Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Many Christians today claim that we don’t need to observe any of God’s commandments in the Old Testament anymore because we are no longer under the Law but under grace; and that Jesus gave us a NEW commandment to love one another. (John 13:34)

Interestingly, when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus simply quoted the commandments already found in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. When Jesus spoke these words, his words were not revolutionary or new. They were merely confirmation of what was already revealed in the Torah. (The only Bible people had in the first century). 

So why did Jesus say that he was giving a new commandment? Perhaps in the first century, just like today, people had been ignoring the greatest commandment of the Scriptures?  

Jewish sages Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Hillel both taught that loving one’s neighbor was of primary importance. Hillel was famous for saying, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn.” 

Jesus was part of a faith system based on the Tanakh (OT) that encouraged study, debate and practice of one’s faith. Jesus never rejected the teachings of the Scriptures.  And neither did the apostles or the early Church. Rather, they all sought to encourage those around them to understand the truths of God’s Word and incorporate them in daily life. 

Jewish people teach that there are 613 commandments given by God. Exodus 20 lists only 10 commandments to live by. But most fail to obey most (or any) of them. Jesus gave us only two commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And to love one another as he loves us. (Matthew 22:37-40) But sadly, most Christians today refuse to even obey those two! The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:15: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not!”

Today we are under a deluge of hate, racism and violence; and we are told that this is the “new normal”. This is NOT the new normal! This is not normal at all! And this is not God’s will for us. So how do we return to normal?

God answers that when He said, “If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wickedness, THEN I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14) God has been waiting for generations for His people to do just that, but they refuse.

Remember the words of Jesus: 

“But understand this: If the homeowner had known in which watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. For this reason, you must also be ready, because the Son of man will come at an hour you do not expect….”  (Matthew 24:36-51)

The apostle John wrote: “By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome…” (1 John 5:2-3)

If people can’t tell the difference between how you act, speak and live and how unbelievers act, speak and live, then why would anyone have a desire to know God? 

Most Christians today have been convinced that God’s Sabbaths and Feast days and Old Testament laws are for the Jews only. They have been taught that they do not apply to Christians today because we no longer live under the law, but under grace. But Leviticus 23 tells us that all of the Sabbaths and Feast Days and their instructions are not Jewish only, but they are God’s Sabbaths and Feast Days. And God said His laws apply to everyone—the Jew and non-Jew alike. (Exodus 12:48-49; Leviticus 24:22)

Interestingly, the celebrations that are for Jews only are: Purim, Hanukkah, Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israeli Independence Day.  All of them commemorate when people tried to eliminate the Jews—but failed. And not one of these traditional Jewish observances were commanded by God, but by the Jews themselves. 

This is no different than how the Christian church has exchanged God’s Sabbaths and Feast Days for Sunday worship and other traditional holidays of man—Christmas, Easter, Lent, and Good Friday.

Over the years I have been criticized, despised and become the brunt of people’s jokes because of my speaking God’s truth from His word. It wasn’t always like that. I too believed as most Christians do. I celebrated Christmas and Easter and I had many Christian friends and had happy times of fellowship with them—As long as I stayed in the same lane as they did. But once I spoke out about how God revealed His truth to me from His word, by His spirit, all of that changed. Ones whom I thought were my friends avoided me—and even family members turned against me. All because I dared to speak God’s truth from his word. 

I have asked many Christians, “If Jesus’ death and resurrection did away with our obligation to observe God’s Sabbath and Feast Days, were all the apostles and early Church wrong to do so?” I have never gotten a reasonable answer. And as far as I know, none of them have ever sought out the answer in Scripture with an open mind.  

Now I know God well enough to know that I am not the only one that He revealed His truth to and believes the same way as I do. And I know that just like Elijah, God has reserved thousands who have not bent their knee to the traditions of man and false teachings. (Even though as yet I have not met any of them personally)

We are definitely living in the last days. How do I know that?  Because in spite of my years of praying for hours at a time for God to send revival to His church and lead us to repentance, God’s people still have not repented of their wickedness. They have a form of godliness but deny its power. And in spite of the availability of God’s word to everyone in America and across most of the world, many Christians still do not tolerate sound doctrine, but with “itching ears” they gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. (See 2 Timothy 2 & 3) 

The Law (Torah) is not merely the written Mosaic Law, but the announcement of God’s will by the mouth of his prophets. And there is a contrast between the lawlessness and ruin of a people uninfluenced by its guidance and the joyful state of those who obey the voice of God—whether conveyed in the Old Testament or by the teachings of the apostles. 

Many today are trying to understand the cause of all the anger, hate and rioting happening now. The answer is in the Bible. “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (Proverbs 29:18 NLT) 

That’s exactly what happened to the Hebrews in the desert (Exodus 32:24-25), and also to the Israelites under the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 17: 6-17), and is happening now with us. Remember brothers and sisters, the apostle Peter wrote that “it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…” (1 Peter 4:17). And the apostle Paul wrote that if anyone preaches a gospel contrary to the one he preached, they will be accursed! (Galatians 1) So shouldn’t we find out just what the true gospel is that Paul preached? Because the gospel that Paul preached is not what is being preached in most churches today.

It is time that we Christians begin to really study God’s word and obey what God says. But be warned! When you open your eyes, heart and mind to God’s truth in His word, and determine yourself to obey God’s word and His commandments, you will become the target of those who deny God’s truth. But be of good cheer, God will help us to endure until the end; when we hear our Lord say: “Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

God’s commandments were not designed to take away our freedom but to make us free.

