Gary Amirault's Personal Testimony to the Glory of God Our Father...Home At Last!
By Gary Amirault
(Taken from Hope For All Generations And Nations)
My name is Gary Amirault. Although I am dead, nevertheless I live, but not I, but Christ in me. (Galatians 2:20) Paul, the apostle and writer of much of the latter portion of the Christian Bible tells us that in one sense we are all dead. This is a great mystery which can only be understood by revelation. "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." (2 Corinthians 5:14,15)
I am the author of this publication. I still find it quite remarkable that I am at this time in my life spending many hours studying various subjects related to the Scriptures. Having been an atheist most of my life, it still seems rather strange being in my office surrounded by hundreds of Bibles and reference books related to Biblical topics.
The first time I actually remember reading a portion of Scripture was when I was still a young boy. I remember reading a few pages from Genesis thinking it was all a bunch of nonsense, mythology, folklore. Today I think quite differently.
I was born in Nuremberg, Germany shortly after World War II. My mother went through this war as a teenager. She walked through a living hell on earth, where men kill each other for all sorts of insane reasons.
She was raised a good Evangelical Protestant. The war tested her faith. It proved her religion was empty.
She married a Roman Catholic when I was 5 or 6. I found myself surrounded by nuns force feeding me "catechism." I don't recall anything they taught me as far as "teachings" go, but I do remember that my experience with nuns and "Fathers" was not a very holy nor pleasant experience.
But that didn't completely squelch my curiosity about God. When I was around 12 years old, I went to a Methodist church one Sunday quite on my own. My parents never went to any kind of churches except for weddings. I remember expecting something very special. After all, entering the "house of God" should be a pretty important occasion. I sat in the last pew. I was quite amazed that friends I knew were playing in the other last pew. One old man was sleeping through the service. The women seemed more interested in what everyone else was wearing than on what the minister was saying. But what really made an impression on me that day, as a 12 year old boy, was the minister. It was very plain to me, that his heart was not on what he was doing. All these people came to this building to "worship the Lord." Well, from a little boy's viewpoint, they were all pretending and their God never showed up. As for the minister, I used to ride by his beautiful parsonage watching him practice his golf swing in the backyard. "There," I thought, "is what holds his heart. This is what he truly worships."
I think it was at about that time, I came to the conclusion there was no such thing as God. I had some unpleasant experiences happen to me which made me feel that if God was good, He wouldn't have let me experience such pain. And what about the horrors my mother went through in Nazi Germany! Well, I looked at the world with all its misery and suffering and just could not see how a loving God could stand by and watch all these things happen without intervening. I certainly wasn't interested in worshipping a God who wasn't good. So I gradually fell into the mold of an atheist. Having been poor during my childhood, I decided to chase the "Almighty Dollar" and buy myself some happiness.
In college I met a Jewish girl who I ended up marrying. Her parents wanted me to convert to Judaism before getting married. I went to conversion classes. The way this reformed Rabbi laid out his understanding of Judaism, it sounded pretty good. But all the Jews I was familiar with certainly didn't live what he taught. What good is a religion of words without substance, I thought. So, I didn't convert, but we got married anyway.
For the next few years I chased the American dream and finally ended up coming very close to fulfilling it. I had my own business, a lovely home in a rich neighborhood, still married, two kids and enough acreage to satisfy my desire for peace and quiet. But these things did not really satisfy. I was not happy with my marriage or my business or really anything else. In reality, I was not happy with myself. I spent my evenings drowning myself in either television or work mixed with large quantities of alcohol. My drinking came to a place where I knew I was in trouble. Strange, having seen what alcohol does to a family from my childhood, I swore to myself that I would never become an alcoholic. As a matter of fact, there were several things I swore I would never be: I would never be prejudice towards blacks or Jews, I would never smoke cigarettes, and I would never drink. These were some of my parents traits which I despised. Over the course of time I became and did all the things I hated about my parents.-a bigot, a smoker, and an alcoholic. (To those of you who are young, be careful what you despise. Seeds of hatred will eventually take root and bear fruit-very bitter fruit.)
During this crucial time in my life, where everything seemed to be a problem or something to rob me of my peace, my Jewish wife one day came out of the bathroom declaring to the family that she received the revelation that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the Jewish Messiah-He is the Son of God. Since religion of any kind was not practiced in our home, you can probably understand how this declaration made me feel. She began to attend a Presbyterian Church. I can't deny that there was a genuine change in her character, but I certainly wasn't going to credit her changes to a real God.
One day this ugly green Living Bible found its way onto the family room coffee table, the place where on the evenings when I wasn't working, I would buzz out on television and beer. One day, not too long after my wife's "revelation," I decided to read this Bible to show her how ridiculous the book really was. I remembered enough about the Bible to know there were certain places that showed the God of the Bible was a blood thirsty sort, commanding even little children to be ruthlessly killed. Since she was trying to tell me how loving God was, I wanted to show her how cruel and merciless the God of the Bible was. While I was reading this Bible, the thought occurred to me to write a book entitled "Gold Calf Worshippers." The book would expose both Judaism and Christianity to be nothing more than a system for practitioners of these two religions to deceive and cheat people in the name of God. In other words, I saw them as hypocrites. From my experience in the business community, I felt Jews seemed to be much more materialistic than most cultures and practiced more of what I would call "unethical" practices to get more profits. Since Jews have been known to be dishonest and money motivated throughout history, I felt this characteristic must somehow come from their religion. Therefore, I went right into the heart of the Jewish faith-the Mosaic Law-the Tanach.
I would point out to her how many people this angry God killed for seemingly slight infractions. A rebellious son deserved to be stoned to death under the law. Women and children of surrounding nations were to be killed when captured.
For the next few weeks, I would go to bed earlier, read Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy while drinking about a half a case of beer every evening. When I came across a good piece of evidence against my wife's "loving" God, I would attempt to rub her nose in the evidence.
When she wasn't looking, every now and then I would sneak over into the New Testament and read a few pages from there. I had a very difficult time connecting this Jesus Christ with the God of the Old Testament. I felt I was seeing two completely different pictures of God. Jesus seemed to be someone Who could easily be admired and yet He said, "if you have seen Me you have seen the Father." I and My Father are one." Well, I just couldn't put them together.
I did notice during those few weeks that as my wife seemed to become more loving, I was getting meaner all the time.
One evening, my wife and I were watching a television program together while I was nursing my beer. It was a fictional piece which was made to appear as if it were a documentary about something which actually had happened recently. I felt the producers of this program were using their power to distort a part of history. In my rage I told my Jewish wife that I bet it was a bunch of Jewish producers who put this sham together. While I stood there very hot under the collar, my wife, in a voice quite unlike her natural former self, said, "Gary, you might be right about everything you are saying, but look at yourself. Who is going to listen?"
I found myself looking at my accusatory finger pointing at the television screen while my other hand was cradling my beer. The word "hypocrite" seemed to hit me right between the eyes. In some strange way I felt I had no right to continue my rampage against deceitful Jewish producers and drink as excessively as I had been doing. I had tried to quit several times in the past and was unable to kick the habit. Having been able to overcome most challenges which came my way during most of my life, this alcoholism was quite a defeat for me. I was too proud to go for professional help and yet I was unable to kick the habit with my own will power.
In that strange moment of looking at my accusing finger on one hand and my beer in the other, I blurted out a promise to quit drinking the very next day. At her prompting, I proceeded to get a piece of paper and wrote upon it "I quit drinking." I signed and dated it and gave it to my wife. I told her I would finish the beer I had in the refrigerator. The agreement would start the next day February 14, Valentine's Day.
Just before she went to bed, my wife suggested I might trying praying to God for help. She knew how difficult it would be for me since I failed at all "my" other attempts. How does an atheist pray to a God he doesn't believe in?
For some strange reason, as I gazed at the television set relishing what might be my last beers on earth, I did not get to the "numb" stage of my drinking session. I remained quite sober trying to figure out how I was going to quit drinking the next day. I had failed so many times in the past that I had little hope that I could really do what I promised my wife I would do. I could just see my wife taking the piece of paper I signed, taping it to my forehead and writing "hypocrite" across it. For some reason that word "hypocrite" had a tremendous effect on me that night. I knew that I had to give up my accusing or my drinking in order to avoid that distasteful label.
As I dazed at the television screen, searching the canyons of my mind for an answer to my dilemma, any sliver of hope that I had, vanished. I came to the humiliating conclusion that if it was up to me, my strength, my mind, I would not be able to cure my addiction to alcohol. For one who took great pride in his determination and ability to achieve his goals, this was very humiliating.
The next few minutes were spent thinking about what alternatives might be available to me in the form of "outside" help. I thought of "treatment" programs like Alcohol Anonymous. My great pride revolted at such a thought. Somehow, I pictured myself surrounded by street people, those who spent the day begging for enough money for a bottle of wine; those who slept under cardboard and newspapers in the alleys of Washington D.C. I just couldn't relate at all.
I recall very clearly that I came to the conclusion there was no hope for me within myself, nor any institution in this world. I was without hope. Realizing I was not going to be able to keep my contract, I spent about an hour (from about midnight to one o'clock in the morning) trying to find a legitimate way of getting out of the dilemma. The fact that I signed that piece of paper for some reason had a great effect on me. In the past I had promised to quit drinking and then usually found a good excuse to continue. But this time something was quite different. Some of you may recall the account in the book of Genesis where Jacob, the heel-grabber had a wrestling match with someone. This passage of Scripture makes it unclear whether Jacob wrestled with God, an angel, or a man (perhaps himself). I can today relate greatly to that Biblical passage! I had a very similar battle going on in the center of my being.
