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Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness”  Genesis 1:26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

To all of our friends who consider themselves to be religious “outsiders”, we happily say:  YOU are not the ultimate source of evil in the world, and GOD AIN’T MAD AT YOU!

We sincerely apologize for our disagreement with all of our friends who consider themselves to be religious “insiders”, and who strive mightily to convince our other friends that the world would be a better place if they would just “get right with God” or “get saved” or “repent”.  To be sure, YOUR world would be better if you were able to do those things, but would THE world be better?

In our post today we take a controversial look at the ultimate origin of evil–WHO is responsible for the existence of evil in the world?  Where does evil come from?  Does it spontaneously combust?  Was it part of the “big bang”?  And perhaps in a later post, WHO is going to get rid of it, and how?

If evil existed in the world before any of us who are now alive, dear reader, does it make sense to you that ANY of your actions (or inactions) could get rid of it?  Of course not.  Let’s go right to the controversial part:  the source of evil in the world is NOT sinful people! and that includes you, the religious outsider.

It is popularly believed that evil is a force of nature that fights, wars, struggles, with an opposing force of nature–the goodness of God.  And so you have the Devil fighting against God, darkness vs. light, evil vs. good, the Yin and Yang.  We mention the last one to highlight the fact that this back and forth nonsense is ancient pagan superstition.  It was co-opted by the early Roman church for purposes of controlling the masses.  But it did not derive from the Bible or the teachings of Jesus.

Unfortunately, just about every major denomination today embraces some version of this “turn or burn” mentality, that if you are “good” you get to go to heaven, and if you are “bad”, you go to hell, or are utterly destroyed in some fashion.  Each group has slightly different definitions of “good” and “bad” and what is necessary to migrate from one group to the other, but from 30,000 feet, they all look pretty much the same.  The reason is:  they ARE essentially the same.  Here is the problem with the whole mentality:  it fails to understand the reason and purpose of evil.

The ultimate source of evil in the world is the Creator, who created it.  Yes, that is correct, God Himself, with the able assistance of Christ (who later was born on earth and named Jesus).  Read it for yourself from the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 3:

All things came into being through Him (Jesus), and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  John 1:3 NASB

You want to talk about light vs. darkness, then check this out:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.  Isaiah 45:7 King James Version

In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider–God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discovery anything that will be after him.  Ecclesiastes 7:14 NASB

If calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?  Amos 3:6 NASB

If one considers the Bible to be authoritative, if not instructive, (and we consider it to be both), one could reasonably be surprised that our premise is so controversial!  It seems clear that the Creator created evil.  Therefore, let’s next consider how the religious insiders got off the correct path, and let’s start with Adam.

You remember Adam and Eve, the first man and woman?  In the garden of Eden?  You may remember that they ate an apple, or some other fruit, or whatever, the point is:  they disobeyed God; they sinned.  You’re probably thinking/remembering (because it has been pounded into your sub-conscience) that they died as punishment because they sinned.  Add in the old good vs. evil superstition/motif, and voila!  Adam created evil, and because we are all descended from Adam, we are responsible for evil in the world.  And because we insiders have repented, that only leaves you outsiders.  See how it works?

Yes, Adam and Eve did indeed sin. But did Father kill them for it?  See for yourself:

Then to Adam He said,…Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles (weeds) it shall grow for you. Genesis 3:17 NASB

This is a classic example of God’s punishment fitting the crime:  you disobeyed me in eating what I provided, so now you will have to work for it.  This is why you have weeds in your garden, and bugs in your fruit trees.  Adam and Eve did indeed eventually die, but not in punishment.  Legally speaking, the punishment was applied to the earth–the ground would no longer blossom absent some good, hard work. The “curse” was not applied to Adam; instead, Adam’s correction was that he had to make restitution.

To find out what happened, we must piece together the story from several places, and in so doing we can see what Father had in mind by creating evil in the world.

Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through (by means of, as a result of) sin, and so death spread to all men, upon which (Gr. “eph ho”) all sinned.  Romans 5:12 NASB

So when Adam sinned, Father sent death as the ultimate form of evil into the world.  All “lesser” forms of evil are subsumed by and culminate in the pinnacle of evil–death.  Men don’t die because they sin; they sin because they are dying.  (Think about this for one moment, and you can easily see the truth of it.  A baby starts “dying” the moment it is born, before it can take any kind of action that can be called wrongdoing.)

Father used the occasion of Adam’s sin to send death (evil) into the world, and allowed it to spread to all men.  Why did He do that?  Because His plan was to send another man, and by the actions of the second man, He would cause righteousness (the opposite of evil) and life to spread to all men.  The name of this man?  Jesus/Yeshua, the messiah.

For since by a man (Adam) came death, by a man (Jesus) also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15: 21

Know anyone who is not dying?  They will all be made alive by Christ Jesus.  All means all; all die and all will be made alive.  How does that work?  This is why those of us who know Jesus love him so much:

For as through one transgression (wrongdoing, sin) there resulted condemnation (an eventual death sentence) to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.  Romans 5:19 NASB

Dear reader, do you know what the “one act of righteousness” was?  Jesus the innocent one paid with his own life upon the cross for all the wrongdoing from Adam until the last of it has occurred.  And to top it all off, He agreed to this plan before Adam was ever created.

You might say that Adam gave us a “gift” of a cursed earth and mortality (eventual physical death for all).  But Jesus gives us all the free gift of divine life (unending and righteous) which sooner or later (why wait?) all receive.  This is a species of life that comes from the very nature of God–His plan has always been to MAKE us in “Our image and in Our likeness”.  You may be glad to know that it is not your responsibility.

For if by the transgression of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the (other) one, Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:18 NASB

(This) gift is not like that which came through the one (Adam) who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment (sentence of eventual death) arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. Romans 5:16 NASB

What a gift!  Think of it in parallel terms:  one wrong action by Adam, and all the world starts dying.  But one righteous act by Jesus undoes eons of wrongdoing by billions of people, and moreover makes them righteous in God’s eyes, and all the world starts living by the power of an unending life of which we wrote earlier.

