April 4, 2013

Nine Myths of Christianity Debunked


For a system that has been around for over two millennia, the religion known as Christianity has accumulated a number of beliefs that have no basis in the recognized source of Christian knowledge, the Bible. 
Yet these beliefs are now deeply ingrained in Christian lore, to the point that some will find it shocking that they should be challenged.

Before beginning this trip down the rabbit hole, it bears acknowledging that there is a multitude of 'churches' that pose as Christian, representing a bewildering range of dogma that goes from pure orthodoxy to purely weird. However, the great majority of them share a core of basic beliefs-- of which, sad to say, almost all are erroneous! Such is the shabby state of the organized, nominal Christian church today, that the Bible warns its readers to 'come out of her, my people!' (Rev 18:4).

The following look at the common myths of the Christian religion is necessarily brief. Bible references will be supplied, and the reader is urged to do the reading and research that will verify the refutation of the erroneous beliefs. The myths are presented in no special order. Bible scripture is used as the determinant of truth.

Myth #1: When we die, we (our souls) spend eternity in heaven if we are 'saved,' or in hell, if we are 'lost.'
What; you mean this isn't true? No; it's not! First, let's look at the fate of those who gain 'salvation.' Where does it say they will spend eternity in 'heaven' (wherever that is)? Instead, we read in Rev 21 that 'God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them' (vs 3). And where will He dwell with humans? 'I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven...' (vs 2) to rest on the 'new Earth' (vs 1). So, you can forget about the grim prospect of spending eternity floating on a cloud, strumming a harp... which seems to be the folkloric image of the afterlife.

Now, what about the damned; what happens to them? Don't they spend forever burning in hell, as the pastors love to threaten? This dogma is harder to dislodge; yet this is what Rev 20 tells us: '[14] The lake of fire is the second death. [15] Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.' We also read that '[10] And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where ... [he] will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.' It clearly states that the devil will be tormented forever, but it does not include the lost humans.

Remember Jesus' words in the famous John 3:16 passage: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' Now, read carefully. Jesus compares and contrasts two classes of people: 1) believers, who shall have eternal life, and 2) by inference, the non-believers, who shall 'perish.' Note that perish means to die, as opposed to having eternal life. This is a critical point! God is not the inhumane monster that unthinking Christians and non-believers have painted for centuries. The unrepentant, sinning humans will perish in the Lake of Fire; they will not 'burn forever.'

Myth #2: immediately after death, we are assigned to heaven or to hell.
This concept is repeated at virtually every funeral service you've ever attended, and of course, the 'loved one' is always 'in heaven, looking down' on the assembly as the preacher speaks. No matter how dissolute a life he/she had, the deceased is never presumed to go to the other place after death. But, is this what the Bible states?

John 11 relates the story of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, who died while Jesus tarried. Upon finally arriving at their house, Lazarus' sister, Martha, greets Jesus and laments that he wasn't there earlier. He tells her matter-of-factly that Lazarus will rise again. She replies, yes, I know Lazarus will rise again on the 'Last Day.' Jesus went on to resurrect Lazarus at that time, but he evidently agreed with Martha's perception.

He told her, 'whoever lives by believing in me will never die.' Yet, we all die-- physically; Jesus was talking about the spirit. If 'believers' will never 'die,' then, logically, non-believers will die-- not live in hell.

Jesus stated clearly, (John 6:40) 'For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.'

Paul reflected a similar belief in a final resurrection when he wrote in 1 Cor 15: '[22] For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. [23] But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.' (See also 1 Thess 4:13-17; and Rev 20:11-15, the 'great white throne judgement).

So, if the dead are raised to life on the 'last day' to face final judgement, what are they doing for the interval, possibly centuries, between death and judgement? The true response is, we don't know for certain! But there's no evidence to support two judgements, one at death, and another on the last day. Scripture states that the dead 'sleep in the grave' until resurrected. For all we know, their souls may exist in a suspended state, outside of time, until the judgement day.

Yes, I'm aware of 'near death experiences' reported by various individuals, and I don't claim that these are false. NDEs appear to be genuine psychological experiences; but we don't know enough about consciousness and life energy to really comprehend what is happening. We must await our turn before it will become clear.

Myth #3: Christians must obey the Ten Commandments to retain their salvation.
What!-- we don't have to obey the Commandments? That's exactly what I'm saying the Bible (New Testament) states. Let's examine it logically.

Q: When and to whom were the Commandments given? A: To the Israelites, via Moses, at Mt. Sinai during the exodus from Egypt. (They were never given to gentiles!)

