THE DOCTRINE OF HELL PART 1


EDITED

THE DOCTRINE OF HELL!


IS the DOCTRINE of ETERNAL TORTURE in the LAKE of FIRE

a

SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING?


There is much controversy over this doctrine or teaching of the tormenting eternal fire of Hell. And so much so, is this controversy, that this DOGMATIC DOCTRINE of eternal torture in hellfire has actually caused some Christians to leave their faith in Jesus Christ and become atheists. Yes, you heard me correctly; this doctrine of eternal torture without end for all eternity has caused some Christians to LEAVE the main-stream churches only to be snared by what some in the main-stream churches call many different “CULTS”. 

And as well, this “DOCTRINE” of eternal torture in hellfire has caused some to never really be able to accept such a God as this, my own brother in law as being one of them until he came to see that this teaching is not Biblical. Now while I say that this “DOCTRINE” of eternal torture in hellfire is NOT Biblical, I do NOT mean that there is no eternal damnation to avoid and a promise of eternal life to LOSE. I will explain what I mean by this further on in this study. But for now, I want to tell you how I myself came about to study this doctrine out for myself to see if what I was being taught was the truth of the whole word of God. Now my personal testimony is a bit long, so if you have read it before please feel free to click on this link to go to PART 2 of this study called "IS THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BIBLICAL?" In part 2 I have an in-depth Bible study showing the whole word of God on the subject of the judgment and punishment of the wicked. In part 1 of this study below, I give my own personal testimony of why I see the danger of the Orthodox Christians doctrine of hell.


            My Personal Testimony


I myself, being raised a good faithful Catholic, actually LEFT the church and renounced all my faith, in that there was no God and became an atheist for a short time over this “DOCTRINE” of everlasting and unending torture in hellfire. Now, if you do not want to read the following some ten pages of my personal testimony on HOW or WHY this “DOCTRINE” of eternal torture in flames of hellfire has affected my life, then please skip down until you see the title of this study in large bold print again.

Anyway, my personal testimony is that I pondered over this teaching of the church of a loving and merciful God tormenting and torturing human beings for all eternity and came away with a heart filled with hatred toward such a God, as who would do such a thing. And for a time, I even denied the very existence of a God. In other words, IF Almighty God was TRULY this kind of a God that would TORMENT and TORTURE the vast majority of his creation in an eternal unquenchable fire, for all eternity, showing no mercy or compassion, then I would rather choose to believe that there is NO God.

And I know now that I am NOT ALONE in my thinking this way. I have heard many testimonies of those who have left the mainstream church over this dogmatic doctrine that the orthodox church dogmatically teaches is 100% Biblical. But is it? And if NOT, then WHY does the main-stream church still teach such a doctrine in a dogmatic way, leaving no room for open discussion among the congregation? In other words, to ME, some of these churches seem to have the attitude that if you do not believe what they teach 100%, then there is the door, hoping that it will knock you down on the way out. Sorry, but this is the way it seems to ME, I have left several churches through the years and NONE have come and asked me why I left. This is NOT the mark of someone who truly cares about you. But let us get back to my testimony.

You see, at that time in my life, when I was really struggling with this doctrine in the Catholic Church, I did not know that I could go to the Bible and read it for MYSELF, to see if what I was being TAUGHT by the church was the TRUTH or not. All the years being a Catholic, I never owned my own Bible. I never knew that I could seek God on my own, by prayer and reading his word, which eventually led to my LEAVING the church.

So, during this period of time in my life that I left off my faith in God and I lived as an atheist, I began to see that I did indeed have a need for there to at least be a GOD. But I still refused to believe in the type of God that I was TAUGHT about from the Catholic Church that tortured people in hellfire for all eternity. I believe it was the great depression that I fell into during this time that caused me to need to at least believe that that was a God. So, I began to talk to Almighty God himself, telling him of my struggles and how I felt.

