Heaven and Hell

20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
22. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
23. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! </ul
24. “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
25. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
26. “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
27. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”
(Luke 6:20-26, ESV; all Biblical quotations are from the ESV)

Thursday evening (this is Saturday) Leonora and I attended the weekly meeting of our church’s Life group hosted by Roland and Sherry Loder. All ten members attended the meeting, which was held at Rosalie Lane’s instead of Roland and Sherry’s, and we studied the section “Can We Be Sure That Someday We’ll Be Free of Suffering and Evil?” of Randy Alcorn’s If God Is Good Why Do We Hurt? booklet (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Multnomah Books, 2010). As usual the study was preceded and followed by singing and prayer.

We opened the study by reading Luke 6:20-26 (quoted above), after which I read from the introduction to Chapter 28, “Heaven, Eternal Grace to Unworthy but Grateful Children,” of Randy Alcorn’s If God Is Good : Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil book (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2009). Alcorn observes that in the Bible passage Jesus addressed the same problem as If God Is Good is about, the problem of the righteous suffering and the wicked prospering, and indicated that God’s solution to the problem is Heaven for the righteous and Hell for the wicked. We then discussed the images that came to our minds when we thought of Heaven and Hell.

I noted that in the Bible Jesus spoke more about Hell than anybody else did and that he referred to it as a real place. Then I had read these passages in which Jesus spoke about Hell and we discussed after the reading of each passage what it tells us about Hell.
– “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:40-42).
– “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).
– “The sons of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).
– The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

I had read what the booklet says about Heaven, including these Bible passages:
– “I consider that the sufferings of this present age are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
– “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4).

We closed with an interesting and somewhat entertaining discussion about what and whom we’ll remember from this life when we’re in Heaven.

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