Father and Son planned this from the beginning, because of their great love for you, dear reader, yes the religious “outsider”.  They knew you would wonder about it, puzzle over it, and question why they didn’t do something about it.  Well, they did.  Father introduced evil into the world so He could be glorified by removing it all in one fell swoop.  Can you see why He ain’t mad at you?  Why should He be?

As those of us who have come to trust in Him, and as we know Him more and more, to call Him merely “God”, His most common name, is simply too impersonal.

To as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,…” John 1:12 NASB

As the old song goes, to know Him is to love Him.  Calling Him “God” while not incorrect, fails to recognize the profound love which He has for each of us, so as His children, we want to call Him “Father”, or even more lovinglingly, “Daddy”.  Those who have a conception (incorrectly) of Him as an angry, vengeful deity have trouble with such familiarity.

As always, we do not ask or expect you to believe us–ask Him yourself.  How?  Either silently in your mind and heart, or out loud with your mouth, simply ask Him if what we have said is true.  You can even bow your head and close your eyes if that will help you believe He is listening, but we assure you it is not necessary.  We want to be the first to welcome you to Father’s family!

Blessed are you, O Lord our wonderful God, the king of forever!  Great is your wisdom and wise are your orderings of all things, from the rising of the sun until its going down.  But greater still is the love you have borne for us all, especially the one who has never belonged.  Show your love to the prodigal son, and let the party begin!

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.  John 3:16-17 The Living Bible

If you are a regular reader of these posts, you know that our outreach is especially to those who feel that they are “outsiders” to religion in general, and to the organized church in particular.  There are a number of reasons outsiders feel they way they do, but the main reason is the religious system at its core requires separation and division to exist.  The outsiders are the separated ones.

The etymology for the word “denomination” derives from about the 14th century, meaning “a naming, the act of giving a name to” according to  In the early 18th century, it came to mean the naming of a religious sect. Currently, it has come to mean a group having a distinctive interpretation of a religious faith and usually its own organization.  In practical terms, it means that the distinctive interpretation is a wall, a barrier, a separator beyond which those with different interpretations may not pass.

A comprehensive review of the ancient origins of this practice in religious circles is beyond the scope of this post.  But, believe us, outsiders know all too well the exclusion they feel exuding from most religious establishments.  Its primary hallmark is an air of superiority for the insiders, and guilt and inadequacy for the outsiders.  “Just agree with us, and you can be an insider, too!”

We are ecstatic to announce some good news for all of you outsiders!  It was never Father’s intention, desire or will for you to be outside of His blessings–and you are not outside of His blesssings!  Our opening passage, one that is well-known, albeit not always accurately translated, plainly declares that Father now loves, has loved, and always will love, the entire world–and that includes all of you who feel you are “outsiders”!  You may in fact be an outsider to the church organization, but you are most definitely NOT an outsider to God or God’s love.

(We sincerely apologize to everyone who has been taught that God is about to burn up the inhabitants of the world because He is so mad at them.  We regret to inform you that you have been taught an untrue image of the heavenly Father. We respectfully suggest that you ask Him if those are His intentions, and do not believe it until He tells you it is true.)

Continuing our practice of presenting the facts, and teaching the ability to find the facts for yourself, we first turn to the word “love”.  Regrettably, most translators lump several words used in the original text into a single English word in the translation.  Several different Greek words, having markedly different meanings in Greek, are all translated “love” in most bible translations.

These meanings range from friendship (“phileo” as in Philadelphia) to sexual love (“eros” as in erotic) to unconditional love with no strings attached (“agape” for which there isn’t a readily recognizable English word).  Dear reader, do you want to guess which word was used in reference to God’s love?  If you guessed “no strings attached”, you are correct!

Here’s how you can learn to check these things out for yourself. There is a free online resource called  From the home page you can enter a bible word like “love” and find out its correct meaning and compare how it has been used in other places in the bible.  You are no longer dependent on the translators–the wonderful folks at this website have done all the hard work for you.  May Father bless each one of them!

As this post is written, the box at the top is entitled “Search The Bible”, and one of the examples is John 3:16!  But for practice, enter “loved” in the box and click the magnifying glass.  The website will gather all the verses in the entire bible where the word “loved” is used in that translation. Look to the right, for a listing by each book in the bible–here, we’re looking for the book of John (Jhn).  Click on it.

The first entry is John 3:16.  To the left is a button called “Tools”.  If you click on that button, you will get either a drop down list offering an interlinear version or another box where each word is interlineated into several categories.  The first column, called “Strong’s” is a dictionary with numbered entries; further to the right is the Greek root word and an English transliteration.  Click on the Strong’s number, G25, and it will take you to the definition of the word.  If you cannot find it, here is the link.

You will notice when the reference is to people, it means “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.”  So God is welcoming someone He loves dearly, but you may be asking, “Does that include me?”

The next word we look at is the word “world”.  Does that mean the planet?  Does that mean the people of the world, or the religious people of the world?  Let’s follow the same procedure.  Enter “world” in the search box.  Again, find John, and click on it, and then scroll down to John 3:16.  Click the “Tools” button and find the word “world”.

If you went to the right place, you saw the Strong’s number G2889, and if you clicked on it, you found out the Greek word is “kosmos“.  You probably recognized right away its similarity to our word “cosmos”–same idea, it is in fact the entire universe!  But in a micro sense, it also includes all humanity. The sheer breadth of meaning of this one word is eye-popping, and yes, it even includes God’s enemies!  (We welcome you, if you happen to be one of those.)

Yes, dear reader, Jesus came to help, to put the entire universe right again, and that includes you, as well as that exclusionary church on the corner.  He does this by implanting His divine nature into you and teaching you, through the circumstances of life, to trust Him to get you through them.

It all begins with deciding you would rather live in the light, rather than in darkness; deciding you are tired of getting it wrong, and that you’d like to get it right for once in your life.  All you have to do is decide to make Jesus the boss, and trust Him to work it out.