Yom Kippur / The Day of Atonement Begins at sundown on September 27th – 28th, 2020. It is the second of the Fall Feast Days commanded by God. Although, it is not so much a Feast day as it is a fast day and a repentance day—and why it is one of the most holy days of the Hebrew calendar.

“This is to be a permanent statute for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month, you shall humble yourselves and not do any work—whether the native or the foreigner who resides among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble yourselves; it is a permanent statute…This is to be a permanent statute for you, to make atonement once a year for the Israelites because of all their sins.” (Leviticus 16:29-34)

The Day of Atonement points to the day of the Second Coming of Messiah when he will return to set up God’s kingdom on earth. It will be the Day of Atonement for all nations when they will “look upon him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and The Jews will receive Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:1-6; 25-36)

Yom Kippur is described as a Shabbat of solemn rest in the Torah, a day of fasting, prayer, and reflection. It is the culmination of a period of time during which we are required to take stock of their lives, to ask forgiveness from friends and family, and to take steps toward self-improvement for the year to come. As with other of God’s holy days, the Day of Atonement is not a “Jewish only” holy day. Notice that in Leviticus 16 God told Moses that the Day of Atonement is a “permanent” statute. And it is to be observed by both the “native or the foreigner” who resides among the Israelites.

Traditionally, Jews believe that after judging a person for their deeds over the past year, God decides who will be sealed in the Book of Life. But most simply use the day as a time to reflect on what they want to do differently and how to improve their lives in the year to come.

Yom Kippur is observed for a 25-hour period, beginning at sundown, by refraining from work that is prohibited on Shabbat, and refrain from eating or drinking. Some add five additional prohibitions: bathing; anointing the body with oil; wearing leather shoes; and having sexual relations, but I have yet to find any Scriptural proof of this. In fact, Jesus said, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.” And in Isaiah 58 the prophet tells us that the fast that God chooses is to “loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free.”  

There are two meals associated with Yom Kippur: the pre-fast meal and the break-fast meal (obviously, for the duration of the fasting holiday, no food or drink is allowed). The pre-fast meal is known as seudah ha-mafaseket (literally, “meal of separation” or “concluding meal”). Meals usually should be prepared with minimum salt, as this could cause dehydration during the fast. It is also important to drink plenty of water before the fast. *Because of health problems or because of their age, some may be excused from a complete fast. To avoid complications, those people should try to only drink fruit and vegetable juice. 

The break-fast meal usually consists of hi-carb dairy foods, and sometimes brunch-style recipes like bagels, quiches, soufflés, eggs, cheese, etc. While others indulge in heavier traditional meals with soups, salads or brisket. 

The Importance of Atonement 

‘Atonement’ to many is an unfamiliar and foreign word. According to the dictionary, it means the action of making amends for a wrong or injury, but in the context of the teachings of the prophets, Jesus and apostles, it also involves reparation or amendment for sin:

 “…If someone sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD by deceiving his neighbor…He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value, and pay it to the owner on the day he acknowledges his guilt.” (Leviticus 6:1-6)

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:36-38) 

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will repay it fourfold.” (Luke 19:8)

It seems that Christians today believe that the way to amend for a wrong is to pray, ask God for forgiveness, and God will cleanse them of their sin. This is always a good thing to do, but they fail to deal with what is the far larger problem of wrongs committed: Instances of everyday nastiness, error, foolishness, lack of empathy and shortsightedness. Leaving the wrongs unaddressed is not only wrong, but sinful.

Here, as in so many areas, we can be inspired by the example of God’s word. God’s word has always given us a particular insight on how to focus on the hurt of others. God knows how easy it is for us to feel it, how hard it is to express it, but also how awkward but necessary it is for us to make amends for perpetrating it. We discover God’s response in the Day of Atonement. 

The Day of Atonement is a solemn day when God instructs us that we must set aside our usual family and commercial activities and mentally review our actions over the past year, identifying all those whom we have caused pain, or behaved unjustly towards. And also to seek out those whom we have frustrated, angered, discarded casually or otherwise betrayed and offer them a complete apology and recompense, if necessary.

This is God’s will as the requirement for forgiveness—so long as the apology is real. I have experienced people who have told me that they were sorry for doing something that hurt me, but their actions let me know that they weren’t sincere. I have even had some who claim that they wanted to apologize to me for bad feelings they had against me, but they really only wanted to let me know what I said or did that upset them.

Too many times we run away from our victims and act with strange rudeness towards them—not because we aren’t bothered by what we did, but because what we did makes us feel uncomfortable around them. Our victims therefore, have to suffer not only the original hurt, but also the subsequent coldness we display towards them on account of our own guilty conscience. 

But the Day of Atonement helps to correct this. A period in which human error is proclaimed as a general truth makes it easier to confess our sins to each other. It is more bearable to own up to the hurt we have caused others when we realize how cleansing it will be for us.

We, as God’s people, need to learn from the Day of Atonement. Functioning without a culture of atonement implies that we are okay, or that our imperfections and sinfulness are all covered by God’s grace. Of course we are deeply imperfect, but we can’t ever progress and live together in harmony if we can’t regularly offer and accept a sincere apology. We need to learn, from God’s word and the example of Jesus and the apostles how to confess our sins, not only to God, but to each other. And forgive ourselves and others. So what’s so wrong with that?

And after we complete our fast and realize how much we need to repent and change maybe, just maybe, we will begin to try to understand each other a little more. 

“We’ve turned from Your ways

Lord Your fruit we’ve ceased to bear

We lack the power we once knew in our prayers

That gentle voice from heaven

We cease to hear and know

The fact that He has risen no longer stirs our soul

Revive us oh Lord

Revive us oh Lord

And cleanse us from our impurities

And make us holy

Hear our cry

And revive us oh Lord!”

William Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army with his wife Catherine, embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.

Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people on the street. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings.

Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth’s first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance. His renown as a religious leader spread throughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women. 

William Booth was a remarkable man, who had a passion to save men’s souls. He was a man born into poverty and who worked in the midst of poverty his whole life. He was given the title “The Prophet of the Poor.” His life could be summed up in his own statement, “Some men’s passion is for gold. Some men’s passion is for art. Some men’s passion is for fame. My passion is for souls.” 

I believe that William Booth would be very disappointed if he could see how the Salvation Army and many church members have changed. The Salvation Army has become more of a social services center, concerned only with meeting people’s physical needs, more than their spiritual needs. And churches today are not much different.

It’s been reported from people who attended the evangelistic meetings of William Booth that many in attendance would begin to shake so at his preaching that they would tear at the hymnals in their laps! Where is that type of preaching today?

When Charles Finney, a revivalist preacher during the Second Great Awakening during the 1830s, preached at his meetings, whole communities would be converted! Taverns and theaters were turned into places of worship! When he would visit factories, people, would fall to their knees weeping in repentance by the power of the Holy Spirit, without Finney even speaking a word! Where is that spirit in the churches today? Where is the fire of God’s word?   

The following is a poem written by Howard Clinebell, a former professor of pastoral psychology and counseling at the School of Theology in Claremont, California. It describes perfectly the state of the church today:

The Little Lifesaving Station 

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building wasn’t much more than a small hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves, went out night and day tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station. So much so that it became famous for its rescue efforts. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of its work. New boats were purchased and donated to the station and crews were trained to improve the rescue operations of the station.

As the little lifesaving station grew some of the members were unhappy that the building itself was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided for those who were rescued from the sea. So the members raised funds for the station and replaced the emergency cots with beds and placed better furniture in an enlarged building.

Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They decorated it beautifully and furnished it so exquisitely that it became sort of a club. The lifesaving station’s logo still prevailed on the wall above the fireplace and its name was still used to raise funds,  but  fewer members were now interested in going out to sea on lifesaving missions. They even hired lifeboat crews to do the work that they used to do themselves.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. These people were dirty and sick. And some of them were foreigners who couldn’t speak English. The beautiful club was thrown into chaos. The property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club building with an attached closet filled with clean clothes so that the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up and dressed properly before coming inside.

At the next club meeting there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social structure of the club. Some members insisted that the lifesaving operations were the primary reason for them being there and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The latter were finally voted down and were told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters they could start their own lifesaving station further down the coast. That’s exactly what they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and later another lifesaving station was founded.

History continues to repeat itself and if you visit that seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along its shores.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but sadly, most of the people there drown.

We have all witnessed the angry protests and riots in cities throughout our country after people of color were unlawfully detained and even killed by police officers. We have all read accounts of children being abused, neglected and killed by those who were supposed to love and care for them. And we have also seen how social media has blown up with hateful comments from both sides of political issues.

And yet, so many professing Christians continue to live their lives as if this is a type of “new normal”. THIS IS NOT A NEW NORMAL! This is not normal at all! Don’t you see that God has been trying to get our attention for years now? He has been trying to get us to repent. But you refuse to listen! How can people study God’s word for so many years and still not understand it or obey what it says?

Churches today are preaching a convenient gospel. One that teaches that all you have to do is confess your sins, accept Jesus in your heart, and you’ll be saved. But without repentance—a change of heart and lifestyle, there is no true conversion and thus, no real salvation. When someone truly repents they become a totally new creature. Their old life is dead and buried with Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Acts 3:19)

Our salvation cost Jesus his life! So how can we expect it to cost us any less? How can we take it so lightly? This is not the gospel that Jesus or the early Church preached. They preached a gospel of repentance and a gospel that brought real change to people’s lives! But if you preach a gospel of convenience—a gospel that makes people comfortable—you will be loved by the world and make yourself an enemy of God! (James 4:4) One of the primary purposes of the gospel is to make people uncomfortable so that they will repent and turn to God. 

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, said: “But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Jesus prophesied that “lawlessness will abound” in the end times. (Matthew 24:12) That people will overwhelmingly reject God’s laws, and that this lawlessness, unrestrained by the laws of God, will bring this earth to the point of almost complete destruction.

But the Bible also predicts that there will be a very small group—a remnant, who will not embrace lawlessness. In fact, these people will be defined by the how they live their lives by God’s laws, (Isaiah 10:20-21;1 John 5:2-3) and reject the traditions of man taught in the churches, which will make them stand in stark contrast to the world (and worldly Christians) around them. While people’s love grows cold, God’s faithful will hold to the law that teaches love, care and concern for others. (1 John 5:3) But they won’t be honored and respected for their way of life. Jesus said they will be “…hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9) 

Today there are over 2 billion professing Christians in the world—making up the world’s single largest religious group. And about 60 percent of the world’s nations have a majority Christian population. That means that the remnant—those who live their lives according to God’s word—is a minority among those calling themselves Christians. The people of “all nations” who hate and persecute God’s people will include billions of people who claim Christianity as their religion. 

But why will God’s remnant be so violently hated? What could they possibly do to receive such scorn? Because just like the prophet Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen and the apostles who were persecuted for boldly proclaiming the need to repent of sin, God’s remnant will preach the truth that those around them won’t want to hear. Particularly the portion of the gospel message that calls on people to repent, change and align their lives with God’s law. Sadly, most people in churches today stubbornly refuse to repent and obey God’s laws. And because of that, true Christians will be hated—by the world and other Christians. 

