Friday, June 25, 2010

Is There a Hell? Does it Really Exist?

*NOTE: unless otherwise mentioned, all biblical text comes from the
New King James Version (NKJV)*

There are many passages in the Bible that talk about hell. What this post will specifically do is to determine if hell really does exist. And also by what definition does it exist by. Most of the Biblical texts being used are mentioned during the end times. Most Biblical texts will be from the New Testament, however there will be several from the Old Testament prophets as well.

Hell is one of the most misunderstood points in the Bible. Some say that it does not exist altogether because God can’t be that cruel for people to burn all eternity. Some say that it does exist and that it is a burning pit of fire that burns eternally. And some still say that it’s a tool to scare people into believing in God. While all these positions can have a valid argument to each, neither is Biblically true.

What happens when we die?

First, to determine if there is a hell, one must determine what our “state” is when we die. The Bible tells us that when we die, we sleep.

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” John 11:9-15

35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
Mark 5:35-43

As we see from the two examples above, Jesus stated that Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter were sleeping, while the rest of the people stated that Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter were dead. How is it that death is actually sleep?

Death is called sleep at least 50 times in the Bible. If you look at old gravestones, some are engraved with phrases referencing sleep. One well known phrase is R.I.P., Rest In Peace. This is very fitting as we consider rest sleep.

Another misunderstood interpretation of death is what happens when one dies. Death is not a life in purgatory, hell, or heaven. Death is a sleep. The dead know nothing. The false assumption that we go to heaven/hell when we die is wrong. It would be cruel for loved ones up in heaven looking down and seeing the state of the world, heaven would not be a happy place for them if that were the case. Thankfully it is not.
5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5

This passage alone states that the dead know nothing. They don’t know about the lives they left behind, they don’t know about eternity ahead of them, they know nothing, they are asleep. In finishing with the topic of Death is Sleep, I conclude with a quote from the following website: The Bible Calls "Death" Sleep

So, if a man's thoughts perish at the moment he dies, how could he be "alive and well in heaven?" And if it's true that "the dead know not any thing," how is it that the dead can be in heaven in the presence of God? No, death is a sleep, and there are many proof texts in the Bible that support this view.

Think of it this way. Would it be fair say that Cain, who killed 1 man, was burning in hell for for approximately 6000 years to this day as compared to Hitler who killed millions not even 100 years ago? Would that seem fair? If you answered no, I agree with you. It is because of these scenarios that the possibility of hell being a real place that one goes when he dies is just not true. For where would justice be for a man who lived many centuries ago killing only 1 man compared to Hitler who lived not even 100 years ago and killed millions? This is why for those who believe that one goes to heaven and hell when they die, is simply not true. We are asleep when we die, we know nothing, we can do nothing, we can’t hear, see, touch, nodda.

Where is Hell if it exists?

If hell was a place, most people would attribute it to their lives as a living hell or as some would portray it as a very hot place underneath the ground we stand on. These two ideas of hell have simply misguided. Hell does not exist as a place where one burns for all eternity.

Jesus teaches that everyone will either be saved or lost. You are either for God or against God. There are no fences or gray area. There is a reason why I say this. No where in the Bible does it say ‘those who have neither accepted nor denied God will go either way’. You are either for or against God, there is no in-between.

Now let’s look at the first passage about hell.

I always like to use whole passages rather than verses, especially if the verse I want to use starts with “Therefore” or “Whosoever”. The key to understanding these is to read the context before and after the verse. With this in mind, I will quote the Parable of the Tares.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30

When reading in parables, one must realize that Jesus used the earth as a teaching tool. Whether it was the birds of the air or the fish in the sea, they each present a lesson within themselves. Because farming was a big industry of the time (as well as fishing), Jesus used every day tasks as a teaching method. The above parable basically states that instead of taking out what is rotten and risk uprooting the good, it would be best to wait until harvest time, at which all the tares would be gathered and burned first. The wheat, however, would remain in the man’s barn. Jesus explains this parable to His disciples:

The Parable of the Tares Explained
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 13:36-43

Remember, remember, and remember! All the parables that Jesus taught were taught with symbols and were not meant to take literally as it says within the verse. Rather, one should focus on what the symbols mean. Jesus already did this with the Parable of the Tares, but I will present it in a way that is easy to understand.

