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An Answer To Some Questions

I got an e-mail from a Board member that I think that I need to address here.

As anyone can tell who reads what I write, I've got a rather eclectic spiritual past.

And that's probably really understating the case!

Here are a few things that are perhaps unchangable about me though.

First, I consider myself "a Messianic Gentile".

I'm ONLY 'a Jew' by the 'Grafting-In Process'.

I think that the 'Two House' theory is simply Herbert W. Armstrong's World Wide Church of God, revisited.

The (so-called) "Lost Tribes" did NOT end up in Britian, Ireland, or Northern, or Western Europe.

I've throughly investigated modern "Celtic Christianity" because of my own DNA, and the ONLY Jewishness that one is gonna find in ancient Britian is Yoseph of Arimathea going to what is now Glastonbury, in Somerset.

Yoseph was running for his life from the Sanhedrin authorities, after he asked for, and received Yeshua's body. And buried It in his own grave.

I think that ALL of "Celtic Christianity" begin with Yoseph's arrival in ancient Britian (then called "Albion").

I think that Celtic Christianity later got another infusion from the East, when Monks from Egypt also came and arrived in The Isles of Tin maybe in the 3rd or 4th Century.

But NONE of this constitutes "Lost Tribes".

Do I believe in 'The Two House' theory? NO. Very mixed up theology, in my opinion.

I believe that *the modern nation of Israel* is fulfillment of 'The Dry Bones' prophecy.

I further believe that the 10,000 or so Messianic JEWS (NOT Gentiles) now in Eratz Israel constitutes Paul's "Remnant" from his writing in the Book of Romans.

I also believe that perhaps Paul had ego problems because he kept saying "Do AS I DO".

Instead of: "Do as MESSIAH did!"

I find Paul's writings confusing at times, and I wonder if I detect some dislike of women from Paul, or if that's just my reading of someone who's writings are very difficult to understand on a good day.

As to food. I've studied the Native American people's quite a bit, and they called MEAT "Real Food".

I agree.

As to the Nazarene Movement in the USA.

I think that the modern day Nazarenes are in a very mixed up place, in the Matrix of Modern Messianic Judaism in America (and there's A LOT more confusion RIGHT THERE!).

I think that people like James Trimm further complicate this already confused Movement even more.

There ARE individual's like Andrew Gabriel Roth, who I think are trying to offer a SANE alternative to all of this Chaos, but they certainly have their work cut out for them!

And then some.......

I think that The Assyrian Church of the East is probably the nearest to what I see as the TRUE survival of the original Nazarenes from the First Century.

I think if one studies COE theology, that it makes the MOST sense of ANY kind of modern "Christianity" that exists. That says a WHOLE LOT, I think.

I don't know where the COE stands in relation to the modern nation of Israel, at all though.

I would be interested to know about THIS. Does the COE believe in "Replacement Theology"?

I've had a lot of time to think on all of this, as I've had ten operations in a row on my left leg and knee.

And literally HUNDREDS of hours of physical therapy, and learning to walk again.

I went from a wheelchair (for about a year), to a walker, and finally to cane, where I am now.

This has been a spiritual journey as well as a physical one. No one can say that I haven't had to learn to be *strong* and to SURVIVE.

The computer became my way to reach out to the rest of the world, and that's why anyone trying to take away my ability to 'talk' to other like minded people, is so completely spiritually reprehensible to me.

I DO believe that the modern nation of Israel is a kind of 'time piece' for YHWH, and I did NOT get this idea from Hal Lindsey, but from my own research over the years!

I'm a kind of "Christian Zionist", and proud of it!

I love good science fiction movies!

I think that about covers it all. I LOVE mountains, I once lived at 6,995 feet up in the Sandia Mountains, above Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I LOVED IT!

And lastly, I have a wonderful and understanding wife! Thank You MarYah!

Shlama, Albion
Shlama Akhi Albion,

I find it outrageous that you claim to believe the scriptures and then write:
Quote:I also believe that perhaps Paul had ego problems because he kept saying "Do AS I DO". Instead of: "Do as MESSIAH did!"

What Bible are you reading? Where did he ever say, "Do as I do"? Where does he "keep saying" it?
I find this: "Be ye imitators of me, as I am of the Messiah." 1 Cor. 11:1 That is not quite the same, is it?

In impugning the Apostle Paul, you cast aspersions on and call into doubt all of his writings (Most of the New Testament), merely by your shoot from the hip approach of giving your uninformed opinion in this and your other statement:"
Quote:I wonder if I detect some dislike of women from Paul

Are we supposed to take this spirit of hell as the Spirit of Truth? How can a true believer spew such reproach against the apostle and the New Testament, written by God Himself? I find this incredible. Who is in control of you?

You should repent before God for your above statements, and before those who have read your vile statements.

Grace be with you,

Shlama Albion,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these various topics. I always like to know what others think and I agree with you on many of these areas.

God bless you,


Writing here is an adventure sometimes! <!-- s:lookround: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/lookround.gif" alt=":lookround:" title="Look Round" /><!-- s:lookround: -->

OK, Dave, you said:

"Are we supposed to take this spirit of hell as the Spirit of Truth? How can a true believer spew such reproach against the apostle and the New Testament, written by God Himself? I find this incredible. Who is in control of you?"

Listen Dave, I grew up in the South around A LOT of people JUST LIKE YOU! <!-- s:mad: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/mad.gif" alt=":mad:" title="Mad" /><!-- s:mad: -->

I grew up attending The Highland (which is to say the Scottish) Presbyterian Church.

My sister was the church Secretary, and my dad was a Deacon in this church.

I used to go with my sister during the summer when I was out of school and I'd play in the Sanctuary of the church.

I grew up with a DISTANT and A COLD and AN ANGRY GOD.