At about one o'clock in the morning, still quite awake and very sober, I had to go to the bathroom. Sitting on the throne (toilet), quite naked, I looked out the window, noticed it was raining, and finally acknowledged that I would wake up the next day, and continue my drinking habit. I was incapable of doing anything about it. At that point, my wife's words bubbled up to my conscience... "Gary, if you need help with this, just ask God."
So I prayed, "Well, Big fella, here's your chance to prove yourself. I have a problem and no one in this world can solve it for me. So if you want to prove to me you're up there-here catch! Tomorrow, I'm not going to mess with this thing." I took my problem and in my mind just kind of wrapped it up like one would crush a piece of newspaper into a ball and threw it up in the air.
It usually takes me quite some time to fall asleep, but after that "prayer" I immediately slept like a lamb.
It was Valentine's Day morning. I still remember quite clearly as I was looking at my face while shaving, that I appeared very different. My face seemed to glow or radiate. I usually woke up growling, certainly not very hospitable until after a couple of cups of coffee. But this morning, there was a joy in my heart which was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I did not connect it to the prayer the night before.
My wife was surprised at how friendly I was that morning. She also recalls that my whole being seemed quite different from my normal self. I seemed to shine.
I went through that day happy as a lark. Although it was a rainy day, which would normally make my disposition worse than normal, on that day, I was just plain up. I felt great!! Even my employees noticed.
At the end of the day, my normal routine was to go to a local liquor store, buy two six packs of beer, drink 3 or 4 on the way home, and finish most of the rest of them during the rest of the evening while watching television. If I stayed at the shop working late, I would drink most of the two six packs there. But on this day, Valentine's Day, I went straight home, not even thinking about getting beer. It was as if that part of my brain which contained my normal drinking habit was completely removed from my memory bank.
I was sitting in the breakfast area next to the kitchen talking with my wife when she said, "Gary, aren't you going to look out the window?" You see, 5 months earlier, I had a pond dug in the back of our property which hadn't filled up during the fall or winter. As a matter of fact, all that it was the day before was about three and one half feet of mud and water. The pond was built to contain about seven and one half feet of water.
When I had the site inspected by the county to determine whether it would hold water, the county recommended we not put a pond there because there was no natural spring or stream to feed for the site.
But I was obsessed with having a private bass pond in my back yard. You see, somehow in my way of thinking, having my own business, lots of land, coming home from work, changing clothes and going into my backyard to catch a nice sized bass, which would be cooked on a barbecue grill next to the lake while watching the sun set, was what I thought would be my sign to myself that I had made the American Dream-my sign that I had arrived. Our community had a very nice pond with lots of fish in it within a half a mile. In addition, one mile behind our house was a huge reservoir with great fishing. We had three rivers within a few miles of our home. On top of that, the Chesapeake Bay, one of our nation's great fishing places, was about one hour's drive. The Atlantic Ocean was only a couple of hours' drive away. All these fine fishing areas so near, yet I felt I had to have my own, private fishing pond in my backyard. (Now I see the selfishness of it all.)
With some unexpected money that came our way, we had a choice of putting on a deck, putting a stone fireplace in the family room, or having the pond dug. Looking back at it now, the first two options a were far more practical way to invest the extra funds. But I had a vision, a dream, a lifetime goal, which blinded me to practicality or thinking about what my wife really desired.
Because of the changes in her, she didn't fight me on this. Normally she probably would have given me a good fight regarding how to spend the extra money. The deck was really more practical and a fireplace had always been one of Michelle's dreams.
After the area was excavated, sometimes I would leave work early to see how much water was added to the pond. I had sticks planted along the bank marking the levels each rain added. During those five months, the best rain or snow added about two inches of water to the pond. By the time Valentine's Day arrived, I was quite discouraged regarding my expectations for the pond. I was beginning to see the county officials were right. This pond would never get full. I would have to dig a well to feed it, which I probably would have done.
Knowing how obsessed I was with that pond, you may be able to see why my wife was so surprised that I didn't even look at the condition of the pond considering that it rained that day. She finally said, "Aren't you going to look at the pond?" I turned my head to look down the path which led to the pond about 400 feet away-the pond was full and overflowing-over four feet of water in one day! On the day I prayed for God to take away my alcoholism, He also gave me what I thought was my pinnacle of success, my own filled private bass pond!
At this point, however, I still didn't connect all this to the prayer. I still did not comprehend there was a real God Who actually did hear prayers and furthermore answered them. At the end of Valentine's day all I realized was that my hope of the bass pond actually filling, which I had pretty much given up on, was fulfilled. I also wasn't suffering from withdrawal symptoms and had no desire to have a drink. From that day forward my desire to get drunk was completely gone! Having attempted to quit drinking on several occasions before and experiencing how difficult it was, I came to realize that God had done something supernatural to me to bring me through this. He had done a real miracle in my life. The fact that the pond, my "heaven on earth," was filled on the same day I prayed, was also a clear sign from above that God was manifesting Himself in my life. But it didn't really register until the next day.
Driving from Savage to Laurel, Maryland on February fifteenth, I heard a voice in my car which seemed to come from every direction. I looked into the back seat to see if someone was hiding in the back seat. No one was there. I won't go into all the details of the next few moments, but in summary, this voice told me that Jesus Christ was going to come into my life. I did not understand the meaning of what was going on and so I argued with Whoever was speaking to me that such a thing couldn't happen. In attempting to argue with this Voice (for I didn't see a person with it) I noticed that Whoever I was speaking with had the answers to my thoughts before I could actually bring them to my conscience. It was a terrifying experience. I felt completely undone. I was afraid to even think. I finally told this Voice that He could do whatever He wanted, but to just go away, leave me alone.
For the next three days after this incident I walked this earth in what seemed to me to be perfect love. I think it was absolutely impossible for me during that time to hate anyone, not even the most evil person I could think of. I felt like a small child holding on to the back of Jesus, looking at the world through His eyes, hearing with His ears, and loving with His heart. For three days this earth was paradise. Everything was beautiful. All the awful people were gone. Now you have to understand there were a lot of people I hated during that time of my life. I had become extremely prejudice and quick to write off people in general.
For several days thereafter, but especially the first three days, there was a love operating in me which either blinded me from seeing the awful side of people or dispelled some power in me which made me perceive people in a way different from what they really were. Whatever was going on, I had genuine love and concern for people to whom I would not normally give the time of day. Something totally not me was going on inside of me.
After three days of intense perfect love, there seemed to be a gradual decrease until by the eighth day, I felt almost like my normal self. That was awful!! I didn't know how I was going to live with myself the way I used to be, having experienced life in such a glorious way. What a downer! Having been an atheist all my life, I really had very little exposure to religion. I had no idea what was going on. I knew that I needed help. Whatever I experienced, I wanted to go back to that state.
My wife had been attending a conservative evangelical Presbyterian Church over the previous few weeks. I made an appointment with the pastor to discuss with him what had happened and hoped that he might help me understand what was going on. It was a very large church and he was quite busy. I had to wait three weeks for an opening in his schedule. When I finally met him, I poured out my heart to him. For those of you who know anything about different denominations of Christianity, this man was certainly not ready to give me any advice regarding my dilemma. He said, "Gary, I don't know what to tell you. I need to seek advice on this." On the way out of the office, however, he prayed with me and then pulled out a book from a bookshelf entitled The Way of Holiness by a man whose name I believe was Kenneth Prior. He said that book had helped him in the past and perhaps it might help me. I immediately devoured the book. I was desperate. I knew after reading the book, that my answer must have something to do with something called the "Holy Spirit." I never knew such a thing or person or power ever existed, but I knew the answer to my problem was there. Over the next few weeks I would find myself in prayers which words could not express. I was praying, but it didn't seem like I was praying. I was asking for things to change in my life which I would have never even conceived of praying about.
I can't go into most of what happened to me during those first few months after Valentine's Day. It would take a long book. An atomic explosion might be the best way to describe it. Surely my life was being torn apart and reassembled in ways I never dreamed could possibly happen. Not all of it was a picnic. There were many very puzzling, terrifying, and mysterious events that to this day I can not completely make sense out of. Perhaps I never will on this side of the grave. But one thing I was certain of...there was a God, He had a Son Who was revealing Himself to me, and there was this mysterious Holy Spirit Who had begun to bring about changes in my life which were impossible for me or any human being to bring about.
About six or seven weeks after Valentine's Day, I had a very strong desire to visit a congregation of Christians called Messianic Jews, that is, Jews that had come to believe that Jesus (Yeshua) was the Messiah, as prophesied in the Old Testament. My wife had heard about this congregation and wanted to attend to see what it was like since she was brought up Jewish. I felt very strongly I was to go, but I felt I had to go alone so I didn't invite my wife to go along with me.
Not having been there before, I got lost. The service had already begun when I entered the sanctuary which was packed wall to wall with perhaps three to four hundred people. No seats were available so I stood leaning my back against the rear wall. All the people were standing singing and songs. The atmosphere was quite different from the Presbyterian Church I had begun to attend during the previous few weeks. Some of these people had their hands up, many with their eyes closed, others with tears streaming down their faces. I thought to myself, these people are acting as if God were actually here! They did not have hymnals.
The words of the songs they were singing were projected onto screens in the front of the room. There were only a few verses to each song which they repeated several times. Quite different from the way songs were sung at the Presbyterian Church. From the way the people looked and their repeating the verses more than once, I came to a quite unrealistic conclusion that these people had been put into a trance through the music. Little did I know that the songs they were singing were Psalms.
