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Should We Be  Afraid of  The Fire?
Some Christians believe they can        terrify others
into being “good” or seeing things            THEIR way.
If someone tells you you’re going to                hell
show this presentation/video.
~~~~~~~
The Bible uses fire as the  symbolic description
of God‟s immediate presence:
“Because the LORD your God
is like a flaming fire.” (Daniel           4:24 – GN)
“For our God
is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews         12:29 – GN)
“God, the light of Israel,
will become a fire.
Israel‟s holy God will become a              flame,
which in a single day will burn        up everything,
even the thorns and thistles”    (Isaiah 10:17 – GN)
The immediate presence of God     is tortuous to some –
but not because He is a literal   fire that burns up flesh.
God does not exude any hostilitytowards his rebellious children.
This is describing psychological           discomfort
that involves intense guilt and            shame
as sinful and selfish individuals
enter into the presence of a God
who is selfless love personified.
There are several examples in          scripture
of individuals who haveexperienced God‟s presence.
This was the experience of          Isaiah:
“In the year that King Uzziah     died, I saw the Lord.
He was sitting on his throne,
high and exalted,
and his robe filled the whole          Temple.
Around him flaming creatures      were standing,
each of which had six wings.
Each creature covered its face       with two wings,
and its body with two,
and used the other two for flying.
They were calling out to each           other:
„Holy, holy, holy!
The LORD Almighty is holy!
His glory fills the world.‟
The sound of their voices
made the foundation of the     Temple shake,
and the Temple itself became      filled with smoke.
I said, „There is no hope for me!
I am doomed because every          word
that passes my lips is sinful,
and I live among a people
whose every word is sinful.
And yet, with my own eyes
I have seen the King, the LORD          Almighty.‟
Then one of the creatures flew        down to me,
carrying a burning coal
that he had taken from the altar
with a pair of tongs.” (Isaiah 6:4-             6 – GN)
Notice that Isaiah did not         exclaim,
“God, you are so bright and hot   that I am burning up!”
No - Isaiah saw the beautiful            glory
and goodness of God
and by contrast
saw with an intense clarity his       own sinfulness.
His lips were touched with a        burning coal,
but notice again the symbolism            involved
as the coal was not harmful to          his flesh.
The intense shame and guilt   experience by Isaiah
is what God described to Moses       with these words:
“But you may not look directly at           My face,
for no one may see Me and live.”      (Exodus 33:20 – NLT)
God was not saying,
“If you look at My face, I‟ll kill             you!”
Rather, God is saying,
“In your state of rebellious        separation
from My kingdom of other-      centered love,
the full face-to-face exposure
to My goodness and love is    actually harmful.”
The destructive element of     beholding God
face-to-face does not come from              God,
but rather from within the sinner.
We need to use many examples   to drive this point home.
Moses saw the glory of God at     the burning bush.
But were the leaves of the bush          consumed?
No, God‟s fiery presenceapparently does not burn leaves.
A little later on God came as a     fire onto Mount Sinai:
“The glory of the Lord rested on         Mount Sinai…
And the glory of the Lordappeared to the Israelites
like devouring fire on the top ofthe mountain.” (Exodus 24:16-17              – GN)
Were the trees on the top of the mount consumed by the fire?
Did God‟s presence spark a    massive forest fire?
There is no record of this.
God‟s glory also filled the tent in        the wilderness,
but is there ever a record of the             sheets
spontaneously bursting into         flames?
No, this is an altogether different            kind of fire.
Moses reflected this glory
when he came from the LORD‟s          presence:
“Whenever Moses went into the Tent of the LORD‟s presence
to speak to the LORD, he would       take the veil off.
When he came out,
he would tell the people of Israel          everything
that he had been commanded to              say,
and they would see that his face         was shining.
Then he would put the veil back             on
until the next time he went tospeak with the LORD.” (Exodus         34:34-35 – GN)
These were not 3rd degree burns     in the face of Moses.