We are seriously saying that Jesus has the power to make the entire universe right again, and to include you in the restoration process. We respectfully ask:  what have you got to lose?  Is it all that cool bumping around in the dark?  We further say we are convinced that He is going to accomplish exactly what He came for.  In our next post, we will explain how you can ask Him for yourself.

Blessed are you, O Lord our wonderful God.  What great love you have shown to us! When it is fully seen, and the reality of how little we deserve it hits us, we fall to our knees in grateful tears.  Your unconditional love, with no strings attached, never fails.  Baruch ata!

So if (Jesus) the Son (of God) makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

It might be hard to imagine that there is actually a bigger problem than the majority of humanity being enslaved for two and one half millennia.  But the truth is out:  all of creation is enslaved and has been since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden.  The Babylonian captivity is just a “small” part of the entire problem, since all of creation includes the entire universe.  Perhaps that will put our problems in proper perspective!

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God…For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.  Romans 8:20,24-25 NASB

The apostle Paul, writing to believers in Rome, explained that the record of Genesis reveals that Adam’s sin caused the entire creation to be subjected to “slavery to corruption”, meaning essentially that everything is proceeding from order to chaos, from fitness to ruin, from organization to dis-organization.  You can easily see this everywhere–just imagine what your yard would look like after a few years of no effort.

But when Father subjected the creation, He also gave it hope for a glory change.  And that glory change is on its way!  It is a change that will be revealed, in a way that can be seen.

The word “glory” is the Greek word doxa (pronounced “dock-sa”).  It has a wide variety of meanings, as can be seen here.  But we believe it hearkens back to the shekinah glory that radiated outward from Father’s presence in heaven or wherever He chooses to dwell.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple which he had constructed in Jerusalem about 3,000 years or so ago, the priests brought up the coffer of testimony, usually called the “ark of the covenant” from the part of Jerusalem known as the “City of David” where it was kept in the Tent of Meeting constructed during the much-earlier time of Moses.  After the priests deposited the coffer in the most holy place (the very inner sanctuary) and withdrew, the shekinah glory (a luminous cloud) filled the entire temple to such a degree that no one could even stand, and the priests could not minister–everyone was face down.  Here is how it was recorded:

It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:10-11

Our poor description in no way does justice to something which is beyond comparison, but the point is:  it will soon be seen, because it is going to be revealed.  The creation will be moved away from slavery and into freedom.  In short, the curse will be removed.  We realize that many religious insiders believe that very soon, the “great tribulation” will begin which will be anything but “glorious”.  We apologize if we are contradicting their doctrine, but we do not believe hell-fire, brimstone, widespread death and destruction are what the Lord and Paul had in mind when he penned Romans 8.  Most importantly, the doctrine of “Great Tribulation” does not lend itself to the hope Paul wrote about (or any other kind of hope, for that matter).  We do not believe anyone is “eagerly” waiting for the Great Tribulation.

The pieces go together like this:  Radiating light from God–Sons of God–freedom–curse removed–creation released–slavery of every kind is banished.

We would like to point out that Jesus, the firstborn and predominant son, revealed this glory when He walked the earth.  Read it for yourself:

And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His (God’s) glory and the exact representation of His (God’s) nature…Hebrews 1:3 NASB

The “sons of God” will, in just the same way Jesus did, become the radiance of God’s glory change.  Paul says this glory will unveil something not seen at least since the subjection of creation by Adam’s sin, if ever.  Jesus Christ, although He is the pre-eminent son, chose NOT to reveal this glory himself, but instead waited to allow his brothers (and sisters) to reveal it.  These brothers and sisters are the ones who have found freedom in the Messiah, the one who came to set us all free.

By trust, and by faith, they have received the gift of salvation, and have become partakers of the divine nature  of which we wrote earlier, and are believing Jesus to change them from the inside out and make them holy.  The glory change will be revealed into these believers and will somehow break out into a transforming freedom that will literally remove the curse from the earth.  We don’t know about you, dear reader, but we can’t wait to meet these people!

They gave up the slave mentality long ago.  What about you; why wait?  Are you, dear reader, one of the ones the entire creation is waiting upon?  If so, we urge you to be reconciled to God.  Call upon the Messiah and tell him you are ready to do your part, whatever that may be.  May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and favor you!  May the Lord lift his face toward you and give you his shalom!

Blessed are you, O Lord our wonderful God.  Elohim baruch ha shem.  All creation shouts your praise:  beautiful is our God!  The universe will sing:  Hallelujah to you, our King!



For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. Romans 8:18-22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

There has been a lot of political talk in recent years about “hope” and “change”.  Dear reader, do you have any hope that anything significant in the world system will really change, meaning, for the better?  Have you found yourself wondering why things are the way they are?  Are you looking for change, and what do you think “change” would look like?  Do the words “Babylonian captivity” mean anything to you?  Check out this conversation from The Matrix (1999)(courtesy of

Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

Neo: Yes.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

We propose to you that what Morpheus referred to as the “Matrix” is actually the world-wide Babylonian captivity that has enslaved the world for many centuries.  It is a monetary, religious, political and military system coordinated and controlled by many very wealthy elites whose rule has now been judicially declared terminated in Father’s divine court.  We are happy to announce that “change” is coming!  It is a change that was prophesied about two millennia ago, when the apostle Paul wrote the above words to the believers who then lived in Rome, Italy, during the Roman empire.

Our post today is to discuss what this “change” will look like.  As stated in an article by Kevin Jackson, entitled The Slave Mentality, slave mentality is acquired slowly, bit by bit, over an extended period of time, and constitutes “the worst kind of prison:  the prison of the mind.”  He says, “Escape is as simple as walking away, yet few people leave.”  If all you have known for your entire life is a slave mentality, and one that you cannot see, taste or touch because the world has been pulled over your eyes, how will you free your mind from it?

First, know that the author of this change, and its revealer, is none other than Jesus the Messiah.  It is He who will free your mind–all you have to do is ask Him to do so.  Here is what He said about himself:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the LordLuke 4:18-19 NASB

A coming “glory” is going to be revealed “in us”.  Setting aside briefly the question of “who”, a more important question is “what”.  Paul begins by telling us in verse 18:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to (Greek: eis–into) us.

