student’s Notebook.

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God is Love, Is Infinitely Good

There is none good but one, that is God. Mark 10:18

On the words “God is love,” Dr. A. Clarke, the celebrated Methodist Commentator, writes as follows: An infinite Fountain of benevolence and beneficence to every human being. He hates nothing that he has made. He cannot hate, because he is love. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good; and sends his rain on the just and the unjust. He has made no human being for perdition. It has been well observed that although God is holy, just, righteous, etc., he is never called Holiness, Justice, etc. in the abstract, as he is here called Love. This seems to be the essence of the Divine nature, and all other attributes to be only modifications of this.” God, then, never created a soul knowing it would be miserable forever.

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The Lord is Good to All

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:9

God is glorified when His love, goodness, mercy and grace are proclaimed; when His goodness is seen to embrace all; His grace shown to abound ‘much more’ than sin; His mercy declared to ‘triumph over judgment’, and His love known to be, not simply one divine attribute among many, but the very essence of His Being, the motivating principle and power behind all His works (Ps.l45:9; Rom.5:20, 21; Jam.2:13:1 John 4:8,16).

From The Larger Hope by Anthony Johnson

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