I understand that not everyone will agree with everything, but I have read more civil language on social media by professing atheists than from professing Christians! I myself have been a target of hateful rhetoric by professing Christians after posting comments about repentance or obeying God. Why would this be offensive to a true Christian? How can you say that you love God and continue to use hateful speech toward your brothers and sisters? (1 John 4:20-21)

   

Right now, we are experiencing a time when God’s people aren’t facing violent persecution in most places. In fact, in much of the world this may be the safest time in all of human history to be a true follower of God. But as the days get closer to the end, that will change radically—maybe in the next few years. As deception and lawlessness increase, hatred against true Christians will surge. The good news is that God will shorten those days “for the elect’s sake.” (Matthew 24:22) Jesus Christ will come to save His people from those who violently hate them. 

Christian! Don’t you realize how the hate of the world has become like a cancer and has infiltrated and affected your walk with God? As Christians, we are to be the light of the world for all to see but, the Bible tells us we must “put aside all such things as these: anger, rage,  malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

The apostle James wrote, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be!” (James 3:9-10) And yet here we are. 

If the unbelievers in this world can’t tell the difference between you and sinners then your religion is worthless!  Are you comfortable living like the world?  (1 Corinthians 3: 1-3) Do you preach a gospel of convenience? A gospel that does not offend? Then I beseech you, repent now! And be true to God and His word! Ask Him to lead you by His spirit into His truth and live your life according to His word. Remember Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21 NLT)

It is time for believers to stop following the traditions of man and dive into what God’s word says.

This is a song I wrote with my brother Mick Byers. Listen to it here: https://www.reverbnation.com/jonahreubenmusic/song/12837080-tears-of-god

My prayer is that this song will speak to your heart and encourage you to repent and turn back again to God.

Tears of God

You don’t call my name except when you swear

Hours for TV and no time for prayer

Your promises are empty while your pockets are full

Your shield has grown rusty and your sword’s become dull

Your lips sing my praises while your heart’s far away

Going through the motions with your worn out cliches

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cause I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

Behold I am standing at your door and I knock

But your lights are turned down and you’ve bolted the lock

You’re bound up with hatred and you’re bound up with fear

Too blind to see and too scared to hear

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cuz I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

The heartache My church…gives to me

Christians! Wake up from your slumber! Repent of your sins and return to God! Begin to again live according to God’s word…

“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) 

“But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

“The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:12-14)

God is our ONLY hope to become a great nation again. Turn and live for God…Before it’s too late! 

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) 

 

90% of Christian church doctrines today are not even in the Bible. In fact, most Christians today get more of their theology from greeting cards, movies and TV specials than they do from reading Scripture! And most of their beliefs taught in their churches come from pagan practices and traditions of man!

Of course, most Christians will vehemently deny that their beliefs are based on pagan origins or that they are man-made. And they have become quite proficient at disguising them under layers of complicated theology and church tradition. Unconvinced that many of their beliefs and practices are unbiblical, they continue to deceive and be deceived—in spite of the fact that Scripture proves just the opposite. (2 Timothy 3:12-14) That’s not to say that they are evil, or unsaved, just that they have been deceived.

So where did these false doctrines and beliefs get started?

The Roman Catholic church contends that its origin began with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ in approximately AD 30. It also proclaims itself to be the true church that Jesus Christ died for, the church that was established and built by the apostles. But is that the true origin of the early Catholic church?

On the contrary—Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will reveal that the Catholic church does not have its origin in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles. 

Most Christians today associated with the mainline Protestant denominations are aware that in the New Testament there is no mention of the infallibility of the papacy, or the worship of Mary, praying to the saints in heaven, infant baptism, or being forgiven of sin by confessing to a priest. They also know that the Catholic sacrament of Transubstantiation (The idea that bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus) is not taught in the Bible.

But there are other beliefs practiced in the Christian churches that are just as unbiblical. 

For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman Empire, and Christians were terribly persecuted unless they abandoned their Christian faith and worshipped the pagan gods of Rome. This changed after the  so called “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine provided religious tolerance with the Edict of Milan in AD 313, effectively lifting the ban on Christianity. Later, in AD 325, Constantine called for the Council of Nicea in an attempt to unify Christianity by blending the Christian Church with the pagan practices of Rome. The result was that many of Constantine’s pagan beliefs and practices eventually became a mixture of true Christianity and Roman paganism. As it remains to this day. 

Here are just a few of the false teachings that have been accepted by modern Christian churches as biblical truth: 

1. Natural immortality of the soul

The majority of professing Christians today believe that when we die, we have a separate “soul” that continues to live on. Those who are lost will immediately be ushered into “hell” where they will be tormented forever, and the saved will immediately be ushered into to the arms of Jesus in heaven. Did you know that Christians were not the first people to believe in the immortal soul? No, this belief came from the pagan world and perpetrated through the Catholic church. It was a way for the Catholic church to control the common people. “Do what we say or you will burn in the eternal fires of hell.” 

Believing that our loved ones who have passed are watching over us from heaven is a romantic notion, but think about this logically. (For God is a logical God) How could our loved ones who have died before us enjoy their eternity in heaven if they have to watch as their loved ones on earth are beaten, robbed, raped or murdered?  

All throughout the Bible you will not see one verse where God, Jesus or the apostles proclaimed that we have an immortal soul. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Can you see the clear truth of this? We are made out of the dirt of the ground. And it is only the breath of God that keeps us alive and makes us “living souls”. But without that breath of God in us, we become dust again! We were not given an immortal soul, we are living souls, but only while we are alive. “…the body without the spirit is dead…” (James 2:26)

All throughout the Old Testament we are taught that after death we know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10; Psalm 115:17). Psalm 146:4 tells us, “When his spirit (life or breath) departs, he returns to the ground; on that very day his plans perish.” 