The reflected glory of God in his  face caused distress in the             people
– very similar to the experience      of Isaiah, no doubt.
Out of consideration for the          people,
Moses put a veil over his face.
And this story of two rebellious             sons
also reinforces this view:
“Aarons sons Nadab andAbihu…disobeyed the LORD
by burning before Him the wrong         kind of fire…
So fire blazed forth from the      LORD‟s presence
and burned them up, and they died there before the LORD.
Then Moses said to Aaron,
„This is what the LORD meant         when He said,
I will display My holiness
through those who come near            Me.
I will display My glory before all            the people.‟
And Aaron was silent.
Then Moses called for…Aaron‟s         cousins…
He said to them,
„Come forward and carry away  the bodies of your relatives
from in front of the sanctuary to   a place outside the camp.‟”
If you were Aaron‟s cousins and    were given the command
to carry them outside the camp,
what would you predict would be      left of their bodies?
What do you think would be left       of their clothes?
“So they came forward and  picked them up by their         garments
and carried them out of the          camp,
just as Moses had commanded.”     (Leviticus 10:1-5 – NLT)
The fire that emanates from the     very presence of God
is apparently not harmful to      clothes or flesh,
but yet these 2 rebellious men
could not stand in the presence            of God.
Job also saw God in all his glory,
and like Isaiah he was acutely   aware of his own guilt:
“In the past I knew only what     others had told me,
but now I have seen you with my           own eyes.
So I am ashamed of all I have            said
and repent in dust and ashes.”      (Job 42:5-6 – GN)
Is there a more righteous saint in      the Bible than Daniel?
But yet, his experience in thepresence of God had this effect:
“I looked up and saw someone
who was wearing linen clothes   and a belt of fine gold.
His body shone like a jewel.
His face was as bright as a flash          of lightning,
and his eyes blazed like fire.
His arms and legs shone like      polished bronze,
and his voice sounded like the    roar of a great crowd.
I was the only one who saw the            vision.
Those who were with me did not        see anything,
but they were terrified and ran           and hid.
I was left there alone, watching      this amazing vision.
I had no strength left, and my    face was so changed
that no one could have    recognized me.
When I heard his voice,
I fell to the ground unconscious
and lay there face downward.
Then a hand took hold of me
and raised me to my hands and            knees;
I was still trembling.
The angel said to me,
„Daniel, God loves you.
Stand up and listen…” (Daniel       10:5-10 – GN)
The friends that Daniel was with          fled in panic,
while Daniel is described as acutely aware of his own        sinfulness:
“…my comeliness was turned in     me into corruption,
and I retained no strength.”   (Daniel 10:8 – ASV).
I love the fact that the angelimmediately reassures Daniel
with these comforting words:      “God loves you.”
John, who walked with Jesus for         over 3 years,
later saw Him in all His glory.
He had a similar response as           Daniel:
“When I saw him, I fell down at  his feet like a dead man.
He placed his right hand on me          and said,
„Don‟t be afraid!‟” (Revelation          1:17 – GN)
Once again, isn‟t it wonderful        that God is
so quick to say, “I love you” and       “Don‟t be afraid!”
But once again,
no one turns to God and says
“It‟s too hot in here. My flesh is        starting to burn.”
Rather, these individuals are        experiencing
psychological discomfort, guilt        and shame.
Before His rebellion,
Lucifer flourished
in the presence of God‟s glory:
“I ordained and anointed you
as the mighty angelic guardian.
You had access to the holy     mountain of God
and walked among the stones of   fire.” (Ezekiel 28:14 – NLT)
“The stones of fire”
describes the very presence of             God
where the sinless Lucifer dwelt unharmed with his Creator.
Notice very carefully the description of Satan‟s
destruction just a few verses            later:
“You defiled your sanctuaries    with your many sins
and your dishonest trade.
So I brought fire from within you,
and it consumed you.