I used hang out as I said in the Sanctuary, and I'd ask Him....."WHAT MAKES YOU THIS WAY, HOW COME YOUR ALWAYS SO ANGRY AT EVERYONE ?"

He NEVER answered me.

But the first time that I learned what Compassion and Love was when the lady who my family employed as a maid (her name was Marie Lawson) said to me: "Albion your going to fall and trip on those shoe strings, come here and let me tie them for you".

I was 6 or 7 years old then. But I felt this incredible warmness and yes, even LOVE, and I realized that THIS WAS THE GOD THAT I HAD HEARD ABOUT FOR SO LONG EMBODIED IN A BLACK WOMAN.

This was in Little Rock, Arkansas, about 7 or 8 blocks from Little Rock Central High (just Google 'Little Rock Central High School', Dave).

Everyone in my neighborhood used the "nigger" word, including ME. This was the 1950's.

I'm ashamed remembering calling Love THAT terrible word!

But here was this black woman and I definately FELT GOD from HER when she was tying my shoes.

Not because it was her JOB, but because she LOVED ME, and she did'nt want me to fall and get hurt.

How could God show up in the guise of this big black woman????

The Presbyterians couldn't answer my questions, neither could the Baptists, who I went to NEXT, neither could the Church of Christ people, who I went to NEXT.

But finally in 1971, Vickie Simon, a Jewish friend of mine, she was able to lay The Good News out for me in a simple to understand fashion. I GOT it.

Later on, I worked at The Little Rock Crisis Intervention Center part time. It was a suicide prevention center, and I worked on the telephones.

I began to understand how many suffering people that there really were right there in Little Rock.

Fast forward to 1978, and I'm living in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I found people from Colorado very cold and rather aloof, much like The Highland Presbyterian Church.

My ex-wife and I attended a Friends Meeting in Fruita, Colorado. I'd NEVER gone to a Friends Meeting before, and we just sat in these people's living room out in the country, and no spoke unless they were moved by the Holy Spirit to Minister.

It was QUIET, and I felt that same Love that reached down and tied my tennis shoes Speak Out of the Gathered Silence.

I was blown away. Absolutely.

Later after the Meeting was over I asked the lady who had Moderated it why she thought that people in Colorado were so cold and unfriendly.

And she said; "You know people are much like the land that they grew up in, and Colorado is rather cold and we have these craggy mountains, and well, people here are much like the landscape."

And I immediately thought back to that COLD SCOTTISH Highland Presbyterian version of God.

See Dave, God isn't pissed off LIKE YOU ARE.

Because He has all the time in this world and Beyond, and He's willing to allow us to QUESTION EVERYTHING.

And you know WHAT? He's happy to let us wait TILL WE'RE AT THE POINT OF UNDERSTANDING.

I may NEVER "get" Paul's writings IN THIS LIFETIME.

Your version of God might be MAD at me.

But I know the God who Loves to tie the shoestrings, of little kids.

And He's OK with me.

"Lord, I don't understand Paul's writings".

HE laughs, and ALREADY KNOWS that I don't.

And thanks, but Grace is ALREADY WITH ME. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Shlama, Albion

Quote:...I always like to know what others think...

What of your thoughts, Friend?

More to the point, which do you prefer: the Peshitta, or the Peshitto?

I believe if you get a good Dictionary, and look up "doubt", and then look up "question", you'll get TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANSWERS.


To DOUBT is far different, than to QUESTION.

I really said everything that I had to say in the post to Dave.

'taint Paul Wrote:Ya'aqub,
What of your thoughts, Friend?

More to the point, which do you prefer: the Peshitta, or the Peshitto?

Shlama 'taint,

I prefer the Peshitta - which includes all the books of the Eastern text, which include Mar Paul's epistles.

That's interesting, Ya'aqub.

I don't know whether your open-mindedness is more an inherited personality trait than a product of your religious views, but I do know that your apparent reticence to judge others is a credit to you and your faith.


I get such a warm fuzzy feeling all over, reading your response. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I'm so glad you have finally found a god that makes you feel good. <!-- s:xmas: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/xmas.gif" alt=":xmas:" title="Xmas" /><!-- s:xmas: -->
It matters not that you think he may have used an egotistical woman hater as his chief apostle and writer of the New Testament. You can simply opt out
of any scripture that doesn't make you feel good or that you disagree with and edit it out of your Bible.

If you had simply said you did not understand Paul's writings, I would not have written what I did, but you went far beyond that. You said
Quote:"I also believe that perhaps Paul had ego problems because he kept saying "Do AS I DO". Instead of: "Do as MESSIAH did!"
Why should we care what you believe about The Apostle Paul's ego? You have already lost the slanderous argument you made against him, as evident by your defense, "I don't understand Paul's writings.", and your lack of support for your position in your response to me.

Your statement about Paul not liking women is just more slander against him and against the Holy Spirit who spoke and wrote through him.

I counted the words "I" 31 times, "me" 10 times and "my" 9 times in your post to me. They total 50 in all for about 37 sentences.
"A guy all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package.", said Abe Lincoln; and a fairly boring one as well, I might add.

I think you might have an ego problem there, Albion.

You also wrote:
Quote:See Dave, God isn't pissed off LIKE YOU ARE.

How do you know that? Did God tell you he never gets angry? Again, what Bible are you reading? Have you never read,
Quote:The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.Psalm 11:5
God hates the wicked.
Quote:God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalm 7:11 Don't tell me God is not angry!

I am not usually angry, but when I see a professing Christian attacking the scriptures in a general sweeping wave of the hand, saying, "Yeah, Paul was probably an ego maniac and woman hater.", I get angry, and I believe God gets angry. I will reprove the person who says such things when it is in my power to do so, for it is an underhanded assault on the word of God and the faith of Christ. You are voicing the words of Satan when you speak such words, and I am calling you on it.

