Saturday, September 22, 2018

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 (Complete)

By George Storrs


SERMON II

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.


Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

As the doctrine, "Ye shall not surely die," had its origin with the old serpent, I cannot divest myself of the conviction that the notion that wicked men will be kept eternally alive in torments, and never die, had its origin from the same source, as it appears to be a perfect fac-simile; and that it was invented to inspire hard thoughts of God and keep men from turning to Him by repentance and faith, or confidence, and acknowledging their sins against the God of love. And I solemnly believe, this doctrine has kept more away from God, and driven them into infidelity, than any other doctrine that was ever promulgated. I am solemnly convinced that it has done more to destroy men than all other errors put together.

For, if some minds have been temporarily affected by it, they are seldom found to be uniform Christians, and hardly pretend to live in obedience to God, unless under some strong excitement; multitudes of others, without any proper reflection upon the claims of God's law, have rejected eternal punishment, because of the nature of that which the "orthodox" say is to be inflicted; whilst others have lived and died in real infidelity, or what has been called so, because they could not believe that a Being whose word declares that He "is love" could inflict such a punishment on even the worst and most bitter of His enemies.

But I will not detain you longer with an introduction. I shall attempt to show you, that the death God has threatened, as the wages of sin, is not immortality in misery, but an actual and total deprivation of life. I say, then, in opposition to the old serpent, if men do not come to Christ, that they may have life, they SHALL surely die - past hope, past recovery.

Let me here briefly recall attention to the question at issue. It is not whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal, but will the conscious being of the wicked be eternal? Is the punishment of the wicked interminable being in sin and suffering? or an eternal cessation from life?

I use the term immortal, in these discourses, in its commonly received meaning, i.e. according to Grimshaw, "exempt from death;" and according to Walker, "never to die - never ending, perpetual." Strictly speaking, immortality is the development of life through an indestructible organization, so far as it relates to created beings.

In my first sermon I had brought the subject down to the inquiry, WHAT ARE THE TERMS EMPLOYED TO DENOTE THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.

Are they such as can, by any fair construction of language, be made to mean that the wicked are destined to a state of eternal sin and suffering? Let us keep in mind, that words are not to be so explained as to mean more than their primary signification, without an obvious necessity; though they may, and often do, signify less.

The terms employed are: Perish: Utterly perish - Utterly consumed with terrorsDestroy: Destroyed - Destroyed forever - Destruction - To be burned - Burned UP with unquenchable fire - Burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branchPerdition: Die - Death - Second Death, etc.

Let us now begin with the first of these terms, viz: "PERISH." Grimshaw, in his Etymology, says it signifies "to cease to have existence - to die - to decay."

Which of these definitions is suited to convey the idea of eternal sin and suffering? Can that which is never to cease, be said to be decaying? Can that which has interminable life be said "to die?" Can that which is always to continue in being, be said "to cease to have existence?" I need not pursue that inquiry; it is a self-evident truth, that however the term perish may be used, in an accommodated sense, to signify something less than actual ceasing to be, it is even then borrowed from its primary signification, and must be restored to it when there is not a known necessity for departing from it. In the case under consideration, there can be no such necessity, unless it can first be proved that men are immortal.

Paul, in 1Cor.15:18, says - "Then," (if Christ be not raised,) "they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." What! in a state of eternal sin and suffering! The supposition is so absurd that my opponents admit that the term perish here means "to cease to be." By what fair interpretation of language can they ever make it mean any thing else, when spoken of the final state of the lost? Though the term is sometimes used to denote something less than an actual ceasing to be, it does not therefore follow that it is used to mean something far greater and more horrible. To apply this term to an eternal state of sin and misery, is to force a sense upon it which is most unwarrantable and unjustifiable, in my judgment.

Let us keep constantly in mind that the whole family of man, by their natural birth, have no access to the tree of life, consequently were perishing, were destitute of immortality. Now look at the following texts:

"God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." Here everlasting life is the opposite of perishing. I pray, is everlasting sin and misery the opposite of everlasting life? The wicked, upon that view, have as really everlasting life as the righteous, though under different circumstances.

"For we," saith an apostle, "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other of life unto life."

Here perishing and life are put in opposition, and the term perish is explained by the apostle himself, to mean death, and not life in misery.   

I need not quote all the passage where this term is employed to express the final doom of the wicked, in which it is evident we are to receive it in its primary meaning, and no other. Before I leave this term, however, I must call your attention to one fact, and that is - in the Acts of the Apostles, the very place where we should expect to find, if any where in the Bible, the doctrine of eternal torments, because the apostles were addressing sinners, there is not a particle of evidence to support the common theory. On the contrary, the views I maintain are most clearly set forth by Paul, in the 13th chapter, in a discourse to the "blaspheming" Jews, telling them that they judged themselves "unworthy of everlasting life," and saying - "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." What an excellent occasion had the apostle to have aroused the Jews by the common theory, had he believed it.

Look at that chapter, and you will see, if there ever was a time in which the apostle was called to deal plainly, it was then. I ask if any preacher in these days, who believes in the immortality of all men, in preaching to such hardened sinners as the apostle addressed, contents himself with such language as the apostles here used? No. They first describe the misery of the sinner in hell, and then, with the strongest figures they can produce, go on to give an idea of its duration, which, after all, they cannot find language to describe. The apostle did no such thing. There is not a particle of evidence of it in all his preaching and writings.

"DIE" AND "DEATH." 


These terms primarily signify, "To perish - to come to nothing - the extinction of life." Hence, when these terms are applied to man, in regard to the final result of a course of sin, we ought to have good evidence that they are not to be understood in their primary meaning, before we depart from that interpretation; especially, before we fix upon them a sense so contrary to their proper signification as that of endless sin and suffering.

The apostle, in Rom.1:32, speaking of certain wicked characters, says - "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death," etc. In the 2nd chapter, 5th verse and onwards, he speaks "of the righteous judgment of God," when "wrath" will be visited on the wicked; and the death spoken of is expressly called "perish"ing, as the result of the "indignation and wrath" with which the wicked will be visited "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Death, then, as the apostle explains it, when applied to the punishment of wicked men, is to perish.

"The soul that sinneth it shall die," refers to its final doom. This will appear if we consider, men will die, i.e., leave this world, or state of being, whether they sin or not. Nor can it refer to a violent leaving this world, as some suppose, for all sinners do not die a violent death. I conclude, then, that it relates to the sinner's final doom.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked, turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" evidently looks to the same result, the final destiny of the wicked. Life and death are put in opposition: not life and conscious being in misery, but life and death, without any qualifying terms to lead any one to suspect that they are to be understood any other way than in their most obvious sense; and I cannot but think, if you were to put the Bible into the hands of a person who had never heard a word of explanation, he would so understand it.

Lest I should, in the present discourse, take up too much time in the examination of these terms, I will pass over the remainder of them for the present.

Having, as I judge, established the point that the wicked have not immortality, I might leave it to the believer in the opposite theory to prove his position from the Bible, and pursue the subject no further. I shall not, however, shrink from meeting the supposed objections to my view.


OBJECTIONS EXAMINED


The objections do not arise from any positive proof in the Bible that the wicked are immortal, but from circumstantial evidence, drawn from expressions used in reference to the punishment of the impenitent. The first objection I shall notice is founded on the language of our Lord, "Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." It is said this proves the soul immortal. I remark -

First. Whatever this punishment is, it is put in opposition to "life." "If thy hand" or "foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt" or "maimed into life, than having two hands" or "feet," etc., "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." Who does not see that here is the opposite of life, and therefore is death, or utter extinction of being without possibility of escape? In a parallel passage, our Saviour saith, "If thy right eye" or "hand offend thee, cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

Here the "worm that dieth not, and the fire" that "is not quenched," we see, is another form of expression for perishing.

Again, I remark, this expression of our Lord is a quotation from Isaiah 66:24, and is applied to the "carcasses" of men, which I presume my opponents will not pretend were immortal. But if the language in one place proves immortality, why not in the other? Then we shall have immortal carcasses as well as immortal souls. But the prophecy is describing evidently the kind of doom inflicted by the Eastern nations on the vilest offenders, who were not only slain, but their bodies deprived of the rights of burial, and either burned to ashes (which among them was regarded as a great indignity,) or left to molder above ground and be devoured by worms. If the fire were quenched, they would not be utterly consumed, but something would remain - there would not be an entire destruction. It is manifest to every mind, if a fire is quenched or put out, the work of utter destruction is arrested, and something is left of the object upon which the fire kindled. The same may be said, if the worm die the carcass will not be consumed; but as the fire is not to be quenched, nor the worm die, therefore, they shall be utterly consumed, perish, cease to be found in the universe of God. The objector says, the idea of an unquenchable fire is, that it is never to go out. To show the fallacy of this, I will suppose my house is on fire. When my neighbors arrive to my help, I say, effort is useless - the fire is unquenchable. Pray, what do I mean? That the fire will burn eternally? Any school-boy knows I mean simply the house will be totally consumed. "Yes," says the objector, "that is true when the expression is applied to that which is consumable, but man has a soul that cannot be consumed." To this, I reply, That is the very point to be proved. The objector says he has, and I affirm he has not.

