Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

A NEW LOOK at the Resurrection from the Dead!

Is heaven the reward of the righteous, and hell fire the fate of sinners? Is there really "life" after "death"? What does the Bible teach about the "resurrection of the dead"? Where did the popular belief that the righteous go to heaven and sinners are plunged to hell come from? What is the truth? The mystery about the RESURRECTION from the dead is the CORNERSTONE of Bible prophecy, and the Christian Israelite hope! Yet nothing, it seems, is more misunderstood, than this simple truth!

by HOIM Staff

Satan has cleverly deceived mankind on just about every facet of YEHOVAH God's Plan -- so what is the truth about the HEREAFTER? As the patriarch Job asked, "If a man die, will he live again?" (Job 14:14). This is the question of the ages! Is there a "LIFE" after this present one?

Let us strip away the spiritual blinders Satan has used to hide the truth, and see what YEHOVAH's Word has to say on heaven, hell, and the resurrection from the dead! Just where did the popular belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die, and sinners are plunged to hell at death, come from? And how does this concept fit in with the teaching of a "resurrection from the dead"? Is there really LIFE after death? Or is this life "all there is" -- so go for it?

Satan has cleverly deceived mankind on just about every facet of YEHOVAH's Plan -- so what about the hereafter? Nothing could be more important to understand!

An ancient Babylonian legend tells of a young man, Etana, who was challenged by an eagle to soar to the heavenly abodes. Convinced that the eagle had a good idea, Etana, with the eagle, rose higher and higher into the sky until the whole earth looked like a mountain, people like dust specks, and the ocean like a gardener's small irrigation ditch.

As Etana flew higher, he finally reached the dwelling of Anu. The offended god, upset by the presence of a mere mortal in his heavenly abode, hurled Etana and the eagle down to Hades. So far as human legend is concerned, Etana's flight was certainly one of man's earliest recorded attempts to go to heavenly abodes. But like Satan's attempt to stage a coup, and take over YEHOVAH's Throne, Etana's flight to heaven ended in disaster!

Why is it that people want to "go to heaven"? What's so bad about the earth?

The belief in a heaven, or a hell beyond the grave, is a recognized tenet of the creeds of virtually all nations and races from the beginnings of recorded human history.

Pagan Concepts of the Afterlife

The heaven of the Hindu is absorption into Brahma. Moslems await paradise where they shall enjoy perpetual light and pleasure -- including physical pleasures, although the height of happiness will be seeing Allah face to face.

The ideas of various nations and peoples about heaven vary widely. The paradise of some primitive tribes in Australia is called "gum tree country." There, everything is better than in this world. The path to sky-land, they assert, is by way of the rays of the setting sun or the Milky Way.

Among pre-Christian Polynesians, paradise was sometimes thought of as being in a subterranean world, or inside the moon, or in the west, or on an island -- or even underwater. In Raratonga, warriors who died were thought to be living with the god Tiki in an underground region of fragrant shrubs and flowers, with limitless eating, drinking, dancing, and sleeping.

In North America, among the Delaware, Blackfeet, and Ojibwa Indians, those who broke tribal laws were banished to a gloomy region after death; others entered a happy life of bliss. To the North American Plains Indians, a future life was very real, but their understanding of it was vague and hazy. They believed one who died lived on in the afterlife just as he was in this world -- with the same passions, feelings, wishes, needs, and enmities.

Earliest Beliefs

From earliest times, men have wondered about an afterlife. In the caves of earliest man, the presence of objects to accompany the dead reveal a belief in life after death. In Neolithic cultures, evidence from specially constructed tombs provides even more proof of men's continual fascination with death and the hereafter.

Ancient Egyptian religious texts, called the Pyramid Texts, are mainly concerned with the desire of the dead to avoid leading a gloomy existence in the underworld. The august dead, supposedly, could dwell in the sky like the gods, voyaging with the sun god in his ship, or dwell in the Field of Iaru, the "fields of the blessed."

The Egyptians believed that the souls of the dead had to traverse a vast wilderness region called the Tuat, which was inhabited by gods, demons, fiends, evil spirits, wicked souls, snakes, monsters, etc. After successfully traversing this nether region, they would reach the presence of Osiris.

The dead were ushered into a Hall of Judgment presided over by Osiris. Those receiving a favorable verdict were, after several purifying ordeals, transported to the fields of Alu to enjoy perennial life under the shadow of the tree of life, the sycamore of Nut. However, the condemned were dismembered, undergoing a "second death," tortured by burning coals, plunged into deep waters, and cut into pieces by sharp swords. Declares Kohler: "We have here the very origin of the Inferno and Paradiso" (Kaufmann Kohler, Heaven and Hell in Comparative Religion, p. 23).

But, if the earliest evidence shows the concept of a heaven and hell after death originating in ancient paganism, where did today's professing Christian world obtain its doctrines of heaven and hell? Are these doctrines pagan myths carried over by theological orthodoxy into modern times? Does the Biblical record affirm these ancient beliefs?

Shocking as it may seem, the Bible says something altogether different from what millions have supposed. Satan, the great deceiver and enemy of YEHOVAH God, has indeed deceived the whole world as to YEHOVAH's Plan and the truth about the hereafter!

Shocking Scriptures

If the Bible teaches that the righteous go to heaven when they die, then certainly such Biblical heroes as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, and Daniel must be in heaven right now. Yet, hundreds of years after all those great men died, and when Yeshua the Messiah began his public ministry, he remarked to his disciples, "No man hath ascended up to heaven..." (John 3:13).

