11 Mar 2013

But I Say to You...

Submitted by theshovel
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Going to hell for calling someone a fool has caused much guilt and fear the world over, as well as a lot of workarounds to get off the hook. I don’t question that Jesus said it, but I definitely question what it is we think he actually said.

ShovelAudio: But I Say to You…

(Audio Series: Men of Grace or Men of Law: The Sermon on the Mount)

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Wow!!! I’ve always read or understood the “afterlife hell” in this passage. Context really does matter. I can’t wait till the next lesson. This is really hot! We really do need God’s revelation to interpret his Word. I’ve got so much to learn. This series is just getting better and better.

This was really substantial for me today. I can’t think of one thing you ‘didn’t’ touch upon (especially for me, in the first half) that had come against my mind in the last week. Listening today, I my mind and spirit speaks ressurected (ly): Christ, my fullness, Christ, my Life, Christ, my righteousness! Ah! I thank God for this SUBSTANTIAL reality that enlivens, invigorates, and restores my spirit to rest in Him! Love, Mary

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Thanks again for sharing your hearts!

 

ADAM

I respect what you say about “hell” mistakenly preached today as God’s place for the wicked when actually Jesus was referring to a place called Gehenna - burning dump outside of Jerusalem. However, What are your thoughts about John’s account of God’s judgement place for the wicked a “lake of fire” or hell in Revelation 20? It reads that God has a judgement place for the wicked like Gehenna. Also, it seems today’s church is opposite of how you explain the NT church. For example, as you said, in NT church if you call someone a fool you may go to jail but that is because of the religious leaders strict rules laid on the people to keep them controlled. In comparison, today I see more control from entertainment or secular type activities, “freedoms” provided to members where churches try to out do or copy other churches and keep up with the latest Sunday school playground equipment, serve you one of several coffees/mochas before you enter the Sunday service, have a large church band than the church down the street, have church get togethers to watch movies or a ball game, etc. All this to add church members. I honestly am not against all those things, and I truly don’t sense that I am any better or more righteous than anyone else but to me its just a distraction and unnecessary when I go to church to hear someone preach about the life of Christ and meet other members that desire to grow in their walk with Christ. I do not attend those active churches any more. I just see so many churches keeping up with the church down the street to control the people with secular-type activities/ entertainment similar to how the NT church controlled people through fear did with strict rules. I am considering its the legal self righteous character in me BUT I truly don’t feel any better than any one else in those entertaining churches. I am saved from a very sinful life. I appreciate your audios. I learn a lot. Thank you.
theshovel's picture

Hello my friend,

Thanks for responding! I am glad to know that you are appreciating the audios that Adam and I produce, for it is our joy to do it.

Ah yes, Revelation 20 and the lake of fire. I agree that the verses in Revelation referring to the lake of fire seem to validate the doctrine of hell — even though it is not called hell anywhere in Revelation. And to me this is not an insignificant point because our contemporary understanding of hell is simply not quite as consistent as we imagine. The truth is that if we didn't have the religious framework of hell, the one that took centuries of religious manipulations to perfect, we wouldn't look at any of the so-called afterlife scriptures the same.

When I consider John's recording of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, I have to take into account his heavy usage of figurative language. And let me say right here that I understand the knee-jerk reactions that might arise at the suggestion, because I was trained to pass it off as an attempt to get around some foundational teaching of the Bible. And yeah, I know that some try to make everything figurative. I don't. But even when I balked at what I thought were just excuses, I knew that there was a lot more to those figurative considerations. I would say that we have to take the literal as literal and the figurative as figurative, and yet I came to realize that I had taken a hard stand on some figurative things as if they were very literal. However, I rationalized much of it because the teaching had become so fundamental to the Christian religion.

Anyhow, regarding Revelation 20, I'm not going to tell you that I've got it all figured out, but I will tell you that is filled with figurative language. After all, it presents imagery that fits with the physical realm in which we now walk. Paul even referred to the things probably he himself saw, and he stated that they were not lawful to speak of. I used to imagine that he meant he just wasn't supposed to reveal those things, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that the truth of those things cannot be related to the realm of this world. After all, the Law deals with that which is elementary, that which is of this world.

So, when John saw a great white throne and a lake of fire and the dead and the books, we might assume that he was viewing literal things ... and yet such a view seems to have turned the truth of whatever he saw into religious relics and scare tactics. What John saw definitely presents the reality of our God and the incompatibility of this world to even stand before him. He saw heaven and earth flee because there was no place for them (and it is only in this mentioned heaven and earth where the Law given by Moses has its domain, as both are totally connected).

If we ignore the pictures of hell imagined and vividly pictured during what's been called the Dark Ages (and even after), we might question the nature the "dead" who stand before God's throne. The natural mind wants to force the dead back into their bodies so that they somehow still have their former physical senses by which they could suffer the same kind of pain we have come to understand in this physical realm. Religious men have even come up with a doctrine that says God gives the dead bodies that are able to feel but withstand the non-ending pain of being burned alive.

If we really want to understand how fire, especially God's fire, was understood at that time, it had to do with purification. Farmers understood this, and still do. The old would be burned away so that out of the ashes there would come new and healthy growth. The purification of gold and other precious metals were understood to be refined by fire — and this is probably the most notable picture described in the OT writings. The lake of fire is the finality of the domain of this world, for everything other than that which is of God is no more. All the earth is to be judged, everyone according to their deeds. For according to deeds, that which is of the flesh will be revealed for what it is; so it is with that which is born of the Spirit.

I know there are many other questions that might be waiting, but I'll leave this off here.

Also, it seems today's church is opposite of how you explain the NT church. For example, as you said, in NT church if you call someone a fool you may go to jail but that is because of the religious leaders strict rules laid on the people to keep them controlled.

Actually, I wasn't explaining the NT church there, for he was referring to them even at that time. Of course, it would have carried over, but it was not specifically a church thing I was speaking of but a religious thing. But you are so right in pointing out how today's church is so much different, at least in the aspect of it that you're mentioning. There is a lot of crazy competition going on, isn't there? And it's not just with church competing with church, but churches competing with any other social outlet today, like night clubs or sports, etc.

Thanks for expressing your heart in not seeing yourself better than others, for that is the truth we have come to understand through his grace. :)

Jim

I really appreciate your time in sharing this. It probably took some time .. much appreciated. Thank you. And … yes, I knew you did not mean NT church as I stated above. I guess I was on automatic pondering and thinking on the NT church. And as you say, it would probably ‘carried over’ to NT church.

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