Commentaries on Hades
ROAD MAP TO SPIRITUAL DEATH
OPINION(S): Everyone has opinion(s) on just about everything, BUT are you willing to die for your opinion?
CONVICTION(S): Everyone says they have a conviction about something, BUT, with a conviction, it is something you are willing to die for.
COMPROMISE: Is not always a bad thing, and sometimes it’s a necessary thing, e.g. politics. BUT we are commanded to never compromise the Word of God.
COMPLACENCY: A feeling of quiet pleasure or security, while unaware of or unconcerned with, unpleasant realities or harmful possibilities; self-satisfaction, even smugness. Further: Complacent is to be pleased with oneself or one’s advantages or accomplishments, often at the expense of some defect, problem, or potential danger. The word PRIDE is very much a part in being Complacent.
THE CYCLE OF SPIRITUAL DEATH
BONDAGE: Israel was exiled & enslaved to Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt at different periods of times and generations, however, for the same reasons. Their salvation lay in their Exodus from Egypt. A side note: There was never an Exodus from Assyria, and Babylon exile lasted 70 years and not all of Israel returned from Babylon.
WORSHIP: Israel WORSHIPED God for their Salvation. This is an act/action associated with attributing honor, reverencing (fearing) as the ascription of worth to the triune God. More fully understood as the interrelation between divine action and human response: worship is the human response to the self-revelation of the triune God. The elements of worship: prayer, praise, thanksgiving, charity/giving, confession, preaching and teaching, reading/meditating on Scripture, discipline, faith, obedience, loving, truth, and witnessing. With that understanding of Worship, we have to wonder how can one become complacent?
COMPLACENCY: Israel later became COMPLACENT: comfortable in their self-confidence, which lead to their breaking covenant with God. Complacent is to be pleased with oneself or one’s advantages or accomplishments. The word PRIDE is very much a part in being Complacent. Notice: Israel broke their covenant with God, but God, never (ever) broke His Covenant with Israel.
APATHY: Is the absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Further, it’s a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting; being apathetic (adj). Some have arrived at this point, others approaching, still others are somewhere in between. “We can only imagine!”
APOSTACY: It’s the act of rebelling against, forsaking, abandoning, or falling away from what one has believed, e.g. deserting God, unfaithfulness. Israel was certainly guilty of apostasy. Consider the world today - where are we on this road map to spiritual death?
God then stepped back and let Israel live the way they wanted. God also put them on a “sidetrack” and brought the Gentile’s into Christianity, i.e., the Church Age; in which we live today. Perhaps you see or wonder if God has stepped back and is letting us “do it our way.” Some feel He is giving us a last chance to turn back to Him. What is the Christian doing? The Christian should be evangelizing, carrying the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved AS COMMANDED BY GOD.
ADVERSITY: Speaks of one’s fate, misfortune, calamity: in times of adversity. An adverse event or circumstance. When Christ comes for us, where will you be?
BONDAGE: The cycle begins all-over again. Really? Yes! Only this coming Bondage is a place of ETERNITY; there is no turning back. On this “Road Map” It’s God’s Way or the highway into Hell for eternity. GOD IS HOLDING OUT HIS HAND OF GRACE AND MERCY; COME TO HIM TODAY - FOR YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TOMORROW WILL BRING TO YOU.
HADES, HELL, SHEOL, LAKE OF FIRE, GEHENNA
LAKE OF FIRE: We have to breakdown “LAKE”, NT Greek translation denotes a “lake, pond.” It’s typically a body of water smaller than that associated with a “sea.” It’s related to the word which describes a harbor or haven. In other words, a safe haven. LUKE and REVELATION use this noun to distinguish between an inland lake and open sea. In Revelation, the word is used for the “lake of fire” in which Satan, the beast, and the false prophet, will be thrown on the day of Lord. (Rev. 19:20).
HADES: From the Greek, it is found in the NT only in Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Revelation, though the idea is also found in other texts (1st Peter 3:19; and 4:6). It is conceived as an underground prison with locked gates to which Christ holds the key. Hades is a temporary place that will give up its dead at the general resurrection (Rev. 20:13 – 14). She’ol in the OT is roughly analogous to Hades in the NT. Luke 16:19-31 Jesus spoke of the rich man as being tormented in Hades, while Lazarus was in the bosom of Abraham, dwelling in joy and peace also in Hades. Jesus told His disciples that gates of Hades would not prevail against His church (Matt 16:18). Here again, Hades is that realm set over against God and His righteous and their “king.” Then we find at the end that death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14). The final destiny of those who dwell in She’ol/Hades is eternal separation from God’s righteousness and love. As they sought to be separate from Him in life, so will they be in death and eternity.
SHEOL: OT, refers to the place know as Sheol” (Hebrew). It’s used with reference to the “grave” or the “netherworld”. The OT conception, SHEOL, is the place of the dead for all people, both righteous and unrighteous. IN JESUS’ teaching, however, we find mention of a place of postmortem punishment in contrast with a place of reward (often “HEAVEN”). The KJV translates Sheol as Hell (presumably because it’s “in the earth,” and because the wicked are the general inhabitants’. The recent translations often leave the word Sheol untranslated, and simply transliterate the Hebrew, “Sheol”. That is probably the best approach, as the word sometimes demands a literal interpretation and sometimes a metaphorical one.
