Sunday, August 14, 2016

It never entered My mind

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As I am reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah, there is a reoccurring mention of Israel's and Judah's rebellion and unfaithfulness. Specifically, I noted the abhorrent practice of infant sacrifice that 'God's chosen people' adopted from surrounding nations. I also noticed how vehemently God speaks against this practice:

“They have built the high places of Topheth (means 'fire place') in the Valley of Ben Hinnom (Gehenna) to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter My mind.”                                                                                                           - Jer. 7:31

In the NASB, they translate Jer. 19:5 (which basically repeats the above verse) as, “...a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind...”

Jeremiah 32:35 again reiterates this sin and states, “...nor did it enter my mind... that they should do such a detestable thing...”

As I read about this detestable practice of placing children in the burning arms of the idol Molech (or Baal) to suffer in the fire, it reminds me of this idea of eternal conscious torment. Except in this scenario, those that God 'fathered' (created) will be thrown in the fire and instead of dying, they will be kept alive to suffer this burning forever.

Tell me, could a fate such as this ever come from the Father's mind?

(Originally posted December 26, 2014) 

Monday, August 1, 2016

God's Word brings joy!

"The whole Bible seems to glow 
with new meaning. The good news of eternal 
life seems more beautiful than ever."

GracEmail by Edward Fudge:

I first met Neal two years ago while shopping for a hat at Shudde Bros. Hatters, his century-old family business situated in the Brookwood Community, about 40 miles west of Houston. We quickly connected as fellow-believers and soon were discussing the hope of immortality that we share in Jesus Christ.

From childhood, Neal was taught that God will also keep the lost alive forever, to suffer everlasting conscious torment. Neal said that teaching had always struck him as out of line with the gospel and inconsistent with God's character as revealed in the person of Jesus.

The theme throughout the word of God is God's faithful love for his people, whom he already has reconciled to himself in Jesus Christ and one day will make immortal to live in a redeemed creation creation called the new heavens and earth. It is therefore no wonder that God's word often gives joy to his people. "I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil, exclaimed David" (Psalm 119:162).

As we talked that day, Neal was overjoyed to learn that he can read texts like Romans 6:23 ("the wages of sin is death; the gift of God is eternal life") and John 3:16 ("whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but will have everlasting life") and take them at face value. The final destinies awaiting human beings really are LIFE or DEATH.

Some of my family visited the Brookwood Community last week, and again Neal and I crossed paths. Since our previous visit, he told me, he had watched my lecture on "The Fire That Consumes," presented to a live audience of 800 at the Lanier Theological Library in 2011, and he could not contain his excitement. The whole Bible seems to glow with new meaning, he said, and the good news of eternal life seems to him more beautiful than ever. But as we began to reflect on the word of God again, Neal knew that his joy was only beginning.