Q: What did the Commandments signify? A: The Commandments were the core of the Old Covenant-- the covenant specifically made between God and Israel. This covenant is also referred to as the Old Testament, and is fully analyzed in the Book of Hebrews in the 'New Testament' scriptures. I don't want to spoon-feed the reader (and use many words) in re-hashing the detailed study provided by the writer of Hebrews. Go and study it yourself! Note, especially, chapters 7 thru 10, which explain why the New Covenant supersedes the Old.

Q: You mean we can do whatever we want, then? A: No, not at all! The point Jesus tried to convey in his day is that living as a child of God is NOT about keeping a bunch of rules. People can always find ways around rules-- the Pharisees were experts at it! Here's how Paul tried to explain it to the believers in Rome: 'The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.' (Romans 13:9-10 NIV)

It's really about love, dear readers. See also Matt 7:12; Galatians 3, especially vs 11; James 1:27, 2:8; and recall Jesus' dialog with the lawyer regarding 'the most important commandment,' in Mark 12:28-34, Matt 22:36-40, and Luke 10:26-28. The notion that Christians are 'under the Ten Commandments' is completely wrong, was argued against by the disciples, but was nonetheless accepted by most mainstream churches because they don't want to grant their members freedom to be led by the Holy Spirit without their 'guidance' (i.e. control). Since its origins, the Christian church has been preaching the New Testament with an Old Testament mind-set (see Matt 9:16-17). It's an aberration that has led to the failure of Christianity that we now see.

Myth #4: Abraham was a Jew.
Now this is one of those real 'forehead slappers!' The Jews love to foster the belief that because they descended from Abraham, he must have been a Jew. Preachers who subscribe to the 'Judeo-Christian' outlook, also promote this impression. However, a few moments of reflection will obliterate this fallacy.

Abraham had a son called Ishmael, regarded as the patriarch of the Arab people. Years later, he had another son, Isaac, who later had twin sons, Jacob and Esau. When Jacob was a man, he had a strange, night encounter with 'an angel' (God?) who told him his name would be Israel. Jacob had twelve sons who were the patriarchs of 12 tribes of their descendants ('the Children of Israel'). One of these sons was called Judah, and his off-spring became known as Jews. Thus, the Jews are descended from a great-grandson of Abraham, therefore, it's impossible for Abraham to be a Jew!

But, some might still argue that nonetheless, Abraham was a 'Jew' by religion. Again, this is false. The religion observed by the Jews is based on the Torah (i.e. 'the Law') and the Talmud. The Torah encompasses the 'Sinai Covenant,' the package of legal, ceremonial, and health laws inscribed in the books of Moses, that were given 430 years after Abraham. The Talmud was written by rabbis during the Jews' captivity in Babylon centuries later, and is said to represent inspired commentary. By contrast, Abraham was living under direct instructions from God, and was given a covenant based on his faith in God (Gen 15:6; Rom 1:17, 4:3; Gal 3:6, 11).

It's a vital distinction-- the Jews (in terms of religion) live under a legalistic system wherein their standing with God is considered to be based on keeping the rules. The faith of Abraham, in contrast, was purely based on faith in God.

Myth #5: Christianity is an 'off-shoot' of Judaism.
This is another of those 'facts' that is 'so obvious' that it's never questioned. After all, Jesus was a Jew, right? Well, yes; but that's purely incidental. The full explanation requires more space than we want to take here, so I am providing a link to an essay with the details: http://truthquestors.blogspot.ca/2013/01/one-man-one-faith.html.

What we can state in summary is actually implicit in the discussion of myth no. 4. The astute Christian reader would have had a light illuminate on noting the distinction between the simple faith of Abraham and the legalistic religion of Judaism. Abraham's covenant of faith was inaugurated in Genesis 15 (read it!) but it was not confirmed until (almost two millennia later) Jesus stated at the last supper, 'This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.' (See Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, and Dan 9:27). Every Christian is supposed to know that his salvation rests entirely on the gift of God's grace, provided by Jesus, and appropriated by the believer's faith that it is so. See Rom 1:17, 3:26-28, ch. 4 (esp. 16), 5:1; Gal 2:16, ch. 3 (esp. 7-9); Eph 2:8; Phil 3:9.

Spiritually speaking then, the Christian faith is the logical extension of the faith of Abraham. Jesus, the Messiah (lit. 'anointed one') came as a descendant of David, of the 'House of Judah,' in fulfilment of prophecy, and to 'confirm' the Abrahamic covenant. It is that covenant that is referred to as the New Testament, one that is available to 'the many,' i.e. all people, anywhere.

