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The Authenticity of the Bible
Why believe the Bible? How do we know it is true? The fulfillment of prophecy (that is, things which the Bible predicted would happen and which history has already proven have, indeed, happened) proves the Bible to be true, in addition to other methods such as archeology.
The Bible features 66 books by 40 authors, from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, fishermen, philosophers, poets, statesmen, and scholars, yet it is totally consistent. It was written over a period of 1,600 years, on 3 continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. The 66 books of the Bible are divided into the Old Testament (containing 39 books) and the New Testament (containing 27 books).
The Old Testament
Originally, the Old Testament was passed down orally through men whose job it was to memorize what had been told to them by preceding generations. Their entire purpose in life was to make sure that succeeding generations knew what God had done among their people. When language began to be written down using an alphabet, about the 5th century B.C. (Before Christ), the Scriptures were copied repeatedly by scribes. Copying was a constant process since the climate caused the material onto which they copied the Scriptures, thin parchment (animal skins) and papyrus, to deteriorate over time. The Old Testament Scriptures were all copied down in Hebrew or Aramaic up until 285 B.C. Greek culture dominated this period of history. King Ptolemy of Alexandria (where the world’s greatest library was located) enlisted 70 of his most educated scholars who knew Jewish law and could translate Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek. These 70 worked separately. They concluded their work after 72 days; each translation corresponded exactly to the others! This became known as the LXX (70) or the Septuagint.
The New Testament
The New Testament contains 27 books which were written by the earliest Christians in churches scattered in different countries, hundreds of miles apart. They kept in touch by writing letters to each other. These letters (sometimes called ‘epistles’) were the first parts of the New Testament that were written down. Stories of Jesus were also written down; this meant that people all over the world could read them and thus get to know about Jesus’ life and teachings. The writers lived and wrote approximately A.D. (Anno Domini or after Christ’s birth) 40-100. About A.D. 140, a heretic developed his own Bible and began to preach from it. The church needed to offset his influence by determining what the real canon or measuring rod of the New Testament Scripture was. The church decided that only manuscripts that could, beyond doubt, be traced to those who lived when Christ lived (that is, Peter, Paul, Matthew, John, James, Jude) or those who had a close association with the apostles would be allowed to be called Scripture. (It is said that Luke wrote Acts under Paul’s influence and that Mark wrote the book of Mark by copying down what Peter said.) Around A.D. 367, Athanasius of Alexandria produced the earliest list of New Testament books that corresponds exactly to the books of which the present New Testament is comprised. There are more than 5,330 Greek New Testament parchment fragments still in existence, some of these dating to within a century of the apostles. There are also about 8,000 Latin parchment, and hundreds more in dozens of other ancient versions. This many are still intact even though the Roman Emperor Diocletian gave a standing order that all Scriptures be burned if discovered. Christians chose to die rather than deny the faith by surrendering New Testament Scriptures for destruction. Within 200 years, all but 11 verses of the New Testament were quoted by early church fathers, in 36,289 citations.
The Old Testament contains 2,000 predictive prophecies, including 333 prophecies about the Messiah, with 456 specific facts or details, that were all fulfilled by Jesus. These prophecies were written between c. 1500 B.C. and 400 B.C. The prophecies of the Bible are extremely specific, detailed, and exactly fulfilled. These prophecies concerned themselves with things of which there was/is no likelihood that they would ever come to pass. It was written, for example, that the Messiah would be crucified — “they pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16b, written around 1,000 B.C.) This prediction was made long before the Phoenicians invented crucifixion! Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. These prophecies predicted the opposite of what human beings would naturally expect. In hundreds of instances, the fulfillment of the prophecy took place hundreds of years after the death of the prophet. These prophecies deal with scores of cities with which Israel had dealings and with dozens of nations contiguous with or near Israel. The futurity of those nations/cities is described in the Old Testament; its accuracy can easily be verified by reference to a good encyclopedia.
(The information contained here, regarding the Bible, was acquired from the following sources:
Why I Believe, by
Dr. D. James Kennedy,
Messiah: Prophecies Fulfilled, by Dr. D. James Kennedy,
The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail, by Dr. D. James Kennedy and Dr. Jerry Newcombe,
Geek Proof Your Faith, by Greg Johnson and Michael Ross.)
