The Rich Man & Lazarus
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THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE OF HELL
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted , and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:19-31).
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. (Acts 2:31). Therefore my heart is glad , and my glory rejoiceth : my flesh also shall rest in hope. For THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN HELL; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalms 16:9,10).
Reason with me a moment. The prophets spoke of the resurrection of Christ, both his soul and his flesh. We know Jesus in the flesh was buried in a borrowed tomb. But the flesh did not suffer corruption. Three days after being buried, he was endued with power and raised from the dead. This supernatural influx of power transcended Sheol also known as the grave or hell as we know it. Many think that once you are dead, there is no more restitution, no more restoration, no more choices, no more chances, and no more life… you only go to heaven or hell. But, those who think such are not thinking about the resurrection power of God that is to save to the uttermost, whether in the grave three days or three years or three thousand years. Dead is dead they opine. But, Christ’s soul was not left in hell either. The word “leave” meant to abandon, forsake or to be left to. It was never intended that Christ’s soul was to be restrained, confined, remanded, consigned, bound up, or pent up in Hell. The word proclaims, Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended , what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:8-10). Here, the Bible talks of the “lower parts of the earth“, and more particularly it bespeaks of Hell. The word “parts” means a part due or assigned to one lot, destiny or one of the constituent parts of a whole. It doesn’t mean the center of the earth which is believed by carnal man. It is a spiritual place of confinement for which one is assigned or destined to go to. We can see that clearly from the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Rich Man can see Lazarus, so we are not talking about light years from earth in another galaxy or universe nor are we talking about being in the center of the earth which is ½ of 7,918 miles or 3,959 miles from the surface of the earth. We are talking seeing distance. Heaven is above, hell is below heaven here on earth. Although one can see a flicker of candle at a distance of up to 30 miles if it was in the line of sight or see a star 2 million light years from here, he can only see on a plane of approximately 3 miles due to the curvature of the earth. Hades as spoken of here or Hell is symbolic of the realm of the dead. The bosom of Abraham is symbolic of the realm of the living. Obviously, we are not talking about live persons here though the scriptures talk about the Rich Man’s tongue or Abraham’s bosom, so it must be an analogy to something else.
So much of the scriptures are written in symbolism and/or makes analogies and/or is a shadow and type of some greater revelation. For instance, the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses and the Hebrew children, though I believe was a real live event serves us up a greater purpose. Where they went over dry shod through the Red Sea to escape the wrath of Pharaoh, we now by analogy pass through the sea which is our obstacle to reaching the other side away from bondage and captivity to pursue our Canaan Land. So, now we see that not only this story from the Old Testament is an EXAMPLE for us to apply to our lives today as New Testament Christians, but that literally all stories, events, history, miracles, and tales of our patriarchs, judges, kings, priest, and prophets can be used as analogies as well. And how much more would stories of Hell, Hellfire, Brimstone, torture in the bottomless pit, and the Lake of Fire be analogous to our life today?
ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE OF HELL
What we do know about Hell and the original source of this doctrine begins with the Catholic Church. It was used as a tool of fear to bring into captivity those who were ignorant of the word, scare them into becoming a part of the so called Universal Church as Catholics, and to intimidate them and cause them much mental anguish unless they paid indulgences to buy their loved ones out of the fiery pit. Martin Luther exposed many unscriptural doctrines of the church in 1517 when he posted his 95 Theses on the Church house door. He was branded a heretic, but the Protestant Reformation broke out none the less. Although Luther was responsible for bringing clear understanding of justification by faith instead of works, and exposed indulgences as being payment to charlatans which had no power to deliver one from the grave, but rather line the pockets of those who lusted after money, and a few more, the doctrine of Hell remained and was carried on in the Protestant Reformation for much of the same reasons as the Catholic Church.
