THE SEVEN WONDERS OF HELL
A Sermon by: John Hagee
A Critique by: L. Ray Smith
Dear Mr. Hagee
While browsing the channels, I happened onto your Jerusalem broadcast on TBN. Shortly thereafter I heard your sermon on "Hell." In Jerusalem you said God inspired His Word in the Greek language because, "Greek is the most exact language on the face of the earth!" Therein lies the difficulty with your sermons.
God's Word does not contradict. It makes sense in the words God chose. Christ warns against "adding to" or "taking away from" this Word (Rev. 22:18-19). When teaching God's Word we are to rightly divide (or cut) His Word (II Tim. 2:15-18). We are to " ... distinguish the things that differ" (Phil. 1:10). We are to have a pattern of sound words (II Tim. 1:13-14). In addition to these we are to shun the traditions of men (Col. 2:8) and the wisdom of this world (I Cor. 1:20 & 3:19). It is a rare teacher who actually does these things.
What prompted this letter was your statement that: "Greek is the most exact language on the face of the earth," followed by the statement that Christ is going to reign "for ever and for ever and for ever ... " In the English, this statement is contradictory and redundant, and in the Greek it has no equivalent. If "for ever" means "always" or "eternity," what pray does "and for ever" mean? Is that something like whiter than white? It is not I who find fault with that statement, but God.
Your statement is both untrue and unscriptural. If your statement that Christ will reign "for ever and for ever and for ever ... " were confined to Christ's reigning only, it would not be as harmful as when applied to other false doctrines that are taught to last "for ever and for ever and for ever." Specifically, I make reference to your teaching on "hell" (Gk. hades-the unseen or imperceptible), which you teach is a place of eternal torment.
EONS OR FOREVER
The King James does say in Rev. 11:15 that Christ will reign "for ever and ever." However, when you add the 3rd "and for ever," it becomes unscriptural. Furthermore, as the Authorized Version of Rev. 11:15 is an unfortunate and misleading translation, the phrase "for ever and ever" is also unscriptural. Remember, Greek is a very exact language, but King James is a very inexact translation. Here's what God's "exact" Word says regarding this matter.
It never ceases to amaze me that words (most words in most languages) have fairly precise and restricted meanings until these same words are used in religion, where they apparently lose all logic and preciseness of meaning.
First of all, the Greek in Rev. 11:15 is not "for ever and ever," but "aions of the aions." The Greek is not "and," it is "of." It's in the genitive. Check this out for yourself. "Of" contrasts one thing with another. It does not "add" one thing to another. This is a big difference. Rev. 11:15, "aion" is in the plural, "aions." Now if you insist that "aion" means "for ever" or "eternal," how is it possible to have a plurality of "eternities?" Let me suggest, Mr. Hagee, that that question mark is larger than it appears on this page.
This alone proves that "aion" cannot be translated "eternal." There can be no plurality of eternity. Whatever "aion" means, it cannot mean "eternal."
"Eon" is the closest English equivalent to the Greek word "aion." Age is close, but has no adjective form, as eon does (eonian).
The Greek Scriptures tell us that Christ will reign "for the eons of the eons" or "the ages of the ages." Not "for the eons of the eons of the eons" as your statement suggests. "For the eons of the eons" makes simple and exact sense, and is in harmony with other Scriptures. "For ever and ever" contradicts dozens of other Scriptures, as we will see. The truth is, "for ever and ever" is a contradiction by itself. Both language and logic forbid duplication of anything infinite. There is no such thing as "several eternities" or "multiple for evers" or "numerous everlastings."
In Rev. 11:15 both "eons" are in the PLURAL. So if someone insists that an "aion" means "for ever" or "eternity," then "aions" would be "for evers" or "eternities." Hence it would have to be translated "for evers of evers" or "for eternities of eternities." What sense is there in such contradictory phrases?
And notice please, the Greek is "aions of the aions" not "aions after the aions" or "aions upon the aions." Could it be that there is an "exactness" and purity here that the clergy are failing to teach?
So how are we to understand the Scripture that says Christ will "reign for the eons of the eons?" It's quite simple.
Christ "reigns for the eons of the eons" because He reigns for only two eons out of all the other eons. He will reign for the next two eons. That is, He will reign for the thousand years (the next eon) and He reigns during the New Heaven and the New Earth, the eon after that.
Christ reigns over these two eons because Rev. 15:3 plainly tells us that He is "King of the eons." Except the King James Version, that is. The King James has it "King of saints." The "exact" Greek word in this verse is "eons," not "saints" or "nations." The Greek word for "saints" is agion not aions.
I will prove that both of these eons, over which Christ will reign, have beginnings and have ends, which excludes any possibility that they last "for ever."
See its simplicity: There was a time before God made any eons (I Cor. 2:7). Then God made the eons (Heb. 1:2). There were eons in the past (Col 1:26). We are living in this present wicked eon (Gal. 1:4). Satan is the god of this eon (II Cor. 4:4). Christ, not Satan, will reign a thousand years in the next eon (Lk 1:33). The thousand years will come to an end (Rev. 20:3). Christ will reign in the eon that follows the thousand years (Rev. 22:5 and Lk. 1:33). Hence, He reigns for the "eons" (the next two) "of the eons" (all others).
Then the last eon comes to an end (I Cor. 10:11). Christ ceases to reign after the eons come to an end (I Cor. 15:24:28) because He turns over the Kingdom to God His Father and God becomes "all in all." The eons end, but that which is of the Kingdom continues (Lk 1:33 & Isa. 9:7). We all continue "living" after the eons because, just like God, we will then all have been given immortality.
But Mr. Hagee, we insult Christ to contend that He reigns for ever. If that were true, then He would never accomplish His mission of " ... placing all His enemies under His feet" (I Cor. 15:25). That's why the Scriptures plainly tell us that He reigns until that is accomplished.
There is not one word in either the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures that can be properly translated "forever" or "eternity," or any other word meaning "endless" time. Some might suggest that a verse such as Rom. 16:26-- " ... the everlasting [Greek: 'aionian'] God" proves that aionian is eternal. It does not. Paul isn't trying to tell us here that God lives "for ever." The Scriptures have long ago told us that God's life has no end (Psalm 102:27). Paul is telling us that God is not off in a corner somewhere unconcerned with mankind, but that He is " ... the eonian God." That is, He is God of the eons in which we live (Rev. 15:8). This does not say God ceases to exist at the end of the eons any more than Christ ceases to exist after He is no longer "King of the eons (Rev. 5:3)."
When there are no more eons, Christ ceases to be the King of the eons (I Cor. 15:24). He certainly doesn't cease to exist. When the eons end (and they all will), then God will be the same God He has always been. It's just that there will be no more eons or ages. Consider: the Scriptures tell us that God is "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Would we deduce from this that God is not the God of Noah, King David, the Apostles, or even you or me?
It is silly to suggest that a simple statement of fact limits either God or Christ to that fact.
" ... Christ liveth in me ... " (Gal. 2:20).
Does this prove that Christ lives in no one else?
"As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth" (II Sam. 14:11).
So when this person eventually died, did God then die?
"And I saw thrones ... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4).
Would anyone suggest that at the end of the thousand years the subjects of this prophecy all died?
"Immortality" likewise does not mean by definition, "eternity." The Greek word is athanasa and means UN-DEATH (or deathlessness). Of course, contrary to popular Christian teaching,
"He is King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality ... " (I Tim. 6:16).
We must be given immortality (I Cor. 15:53-54). Believers are promised "eonian life" so they are given "immortality," which sees them through and beyond eonian life. Unbelievers are NOT given "eonian life" or "immortality" at the same time we are given it. Hence they can die in the second death. However, after the eons end, they too, (all unsaved from Adam on) are "vivified" [Greek: zoopoieo] (LIVE-DO)--given life beyond the reach of death. This confers immortality (Jn 5:21-22, Rom. 4:17, I Tim. 6:13). Read I Cor. 15:22-28.
"For even as in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all (this is the same "all" used both times) be vivified." There is a "class" or "order" to the vivification of all. First Christ, Second those who are Christ's in His presence, Third the consummation. Christ reigns only until He nullifies all sovereignty and all authority and power, and has placed all enemies under His feet. The last enemy being abolished is death. Then Christ Himself gives up the kingdom to His Father and becomes subject to His Father and God becomes " ... All in All."
It's just like most other basic truths of Scripture: they don't fit into Christian theology.
The doctrine of immortality is essential. We "live" during the eons not because God promised us "eternal life," but because He gives us "immortality." That's how we live during the eons and after the eons. Those made immortal are never again subject to death.
Obviously, the Satanic teaching that God Almighty (full of mercy, love and grace) will torture anyone endlessly (let alone the vast majority of humanity), is nowhere taught or even hinted at anywhere in Scripture.
I am not just saying that, in my opinion, "aion" should not be translated "eternal." I am saying "aion" cannot be translated "eternal"! One cannot translate the Hebrew word for "white" [laban], or the Greek word for "white" [leukos] into the English word "black." It defies all laws of language and logic. A word that means an "age" or "eon" (one as short as just one thousand years-the next eon) cannot possibly also mean "eternity."
