REGARDING: THAT LAKE OF FIRE/ HELL THING
In trying to find, understand and know God, this “hell” thing is a great distraction.
- “Hell” is the English word that represents 3 different Greek words in the New Testament.
Hades literally means/is “un-seen” — in other words “we don’t know” — The Hebrew word for Hades is Sheol, which is like a shoulder shrug.
Gehenna is the garbage dump outside Jerusalem where they would burn the city trash and the dead bodies of criminals…. thus, “where the worm dies not” (compost pile?) and the “fire is never quenched” (lighting the garbage on fire to keep the smell down-not quenched).
Tartarus is only mentioned ONE TIME in the New Testament. So there’s not enough information about tartarus to build any big case about it’s nature.
But “hell” is not the lake of fire, and we know this because the writer of Revelation says “Hell is toss into the lake of fire”. So, hell cannot be tossed in to hell.
What we’re trying to do, (I think) is get to know God.
And I don’t think it helps to exaggerate any “bad” and minimize any “good”. That doesn’t help.
If the judgements of God are exaggerated… e n d l e s s punishment.
And the kindness of God is minimized to the very, very few… we’re just not focused on the nature of God. — It seems to me.
We know there is a problem with the word “eternal”… as it is often translated “age”… when the context makes the meaning o’ so very obvious.
So, endless punishment should be questioned up front.
And in a like manner, other judgment passages seem to be limited also, not just in a TIME context, but often in matters of the character of how the world is to be run in the next eon… the biggest idea being that MOST OF THE BIBLE IS ABOUT THE JEWS — and how they get a special place on the Earth during the 1,000 reign of Christ.
The other nations, not so much.
I find it most helpful to almost ignore all of the Bible except of Paul’s letters. There are 13 of them, ya know.
Why focus on Paul’s letters, because God gave it to Paul to complete the word of God. (COL 1:25)
And because God gave to him THE GOSPEL OF the uncircumcision.
(to Peter He gave THE GOSPEL OF the circumcision.)
Two different gospels.
Martin Zender’s book covers this topic in a most enjoyable way.
It’s called THE FIRST IDIOT IN HEAVEN.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James and John… are all about the Jews… their role, their purpose, their character… very little about “the nations”.
Only Paul receives special revelation for us beer-drinking pagans.
If you do ignore most everything expect Paul’s letters to the saints today… you’ll see God in ways Peter, James and John never did.
In Acts 17… Paul begins “witnessing” to gentiles… and the foundation of his message is unlike any modern day Baptist, Evangelical, or Charismatic I’ve ever heard… Paul’s foundation message to them goes like this: “He gives to all, life and breath and all.”
Such a wide scope.
Find your way to Romans 11:36, and it’s “all is out of Him, through Him and for Him.”
Again, such a wide scope.
I’m not sure I totally understand it all… but I’m sure that limiting His blessings and exaggerating His judgments are not the way to go.
Yes, there are judgements meted out, but they are eonian. Not eternal.
The eons (God made the eons in Christ) will come to an end.
“Then comes the end” says Paul in I COR 15:24 — the end of what? Could it be the end of the eons itself? We know from the context that it’s the END of rule — the END of power — the END of authority… and get this… THE END OF CHRIST’S REIGN — some thing John’s book of Revelation never sees. So I’d say that I COR 15:20-28 goes far beyond Revelation.
John was short-sighted compared to Paul.
John never reveals that one day God will be all… in all.