Where was Jesus coming from when he talked about Hell or Gehenna? Gehenna is Greek for Hell and was used by Jesus regularly. Most of the Jews of that day understood what he was talking about for Gehenna was a real place which was understood at that time to be the city dump or pit or place of eternal burning of refuse, dogs, animals, dung, and criminals. It was the last place anyone would want to go as it was not a respectable place to just be dumped out, and it certainly was not a respectable end as Jews didn’t believe in being cremated in any form or fashion. Only the sinner and despicable person was discarded here to meet such an untimely fate. Because of the bloodiness of Israel, the word Gehenna became a metonym or a word used in the place of hell in the afterlife. Gehenna became a figurative name for the place of spiritual purification for the wicked dead. In addition, Jewish folklore suggests the valley had a “gate” which led down to a MOLTEN LAKE OF FIRE. Here, anything that was not consumed in Gehenna or Hell was consumed to ashes and totally annihilated in the MOLTEN LAKE OF FIRE. Jesus used then these real places to make analogies, examples, or symbolisms in his stories and parables to speak of the end of those who walked in the flesh.
Some people don’t feel like they have been preached to until they have had the HELL scared out of them or made to be scared as HELL. I must tell you, that Christ nor his Apostles nor did the Apostle Paul preach Hell to bring fear upon people. Their message was always one of LOVE. Perfect LOVE casts out all fear. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment . He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18). Of course, that is not the way the Gospel is preached today. Why, preachers don’t feel like they have done their job unless the fear of Hell has been manifested in their meetings and they have a great altar call with multitudes of unregenerate sinners flocking to the altar to repent of their sins before they die so they won’t go to Hell. And some preach in addition, the fear of sinning afterward which would incur the wrath of God that would cause them to be cast into the pit of Hell, still. Such preaching makes men afraid of God. As a consequence, they serve him out of potential condemnation and not out of a loving relationship for they see God as a tyrant not as a loving Father. It is my opinion that we have wasted too many years preaching a message of hellfire and condemnation which only served to drive people away. Love is the only real GOSPEL to preach for it is the GOOD NEWS that brings folks to Christ! The hard part of judgment at the Cross has been accomplished. The days of tormenting in Hell has been fulfilled by Christ when he led captivity captive out of Hell and gave gifts to men.
THE FLESH, THE SOUL, THE SPIRIT
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. (1 Peter 3:18-19). And the fifth angel sounded , and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1). I am he that liveth , and was dead; and, behold , I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the KEYS OF HELL AND OF DEATH. (Revelation 1:18).
Keys please! Hell has been conquered! For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY AND POWER. For he must reign, till he hath put ALL enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH. (1 Corinithians 15:22-25). I can’t but think of Christ’s last words on earth on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). All the enemies of God and man have been destroyed including Hell, except one, death. All work has been accomplished for complete redemption of the sons of men. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the finished work. Sin is destroyed; the grave is destroyed; the devil is destroyed; hell is destroyed; and the finality of death, though not obliterated has been destroyed. As long as there is a sin nature in man, death will remain supreme until the last day. The “finished” works of Christ means the contents of a command has been fulfilled until the last act which completes a process or fulfills it. It is done. It is complete. “It is finished,” he said. There is no other work remaining to be accomplished. It is now within us a principal of faith to believe and receive that finished work. Jesus in his death went into the throes of Hell, took the keys of Hell and death, and set the captives free then and for all time. It is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15: 54-58). Paul wrote that death is swallowed up in victory.
I watched with great interest one day a battle between a Louisana Cottonmouth Moccasin and a Canebrake Rattle Snake. Both were the same size and both were deadly. They were slithering along the ground when suddenly their paths crossed. Who would yield? Neither. The battle ensued. Before it began, I wouldn’t have bet on either one to kill the other, but I had no idea what was about to take place either. Snakes, as a rule don’t just kill to be killing. They kill to eat. It didn’t take long to note that the Cottonmouth was the stronger snake. He wrapped and pulled that Rattlesnake with a vengeance. Then the total unimaginable happened. After he had somewhat immobilized the rattlesnake, he grabbed his head and began to swallow him. It didn’t take 10 minutes of ingesting that snake until he was totally annihilated. He no longer existed. The rattlesnake had not just become one with the cottonmouth, but he had been consumed by him. He became his lunch. No more rattlesnake. The battle was won. The enemy had been destroyed. So, in similar fashion, death, our enemy is swallowed up by life… the life of Christ. In Christ, our enemies are completely decimated. How can I say this? Christ eats sin, death, the devil, the grave, and hell for breakfast. Hahaha!