Looking back on the scene, I find it quite remarkable that as a child, I rejected the reality of God's existence after attending a Methodist church because I felt they were all pretending. They did not act the way they probably would if God was really there. But in this church, the people looked as if they were really communing with God, and I attributed it to being in a trance induced by music with which I was unfamiliar. The mind is a strange bird indeed!
What I am about to relate may make some of you think that I was right in thinking these people were hypnotized. I hope not. I am trying to relay as honestly as I can, without twisting or misrepresenting anything, what happened on this occasion because I think it is vitally important for many people to understand the power of God. It is also vitally important to show the power of the traditions of men.
After I came to the conclusion these people were hypnotized, I became very suspicious and very defensive. My posture was stiff, my arms folded across my chest as a sign that I was not a part of this service. I did not participate in the worship. I only observed the faces of the people in the congregation. These people looked like they were REALLY worshipping God and the expressions on their faces seemed to indicate they were in some way in communion with Him. Yet I was fearful.
After the singing was over, the pastor announced they were having a special speaker from an Organization named "Christ for the Nations." He was a teacher at this institution as an expert in ancient Semitic languages. While being of Jewish upbringing, he was a believer in Yeshua the Messiah.
His topic of discussion dealt with the Jews who were trapped in Russia. There was a real move at that time to get them out of Russia and send them to Israel. I don't remember much of what he spoke about, but one thing he said really caught my attention. He introduced one part of his message with, "God spoke to me last night..." That caused my ears to perk.
You see, over the previous few weeks, the members of the Presbyterian church were beginning to let me know, as gently as they could without driving me away, that God does not speak to people anymore except through the Bible. They were gently trying to tell me that the voice I heard, the dreams and visions I was seeing, and the emotionalism I was displaying were not from God, but perhaps from Satan himself. The message I was getting from most of the Presbyterians who were trying to "disciple" me, was that true faith was a very rational kind of thing. Much of what had happened in my life over the past few weeks was certainly not very rational, and with that, I certainly agreed! I couldn't make sense out of much of what was happening. So when I found another believer who said that he heard God, well, that aroused my curiosity.
After his main message, he gave a short message regarding healing and salvation. He invited anyone who did not know Jesus as their Messiah as well as anyone who had an illness to come forward. Still very much in my stiff posture, I thought to myself rather smugly, "Well, I'm already saved and healthy so there is no reason for me to go forward." After that thought passed through my mind, I found myself going down the aisle to the front of this assembly. Those that came forward found themselves in a line of about thirty people running parallel to the platform. The guest speaker stepped off the platform and began speaking with the person at the end of the line furthest away from myself. After speaking with the woman, he placed his hands on her head and she fell over. I had never seen anything like this in my life! Needless to say, I began to pray to God to make sure this man didn't put his grimy hands on me. He kept going down the line, speaking with each individual, some cried, some fell, and some remained standing. I had no idea what he was saying or why some of these people were falling down, but I was certain that I did not want to be humiliated like that.
After praying that this man not touch me, I found myself beginning to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was a rather strange thing for me to pray considering the fact that I had not been indoctrinate in a positive way that these supernatural gifts were still available to a believer. I suspected the Presbyterians were against these gifts considering their seeming avoidance of anything too mystical or supernatural. Nevertheless, I just found myself deeply praying for my gifts to be revealed in me. The closer the guest speaker came to me, the more I was praying, "Don't let him touch me!" To my great delight, after praying with the person to my right, he skipped me and went to the person on my left! At this time my prayer regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit greatly increased in intensity.
The guest speaker then went back up on the platform and prayed for a boy who had something wrong with an arm. Then he introduced a woman who was diagnosed to have some kind of cancer. When he said the word "cancer" I felt like it cut deeply into my prayers. The speaker had his hand on the woman's head, her back facing me. I proceeded to walk up onto the stage, and put my hand on this woman's shoulder. Almost immediately, a surge of power, energy, or something came through my hand on her shoulder; it went up and down my whole body. All my strength seemed to leave me which caused me to collapse in a heap landing on the three or four steps of the altar. There I lay, sobbing like a little child. You cannot imagine how humiliated I felt, laying in front of all these Jews completely without strength, uncontrollably sobbing. Yet each time I tried to get up ended with defeat.
I don't know how long I was laying there, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes. The service was over. I am not sure they knew what to do with me. They sang a few more of those songs and all I could do was join their chorus with deep sobs.
To this day, some of what transpired that Saturday morning remains a mystery. Once thing I am certain of-my attitude toward life and my fellow human beings made a dramatic positive change. It did not come about through a teaching or course of some kind-it came through a Divine intervention in my life. It was not an accident and I certainly did not plan to place myself in such a humiliating pose in front of the Jews I had previously come to resent. There was design in that whole day, a design which went far beyond any human mind manipulation through a hand full of songs. God was doing a much needed work in me.
After that day, it seemed I was much more bold in sharing my faith. The gifts of the Holy Spirit began to operate in my life. When I read the book of Acts in the Bible, I felt perfectly in tune with the power exhibited by those early believers. Some people believe that what happened to me that day was called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." I don't really know what to call what happened that day. I just know that something very significant happened which was different from what happened a few weeks earlier. I also found out later, that whatever happened that day would separate me from many other Christians who did not believe in a second, more supernatural experience after conversion. Those who espouse the name Christian divide themselves over many doctrines and rituals. This second experience is a major dividing factor among many Christians.
Well, after that day, I certainly didn't fit in the Presbyterian Church anymore. I found out that there were many denominations which believed that God still has a voice and that the power which was available to the early church is still available today.
The first church I attended which believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit was an Assembly of God Church. While attending this church, I felt there was much more understanding to be found in the Old Testament than what I was being taught. I reasoned that the Jews who believed in Jesus and would probably have that understanding. So I found a congregation of Jews that believed in Jesus who also believed in the gifts.
Being quite outgoing and evangelistic in nature, I found myself talking to all kinds of Christians from many different types of denominations. Of course, they all invited us to visit their church. Being as hungry and curious as I was, I attended many of them. There were weeks in which I was at some kind of church several days of the week. While this turned out to be very helpful down the road, going to all these different types of churches caused a great deal of trouble and turmoil in my family and in myself. You see, Christians are divided very firmly over many teachings and interpretations of the Bible. I didn't know this before I became a Christian. I thought all Christians were pretty much the same.
I'm the kind of person who likes to have a sound and reasonable answer to all questions. For example, I might find myself one day in a Baptist church which may have handed me a brochure on the doctrine of eternal security, that is, that once a person was "saved" or "born again," they could not lose their salvation; the gift of eternal life could not be revoked nor lost even by turning away from God or denying Him. I would take the brochure to perhaps the Assembly of God pastor or some other denomination which taught one could lose their salvation. (This, by the way, is what the vast majority of Christians are incorrectly taught). I would wrestle back and forth with the various pastors until I felt I could see which group was right from a Scriptural point of view.
About a year after my conversion, I would typically go to a Messianic Jewish service on Saturday, a Charismatic, prosperity church on Sunday, and attend Bible studies, evangelistic/missionary speakers, or praise services at various different churches throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. As I mentioned, I started attending the Messianic Congregation because I wanted to gain understanding of the Old Testament. My pastor there was a real character with an incredible conversion experience. His doctrinal beliefs came from a greatly varied background. He was ordained in a denomination like the Church of Christ. However, on the subject of eternal security, his position was Calvinistic (once saved always saved). He spent a year in the Jehovah's Witnesses and learned the doctrine of annihilation from them. As a Jew, he felt he had to keep the Mosaic Covenant, which he saw as an everlasting covenant with the Jews. Therefore, he kept the dietary laws of the Old Testament as well as he could in addition to the festive Jewish Holidays, and a number of other laws from the Mosaic Law. He believed non-Jews did not have to keep these laws, but he strongly encouraged they participate. This pastor knew the Scriptures perhaps better than any pastor I had ever met.
I am sure it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to image the frustration and torment I experienced every week trying to make all these teachings harmonious. It was impossible. Since some of the churches I attended maintained that if we do not believe correctly we will not enter heaven or at least lose rewards for not believing correctly, I spent a great deal of time studying and praying about these many different and contradictory teachings I was exposed to. Of course, all of these Churches felt and taught that they had the correct system.
Because I was extremely evangelistic, I felt a deep responsibility to declare the truth. After all, if their eternal life was at stake (which most of these denominations claimed was the case), then it was vitally important to get it right. Few can imagine the torment I went through (unless they went through similar experiences) of just determining the proper method of doing communion or baptism. Some denominations maintained that if these were not done properly, one could not enter into the kingdom of God. I spent months studying everything I could get my hands on to determine what communion and baptism was really all about.
After a few years of all this kind of wrestling, I finally began to settle into the Charismatic expression of Christianity, usually frequenting independent Charismatic churches strongly focusing their Sunday service toward the singing part of the service. I found the Presence of God strongest in that environment.
In a manner too awesome and too complicated to explain in this booklet, the Lord sovereignly had me sell my business, sell our home, and move my family to Hermann, Missouri. We had nothing to speak of naturally which would draw us to this town. I had no job, no family, no friends, nothing! We began to attend a Charismatic church which strongly emphasized what they called the "five fold ministry" outlined in Ephesians chapter four, verse 11. "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
During the first few weeks of our visitation to this church, they had joined a federation of like-minded churches which aligned themselves under a man which they called an apostle. A teaching at that time was incorporated and then announced to the congregation that the ministers in the "five fold" calling should be called by their anointed office. Those who the church ordained as "five folders" should be called by their title-Prophet John, Pastor Jim, Apostle Chuck, Evangelist Henry, etc. This rubbed me a little even though they prophesied (said God said) to me that I was ordained among the five fold ministry.