Now, the Devil knew that I was SEEKING the TRUTH, so he sidetracked me for a while by getting me to form this THEORY in my own mind so that I could cope with the depression that I was going through. I had truly thought that I, myself, had come up with this theory in my own mind, But when I heard this very same theory that I thought was my own on the radio, then later I began to realize that it was the enemy, the Old Serpent, called the Devil and Satan that had been feeding me these thoughts all along.

Long story made short, the theory that I thought at the time was my own theory was that there is, in fact, a God, who offered mankind a chance to receive ETERNAL LIFE IF you want to try. Now IF you chose to play his game, then you could WIN eternal life as your reward, BUT if you chose to play his game, you could also LOSE and your PUNISHMENT for losing would be to suffer eternal torture in the flames of HELL. HOWEVER, there was a third option in this theory, which was if you chose NOT to play his game at all, then you would just perish when you die and therefore you would neither WIN eternal life NOR would you have to take the CHANCE of LOSING and being cast into ETERNAL HELLFIRE.

This THEORY brought me peace in my life for a time, UNTIL one day the girl that I would soon marry BOLDLY, straight to my face, with commanding authority point blank told me that I was WRONG!

Her assurance and her absolute KNOWING that I was WRONG caused me to take ANOTHER look at the teachings of the church. I went out and purchased my FIRST Bible. Again, I had never actually read the Bible before this time in my life for myself. I just believed what the priests and the nuns had taught me.

Again, a long story made short, I took the Bible and held it up in the air and prayed in my OWN words, God I do not know what is true or what is false. All I know for sure God is that all these many different denominations use this book, that I am holding in my hand, the Holy Bible, upon which they say that they base what they teach. Now again, they all claim that what they teach is directly from your word, the Holy Bible, but yet they all teach something different. God, I do not care who is right or who is wrong. All I want is to know the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING but the TRUTH.

Then I opened the Bible and began to read. As with any book I started at the beginning and read Genesis and Exodus and then when I got into the begets and such that were very boring and bogged me down. So I skipped to the end of the book like I often did in High School when I had to do book reports because I really hated to read. So in order to avoid reading, I just read the first chapter, the middle chapter and the end of the book. Well, the end of the Bible, the book of Revelation, was more confusing than Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers, so I went to the middle of the Bible. This is the FIRST time in my life that I realized that the Bible was divided into the Old and New Testaments. Imagine that, going to church from birth all that way through High School and not knowing that the Bible had an Old and a NEW Testament.

After reading the gospels in the New Testament I began to recognize some of the things that I was taught being raised as a Catholic. Then, when I got to Corinthians where Paul was basically scolding the church for being divided, I knew right then and there that MAN had caused all these DIVISIONS and that this was NOT God's will for his church to be divided up, like it is today and has been since early on, even in its very beginning.

The Bible came ALIVE to me from that point on and I developed such a hunger for God's word and HIS TRUTH that I read his word daily, up to 7 hours each day when I had that much time to read. You see, at that time in my life, I had a really gravy job. Basically, all I had to do was be there just in case anything went wrong, but all the equipment was brand new, so very rarely anything ever went wrong, so I had 8 hours a day to read, listen to the radio, watch TV or even sleep. I chose to use this time to read the Bible and seek out the TRUTH. Once I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, God gave me such an intense hunger to read his word, and where I once hated to read I now LOVED to read, but only read God's word or books about God. All I wanted was to know the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING but the TRUTH.

It only took a very short time until I realized that what I had been TAUGHT in the Catholic Church was NOT SOUND BIBLICAL teaching. So I left the Catholic Church, in that I would not trust her teachings any more whatsoever, and I made my confession in faith to God's word ALONE, pledging that I would never join another Church and say I am of “Paul” or I am a “Baptist” and so forth. When someone asked me what church I belonged to I would say that I am a Christian and I do not belong to any denominational church. I would tell them that I ATTENDED an Assembly of God church, but stressed to them that I am a Christian who believes what the Bible teaches.