Aren't you afraid of blaspheming The Holy Spirit? It seems to me that you are coming close to that danger by your cavalier and glib words against the inspired apostle's words. I find it amazing that someone can be so non-chalant while "they despise authority, and revile excellency." Jude 1:8

And please do not plead that you believe in the love of God, God is Love, merciful, etc. You say you believe in everlasting torment in Gehenna.
I am a universalist. I believe all souls will ultimately receive life eternal. That does not mean there is no hell of timeless torments. It simply means that God's love is all powerful and victorious over all evil and sin. He will change us by His own will and word, by His eternal blood and Spirit of Holiness, when He chooses.
If you do not believe that, don't boast to me about how great God's love is.

The only way for any to be right in God's sight is to repent of sin, turn from it and receive God's forgiveness. That will never change.

Repent and be forgiven.

I have come across those who think that the Holy Scriptures are just "Paul's Writings" or just mans thoughts put on paper....

But when we look at the Holy Scriptures as less than God/The Holy Spirit's words and wisdom to us, we are walking in error.

And so I admonish that we take this Scripture to heart:

...???take pains that you shall be found without spot and without defect before Him in peace. And you shall consider that the patience of The Spirit of YHVH is salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom that was given to him; Just as in all of his letters he spoke about these things, in which are things difficult for the intellect, which those who are without teaching and unstable, pervert, as also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, as you have known beforehand, guard your souls, lest you go after the deception of those who are without The Law and you fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of Our Lord and Our Savior, Yeshua The Messiah, and of God The Father, to whom the glory is now and always, even to the days of eternity. Amen."

First, I want EVERYONE here to see how quick you were to go on the attack against for me saying:

"I also believe that perhaps Paul had ego problems because he kept saying "Do AS I DO".

Instead of: "Do as MESSIAH did!"

I find Paul's writings confusing at times, and I wonder if I detect some dislike of women from Paul, or if that's just my reading of someone who's writings are very difficult to understand on a good day."

You know, I remember Shimun Keepa saying that Paul's writings were difficult to understand.

You look up the verse. I'm not wasting my time by spending it feeding your negativity!

You were quick to cut shark bait with me. Like most Christians, your ready to "Shoot the wounded immediately". I used to be AMAZED by THAT, but sadly, I'm NOT anymore!!

NOW, I'm gonna go into some REALLY unpleasant areas, and pretty much no one else here is gonna tell you this (well.....second thought, I've heard some of this here before).

I don't believe that the most ancient version of the P'shitta New Testament is the Western Peshitto, and I believe that the Monophysites had changed important spiritual matters to suit THEIR OWN THEOLOGY.

As you've pointed out here many times, these changes were only a few, but IN MY OPINION, THEY DID, and STILL DO, MATTER.

I don't believe that there are ANY so-called P'shitta New Testament "CODES".

But what I DO believe is that YOU believe that YOU (Dave Bauscher) were hand picked by God to FIND AND INTREPET these so-called "codes".

And YOU CALL *ME* EGOTISTICAL! <!-- s:wow: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wow.gif" alt=":wow:" title="Wow" /><!-- s:wow: -->

I feel that you are deluded to believe in these so-called Peshitta "Codes".

Further, I believe that your fetish with these so-called "codes" brings ALL OF PESHITTA PRIMACY RESEARCH INTO POTENTIAL DISREPUTE.

Secondly, your meaness to other board members here goes back a longgggg ways, and I can immediately think of another P'shitta New Testament scholar that you single handedly drove away.

Actually he's posted here TWICE since the return of, but he left solely because of YOU, and your hard heartedness, and your cruel MOUTH (or FINGERS, as the case may be!).

How are we ever supposed to Minister to the pagans with people like YOU, being so mean, cruel, and aggressive to other board members??

Jews for Jesus in Australia has a kool e-list, to where you can ASK ANYTHING about the Scriptures that you want to, no matter how far fetched, or 'out there' the question might be.

And what about Yeshua saying "Judge not ,lest you BE JUDGED"?

How about the fact that you CLAIM to be a Minister, and you call yourself "Reverend", this implies, at LEAST TO ME, some sort of HOLY way of living. But IS THIS WHAT I SEE FROM YOU?

Far from it!

And you treat people here on the board as being beneath your level in life, and you look down your nose at them, and treat them with CONTEMPT.



Further, I believe that ANY man who is "A Minister" is called to A HIGHER STANDARD than a person who might NOT be "a Minister".

Lastly, here's a few pertinent questions for you by John Wilbur, an olden Quaker Minister:

1st. Can the Scriptures, or did they ever, save any one without the spirit?

2nd. Is a person called to the work of the ministry by the Scriptures, or by the spirit of Jesus Christ?

3rd. Is a man brought under a concern to go from one place to another to preach the gospel, by the Scriptures, or by the constraining power of the spirit and love of Jesus Christ?

4th. And when he is arrived at the place assigned, and is assembled with the people, is it not the spirit of Christ that truly unfolds the Scriptures, and brings to view the state of men, either in the words of Scripture, or in some other suitable language?

5th. And when a professed minister preaches in any of our meetings, his doctrines not being repugnant to the letter of the Scriptures, are the elders or others to judge by the Scriptures, or by the Spirit of Truth, whether his ministry is from the right spring or not?

Now, I'm DONE with you, just as I am with "Dawid".

Your own my "ignore list" from now on, and I think that your cruelty is completely out of place on this list.

'Third Woe', you too are entitled to your view, but I really said NOTHING that you seem to think that I did.

I would ask you to read ALL of my posts here, and to NOT judge me for one post, but try to balance it with the rest of my posts, and then re-ask your question. Or re-make your statement.

I NEVER said that Paul is NOT an Apostle of Yeshua, or that his writings should NOT be read in conjunction with the rest of the New Covenant.