I let it burn you to ashes on the               ground
in the sight of all who werewatching” (Ezekiel 28:18, NLT).
The destructive element in God‟s           presence
does not emanate from God,
but rather from within the sinner.
The destructive “fire” that will   end of the life of Satan
comes from within his ownselfish and rebellious heart.
This passage in Isaiah
is one of the most compelling on           this subject:
“But the LORD says,
„Now I will do something and be        greatly praised.
Your deeds are straw that will be          set on fire
by your very own breath.
You will be burned to ashes like         thorns in a fire.
Everyone, both far and near,
come look at what I have done.
See my mighty power!‟
The sinners in Zion are terrified;
trembling grips the godless:
„Who of us can dwell with the      consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?‟
He who walks righteously
and speaks what is right…”(Isaiah 33:11-15 – CEV, NIV)
This passage is describing the            fear
and dread that the wicked       experience
in the presence of God
who appears to them as “the     consuming fire”
and the “everlasting burning”.
They ask,
“Who of us can dwell with the   everlasting burning?”
But notice that the reply comes              that
“He who walks righteously and    speaks what is right”
can dwell in the fiery presence of               God!
This passage in Psalms also         describes
the two classes of people
that will one day stand in God‟s            presence:
“As wax melts in front of the fire,
so do the wicked perish in his          presence.
But the righteous are glad and   rejoice in his presence;
they are happy and shout for  joy.” (Psalms 68:2 – GN)
For some, God‟s presence is        tortuous;
for others it is a place of great      joy and happiness.
We see this same relationship         once again
in the book of Malachi,
where the wicked perish in His          presence,
while to others that same        presence
brings great happiness,
joy and healing:
“The LORD Almighty says,
„The day is coming when all   proud and evil people
will burn like straw.
On that day they will burn up,
and there will be nothing left of             them.
But for you who obey me,
my saving power will rise on you
like the sun
and bring healing
like the sun‟s rays.
You will be as free and happy
as calves let out of a stall.”   (Malachi 4:1-2 – GN)
When the fire of God isunderstood in this way,
both heaven and hell are seen to      be the same place.
That is,
both heaven and hell are a         Person.
For some,
it is heaven to dwell in thepresence of Love Personified;
for others, it is hell.
God‟s love is very hot indeed:
“Put me like a seal over your           heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death…
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench          love,
nor will rivers overflow it. (Song        of Solomon 8:6-7)
John describes the individuals
who will stand in the presence of          God this way:
“Yes, my children, remain in      union with him,
so that when he appears
we may be full of courage
and need not hide in shame
from him on the Day he comes…
We know that when Christ       appears,
we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as hereally is” (1 John 2:28, 3:2 – GN)
When God returns,
those who already live in union  with him will have courage
for they know that the glorious             One
who stands before them
is just like Jesus in character:
kind,
gentle,
humble,
and supremely forgiving.
These individuals are settled        into the truth
about the kind of Person God             is.
by daily dwelling in the       presence
of the God of love,
it is a law that we become
like the God we love, trust and            admire:
“We shall be like him,
because we shall see him as       he really is!”
The central characteristic of       God‟s friends
in the last generation
is that they will see God as he            really is.
That is,
they are fully settled in the      picture of God
that Jesus came to bring
and by beholding the true          God,
it is an unavoidable natural        consequence
that we are changed into His           image:
“All of us, then, reflect the     glory of the Lord
with uncovered faces;
and that same glory, …
transforms us into hislikeness …” (2 Corinthians         3:18 – GN)
I grew up in a church
that preached annihilationism.
I recall some pastors going to          great lengths
to explain that the soul is NOT           immortal
and to quickly add the “good           news”
that “the fire won‟t last        forever”.
“The wicked will only burn for  as long as they deserve.”
But if the “eternal fire” is         ultimately
the very presence of God,
then the fire really is eternal
– an eternal fire of intense   love and goodness
that will never be  extinguished!