During this time, they invited a teacher from another state to teach a series he entitled "The Anatomy of a Scorpion." It was one of the most horrible abusive teachings I have ever heard. It was so bad, that on one occasion I shouted a rebuking "No" in the middle of his message in response to his teaching. He was strongly teaching that few Christians are really saved. Most are full of sins they have not confessed which will send them to hell. They established counseling sessions with members of the church to analyze their private lives to see if they could uncover any past sins which might prevent them from entering heaven. This man taught that if one committed certain sins, and died immediately after committing that sin, without a true repentance, they would go to hell. What constituted a sin which would qualify one to go to hell was left very nebulous, unclear, which kept people in constant fear of whether they were in right standing before God or not.
Having bounced back and forth between Calvinistic churches like Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, etc., which teach the eternal security of a believer and Arminian type of churches, which comprise most of the rest of the denominations, I became thoroughly convinced that the Doctrine of Eternal Security was Scripturally correct. I cried out greatly to my heavenly Father about this important doctrine and I believe He divinely gave me the assurance the Doctrine of Eternal Security was correct. (I have since made an audio teaching entitled Saved to the Uttermost which dealt with that subject.) Taking that security away from a believer, I felt was putting them back under some system of Law or works. Salvation, according to the Bible is "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) If the gift was not earned through works of doing good versus evil and if this gift was life eternal, then it could never be lost or else it would not be eternal. One cannot lose something that is eternal or else it becomes temporary. Jesus promised a quality of life which would pass through all the ages. After death was conquered He would bring us into a fellowship with the Father which is described as the Father being "all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28) (I am not going to get into the dozens of Scriptures found in the Bible which give assurance to the believer that their life is completely secure in Him, but if anyone wants a copy of the tape on the subject, I'll gladly send it to them.)
This difference in belief caused the pastor to ask me to leave the church. So now we found ourselves in the middle of the country, with no job, no family, no church, and no home. We had been staying in a house which belonged to that church and were asked to vacate. I wanted to get out of town, but the Lord made it quite clear then that we were to buy a particular house in that very town.
The story of Abraham being told by God to leave his country and go to a country which he did not know about is very real to me and my wife. We feel very close to Abraham.
At that time, I felt I was a Charismatic Christian, non-denominational style. Because of the crisis at that church over the "eternal security" issue, I called a number of leading Charismatic organizations to find out how they stood on that subject. To my great surprise, I discovered the vast majority of them taught one could lose their salvation. Most of them explained on the phone that it was difficult to do, but they certainly did not teach eternal security. If one was given a free gift, they said, one could just as easily give it back. Yes, some Christians will go to hell, was their reply.
Around this same time, I went to a large conference on evangelism which featured some of the Charismatic movement's most well-known evangelists and leaders. I was hoping to see a great move of God. I created some evangelistic T-shirts which I sold there to pay for my trip.
I left Phoenix feeling like I was part of a carnival act. The evangelists were the main attraction and I was one of the sideshows peddling my cute little T-shirts. The Bible story about Jesus coming into the Temple and driving out the money-changers was often in my mind during this "Great Evangelistic Event."
Coming back to Missouri from that trip was a real heart searching experience. It seemed all my hopes of realizing my purpose in the church were coming to a rapid end.
The final straw came while driving home from a visit to a Charismatic/Baptist pastor. He gave me some tapes from a well-respected minister. Listening to them for about an hour, I yelled in my heart, "This man is using very long words to say absolutely nothing!" I just wanted to scream. And that is exactly what I did. I don't recall exactly what words I used to express my despair, but essentially I told God to just take me home. I was tired of playing the Christian thing. Everything I was seeing was a mass of contradictory, hypocritical, man-made, circus-like nonsense. I could not bring people into this insanity. My heart wanted to bring people to Christ, yet what was going on in the many dozens of churches I had attended seemed to fall very short. I didn't know what, but something was foundationally wrong.
"Just take me home. I know I'm saved. I don't want to play this game anymore" was the cry of my heart. I decided to visit an old preacher living a few miles from my home just to let off some steam. He was the kind of man who would let you pour out your heart without condemning you.
After a long winded pouring out of my soul to him, he felt that a set of booklets he recently received would be of some comfort to me. After I got home, perusing through the titles, the booklet entitled Just What do you Mean, Eternity? caught my attention. The booklet explained that the words in the Bible translated "everlasting," "eternal," and "for ever and ever," should have been consistently "age," "age-abiding," "age-during," or something similar. The original Hebrew and Greek words were expressions of time with end and did not express thoughts of endlessness or a dimension outside of time. This meant that the Greek and Hebrew did not express the idea of an eternal place of endless punishment. In other words, this booklet said there was no such thing as the literal, fiery eternal "hell" described in most denominations of Christianity! The rest of the thirteen booklets dealt with the same subject, but emphasized different aspects.
After reading all the booklets, I realized why I had such a difficult time in all these different denominations. I had to know if what this man, J. Preston Eby, was saying could be proved to be correct. He mentioned there were Bibles on the market which did not contain the word "Hell" nor mention "everlasting punishment." I bought copies of some of these Bibles, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, Young's Literal Bible, and the Concordant Bible. Sure enough, Mr. Eby was right. There were Bibles on the market, translated from the Greek and Hebrew which did not contain the concept of a place of eternal torture. The publishers of the Concordant Literal Bible, Concordant Publishing Concern told me there was a man who lived not too far from me who had a very large library of Greek and Hebrew reference works who through many years of intense study also came to the realization that Jesus Christ was, in fact, the Savior of all mankind, and not just some.
I went to his house located in Stover, Missouri. He showed me dozens of Bible reference works, several other Bibles, and early Christian writings, all attesting to the fact that the Doctrine of Hell, the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment was not to be found in the original languages of the Bible, nor was it found among most of the early church leaders of the first few centuries. Hell did not gain a foothold in the church until after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. It was not until the paganism of the Roman Empire was mixed with the teachings of Christianity that the pagan concept of a god who would end up torturing most of mankind became the god of Christianity!
This man, Louis Abbott, spent the last fifty years of his life studying the Greek New Testament. He would spend most of his evening and weekend hours reading the Greek New Testament and hundreds of Bible reference works. He had just about every lexicon, concordance, Bible translation, commentary set, Greek grammar, and church history book one could think of. He also had read many of them from cover to cover. He would put the date he finished the book on the first page of the book along with noting pages for future reference. He put some of the major points he discovered into a paper entitled An Analytical Study of Words. We, at Tentmaker, decided to turn it into a book by that name.
Louis Abbott at one time was a pastor of a conservative church. He was challenged by a man in his community regarding the teaching of Hell. Louis, at that time believing in Hell, took up that challenge to prove the man was wrong. After three years of studying, Louis realized he was wrong and his challenger was right. He stopped preaching Hell and was soon booted out of his denomination.
Over the next few years, I would encounter many stories of men and women who came to the same realization as J. Preston Eby, Louis Abbott, and myself. Many of them also suffered persecution at the hands of those who embraced a god of eternal torture. I discovered men like Abraham Lincoln, who believed in the salvation of all, was called an infidel by the fundamentalists of his day. The greatest theologian, teacher, and scholar of the early church, Origen, would be marked a heretic by the church councils of later times.
I read some of the writings of the great early church leaders, Gregory of Naziansus, Gregory of Nissa, Diodore, Didymus, Theodoret, Clement, and many more. I discovered many orthodox church historians, Geisler, Doerderlin, Oxenham, Pfaff, Dietelmaier, Reuss, Neander, as well as others, acknowledged that the early church by and large taught and believed in the restoration of all things. Very few, in deed, taught the pagan concept of Hell, and of those that did, their lives and words usually made manifest what manner of spirit they were of. (For an example, order our audio tape entitled, Sinners in the hands of a loving God.)
I discovered there were many founders of this country who either embraced the message of the salvation of all mankind or were favorably inclined to it. Even the Declaration of Independence found signatures upon it written by men like Benjamin Rush, a man who believed that all would be saved through Jesus Christ's work on the cross.
Little did I know or was told during my school years that many of the poets I was required to read, believed in the restoration of all mankind through Jesus Christ. Robert Burns, Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens. Humanitarians like of Florence Nightingale also join the ranks of those of God's creatures who seek to give our Father full glory, not wanting to stain His nature with the repugnant and wicked doctrine of eternal torment. Even great men of the orthodox church opened their mouths, at the risk of losing their positions, to openly declare that the teaching of a Hell of everlasting punishment was not in harmony with the love Christ exhibited on the cross for all mankind. Great churchmen like William Law, Professor Plumtre, Thomas Moore, and the great Bible teacher William Barclay add their voice to the heavenly choir all harmoniously declaring an end to punishment and sin-the end being the final ingathering of all souls created back to God our Father. The book A Cloud of Witnesses by J.W. Hanson written in 1880 contains portions of writings of many great men and women who expressed belief in universal restoration.
