Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Eternal Fire?

7 "as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries."
Over the course of history there have been countless examples of ideas society at large held as truth that were later discovered to be anything but true. About a century ago it was common practice in the medical field to prescribe smoking to patients as a treatment for lung problems. Oops... 500 years ago it was well known that the world was flat. Oops... Today it is commonly believed that milk is good for us. We are in the process of discovering that is a big oops also.
In Christianity it has been widely taught and believed that hell is a place where the wicked humans will go and remain alive for eternity burning endlessly in a state of constant agony. The only antidote for error is truth and here in the tiny letter of Jude is one of the many clues in the Bible that reveal hell does not burn endlessly.
Sodom and Gomorrah were twin cities built on the shores of what we now call the Dead Sea, the lowest stretch of land on plant earth, almost half a kilometer below sea level. About 4500 years ago these cities had become completely depraved on a level we have not yet seen again but will before this world ends. You can read about it in Genesis 18 and 19. Jesus foretold that the earth will become like those cities before He returns. Not a pleasant thought.
So evil did they become that God sent 2 angels in with the message that the cities were about to be destroyed and only those who left with the angels would survive.
Jude says the cities suffered the vengeance of eternal fire. Our current view of hell and eternal fire would interpret this to mean that Sodom and Gomorrah are still burning and will continue to burn forever. However archaeologists are quite confident they know the location of these ancients cities on the south east side of the dead sea.
Exact location aside, what no one has found around the Dead Sea are two cities that are still burning. So what is an eternal fire then? Quite simply it is a fire that so completely destroys and consumes that whatever is burned it gone for eternity.
See we have taken eternal destruction and turned it into eternal destroying which are two very different things.
There are three good news items to be extracted from the sad tale of these two cities. The first is the good news that evil will not exist forever. Many say there is no God because the world is so bad and if there was a good God He would do something. At times he has dealt with evil on a small local scale. In the end He will deal with it on a global scale.
The second piece of good news is that God is not interested in destroying people. He destroys evil. He invites people to flee the evil before He destroys it. His plan is to get rid of evil and save us all at the same time. Sadly many will choose to stay with the evil. This is not good news but it is good news that God offers choice and leaves us free to decide.
The third good news aspect to this whole scenario is that God is not a sadistic tyrant who will enjoy the screams and sufferings of the lost for eternity. He will not preserve evil in some fiery corner of His otherwise perfect universe forever. His eternal plan is to ensure evil is eternally gone just as Sodom and Gomorrah are eternally gone.
The Bible promises that when this great war between God and the devil is over sin will never return. Love will reign and peace will persist and joy will flood the entire universe never to be marred again.
He wants us to choose to flee "Sodom" and live with Him forever. "Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will choose the LORD."
2 Peter 3:10
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up."

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