From the beginning of time, God has always tried to meet man in some significant way. In the garden, he met with Adam in the cool of the evening and the voice of God talked with Adam. Here, in this beautiful place, Paradise was created for this divine communication. There was no Hell. Only Paradise. Eden, the place of man’s original home was also called the “garden of God” or “a divine garden”. Traditionally, it was located in the Middle East, situated somewhere near where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are today. Eden is mentioned by Ezekiel as he says, the "son of man" sets down God's word against the king of Tyre: the king was the "seal of perfection", adorned with precious stones from the day of his creation, placed by God in the garden of Eden on the holy mountain as a guardian cherub. But the king sinned through wickedness and violence, and so he was driven out of the garden and thrown to the earth, where now he is consumed by God's fire: "All the nations who knew you are appalled at you, you have come to a horrible end and will be no more." Some believe that God is bespeaking of the fall of Lucifer. Notice he was cast down to earth to be consumed by God’s fire, not by Hell fire. Just as Satan’s works were destroyed in the Old Testament, so are they with finality in the New Testament for John said that Christ was manifested to destroy the works of Satan.
Later, after the fall, God tried to get men to live in harmony with him by giving man judges, priests, and kings. Man, because of his sin nature rejected all his efforts. God gave his law through Moses so that man could celebrate God’s holiness which was the fruit of his inner most being. Man could not walk in this for his inner most being was altogether wicked. God ushered in the tabernacle and the temple in which he dwelt to be with man forever. Because of the intrinsic nature of sin in man, it too failed. Every attempt to tabernacle and fellowship with God and have that perfect spiritual connection was thwarted not by the devil, but by the wickedness in the old Adam. Man’s nature had to change. So, God who was crucified before the foundation of the world went to the cross to destroy sin in the flesh, the old carnal Adam, and the law of ordinances that was contrary to man. Viola! It worked. Fellowship has been restored. Now, all that is left is for man to accept his finished work. That’s all. For all that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Instead of preaching a perfectly sincere message, mankind has tried to scare men into submission to the Lordship of Christ by preaching hellfire and judgment. Or did they? Actually, methinks they drove many away. The word Hell in the Old Testament was the word “Sheol” which simply means grave. It is not some place in the center of the earth used for torment, but the word is figurative for something greater. The first time the word Hell is used in the Bible says: For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. (Deuteronomy 32:22-24). Notice two things. Number one, Hell used in this scripture when the word grave is mentioned simply means that the fire shall burn into the grave or the lowest part of the earth that men would occupy even unto death. But, notice that the fire doesn’t originate out of the grave or Sheol. It originates from God. Oh, my! This certainly puts a new spin on it.
If we can see that God’s many attempts at carrying on a relationship with us in his garden, through his prophets, priests, kings and judges, through his law, and finally through his tabernacle on earth was not successful, then he must have a greater plan. And, so he does. He desires to tabernacle with us in our flesh. Behold the tabernacle of God is with men. In order to have communication with us though, he has to get through this veil of flesh. He has to break through this carnal mind, will, and emotions which was learned from Adam or the world. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Who shall set me free from the bondages of sin? Who shall change my corrupt mind full of frustration, doubts, unbelief, and torments? Why, it is Christ in his atoning work. He came to set the captives free, spirit, soul, and body. We are that place called Eden, we are his tabernacle, we are the New Jerusalem from above, we are Mount Zion come down. And, his perfect fellowship is manifested in us, not in a building of stone, or a tabernacle of goatskins. His law is written in our hearts. He has made us to be his Kings and Priests. Divine Utopia has been achieved. Can you see it? The refining fires from his presence has purged out the old sins, old traditions, the old church life, the old doctrines, the old sacraments, the old laws, and the old man. There is no place his purging fires cannot go. Down into the deepest hell of our soul, up into the highest heaven of our spirit, stretched across the mountains of obstacles in our lives that keep us from being at oneness with him. There is no other work to be done. It is the refining fires of God that purify us and make us vessels of righteousness like the sons of Levi, not the torment of everlasting flames in Hell. It is finished.
