Monday, January 23, 2006

#123: Response to Jay's Two Comments

Jay, I am sure your comments may be of great interest to many readers; therefore, instead of responding to your comments in the comment section/window, I am making a separate post. This is your first comment concerning hellfire, which was published in post # 122. If new readers have not read posts # 121 and # 122 yet, scroll down a bit to read the post first.

Al. I think the point you made about separation from God in hell is true, and that will be some of the torment there. As far as not remembering and being a place of emptiness where there is nothing to reminder them of God, I don’t think this is scriptural. The story in Luke 16:22 tells us something different. This man was aware of his error and he was aware how good they had it on Gods side. Some may say this is just another parable, and you can’t take that literally. I don’t think so. There is no other parable where a name is used. This makes me think it is not a parable. If I am wrong please let me know. If I can think of any more scripture to prove this I will post later.. Al can you get a counter on this page so we can see how many hits you are getting. Thanks Jay This is my response: There are over two dozen Bible verses telling of the resurrection of the dead and the judgment on the last day. There is a popular belief, held by many, which says that as soon as a person dies, they go either to heaven or hell. This belief is false, according to Scripture. The portion of scripture you quoted, Luke 16:19-31, is nothing but an illustration to the rich Jews of the time, and is also a warning to us confirming that wealth does not promise a good afterlife; most likely, the opposite. That belief that God would condemn the rich was totally new to the Jewish community. They believed that anyone who was wealthy was being blessed by God, just as God blessed Abraham and King Solomon.

What I alluded to is that Lazarus and the rich man dressed in purple could not have gone to heaven and hell, because the resurrection had not yet taken place. There are a multitude of Scriptures that tell when a person dies, he/she goes to sleep, waiting for resurrection on Judgment Day. Let me give you just a very few verses. But if you desire the complete list, I have it waiting for you.

A unique verse in the Old Testament is found in 1st Samuel 28:11-15. This is the account of when King Saul asked the witch of Endor to bring up the holy prophet Samuel from the dead. “Then the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ . . . ‘What do you see?’ ‘I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.’ ‘What does he look like?’ ‘An old man wearing a robe is coming up,’ she said. . . . Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’” Jay, my question to you is, Why wasn’t Samuel in heaven, where Lazarus is supposed to be, or in hell where the unbelievers supposedly are?

Now I will go to the New Testament where the evidence is much weightier. An event most of us are familiar with was when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was raised from the dead by Jesus. The complete story takes place in John 11th chapter. Verse 11: “‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.” Verse 23: “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’”

Matthew 12:36: “But I tell you that men will have [future tense] to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

Peter 2:9: “. . . to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment . . .”

1st Corinthians 15:51: “We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable.”

Jay, this is your second comment concerning post #121: A God for Skeptics:

Oh Al Where is your child like faith? This statement “is the realm where my God evolved. Yes, God evolved,” (where’s the scripture) Has this approach worked in any conversions for you? I would like to know. When you put the word evolved with God. To me this means He was something less then before and became something better and improved. The word says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. . For me it is just as easy to believe He was always the same God just as He will always be God. Our minds may not be able to compute this or at least mine doesn't, so that is when our faith kicks in and we can except it. I’ll be praying for you Al.. Jay Jay, I think you missed the point; I hope other readers didn’t miss it also. This blog was meant exclusively for skeptics. Every mature Christian, including myself, believes that our God is eternal; that goes without question. Unbelievers don’t believe in eternity. To them, it is no more than a fairytale. But to talk to them in spiritual baby talk, referring to the evolution of God, is more palatable to them. My granddaughter, who is only 22 months old, talks baby talk. If I were to attempt to explain the laws of physics to her, she would completely reject it. Do you see what I mean? What I said in that paragraph concerning God evolving is not what I believe, although I wrote what I believe in the rest of that post. In fact, God’s eternity is one of the most inspiring topics I immensely enjoy meditating on.

I can tell you for a fact that when you discuss spirituality with a skeptic/atheist, relative, friend or even a stranger and use that approach (spiritual baby talk), the person may not get converted on the spot—if at all—but it will stop him/her dead on his/her tracks and get him/her thinking, because you’re sure to have the last word. Remember, those types of people think we Christians are all weak and dependent fools who need a make-believe crutch to make it through life. Most often, they have a greater intelligence than some Christians. That sometimes gets in the way of their believing in anything spiritual. Read this post again in that context and then see how it sounds.