Paul describes this glory change by first saying that present sufferings (for him, it included the Roman Empire) are not worthwhile enough to form the basis of a comparison.  So unique is this glory that it is incomparable–there is simply nothing to which to compare it.  That sounds like a change worth hoping for!

Paul secondly says it is something “that is to be revealed into us”, or in other words, a revelation or an “unveiling”.  The Greek word “eis” means motion from the exterior to a stopping point on the interior.  Think of drawing a straight line from the outside of a circle into the middle of the circle and stopping–that’s the idea of “eis”.  In other words, this is not something someone is going to think up in their own mind.  Instead, it is something revealed, seen, and understood.

In short the glory change seems to be unveiled as it is moving into us.  The next verse makes it clear that all creation (not just mankind, or even some of mankind) is anxiously watching, and even longing for this unveiling.  Please note that Paul has directly connected the glory change to the revealing of someone he calls “the sons of God.”

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 

It seems clear that Paul has equated “the glory that is to be revealed into us” and “the revealing of the sons of God.”  Since God first determined to make mankind in His image, He has planned to reveal His own glory through mature sons of whom Jesus was the first-born.  These sons will not be divine as Jesus was, but will be redeemed sons of fallen Adam.  The glory will be that which inhabited Eden before the fall.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into (Greek:  eis) the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

The entire creation is anxiously watching and longing because of the stakes, which for us Paul says are an insufficient basis for comparison.  However, creation has taken the brunt of Adam’s sin, since God put the sin debt upon the earth, causing it to groan and travail.  So whatever else may be said about our “present sufferings”, here are 2 points:  one, they do not merit comparison to the glory change, and two, they are not connected to the involuntary subjection that was placed upon the creation by God and which has lasted since Adam was ejected from the Garden of Eden.

When Father subjected creation, he also gave it hope!  Talk about merciful!  A hope not speculative, but instead certain and inevitable, of a coming freedom that will be found only in this “glory”.  We are talking about a glory change that will not only free all of mankind, but also all of the creation!

Say goodbye to slave mentality, and hello to freedom mentality! In part 2 we’ll examine the source of this glory and how the awesome light that radiates from Father’s presence sets creation free.

Baruch ata Adonai.  I will love you, Lord my strength.  I belong to you and I will bless you while I live, and I will lift my hands up in your name.


Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land:  “May your peace abound!  I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever. He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”  Daniel 6:26-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

If you are unfamiliar with the story, here is what happened in brief:  The second world kingdom (from a Judahite point of view) was set up after Babylon’s fall–the Medo-Persian empire, headed by King Darius.  In order to trap Daniel, a righteous Jew, who served the king, jealous colleagues prevailed upon King Darius to pass a law that no man could petition any man or god except King Darius under penalty of being thrown into the lions’ den.

The colleagues did this because they knew Daniel prayed to God every day, and the Medes and Persians had a law:  once the King issued a decree, it could never be changed.  Daniel 6: 12 says “…according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.”

Sure enough, Daniel prayed to God in disregard of the law, and his colleagues got what they wanted–Daniel was thrown into a pit, a “den”, with hungry lions, shortly after King Darius realized his mistake.  Daniel made it through the night, reporting that Father sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths.  King Darius gave orders that Daniel be removed and that the colleagues, their wives and children be immediately thrown to the lions, whose mouths by now had been released, and all of them were killed.

King Darius issued the decree that opens this post.  As Dr. Stephen Jones has pointed out on numerous occasions, that decree has never been revoked and by the law of the Medes and Persians, it may not ever be revoked.

So who were the Medes and Persians, anyway?  According to Wikipedia, the Medes and Persians were the ancestors to modern Iran, with the Medes being the northern relatives and the Persians being the southern relatives.

The Medes and Persians overthrew the Babylonian empire established by Nebuchadnezzar, and were themselves later overthrown by Alexander the Great.  Each empire was ultimately set up by God for an appointed time to accomplish His purposes, all as prophesied by the angel to Daniel.  However, as is often the case, such prophecies have more than one fulfillment.

The “Babylonian” banking-political-religious worldwide system, which is more symbolic than geographic, has far outgrown its original boundaries in what is now modern Iraq.  So look for modern Persia, i.e., Iran, to play a significant role in again defeating the Babylonian system.  The Babylonian system has run out of time and Father has decreed that the world systems have had their chances and run their courses, and the time has come to establish the Stone kingdom that “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Look at how Daniel himself described what he saw in a prophetic vision:

13 I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:13-14 NASB

Do you notice, dear Reader, that Daniel used the same language that Darius had used when addressing his subjects:  all the peoples, nations and men of every language.  Here’s an important thing to learn:  when Father says “All”, He means all!  All the Sunnis, all the Shi’ites, all the Jews, all the Moslems, all the peoples, all the nations, and all the men of every language–in short, the whole earth.

We respectfully believe that Iran will play a major part in bringing this news to the whole earth.  Yes, some time will pass, because they must first learn that political influence/power and the world’s riches, both of which they have been deprived for so long, will not satisfy or fill the aching abyss in their collective hearts.  (If you don’t believe us, ask the Republicans and the Democrats!)  Only Jesus the Messiah can fill that emptiness.

If Iran has not already been demonized by the Western press to the point of no return in your mind, consider the following quote, and see if you can guess who said these words:

  1. The World:

God Almighty purposefully created the world….No phenomenon, creature, or indeed anything has been created in vain. Together they all pave the ground for the flourishing of mankind in a complex and purposeful system, and they are, each, one of the signs of God Almighty. All are His creations and He is the sole creator and ruler of the world. All existence including power, knowledge and wealth come from Him.

2.  Humankind:

God created the world for humans and humans for Himself. He created humans from mud and in the soil, but He did not want them to remain in the soil and with animal instincts. He kindled the light of guidance in their souls and asked them to rise from the soil to the heavens and to Him with the help of wisdom, prophets and perfect men. The world will ultimately disappear, but God has created man for eternity and has made them a manifestation of Himself.