Please forgive me for getting carried away here. I would love to make this publication several hundred pages full of the words written by men and women throughout the last two thousand years who have risked their lives or reputations by declaring their belief that Jesus Christ is truly the Savior of all mankind, (not just some of mankind.) I have mentioned enough to hopefully arouse enough curiosity in readers who have a hope in their heart that what I am writing is true, that they will go, seek, research, and discover for themselves, that we are all in truly good Hands- Hands which undergird all of His creation-Hands which are not willing that any should perish-Hands that are wise enough to have made provision from the very beginning of time, that after a season of suffering which would work great thankfulness and His character into our lives-our Father will dry every tear shed, restore every broken heart, heal every wound inflicted, and love every son and daughter who ever walked this earth, back to Himself.
As in the past, so also today, there is a host of Christians who believe in the ultimate restoration of all. There are writing ministries all over the world whose audience reaches all the continents of the world. Kingdom Bible Studies, Letters of Truth, The Pathfinder, Unsearchable Riches, Dew From Mount Hermon, Promised Seed Ministries, The Idle Babbler, and dozens of other periodicals declare the everlasting gospel to all mankind.
The ranks of those who hope that what I speak is true, but who have not had the courage to speak out due to fear of rejection by their own Christian Brothers is also endless.
We are told by many of those who insist the church must maintain this hideous doctrine, that if we remove this restraint from mankind, it will completely disintegrate. Well, first of all, most of mankind are still slaves to sin, and cannot be made the righteousness of God by a doctrine-any doctrine. Christianity, the Ten Commandment, the Sermon on the Mount, nor the Doctrine of eternal torment, nor membership in a particular church will make a person Holy or righteous. Only the Holy Spirit can do that and He doesn't need fear of eternal torture to cause us to want to be Holy. The real love of God expressed through true believers is a better tool than all the doctrines an apostate church can assemble and sell!
Look at the history of Christian nations. European Christian nations have the doctrine of an Eternal Torturing God for many centuries. The Roman Catholic Church has used this doctrine to the furthest extreme, especially in the dark ages. Did it produce law-abiding and righteous people? No, it produced the most corrupt priesthood of Christendom who turned out the light and brought Europe to the brink of disaster. Even today, while the Roman Catholic Church uses the doctrine of eternal torment to hold its members captive, we are seeing many in its priesthood are alcoholics, homosexuals, and child-molesters. Why? Most of these priests do not have a real personal relationship with Jesus. Look to the churches which preach against sin the most, who use Hell as their main weapon to keep their members in line, and I will show you a church full of hypocrites with more skeletons in the closet than you can count. I have been in well over two hundred churches during my search for truth. I have noticed that those ministers who use the doctrine of eternal torment the most will have a very unloving congregation of self-righteous people.
I was in one church where I heard the pastor use the King James Bible to prove to a new convert that God marvelously set free from hard drugs that he was going to Hell if he didn't shave off his mustache. His congregation consisted of sin-laden women who were so self-condemned, they had to go up to the altar each week to get saved again. One such woman was married over twenty times. She was taught that premarital sex would send one to Hell for sure. So every time she wanted to fulfill her sexual lusts, she would get married. But she was so impossible to live with due to her religious brainwashing, she would immediately be divorced.
Having been in a great variety of churches which have taught a broad variety of doctrines, I am convinced of this: If you take one hundred people who have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and teach them that regardless of how many times you fail or fall short, He will never leave you nor forsake you, His love and power will ultimately reach everyone ever born under the sun, that there are consequences for sin, but that they are not eternal-if you encourage these people to conform to the image of their Savior, Who loves all mankind, they will begin to manifest the nature of the God they worship, a God of Love.
But if you take another group of people, some who have been genuinely converted mixed with others who have been compelled to join the church because they were convinced they were going to Hell if they didn't, and pound into them a list of do's and don'ts which must be maintained in order to stay on the good side of a God who will eternally torture them if they don't obey this set of rules, this group of people will also eventually manifest the nature of their god-a god who is a hypocrite who tells us to love our enemies, while He tortures His-a god who is a respecter of persons-a god of wrath.
I have seen groups of Christians who believe in the salvation of all mankind through the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and I have seen many different denominations which teach a God of love who will ultimately have to consign most of mankind to endless punishment. One would think that those who were conditioned by fear would be most law-abiding, holy, and Christ-like, but that is not the case. The groups who were taught that God loved them despite their short-comings, who promised them that they would ultimately be made perfect, who were taught to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them, who were brought into the precious communion with the Spirit of God, who were encouraged to walk the path of maturity in Christ, who were not beaten into submission by an authoritarian leadership, but who were cared for by shepherds willing to give their lives for the sake of Christ's body-these Christians looked much more Christ-like than those who were nurtured by fear of endless punishment. The only thing the doctrine of eternal punishment has produced is prideful, self-righteous, hypocritical men and women who malign the name of God. It has driven many soft-hearted souls into insane asylums and suicide. History tells us that those evangelists who were most skilled at dangling the audience over the tormenting flames sometimes drove some in the audience to kill themselves. There is the fruit of the doctrine of eternal torment, death!
Those Christians with compassion in their hearts who have taken the literal hell-fire doctrine as true, often could not bear living knowing most of those people they were looking at were going to be endlessly tortured.
Great Christian women like Hannah Whitall Smith nearly went insane from this horrible teaching. God finally delivered her from her torment of soul when He supernaturally showed this great woman evangelist that He would save all mankind. She found it bewildering that her love for mankind seemed to outstrip God's love for them. How could this be? She tells of the great revelation she received from her Maker in her autobiography, My Spiritual Autobiography: The Unselfishness of God and How I discovered it. (It grieves me to say, that Christian publishing companies who today are reprinting her autobiography are editing out the very chapters in which she describes how God supernaturally showed her that He was going to save all mankind. To read her true autobiography, one must get an original edition of her work.)
I have letters from people who said they went through mental breakdowns as a result of the teaching of Eternal Punishment. Have you ever wondered why the doctrine of Hell has been such a grievous torment to the soul of tender-hearted Christians, while many cold and callused dogmatic type of Christians seem to thrive on it? Surely, this must be a sign that this doctrine does not come from the Prince of Peace.
As I said before, I am the writer of this book. God has given me a life which has allowed me the time to search and seek in ways and places few Christians dare to go. Hannah Smith's anguish was my anguish. I identify with the cries of the voices we have just heard. They are my brothers and sisters twice over. In Adam, we all experienced the sufferings of separation from God. We experienced the pain of lack, of selfishness, of short-sightedness. We were all slaves to sin. We all missed the mark. "There is none righteous, nay not one." No, my friend, not even you. But in the last Adam, Jesus Christ, shall all be made alive, just as Paul, the apostle has told us. In Him we will all be made righteous, none will fall short, all will enter Christ Who will bring us to our Father. (1 Cor. 15:22) Today, while we still stumble around in the darkness of our souls and minds, we still see each other dimly, imperfect, sometimes even as enemies. Darkness often causes us to see what really isn't there. But when the fullness of the Light from above shines in each heart of mankind, then we will know who we truly are and we will see in all our brothers and sisters the world over, past and future, made righteous, holy, and perfect in Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior, and King of the whole universe. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Now look into the mirror given us, by Paul, the apostle.
"Even if I could speak the languages of men and of angels, if I am without love, I am no better than a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. Even if I have the gift of prophesy, even if I understand all the secrets which only the initiates know; even if I am wise with all knowledge; even if I have faith so complete that it can move mountains, if I am without love, it is all no good to me.
Love is patient; love is kind. There is no envy in love; there are no proud claims; there is no conceit. Love never does the graceless thing; never insists on its rights, never irritably loses its temper; never nurses its wrath to keep it warm. Love finds nothing to be glad about when someone goes wrong, but is glad when truth is glad. Love can stand any kind of treatment; love's first instinct is to believe in people; love never regards anyone or anything as hopeless; nothing can happen that can break love's spirit. Love lasts for ever. Whatever prophesies there may be, they will some day be ended; whatever utterances of ecstasy there may be, they will some day be silenced; whatever knowledge there may be, it will some day pass away. We have but fragments of knowledge and glimpses of prophetic insight; but when the complete will come, the fragmentary will be ended. When I was a child, I had a child's speech; I had a child's mind; I had a child's thoughts. But, when I became a man, I put away childish things. Now we see bewildering shadows in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face; now I know a fragment of the truth, but then I will know as completely as I am known. The truth is that these three things last for ever-
faith, hope, and love-
and the greatest of them is love."
(1 Corinthians Chapter 13, William Barclay Translation)
Herein, you will find the standard for God because "God is love." (1 John 4:16) Herein also will you find yourself because this is your eternal home. You will be this perfect love only in Love Himself, the Father of us all, the Father of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Machiach), the Son of Yahweh, which is the Hebrew form of the name of God ascribed to Him in the Bible.
Here, and only here, is true life. No religion, not a single denomination of Christianity can give you the quality of life that Jesus Christ promised. No one can earn it. No one can perform the proper rituals to attain it. As a matter of fact, unless the Father draws a person into that personal relationship, no one can even begin the journey. "No one can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) Of course, the Father will eventually draw everyone, even out of their graves. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw (drag in the Greek) all mankind unto Myself." (John 12:32)
At one time, I wanted to save the whole world. Now I know the whole world is already saved; it just doesn't know it yet. Every now and then, our Father lets me be the messenger to bring the truly good news to someone. They awaken out of their slumber and begin living for Christ instead of self. I receive the joy of seeing another one of my brothers or sisters begin their journey back to our Father. There is the joy of evangelism. Declaring the great news and seeing the power of the Son of God draw the person to Himself. Seeing people freed from the clutches of darkness gives me a high I could not find in the bottle, nor sports, nor television, nor any other form of entertainment. True evangelism is not a burden; it is pure joy! Jesus came that our joy might be full. I cannot describe to you how much more joyful it is to share the true gospel, knowing that Jesus has already finished the work. All we have to do is be an expression of His love for mankind. Salvation is of God and not of man!