What is one man above another if we get saved by grace if we are all at the mercy of God, if everything that pertains to salvation is given to us by our loving redeemer. Of course, the answer to that is NOTHING. We don’t get saved by our works, by how often we go to church, or whether or not we keep his 10 commandments, how much we give to the church, or if we faithfully go to mass every Saturday or Sunday, or even if live moral and perfect lives, or keep a religious façade looking religious but full of dead men’s bones. Who has preeminence over another? Not even one. It is God who saves, it is God who delivers, it is God who sets free, it is God who heals, it is God translates us from the Kingdom of Darkness into the glorious Kingdom of the Light of his Son. It is God who makes one man unto honor; it is God that makes another man unto dishonor; it is God who hardened; it is God who shows mercy; it is God who raises up; it is God who brings down. Who then can find fault with God? Who can say to the potter, Why have you made me like this? God will show mercy on whom he will show mercy and compassion on whom he will show compassion. No man has preeminence over another. For it is not within man to judge another whom God has made righteous, for righteousness does not emanate from man, but from God. Can we then say this man ought to go to heaven or this man ought to go to hell? As long as we are in this flesh, I say God forbid.
THE THREE ARENAS OF CONFLICT
There are three areas of conflict that may help us better understand the battles going on around us. They are the areas of the heavens or the spiritual, that of the earth, and that within us.
We can clearly see those on the earth, for most men are carnal and see with carnal eyes. If they see wars going on in the middle east, they make judgments according to what goes on according to what they see and what their belief system has told them to believe up to that point. If they see factions in the standing church, they judge after their carnal understanding and who is a favorite among them. God is not like that, however. Paul wrote, And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able . For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-11). When you see factions in the church or between churches, you can be sure they are carnal. Folks stand up against one another according to what they have been taught, they strongly oppose those of different beliefs, they are even hostile to denominations that don’t see salvation the way they see it, and they are adamantly opposed to doctrines contrary to theirs. It has always been amazing to me how God has built a church at all with all the carnality. Can we see heaven and hell on earth? Of course, we can. Did not Jesus even teach us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven? The heavenly existence is available here and now. As I write this letter, there is perfect heavenly peace and harmony around me at all times. There is no conflict at all. My Edenic experience is now; My Canaan Land dwelling is here; Paradise is my earthly abode; And Heaven is my constant companion. However, I am acutely aware that there are major conflicts throughout the world. There is war in Afghanistan and the Ukraine. Israel is constantly defending its borders against the ISIS, the Hamas, and the Palestinians who want to destroy her and push her into the sea. In the USA, there is race rioting in St. Louis, Missouri. Mass murders are committed weekly and monthly in our nation because someone has gone amuck. How would you describe these things I have just mentioned? I say it is HELL.