By contrast though,
the suffering of the wicked in       God‟s presence
is short and does not last          forever,
but yet the fire of God‟s love         will burn on.
And here is the best part!
God‟s friends will dwell in His          presence
for all of eternity.
Just as Lucifer was described         as walking
among the stones of fire,
John described heaven as
“…what looked like a sea of          glass
mixed with fire” (Revelation          22:4).
Once again, this refers to the very presence of our God
and the righteous will dwell in  the unveiled glory of God
– face to face!
I believe that the reason    Jesus would say,
“I came to set the earth on fire
and how I wish it were already          kindled”
is that He desires more than          anything
to experience with each one           of us
a deeply personal face-to-face         relationship.
Jesus came in order to       restore
and to heal us that we may           enter
into His presence and      experience
this incredible intimacy and    friendship with God:
“But now, by means of thephysical death of his Son,
God has made you his      friends,
in order to bring you, holy,    pure, and faultless,
into his presence.”(Colossians 1:22 – GN)
What God has desired more      than anything
from the moment Adam and           Eve
fled from His presence,
is to wrap His arms around  His children once again.
How significant, then,
that the end is described with         these words!
“They will see his face,
and his name (character) willbe written on their foreheads           (minds).
There shall be no more night,
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Should we be afraid of the fire?

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Some Christians use the word "hell" in an attempt to terrify people into being good or seeing things their way. Here's the truth about hell.

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Transcript of "Should we be afraid of the fire?"

  1. 1. Should We Be Afraid of The Fire?
  2. 2. Some Christians believe they can terrify others
  3. 3. into being “good” or seeing things THEIR way.
  4. 4. If someone tells you you’re going to hell
  5. 5. show this presentation/video.
  6. 6. ~~~~~~~
  7. 7. The Bible uses fire as the symbolic description
  8. 8. of God‟s immediate presence:
  9. 9. “Because the LORD your God
  10. 10. is like a flaming fire.” (Daniel 4:24 – GN)
  11. 11. “For our God
  12. 12. is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29 – GN)
  13. 13. “God, the light of Israel,
  14. 14. will become a fire.
  15. 15. Israel‟s holy God will become a flame,
  16. 16. which in a single day will burn up everything,
  17. 17. even the thorns and thistles” (Isaiah 10:17 – GN)
  18. 18. The immediate presence of God is tortuous to some –
  19. 19. but not because He is a literal fire that burns up flesh.
  20. 20. God does not exude any hostilitytowards his rebellious children.
  21. 21. This is describing psychological discomfort
  22. 22. that involves intense guilt and shame
  23. 23. as sinful and selfish individuals
  24. 24. enter into the presence of a God
  25. 25. who is selfless love personified.
  26. 26. There are several examples in scripture
  27. 27. of individuals who haveexperienced God‟s presence.
  28. 28. This was the experience of Isaiah:
  29. 29. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.
  30. 30. He was sitting on his throne,
  31. 31. high and exalted,
  32. 32. and his robe filled the whole Temple.
  33. 33. Around him flaming creatures were standing,
  34. 34. each of which had six wings.
  35. 35. Each creature covered its face with two wings,
  36. 36. and its body with two,
  37. 37. and used the other two for flying.
  38. 38. They were calling out to each other:
  39. 39. „Holy, holy, holy!
  40. 40. The LORD Almighty is holy!
  41. 41. His glory fills the world.‟
  42. 42. The sound of their voices
  43. 43. made the foundation of the Temple shake,
  44. 44. and the Temple itself became filled with smoke.
  45. 45. I said, „There is no hope for me!
  46. 46. I am doomed because every word
  47. 47. that passes my lips is sinful,
  48. 48. and I live among a people
  49. 49. whose every word is sinful.