Additionally, it would profit you and make you more successful in your witnessing if you are intimately familiar with the Bible by having a thousand or so New Testament verses not so much memorized, but paraphrased on the tip of your tongue. It seems like every time we encounter a skeptic, we will learn more of their tactics of trying to trip us up. That method of spreading the gospel is a continual learning experience. We may/should have child-like faith, but at the same time, be as wise as snakes. And if we have pure motives, and not just an attempt to put notches on our belt, Jesus Christ can and will give us wisdom—which won’t come easy or quick—beyond what any atheist can counter. Thanks for your prayers–I hope you didn’t say it sarcastically. We all need to pray for each other. And I hope and pray for your continuous success in knowing exactly what our Lord will have for you to do for Him.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why are you sticking you flier on my house? Don't you have anything better to do than tie trash to my doorknob? Get a life.

al thinker said...

Sir, I know where you are coming from. It seems every time we turnaround, there is an unwanted flier on our door. And my flier contributed to that unwanted list. In the future, if you don’t desire fliers left on your door, place a ‘No Soliciting’ or “No trespassing’ sign in plain view. That should keep all fliers away from your home. If by some chance, you already have a sign in place and I inadvertently didn’t see it, then I truly apologize. No one is allowed to solicit in those labeled locations without breaking the city code.

Jay said...

Hi Al. Let me assure you there was no sarcasim in my comment about praying for you. I prayed for you right after I posted my last comment. I asked the Lord to bless you, keep a desire to grow ever closer to Him, and to give you wisdom and revelation of His word. I also prayed for the readers of this blog that they may come to know God or the ones who do follow Him a desire to draw closer to Him. Now about this post. I only had trouble with your thought about hell being a place of torment only because of a the separation from God. I think it will be a place more like it is spoken about in the bible. This post you are giving me the impression you believe like the Jehovah Witnesses that when we die we just sleep in the grave till the judgment day. How do you explain the Lord telling the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise today or to be absent from the body is to be with the lord. Luke 23:43 and 2 co 5:8. How about John in Revelations, who were all the saints he saw with the Lord, this was before judgment day. The point you made about 1 Samuel 28. It tells of a witch calling up the dead( something God forbids us to do.) Do you think it really was Samuel or was it the father of lies.. Matthew 12:36 If you are one who trusted in Jesus, God not only forgives our sins but forgets them. So it can’t be us this scripture is talking about. Peter 2:9 keyword here is unrighteous. 1st Co 15:51 the word sleep here translates death. What point are you trying to make with these scriptures? That we just rest in the ground until judgment day. You have to dig deeper for me Al. On blog 121 When trying to convert someone to believe in God I think the word of God will do a much better job then our reasoning no matter who they are or how they think. It worked on me. I also didn’t think this site was just for skeptics and unbelievers. I thought it was a remedy for organized religion. I read it because I believe you are wrong about giving up on church and or organized religion. My opinion is, instead of running away from church we should stay and help correct the thing that are not taught correctly. We all need correction from time to time. Jay

al thinker said...

Jay, thanks for your response. Concerning what hell will be like. What greater torment can there be than the absence of God? It certainly will be more painful then any hot flames. When we die, we don’t sleep in the graves, the graves have only physical remains. The dead (the good and the bad) sleep somewhere, in a place of God’s safekeeping. I can’t say any more then that..


Concerning the thief on the Cross, I have mentioned that subject several times in previous blogs–evidently you haven’t read much of “Religion’s Crime Against God.” I am not certain if you are aware of the fact that before the 15th century there was no punctuation, verses or even chapters. The aforementioned were inserted/separated sometime after the printing press was invented to make reading more coherent for the common people. The comma in that verse was placed by writers where they thought it belonged according to their belief of the time. They were wrong. Just move the comma from the word ‘truth’ and place it after the word ‘today.’ Now it reads, “I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise.” Written that way, the thief could go to paradise any time, but not before Jesus. What I am saying, is the thief could not have gone to heaven before Jesus. Check John 20:17. The conversation between Jesus and Mary after Jesus’ resurrection just outside His tomb: “Jesus said, do not hold on me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.”


Concerning your comment in the book of Revelation, about the saints who saw the Lord. Read Revelation 20:4-6, then read in the same book 6:9-11. They came to life because they have part in the first resurrection.


Concerning Samuel, is there was even a hint of Satan’s work, scripture would have made it known. And, besides, do you think Satan has power over God’s greatest prophet. No way, Hosea. Concerning Peter 2:9, I can’t understand your logic.


The point I am attempting to make is the dead sleep, not in the ground, but somewhere in safe keeping by God, and that the dead do not go directly to heaven or hell at physical death. You forgot to mention the conversation Mary and Jesus had about Lazarus.