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

* Editor’s Note: Did the destruction of Jerusalem prophesied by Jeremiah take place? Yes. It happened when the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, not long after he prophesied it. Jeremiah told King Zedekiah: “'But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.'" Jeremiah 38:18 NASB. Read now the account in 2 Chronicles to prove to you that the Babylonians did indeed burn Jerusalem with fire: Speaking now of the King of the Chaldees and what they did to Jerusalem it says: “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 KJV. So God fulfilled His word and destroyed Jerusalem and burned it with the fire ‘that shall not be quenched’, as it said in Jeremiah 17:27 above. Then why isn’t Jerusalem still burning to this day? You have probably seen numerous news casts of Jerusalem, and maybe the area where the former temple was, that is now an Islamic Mosque. Have you seen pictures of this so called “eternal fire” still burning? No! That is silly you may say. Then why do people say that when the Bible says someone is to perish, or to be burned up with unquenchable fire, or that the fire shall not be quenched, or talk about the eternal fire that it always means ‘to burn forever?’ This view is inconsistent with the other passages in the Bible that employ this same or similar expression, and it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these places are still not burning in our day!

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?

But as much stress is laid on the text under consideration, and on others where our Lord speaks of "hell fire" - -puros gehenna- - the fire of hell - we shall examine the subject more fully. Especially as by our Lord's using the expression "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," it is concluded that he teaches the immortality of all men, and the endless torment of the wicked. But, before we settle down on such a conclusion, it is better to examine the premises. I am disposed to think the conclusion is purely assumed. Let it be remembered the word in question "never occurs in the Septuagint Greek, nor in any classic author in the world." So says Dr. George Campbell, one of the most learned divines of the orthodox school of the last century. I remark, that it was never used by our Lord nor his apostles, when addressing Gentiles, whether by word or epistle. This fact speaks in thunder tones, as to its Jewish origin, and hence we are to look alone to Jews for an explanation of the term and its use.

The word is derived from "Ge," which signifies a "valley," and "Hinnom," a man's name. "The Valley of Hinnom," south of Jerusalem, "once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors, to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning." - Gr. Lex.

In the time of our Lord's personal ministry, a portion of the Jews used the phrase figuratively to denote the punishment of the wicked. As our Saviour adopted a figure of their own and used it only with Jews, it must be evident that he used it in harmony with facts. Now what were the facts in the case? They are these - Whatever was cast into the fire of gehenna, was cast there to be destroyed. If any flesh should fall outside of the fire, the worms devoured it, so that nothing there escaped utter destruction. No Jew was so stupid as ever to have conceived the thought that anything was thrown there to be preserved. The only idea that could have attached itself to this form of expression must have been that of a total and utter consumption, or destruction, without remedy, recovery, or escape. A Jew could understand it in no other sense; in any other sense the figure would have been both without meaning and without force.

This being the case, it is one of the strongest expressions in the Bible to disprove the common theory of the eternal preservation of the wicked in sin and suffering. The impenitent and incorrigible sinner, like the filth about Jerusalem, and the dead bodies of animals and men, if not utterly consumed and destroyed, would keep alive the plague in the universe; hence, they shall be "cast into the fire of Gehenna - hell fire;" or be utterly and totally destroyed, therefore "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna - hell." Math.10:28. Just so certain as the filth about Jerusalem, and dead carcasses were utterly consumed in the burning fire of the Valley of Hinnom, so certainly will God destroy both soul and body – that is, the entire being of the incorrigible sinner, so that the universe shall be clear of these plague spots; then shall be fulfilled that which is written Rev.5:13, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Not a creature shall be left in conscious existence but what shall join in ascriptions of praise to God and the Lamb. Glorious time - happy hour. May you and I be of that happy number. If we would be, let us seek holiness of heart and life. In Christ alone is life; know him - love him - obey him, and then we shall join the blessed company John heard praising in the strains just described, which may the Lord grant us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The advocates of the common theory of endless sin and misery bring forward our Lord's words -

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Matt.25:46.

This text is supposed by many to sustain the theory of the immortality of the human soul, and the endless misery of the wicked. 

It is said - "If the everlasting misery of the wicked may come to an end, so may the everlasting bliss of the righteous, as the self same word is employed to express the duration of the misery of the one class as the happiness of the other."

I answer - The text saith not a word of the happiness of the one nor of the misery of the other. But if it did, it would avail nothing to the advocate of the common theory, unless he could prove the two classes equally undying, and immortal.

The term aionion - translated eternal and everlasting, in this text - does not, of itself, prove either the righteous or wicked would have a perpetual and unending existence, because it does not necessarily mean without end. This can easily be shown by its use, and the use of its corresponding word - oulom - in Hebrew; which latter word occurs, in some of its forms, more than three hundred times in the Old Testament, and in a large majority of cases will be found to express a period, longer or shorter, that will have an end. Thus the Aaronical ministry is called an everlasting priesthood;" the hills are called "everlasting hills."

Those who think, because the same term expressing duration is applied to both classes, in the text under consideration, it is made certain that the wicked will exist as long as the righteous may be taught that they reason both inconclusively and dangerously. Take the following text, "The everlasting God." Is.40:25; and compare it with Hab.3:6, "The everlasting mountains." Shall the mountains continue as long as God? How will the advocates of unending misery evade the conclusion on their premises, that the mountains will continue as long as God? Will they say, "We know the mountains will melt in the final conflagration?" True; and we know the wicked will be "burned up, and be left neither root nor branch," because, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts;" Mal.4:1. But the Bible declares that God is "the King immortal:" not subject to be dissolved: while the everlasting mountains will be scattered and melted.

What is the argument, then, that the righteous are to continue in life while the wicked perish from life?  

It is not alone in the expression everlasting or eternal, in the text; but in the fact that other texts assure us the righteous "put on immortality, incorruption," at the resurrection; 1Cor.15: and, saith Jesus, "Neither can they die any more:" Luke 20. Thus their perpetuity in life is settled by language that can have no other sense than that of unending life and being: while no such language occurs in relation to the wicked. On the contrary, they are to be "consumed, devoured, burned up, be destroyed, utterly destroyed, soul and body," etc. Such expressions, in the absence of any text affirming the immortality of wicked men, must settle the question, if testimony can settle any point.

The stumbling stone of our opposers is, in their assumption that protracted pain and punishment are necessarily identical. But this assumption is false in fact. What is the highest crime known in human law? It is murder. What is the punishment for that crime? Is it the most protracted pain? Or, is it the deprivation of life? It is the latter: and that is called the "capital punishment;" not because the criminal endures more pain, or as much as he might by some other; but because he is cut off from life.

If it be attempted to evade this point by saying - "The criminal feels horribly, while awaiting the day of execution," - I ask, if his feelings are any part of the penalty of the law? Certainly not. They may be a consequence of the crime; but the law does not say he shall feel bad, but that he shall die. But, say the advocates of the common idea of pain, as essential to punishment, "there is the dreadful hereafter to the criminal." I reply, whatever may be hereafter to him, that is no part of the penalty of the law under which he dies. So the Judge understands it, who pronounces the death sentence; for he concludes by saying, "May God have mercy on your soul:" i.e.,

"May you not be hurt hereafter." Thus, turn which way our opposers may, they meet a two edged sword that hews in pieces their notion of protracted pain and punishment being necessarily identical.

In the text under consideration, the Saviour expresses the idea of punishment, without any necessary idea of protracted pain. The word here translated punishment is kolasin: and it is never used, on any other occasion, in any of our Lord's discourses, as recorded in the Bible. When he speaks of torment, as he often does in the Gospels and in Revelation, he most uniformly uses the word basanois, but never, kolasin. Kolasin properly expresses punishment; and, strictly, the kind of punishment; as one meaning of the term is "cut off." The righteous enter into life eternal: the wicked are eternally cut off from life.

But we have an inspired Commentator on this declaration of our Lord; i.e., Paul, the apostle. Whatever scene is described Matt.25, and whatever time is spoken of, the same, in both respects, Paul speaks of 2Thess.1. They are both laid in one scene. Compare them together. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him." Matt.25:31. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." 2Thess.1:7. Is here any mistake? Is not the scene the same in both texts? Is it possible to separate them? Again, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Matt.25:46. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction." 2 Thess.1:9.