Myth #6: At the 'end of the Age,' Christians will be magically whisked off the Earth and spared from going thru seven years of terrible 'tribulation.'
This is probably the only myth that did not exist until about the 20th century, and that is not accepted by a majority of denominations. Only certain 'evangelical,' generally conservative, American churches adhere to this doctrine.

The problem is that this doctrine is wrong on two counts-- 1) there is no seven year tribulation in scripture, and 2) there is no 'secret, pre-tribulation rapture. Both beliefs are based on flawed exegesis (Bible study) that originated in the Scofield Reference Bible, which was published in the late 19th century. This Bible contained copious footnotes, supplied by Cyrus Scofield, a dubious scholar at best, and a scoundrel at worst. His commentary was largely influenced by a Bible translator named John Darby, who formalized a belief system known as premillennial dispensationalism, revolving around the future fate of the Jews and Jerusalem.

Taking a misconception of Daniel's visions, especially vs 9:27, the Evangelicals see a future period of seven years of 'Jacob's trouble,' they refer to as 'the tribulation.' Pandering to ingrained, American 'exceptionalism,' the Evangelicals have conjured a convenient escape route for their adherents, called 'the rapture.' The word rapture doesn't even appear in scripture, tho Paul does refer to a bodily raising of the 'saints' (believers) at the final, dramatic (far from secret) appearing of Christ. (See 1 Cor 15, and 1 Thess 4, for details.)

Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any other Bible source refers to a 'pre-tribulation, secret rapture' of believers. In fact, Jesus warns his listeners that, at the end of the Age, people would be subjected to deception so powerful 'as to deceive the very elect.' Why would he issue such a stern warning if Christians were to be snatched from the Earth before the troubles begin? Was Jesus mistaken?

For a fuller exposition of the 'rapture delusion,' please study this essay:
http://truthquestors.blogspot.ca/2013/01/delusions-of-rapture.html.

Myth #7: Christians will be 'saved' (gain eternal life) because they belong to a Church.
One hopes that not all Christians believe this assumption, yet if you talk to members of any particular denomination, especially the smaller or more eccentric ones, this is basically what they claim. Each break-out group from 'generic Christianity' thinks that only they have 'the truth;' and furthermore, that their truth will merit eternal life ('heaven,' in most circles).

For centuries prior to Jesus, the Jews were convinced they are saved because of genetic inheritance, being Israelites, and off-spring of Abraham. But Jesus told them that the kingdom of God has nothing to do with ethnicity, and is open to all people (those who trust in God). See John 1:12-13, 3:16, 8:31-47; Acts 13:47; Rom 3:29; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:8, 3:28; 2 Tim 4:3-4; Titus 1:13-15; Heb 5:11-14; 1 Jn 1:6.

Today's Christians, likewise, have that pharisaic attitude that 'belonging' to a particular church, that boasts it alone possesses 'truth,' will be their magic ticket to eternal bliss. Those church-goers who will be saved by the mercy of God will be surprised to see who else will be sharing eternity with them! Jesus said the kingdom of God will not belong to the likes of the learned, arrogant pharisees, but to the down-trodden of society who turn to him (see Matthew 21:31; Mark 10:15; James 2:5). Apostle John wrote that 'love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.' (1 Jn 4:7; see also 1 Cor 8:3).

It doesn't matter if you are a church member, or which church you attend, or what doctrines it proclaims. None of that will grant you salvation... 'sorry!

Myth #8: At the end of this age, there will follow a thousand years of peace on Earth, after which Jesus returns to defeat Satan at last, and set up his kingdom.
Many, if not most denominations, both mainstream and otherwise, subscribe to the 'Millennium' theory. The problem is that it is referred to in only one place in all of scripture, and that one place is in the book full of symbols, Revelation (ch. 20). It's a simple rule of Bible study-- if something is important it is mentioned several times. To build a doctrine on a single occurrence, is risky, if not plain wrong.

If the Millennium were valid, Jesus would have to return twice-- once at the Rapture, and a second time at the conclusion of the thousand years. But the rest of scripture only refers to one, final return of Christ, at 'the end of the Age.'

You'd expect that Jesus and his disciples would have talked about the Millennium; but they don't even hint at it. The Book of Revelation uses a unique, non-linear structure, wherein the visions are presented in cycles. They cover the same period of history, referred to as '42 months,' '1260 days,' and 'time, times, and half a time.' These periods are all symbolic of three and a half years, the length of Jesus' ministry on Earth, but in prophetic context, refer to the 'Church Age,' the time from Jesus' resurrection until his return at the end of this Age.

