Category Archives: Heaven

Why do Catholics pray to saints?

One of my alert readers (God bless her!) asked this question on yesterday’s Mary blogs.

“I’m no Catholic so I’m about as qualified as a stick of butter to discuss a lot of this, but don’t Catholics actually pray to the Virgin Mary and the saints? In the Protestant faith that’s a big no-no, and Protestants who do so are in violation of church orthodoxy. We’re only to pray to the Lord God in the form of Father, Son and/or Holy Spirit.”

In the article I linked below, the author says, “We pray with saints, not to them.”  Well, yes and no. It’s a linguistic thing.

In the modern sense, “to pray to” usually means “to speak to God.” This obviously includes worship that is wholly inappropriate for anyone to offer to another created being. However, prayer also includes praise, supplication, thanksgiving, confession, intercession. We do all of these things with our families and friends who are alive, do we not? Catholics simply extend the practice to those who have passed on.

In the now-archaic sense (e.g., in Shakespeare), “I pray thee” also means to ask, implore, or beg.  Yes, we pray with the saints. But we also pray to them in the sense that we ask, implore, or beg for their prayers and assistance.  Again, we do all of these things with our families and friends who are alive.  Moreover, God clearly approves of it.  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20).

When I received very scary news about my third pregnancy, I went to church to pray. Father asked why I was crying, then went and got me a little prayer card to St. Gerard. I leaned hard on Gerard throughout the rest of that pregnancy. My daughter, who was very sick at mid-term, was born full term and healthy. Her doctor, a noted specialist in high risk pregnancies, told me, “You can call this a miracle if you want to. I treat every baby in central New York that has this disease. There is no cure. There isn’t even a treatment. I have no explanation for how she recovered, but the tests clearly show that she had the disease at 20 weeks and she doesn’t have it now.”  Does St. Gerard deserve the credit? No. Only God can do a miracle. Does St. Gerard deserve my gratitude for interceding for my baby? Absolutely!

I understand that some Christians believe the soul goes to sleep at death and will not awaken to consciousness until the end of time. For them, praying to saints makes no sense. As one of them put it to me (repeatedly), “You can’t talk to dead people.” However, this “comatose soul” thing is neither Catholic teaching nor consistent with the repeated experience of Christians ever since the first century.

We have loads of evidence that those who have died in Christ are alive in some temporary, spiritual body and can hear us, pray for us, and even sometimes assist us in specific ways (as God permits) much as our guardian angels do. Even the Blessed Virgin Mary reminds us often that she only appears and gives us messages because God allows it.

2015_03 25 Our Lady of Medj ms

There is nothing in Scripture that says that praying to saints is wrong. And there is LOTS in Catholic history that says God blesses the practice. In fact, the process for someone becoming a canonized Saint is, first, that someone prays to that person and, second, that someone receives an indisputably miraculous answer to his/her prayer. This is the Church’s way of ensuring that only those God chooses are elevated to capital S sainthood.(1)

Note: The RCC is extremely conservative and cautious about presuming to know who is in Heaven.(2) The canonization process is long, tortuous, and expensive.  One important aspect is the assignment of an expert in Church law to argue AGAINST canonization. His job — known as Devil’s Advocate (3) — is to dig into the evidence and try to disqualify the person who has been proposed.  The Devil’s Advocate closely examines the person’s life history and looks with great skepticism at all the medical evidence. If anything smells the tiniest bit off, the cause for canonization is suspended.

Miracles that qualify as true signs from God are not of the “Jesus’ face on toast” variety. They are of the “this person should be dead, but now has zero sign of their incurable illness” variety. I read about one person who had had a colostomy, who was not only healed of the cancer, but also had had that chunk of colon fully restored! I read another one where bone cancer had eaten away inches of leg bone. This person was also healed of the cancer AND had that bone restored.

Ponder how careful the RCC is and then consider the fact that there are thousands of canonized saints. Is it any wonder we treat our Saints the way we do?!

  1. In Catholic parlance, Christians on Earth (Prots too!) are “little ess saints”, souls in Heaven who have not been canonized by the Church are “middle ess saints”, and those who have been canonized are “capital ess Saints.”
  2. The RCC has also never made any claims to know who is in Hell.
  3. Linguistically, the expression “devil’s advocate” is rooted in this RCC position.

