But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”
So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace.
Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”
They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.
Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.
The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.
“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
To Hell With Hell?
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ESV / 62 helpful votes
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
ESV / 40 helpful votes
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
The Bible has very strong words for people who spread a false gospel, for those who are tickling peoples ears. It is one of the roles of a pastor to warn you about false teachers who may, through a friend, or book, or an email, try and persuade you to believe what they are saying.
This mornings sermon has been one of the toughest sermons I have ever prepared for… I know at the age of 26 that doesn’t mean much. But this morning I am going to talk about a very, very popular pastor who has just released a book entitled Love Wins: a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who has ever lived. The pastors name is Rob Bell. I’m sure many of you have heard of him. This morning I am going to address what he is teaching in his book and contrast it with what the Bible says. This has been tough because I have never prepared a sermon of this nature.
For so many people in this postmodern world, the biblical doctrine of hell has become simply unthinkable. The idea behind postmodernism is that all truth is relative, (what’s true for you is true for you, what’s true for me is true for me) existentialism runs ramped, and truth is defined by choice. So many evangelicals have become persuaded through the “innocent” yet crafty speech of our culture and society. We to have adopted, on differing levels, a postmodern way of thinking; we now have less biblical fidelity, less interest in truth, less seriousness, less depth, and less capacity to speak the Word of God to our own generation in a way that offers an alternative to what it already thinks. This is so evident in the way we talk to others about Jesus:
It is no longer about God being deserving of all our praise, and all of our honor, and all of our devotion, and all of our money, and all of our time; we don’t talk about this Jesus as deserving of every fiber of our being, being submitted to the glorious Lord! Instead, we talk about how Jesus can fix your problems. Its no longer about the radical life transformation the Bible demands, its about adding the cherry on top of your already perfect life. The Gospel is an Offence!! We serve a God who was murdered because we was so offensive to his culture. Yet we don’t want to hurt people’s self esteem by giving them actual truth! We want to give them a Jesus that is palatable.
***ROB BELL p.150***
Rob Bell offers to people a Jesus that is easier to cope with.
The concept of Hell is one of the most difficult truths in the entire Bible. So what do those who are not completely committed to God’s Word do with it? Well… they choose not to believe in it.
Rob Bell is one of the most influential pastors in the US. Believe me, if they haven’t already, your kids and your grandkids will be faced with this type of theology. This ideology is already so prevalent in schools and universities. Rob Bell just takes the post-modern mindset and sprinkles a little Jesus on top.
Over the last few weeks there has been a firestorm over the doctrine of Hell. Rob Bell, the pastor of a mega emergent church in Grand Rapids Michigan, released his book “love wins” on Tuesday. This book has raised a massive amount of attention in regards to his view of the love of God and Hell. In the past few weeks:
Justin Taylor Responds First
Justin Taylor responded to this video on his blog on the Gospel Coalition's website. This was the push the controversy needed to get it rolling full-force downhill.
CNN Covers the Heated Debate
CNN decided to jump in and cover what was going on between the two sides as arguments grew more heated (for lack of a better word) .
CNN - Zondervan Splits with Bell
Another article appeared on CNN which went into more depth with the Rob Bell controversy while also discussing his previous publisher's (Zondervan) split with him.
Relevant Magazine on Universalism and Bell
Scot McKnight breaks down the different types of universalism and notes that we will be seeing nothing new here than in centuries past.
Challies - The First Review of the Book
Tim Challies received one of the first copies of the book and quickly got the review out.
Al Mohler's Two Part Series
Part 1 + Part 2 ~ In this 2-part series, Al Mohler addressed "Doing Away with Hell?" and the attention it demands.
Kevin DeYoung Reviews the Book
Kevin DeYoung of the Gospel Coalition spent a good amount of time with the book and hammered out a 20-page review.
Christianity Today Reviews the Book
Mark Galli reviewed the book for Christianity Today, examining the answers Bell gives and how it might sabotage his goals.
USA Today - Pastor's Book Kindles Firestorm
The debate made enough noise to get picked up by USA Todayyesterday morning.