Within the explanation we understand the following:
  • The man who sows seeds is the Son of Man
  • The field is the world, the earth.
  • The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom (or in other words, those who are saved)
  • The tares are the sons of the wicked one (or in other words, those who wish to deny God and not believe in him).
  • The enemy who sowed the tares is the devil (Satan)
  • The harvest is the end of the age (when Jesus returns)
  • The reapers are the angels of God.

Those are the basic symbols. Jesus goes on to say what will happen. The angels will gather out all those who practiced lawlessness and all things that offended. They will be cast into the furnace of fire. Then the righteous will shine forth in the kingdom of God.

What I think is misinterpreted is the part where they are cast into the furnace of fire. To one simply reading that it would seem that hell is a place. BUT, remember that this is a parable; Jesus is discussing this parable, and remember He is talking about the end of the age. The furnace of fire, although may present the idea of a hell as a place, is simply not so.

Let’s take a look at another Parable. This parable has been one of the ones that is most scrutinized as well as misinterpreted.

The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[d] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores . 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” Luke 16: 19-31

At a first read, this parable seems to teach that Hell is a real place where one goes when they die. But again, we are dealing with a parable that with all parables uses symbols as a representation of something else. We learned this from the previous parable as Jesus clearly explained it. However, we are not so fortunate this time and need to be as open and truthful to the context as possible. There are several facts within the parable that clearly show that it is a parable and should not be taken literally (taken from Hell Truth).
  • Abraham's bosom is not heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10, 16)
  • People in hell can't talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65: 17)
  • The dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death. It is very obvious that the body remains in the grave, as the Bible says.
  • Men are rewarded at Christ's second coming, not at death (Revelation 22:11, 12)
  • The lost are punished in hell at the end of the world, not when they die (Matthew 13:40-42). The point of the story is found in verse 31 of Luke 16. Parables cannot be taken literally. If we took parables literally, then we must believe that trees talk! (See this parable in Judges 9:8-15).
What Jesus was teaching within this parable was just because you are rich within your wealth doesn’t mean you are going to heaven. Jesus was demonstrating that anyone can be included in heaven, not just those who are rich and well off in their lives. As Jesus was saying this parable to the Jews, he was also telling them that just because they were Jews didn’t mean that they would automatically be accepted in the kingdom. It isn’t their birthright (we all know that the way to Heaven is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing in the Son, we would have everlasting life.) The Jews did not want to say Jesus was the Son of God, as they were only looking for a Messiah to free them from the Romans. However, as shown that is not so.

This parable was not meant to say that there is a physical hell. I will use the conclusion from the link Hell Truth -- Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus as it sums it up the best.

Furthermore, Jesus was seeking to lead His hearers to understand that only faithfulness to God's Word would prepare them to enter into eternal life. He told them, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

To use the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in order to promote the false doctrine of an eternally burning hell is to misuse God's Word and to misrepresent His character.

The Jews of Jesus’ time believed that it was based on their heritage that they would enter the kingdom of God.

So what is Hell, if it is Not a Physical Place?

We now understand that when we die, we are in a state of sleep. We know nothing, can hear nothing, one cannot even think his own thoughts.

It is taught that the soul is released from the body and goes to be with God. However, this is not the case. Once one is in the grave, they await judgment. The only thing that goes back to God is the breath of life that was given to us to live. But what about the last verse in the Bible to which Jesus says:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John,[a] saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,[b] “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
6 And He said to me, “It is done![c] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things,[d] and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving,[e] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8

Again, we need to remember that this is a prophetic dream that John is having. Just like the prophetic dreams that Daniel had, none of this should be taken literally.

Jesus states at the end that all those who have done evil will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, the second death. Remember, that the punishment is the second death. The second death is the result of sin, it is in essence what hell really is. It is not a place. I will write a post specifically on this topic as it furthers understanding in what "Hell" really is.

For more information on this subject, please follow this link. It opens as a PDF within your web browser, so you will need the latest Adobe reader installed on your computer. Click on the titled article to go to the page.

Hellfire: A Twisted Truth Untangled

Monday, June 21, 2010

"You're Going to Hell if..."

Interesting article I came across, I had assumed it was more humor then anything really. But it wasn’t classified as humor, merely atheist and that this was titled “You’re going to hell if…” So I decided to look up these verses and see what they really do say. See this Link for the list

The following is my analysis of the verses in mention.

1. Eat fruit from a tree less than five years old. [Lev. 19:23]

Leviticus 19:23 (New King James Version) reads:

23 ‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten.

