willieH: Hello everyone...
I sent the following reply to brother Jabcat... and he welcomed me to post it...
As stated within it, there is no offense or criticism intended to James, rather a viewpoint to either consider or discard... if you choose to read it, you are welcome to do the same...
willieH: Hi brother J...
RE: "Sharing UR with the pastor (taking the plunge)"
I thought that I would PM you this response, rather than put it on the board... It must be read slowly and carefully, otherwise it will not reveal its intent...
I'm just a man trying to put into words, ETERNAL premises which have been revealed to me... and it is painfully obvious that I certainly have not mastered the way to convey it in simple and brief terms...
It will be in TWO
I've been feeling "nudged" by God to let the Pastor of the denomination I've recently left know what's going on with me. I'll admit, I've been fearful of doing so..you know, "what will they think of me, say about me, preach at me", all that stuff. This is a wonderful man, tender-hearted, loves the Lord, but so far is apparently still veiled wrt UR (as far as I know). He's a gentle man, but still brings up "hell" quite regularly, as in "trying to keep people from going there", not outright threatening. This is a pretty large congregation, membership 1,000+, in which I had been very involved in the music ministry until I was no longer welcome to participate if I were to no longer "be a member". I still attend Sunday AM's with my wife as a sort of compromise with her and the fam. It's OK, but I don't know, I may sort of feel like a hypocrite sitting there and not being open about what God's been showing me.
I totally relate to this J! I wrestled with this very same thing as UR was revealed to me... It began with sitting through sermons which contained "HELL"
as a passing element (not threatening, but as you note, the Pastor was certainly hoping to deter folk from this [abeit mythical]
We ceased attending... and a month or so down the road, being the very caring Pastor he was (and IS) paid us a visit... He asked first, if either of us had been ill, or if there was some problem he might be able to help with...
I then told him that it was not a personal thing, nor did I stand in judgment of him OR the church... but that in my personal study, ...I had found much disagreement with the teachings of the church and those disagreements had made his sermons uncomfortable to endure...
He then asked for particulars... I proceeded to show him verses in the Word which disagreed with that which he taught... as well as the translations of GEHENNA, HADES, SHEOL and TARTARUS... to "HELL"
as inaccurate and misleading.
Needless to say, he gently argued from his viewpoint against what I had said. I then told him that it was his duty to be true to what he believed, and that I did not condemn him, rather, that I had devoted myself to the PERSONAL study of the Word, and IT had revealed otherwise to me... and that it was my duty as well to be true to what I NOW believe...
Both of us knew that we would not convince the other, and left it be, as it had been made clear to him, why we were not attending, and it was not of his or the church family's doing, rather it was due to revelation in the Word.
As time unfolded, he and the other church members continued to (and still do) pursue us, inviting us to do "special music", and to be involved in other musical programs... Somewhat in denial of our stand spiritually... God bless the LOVE they have for us... but My wife and I cannot subject ourselves to the false teachings which they ignorantly propose to the members.
So I finally sent this to him today (with fear and trepidation). My wife remarked after reading it, "he may not get it, but I don't think he'll think you're crazy". She seems to be very open to UR, but still has those life-long Baptist roots...she can go and not be real affected, just sort of like that, "water off a duck's back".
If there's anyone struggling with this decision, "to tell, or not to tell", maybe some of this will help you. Feel free to use anything here you like, this is sort of a several month compilation of thoughts up to this point. I'm sure God will teach me more and/or correct some of this in me as time goes by. Sorry for the long post, if you're not interested, just skip it. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. God's blessing, James.
I admire your courage bro... and God shall bless you for the honesty and witness of your heart, which you have kindly revealed to your pastor...
Brother Tim, God has been dealing with me to send some information to you. I do so anticipating misunderstanding and/or a conceptualization that I'm being mislead, unless it's God's timing to reveal it to you as well. I know you love the Lord passionately, and your heart is right before Him. You are my brother and I have respect for you. Please accept this in love and gentleness.
In the past 1.5 years God has chosen to show me that He has a bigger plan than our orthodox beliefs allow us to see. Scripture states it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the honor of Kings to search out a matter. He veils and reveals, as suits His timing and purposes. In His sovereignty He has chosen to reveal this to me. I cannot be convinced otherwise unless He chooses to show me otherwise. It has come alive in me as He has given it to me. Conversely, I realize you won't see this and will reject it unless this is your time for God to reveal it to you, or perhaps His plan is for a seed to be planted within you now, which He will germinate and grow over time. I just feel it is in obedience to Him that I need to send this to you.