Creativity, mercifulness, kindness, knowledge, wisdom, zeal, concealment of sins, splendor, justice, bounteousness, generosity, greatness, love, glory, dignity, forgiveness, insight, kingship and all other goodness and beauty are attributes of God.

The foregoing are excerpts from a speech delivered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, to the United Nations on September 24, 2008.  We apologize for the lengthy quote, but say in all sincerity:  Not bad, Mr. President, not bad!  One might even say that President Ahmadinejad’s words are a second witness to the words of King Darius–and by the mouths of two or more witnesses every fact is established.

You have heard it said that God loves his friends but hates his enemies, but we say Father loves his enemies, does good to them, causes the sun to rise on them, and sends rain to them.  For God so loves the world (including Iran) that he gave his only son Jesus, that whosoever believed into him would not perish, but have everlasting life!  Because of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice, Father has conciliated the world to Himself, no longer counting their trespasses against them!  If you don’t believe us, click on the preceding link and see for yourself!  It is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance.

We respectfully suggest a new approach to foreign policy.  Instead of bombing them to smithereens, perhaps believers in America could pray for Iran’s blessing instead.  Perhaps it is time to petition Father to carry out the law of the double witness, fulfill the words of these two leaders quoted above, and grant repentance to Iran and, moreover, send them forth into the rest of the world proclaiming the name of Jesus.  Allah would be very pleased.

Rachem, Adonai, rachem!  Grant repentance to all who live in Iran, that they may seek for you, find you, and reconcile themselves to you through the blood of Jesus.  We say Amen to the words of King Darius, that your glory may go forth from Iran and other places and fill the whole earth.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.  John 7:37-38  New American Standard Bible (“NASB”)

The text, taken from the Gospel of John, is referring to an occasion which in Hebrew is referred to as Shemini Atzeret, or the 8th day of the 7-day long feast known as Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles.  In ancient times, the 8th day was normally included in the feast, and as indicated above, was referred to as the “great day”.

According to, this was the day the priests prayed for rain for the crops for the coming year, and the people remembered those who had died.  According to Judaism 101, those who practice Judaism in present days believe that while the Feast of Tabernacles is for all mankind, the great day of the feast was reserved for an more intimate celebration only for the Jewish people.

If you are NOT Jewish, and worse, consider yourself to be a religious outsider, we have wonderful and exciting news for you:  If you are thirsty to know God and His righteousness, Jesus himself has invited you to come to him and drink freely!  You are NOT required to be Jewish, you are NOT required to join a church or a denomination or any religion whatsoever, and you are certainly NOT required to be a religious “insider” with all the right buzzwords.

Judaism 101 has this right:  it is an intimate celebration!  And YOU are cordially invited (read “cordially” as meaning “with sincere, never-failing love”).  Dear reader, you may be thinking, “if God knew me, he would never invite me, much less lovingly invite me.”  You’re wrong on both counts.  In fact, he DOES know you and has always known you.  AND he in fact loves you and always has.  He loves you so much that, while you were indeed his enemy, he gave his own son–Jesus–to pay the death penalty for all your wrongdoing.  Now, Father’s ready for you to get to know him better.

Shemini Atzeret, the great day of the feast for 2015, passed a few days ago (Sunday evening, 10/4 to sundown 10/5).  In the run-up to the feast, a group of overcomers meeting in Branson, Missouri, petitioned Father in the divine court, to decree that it begin to rain.  Not to rain with water, but to fulfill what the seasonal rains symbolize–the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the earth, so that whoever is thirsty may drink freely of the water of life offered by Jesus.

This is what was foretold by a man named Joel, a very long time ago.  He was repeating what God had told him that he planned to do in the latter days:

It will come about after this that I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind…Joel 2:28 NASB

“(A)ll mankind…”–that includes you, dear Reader.

And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD (YHWH) will be delivered.”  Joel 2:32

We are happy to announce that the petition was granted, and a decree was issued in the heavens and announced in witness in the earth:  the time has come for all who are thirsty to drink freely from the living waters of Jesus.  All who do so, trusting that Jesus will keep his word, will never thirst again, exactly as he told the Samaritan woman at the well, so many years ago.

(W)hoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.  John 4:14 NASB

If you are asking yourself, exactly how do I “drink” this water, here’s how.  Imagine your heart is a cup.  Turn it up and ask, either out loud or quietly in your mind and heart:  Jesus, if you are real, please pour some of your living water into my cup; I’m sooooo thirsty for what is real and true, and I’m ready to drink of the water you have offered.

This is what Joel meant by “calling upon the name of the Lord.”  If you can trust, trust this:  You have just been delivered and eternal life is yours.  Walk in the expectancy of seeing Jesus do miraculous things in your life.

Blessed are you, O Lord our Messiah, for you have begun the process of turning the world upside right.  Go swiftly to the Reader who just trusted you and fulfill your promise of a fountain of living water.  We are ready to see your kingdom come!!

And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below,  blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:19-21 ESV)

This morning there was a “blood moon”, meaning a lunar eclipse where the earth comes between the sun and the moon.  It makes the moon appear to be red, like blood.  Tonight, the feast of Tabernacles (in Hebrew, sukkot and pronounced “sue-COAT”) begins at sundown.  Is this merely a coincidence? No, it is not.

The blood moon occurring this morning was the second of four consecutive total lunar eclipses with no partial eclipses in between.  The first occurred the morning of April 15, 2014, the first day of the feast of Passover (in Hebrew, pesach and pronounced “peh-SOCK” or “pay-SOCK”), which began the previous sundown on April 14, 2014.  Again, not a coincidence.

The days of the beginning of Father’s feasts are determined by the orderly progression of new  moons, not lunar eclipses.  This pattern will repeat again next year, with the next lunar eclipse occurring on April 4, 2015, the beginning of Passover, and the final eclipse occurring on September 28, 2015, the beginning of Tabernacles.  Imagine the odds of this happening by “accident”.  No, we believe an intelligent design is at work.