"Mars Hell" by Doug Wilson
Douglas Wilson points to the present effects of what happens when we deny things about eternity.
"To Hell With Hell?" by Mark Driscoll
Yesterday, we released this post from Pastor Mark that was adapted from a chapter of his book Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe.
Just Friday Bell did a 1hr open forum type of Q&A about his beliefs that was covered by and hosted by livestream.
Rob Bells view of God, Heaven, Hell, and Gods love is nothing new.
This Video will give you an understanding of what Bell’s view really is.
The idea that everyone will eventually get saved and enter heaven was first presented by Origen, an early church father who was born in 185 AD. This heretical doctrine, which was deemed a heresy at the Council of Constantinople in the years 543, has been present, on one level or another, throughout the history of Christendom. Rob Bell has nothing new to say, every argument he raises has already been dealt with in the past.
Bell communicates, through questions, that those who believe in Hell are so primitive, so backwards, so mean, so exclusive, so intolerant. And that Gods love is so great that anyone who believes God will send people to hell must not understand Gods love.
What seems to happen is that we often, in trying to understand Gods love, will then sit back and contemplate what is the most perfect form of love? There are two errors in doing so:
We are imperfect. We do not know the future, who are we to tell God what perfect love is. EXAMPLE**** One might think if they say me viciously grab my daughter by her collar and yank her into the air, that I am not a loving father! I mean how could a loving father do that to their child. What that person did not realize when they made their assessment of me is that there was a car screaming toward my daughter at 70mph and I grabbed her with much zealousness and viciousness by the collar in order to yank her out of the way of the car. So, we are so flawed in our thinking because we don’t have omniscience. We don’t know everything. We have what perfect love is in the scriptures, thus we should not try to define it any way other then that.
I am sure a lot of you have heard, “How could an all loving God send people to hell?” The real question we should ask is, “How could a just, holy and righteous God allow me to breath my next breath sinning the way I sin, and still provide a way for me to have eternal life in heaven?”
I would like to go through and critique Rob Bell’s book for you and show you why Bell’s view is not just a different interpretation of what the Bible says about God, but that Bell’s god is an entirely different god then the God of the Bible. Though due to time I am going to just try and highlight some of Bell’s views and contrast them with Scripture.
There are three views to consider when thinking about Hell
Annihilationism – The unbeliever goes to Hell for a period of time until his sin debt is paid off then he simply ceases to exist. Universalism – This is Rob Bell’s view. There are different types of universalism Hell is not real, and as soon as you die you go to heaven Hell is real, you go there if you didn’t trust God in your earthy life, but you can still repent and Gods love will save you out of Hell. Hell is what your life is on earth if you do not trust in Jesus, when you die you will trust him and be with him. Eternal Punishment – Those who are not forgiven of their sins spend an eternity in hell under Gods wrath.
Rob Bell’s view is a mix between points b. & c. He believes that we create hell for ourselves on earth when we don’t trust in “Jesus.” And if we die not trusting him we go to hell, but there is a postmortem repentance that we can exercise and be saved.
***LOVE WINS p.107***
We are only going to look at Universalism and Eternal Punishment.
Is Hell eternal?
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
Rob Bell mentions all these verses in his book, yet he leaves out the word eternal in each and every verse.
Is there such a thing as postmortem repentance?
The Rich Man and Lazarus
22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
The Bible CLEARLY teaches that Eternal Punishment is just that, ETERNAL!
Is this fair? Doesn’t the concept of eternal punishment show God to be not all loving?
***LOVE WINS p. viii***
Let us remember we have to understand God in more then just one dimension, why? Because the Bible CLEARLY reveals God to us in more then just one dimension.
We are all very familiar with the (ESV)
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. –
This is true, but if you want to weight divine attributes by sentence construction you have to consider the following
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- Does this mean that God’s light is shining in every area of the world and there is no spiritual darkness anywhere because God is light? No, of course not.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- Does this mean that all have God’s spirit in us because we have spirits because God is spirit? No of course not.
29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Does this mean that our consciences’ have been cleansed through Christ, that we no longer sin? Of course not.
If we are to choose one characteristic to define God we should look at It is the only thrice-stated attribute of God in all of scriptures.