I still know the cross of Jesus, His saving blood, His death, resurrection and Spirit indwelling, is our only salvation. It's many of the things we've wrapped around those truths that God has begun to clarify.
I don't believe salvation is by some second "chance", or "chance after death", or "chance" at all, for that matter. It's not "chance", it's as God wills, and He wills that all men be saved. The Greek for WILL is thelo or thelema, whereas Wish is euchomai. The early Greek texts of Scripture use theio or thelema, WILL, when it speaks of God's intentions. He doesn't just hope or wish. He WILLS. What does he WILL? "This is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up at the last day" (John 6:39). What has the Father given Him? "The Father has given all into His hands" (John 3:35).
Neither is our salvation by us "choosing" or "deciding", but by God seeking and choosing us. "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world" (Eph 1:4), and "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you..." (Jn. 15: 16).
What we (stated nowhere in scripture) call our "free will" is, I believe, God's allowing us a very limited ability to make "our own" decisions, and only as God allows and as it suits His purpose(s)..and only within the parameters He sets and options He allows... "A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps" (Pro 16:9)...."For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all" (Romans 11:32).
I have a concern for what was my own perception of, and our corporate characterization of God as a "loving Father" who would forever torment 90% of His creation (made in His own image, in which He breathed His very breath into our nostrils). Admittedly, a reading of the King James Version, or many of its derivatives may seem to reinforce those ideas with their mistranslations from the Greek and Hebrew...also, admittedly, I used to believe those things, because that's the knowledge I had been given up to that point. However, with the things God, in His providence is choosing to show me, I can no longer accept those things. When looked at without the orthodox filters and traditions of men that influence our vision, they just don't fit what the scriptures actually say.
God has a much bigger plan for the ages than I had ever understood or given Him credit for; that He will eventually reconcile all His creation to Himself. Amazingly, that's what the Bible actually says. "And through Him to reconcile the all things to himself -- having made peace through the blood of his cross -- through him, whether the things upon the earth, whether the things in the heavens. (Col 1:20, Young's Literal Translation from the Greek). Literally, the word we've called 'Hell' is the grave; Jesus' earthly ministry was to the "lost sheep of Israel" ("and He answering said, 'I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' Matthew 15:24); Jesus did speak, to the Jewish nation, of Gehenna, a garbage dump on the outskirts of Jeruselam where corpses were thrown in disgrace. Gehenna was used, just as Jesus said, during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD when the old religious order passed away. The bodies of the Pharisees, those religious leaders who Jesus was warning and of whom the parable of the rich man and Lazarus represented, were cast into outer darkness of the temporary loss of their privilege; there was the weeping and gnashing of their teeth; the worms really did live continuously and ate their flesh, while the fire burned and was not quenched until it had served its purpose (as did the "unquenchable" fire on the altar, the "unquenchable" fire that burned the martyrs, the "unquenchable" fire at the gate, that was unquenched until it was finished).
I find complete agreement with this up to here... I would like to comment on the rest... feel free to disregard what I say, and PLEASE KNOW, that I mean no offense or disrespect in my comments.
Along with that I commend you for your honesty and forthrightness toward your pastor and church, and you lead by example in this endeavor!
Here are my observations on the following balance of your letter:
The Revelation (the Unveiling of Jesus Christ) clearly states it is a book of symbols, that it signifies, and does speak of a Lake of Fire in which one day, all of our works will go into that symbolic divine fire of God's presence where we will be tested. Works not lead by the Holy Spirit will be shown for what they are, dead works. Many Christians will suffer much loss, but be saved so as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:15).
This is quite hard to put into words bro... so please, if you will, bear with me...
Above you mention the LAKE of FIRE to occur "one day"
... This appears to be (correct me if I percieve you incorrectly), your thinking projects the LAKE of FIRE to be some "day"
in the FUTURE...
The "Lake of Fire"
is reserved and isolated, as a term in a SYMBOLIC book as you noted above... it is therefore, when SPIRITUALLY observed, not a "Lake" which is on "fire" (as would be the NATURAL inclination)... CHRIST
is the LIVING WATER
- giving LIFE... He is also a CONSUMING FIRE... removing UNHOLINESS... This "fire" is NOT NATURAL FIRE, rather SPIRITUAL Fire... which in its "burning" removes that which is UNACCEPTABLE in an HOLY environment.
