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12:58 PM   [04 Jun 2012 | Monday]

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO SPEND ETERNITY ???

The ideas of what happens to our soul when we die have been many and quite varied depending upon the beliefs that a person has during their lives. Some religions believe that there are different levels of either enjoyment or misery and there are some that believe that nothing happens. We as Christians believe that there are two places and they are heaven or hell. However, in recent years, new thoughts have been developed that this may be an error in our understanding. The Catholics believed for thousands of years that there a number of places to which our soul went after death; there was hell and heaven, but they also believed in a place called purgatory where a soul stayed until it received the proper punishment for the sins committed and after that time expired, the soul was allowed into heaven. Of  course, they also believed in a place called limbo where babies and unbaptized souls went and it was never quite clear what happened after that. But recently, the Catholic church changed their thinking and now agree that there is only heaven and hell…

We must remember that there are still parts of the Bible where the true understanding has not yet been revealed to us and this may be one of them. There is writing in the Bible about where our soul goes, but much of it is a little confusing because of different aspects related to us in the story or lesson. Even Billy Graham has said that recently he has changed his mind concerning this aspect of our existence and is not sure. The most information given to us is from Revelation where we read about New Jerusalem as well as the Lake of Fire. But, it also mentions places other than those two.

If we go to the New Testament, we read stories like the beggar Lazarus and the rich man and how the rich man was being tormented night and day, and Lazarus was in a pleasant area. Now, since New Jerusalem had not yet been established, it is difficult to know where he was. The story tells us that upon his death, his angels carried his soul to the bosom of Abraham, but where they were at the time, we are not told. We are told that the rich man was in hell however. When Jesus is seen by Peter, James and John during the transformation, Jesus is speaking with Moses and Elijah, but again, we do not know where they were at the time. Jesus speaks of another place when he warns the people that the children of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness which is another place that does not fit the description of hell. So, we must conclude that there may be other places for the soul after death beside heaven and hell…

The last few chapters of Revelation speak of the judgment of all people and the building of New Jerusalem. It speaks of Satan and certain others that will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, and tells us that all those whose names are in the Book of Life will live in New Jerusalem. It also describes that no one will be able to enter the city except those that were judged as saved and that outside of the city will be evil people… So, it appears that there are at least three different places where the soul may spend eternity. There is New Jerusalem in which people will live in the presence of God; there appears to be an area outside of the city where those that have not been saved will live; and, there is the Lake of Fire where Satan and those who followed him will end up for eternity. But, there is still the outer darkness that Jesus speaks of, but we do not know anything about that.

As we can see, there are still parts of the Bible that we do not understand, although many think that they have it all figured out !!! The one thing that we do know is that the only place where anyone wants to spend eternity is in New Jerusalem and  that can only happen if we are saved by the grace of God and living in the way He has described to us from within the Bible. Eternity is like infinity and we as humans cannot comprehend these concepts except that we know that they are very long. The risk that anyone takes by not following the instructions for our behavior given to us by God and uses an altered bible as their guide clearly has not given this final aspect of our lives much thought… We can only suggest that we all consider where we want to spend eternity and then learn the conditions by which we reach our goal !!!  Until the understanding of these questions are revealed to us, we can only live by what we know, and we know that God will not accept anyone who has altered His words and substituted their own

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