Something to think about.
From what I have read, the author of The Shack, Paul Young attended a Christian college where he took Bible courses in addition to other courses taught with a Christian viewpoint. Around the year 2000 he and another person founded a theology think tank that met on a regular basis. It was a forum where new and different ideas could be discussed, with a few guidelines. One guideline was that the truth of the Bible would be the final authority. Around 2004 Paul Young presented a paper to the group in defense of universalism. The next month another member of the group presented a rebuttal to Paul Young’s paper concerning universalism. That was to be the last time that Paul Young attended the group. Later Paul Young went on to write the book, The Shack.
Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.
People that believe in universalism …
* believe that all people will be saved.
* believe that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell.
* believe that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself.
* believe that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
* believe that there are many ways to get into heaven.
* believe that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God
* ignore the consequences of unrepented sin.
I did read the book and I found that universalism and other ideas / theologies contrary to the Bible are laced throughout the book. Many in the world, and in the church, defend the book by claiming that it is just fiction.
The dictionary describes fiction as:
something invented by the imagination
an invented story
an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
written stories about people and events that are not real
literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer
While the book may be fiction (in the sense of the definition of fiction) and a feel good book packed with emotion to some, the false teachings (universalism and other non-Biblical ideas) in it are very real. There is nothing wrong with using imagery in writing about God, but not in a derogatory fashion that goes against Him or His Word. We have been instructed to be careful what we set before our eyes.
Psalm 101:3-4 NKJV
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”
God wants us to control what we think about, what we meditate upon, what we allow in our minds. Things can enter into our minds through what we watch and what we read.
Philippians 4:8 NKJV
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
If you choose to read the book, keep your Bible next to you as you read it and ask God for discernment. Does The Shack glorify the God of the Bible, the One true God? Is the doctrine of universalism presented in a positive or appealing way? Does it make light of the precious blood of Christ?
A few, but not all, of the heresies in the book are:
- God the Father was crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross.
False, God the Father was not crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross. If God was crucified with Jesus on the cross, why does Jesus cry out to God in heaven, “…why have You forsaken Me?”
Matthew 27:45-54 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”
Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
At the crucifixion, Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. He did not become sin, He became our sin offering. For the first time, Jesus, a sinless man, felt what it was like to feel the weight and judgment of sin. The judgment for sin is separation from God – separation from the glory of God, the manifest presence of God.
Romans 3:23 NKJV
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”
Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind when He was on the cross.
1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”
Colossians 1:19-22 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed”
There was a darkness lasting three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion. During the three hours of darkness Jesus was separated from God the Father. We serve a holy God that cannot look upon sin. On the cross, as Jesus took upon Himself our sins, God could not look upon Him, His own beloved Son.
Matthew 27:45 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”
Mark 15:33 NKJV
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”
- God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice, and justice will never take place because of love.
False, God is not limited by His love. God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin, they go hand in hand. God practices justice because He loves us. Justice is what is right – the way things should to be. In the Hebrew language the word justice and the word righteousness are, in many cases, interchangeable. God’s righteousness, justice, is not limited by His love.
Romans 3:25-26 NKJV
“whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Justice is described as…
the administration of law
the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
conformity to this principle or ideal
the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
conformity to truth, fact, or reason
what is right or what is normal
fairness of laws coupled with fair and equal treatment
a recognized code of conduct.
what is right or as it should be
Righteousness is described as…
acting in accord with divine or moral law
free from guilt or sin
morally right or justifiable
conforming to a standard of what is right and good
conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong
rightness, fairness, or equity
moral excellence in character
guiltlessness or blamelessness
moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character
John 3:16-21 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Justice requires a penalty for sin – there is a judgment for sin. God loved us so much that despite the fact that our sin demand judgment, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our substitute upon the cross. By doing so His justice was not violated, but instead satisfied.
When God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus is rejected, justice calls for us to be judged for our sins. To God sin is lawlessness (not obeying) and iniquity (wickedness).
1 John 3:4-9 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
Sin represents everything that goes against God’s holy nature. Sin is disobedience to God and justice demands a penalty. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God’s presence. There is a penalty for sin.
Romans 1:18-32 NKJV
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
Romans 3:23-26 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay our penalty for us because He is both a loving God and a just God.
Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
Romans 6:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Eternal life, a gift from God, is available to all who believe in His name.
John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 20:31 NKJV
“…but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
God’s own righteousness is given as a gift (salvation) to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Salvation is based upon God’s grace and mercy in response to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
The Bible tells us that God loves justice.