After the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the apostle Peter told a large crowd of people in Jerusalem, on Pentecost, A.D. 31, that David "is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day." He added, so that he would not be misunderstood, "For David is NOT ascended into the heavens..." (Acts 2:29, 34).

These two scriptures disprove the fond illusions and cherished beliefs of millions of people who assume that the Bible teaches that the righteous go to heaven when they die!

David was a man after YEHOVAH's own heart (Acts 13:22). Yet the Scriptures plainly state that he did NOT "go to heaven." The only one who ever "went to heaven" other than the Messiah was the Devil, and he was eventually kicked out!

Then where did David go? What really happened to David and the Biblical patriarchs?

Let's strip away the spiritual blinders Satan has used to hide the truth, and see what YEHOVAH's Word has to say on this subject.

The Reward of the Righteous

To begin to answer these questions, the apostle Paul made an important statement in the book of Galatians. He asserted: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).

Christians, then, since ONLY Israelites are called by YEHOVAH God, are Abraham's physical "children" or "seed." They are to inherit something that was "promised." To learn what Christian Israelites are to inherit, then we must see what was promised to Abraham.

The biography of Abraham is recorded in the book of Genesis. Abraham left the sophisticated city of Ur of the Chaldees to journey to the land of Canaan toward the west. He determined to obey YEHOVAH God and do the things He commanded.

YEHOVAH, in return for Abraham's obedience and submission to his way, made a specific promise to Abraham and his descendants. "And the LORD said unto Abram...Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the LAND which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Genesis 13:14-15).

YEHOVAH later confirmed the promises to Abraham (Genesis 21:13; 22:15-18) and made the same promise to Isaac, Abraham's son (Genesis 26:2-5). Notice that this promise primarily included an inheritance of land forever. In order to inherit this land forever, eternal life also must have been part of the promise!

The promise made to Abraham, then, was the land of Canaan, which he and his "seed" would inherit for all eternity. This, then, is the promise which all Christian Israelites, as the seed of Abraham, are to inherit!

New Testament Evidence

This same promise is reaffirmed in the New Testament. Yeshua plainly told his disciples: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

In the book of Revelation, we read the crystal clear statement: "...you [the Messiah] were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons [Israelites] for God OUT OF every tribe and tongue and people and nation [where they were dispersed], and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth" (Revelation 5:9-10, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).

The Psalms of David also make this truth clear. David wrote: "For evil men will be cut off, but those who look to the LORD -- they shall inherit the LAND" (Psalm 37:9, The Tanakh). This entire psalm is full of similar references. Verse 29 adds: "The righteous shall inherit the LAND, and dwell therein for ever."

However, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and all the rest of the patriarchs are still waiting to receive what was promised to them. To this very day, they have not yet inherited the land of Palestine.

In the book of Hebrews we read: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed....By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise..." (Hebrews 11:8-9).

Notice further that these all "died in faith, not having received the promises" (verse 13). Also: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise..." (verse 39).

Clearly, then, the idea of the righteous going to heaven when they die is not Biblical. But what about the belief that evildoers are cast into an ever-burning hell?

Common Ideas

A Gallup survey in 1967 showed that 68 percent of Americans believe in heaven, but only 54 percent are persuaded of the reality of hell. Why the difference? Probably, many of those who believe in a heaven simply cannot bring themselves to think that a loving, merciful God could consign any poor wretch to a place of eternal torment!

A survey in New Zealand indicated that six out of ten believe hell is a state of mind. Only 26 percent believed hell was a literal place.

Interviewers of passersby on the street in San Francisco obtained the following descriptions when asked: "How do you picture hell?"

First person: "Honestly, I have doubts there is such a place. I feel hell is a means of scaring people, so they will lead a better life....If there is such a place, I suppose it is craggy and filled with people feeding furnaces or breaking rocks."

Second person: "When I was young I had a clear picture of what hell is like -- flames and a devil with horns and a pitch fork. But a person gets over this, just as he does with Santa Claus."

Third person: "The idea of hell is one of the greatest means in the world for teaching children good. Personally, however, I think it is just a Biblical term." (What did he mean by that?)

Fourth person: "I would rather not think about it."

Fifth person: "I have never thought of it except as I have seen it staged in operas or plays."

Sixth person: "I picture hell as a big, hot, uncomfortable desert. I think it does exist. Not down in the ground. But since Someone put us here, then He could easily have a place for us afterward."

Seventh person: "Hell is a place of unhappy confinement, like a prison. Not necessarily with flames. More a torment of the spirit. I believe it is an actual area, although not necessarily down any more than heaven must be up."

All of these were interesting comments. But what about you? Are you one of those who would rather not think about it? Is the thought of "hell" too much for your mind to stand?

Baffled Theologians

Today even theologians are perplexed. Most do not believe in a literal "hell." Said one: "The essence of hell is separation from God -- not really torture, but torment."

Another described hell as "a condition of human existence." Still another said: "I am fully convinced that Satan as an independent personality does not make sense in the 20th century..." He asserted that many theologians "argue that the devil is out-of-date." One minister claimed hell is "the loss of communication, insensitivity to spiritual values, the realization of how far short of our capacities we have fallen, the memory of some of the things we have done."

What abysmal confusion! Isn't it time we learned the TRUTH?

There is no reason why you should remain ignorant. The Bible speaks plainly about the subject of "hell." The truth about "hell" will astound you! There really is a "hell" according to the Bible -- but it is not what you have been taught!

