Should Christians have any reason to be fearful of hell? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi there. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We would love to hear from you. Here's our phone number.
It's 833-THE-CORE. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, you can watch Adriel right now on our YouTube channel and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
First up today, let's go to Bernadette in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bernadette, what's your question for Adriel? Hi.
Thank you for taking my call. My question is if he could give me his interpretation of Isaiah 64-24. We've been studying prophecy in our church, and this is raising a question in my mind.
Okay. Love to hear that you're studying prophecy in your church. Isaiah 66-24, this is the very last verse of the book of Isaiah. And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me, for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh. Now, just before this, there was a promise given by the Lord, verse 22, for as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord. And so you have this picture of new creation, of worshiping the true and the living God, all flesh, all people gathering to worship him. And then you also have this picture of judgment, severe judgment upon those who rebelled against the Lord.
This is, in one sense, Bernadette, a picture of the consummation of the end of judgment in Revelation chapter 21. John has a vision, and he says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And then he goes on to say in Revelation chapter 21, verse 8, but as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. And of course, Jesus used the very words of the prophet Isaiah there in Isaiah 66, 24, when he spoke about hell, giving a warning about the judgment of God upon those who reject his truth, reject his word, those who continue in sin. He says in verse 47 of Mark chapter 9, 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. And then here's where he quotes Isaiah 66, 24, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. And so one of the principles of Bible interpretation, Bernadette, is that we let scripture interpret scripture, and so here Jesus is quoting that passage you referenced in Isaiah to refer to the judgment of God, hell.
And ultimately, the destination of the wicked is going to be the second death, the lake of fire, described in Revelation chapter 21. Thank you for your question. Bernadette, thanks so much for calling and for listening to CORE Christianity. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine or theology, we'd love to hear from you.
It's 833-843-2673 or 833 the CORE. Let's go to Ryan calling in from Oklahoma. Ryan, what's your question for Adriel? I have a question. I have a caretaker that is Jehovah Witness and I wasn't sure exactly what they believe and wasn't sure how to witness to her.
Okay. Well, Ryan, what I would say is a couple of the things that you need to know about Jehovah's Witnesses. First, they reject the deity of Jesus Christ, and so they reject the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. They don't believe that Jesus was God. They'll talk about salvation, they'll talk about the kingdom of God, they'll talk about the atonement of Christ, but they believe that Jesus was a creature, just like we're creatures.
Now, of course, they give him this elevated position. They'll say he was divine in one sense, but they don't treat him as equal with the Father. And so in that regard, they're very similar to an ancient heretical group that was known as the Arians who taught that Jesus was divine, but that he was the first creature of Jehovah. And of course, they get their name from the fact that they value, they're all about talking about the name of God Jehovah and how people have taken the name of God Jehovah out of their Bibles. And so a lot of times when you're having a conversation with the Jehovah's Witness, they'll say, well, do you know the name of God? And they'll open up the scriptures and they'll show you all the places where Jehovah is translated as Lord in the Old Testament and so on. In terms of witnessing to this person, first, brother, I would just say pray.
Pray that the Lord opens your caretaker's heart because we know that it's a work of the Holy Spirit, that God uses his word, and through the word and spirit, God opens the hearts of those who are blind. And there is a strong deception, I think, among the Jehovah's Witnesses. I've spoken to many Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the years, opening the scriptures with them, and there is often just an unwillingness to engage after a certain point. They're taught to go out and to evangelize, and they do want to have conversations about the Bible, but I think once they realize that you're challenging their beliefs, a lot of times they're discouraged from continuing to have that conversation. And so I think focusing on the identity of Jesus and on the gospel and maybe asking your caretaker, okay, what do you believe the gospel is as a Jehovah's Witness? What is the good news of the Christian faith? And sometimes they'll say, well, it has to do with the kingdom of God.
They'll say, okay, we'll unpack that a little bit more. And then highlight the fact that the gospel in scripture in the New Testament does relate to the kingdom of God, and at the heart of it is the forgiveness that we experience through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And that's where you have to start having a conversation about who Jesus is as well. If Jesus was just a creature, a mere man, then could his blood be sufficient to atone for the sins of the entire world?
I mean, that's a huge problem. This is why the identity of Christ is so important. If we get who Jesus is wrong, then we don't understand the atonement of Christ.
We don't understand his sacrificial death on our behalf. And so that's where you really want to focus. You want to focus on the gospel, the forgiveness of sins, and who Jesus is according to scripture.
And may the Lord bless you as you continue to have those conversations, or as you begin having those conversations with this caretaker, and appreciate you reaching out to us, Ryan. You know, Adriel, a lot of Christians may not realize that the Jehovah's Witnesses actually have their own Bible. They have distorted the holy scriptures, and they've taken certain verses and changed them.
Can you kind of help our average listener understand what they've done there? Yeah. Well, you're absolutely right. They have a translation of the Bible called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. And essentially what they've done is they've taken a lot of those passages that very clearly teach the deity of Christ, and they've changed the wording. So, for example, in Colossians chapter 1, where it says, By him all things were made, they add a word there. By him all other things, in brackets, they put the word other, to suggest that he's a part of that which was made. Now, of course, we know that that's not true.
