Everlasting life according to the Gospels

Everlasting life according to the Gospels

Everlasting life according to the Gospels

My last blogpost mentioned: God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This week we’ll see what Jesus has to say about everlasting life in the Gospels.

This morning I listened to a podcast by Nehemia Gordon and Pastor A.J. Bernard. It was lovely to hear a Karaite Jew and Methodist Pastor in agreement about having the same Father walking along together in the journey of life and, for whatever reason, one has met the Son (been revealed to him) and the other one has not (yet?).

No biggie. In the end we’re all children of the same Father and what matters is what’s in our heart and how that manifests in our life. As far as I’m concerned that’s the end of arguments and discussions about different belief systems and world view. There’s a whole bunch of Torah Pearls that Nehemia has created with Methodist Pastor Keith Johnson and they are well worth listening to.

Everlasting Life in the Book of Daniel

Jesus repeatedly said that He came not to speak his own words but the words of His Father, and He always referred to Scripture. What I mean to say here is that Jesus did not make anything up himself. Whatever He spoke about was quoted from the prophets, as mentioned also last week where we quoted from the Book of Daniel,

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Everlasting life in the Gospels

In the Book of Matthew

The first reference made in the Gospels to everlasting life is in Chapter 18 in the Book of Matthew,

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee:
it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed,
rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

Yikes, I find that scary. Isn’t the common perception that once we are resurrected, we’ll go to heaven (enter into life) and, regardless of our previous sins, we’ll all look like gorgeous sixteen year olds (minus the acne) and never look back?

Mmm, that is not what Jesus says here. Although some kind of transformation obviously takes place, having been resurrected.

When Jesus met with his Apostles after his crucifixtion we learn that He said to Thomas,

Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands;
and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side:
and be not faithless, but believing.

At that time, just days after His resurrection, Jesus’ wounds were clearly still showing. Mmm.

Everlasting fire.

My Bible teaching Pastor, whom I loved and adored, taught me that there is no everlasting fire.

Jesus said there is; so I looked it up. There’s no getting away from it. Jesus really said and meant everlasting fire.

How do I know that Jesus meant it? I know that for sure because in the Book of Matthew, Jesus did not refer to it just once, but he repeated his warning twice to make sure that we would really get it.

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee:
it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed,
rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:
it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye,
rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

In the Book of Mark

In Book 9 of Mark Jesus gives us three warnings,

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me,
it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he were cast into the sea.

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off:
it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell,
into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life,
than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out:
it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye,
than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

What we’ve just established here is that according to Jesus there is hell fire, and that is where you’ll end up if you cause offence. And particularly if you cause offence to a little child or newcomer to the faith.

What does it mean to cause offence?

What does it mean to cause offence? The varying Bible translations have translated as follows, ‘If your hand causes you to stumble,’ ‘If your hand causes you to sin or fall into sin,’ ‘If your hand causes your downfall,’ ‘If your hand causes subverts you,’ ‘If your hand causes you to lose your faith,’ ‘If your hand cause you to fall,’ and finally ‘If your hand scandalises you or serve as a snare to you.’

Don’t do the wrong thing

The first verse in the Gospels that refers to ‘everlasting life (enter into life)’ is immediately followed by a verse which refers to ‘everlasting fire.’

The warnings are very clear and specific. Don’t cause trouble with your hand, foot or eyes. With all your might, restrain yourself and do whatever is necessary to stop offending, even if this causes some kind of hurt or disability in your life. If you don’t restrain yourself and stop yourself from offending others or falling into sin, there’s a really hot place reserved especially for people just like you.

I believe that these verses also throw out of the window the doctrine of ‘once saved, always saved.’
Now what? If I make a blooper, and we all do, then what? Is that the end?

No, that is not the end. Our Father is a forgiving Father. And there are many instances in the Jewish Bible as well as in the Gospels were we are told that, feeling sorry about having made stupid mistakes, accounts for much.

The Book of Luke

In the Book of Luke we’re told that it is impossible to expect never to be offended. All I have to do is make sure that it is not me causing the offence!

This seems like a very hard thing to do. Especially considering that many believers defend their belief with all their might, misguided as we all at times may be. I have, unfortunately, offended people by telling Christian jokes such as the one told by Emo Philips which has been voted the funniest religious joke of all times.

If this joke was offensive to someone why would I give a link to it and refer to it and possibly cause offence again? Because the person who was offended by it, decided because of this joke, not to follow my blog any longer, and therefore won’t read about this again. And the joke simply points out the hypocrisy of certain believers. I posted the joke to say, ‘please don’t push me off the bridge just because I believe differently from how you may believe.’ And guess what? The first person who read the joke, pushed.

Jesus told parables and therefore I believe that it is fine to talk in parables at times to get certain points across. After the warning, about not causing offence, Jesus gives guidelines on how to deal with people who trespass. What does trespass mean? It means doing the wrong thing by people. It means to sin. It means to break God’s law.

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come:
but woe unto him, through whom they come! 

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him;
and if he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day,
and seven times in a day turn again to thee,
saying, I repent;
thou shalt forgive him.

If people genuinely feel sorry about doing wrong and genuinely ask for forgiveness, we are to forgive them. How many times? A lot of times. Why?
Because we all make mistakes.

love the brethren

In the end it always comes down to just plain old loving each other. What do you reckon?

Here’s another reminder of what Love is all about. I have a huge soft spot for the Commandments because they spell it out so perfectly.

Next week we’ll have a look at the second time that ‘everlasting life’ is mentioned by Jesus.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG – We’re researching the truth of living forever according to GOD’s Holy Word; Sola Scripture. Popular opinion tells us that everyone who ‘believes’ and has ‘faith’ will go to heaven. Is this true? I decided to ask the prophets about the truth of it all.

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