Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who Goes to Heaven and Who Goes to Hell?!?

A very, very interesting article in The Dallas Morning News on the subject.

Howling Latina is knee deep in notes trying to whip out an analysis of George Allen's loss for graduate school so she'll reserve many of her comments for a later date.

Suffice it say, though, she proudly stands next to the folks who don't want to make "doctrinal claims" that anyone who does not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior is forever doomed to perdition.

Yes, as the article noted, the argument starts with John 14:16: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But Jesus was merely explaining to Thomas how one finds the way to where Jesus was going.

Here's a point to ponder. Is Jesus divine because He is the spirit of God who lived on earth as man? Howling Latina advances the notion that Jesus was and is divine because the spirit of God permeated every drop of blood he gave on the cross more than 2000 years ago.

But in that same vein, who are we, mere moral men, to divine God's ways?

Could God not have elected to speak to other nations through the Holy Spirit incarnate in another human body, like Mohammed or Budhha?

In fact, since we're on the subject, Jesus never said you “must” believe in me or else. In another passage he tells Thomas to not worry about his salvation. In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

HL submits that Jesus was explaining to Thomas that He was the way; the spirit of God that was in Him. A spirit that could just as easily permeated every fiber in Buddha, Mohammed or any person God so chose to endow His spirit with.

As to remarks from Warped View who gave HL a chuckle with this post, here are a few of the reasons she is a devoted Democrat and believes Republicans are on the wrong side of many biblical perspectives.

The Greatest Commandment (Mark12:28-31)
28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[b] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c]There is no commandment greater than these."

Words without Deeds (James 2:14-17) 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Judging (Matthew 7:1-5) 1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person's eye.

True and False Prophets(Matthew 7:15-16) 15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

And the Heart of the matter: (Matthew 25:31-39 )
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will eparate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'


Comments:
Amen.
 
Mimi, good call in the post. Here’s another proof text that people don’t usually quote in defense of universalism. It’s Matthew 12:19:31-32.

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Even in some theology classes that I took, people were puzzled about the meaning of this passage, which they termed cryptic. What was the blasphemy that will not be forgiven?

Looking at it with the eyes of one not born into the Christian faith and so not indoctrinated from birth that the only way to heaven was through Christ, I saw an interpretation that others seemed to miss completely. Indeed, I was puzzled they didn’t see it.

Quite simply, Jesus is recognizing that many will not believe in him and will even speak against him. For that, he seems to be saying, people will be forgiven. What will not be forgiven, though, is speaking against the Holy Spirit, who is a different person in the Trinity.

Because I was raised Jewish, that was a real issue for me here. Would my family be condemned for not accepting Jesus as Messiah?

According to my interpretation of this passage, no they wouldn’t. Because although Jews do not recognize Jesus as the predicted Messiah, or as the incarnation of God, they certainly do not blasphemy against Ruach ha Kodesh – the Holy Spirit. Or even the Father.

Following that line of reasoning, perhaps Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus also are not denying the Spirit but simply the Son of Man, for which there is forgiveness.

Given other passages in Matthew, where Jesus says explicitly that many will call on his name and he will say he never knew them, it’s possible many who claim to be Christians and make showy displays of piety but don’t follow it up with real concern for “the least of these” may be surprised to find Gandhi or the Dali Lama by God’s side while their trajectory is on a somewhat downward path.

Anyway, for some other interesting perspectives on Christian universalism, two good recent books are If Grace is True and If God is Love, both by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. Theirs is a minority opinion but they demonstrate that Christian universalism can be a reasonable theological opinion.
 
Thanks!

When I get done with my studies, I'll look them up.

I plan to travel to Egypt and visit my daughter for almost four weeks at the end of December and will have ample of time to relax and contemplate the meaning of life and STUFF!
 
Oh, and click the link. It's a really good article!
 
Some points...

1) God (Elohim)does not change... This is threaded through the scriptures. James 1:17

2) Jesus taught that the Torah, meaning 'instruction' or his Law will not change. He did not come to abolish it. He came to fulfil it meaning to keep the Torah (this is a Jewish idiom meaning 'to obey Torah'.) Matthew 5:17-20

3) Torah applies to all men that join themselves to God weither Jew or Gentile. Ex 12:49, Nu 15:29

4) Gentiles have no Covenant with God other than than joining themselves to Israel. Salvation is from the Jews.

"Ye (gentiles) worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." Jn 4:22

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;(Israel)" Eph 2:11-19


5) Jesus was the God of the Torah. Face to Face with Moses. Fought with Jacob. No Man has seen the Father.

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." Jn 8:58,59

In the Greek Septuigint (old Testament) the same exact langauge is used here as here in the New Testament for the phrase "I AM". That is why they wanted to kill him. He was saying he was the God (Elohim) in Exodus 3. “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” in Hebrew.


He gave the Torah to Moses. Torah is More than the Ten Commandments. The Ten commandments never once called 'commandments' they are called 'Ten Words.' in the Hebrew and the Greek.

God (Elohim said)

"And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Ex 20:6

Jesus said

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." Jn 14:15

Commandments include all things in Torah pertaining to Kosher (what you eat) and the cleanliness (Blood, discharges, menstration) and moral laws like avoiding sexual sin, Homosexualism, Lesbianism.. ETC.

6) Any phophet that teaches you to follow anything but Torah is accursed. This includes Buddah or even Muhammed.
7) Jesus did say come to me or else.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn 6:44

If you are looking to be raised to eternal life.. It’s Jesus not anyone else.


Jesus was the Son of God. He was the God of the Old Testament. He was Jewish and still is. He gave the Torah that all men could have life. If you disregard that we must come to God by way of the Jews, you will not be accepted. That is why Catholism is so dangerous. It replaces Jerusalem with Rome. If you are waiting for Jesus to come back you should not be looking to Rome because he is coming back to Jerusalem.

You need to read the whole Bible and not verses here and there. It is the entirety of the Scriptures that will lead you to life.
 
John 3:18

Those who believe in him are not judged. But those who do not believe are judged already. They have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
 
Mimi,
Please explain to me why Jesus came. I think when we understand this, questions like who is condemned and who is declared righteous are more easily understood.

Megan
 
I believe Jesus came to show us the way to Truth through the Holy Spirit that abides in EVERYONE!

Through the life of Jesus, the world can see that no matter what God is always with us through the Holy Spirit who abides in EVERYONE!

This is especially comforting when I go through my own trials and tribulations and know that everything that happens to me is simultaneously experienced by the ONE who created the universe. Such moments provide comfort, wisdom and moments of total awe.
 
Is that all?
 
Well, when you're in the throes of despair, I'd say it's pretty humbling and awesome to feel the spirit of God calm your fears.

I'd like to share with you a passage from the Bible that I believe ministers of the faith do not spend enough time discussing. And that i the passage in Luke 23:44-46: "It was now about the sixth hour, and the darkness caeme over the whole land until the ninth hours, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple ws torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.'"

That, my dear Republitarian's wife, is the message of Jesus to all on earth. In that final lucid moment on earth, like Jesus, we surrender, in assurance that God and the spirit of God that dwells within us are ONE.
 
And what of the gospel?
 
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:1-8

Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name(ETERNAL LIFE), that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger (GENTILES), that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him (OBEY HIS TORAH), and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it (GULP! NOT SUNDAY?), and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him (GENTILES INTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL), beside those that are gathered unto him.

This goes hand in hand with what Paul taught in the "New Testament" when he spoke of being grafted into Israel. There is no salvation with out this "joining" oneself to Israel.

This is the Gospel.
 
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