And in Isaiah, we are given a remarkable prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ Jesus and what happens when we die:

“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)

Where does Scripture tell us where we will dwell until the second coming of Jesus? In the grave! Awaiting our resurrection. Friends, this is the Bible truth. Jesus himself taught that when we die, we sleep (Matthew 9:24; John 11:11-14). And this falls in line with the Old Testament teaching that we “wait” in the grave until the resurrection. When we die, we return to dust and await the second coming of Jesus when He will resurrect us and only then will he give us immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53) 

There are two primary Bible verses that Christians use to try to prove the doctrine of immortality of the soul. The most popular one is the often misquoted Bible verse of 2 Corinthians 5:8—“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” I have even heard evangelists and preachers whom I admire and respect who constantly misquote this verse. But those who have actually read that verse know it actually says: “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  I too would rather be away from my body and be present with the Lord. But Scripture teaches that that won’t happen until after I’m resurrected by Jesus. 

The other Bible verse used is the description of the thief crucified alongside Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) But again this verse is misunderstood. The Greek language has no punctuation marks. So Jesus could actually be saying: “Truly I say to you today…you will be with me in paradise.” Or better translated: “I’m telling you the truth today. After the resurrection you will live with me in paradise.”

2. Hell is a real place reserved of the unsaved where they will be tormented with fire forever.

If the Bible doesn’t teach immortality of the soul, then the doctrine of an everlasting, burning hell is false as well. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The most well known Bible verse in the whole world. And yet so few people actually know what it is saying! 

There are only two options for us: One is to follow Jesus and gain eternal life at the resurrection. The other is to reject Jesus and ‘perish’. Perish means to be completely and eternally destroyed with nothing left! And when you learn the truth that we don’t have an immortal soul, then a forever burning hell really doesn’t makes sense. 

Now don’t misunderstand. At the resurrection the lost will be punished for their rejection of God and Jesus with “hell fire”, which Revelation chapters 19 and 20 describes as the “lake of fire”. But that fire will “burn them up” (Malachi 4:1) and they will die the “second death. (Revelation 21:8) And this agrees with what the prophet Daniel foretold long ago: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

3. We will always be sinners saved by grace

This doctrine of Satan has been the ruin of many in the Christian church. It teaches that we have no choice but to sin every day in thought, word, and deed—that it is impossible for us not to sin. They teach that Paul in the seventh chapter of Romans is describing the normal Christian experience. But those who understand what Jesus and the apostles taught about sin believe that Paul would be horrified at such misinterpreting of his words! 

In the sixth chapter the apostle points out the absolute necessity of holy living: “Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness, unto God.” (vs. 11-13) We are not sinners saved by grace. When we become saved we are no longer sinners at all, but saints. And the Holy Sprit gives us the power to overcome sin. There is nowhere in any of the apostle Paul’s writings that he refers to converted believers as sinners. Paul clarifies this in Romans 6:14-15 when he writes: “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not!” 

And what do we do with 1 John 3:9? “Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”  Or 1 John 5:18? “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning…” That’s not to say that we won’t make bad decisions or make mistakes. I have made more than my share of bad decisions and mistakes, but it was always when I was making plans based on my own feelings and understanding, and not on what Scripture and God’s spirit was telling me.

The Holy Spirit, at conversion begins a cleansing process to clean up selfish motives that have been inspired by Satan. Thus the spirit of God leads the convert to hate and turn from all sin. A sincere and careful study of all Scriptures related to the “new birth” reveals that the spirit of God, by divine persuasion, produces the change known as the “new birth” whereby a sinner becomes a saint—a child of the devil becomes a child of God and chooses to no longer sin. 

4. Because we are now under grace we no longer need to obey the commandments in the Old Testament 

One of the most absurd of all false teachings that the Christian church adapted from the Catholic church is to teach that we are no longer required to keep God’s commandments. Jesus himself said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

Many teach that Jesus “accomplished everything” at his resurrection and so did away with the Old Testament Law, but the only thing that Jesus accomplished at his death and resurrection was to do away with the sacrificial and ceremonial laws and make a way for God to forgive us of our sin and have eternal life with him. Everything will not be “accomplished” until Jesus returns and sets up God’s kingdom on earth. 

Jews only?

Many are taught that all of the Old Testament laws are for the Jews only. And that the Feast Days commanded by God are “Jewish only” holidays. But are they? Anyone who reads Leviticus 23 will see that all of the Feast Days are “God’s appointed feasts”—not Jewish only holidays. In fact when God instructed Moses about His Feast Days and Sabbaths, there were no Jews yet! There was also a mixed multitude (people other than the Hebrews) that left Egypt with them. So everyone who is descended from that original “mixed multitude” are still obligated to fulfill God’s commands. “The same law shall apply to both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.” (Exodus 12:49) And if that wasn’t clear enough for you: “The assembly is to have the same statute for both you and the foreign resident; it is a permanent statute for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the LORD.” (Numbers 15:15) 

Only God could arrange things so that all of the generations scattered throughout all the nations who love Him would obey His commandments!

So who changed things?

In the early days of the Catholic church some priests decided to do away with God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and replace them with traditional holidays of man. And the Christian church blindly followed along. Those who refused the edict of the Catholic church were tortured, burned at the stake or skinned alive! 