Here is no room to doubt but what Paul is speaking of the same punishment as Jesus; and the apostle declares the punishment is "destruction" not preservation under any circumstances; and the apostle tells us this destruction is "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This last expression may have the sense of "out of his presence," but I am inclined to believe it has reference to the consuming fire that sometimes came out from the presence of the Lord, under the law given by Moses. As for example, in Lev.10:1,2. - "Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not: and there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." Or, take the case of those who, in the rebellion of Korah (Num.16:25,) had taken their censors to appear before the Lord, "And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense." Here was no preservation, but a being consumed, devoured; so that they "died." To this, most likely, Paul refers. The presence of Christ in his glory, with his only angels, will so overpower and fill with terror the wicked, who behold him, that they will die - be destroyed - by the sight. If Daniel, Dan.10th, and John, the beloved disciple, Rev.I, both "fell as dead" at the sight of the glory manifested to them, and recovered not till a hand was laid on them, with a voice saying, fear not , how then shall Christ's enemies live when he shall appear in glory? They cannot: they have cultivated such a disregard for Christ, and contempt of him, in his absence, that when he appears in his glory his presence will fill them with such fear as to destroy them forever. No hand is to be laid on them, nor voice heard, to soothe their fears; and they are "utterly consumed with terror." Their punishment is "death - the wages of sin:" and it is irrevocable - it is eternal. Thus Paul gives us a sure interpretation of Jesus' words, and enables us to speak with certainty as to the kind of punishment that is to be the portion of wicked men.

How death, from which there is no recovery, can be an eternal punishment, we will further illustrate. The highest punishment known in the law of God or man is loss of life, or death. The privation of life may be attended with pain or it may not. If it is, it is not the punishment, it is merely an accident attending the punishment. This truth is self-evident to the reflecting mind; because, however much the murderer might suffer in dying, that would not meet the claim of the law, or answer its penalty, unless his life is extinguished: he must "be hung by the neck until he is dead," saith the law.

If this man, when dead, could be restored to life in one year after, with the right to live, his punishment would be of only one year's duration. If a thousand years after, then it would have been of a thousand years duration: not of pain, but loss of life. If he is never to be restored, but to remain eternally dead, then how long is his punishment? Is it not eternal, in the strictest sense? It is an eternal deprivation of life. Such is the Bible teaching on the punishment of wicked men. And if we would live eternally we must come to Christ for that life. God has given to us eternal life, but that life is in His Son, and not in ourselves: See 1 John 5:11,12. It is the life-giving Spirit of God, bestowed on those, and those only, who come to Christ for it. This is that Spirit which raised up Christ from the dead, and by which, only, can any man be quickened to immortality and incorruptibility, Rom.8:11, with 1Cor.15:45,54; without it men perish - are destroyed - die, and "shall be no more." Psalm 104:35. "Be as though they had not been," Obadiah 16: "for the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23; and, "all the wicked will God destroy;" Psalms 145:20; yea, "They shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalms 37:20.

* Editor’s Note: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. If you want to live forever and have abundant life you must get it from Jesus. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. Do you believe this? Why would Jesus need to resurrect the dead and give them eternal life if they already had it? If the dead do not have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life, that would make what Jesus said here a lie. Jesus said that believing in Him was a requirement for eternal life. We think this is quite clear. He that believeth in Jesus, shall live, really live forever, not the unrepentant sinner! The unrepentant sinner will not have life abundantly either, these gifts are only given to those who believe in Jesus, not to the wicked, which are those with unbelief. John 3:16-17. Those who do not believe are the wicked. And the wicked will most certainly not live forever, but will perish after they have received all of the punishment for their wicked deeds and faithless life that they deserve. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in the word of God. They do not believe the clearest, plainest testimony of the Bible. Therefore brethren let us not be like them in departing from the faith in the Living God, and be shut out of the eternal bliss of Heaven because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:12.

Another text, on which much reliance is placed, to support the common theory, is Jude 7th. "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." Let us compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter, in his second epistle, gives us an account of this same matter. - He says, "If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell - to be reserved unto the judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah - a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those who after should LIVE ungodly," etc.

Thus Peter throws light on Jude. Both together show most clearly what displeasures God has manifested against sinners. It is concerning what has been done in this world, we are here told, that God has made an example to those who should after live ungodly.

Those judgments inflicted on the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah, are a standing, and perpetual, or "eternal" admonition, warning, or "example" to all men to the end of the world, that live ungodly.   

Those judgments prove the utter destruction of the wicked, when God shall visit them for their iniquities. For, if Sodom and Gomorrah are an "example," as Peter expressly affirms - then the wicked are to be "turned to ashes:" hence, are consumed, perish from being, and are no longer living conscious beings. Such, I am satisfied, is the scripture doctrine of the punishment of the wicked.


CONCLUDING REMARKS


In my own mind the conclusion is irresistible, that the final doom of all the impenitent and unbelieving, is that they shall utterly perish - shall be "destroyed forever" - their "end" is to be "burned up, root and branch," with "fire unquenchable" - they shall not have everlasting life, or being, but be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," the universe of God will be purified not only from sin, but sinners - and "the works of the devil" will be destroyed, exterminated; but "blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power." Then there will be a "new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away." "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away."

The day when these tremendous scenes will transpire, I conceive, "is nigh, even at the doors." Yes, the time is at hand, when the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven - a day, described by the apostle, of "indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Then they that have "sinned without law shall also perish without law;" and a not less fearful doom awaits those that have sinned in the light of the law and gospel both.

That awful day will soon overtake us; and who may abide the day of his coming? Behold, that day "shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly will be stubble;" as incapable of resisting the judgment that shall come upon them, as stubble is to resist the devouring flame.

Let us be wise now, therefore, and prepare to meet God. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little." "But blessed are all they that put their trust in him."


This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.




#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 Part 2

SERMON II

Review of the Introduction of Part 1:

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.

Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

Review of the Last Paragraphs of Part 1:

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?


But as much stress is laid on the text under consideration, and on others where our Lord speaks of "hell fire" - -puros gehenna- - the fire of hell - we shall examine the subject more fully. Especially as by our Lord's using the expression "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," it is concluded that he teaches the immortality of all men, and the endless torment of the wicked. But, before we settle down on such a conclusion, it is better to examine the premises. I am disposed to think the conclusion is purely assumed. Let it be remembered the word in question "never occurs in the Septuagint Greek, nor in any classic author in the world." So says Dr. George Campbell, one of the most learned divines of the orthodox school of the last century. I remark, that it was never used by our Lord nor his apostles, when addressing Gentiles, whether by word or epistle. This fact speaks in thunder tones, as to its Jewish origin, and hence we are to look alone to Jews for an explanation of the term and its use.

The word is derived from "Ge," which signifies a "valley," and "Hinnom," a man's name. "The Valley of Hinnom," south of Jerusalem, "once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors, to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning." - Gr. Lex.

In the time of our Lord's personal ministry, a portion of the Jews used the phrase figuratively to denote the punishment of the wicked. As our Saviour adopted a figure of their own and used it only with Jews, it must be evident that he used it in harmony with facts. Now what were the facts in the case? They are these - Whatever was cast into the fire of gehenna, was cast there to be destroyed. If any flesh should fall outside of the fire, the worms devoured it, so that nothing there escaped utter destruction. No Jew was so stupid as ever to have conceived the thought that anything was thrown there to be preserved. The only idea that could have attached itself to this form of expression must have been that of a total and utter consumption, or destruction, without remedy, recovery, or escape. A Jew could understand it in no other sense; in any other sense the figure would have been both without meaning and without force.

This being the case, it is one of the strongest expressions in the Bible to disprove the common theory of the eternal preservation of the wicked in sin and suffering. The impenitent and incorrigible sinner, like the filth about Jerusalem, and the dead bodies of animals and men, if not utterly consumed and destroyed, would keep alive the plague in the universe; hence, they shall be "cast into the fire of Gehenna - hell fire;" or be utterly and totally destroyed, therefore "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna - hell." Math.10:28. Just so certain as the filth about Jerusalem, and dead carcasses were utterly consumed in the burning fire of the Valley of Hinnom, so certainly will God destroy both soul and body – that is, the entire being of the incorrigible sinner, so that the universe shall be clear of these plague spots; then shall be fulfilled that which is written Rev.5:13, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Not a creature shall be left in conscious existence but what shall join in ascriptions of praise to God and the Lamb. Glorious time - happy hour. May you and I be of that happy number. If we would be, let us seek holiness of heart and life. In Christ alone is life; know him - love him - obey him, and then we shall join the blessed company John heard praising in the strains just described, which may the Lord grant us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The advocates of the common theory of endless sin and misery bring forward our Lord's words -

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Matt.25:46. 

This text is supposed by many to sustain the theory of the immortality of the human soul, and the endless misery of the wicked. 

It is said - "If the everlasting misery of the wicked may come to an end, so may the everlasting bliss of the righteous, as the self same word is employed to express the duration of the misery of the one class as the happiness of the other."

I answer - The text saith not a word of the happiness of the one nor of the misery of the other. But if it did, it would avail nothing to the advocate of the common theory, unless he could prove the two classes equally undying, and immortal.

The term aionion - translated eternal and everlasting, in this text - does not, of itself, prove either the righteous or wicked would have a perpetual and unending existence, because it does not necessarily mean without end. This can easily be shown by its use, and the use of its corresponding word - oulom - in Hebrew; which latter word occurs, in some of its forms, more than three hundred times in the Old Testament, and in a large majority of cases will be found to express a period, longer or shorter, that will have an end. Thus the Aaronical ministry is called an everlasting priesthood;" the hills are called "everlasting hills."