I will blatantly state that no where does this say that one is going to hell if you eat fruit from a tree that is less then five years old. The verse even indicates that it only refers to trees that are planted in the first three years of when the Israelites go into the Promised Land, no mention of 5 years.

I can only speculate as to what this verse truly means. But it by no means is a reason for going to hell. This simply referred to the time when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land.

2. Cross-breed animals. [Lev. 19:19]

Leviticus 19:19 (New King James Version) reads:

19 ‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

I will again blatantly state again that this does not vaguely say “animals” as the author states in his second point. This verse is actually very specific. This verse is talking about livestock. Do you really want to breed a cow and horse? That clearly doesn’t work. What about a sheep and cow? What about a donkey and ox? This is what is called critical thinking; does one breed a cow with a sheep? They are livestock, as this verse is referring to. Notice we can cross breed dogs, cats, etc just not livestock. This again is no reason one is going to hell.

3. Grow two different plants in your garden. [Lev. 19:19]

Leviticus 19:19 (New King James Version) reads:

19 ‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

There is no mention of a garden; rather there is mention of field. Ask any farmer if they have mixed the seed they use to plant in their fields and they would call you crazy. To do so would not produce a good crop. Should wheat and barely be mixed? Should canola seed and green feed be mixed? Again, this is critical thinking for how we are to live and what will work best for us. And again, there is no mention of one going to hell over this.

4. Wear a cotton-polyester blend T-Shirt. [Lev. 19:19]

Leviticus 19:19 (New King James Version) reads:

19 ‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you”.

For one, I am sure they didn’t have cotton and polyester to make a cotton-polyester blend t-shirt. This verse is specific to wool and mixed linen. This again is just critical thinking like I have presented in numbers 2 and 3. Wearing a cotton blend shirt is not going to send you to hell, despite what the author says.

5. Read your horoscope. [Lev. 19:26]

Leviticus 19:26 (New King James Version) reads:

26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.

Practice in divination and soothsaying is against God. Divination and soothsaying are not of God and thus are bad. Evil spirits, demons, fallen angels (who were once angels of God) or however you want to reference these things is what is behind divination and soothsaying. Dabbling in these things can lead to lots of problems, misguide a person into thinking something that isn’t or is. It seems harmful at first, but once in the door, it becomes harmful and can have a negative affect in your life.

So does simply reading your horoscope send one to hell? Not directly. Indirectly yes as it can lead you to investigate even more of the psychic world and what is not of God.

6. Consult a psychic. [Lev. 19:31]

Leviticus 19:31 (New King James Version) reads:

31 ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Are psychics real? How many are in it for the money? Most are scams nowadays, do background information to claim they know what is going on. I cannot speak about those that apparently have the ability to show what is true, guided by evil spirits; this is where they get their supposed gift from. It is not of God.

Does consulting a psychic deem one to go straight to hell? Again not directly, but indirectly yes. Think of it as the snowball effect. Some people can become worried when they hear their “future” told to them. They want to change it, avoid it, and/or get it. No one knows the future but God. No human can ever have this ability unless it was given by God (This can be considered like the prophetic dreams in Daniel, the dreams that Joseph saw, they were given visions, dreams, of what was to come).

7. Cut your hair. [Lev. 19:27]

Leviticus 19:27 (New King James Version) reads:

27 You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.

In order to find out what exactly this verse means, one would have to find out the significance in having the beards during this time in the Bible. I will say that this verse deals with hair on the sides on one’s head and the edge’s of one’s beard. And it has no mention of cutting one’s hair; rather it mentions one not to shave the sides of one’s head and not to disfigure the edges of the beard.

Does cutting your hair grounds to go to hell? No, that is just silly. Most of the laws mentioned in Leviticus and Exodus were common sense laws. But cutting your hair is not a one way ticket to hell. I would consider this one more of a humor/joke then putting belief in it

8. Trim your beard. [Lev. 19:27]

Leviticus 19:27 (New King James Version) reads:

27 You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.

See above (number 7) for explanation

Again, trimming one’s beard is not a one way ticket to hell. I would again consider this a humor/joke then a belief.

9. Are tattooed. [Lev. 19:28]

Leviticus 19:28 (New King James Version) reads:

28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.