The Two Extremes

There are two extremes concerning "hell" in the world. One totally denies that hell exists. It passes hell off as a mere ancient superstition which has no relevance whatsoever to modern life!

The other extreme, believed in by most so-called Bible fundamentalists, pictures hell as a terrible place of never-ending torment. It is ruled over by the devil and his demons who gleefully "roast" sinners like millions of wieners on a barbecue spit. According to this concept, there is a constant weeping, wailing, crying, cursing, shrieking and screaming coming from the mouths of those in hell. Their torment is for all eternity. They are forever doomed!

But consider: If this concept is true, and if all sinners or non-Christians go to such a fiery place of torment, doesn't it strike you as unjust and unmerciful since MOST OF THE WORLD IS (FOR MOST OF ALL TIME) NON-CHRISTIAN?

Look at the world! Most of its population of 4.6 billion inhabitants are Buddhists, Moslems, Taoists, Hindus, primitivists, atheists, animists, Communists, etc., etc. The Bible says none out of Israel can be saved unless they believe -- and obey -- Yeshua the Messiah (Acts 4:12).

Therefore, if only Christian Israelites can be saved, and if all others are doomed to the fires of a never-ending hell, that must mean that the VAST MAJORITY of mankind has been and is DOOMED!

Doesn't such a concept picture Satan the devil as frightfully more powerful, successful, and intelligent than YEHOVAH God? Doesn't it picture YEHOVAH as being woefully impotent and weak, incapable of doing His job?

Something is surely wrong with such a concept of hell! The Bible reveals that YEHOVAH God is ALL POWERFUL -- the ALMIGHTY God. Satan can do nothing unless YEHOVAH permits it (Isaiah 14:12-14, Luke 10:17, Job 1:8-12). When the Messiah himself commanded the devil to leave, he immediately slunk away (Matthew 4:1-11).

YEHOVAH God is also ALL MERCIFUL. He is a God of LOVE (I John 4:8-10). Therefore, it is totally inconceivable that such a mighty, merciful God would allow Satan to thwart His plan, that He would allow billions of human beings to be lost and doomed to hell, even though they NEVER HEARD the name of Yeshua the Messiah even so much as uttered during their whole lives! Such a God would not be a God of love, but a sadistic monster, an evil fiend!

Thank YEHOVAH that such a concept of "hell" is totally erroneous -- and the Bible proves it so.

The Greek Words for "Hell"

Actually, there are three Greek words used in the Bible, all of them translated "hell." They do NOT refer to the same thing. Their meanings are totally different. One word is tartaroo. It is used only once in the entire Bible -- II Peter 2:4 -- and refers to the condition of restraint of the fallen angels. It never refers to men!

The second Greek word often translated "hell," in English, is hades. The word hades comes from two roots which literally mean ''unseen," "unknown," "unperceived," or "unconsidered." It always refers to the grave, the place the dead are buried! You can see the connection easily. When a dead person is buried, he is out of sight, unseen -- no longer known or perceived. He is gone. The word hades is never used in the Bible to refer to gehenna fire, or the final hell fire! It always refers to the GRAVE! The Old Testament Hebrew word translated "hell" is sheol. It has the same meaning as hades and refers to a grave or pit or hole in the ground.

Hades (the grave) is the "hell" the Messiah was in for three days (Acts 2:26-27). The Moffatt translation renders this verse: "because thou wilt not forsake my soul in the grave, nor let thy holy one suffer decay." (When the King James translation of the Bible was made, Englishmen commonly spoke of putting potatoes in "hell" for the winter. They used the word to refer to a pit or hole in the ground.)

The King James translators themselves knew that hades meant "grave." They so translated it in I Corinthians 15:55. It could not possibly refer to the lake of fire or gehenna, because we read in Revelation 20:14 that "death and hell (hades, the GRAVE)" will both be cast into "the lake of fire." Hades, then, refers to the grave -- the abode of the dead -- not YEHOVAH's final punishment upon the wicked!

Hades is the "hell" that every human being, except those who are alive and changed to meet the Messiah at his future coming, goes to when they die! All men alike, saint and sinner, rich and poor, kings and slaves, whether white, black, brown or yellow, go to this "hell" when they die. No one escapes!

Solomon explained it clearly: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place [THE GRAVE]; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again" (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).

Think on that a moment. If men go to a fiery hell when they die, then so do cats, dogs, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks, deer, elk, moose, and every kind of animal! Isn't it ridiculous to think "good" animals go to heaven, but "bad" animals go to hell forever and ever? Animals don't sin. But Solomon said men have the same fate as animals -- one is no better than the other in death. Both go to the grave and turn to dust after they die!

Solomon understood. He declared: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Solomon said in verse 10: "For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

How clear, then. When people die, they go to the GRAVE and remain there. Their bodies turn to dust. The Bible says nothing about them being plunged instantaneously into a fiery "hell." "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," YEHOVAH says (Genesis 3:19).

Yet there is one more Greek word translated "hell" which we have not covered. And it does indeed refer to a fiery type of hell fire!

Let's notice just what this "hell" is, when it occurs, and how long it lasts -- and who will be sent there!

"Gehenna" -- "Hell Fire"

What is the fate of the wicked, those who reject YEHOVAH God and despise the Messiah?

John the Baptist spoke about the final fate or destiny of the wicked. Seeing evil-minded, blasphemous Pharisees and their ilk coming around him as he preached the Gospel, John was moved to exclaim: "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet [fitting] for repentance" (Matthew 3:78). He thundered to these hypocrites, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (verse 10). Speaking of Yeshua the Messiah, he said, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will BURN UP the chaff with unquenchable fire" (verse 12).