Those who think, because the same term expressing duration is applied to both classes, in the text under consideration, it is made certain that the wicked will exist as long as the righteous may be taught that they reason both inconclusively and dangerously. Take the following text, "The everlasting God." Is.40:25; and compare it with Hab.3:6, "The everlasting mountains." Shall the mountains continue as long as God? How will the advocates of unending misery evade the conclusion on their premises, that the mountains will continue as long as God? Will they say, "We know the mountains will melt in the final conflagration?" True; and we know the wicked will be "burned up, and be left neither root nor branch," because, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts;" Mal.4:1. But the Bible declares that God is "the King immortal:" not subject to be dissolved: while the everlasting mountains will be scattered and melted.

What is the argument, then, that the righteous are to continue in life while the wicked perish from life?  

It is not alone in the expression everlasting or eternal, in the text; but in the fact that other texts assure us the righteous "put on immortality, incorruption," at the resurrection; 1Cor.15: and, saith Jesus, "Neither can they die any more:" Luke 20. Thus their perpetuity in life is settled by language that can have no other sense than that of unending life and being: while no such language occurs in relation to the wicked. On the contrary, they are to be "consumed, devoured, burned up, be destroyed, utterly destroyed, soul and body," etc. Such expressions, in the absence of any text affirming the immortality of wicked men, must settle the question, if testimony can settle any point.

The stumbling stone of our opposers is, in their assumption that protracted pain and punishment are necessarily identical. But this assumption is false in fact. What is the highest crime known in human law? It is murder. What is the punishment for that crime? Is it the most protracted pain? Or, is it the deprivation of life? It is the latter: and that is called the "capital punishment;" not because the criminal endures more pain, or as much as he might by some other; but because he is cut off from life.

If it be attempted to evade this point by saying - "The criminal feels horribly, while awaiting the day of execution," - I ask, if his feelings are any part of the penalty of the law? Certainly not. They may be a consequence of the crime; but the law does not say he shall feel bad, but that he shall die. But, say the advocates of the common idea of pain, as essential to punishment, "there is the dreadful hereafter to the criminal." I reply, whatever may be hereafter to him, that is no part of the penalty of the law under which he dies. So the Judge understands it, who pronounces the death sentence; for he concludes by saying, "May God have mercy on your soul:" i.e.,

"May you not be hurt hereafter." Thus, turn which way our opposers may, they meet a two edged sword that hews in pieces their notion of protracted pain and punishment being necessarily identical.

In the text under consideration, the Saviour expresses the idea of punishment, without any necessary idea of protracted pain. The word here translated punishment is kolasin: and it is never used, on any other occasion, in any of our Lord's discourses, as recorded in the Bible. When he speaks of torment, as he often does in the Gospels and in Revelation, he most uniformly uses the word basanois, but never, kolasin. Kolasin properly expresses punishment; and, strictly, the kind of punishment; as one meaning of the term is "cut off." The righteous enter into life eternal: the wicked are eternally cut off from life.

But we have an inspired Commentator on this declaration of our Lord; i.e., Paul, the apostle. Whatever scene is described Matt.25, and whatever time is spoken of, the same, in both respects, Paul speaks of 2Thess.1. They are both laid in one scene. Compare them together. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him." Matt.25:31. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." 2Thess.1:7. Is here any mistake? Is not the scene the same in both texts? Is it possible to separate them? Again, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Matt.25:46. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction." 2 Thess.1:9.

Here is no room to doubt but what Paul is speaking of the same punishment as Jesus; and the apostle declares the punishment is "destruction" not preservation under any circumstances; and the apostle tells us this destruction is "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This last expression may have the sense of "out of his presence," but I am inclined to believe it has reference to the consuming fire that sometimes came out from the presence of the Lord, under the law given by Moses. As for example, in Lev.10:1,2. - "Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not: and there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." Or, take the case of those who, in the rebellion of Korah (Num.16:25,) had taken their censors to appear before the Lord, "And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense." Here was no preservation, but a being consumed, devoured; so that they "died." To this, most likely, Paul refers. The presence of Christ in his glory, with his only angels, will so overpower and fill with terror the wicked, who behold him, that they will die - be destroyed - by the sight. If Daniel, Dan.10th, and John, the beloved disciple, Rev.I, both "fell as dead" at the sight of the glory manifested to them, and recovered not till a hand was laid on them, with a voice saying, fear not , how then shall Christ's enemies live when he shall appear in glory? They cannot: they have cultivated such a disregard for Christ, and contempt of him, in his absence, that when he appears in his glory his presence will fill them with such fear as to destroy them forever. No hand is to be laid on them, nor voice heard, to soothe their fears; and they are "utterly consumed with terror." Their punishment is "death - the wages of sin:" and it is irrevocable - it is eternal. Thus Paul gives us a sure interpretation of Jesus' words, and enables us to speak with certainty as to the kind of punishment that is to be the portion of wicked men.

How death, from which there is no recovery, can be an eternal punishment, we will further illustrate. The highest punishment known in the law of God or man is loss of life, or death. The privation of life may be attended with pain or it may not. If it is, it is not the punishment, it is merely an accident attending the punishment. This truth is self-evident to the reflecting mind; because, however much the murderer might suffer in dying, that would not meet the claim of the law, or answer its penalty, unless his life is extinguished: he must "be hung by the neck until he is dead," saith the law.

If this man, when dead, could be restored to life in one year after, with the right to live, his punishment would be of only one year's duration. If a thousand years after, then it would have been of a thousand years duration: not of pain, but loss of life. If he is never to be restored, but to remain eternally dead, then how long is his punishment? Is it not eternal, in the strictest sense? It is an eternal deprivation of life. Such is the Bible teaching on the punishment of wicked men. And if we would live eternally we must come to Christ for that life. God has given to us eternal life, but that life is in His Son, and not in ourselves: See 1 John 5:11,12. It is the life-giving Spirit of God, bestowed on those, and those only, who come to Christ for it. This is that Spirit which raised up Christ from the dead, and by which, only, can any man be quickened to immortality and incorruptibility, Rom.8:11, with 1Cor.15:45,54; without it men perish - are destroyed - die, and "shall be no more." Psalm 104:35. "Be as though they had not been," Obadiah 16: "for the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23; and, "all the wicked will God destroy;" Psalms 145:20; yea, "They shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalms 37:20.

* Editor’s Note: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. If you want to live forever and have abundant life you must get it from Jesus. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. Do you believe this? Why would Jesus need to resurrect the dead and give them eternal life if they already had it? If the dead do not have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life, that would make what Jesus said here a lie. Jesus said that believing in Him was a requirement for eternal life. We think this is quite clear. He that believeth in Jesus, shall live, really live forever, not the unrepentant sinner! The unrepentant sinner will not have life abundantly either, these gifts are only given to those who believe in Jesus, not to the wicked, which are those with unbelief. John 3:16-17. Those who do not believe are the wicked. And the wicked will most certainly not live forever, but will perish after they have received all of the punishment for their wicked deeds and faithless life that they deserve. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in the word of God. They do not believe the clearest, plainest testimony of the Bible. Therefore brethren let us not be like them in departing from the faith in the Living God, and be shut out of the eternal bliss of Heaven because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:12.

Another text, on which much reliance is placed, to support the common theory, is Jude 7th. "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." Let us compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter, in his second epistle, gives us an account of this same matter. - He says, "If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell - to be reserved unto the judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah - a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those who after should LIVE ungodly," etc.

Thus Peter throws light on Jude. Both together show most clearly what displeasures God has manifested against sinners. It is concerning what has been done in this world, we are here told, that God has made an example to those who should after live ungodly.

Those judgments inflicted on the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah, are a standing, and perpetual, or "eternal" admonition, warning, or "example" to all men to the end of the world, that live ungodly.   

Those judgments prove the utter destruction of the wicked, when God shall visit them for their iniquities. For, if Sodom and Gomorrah are an "example," as Peter expressly affirms - then the wicked are to be "turned to ashes:" hence, are consumed, perish from being, and are no longer living conscious beings. Such, I am satisfied, is the scripture doctrine of the punishment of the wicked.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

In my own mind the conclusion is irresistible, that the final doom of all the impenitent and unbelieving, is that they shall utterly perish - shall be "destroyed forever" - their "end" is to be "burned up, root and branch," with "fire unquenchable" - they shall not have everlasting life, or being, but be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," the universe of God will be purified not only from sin, but sinners - and "the works of the devil" will be destroyed, exterminated; but "blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power." Then there will be a "new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away." "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away."

The day when these tremendous scenes will transpire, I conceive, "is nigh, even at the doors." Yes, the time is at hand, when the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven - a day, described by the apostle, of "indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Then they that have "sinned without law shall also perish without law;" and a not less fearful doom awaits those that have sinned in the light of the law and gospel both.

That awful day will soon overtake us; and who may abide the day of his coming? Behold, that day "shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly will be stubble;" as incapable of resisting the judgment that shall come upon them, as stubble is to resist the devouring flame.