Again I was just a babe in Christ at this time and I did not know what I know today. For you see, today I am leery of even calling myself a Christian because of so much hypocrisy and false teaching among the many different denominations of Christianity. I will get back to this point later, and if you want a deeper understanding of the many false teachings among these many different denominations, then please read the studies below the heading “FALSE TEACHINGS”. But for now, I want to finish my testimony of WHY I believe that it is so VITALLY important for every one of us to search the word of TRUTH for OURSELVES.  We must read and study God word for ourselves in order to find out if what we are being TAUGHT, by whatever church we attend, to see if it is, in fact, the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God or not. I myself have found many church doctrines that clearly contradict God’s word.


DO NOT blindly follow the teachings of others and trust your very ETERNAL LIFE in the hands of others who may NOT always be teaching you the TRUTH.


Anyway, back to my personal testimony. My girlfriend was raised in the Assemblies of God church, so I started attending her church, because of her rock-solid faith, which as I said earlier, had caused me to take a CLOSER look at what I had come to believe thus far in my life.

Again, I soon accepted Jesus as my savior CONTRARY to what I had been TAUGHT by the Catholic Church that instilled in me that if I left the Catholic Church, then I would go to HELL. You see because it was drilled into me all my life in the Catholic Church, that IF anyone would LEAVE the Catholic Church, then they COULD NOT be saved, but rather they WOULD, without question, go to HELL. For you see, as a Catholic, I was taught that if you are NOT baptized as a Catholic, or you leave the Catholic Church, then you are NOT part of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which to a Catholic, is the ONLY TRUE church, and therefore to be apart or separated from the Catholic Church would mean that there is NO salvation for that person. In other words, ONLY Catholics go to heaven is what I was taught all my life as a child, up to my high school years.

Well, needless to say that FEAR had to be overcome by my FAITH in God's word, before I would receive that inward WITNESS from the Holy Spirit that I was indeed saved by faith and had become a child of Almighty God by my confession of faith in the TRUTH of God's word that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for my sins and that God raised his Son Jesus from the dead on the third day.

Finally, one day after meditating on God's word I made that quality decision that God's WORD is TRUTH and what I had been TAUGHT by the Catholic Church was a LIE. In other words, I made a quality decision to choose to believe God's CLEAR, PLAIN and SIMPLE word OVER what I had been taught by MAN in the Catholic Church. Even though people were telling me that I was now LOST and would stay LOST, unless I came BACK to Catholicism, I held my FAITH in God's WORD ALONE. Yeah, let God be true and every man a liar. Even though they did NOT BELIEVE that I was saved, I knew by God's WORD, that I was truly saved. I held on tight to Romans 3:3,4, and other verses as well until I received that WITNESS from the Holy Spirit that bore witness with my spirit that I am indeed a child of Almighty God.


Romans 3:3,4.


“For what if some did NOT believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

4. God forbid: yea, let God be TRUE, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in your sayings (your confession of FAITH in God's word), and might OVERCOME when you are judged.”


This was a TRYING of my FAITH to believe God or to believe the teaching of MAN. The Devil was putting me on TRIAL, so to speak, to see if I truly believed what I read in God's word. My trial was the battle in my mind. Would the FEAR of what MAN taught to me conquer what the Holy Spirit was teaching me? That was my TRIAL, and I am here to tell you that Almighty God is always FAITHFUL to perform his word. Always trust what the Holy Spirit is showing you DIRECTLY from the Holy Bible ITSELF.

Anyway, after realizing that the Catholic Church has so many things that are NOT sound Biblical teachings, there was no way, that in all good conscience I could ever remain under its teachings. This is when I started attending the Assemblies of God church, where my girlfriend attended.

Shortly after receiving Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I also saw IN the WORD of God, for myself, that it is God's WILL for me to be BAPTIZED in water. Keep in mind that no man taught me this TRUTH, but rather I saw it for myself by reading the Holy Bible at home and at work. I never heard a sermon on being baptized in water before. The Catholic Church baptizes you when you are a baby unless you become a Catholic as an adult and I never knew of this until later when I studied the teachings of the Catholic Church and how they came to be.