Suppose you were to read a book translated from Greek to English about a boy who had a pet elephant that he kept in his pocket. You would immediately know that something must have been lost in the translation. An elephant won't fit in a boy's pocket, it's not possible. Now suppose you check the original Greek version of this book and you find that the Greek word translated "elephant" is really the Greek word for "mouse." Problem solved!
And just as an elephant won't fit into a boy's pocket, neither will "eternity" fit into an eon (or age). An elephant may be only a thousand times bigger than a mouse, but eternity is infinitely bigger than an eon! Furthermore, by definition "mouse" doesn't mean "elephant;" and neither does "eon" mean "eternity."
I prepared a chart below to show key verses on the aions. The Greek word "aion" is here translated properly and consistently by two different translations. Notice carefully the categories these verses fall into: BEFORE, MAKES, PAST, PRESENT, END, NEXT, FUTURE, CONTRASTING, AND ENDS. It is not possible to use any one of these words in conjunction with any word meaning "endless time" or "eternity."
Now try substituting the words "eternity," "forever," or "everlasting" in place of eon or age and see what happens: "before the eternities," "the present wicked eternity," "the conclusion of the everlasting," "the oncoming forevers," "the eternity of the eternities," "the consummation of the forevers." Interestingly, my computer spell-checker just told me that "eternities" and "forevers" are not in its memory and suggested "eternity" or "forever." No, I spelled them correctly, it's just that my computer knows there are no such things as "eternities" or "forevers" even if theologians and translators insist that there are.
Only a few translations render "aion" consistently. These translations are not popular, however, because they are not endorsed by mainstream clergy. Most people have never even seen these translations. What they do see are the numerous popular translations that promote error upon error. I prepared a chart of popular translations showing the extreme measures taken to pervert this simple Greek word, "aion."
" ... the eternities of the eternities ... " Now there's a strange rendering. I nonetheless give the translator credit for his stupid consistency. If aion means "eternity" then aions would mean "eternities." If someone can explain to me the meaning of "the eternities of the eternities" maybe this same man could also tell us about "hot ice," and "square circles."
So how did the translators handle a verse like Matt. 24:3, " ... conclusion of the eon ... ?" Remember they insist in other places that "aion" is "forever," and now they have to translate a verse claiming that this particular eon is going to end. How can forever "end?" Being in a fix, the translators changed the meaning of "aion" again, and translated this verse " ... end of the world ... " Now, think for a moment. Since they insist elsewhere that "aion" means "eternal" (which of course it doesn't), how could it possibly mean "world" here? It couldn't. The Greek word for world is "kosmos" not "aion."
Check enough English Translations, and you will find all of the following diverse words absurdly translated from the Greek word "aion:"
You are looking at an amazing thing, which is false translating in action. This is certainly not "a pattern of sound words" ( II Tim. 1:13-14)!
Who would ever condone such a butchering of God's Word. Who? Most of the world's theologians and clergy, that's who. Not only do they condone it, but they endorse it!
In the Anglo-Saxon Gospels a thousand years ago, the equivalent for the Greek word aion was the old English word ece, which was similar in meaning to aion, which is a period of time.. The word "eternal" was completely unknown (in any of the old English Bibles), before the Renaissance.
Turning to the Old Testament Hebrew will not solve your dilemma either. The Old Testament Hebrew has the word "olam" (this is the Hebrew equivalent of "aion"), which is often translated in the Authorized Version as "everlasting." This word clearly does not mean everlasting. I will give you just one conclusive proof Scripture:
Psa. 73:12--"Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches."
The word translated "world" is olam which they translate "everlasting" in dozens of other places. Clearly the "ungodly" do not prosper for "eternity" or "everlasting."
"It may be laid down as a rule that no language had, for some time after the first century A.D., any term to denote eternity." (Whence Eternity?, By: Alexander Thomson, p. 5). That's a telling statement. Not only doesn't the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures use a word meaning "eternity" or "endless time" in the original texts, it was impossible for them to do so. The Hebrew and Greek Languages had no word that meant "endless time" or "eternity." And further, no one has ever found such a word in ANY LANGUAGE before the second century to denote "endless time" or "eternity."
The facts regarding the temporary duration of the eons are contained in the Scriptures themselves. This demolishes the eternal torment in Hell heresy.
I quote once again from Whence Eternity? "In the year 540, Justinian made arrangements for the calling together of the famous local council of four years later. ... In particular, he wished it made very plain that the life of the saints was to be everlasting, and that the doom of the lost was to be likewise. Yet he did not argue that the word eonian meant everlasting. Nor did he claim that the word eonian had hitherto been misunderstood ... Origen, who exulted in the truth of the reconciliation of the universe, definitely used the word eonian with reference to fire and doom as meaning a limited time. But writing in the very expressive Greek language, Justinian says, 'The holy church of Christ teaches an ENDLESS eonian (ateleutetos aionios) life for the just, and ENDLESS (ateleutetos) punishment for the wicked.' Justinian knew quite well that by itself eonian DID NOT signify endless, and he therefore added a word the meaning of which is quite unequivocal, a word not found in the Scriptures. This letter of Justinian, which is still in existence, ought to convince anyone who is in doubt, regarding the true scriptural meaning of the word eonian. ... It was not until the year 696, at Constantinople, that a Council publicly condemned this doctrine of Origen [reconciliation of all] for the first time, the glorious teaching [reconciliation] being called 'DRUNKEN RAVINGS as to the future life of the dead." [Emphasis mine], page 19.
Adding a word so enormous as "endless" to a word that in no way means endless, is a gross infraction of Christ's warning about "adding to" God's word (Rev. 22:18).
When one perverts one portion of Scripture, it automatically perverts other portions. Since the translators changed eonian to eternity, of necessity they now have to discard the teaching of reconciliation. For if all are reconciled, punishment cannot be eternal. So they called the Scriptural teaching of reconciliation which Origen understood and believed, "drunken ravings!" (If you run out of Scripture, resort to name-calling). And yet, these "drunken ravings" of "reconciliation" are still in my Bible: " ... and through Him [Christ] to RECONCILE ALL to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross) ... " (Col. 1:20).
YOUR SERMON ON HELL
In your sermon THE SEVEN WONDERS OF HELL, you made the following statements:
1. "This is God's message, not mine."
2. "The soul will die and spend eternity without God."
3. "Jesus said twice as much about hell as He did heaven."
4. "Hell is Heaven's junkyard."
5. "Hell is the eternal home of every person who rejects the gospel
6. "Demon # 3 said, 'Lets get the pastors in every congregation ... let's tell them to tell their people that a loving God would never send anyone to a place [Hell] this horrible."
7. "The pulpit says, 'Just go ahead and do what you want to. The grace of God gives you a blank check to sin and do as you please.'"
8. "Jesus said: 'Fear those who can kill both the body and put the soul in hell.'"
9. "Satanism is the fastest growing religion in America."
10. "Jesus believed in Hell."
11. "John 3:16, You perish in the place called Hell."
12. "Paul believed in Hell"
13. "Hell is an eternal reality and whether you believe it or not, without Christ you're going there."
14. "Matt. 7:13, 'Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to Hell."
15. "Christ was saying the majority of humanity will spend eternity in hell"
16. "Jesus was an extremist, a fanatic."
17. "Jesus said your chances of living in Hell for ever are very good."
18. "He [Jesus] was a right wing Bible fundamentalist."
19. "You send yourself to Hell for rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ."
20. "In this Bible parable, the rich man died and he went to Hell."
21. "Lazarus died and he went to Heaven."
22. "They will not be persuaded if they saw someone walk out of the city of the dead."
23. "For ever and ever all you're going to hear are the screams and sobs and suffering for ever and for ever and for ever ... and it's justice."
24. "Hell is called, 'The Lake of Fire,' 'Outer Darkness,' 'A place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,' 'A place of torment with fire,' 'A place without rest,' 'A place where the fire is never quenched and its worm dieth not.'"
25. "The rich man died ... he heard blood curdling screams of millions of people that never cease."
26. "Hell is a place of consciousness."
27. "Those in hell pulling [his?] singed hair."
28. "The rich man looked from the bottomless pit of eternity."
29. "Every man, every woman, every boy, and every girl who dies without knowing Jesus Christ spends an eternity in a city where the fire is never quenched and the worm dieth not."
30. "The rich man looked from the bottomless pit of eternity, a place of absolute darkness where he couldn't see his hand in front of his face."
Since you claim to believe that "The Greek language is the most exact language on the face of the earth," it is astonishing to me to think that you made all of these inexact statements on national television.
Mr. Hagee, every single statement above, quoted from your sermon on Hell, is untrue and unscriptural, with one exception. The only true and scriptural statement made out of these thirty quotes is the one, ironically, attributed to "Demon # 3."