Similarly, astute writers have postulated that the thousand years is also a symbolic reference to the same span of time. The scenes described by John in chapter 20 have to be understood as allegorical, not literal (as in fact, the entire Revelation, in like manner). There are some good books available that expound on a secure understanding of the Millennium, if the reader wants more detail.
(See, for ex., A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger.)

Myth #9: The Catholic Church is 'Mystery Babylon,' the harlot of Revelation 17.
This is one of those myths that the website snopes.com would label as partially true. In Bible prophecy, a woman usually symbolizes a church (or 'faith community,' as OT Samaria and Jerusalem were likened to sisters, Ezek 23). So a prostitute stands for a fallen church. Since a beast symbolizes a kingdom, the woman riding the beast represents religion directing government. Such a situation prevailed for many centuries when the 'Roman Church' basically oversaw the various kingdoms of old Europe.

However, protestants would do well to note verse 5, which states that Babylon is the 'mother of (all) prostitutes.' This means that all the denominations that spun off of Catholicism are, like their mother church, harlots! The fall (corruption) of Babylon was already warned of in Rev 14:8, but the warning is repeated in Rev 18:2, along with the admonition to 'come out of her, my people (vs 4).

Sadly, scripture itself warns us that the churches are fallen, have become corrupt and that true believers should leave them. Is it any wonder that Christianity is in such a perilous state at this time?

Conclusion:
The religious system that sprang from Jesus' incarnation 20 centuries ago was, historically, the philosophical underpinning of European/Western society thru-out most of that period. Jesus' simple teachings were codified into doctrines by a hierarchical organization patterned on the governance model of the empire (Rome) that first opposed, then adopted the new faith as the state religion. Once ensconced in an official structure, the original faith was subject to influences such as political expediency; power struggles between doctrinal schools, and with competing pagan traditions; heresies; cultural biases, and so on.

Spiritually speaking, satanic forces undermined the pure teachings of Christ, and in their place, instituted a system, called 'church,' that was amenable to adopting as orthodoxy, doctrines that are not even supported by proper understanding of the scriptures. Given that the churches are separated into 'clergy' and 'lay-persons,' once the 'paid staff' are educated in the dogmas, it is easy to keep the sheep in line. Tradition trumps truth... at least for a while.

Final note: the good news for all people of faith is that we are not saved by having so-called truth; we are saved by the grace of God!

7 comments:

  1. / Greets, John. Enjoy this item that I discovered on the net. /

    PRETRIB RAPTURE STEALTH !

    Many evangelicals believe that Christ will "rapture" them to heaven years before the second coming and (most importantly) well BEFORE Antichrist and his "tribulation." But Acts 2:34, 35 reveal that Jesus is at the Father's right hand in heaven until He leaves to destroy His earthly foes at the second coming. And Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven with the Father "until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. ("The Rapture Question," by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn't dare to even list, in its scripture index, the above verses! They were also too hot for John Darby - the so-called "father of dispensationalism" - to list in the scripture index in his "Letters"!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The "rest" for "all them that believe" is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who'd be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which Scofield views as Israel's posttrib resurrection!) It's amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the "great commission" for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!
    Many don't know that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this "rapture" was stretched forward and turned into an idolized separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which evangelical scholars overwhelmingly rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Google "Walvoord Melts Ice" for more on this.
    Other Google articles on the 183-year-old pretrib rapture view include “X-Raying Margaret,” "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart," "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "The Real Manuel Lacunza," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View" – most by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history which is obtainable by calling 800.643.4645).

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  2. Hey John!

    In Revelation 21, it talks about a list of various individuals that will be having their part in the lake of fire (which is Hell).

    all scriptures are from the KJV

    Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    and the following verses seem to make plain that hell is very real, and very eternal.

    Revelation 14:9-11
    (9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
    (10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
    (11) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

    I logically see that we are created (in the image of God and thus) eternal beings; our eternal destination is determined by what we believe.

    John 3:16-19
    (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    (19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

    Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

    Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

    Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


    It's important to note that much has been changed in new versions of the bible, entire verses removed, words replaced. I would encourage that you watch the movie New World Order Bible Versions for a complete understanding of just what has happened with the scriptures in the last century or so.