Just as the Natural tree was not consumed by the SPIRITUAL fire, neither are we, in any way consumed NATURALLY... Our deeds however which appear in the Natural/finite realm... unless they have SPIRITUAL value, are DELETED in the FIRE in which they NOW appear... for they are found UNSPIRITUAL and therefore Unacceptable in the SPIRIT/ETERNAL realm.
It is via these "deletions" that we shall be "hurt" of the 2nd death... for they are exposed before the Lamb and ALL the Holy Angels... NOW...
Let me explain: NOW
is the DAY
... (Gen 2:4)
...ALL generations take place in the DAY
, and that "DAY" is NOW
We live and move and have our "be
ing" (now) IN HIM... and IN HIS "DAY"... HIS DAY is NOT in TIME... Time is the motion of deterioration in which the participation in SIN decays us unto DEATH...
NOW, always IS... NOW is ETERNAL... and NOW is where ALL the WORK of GOD is contained... such as: NOW
is the JUDGMENT (John 12:31)
is the "DAY" of SALVATION (2 Cor 6:2)
is the ACCEPTED TIME (2 Cor 6:2)
, ...NOW is the ADVERSITY of this WORLD cast out (John 12:31)
, ...NOW is where LIFE is contained (Acts 17:28)
Ironically, when TIME expires for each thing/being (its omega/end/death), NOW continues to BE, ...for NOW
PAUL, noting NOW
to be the "DAY" of Salvation... was not referring to a "day" in TIME
... He was referring to ETERNITY
The natural observation would be that the "DAY" in TIME in which he stated this, would be the ONLY "DAY" in which one could be SAVED... but this of course, was NOT what he said...
His words are SPIRITUAL here, and the "DAY" of Salvation is the NOW
in which we LIVE... not the TIME
in which we LIVE... (hope that's not confusing
TIME had a beginning (Gen 1:1-5)
and shall have an END (John 6:44 & 65)
... TIME appears in NOW, but is NOT what NOW is
NOW is not found subject
to TIME, for it PRECEEDED Time (John 8:58)
... we are found subject
In NATURAL observation, many try to relate to "NOW" with that NATURAL observation and thereby bind it (now) to TIME...
But the truth is that NOW has literally nothing
to do with TIME... TIME is the primary tool used in processing the decay caused by SIN, destined for DEATH... It is MOTION toward that end, and THAT is all that it is...
In many ways, TIME is like a grinding wheel... the wheel MOVES continuously against the object, until the object is reduced to what the maker requires it to be... once the object, through the process of grinding, is found acceptable, the grinding wheel is no longer necessary...
The object is no longer in need of the Grinding wheel, the Maker is no longer in need of the grinding wheel, so it is discarded having accomplished its function within the agenda of the Creator...NOW
is the state in which LIFE (BE
--ing) is experienced... NOW
is where TIME becomes involved in each of our circumstances,
It emerges from
ETERNITY with the breath of GOD (part of Himself),
BEGINNING (BIRTH in time) and ENDING (DEATH in time), only to re-emerge in
ETERNITY (returning to Himself) From
DEATH (occuring in TIME) ...To
LIFE (occuring in ETERNITY)... (again, hope that is not confusing!
"NOW" is not a "future thing", nor is it a "DAY" ...in
TIME... the LAKE of FIRE is NOW
... as JESUS
noted: (John 12:31) ...NOW... is the JUDGMENT of THIS WORLD, ...NOW... shall the prince [adversity] of THIS WORLD be cast out...
The JUDGMENT of the works of man as he BUILDS on the only FOUNDATION (1 Cor 3:11-15)
is done NOW
... The BURNING (which is contained in human suffering) is done NOW
has nothing to do with the future or the past... NOW
, has ALWAYS BEEN... and is without either.
Understanding this principle is the key to understanding the WORK of GOD, and the recognition of what TIME actually means... TIME (with beginning and end) is the future and past of something... which has NO FUTURE or PAST... Rather ...IS
... (with no beginning --- no end) JESUS CHRIST
) the ALPHA (beginning) and OMEGA (ending), yet He has NEITHER of these within Him... He has no "beginning" and "no end"...
END of PART ONE