Psalm 37:27-33 NKJV
“Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
- Hierarchical structures (whether they are in the Church or in the government) are evil, and there is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead.
False, God is a God of order and authority.
Job 25:2 NKJV
“Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places.”
Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.”
John 4:34 NKJV
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
Luke 22:42 NKJV
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit”
John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 15:26 NKJV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
There is to be order and authority in our life. We are to submit to God.
There is to be order and authority in our family.
There is to be order and authority in the church.
There is to be order and authority in the government.
When there is not authority everyone does what is right in their own eyes. And that is evil.
Proverbs 21:2 NKJV
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”
- On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
False, to receive forgiveness you must repent. Those who practice unrepented sin will not be in heaven. No matter what our relationship is with God, He loves us, but He hates sin. We have the choice to accept forgiveness of our sins (through repentance) or to reject it. Relationship with God is a choice and so is forgiveness. Not everyone will make it to heaven.
Matthew 7:13-23 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ. Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 24:47 NKJV
“… and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
John 3:3 NKJV
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Romans 10:12-13 NKJV
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…”
Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
On the cross Jesus provided us with a way to be restored unto God. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God is offered to us through the work that Jesus did on the cross, however we have the free will to choose.
John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life”
John 3:14-17 NKJV
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
John 3:36 NKJV
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 5:24-27 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”
John 6:40 NKJV
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
- God will never judge people for their sins.
False, all sin will be judged. If we choose to reject repentance and a true relationship with God then we will be judged for our sins.
Judgment is described as:
a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
a formal decision given by a court
an obligation (such as a debt) created by the decree of a court
a divine sentence or decision
punishment for breaking the law or a code of conduct
2 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…”
2 Peter 3:7 NKJV
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Jude 1:14-15 NKJV
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
Hebrews 9:24-28 NKJV
“ For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
2 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.
John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
- God submits to human wishes and choices.
False, God never has and never will submit to our choices and wishes. He is not a god created for us, we were created by Him and for Him. Our choices, wishes, desires and will must submit to Him. There will come a day when each and every person will bow down to God / Jesus in submission and reverence.
Romans 14:11 NKJV
“For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Isaiah 45:21-24 NKJV
“Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.”
Revelation 5:13 NKJV
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
We are to submit to God in all things.
James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God.”
Job 22:21-22 NKJV
“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, And lay up His words in your heart.”
We do not decide the path that leads to heaven. We must submit God’s will and to the one and only path that leads to heaven.
John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
- There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
False, there is a literal hell and lake of fire. The lake of fire will be the eternal home of those who reject God’s free gift of salvation, along with all the fallen angels and demons. Hell is just as real as heaven, however more people believe in heaven than hell.
. The Bible gives us several descriptions of hell and the lake of fire.
Luke 12:4-5 NKJV
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”
Luke 16:19-31 NKJV
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “
Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
False, there is only one way to God and only one way to eternal life with Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, God‘s only Son. If there was more than one way to God, Jesus would not have had to sacrifice His very own blood to redeem mankind. Jesus Himself said that He was the only way to God.
John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The Bible tells us that in the last days many will be deceived. Each believer must stay full of the Holy Spirit in order to avoid the deceptions that will come.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”
Matthew 24:4-8 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Deceptions can come in many different forms, but we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to see the deceptions for what they are. And we have been given the armor of God to help keep us spiritually strong, especially in the last days.
Ephesians 6:10-20 NKJV
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
1. As a believers you must study the Word of God for yourself – don’t just lightly read over it, or hear it from someone else. If the only thing you know about what God says in His Word is what you have been told then you will not be able to stand. The only way to keep from falling prey to false doctrine is to know what God says. You must have a firm foundation and that only comes from you reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. Jesus and His words are our firm foundation.
Matthew 7:22-27 NKJV
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
2. As a believers you must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment.
3. As a believers you must be care what you allow into your mind. You must be careful not to allow the enemy into your life by opening a door. All actions, good and bad, start with a little thought in your mind. Don’t allow the enemy to plant evil/sinful thoughts in your mind. Guard the door of your mind Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.
4. As a believers you must keep your eyes on God alone. Don’t put people ( leaders, actors, singers, pastors, churches, radio stations, television stations….) on a pedestal. If you do and they fall, or error spiritually, you will be disappointed. In this life people will disappoint, but God never will.
5. As a believers you must know what you believe and why. You must know error and hearsay when it comes to you – even when it is sugar coated.
6. As a believers you must determine that you will stand for God and what’s right even if you have to stand alone. Remember: What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.