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    Replies
    1. Hi again, Stewart!
      Your comment illustrates the confusion that surrounds the subject of 'hell' and 'damnation'... is it 'eternal,' or what?
      Here's what we find in Revelation: (KJV)
      10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
      14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
      15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

      From these verses we see that THE DEVIL is cast into the 'lake of fire' and tormented 'forever and ever.'
      Now, vs 14 says that 'death and hell' were cast into the same lake of fire. Hmmm; so hell was cast into hell, if you see what I mean.
      What, then, is that lake of fire? It is the 'second death' we are told. So, the first death terminates our earthly, physical existence. The second death terminates our non-physical, spiritual existence.
      Notice that it does NOT say that those not enrolled in the book of life will be tormented forever... that is Satan's fate (and presumably, that of his fellow angels).
      This understanding agrees with Jesus' summation of the gospel in Jn 3:16... whoever believes will not 'perish' (ie. die, end existence) but inherits 'eternal life.' Logically, whoever does not believe will perish, will not gain eternal life... (you have to be 'alive' in some sense, to be tormented).
      Those other passages you quoted indicate that the fire shall never be quenched; not that the sinners shall burn forever. Once you remove the 'eternal damnation' filters from your perceptions, the texts' literal meaning makes more sense.
      It was Satan who stated that 'ye shall not die;' but God's word states that He is able to destroy both body and soul. The idea of a first and second death supports that understanding.
      Anyway, who knows what 'forever' really means? Is time merely part of the physical universe, not the higher dimensions?
      This may not settle the matter for you; but i hope it gives you a new viewpoint.
      Blessings.

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  3. Hi John,

    In Revelation 19 we read..
    Revelation 19:19-20
    (19) And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
    (20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

    This is well before the events of Revelation 20, where:
    Revelation 20:1-3
    (1) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
    (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
    (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

    which (after 1000 years) Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:10...

    Revelation 20:10-15
    (10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
    (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
    (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    So it's not just the Devil being cast into the lake of fire, because the False Prophet and Beast are already there. I know we have a Beast system, and there are many False prophets.. but, they're typified here as living individuals. Hell, Death and the Sea gave up their dead in verse 14, all to be cast into the lake of fire, the final destination as it were, the Second Death.

    The resurrected body will be special, it has an eternal property that makes it last forever.

    John 5:29
    (29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    It's perhaps a lie from the Devil to make us believe that when we die the second death that that's it, all over. Phew! Nothing to worry about then... The Great Commission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature. Perhaps it takes the sting away from the Christian who doesn't do this, and makes it easier to bear when we're told that those souls unsaved, are just going to de-materialize at the Second Death.

    Jude 1:23
    (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

    My comment continues into the next...

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  4. Continuing from the previous comment above..

    Why would Jesus tell us the following story, He wasn't known for lying to us.. Did He want to make us think that the fiery torments of hell were something they weren't?

    Luke 16:19-31
    (19) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
    (20) And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
    (21) And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
    (22) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
    (23) And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
    (24) And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
    (25) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
    (26) And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
    (27) Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
    (28) For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
    (29) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
    (30) And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
    (31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    And as for John 3:16 and the word 'perish'... It creates an image in my head... of a rotten apple. It's still an apple, but I wouldn't want to eat it.

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  5. Matthew 25:41
    (41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    Revelation 14:9-11
    (9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
    (10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
    (11) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

    And so it's so vitally important to get the Gospel message out. This is why I think you ought to put a Plan of Salvation message up on the blog, let people easily find, and know that it's not by works, it's by simply believing. I read a statistic that 80% of confessing 'Christians' believe that you have to persevere to the end, or perform good works to be saved. That's simply a damnable lie.

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    John 3:16-18
    (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Sorry for all these separate comments.. Blogger only allows for small ones, so I had to break it up into chunks..

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  6. How does the Bible say we are saved in this dispensation of the grace of God?

    Romans 1:16
    “For I am not ashamed of *the gospel of Christ*: for it is the power of God *unto salvation* to every one that *believeth*;...” [Emphasis for clarity]

    ~The Gospel of Christ~
    1. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you *the gospel* which I preached unto you, *which also ye have received*, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also *ye are saved*, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that *Christ died for our sins* according to the scriptures;
    4 And that *he was buried*, and that *he rose again* the third day according to the scriptures: -1 Corinthians 15:1-4

    The Bible teaches salvation is received if a person has faith in Jesus Christ, believing he shed his blood and died to pay for our sins and rose from the grave to gift us with eternal life. (Eph.1.7, Ro.1.16, 1Cor.15.1-4)

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