The Lord’s Prayer – My Interpretation

THE Lord’s Prayer was wisely constructed by Jesus with certain very clear messages in mind. That is why, of all his teachings, it is by far the best known, and the most often quoted. It is, indeed, the one common denominator of all the Christian churches. Every one of them, without exception, uses the Lord’s Prayer;

Understand the deeper meaning of the messages of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Prayer is a carefully constructed organic whole. Many people rattle through it like parrots, forgetful of the warning that Jesus gave us against vain repetitions, and, of course, no one really benefits from that sort of thing.

The Great Prayer is a compact formula for the development of the soul. It is designed with the utmost care for that specific purpose; so that those who use it regularly, with understanding, will experience a real change of soul. The progress of this change, is referred in the Christian Canonical Bible as being “born again”. It is the change of soul that matters. The mere acquisition of fresh knowledge received intellectually makes no change in the soul. The Lord’s Prayer is especially designed to bring this change.

I put this challenged to you .. The more you analyze the Lord’s Prayer, the more you may discover it to be a wonderful revelation which meets your current need. It not only provides a rapid spiritual development when you are ready for it, but in its superficial meaning it supplies you with what you need at the moment, if you internalize the Prayer sincerely.

This greatest of all prayers was designed with still another purpose in view, that is just as important. I think, Jesus foresaw that, as the centuries went by, his simple, primitive  teaching  would gradually become overlain by all sorts of external things which really have nothing whatever to do with it. He foresaw that people who had never known him, relying,   quite sincerely, on their own limited intellects, would  build up theologies and doctrinal systems, obscuring the direct simplicity of the spiritual message, and actually erecting a wall between God and man. He designed his Prayer in such a way that it would pass safely through those ages without being tampered with. He arranged it with great skill, so that it could  not be twisted or distorted, or adapted to  any man-made system; so that, in fact, it  would carry the whole Christ Message within it, and yet not have anything on the surface to attract the attention of the restless, managing type of person. So it has turned out that, through all the changes and chances of Christian history, this Prayer has come through to us virtually uncorrupted and unspoiled.

The first thing that you will notice is that the Prayer naturally falls into seven clauses. This is very characteristic of the tradition of that era. Seven symbolizes individual completeness,  the perfection of the individual soul, just as the number twelve in the same convention stands for corporate completeness. In practical use, we often find an eighth clause added—”Thine is the kingdom,  the power, and the glory“— but this, though in itself an excellent affirmation, is not really a part of the Prayer.

The seven clauses contain everything that is necessary for the nourishment of  the soul. Start with the first clause:

Our Father

This simple statement in itself constitutes a definite and complete system of theology. It fixes clearly and distinctly the nature and character of God. It sums up the Truth of His Being. It tells you what you need to know about God, and about yourself, and about your neighbor. Anything that is added to this can only be by way of commentary, which may likely complicate and obscure the true meaning of the text. Oliver Wendell Holmes said: “My religion is summed up in the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer

Notice the simple, clear-cut, definite statement— “Our Father.” In this clause Jesus lays down once and for all that the relationship between God and man is that of father and child. This cuts out any possibility that the Deity could be the relentless and cruel tyrant that is often pictured by religious theology. Jesus says definitely that the relationship is that of parent and child; not a distant authority dealing with poor slaves, but parent and child. Now we all know perfectly well that men and women, however short they may fall in other respects, nearly always do the best they can for their children. Unfortunately, cruel and wicked parents do exist, but they are so unusual as to make headlines in the news. The vast majority of men and women give their best effort in dealing with their children. Speaking of the same truth elsewhere, Jesus said: “If you, who are so full of evil, nevertheless do your best for your children, how much more will God, who is altogether good, do for you“; and so he begins his Prayer by establishing the character of God as that of the perfect Father dealing with His children.

Note that this clause which fixes the nature of God, at the same time fixes the nature of man, because if man is the offspring of God, he must inherit the nature of God, since the nature of the offspring is invariably similar to that of the parent. It is a cosmic law that like begets like. It is not possible that a rosebush should produce lilies, or that a cow should give birth to a pig. The offspring is and must be of the same nature as the parent; so the unmistakable conclusion is …       since God is Divine Spirit, man must essentially have the seed of the Divine Spirit, even if it is not obvious at first.

Pause here for a moment and try to realize what a tremendous step forward you are taking in appreciating the teaching of Jesus on this point. Can you see that at a single blow it swept away the vast majority of all the old theology, with its avenging God, its chosen and favored individuals, its eternal hell fire, and all the other horrible paraphernalia of man’s diseased and terrified imagination. God exists— and the Eternal, All-Powerful, All-Present God is the loving Father of mankind.

If you meditate on this fact, until you had some degree of understanding of what it really means, you will experience a profound change in you mindset and many sources of confusion and anxiety will disappear. The underlying cause of all trouble is fear. If only you could realize to some extent that Omnipotent Wisdom of your living, loving Father, most of your fears would go. If you could realize it completely, every negative thing in your life would vanish away, and you would demonstrate perfection in every phase. Now you see the object that Jesus had in mind when he placed this clause first.

Next, notice that the Prayer says, not “My Father,” but “Our Father,” and this indicates, without a doubt, the truth of the brotherhood of man. It forces you to realize at the very beginning that all mankind, all people are indeed brothers and sisters, the children of one Father; and that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither chosen nor unchosen,” because all people are brothers and sisters.

Here Jesus, in making his second point, ends all the nonsense about a “chosen race,” about the spiritual superiority of any one group of human beings over any other group. He cuts away the illusion that the members of any nation, or race, or territory, or group, or class, or colour, are, in the sight of God, superior to any other group. A belief in the superiority of one’s own particular group, or “herd,” as the psychologists call it, is an illusion. In the teaching of Jesus it has no place. He teaches that the thing that places any person is the spiritual condition of his/her own individual soul, and that as long as she is on the spiritual path it makes no difference at all to what group he/she belongs or does not belong.

The final point is the implied command that we are to pray not only for ourselves but for all mankind. Every student of Truth should hold the thought of the Truth of Being for the whole human race for at least a moment each day, since none of us lives to himself nor dies to himself; for indeed we are all truly—and in a much more literal sense than people are aware— part of one Body.

Now we begin to see how very much more than appears on the surface is contained in those simple words “Our Father.” Simple—you could almost say innocent—, Jesus has concealed within these words a spiritual explosive that will ultimately destroy every man-made system that holds the human race in bondage.

Which Art in Heaven

 

Having clearly established the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, Jesus next goes on to elaborate on the nature of God, and to describe the fundamental facts of existence. Having shown that God and man are parent and child, he goes on to outline the role of each in the grand scheme of things. He explains that it is the nature of God to be in heaven, and of man to be on earth, because God is Spirit , original Cause of all that exists, and man is physical manifestation. Cause cannot be result, and result cannot be cause,  Be careful not to confuse the two things. Here heaven stands for God or Cause, because in religious language heaven is the term for the Presence of God. The word “earth” means result, (or manifestation), and man’s function is to manifest or express God, or Cause. In other words, God is the Infinite and Perfect Cause of all things; but Cause has to be expressed, and God expresses Himself through His Creation. Man’s ultimate purpose is to express God in all sorts of glorious and wonderful ways. Some of this expression we see as his surroundings; first his physical body, which is really only the most intimate part of his embodiment; then his home;his work; his recreation; in other words,  his whole expression. To “express” means to press outwards, or bring into sight that which already exists implicitly. Every feature of your life is really a manifestation or expression of something in your soul.

Some of these points may seem at first to be a little abstract; but since it is misunderstandings about the relationship of God and man that often lead to our difficulties,  it is well worth it to correctly understand that relationship. Trying to have manifestation without Cause is atheism and materialism, and  we know where they lead. Trying to have Cause without manifestation leads you to think of yourself as your own personal God, and this just ends in New Age illusion and a kind of paralysis of expression… a loss of purpose for expressing yourself.

The important thing to realize is that God is in heaven (the all pervasive omnipresence) and man on earth (the individualized presence), and that each has his own role in the scheme of things. Although they are ultimately One Whole (because of God’s omnipresence), they are not one-and-the-same. Jesus establishes this point carefully when he says, “Our Father which art in heaven.”

 Hallowed Be Thy Name

In the Bible, as elsewhere, the “name” of anything means the essential nature or character of that thing, and so, when we are told what the name of God is, we are told what His nature is, and His name or nature, Jesus says, is “hallowed.” Now what does the word “hallowed” mean? Well, if you trace the derivation back into Old English, you will discover a very interesting and significant fact. The word “hallowed” has the same meaning as “holy”, “whole”, “wholesome” and “heal” or “healed”; so we see that the nature of God is no merely worthy of our reverence and respect, but is complete and perfect in its entirety.

This conclusion leads to some very remarkable consequences. Since the effect/result (Man) is essentially a reflection or template of the original Cause or Source — God  (referred to in the Christian Canonical Scriptures as ‘God having made Man in His own image’), people must be  similar in their nature to the Original Source (God), and so, because the nature of God, is hallowed, everything that follows from that Cause must be hallowed or perfect too. Just as a rosebush cannot produce lilies, so God cannot cause or send anything but perfect good. As the Christian Canonical Scriptures say, “The same fountain cannot send forth both sweet and bitter water.” From this it follows that God cannot, as people sometimes think, send sickness or trouble, or accidents—much less death—for these things are unlike His nature.

“Hallowed be thy name” means “Thy nature is altogether good, and Thou art the author only of perfect good.”

If you think that God has sent any of your problems to you, no matter how good a reason you think God may have had to do that, you are giving power to your troubles, and this makes it very difficult to get rid of them.

Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done in Earth as it is in Heaven

So, since you are a manifestation or expression of God (made in His own image) you have a limitless destiny ahead of you. Your purpose is to express, in concrete, definite form, the abstract ideas originating from God , and in order to do this, you must have creative power.  If you did not have creative power, you would be merely a machine through which God worked—a robot.  But you are NOT a robot; you are an individualized consciousness.  God individualizes Himself in countless numbers of distinct focal points of consciousnesses,  each one totally unique; and therefore each individual is a distinct way of knowing the universe, each a distinct experience.

Notice carefully that the word “individual” is rooted in the word undivided. Your consciousness is distinct from God and from all others, yet none of us are completely independent and separated from each other because we need each other to truly live. So in the same manner we are really not independent from God, we are in fact in God and God is in us (John 14:20).  How can this be? How can two things be one, and yet not one and the same? The answer is that in matter, which is finite, they cannot; but in Spirit, which is infinite, they can. With our present limited, three-dimensional consciousness, we cannot  see this; but intuitively we can understand it through prayer and meditation. If God did not individualize Himself, there would be only one experience; as it is, there are as many experiences as there are individuals to form them through thinking.

“Thy kingdom come” means that it is our duty to be ever occupied in helping to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That is to say, our work is to bring more and more of God’s ideas into concrete manifestation.

“God has a plan for every person, and he has one for you,” is quite correct. God planned a splendid career, full of interest, life, and joy, for each, and if our lives are dull, or restricted, or squalid, that is not His fault, but ours (At this point your ego may scream “NO WAY! There are things beyond my control that are not my fault” If that is the case then you may still be on the path of discovering that your chief purpose in life is your spiritual growth and that growth may come through overcoming obstacles. Just like a chick must go through the hard work of breaking the egg shell to gain the strength to live outside of the egg). If only you will patiently seek out the thing God intends you to do, and will do it, you will find that doors will open to you; obstacles in your path will begin to fade in sometimes “mysterious” ways; you will find success in the things you do; you will find that your material needs are met and you will be happy. You will then find that material things are not an indicator of your success , but rather a tool to a greater purpose of furthering your spiritual growth. That is why a person may go through a time where they loose material things they valued. Often during those times is when spiritual growth takes place and the heart is purified, if the heart has not hardened. Then, in time the doors will open again for new opportunities.

There is a true place in life for you, and as you discover it, your sense of fulfillment will be unmistakeable. On the other hand, if you have not yet found your true place you may find a sense of restlessness and unhappiness and unease, no matter what good material things or occupations you may have. Your true place is the one place where you can bring the Kingdom of God into manifestation, and truly say, “Thy kingdom has come.”

People often choose to use their free will in a negative way brought about by wrong thinking which brings troubles. Instead of understanding that it is their essential nature to express God, to be ever about their Father’s business,                they try to run their own show, as though they are independent. All troubles arise from just this folly. We abuse our free will, trying to work apart from God; and the very natural result is sickness, poverty, sin, trouble, and death that we find on the physical plane. We must never for a moment try to live for ourselves, or make plans or arrangements without reference to God, or suppose that  we can be either happy or successful in the true sense of the word, if we are seeking any other end than to do His Will. Whatever your desire may be, whether it be something concerning your daily work, or your home life, or your inter personal relations, or private plans without God, you are ordering trouble, disappointment,   and unhappiness, notwithstanding what the evidence to the contrary may seem to be.

Whereas, if we choose what, we know to be His Will, (through prayer and meditation) then we are insuring for ourselves ultimate success, freedom, and joy, however much self-sacrifice and self-discipline it may involve at the moment.  My business and your business is to bring our whole nature as fast as we can into conformity with the Will of God, by constant prayer and unceasing, though un- anxious, watching. “Our wills are ours to make them Thine.”  “In His Will is our peace,” said Dante, and the Divine Comedy is really a study in fundamental states of consciousness, the Inferno representing the state of the soul that is endeavoring to live without God, the Paradiso representing the state of the soul that has achieved its conscious unity with the Divine Will, and the Purgatorio the condition of the soul that is struggling to pass from the one state to the other. It was this sublime conflict of the soul that caused the great Augustine to cry from his heart “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Because we are the children of a loving Father, we are entitled to expect that God will provide us fully with everything we need. Children naturally and spontaneously look to their human parents to supply all their wants, and in the same way we should look to God to supply ours.