Roman Crucifixion: Jesus of Nazareth Crucified
History reveals that a Jewish man named Jesus of the town called Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and then sentenced to death by crucifixion, around A.D. 30. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) stated that the scourging applied to Jesus produced deep stripe-like lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar of the cross on which he was to be crucified, to Golgotha, where he was crucified. Here, his wrists were nailed to the crossbar, and after this was lifted onto the upright post, his feet were nailed to this post. JAMA concluded that the major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Death soon resulted, primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. The death of Jesus was then ensured by the thrust of a soldier’s spear into his side. “Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross (JAMA, March 21, 1986–Vol 255, No 11, pages 1455-1463).
Jesus, or his crucifixion, is mentioned by the Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius, by non-Roman historians Thallus and Phlegon, by the satirist Lucian of Samosata, by the Jewish Talmud, as well as by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. The New Testament biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the most extensive and detailed descriptions of the life and death of Jesus. These accounts have been confirmed by historians and archaeological findings. Jewish, Roman and contemporary Christian authors provide further insight concerning the first-century Jewish and Roman legal systems and the details of scourging and crucifixion. The Shroud of Turin, considered by many to represent the actual burial cloth of Jesus, as well as archaeological findings provide us with valuable information concerning Roman crucifixion practices.
The Jewish and Roman Trials of Jesus
Jesus and his disciples observed the Jewish Passover meal of A.D. 30 in an upper room in a home in southwest Jerusalem, and then traveled to the Mount of Olives, which is northeast of the city. This Last Supper would have been observed on Thursday, April 6 (Nisan 13); Jesus would have been crucified on Friday, April 7 (Nisan 14). In Gethsemane, in the Mount of Olives, Jesus suffered great mental anguish, knowing that the time of his death was near. The physician Luke states that his (Jesus’) sweat became like blood; medically, bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis) may occur in highly emotional states or in persons with bleeding disorders. Hemorrhaging into the sweat glands causes the skin to become fragile and tender, and in the cold night air, may have produced chills. Shortly after midnight, temple officials arrested Jesus in Gethsemane and took him first to Annas and then to Caiaphas who was the Jewish high priest for that year; these had been plotting to arrest Jesus for about three years. Caiaphas and the political Sanhedrin then tried Jesus and concluded that he was guilty of blasphemy. The guards blindfolded him, spat on him, ridiculed him, and struck him in the face with their fists. Just after daybreak, Jesus was tried before the religious Sanhedrin, with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they concluded that he was guilty of blasphemy, which was a crime punishable by death. Permission for an execution had to be acquired from the governing Romans, so, early in the morning, the temple officials took Jesus to the residence and governmental seat of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea. But here, instead of presenting Jesus as a blasphemer, they presented him as a self-appointed king who would undermine Roman authority. Without making any charge against Jesus, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Judea. Herod also made no official charges and returned Jesus to Pilate, who, again, could find no basis for a legal charge against. The people persistently demanded crucifixion, Pilate finally acquiesced, and handed over Jesus to be flogged/scourged and crucified.
Various factors, emotional and physical, rendered Jesus especially vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the flogging/scourging. He had suffered great emotional stress during the 12 hours between 9PM Thursday and 9AM Friday. He had also suffered abandonment by his closest friends the disciples; he was betrayed by one of them; another vehemently denied knowing him. He also underwent a physical beating after the first Jewish trial. He also knew that there were various illegalities associated with the Jewish and Roman trials. In addition, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, he had been forced to walk more than 2.5 miles to and from the sites of the various trials, all the while under intense ridicule. All these factors acted in concert to make him particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the flogging/scourging.
The Roman Flogging/Scourging of Jesus
Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. They used a short whip called a flagrum or flagellum. This consisted of several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at various intervals. Staves were sometimes used. The man to be flogged was stripped of his clothing and his hands were tied to an upright post and his back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers called lictors, or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death, at which time the soldiers would taunt their victim. While the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbon of bleeding flesh. Immense pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock.
