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Showing posts from May 16, 2010

Offense or Abhorrance

Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)
Something jumped out at me this morning that really got my attention. I have noticed previously that the chapter of Mark 9 where this verse is quoted has a lot to do with Jesus' teachings about offense. That subject itself has come to my attention in a very intense way over the past few months and I am now seeing that it is one of the central issues that all of us have to deal with on a regular basis. To find it showing up in close relation to these verses under consideration was in my mind rather significant. (See the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere)
But as I came back to this verse again this morning I suddenly realized that this word abhorrence could seem to be very close to the idea of offense. However, given that offense as used at least in the New Testame…

Judgment, Fire and Sword

For the LORD will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by the LORD will be many. (Isaiah 66:16) Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)
What brought me to this study in the first place was a request to take a closer look at these phrases concerning a worm that will not die and fire that will not be quenched. In doing so I was compelled to carefully consider the context, first of all of the surrounding passages and equally important the truths about God that are revealed in the rest of Scripture as a backdrop.
There is great confusion among Christians as well as non-Christians as to how God feels about sinners and how He relates to them, particularly in judgment. Most people have a sense of what they think is justice, of fairness, of morality and they feel that there are certai…

Glory and Judgment

For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. (Isaiah 66:18)
I am rather certain that I could continue to discover more and more strong links between the two chapters I am looking at that were initially connected by the quotations of Jesus near the end of Mark 9. As I sat and meditated on both of them again this morning I saw yet another compelling detail that reminded me of the multiplicity of the function of prophecies. In fact, there is a rather consistent pattern of many prophecies generally being indicative of at least three main applications, and many times those three or more applications involve the life of Jesus as one of them.
In this case I can see that the above verse could easily be focused on three main times in history in relation to the great war between Christ and Satan. The first of these particular three could have been the events that are reported in Mark 9 where Jesus stated at …

Goals and Plans

I have been thinking a little today about this issue of goals and the discomfort that I often feel during discussions of this subject. Somehow it seems very logical and even effective to have goals and to move toward achieving those goals. Examples of the success of this abound everywhere and make for very inspiring stories that fill thousands of books and magazines.
Yet something inside of me finds a tension, a conflict of interest of sorts, between setting goals for myself and what I have been taught about living a life of simple submission to the will of God as He unfolds it to me each day. It seems that these two concepts are in constant competition and at times seem maybe even mutually exclusive. Though there seem to be compelling reasons to believe the arguments put forward from both sides of this subject, it still does not feel resolved inside of me that the two can be reconciled into the same life.
But I remain open to continued growth of perception and wonder if it is just a pr…

Fire and Salt

For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. (Mark 9:49-50 KJV)
In my study of this chapter to better understand worms and fire, I find it quite compelling to see how these last two verses of Jesus' teachings add light to our understanding of what this may all be about.
The traditional views of hell simply do not fit well at all into these verses, and there is good reason for that. The popular views of God and His attitude and treatment of sinners is so screwed up that it doesn't fit well with many of the Scriptures revealing the truth about God. Most of the terms and words and phrases from the Bible have been so perverted and distorted that it becomes nearly impossible for a person to grasp the real meaning of Scripture until they first allow the Spirit of God to use the Bible itself as its own in…

Intent on Believing What?

They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. (Mark 9:10)
I continue my probing through the larger context of Mark 9 to understand better the words of Jesus and why He quoted the last verse of Isaiah about worms and fire. The more I expand my search the more fascinating are the results that keep showing up.
One of the biggest problems that we all have is our bent toward wanting to believe what we have always been taught to believe instead of allowing God to explain Himself and His ways to us that often contradict our cherished beliefs. We become so certain that our systematic theology, our set of doctrines, our established denomination or religion is the only possible way to know 'truth' that we become extremely resistant to being open to anything that challenges those beliefs. We view with great suspicion at best, anything that disturbs the status quo, the way we have been brought up to think, and as a result we remain locked in p…

What is Hell?

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43)
This is certainly one of the verses that is commonly used to support the popular notions about God (or the devil) burning people and torturing them in hell for all of eternity because they failed to align themselves properly with the offers of God for salvation in this life. There are all kinds of versions of this popular theology, but pretty much all of them have one thing in common – they all paint God as a severe deity waiting to inflict unspeakable horrors and pain as punishment against anyone refusing to love or obey Him.
The idea that has taken hold in this world across many religions that God is a sadistic, two-faced being who on one hand is longing to love and accept His children into a heaven of bliss but equally ready to consign lost sinners to a fate of eternal torture. This is one of the most diabol…