If you do so, in faith and understanding, you will not look in vain. It is the Will of God that we should all lead healthy, happy lives, full of joyous experience; that we should develop freely and steadily, day by day and week by week, as our pathways unfold more and more towards the perfect day. In order to achieve this purpose we require things like food, clothing, shelter, means of travel, books, and so on; above all, we require freedom; and in the Prayer all these things are included under the heading of ‘bread’.
In other words, bread is not only food in general, but everything needed for a healthy, happy, free, and harmonious life. But in order to obtain these things, you have to internalize that this is an acceptable expectation and recognize that God and God alone is the Source and fountainhead of all your good. Lack of any kind is always traceable to the fact that we have been seeking our supply from some secondary source, instead of from God, Himself, the Author and Giver of life. People think of their supply as coming from certain investments, or from a business, or from an employer, perhaps; But these are merely the channels through which it comes, God being the Source. The number of possible channels is infinite, the Source is One. The particular channel through which you are getting your supply is quite likely to change, because change is the Cosmic Law for manifestation. Stagnation is really death; but as long as you realize that the Source of your supply is the one unchangeable Spirit, all is well. The fading out of one channel will be nothing more than the signal for the opening of another channel. If, on the other hand, like most people, you regard the particular channel as being the source, then when that channel fails, as it is very likely to do, you are left mentally stranded, because you believe that the source has dried up and for practical purposes, on the physical plane, things are as we believe them to be.

If you think of your employment as the source of your income, and for some reason you lose it and you believed that your position is the source of your income, the loss of the position naturally means the loss of that income, and so you have to start looking for another job meanwhile being without apparent supply. Now if you believed through regular daily prayer and meditation that God was your supply, and your job only the particular channel through which it came, then if that channel closes, you have a very different mindset. You fundamentally see God as your source of supply and then things happen and circumstances come where a new channel opens up so the supply can keep flowing. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s a very different way of viewing yourself and your ‘circumstances’ and it has a direct effect on how God’s supply quickly finds a new channel, when an old one dries up. It’s kind of like water in a stream. When a passage way in the stream is blocked, the water level may rise for a while but without a doubt the stream will naturally redirect the water so that a new channel is opened and the water can continue to flow, only now through another channel.
When you think in this fashion, the spiritual forces that are set in motion have direct impact on your mind, thoughts and your physical reality.

When your belief is in God as your supply, then since God cannot change or fail,   or fade out, your supply will come from somewhere, and will form its own channel in whatever is the best way.
Likewise a business owner may find himself obliged to close down for some cause outside of his control. If he regards the business or the investment as his source of supply, he will believe his source to have collapsed, and will in consequence be left stranded; whereas, if his reliance is upon God, he will be comparatively indifferent to the channel and so that channel will be easily supplanted by a new one. In short, we have to train ourselves to look to God, Cause, for all that we need, and then the channel, which is entirely a secondary matter, will take care of itself.

In its inner and most important meaning, our daily bread signifies the realization of the Presence of God—an actual sense that God exists not merely in a nominal way, but as the great reality; the sense that He is present with us; and the feeling that because He is God, all-good, all- powerful, all-wise, and all-loving, we have nothing to fear; that we can rely upon Him to take good care of us; that He will supply all that we need to have; teach us all that we need to know; and guide our steps so that we grow in wisdom. This is Emanuel, or God with us; and remember that it absolutely means somehow an actual realization, i.e. some experience in consciousness, not just a theoretical recognition of the fact; not simply talking about God, or thinking about Him.
That is the gist of the whole matter. Realization, which is experience, is the thing that counts. It is realization which marks the progress of the soul. It is realization which guarantees the demonstration. It is realization, as distinct from mere theorizing and fine words, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This is the Bread of Life, the hidden manna, and when you have that, you have all things in deed and in truth. Jesus several times refers to this experience as bread because it is the nourishment of the soul, just as physical food is the nourishment of the physical body. Supplied with this food, the soul grows strong, gradually developing to adult stature. Without it, the soul being deprived of essential nourishment, is naturally stunted and crippled.
The common mistake, is to suppose that a formal recognition of God is enough, or that talking about Divine things, perhaps talking very poetically, is the same as possessing them; but this is no different than thinking that looking at a tray of food, or discussing the chemical composition of it, is the same thing as actually eating a meal. It is this mistake which is responsible for the fact that people sometimes pray for a thing for years without any tangible result.
If prayer is a force at all, it cannot be possible to pray without something happening.
Understand this, however. You cannot just invoke a realization on demand; it has to come spontaneously as the result of regular daily prayer. To seek realization by will power is the surest way to miss it. Pray regularly and quietly—remember that in all mental work, effort or strain defeats itself—then , when you may least expect it, the realization will come.
Another reason why the food or bread symbol for the experience of the Presence of God is so well suited is the fact nobody can do the eating for you. You must do it for yourself. You can hire somebody to do all sorts of other things for
you; but there is one thing that you absolutely have to do for yourself, and that is  eat your own food. In the same way, the realization of the Presence of God is a thing that no one else can do for you. You can and should help others in the overcoming of specific difficulties— “Bear ye one another’s burdens”—but the realization (or making real) of the Presence of God, the “substance” and “evidence,” can, in the nature of things, be had only at firsthand.

In speaking of the “bread of life, Emanuel,” Jesus calls it our daily bread. The reason for this is very fundamental—our contact with God must be a living one. It is our momentary attitude to God which governs our being. “Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” The most futile thing in the world is to seek to live upon a past realization. The thing that means spiritual life to you is your realization of God here and now.
Today’s realization, no matter how feeble and poor it may seem, has a million times more power to help you than the most vivid realization of yesterday. Be thankful for yesterday’s experience, knowing that it is with you forever in the change of consciousness which it brought about, but do not lean upon it for a single moment for the need of today. Divine Spirit is constant , and does not change with the ebb and flow of human apprehension. The manna in the desert is the Old Testament symbolic prototype of this. The people wandering in the wilderness were told that they would be supplied with manna from heaven every day, each one always receiving abundant for his needs, but they were on no account to try to save it up for the next day. They were on no account to try to live on yesterday’s food, and when, some of them did try to do so, the result was pestilence or death.

So it is with us. When we seek to live upon yesterday’s realization, we are actually seeking to live in the past, and to live in the past is death.
The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself. The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to make today all that it should be.

Forgive Us Our sins, as We Forgive Them That sin against Us

This clause is the turning point of the Prayer. It is key to freeing the soul. Notice here that Jesus designed this model Prayer so that it covers full scope of souls development in concise clarity. Covers the key essentials for our salvation.  Every idea fits into its place with complete harmony. Anything more would be redundant, anything less would make it incomplete. In this section it takes up the critical factor of forgiveness.
Having told us what God is, what man is, how the universe works, how we are to do our own work—the salvation of humanity and of our own souls—he then explains what our true nourishment or supply is, and the way in which we can obtain it; and now he comes to the forgiveness of sins.
The forgiveness of sins is the central problem of life. Sin is a sense of separation from God, and is the major tragedy of human experience. It is, rooted in selfishness. It is essentially an attempt to gain something without consideration that we are part of a greater whole. It is a sense of isolated, self-regarding, personal existence, whereas the Truth of Being is that all is One. Our true selves are at one with God, undivided from Him, expressing His ideas, witnessing to His nature—the dynamic Thoughts of the great I AM Mind. Because we are all one with the great Whole of which we are spiritually a part, it follows that we are one with all men. Just because in Him we live and move and have our being, we are, in the absolute sense, all essentially one.

Evil, sin, the fall of man, in fact, is essentially the attempt to negate this Truth in our thoughts. We try to live apart from God. We try to do without Him. We act as though we had life of our own; as separate minds; as though we could have plans and purposes and interests separate from His. All this, if it were true, would mean that existence is not one and harmonious, but a chaos of competition and strife. It would mean that we are quite separate from our fellow man and could injure
him, rob him, or hurt him, or even destroy him, without any damage to ourselves, and, in fact, that the more we took from other people the more we should have for ourselves. It would mean that the more we considered our own interests, and the more indifferent we were to the welfare of others, the better off we should be. Of course it would then follow naturally that it would benefit others to treat us in the same way, and that accordingly we might expect many of them to do so. Now if this were true, it would mean that the whole universe is only a jungle, and
that sooner or later it must destroy itself by its own inherent weakness and anarchy. But, of course, it is not true, and therein lies the realization of a great Truth and the great joy of life.

Undoubtedly, many people do act as though they believed it to be true, and a great many more, who would be dreadfully shocked if brought face-to-face with that proposition, have, nevertheless, a vague feeling that this must be very much the way things are, even though they, themselves, are personally behaving according to this false notion, but usually unaware of the fact. Now this is the real basis of sin, of re- sentiment, of condemnation, of jealousy, of remorse and related negative consequences of these misguided actions.

This belief in independent and separate existence is the arch sin, and now, in order to make progress to wipe out this misconception, we have to take the knife to this evil thing and cut it out once and for all.

Jesus knew this, and with this definite end in view he inserted at this critical point a precision statement that would be assured to accomplish this desired outcome, without the shadow of a possibility of missing it. He inserted what is nothing less than a pivotal decision clause.

He drafted a declaration which would force us, without any conceivable possibility of escape, evasion, mental reservation, to execute the great sacrament of forgiveness in all its fullness and far-reaching power.
As we repeat the Great Prayer intelligently, considering and meaning what we say, we are suddenly, so to speak, caught up off our feet and grasped as though in a vise, so that we must face this problem—and there is no escape. We must positively and definitely extend forgiveness to everyone to whom it is possible that we can owe forgiveness, namely, to anyone who we think can have injured us in any way. Jesus leaves no room for any possible glossing over of this foundational requirement. He has constructed his Prayer with more skill than any lawyer displayed in the casting of a deed. He has so contrived it that once our attention has been drawn to this matter, we are inevitably obliged either to forgive our enemies in sincerity and truth, or never again to repeat that prayer. It is safe to say that no one who reads this with understanding will ever again be able to use the Lord’s Prayer unless and until he has forgiven. Should you now attempt to repeat it without forgiving, it can safely be predicted that you will not be able to finish it in honesty. This great central clause will stick in your throat.

Notice that Jesus does not say, “Forgive me my trespasses and I will try to forgive others,” or “I will see if it can be done,” or “I will forgive generally, with certain exceptions.” He obliges us to declare that we have actually forgiven, and forgiven all, and he makes our claim to our own forgiveness to depend upon that. Who is there who has grace enough to say his prayers at all, who does not long for the forgiveness or cancellation of his own mistakes and faults. Who would be so insane as to want seek the Kingdom of God without desiring to be relieved
of his own sense of guilt. Nobody. And so we see that we are trapped in the inescapable position that we cannot demand our own release before we have released our brother.
The forgiveness of others is the foyer of Heaven, and Jesus knew it, and has led us to the door. You must forgive everyone who has ever hurt you if you want to be forgiven yourself; that is the long and the short of it. You have to get rid of all resentment and condemnation of others, and, not least, of self-condemnation and remorse. You have to forgive others, and having discontinued your own mistakes, you have to accept the forgiveness of God for them too, or you cannot make any progress.

You have to forgive yourself, but you cannot forgive yourself sincerely until you have forgiven others first. Having forgiven others, you must be prepared to forgive yourself too, for to refuse to forgive yourself is only spiritual pride. “And by that sin fell the angels.” This point cannot be made too clear; The act of forgiving is an unconditional requirement.

There are few people in the world who have not at some time or other been hurt, really hurt, by someone else; or been disappointed, or injured, or deceived, or misled. Such things sink into the memory where they usually cause inflamed and festering wounds, and there is only one remedy—they have to be plucked out and thrown away. And the one and only way to do that is by forgiveness.
Of course, nothing in all the world is easier than to forgive people who have not hurt you very much. Nothing is easier than to rise above a little insignificant offence. Anybody would be willing to do this, but what sowing and reaping requires of us is that we forgive not only these little offences, but the very things that are so hard to forgive that at first it seems impossible to do it at all. The despairing heart cries, “It is too much to ask. That thing meant too much to me. It is impossible. I just can’t forgive it.” But the Lord’s Prayer makes our own forgiveness from God, which means our escape from guilt and limitation, dependent upon just this exact thing. There is no escape from this, and so forgiveness there must be, no matter how deeply you may have been injured, or how terribly may have suffered. It must be done.
If your prayers are not being answered, search your consciousness and see if there is not someone whom you have yet to forgive. Find out if there is not some old thing about which you are very resentful. Search and see if you are not really holding a grudge (it may be camouflaged in some self-righteous way) against some individual, or some body of people, a nation, a race, a social class, some religious movement of which you disapprove perhaps, a political party, or …. ____ you fill in the blank. If you are doing that, then you have an act of forgiveness to perform, and when you have done it, you will probably open yourself for new insight and new levels of understanding of yourself and of God. If you cannot forgive at this point, you will have to wait for more spiritual growth until you can, and you will have to postpone finishing your sincere recital of the Lord’s Prayer too, or you may by default leave the impression on yourself that you don’t desire the forgiveness of God.

Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a Cosmic Truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner—and a prosecutor. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one’s own account. Every prisoner must have a prosecutor, and the prosecutor is as much a prisoner as the one being imprisoned. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate.

