Thunder in the Holy Land

Hell & Abraham's Hairy Chest

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria, Stephen Fowler


Series Code: THL

Program Code: THL000017

00:01 The teachings of Jesus caused
00:02 a lot of Thunder in the Holy Land.
00:04 And His teachings about hell were no exception.
00:07 Today, His teachings are still misunderstood.
00:11 But after this study, I believe we'll not only
00:14 understand our Savior's teachings on hell.
00:18 But we'll also understand better how to study the Bible.
01:15 Everyone comes to the Bible with a method of thinking,
01:18 a frame of reference, a way of processing information,
01:21 we call this a bias.
01:25 Here's my first bias.
01:27 I believe that God does not lie.
01:30 This bias was informed by a doctrine of Jesus Himself.
01:34 He said in John 10:35 that
01:37 "Scripture cannot be broken or loosed or annulled."
01:42 You see, God "is a man of His word"
01:46 and He means what He says.
01:48 "For I am the Lord, I change not," Malachi tells us.
01:53 And in both Numbers and Titus,
01:55 the Bible tells us, "God, cannot lie."
01:59 And since Jesus is God,
02:02 I don't believe that Jesus would lie or contradict Himself.
02:06 This was the same belief
02:08 the Apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 13.
02:10 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
02:15 and today and for ever."
02:18 This may sound oversimplify, but think about it.
02:21 Would god teach two different doctrines
02:23 so contradictory that to believe one is true,
02:27 you'd have to believe the other is false?
02:30 I don't believe so.
02:32 So when I come to the Bible
02:33 and find two contradictory statements,
02:36 I fall back on this bias, this truth.
02:40 God doesn't lie and He doesn't contradict Himself.
02:45 With that said, let me say that
02:46 the subject of hell is without question,
02:49 one of the most difficult and perplexing studies,
02:52 because there seems to be biblical support
02:55 for two radically different and opposing views.
02:58 Levi is standing by to help us dig into this hot topic.
03:03 Thanks, Charles.
03:05 And for the causal reader of the Bible,
03:07 the subject of hell does appear contradictory.
03:11 The two schools of thought
03:13 are one, the fires of hell eventually do go out,
03:16 the wicked are destroyed and become ashes.
03:19 And number two, hell burns on and on without end forever.
03:24 Now these two conclusions are clearly at odds,
03:27 both can't be true at the same time.
03:30 If you're burned up, destroyed, consumed
03:34 you can't live on and on in constant torment.
03:36 Since God cannot lie and since He doesn't contradict Himself,
03:40 we need to let the Bible interpret itself.
03:42 And to accomplish that goal
03:44 I use a simple yet positive method
03:46 that I learned from Pastor Gary Ford
03:48 in his book "The ABC's of Bible Study."
03:51 Now first I work on the big picture
03:54 and gather the different scriptures together.
03:56 When I do that, I get a list of verses
03:58 that do in fact appear to say two different things.
04:02 And you can get a copy of this list at
04:08 When I lineup these verses I've notice that 12 of them
04:11 found to the category of hell eventually burns itself out,
04:15 well, 5 of them found to the category of hell
04:17 keeps burning forever and ever.
04:19 The last two in this list in that first blush
04:22 seem to have both conclusions in the same verse.
04:26 So I had to dig deeper to find the key
04:29 that unlocks this apparent contradiction.
04:32 Now you don't have to be a scholar or a theologian,
04:35 all you need is a will to find the truth.
04:38 So my next place to search
04:40 was in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
04:42 It acts just like a dictionary,
04:44 you look up the word hell
04:45 and it tells you what the original word was
04:48 that are English word hell was translated from.
04:50 And suddenly I began to realize
04:53 where some of the confusion was coming from.
04:55 This one word hell in English
04:59 is translated from four different original words.
05:02 The first is a Hebrew word she'owl.
05:05 It's the only word in the Old Testament
05:07 that is translated hell.
05:09 And that's where I found my first problem.
05:11 In all but one verse the word has nothing to do
05:15 with the place of burning or torment.