Anyway, after seeing in God's word that it was his WILL for me to be baptized in water, I went to the pastor and asked him to baptize me and he told me that the baptism was broke and needed to be fixed first. I asked him what was wrong with it and maybe I could fix it because I was pretty handy at fixing things. He told me the heater was broken. I said that is alright and that he could baptize me in cold water, I really did not mind. But he would not baptize me in cold water, so I went out and bought a portable water heater like the ones you put in water tanks for cattle or horses. Only I bought the cheaper version that did not have an automatic thermostat. So at first the heater got the water too hot and needed to cool. When the temperature of the water was just right I again asked the pastor to baptize me, but he responded by saying, why don't we WAIT, until some others are ready to be baptized so we can have a big baptismal service.

All I wanted was to be baptized and my being baptized was an urgent issue in my heart, so WHY all these roadblocks? My desire to be baptized gave me the boldness to overcome. In other words, my desire to obey God became greater than my fear of talking to people. So I went through the whole congregation and got around ten other Christians who had not yet been baptized to sign up to be baptized. Finally, a day was set for us all to be baptized and I was baptized in water as an act of my obedience to what I saw for myself in God's word, to be his WILL for me. Now back then, at that time, I did not understand why it was so hard for me to accomplish what I knew in my heart was God's WILL for me. I did not yet see that the ENEMY of my soul, Satan, the Devil, was working behind the scene to keep God's people from walking in the TRUTH of his word. Some people take these negative circumstances, that seem to hinder their faith, as being that it must not be God's will for them. I am here to tell you that it is the enemy of God trying to steal your faith, so you will cast away your confidence and give up believing God for what you see in his word.

I say all of this because I know that some Christians would have given up and believed the lie of the enemy that it must not be God's WILL to be Baptized or to receive healing or whatever they are believing for due to all these hindrances. In other words, some Christians believe that it is God’s WILL only if things just simply fall right into place with no obstacles to overcome.

But the truth of the matter is that the Devil was telling me that I did NOT need to get baptized because I had already been baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church. The Devil kept saying things like, see if God truly wanted you to be baptized, then you would not be having so many problems. But deep down inside of me the Holy Spirit was leading and guiding me into all truth. I saw in God's word about the Eunuch saying to Phillip, here is water what is preventing me to be baptized? And Phillip responding, IF you BELIEVE, then NOTHING is preventing you from being baptized. Well, I believe that Jesus is the Son of Almighty God and that Jesus died for my sins and God raised him from the dead on the third day. And I believed that God's WILL is that we as believers in Jesus Christ be baptized in water as a testimony to our inward faith and outward confession.

But yet, at the time, I could not understand why I was being PREVENTED from being baptized. I was a babe in Jesus Christ at the time and I did not yet understand that we do NOT war against flesh and blood, our fellow man, but rather we have but one enemy, who is that old serpent called the Devil and Satan. So, I want you to know that when you get offended by what people do or do not do, or by why people say or do not say that it is Satan who uses people and circumstance just like God uses people and circumstance. To know the difference always know that God is FOR you and your ONLY enemy is Satan. In other words, if the person is being used by God you will not be offended. And also know that we war NOT against flesh and blood and our only enemy is Satan and that most of the time people do not even realize that they are being used by the enemy to get at you.

Anyway, after I was baptized in water, I continued reading the word of God and attending church three times a week. I was so in love with God that I asked some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord why we did not go to church EVERY DAY as they did in the book of Acts. Almost simultaneously they answered back, just give it a few months and you will wonder why we HAVE to attend church three times a week when other churches only go ONCE a week. Well for me it took a lot longer than a few months, but eventually, church religion did, in fact, rub off on me because I had not yet learned how to GUARD my HEART.

But before this happened that I lost my joy for the things of God, which took me a long time, by the way, to get back. The Holy Spirit began to show me things about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I saw the importance of these gifts such as faith and healing, but I was yet skeptical of this speaking in other tongues stuff. I would go out to my car and listen to my music and say to myself, I have my music to make me feel good, I do not need that speaking in tongues stuff.