The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish? Is this the condition in which you desire to go on living? Remember, you belong to the thing with which you are linked in thought, and at some time or other, if that tie endures, the object of your resentment will be
drawn again into your life, perhaps to work further havoc. Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can; so it is clear what needs to be done. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose it and let it go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul.

And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save that person’s soul too, making it just so much easier for that person to become what he/she ought to be.
But how in the world, is the magic act of forgiveness to be accomplished, when hurt goes so deep, especially if it is at a subconscious level, You may have long wished with all your heart that you could forgive, you have nevertheless found it impossible; You may have tried and tried to forgive, but have found the task beyond you.

In actuality, the technique of forgiveness is simple enough, and not very difficult to manage when you understand how. The only thing that is essential is willingness to forgive. Provided you desire to forgive the offender, the greater part of the work is already done. People have been under the erroneous impression that to forgive a person means that you have to compel yourself to like him. Fortunately this is not the case—we are not called to like anyone whom we don’t find ourselves liking spontaneously, and, in fact it is virtually impossible to like people on command. You can no more like on command than you can hold the winds in your fist, and if you endeavor to coerce yourself into doing that, you will end up disliking or hating the offender more than ever.

People used to think that when someone had hurt them very much, it was their duty, as good Christians, to pump up, as it were, a feeling of liking for that person; and since that is basically impossible, they will have suffered a great deal of distress, and ended in failure, and a resulting sense of sinfulness. We are not obliged to like anyone; but we are under a binding obligation to love everyone, love, or charity as the Bible calls it, meaning a vivid sense of impersonal good will. This has nothing directly to do with the feelings, though it is always followed, sooner or later, by a genuine feeling of peace and happiness.

The method of forgiving is this:

Get by yourself and become quiet. Use any meditative prayer mode that are familiar with, or read a passage of Scripture that has special meaning for you. Then quietly say, “I fully and freely forgive X (mentioning the name of the offender); I loose him/her and let him/her go. I completely forgive everything related to this matter. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment on the Christ within me. The target of my resentment is free now, and I am free too. I send well wishes. That incident is finished. The Christ Truth has set us both free. I thank God.”

Then get up and go about your day. On no account do you need to repeat this act of forgiveness, because you have done it once and for all, and to do it a second time would be make your first act of no effect. Afterwards, whenever the memory of the offender or the offence happens to come into your mind, bless the delinquent briefly and dismiss the thought. Do this, however many times the thought may come back. After some time it will return less and less often, until you forget it altogether. At some point in the future, the old thoughts may come back to memory again, but you will find that now bitterness and resentment have disappeared, and you are both free with the perfect freedom of the children of God. Your forgiveness is complete. You will experience a wonderful joy in the realization of this.

Everybody should practice general forgiveness every day as a matter of course. When you say your daily prayers, issue a general amnesty, forgiving everyone who may have injured you in any way, and on no account particularize. Simply say: “I freely forgive everyone.” Then in the course of” the day, should the thought of grievance or resentment come up, bless the offender briefly and dismiss the thought. Likewise, ask God to forgive you of any offences you may have caused and consider it a fact that you are forgiven immediately, then if there is anything that you know you need to do to make restitution as may be revealed to you by the Spirit, take action on it so the matter can be closed.
The result of this will be that very soon you will find yourself cleared of all resentment and condemnation, and the effect upon your happiness, your bodily health, and your general life will be nothing less than revolutionary.

Lead Us Not into Temptation But Deliver Us from Evil

This clause has probably caused more difficulty than any other part of the Prayer. For many earnest people it has been a real stumbling block. They feel, and rightly, that God could not lead anyone into temptation or into evil in any circumstances, and so these words do not ring true.
For this reason, a number of attempts have been made to recast the wording. People have felt that Jesus could not have said what he is represented to have said, and so they look about for some phrasing which they think would be more in characteristic with the general tone of his teaching.  All this, however, is unnecessary. The Prayer in the form it is gives a correct sense of the true inner meaning. Remember that the Lord’s Prayer covers the whole of the spiritual life. Although it is condensed , it is never the less a complete manual for the development of the soul, and Jesus knew only too well the subtle perils and difficulties that can and do beset the soul when once the preliminary stages of spiritual development have passed. Because those who are yet at a comparatively early stage of development do not necessarily experience this, they may jump to the conclusion that this clause is not needed.
The facts are these—the more you pray, the more time you spend in meditation and personal spiritual development, the more sensitive you become. And if you spend a great deal of time working on your soul in the right way, you will become very sensitive. This is excellent; but like everything in the universe, it works both ways. The more sensitive and spiritual you become, the more powerful and effective are your prayers, you do better healing, and you advance rapidly. But, for the same reason, you also become susceptible to forms of temptation that simply do not affect those at an earlier stage. You will also find that for ordinary faults, even things that many would consider inconsequential, you will be sharply affected by consequences, and this is well, because it keeps you up to the mark. The seemingly minor transgressions, the “little foxes that spoil the vines,” would fritter away our spiritual power if not promptly dealt with.

No one at this level will be tempted to pick a pocket, or rob a house; but this does not by any means imply that you will not have difficulties.
As we advance, new and powerful temptations await us on the path, temptations to work for self-glory, and self-aggrandizement instead of for God; for personal honors and distinctions, even for disproportionate material gain; temptations to allow personal preferences to dictate when it is a sacred duty to deal with all men in perfect impartiality. Above and beyond all other sins the deadly sin of spiritual pride, truly “the last infirmity of noble mind,” lurks on this road. Many fine souls who have triumphantly surmounted all other testings have fallen into a condition of superiority and self-righteousness that has fallen like a curtain of steel between them and God.

Great knowledge brings great responsibility. Great responsibility betrayed brings serious consequences. Your knowledge of the Truth, however little it may be, is a sacred trust for humanity that must not be violated. While we should never make the mistake of casting our pearls before swine, nor promote the Truth in places where it is not welcome, yet we must do all that we wisely can to spread the true knowledge of God among mankind, that not one of “these little ones” may go hungry through our selfishness or our neglect.

“Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” The ancient writers were so vividly sensible of these dangers that, with their instinct for dramatization, they spoke of the soul as being challenged by various tests as it traversed the upward road. It was as though the traveler were halted at various gates or turnpike bars, and
tested by some ordeal to determine whether he were ready to advance any further. If he succeeded in passing the test, they said, he was allowed to continue upon his way with the blessing of the challenger. If, however, he failed to survive the ordeal, he was forbidden to proceed.
Now, some less experienced souls, eager for rapid advancement, have rashly desired to be subjected immediately to all kinds of tests, and have even looked about, seeking for difficulties to overcome; as though your own personality did not already present quite enough material for anyone to deal with. Forgetting the lesson of our Lord’s own ordeal in the wilderness, forgetting the injunction “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God,” they have virtually done this very thing, with sad results. And so Jesus has inserted this clause, in which we pray that we may not have to meet anything that is too much for us at the present level of our understanding. And, if we are wise, and work daily, as we should, for wisdom, understanding, purity, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will not end up in a situtation where we do not have the understanding necessary to clear ourselves.

Nothing shall by any means hurt you. Behold I am with you always.
Thine Is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory For Ever and Ever.
This is a wonderful gnomic saying summing up the essential truth of the Omnipresence and the Allness of God. It means that God is indeed All
in All, the doer, the doing, and the deed, and one can say also the spectator. The Kingdom in this sense means all creation, on every plane, for that is the Presence of God—God as manifestation or expression.

The Power, of course, is the Power of God. We know that God is the only power, and so, when we work, as when we pray, it is really God doing it by means of us. Just as the pianist produces his music by means of, or through his fingers, so may mankind be thought of as the fingers of God. His is the Power. If, when you are praying, you hold the thought that it is really God who is working through you, your prayers will gain immeasurably in efficiency. Say, “God is inspiring me.” If, when you have any ordinary thing to do, you hold the thought, “Divine Intelligence is working through me now, ” your awareness will expand and your conditions on every level will improve. Mentally, emotionally, physiologically and even ultimately your physical circumstances are affected.
The wondrous change that comes over you as you gradually realize more and more what the Omnipresence of God really means, transfigures every phase of your life, turning sorrow into joy, age into youth, and dullness into light and life. This is the glory—and the glory which comes is, of course, God’s too. And the bliss you will know in that experience is still God Himself, who experiences that bliss through you.
*  *  *  *  *  *
Lord’s Prayer has also been written in the affirmative form. In this style, for instance, the clause “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” becomes “Thy kingdom is come, thy will is being done.” These paraphrases are interesting and suggestive, but their importance is not vital. The affirmative form of prayer is often used for healing work, but it is only one form of prayer. Jesus used the invocatory form very often, though not always, and the frequent use of this form is essential to the growth of the soul. It is not to be confused with supplicatory prayer, in which a person begs and whines to God as a slave pleading with his master. That is always wrong.

The highest of all forms of prayer is true contemplation, in which the thought and the thinker become one. This is the unity of the mystic, but it is rarely experienced in the earlier stages. Pray in whatever way you find easiest. This will ensure you progress with little resistance to greater levels of spiritual awareness without being caught up in the mechanics of expressing yourself.

*  *  *  *  *  *
Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

*  *  *  *  *  *
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

*  *  *  *  *  *
Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

*  *  *  *  *  *

A Christmas Message

The original author of this Christmas Message is HOWARD RAY CAREY from his 1988 Book “The Joy of Christ’s Coming”
In the gospel according to Matthew we read how king Herod
sent his soldiers to Bethlehem in an attempt to find and destroy
the infant Jesus (instrument of the Christ). Why did he try this
dastardly deed? Because Herod had been told that the Christ
was to be king. And that paranoid old monarch would tolerate
no threat to his own selfish reign.
This of course is a parable or allegory of the battle which
rages at some time, or times, within each human being. The
‘Herod’ of our lower nature organizes fierce battles against the
developing Christ consciousness. For this personality nature —-
with its lusts, its fears, its rage and its pride —- is afraid that the
Christ power of love and wisdom is indeed destined to gain the
upper hand in our life. Thus these dark aspects of our life will
have to be banished or transformed, their ‘turf’ and their reign
in our system handed over to the inner Christ. How threatened
these old rulers become! For they have been in command so
very long —- through so many lives —- that they will not easily
give up our entrenched habits. They work up a storm of sound
and fury. Or so I have found it to be in my life.
But when they do surrender to the light, love and joy of the
Christ nature, what glorious transformation takes place! Lust is
replaced by love; fear by trust; resentment by goodwill; and
pride melts into joyous humility and confidence. Then, like the
prodigal son, we know that ‘we have come to ourselves’ and are
joyfully on our way home to the Father’s House, the eternal
Monad or Spirit within.
So let us give heed to this question: are our thoughts, utterances,
and deeds at times giving aid and comfort to the old
‘Herod’ nature (which is sometimes called the ‘shadow’ or the
‘Dweller on the Threshold’)? Or are we succeeding in our effort
to help the Christ power to take increasing control of all aspects
of our nature?

Truly this is an urgent question. For the Christ has duly
warned us: ‘‘He who is not with me is against me. And he who
gathers not, scatters.’’ (Matthew 12:30) What? Is there no neutral
ground? Well, if there is, it is in the process of yielding
rapidly either to Christ or Herod; to the Angel of the Presence
or the fiendish old Dweller on the Threshold. Probably all of us
who ponder on such thoughts as these would like to yield all to
the Christ, if it just didn’t take so much herculean effort. Why
are our old habits of thought, words, and ways of behavior so
stubborn? Why does it take such dedication and devotion and
power of will to change them? Maybe it is because of their long
entrenched rule. For so long they have reigned with such power.
And, as we have been told so many times, ‘power corrupts’.
An indication of such corruption may be found in some desire
on our part, conscious or unconscious, to cling to the old
selfish pleasures we know so well. Sometimes we want to take
another fling at the old indulgences: like pleasure, prejudice,
pride and personal power. Sometimes there is a hidden fear that
when Christ takes control in us our treasures of tinsel and baubles
—- which still glitter like false gold —- will be snatched
from us. So we are afraid we will stand bereft of life’s richness.
How deeply glamoured we have become in thus clinging to the
old, empty treasure pouches of the past. Could we but see
clearly, we would know that, when Christ rules in our lives, the
tinsel will be transmuted into pure gold; the turbulent emotions
of fear and rage transformed into serenity and bliss; and the
proud towers of separative thought converted into the true citadel
for the expression of the ruling Spirit or Monad. What a
transformation, what joy, what victory! Truly it awaits us all
when we are ready for it.

How then do we strengthen the forces of Christ within us —-
and induce the old negative powers to yield? Since we are approaching
the mystic season of Christmas, let us look at some of
the symbols connected with this new birth. For they can have
deep meaning within us for our transformation. Some of these
characters and events are related to us in the gospel according to
Luke, others in Matthew. They have esoteric meaning for us
when we learn to look at them as aspects of an important drama
unfolding within us.

Let us think of Joseph as representing our concrete mind;
Mary as a symbol of our heart center —- where the New Birth or
first initiation is said to take place. We can think of the watching
shepherds as disciples who are awake to the heavenly music
or angel songs within. And the Magi as Great Beings who always
are present to help usher into our lives the Christ life and
power.

In our inner pilgrimage from the reign of Herod to that of
Christ, let us proceed without delay to our Bethlehem. We are
not to think it beneath our dignity to enter the stable of the domestic
animals, and thus make provision for the Christ consciousness
to be born in the lowly level of our physical or animal
nature. Are we ready to listen to those awakened disciples
who hear and heed the angel song of peace, of goodwill, and the
good news of sharing? If so, we can welcome the three kings or
Magi, the three aspects of our inner divinity —- light, love and
will or power, the sovereigns of our own being which follow the Christmas star of initiation or New Birth which shines out above
us as soon as we are ready. Let us gladly accept their proffered
gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh —- not for our little selves,
but as treasures to pour out in sharing with the needy world.
Then we need to let Joseph, the rational mind, transport us far
from Herod’s jealous reach to the Egypt of life’s inner mysteries;
where the Christ life in us can grow to full maturity —- as
St. Paul puts it: ‘‘unto the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ.’’