Choose to offer hope to all mankind! Do not enslave yourself to demonic doctrines which make our Creator look like a cruel tyrant Who out of a mere whim chose to "elect" a handful of men and women to eternal bliss, while He equally elected to send countless billions to everlasting sufferings merely to exercise His sovereignty. This is not justice. Nor is it the Love of a merciful Father. It is nothing less than an awful beast! This is the god of Calvinism-a merciless beast.
Neither make room in your heart for the worm preached by the rest of Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and the Orthodox branches of Christendom, who preach a wimp of a god who has miscalculated the power of man's rebellious nature and the power of Satan-who could not move man off his course to destruction. The Scriptures boldly declare that "Love NEVER fails!" Yet most of Christendom preaches a God Who made a mistake greater than all of mankind's mistakes put together. This God's miscalculations plunged most of His own children into the most miserable existence conceivable. Imagine, a God who is ever-present, all-knowing, who knows the beginning from the end, who is all-powerful, ever merciful, full of a love far greater than man without His Spirit is capable of exhibiting-and yet somehow, with all this going for Him, the outcome of His great Creative process will find billions upon billions of His own children frying in an eternal lake created by their Father for the purpose of inflicting endless sufferings upon them because they failed to understand the profound confusion of rules, creeds, rituals, dogmas, statements of faith, etc. laid out by the ecclesiastical elite who claim to be God's authority on earth.
Oh, these Arminianists say that God tried to prevent this from happening. He did all He could do to prevent this from happening. Rubbish!!! He never purposed a Hell of everlasting torture. This was never a part of His plan nor did He ever describe such a place in the Bible in the original languages. This nonsense came from the depraved carnal mind of fallen men and women, not from our Father. Yes, they placed it in some of our Bible translations, but there are many scholars and translations by some of these scholars which do not contain the doctrine of a place of endless torture. (See our booklet Bibles Translations That do not contain a Hell of Eternal Torment. Do not make room in your mind or heart for the thought that sin, rebelliousness, fear, hatred, prejudice and other forms of darkness will have a place of eternal existence in the heart's of unregenerated men and women. God subjected creation (including mankind) to futility in hope, but not for eternity. (Romans 8:20) Once the purposes of God subjecting man to futility are accomplished, He will bring to an end the darkness of the heart and mind.
No, a place where our heavenly Father will forever literally burn the human beings (which He brought into existence) is not found on the pages of the Bible in their original form. However, there is a passage of Scripture which comes close to the kind of fiendishness which the doctrine of Hell represents.
Israel, during one part of its history began to mix the worship of Yahweh with some of the customs of the pagan nations around them. They molded a statue which was half man and half Bull. They called this god, MLK. (The original Hebrew had no vowels. One had to put in the vowels from memory.) Some scholars render these three consonants Molock or Molech, others believed it was the word Melech, which means "king" in Hebrew. The latter view would mean that Israel had made an image of Yahweh (their king) in the image of being half man and half animal. Either way, they felt they had not abandoned the worship of Yahweh. They felt this new practice was harmonious with the other religious traditions of the Hebrew faith.
Regardless of whether he was called Moloch, Molech or Melech, the Israelites took their own babies and placed them in the hands of this statue. Beneath the hands was a pot under which was a very hot fire. The child would fall out of the hands of MLK into the burning pot. As the child screamed with pain, the adults would go into a sexual frenzy as the sounds of the burning children mixed with the beating of drums. MLK was a fertility god.
In other Jewish rites, the Jews were commanded to offer up the first-fruits of a harvest unto Yahweh that He might bless the rest of the harvest. The Israelites extended this practice by offering up some of their children as a burnt-offering. Yahweh told Jeremiah the prophet He was going to destroy the city in which they were committing these horrible acts. The location where these rites were performed was in the Valley of the son of Hinnom (also called Tophet in the Bible) right outside the Southwest wall of Jerusalem! Now hear the true heart and power of the God of the Jewish and Christian Bible:
"Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying,
'Behold I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?' Therefore thus says Yahweh: 'Behold, I will give this city into the had of the Chaldeans, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it. And the Chaldeans who fight against this city shall come and set fire to this city and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke Me to anger; because the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil before Me from their youth. For the children of Israel have provoked Me only to anger with the work of their hands,' says Yahweh.
'For this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury from the day that they built it, even to this day; so I will remove it from before My face because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me to anger-they, their kings, their princes, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
'Now therefore,' thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, 'It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence':
'Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God: then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good: but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul. For thus says Yahweh: Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them." (Jeremiah 32:26-42)
There is more here in this passage of Scripture than we can possibly talk about in this book. I just want to bring out a few points which might open some new understanding to some people.
First of all Israel was raised up as a nation by Yahweh to be a light to the nations around them. God wanted a nation of priests who would intercede on behalf of the other nations of the world. (He still does.) They were also to obey His commands.
When Israel went astray, they no longer represented Yahweh. Yahweh judged Israel to bring about correct, not to appease His anger. We see that although Israel certainly did enough to perhaps deserve to be thrown into a Hell of everlasting punishment, He promised to restore them, not eternally torture them. The reason why Yahweh demands that vengeance be in His hands and His hands alone is because only He is able to kill and make alive again. He can resurrect people He previously judged with death. Once man kills, he is unable to bring them back. The hope of Israel has always been in the resurrection of the dead.
When speaking of Israel burning their own children, Yahweh said that such a thing never entered His mind. If God prepared a place in which He was going to torture billions of the human beings He created, how could He say it never entered His mind. Obviously, God never intended, nor ever will eternally burn and torture the men and women He created! This cruel teaching came from the same place from which Israel got the idea of burning their own children, that is, from a mind which was not subject to the true God; from a depraved mind.
It seems one of the hardest things for people to understand is that when we do not have a true relationship with the True God, we substitute all sorts of other concepts of God which often cause us to manifest some very strange or evil behavior. Israel is a perfect example. I believe most Christians who believe in a Hell of everlasting burnings would feel Israel's sins were worthy of being sent to Hell. Please note that in the above passage of Scripture, Israel did not repent. Yet Yahweh, nevertheless promises to "do them good" and to make them once again His people. Here we see a loving Father who punishes to bring about correction, not vindictive rage. Here we see the True image of our Maker, not the modern Christian image which has been made just like Israel made their false image, by mixing the Truth with pagan superstitions and devilish practices.
Modern Christianity is presently in the same condition Israel was during the time of Jeremiah the prophet. Modern Christianity tells unbelievers that the God of Christianity purposes to torture most of them with a fire far more torturous than the fire Israel used on their children. It is very fortunate for these Christians that Yahweh's promises to apostate Israel will also be applied to Christians. You see, if there is anyone who might deserve going to a place of everlasting sufferings, it would be people who have painted such an evil picture of their own God, their own Maker and Father. Yet Jeremiah tells us that our loving Father will forgive even such a horrendous sin as this.
When Jesus in the New Testament used the word which has been incorrectly translated "Hell" in most Christian Bible, the place He was referring to was this valley in which Israel burned their own children, not God. The place called Gehenna (translated Hell) was the Greek form of the Hebrew Ge Hinnom. This valley became a disgraceful reminder to Israel of what their forefathers did. It became the city dump.
Jesus warned the very generation in which He lived that if they did not repent, they would find themselves thrown into this valley of garbage which burned night and day. To tell a Jew something like this was the absolute worst of insult. It meant that their lives were worthless. A Jew's honor was very important to him especially at his death. It was not uncommon to hire professional mourners at one's funeral. Imagine paying someone to cry tears at your funeral. This is an example of how vain God's own people were during Jesus' physical presence on earth. Jesus told some of the most religious people of His day, their lives were only fit to be thrown into the city dump! What an insult! And what a prophecy! The very people who heard these words would find their bodies thrown over the Southwest wall of Jerusalem during the siege against the city in 70AD. Because they did not follow Christ and participated in His crucifixion, their lives truly did become worthless.
But the God of the Bible is able to take a worthless vessel, throw it back into the mine from which He took it and remake it! (Jeremiah Chapter 18) He can do that with an entire nation and He can do that with a single person like you and me. Oh, please believe me when I say to you that God does not need nor desire to endlessly torture someone. He is able to ultimately bring all of us back to our senses.
I would like those of you who presently do not have faith in the God of the Christian Bible to meditate very carefully on the next point I want to make. Jeremiah, the Hebrew prophet spoke and recorded these words and many other strong words which painted Israel and its leadership to be a wicked people in the seventh century B.C. His words entered into the sacred writings of Israel and were considered inspired. It was the responsibility of the religious leaders of Israel to make copies of these words for every generation which followed. Imagine being a Jewish scribe paid by Jewish political and religious leadership to rewrite the words of the Jewish prophets who were constantly railing against God's leaders. Surely, there would be a great tendency to soften these harsh words aimed at yourself and the Jewish leader's who hired you to rewrite those strong indictment's against them and yourself. I find it absolutely amazing that scribes and priests would pass on these words without making enough changes which would put themselves in a better light than the way these prophets described Israel's leadership. The Roman historians who were paid by the Caesars to write Roman history went to great extremes to glorify their leaders. They used the white wash very heavily. Not so, with the Jewish scribes who handed down from generation to generation the writings which would become largest part of the Christian Bible.
