The Epicureans and the Stoics took (G1949) Paul and brought (G71) him to the Areopagus (Acts 17:19), which could be thought of as arresting him, for it is the same Greek word used in Acts 16:19 when the owners of the slave girl arrested (took) Paul and Silas and brought them to the magistrates. However, this same word is also used of Barnabas in Acts 9:27 when he took Paul to the apostles. Therefore, we need to be sensitive to the context for the meaning of Paul’s appearance before the Areopagus, for it was a council that judged matters concerning foreign cults, education and public morality. The philosophers’ desire to know about the strange things (Acts 17:19-20) of which Paul spoke in the agora or marketplace, and the fact that there was no flogging or sentencing would argue for an informal inquiry rather than a hostile inquisition. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Judgment
This blog has had some major revisions made to it on March 9, 2011.
In a previous blog I wrote of the “Abomination of Desolation” and showed how it had more to do with what the High Priests had done against God than with what Antiochus Epiphanes had done in the Temple. The matter of the abomination of desolation did not reflect the act of a foreign king or ‘strong man’ but the condition of the people of God. The Jews wholeheartedly deserted their God and his way. It was a matter of their desiring to be more like those around them than obeying or honoring God. They were led away, not by a foreign despot, but by one of their own, a betrayer or son of perdition—the High Priest. They placed their confidence in him, rather than remaining faithful to God. Read the rest of this entry »
This blog has been slightly revised on March 9, 2011.
It is difficult to even think of the last days before Christ’s second coming without thinking of an end time strong man, called the beast. Some scholars believe the Bible claims this leader will befriend the nation of Israel and later betray them. He is then supposed to sacrifice some unclean thing or erect an idol in their newly built Temple. Such a sacrifice or idol is referred to as the abomination of desolation. This theology, however, has no Biblical foundation! Unfortunately, much of what is understood as legitimate Christianity has bought into this destructive doctrine. It is a doctrine that has evoked a great deal of fear from the people of God, but the greater tragedy is it takes the emphasis off Christ. Read the rest of this entry »
The love of God never seems darker or more absent than when we consider God destroying his enemies who are the unrepentant sinners of this world. The fact of the matter is, this doctrine teaches God fails in the end to save some people. In other words, some will defy him so much that God is finally unable to save them. The popular teaching is, it is not God who fails, but man fails to respond to the salvation that is freely given him by God. At the end of the day, however, God is unable to do that which he had always wanted to do (2Peter 2:9; 1Timothy 2:4). Some men’s evil is simply too great and prevents God from finally reaching all the hearts he sent his Son to save. Is this true? Does this teaching accurately portray what God says in his word? Read the rest of this entry »
It can be argued that the wrath of God is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 14:10; Revelation 21:8). However, is the Lake of Fire an ever-burning place of punishment that has been reserved by God to punish the wicked, or does it represent a time of temporary punishment whereby the wicked will be separated from their sins and embrace God, whom they have rejected all their lives? Remembering that Revelation is apocalyptic (symbolic) literature, let’s look at it now to see how God plans to use the Lake of Fire. There isn’t much of a description of it in Revelation. We know that the beast and false prophet were cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20); the devil will be cast into it (Revelation 20:10); death and hell (the grave) are cast into it, and it is called the second death in Revelation 20:14. Finally, after the resurrection of the just and unjust (Matthew 25) or the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-13) all who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). That’s it! If we wish to know more about this mysterious Lake of Fire in which God can cast death and the grave, which are not things one could actually look upon and take up in one’s hands, one must look elsewhere in God’s word, comparing Scripture with Scripture to find additional truth. Read the rest of this entry »
The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus bears certain elements that seem to indicate at least part of the story did not come from Jesus. I do not mean to say that Jesus never spoke this story. I believe he spoke every word and every word is true. Nevertheless, if we take Luke 16:18-31 to indicate what happens after our physical death, the story would contradict what we find in the rest of the word of God concerning death. I have read several teachings that testify Jesus was quoting from or derived much of the content of this story from rabbinical literature [Notes from the Companion Bible, The Bullinger Publications Trust; The Bible Background Commentary by Craig Keener, Intervarsity Press; The New Jerome Bible Commentary, page 708, paragraph 151, Prentice Hall.] and formed the story in the manner the rabbis formed theirs. For example, this is the only story that Jesus names one of the characters. The rabbis often named one or more characters in their stories, but they named the more noble men. Jesus did the opposite by naming the poor man. While I cannot endorse every teaching in rabbinical literature, I do believe Jesus was using parts of rabbinic teaching to silence his enemies. Jesus changed enough in the rabbinical story to bring out a great spiritual truth that cannot be understood without appreciating the cross. The truth of what Jesus says here is very much misunderstood today. This will become clearer as we go along, but let me say that Jesus is not speaking of literal death or the literal punishment of the wicked after their lives on this earth is over. Read the rest of this entry »
It is Christ who executes the wrath of God (Revelation 6:16-17; 19:15), and when he does, something occurs in the hearts of the gentile governments that causes them to be angry when the rule of the whole world is turned over to our Lord (Revelation 11:18; 19:15). This is a spiritual matter, and the anger of the nations becomes focused upon God’s people (Luke 21:23; cp. Revelation 12:14-17). This could mean Christians or Jews or both. John the Baptist claimed God’s wrath was about to come at that time in the 1st century CE (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7), and that men should not trust in their own righteousness or the flesh to save them from it. Absolutely no one is able to stand before Christ (Revelation 6:17). Jesus warned about the wrath that was coming upon the Jews (Luke 21:23). The parable of the vineyard concerned Jerusalem being given over to the gentiles (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19). The vine was cast into the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God (Revelation 14:19). Jerusalem, who is that great city and is spiritually called Babylon the Great (Revelation 16:19; 17:16; Revelation 11:8; cp. 2Thessalonians 1:8-9), received the fierceness of the wrath of God in 70 C.E. Josephus shows how their entire society broke down in that the lawful institutions intended for the protection of the innocent were no longer in use. Anarchy ruled the day. Nevertheless, the instruments of God’s judgment (wrath) upon the Jews shall be judged in their own time (Revelation 6:10; 19:15; Romans 3:5-6). Read the rest of this entry »
Is everlasting punishment never ending? In Matthew 25:31 and following one will find the Judgment of the Just and the Unjust. When I consider those who have not come to Christ in repentance and never received him as Savior, I must ask: “If their reward is everlasting punishment, does this really mean never ending punishment?”
…’Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41 NIV)
Matthew 25:41 says: “…depart you cursed from me into everlasting fire…” The word translated ‘eternal’ is aionios (G166) and fire is pur (G4442). Both are used in Jude 1:7 for ‘eternal fire’ which was the judgment of Sodom and Gomorra (KJV). The question is this: Is this fire still burning in Sodom? Of course not, and since it is not burning yet today, then the term aionios fire cannot mean eternal in the same sense that we understand the word to mean in English. If this is so with this Scripture, how can we be so certain that those who are to be punished with eternal fire in Matthew 25:41 are punished eternally? Read the rest of this entry »