Jesus was severely whipped at Pilate’s residence; his scourging was particularly harsh. The Roman soldiers were amused that Jesus had claimed to be a king and mocked him by placing a robe on his shoulder, by pressing a crown of thorns down on his head, and placing a wooden staff as scepter in his right hand. They then spat on Jesus and beat him on the head with the wooden staff. When they tore the robe from Jesus’s back, they most likely reopened the scourging wounds. Jesus was most probably left in a preshock state by the severe scourging, with its attendant intense pain and appreciable loss. His skin was rendered very tender by hematidrosis. The physical and mental abuse which Jesus suffered at the hands of the Jews and the Romans, and the lack of food, water and sleep served to impact very negatively on Jesus’ weakened state. His physical condition was, even before the actual crucifixion, at least serious and quite possibly critical.
The Romans perfected crucifixion as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. It was a disgraceful and cruel method of execution which was usually reserved for foreigners, slaves, revolutionaries and the vilest of criminals. Roman law usually protected Roman citizens from crucifixion, except usually in the case of soldiers who deserted.
The condemned man usually carried his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion, which was outside the city walls. Usually, he was naked. The entire cross weighed over 300 lbs, and so the man carried only the crossbar or patibulum, which weighed 75 to 125 lbs, across the nape of his neck and balanced along both shoulders. His outstretched arms were usually tied to the crossbar. At the execution site, the victim was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic, by law. The condemned criminal was then thrown to the ground on his back with his arms outstretched along the crossbar. At this time, his flogging wounds most likely would be torn open again and become contaminated with dirt. With the arms outstretched, but not taut, the wrists were then nailed to the crossbar. Archaeological findings indicate that the nails used by the Romans were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inches long with a square shaft 3/8 of an inch across. The likelihood of painful periosteal injury would be great. The driven nail would either crush or sever the large sensorimotor median nerve. This stimulated nerve would produce undoubtedly excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. This severed median nerve would result in paralysis of a portion of the hand. The victim and crossbar were then lifted to the vertical post or stipes. The feet were next nailed, one atop the other, to the vertical post of the cross. More than likely, the deep peroneal nerve and branches of the medial and lateral plantar nerves would have been injured by the nails. With each respiration, the painful scourging wounds would be scraped against the rough wood of the cross. Blood loss could thus be expected to continue throughout the entire ordeal. All the while, soldiers and the crowd would taunt and jeer the condemned man; soldiers would then divide up the man’s clothes among themselves.
The length of time the man would survive generally ranged from 3 to 4 hours to 3 to 4 days; this appears to have been inversely related to the severity of the scourging. Roman soldiers could hasten death by breaking the legs below the knees. It was common for insects to light on and burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears and nose of the dying, helpless man, and birds of prey would tear at those places also. It was customary for the corpse to be left on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals. No one was intended to survive crucifixion. By custom a Roman guard would pierce the body with a sword or lance; this was a wound to the heart through the right side of the chest.
Crucifixion produced excruciating pain. Beyond this, the major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was a marked interference with normal respiration, especially exhalation. The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched shoulders and arms, tended to fix the intercoastal muscles in an inhalation state; this hindered exhalation, and breathing was shallow. Hypercarbia would soon result, and the onset of muscle cramps or tetanic contractions due to fatigue and hypercarbia would further serve to hinder respiration. The victim, to breathe adequately, would have to lift his body by pushing up on his feet and by flexing his elbows and bringing forward his shoulders. But this maneuver would place the entire weight of body on the tarsals; this would produce searing pain. In addition, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists around the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the already damaged median nerves. Lifting the body would also cause the body to painfully scrape against the rough wooden cross. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the tremendous discomfort. Resultingly, every attempt at breathing would become agonizing and tiring, and would inevitably lead to asphyxia. And so, hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia, dehydration, stress-induced arrhythmias, congestive heart failure were the chief causes of crucifixion. Crucifracture, the breaking of the legs below the knees, led to an asphyxic death within a matter of minutes, since the victim could not push up his body in an attempt to breathe. No doubt, death by crucifixion was, in every sense of the word, excruciating.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
About 9 AM, after flogging and mocking Jesus, the Roman soldiers put Jesus’ clothes on him and led him along with two thieves out to be crucified. Jesus was so weakened by the flogging that he could not carry the crossbar the 1/3-mile out to Golgotha, the crucifixion site. A man called Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to carry the cross. At Golgotha, Jesus’ clothes, except for a linen loincloth, were again removed. This reopened scourging wounds. He was offered the wine mixed with myrrh, but after tasting it, refused it. Finally, he was crucified. Throughout the crucifixion, the soldiers, civilian crowds including the Jewish religious and political leaders taunted Jesus. The soldiers cast lots for his clothing. Jesus spoke seven times from the cross. Speech occurs during exhalation; therefore these short, terse utterances must have been extremely and excruciatingly painful and difficult. About 3 PM that Friday, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, bowed his head, and died. The Roman soldiers as well as the crowd recognized his moment of death.