Let us be wise now, therefore, and prepare to meet God. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little." "But blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.




#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 Part 1

By George Storrs


SERMON II

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.

Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

As the doctrine, "Ye shall not surely die," had its origin with the old serpent, I cannot divest myself of the conviction that the notion that wicked men will be kept eternally alive in torments, and never die, had its origin from the same source, as it appears to be a perfect fac-simile; and that it was invented to inspire hard thoughts of God and keep men from turning to Him by repentance and faith, or confidence, and acknowledging their sins against the God of love. And I solemnly believe, this doctrine has kept more away from God, and driven them into infidelity, than any other doctrine that was ever promulgated. I am solemnly convinced that it has done more to destroy men than all other errors put together.

For, if some minds have been temporarily affected by it, they are seldom found to be uniform Christians, and hardly pretend to live in obedience to God, unless under some strong excitement; multitudes of others, without any proper reflection upon the claims of God's law, have rejected eternal punishment, because of the nature of that which the "orthodox" say is to be inflicted; whilst others have lived and died in real infidelity, or what has been called so, because they could not believe that a Being whose word declares that He "is love" could inflict such a punishment on even the worst and most bitter of His enemies.

But I will not detain you longer with an introduction. I shall attempt to show you, that the death God has threatened, as the wages of sin, is not immortality in misery, but an actual and total deprivation of life. I say, then, in opposition to the old serpent, if men do not come to Christ, that they may have life, they SHALL surely die - past hope, past recovery.

Let me here briefly recall attention to the question at issue. It is not whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal, but will the conscious being of the wicked be eternal? Is the punishment of the wicked interminable being in sin and suffering? or an eternal cessation from life?

I use the term immortal, in these discourses, in its commonly received meaning, i.e. according to Grimshaw, "exempt from death;" and according to Walker, "never to die - never ending, perpetual." Strictly speaking, immortality is the development of life through an indestructible organization, so far as it relates to created beings.

In my first sermon I had brought the subject down to the inquiry, WHAT ARE THE TERMS EMPLOYED TO DENOTE THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.

Are they such as can, by any fair construction of language, be made to mean that the wicked are destined to a state of eternal sin and suffering? Let us keep in mind, that words are not to be so explained as to mean more than their primary signification, without an obvious necessity; though they may, and often do, signify less.

The terms employed are: Perish: Utterly perish - Utterly consumed with terrorsDestroy: Destroyed - Destroyed forever - Destruction - To be burned - Burned UP with unquenchable fire - Burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branchPerdition: Die - Death - Second Death, etc.

Let us now begin with the first of these terms, viz: "PERISH." Grimshaw, in his Etymology, says it signifies "to cease to have existence - to die - to decay."

Which of these definitions is suited to convey the idea of eternal sin and suffering? Can that which is never to cease, be said to be decaying? Can that which has interminable life be said "to die?" Can that which is always to continue in being, be said "to cease to have existence?" I need not pursue that inquiry; it is a self-evident truth, that however the term perish may be used, in an accommodated sense, to signify something less than actual ceasing to be, it is even then borrowed from its primary signification, and must be restored to it when there is not a known necessity for departing from it. In the case under consideration, there can be no such necessity, unless it can first be proved that men are immortal.

Paul, in 1Cor.15:18, says - "Then," (if Christ be not raised,) "they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." What! in a state of eternal sin and suffering! The supposition is so absurd that my opponents admit that the term perish here means "to cease to be." By what fair interpretation of language can they ever make it mean any thing else, when spoken of the final state of the lost? Though the term is sometimes used to denote something less than an actual ceasing to be, it does not therefore follow that it is used to mean something far greater and more horrible. To apply this term to an eternal state of sin and misery, is to force a sense upon it which is most unwarrantable and unjustifiable, in my judgment.

Let us keep constantly in mind that the whole family of man, by their natural birth, have no access to the tree of life, consequently were perishing, were destitute of immortality. Now look at the following texts:

"God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." Here everlasting life is the opposite of perishing. I pray, is everlasting sin and misery the opposite of everlasting life? The wicked, upon that view, have as really everlasting life as the righteous, though under different circumstances.

"For we," saith an apostle, "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other of life unto life."

Here perishing and life are put in opposition, and the term perish is explained by the apostle himself, to mean death, and not life in misery.   

I need not quote all the passage where this term is employed to express the final doom of the wicked, in which it is evident we are to receive it in its primary meaning, and no other. Before I leave this term, however, I must call your attention to one fact, and that is - in the Acts of the Apostles, the very place where we should expect to find, if any where in the Bible, the doctrine of eternal torments, because the apostles were addressing sinners, there is not a particle of evidence to support the common theory. On the contrary, the views I maintain are most clearly set forth by Paul, in the 13th chapter, in a discourse to the "blaspheming" Jews, telling them that they judged themselves "unworthy of everlasting life," and saying - "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." What an excellent occasion had the apostle to have aroused the Jews by the common theory, had he believed it.

Look at that chapter, and you will see, if there ever was a time in which the apostle was called to deal plainly, it was then. I ask if any preacher in these days, who believes in the immortality of all men, in preaching to such hardened sinners as the apostle addressed, contents himself with such language as the apostles here used? No. They first describe the misery of the sinner in hell, and then, with the strongest figures they can produce, go on to give an idea of its duration, which, after all, they cannot find language to describe. The apostle did no such thing. There is not a particle of evidence of it in all his preaching and writings.


"DIE" AND "DEATH." 


These terms primarily signify, "To perish - to come to nothing - the extinction of life." Hence, when these terms are applied to man, in regard to the final result of a course of sin, we ought to have good evidence that they are not to be understood in their primary meaning, before we depart from that interpretation; especially, before we fix upon them a sense so contrary to their proper signification as that of endless sin and suffering.

The apostle, in Rom.1:32, speaking of certain wicked characters, says - "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death," etc. In the 2nd chapter, 5th verse and onwards, he speaks "of the righteous judgment of God," when "wrath" will be visited on the wicked; and the death spoken of is expressly called "perish"ing, as the result of the "indignation and wrath" with which the wicked will be visited "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Death, then, as the apostle explains it, when applied to the punishment of wicked men, is to perish.

"The soul that sinneth it shall die," refers to its final doom. This will appear if we consider, men will die, i.e., leave this world, or state of being, whether they sin or not. Nor can it refer to a violent leaving this world, as some suppose, for all sinners do not die a violent death. I conclude, then, that it relates to the sinner's final doom.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked, turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" evidently looks to the same result, the final destiny of the wicked. Life and death are put in opposition: not life and conscious being in misery, but life and death, without any qualifying terms to lead any one to suspect that they are to be understood any other way than in their most obvious sense; and I cannot but think, if you were to put the Bible into the hands of a person who had never heard a word of explanation, he would so understand it.

Lest I should, in the present discourse, take up too much time in the examination of these terms, I will pass over the remainder of them for the present.

Having, as I judge, established the point that the wicked have not immortality, I might leave it to the believer in the opposite theory to prove his position from the Bible, and pursue the subject no further. I shall not, however, shrink from meeting the supposed objections to my view.


OBJECTIONS EXAMINED


The objections do not arise from any positive proof in the Bible that the wicked are immortal, but from circumstantial evidence, drawn from expressions used in reference to the punishment of the impenitent. The first objection I shall notice is founded on the language of our Lord, "Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." It is said this proves the soul immortal. I remark -

First. Whatever this punishment is, it is put in opposition to "life." "If thy hand" or "foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt" or "maimed into life, than having two hands" or "feet," etc., "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." Who does not see that here is the opposite of life, and therefore is death, or utter extinction of being without possibility of escape? In a parallel passage, our Saviour saith, "If thy right eye" or "hand offend thee, cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

Here the "worm that dieth not, and the fire" that "is not quenched," we see, is another form of expression for perishing.

Again, I remark, this expression of our Lord is a quotation from Isaiah 66:24, and is applied to the "carcasses" of men, which I presume my opponents will not pretend were immortal. But if the language in one place proves immortality, why not in the other? Then we shall have immortal carcasses as well as immortal souls. But the prophecy is describing evidently the kind of doom inflicted by the Eastern nations on the vilest offenders, who were not only slain, but their bodies deprived of the rights of burial, and either burned to ashes (which among them was regarded as a great indignity,) or left to molder above ground and be devoured by worms. If the fire were quenched, they would not be utterly consumed, but something would remain - there would not be an entire destruction. It is manifest to every mind, if a fire is quenched or put out, the work of utter destruction is arrested, and something is left of the object upon which the fire kindled. The same may be said, if the worm die the carcass will not be consumed; but as the fire is not to be quenched, nor the worm die, therefore, they shall be utterly consumed, perish, cease to be found in the universe of God. The objector says, the idea of an unquenchable fire is, that it is never to go out. To show the fallacy of this, I will suppose my house is on fire. When my neighbors arrive to my help, I say, effort is useless - the fire is unquenchable. Pray, what do I mean? That the fire will burn eternally? Any school-boy knows I mean simply the house will be totally consumed. "Yes," says the objector, "that is true when the expression is applied to that which is consumable, but man has a soul that cannot be consumed." To this, I reply, That is the very point to be proved. The objector says he has, and I affirm he has not.