My statement about Paul above was a sincere question, not mean't in any way to accuse Paul of NOT being a sincere follower of Yeshua.

There should be a Messianic Way to Live, in my opinion.

WE DON'T SHOOT OUR OWN WOUNDED. Is THAT so strange, or so hard to DO?


Shlama, Albion

1Co 5:12
Quote:For what business have I to judge them who are without? But those within the body, judge ye,
Do you understand that verse which Paul wrote?

If you want to make this a controversy about me attacking you, you can continue to live in your little "poor me" bubble. The fact is that you have attacked the Apostle Paul's character, and, by inuendo, all of his writings, by stating that "he probably had an ego problem" and "may not have liked women". It seems to be more of an issue for you that I have attacked your character by my defense of Paul and the New Testament. Are you really so blind as to think your reputation is more important than that of Paul's and the New Testament?

The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to judge those within the body.You profess to be within the body of Christ, so that is not off bounds. Obviously, you don't think so either, so don't think you can get off by quoting "Judge not.", which is the one verse practically every unbeliever knows how to quote.

Be a man, for Christ's sake. Admit you at least mis-spoke and falsely impugned the Apostle who wrote The most of The Eastern Peshitta and is the one man primarily used by God to bring the Good News to the gentile world and record the new covenant scriptures.

You may rebuke me all you like; just make sure you move on from Matthew 7:1 to make your case, for you have surely judged me as much as I have judged you. My charges against you have been specific and you have not addressed them directly. You have mis-characterized them and counter charged that I am cruel, egotistical, and whatever else, I don't remember; I'm sure it seems that way to you because you have been wounded and think that love would never hurt someone else. That is simply false, and you betray your ignorance of scripture by that notion. I don't know how many children you have raised and I am sure you have never pastored a church, but anyone who has knows that love sometimes seems cruel in its kindness.
Pr 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.Pr 27:5 ??
Better is a rebuke that is open, than love carefully concealed. Proverbs 27:5

I have rebuked you in the name and love of Jesus, Albion, as a brother, not as an enemy, and I rebuke you still for slander, not against me, but against the great messenger and Apostle of God, Paul, and by implication, against his written words "Follow me as I follow The Messiah." and his words about women which you attribute to a simple dislike for women. You thereby also cast aspersions on all he ever wrote, in so doing, and set yourself as a judge over him and against the entire church which receives his every written word as God breathed scripture.

Do you not see what I am saying, Akhi, Albion?

Have I become an enemy to you, by preaching to you the truth?Ga 4:16

I pray it is not so.

If you did not mean what you wrote then you need to say so and correct it. You certainly wrote more than "I don't understand Paul." You made demeaning allegations against him. I and every New Covenant believer is necessarily outraged and offended by such allegations, and you should be ashamed for making them, even if they were questions in your mind, and especially if they were mere questions, since you put them out there as calling into doubt his character and written words.

Yours for the unity of the Body of The Messiah,

Interesting, first Bauscher changed his whole post DELETING his remark about being "a Universalist".

In fact, his ORIGINAL POST is GONE.

Was Yeshua "a Universalist"???

How many times did He warn us about gehenna?

If EVERYONE was to be saved, would Yeshua have spoken so MANY TIMES about gehenna?

Was Yeshua a Believer in the Father's Love, and Compassion, or not?

Did He not speak about feeding Him when He was hungry, clothing Him when He was naked, visiting Him when He was in prison, taking care of and ministering to Him when He was sick?

What was the Master's come back to the question "when did we not do all of these things to You?" (MY PARAPHRASE).


Christianity, or The Way, or The Way To Walk in Messiah's footstep's, is to LOVE and have COMPASSION even for the LEAST OF THESE Brothers of Messiah.

This calls us to long suffering and patience.

There were MANY in New Covenant times WHO COULD NOT READ at all, yet they were STILL FOLLOWERS of Messiah.

There were other's who could read but might have only heard the Good News when the Yahad gathered together, and even then, it might have been only a snippet, or a small passage of Scripture, yet they TOO could live like Messiah taught, because they LIVED IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE AND COMPASSION that He (Messiah) TAUGHT.

Because If we don't have LOVE, we are NOTHING. I believe that Paul wrote THAT, didn't he?

Shlama, Albion
Shlama Akhi Albion,

You wrote:
Quote:Interesting, first Bauscher changed his whole post DELETING his remark about being "a Universalist".

In fact, his ORIGINAL POST is GONE.
I have deleted nothing. The post remains. Perhaps you are simply in denial of my main point in stating it, which was that I certainly believe in the love of God as much as you do and more, since you believe God would abandon multitudes in Gehenna forever who have no hope of mercy or relief. I quote the last part of it here:
Quote:And please do not plead that you believe in the love of God, God is Love, merciful, etc. You say you believe in everlasting torment in Gehenna.
I am a universalist. I believe all souls will ultimately receive life eternal. That does not mean there is no hell of timeless torments. It simply means that God's love is all powerful and victorious over all evil and sin. He will change us by His own will and word, by His eternal blood and Spirit of Holiness, when He chooses.
If you do not believe that, don't boast to me about how great God's love is.

The only way for any to be right in God's sight is to repent of sin, turn from it and receive God's forgiveness. That will never change.

Repent and be forgiven.

You ask:
Quote:Was Yeshua "a Universalist"???

No, He was, is and ever shall be "The Savior of the world." He is the salvation of the world; He is the Life of the world. He is the redeemer of all men and the Lifegiver of all. He is He who seeks and saves that which is lost. He is the Resurrection and The Life. He is Divine Love and the Mercy of God.

How can you believe God is love and believe He would abandon any lost soul in the flames of Hell forever?