Since these writings had to be handwritten on sheepskins which wore out, there were many opportunities for the scribes to "rewrite" the Jewish history which cast them in unfavorable light, but they didn't. If these were just man's words and God wasn't divinely involved with the transference of these words from generation to generation, wouldn't it seem natural that these harsh indictments of Israel would ultimately be softened or completely eliminated by the scribes?
These strong words from Yahweh against Israel have caused Israel much grief. Many men who have hated the Jews have used these passages of Scripture to prove that the Jews were a wicked people who God hated and should therefore be hated by us. I believe these Scriptures in their Hebrew form help prove that the Bible is divinely protected and inspired. Yes, there are translation errors. Yes, there are some minor scribal errors in the Hebrew manuscripts. But the hand of God is clearly on the book which we call the Bible.
One of the many things mankind needed to experience is what it is like to be without the blessings of God; this makes one able to truly appreciate them when they are restored. We generally do not appreciate or value things unless we are deprived of them for a season or unless they are scarce. Many people value gold; few value sand. Once mankind has experienced the measure of lack our Maker has appointed in order for us to learn to appreciate Him and our fellow brothers and sisters, He will put an end to suffering, lack of provision, sickness, and all the other sins mankind is presently experiencing.
God does not just give us His nature, He works it into us through our experiences. Ultimately, we will all come to see that Love is the only power which will united us in peace. God has ordained a very long season for mankind to see the ramifications of what man is like without this love. As we have seen from our generation and previous ones, man is capable of being worse than the beasts in the field. Animals usually kill for food. Man kills his own brothers and sisters for things as worthless as a pair of brand-name athletic shoes. Contrary to what many Christians teach, His wrath will not last forever, but His mercy surely will last until He becomes "all in all." Mankind's season of vanity will surely come to an end once we all see the futility of living without Him. (Isa. 57:16; Psalm 145:9)
Oh, brother! Oh, sister! If you truly knew the heart of the Father of us all, you would never entertain for a moment such disgusting thoughts which religious man has created that have stained the precious Name and Character of the Holy One of Israel. Seek the highest thoughts your mind can imagine about our Father and they will greatly fall short of His Glory. Is it so difficult to imagine His Love capable of reaching all of fallen creation? Surely you would never consign one of your own children to such an awful fate. Yet so-called orthodox Christianity and other false religions of the world tell us the Creator will consign most of the human beings He made to this place. Are you more loving, merciful, and compassionate than the Creator and Father of all mankind? Can you now see the spirit from which this hideous teaching comes? It comes from prideful and arrogant dark-minded men and women who through their doctrines tell us their love is greater than God's love! This is the height of pride! And thinking man's will is more powerful than God's will is just as foolish.
To you, my brother or sister of this world, who do not yet personally know the Creator of the Universe and His Son, Jesus Christ, I apologize for the terrible way, we, who have used His name, have tarnished His true character. Surely we Christians have marred His image much more than the whips, the crown of thorns, and the nails marred His physical body on the Tree of Crucifixion. It is no wonder that most of mankind has not found refuge and comfort in the shelter of the branches of Christendom. I am deeply sorry. I pray the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus promised to send will wipe away the false concepts and ideas which have been perpetrated upon the minds of the peoples of the world. Forgive us, my brothers and sisters. May the idols we have created in place of the True God be smashed and forever destroyed and be replaced with the reality our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus the Messiah.
To those of you who seek to project your own lust for vengeance upon your own image of God which is nothing more than a reflection of what is in your own heart, I have nothing to say which will steer you from your course of madness. You, who place yourself above your fellow man through prejudice, nationalism, denominationalism, racism-you who demand judgment in diabolical measures upon your enemies while you, yourselves commit the same acts you condemn others to eternal torture for-you will have your day of judgment. If you do not fall upon the Rock, the Rock will fall on you. Eventually, you will be humbled. You will be brought down to the place where you will realize your own depravity and wickedness of heart. You will see the depth of your self-righteousness and hypocrisy. You will one day be brought to realize that in God's plan we are all one-no one has anything which hasn't been given from above-no one has any right to boast in themselves.
My words will not convince you that you are on the broad road which leads to destruction. You are convinced you are on the narrow road and every one else is on the broad road to destruction. You are convinced the fiend you have painted on the wall of your imagination is the true image of God. Surely, I will not be able to steer you from your course. I leave you in the hands of your Loving Father who knows how to break the pride without destroying His creation. He knows how to do heart surgery like no cardiologist known to man. We, humans, have specialists who can help us with hardening of the arteries. Our Creator is the only One in the universe who is always successful with the disease all of us are afflicted by-hardness of heart. Your Father and mine will one day cure all of us of this dreadful disease and we will be restored with a sound mind, a clean conscience, and a pure heart like His.
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of our Father's plan of Creation to understand is why He allows us to remain in our fallen, self-centered lives so long. Why does He allow us to hurt each other in such awful ways? Religious men and women trapped in their own wicked imaginations have perpetrated some of the most cruel sufferings upon mankind, often upon the most innocent. Yet through much of this suffering, it seems God was asleep, not caring, or dead.
This was why I was so angry with God during my childhood. I could not understand how a loving and all-powerful God would allow the cruelties I had witnessed. It made absolutely no sense to me. However, now, having seen His marvelous plan to work His nature into all of us through our experiences of seeing what life would be like apart from His government upon us, I now can bear the pain. I know now that it is temporary and serves a wonderful purpose for all of our eternal beings.
We have seen with our own eyes what man apart from God is like. We have seen it in religious people, power-hungry, political leaders and greedy merchants. Some of us have seen it in ourselves. Many are still blind to the wickedness which is in their hearts. They still think they are better than most others. God will eventually let them see what abominations really hide there which they are unwilling to look at. I have tasted the bitter fruit of living in self. It is poison to all of our souls.
You, my religious brother and sister, may go on thinking you are doing God's will while actually serving yourself. The word "religion" comes from two Latin words "re" and "ligare." Interestingly, it means "return to bondage." While thinking you are representing God, you are only enslaving people to your own bondage to religion-a slave set out to enslave others-the blind leading the blind. It does not matter what label you put on your religion, whether it be Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, or even Christianity. You are only serving your own hate and projecting it on an image you call your god.
You claim that you have the keys to the kingdom of God, but in actuality you have not entered in yourself and thereby hinder others from entering. Jesus told that to the religious leaders of His day. This has not changed. I cannot break your pride. Only our Father can do that and I am certain in His time, He will. You will be healed. Then you will put your long extended bony index finger down and begin to open your arms to embrace those you once despised and consigned to the lowest pits of your fiery prison of hell. I have faith this will happen to you because it happened to me, a chief Pharisee. He knows how to break down the mountains of religious pride which cover this earth. The winds, rains, and snow eventually weather even the highest mountains down. So too will the religions of this world be brought to nothing. One day, "every knee shall bow , of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:9-11) Oh, I know you think you honor His name, but you do not, you disgrace it with the doctrines you accepted from men. When I taught eternal torment, I also disgraced His name. But He is faithful to forgive. His Grace is able to remove the deepest of shames and your shame will surely one day be removed. First it must be revealed to you. You think you have nothing to be ashamed about. One day your head will hang very low with shame and only the Love of Christ will be able to bring it back up again.
One day, our Father will show every man and woman ever born that without God ruling in them, they are no better or worse than the most evil person on earth. As long as a person thinks they are better than anyone on earth, they are still in a state of blindness or partial blindness. In Christ, we are all one. We are all made righteous through His righteousness. Apart from Christ we are all dead and smell of death. We are self-centered which is death.
I know the religious spirit very well. I drank from its cup. It is a blinding drug that makes men mad raving dogs ready to bite anyone who doesn't line up with our own standards. To you my religious brother or sister, I say, your very own words will one day judge you. They will declare you guilty of trampling upon the blood of Christ shed for the sins of all mankind. When the reality of what you do in your judgmentalism strikes your heart and mind, you will be healed and you will put down your stones. In the meantime, you will continue to make this world a place of suffering using fear and violence instead of God's love. We all will pay the price for the religious wars started, the systems of intolerance created, and the hate planted in innocent children's souls.
But I am learning not to take vengeance into my own hands. I am learning that I cannot change you by killing you. I now see that in His time, our Father will discipline each of us and restore us to a sound mind. I am learning to walk in tolerance, patience, and trusting that God will deal with each of us in His own time. I have learned that vengeance belongs in our Father's hands. Mankind does not know how to use this power. Mankind can only kill with this weapon. But we serve a powerful God Who is able to kill and then make a live again. (Deut. 32:39) We are incapable of doing that. We cannot undo our killing. That is why we must put down our swords and stones.
Now I want to say something to the atheist, rationalist, secular humanist, evolutionist-those of you who trust in reason, man's "innate" goodness, and the grave. I say the grave because that is your only hope. Many of you believe creation was started by a series of accidents; life ultimately evolved out of these billions of accidents and here you are-an accident waiting to be undone by the grave. I know you very well. I was like you for 37 years. I want to tell you something very rational, very reasonable, and very true. Your mind will have great difficulty with it because the fact of the matter is that atheists are just as irrational as religious people. Let me attempt prove the point.
Each of us views our environment somewhat differently depending upon our cultural background and our passions for living. In my former state, I was a businessman. During my course through an average day, I would look at life from a businessman's point of view. I saw bottom lines where others may have seen beauty. I saw potential clients where others may have seen friends. Now let me drive this point deep into your mind with this illustration.