You shout out these statements with such authority, as though you really know what you are talking about. These phrases are totally foreign to the Word of God. Where, pray tell, does one find these phrases in the Word of God: "Hell is Heaven's junkyard", "soul winning," "eternity in hell," "Jesus was a fanatic," "The city of the dead," "The Rich man died and went to hell." "Lazarus died and he went to Heaven," "Hell is a place of consciousness," The bottomless pit of eternity." This is unscriptural nonsense, Mr. Hagee. None of these phrases are used in the Scriptures. Let's examine a few of your unscriptural statements:
You started you sermon by saying: "This is God's message, not mine." Oh, really? God said none of this.
"The soul will die and spend eternity without God."
If the soul dies, then it is dead, and a dead soul doesn't spend anything with anybody. Dead souls are in hades [the UNSEEN or imperceptible]. Besides, these same dead souls can be redeemed from sheol or hades (Psa. 49:15). And when one is "redeemed," one will spend eternity with God.
"Jesus said twice as much about hell as He did heaven."
The fact, Mr. Hagee, is that the word "hell" is used in the Authorized Version of the Gospels fourteen (14) times, while the word "heaven" is used in the Gospels one hundred and fifty (150) some times. Tell me, do you men ever listen to each other on T.B.N.? Dr. Kennedy says the Scriptures speak of eternity in Heaven some 300 times and eternity in Hell only 60 times.
Both of your figures are in gross error, and they grossly contradict each other.
You said: "Hell is heaven's junkyard!" Where does Scripture say such a thing? I think a little discretion is needed when referring to God and His habitation.
"Hell is the eternal home of every person who rejects the gospel."
"Hell" is not in the Greek Scriptural Vocabulary. "Hades," on the other hand, is not an eternal abiding place, nor is it ever referred to as a "home." Nowhere do the Scriptures speak of souls remaining in hades permanently.
"Demon # 3: Let's get the pastors in every congregation ... let's tell them to tell their people that a loving God would never send anyone to a place this horrible."
This statement is true and Scriptural. Too bad it had to come from the mouth of a demon.
True, many of God's judgments, chastisements, and punishments are severe by our standards, but, truly, as "demon # 3" reportedly stated: "God would never send anyone to a place this horrible." And how do we know that for sure? Because God's punishments are temporary and serve a purpose. When this purpose is completed, punishments will be discarded:
"For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be ANNULLING the acts of the Adversary" (I Jn. 3:8).
" ... yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons, for the REPUDIATION of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest" (Heb. 9:26).
"The last enemy is being abolished: DEATH" (I Cor. 15:27).
" ... that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial, and terrestrial and subterranian, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).
"Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be ALL IN ALL" (I Cor. 15:28).
These verses are not difficult to understand. The problem is that men don't want to believe them. It is faith that you lack, Pastor Hagee, faith to believe these marvelous scriptures regarding the salvation of all. And God does more than "just" save His children. He will have a relationship so close to us that He says He will be "All in All."
God Almighty says that He will save all! Yet you teach that God will torture most for all eternity..
The pulpits say: "Just go ahead and do what you want to, the Grace of God gives you a blank check to sin and do as you please."
I can't understand how you could say such a thing. The pulpits of the Churches of America say no such thing. I'm certainly not defending these churches, but to attribute that statement to them is in gross error. Most churches in American teach and preach a strict adherence to the Old Testament Laws (though this is contrary to the teachings of the Apostle Paul).
On the other hand, you teach a plethora of sins, that are not sins according to the Scriptures. You teach that it is a sin not to tithe. Tithing was for the nation of Israel. Only certain commodities were tithed. Only Levites could receive tithes. It was used for administering their office in the Temple. There is no temple today. There is no Levitical priesthood today. I don't think that I am a Jew. And Paul NEVER taught the Gentiles to tithe. Don't deceive yourself, Paul never said, "God loves a cheerful tithe-payer."
Mr. Hagee, read Paul's epistles and notice that those under Grace are held to a much higher standard of conduct and morality than those who put themselves under law. Paul instructs Titus to set standards of morality for elders in the church that are far higher than what was expected of law-keeping Israelites. How many law-keeping clergymen do you think would qualify according to Titus 1:9: " ... able to entreat with sound teaching as well as to expose those who contradict." Much of today's Christian teachings are so unsound and unscriptural that they do nothing but contradict.
I am 59 years old, Mr. Hagee, and I have never heard a minister say that the grace of God gives one a blank check to sin. I have never heard it on radio, I have never heard it on television, I have never heard it in person, I have never read it on a printed page. Never once. I think you exaggerate, Mr. Hagee.
"The church in America has forgotten the idea of punishment for sin"
But you are not talking about "punishment for sin." You are talking about "eternal torture." Let's talk about "punishment." Do you have any idea what it is and how God uses it?
1. II Thes. 1:9-- "Who shall be PUNISHED with
everlasting destruction ... "
2. II Pet. 2:9-- "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the
godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be
3. Mat. 25:46-- "And these shall go away into
everlasting [Gk. aionion] PUNISHMENT: but the righteous into life
eternal" [Gk. aionion].
4. II Cor. 2:6-- "Sufficient to such a man is this
PUNISHMENT, which was inflicted of many."
5. Heb. 10:29-- "Of how much sorer PUNISHMENT,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God ...
6. I Pet. 2:14-- "Or unto governors, as unto them
that are sent by him for the PUNISHMENT of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do
7. Acts 22:5--- " ... to bring them which were there
bound unto Jerusalem, for to be PUNISHED."
8. Acts 26:11-- "And I PUNISHED them oft in every
synagogue ... "
"Punished," "punishing," or "punishment" is found only three times in the Greek text. And two of those occurrences have to do with Paul punishing the saints. Therefore, there is only ONE time that the word "Punishment" is used with reference to evil doers in the entire Greek Scriptures. I hope this doesn't disappoint you.
"Punishment" is translated from the Greek word timoria = VALUE-LIFT. "Punishment" has to do with satisfying the one doing the inflicting. Whereas, "chastening" has in view the amendment of the one being disciplined. Both can be severe or mild. They can be for a short time or for an extended period of time. The words themselves do not set parameters.
In Heb. 10 we have three words in view regarding deeds of evildoers: Punishment, Vengeance, and Judging. Where God uses "chasten," we must not translate it "punish." These are two different words in Greek, and must be rendered such in translating them.
When we look at Paul's persecution of the Church (Acts 22:5, 26:11), Paul was not "chastening" the Church, but "punishing" them. It was not a "disciplinary" action on his part, but rather causing pain, suffering, and loss to the Church for crimes Paul imagined they had committed.
"Punishment" inflicts pain, loss, and suffering, which are humbling to the human spirit.
"Judging" has to do with setting things right.
We can learn the meaning of this word "Judge" by looking at Gen. 18:25. The Authorized Version has:
" ... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
This verse is not really translated properly, however, its meaning is "right on." That is, both "judge" and "right" in this verse are from the same Hebrew word shaphat. The proper translation is: "The Judge of the entire earth, will He not execute Judgment?" But the Authorized Version does bring out the true meaning nicely. To "judge" is to "do right." But oh, how the simple meanings of words have been corrupted by theologians!
We have been told that "Judgment Day" will be the most feared event to ever overtake Earth. In reality, "Judgment Day" will inaugurate one of the most marvelous works of God since creation.
In this connection, notice an amazing verse.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith." (Mat. 23:23).
Oh how Christ berated the Pharisees for their many evils. They kept what they thought was the law so strictly that it became an overwhelming burden.
Notice the company judgment keeps: "mercy and faith." Judgment is not bad, it is good. The Pharisees lacked mercy, faith, and judgment. They didn't do right. They didn't set things right. And they didn't just neglect it at times, they left it and "omitted" it altogether!
After the wicked are "punished" and "avenged," then God sets them right. In fact, He sets all things right. Read it again: "The Judge of the entire earth, will He not do right?" Christ's sacrifice paid the penalty for our sins. We are more than pardoned or forgiven, we are "justified." However, that does not "set right" all the evil that has been done. This God does at judgment.
" ... Yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons, for the Repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest" (Heb. 9:26).
"For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be annulling the acts of the Adversary" (I Jn 3:8).
Seeing that Satan is the "god" of this world [eon], most of Satan's works involve mankind. And all of these acts are going to be annulled. Annulled! Do you have any comprehension of what that means? These are the grand topics of Scripture you should be preaching and teaching. It sure beats the unscriptural topic of eternal torment.
Why don't you preach a sermon next week on "annulling the acts of the Adversary" or "The repudiation of sin?" How can you possibly explain these two verses using the doctrines you teach? You teach that sin and evil are permanent fixtures in God's creation, and that they will go on eternally in your fabled Hell. According to you God can never abolish sin and evil.
Do you know what "repudiation" means? It means to UN-PLACE. The name "God" means "placer." The Great Almighty PLACER is going to UN-PLACE sin. Repudiation means DIS- ANNULING. Disannuling means "To annul COMPLETELY; to render ABSOLUTELY VOID" Webster's Twentieth-Century Dictionary p. 480. Yet you tell us that men, women, demons and devils will continue to "sin" in the fire of Hell for all eternity. You tell us that Christ will not "repudiate" their sins, that is, He will not annul them and render them void.
