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Hell & Heaven

This world just doesn't make sense.  You look outside and this place appears
right at times, but look real close and you find there is nothing of value here,
except people.  All that your eyes can see is passing away.  Can you ever find
peace in this world if your hope is in it?  Where can you look and not find crisis?  
Thomas quoted Jesus as proclaiming, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you."

Behold religion closely and you will find turmoil within their ranks, as well.  
Squabbling, divisions, differences and unspeakable crimes have torn apart the
walls of religion, exposing their man-made foundations and ideas.  Often times,
we see hurting people who are looking for life's answers, trapped within their
visible and invisible walls.  Hurting people do not need religion in a crisis; they
need love and truth.  The fact that there is any crisis at all within religion's walls
should say to us that its' doctrines might not line up with truth.  Have you ever
considered that?  Have you ever examined your christian beliefs and thought to
yourself, "These seem good, but I can't help but feel there is something wrong or
maybe even missing?"  Could it be a small voice within you whispering the truth
in your inner most being?  And if so, could it be this same, small voice causing
you to desire what is true, by allowing you to finally see what is false?  Have you
succumbed to believing doctrines you were taught by others?  Are you even open
to hearing what is true or has your mind been made up?  Has what you heard
within your heart come into conflict with the teachings you have received from
others, but you decide to follow others beliefs instead?  Is the basic christian
doctrine true as it is portrayed by the religious and believed by millions today?

Those are just a few questions that I have come to ask myself while trying to
discern what Jesus was teaching us.  When people discuss hell, they seem to
have varying beliefs.  What I find to be interesting is that many cannot
comprehend any of their loved ones spending eternity in hell, yet they believe in it.
 My brother often tells me, "If my family and friends are not going to be in heaven,
then why would I want to be there without them?"  If heaven is eternal, then it is
available now to all and never has been unavailable to us.  And if heaven is
eternal, then it is true and what is true cannot have an opposite, such as an
eternal hell.  Have you ever run into a person who tries to convert you to their
religious beliefs, usually through the fear of missing heaven and ending up in an
eternal hell?  If you have, then may I suggest questioning them about their beliefs
regarding hell?  There are too many contradictions taught to people about hell
and it may not even be recognized when the error is plainly exposed!  All we
need to do is follow our train of thinking through to the obvious conclusion and it
begins to become clearer that these doctrines just cannot be correct.  I will assist
in pointing out some errors through the following questions, while you work to
figure out the truth for yourself!

Question Twenty Two: If hell is an eternal place of torment, why did Jesus set
the captives free from the time of Noah...the same people whom the flood waters
were meant to destroy?  (I Peter 3:18-20)

Question Twenty Three: If hell does exist eternally, why would Jesus possess
"keys to hell and death," knowing that keys are needed only to unlock something?
 What need would there be of even having keys if they are not needed to unlock?  
If the keys were only used to lock something up for all of eternity, why wouldn't the
keys be destroyed, if no longer needed?  (Rev. 1:18)

Question Twenty Four: Let us assume there is an eternal hell and some we
know and love will be there in torment, while we are in heaven.  How could God
wipe away all tears from the eyes of us in heaven if we have lost loved ones in the
fires of an eternal hell?  Could we ever be at peace or do you suppose God
would just erase our memories of those we knew and loved, but have perished?  
Could you ever forgive God for doing that to someone you love?  (Rev. 7:17;21:4)

Question Twenty Five: If it were true that once a person finds himself in hell he
is trapped in a prison of torment without hope, why would Jesus state that "the
gates of hell shall not prevail?"  (Matt. 16:18)

Question Twenty Six: Why did Bible translators use the word "eternal" in the
scriptures when the Greek word properly translated means "for a set period of
time" (an age), properly meaning hell has an end?  And why are the greek words
Hades and Gehenna translated as "hell" in the King James Bible, when Hades
simply means the place of all departed souls, good or bad (the other side of the
grave), and Gehenna was just a local trash dump outside of Jerusalem? (Mark
3:29; Jude 1:7)

Question Twenty Seven: Some teach fire in the scriptures to be of the devil
and part of his torment upon the godless in his future dwelling place called "hell."  
If fire is of the devil's hell, why would Jesus say, "all will be salted with fire?"  Why
does the writer of Hebrews state, "Our God is a consuming fire?"  (Mark 9:49;
Heb. 12:29))

Question Twenty Eight: Many believe very few people will be saved and make
it to heaven.  How could Jesus say he would draw all men unto himself?  Why did
Paul say in I Corinthians, "all shall be made alive?"  (John 12:32; I Cor. 15:22,28;
Col. 1:20; II Cor. 5:19)

Question Twenty Nine: If you believe only some people will inherit heaven and
eternal life, what percentage would be saved in your opinion?  If all are not saved
from hell, wouldn't that mean Jesus and God failed in their plan to "destroy the
works of the devil," making the devil victorious if even one perishes?  Who is
more powerful, God or the devil, and which one failed since both could not be
victorious?  (I John 3:8)

Question Thirty: When the disciples asked, "Who then shall be saved?," Jesus
replied, "The things that are impossible with men are possible with God."  How
can some still teach it to be impossible for all to be saved?  Didn't Jesus answer
man's doubts in his response?  (Luke 18:26-27)

Question Thirty One: Jesus called heaven "the kingdom of God" and the
"kingdom of heaven."  In fact, both were used interchangeably in the same
parables that were recorded by the different authors of the four gospels.  The very
word "kingdom" implies the totality of all God has and is, heaven obviously being
included.  Why, then, do we wait to "go to heaven" some day after we die, when
Jesus plainly stated that the kingdom is here now and within us?  What does that
mean?  (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15; Luke 17:21)

Question Thirty Two: A common belief of most christians is that unless one
worships Jesus alone, heaven is unattainable.  They base this doctrine upon the
scripture, "no man comes to the Father (God), but by me (Jesus)."  Jesus'
ministry showed us how to live and how to love.  He led by example.  He showed
us how to follow our heavenly Father.  In essence, when you look at Jesus and his
life, you should see yourself and your life.  How might that give new understanding
to the above verse of scripture?  (John 14:5-7)

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