Grunt of Monte Cristo wrote an excellent comment about this subject.
https://polination.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/hyperdulia-is-not-latria/#comment-59657

Frequently Asked Questions About Saints
http://www.catholic.org/saints/faq.php

St. Gerard
http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/prayers-to-st-gerard.html

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The Happy Ending

The following is an Our Daily Bread meditation by Philip Yancey.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” —Revelation 21:1

In its “plot,” the story of the Bible ends up very much where it began. The broken relationship between God and human beings has healed over at last, and the curse of Genesis 3 is lifted. Borrowing images from Eden, Revelation pictures a river and a tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2).

But this time a great city replaces the garden setting – city filled with worshipers of God. No death or sadness will ever darken that scene. When we awake in the New Heaven and New Earth, we will have at last a happy ending.

Heaven is not an afterthought or an optional belief. It is the final justification of all creation. The Bible never belittles human tragedy and disappointment – any book more painfully honest? – it does add one key word: temporary.

What we feel now, we will not always feel. The time for re-creation will come.

For people who feel trapped in pain or in a broken home, in economic misery or in fear – for all of us – Heaven promises a timeless future of health and wholeness and pleasure and peace. The Bible begins with the promise of a Redeemer in the book of Genesis (3:15) and ends with that same promise (Rev. 21:1-7) – a guarantee of future reality.

The end will be the beginning.

Rev 21 The first heaven and earth were passed away

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A prophetic warning: The smile of heaven on America

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the best selling “The Harbinger” spoke at a one-of-a-kind prayer meeting called “Washington: A Man of Prayer, 2014.”

The event commemorated the events of April 30, 1789, when, after being sworn in at Federal Hall, Washington, accompanied by Congress, proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel where, as one of his first official acts, he offered a prayer of dedication to God on America’s behalf.

Cahn quoted Washington’s address and his warning that the new nation could not expect to prosper if it forgot God:

“The propitious smile of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained.”

Cahn continued: “We stand tonight on Capitol Hill, in the city named after the one who gave that prophetic warning, to ask, can a nation drive out the name of God from its public square, and the Word of God from its schools and the ways of God from its culture and still expect the smiles of God to shine upon it?

“Can the blood of 50 million unborn children cry out to heaven from this land and the smiles of heaven still remain?

“Members of Congress, can a government call evil good and good evil and forge laws that war against the laws of the Almighty and the smiles of heaven still remain?

“Supreme Court justices, can you strike down the statutes of the Almighty and overturn the judgments of the Most High and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain?

“Mr. President, can you place your left hand on the Word of God to assume your office and with your right hand sign laws which break the very Word upon which you swore and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain?

“The voice of our first president cries out to us tonight and answers, no you cannot do so and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain on this land.”

Watch the video of Cahn’s speech @ http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/harbinger-rabbi-smile-of-heaven-removed-from-america/

If you have not read/seen Cahn’s epic work, The Harbinger, I strongly recommend you do so and sooner rather than later.
http://superstore.wnd.com/Welcome/The-Harbinger-Paperback-The-Isaiah-910-Judgment-DVD-BUNDLE

Source:
http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/harbinger-rabbi-smile-of-heaven-removed-from-america/

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Filed under Abortion, George Washington, Heaven, Jonathan Cahn, Supreme Court, U.S. Congress

The Bible says animals go to Heaven

Click on graphics to embiggen for easier reading.

01 Do our pets go to Heaven when they die by Rev K Eickwort

02 Do our pets go to Heaven

03 Do our pets go to Heaven

04 Do our pets go to Heaven

Graphics also posted @

https://www.facebook.com/christine.bravomom/media_set?set=a.306668179481397.1073741878.100004146523282&type=3&uploaded=4

Short URL @ on.fb.me/1meOBJf

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Heaven is real

3 books about visiting Heaven

I think it’s fascinating that the authors of two of the three “died, went to Heaven, and came back to tell of it” books on the NYT Best Seller lists are in a profession where such public testimony has to have made them suspect to their peers. (I have not read either of the doctors’ books, though I loved the one by the child.)

I knew someone once who had had this experience, but rarely talked about it. He only told me after he saw my book shelves and decided I was the kind of person who would not mock.

I’ve had some visions myself; I understand how he felt. It’s so personal and so very real. I’d rather walk naked down 5th Avenue than share with someone who would sneer. Knowing how I feel, I really admire the two physicians for speaking out.