The Jews did not want the bodies of the three crucified men to remain on the cross after sunset, which was the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. They therefore asked the Roman Pontius Pilate to order crucifracture to hasten the deaths of the three crucified men. The soldiers then broke the legs of the two thieves; when they went to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and did not break his legs. Instead, a soldier pierced his side with a spear, producing a sudden flow of blood and water. Medical science indicates that the separation of blood and water occurs when someone is dead. Later that day, the body of Jesus was taken down and placed in a tomb.
There is no getting around the fact that Jesus was crucified and died as a result. For that, God Almighty holds all unrepentant sinners accountable!
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and Its Impact
History records that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, died as a result of crucifixion, was buried in a tomb, and shortly after this (in 3 days) showed himself alive by many infallible proofs, being seen by over 500 people for 40 days. It is by the resurrection that Jesus Christ is declared the Son of God with power. It is by the resurrection that Christ’s atoning sacrifice is declared to be accepted by God the Father. This is, indeed, the center of the Christian faith.
The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been examined more than evidence for any other fact of history. Many scholars and academicians, including skeptics, have weighed and considered the evidence. They have concluded that the resurrection was a reality, was a historical event, and that anyone who examined the evidence honestly would be convinced that it occurred. One skeptical lawyer (Frank Morrison of Britain) set out to write a book repudiating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But he found the evidence for it so overwhelming that he was forced to accept it and became a believer of Jesus Christ. A great scholar, Simon Greenleaf, the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard from 1833-48, who helped to bring Harvard Law School to preeminence and who has been referred to as the greatest authority on legal evidences in the history of the world, focused on the resurrection in the light of all the laws of evidence. He concluded that the resurrection of Christ was a reality, that it was a historical event, and that anyone who examined the evidence for it honestly would be convinced that this was the case. All Scripture and testimony of hostile enemies of Christianity and unbelievers declare that the church was spread everywhere because the Apostles declared that Christ rose from the dead, and that he ascended into heaven.
The Jews held their Sabbath doctrine for thousands of years. As a result of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week, a group of early Christians, all Jews, changed the day of worship from the seventh to the first day of the week. Christ appeared to his disciples on the first day of the week, and poured out his Spirit on the church at Pentecost on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, Christ’s disciples met to worship him. Jews held the Passover to be the most significant event in the history of their nation. As a result of the resurrection, Jewish Christians abandoned it in favor of the celebration of Easter, the day Christ rose from the dead. Christian sacraments too, point not only to the death and suffering of Christ, but also to his resurrection in power. Christian art has been found in the catacombs of Rome, from the time of the persecutions which took place in the first century A.D.; representations of the resurrection of Christ have been found carved into the walls. Hymns were sung to the resurrected Christ in the earliest days of the Christian church, during the first century A.D.