Here John described the fate of the wicked. Like worthless brush, thistles, or the chaff of the threshing floor, they will ultimately be cast into a fire and burned up! This fire doesn't just "singe," or scorch; it thoroughly CONSUMES whatever is cast into it!

What strange fire was John talking about? Let's read on, and see what Yeshua himself had to say about this mystery.

Yeshua first mentioned hell in Matthew 5, the "Sermon on the Mount." Yeshua declared, "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, ["vain fellow"] shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of HELL FIRE" (verse 22).

What "hell" was Yeshua talking about? And what did he mean by these strange-sounding remarks? The Greek word for "hell" Yeshua used in these verses is geenna (usually spelled and pronounced Gehenna), and refers to the ancient dwelling place of the sons of Hinnom, a valley just outside the city of Jerusalem which came to be used as a garbage dump or rubbish pit. Filthy, dirty garbage, dead bodies, and corpses of criminals were thrown into this valley and burned up. Yeshua used this figurative expression as a symbol of the final HELL FIRE which will consume the bodies of the incorrigibly wicked!

But when will the wicked perish in this fire? When will unrepentant sinners be cast into Gehenna fire? And what about the millions of Israelites who have lived, and died, never understanding the truth of YEHOVAH, who never even heard about Yeshua the Messiah?

And what about the saints -- those who will "inherit the earth"? What about those who will receive salvation, and eternal life? When will this happen? Just how will the plan of YEHOVAH God work out? Let's turn to the Book of Revelation, and see what YEHOVAH says! The truth is far more wonderful, and more glorious, than you have ever imagined possible!

First of all, when will the patriarchs, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with Moses, Enoch, Samuel, Joshua, David, and the Old Testament servants of YEHOVAH God, along with true Christians -- those Israelites who truly follow the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah, repent of their sins, and accept him as savior -- receive the promises? When will we receive ETERNAL LIFE and SALVATION?

Notice the answers!

The Incredible FIRST Resurrection

The apostle Paul stated an important truth in the "resurrection chapter" of the Bible -- he declared in no uncertain words, speaking of the hope of the resurrection: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [the literal Greek says "firstfruit," singular, not plural]; afterward they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING. Then cometh the END, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father..." (I Corinthians 15:22-24).

Notice! When the Messiah appears from heaven, the SAINTS will inherit their reward! Many Scriptures spell out this wonderful truth. In this same chapter, Paul goes on, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (vs. 51-52). Paul explained further to the Thessalonians, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall RISE FIRST: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The "last trumpet" is the seventh trumpet, blown at the future coming of Yeshua the Messiah! In the book of Revelation, we read the words of the apostle John about this awesome, mind-boggling, staggering event: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH God], and of His Christ: and He [YEHOVAH God] shall reign for ever and ever....And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, both small and great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:15-18).

At the Olivet prophecy, Yeshua the Messiah himself declared of this awesome event, when he comes to this earth: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels, with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven [the sky] to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31).

This is the FIRST RESURRECTION! It occurs at the future coming of the Messiah!

John writes of this incredible event: "And I saw thrones, and they [the saints, the ones resurrected at the Messiah's coming!] sat on them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them [Israelites] that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS. But the rest of the dead lived not again UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED. This is the FIRST resurrection" (Revelation 20:4-5).

This is the first resurrection! Of that, there can be no doubt whatsoever! It is the resurrection of the saints at the coming of the Messiah, at the beginning of the Millennium, or "thousand year reign" of Yeshua and YEHOVAH God the Father!

John goes on, regarding these saints, and those who are in the first resurrection: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of [YEHOVAH] God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (v. 6).

When the Messiah appears on this earth, the patriarchs and truly converted Israelite Christians will be raised from their graves. At that time, Yeshua will reward the righteous of the Israelites, and they will then assist him in ruling over the entire earth for 1,000 years (see Revelation 20:4; Daniel 2:44 and 7:27).

The SECOND RESURRECTION!

In the 20th chapter of Revelation we find a brief summary of YEHOVAH's plan for the future. When the Messiah appears, Satan the devil will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3), the saints will be resurrected, and they will reign on the earth with him and the Father for one thousand years (verses 4-5).

"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," the apostle John writes (verse 5). Therefore, at the end of the thousand years, all those Israelites who lived and died, who were not saints, will be resurrected. This tremendous resurrection, of an untold number of Israelites, is recounted in verses 11 and 12:

"And I saw a GREAT WHITE THRONE, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

Notice. This is a resurrection to life. The book of LIFE was opened. Those coming up in this resurrection will be judged "according to their works"! This is not a resurrection to condemnation -- but it is a resurrection to JUDGMENT!

Who are all these people who will stand before YEHOVAH God at the END of the Millennial reign of YEHOVAH God, the Messiah and the saints? They will be the uncountable number of Israelites who lived and died in this life, who did not qualify to be in the FIRST RESURRECTION, at the return of the Messiah -- to be a part of the "firstfruits" of YEHOVAH God! The vast majority of them never even had a chance for salvation -- they grew up, lived and died in a foreign society which didn't have the knowledge of YEHOVAH, or His truth. They are those who lived and died in ignorance, those who never even heard the true Gospel of the Messiah during their lives! At that future time they will be "judged" according to their works, and most will be given a period of time to repent of their misdeeds in this life, to be re-educated, and to qualify for eventual salvation and eternal life! In that future resurrection, YEHOVAH God will open their eyes, show them His truth, and give them their first and only chance for salvation!