The article linked below is an interview with one of the doctor authors. It appeared in Christianity Today and is posted online apparently in full. Good read!

Mary Neal Describes Her Visit to the Gates of Heaven

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/december-web-only/mary-neal-describes-her-visit-to-gates-of-heaven.html

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The Heavenly Grocery Store

Written by Noni Beth Gibbs. Reprinted from A Royal Appointment.

Praying is a lot like shopping at your favorite grocery store. And even if you don’t like shopping at an earthly market, you can’t afford to miss out on these celestial bargains! Grab a cart and get started.

At the front of the store is a gateway labeled “Forgiveness Entrance”. When you pass through, it blasts away any dirt, bugs, or other contaminants that would be out of place in the beautiful and clean grocery store. From top to bottom, you’re completely cleansed.

As you walk in the door of the market, you’re dazzled by the light. You’ve found something much bigger outside yourself, containing such power that there’s no need for the energy-saver methods like only lighting 1/3 of the light bulbs at any given time. You can see everything so much more clearly, and you’re only one step inside the door.

The display of advertised specials greets you in the entry. Every single display case in this section holds an item of praise.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise!  Ps. 100:4

For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised!  Ps. 96:4

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. Ps. 106:1

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Ps. 107:8

No matter how pressing our business in the other parts of the store, we will miss out on a huge blessing if we push on by this important stop. There’s not only a spiritual blessing here but a mental and physical blessing as well. Negative emotions depress our immune system, making us less resilient and more vulnerable to disease. The same God who wants us to be in good health wants us to praise Him. It draws us close to Him, and strengthens every part of our being.

Before we enter the main body of the store, let me tell you about a small section in the furthest corner. It contains wants, wishes, desires, and good options. There are many times in our lives when we put these items in our carts, wanting them and hoping we can keep them. Sometimes the Cashier will ring them up, but just as often, He’ll put them on layaway, or even ask us to discard them. It’s best to listen to His recommendation, no matter how hard it is to let go of these items. He knows what we need, and only chooses what is best, even if it seems heartbreaking at the time.

Once in a while, someone will grab the refused item back from the cashier and run out of the store with it. Not only do they suffer needlessly for shoplifting, but they had to leave most, if not all, of their other groceries at the counter.

For much of my prayer life, I’ve gone up and down this aisle, examining, shaking the packages, reading all the fine print, and trying to figure out before I get to the register which things I’m most likely to get to keep. Meanwhile, there was the whole rest of the store packed full of things that I was GUARANTEED to get to keep, and I hardly looked at those.

With age hopefully comes at least a little wisdom, so on this shopping trip we’ll go through the other sections, too. If you look down at your cart, now heaped with praise, you’ll see that it’s labeled “Holy Spirit”. In our own strength, we aren’t able to carry what we need from the store even as far as the cash register, never mind all the way through life. He guides us at every step, and makes suggestions of what we need. The voice app is faint, and we have to be trained to listen for it. But with practice, we’ll hear it more and more easily.

A rack of bread stands off to the left. There are only 66 loaves, and no matter how many you take, there are still 66 left. Each is different, but contains nutrients that we’ll need to fight in the War. Remember to grab a large jug of water, too. The Bread of the Word and the presence of the Water of Life through the Holy Spirit are the foundation for all the rest of the purchases you’re about to make. And whether it takes you one year or fifty, try each one of the 66 loaves.

If you follow each of these steps, you’ll immediately arrive at the produce section, where all the Fruits of the Spirit are now available to you. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance. Now, if you were to skip any of those first few sections, there would either be nothing at all in the produce section, or at best, the fruits would be small, underdeveloped, and maybe even a bit withered. But look at at the size of those fruits! Since you didn’t grow them yourself, of course you won’t take any credit. And whenever one of your friends asks you where you got them, you can refer them to the Market, too. Many people have made their first stop at the store because they saw the fruit that a friend brought home.

As you roll toward the other aisles to see what the store has to offer, you’re astonished to see a box of Salvation already in your cart, even though you don’t remember putting it there. Somewhere along the way, whether it was when you first chose to go to the grocery store, or parked in the parking lot, or walked inside and agreed to use the cart that had been provided for you, it quietly appeared. Sometimes a shopper may see this item pop into their cart, but often it slips in so quietly that they don’t know till later that it’s there.