The Christian church was founded as a result of the resurrection. The Christian church is the largest institution that has ever existed in the history of the world. It is 5 times larger than the Roman Empire at its zenith; over 1 billion, 300 million persons profess to worship Jesus Christ as the risen and living Son of God. Historians consider that the Christian church can be traced back to Jerusalem in A.D. 30, when Jesus died and was resurrected. The Church, which is the largest institution in the world, began in A.D. 30 when the Apostles of Jesus Christ began to preach that he had risen from the dead. These fearful, timid cowards were transformed into bold proclaimers of the Gospel. These witnesses of the fact that Christ was resurrected were faithful, suffered and died, most of them sealing their testimony with their own blood. As noted by Dr. D. James Kennedy, Senior Minister of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (researcher and holder of 6 Doctorate degrees), these men would not have given their lives for a lie. The resurrection was at the heart and substance of the message of the early Christians. The very first message given at Pentecost was entirely about the resurrection, about prophecies regarding it and their fulfillment, and its impact, including the fact that because he was risen, Jesus Christ could grant the remission of sins to those who believe in him. He says “I am he that lives and was dead … I am alive for evermore … whosoever lives and believeth in me shall never die” (Rev. 1:18; John 11:26). Jesus and his resurrection are the only hope for all mankind. He is willing to live in our hearts if we repent of our sins and trust in him who died for us and rose again from the dead.
So, Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase a place for us in Heaven which He offers as a free gift. Isaiah 53: 6 tells us “We all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus Christ) the iniquity (sin) of us all.”
What Does the Bible Say About Hell? … What Makes Hell So Terrible?
The Bible warns about Hell, which has literal, actual, real fire. It is a place of excruciating pain, terror, horror, and torment. Hell is tormenting. What is torment, and what does the verb “to torment” mean? Roget’s New Thesaurus tells us that the verb to torment means (1) to bring great harm or suffering to, (2) to subject (another) to extreme physical cruelty, as in punishment, (3) to recur continually, (4) to excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary tells that torment means the infliction of torture; extreme pain or anguish of body or mind, a source of vexation or pain. To torment means to cause severe persistent or recurrent distress of body or mind. The Bible tells us that those who go to hell will experience torment forever. It is a place of grave, non-stop pain such as you have never experienced before. Sometimes when we experience a migraine (headache) or a bad painful situation, it hurts terribly bad, but we are comforted in knowing that it will stop some time. Hell’s pain and torment never stops! That is a frightful thing to consider. It is a place of loneliness. You have no friends there. You are separated from a loving, glorious God. You will spend eternity being persecuted by this fact, and deeply regretting that you chose to separate yourself from God. It is a place of complete, total darkness and blackness. There is not even a ray of light. And the smell, the stench, is unbearable, like burning sulphur and carbon. Hell is worse than your worst nightmare. Imagine a place where all the murderers, all the evil people, and devils and demons are. How will you feel when you bump into them with their anger and deep regrets, when there are no laws and no one to prevent them from harming you, forever? That’s where you will go if you do not make a definite, conscious decision to accept God’s free gift of eternal life. Think about it. Do you really want to go to such a place?
Who Will Go To Hell?
The world’s best-selling book, the Bible, tells us that hell was originally made for Satan and his followers, and for all who rebel against God. Satan was once called Lucifer, Star of the Morning. He was banished from heaven when because of pride/arrogance, he thought within himself that he would be like God, the Most High. Revelation 12:7-9 tells that there was war in heaven … and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world (now) … In Luke 10:18 Jesus said: I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven … Isaiah 14:12-15 states: How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … yet thou shalt be brought down to hell …
Unrepentant sinners, who are all followers of Satan, will be cast into hell on Judgment Day with Satan. Revelation 20:11-13 states: … Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books … each person was judged according to what he had done. According to Revelation 20:15 … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire…. Revelation 20:14 … and death and hell were thrown into the lake of fire … Revelation 21:8 … but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts (psychics, palm readers, witches/wizards, all those who practice witchcraft), the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death. Those who go to church often, but yet keep on sinning, will go to hell too. Hebrews 10:26,27 tells us: If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? … “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:28-30). We will reap the rewards of our actions. If we sow seeds of sin, we will reap the rewards of sin. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, that is, hell.