Now, remember when I told you earlier that the Devil CANNOT stop anyone from SEEKING the TRUTH, but that Satan CAN put something in front of you to make you THINK that you are being taught the truth. Well, this is exactly what the Devil did in my life. For you see, around this same time that I was questioning what the Holy Spirit was showing me in the word of God about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I also received some books that I ordered through the mail. This set of books was from the Philadelphian Brothers and what they taught was that there was NO HELL and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit INCLUDING speaking in other TONGUES had CEASED with the early church.

Now this idea of NO ETERNAL TORMENT in HELL was very appealing to me because it was this very doctrine along with some other doctrines that caused me to walk AWAY from the church and my belief in God. So after studying what they taught, I became CONVINCED that there was NO ETERNTAL TORTURE in HELL. But CONSEQUENTLY, I also became pretty convinced that speaking in other tongues had CEASED with the early church as well and that what was happening in the church today, when it came to speaking in other tongues, was of the Devil. This is what the Philadelphian brothers taught in their books.

I was excited with this new revelation from these BOOKS that I had just read and went and told my girlfriend who now by this time had become my wife. AGAIN, in that very BOLD and AUTHORITATIVE voice, she point-blank told me that I was WRONG! I could not convince her from these BOOKS, SHOWING her the scriptures that they used, that to me at that time in my life proved that speaking in other tongues had CEASED. Her rock solid faith once again caused me to SEEK Almighty God himself for the TRUTH. So, I went back to God's word ALONE laying aside what I had been taught by MAN from these BOOKS.

Again, long story made short, before I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, I use to delve into the occult, but at the time I did not KNOW that it was the occult. You see, I used to be what was termed to be a little psychic and I was able to know things before they happened and this all started when I saw psychics on TV moving objects like pencils with only the power of their minds. But try as I may, I was never able to move objects with my mind, but I did develop this keen sense of being able to perceive things about people and sometimes answer my wife's questions before she asked it. I would sometimes tell her to answer the phone before it ever rang. Things like that just started happening, but after I accepted Jesus as my savior, I just knew deep inside of me that it was not right to put my faith in the power of my own mind, so I stopped trying to move pencils with my mind.

Anyway, while I was seeking God on this matter of being filled with the Holy Spirit, I was awakened in the middle of the night with what I thought at the time was a burglar who broke into my home and was trying to kill me. It seemed as if this huge person was on top of me squeezing the very life breath out of me as he had me in a bear hug. I could not breathe and he was much too strong to escape his grip. I tried to turn my head at least to see my attacker, but a hand pressed tightly against my head holding it to the side against the bed so I could not turn to see my attacker. I thought it was all over for me, but deep inside I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me to RESIST him in the NAME of Jesus.

Well, I understood exactly what the Holy Spirit meant because I had done this before by speaking forth the name of Jesus with authority over sickness and disease and saying, I resist you flue or whatever the name of the sickness happened to be called. I kept saying, I resist this sickness in the name of Jesus and then the symptoms of whatever sickness that was attacking me would leave my body. So, just as soon as I started to speak the name of Jesus and say out loud to this attacker to say, I resist you in the name of Jesus, it felt as if a hand went over my mouth and I could not speak a word. I started to panic, but again this still small voice kept telling me to RESIST him in the name of Jesus. Even though I could not speak these words out audibly I said them over and over in my mind, I resist you in the name of Jesus and just as quick as you can snap your fingers, the attacker vanished never to return. Later when morning came my wife asked me if I saw anything last night. I told her no because when I tried to turn my head to see I could not turn my head. So I saw nothing. But before I could explain what happened, she said, you mean you did not see the curtain blowing straight out as if the windows were open and there was a terrible storm outside. I told her no, and said to her, is that what you saw. She said, yes and that she also saw this dark hooded figure standing by her side of the bed. Then I shared what happened to me that night.