05:18 The word in every case simply means a grave.
05:21 The actual definition reads,
05:23 "The world of a dead as if a subterranean retreat,
05:26 including its accessories and inmates."
05:29 It's just another way of saying graves and those were in them.
05:32 If you were to go back through the Old Testament
05:34 and exchange the word hell for the word grave
05:38 like the New International Version did in most cases.
05:41 You'd have a much clear understanding of these verses.
05:50 The Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word shield is hades.
05:54 This Greek word is in the Bible 11 times
05:56 and once again only one time
05:57 is it associated with fire or torment
06:00 and that in the parable Jesus told in Luke 16:23.
06:03 Just like shield the word is used in the Bible
06:07 simply means a grave
06:08 or a dark and dismal place in the very depths of the earth.
06:11 So of the four words translated hell in the Bible,
06:15 two of them shield and hades mean grave.
06:18 If the King James Version had translated them that way,
06:20 it would have saved the whole lot of confusion.
06:22 This leaves us only two original words left to investigate.
06:26 The next is the Greek word tartarro.
06:28 Now this word is only used in the Bible one time.
06:31 So it makes translation harder up and down.
06:34 But as it is used in 2 Peter,
06:36 "It is a place where divine punishment is meted out,
06:39 it answers to Gehenna of the Jews."
06:42 Now Levi and I are on the Mount of Olives.
06:44 These graves are perhaps the most expensive in the world.
06:47 It is the desire of the Jews to have their graves here,
06:50 since they believe that those buried in New Jerusalem
06:52 will be the first to be resurrected by the Messiah.
06:55 Levi and I have shared with you that the word
06:57 shield and hades should have been translated grave not hell.
07:01 Because if we insist
07:02 that the word shield and hades mean hell
07:04 then all these Jews buried here
07:06 on the Mount of Olives are in hell right now.
07:10 Which brings us back
07:11 to the doctrines or teachings of Jesus.
07:13 John 5:28 says, "Marvel not at this,
07:18 for the hour is coming,
07:19 in which all that are in the graves
07:21 shall hear His voice.
07:22 And shall come forth, they that have done good,
07:25 unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil,
07:28 unto the resurrection of damnation."
07:31 According to the teachings of Jesus, when you die,
07:33 you don't go right to heaven or hell,
07:36 you end up in the grave.
07:37 But there is an hour coming Jesus taught,
07:40 when every dead person will be resurrected.
07:42 Some will come up to the resurrection of life,
07:44 but those who have done evil
07:46 will come up to the resurrection of damnation.
07:48 And that is where the real hell comes in
07:50 and the last word that needs to explained.
07:52 And that word is Gehenna.
07:54 Gehenna is right over there just south east of Jerusalem.
07:58 Andrea is standing by to explain.
08:00 Thanks Stephen, I'm just south of the Dung Gate
08:03 here in Jerusalem.
08:05 It's called the Dung Gate, because this is a gate
08:07 where all the refuse was taken out of Jerusalem.
08:10 Probably all the refuse from the temple
08:12 and it services was taken out here,
08:15 also the refuse from the cheese-makers
08:17 that stunk quite badly.
08:20 In the old days they didn't have cars,
08:21 so the streets were shared with animals.
08:24 And all their dung would have to be taken somewhere.
08:27 So it too was dumped here in the Valley of Hinnom.
08:31 Now you can be sure that when they made this gate,
08:34 they didn't name it the Dung Gate.
08:36 It probably had a nice name like the Gate of the Springs
08:39 since there was a spring nearby or the Valley Gate,
08:42 since it went into the Valley of Hinnom.
08:44 You know, you know,
08:48 that it didn't start out as the poop gate.
08:51 But overtime because of what
08:52 it was most know for the name changed.
08:55 The same is true for hell.
08:57 And this valley is part of how the understanding
09:00 of hell changed over the years.
09:02 For the Valley of Hinnom was the city dump
09:04 and refuse was constantly being added and burned.
09:08 Hell is a place of burning, Hinnom was a place of burning.