John says in John chapter 1, verses 1 and following, that by him all things were made, and apart from him there wasn't anything made that was made. But they'll insert a word here or take a word out there in order to undermine, I think, the very clear teaching of the scriptures, and that's part of the way they continue to deceive people, is through that translation of the Bible. And so that's something that Ryan and the rest of our listeners are going to want to be aware of. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question.
Maybe you've been trying to witness to someone in your life who's either of a different faith or considers themselves an agnostic or an atheist, and you're kind of stuck. You need some suggestions. Well, Adriel will be happy to help you with that.
Or maybe you've got a question about a Bible passage that's always kind of stumped you, and you'd like some clarification on that. Give us a call at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Adrian calling in from St. Louis. Adrian, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, Bill. Pastor Adriel. I have a question on Matthew 24 and 36. It says, Now concerning the day and the hour, no one knows neither the angels of heaven nor the Son except the Father alone. So my question is, does that mean he didn't know as a man, or do he know now in the spirit when he knows when he's coming?
Yeah, Adrian, excellent question. You know, it's while we just got that call about Jehovah's Witnesses, and that's one of the verses that they'll bring up, is they'll say, See, Jesus didn't know the day or the hour. We can't say that he's equal with God the Father.
But you're right. You're on the right track here in terms of thinking about this in the context of the incarnation, the word assuming humanity. And you think about how that's described in the book of Philippians, for example, in Philippians chapter 2, where Paul is talking about the humiliation of the word who assumed flesh. He's encouraging the Philippians to humble themselves and to look out for the good of others. And he says, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. And so the way we understand that passage there that you bring up, Matthew 24, verse 36, Jesus making that statement, is in the context of his incarnation in the economy of salvation, the eternal Son of the Father, equal with the Father in all things, assuming human flesh and coming as a servant. That in that sense, and this is the same reason that Jesus can also say in the Gospels, the Father is greater than I. He's not talking about the fact that the Father is a greater God than he is or something like that. No, it's in the context of the history of salvation as the eternal Word of the Father assumed humanity and came in human flesh as a servant.
He can speak in that way. But as God, as the second person of the Holy Trinity, he's equal with the Father in power and glory and knowledge and all things. And so that's the way we understand Matthew 24, verse 36. Wonderful question, and thank you for giving us a call. Adrian, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity.
We really do appreciate you. By the way, we have some great Bible studies here at the CORE, and these are a wonderful way for you to grow in your faith. The newest one is on the book of Daniel. Yes, it's a 10-week study on the book of Daniel that you can go through on your own or with a group from your church if your church is looking for a Bible study to start up, something that's about 10 weeks long that's going to get you into the Old Testament that's practical and where you're going to learn some things about the book of Daniel. Check out this resource. You can get it over at corechristianity.com.
You can download it as a PDF, or you can also purchase hard copies, and it's a wonderful resource. You can find out about all of our Bible studies by going to corechristianity.com. And to get this one on Daniel, just go to corechristianity.com forward slash Daniel, and you'll find out how to order it there.
Well, we'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life doctrine or theology. Our phone lines are open. We'll be taking calls for the next 10 minutes or so, so now is the time to call. 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Charles. I was just wondering, did you guys get scared going to hell? Thank you.
Charles, thank you for that question. You know, when I was a little boy, I remember being in Sunday school class. We didn't go to church a ton, but I remember we went for probably a period of six months, and I remember being in a kid's Sunday school class, and I raised my hand and said to the teacher, I don't even remember what she was talking about. We probably had kind of a small Bible lesson with crayons and whatnot, but I knew about hell. I had heard about hell, and so I raised my hand and I told the teacher, I don't know if I love God, but I know I don't want to go to hell, and I think she could see the fear in my eyes. I mean, I think there were also tears sort of welling up because I was concerned even as a little kid, and she sat me on her lap and she prayed for me.
She was just so sweet, but I'll never forget that, and throughout my life, as a newer believer, I think I confronted with God's word and the truth of his word, the holiness of his law, the reality of divine judgment. I think that there was a lot of fear there specifically, and I think that the doctrine of hell and the reality of God's judgment should be sobering to every single one of us, but for believers, for Christians, we don't need to live out of the fear of hell. I mean, you think there's this great hymn, you might have heard it before, Amazing Grace, and twas grace that taught my heart to fear, twas grace my fears relieved. Sometimes at first when we begin walking with the Lord, it is that fear that drives us to the truth of God's word, but the hope is that as we grow in our understanding of Scripture and who God is, that our relationship with the Lord isn't one that's rooted first and foremost out of fear and terror of God's judgment, but love for God because he has taken that judgment in our place. And so I know that there are many Christians who continue to be afraid of hell.