And you tell me
Quote:"God is not pissed off like you are, Dave?"
Obviously the God you adhere to is not pissed off like me. My anger is minimal and short lived. A God of everlasting hell fire would clearly be a bit more pissed off than I am or ever could muster.

So which is it, Albion? Is it a God of Love who periodically gets angry with us very briefly, or a god who gets angry forever with most people to the point of throwing them into everlasting fire without any hope of salvation?
You also wrote:

Because If we don't have LOVE, we are NOTHING. I believe that Paul wrote THAT, didn't he?
If God is Love, how can He forget compassion forever to countless multitudes of souls in Gehenna?

"Because If we don't have LOVE, we are NOTHING. I believe that Paul wrote THAT, didn't he?"

Yes, He certainly did. I can't imagine that God would be nothing, but He certainly would be if He were to do what you and millions of Christians believe He will do, by casting off the eternal souls of men into a Hell of tortures from which there is no deliverance forever. Even ten thousand years in Hell would be mercy compared to everlasting pain.

Don't you agree?

You'll forgive me for using my second ID here, as our Mac got hacked last Friday, and I've changed ALL user names and passwords.

God has NO intention of leaving sinners "forever" in eternal hell fire (as YOU say).

Do you know what Conditional Immortality IS?

Here's a good over view written by "a Preterist".

In NO WAY am I a Preterist, but I agree with this article.

It DOESN'T use the Peshitta New Testament to quote from, but it strongly gets across it's point.

This Biblically answers YOUR heresy of Universalism.


'The Bible Vs. The Traditional View of Hell' (PART 1)

Last Revised: September 29, 2007
by: Babu G. Ranganathan

(B.A. Bible/Biology)

*All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

copyright 1993, 1997: Babu G. Ranganathan (I use this piece under the 'Fair Use' clause that is part of the American legal system.....Albion).

The author, Babu G. Ranganathan (pronounced Ranga-nathan), has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East.

As a former Hindu converted to Christianity, having known the Lord for over thirty-five years, and being a committed Reformed Baptist, I would like to speak in defense of the conditionalist view of hell. I had believed in the traditional view of hell for most of my Christian life so I am very familiar with the various views about hell that evangelical Christians hold.

The conditionalist view is that the wicked in hell will suffer a period of terrible agony and anguish in proportion to their individual guilt and sins and then be eternally destroyed or cease to exist.