  50. 50. And yet, with my own eyes
  51. 51. I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.‟
  52. 52. Then one of the creatures flew down to me,
  53. 53. carrying a burning coal
  54. 54. that he had taken from the altar
  55. 55. with a pair of tongs.” (Isaiah 6:4- 6 – GN)
  56. 56. Notice that Isaiah did not exclaim,
  57. 57. “God, you are so bright and hot that I am burning up!”
  58. 58. No - Isaiah saw the beautiful glory
  59. 59. and goodness of God
  60. 60. and by contrast
  61. 61. saw with an intense clarity his own sinfulness.
  62. 62. His lips were touched with a burning coal,
  63. 63. but notice again the symbolism involved
  64. 64. as the coal was not harmful to his flesh.
  65. 65. The intense shame and guilt experience by Isaiah
  66. 66. is what God described to Moses with these words:
  67. 67. “But you may not look directly at My face,
  68. 68. for no one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20 – NLT)
  69. 69. God was not saying,
  70. 70. “If you look at My face, I‟ll kill you!”
  71. 71. Rather, God is saying,
  72. 72. “In your state of rebellious separation
  73. 73. from My kingdom of other- centered love,
  74. 74. the full face-to-face exposure
  75. 75. to My goodness and love is actually harmful.”
  76. 76. The destructive element of beholding God
  77. 77. face-to-face does not come from God,
  78. 78. but rather from within the sinner.
  79. 79. We need to use many examples to drive this point home.
  80. 80. Moses saw the glory of God at the burning bush.
  81. 81. But were the leaves of the bush consumed?
  82. 82. No, God‟s fiery presenceapparently does not burn leaves.
  83. 83. A little later on God came as a fire onto Mount Sinai:
  84. 84. “The glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai…
  85. 85. And the glory of the Lordappeared to the Israelites
  86. 86. like devouring fire on the top ofthe mountain.” (Exodus 24:16-17 – GN)
  87. 87. Were the trees on the top of the mount consumed by the fire?
  88. 88. Did God‟s presence spark a massive forest fire?
  89. 89. There is no record of this.
  90. 90. God‟s glory also filled the tent in the wilderness,
  91. 91. but is there ever a record of the sheets
  92. 92. spontaneously bursting into flames?
  93. 93. No, this is an altogether different kind of fire.
  94. 94. Moses reflected this glory
  95. 95. when he came from the LORD‟s presence:
  96. 96. “Whenever Moses went into the Tent of the LORD‟s presence
  97. 97. to speak to the LORD, he would take the veil off.
  98. 98. When he came out,
  99. 99. he would tell the people of Israel everything
  100. 100. that he had been commanded to say,
  101. 101. and they would see that his face was shining.
  102. 102. Then he would put the veil back on
  103. 103. until the next time he went tospeak with the LORD.” (Exodus 34:34-35 – GN)
  104. 104. These were not 3rd degree burns in the face of Moses.
  105. 105. The reflected glory of God in his face caused distress in the people
  106. 106. – very similar to the experience of Isaiah, no doubt.
  107. 107. Out of consideration for the people,
  108. 108. Moses put a veil over his face.
  109. 109. And this story of two rebellious sons
  110. 110. also reinforces this view:
  111. 111. “Aarons sons Nadab andAbihu…disobeyed the LORD
  112. 112. by burning before Him the wrong kind of fire…
  113. 113. So fire blazed forth from the LORD‟s presence
  114. 114. and burned them up, and they died there before the LORD.
  115. 115. Then Moses said to Aaron,
  116. 116. „This is what the LORD meant when He said,
  117. 117. I will display My holiness
  118. 118. through those who come near Me.
  119. 119. I will display My glory before all the people.‟
  120. 120. And Aaron was silent.
  121. 121. Then Moses called for…Aaron‟s cousins…
  122. 122. He said to them,
  123. 123. „Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives
  124. 124. from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.‟”
  125. 125. If you were Aaron‟s cousins and were given the command
  126. 126. to carry them outside the camp,
  127. 127. what would you predict would be left of their bodies?