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

* Editor’s Note: Did the destruction of Jerusalem prophesied by Jeremiah take place? Yes. It happened when the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, not long after he prophesied it. Jeremiah told King Zedekiah: “'But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.'" Jeremiah 38:18 NASB. Read now the account in 2 Chronicles to prove to you that the Babylonians did indeed burn Jerusalem with fire: Speaking now of the King of the Chaldees and what they did to Jerusalem it says: “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 KJV. So God fulfilled His word and destroyed Jerusalem and burned it with the fire ‘that shall not be quenched’, as it said in Jeremiah 17:27 above. Then why isn’t Jerusalem still burning to this day? You have probably seen numerous news casts of Jerusalem, and maybe the area where the former temple was, that is now an Islamic Mosque. Have you seen pictures of this so called “eternal fire” still burning? No! That is silly you may say. Then why do people say that when the Bible says someone is to perish, or to be burned up with unquenchable fire, or that the fire shall not be quenched, or talk about the eternal fire that it always means ‘to burn forever?’ This view is inconsistent with the other passages in the Bible that employ this same or similar expression, and it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these places are still not burning in our day!

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?

To be continued...

This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.





#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Fifth Commandment: Love Your Father and Your Mother Part 2: Parents’ Responsibility and Conclusion

By John Foll, written 03/10/2018 to 03/15/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12 KJV.

The responsibility of keeping this commandment is not just for children and youth, but for parents as well!

In Part 1 of this article, we showed that we are living in the last days now, and that there is a great problem with disobedience to parents, and the children or youth despising and mocking them. There are many problems in society in these last days, including rebellion, which often develops out of disobedience to parents. Now we want to present some of the problems with the entertainment and music media, and how it relates to the Fifth Commandment. In addition to portraying or promoting sin and violence, they also sometimes portray disobedience and violence against parents, and of course rebellion against God. They are training the children and youth to disobey God and sin greatly, making them unfit for Heaven and society. Since parents are given the responsibility of training their children up to obey God and love Him, this is a very big deal! The Entertainment Media is counteracting what parents should be teaching their children! Because of this and because God has commanded everyone to honor their father and their mother, it is also necessary to show the responsibility of the parents’ to teach their children to obey them and God, and to be a good citizen; to treat others the way they should be treated. Yes, it’s not just the children’s fault for disobeying and rebelling against their parents, God and society, but in many cases the parents are to blame too. If nothing is done about Hollywood‘s influence in your family, your job as a parent too teach your children the truth of how to be happy and be saved is in vain. And we will show that even though you are saved by grace, God still wants you to love Him supremely, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which includes honoring your father and your mother.

There are children, youth and adults who can still be saved from the pit of ruin the devil has planned for them. It is not yet too late! In this article we will also appeal to your heart, and help you to know what to do, to help yourself and your children or youth before it’s too late. We want to show you the start of the solution to these problems: it always starts and ends with God, because no one can ever save themselves, much less their family. Only God can do this, if you willingly cooperate with Him.
Please read The Fifth Commandment: Love your Father and Your Mother Part 1 if you haven’t already read it:
This is not going to be a strictly “feel good” article, for it deals with some of the sterner truths. But since the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32), and to those who want to obey Him, and since you must be born again if you want to enter the kingdom of Heaven, these harder truths need to be presented. You cannot have or keep the Holy Spirit if you just want to dwell on pleasant topics, unless you have already made your peace with God and have removed all the offensive things to Him from your life. Those who are not willing to cooperate with God, cannot have the Holy Spirit or will lose Him if they stop obeying Him. This means that you should want to learn and do all that God wants you to do, so that you can please Him and grow in grace. So we are presenting articles on the 10 Commandments, God’s Law of love, so that you may know all that God expects from you, so that you may have the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is not salvation by works, it is salvation by the Holy Spirit! If you want to be on the path of peace, love and joy, you will want to study God’s Law of Love and ask Him to help you keep it.

And now to our message…

Violence against parents:

There was an MTV video: a hard rock ‘n roll or heavy metal music video showing an angry teen pushing his father down the stairs, probably after they were arguing as we remember it. What is the reality of this? Someone falling down the stairs could very easily die, if their neck is broken or something hits their temple area. This is what happens in real life in some cases! This video was portraying violence against parents. It was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s we believe. We are bringing it up as an example of what the media is teaching children and youth, not because it was necessarily the worst. We are fairly certain it is much worse in our day than when that video was produced and watched. And it was set to music with a heavy beat and angry tones, to stir up anger and resentment. The video didn’t show anything bad happening to the dad afterwards, if we remember correctly.

The entertainment media trivializes violence:

There are many shows for people to watch that trivialize violence, especially the cartoons. Many movies mix comedy with violence, trying to make people giggle or laugh when someone gets hurt or killed. In the older cartoons that they used to make, the character would always get up after being dealt a blow that could kill them. These shows and movies are conditioning your children to evil. Some of them imply that it may be ok to commit violence if there is a justification for it. (I.e. if the teen doesn’t get their way, or if their parents or authorities try to restrain them.) And these shows and movies teach that nothing bad will come from acts of violence in some cases, the person who was hurt will get back up again.

The entertainment media portrays violence as the solution to problems:

In some of the movies, violence or killing is taught as the solution to someone’s problems. In some of the movies “the bad guy” who was against “the hero” or doing something bad gets killed by the “hero”, and suddenly the “hero’s” problems are fixed, and the audience claps and shouts out ‘yeah!’ The audience is led to believe that the killing of the villain will solve the problems of the “hero.” For instance, the law might have accused the hero of murder. But when the movie shows who the real killer was and the “hero” kills the villain, the movie usually ends there or it is mostly done there, leading the audience to believe that everything is good for the hero. We have personally seen things like this in the movies or on TV when we used to watch them. But in real life, if what happened in the movies happened, the hero would probably go to jail and be convicted of murder! In real life law enforcement do not watch “the movie” of someone’s life. Therefore those who take the law into their own hands, vigilantes, may be punished as murderers. There will be and investigation. The police do not watch the movie and do not necessarily come to the same conclusion that the audience did. In real life there will be an investigation when someone gets killed, and the person doing it may be arrested, the outcome to be decided in court. Thus the media is lying to its watchers about the true nature and the consequences of violence and the sin it presents. But the entertainment media is also lying about many other things besides the consequences of violence or ‘getting even,’ or ‘payback.’

Life is not a movie. There are consequences to what you think, say and do, your life does not have a script writer ending. Nothing good can come from watching violence or any other thing prohibited by the Bible on the silver screen. We are also including in this the music, music videos, and computer games produced nowadays that portray sin, vice and violence as well, especially those that are appealing to children and youth, but also to the adults as well. We are sorry for watching and listening to this stuff in the past. It required much prayer and struggling against the flesh, but God gave us the victory over it and other bad entertainments. We want everyone who wants it to get the victory over sin.

The entertainment media versus God:

The entertainment media tries to package sin as desirable or something that should be done. It gives the watchers a fantasy of getting ‘even’ with those who have wronged them, i.e. ‘payback’. This is very popular because it pumps up people’s pride and appeals to their lower nature. It appeals to those who want revenge on those who have wronged them or slighted them in anyway. The entertainment media promotes revenge and ‘payback.’ But this is the exact opposite of what Christ taught. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the meek [or gentle] for they shall inherit the earth’. Matthew 5:5 KJV & NASB. And: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NASB. This is the exact opposite message than what is usually taught in the movies or TV! We are not to take revenge on those who have wronged us, but to let God take the vengeance when it is needed (His decision). We are to be like our Father in Heaven who loves and forgives others, who is merciful and long suffering with them, not willing that any should perish; He is rich in mercy. 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 2:4. Sometimes we forget that we are not worthy to live, because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that the ‘wages of sin is death.’ Romans 3:23; 6:23. God does not treat us as we deserve, because we all deserve to die for any of our sins. But it is because of His mercy that we have a chance to be saved. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19 KJV. Those who love the world’s entertainments are making themselves unfit for Heaven.

There is a price to pay for watching violence, disobedience to parents, rebellion and all wrong doing, regardless of how Hollywood portrays it. This is what the word of God, the Bible, teaches. And there is a price to pay for fantasizing over the evil that is presented in these movies, TV and bad music. We know someone will say, ‘I have watched or listened to that and I have not done anything bad.Oh really? No one can fill their mind with corruption and not be affected in some way by it. The very act of watching impurity or corruption is sin, whether any action is taken or not that was portrayed in the movie. It invites evil angels into someone’s life that tempt, annoy and bind them into sin. This can influence them into getting irritated or angry with others, or losing their self-control if nothing else. The movies also implant thoughts in the minds of those who watch them, which may play out at a later date, if the person watching them gets into a similar situation as in the movies they watched. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8 NASB. Do you want to reap eternal life? Then sow to the Spirit, and stop planting the seeds of corruption from the world’s entertainments.