It doesn’t matter what order you use to shop the rest of the store. Once the foundation is laid, you may need to start with a different section each day. Discouraged or brokenhearted? Pick out some Sweet Comfort from 1 Thess. 5:9-11. Tired and worn out? Try a big bottle of Isaiah 40:31 Invigorating Strength Renewal. Need Wisdom? It comes in the extra-extra-EXTRA large size if you just ask. Give the Clerk your coupon from James 1:5. All the way down in Aisle Seven is Rest for the people of God, and if Satan has been attacking you really hard, try some James 4:7 Devil-B-Gone.

Everything you need to walk from this moment all the way into the Kingdom is somewhere there on the shelves. I could write a whole book on the products that are available — there’s too many to fit into one medium-length blog post. There are Suits of Armor, Soothing Balms to heal the wounds from battle, and in the clothing section, a whole line of one-size-fits-all Righteousness of Christ Robes. They fit on over your regular clothing, and no one else can actually see them, but everyone notices the difference. Boxes of Joyful Obedience, Willing Service to Others, and Total Purity Heartwash are just a few of the things you can find. The top shelves can be hard to reach, but the Grocer will lift you up if you ask.

All this would be amazing enough by itself, but you can actually ask for anything in the store to be applied to another person’s account, too. Maybe a friend, relative, or even an enemy. The Grocer never forces anyone to take His merchandise, so by asking on behalf of others, it gives Him permission to work  for them in a way He couldn’t have done if you hadn’t asked. So while filling your own cart, keep an eye out for products that folks you know may need.

Finally, you find everything you were looking for that day, and walk to the front of the store. The Cashier rings up the price and says, “That will be one Perfection Card, please.”

You hunt through your pockets, sure your Perfection Card must be in there, but all you can find is a couple of  greasy paper towels you used to check your oil with that morning. “I’m sorry, Sir. This is all I have.”

“Not a problem.” The Cashier smiles. “If you’ll just hand me your dirty rags, I’ll give you My own Perfection Card. The price for all your groceries has already been paid.” Amazed and humbled, you take the bright crimson card. On the back it says in golden letters, “This card and all the products it purchased have been brought to you by the Blood of Jesus.”

“Come again real soon,” the Cashier says. “I’d love to see you again later today, and there’s no limit to how many times you can visit.”

“Thank you, Sir, I will,” you whisper. You’re so grateful that you find yourself stopping in the Praise Section one more time on the way out.

I will praise thee, for thou has heard me, and art become my salvation. Ps. 118:21

As you load the groceries into the car, it sinks in. You can get whatever you need from the store, all the rest of your life, and it’s already been paid for. The items you chose don’t fill quite half your trunk. Next time, you decide, I’ll get even more.

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

What are you going to ask for today?

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My little piece of Heaven

I followed a link at Freshly Pressed today and read this delightful tribute to apple trees:
http://theteacupchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/a-year-in-the-life-of-an-apple-tree/

I started to write a little comment about my own apple tree, but … as so often happens when I get talking … it turned into an essay!  So I got thinking how our tree is coming into bloom again and how much my PoliNation buds love garden-related blogs, so here goes …

In 1984, my little family moved into our first and only “us and the bank owns it” house. It’s just a ranchburger in a 70’s development, but it’s ours, so we love it. Moving was traumatic. And hot. I was sick and struggling with learning new streets, getting utilities hooked up, and figuring out where the foods we liked lived in a new grocery store while caring for our then 3- and 1-year-old daughters.

One unbelievably hot Hot HOT August day, the three of us arrived home after running errands, cranky and sticking to our car seats with our own gooey sweat. I turned off the engine, sighed and began trying to gather the energy to begin the long, arduous process of moving us and our numerous bags inside. Much as I longed to put my feet up and sip a cool drink, the putting away of purchases and cooking of dinner and changing of diapers were not going to wait.

Then I saw it. A real tree was sitting on our porch. I got out of the car to inspect. The tag said “Dwarf Empire Apple.” The card said, “Happy Housewarming! Peter and Nancy.” Can you imagine what that meant to me, at that extra arduous moment on that extra difficult day, to be celebrated with something alive and fruitful that would grow up with my girls in our new front yard? It still gives me goosebumps and makes me tear right up.

We planted it smack in the middle of that yard and have nurtured and enjoyed it all year, every one of the 28 years since.  One spring, it came into full, glorious bloom – one of its best flowering years ever – ON my birthday. I felt like God had sent me an apple-scented birthday-gram.