HELL: Greek, noun (Hades). The concept of a place of punishment after death (“Hell”) is not particularly clear until the time of the NT.
Unlike HADES, which is used in Classical Greek, Gehenna comes about later as a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic phrase referring to a desecrated valley south of Jerusalem (Hinnom Valley). In NT usage, it refers to an eternal, fiery abyss of punishment where both body and soul are judged. (Matt. 5:22; 29-30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). This is likely the same Lake of Fire of Revelation.
Message: Jesus’ strong language about hell, especially in Matt, doesn’t sit well on the modern ear. Nevertheless, the point of all such exhortations is to invite people soberly to seek God who graciously offers them His Kingdom and eternal life.
THE FIERY ABYSS OF SECOND THOUGHTS
The Bible says God has given mankind plenty of light for illuminating the path to heaven, but most people who trust in their own intellect resist light that brings to light evil intent (John 3:19). The Apostle Paul said, “we speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age, or the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing. We declare God‘s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” It goes on to say, “no human mind can conceive the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Do you ever think about the privilege of being a believer, in God’s Christ, as one willing to die to your own will for seeking His? Think about the Egyptian Pharaoh that was almost persuaded, and how he wishes to this day he could go back in time for repenting, believing, and trusting in the God he was informed of (Exodus 5:1)! Think of Pilate, who to this day wishes he could reconsider He who is truth (John 14:6-7) or King Herod who for ages now has wished he had not had gotten so drunk with lust that he “lost his head” and let his wife trick him into killing God’s prophet. Think of King Agrippa, who to this day wishes he had kept his grip on resurrection power and belief (Acts 26:28). Our Bible teaches that every human being that has ever lived wishes they’d paid much more attention to God’s will for them after they die. Solomon said wisdom is found in this, “A wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2;14).
ALL who think they’re too smart to believe in resurrection need to consider Gamaliel’s logic of Acts 5:38-39 before their day of truth. Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” And that takes us into the fiery abyss of second thoughts!
The Message: Whatever you have on earth is only temporary; it cannot be exchanged for one’s soul. Are you willing to make the pursuit of God more important than the selfish pursuit of pleasure? Dear friend, follow Jesus, and you will know what it means to live abundantly now and to have eternal life with Him as well. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. There will be a judgment; which way will you choose? Eternal life with your Creator or eternal life in the “fiery abyss.”?
WHY DOESN’T GOD DESTROY SATAN – NOW
If God is all powerful, why doesn't He just destroy Satan?
Some people struggle with why God, being all-powerful, does not judge or destroy Satan immediately. If Satan is evil, deceiving the nations and tempting people to sin, why not take Him out right away? The simple answer is that God has a purpose even in Satan's existence and activity. God has promised that He will, indeed, rightly judge and condemn Satan, but on the future day of judgment, not yet. God is NOT obligated to use His power in the manner we demand nor to act on our timetable. Indeed, we ought to be grateful that God does not immediately destroy and cast into hell all evil persons the moment they deserve it. If He did, we all would be condemned as well! The only reason we have the chance to hear the Gospel and come to God's grace in Jesus Christ to find forgiveness is that God delays His judgment for the sake of a greater good. God is wiser than we are. He will do all that are right in its good and proper timing. In the meantime, we walk by faith.
The Promise of Satan's Destruction
From the very beginning, we are told that Satan will, indeed, be crushed. After Satan tempted Adam and Eve, as the serpent in Eden, leading to the fall of man, God promises to him:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel," (Genesis 3:15).
Thus, we see that the destruction of Satan was part of a redemptive plan, to be fulfilled in the promised seed to come, i.e., the Messiah. It was not to come about right away, but rather through the death, burial, Resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ. The New Testament echoes:
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet," (Romans 16:20).
And the book of Revelation notes:
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him," (Revelation 12:9).
"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever," (Revelation 20:10).
So, God will, indeed, destroy Satan, but He has a perfect timing in doing so. It is part of a larger redemptive plan for human history.
What Purpose Could There Be?
But some might ask how God could possibly have a good purpose for the evil deeds of Satan. God, however, frequently uses the sins and evil intentions of the wicked to bring about an unexpected good. Take for example, in Genesis, when Joseph's brothers jealously sold him into slavery. Their intentions were purely evil, and so was their deed. Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, had a grand purpose in it to bring about an incredible good. Afterword, Joseph testified to his brothers:
"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive," (Genesis 50:20).
Even more, when Jesus was betrayed, falsely accused, and unjustly tortured and executed on the cross, those who carried it out were NOT trying to accomplish God's plan. Their intentions were selfish, evil, and short-sighted. God, again, had bigger plans of which these evil men had no idea they were playing a part.
"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur," (Acts 4:27-28).