Although the wicked in hell, for a period, will suffer consciously for their individual sins, the ultimate penalty for sin itself will be their eternal death (i.e., their eternal destruction or loss of life). That, then, is their eternal punishment (i.e., their eternal loss to life and immortality). But, what about those passages in the Bible which say that the wicked will go into "eternal fire" and that in hell there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth forever and ever," and other similar passages that seem to teach eternal torment? We shall examine, in this essay, those and other passages from the Bible in the light of the context of Scripture.
Be assured, however, that the ultimate and eternal annihilation (destruction) of the wicked is supported abundantly by the Christian Scriptures. Is God's righteous wrath an end in itself or is God's righteous wrath a means to an end (that end being the eternal destruction of the wicked)? Will a thrice holy God allow sin the right to exist for eternity in His universe by sustaining and keeping sinners alive eternally and burning in hell? Is eternal torment the only way God can satisfy His eternal justice?
Is the ultimate penalty for sin in the Bible eternal torment or is it eternal death (of both soul and body)? These and many other important questions and issues (such as how to reconcile the immutability of Christ as God with His death on the Cross) will be biblically answered in this essay. The view that the wicked will be eternally destroyed is also supported in the writings of the first and second century Christian Fathers, as well as by some prominent groups of the Protestant Reformation such as the Anabaptists, and today the conditionalist view is supported by some very prominent evangelical Christian scholars and theologians such as John R. W. Stott and Clark H. Pinnock.
Although there have been individual Christians in various denominations, and even some famous such as the great hymn writer Isaac Watts (author of "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"), who have come to believe in the conditionalist view, the only major Christian denomination today which officially incorporates this belief as part of church doctrine and creed is the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
What most people believe about hell is influenced very much by what they believe about the nature of the human soul. The ancient Greeks, Hindus, Egyptians, Babylonians, and others believed that the human soul is immortal and indestructible and, therefore, must live eternally even after the body dies and dissolves into the dust. This was because many of the ancients believed that the human soul was intrinsically divine, having the nature of deity, and so it could not die.
This philosophy of the universal immortality of the human soul was a cardinal teaching of the ancient Greeks and strongly influenced early Christian thought on the nature of the human soul. Although early Christians rejected the belief that the soul was of divine essence or deity, most eventually compromised with Greek philosophy by accepting the idea that all humans have a soul that is immortal. When early Christianity adopted this belief then it became only logical to believe that those who go to hell must suffer eternal torment.
The very early Christian Fathers, however, such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Shepherd of Hermas, Polycarp (a pupil of the Apostle John), Justin Martyr, Tatian and Irenaeus held to the belief that only those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will eventually inherit immortality and eternal life. In other words, the ultimate possession of immortality is dependent upon people satisfying God's requirement or condition of trusting in His Son Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior and, thus, that is why the term "conditional immortality" is used when talking about the subject. The earliest Christian Fathers believed that, while Christians now have absolute assurance of eternal life, the actual possession of eternal life will not be until Resurrection Day.
That is why the Apostle Paul in Scripture says that believers (Christians) "by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" (Romans 2:7). Thus Paul equates immortality with eternal life. Eternal life or immortality is a gift from God to His people through Jesus Christ; it is not something that all men possess. Even Adam and Eve did not possess immortality upon their creation. That is why there was planted a Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Scripture says in 1 Timothy 6:16 that Jesus Christ "only hath immortality ..." That is, Jesus Christ is the only human being Who now possess immortality.
But, if eternal life in Scripture means the same as immortality (as the Apostle Paul clearly teaches in Romans 2:7 and elsewhere) and Christians will only have immortality in the future, on Resurrection Day, then why did the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Gospels, use the present tense when He stated that those who believe in Him have eternal life. The answer is that sometimes in Scripture future events are expressed in the present tense for the purpose of demonstrating their certainty.
The Bible says God "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17). Thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ in Scripture says that anyone who believes in Him has (present tense) eternal life He does so in order to put His seal on the absolute certainty of the future fulfillment of the promise. Since eternal life in Scripture means the same as immortality and immortality means to live for eternity then it stands to reason that the opposite of eternal life is not eternal suffering, but, rather, eternal death (that is the eternal literal death of both soul and body). That is why Jesus said "...I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die..." (John 11:25-26). At first glance these words seem contradictory because Jesus is saying a believer may be dead and yet He is also saying that a believer will never die. Which is it? How can both be true? We have to understand that Jesus is talking about the ultimate fate of the believer. Ultimately a believer will never die (or be permanently dead) because he will be resurrected to immortality and glory on Resurrection Day. It is from this perspective that we are to understand the words of Christ in the passage here.
Understandably, then, if a human being does not possess immortality it is possible for him or her to be destroyed or cease to exist. This means that it is not necessary for the wicked to suffer eternally in hell. The Bible, in fact, over and over again says that the ungodly will be ultimately destroyed in body and soul. It is true that sometimes the word "destroyed" can be interpreted figuratively. But it is the subject of the destruction that determines whether we are to interpret the meaning as figurative or literal. For example, if one is told that a person had destroyed his life by gambling the subject of the destruction is the quality of that person's life not his biological life. But when Jesus says that God can destroy both body and soul in gehenna, or hell, (Matthew 10:28) the subject of the destruction is a man's whole being, and, thus, the destruction cannot be interpreted as merely his quality of life. Mike Naudi points out concerning the passage in Matthew 10:28 that Jesus had just finished saying to His disciples not to fear those who can destroy the body but not the soul before He said to them to fear, instead, God Who can destroy both body and soul in gehenna (hell). Naudi states that if Jesus was referring to physical destruction of the body in the first part of the passage then He must also be referring to the physical destruction of the body in the latter part of the passage. If the destruction of the body in the first instance meant the loss of life to the body then the same must be the case in the second instance. The destruction of the soul then must also mean the loss of life to the soul. This is the only biblically consistent way to interpret Matthew 10:28.
The point in Matthew 10:28 is that man can only bring earthly life to an end but the ultimate and eternal fate of a person (his soul) is solely in God's hands. God alone can ultimately and permanently destroy both body and soul in gehenna (hell fire). That is the simple teaching of Scripture. If one were to destroy, for example, a house there is no more house. There may be remnants of what was once the house, but as for the house itself it no longer exists as a house. Nor does God prescribe fire anywhere in Scripture as judicial punishment except for the purpose of total destruction.
There are those who argue that the lost who go to hell only "perish" in their spiritual usefulness to God but that their life continues. The reality is that the spiritual usefulness of the lost had perished well before they even go to hell. In a few cases in Scripture "perish" may refer just to usefulness but this is not so in most of the cases. Again, the context is the key. For example, when we say all those on a sunken ship "perished" we're certainly not just referring to mere usefulness but rather to the physical (the bios) life itself. Even those who believe in the universal immortality of the soul will not deny that the physical life of the body can actually perish. Why not, then, the life of the soul?
