Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jonah - Avoid Hell - It's Really Bad There.

Jonah 3:10- Jonah 4:1 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. 1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

The picture that plays out in my mind is the one of me threatening one of the kids, "If you do that ONE MORE TIME, you'll be grounded for the rest of the day". Then that child comes to you with arms wide open and tears in their eyes and says "I'm sorry mommy, I won't do it anymore - I love you". And of course you wrap your arms around her and tell her it's all going to be okay and explain why she shouldn't act like that. Then there is her sibling in the other room - seething because she didn't get into trouble as was threatened.

Why is human nature to delight in the downfall of someone else? Even as Christians, we want those who have hurt others to get what's coming to them - some sort of punishment. But I'll be honest here, no matter how wrong someone has been - I'd never wish them an eternity in Hell. Maybe a good swift kick in the pants - but never damnation. If we can see people the way God sees them, that He wants none to perish and that all fall short of His glory but that He has made a way for us to come to Him - through Jesus. Let's not forget that we were a part of that city before we decided to follow Jesus, and praise God that He is compassionate and that He reminds us of how much we are loved in this "the life of Jonah".

8 wonderful insights:

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Amen! Great post. This is serious stuff of the heart.

Interestingly enough as I was looking at the Ninevites(think I spelled that wrong) I noticed they came from the family line of the son of Noah who did not have his father's best interest at heart. This son also birthed the Canaanites. Very interesting stuff. But specifically the Ninevites came through Nimrod. Interesting stuff this family history. Not sure why I am so intrigued by it but I wonder if this heritage thing was part of Jonah's dislike of these people.

Keep writing this is good stuff.
Much love,
Angela

Clay Feet said...

You have some great insights and thoughts about this story. But I have a serious question. Do you really believe God is the kind of being that wants us to genuinely love Him but if we don't He threatens to torture us for eternity as an act of revenge? How can you love someone who threatens you if you choose not to?

Dorothy Champagne said...

First, thanks so much for stopping by and posting. Your question is certainly one that many ask. I don't believe that God uses Hell as a tool for revenge. The rules have already been established - if we sin, we die (wages of sin is death Rom 6:23). There are two options after that - Heaven or Hell. The earth one day will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10)- But God in all His Glory and love, sent His Son to die on the cross so that we can live with Him forever in Heaven. We have the free will to choose not to believe in Jesus - in so doing, we will not enter the kingdom of Heaven - there is only one other option, Hell. God does not want this for anyone - for He does love us. (2 Peter 3:9) The same question is asked about AIDS and cancer etc. and why does God let this happen. He gave us the guidelines and said 'don't do this' and we did, and these were the results. It's like telling our children "Tie your shoes" - Your child has the free will to do either - but if he chooses to not tie his shoe and then he trips and scrapes his knee - can he blame that on you? You didn't push him down - you asked him to tie his shoes because you knew that might be one of the consequences and you didn't want that for him. God does not want Hell for anyone - but it is the consequence of our choice. Bottom line, Hell is not God's punishment, it is a result of our choice. I hope I've been able to explain my thoughts on this and I appreciated the opportunity to study that question further.

Clay Feet said...

Thank-you for a very good answer, at least in part. I really appreciate your emphasis on hell being a consequence instead of an imposition. But I am still a little confused as to what people teach (I'm not sure what you believe yet) about who is supposedly in charge of hell. If Satan is in charge then why does the Bible say it was prepared for him and his angels? If God is the one administering the torture then it is not really a natural consequence and my first question re-arises.

RevelationsReader@aol.com said...

2 Thes 1:9 says that hell is "exclusion from the face of God". So how could God be there tormenting you ? Who says satan is in charge of hell? doesn't Revelations say that he will be cast into the lake of fire? hell was created as a punishment for Satan and the fallen angels, but it seems that man can share it if he turns his back on God. As for who's in charge, why don't you tell us when you get there?

Dorothy Champagne said...

Now, now. . . It is good to study and look at the scripture so that we understand what God means - especially if it will clarify it for others so that they can see Jesus more clearly through us. God did create Hell for Satan and the angels - that doesn't mean He'll be there with them, agreeing with the previous poster - Hell is not being with God as well. The doors will be locked up tight and no one will get out and that will be the end of it. No one will be in charge. That is a nightmare to think about, huh? I'll be honest - I'd never given much thought to the 'rules' of once one is in Hell, I guess because I knew I wasn't going there, I hate to think about anyone else who'd have to put up with it. But for some, just saying it's a bad place wouldn't be enough to convince them to do anything to change their life. Jesus preached about His love and how He wants to be with each of us the whole time He was here on earth - and we see what they did to Him.

Clay Feet said...

Dorothy, I want to affirm you as deeply as possible from my heart for your spirit of honesty and for protecting the atmosphere of your blog. I also deeply appreciate your desire to keep this discussion rooted in Scripture which is a very high priority for me as well.
I have been researching this subject intensely for some time in the Bible and the more I examine it the more out of sync nearly everything I hear from others seems to be with what the Bible says. I really don't want to engage in acrimony or argument with anyone about it (my Dad cured me of that by all the confrontations he indulged in), but I truly enjoy dialogging with people who are sincere and desiring to know truth even when it compels them to change their previous opinions. I am constantly challenging my own assumptions and have found it actually refreshing and deepening to my personal relationship with God.
I am interested in continuing this dialog here if that is not too inconvenient, or elsewhere if that would be better. But I do hope that the spirit would remain the same as what you have demonstrated so far. I think that is really important.

I have another question. You say that God will not be there with them and I'm not trying to deny that necessarily. But Revelation 14 says that the torment is in the presence of the angels and the Lamb. How does that integrate?

Dorothy Champagne said...

The scripture in Rev. 14:10 ends with "and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb" and is referring to the person that accepts the mark of the beast after the second coming of Christ. I think here it is referring to the judgment of those left. The word "presence" in the Greek is 'enopion', which literally means - 'in the face of'. Perhaps the statement being made here means that it will be in front of God. That they will face God before going to Hell. There will be no question who is in charge. God has control over everything, they won't go to Hell without knowing that.