Yeshua the Messiah put the truth plainly. He stated: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the DEAD [Israelites] shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live...Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the RESURRECTION OF LIFE" -- this is the first resurrection, which occurs at the future coming of the Messiah!

But notice! Yeshua goes on, concerning the REST of the dead: "And they that have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:25-29). The King James uses the word "damnation" here, but the Greek word means "judgment." This means that all the Israelites who have ever lived will be JUDGED by the Messiah based on how they conducted their lives. Those who were really evil, to the core -- perhaps like an Ahab, or Amon, or serial killers, or others who gave their lives over to do EVIL -- will be condemned to the "second death" -- the lake of fire called "Gehenna"!

Others, who have not been so wicked, who did a mixture of good as well as evil in their lives, but who never understood the truth of YEHOVAH God, or knew the name of the Messiah, whose lives were in reality a "mixture" of good and evil, will be given a chance to repent, and live out their lives in the flesh, to prove whether or not they will obey YEHOVAH. Not all will be condemned! In fact, in all probability, MOST of the millions of Israel, given this first "real chance" at salvation, will probably jump at the chance, deeply repent, and eventually qualify for salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH!

This second resurrection will not just be a time of universal condemnation. It will be a time of JUDGMENT!

Notice the proof of this! John writes of this resurrection: "And I saw the dead [all the Israelites who ever lived], small and great, stand before God; and the BOOKS were opened [containing the record of their deeds and misdeeds, both good and bad]: and another book was opened, which is the BOOK OF LIFE: and the dead were JUDGED out of those things written in the books, according to their WORKS" (Revelation 20:12).

Some of these will be Gentile [Israelite] dead, who never understood YEHOVAH's Law -- who lived and died in ignorance and total darkness. Some of them, because of the internal "conscience" which they developed during their lives, were basically "good" people. Paul writes about them in Romans, chapter 2, where he says: "For when the Gentiles [Israelites -- the 10 Northern Tribes in dispersion], which have not the law, do by nature those things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew forth the work of the law written in their hearts, their CONSCIENCE bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall JUDGE the secrets of men by Jesus Christ..." (Romans 2:14-16).

This will be a time of judgment -- but not a time of total condemnation. YEHOVAH will at this time extend the possibility of salvation to all those Israelites who ever lived who never KNEW YEHOVAH, or anything at all about "salvation" -- or who were deceived by the false religions of this world, and never really had opportunity to truly be "saved" in this present life!

Yeshua spoke also of this time of judgment, when all the nations of Israel (and those Israelites in dispersion) that ever existed will be judged, in Matthew's gospel. Notice! He declared to the Jews of His time: "The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south [queen of Sheba] shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 13:41-42).

In another place, Yeshua also rebuked those of his own generation, those among the Jewish people who rejected his proof of Messiahship. We read: "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his might works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for Tyre and Sidon at the DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for you.

"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for thee" (Matthew 11:20-24).

Notice! One generation, one people, will actually condemn another. One will be judged much more harshly and severely than another. Why? Because the sins of some are greater than the sins of others! That is the principle Yeshua is stating here. Some will be judged and condemned, while others will receive comparatively light punishment. Not all sins are sins unto death. Only those Israelites who have "sinned unto death," or committed the "unpardonable sin," and given themselves over to gross evil and wickedness, in YEHOVAH God's sight, will be cast into the lake of fire, at that judgment period. All others will be warned, taught the truth of YEHOVAH, shown their sins, and will be allowed to repent, make amends, and to have a "new chance" to obey YEHOVAH, and to prove themselves before Him!

Is this a "second chance"? Not really. The point is, they were never called of YEHOVAH during this life. Therefore, they never really had a "first chance." That period of judgment will BE their "first chance" for salvation!

Although most evangelists don't understand this truth, and most evangelical Christians think this is the ONLY "day of salvation," the truth is, THEY ARE WRONG!

The "Great White Throne judgment" which occurs after the Millennial reign of Yeshua and the Father, when all the dead Israelites who ever lived are resurrected to physical, human life, will be a VAST OPPORTUNITY FOR SALVATION FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who never understood YEHOVAH's truth and His plan! Having never understood it, they never rejected it, or turned away from it, or denied it!

The truth is, only a limited "few" Israelites are "called" of YEHOVAH, now, during this lifetime. Only a comparative few are given their chance for salvation now, at this time, to be part of the "firstfruits of God," when the Messiah comes! The rest of the Israelite people will be judged for their deeds during this life, all right, at the Great White Throne judgment -- and will then receive their chance for salvation!

This is NOT the "Only Day of Salvation"!

This is not the ONLY day of salvation!

As Paul wrote, to the Corinthians, quoting Isaiah in the Old Testament, "For he saith, I have heard thee in A TIME ACCEPTED, and in the [the word "the" is a mistranslation, and ought to be "A"] day of salvation have I succored thee..." (II Corinthians 6:2). The Englishman's Greek Interlinear New Testament shows there is no article "the" in the Greek connected with the word "salvation," and the line ought to read, "In A time accepted I listened to thee, and in A DAY of salvation I helped thee." The rest of the verse ought to read: "lo, now is a time well-accepted; now is a time of salvation."

This passage is quoted from the prophet Isaiah. His original words were: "Thus saith the LORD, in AN ACCEPTABLE TIME have I heard thee, and in A DAY OF SALVATION have I helped thee..." (Isaiah 49:8).