Then there is the spiritual or heavenly realm. If you can see that the Shekinah Glory of God has never left this earth, then you can see this. But, it is not observed with the natural eye. Only the spiritual man can see it. It is much like Elisha’s servant who felt overwhelmed by the Syrian army surrounding him and his master. He could only see with his carnal eyes. Then Elisha said, “Lord, open his eyes so he can see that there are more with us than there are with them.” Suddenly, as he peered into the spiritual realm, he saw a heavenly host of multitudes on flaming chariots. He didn’t see them with his natural eyes, he saw them with the spiritual eyes. In Hebrews, we find that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. These are a faithful heavenly multitude of departed saints. We can’t see them, but they are there. In other words, heaven is not as far away as had been previously understood by the carnal mind concepts. Teachers would have us believe that heaven is light years away somewhere in another galaxy on the sides of the north wherever that is, and that it is a city on a planet with streets of gold, pillars of pearl, crystal clear running brooks, beautiful flowers, and the glorious throne of God. But, all such teaching is a pure myth. Heaven is here in this atmosphere. So, where is Hell? Ah Ha! It is in this atmosphere as well. Satan’s abode is Hell, right? So where did he come from when he went before the throne of God in Job’s day. God asked him, “Whence comest thou?” Satan answered, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” He didn’t mean he was going to the center of the earth then to God’s formerly believed throne on Planet Heaven. He meant from going east and west and north and south in or on the earth. Satan’s abode is on this earth in a spiritual realm. He is the god of this world, the prince of the Power of the AIR. John the Revelator made reference to the Church in Pergamos which is located in present day Turkey. What an ideal strategic place for Satan to rule over the nations. The USA still has a major strategic military base in Turkey. Of course, Satan doesn’t really have a throne in the spiritual realm. Neither does God. The throne is representative of his seat of power and authority. So, where is Hell? It is easy to see that Satan’s domain is right here on earth just below heaven in the spiritual realm. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:11,12). Satan’s rule and reign is not in the lower parts of the earth but in the high places which is the Epouranios or the heavens and particularly the lower heavenly regions. The darkness many speak of in Hell is the darkness of this world where men’s eyes are blinded by the darkness of this world which is metaphorically of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell, and in persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway. Where it is located is in this world or the Aions in Greek which means forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, and eternity of the worlds. Just as Satan was in the garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve, he rules and reigns in his domain on planet earth. It is his place of authority. Hell is not in the Earth, it is ON the earth. It is Hell for the unbeliever who is tempted daily by his powers and legions of demons. Vain religion has consigned Hell to the lower depths of the earth. It may well be one of the greatest lies of the devil. The believer would have difficulty fighting a power in the lower parts of the earth for the thought is he may have to get an underground Probe to travel to the center of the earth. Travelling to the Earth's center is a popular theme in science fiction. Some subterranean fiction involves traveling to the Earth's center and finding either a Hollow Earth or Earth's molten core. The center of the earth is a molten core attaining temperatures of 98000 F. There is no hollow core and there is no life forms there nor can it accommodate any. The idea of a so-called "Hollow Earth", once popular in fantasy adventure literature, is that the planet Earth has a hollow interior and an inner surface habitable by human beings. Although the scientific community has made clear that this is pseudoscience, the idea nevertheless remains a popular feature of many fantasy and science fiction stories and of some conspiracy theories. This ridiculous story tale has spawned many a yarn about the abode of Satan and the flames and fires of Hell. The most famous example of a hollow-Earth fantasy is Jules Verne's 1864 science-fiction novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Amazing how movies affect our carnal minds and shape our mental picture of so called religious theologies.
The so called "Well to Hell" is a borehole in Russia which was purportedly drilled so deep that it broke through into Hell. This urban legend has been circulating on the Internet since at least 1997. It is first attested in English as a 1989 broadcast by a U.S. domestic TV broadcaster, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The legend holds that a team of Russian engineers purportedly led by an individual named "Mr. Azzacov" in an unnamed place in Siberia had drilled a hole that was 9 miles deep before breaking through to a cavity. Intrigued by this unexpected discovery, they lowered an extremely heat tolerant microphone, along with other sensory equipment, into the well. The temperature deep within was 2,000 °F. From within the chamber of fire, there was purportedly heard the tormented screams of the damned. That recording, however, was later revealed to have been a cleverly remixed portion of the soundtrack of the 1972 movie Baron Blood, with various effects added. Christians worldwide bought into that hoax, and solidified their concept of the mythical, nonsensical, unbiblical, concept of Hell which was originally conceived by the Catholic Church. I bought the tape. I have a T-Shirt. Hell is real. I heard those sounds myself. Therefore, it is true. Hogwash! It is time to get back to biblical basics. The spiritual place of HELL is right here.