Are those people who have tattoos on them today going to hell? I can’t answer that one with a definite yes or no. Again, these laws were given to the Israelites for the Promised Land. What I will say is this. The Bible has stated that the body should be a temple for the Holy Spirit to allow God to dwell in us. This is about taking care of our body, being healthy. Tattooing practices nowadays are safe, although there are cases of infection and reactions to them. Now think about getting a tattoo nearly 4000 years ago, without the aid of what we have today. One could easily get an infection, it can be dirty as things may or may not have been sterile when used to create the tattoo. Getting a tattoo in Israelite's time could have been a death sentence due to infection.

I will say that having a tattoo alone in today’s world does not mean one goes straight to hell.

10. Plant crops for more than seven years. [Lev. 25:4, Ex. 23:10-13]

Leviticus 25:4 (New King James Version) reads:

4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.

Exodus 23:10-13 (New King James Version) reads:

10 “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.

13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.

My grandpa farms, he has a lot of land, and thus he plants a lot of crops. He has a system though – crop rotation. Crops are rotated between fields; reason for this is because certain crops only require certain nutrients from the soil. Keeping a crop on the same soil for years does not help the soil at all. That crop takes what it needs and the soil eventually “dies”. Having a different crop every year gives the soil a break as not all crops require the same nutrients from the soil, some need this and some need that. Another thing about crop rotation is that there is always a field that lays bare for a year. My grandpa refers to it as summer fallow.

Planting crops for more then seven years will not send you to hell. The most it will do is degrade the soil value. The soil, the earth, requires rest as well to replenish what was taken from it. In regards to the verse above, the seventh year was to be the summer fallow for the Israelites. Whatever the land produced that seventh year was free to the poor to eat. I would consider this very considerate behavior for humans, thinking about others.

This verse also states that for six days man does his work, tiling the earth, doing work. On the seventh day he is to rest from his labor of the six days. Have you ever worked continuously with no break in your work schedule? The most I did was nearly 20 days in a row. I was exhausted and tired, not to mention weak. Rest is essential not only for the earth, but also for man.

And why Exodus 23:13 is referenced is beyond me as it has nothing to do with planting crops.

11. Bear a grudge. [Lev. 19:17]

Leviticus 19:17 (New King James Version) reads:

17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.

There is no mention of bearing a grudge in this verse. Having hate for someone does yourself more harm then the other person. You become hardened and only see hate. Hate is a very powerful thing; it is the absence of love. It becomes unhealthy to have hate in one’s heart, it destroys one’s self.

The next part of the verse again has nothing to do with bearing a grudge. I had to look up the definition of what rebuke means. defines rebuke as:
to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprove; reprimand.
In order to understand what this means is that if the neighbor is in sin, one shall surely rebuke him (to disapprove of what is being said, done, etc) lest you fall into that sin as well. Ever heard of the saying “going with the crowd”? I believe this was to show the Israelites that they shouldn’t just go with the crowd. If it was wrong, then it’s wrong and should be dealt with. It doesn’t say that we need to go rebuke our neighbor by yelling at him and throwing it in their face. Rather in a loving way it should be done.

Again, this verse does not state anything about holding a grudge and if it did, there is no mention that one would go to hell because of it.

12. Collect interest on a loan. [Ex. 22:24]

Exodus 22:24 (New King James Version) reads:

24 and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

Now, isn’t that a powerful verse? To understand this verse one is going to have to study the preceding verses as this verse begins with “and”. It would even be best to begin at the beginning of the chapter if you want to know why the above is said and in what context it’s being said in.

Also, where is there mention of collecting interest on a loan?

13. Insult a leader. [Ex. 22:27]

Exodus 22:27 (New King James Version) reads:

27 For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious

Again, as stated in the prior number, to understand this verse you are going to have to read the preceding verses for this begins as a reason for something said prior “For that is his only covering”. A read and study of chapter 22 would help.

I do not see any mention in this verse in regards to insulting a leader. Maybe this one and the prior one were referenced wrong by the author.

14. Mistreat a foreigner. [Ex. 22:21, 23:9]

Exodus 22:21 (New King James Version) reads:

21 “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:9 (New King James Version) reads:

9 “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

The Israelites were foreigners in the land of Egypt. It never belonged to them; they ended up being slaves in that land. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is what I see this verse saying. The Israelites are told to not mistreat a stranger or oppress them, as they were once mistreated and oppressed. They knew what it was like to be mistreated and oppressed.
Does mistreating a foreigner send you to hell? It isn’t nice to do, how would you like it is what I would ask. This does not necessarily send you to hell, but it surely does affect your character in a negative way. I say again, Do unto Others as You Would Have Them Do unto You.