As I study God's Word I keep asking myself: "How can anyone not see these simple truths? The answer is: "The blind cannot see."
What about "chastisement?" Simply by understanding the meaning of this word all notions of "eternal" chastening are nullified. "Chasten" is used with a view to amendment, in contrast to punishment, which is penal. Webster's first definition is: "to punish in order to make better." Since chastisement has to do with a view to the future (of making one better or corrected), how, pray, could it ever be eternal? Since "chastisement" is used in connection with the eons, the translators should have deduced that since "chastening" is temporary, therefore "eons" cannot be eternal! No Scripture shows chastisement to last beyond the eons. And usually it is used with destruction and death that last for the eons. There is no pain, suffering, or torture while one is dead. (Psa. 146:3-4 & Ecc. 9:10
"Jesus said fear not those who can kill the body, but fear those who can kill both the body and put the soul in hell."
Mr. Hagee, Jesus never said any such thing. Not even the King James Version defends you here. This verse says:
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]."
Jesus said: " ... fear him," not " ... fear those." And where does it say to " ... fear those who can kill both the body and put the soul in hell?" " ... put the soul in hell?" That false expression is unscriptural. You made it up. God's Word has something to say about "false expressions:"
"Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons, in the hypocrisy of FALSE EXPRESSIONS ... " (I Tim. 4:2) Concordant Literal N.T.
You have used dozens of "false expressions" in just one sermon. God says that it would be a sign of our time (subsequent eras) that men would use "false expressions." Anyone who does such things is grouped with those who:
1. Withdraw from the faith
2. Give heed to deceiving spirits
3. the teachings of demons, and
4. are hypocrites!
That sounds like a pretty serious indictment to me, Mr. Hagee.
Look carefully at what Jesus really said in Matt. 10:28:
"And do not fear those who are killing the body, yet are not able to kill the soul. Yet be fearing him, rather, Who is able to destroy the soul as well as the body in Gehenna."
Jesus said not to fear those who can "kill," but rather fear Him [Jesus Christ] who is able to destroy the soul as well as the body in Gehenna. The first part of the verse is man's operation, but the second part of the verse is God's. Men have no jurisdiction over the soul. All they can do is kill the body. But God can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Man consists of a body which, when God imparts His spirit to it, becomes a living soul. The soul is the result of the combination of body and spirit. There is "soul" only as long as God's spirit unites with the body. At death, God takes back His spirit and the "soul" goes to the unseen (or imperceptible). Hades in Greek or Sheol in Hebrew are not geographical locations, but rather a condition.
Those who teach annihilation rather than eternal punishment use this verse to show that when God destroys, the soul is irretrievable. This, however, is not true. "Destroy" comes from the Greek word Apollumi = FROM-WHOLE-LOOSE, that is, to "lose." The disciples were afraid that they would perish [apollumi] by drowning (Mk. 4:38). The sheep was lost [apollumi] by straying (Lk 15:4). We may destroy [apollumi] a weak saint by our knowledge (I Cor. 8:11). And Christ destroys [apollumi] both body and soul in Gehenna. Never does the Greek word apollumi mean annihilation! Besides destruction is the prelude to SALVATION! All we like sheep have gone astray. To be "lost" is the same Greek word used for "destroy." So it is axiomatic that if an apollumi [LOST] sheep can be SAVED, then certainly an apollumi [DESTROYED] soul can be saved also. Believe God's Word, not man's doctrines.
Have we forgotten Sodom? "And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to the unseen [hades]; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." And, therefore, it shall be " ... more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" (Matt. 11:23-24). All it takes is a few miracles from God and He can save anyone-everyone It is so sad that most Christian Clergy don't believe this. I'll give you all the Scriptural proof you need at the end of this letter to show that God Almighty is going to save all His creatures-under the earth, on the earth, and throughout the entirety of the universe-mortals and messengers, sinners and saints, demons and angels-all (Phil. 2:10)!
"Satanism is the fastest growing religion in America."
What? You have got to be kidding. I don't even know of a religious group that openly acknowledges Satan as their god. I have heard of an occasional small group from time to time that makes the news for one day. They are usually small groups of five to ten, and consist mostly of teenagers. And usually, these groups fall apart just about as fast as they get started. But to say that Satanism (those who openly and admittedly worship Satan) is the fastest growing religion in America is absurd.
Back to your sermon:
"If you never hear another gospel sermon you'll hear enough gospel today to stand before the judgment bar of God-guilty as charged."
Don't flatter yourself, Mr. Hagee. This sermon of yours on Hell can hardly be called a "gospel sermon." You didn't preach a whiff of the gospel. The gospel is "good news." Your sermon was the worst of "bad news."
Why assume that the fruit of the true gospel (which a few people do preach) will culminate in "standing before the judgment bar of God - guilty as charged?"
"What is the result of the gospel without the place called hell?"
What is the result of a gospel with this teaching of yours on Hell? You are driving millions from God and God's Word-that is the result. There is no gospel (or good news) in this teaching.
"If you don't believe there is something to be saved from you won't win people to a living Savior."
One doesn't have to believe in a fabled Hell of eternal torture to realize that there is plenty to be saved from! How about saved from sin and evil? What about being saved from ourselves? What about being saved from weakness, stupidity, ignorance, foolishness and vanity? What about being saved from corruption, immorality, mortality and death? (What about being saved from any more of Pastor Hagee's sermons on Hell?) You don't think these are things to be saved from?
"Jesus believed in Hell."
Jesus never even said the word "hell" so how could He believe in it? Mark 9:46-- " ... to be cast into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire, where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out." This is not "hell." This is "Gehenna." So why call it "hell?" The exact Greek word is Ge'enna (in Hebrew it is: RAVINE-of-HINNOM). It is a ravine just below Jerusalem where the city waste was incinerated.
What justification is there in translating this ravine into the English word "hell?"
You're not " ... distinguishing the things that differ" (Phil. 1:10).
You are not " ... having a pattern of sound words" (II Tim. 1:13-14).
You are "adding to" the Word of God" (Rev. 22:18-19).
You are following the "traditions of men" (Col. 2:8).
The "ravine of hinnom" (Gehenna) was the city garbage dump in Jerusalem where the garbage was burned. And just like all garbage dumps, there were worms. The reason they didn't die out was because there was a constant supply of refuge being fed them. Gehenna is a real place. This place existed at the time Jesus spoke these very words. It was burning with fire, with a daily supply of garbage, and a daily supply of worms to eat it. But if you go there today, it is not burning and there are no worms. This Gehenna is not eternal
How is it that learned men can so pervert and corrupt God's Word? There is not one word in either the Greek or Hebrew languages that means "a place where evil dead people suffer in fire for all eternity." What "exact" Greek or Hebrew word has such a meaning
"John 3:16: You perish in the place called Hell."
I'll quote John 3:16:
"For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only-begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian."
I'll quote it from the King James:
"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."
I'm sorry, Mr. Hagee, but I don't see where John 3:16 says that: "You perish in the place called Hell?"
"Paul believed in hell."
You quoted II Thes. 1:8-9. Let me quote it from a proper translation:
" ... in flaming fire, dealing out vengeance to those who are not acquainted with God and those who are not obeying the evangel of our Lord Jesus Christ-who shall incur the justice of eonian extermination from the face of the Lord ... " (Concordant Literal New Testament).
Notice please. These people are not "tortured" in fire. They are "exterminated." The Greek word here is ol'ethros = WHOLE-RUIN. It means to "kill or destroy completely." Notice that the firstborn of Egypt, which included little children and even babies, were "exterminated." (Heb. 11:28). It's the same Greek word. So let me assure you, Mr. Hagee, that those little Egyptian babies are not being tortured in any fires of your fabled hell!
And how long is this "extermination" to last? For all eternity? Get a concordance and read it. The Greek word translated in the Authorized Version "everlasting" is aionion. And I proved conclusively in the beginning of this letter that aionion means "age lasting" or "eonian," not eternally or everlasting. So how does this verse show that Paul believed in Hell?
I hear so much anymore about "life after death." Even more so in the secular world than on T.B.N. There are so many TV specials, videos, and books on near death experiences and "life after death." What you and theologians need to seriously consider is that, according to the Scriptures, there really is "death after life!"
"Mat. 7:13, Wide is the gate
and broad is the way that leads to hell."
The Scriptures say no such thing, and Christ said no such thing! What Bible are you quoting? Let's read it: "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Mat. 7:13). Where does this verse say that the broad way leads to hell? It leads to "destruction"! It is "God" Who makes these vessels "adapted for destruction" (Rom. 9:22). This has nothing to do with eternal torture in fire. Of course, the majority of mankind does not know God and therefore is in this class headed for destruction. But don't throw away all those Scriptures I already gave you concerning their ultimate salvation when God removes their blindness and saves them.
"Jesus was a fanatic ... "
Webster's p. 257: "fanatic, a person who carries his interest or belief in something to a point that is no longer reasonable." I think, Mr. Hagee, that maybe you are too eager to leap where Angels fear to tread. It is your teachings that are "no longer reasonable," not Christ's teachings! Christ was not and is not a "fanatic!"