How then does one interpret biblical phrases such as "unquenchable fire" and other similar terms that are used in the Scriptures in referring to the destruction of the wicked? Here we must interpret Scripture with Scripture. In Isaiah 34:10, for example, God says that the nation of Edom will be destroyed with unquenchable fire and that the smoke of Edom's destruction will ascend up forever and ever. Not only will the inhabitants of Edom be destroyed with unquenchable fire, but Scripture says "Edom's streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur ... it will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever" (Isaiah 34:9-10). The Scripture says here that even the smoke of the burning streams, dust, and land will rise forever! Will anyone claim that the unquenchable fire and the smoke rising "forever" here means that Edom's streams, dust, and land will burn for eternity? If not, then why should we believe that the people (or souls) of Edom will burn for eternity because of the unquenchable fire and the smoke rising "forever". Let us be consistent!
The fact is Edom is not still burning today. We know from the passage itself, as well as from common sense, that the unquenchable fire does not mean the land of Edom will burn eternally because the verse in Isaiah 34:10 continues and says concerning Edom that "from generation to generation it (the land) shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever." The fire was unquenchable only in the sense that nothing could intervene to put out the fire before it accomplished its purpose of total destruction. Thus, the result of Edom burning in unquenchable fire is that Edom would become desolate - a wasteland. History shows that the cities and civilization of Edom were, indeed, wiped off the face of the earth. Petra, the ancient site of Edom, is today inhabited only by birds and reptiles. Bible scholars have noted in Isaiah 34 that the destruction of Edom is also used to serve as a type (or representation) of God's ultimate judgment on all nations that oppose Him. In Scripture apocalyptic and highly symbolic language (i.e. the sun turning dark and the stars from heaven falling) sometimes is used in describing major judgment and change.
Figures of speech such as "unquenchable fire" are used in the Bible to mean that the process of destruction is unstoppable or irreversible. We see the same example in other passages such as Ezekiel 20:47-48 where God says that when His judgment comes on the land even every green tree will burn in unquenchable fire. Obviously, those trees are not still burning. It is important to understand just why God uses such terms in Scripture as "unquenchable fire." In the Bible, there were some judgments of God (such as in the Old Testament) in which His wrath was quenched or stopped such as in the case when Moses interceded for the rebellious Israelites in the desert. Thus, when God says that the wicked in the end will be destroyed with unquenchable fire what He simply means is that no one and nothing will intervene to prevent Him from carrying out His wrath fully through to its completion. Over and over in the Scriptures God is described in judgment as being a consuming fire and that is true whether the judgment be of a temporal nature or an eternal nature.
Now, in the case of Edom the fire was not only unquenchanble (unstoppable) it was also eternal in its effect because the fire not only fully destroyed Edom but it also resulted in Edom never existing as a civilization again (which is signified in the symbolism of the smoke arising "forever and ever"). It is not the process of destruction that it is eternal, but, rather, the result. Similarly, in Jude 7 we read that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by eternal fire, but these cities are no longer still burning. The word "eternal" in Scripture is also used in regard to redemption and salvation. In Hebrews 9:12, for example, the Bible says that Christ obtained for His elect eternal redemption. Again, it is not the process of redemption which is eternal (no one would ever end up being redeemed or saved if the process of redemption were eternal), but, rather, it is the result of Christ's redemptive work which is eternal. Other phrases in Scripture using the word "eternal" such as eternal judgment, eternal punishment, eternal damnation, also refer to the result and not to the process. It is not the punishing that is eternal but rather the punishment. It is not the destroying that is eternal but rather the destruction. It is not the dying that is eternal but rather the death. Similarly, in the phrase "eternal judgement" it is not the judging (the process) that is eternal but rather the judgment (the result) which is eternal, or otherwise God would never finish judging. What kind of Judge would God be if the process of judging were eternal and never completed?
Unlike the burning bush in Exodus that Moses observed was not consumed by the fire but was preserved by God, the Scriptures teach that God, in the end, will not preserve the wicked in the fire of hell but instead will completely consume and destroy them!
What about Revelation 14:9-11 where it says: "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night"? Doesn't this passage in Scripture prove eternal torment? No. We also read in Isaiah 34:10 that while Edom was burning day and night the smoke of the city would ascend up forever and ever. Does that mean that Edom would never stop burning? Of course, not! The language simply signifies that the burning of Edom will ultimately end in permanent (or irrevocable and eternal) destruction. We know that Edom doesn't exist anymore. Similarly, we are to understand the same from the passage in Revelation 14:9-11. The smoke of their torment arising "forever and ever" in the passage does not mean that the torment of the wicked will never end. The language simply signifies that the torment of the wicked will lead to their permanent (or irrevocable and eternal) destruction. During the process of their destruction the wicked will be tormented but that process will ultimately end in their eternal annihilation, which is what is signified by the use of the figure of smoke arising "forever and ever". This is the only interpretation of Revelation 14:9-11 that would be consistent with how the rest of Scripture uses such language and with what the rest of the Scriptures teach concerning the final and ultimate end of the wicked.
The example, however, that indisputably settles the issue is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude 7 says that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah "are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." The word "example" in the verse comes from the original Greek New Testament word "deigma," and wherever any form of this Greek word is used in the New Testament it means an example that is visible to the eye. Now in what way were Sodom and Gomorrah an example of destruction by eternal fire? They were an example in the fact that these cities suffered total destruction (annihilation) and they also suffered irrevocable destruction because they would never exist as cities again. One may argue that the souls of Sodom and Gomorrah are burning forever in hell now, but if that were the case then Scripture cannot use the destruction of these cities as a visible example of judgment by eternal fire, since that is not something that one can observe. When one gives an example of something to another it must be by its very nature visible or observable. After all, the purpose of the example was for living humanity on earth to see what judgment by eternal fire means. Besides, the belief that the souls of the wicked will burn forever in hell is based on the unbiblical assumption that their souls are immortal or indestructible.
But, how can the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah be eternal or irrevocable when Scripture says elsewhere that the individuals who perished in Sodom and Gomorrah will be resurrected in the last day to face final judgment? It is true the Scripture teaches that the individuals who perished in Sodom and Gomorrah will be resurrected on the last day to face judgment. On the last day (judgment day) the individuals of Sodom and Gomorrah will suffer conscious punishment in proportion to their guilt and then be cast into eternal fire where they will be eternally or irrevocably destroyed as individuals just as they suffered eternal and irrevocable destruction as cities (or organized socities). It is the eternal or irrevocable destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as organized societies (cities) that serves as an example of what will happen to the wicked as individuals on judgment day. That is the point of Jude 7.