Many today use Amos 5:21 and Galatians 4:10 as proof that God did away with observing Feast Days. But Galatians 4:10 is about people who were observing the Feast Days as a legalistic requirement for salvation. And Amos 5:21 is referring to pagan feasts that God’s people were involved with. Note that God does not call them “My” feasts, as in Leviticus 23, but calls them “your” feasts. 

These same people will quote Acts 15:19-21 to try to prove that we don’t need to observe God’s laws anymore: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

But Christians misunderstand the apostles reasoning. The apostles suggested these limited rules because they knew that the non-Jewish converts would hear God’s laws and precepts discussed every Sabbath in the synagogues. Just as a new convert to Christianity is not expected to follow all of the rules and doctrines of churches immediately after conversion, the four prohibitions seem to have been a temporary arrangement. The Jew was not to require his non-Jewish brothers the yoke of all of God’s laws immediately, but to come to learn that which was acceptable to God in the synagog every Sabbath. 

The New Testament shows that the first-century Christian Church continued to observe God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths. Jesus Himself observed them, and we, as His followers, are told to walk as He walked—to live as He lived. (John 7:8-14; 1 John 2:6) The apostle Paul reminded the early Church believers to “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6) The apostles in Acts 2:1-4 miraculously began their ministry on one of these annual festivals—the day of Pentecost or Shavuot, is God’s command to count 50 days from Passover. (Leviticus 23:15-16) And the apostles and disciples of the early Church continued to observe these festivals long after Jesus’ death and resurrection because they knew that Messiah was represented in every one of God’s Feast days. (See Acts 18:21; Acts 20:16; Acts 27:9; 1 Corinthians 5:8) 

Many Christians teach that Jesus gave us a new commandment: that we love one another. (John 13:34) But that didn’t mean it replaced God’s commandments. It wasn’t a new commandment as much as it expounded on  God’s original commandment from the beginning. (Leviticus 19:18; 2 John 1:6) 

Our Constitution is very much like God’s commandments in that they were both written in such a way so that they can never be changed. And like God’s commandments, although there can be additions to the Constitution, they will never change the original laws of the Constitution that afford us our freedom.

Listen, God has never changed. Neither has His commandments ever changed. (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 54:10; Psalm 89:34; Hebrews 1:12) So why is it that most churchgoers have never observed these things? Why don’t today’s Christian churches teach them? Because they all been deceived by the edicts of the Catholic church. For it was the early Catholic church who rejected God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and replaced them with their own traditional holidays: Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc. And the Christian churches blindly went along with it.

Even though Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation had the intent of returning to the Christianity of the New Testament, (And succeeded in restoring some biblical concepts) it continued in much of Roman ideology and even introduced new problems. For all the talk of following Scripture alone, faith alone and grace alone, it certainly did not return to the faith and practice of the early Christians. 

Christian, the hour is getting late! It is time for us to repent, turn back to God and obey His commandments! Do not reject the holy words of God. Why would God give us commandments that He knew we couldn’t obey? He wouldn’t! “For this commandment I give you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…” (Deuteronomy 30:1) 

“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” ( 1 John 5:2-3) 

I used to believe the same way that other Christians do. And as long as stayed in their lane and believed in the church’s teachings and man’s traditional holidays I enjoyed the fellowship of other Christians. But as soon as I got out of their lane and spoke what God revealed to me through Scripture and by His spirit, I was considered a legalist, a heretic, and even a racist by professing Christians—Simply because I spoke God’s truth from Scripture. And now those same Christian “friends” no longer want anything to do with me. And they refuse to even examine the Scriptures to see if I’m wrong. Do not misunderstand me, as so many others have. This is not about working to gain salvation through the Law. This is about obeying God because we love Him. 

But many Christians today do not see this because they have been deceived and therefore don’t know the truth. (And don’t want to know the truth) They have become worldly. That’s not to say that they are not saved. But just as the apostle Paul wrote: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly—as infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly,(Living with jealousies, dissensions, and hatefulness)  See: 1 Corinthians 3:1-15

When my children were young they obeyed my rules. Not because they thought that I would love them more if they obeyed, or that they thought that I would love them less if they disobeyed. But because they loved me, they obeyed my rules. It’s the same with God. We don’t obey His commandments because we think He will love us more if we obey Him, or afraid that He will love us less if we disobey, but because we love Him we obey His commandments.  (2 John 1:6) 

Throughout Scripture we see that God’s prophets, Jesus, the apostles and the believers of the early Church were all despised by the religious people of their day. Why? Because they obeyed God and His commandments, and taught others to do the same. So I guess I’m in good company. 

The question that I constantly ask, but never get an answer to is, “If Jesus’ death and resurrection did away with  keeping the Sabbath and observing God’s Feast Days, were the apostles and the early Church wrong?” 

I challenge everyone reading this to prayerfully search the Scriptures and see for yourselves.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them…Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5) 

Remember: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) 

My wife and I had the privilege of sharing Passover with our granddaughter last night. 

Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) commemorates the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt after suffering over 400 years of slavery. Passover is regarded by many  Christians as a “Jewish only” celebration. Some even claim that Yeshua (Jesus) and his disciples didn’t observe the Passover—even though it states in Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:8, and John 13:1 that they did! 

So why should Christians observe the biblical feasts? My answer has always been this: We don’t HAVE to observe the feasts—we GET to observe them. But the most important reason for us to observe Passover and all the feasts is that God told us to. We show our love for God by doing what He says. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 John 5:2)  

In Exodus 12:38 we read that there was also a “mixed multitude” that left Egypt with the Hebrews. They were possibly Egyptians who followed them because of the miracles they witnessed, or were from other countries that the Egyptians conquered and forced some of the people into slavery.