  128. 128. What do you think would be left of their clothes?
  129. 129. “So they came forward and picked them up by their garments
  130. 130. and carried them out of the camp,
  131. 131. just as Moses had commanded.” (Leviticus 10:1-5 – NLT)
  132. 132. The fire that emanates from the very presence of God
  133. 133. is apparently not harmful to clothes or flesh,
  134. 134. but yet these 2 rebellious men
  135. 135. could not stand in the presence of God.
  136. 136. Job also saw God in all his glory,
  137. 137. and like Isaiah he was acutely aware of his own guilt:
  138. 138. “In the past I knew only what others had told me,
  139. 139. but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
  140. 140. So I am ashamed of all I have said
  141. 141. and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 – GN)
  142. 142. Is there a more righteous saint in the Bible than Daniel?
  143. 143. But yet, his experience in thepresence of God had this effect:
  144. 144. “I looked up and saw someone
  145. 145. who was wearing linen clothes and a belt of fine gold.
  146. 146. His body shone like a jewel.
  147. 147. His face was as bright as a flash of lightning,
  148. 148. and his eyes blazed like fire.
  149. 149. His arms and legs shone like polished bronze,
  150. 150. and his voice sounded like the roar of a great crowd.
  151. 151. I was the only one who saw the vision.
  152. 152. Those who were with me did not see anything,
  153. 153. but they were terrified and ran and hid.
  154. 154. I was left there alone, watching this amazing vision.
  155. 155. I had no strength left, and my face was so changed
  156. 156. that no one could have recognized me.
  157. 157. When I heard his voice,
  158. 158. I fell to the ground unconscious
  159. 159. and lay there face downward.
  160. 160. Then a hand took hold of me
  161. 161. and raised me to my hands and knees;
  162. 162. I was still trembling.
  163. 163. The angel said to me,
  164. 164. „Daniel, God loves you.
  165. 165. Stand up and listen…” (Daniel 10:5-10 – GN)
  166. 166. The friends that Daniel was with fled in panic,
  167. 167. while Daniel is described as acutely aware of his own sinfulness:
  168. 168. “…my comeliness was turned in me into corruption,
  169. 169. and I retained no strength.” (Daniel 10:8 – ASV).
  170. 170. I love the fact that the angelimmediately reassures Daniel
  171. 171. with these comforting words: “God loves you.”
  172. 172. John, who walked with Jesus for over 3 years,
  173. 173. later saw Him in all His glory.
  174. 174. He had a similar response as Daniel:
  175. 175. “When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man.
  176. 176. He placed his right hand on me and said,
  177. 177. „Don‟t be afraid!‟” (Revelation 1:17 – GN)
  178. 178. Once again, isn‟t it wonderful that God is
  179. 179. so quick to say, “I love you” and “Don‟t be afraid!”
  180. 180. But once again,
  181. 181. no one turns to God and says
  182. 182. “It‟s too hot in here. My flesh is starting to burn.”
  183. 183. Rather, these individuals are experiencing
  184. 184. psychological discomfort, guilt and shame.
  185. 185. Before His rebellion,
  186. 186. Lucifer flourished
  187. 187. in the presence of God‟s glory:
  188. 188. “I ordained and anointed you
  189. 189. as the mighty angelic guardian.
  190. 190. You had access to the holy mountain of God
  191. 191. and walked among the stones of fire.” (Ezekiel 28:14 – NLT)
  192. 192. “The stones of fire”
  193. 193. describes the very presence of God
  194. 194. where the sinless Lucifer dwelt unharmed with his Creator.
  195. 195. Notice very carefully the description of Satan‟s
  196. 196. destruction just a few verses later:
  197. 197. “You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins
  198. 198. and your dishonest trade.
  199. 199. So I brought fire from within you,
  200. 200. and it consumed you.
  201. 201. I let it burn you to ashes on the ground
  202. 202. in the sight of all who werewatching” (Ezekiel 28:18, NLT).