This is also true with the devil. Satan's intentions and actions are evil. He is not trying to serve or please God. Nevertheless, God uses Satan to carry out His own redemptive purposes. When Satan came to tempt Jesus, it was actually part of God's plan. As the Scriptures tell us:
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil," (Matthew 4).
God, through the Holy Spirit, led Jesus into the wilderness for the purpose of Satan tempting Him! Christ endured Satan's assaults on our behalf and arose victorious over them for us. So, while Satan's intentions were evil, God used it for the ultimate good. This is how great our sovereign God is!
Likewise, the New Testament shows us that God can use the assaults of Satan to bring a hardened sinner to true repentance, thus actually saving them from Satan's grasp! For this reason, Paul writes things like:
"I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus," (1 Corinthians 5:5).
"Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme," (1 Timothy 1:20).
Satan, of course, is not trying to bring people to repentance or teach them not to blaspheme. Quite the opposite! His intention is only to lie, kill, steal, and destroy! Satan's intentions are evil, but God presently uses them to bring about good. We cannot, of course, understand all or even most of what God is doing and why He allows Satan to do every particular thing he does, but we have enough evidence from Scripture to TRUST that God has good reasons to allow Satan to be in the world for a time and also that God will judge and destroy Satan in the age to come. Indeed, THAT JUDGMENT IS ALREADY SEALED THROUGH THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. Amen!!
DEFEND AGAINST TEMPTATION
James 1:12-16. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”
To build a defense against temptation, we have to understand how temptation works.
Ephesians 6:16. Every sin originates as a thought, often the result of a flaming arrow shot our way by Satan. “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
If the believer holds on to the thought, it becomes a fantasy – the chance to imagine what it would be like to pursue that notion, without actually pursuing it. The problem with fantasies is that they can easily become entangled with a person’s emotions; which creates a desire, which brings the believer to the point where a choice must be made. And the person must either consent to the sin or refuse. This process is quite dangerous, as the progression from thought too choice can be almost instantaneous. Wise believers determine ahead of time to resist temptation – before it enters their consciousness.
There are two cornerstones to a good defense: (1) the commitment to obey God, and (2) the recognition that He is in control and has limited what Satan can do (1st Corinthians 10:13). “No temptation has overtaken you except such as common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to hear it.” God is so good that He will not let believers experience anything for which He has not prepared them. He will give every believer the grace and power to endure. Endurance will bring its own reward.
We can fortify our defense when temptation actually comes. Satan has a way of spotlighting the pleasure of sin until it’s all we see. But with conscious effort, we can retain our focus to take in the bigger picture. That bigger picture = Is this choice a violation of God’s Word? What are the consequences? Am I prepared to pay that price? Am I willing to stay longer than I desire to?
No defense against temptation is complete without Scripture and Prayer. Every moment spent meditating on the Word of God and communicating with God builds our faith. As the bulwark around our mind and heart strengthens, we are ever more prepared to douse Satan’s flaming arrows (darts).
I recall the words an old song, “Close the door to temptation, don’t let me walk through . . .” Those words in and of themselves are timely prayer when temptation is immediately upon you. Amen? So, these words, shared with you today, will surely help to build a defense against temptation.
PSALM OF LAMENT
Scripture Passage: Psalm 10:1, NKJV. “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?"
I selected Psalm 10 for our daily devotional this last week. Why this Psalm? Psalm 10 is: A Song of Confidence in God’s Triumph over Evil. Reading verse 1 (above) brought to mind something that lays heavy on the Christian mind – concerning the world situation today. As my title of this ‘teaching’ indicates, this is a psalm of lament.
First of all, the question “Why” is always a feeling of frustration or being forsaken. The psalmist here displays his own impatience and despair. There are, what we know to be, psalms of ‘lament’ and they make up the largest category of psalms, approximately one-third. Laments typically have five components, which can appear in any order: (1) an invocation, or cry to God; (2) a complaint – a description of the crisis; (3) a petition – a plea to God; (4) a statement of confidence to the Lord; and (5) a vow to praise God.
When we read a lament psalm, we should look for these elements and consider its context. Laments typically arise from a specific situation, and understanding that situation can help [we the reader] to apply its truths to our own experience.
I want to encourage you take some time and meditate on Psalm 10 in its entirety, and notice that the psalm concludes with a triumphant assertion of faith: despite all seeming challenges, “the Lord is King”, and He does hear and answer the cry of the oppressed (see Psalm 9:12; Psalm 29:10). Do please take time with what I’ve shared with you here and you too will feel the “lament” of the five components mentioned earlier.
That said, if you have despair, fear, concern for self or world events you are in need of a prayer of lament. You can have confidence in God’s Triumph over evil. What an outreach message this is to help you in your outreach to the unsaved. Everyone – believer and unbeliever alike – are concerned with our world today. What a conversation starter in response to someone who doesn’t know the Lord – expressing to you their personal concern. My God can and will triumph over the evil of this earth.
Make psalm readings a part of your daily devotional time with the Lord; that’s how you “Catch the Spirit.” Amen