"You send yourself to Hell for rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ"
Most of the population of the entirety of the world through the entire history of the world, have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you say they are going to hell because they rejected a gospel they never heard?
"In this Bible parable, the
rich man died and he went to Hell."
The Bible says no such thing. The rich man died and was entombed. And in "Hades" he figuratively lifts up his eyes-not in a fabled hell. Lazarus died and was figuratively carried away into Abraham's bosom-not Heaven.
"They will not be persuaded if they saw someone walk out of the city of the dead."
Where is the "city of the dead?" And how can someone "walk out of it" if they are dead?
"There is no second chance after death."
I am so glad that my salvation is not a thing of chance. Sounds more like something you would find in Las Vegas than the Scriptures. Salvation through Christ's Sacrifice is sure! "Surely, He Who spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us all, how shall He not, together with Him, also, be graciously granting us ALL?" (Rom. 8:32)! By the way, I did hear some months back that TBN was offering a tape titled "To Hell and Back" where many people claimed to have died, went to Hell, and came back, to a second chance. I believe this was immediately followed by a trip to Caesar's Palace, but I'm not sure.
And, of course, again we have to ask: "What about all those millions and billions of people who never even got a first chance? Mr. Hagee, did you accept Christ at the very first "chance" you had opportunity to do so?
"Every man, every woman, every boy and every girl who dies without knowing Jesus Christ spends an eternity in a city where the fire is never quenched ... "
You made a statement regarding someone who didn't believe in Hell. You said: "You say, 'Preacher, I don't believe in Hell.' That's too bad, it's still there and you're going ... " I noticed how you often build to a crescendo with your voice when soliciting an applause, as you did in this statement. The congregation then began to snicker, laugh, and then broke out into an enthusiastic applause. That's really sick! Laughing and applauding at the fancied notion that someone is going to burn in a place called hell for all eternity is sick. If you think that's funny, you'll answer for it to God.
Your statement on women in hell brings up an interesting point. I have never heard this discussed. What about pregnant women, Mr. Hagee? I would speculate that possibly 1000 women die each day, somewhere around the world, who do not know Jesus Christ, and are pregnant. That would equal approximately one million such women every three years, or since our Lord's resurrection approximately six hundred million (600,000,000) pregnant women suffering in the fires of Hell.
Now we know that an undelivered fetus cannot live or survive in a dead woman's womb. We also know from your teachings that God hates abortions. So obviously, God is not going to abort these millions of babies. As the unsaved woman has a one-way ticket to Hell, it is apparent that her unborn baby is also going to Hell with her. Now, (1) Will the unborn fetus suffer in the flames of Hell, albeit in its mother's womb, for all eternity? (2) Will the baby be born and then suffer in the flames of Hell as an infant for all eternity? (3) Will the baby merely die? (No, forget #3. According to you there is not such thing-everyone is always alive somewhere, even if they die.) (4) Will the baby remain in its mother's womb until maturation, then be born into the flames of fire, but then very quickly (assuming some evil demon doesn't eat it first) be transported to Heaven? (5) Will the baby be born "a little red devil," and then suffer in the flames of Hell for all eternity?
Continuing with your sermon:
"For ever and ever all you're going to hear are the screams and the sobs and suffering forever and forever and forever ... and it's justice!"
That statement is so sick, who can comment on it?
"Hell is called "The Lake of Fire."
No, the lake of fire is called the lake of fire. It is never called "hell." "Hell" is a word not found in the Greek language. And the lake of fire is not hades either. "Hades" is thrown into the lake of fire. Since it is thrown into the lake of fire, how could it be the lake of fire?
"Hell is called outer darkness, where one cannot see his hand in front of his face."
No, "outer darkness" is not in a place called Hell. Those who are not allowed to sit down with Abraham in the Kingdom are cast into the darkness outside. Besides, how could Hell "fire" be so dark that one cannot see one's own hand in front of his face? Did you ever see a large fire on a dark night? It throws off a lot of light and it's easy to see your hand in front of your face.
"Hell is called a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth."
No, this verse is not talking about Hell, hades, Gehenna, or the lake of fire, but those cast out of the Kingdom. Besides only the "sons of the Kingdom" are weeping and gnashing their teeth-the Jews. They rightfully should have been in the Kingdom, but were disqualified. This condition is not, however, eternal.
"Hell is called a place of torment with fire."
No, Gehenna is a place of fire..
"Hell is called a place without rest."
No, the lake of fire is a place of no rest.
"Hell is called a place where the fire is never quenched and its worm dieth not."
No, Gehenna is where the fire is not quenched and the worms don't die. It's a burning, city garbage dump. No one quenches the fire. If someone quenched it, it would loose its useful purpose, namely to burn up the garbage, offal, and any criminals that are thrown there. The worms don't die, because there is plenty to eat and keep them breeding. When nothing more is thrown into the fire, it will go out. It won't need to be quenched. When the food supply runs out the worms will die. How do I know that? Because the Valley of Hinnom (south of Jerusalem) was burning in Christ's day with many worms and now the fire is gone and the worms are gone.. It is no longer used for that purpose.
"Hell is a place of consciousness."
No, there is no consciousness in Hell, and there is no consciousness in hades which is translated into the English word "hell." Ecc. 9:10 says, " ... in the grave." "Grave" in this verse is translated from the Hebrew word sheol (which means the unseen or imperceptible). When an Old Testament Scripture is quoted in the New Testament, they translate sheol into hades. So is there "consciousness" in the place sheol in the O.T.? Absolutely not. " ... there is NO WORK, nor DEVICE, nor KNOWLEDGE, nor WISDOM, in the grave [the Hebrew translated "grave" in this verse is sheol, which is synonymous with the Gk. hades] where you go" (Ecc. 9:10). According to God's Word, not your word, Mr. Hagee, when a person dies and returns to his earth, does he still have conscious thoughts? GOD'S answer: "His spirit goes forth, he returns to his earth, in that very day his thoughts PERISH" (Psalm 146: 3-4).
Seriously, Mr. Hagee, which part of the word "NO" in these verses don't you understand? There is "No " work, "No" device [Heb. "No" contrivance, "No" intelligence, "No" reason], "No" knowledge, "No" wisdom ... in the grave ... " [Heb. sheol] (Ecc. 9:10). One's very " ... thoughts PERISH!"
"Those in hell are pulling their singed hair."
Okay, let's have a Scriptural verse on that. Well?
"The rich man looked from the bottomless pit of eternity."
The bottomless pit of eternity. That sounds like something out of Star Wars. Mr. Hagee, it was you who made the statement that "Greek is the most exact language on the face of the earth." This statement is what prompted this letter in the first place. You talk about exactness and correctness, and truthfulness, etc., etc., and then you turn around and use the most ridiculous unscriptural phrases imaginable.
First of all, "bottomless pit" is an absurd translation. There is no such thing, and could never be. It's like cold fire and square circles. It doesn't equate. It's an impossibility. Secondly, you take the ridiculous phrase "bottomless pit" and turn it into "The bottomless pit of eternity." Why do you do things like this? Do you just like the way these things roll off your tongue?
A proper translation of Rev. 9:2 is: "And to him was given the key of the well of the submerged chaos." There is nothing bottomless about it. This place is not called "hell." There are no people there. There are locusts and demons here.
Mr. Hagee, it does no good to talk about the exactness of words and then give sermons that are filled with unscriptural, impossible words and phrases. They can only lead to heresy:
"Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras [latter times] some will be withdrawing from the faith [apostasy], giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons, in the hypocrisy of FALSE EXPRESSIONS ... " (I Tim. 4:1) Concordant Literal N.T.
You said in your sermon that the Jews did not kill Christ, but that the Romans did. Are you trying to avoid being branded "anti-Semitic?" Here are the Scriptural facts:
"I am aware that you are Abraham's seed [JEWS]. But you are seeking to kill me" (John 8:37)
"But now ye [JEWS] seek to kill me ... this did not Abraham" (Jn. 8:40)
"Has not Moses given you [JEWS] the law? And not one of you is doing the law! Why are you seeking to kill me?" (Jn. 7:19)
"Then said some of them of Jerusalem [JEWS], Is not this he, Whom they [JEWS] are seeking to kill?" (Jn. 7:25)
"Then assembled together the chief priests [JEWS] and the scribes [JEWS], and the elders [JEWS] of the people [JEWS] unto the palace of the high priest [A JEW], who was called Caiapas, And consulted that they [JEWS] might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill Him" (Mat. 26:4)
"Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests [JEWS], and unto the scribes [JEWS]; and they [JEWS] shall condemn Him to death ... " (Mk. 10:34)
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in JEWRY, because the JEWS sought to kill Him" (Jn. 7:1)
"Now the chief priests [JEWS], and elders [JEWS], and all the council [JEWS], sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death" (Mat. 26:59)
"Then the high priest [A JEW] rent his clothes, saying ... What think ye [JEWS]? They [JEWS] answered and said, He is guilty of death" (Mat. 27:66)
"When the morning was come, all the chief priests [JEWS] and elders of the people [JEWS] took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death" (Mat. 27:3)
" ... so that both our chief priests [JEWS] and chiefs [JEWS] give Him up to the judgment of death, and they crucify Him" (Lk. 24:20)
"When, then, the chief priests [JEWS] and the deputies [JEWS] perceived Him they [JEWS] clamor, saying, 'Crucify! Crucify Him!'" (John 19:6)
" ... God makes Him Lord as well as Christ-this Jesus whom YOU [JEWS] CRUCIFY" (Acts 2:36)
" ... let it be known to you all and to the entire people of Israel [JEWS] that in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom YOU CRUCIFY" (Acts 4:10)
"Jesus answered him, "No authority have you against Me in anything, except it were given to you from above. Therefore he who is giving Me up [JEWS] to you HAS THE GREATER SIN" (John 19:11)
"What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all [JEWS] say unto him, let Him be crucified" (Mat. 27:22)
"And he [Pilate] took water, and washed his hands before the multitude [JEWS], saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye [JEWS] to it" (Mat. 27:24)
"Then answered all the people [JEWS], and said, His blood be on us [JEWS] and on our children [JEWS]" (Mat. 27:25)
"The 'JEWS' didn't kill Jesus!" I'll bet you're a real popular guy at Rabbinical Tea Parties. If your logic is this twisted, why don't you get on national television and tell everyone that Hitler never killed a single Jew?