The question is, What does it all mean?

Pastor John Hagee has stated publicly that these occurrences are “celestial signals” from Father that something dramatic is about to happen in the Middle East, and particularly in the Jewish state.  According to his interview with CBN News, linked above, such “signals” have historically coincided with major events involving Jews when the eclipses have aligned with Father’s feast days.  Pastor Hagee is further quoted as saying, “In each of these blood moons, you have something that begins in tragedy and ends in triumph.”  We believe that Pastor Hagee is correct.

However, Pastor Hagee unfortunately confuses the Jewish state with “Israel”, the name passed on by Jacob/Israel to his son Joseph’s sons, grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh.  In Genesis 48, Jacob said,

Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as (my sons) Reuben and Simeon are.

 Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them.   Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.” …Bless the lads; And may my name  (Israel) live on in them,…

Notice, that the Bible does not use the name “Jacob” here, although that was also his name, but instead uses the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with the angel of the Lord at Penuel.  Thus, Ephraim and Manasseh became sons of Jacob/Israel, as Reuben, Simeon and Judah were.  Judah was the progenitor of the Jews, which is short for “Judahite”.  It is simply not controversial, by any reasonable definition of the word, that the name “Israel” legally belongs to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, and may not be usurped by anyone else.

Pastor Hagee says it is unclear what the signals portend; is that also incorrect?  The passage we quote at the beginning of this post was taken from Acts 2, in the New Testament.  It is the story of another of the feasts, occurring after Passover, called Pentecost (in Hebrew, Shavuot and pronounced “sha-vu-OAT”) because it occurs 50 days after Passover.  On this particular occasion, the apostle Peter quoted from the Old Testament book of Joel and stated it was a partial fulfillment of another day, spoken of by the prophet Joel.

The prophecy itself identifies the later day:  “the day of the Lord…the great and magnificent day.” 

Whatever else may or may not accompany this “great and magnificent” day, we believe it will begin the restoration of all things which Peter also mentioned shortly afterward, when Father begins to turn the world upside right.  Does anyone even want things to be different?  Does Father need celestial signals for things to remain the same?  No, these signals are meant to convey hope to the hopeless, liberty to the captive, and release to those physically, emotionally and/or spiritually imprisoned.  In short, it will usher in the fulfillment of Isaiah 61.

Dear reader, things are going to change.  For one, Jesus Christ will be disclosed, and the world will begin to learn what Father is really like, not the angry, vindictive, vengeful God as He is portrayed.  But instead like the shepherd of the lost sheep and the prodigal’s father, who desires mercy and compassion, not judgment, and whose mercy endures forever.

So which side of this argument are you on, dear reader?  Do you worry that Pastor Hagee and others who predict the great tribulation and hell-on-earth might be right?  Why don’t you ask the Lord Jesus yourself?  It is not difficult, and all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Blessed are you, wonderful Father, for you have placed celestial signals in the skies to tell of your glory and grace, which like your love, never fails.  Answer all who call upon your name and grant your great salvation.  Baruch ata.

I have recently been reading a book called A Severe Mercy. The autobiographical story follows the lives of a couple over the course of their short but loving marriage.  The author describes the early years of his marriage as being years of learning to “share.”  He and his wife decided that the best way to grow together was to share as many experiences as possible. So, aside from the common interests and ways of thinking they already shared, they committed to sharing in whatever new ideas, books, activities, or interests the other took up.  As they did, they grew in love and friendship.

It occurred to me that this idea of “sharing” is truly foundational to friendship.  And it is true of our relationship to God as well. Why do I love God? Well, partially because I LIKE Him.  And I like Him because we share so many things:  I love music- so does He, heaven is full of it;  I love exercise and activity and healthy eating: he loves the body too, that is why He made it His temple; I love the outdoors: so does He, He made all of creation and said “It is good.”  I love to study and think and He himself is called the Logos, or Logic, the namesake of this website….The list goes on and on. And so, with all experiences I have, all interests that I have, all feelings and thoughts and dreams I have- I can SHARE those with my God, my Friend, and He understands! I believe this is true for every human being, because all are made in His image- all have characteristics of God Himself, and thus can share the manifestations of those characteristics with Him.

How wonderful to know that God not only knows us, but relates to us. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you reach a level of friendship where your friend knows exactly what you mean without you even having to explain yourself?! The understanding between the two of you has grown from all the things you have shared with each other.  You KNOW them and they KNOW you.  Not just ABOUT you.

Psalm 25:14, TLB, says “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him. With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.”

Let us seek to be friends of God. I am sure that God is glad when we recognize Him as our Savior, our Creator, our King, even our Master, but I think He especially delights in being our Friend. Let us see Him as such, and give Him the pleasure of sharing His secrets with us.

 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:8 ESV

          Judging from many modern ministries, the sales of their books, DVD’s, and other merchandise, and the lavish lifestyles of the televangelists who run them, one might reasonably conclude from the above verse that God is quite the capitalist, notwithstanding that Jesus had only one set of clothes and no place to lay his head.  But in fact the above reference is not to precious metals, but to precious people, who are metaphorically called “gold” and “silver”.  The same is true in biblical references to “bronze” and even “iron”.  In this post, we will look at the unfolding revelation that the treatment of precious metals in the Bible is prophetic of mankind in general.

          We believe that gold corresponds to the barley harvest and symbolizes the believers in Jesus who are overcomers as referenced (for one short example) in the seven letters to the churches in Revelation, and who will rule with Christ for 1,000 years after the first resurrection; the silver corresponds to the wheat harvest and symbolizes those who are believers in Jesus, but who do not take part in the first resurrection but instead await the second resurrection; and the bronze corresponds to the grape harvest and symbolizes all of humanity that become believers in Jesus after the second resurrection.  Much more could be said about these two resurrections, but they are beyond the scope of this post.  We recommend the teaching of Dr. Stephen Jones as a model of clarity on the subject.