Thus, when we dwell in the Christ consciousness, His love
and wisdom will be able to find expression through us. In this
crucial hour of humanity’s need, let us renew our dedication to the divine Plan. Then through creative meditation, right speech,
wise action and true sharing we can do our part. In this way we
may stand assured that the ‘ounces of our weight’ and the power
of our love will really assist in banishing the Herods of our day
(and of our own lives). Thus we can really count, by helping to
bring in the reign of Christ —- the way of love, justice, and
sharing —- to include all our sisters and brothers on this spaceship
earth. Let us rejoice, and let the angel chorus resound
within us.

 

A Hell of An Idea Or Not

Are your beliefs on Hell based upon truth or traditions?

If Salvation is deliverance from Hell or Eternal Death, then it is vitally important the reader find out what your beliefs are based upon for your own sake and for the sake of your loved ones. Are you willing to test your understanding of salvation and Hell? Are your church leaders willing to try to answer the questions contained in this book? This may be the most important test you will ever take. These questions were prepared by a conservative Christian who has spent thousands of hours researching this most important subject.

Christians who try to share their faith with unbelievers are confronted with many questions, especially on the subject of Hell and eternal punishment. Many people have a real problem with Orthodox Christianity’s belief that non-Christians will be punished eternally because they are not Christians. This is one of the main reasons many Christians do NOT like to share their faith. They find themselves short of good reasonable answers to questions or statements like these:

“If my daughter is in Hell because she did not get “born again” then I’d rather go to Hell and be with her than to be with your God because there would be more love in Hell than near your vindictive God.”

“How can you say burning someone alive forever is “just” or “fair” for everyone who hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ? Even we humans fit the punishment to the crime. According to you, Christians, people are destined to be burned in Hell whether we are bad or not. Just being born into this world is grounds for being endlessly tortured. You say the punishment is the same regardless of the number of sins committed or how bad they were. This is not justice–this is insanity!”

“Infinite punishment for finite crimes just doesn’t seem just.”

“I could never torture people endlessly, especially my own children. How can you say that God will do that to His children? This seems hideous. You make God look like a monster worse than Hitler, not a loving Father Who would even die for His enemies!”

“If Hell is real and the greatest part of humanity went there, how could you HONESTLY say that ‘Love NEVER fails?’ Seems like Love fails most of the time according to your understanding of things.” (I Cor. 13:8)

“If the wages of sin is eternal punishment in Hell, then Jesus would have to be eternally punished if in fact He died for my sins. But the Bible says the wages of sin is death which is exactly what Jesus did–died. So how can you say people will be eternally tortured in Hell? Is Jesus presently being eternally tortured in place of those who accepted Him as Lord?”

Questions are powerful truth-finders. At all costs, avoid religious groups that fear questions. Anyone who believes they have the truth should not only encourage questions, but should have solid answers for what they believe, especially if they are a leader. When asking serious questions about serious topics like the subject of Hell, look them right in the eye when asking the questions. The eyes will give away whether they are firmly convinced with their answer or if they are just passing on the “traditions” of their sect. Most Christians actually know very little about Hell. And what they know is usually false as the following questions will reveal.

Whenever I was previously confronted with questions like those above (and I’ve heard these questions countless numbers of times), all of my answers seemed to fall short of being “reasonable.” And if someone watched my body language, especially my eyes, they could have seen that I did NOT have good answers for the sincere questions they asked. And I was a zealous student!

I normally used to find myself stating that the Bible says Jesus paid for our sins, but we must accept Him as our Savior. Then I would usually say something like: “God is a just God and cannot allow sin into heaven. You must have your sins forgiven and Jesus is the only one Who can forgive you. He died for your sins. We all deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to go. But by turning from our sins and making Jesus our Savior, He’ll deliver us from this fate to which all mankind is destined. He’s given us all a chance; it’s up to us whether we will take it or not.” Then, often a discussion would ensue about the validity of the Bible and that would open up another can of worms. I wouldn’t have admitted it then, but what I was REALLY passing on for truth, was what was passed on to me from the “experts” of my church. It was NOT really beliefs given to me by the Holy Spirit Who the Bible says will teach us all truth. (John 16:13) My beliefs therefore had to be tested by thoroughly subjecting them to honest questions…questions which made my conscience reveal to me that my answers were NOT built on truth.

During my early years as a Christian, I usually attended conservative churches that could probably be labeled “evangelical” or “fundamentalist” where the emphasis was on being “born again.” I took the subject of Hell VERY seriously. I talked to people about Jesus every day. I used to have a compartmentalized attachment on the back of my car seat which contained various tracts warning of Hell and the way to avoid it. Having handed out thousands of ” Roman Road ” tracts, I knew (and still do know) all the salvation and Hell verses very well. I read my King James Bible everyday, went to Church whenever it was open and paid my tithes.

If Hell was real, then the most important thing in my life was to get as many people saved as I possibly could. I lost business contracts because I offended clients trying to “get them saved.” I lost friends who I hounded with the “Good News” who didn’t think my good news was so hot. I went to my family with tears in my eyes and begged them to accept Christ. By the time I was finished with them, they seriously considered having me committed to an institution for the insane. My brothers and sisters wanted nothing to do with me anymore. Tens of thousands of tracts explaining the simple plan of salvation were forced into the hands of people all over the Maryland , DC, Virginia area. Wherever I traveled, I usually took tracts with me. I was taught this rejection was the price one paid to follow Jesus. After all, He too, was despised and rejected even by His own family.

Whenever there was a missionary or evangelist in the area, I usually attended their meetings. I wanted to learn more about how to save more people. It was extremely frustrating and disappointing to find that most of the church members and my pastor did not share the burden for souls that seemed to me to be mandatory if in fact the teaching of Hell as taught by our Church and my King James Bible was true. We often heard sermons from pastors or highly paid traveling evangelists on the dangers of Hell. And then, instead of going out into the community to try to save a few doomed souls, we would often go to a nice restaurant to listen to the evangelist tell his favorite war stories while supposedly people all around us were dropping into the fiery pit. To me, it seemed that if the teaching of Hell was real, we, Christians, were not taking it seriously. And if WE weren’t taking it seriously, how could we expect those we wanted to influence take it seriously themselves?

If there were a Hell or place of eternal punishment, our actions in our communities surely didn’t show it. Our belief in Hell was NOT made manifest by our actions. We sinned just like those sinners we were trying to save. Oh, maybe for most of us, it wasn’t the same kind of sins. Maybe we didn’t drink, cuss, or smoke anymore, but boy we were experts in backbiting, slander, gossip, self-righteousness, pride, jealousy, and a host of other Biblical sins. How was it that we who were supposed to know better and supposedly had the Holy Spirit to help us lead a Holy life could sin and get away with it while those who were “slaves to sin” and had NO power to stop sinning were going to be endlessly tortured for theirs? This seemed a bit hypocritical.

I finally personally concluded we, Christians, including myself, WERE a bunch of hypocrites. We “said” but did not do. We condemned while doing the very same things we condemned others for. The more I looked at us while reading the Bible, the more we looked like the Pharisees who were Jesus’ enemies–and I remembered what Jesus thought of the Pharisees and the many warnings He gave them. As a matter of fact, almost every time my King James put the word Hell into Jesus’ mouth, He was always speaking to the religious people, NOT the street sinner. (Something to think about, isn’t it?)

I finally became so disgusted with our poor example and lack of concern for the lost that I asked God to take me out of this world. I was tired of the hypocrisy. I was worn out. Burned out. It seemed to me that if anyone deserved to go to Hell, it was us Christians for our hypocrisy and lack of concern for the lost.

God answered my prayer not by killing me, but killing a lot of “traditional teaching” I had swallowed which did NOT come from Him NOR from the Bible in its original languages. He had someone give me a handful of booklets dealing with a handful of key words in the Bible. According to this author, these words were MIStranslated in many of the leading “selling” English Bible translations. After reading these booklets, I made an extensive search at various seminaries to see if in fact what this author was saying was true. It was true!! What this author was saying made God’s judgments perfectly line up with His love. It wiped away those contradictions that I constantly had to shove under the rug of “Well, God said it, I believe it even if I can’t understand it all.” The Bible FINALLY made perfect sense! Scriptures like “Mercy shall triumph over judgment” (James 2:13) all of a sudden fit. I always had trouble with Scriptures like that one. After all, ninety-nine percent of mankind in Hell didn’t sound like mercy triumphing over judgment! Does it to you?

I wrote this book to challenge my fellow Christians to think through what they believe about this most important subject. Why are Christians so lackadaisical about their responsibility to lay down their lives to save their friends and enemies? The following questions may break through the crust of traditions of men and bring the reader to some new ground of understanding on this most important subject. If salvation is deliverance from Hell, then Hell must be thoroughly understood! Now let’s see how well you know the subject and whether your beliefs are based upon facts or simply the “traditions of men.” Looking back on my years as a religious zealot trying to save the world, although I went to Church regularly and studied the Bible much more than most of my counterparts, my belief was based upon the “traditions of men,” and a couple of Bible translations that mistranslated a handful of key words. Ask your church leaders these questions. Look them in the eyes and see if their answers belong to them or if they are just regurgitating the denomination’s traditions. You MAY be shocked to find out they have almost NO answers to ANY of the questions. And now for the questions:

•  When contemplating on these questions, let us remember that “unless we become as little children we shall not enter the kingdom of God .” (Matt. 18:3) Could children really love a god who created a place in which his parents, brothers and sisters or friends would be endlessly tortured? Could you truly sit on Hitler’s or Charles Manson’s lap and love them unconditionally? If not, what makes you think you can honestly love a God who is endlessly torturing almost all of mankind? Can a human being honestly love a being who planned to endlessly torture almost all of mankind which MAY include his parents, children AND if honest with him or herself, possible themselves? Can one REALLY love such a god IN THEIR HEARTS? or do they do what Jesus said they do: “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me and in vain they worship Me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

I say, “no way.” We can “feign” worship of such a god for fear of being endlessly burned ourselves should this god turn on us also, but we cannot honestly worship such a fiend with integrity. We must become hypocrites like Isaiah prophesied in order to pretend to worship such a fiend.

•  If Hell is real and describes a real place, why does the English word “Hell” come from a pagan source instead of the ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible? Why is the word “Hell” not found in the Jew’s Bible which is the Christian’s Old Testament? Furthermore, the word “Hell” has completely disappeared from the Old Testament Scriptures in most leading Bibles. Why? Because the best scholarship demands it. (The word “Hell” comes from the Teutonic “Hele” goddess of the underworld “Hell” of northern Europe . The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell. See any Encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word.) Seeing that the Bible is supposed to be “Holy,” why have pagan religious words been added to our modern English Bibles? Please understand, the English word “Hell” and its concepts are NOT in the Hebrew nor Greek. They come into the English through Northern European mythologies, NOT from the roots of Christianity.

•  If Hell as a place of everlasting tortures was the real fate of all mankind unless they did something here on earth to prevent it, why didn’t God make that warning plain right at the beginning of the Bible? God said the penalty for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was DEATH. He did NOT define death as eternal life being forever tortured in burning fire and brimstone.

•  If Hell was real why didn’t Moses warn about this fate in the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic Covenant consisting of over 600 laws, ordinances, and warnings? The Mosaic Law simply stated blessings and cursings IN THIS LIFETIME for failure to keep the Mosaic Law.

•  If Hell is real and it is a place of eternally being separated from God, why does David say in the King James Bible, “Though I make my bed in Hell (Sheol) lo, Thou art there? (Again please note, most Christian Bibles NO LONGER have the word “Hell” in the Old Testament. The KJV written over 350 years ago is an exception. The Jews do NOT put the word “Hell” in their English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament and the leading English Christian Bibles have removed it because it is NOT in the originals. Most Christian scholars now acknowledge it should never have been placed there in the first place.)

•  If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated “Hell” thirty-0ne times, “grave” thirty-one times and “pit” three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King’s translators make some gross translation errors?

•  If Hell is real, why don’t the Jews, many who know the Old Testament better than most Christians, not believe in the modern Christian concept of Hell? They say they don’t believe it because it is not in their Scriptures. Most scholars today can not find Hell in the Old Testament. Most leading Bible translations no longer contain the word Hell in the entire Old Testament. (Genesis through Malachi.)

•  If Hell doesn’t exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their Scriptures? (There was only the Old Testament at that time.) Would that not make Him appear like a false teacher? Or could it be that Jesus never taught such a concept in the first place? Could it be that this concept has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through “traditions of men?”

•  If Hell is real, since SOME English translations use the word Hell for the Greek word “Gehenna,” in the New Testament, why didn’t this same place (Gehenna) get translated Hell in the many places where it appears in the Hebrew form “ga ben Hinnom” in the Old Testament? If the Jews did not understand this valley as a symbol of everlasting torture, why do SOME English translations give this word such a meaning? And who burned who in this valley? And what was God’s response for Israel doing such a horrible thing to their children? (Jer. 32:33-35) And how could God say “such a thing never entered His mind” if in fact He is going to do the very same thing to most of His own children?