What makes your teaching so harmful, is that you are teaching millions of people disgraceful, false things about God. Maybe you think everyone out here is Biblically illiterate. Let me assure you that there are carpenters, plumbers, postal workers, and the like out here who would shame most theologians when it comes to Biblical knowledge. But it's not just "technical" knowledge that I'm talking about.
It's teachings like this sermon on Hell of yours that does so much harm. The people who accept your teaching out of fear are not benefited, and those who reject it because of its stupidity, end up blaspheming God because of your unscriptural teachings. Most people's rejection of God is directly related to the false information they have been fed by self-appointed teachers.
I can not summarize your sermon any better than to parrot your own words describing most sermons found in the media today: "WE HAVE SHOUT WITHOUT SUBSTANCE!" Amen!
I don't know of, nor have I ever heard of a teaching or doctrine of any pagan, heathen, barbaric religion on the face of the earth or in the history of the world that approaches the insanity of the Christian doctrine of eternal torture in hell fire! Unlike most people and most theologians and clergymen, I have meditated at length on the absurdity of a loving God creating billions of creatures with complex emotional and nervous systems that are extremely sensitive to not only pleasure, but especially pain, knowing in advance that He would end up torturing most of them in the fires of a hell for all eternity, without mercy.
What pagan religion has a god this evil? I know of none. If the Scriptures taught such a thing, surely we would have to accept it. But thank God that the Scriptures teach no such thing as eternal torture. Pain and evil for a season, yes, but not for eternity.
Mr. Hagee, it isn't that you just add a "little" or take away a "little" from the Word of God; you turn an age into eternity, you reduce the salvation of all to just a few, and you diminish God's very WILL, to nothing more than a weak wish!
So now what Scriptural proof do you have left to substantiate an eternal hell of torture? You are left with The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man.
[Editors note: #4 below is full explanation of Lazarus and the Rich man parable.]
|Surely you are aware of
the Geneva Convention. Even sinful human beings have seen fit to outlaw torture in war.
Killing, slaughter, destruction, all are allowed, but not torturing. You make God out to
be worse than the worst of corrupt men.
Have you ever been burned? I have. I once had a stove blow up in my face. I was burned and blinded for some time. If nothing else, it allowed me to see the absolute absurdity of torturing someone with burns for all eternity. Burns are very painful things. A few minutes can seem like a very long time.
Imagine being burned over your whole body and suffering with this for one year. No not in a hospital with a comfortable bed, with pretty nurses attending to your every need. Not with good food, or with friends visiting you and consoling you, and certainly not with pain killers. But rather in the middle of more flames, with no water, no food, nothing but pain, anguish, misery, and total despair. Imagine languishing and writhing without an instant of relief. Children screaming for mommy and daddy. Everyone blaspheming and cursing the name of the God Who put them here. All the while their friends and loved ones watch from Heaven, singing songs and praising God for the precision and extreme skill employed in exacting the most severe pain and torture possible.
Have you ever meditated even for ten minutes on the absurdity of being tortured like this for eternity?
TIME VS. ETERNITY
Picture yourself being burned and tortured without relief and without any hope for trillions of centuries. Well, of course, we humanly cannot imagine such torture or such a long period of time-our minds and our emotions are incapable of it. If any sane Christian could witness, even for a few hours or a few days, the kind of hideous torture presented by Christian doctrine, I believe he would seriously reconsider whether a loving God is capable of such sadistic punishment. But consider a trillion centuries of such torture? For WHAT? Who is appreciating or benefiting from the specter of such a hell hole of misery, pain, sorrow, and total despair? God the Father? Christ Jesus? The Saints? The heavenly Host?
Next, try to imagine this torture for most of the human race, continuing for trillions upon trillions of centuries. Try this: A grain of sand contains millions and millions of atoms. Imagine that every atom in the known physical universe represents a trillion centuries of torture in Hell. It would thus take billions of trillions of centuries just to complete the atoms in a single grain of sand. Now imagine going to the second grain of sand, the third, the seven hundred and eighty ninth billion grain of sand, then all the atoms in the Earth, our Milky Way Galaxy, the next closest galaxy, the next billion closest galaxies, etc., etc., ONE ATOM (a trillion centuries) AT A TIME! Why don't you put down this paper and think about that length of torture. I'm sorry if it interferes with you afternoon cookies and tea, DO IT ANYWAY!
How far into eternity do you suppose such a mind-warping number of centuries would take us? It would take us NOWHERE into eternity! Victims of such a heretical teaching as eternal torment would be NO closer to the end of their ordeal after all these trillions upon trillions of centuries than when they began. They would not be ONE SECOND closer to the end of their suffering.
NO AMOUNT OF TIME CONCEIVABLE CAN DIMINISH AUGHT FROM ETERNITY!
Yet, the world of Christendom is teaching all nations, that this is the God of the Holy Scriptures. Dr. Kennedy says: "Hell is fair." You say: "Hell is justice."
I say, "you can't recognize THE DEPTH OF SATAN when it's staring you in the face"!
This may be the god of Christendom, but I assure you it is NOT the All Wise, All Knowing, All Merciful, All Loving, All Saving, ALMIGHTY GOD, of the Holy Scriptures! Christendom is fast becoming the dominant religion of the world. We only need to consult God's Word to see who is "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4), and we will know who it is that rules over these world-deceiving religions. " ... the ancient serpent called Adversary and Satan, who is deceiving the WHOLE INHABITED EARTH" (Rev. 12:9). "For such are FALSE APOSTLES, fraudulent workers, being transfigured into APOSTLES OF CHRIST. And no marvel, for Satan himself is being transfigured into a MESSENGER OF LIGHT [not a red, hoofed monster with horns and a pitchfork]. It is no great thing, then, if his servants also are being transfigured as DISPENSERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS-whose consummation shall be according to their acts" (II Cor. 11:13-15)!
These fraudulent apostles even confess that Jesus Christ is the Christ, yet they are deceivers: "Beware that no one should be deceiving you. For MANY shall be coming IN MY NAME, saying, 'I [Jesus] AM the Christ!' and shall be DECEIVING MANY" (Matt. 24:4-5). Jesus didn't say the many would be deceived by those coming in the name of Satan, but by those coming in His name and teaching that He (Jesus) IS the Christ!
I apologize for highly understating my feelings on this despicable teaching.
Had you ever considered the real horrors of this teaching at any length, it would have driven you to the Word of God to search these things out as never before. Had you not been so eager to teach these traditions of men, but rather really studied the Greek words in question, you could have easily and quickly discovered that the "exact" words that God inspired do in no way support such a damnable doctrine as "eternal torment!"
If engineers and scientists handled dangerous chemicals and explosives with the same lawless, reckless abandonment with which theologians handle the Word of God, all of the laboratories of the world would have exploded long ago.
I have now shown you from very Scriptures that "aion" does not mean "endlessness." God made the eons. Some were in the past, we are living in one of the eons, there is coming another eon after this one and another eon after that. Past eons have ended. This eon will end. The next eon will end. The eon after that will end. All eons had a beginning and all eons have an end. And I have shown you the Scriptures that say these eons have beginnings and they have ends. So there it is.
Yes, God is the creator of "evil" (Isa. 45:7). It is not our duty to shield God from evil, but to understand its grand purpose and temporary existence. The true saints can justify God in all His doings, through faith. Why water down and pervert God's grand declarations? Pray for wisdom and understanding, and then teach all of God's word without timidity.
THE REAL GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD
"Yet even if we have known Christ according to flesh, nevertheless now we know Him so no longer. So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has come new! Yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation, how that God was in Christ conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the conciliation" (II Cor. 5:16-19).
"For Christ, then, are we ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. We are beseeching for Christ's sake, 'be conciliated to God!' For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God's righteousness in him" (II Cor. 5:20:21).