The apostle Paul admonishes us: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just [or righteous], whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 KJV. We are to fill our mind with the mercy, love and goodness of God, not violence, conflict, sexual impurity, corruption, anger, resentment, sadness or any of the other things that are presented in the Entertainment media as ‘food’ for our thought. The reality is that these entertainments are not food at all but poison! As long as these entertainments are indulged in, these “idols” will make it hard to have a spiritual life with God, they will ruin it! They form habits of sin that weigh you and your children down. It causes a loss in true spirituality. God loves you and your children and doesn’t want anyone to fantasize or make believe about any kind of wickedness or anything prohibited by the Bible, or to be trapped in sin. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost, or hurt anyone else. So He doesn’t want anyone to fill their mind with these sinful entertainments.

Since the Bible tells us that we are to think on whatsoever is pure, true, good, lovely, honest, praise worthy, virtuous, just, etc., this excludes all worldly or sinful entertainments of the world for the believer. This excludes all impure, all evil, all unlovely, all dishonest, all shameful, all unvirtuous, all unjust, and all unrighteous entertainments, thoughts or activities. When was the last time you saw a movie which extoled all of the virtues that we are ‘to think on,’ as Paul declared, with no sinful suggestions? How many times is dishonesty or lying shown in a good light in the movies? Have you ever seen them extol the virtues of their so called “good guys” in the movies, who were really bad guys or robbers? Like ‘Robbin Hood,’ who robs from the rich and gives to the poor? This is dishonesty any way you slice it. If you go by Philippians 4:8, it probably prohibits everything produced by Hollywood! We are not to think on or contemplate anything that doesn’t match the standards in Philippians 4:8, or in any of the other places in the Bible where God gives the standards of righteousness. Even many of the movies that appear innocent on the surface are pushing subtle lies that people may not detect, including some of the so called heart-warming movies, or even children’s movies or shows.

What does the Bible say regarding violence to parents?

"He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:15 NASB. And: “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:17 NASB.

In the days of Moses and in the Old Testament, a son or daughter could be put to death if they hit or cursed their parents! Even though we are not living today in a theocracy state, ruled directly by God, as the children of Israel were in the Old Testament days, you can be sure that God takes note of all those who harbor any bad thoughts, or say any hurtful or hateful words to their parents, or do anything bad to them. He is not happy with any of this! We know that not all who watch or listen to worldly entertainment will do what is portrayed in them, but it will have an evil effect of some kind on them. Jesus made it clear that anyone who hates someone or calls them a fool has committed something similar to murder in the eyes of God, and will be guilty before the court of Heaven. See Matthew 5:21-22. This includes hating and cursing parents too.

There were reasons why God instituted the death penalty against children, who committed violence against their parents or cursed them. He was leading the children of Israel out of the bondage of slavery, and may have instituted these harsh penalties to teach them to stop these practices which He hates. We are not suggesting here that we should return to these penalties. We are not living in a theocracy state ruled by God in our day. But make no mistake, there will be a price to pay for those who do not treat their parents with love and kindness, unless they confess it and repent.

What does the Bible say regarding the watching of violence or wickedness?

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3 KJV. This last part means: ‘I hate the work of them who turn aside from truth and righteousness, this shall not be part of me.’ This Psalm seems to be speaking directly against watching violence or any sinful thing in the Movies, on TV, in computer games, or on the Internet, etc. No Christian should fill your minds with any kind of wickedness, violence, or anything prohibited by the Bible. This excludes watching or listening to every sinful thing presented by the entertainment media. Dear reader, set no wicked thing before your eyes. Turn not aside from the truth or righteousness. This is what God commands. If you love and want to obey God, ‘it shall not cleave to you.’

What does the Bible say regarding those who love violence? “The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” Psalm 11:5 NASB. Those who love violence God hates. This is clear. God tests the righteous and the wicked to see who are good or bad, and those who love watching or committing violence will prove to be the wicked. Can anyone doubt that it is a bad thing to watch violence? Can anyone still believe that there are no consequences for watching violent entertainments? There will be a price to pay for watching any kind of violence, wickedness or any sin or listening to music with vile lyrics or angry tones; when God is aroused, He will despise their form. Psalms 73:12-20. It will be a sad day for them when God is aroused and despises their form! We don’t want this to happen to anybody. See also Haggai 2:21-33; Hebrews 12:25-26.

But God has not left us without the blessed hope, the Gospel; He wants to save us from ruin! He will not forsake those who are sick of sin and corruption, who want a new, better life, and cry to Him for help! He will give all who want it the victory over all sin, bad entertainments and addictions. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 KJV. If you allow God to make you born of Him, you will get the victory over the world, because whatever is born of God overcomes the world. Amen! This is the Gospel.


The Responsibility of Parents:

What to do for your children and family:

You should have family worship, teaching your children to love and respect you and God, and love others. The home can be made better, if the parents have the Holy Spirit in their heart and are devoted to God. You have no ability of fighting against evil, or the sin in the world trying to invade your home, or the minds of your children apart from God. You and your children need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in full, to shield and protect you and them from sinful thoughts, words and actions. Look around your home to see what is contrary to God’s Law of Love and standards of righteousness, and pray to God what you should do about them.

Parents should shield their children and youth as much as possible, by not allowing them to watch or listen to bad entertainments. The parents can help by removing the temptations, by getting rid of the bad movies, bad music, bad games and the devices that play them (if there is no good use for these devices), from around the home, to help keep them from getting off track. If these devices or media are your children’s, it probably won’t be easy to get rid of them, because they will resist it. * It is best to have a talk with them about this, praying with them, teaching them from the Bible, and explaining what needs to be done and why, and that you love them, and don’t want them to be misled or lost. You should take your situation to God in prayer, praying for His divine guidance and to have His sweet Spirit in your home as an aide to your quest. But these entertainments should be gotten rid of. You and your family will not be able to continue to make spiritual progress, unless you want to do what God has asked you to do.

* In the Bible, there were men like Gideon, Josiah and other leaders or kings who went out and destroyed the idols that were owned or built by others without their permission. There was a cost to these idols, so there was also a monetary loss when their idols were destroyed. See 2 Chronicles 34:7; Ezekiel 6:4, 6; Judges 6:25-32. Is it right to destroy a modern “idol” that leads someone away from God? We won’t answer this. It is best to discuss the destruction of the idols in your home with your children first. We are told in Acts 19:17-20 that the new believers at Ephesus voluntarily brought their books on magic and burned them, and their value was found to be 50,000 pieces of silver. So you should teach your children the truth of the way that God wants us to live in love first, teaching them from the Bible what honors Him and what does not and what will hurt them. Maybe they will want to get rid of these ‘idols’ like the new believers at Ephesus did? We hope so.

How to be an overcomer and help your family:

You cannot have the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit, unless you have yielded to God all the way and want to obey Him. If you would like to have this full indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you need to get rid of everything in your life that is offensive to God, including the entertainments of this world, with His help. You should study the Bible thoroughly and pray much, asking God to reveal to you what is offensive to Him in your life and home. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17 KJV. So if you want to abide forever, do His will. If you want to live forever, ask Him for the help to love not the world, or the lusts of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. These are not from God, but from the world. If you pray this prayer and truly want it, God will hear your prayer and help you! If you are not there yet, pray to God, ‘Please be merciful to me a sinner! Please help me to be willing to obey you.’ And He will help you! Luke 18:13-14. If you pray this prayer and desire it, you will go to your home justified before God. This is Jesus’ promise to you! Is that what you want? To be just before God? Then pray, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

The reason for our ministry, White Raiment Evangelism, is to help people get closer to God, so that they can get all the help from Him that they need to battle evil and be an overcomer. We are sorry if this article sounded way to hard or unpleasant to you. We don’t like writing articles like this, because they seem out of place, since God is love. 1 John 4:8. But there are people out there who need to hear this message, because it is the truth. Who knows? It may be just what you need to help you get out of the spiritual rut you might be in. We struggled with some of these things in our past life, before getting the victory over them by God, and do not want anyone else to have to go through the problems these things cause! We want everyone to have the love of God in their heart, and be free from addictions, vice, corruption and worldly entertainments. No one can be happy or be at peace or have the Holy Spirit and indulge in worldly entertainments or sinful addictions. They will crush the life out of your soul if they are continued. We hope you stayed with us.

There is a time to preach the harder truths. That time is now, because we are living in the last days! Ecclesiastes 3:1. But never fear, because Jesus came to free the captives (Luke 4:18-21), and if you long to be free from this or any other sin, Jesus will help you! Call out to Him for help, give yourself into His hand! Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV. This is what Jesus wants to do for you!