We also need to remember that there were many members of  the 12 different tribes of Israel that left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Not just Jews. (or the tribe of Judah) You see, every Jew is an Israelite, but not every Israelite is a Jew. And every one of us are descendants of those who belonged to one of the mixed multitude that God told Moses that, “The same law shall apply to the native ‘Hebrew’ as to the stranger.” (or non-Jew) And in Exodus 12:48-49 we read that “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger (or non-Jew) who sojourns among you.” 

Yeshua said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, (The smallest letter in the Hebrew language) will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5: 17-20) Many Christians claim that everything was accomplished when Yeshua  was crucified and raised from the dead and that all the Old Testament laws were done away with. The only thing that Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection did away with was the sacrificial and ceremonial laws—since he was the ultimate sacrificial Lamb of God. But EVERYTHING will not be accomplished until AFTER Yeshua returns and sets up God’s kingdom and government on earth. 

Yeshua also said “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46) Why would we want to miss out on something that Yeshua said points to him? Besides, throughout the Scriptures we are told that the Passover and other Feast Days and Sabbaths are not Jewish Feast Days and Sabbaths. They are GOD’S. And God said that they are a  permanent statute wherever we live for the generations to come. ( See Exodus 12:14-28; Leviticus 16:29) 

I am amazed that so many Christian pastors and Bible teachers can spend years and years studying in Bible colleges and seminaries and STILL refuse to see this in the Scriptures. And worse yet, refuse to teach God’s truth to their followers! Not only have they rejected God’s Feats Days, but they have replaced them with traditional holy days of man such as Good Friday, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter and Christmas—which none of Yeshua’s disciples, the apostles, or any of the early Church ever observed.  

Remember Yeshua, in verse 20 of Matthew 5 said, “…So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” All my life I have been considered to be least here on earth. I don’t know about you, but I want to be considered great in kingdom of heaven.

The special foods we eat on Passover not only reminds us of the Exodus, but also helps us to focus on God’s love for us. But what many don’t recognize is that every thing in the Passover Seder, and in fact, all of God’s feasts, points to Messiah.  

Remember the words of the apostle John: “By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. If anyone says, I know Him, but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) 

“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome…” (1 John 5: 2-3)

Observing God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and obeying God’s commandments has nothing to do with salvation. It has to do with obedience to God out of our love for Him. When my children were young they obeyed my rules. Not because they thought I would love them more if they obeyed me, or afraid that I would love them less if they disobeyed. But BECAUSE they loved me, they obeyed my rules. 

And in the same way, we don’t obey God’s commandments because we think He will love us more or that we can work our way into salvation. But BECAUSE we love Him we obey His commandments.

At the end of our Passover seder we pray this blessing: 

“Blessed are You Lord G-d king of the universe, for the produce of the field, and for the precious, good and spacious land, to eat of its fruit and be satisfied by its goodness. Have mercy, Lord our G-d, on your people, Send us your New Jerusalem, your holy city, in our days, and we will rejoice in it and bless you in holiness and purity. And remember us for good on this day of the Festival of Matzot. 

And we all end by saying: NEXT YEAR IN NEW JERUSALEM! AMEN!

I realize that this may offend some, but I must speak God’s truth rather than continue to promote traditions and myths.

 I am continually amazed at how Christians who claim that God, who loves everyone, believe that this same God will condemn the unrighteous to an eternity of torment in a burning hell.

And why these same Christians become so upset when you show them in Scripture that God will only condemn the unrighteous to the “Second Death”—Never to exist again. Is it any wonder that unbelievers resist and reject anything that these Christians tell them about their “loving God”? 

So if a forever burning hell does not exist, just where did this belief come from?

To understand the source of the idea that people are tortured in an ever-burning hell, we have to go outside the Scriptures. That should send up a red flag for anyone who regards the Bible as his or her only truth and source of belief.

“People are deterred from evil courses when, either through descriptions or through typical representations of objects unseen, they learn of divine punishments, terrors, and threats….There is need of religious fear also, and this cannot be aroused without myths and marvels.” —First-century Greek philosopher, Strabo  

Plato (ca. 428–347 B.C.E.) became a key figure in the development of this idea. His name appears frequently in the writings of Augustine, who noted that the Greek scholar had “perfected philosophy” and that he “is justly preferred to all the other philosophers of the Gentiles.” (City of God 8.4) 

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which describes Augustine as a “Christian Neoplatonist,” remarks: “One of the decisive developments in the western philosophical tradition was the eventually widespread merging of the Greek philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious and scriptural traditions. Augustine is one of the main figures through and by whom this merging was accomplished.” 

One of the key tenets of Neoplatonic thought adopted by Augustine was that humans possess natural immortality of the soul. This was a critical step in his developing the idea that unbelievers could be made to endure eternal torment in hell.

What does the Bible teach?

Pagan cultures and philosophies have contributed greatly to modern concepts of hell. But what does the Bible itself say on the subject? In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word often translated as “hell” is Sheol, though it actually means “the grave.” The Greek word, “Hades” means the same thing as the Hebrew word, Sheol—The grave.

In the New Testament, we find that the the word most often used for hell by Christians is Gehenna, referring to the Gehenna Valley, or the Valley of Hinnom. Just outside the walls of Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day it was where the local population dumped and burned trash.  

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that the Gehenna Valley “acquired a bad reputation because sacrifices were offered in it to Moloch in the days of Ahaz and Manasseh. (kings of Judah) The Valley of Hinnom came to be equated with the hell of the last judgment in apocalyptic literature.” In extra-biblical Jewish writings from the second century B.C.  the name Gehinnom thus came to be used for the eschatological fire of hell. In the first century A.D. the term was further extended to cover the place where the ungodly were punished, but this was not so in the teachings of Jesus or the Early Church. 