Unfortunately, most have never heard this verse correctly translated, most do not teach it, most do not believe it: " ... yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes. Much rather, then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from indignation, through Him. For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life" (Rom. 5:8-11).
For reconciliation to take place, one party must be conciliated to a second party and the second party must be conciliated back to the first party. Then, and only then, is there reconciliation. God is now conciliated [Gk: katalla'sso = DOWN-CHANGE] to the world because of His Son's sacrifice, and the world will one day be reconciled [Gk: apokatalla'sso = FROM-DOWN-CHANGE] to God! Conciliation has to do with one side only in an estrangement, whereas reconciliation has to do with both sides of an estrangement. The Authorized Version does not make this vital distinction in the Greek Text!
Here is how God does it:
"Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's justifying For even as, through the disobedience of the one man [Adam], the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One [Christ], the many shall be constituted just" (Rom. 5:18-19).
That verse summarizes the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Gospel.
Although God is now conciliated to mankind because of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary, will mankind ever be conciliated to God, thus bringing about full reconciliation? Absolutely:
"For He is our Peace, Who makes both one [Jews and Gentiles-that's all the people there are in the whole world], and razes the central wall of the barrier (the enmity in His flesh), nullifying the law of precepts in decrees, that He should be creating the two [both Jews and Gentiles], in Himself, into one new humanity, making peace; and should be reconciling both in one body to God, through the cross, killing the enmity in it" (Eph. 2:14-16).
Second witness: Christ
"Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has it cohesion in Him. And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross, through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens" (Col. 1:14-20).
Read it again! "makes both one," "creating the two," "killing the enmity," "every creature," "all created," "in the heaven," "on the earth," "the visible," "the invisible," "all is created," "before all," "all," "in all," "the entire," "to reconcile all," "on the earth," "in the heavens."
Where, pray tell, are the billion of people that you think are left out of this Scripture and are going to burn in Hell Fire for all eternity?
Christ created all and will reconcile all-not only on earth, but also the whole heavenly host!
Do you honesty doubt that Christ "created all?" Do you? How then can you doubt that He will reconcile the same "ALL?" " ... in Him is all created ... and through Him to reconcile all to Him ... "(Col. 1:16-20). The phrase "all things" is not in the original Greek Text. It should simply read: "all," not "all things. It is "faith" that you lack in believing these simple Scriptures!
MORE SCRIPTURAL PROOF FOR THE SALVATION OF ALL
After all of God's punishments and chastisements are meted out, all will be reconciled to God. Death will be abolished (I Cor. 15:26), and all will be vivified and given immortality never to be subject to pain, heartache, or death again. The Scriptures fully substantiate this grand truth.
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is One God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave Himself a ransom for ALL to be testified in due time" (I Tim. 2:3-4).
"I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL [Gk. "the" all] men unto me" (John 12:32).
"That in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).
Comment: It wouldn't be "to the glory of God" if it were a forced acclimation. Besides I Cor. 12:3 plainly says, " ... no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the holy spirit." To "acclaim" carries the connotation of an heartfelt, voluntary expression.
"For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified" (I Cor. 15:22).
Comment: "vivified" is from the Greek: Zoopoieo = LIVE-DO, "giving life beyond the reach of death, conferring immortality." The same "all" who are dying in Adam (which includes everyone) is the same "all" who are vivified in Christ (which of necessity includes everyone). Also notice that the "all" are vivified "in" Christ not "out" of Christ, and it's not, "all in Christ are vivified," but rather, "in Christ ... ALL are vivified." The order of words makes a giant difference.
"Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's justifying. For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just" (Rom. 5:19).
Comment: This is not a difficult verse to understand. One offense brought condemnation on all mankind and all are constituted sinners. In the same manner ("thus also") through the obedience of the One [Christ] the same "many" are constituted just!
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus [sorry, no trinity here-or anywhere] who gave Himself a ransom for ALL to be testified in due time" (I Tim. 2:5-6).
"For in Him [Christ] the entire complement delights to dwell, and through Him to reconcile ALL to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens" (Col. 1:20).
"If anyone's work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus, as through fire" (I Cor. 3:15).
" ... we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially [but not exclusively] believers. These things be charging and teaching" (I Tim. 4:11).
"For God does not dispatch His Son into the world that He should be judging the world, but that the world may be saved through Him" (John 3:17).
" ... God, Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian [before the world began-Authorized]" (II Tim. 1:9).
Comment: Man's salvation was assured before God ever created him. He knew all men would sin. That's why He provided a Saviour. We are saved by "grace" not by anything we do.
"No one can come to Me if ever the Father Who sends Me should not be drawing him. And I shall be raising him in the last day" (John 6:44).
Comment: It is not up to us or anyone to come to Christ. God does the choosing, calling, drawing, etc. " ... the kindness of God is leading you to repentance" (Rom. 2:4).
" ... having this same confidence, that He Who undertakes a good work among you, will be performing it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).
"Now to Him Who is ABLE to guard you from tripping, and to stand you flawless in sight of His glory ... " (Jude 24).
" ... if One died for the sake of all, consequently all died" (II Cor. 5:14).
Comment: God applies Christ's death and sacrifice to "all men." "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for EVERY man" (Heb. 2:9).
"And he [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" (I John 2:2).
Comment: Christ IS the propitiation for the sins of the whole world! How can you doubt it? How can you teach contrary to it? He isn't "potentially" the propitiation for the sins of the world. He IS the propitiation for the sins of the world.
"Yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation, how that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the conciliation" (II Cor. 5:18-19).
Comment: This Scripture is clear. God through Christ's sacrifice (Christ's sacrifice carries a whole lot more weight than you ever give Him credit for) is conciliating the whole world to Himself. Do you know what that means? God is "at peace" with mankind. Yes, there are future chastisements and punishments, but the end result has already been accomplished. What the world must yet go through is for their good. But God already knows the end result. All will be saved! However, only "we" have been given this word of reconciliation (that is any of us "we" who believe it).
Notice that God is "not reckoning their offenses to them." Then who is God "reckoning offenses" to? It is to Jesus Christ His Son that He is reckoning the sins of the world. Ver. 21: "For He [God] hath made Him [Christ] to be SIN for us ... "
Look at this again. This is the Word of God. God is "NOT reckoning their [the whole world] offenses to them" (Ver. 19)! He is not doing that. But He IS making His Son Jesus Christ "to BE sin for us." How could God consign the vast majority of humanity to the eternal flames of torture in Hell if He no longer reckons that they have any sins? Of what value is Christ's sacrifice FOR them if they still have to pay their own penalty for all eternity? This verse is talking about the WHOLE WORLD. The sins of the WHOLE WORLD.
But what if all these sinners of the world reject Christ? Of course most people do reject Christ, but they won't always do so. God has not given them belief yet. Remember "every knee will bow and every tongue will acclaim ... to the Glory of God." Of course most don't will to believe God now, but they all will later. " ... for it is GOD Who is operating in you to WILL as well as to work for the sake of His delight" (Phil. 2:13).
"For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the savior of all men" (I Tim. 4:10).
Comment: God is not the "potential" or "possible" saviour of all men. He is the saviour of all men! I believe Him. I think you should too.
Ver. 11, "These things command and teach."
I think the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God damages your pride. I heard you say: "I'm not saved because my grandmother believed ... I am saved because I found Him by myself.."
Mr. Hagee, didn't I hear you say that "pride is a greater sin than adultery or homosexuality?" You did not find Christ "by yourself." That's boasting and unscriptural.. Look at a few Scriptures:
"Not one [not even Pastor Hagee] is seeking out God" (Rom. 3:11).
"Now what have you which you did not obtain? Now if you obtained it also, why are you BOASTING as though NOT obtaining?" (I Cor. 4::7).
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you ... " (John 15:16).
"No one can come to Me if ever the Father Who sends Me should not be drawing him" (John 6:44).
"He [God] chooses us in Him [Christ] ... " (Eph. 1:4).
When you boast, Mr. Hagee, saying that you found Christ all by yourself, you are telling your international audience that everyone else is, therefore, responsible for finding Christ "all by themselves." Charles Darwin taught "survival of the fittest," and you teach "salvation of the wisest." According to you, one must be wise enough to find Christ, accept Christ, and then qualify on his own to be saved.
This "bootstrap" mentality of self-qualification for salvation is nonsense, Mr. Hagee. But let me be more Scripturally "exact." Paul said he had many more reasons to have "confidence in his own flesh" than anyone. But when Christ called Paul (yes, Mr. Hagee, Christ called Paul - Paul did not find Christ "all by himself"), he said:
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but DUNG, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:8), King James Version.
There is a parallel between your teachings and the teachings of atheistic evolutionists. Those learned men who promulgate the hypothesis of evolution (I say "hypothesis," because there isn't any scientific proof that would elevate it to a "theory"), use the same authoritative language in their writings to prove the unprovable as you do. Surely (non-thinking people reason) since hundreds and thousands of learned scientists point to nature and science for their proof, then what they teach concerning evolution, must be true. And, surely (non-thinking Christians reason) since hundreds and thousands of learned clergymen point to the Holy Scriptures for their proof, then what they teach concerning Christ, must be true.