I remember in the summer of 1985, scooting around on my bum to weed and feed our baby tree, much too pregnant to kneel in the traditional gardening position. Daughter #3 arrived that June, the same month her Daddy finally completed his 17-years-long journey from high school to college graduate.

My girls are grown, married and starting families of their own. Dearest and I have some white hairs and wrinkles and our tree (raised organically) is very much full grown. The girls swear that they just cannot find apple sauce anywhere that tastes as good as what we made from our tree. We didn’t do anything special, just boiled down the apple into mush. The apples are just naturally sweet and delicious.

One of my favorite things about spring is when I can stand under our tree while she is in bloom. I just close my eyes and breathe. There is a tradition among Catholics that some of God’s Saints have smelled of roses, even after they have died. The aroma is sometimes referred to as the odor of sanctity. Saints may smell like roses, but in my humble opinion, Heaven itself smells like apple blossoms.

 

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A Heavenly Pick-Me-Up

I love stories like this one that demonstrate just HOW intimate and personal God’s care for us is. He’s not like Santa Claus with his naughty-nice list or the Vice Principal with his file folder of honors and demerits. God really KNOWS us, better than we know ourselves. God really LOVES us and wants only the very best for us. And He really, really wants us to be intimately involved with Him on a daily basis. What a joy!
———————-
A Heavenly Pick-Me-Up By Renee Holt, Port Angeles, Washington
www.guideposts.org/mysterious-ways/a-heavenly-pick-me-up

Oh, how I love my morning coffee! Can’t seem to start the day without it. So imagine my distress when I pulled my can of fresh coffee grounds from the kitchen panty shelf. It felt a little light. I looked inside. Not even enough for a single cup.

Just one more downbeat note in my life, I thought. First my painful divorce. Then the pressures of having to raise four children on my own. And now this. My salary as a bookkeeper had been stretched to the limit as it was, and coffee wasn’t in the grocery budget this week. I slumped on a kitchen chair. I felt like all my energy had been sapped away.

My first reaction, I admit, was bitter and selfish. I bet my ex-husband is enjoying a steaming cup of his favorite flavored latte just about now, I silently pouted. Quickly, I reprimanded myself. Lord, don’t let me sink into anger over something so petty, I prayed. The cloud that had settled over me magically lifted, and I went about getting my children ready for school.

I was straightening the house a few hours later when the telephone rang. It was one of those marketing companies that recruit people to test products that haven’t yet reached the store shelves. The caller asked if I’d like to test one of their products. “We’ll send you the product for free, and you try it out, and then you fill out a questionnaire on what you thought about it,” the caller said.

With money as tight as it was in our household, free sounded good to me. “Sure,” I said. “What will I be testing?”

“Every other week for the next several months, we’ll send you a fresh, one-pound can of coffee,” the caller said. “All you need to do is drink one cup from the first can and tell us how you liked it. The rest of the coffee is for your own enjoyment.”

If I were the coffee company, I’d name the brand, Heaven Sent.

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Two more Lefties go …

… wherever Lefties go when they die.

I started to title this “A busy week in Hell” but it is my church’s practice not to assume any particular soul is damned, so I thought maybe that title would be tacky. Or sacrilegious.

BTW, that last word is spelled correctly. Sacri-legious (not sac-religious) comes from the Latin sacrilegium, which is sacri (holy place) + legere (gather). Since you cannot gather holiness, which belongs only to God, the attempt to do so is sinful.

It does stretch the imagination pretty darned near to breaking that outspoken atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Kim Jong Il would suddenly decide they’d … OOPS! … been on the wrong team their entire lives.

But miracles happen. I do believe it.

I saw a whole slew of eulogy-style articles about Christopher “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” Hitchens (shown in the Michaelangelo “Creation” cartoon below).

The V with palm inwards gesture means “up yours” in UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Hitchens was born and raised in England. The gesture is frequently used to signify defiance (especially to authority), contempt, or derision.

I suppose there will be more maundering today about the now blessedly deceased little man who considered himself the toast of Pyongyang.

As for me, on both subjects, I’ve got as little interest as this office worker in South Korea:

“The reaction here in my office near Yeoido in Seoul was one of some surprise, but no lasting interest, and unlike the tsunami in Japan which drew attention to the TV for nearly an hour, the pause lasted about 5 minutes.”