          Abraham was promised to be the father of “many nations“.  As a result it is easily predictable that he would be rich in both gold and silver.  When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, it was in YHWH’s mind not just to take the Israelites out of Egypt but also the gold and silver of the Egyptians.  This is the prophetic pattern that shows us that Father intends for all men to be saved from sin (symbolized by the slavery of Egypt), not just a chosen people or denomination–His plan is that all men belong to Him.  Furthermore, His plan was to put the gold and silver in His tabernacle/temple, to show that His house would be a house of prayer for ALL people

          One day the time came to take the Promised Land.  Again, a prophetic pattern was being set and Father gave the instruction that all gold and silver and other loot captured in Jericho would be “under the ban“.  Other translations have translated it “devoted to the LORD for destruction” or in the King James Version of the Bible, “accursed“.  The actual Hebrew word used is “cherem“, a word apparently having much confusion surrounding it–unless one understands the prophetic picture.  Note from the preceding link that the literal meaning is “a net”, while Genesius’ lexicon refers to the secondary figurative meaning as being devoted to “utter destruction”.

          Here is why the meaning matters:  a man by the name of Achan secretly violated the ban and took some of the silver and gold from Jericho and buried it beneath his tent.  It is no coincidence that many people today believe the “gold” and “silver” people that God says are set apart and devoted to Him belong buried in the ground because the gold and silver people do not subscribe to a particular denomination, church, or belief-set.  This is the functional equivalent of consigning people to the grave (or Gehenna, or Tartarus, or wherever you may think “hell” is) when Father says they belong to HIM!  This has aptly been called “The Achan Doctrine.”  Can you see why the definition of “devoted to destruction” is incorrect for cherem, and so is “accursed” for that matter–Father intends to “net” all people for Himself.  And not for destruction, but for life (zoe)!  The idea that some people belong in “hell”, Father has called a disgraceful thing.”  

          We want to take one small aside to note that Jericho, like Ninevah, are prophetic-pictures (types) of the world apart from Christ, that is, at war and at enmity with God–completely unaware that the war is over, and that Christ has won it for all mankind.  Had the Israelites gone into the Promised Land in the power of the Holy Spirit, no one in Jericho would have had to die!  If you don’t believe us, ask Ninevah!

          King David understood the true meaning of cherem and dedicated all gold and silver he captured to YHWH/Jesus.  The references are too many to cite here, but note that the Bible records his faithful delivery of it to Solomon for the building of YHWH’s temple:  100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver.  Although there is some dispute about the meaning of “talent”, it is generally agreed that the totals equal 3,750 TONS of gold and 37,500 TONS of silver.  Moreover, bronze and iron and precious stones are included in amounts without measuring!  Are you getting the picture?

          As massive as were the amounts King David collected through conquest, the amounts were overshadowed in comparison by the amounts collected by King Solomon in peace, offered freely by the kings of the neighboring countries, including the famous Queen of Sheba. 

          When Israel in general, and Judah in particular, began to believe that each of them was the chosen race, set apart by God to rule the rest of humanity (rather than serve humanity as Christ Jesus stated), Father began to arrange for the gold and silver to be removed from Israel, and then finally from Jerusalem, by conquest of neighboring countries.  The prophetic pattern is set and easily ascertainable, once you know what to look for.  First, there was Ben Hadad, king of Aram (Syria); then came Egypt; finally, what remained was carried off to Babylon when Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar.  The prophet Joel made it clear to other nations that the gold and silver represented people:

Since you have taken My silver and My gold, brought My precious treasures to your temples, and sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their territory,  behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense on your head.  Joel 3:5-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          To make this point emphatically, Father revealed to Daniel that the rulership of the world (including Judah) had been given to a succession of kingdoms by men, all of which together formed one body, but the parts of which were made of different metals.  First was the head of gold, representing Babylon.  Next came the arms and chest of silver, representing the Medo-Persians.  Then, the belly of bronze, which was of course, Alexander the Great of Greece.  And lastly the legs of iron, representing the Roman Empire.  Each of these kingdoms of men has a stipulated period to have sway, and then finally the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ shall arise and remain forever.  During this time, Father says He will change men from whatever they were to something entirely new.  If any man is in Christ, he truly is a new creation.

Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.  Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron.  Isaiah 60:16-17 NASB

          In the last book of the Old Testament, God promises that He will be a purifier and refiner of the sons of Levi in particular, but most scholars believe that it applies to all men, because the gospel is given to all men.  We mention it here, because it shows Father’s plans to purify and refine LIKE gold or silver–see for yourself:

Behold, I am going to send My messenger (a reference to John the Baptist), and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.  “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.  He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.   Malachi 3:1-3 NASB

          Dear reader, we urge you NOT to take whatever “talents” are given to you by our Master and bury them.  You may succeed for awhile in “burying” them, but a day will come when they will be taken away from you and given to someone who will multiply them!  Do you not see that there is no loss in the Kingdom of God–only waste!  If you have ears, please hear.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God!  How many ways You have showed us that all of mankind belongs to You by right of creation and by right of redemption.  Blessed are You for You gave all You had to purchase the field (world) and all it contains!  We will sing Your praises forever!

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.  Matthew 5:22 ESV

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Matthew 16:18 ESV

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;… 2 Peter 2:4 ESV

         It is simply not controversial, by any reasonable application of the term, that the origins of the hideous doctrine of “hell” are for the most part pagan and extra-biblical superstition. 

          Among the more insidious problems caused by intentional mis-translations, this doctrine is the leading instigator of more wrong thinking than just about any other, for reasons unrelated to its hideousness or perhaps we should say, in spite of it.  Almost all translations and paraphrases of the Bible uniformly translate three different Greek words (and for extra measure, one Hebrew word) as “hell”–the above three verses are somewhat well-known examples.  In the first verse above, the word used is actually geenna“, pronounced “Gehenna”, a well-known place from Jewish antiquity which can with reasonable certainty be located upon a map of Jerusalem today.