Mr. Hagee, you have about as much Scriptural proof that man must find God and qualify for salvation all on his own, as evolutionists have scientific proof that all the species evolved from the same ancestor, all on their own-NONE! You have about as much Scriptural proof that God is going to torture most of His children in the fires of a Hell for eternity, as evolutionists have scientific proof that life spontaneously generated itself from dead sea slime - NONE!
"Proof" is evidence that something is true. Just saying something isn't proof of its validity. One can say that since outdoor dogs grow longer hair during extended periods of cold weather, that they are "evolving long hair." Is that true? No. The ingenious mechanism that enables a dog to grow long hair in cold weather is already built into the dog's physiology - it is "evolving" nowhere.
One can say that animals "reproduce by evolving through thousands of stages of mutations." But, is that true? No. The laws of science prove and have proven, millions and billions of times, that animals reproduce just as the Scripture states: "after their kind." Yet millions believe these intellectual falsehoods, just as millions believe the theological falsehoods I have countered in this letter.
And just like evolutionists, Mr. Hagee, you say things that you claim are Scriptural, but are not. You teach that a man's soul has immortality. But is that true? No. There is NO scientific proof that man has an immortal soul. And the Scriptures plainly tell us that "Christ ONLY has immortality," and that "man is MORTAL."
You teach that "the dead" are actually "alive" in a different geographical location. Is that true? No. There is NO scientific evidence that dead people or dead animals are alive at a different geographical location. And the Scriptures plainly tell us that "death is sleep," with "no knowledge, no thoughts, not anything." This is in full agreement with what science knows about death. And yet, millions believe these theological lies So who are we to believe? Evolutionists or True Science? John Hagee or the Word of God?
Evolutionists deny the very scientific evidence that they study to supposedly prove their hypothesis. And you, Mr. Hagee, deny the very Scriptures you preach from in trying to persuade others of your theories. Most people do not know, actually, factually, and scientifically, what the hypothesis of evolution is based on, and most people have little knowledge of the Scriptures or how to study the Hebrew and Greek from which they were translated.
Give me just ninety minutes with any open-mined person of normal intelligence, and I will prove to him (scientifically), the fallacy of both spontaneous generation and evolution of the species from common ancestors. Give me ninety minutes with that same person and I will prove to him (Scripturally), the fallacy of your theories on Hell and all your false expressions that go with it.
Colin Patterson, a senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum, asked his audience of evolution experts a most telling question. He later posed the same question to the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History, and again to The Evolutionary Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago. All evolution experts. Here was his question:
"Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, ANY ONE THING. . . that is TRUE?"
All he got was silence!
So, I likewise, Mr. Hagee, after going into the Hebrew and Greek meanings of many words, plus a mountain of Scriptural references, including the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, will now ask you: "Can you tell me anything about God's failure to save all humanity, or about most of God's children being tortured in a Hell fire for all eternity, that is TRUE? ... I'm waiting.
You teach a Godless Hell for the majority of mankind for all eternity. Do you even begin to understand the damage you cause by such unscriptural (not to mention anti Scriptural) teachings? This doctrine of eternal torment is now and has been, blaspheming the very name of God among the nations for hundreds of years!
Everywhere one turns today, he finds atheistic, Godless, evolution being taught. In the finest magazines like National Geographic. On all scientific and educational channels. The Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel. In virtually all public schools in America, Europe, and around the world. All major colleges and universities. Not as a theory, but as the FACT of evolution it is taught. Why? Where did this teaching come from? Who is condoning it?
Charles Darwin is the "father of evolution." Little improvement or changes have been made to his original premises regarding survival of the fittest or the origin of species. Darwin is the main man when it comes to evolution. Now, why did Charles Darwin reject God and start this global rebellion against God and His Word which continues unabated to this very day? Was it really "God" that Mr. Darwin was rebelling against, or the "Godless doctrines" of depraved men?
According to Gertrude Himmelfarb's biography of Darwin, "One of the passages which was deleted from the autobiography explained why Charles not only could not believe in Christianity but would not wish to believe in it. Citing the 'DAMNABLE DOCTRINE' that would condemn ALL DISBELIEVERS TO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, he protested that 'this would include my Father, Brother, and almost ALL MY BEST FRIENDS' - which made it an unthinkable, to say nothing of thoroughly IMMORAL, idea. There may be more sophisticated reasons for disbelief, but there could hardly have been a more persuasive emotional one." (p. 22) (Emphasis mine).
The damnable unscriptural teaching of eternal torment (which you enthusiastically shout from your pulpit) has probably done more to cause the name of God to be blasphemed among the nations than any other false teaching on Earth, including the teaching of evolution.
God is sovereign. God is all wise and all knowing. He is all powerful and almighty. And God is LOVE. He has a plan, a purpose, a will. He is carrying out that plan. He has set man against His own will while He carries out His intentions which absolutely no one can withstand. To know good, one must have an experience of evil. God created evil (Isa. 45:7). It is only temporary. He has given an experience of evil to mankind to humble him thereby (Ecc. 3:10). It will be completely successful. God has called a privileged few to understand His plan now. He will call and enlighten everyone else later. Death cannot separate God from His love for them. There is coming a resurrection of the dead. All of the dead. They will be taught the truths of God and God will be their saviour.
Evil and death will be abolished (I Cor. 15:26, II Tim. 1:10, Rev. 21:4). The culmination of this portion of God's plan is for God to be "All in all." (I Cor. 15:28). Other than this one Scripture, God tells us nothing concerning our future with Him beyond the eons or His plans for eternity. We trust Him in faith that it will be as He says:
"That which the eye did not perceive, and the ear did not hear, and to which the heart of man did not ascend-whatever God makes ready for those who are loving Him" (I Cor. 2:9)
And, of course,
" ... those who are loving Him" will include all humanity and all in the heavens" (Phil. 2:11).
There are hundreds of religions that teach thousands of ridiculous things. I haven't written to any of them. I have written to you, however, because you claim to get your teachings and doctrines from the Hebrew and Greek Holy Scriptures. This makes your teachings particularly offensive to anyone who has their ear tuned to the true teachings of the Scriptures, and is deceptive and even blasphemous to those not knowledgeable of the Scriptures.
There is more than ample proof in this letter of your disregard for the meanings of words-while inserting your own meanings into words of the Scriptures! Adding to God's Word - turning ages into eternities! Taking away from God's Word-reducing the salvation of all to just a few! Diminishing God's grand declarations-teaching they will never be fulfilled. Teaching that the unbelieving dead are not really dead-but rather are suffering in the flames of Hell for ever. Making dozens of statements of gigantic proportions - contradicting hundreds of plain Scriptures to the contrary.
Here, then, is one final reason for this letter. Our Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days there would be a great "apostasy." Heathens are not apostates. Atheists can never be guilty of apostasy unless they once knew the truth. An apostate is one who falls from the truth. Most of what Paul cautioned his own disciples to be aware of were things that were to increase as Christ's return draws nearer. With regards to elders and supervisors in the Church, Paul told Titus:
" ... for the supervisor must be unimpeachable as an administrator of God, not given to self-gratification, not irritable, no toper, not quarrelsome, not avaricious; but hospitable, fond of that which is good, sane, just, benign, self-controlled; upholding the FAITHFUL WORD according to the teaching, that he may be able to entreat with SOUND TEACHING as well as to EXPOSE those who CONTRADICT. For many are insubordinate, vain praters, and imposters ... who must be GAGGED, who are subverting whole households, teaching what they must not, on behalf of sordid gain" (Titus 1:7-11). Concordant Literal New Testament
I pray that some place in this long letter a little ember of light might have started glowing in your spirit regarding the mountain of Scriptural references I have presented. Maybe you have even for an instant entertained the idea that you could have been wrong in many of your teachings. But then, maybe your thoughts turned to yourself, your reputation, your status, your office, your financial support. What would your friends and associates think if you were to admit your error on such major themes?
One loses a lot sometimes when one starts teaching the truths of God, but nothing is more valuable than truth!
Don't let my chiding you dissuade you from meditating and searching all the Scriptures I have given you. Everything I have said was for a purpose. Just because I find much wrong with your teaching, doesn't mean I am attacking your character, or have any ill feelings toward you.
There are three great evils of men on earth today: corrupt government, false science, and deceitful religion. Of these, the Christian doctrine of "Eternal Torment" for the majority of God's children, is by far the single greatest evil and contemptible teaching ever foisted on the human race anywhere on the face of the earth, in the entire history of the world!
As God wills in the years ahead, the truth concerning this and other Christian doctrines will be made known for all Americans to see. People will finally see this evil teaching for what it is: an anti-Scriptural, anti-God, doctrine of demons, and Satan's greatest effort to blaspheme the very name of God among the nations. And those who teach these evil lies, will, like the Naked Emperor, also stand exposed before all!
If you have any questions, or if I can help you in any way, feel free to write. Sincerely,
L. Ray Smith