8 …“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,”
When we look at the love of God we must understand it in the context of who God is.
***Example – You cannot just take one page out of the bible, read it, and build your whole theology on that. You have to look at and study the full counsel of God to begin to comprehend who God is.
I can show you very quickly why the idea of universalism disgraces the holiness and justice of God. But lets look at what universalism does to the love of God.
Rob Bell makes a very true statement in his promotional video he says, “See what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about who God is and what God is like. “
If everyone goes to heaven then the subsitutionary atonement ceases to be the most loving act that has ever taken place, and becomes an act of divine child abuse. Christ came to die for our sins, God poured out the wrath we deserve on Jesus, so that those who trust in Him will be free from the wrath of God. If everyone gets to heaven because of God’s great love, then the cross of Christ is powerless and pointless. What kind of loving God would put His son through that torture and pour out his wrath on him for no reason? “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (). If every one goes to heaven then God and Jesus are liars, and the bible is a big lie. We just looked a number of verses that tell plainly that hell is real and it is for eternity. If everyone goes to heaven, then God is a liar. Hebrews says that it is impossible for God to lie. How can we expect a lying God to be an all-loving God? We would not be able to trust Him. If everyone goes to heaven, then God is a twisted dictator who must enjoy deceiving scare tactics for his own pleasure – which is not loving
Because the Bible speaks of hell in these ways:
Those in hell suffer intense and excruciating pain. This pain is likely both emotional/spiritual and physical (). Hell is a fate worse than being drowned in the sea (). It is worse than any earthly suffering—even being maimed (; ). The suffering never ends (; ). The wicked will be “burned with unquenchable fire” (). Those in hell will be thrown into the fiery furnace and will experience unimaginable sorrow, regret, remorse, and pain. The fire produces the pain described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (; , ; ; ; ). Those in hell will feel the full force of God’s fury and wrath (Revelations 14:10). They will be “tormented” with fire (14:10–11). This suffering is constant because it is said that those in hell “will have no rest day or night” (14:11) and “will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10). If everyone goes to heaven it diminishes the love of God! We are all sinners offending a holy and righteous God. It is because of his GREAT love that he sent his son to die on the cross for ours sins. THAT’S REALITY! This junk about everyone ends up in heaven is disgraceful to the love, justice, sovereignty, and holiness of God. Tim Kelly asks this question to the universalist: “So the question becomes: what did it cost your kind of god to love us and embrace us? What did he endure in order to receive us? Where did this god agonize, cry out, and where were his nails and thrones? The only answer is: “I don’t think that was necessary.” But then ironically, in our effort to make God more loving, we have made him less loving. His love, in the end, needed to take no action. It was sentimentality, not love at all The worship of a god like this will be at most impersonal, cognitive, and ethical. There will be no joyful self-abandonment, no humble boldness, no constant sense of wonder. We could not sing to him “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” Only through the cross could our separation from God be removed, and we will spend all eternity loving and praising God for what he has done… Jesus suffered infinitely more then any human soul in eternal hell, yet he looks at us and says, “It was worth it.” What could make us feel more loved and valued than that?“
(). "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins" A denial of the wrath of God is therefore a denial of the atoning sacrfice (which is bearing the wrath of God), and this in its turn is a denial of love as biblically defined.
To quote Rob Bell’s video:
And so what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that, that we would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good? How could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be good news?
Rob Bell’s god is passive toward sin. Rob Bells god is not holy. Our God is always holy. And holy love is not the same as unconditional affirmation. Holy love is more terrifying then even Bell thinks and more unbelievably mercifully and free then Bell imagines
Throw in trash,
What is the good news? The good news is that there is a God that is so holy, so just, so powerful, so all-knowing, so glorious, so magnificent, so sovereign - and yet so loving and merciful that he gave his only son to take the death and punishment we deserve upon himself so that anyone who places their faith in Christ will have the honor and pleasure of loving and being loved by such a magnificent and mighty God from now into all eternity!
Are we proclaiming this God? Are we telling others about this God? Do you believe in this God? Search your hearts, find out if your view of God is a biblical view of God.