15. Spread false rumors. [Ex. 23:1] (Sorry, Pat Robertson!)

Exodus 23:1 (New King James Version) reads:

1 “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Spreading false rumors is also considered lying. You are lying about something, creating something not true. The verse stated above says that one should not circulate a false report, a false story. It sucks when the truth ends up coming out and the person who gave the false report is found out. In today’s society it is unlawful to file a false police report, one can get fined or even spend time in jail.

Does spreading rumors send you to hell? Again, it will impact your character as a person. People will not believe you, they may not want to hang out with you or be your friend in worry that you may spread something false about them. There is no mention in this verse that a person is going to hell because of spreading rumors, however one of the ten commandments states “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. This verse is a standard of living. Lie, spread false rumors and your standard of living, your character, diminishes.

16. Drive a Mercury. [Ex. 23:13] (Look it up.)

Exodus 23:13 (New King James Version) reads:

13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.

First off, and this is quite noticeable, where is there mention in this verse about driving a mercury? (And yes I looked up this verse just like the author said in parentheses to do). This point that the author makes I will definitely say it was more for humor/joke then being a real meaning of this verse. The Israelites had no “Mercury” to drive. Number 16 in this author’s list is rather pointless and should be removed.

A definite NO you are NOT going to hell for driving a Mercury. Now, if you worship the god Mercury, then we are discussing something totally different as this is what the verse talks about.

I want to conclude by stating that lots of the laws given in Exodus and Leviticus were given to the Israelites as a standard to live by. There were no prior laws before this, people lived as they pleased. Some laws just simply do not apply to today’s time and what we have presently versus what the Israelites had in the past.

Will you go to hell for any of the above? Most of the above was an attack on how to live, no where did it mention the Israelites were going to hell for not following. Their lives would simply be miserable if they didn’t follow; perhaps creating a hell in their life if they didn’t follow the laws. There is black and there is white. There should be no gray. One goes to hell when they do not accept Jesus as their savior. In that you can believe, trust, and know that you will go to hell. But then that leads me to ask, is hell really a place? Now that is a subject for another blog!

See friends, this is an example of why you cannot take things at face value, especially the opinions of others. I went right to the Bible, to read the whole context, to read the specific verse in question. Read your Bible, go to your Bible! See for yourself! Many I am sure have taken this article at face value, without ever searching further. Don't be fooled! Read your Bible and not the opinions of others, not even mine. If I quote or state something from the Bible, go to the Bible yourself and see if what I am saying is truth or not.

Peace to you


Whatcha thinking, doing the things you do
Whose opinion are ya listening to?
Justifying, you turn it all to gray,
Synchronizing to society's ways.

Society has gotten to be all outta whack,
Don't bother with excuses whether white or black.
To blame it on a color won't get a result
Because history reveals to me how ethics were lost.
In reality our decency has taken a plunge,
"In God We Trust" is an American pun,
Funny how it happened so suddenly, yo fellas, kick the melody...

Socially acceptable, it's okay, it's alright
Socially acceptable, it's okay, in whose sight
Socially acceptable

Times are changing, with morals in decay,
Human rights have made the wrongs okay.
Something's missing, and if you're asking me,
I think that something is the G- O- D.
To label wrong or right by the people's sight,
Is like going to a loser to ask advice.
And by basing your plans on another man's way of living life
I is creating a brand of ethics sure to be missing the punch,
No count morals that are out to lunch.
They're sliding away 'cause everything is okay,
It was taboo back then but today we say, "What the hey."

Socially acceptable, it's okay, it's alright
Socially acceptable, it's okay, in whose sight
Socially acceptable

We gotta back to the principles found in the Word,
A little G-O-D could be society's cure
From the state that we're in 'cause again we're slipping,
So pray for America cause time is ticking.

dcTalk -- "Socially Acceptable"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Who is God? Part 1

This subject alone has so many aspects to it, so many that a long paper could be written about it. But I want to take the time to do these aspects one at a time. For this way I can go into specifics and not involve so many details that would pertain to another aspect. And I would like to being with asking the question, "Is God male or female?"