According to Jeremiah 7, the Israelite inhabitants of the region had erected idols in the temple of God, and in the adjacent valley they had set up altars to these false gods. They had even burned their children on these altars to appease their pagan gods. 

In Jeremiah 19:4–7, the prophet offers this message from God: “‘Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built high places to Baal to burn their sons in fire as burnt offerings to Baal, . . . therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Jehovah, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.” 

This is how Gehenna was known in Jeremiah’s day. In the New Testament, the word Gehenna is generally used in references to the final destruction of evildoers. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”(Gehenna) (Matthew 10:28) 

In other words, people can kill you, but they can kill only the body. Don’t fear them; fear the One who can put an end to you forever. 

Many Christians today might ask, But what about Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:41? “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’”? And what about Mark 9:47-48? “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” 

In both cases the eternal fire is used in order to prevent them from wreaking any more havoc on the rest of God’s creation. But the “eternal fire” of hell has been misunderstood by the majority of people for many centuries. Note that “everlasting fire” (Matt 25:41) and “eternal fire” (Jude 7) are from the same original words. It is not the fire itself but its effects that are everlasting as in Jude 7: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” 

Of course, Sodom and Gomorrah are not still burning yet they “are set forth for an example” of the results of a sinful course.

And the “worm does not die” in Mark 9:47-48 is referring to maggots. Maggots do not die. They later turn into flies and make more maggots. And the Lake of Fire will not be quenched, but it will eventually burn itself out—Just as a campfire or a charcoal grill will eventually burn itself out. 

The apostle Peter writes: ”And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly;” (2 Pet 2:6) 

The wicked will be burned completely, not burning forever in an eternal fire. “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Mal 4:3) It is the destruction, not the process that is forever.

The Bible is very clear about what happens to the unrighteous after the resurrection:

“When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever!” (Psalms 92:7)

“Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalms 104:35)

“A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.” (Psalm 37:10)

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) *Perish, not tormented forever in a burning hell. 

“But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psalms 37:20)

And Psalm 59:12-13 says, “By the sins of their mouths and the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride, in the curses and lies they utter. Consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, so it may be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. Selah” 

There are many more Scripture verses that reveal the truth about God’s loving judgments. And the Bible is always clear when you allow it to explain itself.

So what is wrong with believing in and teaching that there is a forever burning hell reserved for the unsaved if some are saved and come to serve God because of it? Because God has not called us to frighten sinners into repentance. And if a person is only following God out of fear, their faith and love for God is not real. They are only using God as a fire escape. And what trauma this will cause them when a loved one dies without Jesus, and they believe that God condemned them to an eternity in a forever burning hell? How then, can you profess to be a follower of Jesus and “love your neighbor as yourself” and yet refuse to speak the truth? 

Many are wondering why the world has become so ugly and hate filled—even by those who claim to be God’s people. The Bible gives us a very direct answer:

“Where there is no prophetic vision or divine guidance, the people cast off restraint. But blessed is he who obeys God’s law.” (Proverbs 29:18)

What is this prophetic vision or divine guidance? It is “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” (Col. 1:26) If a people do not hear and obey God’s Word, then we can only expect society to break down—even within local churches. 

We see it within our own government officials and throughout the world. With the next presidential election coming up this year we hear all kinds of promises from the candidates: Immigration reform, equality for women, ending sex trafficking, Medicare for all, free college education, higher minimum wage, and taxing the wealthy to pay for it all. 

But do you know what won’t be mentioned in any of the speeches? Human rights for children, how to prevent sexual abuse of children and how to protect children from pedophiles living in their own homes or employed at their schools and daycares.

It was recently reported that at least 56 Nebraska educators were linked to sexual misconduct since 2014! Fifty six! And that’s only the ones who were reported! 

At least 74 students or recent high school graduates were victimized. In some cases, the abuse occurred years before the perpetrators were caught!  

  • In return for pictures of a 14-year-old student’s naked breasts, a Norfolk student teacher bumped the girl’s grade from a 79 to a 95. (He was only sentenced to six months in jail)
  • A Loup City teacher set up a camera in a locker room to spy on high school girls changing their clothes. 
  • An Omaha middle school math teacher groomed and then sexually assaulted a female student in his classroom during lunch.

A national expert said less than 10% of abused students tell somebody about the abuse because of fear, guilt or a misguided desire to protect the educator.

(read more at https://www.omaha.com/news/plus/i-m-really-disgusted-to-see-that-number-nebraska-educators/article_3fd2f36a-d6d2-59ae-baab-74fbb029f90c.html)

While many will be outraged by this, (and rightly so) they may be ringing their hands and asking, “How could this happen?” The truth is the reason there is so much immorality today is because God’s Word is not obeyed. And God’s way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30) But the real danger lies in defiling a holy God by transgressing His boundaries. Our God is a God of justice, and “the ways of man are before the eyes of the Jehovah, and all his ways He observes.” (Proverbs 5:21)

Stories of racism and anti-semitism has been in all of the news outlets lately. I just want to say that I love the people of Israel. But I also love the people of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia—Just as much as I love the mixed people living in the United States. The problem is not the people, but the political and military leaders of these people. 

It is time that the God fearing people in the world today put away their hate, repent, turn back to God and pray for our enemies. Remember: 

“You are far across the ocean in a war that’s your own—And while you’re winning theirs, you’re gonna lose the one at home—Do you really think the only way to bring about the peace—Is to sacrifice your children and kill all your enemies?” — Great American Novel by Larry Norman