The Protestant idea that all must accept the Messiah now, before they die, as savior, or they will burn in hell for all eternity, is a FALSE, PAGAN CONCEPT! It is totally erroneous, and makes a mockery of both the power of YEHOVAH God, and the love of YEHOVAH! Do you think Almighty God would create millions, maybe billions of Israelites, and then allow Satan to deceive the vast overwhelming majority of them, causing them to lose out on salvation, so that they will be cast into Gehenna fire? Such a fantasy pictures Satan as overwhelmingly more powerful than YEHOVAH God!

Let me assure you: YEHOVAH is in complete control of His Creation! Nothing can happen without His express permission, or contrary to His will. Even the suffering in this world, YEHOVAH permits, to teach mankind the difference between good and evil, right and wrong -- in a way that we will never forget it!

The Final Fate of the Incorrigibly Wicked

But now, notice what will happen to those Israelites who don't qualify for eternal life, at this time -- those who were so evil that they lose out on salvation, and whose final judgment is to be destroyed and put to death in the lake of Gehenna fire. This same Great White Throne judgment scene continues, in Revelation 20, in the verses which immediately follow:

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [hades, meaning "the grave"] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:13-15).

Here are those of the second resurrection who do NOT qualify for eternal life -- those who have been incorrigibly wicked. They will be cast into Gehenna fire!

Isaiah tells us more about this second resurrection period. He describes it thus:

"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a job...There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; BUT THE SINNER being a hundred years old shall be ACCURSED" (Isaiah 65:17-20).

Notice carefully. This "second resurrection" judgment will evidently last at least ONE HUNDRED YEARS, during which time Israelite people will live out normal lives, children will grow up, and there will be homes, towns, villages, and cities. All people will have a fullness of days, to prove to YEHOVAH God whether or not they are deserving of eternal life in His kingdom! This may mean the period itself will last at least one hundred years. But any who are still "sinners," at the end of one hundred years, will be ACCURSED! That is, they will be judged worthy of the lake of fire, the punishment of Gehenna!

As Malachi wrote: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3).

This awesome fire that will consume and annihilate the wicked is called the "second death" (Revelation 20:14). It is the FINAL DEATH from which there is no resurrection! This death is the penalty of sin (Romans 6:23). It is the death Yeshua the Messiah came to spare all Israelites from!

John writes, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

The Tremendous Holocaust

What about this "hell fire?" Where will it be? How hot? How big? How long will it last?

Peter helps us understand. "But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10).

Notice verse 7: "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men"!

How plain. This great fire is the same as the "lake of fire," mentioned in Revelation, when YEHOVAH God judges the incorrigibly wicked. It will sweep around the entire earth! The elements themselves will be dissolved, the surface of the earth will be purged and consumed with tremendous heat. Every remnant of man's sin, every sign of iniquity, every last trace of evil will be devoured by the heat of this fire.

Then there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which the immortal, ever living sons of YEHOVAH God will live and reign, throughout all eternity (Revelation 21:12).

But the incorrigibly wicked, those who deliberately persist in rebellion against YEHOVAH when they know better, will have no part in it. They will be annihilated in the lake of fire! YEHOVAH will never entrust the awesome powers of the God-Family to rebellious, selfish, spiteful, proud and perverse men who have repudiated His love and despised His government throughout their lives.

Those who refuse YEHOVAH's mercy, those who refuse to repent when they receive YEHOVAH's truths, will be blotted out of existence! Actually, this punishment will be merciful for them. How much better it will be for them to simply die, rather than to have to suffer the agony of living forever and SEEING what they have missed out on, forever.

YEHOVAH God is not a cruel, harsh monster. Nor is He vindictive. He does not intend to torment the wicked of Israel for all eternity. Rather, He is going to punish them for their sins, in justice -- and give them merciful death instead of endless pain and eternal agony in some man-devised "hell"!

"But the wicked shall PERISH, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away" (Psalm 37:20). This describes the true fate of the wicked.

These are not just my words. These are the words of YEHOVAH God!

Is "Hell" Everlasting?

In the book of Matthew, Yeshua the Messiah twice uses the expression "everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8; 25:41). Notice 25:41 -- "Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

What did Yeshua mean by "everlasting"? The Bible does not contradict itself (John 10:35). Yeshua used a Greek word -- aionios -- which comes from the Greek aion, meaning an "AGE." The word aion is translated "AGES" in Ephesians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26. The aionios fire Yeshua spoke of refers to the age-ending fire which will occur at "the end of this world," and which will introduce the "world to come"! It is an epochal event!

This is why Yeshua calls it aionios or age-lasting fire! The translation "everlasting" is misleading, since the fire itself will not burn forever. Obviously not, since YEHOVAH's Word clearly shows that when the present earth is purged and purified, it will be refashioned into a resplendent NEW EARTH!

Notice a Bible example which proves Yeshua was not talking about an "everlasting" fire, in the sense people assume. Turn to Jude 7, where the identical Greek word, "aionios," is used, but where it is translated "eternal fire." Read this verse carefully: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

Jude said the destruction of these two cities is an example for us. Their fate depicts the fate of all the wicked, at the end of the age! They suffered -- notice it -- the vengeance of "ETERNAL fire." Now, what happened to these two ill-fated cities?

Read the answer in the book of Genesis. "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire [a type of the "lake of fire''!] from the LORD out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the in habitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground....And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace (Genesis 19:24-28).