As a businessman, I would look at the watch on my wrist and see countless things most people would never dream of seeing. In my business, I was constantly looking for new opportunities, new products, and new ways of making things better and more profitable. When I looked at a watch, here are some of the things I would see. I would see several entire industries which brought this watch to market. I would see of industries like the metal industry, the plastic industry, mold makers, transportation companies, sales companies, advertising agencies, etc. all working harmoniously to make and deliver this watch to me.
But in my tunnel vision world of chasing the dollar bill, there was also something there as plain as day which I also saw in the watch, but could not see in my life.
If a watch salesman came to my company to sell me an intricately designed watch and told me this watch was produced by an explosion, I would laugh him out of my office. If he told me that it came from a soup made billions of years ago, I would surely laugh right in his face.
My rational mind knows design. A watch is full of many components all of which were designed with purpose by an intelligent being. As a businessman, when looking at a watch on my wrist, the design in that watch naturally and quite rationally pointed to a designer! Any reasonable person would come to the same conclusion. No atheist or evolutionist would ever have the nerve to come into a classroom of college students and tell them the watch they are wearing evolved out of an explosion that occurred a few billion years ago. We all know the truth here. But that same person would go into a classroom and tell these impressionable minds that the wrist which holds the watch was created from an explosion! A human wrist is thousands of times more complex than a watch. How is it that we "rational scientific" types cannot see the ridiculousness in our reasoning when it comes to the great design of our bodies?
A watch speaks of intelligent design which speaks of a designer outside of itself. A human wrist screams even louder of design and an independent DESIGNER! Someone made the wrist!
Spend a few moments studying the complexity of a single cell. Go to the medical dictionary and read about the various systems which run through the wrist to make it perform its function in the body. Read about the nervous system, muscle system, circulatory system, etc. Compare them to a gear on a watch. Which is more complicated?
Why is it that atheists, especially many of the "scientific" types, cannot see their own irrationality in this example? Because they live by faith and not by rationalism! They have placed their faith in a system which locks out a Designer because they do not want to be accountable to Him. They, in the darkness of self, want to establish their own rules of conduct apart from being responsible to their Designer. I know that when I was chasing the dollar bill, I did not want Someone looking over my shoulder telling me how I should earn and spend it. I wanted to be accountable only to myself.
I would like to say something right now that I believe will change the lives of some who are reading this booklet. If your mind is truly open, it will be a seed that will bring greater peace and understanding into your lives.
When a person in this world creates something, he or she first has a purpose in mind. The primary purpose behind a watch is to tell time. The purpose is not in the watch, the purpose for the watch is in the mind of the designer! (Oh, Father please open the hearts of the readers as they dwell on the next few sentences.)
If you have been designed by an intelligent Designer (which I hope is now quite obvious and rational), then you have been created with purpose in mind! But that purpose does not reside in you-that purpose resides in the Designer Himself!
For 37 years of my life, I thought I was the designer of my life. I created an environment around me to make me happy, often at the expense of others, especially those who I could easily manipulate with my powers of persuasion. I loved the capitalist system which allowed the strongest achievers to go as high as they could. I was strong, reasonably intelligent, and determined-I had purpose-I set my goals. When I finally pretty much reached them, I realized I had made a mess, not only for myself, but for many around me. I was empty deep inside. No one knew this because I hid it very well. I even hid it from myself. But the day of reckoning finally came. The alcohol I used to numb my conscience finally got the better of me.
Man's purpose in himself is shallow, greedy, and selfish. It will never bring peace to this world. Never! But when we discover that our true purpose is in the mind of our Maker, then a whole new world opens up! Oh, brothers and sisters, think about these words for a few hours. They may be the most worthwhile hours you have spent. You have been created with purpose. It is time to discover the One who can unlock that life in you.
Our Maker sent Jesus the Messiah into the world to open the way to reveal God's purpose for each of us. We can only find our true identity in Him. Every other plan, every other design, every other system of belief is false and futile. "He who clings to his life will lose it; he who loses his life for My sake finds it." (Matt. 10:39)
Mid-life crisis is nothing more than a person beginning to realize their plans are falling apart. They want to design a new life. They are not happy with the one they built previously and so begin to contemplate a new plan. Of course, they rarely attribute the failure of the previous one to themselves. Some will find an expensive Freudian psychiatrist who will allow them to blame their failure on someone else. It is usually their mate who is fouling up their perfect paradise. The fact of the matter is one can design a thousand plans for their lives and none of them will bring true contentment. Our fulfillment, our very purpose for our existence, rests in our Creator and in Him alone.
The Father of all mankind sent His Son to bring us back to our senses and to show us a healthy pattern for our lives here on earth. He came to give us abundant life. In Him are all the things God purposed for us-all of them. But in order to receive them, they must replace the parts of our lives which hold us in darkness-which would look at our wrist and say "An explosion caused this." We must make room in our hearts and minds for the wisdom from our Maker. We must empty ourselves. This is called humbling ourselves even as Jesus, the Son of God did.
Allow me to give another illustration showing the condition of man trapped in himself. A tribe in Africa had an ingenious way of catching monkeys which they sold to Westerners for biological research. They built a cage with six sides without a trap door. They simply placed a large hard fruit in the cage allowing enough room between the bars for the monkey to put his hand in the cage to grab the fruit, but narrow enough that its hand while holding the fruit could not press back through the bars. The monkey's desire for the fruit was greater than their desire for freedom. These monkeys were trapped by their own refusal to let go of the fruit once they had their hands on it. Freedom required that the monkey simply let go of the fruit, but they would not.
This is the condition of some of you reading this book. Freedom is available to you by simply letting go of your desire to run your own life the way you think it should be run. Freedom is as close as letting go of your life and receiving the life of Jesus Christ. Millions of people run around this earth in their own purpose. They manipulate and engineer their environment and fellow man in order to create a paradise for themselves. This world was not created for that purpose. The true purpose of all things is in Him. "In Him we live and breathe and have our being."
So my atheist or agnostic friend, are you yet tired of holding onto your fruit? Apart from Christ, it will surely ultimately become very rotten. Are you really content with your life deep within yourself? If you can admit that you are not, you are one step closer to true freedom. You are on the road to repentance. (Perhaps God is drawing you now.) Repentance simply means "to turn, to change one's mind." It's the beginning of trusting Him instead of yourself. Simply recognizing that you are not a very good designer of life is a very important realization. This is often very difficult to do because of the images of God and the purposes for man attributed to Him by the thousands of "religions" of the world, (which are often not very good substitutes for our own plans.) I believe the doctrine of eternal torment for most of mankind has been one of the greatest hindrances to people trusting our Maker. Only when we see that God truly has good purposes towards us and that He will not fail in those purposes, will we ever be able to abandon our lives to Him whole-heartedly. That is why I fight this doctrine so fervently. It is a great hindrance to truly trusting our Maker. I hope this book has been helpful in dispelling some of the power of this horrible doctrine in some of your minds. Room must be made in our hearts in order to receive the fullness of the real life of Christ. Since our very lives are at stake, how can we honestly place our trust in Someone who we have been told is going to torture most of our friends and family? It is almost impossible.
I cannot give you my trust in Him. It is my hope that my testimony, my experiences of having been in the self life, and now my learning to walk in His purposes for me will soften the soil of your heart.
Friend, Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly." (John 10:10) He said that He came to make your joy full. He came to give you true life. He came to dispel the lies which have flooded your senses and give you a truly rational mind-a mind that will never again come to unintelligent conclusions like wrists and brains being created out of explosions and soups. He will give you His very own mind-the mind of Christ! (1 Cor. 2:16) Let go of the bitter fruit of self and enter into the life you were designed for-a life full of purpose, good works, much peace, and great joy-a life which truly can make this world a better place in which to live.
I have found that the most nasty mean foul-mouthed violent people are usually the ones who have been wounded the deepest some time in their past, usually during their childhood. From personal experience I have come to believe that only Jesus the Messiah can completely heal those wounds. I can testify that my life is much more rich and meaningful since Jesus brought healing to my soul. Turn to Him and allow Him to fill your heart with indescribable joy!
To you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who have been deceived by the traditions of men and the doctrines of demons to believe in these hideous false religious images of our Father, but who now see the lies for what they are-vanity from the minds of prideful man-to you I say there is a stream of forgiveness open to you from our Father. Repent, turn from these awful images, and let the King of Glory wash away the shame and disgrace you might feel from having supported and been a part of systems of men which have brought such shame to the Name of the Holy One. He is always ready to pardon, to heal, to forgive, and to exalt the humble and lowly of heart. Ask Him for the boldness to withstand the onslaught of the flood of evil words, thoughts and actions which come from darkness disguised in the form of light, which pervade the denominations of Christianity. Lay down the "respect" you may have in your denomination and allow the King of Glory to replace it with the only true honor-the Honor which comes from your Heavenly Father. As you remove your voice from the discordant chorus of Hell, your absence from this pit will weaken the fetters and chains of power hungry men and women who have used you to support their lust for power. This world needs a compassion from God's people which those who embrace an eternal torturing god cannot muster up. We are conformed to what we worship. You will manifest the god you hold dear to you. Stop manifesting a fiend! "Come out of her My people. She has become a home of every foul and unclean bird." (See Revelation Chapter 17 and 18) Remember, God is speaking to His people here.
Come home to your heavenly Father and He will give you a testimony the world is waiting to hear. Leave the traditions of men and women...and come home. Father is waiting with anxious loving arms.
In Him and through Him,
Gary Amirault...home at last!