People who are deceived by Satan will go to hell. Ever since he was kicked out of Heaven, with about 1/3 of the angels who rebelled against God with him, he and those fallen angels (now called demons) roam the earth deceiving and tricking people in every country and in all walks of life. People have all sorts of idols who/which they place before God: their husband/wife, their boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancée, parents, children, nationality, permanent residency, possessions (house, car, degrees, stocks, bonds,) their health, their beautiful and/or athletic bodies, knowledge/intellect, even their church denomination/religion, among many other things. Many are deceived into thinking that they can enjoy life, have fun, and then live for God. Many are deceived into thinking that when they die, a Pastor/Priest, or somebody can pray them into Heaven. Know this, the moment you die, you go to Heaven or hell, and await Judgment Day, when all your actions and thoughts will be judged. Every thought, all the deep dark secrets you have ever had in your whole life will be revealed and judged on Judgment Day. Nobody can change that!
Why Will People Go To Hell?
A friend of mine once told me “a good God would not send me to hell.” Let’s check out that statement. We are all a bunch of sinners. How did we get this way? Romans 5:12 tells us that sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned. There are sins of omission, and sins of commission. Sin comes in many forms: stealing, lying, cheating, wars, drug abuse, anger, lust, robberies, riots, murder, deception, etc., etc. Sin is anything that God hates. And, our sin cannot enter heaven, since God is holy. Habakkuk 1:12,13 … O Lord … your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong … Isaiah 59:2,3 … but your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. Exodus 34:7 … he does not leave the guilty unpunished … Numbers 32:23 … be sure your sin will find you out. Ezekiel 18:4 … the soul who sins is the one who will die. Jeremiah 31:30 … everyone will die for his own sin … Genesis 18:25 … will not the Judge of all the earth do right? Romans 3:10,23 … there is none righteous … for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10… Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 John 1:8,10 … If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us … if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. Isaiah 53:6 … we all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way … Psalm 51:5 … surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
If we are religious, or if we do good works, we will still go to hell, if we do not consciously accept eternal life. Galatians 3:10-11 … All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Deuteronomy 27:26) Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) James 2:10 … For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Some people say “well, I am a good person, I do good deeds, I do not hurt people, I help people, I … I … I …I …I … I … “ They will go to hell for trusting in themselves and not God. Proverbs 14:12 tells us: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. No amount of personal efforts, good works, or any religious deeds can save us from hell. We cannot save ourselves from hell.
People will go to hell for rejecting God’s son Jesus Christ, also. Now, as we know, God is love, and does not want to punish us for our sin. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” On the other hand, God must punish our sin. Exodus 34:7b tells us that He “… does not leave the guilty unpunished.” He loves us and doesn’t want to punish us, but He is just and must punish our sin. God solved this problem for us in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Jesus was and is God. He is, according to Colossians 1:15: “ … the visible expression of the invisible God.” He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins. Let’s examine the trials, torture, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How Can We Be Delivered From Hell?
We can be delivered by trusting (having faith) in Jesus Christ ALONE for eternal life. John 3: 16 tells us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What is “faith”? Let’s answer that by first looking at what it is not. (1) Saving faith is not just a “head belief” or mere intellectual assent. We’ll never be saved from hell because we know about God, or because we know about Jesus Christ His Son. The devils also believe there is one God, and tremble (James 2:19). (2) Saving faith is not just a “blind leap in the dark.” Faith that saves us from hell is based on what is true, not on “hope-so’s,” not because we hope to go to Heaven. (3) Saving faith is not just intellectual accent, it’s not just a temporary “now belief “ in God for times of emergencies and crises such as financial, family, or physical needs, only to forget about Him until the next crisis comes along. What is faith? Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, for saving us from hell. This means resting upon CHRIST ALONE and what He has done rather than in what you have done to avoid hell and to get into Heaven.
Recommendation to Accept the Free Gift of Eternal Life
It is very strongly recommend that you accept God’s free gift of eternal life, (and so avoid hell). Ephesians 2: 8, 9 tells us “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Romans 6:23 tells us “for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is very important: receiving eternal life means that you:
- Transfer your trust from what you have been doing to what Christ has done for you on the cross.
- Accept Christ as Savior. This means opening the “door” to your heart and inviting Him in. He says (in Revelation 3:20) “I stand at the door and knock, if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.”
- Receive Jesus Christ as Lord. In essence, you give Him the “driver’s seat” of your life, not the “back seat.”