This terrible destruction is a direct type of the age-end fire which will consume and annihilate the wicked! But did you notice? Jude calls this ancient punishment "eternal fire" -- yet, the fire which devoured these cities in ancient times is not still burning in Palestine today! It burned itself out, long, long ago! Nevertheless, the awesome EFFECT of this tremendous fire IS "eternal" -- and is a witness for us, today!

Now you should be able to understand what the expression "everlasting" fire or "eternal" fire means. It does not mean the fire itself will burn forever, any more than the "eternal" fire which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah is still burning, today. Rather, this expression refers to a great AGE ENDING FIRE, whose awesome EFFECT will be eternal! The fire itself will not last forever, but its effect is complete, total, and permanent destruction!

But if this is the case, some will wonder, what about the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? Wasn't the rich man cast into an ever-burning fire?

What about this story?

Lazarus and the Rich Man

In Luke 16:19-31 the Messiah gives the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. "There was a certain rich man [the Messiah meant there really was] who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day...there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores...and it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame..."

This story says Lazarus died and was carried to Abraham's "bosom." What exactly is a bosom? If we can find out what a "bosom" is -- in this case Abraham's -- we will know where the beggar was taken.

Any dictionary will tell you that a bosom is the breast of a human being, with the arms as an enclosure; a loving embrace by the arms of one person about another; an intimate relationship. Lazarus then, was carried into an intimate relationship with Abraham. Lazarus is pictured here as a Gentile (an Israelite of the Northern 10 Tribes) who received salvation, by becoming the Messiah's follower or disciple. Notice "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed (children), and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).

Through the Messiah, all Israelites -- past and present -- are truly Abraham's children. Only physical Israelites who are of the faith are to be considered true "children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7).

The Promise to Abraham

Abraham is a heir of YEHOVAH God. YEHOVAH gave Abraham a promise and his children will become heirs of it. But what was this promise that Abraham will receive, and the beggar who is his heir?

In Genesis 12 we read where YEHOVAH told Abraham of the land of Canaan: "...Unto thy seed will I give this land." The land of Canaan is called Palestine today. Again, later YEHOVAH God promised Abraham: "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed FOREVER" (Genesis 13:15).

The promise was not heaven. The promise YEHOVAH gave to Abraham was the land of Palestine, on this earth. It was forever, so the promise given to Abraham and his seed included eternal life, and eternal inheritance in the Promised Land!

The beggar, like all Israelites past and present, is an heir to the promise to Abraham.

In Acts 7, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, speaks of Abraham: "And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our Father Abraham...and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into THE LAND which I will show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans...into this land, wherein ye now dwell [Palestine]. And He gave him none inheritance in it...yet He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him."

This truth is also stated in Hebrew 11:8-13: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed;...By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise...These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, but having seen them afar off..."

In John 8:52 we read "Abraham is dead" -- Notice: Abraham was not up in heaven, but dead, in the days of the Messiah!

The Messiah said Abraham would receive the promises, including eternal life, through the RESURRECTION: "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matthew 22:31-32).

Yeshua told the Pharisees they would see Abraham in the Kingdom because Abraham, now dead, will be RESURRECTED from the dead (Luke 13:28).

Abraham is dead, and so is the beggar. When will they receive the promises? Both will receive the promises at the resurrection when the Messiah appears to set up his Father's Kingdom: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations [of Israel]: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:31-34).

Carried by Angels

In Luke's account we read where Lazarus was to be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom. We know that Lazarus is in a state of sleep as is Abraham awaiting the coming of the Messiah when the resurrection will occur. In Matthew 24:31 we read that Yeshua shall "send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds" -- out of their graves in a RESURRECTION. Lazarus and Abraham are to be carried by the angels through the air to meet the Messiah, at his return.

There is no doubt as to how the Bible uses the word "bosom." In Isaiah 40:11 YEHOVAH God shows He will care for His people as a shepherd cares for his sheep, which He will carry "in his bosom."

Yeshua says he was in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), enjoying the Father's blessings and close relationship. To be in one's bosom is to have that one's love and protection, and share his blessings and inheritance. So it will be at the RESURRECTION that Lazarus will be in Abraham's bosom.

The Rich Man in "Hell"

What did Yeshua mean when he said "...the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments..." (Luke 16:22-23).

The Greek word used for "hell" in this verse is hades which I have already shown to mean "grave" or "tomb." Yeshua said, "When the rich man lifts up his eyes he will see Lazarus and Abraham." Lazarus and Abraham will not be together till the resurrection -- this is when the rich man will open up his eyes and see them.

Daniel speaks of the resurrection of the just, and of the unjust: "And many of them that sleep [their eyes are closed while sleeping] in the dust of the earth [their graves -- buried -- in "hades"], shall awake [lift up their eyes] some to everlasting life [Lazarus and Abraham] and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2).

Yeshua said: "...the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE: and they that have done evil [including the rich man], unto the RESURRECTION OF JUDGMENT" (John 5:28-29).

Here Yeshua speaks of TWO DIFFERENT, SEPARATE RESURRECTIONS. The first resurrection will be of the righteous Israelites at the Messiah's coming and the resurrection of judgment of the rest of the Israelites will occur one thousand years later -- after the Millennium!

So, while Yeshua in speaking about the rich man and Lazarus, did not say WHEN the rich man will open his eyes and be resurrected out of his grave, other scriptures do reveal that it will be after the Millennium! This story of Lazarus and the rich man does not contradict everything else we have read in the Bible. It does not support an eternal, subterranean, pagan "hell" or the "hell" of Dante's Inferno, or the Roman Catholic concept of "hell." Not at all! Notice further!