Just a thought…
At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth. Jesus’ feet will stand on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. He will defeat the antichrist and throw Satan into a bottomless pit for 1000 years. During this time Jesus will reign over the earth.
Do you think that they will celebrate Halloween during the millennial reign? If you answer no, then why are people who profess to be followers of Christ celebrating it today?
The day after Shemini Atzert is referred to as Simhat Torah. It is a time that that the Jewish people rejoice in the gift of God’s Word, and in His promise to write His law on their hearts and in their minds. They focus on the first five books of the Bible known as the Law of Moses or the Pentateuch.
Simchat Torah is also called the Rejoicing of the Torah. This festival takes place in the synagogue. On this day the scrolls are taken out of the ark and a lighted candle is placed inside. A procession of elders march around the reading desk carrying the scrolls. The scrolls are placed back in the ark, except the one of Deuteronomy. It is read aloud, with everyone being called up front to read a portion of it – even the children.
As a Christian this festival reminds us of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Simchat Torah is a time to be thankful for the Word of God. A time of rejoicing in the gift of God’s Word, and in His promise to write His law on our hearts and in our minds.
Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Hebrews 8:10 NKJV
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
The day after the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus went to the temple early in the morning. He sat down and began to teach the people that came to Him there. As Jesus was teaching a group of scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him whom they said was caught in adultery. These men knew what the Law of Moses stated concerning adultery, but they were hoping to trap Jesus into saying something that was contrary to the law.
John 7:53-8:1-11 NKJV
“And everyone went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ”
Jesus did not condemn the woman brought to Him, however He did tell her to “Go and sin no more.“
True repentance is turning from your sin and going the opposite way, to make a conscience decision to turn away from sin. As a believer when we encounter Jesus, we too are to go and sin no more. We must allow God’s Word to be more than words on a page. God has given us His Holy Spirit who can write His law on our hearts and in our minds
An eighth day, Shemini Atzert (meaning “the eighth day of assembly), was added to the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot) during the time of Ezra. This day became known as the Great Day of the Feast.
During the temple times the custom was to draw water from the Siloam spring as a ‘libation” to accompany the offerings. This was done with great rejoicing and expressions of thanksgiving. On this day the High Priest would pour water from the pool of Siloam into a basin at the foot of the altar. The water was a symbol of God’s Spirit.
It was on the eighth day that Jesus told the people if they were thirsty to come to Him and drink. Jesus declared Himself to be the source of the spring – that He was the source of living water.
John 7:37-38 NKJV
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”
Jesus told the people that were gathered, as the High Priest poured water from the pool of Siloam into the basin, that if they believed in Him rivers of living water would flow out of them. By this Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. The water the High Priest would pour out was just a symbol of God’s Spirit but Jesus offered them the real thing, the Holy Spirit (rivers of living water).
In the natural realm when a person is thirsty they have a desire or need for drink. They have a strong desire to quench their thirst. The same is true in the spiritual realm. When we are spiritually thirsty we have a need for living water. Jesus invites every person that is thirsty to go to Him, the only one that can truly satisfy their thirst.
Observing Shemini Atzert – A Shemini Atzert Service
On this day the scrolls are taken out of the ark and a lighted candle is placed inside. A procession of elders march around the reading desk carrying the scrolls. The scrolls are then placed back in the ark, except the one of Deuteronomy. It is read out loud, with everyone being called up front to read a portion of it – even the children.
At one point, during the service, all the children are called forward. Adults form a canopy over them by holding up their talitot (prayer shawls), over their heads. Then the blessing of Jacob is recited over them.
Genesis 49:3-28 NKJV
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it— He went up to my couch.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel. “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk. “Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships, And his border shall adjoin Sidon. “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between two burdens; He saw that rest was good, And that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, And became a band of slaves. “Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that its rider shall fall backward. I have waited for your salvation, O Lord! “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last. “Bread from Asher shall be rich, And he shall yield royal dainties.
“Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), By the God of your father who will help you, And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at night he shall divide the spoil.” All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing.”
As a symbol of the blessings falling upon the children of Israel, the children are showered with candy while the people sing. This part of the service is called Kol HaNe’arim..
Another part of the service is the Hattan HaTorah. During this part of the service, someone who is a good example of love and practices the Torah is called up to read the Torah. He stands under a canopy and reads the last chapter of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 34:1-12 NKJV
“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended. Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”
The last part of the service is the Hattan HaTorah. During this part of the service someone is chosen that has given outstanding service to the community. This person reads the first chapter of Genesis.
Genesis 1:1-31 NKJV
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
When the service is over, the children leave carrying banners with Hebrew inscriptions.