•  If Hell was real, why did the early church appoint an avowed universalist as the President of the second council of the church in Constantinople in the fourth century? (Gregory Nazianzen, 325-381)

•  If Hell was real, why did Church leaders as late as the fourth century AD acknowledge that the majority of Christians believed in the salvation of all mankind? (Ref, #1)

•  If Hell was real and a place of no escape, why did the early church teach Jesus went to Hell (Hades), preached to them and led captivity captive? (Eph. 4:8,9; Psalm 68:18; 1 Peter 3:18-20)

•  If Hell was real and the grave settled the matter forever, why did the early Christians offer up prayers for the dead? (Ref. # 1)

•  If Hell was real, why did the first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, contain the tenet of universal salvation? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real, why did the first complete presentation of Christianity (Origen, 220 A.D.) contain the doctrine of universal salvation? (Ref #1)

•  If Hell was real, why didn’t the church teach it until AFTER the church departed from reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, substituting Latin in its stead several centuries after Christ’s death? (Ref #1, 2, 7)

•  If Hell was real, why did not a single Christian writer of the first 3 centuries declare universalism as a heresy? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real why didn’t a single one of the early creeds express any idea contrary to universal restoration, or in favor of everlasting punishment in Hell? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real why did not a single Church council for the first five hundred years condemn Universalism as heresy considering the fact that they made many declarations of heresy on other teachings? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real, why did most of the early church’s leading scholars and most revered saints advocate universal salvation? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real, how is it that the most prominent universalists of the early church were born into Christian families and were most highly revered by their peers while those who advocated Hell came from paganism and confessed they were among the vilest? (Tertullian and Augustine) (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real and found in the original Greek manuscripts of the Bible, why is it that it was primarily those church leaders who either couldn’t read Greek (Minucius Felix, Tertullian), or hated Greek as in the case of Augustine, that the doctrine of Hell was advocated? Those early church leaders familiar with the Greek and Hebrew (the original languages of the Bible) saw universal salvation in those texts. Those who advocated Hell got it from the Latin, NOT from the original Greek and Hebrew. Who would more likely be correct–those who could read the original languages of the Bible or those who read a Latin translation made by one man (Jerome)? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real why do most leading historians acknowledge that the early church was dominated by universalism? (Ref. #1, 7)

•  If Hell was real then why did four out of six theological schools from 170 AD to 430 AD teach universal salvation while the only one that taught Hell was in Carthage, Africa, again where Latin was the teaching language, not Greek? (Ref. #1, 2, 7)

•  If Hell was real why didn’t Epiphanius (c. 315-403) the “hammer of heretics” who listed 80 heresies of his time not list universalism among those heresies? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real, since most historians would acknowledge today that Origen was perhaps the most outstanding example of early universalism in the church, when Methodius, Eusibius, Pamphilus, Marcellus, Eustathius, and Jerome made their lists of Origen’s heresies, why wasn’t universalism among them? Could it be perhaps that it wasn’t a heresy in the original church? (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real and a serious heresy, why was it not until the sixth century when Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, tried to make universalism a heresy? Interestingly, most historians will acknowledge that Justinian’s reign was among the most cruel and ruthless. (Ref. #1)

•  If Hell was real, since the early church was closest to the apostles and since they were closest to the original manuscripts of the Bible, why did the vast majority of the early Christian believers NOT believe in Hell as a place of everlasting burnings? (Ref. #1, 2, 7)

•  If Hell was real and all died NOT because of their transgressions but because of Adam’s transgression (Rom 5:18), why do many Christians not see what is plainly written, that “even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to ALL MEN, resulting in JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE!” (Rom. 5:18) This Scripture declares the FACT that all are justified due to Christ’s righteous act. No one “decided” to die in Adam, it was “reckoned” to us. Equally no one “decided” to “receive eternal life,” it is also “reckoned” to us. (A thorough understanding of Romans Chapter five carefully comparing several English translations would be a very good exercise. The omission of the definite article “the” in Rom. 5:15 before the word “many” in some translations has caused some great misunderstanding of this most important chapter of the Bible.)

•  If Hell is real, in Romans 5:19, the “many” who were made sinners were actually “all” of the human race. Why is the “many” who were made “righteous” not equally be “all” of the human race? “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience MANY will be made righteous.”

•  If Hell is real and everlasting, why does Psalm 30:5 say His anger is but for a moment?

•  If Hell is real one would never know it by the actions of most Christians. They go through life pretty much like atheists, pagans, etc. If they really believed in Hell, they would spend their entire life trying to snatch their friends and relatives from the burning flames. If Hell is real, why don’t they do this?

•  If Hell is a real place of merciless endless torture, since God knows the beginning from the end, why didn’t God just kill Adam and Eve and end the long terrible chain of misery that passed to their offspring before it began? After all, the Scriptures say that all died BECAUSE of Adam. (Rom. 5:18)

•  If Hell is real, why is it not mentioned in most leading English Bible translations until Matthew? (Most Bible translations now acknowledge Sheol should NOT ever be translated Hell as the King James Bible incorrectly did.)

•  If Hell was real, and if Paul was commissioned by God to preach the gospel to the nations, why did Paul not mention Hell even once except to declare victory over it? (1 Cor. 15:55, the word death in this passage is the word “Hades” which some translations of the Bible also translate Hell.)

•  If Hell was real and easy to define and find in the Bible, why did the translators of the original 1611 King James Bible find it so difficult to define Hades? They put Hell in the text at Rev. 20:13 and “Or, grave” in the margins while putting “grave” in the text and “Or, Hell” in the margins in 1 Cor. 15:55? Seems they couldn’t make up their minds whether Hades meant Hell or grave. (Recent editions have removed the marginal readings thus avoiding the embarrassment.)

•  If Hell is real, why are there many English Bible translations which do NOT contain the word Hell at all nor do they contain the concept of “everlasting torments”? (Ref. #6)

•  If Hell was real and the belief that there is no Hell is a deception from Satan, why is it that those born from above Christians who DON’T believe in Hell seem to manifest more of the nature and fruit of the Spirit than those who teach Hell? Surely those who believe that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind manifest more love towards their enemies than do serious Hell-fire types. Could it be that we begin to manifest what we worship? If we believe God loves all mankind and plans to save it, then we have no excuse but to do the same. However, if we believe God will cast away most of mankind, then we begin to manifest the very same spirit here on earth.

•  If there is a Hell and salvation is the deliverance from it, why does the word appear only a dozen times or so in most leading selling Bibles like the NIV, NASB, NRSV, NKJV, etc. as compared to the word Heaven which appears hundreds of times?

•  If Hades is Hell and there is no escape from it, why is it emptied and cast into the Lake of Fire along with death. (Rev. 20:14)

•  If the Lake of Fire is actually a place of everlasting burnings, why isn’t it defined as such? The Bible calls it the “second death,” that is, the death of the first death. One would think that the death of death would be LIFE, which is a good thing! (Rev. 20:14) Even in mathematics two negatives make a positive.

•  If there is a Hell and all who have sinned are destined to go there (which is everyone) unless they figure out how to avoid it, does that not consign all aborted babies and most children to Hell? (Dear Reader, while some denominations teach a so-called “age of accountability,” it is NOT found anywhere in the Bible. It is just some people’s way of trying to make God more humane than the Hell teaching makes Him out to be.)

•  Only one third of the world’s languages have any written scriptures 2,000 years after the gospel was given to the Jews. If one MUST believe in the gospel to be saved, then God was very irresponsible in getting the good news to all mankind TO mankind. Furthermore, since most of the countries which presently don’t have Bibles are non-white, doesn’t that make God a racist?

•  If all things were made for GOD’S pleasure, is it conceivable that God would derive pleasure from seeing those He created endlessly tortured?

•  If there is a Hell and according to most denominations of Christianity the majority of mankind will go there, could you really enjoy heaven knowing your mother or father or children or best friend are suffering everlasting tortures the likes of which would make the Holocaust seem like a picnic? If the Rich Man and Lazarus story (Luke chapter 16) is real and NOT a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loves ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true?

•  If Hell is real and a place of eternal separation from God, why would Paul the apostle say the goal of God’s creative plan was to ultimately be “all IN all?” (1 Cor. 15:28)

•  If Hell is real since there is only one name under heaven by which men might be saved (Acts 4:12), why did God wait thousands of years and millions of souls after Adam’s fall to provide the name and means of salvation? Are all those before Jesus’ birth damned forever because they never heard of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? Would that be just? (Remember the Mosaic Law can never “save” anyone and it was only for Israel . Rom. 3:20)

•  If Hell is a real place of everlasting punishment and if Jesus died in our place to save us from this fate, wouldn’t Jesus have to be eternally punished if in fact He took our punishment upon Himself? But He’s NOT being eternally punished. He DIED which is what the penalty of the wages of sin is, DEATH, NOT everlasting life of unending torture or eternal death (annihilation).

•  If Hell is real why do some of the best Bible scholars and Bible teachers say it is NOT in the Greek or Hebrew text? (William Barclay, John A.T. Robinson, Lightfoot, Westcott, F.W. Farrar, Marvin Vincent, etc.)

•  If Hell is real why is it that those who preach it the most look more like Pharisees and the devil, while those who believe in the salvation of all mankind seem to be more loving and merciful than strong Hell-fire believers? It’s a plain fact that the colder less loving one is the easier it is to teach Hell while the more loving one becomes the harder it is to talk about Hell. Is heaven full of cold unloving people?

•  If Hell is real and everlasting, why is it thrown into the Lake of Fire to be destroyed? And why is Hell never called the Lake of Fire nor the Lake of Fire ever called Hell if in fact they are the same thing?

•  If Hell is real and the devil and all his works and people are to be thrown into it to stay alive forever, doesn’t that violate Jesus’ statement that He came to “destroy” the works of the devil? (1 John 3:8)

•  If Hell is real and the greatest part of mankind eventually goes there, wouldn’t Jesus be considered a great failure considering the fact He was sent to save the whole world? And if He failed so miserably this time to accomplish the will of the Father, can one really trust that He won’t fail again? (1 Tim. 2:3,4 KJV; Heb. 10:9) We who believe that Jesus will save the world obviously do NOT believe He failed…He will save all of us.

•  If Hell is real it must have been created at some time. Why doesn’t the Bible tell us when Hell (as traditionally taught) was created? Could it be that the Bible fails to mention its creation because it was never created in the first place?

•  If Hell is real and it is plainly seen in the original languages of the Bible, why is there such a great discrepancy among Bible translations as to which words should be translated Hell? (Ref. #6)

•  If Hell is real and most of mankind ends up there, how can God have promised Abraham that in him ALL the families of the earth will be blessed? (Gen. 12:3)

•  If Hell is real and Matthew chapter 24 says and means that the goat nations will go to “everlasting punishment,” how can God promise to Abraham that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by him? (Gen. 18:18) Does God not keep His promises?

•  If Hell is real, does that mean that motherly love is more powerful and enduring than God’s love? Do you know of normal mothers who would endlessly torment most of her kids. Do you know “normal” Fathers who would do such a thing? Why do we believe our heavenly Father, who is millions of times more loving than all of us combined, could do such an evil, wicked thing?

•  If Hell is real, is justice being served considering the fact that finite crimes would receive infinite punishment?

•  If Hell is real, since all is out of Jesus Christ, does that mean Hell comes out of Jesus Christ? (Rom. 36:11)

•  If Hell is real and all the different types of crimes committed here on earth receive the same punishment (endless torture) does “justice” not suffer?

•  If Hell is real and a person gets caught stealing and goes to jail for it and does his time, is it just for God to still punish him eternally for that crime? Is this not “double indemnity?”

•  If Hell is real, since some people receive many chances to “get saved,” some receive only a few chances and billions have never even received one chance, does that make God a respecter of persons? (Acts 10:34, James 3:17)

•  If Hell is real and is the fate of all mankind because of Adam’s transgression, if all are not saved through the last Adam, Jesus Christ, does that not make the transgression of the first Adam greater than the redeeming act of Jesus? (Rom. Chapter 5)

•  If Hell is real and most of mankind is doomed to go there, does that not violate the declaration of Paul who said that Christ’s righteous act on the cross gave ALL mankind a free gift resulting in justification of life?! (Rom. 5:18)

•  If Hell is real and God’s wrath abides upon billions of human beings FOREVER, some being your relatives and friends (or it could be you), doesn’t that violate the Scripture which says His anger WILL come to an end? (Isaiah 57:16-18)

•  If Hell was real and you went there, would you consider that good? (Psalm 145:9 says all will praise Him.)

•  If Hell was real and you were consigned to it, would you praise Him for sending you there? (Psalm 145:10)

•  If Hell is real and most of mankind will fall into this fiery pit, if there is not escape out of it, would this not violate the Scripture that says He raises ALL who fall? (Psalm 145:14)

•  If Hell is really a place from which there is no escape, why does God turn man to destruction and then give the command to return from it? (Psalm 90:3) If Hell is “everlasting” destruction,” how can man return? (2 Thess. 1:9)

•  If Hell is real and most find their way to it, was Jesus lying when He said that He would “draw” (“drag” in the original Greek) all mankind unto Himself? (John 12:32)

•  If Hell is real, since Jesus ultimately fills ALL things, will Jesus fill Hell as well? ((Eph. 4:10) How can Hell be eternal separation from God is Jesus fills Hell with Himself?

•  If Hell is real and Jesus is the Heir of all things, does that mean He inherits Hell as well? (Heb. 1:2)

•  If Hell is real, since God will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3 KJV), does that mean God’s power is not strong enough to have His will fulfilled? Is man’s will more powerful than God’s?