09:13 And because Hinnom was always burning,
09:15 because the trash, the refuse was constantly burning,
09:19 overtime the concept of a nonstop burning hell
09:23 became an added layer of meaning.
09:26 But not a layer of meaning that is true
09:28 or even biblical as you will soon see.
09:31 Let's once again refer
09:33 to our special Bible study tool on hell.
09:35 The first 3 verses, I'd like us to look at are Mark 9:43-44,
09:40 Matthew 3:12 and a supporting verse in Isaiah 66:24.
09:46 Okay, here is the teaching of Jesus,
09:49 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off,
09:52 it is better for thee to enter into life maimed,
09:55 than having two hands to go into hell,
09:58 into the fire that shall never be quenched.
10:01 Where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched."
10:07 Notice Jesus didn't say the fire will not go out,
10:10 He says, you can't put it out.
10:13 And what doesn't die are not the people,
10:16 but the worms and the dirt that continue to feed on them.
10:20 The forerunner of Christ had that same concept.
10:23 He was talking about the Messiah that was soon to appear.
10:27 He uses wheat to illustrate the good people
10:29 who will be saved versus the chaff or the bad people
10:32 that will simply be burned up.
10:35 Look at the text carefully,
10:36 "The Messiah's fan is in his hand,
10:39 and he will thoroughly purge his floor
10:41 and gather his wheat into the garner
10:44 but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
10:48 Again it doesn't say that the fire will not go out,
10:51 it says that it cannot be put out.
10:55 This is the same teaching as Isaiah 66:24,
10:58 "And they shall go forth,
11:00 and look upon the carcases of men
11:02 that have transgressed against me,
11:05 for their worm shall not die,
11:07 neither shall their fire be quenched,
11:09 and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
11:14 We normally think that the term unquenchable fire
11:16 means the fired never goes out.
11:19 However in the Bible and also today
11:21 we have fires that are unquenchable,
11:24 no matter how much water we throw at them.
11:26 But that doesn't mean they never go out,
11:29 it simply means you can't put them out.
11:33 Now I could just be saying this,
11:35 but this is what the Bible teaches
11:37 when you compare scripture with scripture,
11:39 rightly dividing the word of truth.
11:42 Let's look at Jeremiah's prophecy.
11:44 Jeremiah 17:27 says, "But if ye will not hearken unto me
11:50 and hallow the Sabbath day,
11:51 and not to bear a burden even entering in
11:54 at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day,
11:57 then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof,
12:00 and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem,
12:03 and it shall not be quenched." Same word.
12:07 The fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy
12:09 is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:19-21
12:14 were it plainly states "That all the palaces thereof
12:17 were burnt with fire,
12:19 to fulfill the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah."
12:22 Now remember this fire
12:24 that destroyed Jerusalem was unquenchable.
12:28 If unquenchable means that it never goes out.
12:31 The city of Jerusalem
12:32 would still have to be burning today, right now.
12:36 Okay, I'm looking up
12:38 out of the Valley of Hinnom towards Jerusalem.
12:40 Look up there with me.
12:44 Do you see any fire burning?
12:47 Levi and Stephen have a better view
12:49 from up over on the Mount of Olives.
12:51 Let's asks them if Jerusalem is still burning.
12:56 No, Andrea,
12:58 we can see the whole city and it's not burning.
13:03 The fires have gone out.
13:06 So the term unquenchable does not mean
13:08 never ending, just unstoppable.
13:10 When God kindle the fire at the gates of Jerusalem,
13:13 it was an unquenchable fire
13:14 and no one, but no one could put it out. Charles.
13:20 So the first insight we've gained is that
13:22 unquenchable does not mean never ending fire
13:25 that will not go out.
13:27 It simply means a fire that can't be put out.
13:31 But there are still some problem verses in our list.
13:34 Verses that seem abundantly clear,
13:37 because they use the words forever, eternal
13:41 and for ever and ever. What's more?
13:43 Are these verses contained
13:44 the words and teachings of Jesus?