Note -- All Biblical text comes from the New King James Version.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
We know that Genesis chapter 1 speaks of the creation of the earth. Specifically, we want to look at the creation of man. "'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness'... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Man is created in the image of God. But what is this image of God? Does that mean that we look the same as God? That all our physical features are like God's?

When we closely examine scripture there are two things about God that become quite clear. First off, God is a spirit, He does not possess human characteristics nor does He possess limitations. Secondly, all Scripture agrees that God has revealed Himself to mankind in the form of a male.
God’s true nature needs to be understood. God is a Person, obviously, because God exhibits all the characteristics of personhood: God has a mind, a will, an intellect, and emotions. God communicates and He has relationships, and God’s personal actions are evidenced throughout Scripture. From
Let us go back to our first point -- God is a spirit. Because God is a spirit, he does not possess any physical human characteristics. However, scripture uses figurative language to give God these characteristics. The reason this is done is to help man to understand God. Because God is outside of our comprehension and physical means, the Bible helps describe who God is by using figurative human characteristics. The proper word for this is Anthropomorphism, in essence meaning to give human characteristics to a deity. For man to understand who God is, the Bible has provided a way on our own level to help us understand. We hear that God is love, God is merciful, He is genuine, compassionate, easily angered, a jealous God, the list could go on. But notice humans also experience these things. We love, we can be merciful, we can be angered, jealous, many things. It is only logical to state that the Bible is God's way of showing us who He is on our own level of comprehension.

But it still remains, what makes us different than the rest of the animals on this planet? What is so special about being created in God's image? The answer lies within what "image" means in the context of creation. Let's again look at Genesis 1:26-27:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
We note that both male and female were created in the image of God. Nowhere else in creation mentions this. So we know whatever "image" is, it is only meant for mankind and not the animals on earth. This alone makes man greater than all the creatures on the earth. Reason for this: The image and likeness of God means that man, like God, has a mind, a will, intellect, emotions, and a moral capacity. Animals do not possess a moral capacity, nor do they possess an immaterial component like mankind does.
The image of God is the spiritual component that humanity alone possesses. God created humanity to have a relationship with Him. Humanity is the only creation designed for that purpose.
Man and woman are patterned after God, they are not "tiny" copies God, as I even once thought. Because there is male and female here for mankind, does not mean God needs to have male or female features. Remember, to be made in the image of God has nothing to do with physical features. This is something I have just learned and I have such a better understanding! Our likeness to God and the image we share with God is that we have a mind, our intellect, we have a will, we have a moral capacity. This is what being made in the image of God really means. It has nothing to do with physical features! And that alone, this truth alone makes me so excited about my life!

In knowing that God is a spiritual being and does not possess physical characteristics, this, however, does not limit how God will reveal Himself to mankind. The Bible contains everything, a revelation God gave to mankind about Himself and is the only objective source about who He is.

Scripture itself contains approximately 170 references to God as "father". By what we know in our own culture, one cannot be a father unless that person is a male. Just like one cannot be a mother unless that person is female. If God wanted to reveal Himself to man as female, the word "mother" would have been used. In looking at both the Old and New Testaments, we find that only masculine pronouns are used to describe God. Jesus Himself referred to God as "father". It is interesting to note that in the Gospels alone, Jesus referred to God as "father" nearly 160 times!
Of particular interest is Christ’s statement in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” Obviously, Jesus Christ came in the form of a human man to die on the cross as payment for the sins of the world. Like God the Father, Jesus was revealed to humanity in a male form. Scripture records numerous other instances where Christ utilized masculine nouns and pronouns in reference to God.
In looking throughout the Bible, there is no doubt that God is referenced as male. In the Epistles alone, 900 times the word theos -- a masculine noun -- is used in direct reference to God. There is such a consistent pattern in Scripture, the use of masculine titles, nouns, pronouns, to describe God. Now, we know that God Himself is not male, but He chose the masculine to reveal Himself on mankind's level of intellect. The same is with Jesus. The Old and New Testaments refer to both God and Jesus with masculine titles and names. God chose this way so that we can grasp who He is.

At the same time, although God will make allowances to help us understand who He is, we need to be careful not to force God in a box, by placing limits on Him that are not appropriate to His nature.