•  If Hell is real, would that not violate the plain Scripture of the “restitution of all things?” (Acts 3:21)

•  If Hell is real and eternal separation from God, why does the Scripture say, “All flesh will come to God?” (Psalm 65:2-4)

•  If Hell is real and most people don’t get “born again,” doesn’t that make abortionists the greatest evangelists of all since they kill the babies before they can enter the world to begin their life of sin? (Gory thought, but think about it.)

•  If Hell is real and there is no escape from it, how can the Scriptures speak of the gathering of all things into Christ? (Eph. 1:10)

•  If Hell is real and God were human, we would give Him a death sentence for all the cruel things we say He is going to do to most of mankind?

•  If Hell is real and most people around you are on their way to it, how can you talk with them and not beg them each and everyday to be saved? How can you not go crazy at just the thought of their fate?

•  If Hell is real and you have “unsaved” family, friends, and business associates, when was the last time you went to them on your knees begging them to get saved? And if you haven’t done this recently yet still believe their fate is everlasting punishment, don’t you deserve to go to Hell yourself for being so callused and non-caring?

•  If Hell is real, how does the threat of endlessly torturing us convince us that God loves us and that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?

•  If Hell was real and the “full” gospel was designed to reach all mankind, doesn’t that make the results of the “full” gospel pretty “empty” considering that fact that most people are in Hell according to traditional theology?

•  If Hell was real, does that mean Jesus raised the wicked from an unconscious state, make them alive only to be endlessly tortured? Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just leave them eternally unconscious (which some believe)? (Ecc. 9:5; John 11:11)

•  If Hell is real and God only loves those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33) Can you REALLY call eternally torturing your own children love?

•  If Hell is real, since “love thinketh no evil,” can God design the ultimate evil of a single soul? (1 Cor. 13:5)

•  If Hell is real, since”love worketh no ill,” can God inflict, or cause, or allow to be inflicted, an endless ill? (Rom. 13:10)

•  If Hell is real, since we are forbidden to be overcome by evil, can we safely suppose that God will be overcome by evil? (Rom. 12:21) Would not the infliction of endless punishment prove that God HAD been overcome by evil?

•  If Hell is real, if man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same? (Rom. 12:20,21) Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil? As we are commanded “to overcome evil with good,” may we not safely infer that God will do the same? Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?

•  If Hell is real, if God hates the sinner, does the sinner do wrong in hating Him?

•  If Hell is real, if God loves His enemies now, will he not always love them? Is God a changeable being? (James 1:17)

•  If Hell is real, is it just for God to be “kind to the evil and unthankful,” in their present life? (Luke 6:35) Would it be unjust for God to be kind to all men in a future state?

•  If Hell is real, if all men justly deserve endless punishment, will not those who are saved, be saved unjustly?

•  If Hell is real, would it be merciful in God to inflict endless punishment–that is, merciful to the sufferer?

•  If Hell is real, if the demands of divine justice are opposed to the requirements of mercy, is not God divided against Himself? If the requirements of mercy are opposed to the demands of the justice of God, can His kingdom stand? — (Mark 3:24)

•  If Hell is real, does not judgment triumph over mercy and thus contradict this Scripture? (James 2:13)

•  If Hell is real, if you had sufficient power would you not deliver all men from sin? If God WOULD save all men, but CANNOT , is He infinite in power?

•  If Hell is real, if God CAN save all men, but WILL NOT , is He infinite in goodness?

•  If Hell is real and created by God, does it not stand against God’s DESIRE the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:3-4) Since God is righteous, must not the desire for universal salvation be a RIGHTEOUS desire? Is it true, that “the desire of the righteous shall be granted?” — (Prov. 10:24)

•  If Hell is real, would endless misery benefit the Almighty, as the INFLICTOR ? Would endless misery benefit the saints, as SPECTATORS ? Would endless misery benefit the sinner, as the SUFFERER ?

•  If Hell is real and endless punishment is the “wages of sin,” could the sinner ever receive payment in full? (Rom. 6:23)

•  If Hell is real and sin is infinite, can it be true that, “where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound?” –(Rom. 5:20)

•  If Hell is real, if ONE sin deserves an eternity of punishment, how much punishment will TEN sins deserve?

•  If Hell is real, yet God “openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing” — (Ps. 145:16), If I desire all men be saved, will God satisfy my desire? Is it good to desire all men to be saved? “This is GOOD and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who DESIRES ALL MEN TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3,4)

•  If Hell is real and you are a Calvinist, were you “responsible” for getting into heaven? Then why do you take the responsibility for those going to Hell away from God and put it on those you say are going to Hell? Is God “sovereign” only over the “elect?”

•  If Hell is real and God is our Father and our Potter (Isaiah 64:8,9) did He make mostly junk and are most of the children He raised misfits worthy only to be thrown away and endlessly tortured? Do we not hold parents responsible for their children’s outcome? If we use the same standards towards God’s “fathering” abilities, according to the doctrine of endless punishment, our Father did a very poor job in raising His children.

•  If Hell is real and a person is considered foolish trying to build a tower without first seeing if he has enough resources with which to complete it, wouldn’t Jesus also be foolish if He purposed to save the world but only came away with a part of it? And wouldn’t Jesus appear foolish if He came to destroy the works of the devil but left most of the devil’s work continuing endlessly in the Lake of Fire ? Wouldn’t He be found guilty of not counting the costs before He began?(Luke 14:28-32)

•  If Hell is real and since probably less than one percent of the world’s population ever got “born again” and stayed on the straight and narrow, doesn’t this fly in the face of Jesus’ words which says He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one and doesn’t give up until He finds it? (Luke 15:4)

•  If Hell is real and a place of terrible pain, why is it that we wouldn’t think of sending our pets to such a place yet don’t blink an eye at the thought of God sending His very own children to such a place?

•  If Hell is real and universalism is a heresy, why is it that those who believe God loves all and will save all find it easier to love all people than those who believe most people are going to Hell? (Think this through very carefully.)

•  If Hell is real, will you judge your mother, son, or other non-believer to Hell? “Do ye not know that the saints “shall judge the world”? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

•  If Hell is real and an eternal separation from God, why does ” tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” mean? If this “torment” is endless suffering in a literal lake of fire, how would you feel if it was your mother, father, wife, husband, children, or best friend in that lake IN your presence? (The Greek word for “tormented” does NOT mean “tortured,” it means “tested.”)

•  If 150 Bible scholars swear to a statement of faith that there is a Hell of everlasting punishment before that are allowed to work on a translation which they will be paid to produce, what are the odds that the translation they produce will contain a Hell of everlasting punishment? (That is the case with the NIV, and most other Bible translations produced by committees.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think that a person whose mental faculties, conscience and heart are still working will come to the reasonable conclusion that the concept of Hell as a place of everlasting punishment leaves a LOT of questions unanswered. Yes, the concept of Hell (and that is all it is, a false concept) seems to violate everything that is reasonable. It violates the nature of God which is unconditional Love. It violates the wisdom of God, the pleasure of God, the promises of God, the oath of God, the power of God; it negates the full power of the cross of Christ; it goes against the testimony of the prophets; it violates the testimony of Jesus Christ and His apostles; it violates the Scriptures in their original languages; it violates the writings of the early church leaders who read the Scriptures in the original languages; it goes against our conscience and our hearts, Finally, it has the ring of something the subtlest of all creatures would concoct…the greatest lie ever told.

Jesus and the apostles gave many warnings over 1900 hundred years ago that many would rise up within the church and draw many people after themselves forming denominations built upon the traditions of men and NOT the Truth. 1900 years has spawned over 30,000 denominations of Christendom–denominations which cannot unite because they are divided by their “interpretations” of Scriptures AND traditions which have been added which are NOT based upon the Bible. “A kingdom divided against itself CANNOT stand.” (Mark 3:24) Obviously, the denominations of Christendom are NOT the kingdom of God . The Scriptures warned us that most Christians would depart from the faith. It is plainly written for all to see. Why is it that many Christians cannot see what is plainly written?

1 John 2:18-20

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.

1 John 2:26,27

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit– just as it has taught you, remain in him.

1 Tim. 4:9-16

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia , Titus unto Dalmatia . Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus . The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee , and the books, but especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

Acts 20:26-31

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men . For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God , which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Note Paul NEVER preached salvation as deliverance from Hell.)

KJV Galatians 3:1-3

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

2 Peter 3:15-18

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

1 Cor. 1:10-15

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

As we can plainly see, God warned that there would come a great falling away IN THE VERY FIRST CENTURY, not hundreds of years later. That early falling away would produce a system of religion full of the abominations of the world. (Rev. Chapter 17 and 18) One must look to the past to find the “great falling away,” NOT the future. John, the apostle whom Jesus loved said it was the “last hour!” Last hour of what?

The writer of Hebrews writing over 1900 years ago informs us that they were living at the “end of the world:”

” For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb. 9:26)

Obviously he was NOT talking about the physical world. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Jews who were under the Old Covenant “world.” This “world” was about to come to an end when Titus would destroy the city of Jerusalem , the only city in which Jews could offer up animal sacrifices to God. The Mosaic Covenant world was coming to an end and God was about to establish a New Heaven and a New World , that is, a new Covenant. This was very plain to Hebrew-speaking Jews of the first century. We, modern Christians, have misused certain key words which have thrown off our eschatological understandings greatly.

The fact is that the great falling away occurred almost 2000 years ago and every denomination of Christianity is a part of it. The glue that keeps this abominable system of divided denominations together is the teaching that God is a failure. God fell short of His goal to save all mankind, thus making God to appear as the greatest fool and hypocrite that ever lived. The doctrine of Hell is one of the major instruments Satan has used to turn sincere seekers away from the truth turning them either to idolatry in the form of false religions or materialism. The rest became atheists or agnostics.

Recently I watched a movie entitled “Inherit the Wind” which dealt with the subject of whether evolution could be taught in public schools. Prior to the trial, a young boy the young science teacher was very fond of and was mentoring drowned. At the boy’s funeral, some Hell-fire fundamentalists talked about how this boy was rotting in Hell because he wasn’t “saved” before he drowned. The words of these fundamentalists turned this science teacher away from the Truth towards the lie of evolution. There are countless atheists and agnostics in the world who have been turned aside from seeking God because of this greatest of lies.

Perhaps the reader can now see some of the horrible consequences of this terrible stain on the nature and character of our heavenly Father. Now if the reader still insists that God endlessly tortures most of the human beings He made and also insist that the love of God is in you, then you owe all the people in the world a reasonable answer to the above questions.

Thousands of people in ages past HAVE asked these questions and have come to the logical Scriptural conclusion that the teaching of Hell is a plain unadulterated lie of the highest magnitude. Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence) asked questions like the ones above and reasonably concluded that Jesus IS the Savior of the whole world, not just a piece of it. After all, how can one be called the “Savior of the world” unless one actually saves it?

Great theologians and scholars have also come to the same conclusion. Among them are William Barclay, William Law, Karl Barth, Schliermacher, Bishop Westcott, Lightfoot, Canon F.W. Farrar, John A.T. Robinson, Andrew Murray and Andrew Jukes. Some of the greatest writers and poets are in the “Cloud of Witnesses” to the glorious truth of the salvation of all mankind through our glorious savior Jesus Christ. Elizabeth Browing, John Donne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe and countless more. The list of preachers who have asked these same questions and have come to the reasonable and Scriptural truth that Hell is nothing more than a great lie is endless. They were not afraid to ask their Maker some straight-forward questions. They invited the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus to lead us all into Truth to make plain to them the Truth concerning the doctrine of Hell. Men and women of all ages have asked these questions AND have received truthful answers to these questions. A man named A.C. Thomas collected some of these questions and they found themselves in a book written in the 1800′s entitled: “The Key to Truth” by E. H. Lake . Isn’t it time to get the Truth? Here are some of the questions sincere people from all ages have asked which brought them to the truth.

•  Do you ardently DESIRE the salvation of all men?

•  Is it true that God “openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing?” — (Ps. 145:16)

•  Do you fervently PRAY for the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:1)

•  Do you pray in FAITH , nothing doubting? (James 1:6)

•  Are you aware, “that whatsoever is not of faith is sin?” — (Rom 14:23)

•  Would God require us to pray for all men, and to pray in faith, unless He intends all men should be saved?

•  If you believe endless misery to be the truth of God, why should you desire and pray that it may prove false?

•  Can the pleasure of the Almighty be contrary to his determinate will?

•  Would the infliction of endless misery afford pleasure to the Deity?

•  Can God be glorified by that which gives Him no pleasure?

•  Since Jesus “tasted death for EVERYONE,” can it be true that “the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands,” if most are never saved? (Heb. 2:9)

•  If God “declares the end from the beginning,” can the final destiny of mankind be contrary to His will?

•  Can endless misery be brought about contrary to the GOOD PLEASURE of the Almighty?

•  Can God WILL anything contrary to His knowledge?

•  Did God know when He created man, that a part of His creatures would be endlessly miserable?

•  If God, when He created, did not know the result of creation, is He infinite in knowledge?

•  Power is the ability to do: is knowledge simply the ability to know?

•  If God knew when He created man, that some would be eternally damned, did He not will this to be their doom?

•  If God willed the endless misery of a part of His creatures, why is it said that “he will have all men to be saved?” — (1 Tim. 2:4, KJV)

•  If the Scriptures should testify, that God “will have all men to be damned,” could we really safely assume that a part might be saved?

•  If the Scriptures testify, that God “will have all men to be saved,” can we safely assume that a part may be damned?

•  If God made an endless hell before He created man, did He know whether there would be any use for it?

•  If God knew there would be use for an endless hell, must He not have created some men for endless misery?