There is only one remedy for organized religion. Yes, for those who know God’s will; as it says in Revelation 18:4, “Come out of her, my people,” otherwise, destruction in hell. Organized religion is responsible for the deplorable condition of Christianity. And it sounds as if you may be part of it. It makes no sense to put your money on a dead horse. The church per se, has its mind made up, and no one is going to change it. The church has too much at stake financially to change its dogma. Anyone who thinks they can change the church is delirious. It is my desire to inform the laity, and even the clergy, with God’s guidance, to the best of my ability, as to what the Bible says, and leave the rest up to God. The organized church is full of phony baloney hypocrites. I am certain you are aware that “Christian” hypocrites have done more damage to the cause of Christ, than all hard-core atheist. The hypocrites know little or nothing about God or the New Testament, or they would leave it in a hurry--Even worldly hypocrites are shunned once their deceit is obvious. But most church hypocrites can’t leave because it is too easy. There protocol: do nothing to further the cause of Christ, but make certain to go to church, give your 10 % and be “good,” if even that. I hope you are not one of them. But this adage still is true, “Birds of a feather flock together.” When a atheists goes from unbelief to church belief, it’s like jumping from a frying pan into the fire. Between all these tough words, I know for certain there are exceptions. I hope you are one of them. God bless you in your search for the truth. Althinker.

Jay said...

Hi Al You say, you can’t say anything more about “The dead (the good and the bad) sleep somewhere, in a place of God’s safekeeping.” Will you give some scripture to prove that point. As far as the thief on the cross the comma does make that verse read different. Maybe it should be read with no comma at all then. I don’t want to trust your punctuation over someone else’s? So lets not use Luke 23:43 to prove my thought, that when we leave this body we go right to heaven to be with the Lord. I gave you 2 Co 5:8 To be absent from the body is to be with the Lord. I would like to know what you think that scripture means. You didn’t comment on it. In Phil 1:23 Paul says if he left his body he would be with the Christ. In 2 Peter 2:9 You used that verse to say we sleep till the second judgment. All I was saying that that verse was talking about the unrighteous and we were talking about the saved. I don’t think Satan has any power over Gods greatest prophet. But I also don’t believe a witch would have the power to bring him up either, they bring up evil spirits. That’s why we are told not to try and speak to the dead. Finally, you say the deplorable condition of Christianity is the fault of organized religion. I think the real blame is on false conversions. The real church are the people who follow Christ. We as individuals are His Church. The apostle met together so they could discuss and spread Gods word. If it wasn’t for organized religion (that is people meeting with the same belief) for the last 2000 years there would be a good chance you and I might not know about Christ. Jay

al thinker said...

Jay, no matter what scriptures you or I bring up, what I say or what you say, neither of us will change what we believe about certain toics. I will bring up only two thoughts on the topics of discusion and then I will not respond to any more of your comments concerning these topics. I am sure your time is precious and mine is also. In order to delegate my time responsibilily, I must make priorities.

Concerning Samuel, only God knew the future of King Saul, and God through Samuel predicted Sauls death the following day. It is stupid of me to bring this up again.

Concerning Paul: he would rather be with the Lord. I would also. Where does it say he or I will be in a conscious state? Don't answer that. Only one logical answer: save keeping is in the Lord's care, in a sleeping state. End of discussion on these topic. You and I are on two different sides of a fence, and the two will not agree. Nevertheless, I enjoyed your challenge. Thanks. Althinker

P.S.
You think God's arm is short. If the organized church did not exist for the last 2000 years, Christ' church would/might be much smaller, but most likely it would be pure and genuine. It would have been up to God if you or I would be part of it.

Jay said...

Al. It’s ok if you don’t want to comment on this topic any more but I would like to say one more thing. No it doesn’t say he would be in a conscious state but if you were to be with the Lord you would have to be conscious of it. At least that stands to reason with me. Also I don’t think God's arm is short. I think if He couldn't find anyone to praise Him He could get the rocks to do it. I read that somewhere. Have a good one Jay

al thinker said...

Jay, thanks for your comment. I will agree with you, God’s chosen will somehow be aware of their condition, even before the resurrection of the dead. The details belong to God. And if we are wrong, it is not a monumental mistake. As to your quoting one of my favorite verses, Luke 19:40, “I tell, he replied, if they quiet, the stones will cry out.” I believe I am one of those worthless stones. I am a useless nobody in life, other than my God given desire to make Jesus Christ known as He desires to be made known. God has been and is still scrounging around for a few more useless stones. God Bless. Althinker.

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