  203. 203. The destructive element in God‟s presence
  204. 204. does not emanate from God,
  205. 205. but rather from within the sinner.
  206. 206. The destructive “fire” that will end of the life of Satan
  207. 207. comes from within his ownselfish and rebellious heart.
  208. 208. This passage in Isaiah
  209. 209. is one of the most compelling on this subject:
  210. 210. “But the LORD says,
  211. 211. „Now I will do something and be greatly praised.
  212. 212. Your deeds are straw that will be set on fire
  213. 213. by your very own breath.
  214. 214. You will be burned to ashes like thorns in a fire.
  215. 215. Everyone, both far and near,
  216. 216. come look at what I have done.
  217. 217. See my mighty power!‟
  218. 218. The sinners in Zion are terrified;
  219. 219. trembling grips the godless:
  220. 220. „Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
  221. 221. Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?‟
  222. 222. He who walks righteously
  223. 223. and speaks what is right…”(Isaiah 33:11-15 – CEV, NIV)
  224. 224. This passage is describing the fear
  225. 225. and dread that the wicked experience
  226. 226. in the presence of God
  227. 227. who appears to them as “the consuming fire”
  228. 228. and the “everlasting burning”.
  229. 229. They ask,
  230. 230. “Who of us can dwell with the everlasting burning?”
  231. 231. But notice that the reply comes that
  232. 232. “He who walks righteously and speaks what is right”
  233. 233. can dwell in the fiery presence of God!
  234. 234. This passage in Psalms also describes
  235. 235. the two classes of people
  236. 236. that will one day stand in God‟s presence:
  237. 237. “As wax melts in front of the fire,
  238. 238. so do the wicked perish in his presence.
  239. 239. But the righteous are glad and rejoice in his presence;
  240. 240. they are happy and shout for joy.” (Psalms 68:2 – GN)
  241. 241. For some, God‟s presence is tortuous;
  242. 242. for others it is a place of great joy and happiness.
  243. 243. We see this same relationship once again
  244. 244. in the book of Malachi,
  245. 245. where the wicked perish in His presence,
  246. 246. while to others that same presence
  247. 247. brings great happiness,
  248. 248. joy and healing:
  249. 249. “The LORD Almighty says,
  250. 250. „The day is coming when all proud and evil people
  251. 251. will burn like straw.
  252. 252. On that day they will burn up,
  253. 253. and there will be nothing left of them.
  254. 254. But for you who obey me,
  255. 255. my saving power will rise on you
  256. 256. like the sun
  257. 257. and bring healing
  258. 258. like the sun‟s rays.
  259. 259. You will be as free and happy
  260. 260. as calves let out of a stall.” (Malachi 4:1-2 – GN)
  261. 261. When the fire of God isunderstood in this way,
  262. 262. both heaven and hell are seen to be the same place.
  263. 263. That is,
  264. 264. both heaven and hell are a Person.
  265. 265. For some,
  266. 266. it is heaven to dwell in thepresence of Love Personified;
  267. 267. for others, it is hell.
  268. 268. God‟s love is very hot indeed:
  269. 269. “Put me like a seal over your heart,
  270. 270. like a seal on your arm.
  271. 271. For love is as strong as death…
  272. 272. Its flashes are flashes of fire,
  273. 273. the very flame of the Lord.
  274. 274. Many waters cannot quench love,
  275. 275. nor will rivers overflow it. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)
  276. 276. John describes the individuals
  277. 277. who will stand in the presence of God this way:
  278. 278. “Yes, my children, remain in union with him,
  279. 279. so that when he appears
  280. 280. we may be full of courage
  281. 281. and need not hide in shame
  282. 282. from him on the Day he comes…
  283. 283. We know that when Christ appears,
  284. 284. we shall be like him,
  285. 285. because we shall see him as hereally is” (1 John 2:28, 3:2 – GN)
  286. 286. When God returns,
  287. 287. those who already live in union with him will have courage
  288. 288. for they know that the glorious One
  289. 289. who stands before them
  290. 290. is just like Jesus in character:
  291. 291. kind,
  292. 292. gentle,
  293. 293. humble,
  294. 294. and supremely forgiving.