Posted at http://midnightwatcher.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/death-of-a-dictator-north-korean-leader-kim-jong-il-69-has-died/

What does interest me, though, is the afterlife. I not only believe miracles happen, but also that Heaven and Hell are real places.

I also believe in Purgatory, and not just because I’m Catholic. It makes a lot of sense to me that God provided a place where repentant sinners could work on their issues.

Before God became Man and willingly suffered and died to ransom our souls from Hell, even the teensiest weensiest sin was enough for Satan to claim our souls. Now, it’s the opposite. Even the teensiest weensiest desire for salvation is enough for God to rescue us from eternal damnation.

But Jesus said we must:

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matt 5:48 (The Sermon on the Mount)

Ouch.

Once upon a time, I belonged to a 12-step group for female Christian survivors of sexual abuse. It was a really good group; I did a lot of healing there. We all knew how painful the process was, so when the other ladies screwed up their courage to ask me – the sole Catholic – about Purgatory, I decided to explain it in terms we all understood.

“If you visualize Purgatory as a kind of mud room entryway to Heaven where departed souls can do their 12-step work, it’s not against your churches’ teaching that there is only Heaven and Hell. People who are in Purgatory are not going anywhere but to Heaven, so in a sense, they’re already in Heaven.”

I also love how C.S. Lewis put it:

Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.’

Quoted at http://www.holysoulscrusade.org/cs-lewis.html

Besides, if there’s no such place, how do we account for this Scripture passage:

“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins”

2 Mac 12:46

As for Hell.

Ew.

It’s very unpleasant to think about anyone actually going there, but Jesus told us they do so and in great numbers.

I’ve also been taught that it is not God who condemns souls to Hell, but God who graciously grants these souls their dearest desire, which is to be somewhere He is Not. When you think about the idea of God being NOT somewhere, it kinda boggles the mind. He’s everywhere. He created everything. And He loves each and every one of us so much that He would have died on the cross to save just one of us.

A lot of writers, poets and wags have put in their 2 cents about what Hell is really like, but Jesus and the Scriptures are very clear. It’s horrible.

AND there’s no partying … no special room where the Democrats and Communists etc. can renew acquaintance and have wild orgies.

Being with other people just isn’t going to happen in Hell, because relationships are from God and of God. That’s why He’s a Trinity. The place where He is Not is also the place where relationships are not.

I have a hard time thinking about the fire thing. But I had a vision of Hell myself once. A crack opened in my reality, high up, where I couldn’t see into it, but I could see the red-orange light glaring out, hear the noise and smell the stink. It lasted only a moment, yet made a lasting impression. And it is what the Scriptures tell us:

FAQs about Hell from http://www.soulchoiceministries.com/faq2.html

The scripture is very clear in regards to Hell and Heaven being eternal. The word “destruction” does not mean annihilation, but it generally implies that it is ongoing. The verse in Mathew 25:46 is the same word for eternal life and eternal punishment. If Hell is only temporal, then Heaven would also have to be only temporal since it uses the same word “aionios.” Also, the same word “eternal” is used in 1 Tim 1:17 of our eternal King. So if hell is not eternal, then God isn’t either.

Also, there are all these verses that say eternal, fire not quenched, everlasting fire, fire that shall NEVER be quenched, tormented day and night, forever and ever, shall not see life, resurrection of life and resurrection of damnation. These are the verses:

Mt. 25:41, Mt. 25:46; John 5:29, John 3:36; Rev. 20:10, Rev. 14:9-11; 2 Thes. 1:9; Dan. 12:2; Mark 9:43; Mt. 18:8, Mt. 13:30, Mt. 13:49-50; Luke 3:17; Jude 7; John 4:14, John 5:24; Rom. 2:8-9.

If you think about it, why would God simply annihilate someone? There is no justice in that. God is a God of Justice and Righteous Judgment. (See: Ps. 96:10, Ps. 89, Acts 17:31, Ps. 96:13, Deut. 32:4.) Also God’s wrath is released upon sin (See John 3:36, Ps. 90:7-11, 2 Thes. 1:8, Rom. 1:18, Rom. 5:9, Ex. 15:7, Prov. 11:23, 2 Pet. 2:9, Jer. 4:4) There are many verses regarding varying degrees of punishment. How can you have varying degrees if one is annihilated? Verses – Mt. 23:14; Mt. 23:15; Mt. 10:15; Luke 12:47, Heb 10:28-29.

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