          In the second verse above, the word used is actually “hades“, pronounced (correctly) “ha-DAHS”, originally equating with the Hebrew word “sheol“.  The third use of “hell” above is actually “tartaroo“, or more commonly “Tartarus”.  Tartarus originated with the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, or the “deepest part of Hell” (we’re not making this up–look at the etymological key in the preceding link).  In short summary, there is Jerusalem’s ancient city dump–Gehenna; the grave or similar place under the earth–Sheol/Hades; and a literal or figurative multi-level subterranean place of Greek mythology  (judging from the depth of current offshore oil and gas exploration, it must be very subterranean).

         We trust that the breadth of these different words is beginning to cast some doubt upon the commonly speculative place of the Devil in a red suit with a pitchfork, flames, never-ending punishment in burning torment, etc. etc.  It is time for the church to face the questions:  Is there a “Hell”,  and exactly WHAT and WHERE is it?  Is it in this realm (i.e., under the physical earth) or is it in another realm (i.e., a spiritual realm somewhere removed from heaven, the throne of God)?  If the supposed place does NOT exist, why is the church threatening so many people with it?  (In some parts of the church, it is believed to be the destination of the vast majority of all humans who have ever lived!)

          It is time for the under-shepherds of God’s flock to stop the psychological mind-control of God’s sheep that occurs when the sheep are actively or impliedly given the choice between heaven or hell, turn or burn, and utopia or eternal separation from God.  Perhaps the under-shepherds do not themselves know better, or perhaps their livelihoods depend upon keeping the sheep in line!  If you are an under shepherd and are not able to convince your parishioners that the life of the indwelling Jesus Christ is better by far than anything this world has to offer (and we mean ANYTHING), without the fear of eternal torment, perhaps you are in the wrong calling!

          In keeping with our practice of not dis-proving what is false, we will instead focus upon what is true and trust that He will guide us to Himself by the Holy  Spirit.  Let’s take “Gehenna” first.  The following is a well-known passage from the gospel of Mark:

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell (Gehenna), into  the unquenchable fire, WHERE THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.  If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off;  it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell (Gehenna), where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.  If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell (Gehenna), where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.  Mark 9:43-48 New American Standard Bible (NASB) (capitalization in original)

          You may, dear reader, be able to tell that the Lord Jesus was here speaking figuratively to make His point, if for no other reason than your recollection of the number of preachers you have seen with one hand, one foot or one eye resulting from obedience to these words.  (Thank God no one has taken Him literally here.)  Before we consider what He actually did mean, we would like to point out that this link (it is the 5th picture from the left) is to a photo of the Valley of Hinnom, which was later called “Gehenna”.  You will please note that the unquenchable fire has obviously gone out, and the worm has died!  We think it is fair to say that the Lord was not speaking literally or Gehenna’s fire would still be burning! 

           The Lord’s point, in the Mark passage and other places, is that the seriousness of life issues require constant vigilance for oneself and for others so as not to unnecessarily consign one’s own life or the life of another to the trash dump of life.  The same is true for the passage in Matthew–one risks throwing one’s own life or the life of another upon the trash dump by calling him a fool.  Please note that nothing in the Lord’s words here indicate that the fire (assuming that it is the fire of judgment) continues AFTER the end of life–it is simply not there.  One must read it into the passage.  Much more could be said about the restorative effects of God’s fire, but that will be for another post.

          What about Hades and its “gates” or what in the Old Testament is called “Sheol”?  Is it time to be literal yet?  Yes and no.  The grave is very real, as is the spirit of Death which empowers it.  And for now Death and the grave have some measure of victory, as we all know.  But our Lord has conquered Death AND the grave.  He has promised that all who are believing in Him will never die.  And even if a believer should for some reason die, He has promised to nevertheless raise that believer up on the last day.  Again we point out, there is nothing “everlasting” or “eternal” about Death and the grave, or “Hades”.

          This is precisely the point the apostle Paul made in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians.  He began by saying “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”  Understanding Paul’s point will help with what appears to be an inconsistency with the Lord’s words:  Paul is not saying there are some who never die; instead he is saying that in the same way that all WOULD die but for Christ, BECAUSE OF Christ all WILL be made alive.  Death is going to be ABOLISHED!  Graves are going to be abolished, just like Gehenna was!  The unquenchable fire (not to mention the worms) will no longer be necessary!  Read it for yourself.

For He (Jesus) must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death…When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all…But when this perishable (body) will have put on the imperishable (body), and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?’   1 Corinthians 15:25-26, 28, 54-55 NASB

          Finally we come to Tartarus.  We should perhaps be grateful that it is only mentioned one time in the entire Bible.  Clearly, it is some type of abode for “angels who sinned”.  But do you notice there is no mention of fire?  Instead, we are told of “gloomy darkness”.  In addition, it is clearly not an unending period without termination–Peter says “UNTIL the judgment.”  So, we have gloomy darkness…until the judgment.  Peter’s point is that Father knows how to correct bad behavior–He did it with the angels and he will do it with all others also:

(T)he Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,… 2 Peter 2:9 ESV   These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 2 Peter 2:17 ESV

          Notice, again, the “gloom of utter darkness’…”until the day of judgment.”  So whether we are referring to angels or ungodly men, described in some detail by Peter, the environment is the same, and there is a definite end-point–the day of judgment.  It seems self-evident if the vast majority of all mankind from every age were ultimately destined to this fiery, tortuous “end”, Father would have been a little clearer in warning against it.

          In point of fact, He did not warn against “Hell” (at least as it has been typically presented) because there is no such place.  Likewise, “Hell” is not the ultimate destination for most of mankind, as the apostle Paul faithfully reported in the verses above from 1 Corinthians.  Finally, Father’s punishment is not perpetual and un-ending, and it is a terrible and false accusation to ascribe the hideous doctrine to Him.  Frankly, it has never entered His mind to burn any of His children, so you’ll just have to blame that idea on the next one-handed, one-footed, and one-eyed preacher you happen to meet. 

Blessed are You, O Father of Love, who intends for all to be granted repentance in the fullness of time, because You do not want anyone to perish.  By Your great plan, with Your great power,  fulfill this great purpose in all mankind.  There is no one like You, O Lord.