  295. 295. These individuals are settled into the truth
  296. 296. about the kind of Person God is.
  297. 297. by daily dwelling in the presence
  298. 298. of the God of love,
  299. 299. it is a law that we become
  300. 300. like the God we love, trust and admire:
  301. 301. “We shall be like him,
  302. 302. because we shall see him as he really is!”
  303. 303. The central characteristic of God‟s friends
  304. 304. in the last generation
  305. 305. is that they will see God as he really is.
  306. 306. That is,
  307. 307. they are fully settled in the picture of God
  308. 308. that Jesus came to bring
  309. 309. and by beholding the true God,
  310. 310. it is an unavoidable natural consequence
  311. 311. that we are changed into His image:
  312. 312. “All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord
  313. 313. with uncovered faces;
  314. 314. and that same glory, …
  315. 315. transforms us into hislikeness …” (2 Corinthians 3:18 – GN)
  316. 316. I grew up in a church
  317. 317. that preached annihilationism.
  318. 318. I recall some pastors going to great lengths
  319. 319. to explain that the soul is NOT immortal
  320. 320. and to quickly add the “good news”
  321. 321. that “the fire won‟t last forever”.
  322. 322. “The wicked will only burn for as long as they deserve.”
  323. 323. But if the “eternal fire” is ultimately
  324. 324. the very presence of God,
  325. 325. then the fire really is eternal
  326. 326. – an eternal fire of intense love and goodness
  327. 327. that will never be extinguished!
  328. 328. By contrast though,
  329. 329. the suffering of the wicked in God‟s presence
  330. 330. is short and does not last forever,
  331. 331. but yet the fire of God‟s love will burn on.
  332. 332. And here is the best part!
  333. 333. God‟s friends will dwell in His presence
  334. 334. for all of eternity.
  335. 335. Just as Lucifer was described as walking
  336. 336. among the stones of fire,
  337. 337. John described heaven as
  338. 338. “…what looked like a sea of glass
  339. 339. mixed with fire” (Revelation 22:4).
  340. 340. Once again, this refers to the very presence of our God
  341. 341. and the righteous will dwell in the unveiled glory of God
  342. 342. – face to face!
  343. 343. I believe that the reason Jesus would say,
  344. 344. “I came to set the earth on fire
  345. 345. and how I wish it were already kindled”
  346. 346. is that He desires more than anything
  347. 347. to experience with each one of us
  348. 348. a deeply personal face-to-face relationship.
  349. 349. Jesus came in order to restore
  350. 350. and to heal us that we may enter
  351. 351. into His presence and experience
  352. 352. this incredible intimacy and friendship with God:
  353. 353. “But now, by means of thephysical death of his Son,
  354. 354. God has made you his friends,
  355. 355. in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless,
  356. 356. into his presence.”(Colossians 1:22 – GN)
  357. 357. What God has desired more than anything
  358. 358. from the moment Adam and Eve
  359. 359. fled from His presence,
  360. 360. is to wrap His arms around His children once again.
  361. 361. How significant, then,
  362. 362. that the end is described with these words!
  363. 363. “They will see his face,
  364. 364. and his name (character) willbe written on their foreheads (minds).
  365. 365. There shall be no more night,
  366. 366. and they will not need lamps or sunlight,
  367. 367. because the Lord God will be their light,
  368. 368. and they will rule as kingsforever and ever.” (Revelation 22:4-5 – GN)
  369. 369. This entire presentationwas taken from:www.godscharacter.com
  370. 370. Go to www.godscharacter.comfor more incredible studies onthe beautiful, kind, and loving character of God.
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