How you gonna reckon with a God like this?
When you gonna face what you can't dismiss?
Whatcha gonna say to the... Soul Kiss that is my God?
Fearsome like the sag in a fat man's chair?
Sweeter than a patch of Rogaine hair?
How do you define what you can't compare?
This is... My God

And there's no use explaining what can't be contained

I'm not following a God I can lead around
I Can't tame this deity
That's why Jesus is the final answer
to Who I want my God to be!
He's Who (I want my God to be...)

How you gonna reckon with a God this Great?
Why you gonna measure what you can't equate?

Whatcha gonna say to the... Checkmate that is my God?
Stronger than the burn of an aftershave?
Tender as a burger in the microwave, rarer than the air in an empty grave?
This is... My God

And there's no use explaining what can't be contained

How we gonna work this out?
To fabricate a God like this?
No doubt
We'd end up worshipping a Christ of our own design
But Jesus doesn't fit that profile
His ways aren't mine

I'm not following A God that's imagined!
Can't invent his deity
That's why Jesus is the final answer
to who I want my God to be
He's Who I want my God to be!
Newsboys -- "Who?"

Biblical Truth

First of all, welcome to my blog.

There is so much information in this world today. Our knowledge is ever expanding. With that, though, comes confusion. Too much information and it becomes hard to find what truth is. And despite the growth in knowledge, society’s morals are slowly declining. Each generation seems to show less respect, more and more children are coming from broken homes, growing up too soon. our governments and the leaders seem more and more corrupt, wanting power and money. Disease is spreading, new variations are being discovered, and cancer diseases are becoming more common.

I shudder at the thought of what this world has become. We all hope for something better and want peace and goodness reign. Sadly, though, obtaining a “utopia” is simply not possible on this world. We, as a human race, are selfish. While we try to look out for those without, we will always wrestle with our selfish desires. Men, who were once upright and honest, become corrupt and manipulative when they gain power, such as a CEO position or a government official. It happens. Even King David, despite being a man after God’s own heart, fell into selfishness of the human heart. He lusted after Bathsheba and not only was adultery committed, David had her husband killed in battle! Power corrupts, money corrupts, and selfishness corrupts.

“There’s got to be more to life then chasing down every temporary high that satisfies me.” That is a line out of a song by Staccie Orrico. And it is true. We all search for things that will make us happy, that will make us feel good. But nothing in this world will satisfy us. So we just keep on searching, trying anything and everything. Sometimes it is sex, sometimes it is drugs, lying, stealing, and some will even go as far as into spiritualism, that is, witchcraft, sorcery, psychics. But the adrenaline rush, or the highs we get from these things, never truly satisfy us. We long for more so we do more of the things that temporarily satisfy us. However, before we know it, sometimes we are so consumed by these things that they tend to destroy our life, our families, and our friends -- sometimes directly, but also indirectly.

So is there something more to life? Is there a purpose to this life? Or are we here just by mere chance? Are we just to live, do as we please and simply die?

I want answers and I want the truth. That is the purpose of this blog, to find out truth. I want to look at everything and everything. I want to be skeptical, but open to truth. And that is the main thing -- our mindset. Will we be open-minded? Or will we be narrow-minded, not willing to see truth?

The Bible speaks for itself, and that is something I am going to show you. The Bible explains itself, no need to come up with interpretations or guesses. Nothing in the Bible is secret, no hidden code. It is all there for the willing and honest man to search out.

This is where we find the truth. This is truth about our history, our present, and our future. It is there for anyone who will take a chance, step out of their comfort zone. My brother has a saying, “If the truth hurts, then something is wrong”. Basically, what that means is truth is something you can’t deny. It can only affect you one of two ways. You will either rejoice and be happy about the truth or the truth will bother you, you will become offended, distraught, ultimately unsettled.

I am open and I am willing.


Wasn't it long ago
Wasn't it in a New England coast
Wasn't it the standard- people praying to
The Son and the Father and the Holy Ghost

One nation over God
Is that what we've now become?
The founding fathers left a noble legacy
To their sons and daughters
Look at what we've done
Look at what we've done

Breakdown, Breakdown, Breakdown
As we learn to bite the hand
That tries to feed us
Breakdown, Breakdown, Breakdown
If we say that we are free
Who will believe us?
If we breakdown

See the powder on the glass
See the pillow on the street
See the charter of a modern love
With no obligations or promises to meet

Hear the fear of disease
Hear the baby never born
Hear a people crying out
"Somebody save us- Oh, please somebody save us,
From what we're headed for- From what
we're headed for..."

Michael W. Smith – “Breakdown”