•  If God made an endless hell, was it included in the works which He pronounced “very good?” — (Gen. 1:31)

•  If there is an endless hell, and it was not made before the creation of men, when was it made?

•  If there exists a personal devil, who made him?

•  Can there be any such thing as sin in heaven?

•  If there was sin in heaven, may not sin be committed there again?

•  If an angel of light became a devil, was not Paul in error, when he said Satan is transformed into an angel of light? — (2 Cor 11:14)

•  As sin presupposes temptation of some sort, who tempted a holy angel to sin?

•  If an angel could sin without a devil to tempt him, may we not sin without a devil to tempt us?

•  If a holy angel was tempted to sin by surrounding evil, is heaven a holy place?

•  If an angel was tempted by evil passions, could he have been holy?

•  If an angel became a devil by sinning, was Adam’s the original sin?

•  If Adam became mortal (that is, subject to death,) by sinning, must he not have been created immortal?

•  If Adam had been created immortal, could he ever have died?

•  If Adam sinned without inheriting total depravity, why should inborn depravity be assigned as the cause of our sins?

•  Would there be any more impropriety in imputing MY sins to Adam, than in imputing HIS sins to ME ? (Rom. 5:12)

•  If men are totally depraved by nature, must not children be so likewise?

•  If children be totally depraved, is it true, that “of such is the kingdom of heaven?” — (Mark 10:14)

•  Men are to be washed from their sins. If they are totally depraved, what is there to wash?

•  If evil men and seducers “wax worse and worse,” (2 Tim. 3:13), can they be totally depraved at first?

•  If human reason be “carnal and delusive,” why did God say, “come now and let us REASON together?” — (Isa. 1:18)

•  If reason be delusive, why should some folks reason against the use of reason?

•  Can an effect exist without a cause sufficiently powerful to produce it?

•  If “we love God because he first loved us,” is it true that we must first love HIM before He will love us?

•  If “we love God because he first loved us,” is it not plain that He loved US when we did not love HIM ?

•  If God loved US when we did not love HIM , is not our love to Him the EFFECT (and not the CAUSE ) of His love to US ?

•  Was it consistent with divine justice, to love us, when we did not love Him?

•  If God once loved us, will not that love eternally continue?

•  If the love of God is the cause which produces love in man, can anger and wrath produce the same effect?

•  Is it the revealed will of God that all men should be saved?

•  Can God will all men to be saved, knowing that a part will be forever lost?

•  If God has two wills, why is double-mindedness condemned in the Scriptures?

•  If God has two wills, why does the Bible say, “He is of one mind?”

•  If God has a secret will, how did you gain a knowledge of it?

•  Can that be a secret which has been revealed?

•  If God revealed His secret will to “the saints,” why should they reveal it to “the wicked?”

•  If God under any circumstances, wills the endless misery of a human soul, in what does He differ from Satan?

•  Can Jesus Christ be the Savior of any more than He actually saves?

•  Can Jesus be “the Savior of the world,” (1 John 4:14), if the world is not saved by him?

•  Is Christ, in any sense, the Savior of unbelievers?

•  If Christ is in no sense the Savior of unbelievers, why are unbelievers called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior?

•  If unbelievers are not called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior, what are they to believe?

•  Must not the thing to be believed, be true before it is believed?

•  Must not the thing to be believed continue to be true, whether it be believed or disbelieved?

•  “What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith, [or faithfulness] of God of none effect?” — (Rom. 3:3)

•  Is it true that “God hath concluded all in unbelief that he might have mercy on all?” — (Rom 9:32)

•  Can God be “especially the Savior of them who believe,” unless He is actually the Savior of all? — (1 Tim. 4:10)

•  If belief and good works in this life are essential to eternal salvation in the next, can infants be saved?

•  Can the good actions of finite man merit an infinite reward?

•  Can the evil actions of finite man merit infinite punishment?

•  If men are saved by works, is salvation of grace?

•  If one man is saved by grace, why should not all be saved in like manner?

•  Is God a partial being?

•  Can the faith of the Partialists (believers in Hell or annihilation) be based in the wisdom that is “full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality?” — (James 3:17)

•  Can sufficient provision be made for the salvation of all men, if some men are never saved?

•  Must not sufficient provision be sufficient to subdue the will of the creature?

•  Is there any other way to determine the sufficiency of the means employed, than by the accomplishment of the end designed?

•  Does not the law of God require all men to love him supremely, and their neighbors as themselves?

•  Is it true, that “not one jot or tittle of this law shall pass till all be fulfilled?” — (Matt. 5:18)

•  Does not justice require of us the fulfilment of the law of God?

•  Will not justice be eternally violated, if the law of God is not universally fulfilled?

•  Can those who are determined eternally damned fulfil the law of love?

•  Can justice require the obedience of the sinner, and at the same time require his eternal disobedience?

•  If “whosoever offereth praise glorifieth God,” (Ps. 50:23), can He be glorified by those who have no cause to praise Him?

•  If any one is rendered eternally damned, can he have any cause to praise His Maker?

•  Will God ever place some of his creatures in such a situation they cannot praise him?

•  Do you believe that endless punishment would manifest the glory of God?

•  Can you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God?

•  Would not the salvation of half of mankind glorify God more than the salvation of one-fourth?

•  Would not the salvation of nine-tenths of mankind glorify God more than the salvation of one-half?

•  Can we give “glory to God in the highest,” without believing in the salvation of all men?

•  If “all have sinned, and (thus) come short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23), would eternal sinning mend the matter?

•  Shall “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father?” — (Philippians 2:11)

•  Is endless misery “good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL people?”

•  Could man be endlessly miserable without being endlessly a sinner?

•  If sin exist eternally, can it be true that Christ was to finish the transgression, and to make and end of sin? — (Dan. 9:34)

•  Since Jesus gave himself a ransom for all men, can he ever “see the travail of his soul and be satisfied,” if endless misery is true?

•  Do you hope that endless misery is true?

•  Is “faith the substance (or foundation) of things hoped for?” — (Heb. 11:1)

•  If endless misery is not a thing hoped for, can it be a part of the Christian faith?

•  Is it certain that one soul will be eternally lost?

•  Is it certain that one soul will be saved?

•  Is it certain that all will not be damned?

•  Is it certain that all will not be saved?

•  Can that be certain which is not decreed?

•  If it is certain that one soul will be saved, must there not be a decree concerning the salvation of a definite number?

•  If the number of the saved is definitely fixed, must not the number of the damned be equally definite?

•  If there is no certainty in relation to the final destiny of man, is not salvation a work of chance?

•  What is better chance than Atheism?

•  If God knew, when he created, what the end of each soul would be, is not that end as certain as if it was decreed?

•  Is not the merciful man always merciful to his animals?

•  Will not the merciful God be always as merciful to His creatures, as the merciful man is to his animals?

•  Is it true that the “tender mercies of the Lord are over all his works?” — (Ps. 145:9)

•  Is it true that the Almighty is without variableness, or the shadow of turning?

•  Would there be any tender mercy in the infliction of endless misery?

•  Are the tender mercies of the Lord like unto the tender mercies of the wicked which are cruel?

•  If God is not the Father of sinners, why should sinners pray, saying, “Our Father, forgive us our trespasses (sins)?”

•  “Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?” — (Mal. 2:10)

•  If God is the Father of all men, will He do less for His children than earthly parents would do for theirs?

•  Is it true that God punishes us “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness?” — (Heb. 12:11)

•  Would endless punishment be for our profit?

•  Would endless punishment “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby?”

•  Can any doctrine be too good to be true?

•  Will God contend forever and be always wroth? — (Isa. 62:16)

•  Will the Lord cast off forever? — (Lam. 3:31-33)

•  Can one be a Christian who worships the Lord through fear of the devil?

•  Can one truly be Christian who state that if they believed in the salvation of all mankind, they would go out and sin without fearing consequences of those sins?

•  Can a person really be a Christian who says, “if all men are to be saved, what use is there in being virtuous?”

•  If “the goodness of God leads to repentance,” why should His eternal wrath be preached to sinners?

•  If “the goodness of God leads to repentance,” why should it not be supposed that repentance leads to the goodness of God?

•  If “the goodness of God leads to repentance,” are not sinners the objects of His goodness?

•  Is not the goodness of God co-extensive and co-eternal with His wisdom and power?

•  As the wisdom of God can never change to folly, nor His power to weakness, will His goodness ever change to hatred?

•  Can God be universally and eternally good, if endless misery is true for a single soul?

•  If all men deserve endless punishment, would it not be right for God to inflict it?

•  “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25)

•  If it would be right for God to punish all men eternally, would it not be wrong for Him not to do it?

•  Since the infliction of endless misery would be returning evil for evil, would it be right for God to inflict it?

•  If the return of evil for evil is right for God, would it not be equally right for man?

•  Since “fear has torment,” and true religion is happiness, can fear produce true religion?

•  Since “perfect love casts out fear,” will not fear cast out perfect love?

•  Can fear imbue the soul with perfect love?

•  Must not they who “believe and tremble,” be possessed of the faith of devils?

•  Is it possible to love someone without truly personally knowing them?

•  Can a person love someone who is endlessly torturing them in a lake of fire and will not give them mercy?

•  So between life here on earth and the Lake of Fire , if Jesus doesn’t personally reach someone with His love, how can a person really love Jesus back? ( Rom. 5:8-10)

•  Does the belief of endless misery cause the believer to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory?” — (1 Pet. 1:8)

•  Can a belief of any thing short of universal salvation, fill the soul with “joy and peace?”

•  Will not the devil and all his works be destroyed? — (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8)

•  Will not death, the last enemy, be swallowed up in victory and destroyed? — (Isa. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:26-54)

And finally:

If God is loving, merciful, wise, always gives “righteous” judgment and is all powerful and has a desire or will to save all mankind (1 Tim 2:3,4) which will come closer to the above attributes?:

A Savior of all mankind?

An eternal torturer of most?

Children, saints, truth-seekers, sinners, universalists (those who believe in universal salvation through Jesus Christ) and even atheists always get the right answer.

Pharisees, hypocrites, control freaks, hate-mongers, and other sundry snakes always get it wrong.

My conclusion that the modern church concept of God consigning the greatest majority of the human beings He created to everlasting tortures (which is NOT worthy of His honor) does not come from my wishful thinking, but from thousands of hours of studying various English Bible translations, the original languages, early church history, revelation from the Holy Spirit, as well as from a clean conscience and a sound mind. Listed below are a few of the hundreds of books I’ve read or written as a result of this intense search for the truth of the matter. I believe that anyone who truly desires to KNOW God and to honor Him in the earth will undoubtedly come to the same conclusions I and millions of other Christians who have tasted of God’s mercy have come to over the last two thousand years…that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind, as the Scriptures plainly declare(John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)…not just a few. The reasons why most Christians in this present age do not see this glorious truth are:

REASONS FOR THE DIFFERENT VIEWS

1.   Failure to hold on to clear statements of God’s sovereignty, foreknowledge, power, omniscience, purpose of creation, and unconditional love.

2.   Failure to believe direct statements of scripture declaring the ultimate salvation of all through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

3.   Pulling scriptures out of context and putting them into an end-time scenario when, in fact, they deal with other ages. Scriptures speak of at least two other ages to come. (Eph. 2:7)

4.   Inaccurate and misleading translations. Roman Catholic tradition strongly affected the first Protestant English Bibles which, in turn, adversely affected modern translations.

5.   Injection of Roman\Greek concepts which are not Biblical such as the immortality of the soul into the Bible. Adam was removed from the garden lest he eat from the tree of life. He was therefore not immortal. Eternal life is found only “in” Christ, not in Adam. “In Adam all died.” (1 Cor. 15:22) If Adam was immortal, how could he die?

6.   Bondage to the traditions and teachings of men rather than allowing the Spirit of Truth to lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)

7.   Laziness.

8.   A hidden desire in many of us to have our enemies get what we feel they deserve while we get off free and clear. (Luke 9:51-56)

9.   The desire of religious and government leaders to use fear to maintain control. Love cannot be perfected with fear, therefore, the church has few members whose love is perfected. Perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18)

10.   Satan’s power and authority to deceive.

11.  Failure to see that “Love never fails,” (1Cor. 13:8) His “mercy endures forever,” (1 Chron. 16:41) and “mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)

12.  It’s not your time to see. (Acts 13:48, John 6:44)

13.  Fear of persecution of men (males and females) for not going along with the majority view.

14  Misunderstanding of the purpose of God’s “remnant,” His “chosen people.”

God has always wanted a people here on earth to act as intercessors on behalf of those who do not know Him. God wanted Israel to be a “nation of priests,” but Israel violated God’s commandments even as He was writing them. (Ex. 19:6-8; 32:21-29; Deut. 21:5) So God selected only the tribe of Levi under the Mosaic Covenant to be His priests. These priests were to offer up prayers, intercessions, and sacrifices not only for Israel , but for all the nations around them.

Ultimately Israel became so degenerate that the Priests refused to offer up sacrifices on behalf of the Gentile nations. Josephus, the Jewish historian, records this for us. In 70AD, God destroyed the nation of Israel and took the priesthood away from the tribe of Levi and gave it to “another nation” to intercede on behalf of the nations of the world who do not know their left hand from their right. This nation was to be a light for them. In studying Church history, while the “early” Church was a great light, after a few centuries the light disappeared into what became known as the Dark Ages. This “Dark Ages” was NOT in Africa, NOT in Asia, NOT in South America ; it was in the very nations which has the greatest population of Christians!! The Dark Ages did NOT begin until the wretched doctrine of endless punishment entered the Church! The horrible teaching that God will torture most of His children endlessly has not only turned the world away from seeking the God of the Bible, it has turned many Christians away as well.