13:47 These 3 texts are found in Matthew 18:8,
13:51 Matthew 25:46 and Revelation 20:10.
13:56 "Better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed to,
14:00 Jesus said, rather than having two hands
14:02 or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."
14:07 Our next verse reads, "And these shall go away
14:11 into everlasting punishment,
14:13 but the righteous into life eternal."
14:17 And finally Revelation says, "The devil that deceived them
14:21 was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,
14:24 where the beast and the false prophet are,
14:27 and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
14:33 The obvious question here is
14:35 "Doesn't forever or everlasting mean forever without end?"
14:39 The short answer is not always.
14:42 Again we must let the Bible interpret itself.
14:45 And for that we turned to two other verses in our list.
14:50 The first is found in Jude,
14:52 while it uses the word eternal
14:54 instead of forever or everlasting.
14:56 It comes from the same original root word in the Greek, Ion.
15:02 Jude says, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah,
15:05 and the cities about them in like manner,
15:07 giving themselves over to fornication,
15:09 and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example,
15:14 suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
15:18 The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Genesis 18 and 19.
15:23 These cities practice sodomy, homosexuality, rape, bestiality,
15:28 violence and many other wicked practices.
15:31 So God Himself destroyed them in an act of judgment
15:35 but the Bible records that the fire
15:37 that destroyed them was eternal fire.
15:42 Jesus disciple Peter talks about the same event in 2 Peter 2:6,
15:48 "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes
15:52 condemned them with an overthrow,
15:54 making them an ensample unto those
15:56 that after should live ungodly."
16:00 Now the Bible here is talking about the same event
16:03 but one verse says they were destroyed with eternal fire,
16:07 while the other says, they were reduced to ashes.
16:11 So is the fire eternal as an unending fire.
16:15 Well, this was easy for me to check out.
16:18 I drove from the northern end of the Dead Sea
16:21 all the way to the southern end.
16:23 I've driven up and down the entire Jordan Valley,
16:26 the biblical location of Sodom and Gomorrah.
16:29 And one thing is clear there is no fire burning.
16:34 So this eternal fire has gone out.
16:38 Does that mean the Bible writers didn't mean what they said?
16:42 Not at all.
16:43 You see, they used the words eternal or forever
16:46 in exactly the same way we use them today.
16:51 We can use it with the meaning of time without end.
16:55 But we also use the word to mean a certain amount of time.
16:58 For example it took me forever to get my passport.
17:02 Well, how long is that forever?
17:05 Perhaps just a few days or weeks or months
17:09 but not time without end.
17:11 After all, I got my passport.
17:14 We can also use the word forever to mean continually,
17:17 like she was forever pushing her hair out of her eyes.
17:21 Of course, the day she gets her haircut that habit will stop.
17:25 Now one more problem text remains
17:28 and that concerns the devil.
17:30 Revelation 20:10 says,
17:32 "He will be tormented for ever and ever."
17:35 So does hell for Satan continue on and on without end?
17:41 To answer that question we need to embrace
17:43 one more Bible study principle.
17:45 But first let's review the two that we've learned so far.
17:49 We talked about the assumption that
17:51 God does not lie or contradict Himself.
17:54 And we talked about getting the big picture,
17:56 gathering all the verses on a topic
17:58 and looking them over to see where the big picture leads.
18:01 And finally we have to look at the context.
18:04 A text without a context is a pretext.
18:08 So how do you know what someone is talking about
18:11 if you have no context or reference point
18:13 in the conversation?
18:15 So we check out the literary context,
18:17 we examine the historical context.
18:20 And of course, we look at the verses around the text
18:23 to see who's talking to whom, etcetera.
18:25 Now a careful investigation reveals that the term forever
18:29 is used 56 times in the Bible in connection with things
18:32 that have already ended,
18:34 just like the fires of Sodom and Gomorrah
18:36 or Jerusalem, that's context.
18:39 So every time we see the word eternal,
18:42 everlasting or forever,
18:44 we can't immediately assume that it means time without end.