What Is This Flame?

When the rich man is resurrected after the Millennium, along with the rest of the "wicked," he will open his eyes and see Lazarus and Abraham. But he will also see a mighty wall of fire, a massive, incredible inferno of flames and billowing smoke -- a tremendous fire, approaching him. What is this fire -- this "flame" which torments him? In what sense is he "tormented"?

This is no doubt the Age-ending, incredible "Gehenna" fire -- the "lake of fire" -- that YEHOVAH God Almighty will use to destroy the incorrigibly wicked! This is the second death, which will be by incredible fire. This death is for all eternity! ETERNAL PUNISHMENT -- but not eternal punishing!

When the rich man opens his eyes, he will see Lazarus in Abraham's bosom -- his embrace. He will also see this awful flame of fire -- this lake of fire which is about to destroy him forever! He becomes terrified. His mouth suddenly becomes very dry, and his tongue sticks to his mouth. The rich man cries out in mental anguish, "Father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

The rich man will be in a condition of WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH at this time, for he knows he is about to be burned up and destroyed! Yeshua said this same thing to the Pharisees in Luke 13:27-28: "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."

What Is the Great Gulf?

Yeshua continues the story of the rich man in verse 25, describing what Abraham would say to the rich man. That he had his reward in material things he sought and craved, in this life, and because of his wicked choices, he is now doomed!

The "great gulf" mentioned in verse 26 by Abraham, represents IMMORTALITY which prevents the wicked from escaping death by hell fire and also keeps the righteous from being burned.

The rich man, realizing he is doomed, in verse 27, now asks if Abraham would send Lazarus to his father's house to plead with his brothers, lest they come to his terrible fate. Abraham replied they had the writings of Moses and the prophets. But the rich man realized they would not hear these Scriptures. "Nay, Father Abraham," he screamed, "but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent!" (Verse 30).

Obviously, the rich man, having just come up out of his grave, having been DEAD and insensate for untold hundreds or thousands of years, had absolutely not the vaguest idea -- no idea at all -- of the passage of time while he had been dead. He assumed his brothers were still alive. In talking to Abraham, it seemed to him only a split second between his death and his resurrection. Therefore he assumed his brothers were still alive.

The rich man, however, knew Lazarus was RAISED FROM THE DEAD! This one statement proves that the whole experience of Lazarus and the rich man was given by Yeshua to show the truth of the resurrection -- not to teach any immediate going to "heaven" or "hell" at the instant of death. It demonstrates the mortality of the wicked, who will die, and be DEAD for all eternity -- as opposed to the eternal life which will be enjoyed by the righteous, such as Lazarus.

This amazing parable of the Messiah does not teach an eternal punishing in an imaginary "hell" of Dante, but rather the annihilation of the wicked in Gehenna fire at the end of the age!

"Unquenchable Fire"

Another much misunderstood scripture is Mark 9:43 where Yeshua speaks of "the fire that never shall be quenched." Does this mean the fire burns forever?

Not at all. Take a match, light it and set a piece of paper on fire. Let it burn. Don't put it out, or snuff it out. Just let the paper burn, until it burns up. Soon it will burn itself out. Now, what do you have? A burned-up piece of paper. But did you put it out? Did you "quench" it? No. You left it unquenched. It was not quenched. Not at all!

Even so, the final Gehenna fire will not be "quenched," or "put out." Nevertheless, in time, it will burn itself out when the wicked and all their wicked works are burned up!

Any fire will go out when it runs out of fuel. That's the way the final Gehenna fire will be. In time, it will naturally burn itself out!

There you have it. The fate of the wicked of Israel, in the Bible, is death -- the second death in the lake of fire. The wicked will die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Their consciousness will be destroyed for all eternity. They will have no feelings, thoughts, emotions. They will be dust and ashes under the feet of the righteous! As we have seen before, man is composed of dust. He is dust. He does not have an immortal soul abiding within him. Therefore, when the wicked are destroyed, there will be nothing left of them to show they ever existed.

Only those Israelites who obey YEHOVAH God -- who really repent of their sins, and turn to YEHOVAH in true heartfelt repentance and obey His commandments, accepting Yeshua the Messiah as their savior and redeemer -- will inherit eternal life (John 3:16). True Christians and saints of YEHOVAH God will receive this gift at the appearance of Yeshua the Messiah, at the "first resurrection."

All others Israelites will come up in an awesome general resurrection of the remaining Israelite dead, at the END of the Millennial age. Some -- perhaps the vast majority who ever lived, even millions of Israelites -- will learn YEHOVAH's truth, repent, and qualify for eternal life.

But the truly wicked, the incorrigibly wicked Israelites, those who demonstrated by their wicked and malicious works that they would never fit in YEHOVAH's Kingdom, will be punished by being cast into Gehenna fire. They will die the "second death." For them, there will be no more resurrection -- ever!

Do you see? YEHOVAH has placed two paths before His chosen people. One leads to eternal life. One leads to eternal death. Those are the two alternatives YEHOVAH God places before you: eternal life on the one hand, and everlasting death on the other hand. And YEHOVAH says: "CHOOSE"!

Almighty God thunders, to every Israelite past and present: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you LIFE AND DEATH, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Be sure to read our companion articles, That Unfortunate Word "GENTILE" and An Exclusive Israel and the Book of Galatians.

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Taking the Lead in the Search for Truth!

Hope of Israel Ministries
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