Those who call themselves Christians, who are called to intercede on behalf of sinners but find it difficult to pray for them let alone love them are in danger of following the footsteps of the first priesthood which God removed because of their lack of mercy. Many Christians are filling their minds with a “fly away” mentality while expecting non-believers to finally get what they deserve–100 pound hailstones, nuclear wars and horrible diseases. This teaching did NOT come from Christ! It came from the same spirit that drove the disciples John and James to want to command fire to come down upon the heads of those who did not believe on Jesus Christ.

“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem , and he sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem .

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’” Luke 9:52-56

Please note, the Samaritans who rejected Jesus were NOT condemned to Hell by Jesus for their rejection of Him; it was His disciples who were condemned for the foul spirit they had which wanted those unbelievers burned instead of saved. Much of the Church world is in the same foul spirit John and James were in.

Search your heart and conscience. Ask the Holy Spirit if some of these reasons listed above are blocking you from receiving the full truth regarding this matter. And above all “Study to show yourself approved.”

I have included at the end of this book a list of reference material which will help prove that the “traditional” concept of Hell is false. Here is a list of Bibles revealing that the original languages of the Bible do NOT contain the teaching of Hell Some of them are published by leading Evangelical publishers:

Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (Kregal Publishers, still in print), Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Baker Book House Publishers, still in print; Robert Young is author of the famous Young’s Concordance), Concordant Literal Translation of the N.T. (Concordant Publishing Concern, still in print), Scarlet’s New Testament (Nathaniel Scarlett, 1798), The New Testament (Abner Kneeland, 1823) Emphatic Diaglott (Greek/English Interlinear), The New Covenant (J.W. Hanson, 1884), New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth, 1910), The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976), The Twentieth Century New Testament (1900), The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed (James L. Tomanek)1958), The Western New Testament (1926), The New Testament, a Translation (Rev. Edgar Lewis Clementson, 1938), The People’s New Testament (Arthur Overbury), The Holy Bible in Modern English (Ferrar Fenton, still in print), The New Testament, A New Translation based upon the Oldest Manuscripts (Johannes Greber, 1980), Christian Bible, 19.

There are other translations like the Companion Bible King James Version, American Standard Version (1901), the Newberry Reference Bible (Still published by Kregal Publications), and the Riverside New Testament by Ballantine (1934) which contain footnotes, marginal readings and appendages which point out that several key Greek and Hebrew words have been MIStranslated by such Bible versions as the King James Bible.

Listed at the end are the names of a few of some of the best material from which I have gleaned on the subject of Hell. Our Internet site has many more and I have many more in my library. The plain fact is that the teaching of a Hell of everlasting tortures is NOT in the Old Testament in the Hebrew. Jews today do NOT believe in the modern Christian’s version of Hell. It is NOT in what is commonly, but incorrectly called the New Testament in the original languages nor is it contained in English Bible translations properly translated. Certainly the greatest majority of the early church and its leadership did NOT teach the modern concept of Hell. It was clearly borrowed from the pagans–it did NOT come from Mosaic Judaism which is the root of Christianity. These are plain facts. The books below will prove this. The question is…are you going to follow the “traditions of man” which “make the word of God of no effect” or will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth even though you may be severely persecuted by many of your Christian brothers and sisters? Jesus was persecuted by His own. So, too, will His disciples. I leave the choice in your hands and in the hands of your Maker. Peace, Love, and Truth to you…In Him, Gary Amirault.

Postscript: By the way, if you REALLY want to know who invented Hell, the book “The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment” is an excellent place to begin. Here is a list of quotes taken from ancient history which plainly reveal who the inventors of a Hell of eternal punishment are. The source for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is the very same source of Hell…political, business, and religious men and women who invent ways to hold power over people and to make money of them.

The Ancient Inventors of Hell

1. Polybius, the ancient historian, says: “Since the multitude is ever fickle, full of lawless desires, irrational passions and violence, there is no other way to keep them in order but by the fear and terror of the invisible world; on which account our ancestors seem to me to have acted judiciously, when they contrived to bring into the popular belief these notions of the gods, and of the infernal regions.” B. vi 56.

2. Dionysius Halicarnassus treats the whole matter as useful, but not as true. Antiq. Rom. , B. ii

3. Livy, the celebrated historian, speaks of it in the same spirit; and he praises the wisdom of Numa, because he invented the fear of the gods, as “a most efficacious means of governing an ignorant and barbarous populace.” Hist., I 19.

4. Strabo, the geographer, says: “The multitude are restrained from vice by the punishments the gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and by those terrors and threatenings which certain dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon their minds…For it is impossible to govern the crowd of women, and all the common

rabble, by philosophical reasoning, and lead them to piety, holiness

and virtue – but this must be done by superstition, or the fear of the gods, by means of fables and wonders; for the thunder, the aegis,

the trident, the torches (of the Furies), the dragons, &c., are all fables, as is also all the ancient theology. These things the legislators used as scarecrows to terrify the childish multitude.” Geog., B. I

5. Timaeus Locrus, the Pythagorean, after stating that the doctrine

of rewards and punishments after death is necessary to society, proceeds as follows: “For as we sometimes cure the body with unwholesome remedies, when such as are most wholesome produce no effect, so we restrain those minds with false relations, which will not be persuaded by the truth. There is a necessity, therefore, of instilling the dread of those foreign torments: as that the soul changes its habitation; that the coward is ignominiously thrust into the body of a woman; the murderer imprisoned within the form of a savage beast; the vain and inconstant changed into birds, and the slothful and ignorant into fishes.”

6. Plato, in his commentary on Timaeus, fully endorses what he says respecting the fabulous invention of these foreign torments. And Strabo says that “Plato and the Brahmins of India invented fables concerning the future judgments of hell” (Hades). And Chrysippus blames Plato for attempting to deter men from wrong by frightful stories of future punishments.

Plato himself is exceedingly inconsistent, sometimes adopting, even in his serious discourses, the fables of the poets, and at other times rejecting them as utterly false, and giving too frightful views of the invisible world. Sometimes, he argues, on social grounds, that they are necessary to restrain bad men from wickedness and crime, and then again he protests against them on political grounds, as intimidating the citizens, and making cowards of the soldiers, who, believing these things, are afraid of death, and do not therefore fight well. But all this shows in what light he regarded them; not as truths, certainly, but as fictions, convenient in some cases, but difficult to manage in others.

7. Plutarch treats the subject in the same way; sometimes arguing for them with great solemnity and earnestness, and on other occasions calling them “fabulous stories, the tales of mothers and nurses.”

8. Seneca says: “Those things which make the infernal regions terrible, the darkness, the prison, the river of flaming fire, the judgment seat, &c., are all a fable, with which the poets amuse themselves, and by them agitate us with vain terrors.” Sextus Empiricus calls them “poetic fables of hell;” and Cicero speaks of them as “silly absurdities and fables” (ineptiis ac fabulis).

9. Aristotle. “It has been handed down in mythical form from earliest times to posterity, that there are gods, and that the divine

(Deity) compasses all nature. All beside this has been added, after the mythical style, for the purpose of persuading the multitude, and

for the interests of the laws, and the advantage of the state.”

Neander’s Church Hist., I, p. 7. 11

(The above quotes were taken from “The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment” by Thomas Thayer.)

The question this book began with is now, I trust, answered by a sufficient number of witnesses to settle the matter. Hell was invented by men of power who felt it was the only way to hold the masses of ignorant people under their power. It is the same today. If the people of power today REALLY believed the myths they are perpetuating, they themselves would behave MUCH differently than they are. Seeing their own corrupt behavior should make it plain to anyone, these political, business, and especially religious leaders have not the slightest faith in these things themselves; they do not think them at all necessary to regulate their own lives, or keep them in order; but it is for the average people, the dumb sheep who must be restrained with fears of great terror in the afterlife. One cannot help noting the resemblance between those wise men of old and some of our own day, who seem so anxious to maintain the doctrine on the ground that it is necessary to restrain men from sin. I think it is time we “dumb sheep” wise up and get out from under the myths these men of corruption have used to hold the fetters of our minds in check and check ourselves in at the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd who knows how to restrain HIS sheep with love, not fear. What do you think?

References:

#1 Universalism–The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its

First Five Hundred Years by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Prevailing.html

#2 The Bible Hell by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheBibleHell.html

#3 Arguments in Favor of Universalism

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/InFavorCh20.html

#4 100 Scriptural Proofs Jesus is the Savior of the world

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/ScripturalProofs.html

#5 Bible Threatenings Explained by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/BibleThreateningsExplained.html

#6 The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail by Gary Amirault and Tony Hinkle

(Proves many Bibles do NOT contain Hell or “everlasting punishment.”

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/GatesOfHell.html

#7 Early Christian View of the Savior by Gary Amirault

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/EarlyChristianView.html

#8 Aion by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html

#9 The Power of Life and Death is a Four Letter Greek Word–Aion by Gary

Amirault

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/PowerOfLifeAndDeathInAGreekFourLetterWord.html

#10 Time and Eternity by G.T. Steve nson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/time/index.html

#11 Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/asw/asw.html

#12 Rich Man and Lazarus Parable Explained

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Lazarus.html

#13 Eternal Death: One Step Out of Hell, One Step Short of Glory

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/EternalDeath.html

#14 Just what you do mean…Judgment? by J. Preston Eby

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Judgment-Eby.html

#15 Arguments in Favor of Universalism by E.E. Guild

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/InFavorCh20.html

#16 The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment by Dr. Thomas Thayer

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/OriginandHistory.html

Mistranslation of the word “aion”:

Aion by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html

The Power of Life and Death is a Four Letter Greek Word–Aion by Gary

Amirault

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/PowerOfLifeAndDeathInAGreekFourLetterWord.html

Time and Eternity by G.T. Steve nson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/time/index.html

Mistranslation of Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna:

The Bible Hell by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheBibleHell.html

Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/asw/asw.html

The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment by Dr. Thomas Thayer

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/OriginandHistory.html

Rebuttals of Hell-supporting Scriptures in some Bibles:

Bible Threatenings Explained by Dr. J.W. Hanson

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/BibleThreateningsExplained.html

Rich Man and Lazarus Parable Explained

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Lazarus.html

Proofs Annihilationism is NOT taught in the original languages of the Bible:

Eternal Death: One Step Out of Hell, One Step Short of Glory

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/EternalDeath.html

God’s punishment is NOT eternal:

Just what you do mean…Judgment? by J. Preston Eby

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Judgment-Eby.html

Arguments and Scriptures Favoring the Salvation of All Mankind:

Arguments in Favor of Universalism by E.E. Guild

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/InFavorCh20.html

Early Christian View of the Savior by Gary Amirault

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/EarlyChristianView.html

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail by Gary Amirault and Tony Hinkle

(Proves many Bibles do NOT contain Hell or “everlasting punishment.”

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/GatesOfHell.html

100 Scriptural Proofs Jesus is the Savior of the world

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/ScripturalProofs.html

About the Author:

I’d like the reader to be aware that I am a conservative Christian who spent several years in very evangelical fundamental churches. Even before I became a Christian my values were always conservative, not liberal. I mention this because that is often the first line of attack against this glorious truth. The belief in the salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ is NOT a far left liberal principle–it is simple a plain fact which Christians of all kind should pray about, study and then joyfully embrace.

Gratitude

Give Thanks in every area of your life on a continual basis. 1 Th. 5:18

Every single successful person will tell you that it is extremely important to be grateful for what you have in your life.

Some people struggle with this concept because they don’t believe they have anything to be grateful for. If you are broke or something tragic has recently happened in your family or you just got divorced etc. it can be a little difficult to see anything to be grateful for.

Gratitude has tremendous power, when you are genuinely grateful about something it puts you in a different frame of mind. You feel good, you feel happy for what it is you are grateful for. It puts a smile on your face.

When people say to me they have nothing to be grateful for I simply tell them they should be grateful for the fact that they are alive. Life itself should not be taken for granted.
The fact that you have the opportunity to grow, to change, to develop and succeed is more than enough to be grateful for and we all have those things so every single person already has something to be thankful for.
Be grateful for the present moment. Don’t try and define it as good or bad just be grateful that you are willing to experience this moment.
You are actually very lucky because in this moment right now there are a lot of people who are not able to experience it and there are also people for who this very exact moment, right now, this present moment is their last.

When you start being grateful for things it starts to open up your mind to other things that you can be grateful for and before you know it you have a whole list of things that you are grateful for and this puts you in a very positive space.
It is good practise to be grateful for every single day. Genuinely give thanks for every day. When you wake up in the morning give thanks for the good night’s sleep you just had and for the day that lies ahead.
When you go to bed say thank you for the day you just had and all the good things that were a part of it.

Morning Prayer for Family

Lord, I want to discover the real foundational desires of my heart. Renew my heart, so that my desires are your desires resulting in fruitfulness and blessings.
You are great in all good things beyond measure. You have given us feelings so we can have a way to experience the good things that you have made available to us. Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness , Goodness, Gentleness, Self-Control.

Lord, I pray that you will guide us as a family, building each other up. Help us to be creative in that regard. I pray that you would use Isaac’s sharp memory for great works. Continue to build his faith and guard his heart against destructive influences.

Give strength to Jennifer. Cultivate her health and cause her spirit and mind to flourish.
It is my desire to be transparent and open, laying the foundation for a healthy relationship with Jennifer. Renew my mind and cleanse my heart. Help me to stand firm when my values are challenged. I will allow myself to grow in knowledge and understanding so that I will not be deceived because of ignorance.