Doesn't Ezekiel 16:53 teach that Sodom would be re-built someday? No. Bible expositor Matthew Henry says concerning this verse: "some think that what is said of the return of Sodom and Samaria (v. 53, 55), and of Jerusalem with them, is a promise; it may be understood so, if by Sodom we understand (as Grotius and some of the Jewish writers do) the Moabites and Ammonites, the posterity of Lot, who once dwelt in Sodom; their captivity was returned (Jer. 48:47; 49:6), as was that of many of the ten tribes, and Judah???s with them." This interpretation must be the case since Jude 7 clearly teaches of Sodom's irrevocable destruction as a city. Sometimes in Scripture, "Sodom" as well as the names of some other ancient cities are used figuratively to describe those who rebel against God. Jerusalem, because of its rejection of Christ, is referred to as "Sodom" in Revelation 11:28 (the verse describes "Sodom" as the city where the Lord (Christ) was murdered or slain which, of course, is Jerusalem).
Even the words "forever" and "everlasting" in Scripture can have different meanings. In Scripture the word "forever" or "everlasting" does not always mean endless or eternal duration. The word "forever" or "everlasting" in Scripture means the entire length or duration of the nature of something. If the nature of something is immortal then the word "forever" must mean eternity but if the nature of a something is only temporal then the word "forever" cannot mean eternity. For example, we read in Exodus 21:6 that certain servants were to serve their masters forever. Certainly this cannot mean for eternity! Instead, it must mean the entire life spans of the servants. In some passages of Scripture the word for "everlasting" or "forever" in the original language has been translated as "long" or "old" by Bible translators. This is true not only for the King James Version but also for other versions of the Bible. Therefore, since the words "forever" and "everlasting" in Scrpture can mean either eternity or the entire temporal length, duration, or age of a thing our only way of determining which meaning applies is by studying the context of Scripture.
Another example is in Jude 6 we read the angels "which kept not their first estate are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." As John L. Bray says, "How long does the word 'everlasting' represent here? Only 'unto' ( or until) the time of their judgment at the great day. They were to be cast ultimately into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41) which fire is 'everlasting' ('aionios' --pertaining in this case to that age to come). The everlasting chains pertained to one age, while the everlasting fire pertained to another age." Since the wicked in hell will not be immortal and the Scripture says that they will ultimately be destroyed, then their conscious suffering cannot be eternal. Their conscious suffering (which precedes their eternal destruction) is "forever" only in the sense that they will suffer for their individual sins for the entire duration or period of this phase of judgment after which they will suffer eternal destruction (or death) which is the ultimate penalty for sin itself.
What about the phrase "forever and ever" in Scripture? The same principle applies here. The reason for why the word "ever" is used a second time in the phrase is for the purpose of emphasis. This is common in Biblical language such as when Christ, in the Gospels, frequently uses the phrase, "Verily, verily I say unto you..." The second use of the word "verily" in the phrase is strictly for emphasis. The second use of these words does not, in any way, add to the meaning or length of the first "verily" or the first "forever" in the phrases.
Even the Devil (Satan) will be eternally annihilated or destroyed. We read a description of Satan's ultimate eternal annihilation or destruction in Ezekiel 28:14-19. Although this passage is immediately addressed to the ancient King of Tyre (verse 11), it is clear from the context of the passage that God is speaking to Satan (the evil spirit behind the King of Tyre) because the descriptions given cannot fit that of any human being or human king. In fact, the passage says that the Devil will be "no more" (verse 19). Is there any stronger language for annihilation or destruction?
Regarding now the justice of God we must acknowledge that God is absolutely sovereign. God can satisfy His eternal holiness and justice in whatever way He pleases. God's holy and righteous wrath is not an end in itself, but rather God's holy and righteous wrath is a means to an end - that end being the total destruction of both sin and sinner. It is in this way that God's eternal justice is glorified. A righteous and holy God will not allow both sin and sinner to exist for eternity. According to Ephesians 1: 9- 1 1 God's ultimate purpose is a universe which is in total harmony with His moral character and nature, and when this happens God will be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). But how can this be if those in gehenna (the Lake of Fire) continue for eternity in conscious sin and rebellion against God? In addition, we must ever keep in mind that although God is just He is not cruel. If eternal conscious torment of the wicked is not necessary to satisfy God's eternal justice then to inflict such conscious torment for eternity upon all the unsaved whether young or old would be a great form of cruelty and torture. Such cruelty and torture are characteristics of the pagan gods towards their enemies. The lovely and beautiful character of the true God must not be marred by unbiblical and corrupt notions of hell. Far from God's glory being diminished, the Biblical truth and doctrine of eternal annihilation of the wicked supremely glorifies God's eternal justice in the eternal destruction of both sin and sinner. The fact that God does not punish beyond what is necessary also greatly glorifies His lovely character in the administration of His eternal justice. Glory be to God! Again, I say, Glory be to God!
But, if all men are created in the image of God does it not then follow that all men must be as immortal as God? Being created in the image of God does not necessarily mean we must possess anything and everything that God possess. God is all powerful is He not? Does that then mean man must also be all powerful because man is created in God's image? Theologians refer to the attributes of God as communicable (that which can be transferred to the creature) and incommunicable (that which cannot be transferred to the creature). But, even this does not mean that all of God's communicable attributes must be communicated or transferred to those created in His image. The Bible is clear that immortality (an attribute of God) is communicable but will not be communicated (given) to humans except on Resurrection Day and then only to those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The fact is it is precisely because man is created in God's divine image and because God infinitely repects His image that He will not all allow sinful man to bear that image for eternity. God will not allow those whom He created in His image to exist for eternity in sin for that would just be a mockery of His image!
We must base our views of hell and the after life on what the Bible teaches, not on tradition or mere human philosophies and opinions. We must not impose our philosophy of what God ought to be upon Holy Scripture! Not many people realize the fact that in the New Testament there are different Greek words for the word "hell." But unfortunately the English Bible translates these different words for hell as one word, and this has been a cause of much confusion for those who wish to study the subject. The New Testament Greek words for hell are "hades" and "gehenna" and they both have different meanings. Hades means the unseen world of the dead and is only a temporary abode. It has nothing to do with punishment or reward. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word "sheol" in the Old Testament in its meaning. Gehenna, on the other hand, is the abode of punishment for the wicked.

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 has often been used by many Christians, especially preachers, as a depiction of the punishment that the wicked will suffer in hell. But this is not the case. In the first place when Jesus refers to the Rich Man being in torment in the flame of hell the Greek word for "hell" in the passage is not "gehenna" (the place of final and eternal punishment), but rather it is the Greek word "hades" (which in Scripture is the temporary abode of the dead).

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, like the other series of parables before it, was used of the Lord to illustrate or depict the end of the rule of the pharisees and to depict the end of the Jewish Era and dispensation (as represented by the Rich Man being in torment) and it was also used of the Lord to depict or illustrate the elevation of Gentile Christendom (as represented by Lazarus). Actually, Lazarus represented the poor Jews of Jesus' time who were ignored by the self-righteous religious leaders of Israel and he also represented the gentiles who, although rejected by the Jewish leaders, would nevertheless be accepted into the bosom of Abraham through their new found faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The religious leaders of Israel had lived only for themselves and ignored the spiritual needs of the spiritually sick and starving people around them.

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