Thirdly, a great conflict occurs in man himself. We can easily see that the Kingdom of God abides within us. God is seated on his throne within us. We are seated in heavenly places with Christ by faith within us. Heaven is in us. Hell has just as much a real place within us. Like Jonah who was swallowed by a great fish, and went into Hell, scriptures were speaking allegorically of falling into torments in our mind, our will, and our emotions. Job did not want to go preach to Nineveh. But, God can put pressure on us to persuade us with torments in our mind until we change our mind. Job went into the temple of God while he was in the fish’s belly. Now, how can that be unless again we are speaking allegorically? The temple is within us. Job quit thinking with his carnal mind which was tormented by Hell and went into the spirit realm of his heart where God dwells in his temple. It was here where he got his relief from pain and his change of heart that he should go and preach to Nineveh. God never intended for Jonah to be destroyed, only that he should preach. Sin and death lie within our flesh, also. The devil is the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning, the great tempter of our carnal fleshly nature, who is able to tempt and torment our minds and set on fire the forces of Hell. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on FIRE OF HELL. (James 3:5-6). Our own flesh is set on fire of Hell.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL MEN through him might believe. (John 1;7). And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me. (John 12:32). Who will have ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4). Verily I say unto you, ALL SINS shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith so ever they shall blaspheme. (Mark 3:28). The word “All’ means individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything collectively. The salvation of all of mankind both Jew and Greek, male and female, and the wicked and the just from every nation, tongue, race, and creed are marked by God to serve his purposes and later enter into his glory. So, I ask you, why would God save only a small number of people and destroy the multitudes he created? Is he too weak to save to the uttermost? God is a consuming FIRE. Deliverance is complete. The power of the devil and the bondage of Pharoahic flesh man, carnal as he is, is broken off forever, never to be revisited again. Hell and the grave have no power over man. It is Christ who has delivered us from the bondages and the fires of judgment, not we ourselves. He alone is worthy. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14). Christ has DESTROYED death and the power thereof, he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil and his kingdom known as Hell. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT CAME UPON ALL MEN UNTO JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE. (Romans 5:18). Upon those he has died for, all man, all creation, all peoples he has delivered us from the second death. He has the KEYS of Hell and Death. The gates of Hell shall never prevail against the church. He, with his keys has set the captives free. Hell has no more dominion. His work at the cross is complete. He did not come to earth to fail. Figuratively, He has cast death and Hell into the Lake of Fire never to be remembered again. The term “Lake of Fire” is an allegorical term taken from an actual place called the Lake of Fire outside the gates of Jerusalem. The word brimstone by definition means divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease. The Lake of Fire and brimstone is the place of final purification of all God’s creation. He came to restore fellowship with ALL his creation, the last Adam, and the second man, the Sons of God who have been redeemed by his resurrection power. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and NONE OF THEM IS LOST, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:9-12). Aren’t you GLAD?
The heart of the prudent will understand a parable; and an attentive ear is the desire of a wise man. (Ben Sira 3:29).
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:9-17). All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; AND WITHOUT A PARABLE SPAKE HE NOT UNTO THEM. (Matthew 13:34).
So, what do we have in retrospect? We know there is a place called “Sheol” translated “Hell” in the Old Testament, and that it is more especially defined as the grave. We know that there is a “Gehenna”, and a Hades also translated “Hell” in the New Testament. Gehenna is a literal place outside the gates of Jerusalem where garbage and refuse is burned. Outside of it, literally was the “Lake of Fire”, for real in Jesus’ day. It is where that which was not utterly consumed in Gehenna is cast into the Lake of Fire to be utterly consumed into ashes. Demon angels are cast into “Tartaroo” or Hell and there they are bound. And since there is no literal place and due to the fact that one can’t literally bind a demon, it is plausible to understand that we hold the power to bind with our words.