18:48 But the context does make it clear
18:50 that sometimes you must read it literally.
18:53 Now let's go back and look at our final verse
18:55 that points toward a never ending hell.
18:58 Revelation 20:10,
19:00 "And the devil that deceived them
19:01 was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,
19:03 where the beast and the false prophet are,
19:06 and shall be tormented day and night
19:08 for ever and ever."
19:10 So is the devil thrown into hell and tormented for ever?
19:14 Well, that's what the text says.
19:16 But the broader context of Sodom and Gomorrah from Jude 7,
19:20 should make us wonder.
19:22 I'm standing at one of the sites suggested as Gomorrah
19:25 and unlike the dirt and rock to the north and south of here,
19:29 it does look ash like but it's not still burning.
19:33 Next, let's look at the context right in Revelation 20:9,
19:38 it says that Satan leads the host of wicked people
19:41 to attack the city of God
19:43 and notice what happens to Satan and those who followed him.
19:47 "And they went up on the breadth of the earth,
19:50 and compassed the camp of the saints about,
19:53 and the beloved city,
19:54 and fire came down from God out of heaven,
19:58 and devoured them."
19:59 The word devoured comes from a Greek word
20:02 that means to eat up, devour or to utterly consume.
20:07 The word is used 15 times in the Bible
20:09 and not once does it ever have another meaning,
20:12 it's never used in any other way than eating up,
20:15 devouring or consuming so that what was there is now gone.
20:21 With this context in mind,
20:22 let's look at the prophetic message
20:23 about Satan in Ezekiel 28.
20:26 "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries
20:29 by the multitude of thine iniquities,
20:32 by the iniquity of thy traffick,
20:34 therefore I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee,
20:38 it shall devour thee,
20:39 and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth
20:43 in the sight of all them that behold thee."
20:47 The context of verse 18 as verse 19, it says,
20:51 "And never shalt thou be any more."
20:54 In fact, three times in the Book of Ezekiel,
20:56 God predicts that Satan will come to an end and be no more.
21:01 Now we've looked at the seven verses
21:03 that raise questions as to whether hell burns for ever.
21:08 But our list had 14 verses that seem to indicate
21:11 that the furnace of hell eventually go out.
21:15 Steven standing by to take a look at those
21:17 exciting and comforting verses with us.
21:20 We should start with the teachings of Jesus.
21:23 In His most famous verse He said,
21:24 "For God so loved the world,
21:26 that he gave his only begotten Son,
21:28 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
21:30 but have everlasting life."
21:32 The wicked don't live for ever in pain.
21:35 This verse says they perish.
21:37 Only the believer gets everlasting life.
21:39 Psalms 37:20 says, "The wicked perish,
21:43 as the fat of the lambs, they shall consume,
21:46 into smoke they shall consume away."
21:49 Is bad enough that the wicked have to die and never live again
21:52 never experience the bliss of heaven.
21:55 But God's character of love has been besmirched by this lie
21:57 that has been force it upon His good name.
22:01 God said through His prophet Ezekiel,
22:03 "Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father,
22:07 also the soul of the son is mine,
22:10 the soul that sinneth, it shall die."
22:13 Paul agreed with this prophecy when he wrote,
22:16 "The wages of sin is death,
22:18 but the gift of God is eternal life
22:19 through Jesus Christ our Lord."
22:23 We earn death and deserve it
22:24 if we choose to continue living selfish and hurtful lives.
22:28 The only residents of heaven will be those
22:30 who've embraced God's kingdom of love
22:32 and live lives that are actuated by the principle of love.
22:35 The principle of giving what is needed most.
22:39 Hell is a real fire that will burn up the wicked
22:40 at the end of time, at the last day.
22:43 Just like this white powder
22:44 what is possibly the remnants of Gomorrah.
22:47 But this is not God's desire for you and me.
22:50 Listen to His heart in these prophetic words from Ezekiel,
22:53 "As I live, saith the Lord God,
22:55 I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
22:58 turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways,
23:00 for why will ye die?"