- Repent. This means that you willingly turn away from engaging in anything that is not pleasing to God. God will reveal His will to you as you grow in your relationship with Him.
Prayer of Repentance and Acceptance of Eternal Life
You can receive this gift of eternal life right where you are! You can pray to Him, asking Him for this gift right now. Remember that you do not get it by default; you must consciously, definitely decide to accept it. Please pray with me; let’s pray:
- Lord Jesus Christ, I confess that I am a
sinner and do not deserve eternal life;
- I believe You died and rose from the grave to purchase a place in Heaven for me;
- Please come into my heart and take control of my life.
- Forgive my sins;
- I place my trust in You alone for salvation;
- I accept Your free gift of eternal life, and I thank you for it;
- I desire from this day on in everything, to seek the approval of my Lord, Amen!
If this prayer expresses what you truly believe in your heart, you have eternal life. In John 6:47, Jesus said: “ … anyone who believes in Me has eternal life.” You are a child of God. John 1:12 tells us “ … yet all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, speaks of those who receive eternal life, saying “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Congratulations! It is a good and wise decision to avoid hell and accept Heaven!
Now, what’s next? Just as a newborn baby grows physically, so you must grow spiritually, by taking the following steps:
- Read the Bible. The Bible says: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow …” (1 Peter 2:2). I recommend that you start with the Gospel of John, reading a chapter each day.
- Pray. It’s important that you spend time each day in talking with God. He tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God … (Philippians 4:6).
- Worship regularly in a church that honors Jesus Christ and teaches you the Bible. John 4:24 tells us “God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- Fellowship with Christians who will help you grow in faith. Hebrew 10: 25 tells us “Let us not give up meeting together … but let us encourage one another …” 1 John 1:3 tells us: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3).
- Witness by telling others Jesus Christ means to you! Jesus tells us, in Matthew 28: 19, 20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 24:42 … Therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. Proverbs 11:30 … he who wins souls is wise.
It Is Good to Know That …
Accepting the free gift of eternal life means that we will spend eternity (which never stops) in Heaven. Heaven is a place of splendor and brilliance. Words cannot describe its beauty. What does the Bible say about Heaven? Ecclesiastes 5:2 … for God is in heaven … ; Daniel 2:28 … but there is a God in heaven … ; Revelation 21:1-4,7 … then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God … I heard a loud voice … saying … “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will be passed away.” … He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son; Revelation 21:10-11 … and he … showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:18-19 … the wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. Revelation 21:21 … the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 21:23-25 … the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp … the nations will walk by its light … there will be no night there. Revelation 21:27 … nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 22:3,5 … No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
No doubt, out of gratitude to God for giving us the gift of eternal life and for saving us from an awful hell, we should serve God faithfully. We must help each other along the way!
Any day we are not in hell, which we rightfully deserve, is a good day. Let us therefore serve and obey God sincerely and go to Heaven. The alternative is hell. And, there is no possibility of parole from hell!
Come, let us go to heaven!
Nearly 2 billion people have never heard the Gospel. Please tell them!
(Please click on this link to learn what to tell them (in different languages … en diferentes idiomas)
Matthew/Mateo 28: 18-20 (NIV) … 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Mateo 28:18-20 Nueva Versión Internacional (NVI) … 18 Jesús se acercó entonces a ellos y les dijo:
—Se me ha dado toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra. 19 Por tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, 20 enseñándoles a obedecer todo lo que les he mandado a ustedes. Y les aseguro que estaré con ustedes siempre, hasta el fin del mundo.
The ultimate goal … La última meta …
Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Mateo 25:21 (NVI)
21 Su señor le respondió: “¡Hiciste bien, siervo bueno y fiel! En lo poco has sido fiel; te pondré a cargo de mucho más. ¡Ven a compartir la felicidad de tu señor!”
*Pictures are courtesy of Food For The Poor.
On Line Tracks
- On line tracks in various languages:
- English … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/english/
- French … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/french/
- German … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/german/
- Chinese … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/chinese/
- Russian … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/russian/
- Spanish … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/spanish/
- Online tracts … https://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/