I mean, when I read those passages about hell, they're sobering, they are scary, but I try to go back to the fact that Jesus has borne my punishment and that I don't have to be afraid of divine judgment in that sense to be afraid of hell because Jesus Christ has taken that punishment and he has granted me his grace and his love. Listen to what John said in 1 John chapter 4 verse 15. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. And so we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the way of judgment because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear for fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. Charles, God wants us to love him and he wants our relationship with him to be rooted first and foremost not out of a slavish fear where we're afraid that he's just going to crush us in judgment because of our sin, but out of love because we recognize that he's forgiven our sins and accepted us into his family. God bless. So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We actually have an email that kind of relates to this as well. It's from Marcus and Marcus says, If there's no condemnation in Christ Jesus in Romans 8, 1, why does the Bible say there's a real danger of still going to hell in Matthew 7, 21 to 23? This concerns me and perplexes me. Let's go to Matthew chapter 7 then, Matthew 7, 21 through 23. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name? Then I will declare to them, I never knew you.
Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Speaking of sobering passages in the Bible, this is one of the most sobering passages in the Bible because here you have these people who are standing before God on the day of judgment and they think they're good. They think they're getting in and Jesus says to them, I never knew you.
Now, what does that mean, I never knew you? Well, first it doesn't mean that they were saved, that there was no condemnation for them in Christ and then they lost their salvation. It can't mean that. And in the Bible the word no speaks of intimacy in relationship. We sometimes use that word kind of loosely to talk about information that we know, this sort of cognitive understanding, but in scripture it's a lot more intimate. It's about a personal relationship. And so for Jesus to say, I never knew you, is in one sense to say, we never had that relationship. You are a worker of lawlessness. Even though you thought you were holy, they're saying, Lord, Lord, they're appealing to their works.
Haven't we done these great things? And yet the truth is they were outside of God's grace. Now, probably there in Matthew 7, Jesus is exposing the hypocritical religious leaders, the priesthood of his day, who like to go around in long robes and to be called by everyone teacher and master, and they claim to be the teachers of the law, and yet they rejected Jesus. Jesus says in John 5, you search the scriptures thinking that in them you have eternal life, but these are the very scriptures that testify of me, and you're not willing to come to me that you may have life. And so Jesus is really exposing hypocritical religion here, the kind of faith that doesn't actually lay hold of Jesus because it's not a true faith at all. It rejects him, and people can have just sort of religious leanings, if you will.
They can say, Lord, Lord. They can think that they're going to get to heaven by their good works, but in truth, if they're not trusting in Christ, then what they will hear is, I never knew you. And so, brothers and sisters, the question for all of us is, do I know Jesus, or maybe better, does Jesus know me? Am I in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by faith, or do I reject him? Maybe I go through some of the religious motions. I'll visit church here and there, but when it comes to believing in him, trusting in him for the forgiveness of my sins, turning toward him, I don't do that. That's what we're all called to, trusting in him and receiving that forgiveness. And so hopefully that clears up that text for you.
Appreciate your question. Really, you think about how many Americans right now will say, hey, I know that I'm going to heaven because I'm a good person. You know, I'm better than the next guy, the guy next door, the guy in the cubicle down from me. So that tells me I'm going to heaven. Yeah, and where we have to be careful with that is, we're not judged on, it's not like God is grading on a curve, right? It's not like, okay, let's see how you were compared to these other people. Yeah, you were a little bit better than your neighbors.
No. So the standard is God's holy law. And the law of God doesn't just command us not to do certain things. It also calls us to something positively. And what it calls us to positively is to love God with all of our heart, with all of our mind, with all of our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
And who is my neighbor? I mean, Jesus in the parable of the good Samaritan said that your neighbor is even the person who you don't have a lot in common with. We're not just talking about your friends, the people you like.
We're talking about even the people that get on your nerves. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, you're called to love your enemies even. Well, when we think of God's law and the weight of what God calls us to, we realize each and every one of us falls short. We desperately need the gospel. And that's the good news of the Christian faith, is that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
But God, but God, those two words, has made a way for sinners to experience His grace and mercy, to be in communion with Him through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God who came to earth to pay the penalty for my sins, to live the perfect life that I didn't live and that you didn't live, so that by believing in Him you might be forgiven and have the hope of eternal life. Don't trust in your own good works. Don't trust in the fact that you're quote-unquote religious.
You need to trust in Jesus Himself and know Him and receive Him. And, Bill, that's the truth, isn't it? Amen. So well said, Adriel. Thank you for that.
This is Core Christianity. We have time for one more call. Phil from Missouri is on the line. Phil, we've just got about a minute.
What's your question for Adriel? Yeah, just a quick question. After Jesus was crucified and placed in the tomb, they stated that there were guards. I'm assuming those were Roman guards. And if so, just curious as to why they would have placed guards there by the tomb for Him. Yeah, the reason that they placed guards was in part because the Jews were concerned that the body of our Lord was going to be stolen. And so what they didn't want is they didn't want the body to be stolen and people to say, look, He's risen from the dead, that kind of thing.
So there was this idea that they were going to keep that from happening. And a simple question. Thanks for giving us a call. And may the Lord bless all of you in this special day. God bless. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at CoreChristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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