23:03 This list we've been working off is not an exhaustive list
23:06 but it is representative of the whole of scripture.
23:09 But if there is one, just one passage
23:11 that has been most misconstrued about death and hell.
23:14 It is the story Jesus told
23:15 of the rich man, Lazarus in Luke 16.
23:19 So here's the parable of these two men,
23:21 one was rich man who Jesus didn't even bothered to name,
23:25 the second was a poor beggar named Lazarus
23:28 who sat in front of the rich man's house begging
23:31 while the dogs licked his sores.
23:33 Now in the Jewish culture in Christ day
23:37 and probably somewhat still today,
23:39 they believed rich people were blessed of God and poor,
23:42 sick beggars were cursed of God.
23:45 So if God didn't even care about the beggars.
23:48 Those who are blessed were certainly free
23:50 from any obligation to extent a kindness or concern.
23:55 So imagine the shock when Jesus said,
23:57 "Both men died and the rich man went to hell
24:00 while the poor man was carried by angels
24:02 to the bosom of Abraham."
24:05 Now in this parable heaven and hell are so close,
24:08 they can see and talk to each other.
24:11 So the rich man asked Father Abraham
24:13 to send Lazarus to bring him the comfort
24:15 of a drop of water to cool his tongue.
24:19 Abraham said, "That was not going to happen."
24:21 So the rich man asked that
24:23 Lazarus be sent to the brothers to warn them.
24:27 Abraham said, "They had already
24:28 received their warning in the writings of Moses."
24:32 But if someone came from the dead said the rich man,
24:35 they would repent.
24:37 And here is where I believe
24:39 the punch line of the story comes in.
24:41 "And Abraham said unto him,
24:44 if they hear not Moses and the prophets,
24:47 neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
24:53 This story is a parable much the way
24:55 Aesop's fable of the grasshopper and the ant is a parable.
24:59 Parables don't have to be true to make a point.
25:02 Today we tell stories about dying
25:04 and standing before Saint Peter to gain admittance to heaven.
25:08 There's nothing biblical about Peter watching out of the gate
25:11 to pass judgment on those who have died.
25:15 But the stories make a point
25:17 just like this one of the rich man and Lazarus.
25:21 The historical context of the time was that
25:23 all rich people are blessed of God and go to heaven.
25:27 Poor people are cursed of God
25:29 so they all go to a place of torment.
25:33 Jesus turned these misconceptions upside down
25:36 by sending Lazarus to paradise
25:38 and the rich man to the bad place.
25:41 Now if we insist on taking this parable
25:44 as a true teaching about hell,
25:46 then we have to take the whole parable literal.
25:50 That would mean when you die,
25:52 you don't go to heaven according to verse 22,
25:54 you go to live on Abraham's hairy chest.
25:58 Imagine all the saved people on Abraham's chest.
26:02 We'd all be like fleas there, moving the hair, morning.
26:08 According to verse 24,
26:10 you'd also have heaven and hell so close together,
26:13 you could talk back and forth.
26:15 That makes heaven sound real appealing.
26:19 And finally the rich man says
26:20 that if someone comes back from the dead
26:23 then the living will repent
26:25 and change their lives for the better.
26:27 Okay, here comes the point of Jesus parable,
26:31 the truth which sets us free.
26:33 Pay attention now.
26:34 Luke 16:31, "And he said unto him,
26:38 if they hear not Moses and the prophets,
26:42 neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
26:47 This point is true because in John 11,
26:51 a real man named Lazarus was raised from the dead
26:54 and they still didn't choose to believe in Jesus.
26:58 So here's Jesus' teaching.
27:01 Hell is a real place.
27:04 And God doesn't want anyone to go there.
27:08 So He sent His Son to save us we need not perish.
27:12 And if we choose not to be saved,
27:15 we'll end up in a fire that will consume us,
27:19 reducing us to ashes.
27:21 While those who love and serve Jesus will avoid hell
27:26 or the second death.
27:29 Now it's up to us to choose,
27:32 choose Jesus and the truth of His word.


Revised 2014-12-17