Jesus said in the book of Revelation: “'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' Revelation 2:7 NASB. Dear reader, do you want to be an overcomer and eat from the tree of life in Heaven? Do you want your children to be an overcomer too and be able to eat from the tree of life in heaven? Then don’t go it alone! You need God’s precious Holy Spirit in your heart and in your home, or you will surely fail. You and your family cannot do it alone, don’t even try. Both parents should devote themselves to God, praying daily and moment by moment for their children and youth; that they would be good parents, faithfully representing God and the truth to their family. And that God’s Spirit would be in their home at all times, and that their children would not choose companions who are rebellious against parents or God. If there is just one parent willing to devote themselves completely to God, they should by all means do this, and pray for their spouse that they would too. Do your best, and pray for divine help! We all need God’s help! Don’t go it alone!

Parents: Where are your sheep?

Where are thy sheep, thy beautiful sheep?Lift up your eyes and see those coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful sheep?” Jeremiah 13:20 NASB. In many Bible prophecies the enemy comes from the north. The prophet Jeremiah said to look and see those coming from the north, the invading army, implied in verses 17-19, and then asks: ‘Where are your sheep?’ Parents: where are your sheep? Where are your little lambs? Do you know where they are? Do you know what they are doing? Do you know if they love Jesus and His Father? Do they want to learn how to please Him? Do they love, respect, and obey you? There is an invading army from the north that seeks to destroy your children. Where is the flock that God has given you?

You have an obligation from God to do everything in your power to train up your children, your beautiful sheep, that you have been given, to love the Lord God with all of their heart, mind and soul and strength, and to love their neighbor as themselves, and to love, honor and respect you. If you would see your children saved and in the kingdom of Heaven, and have no marks against your name in the book of life, you must do everything that you can, by God’s mighty strength and power, to help your kids become overcomers against evil. If you love your children, how can you do otherwise? Teach them to love and respect you, if you want them to love and respect God and love their neighbor as themselves. Do not take these warnings lightly dear reader, if you are a parent. Jesus takes all wrongs or sins of neglect done to others, including your children, as if they were done to Him personally, as we saw in our message:Who is My Neighbor? Part 1http://whiteraimentevangelism.blogspot.com/2018/02/who-is-my-neighbor-part-1.html

A lot of problems in society can be traced back to family life, with the deficiencies some had in their training as a child or youth. Many children are not taught to love and obey their parents or God the way they should be, if at all. Solomon exhorts parents to train up their children in the ways of salvation and God:Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 KJV. You should also discipline your children when they do something wrong and need correction. Solomon declared, “A fool rejects his father's discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.” Proverbs 15:5 NASB. And: “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” Proverbs 19:18 NASB. To fail to discipline your children when they need it is to enable their physical or spiritual death.Do not hold back discipline from the child’ Proverbs 23:13 NASB. Discipline your children while there is still hope that they can learn to love Jesus and His Father, before their peace, love, joy and happiness and their hope for eternal life is forever ruined.

Why are we showing the responsibility of parents in this article on the First Commandment?

Why did we spend so much time on this? Because many parents are culpable when their children break this and other commandments. As a parent you have a responsibility to your children and youth, your little lambs. You have a responsibility to God and society to help them become good citizens, being helpful to others and keeping the laws of the land. Jesus may ask you someday, ‘Where are your sheep, your beautiful sheep?’ If you don’t know where they are, or if they loved Him, you will be speechless before Him. We don’t want this to happen to you! Jesus loves your children and doesn’t want them to be lost. There are two sides to every story, not just the side of the youth obeying or disobeying their parents. This article needed to be written, because there are way too many families where the home is not the way it should be. And when these children grow up and have their own children, this problem is perpetuated. We want to help stop this downward spiral of society, so that more families can be happy and be saved. As a parent you have the care of your children, your little flock that Jesus wants you to bring to the kingdom for Him. Please don’t let Him down.

There is still hope!

If you have not been a good parent all the time, or your record is “spotty,” or even if you have been a bad parent, there is still time to confess this to God, get forgiveness and a clean record before Him. Plead with Him for help, and give your heart to Him all the way, so that you can do your best to repair the problems in your family, by His grace and power. He will listen to this prayer, if you pray it and mean it!

In order for your children to love, obey and respect you like the fifth commandment requires, they need to learn to love and obey God and how to receive the Holy Spirit. They should not be compelled to do this. When they see your love for them, and your love and devotion to God, the Holy Spirit can awaken in them the desire for the good things that God wants to give them! The gifts that God wants to give to you and your children are sweet indeed! How precious and sweet is the love of God! It has to be experienced to be understood. It is the strongest motivating power in the universe! Love begets love, love awakens love, and love awakens trust and obedience. There is a beauty and wonder when God’s Holy Spirit is in your heart, and when your children discover how much God loves them! Children and youth are naturally ideal, and when they see mommy and daddy living what they teach, who have love for each other and them, they will see it, be happy and glad! Hypocrisy turns many children and youth from God, but it doesn’t have to be this way! God has made a provision for you and your family, if you would appropriate these blessings for yourself and your family that He wants to give you. Oh if there were more parents living God’s love, what a difference their children and youth would make in this world! How different their lives would be! Allow Him to work in your family the miracle that only His Divine grace can do.


Are we making too big a deal out of honoring your father and mother?

Aren’t we saved by grace, not by works? What did Jesus say? Listen carefully to His answer: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 19:16-19 KJV. Jesus answered the question that the man had asked, ‘What should I do that I might have eternal life?What was one of the things that Jesus told the man? Honor your father and your mother. If you would enter into life, honor your father and your mother. This is part of loving your neighbor as yourself as Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40. If you would enter into life, ask God to help you keep His commandments, to love Him and your neighbor as yourself. You will hear us harping on this over and over again in our articles. This does not go against being saved by grace! No, not by any means!

God’s grace covers our sins when we confess them, but the grace He gives doesn’t mean that we do not need to love Him, our neighbor or our parents. God forbid!What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2 KJV. “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:15 KJV. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 KJV. So because we are save by grace does that mean that we do not need to honor our father and our mother, or our heavenly father or our neighbor as ourselves?May it never be!” as the NASB says this in all of these passages.  So to sum it up, God’s grace is forgiveness for our sins, not a license to sin. Notice that Jesus didn’t tell the man to keep God’s commandments in his own strength; He makes no mention of being saved by your own works or strength there in our Matthew 19:16-19 passage. He is making a statement about the choice that all should make if they would enter in to life, to want to obey God. Don’t believe what we are saying here? Notice Jesus said ‘there is none good but one, that is, God.’ Since no one is good but God, to be able to do that ‘good thing’ that you may have eternal life, you must get it from God, not yourself, or you will be unable to do it, since only God is good!

If you have broken God’s Law of love, the 10 Commandments, or have not honored your father and mother like you should, you can ask God for forgiveness and receive mercy. There is no reason to have this sin on your conscience if you will confess it, and ask God to help you treat your parents with respect, kindness and tenderness.


Conclusion:

If you would enter into life, dear reader, keep God’s commandments. Ask God for the help to keep them. When you have broken them, come to Him for forgiveness (this is God’s grace and mercy), and ask Him to help you keep them. No one who defiles, makes a lie, or is unfaithful or steals or covets will enter into Heaven. Jesus declared: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:12-15 KJV. Those who don’t want or ask for God’s help to love and obey Him and others, will not enter into that beautiful city, but will be outside of its gates, to be cast into the lake of fire, make no mistake about it.

Revelation states how everything will conclude. Those who wish to enter into the pearly gates, and walk on the streets of gold in Heaven, will want to keep God’s commandments. These are the words of Jesus that He declared in Revelation: ‘blessed are they that do His commandments.’ Those who keep and want to keep God’s commandments will have the right to the tree of life, and will enter into the gates of Heaven. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3 NASB. It is quite simple really. Those who know Jesus will keep His commandments, because He will help them keep it. Those who love Jesus will obey Him, and He and His Father will make their abode in them. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” John 14:23 NASB. Wonderful promise! Wonderful love! This is the secret of how you can obey God, if Jesus and His Father make their abode in you! If you want to obey them. If you love Jesus, choose to keep His word, and He and His Father will make their abode in you! Is that what you want? This promise is yours, dear reader, if you want it!

If you love Jesus and His Father, love their commandments and take delight in keeping them. Obeying God is not a burden to those who love Him. Oh no! It’s a delight! For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:3-4 NASB.

Dear reader are you born of God? Do you long for the victory and to overcome? Do you long for God’s sweet Spirit to fill your heart, and make you a vessel of love to the world, to your parents and to your children? Then give your heart to God now, asking His forgiveness for your sins and failures. Dedicate your heart completely to Him, and receive the benefits of your new life with Him, the seal of the Holy Spirit, to seal you for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30. And God will help you to honor your parents and train your children the way He wants you to. Amen!

May the grace of God be with you. May you honor your father and mother, that your life may be long on the land which God gives you. May you enter into the gates of Heaven and eat from the Tree of Life. Amen.


Scriptures for further study:
Leviticus 19:1-4; Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 10:28-31; Proverbs 2:1-12; 3:1-12; 3:21-26; 4:20-22; 5:1-11; 10:1; 15:20; 17:21, 25; 19:26-27; 20:20; 23:22-28; 29:3, 15.




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