I knew in my spirit that because I had entertained or invited these evil spirits of physic phenomenon into my life, even though I did it unknowingly, I knew that these evil spirits had hung around in my life even after I had already been saved by my faith in God's word and the shed blood of his Son Jesus. And again, unknowingly, I had kept these evil spirits from leaving. You see, even though I had stopped trying to move objects with my mind I did not realize that perceiving things the way that I was doing was by the help of these evil spirits. Secretly I kind of liked being able to perceive things before they happened, but again I was NOT aware that it was evil spirits giving me this ability.

This attack on me in the night had been this evil spirit leaving me and he was giving me one last bear hug before he left me. Satan realized that I had seen the TRUTH in God's word about the infilling of the Holy Spirit and he was being made to leave me because I was BELIEVING God's word to be FILLED with his Holy Spirit. Later that week we had a visiting pastor who laid hands on me to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I spoke only a few words in other tongues and there was absolutely NO great feeling of joy unspeakable and full of glory that I had been told would accompany my being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Devil lied to me constantly telling me that I did not receive the Holy Spirit because I did not have this great FEELING of joy, but I kept on praying BY FAITH in other tongues every day just like this pastor had instructed me. I had learned from experience in receiving healing, that we are not to be moved by FEELINGS, but rather our faith alone in God's word, are we to receive from God.

Then one day about a week or two later as I was praying in tongues again, BY FAITH fighting and resisting every negative thought that the Devil was throwing at me, I seemed to become all the more determined to keep on praying, and then all my TRYING to pray in other tongues suddenly became effortless. The words of this unknown and unlearned language began to flow out of me freely and I prayed for many hours that seemed like only moments. It was that breakthrough that I felt the awesome presence of Almighty God so intensely that I could hardly stand. I would not say that I was drunk in the Holy Spirit, but I will say that I was so filled with joy that it is literally unspeakable or able to be adequately described. Some would say that I did not receive the Holy Spirit until I actually felt God's presence and great joy, but the word of God teaches me differently. We walk by FAITH and NOT by sight or feeling. The moment we BELIEVE is when we receive the promises of God. Some Christians are tormented for years by the Devil because they forgave some, but never really FELT that they had forgiven them. That feeling will never come until you BELIEVE that you have indeed forgiven that person regardless of your feeling toward them. The same is true when some have confessed their sins to God and yet they do not FEEL that they have been forgiven. Again we do not base our faith upon our feelings. Other fail to receive their healing because they are waiting to FEEL healed before they truly believe and confess that they are healed. Religious teaching has deceived many believers and has kept them from walking in the fullness that God has provided for them.

My point is this, there have been many times in my life that I have been DECEIVED by the teaching of MAN. First, the Catholic Church deceived me as well as many others by their FALSE teachings in several areas. I will go into some of these areas perhaps in another study sometime. Then I was DECEIVED by these so-calledChristian” books that I ordered from the Philadelphian Brothers. Later, I was DECEIVED by the Assembly of God church on the subject of the rapture of the church, and when I was forbidden to speak anything contrary to what the church “DOCTRINE” stated. I lost my joy to attend the Assemblies of God denomination even though I believed almost totally with every other point of doctrine at that time. Now, I am not saying that Catholics or the Philadelphian Brothers or those of the Assemblies of God were not Christians, but what I am saying is that even though these different denominations confessed to being Christian they none the less taught things that were NOT SOUND BIBLICAL teaching. Every church denomination, that I have personally looked into, has some area of doctrine that is NOT SOUND BIBLICAL teaching. So you are going to need to be like the men in Berea and search the word of God daily in order to see if what you are being taught is the truth of the whole word of God.

This brings us to PART 2 of the subject of this particular study in God's word, which is answering the question:


IS the DOCTRINE of ETERNAL TORTURE in the LAKE of FIRE

a

SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING?


To continue to PART 2 please click o this link:

"IS THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BIBLICAL?"


Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of Almighty God.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.

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AT

AMatterOfTruth.com




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