Satan does not rule over some fictitious place in the center of the earth. We do, however, know that Satan’s abode is on Earth. He is the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4). Spiritually, he is the prince of the power of the air. (Ephesians 2:2) There is no place called the pit or a burning inferno in the so called hollow core of the earth that he reigns over. He produces Hell on the earth and in the air in the very arena of life we live in. Finally, we found out that the unregenerate are cast into Hell or ultimately into the Lake of Fire to be purged in their sinful bodies and souls by the fire of God to make them ultimately vessels of righteousness, after his purpose for them has been accomplished. Hell, then for them is the final Catharsis or katharsis in Greek meaning "purification" or "cleansing" and is the purification and purgation of the human soul that is purged of its excessive passions. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics to describe the effects of tragedy on the spectator of emotions, especially pity and fear, through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration, and also the interpretation of catharsis as "intellectual clarification. Hell then, which we experience is in our unrestrained flesh and our carnal minds which burn with torment or spew Hell’s flames out of our tongues are cartharised by God’s redeeming fire. Christ will lose none whom God has given him in this life or in the one to come.
Carnal minds have envisioned some place they called Hell to describe the words that Jesus used. Just as in the book of Revelation, Jesus spoke in a spiritual language that only the enlightened ones could understand. Those with natural and carnal minds were oblivious to his teachings and what he meant. As a result, they concocted cocky mammy stories about the abode of Hell and it being the domain of the devil. Much of the Catholic doctrines and the evangelical protestants picked up on allegories by Dante and his renditions of Hell when he wrote, Dante’s Inferno, a divine comedy written in the 14th century. Many artists expressed in paintings their visualization of Hell and its demons and torments. As a result, religious folk who did not have the mind of the spirit preached on what Hell looked like much like they have interpreted the book of Revelation and what Heaven looks like all to no avail. The Kingdom of God has suffered much because of their indiscretions to this very day. Instead of preaching a Gospel of Love, they preach a Gospel of fear, anguish, torments, and hell.
Our ideas and concepts of Hell have been fashioned by artists, poets, playwrights, religious folk void of the spirit, popes, illusionists, fantasy and sci-fi writers and not by the spirit of God. Jesus’ use of Hell was always as a parable. He never once addressed Hell as a real place. Search the scriptures. Christ used many allegories of earthly things to explain the heavenly, including Hell. He spoke of cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye if either offended you, rather than go to Hell whole. Do you for one minute think he meant that literally? Of course not! If he did, the entire creation would be blind and without limbs. Obviously, he intended to convey the message that it was easier to walk in obedience and wisdom than to be chastised or wind up tormented allegorically like Jonah in the belly of a great fish or hell to secure ones obedience to his word.
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity , because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath ENLARGED HERSELF, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. (Isaiah 5:11-15). The word “herself” is Nephesh in Hebrew and it is the soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man (with life in the blood) the man himself, self, person or individual seat of the appetites seat of emotions and passions activity of mind dubious activity of the will dubious activity of the character. We see clearly from this example that “Hell herself” has been enlarged not in some fictitious location spewing fire and brimstone, but right here in our own souls and our own flesh. Great are the multitudes that regard not the work of the Lord or the operations of his hands. From that time, they shall be tormented in their minds and flesh until they repent and do their first works. The work of Christ is complete. It is finished. All men will be humbled, bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He has gone to the cross to give us a sound mind, a healed body, and saved soul. He has been resurrected to ratify what he did at the cross is an accomplished fact for all men delivering us from the lowest Hell and raising us up into the highest heaven. GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
Kingdom Builders is dedicated to ministering the Word of God freely to anyone upon request. It is my desire to build up the body of Christ to become powerful, functional, mature Sons of God to make a difference in the World and the affairs of men. I trust God to put it upon the hearts of those who are ministered to here by this word to help support the publishing, postage and mailing of these wonderful revelations of our King and Savior Jesus Christ. I am not in the marketing business nor do I have anything to sell. Should you or your friends desire to receive these articles, please write to the address noted, and they will be freely sent to you. All donations are gratefully appreciated. If for any reason, you no longer want to receive these mailouts, either call me at 318-614-2804 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Phillip S. Smith III
110 Westland Place
West Monroe, LA 71291
“BUILDING THE KINGDOM THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD”
PIERCING THE VEIL
HELL (Part 2)