The End of the Enemy (Hell: Eternal Damnation,Hades, Tophet, Outer Darkness)

The End of the Enemy
Robert Wurtz II

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41 NKJV)


And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10 KJV) […] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Revelation 12:12 KJV)

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. (Revelation 18:20 KJV)

Our first passage from Matt. 25:41 raises two important questions that I wish to address. First, why did God “prepare” a place for the devil and his angels that consists of everlasting fire? Second, why are human beings sent there too? Our next passages from Rev. 12:10-12, 18:20 deal with the appropriate response of the saints to God judging the enemy. 

Setting the Stage

Most Christians are familiar with who Satan is. The world on the other hand has a very twisted notion of who Satan is. He has been portrayed in all kinds of misleading ways in Hollywood and in the music industry. As usual, these depictions are designed to distort reality. Everything trustworthy that we know about Satan and his history is found in the Bible. There we find him described by numerous names such as the serpent, the dragon, the devil, Lucifer, the accuser, the adversary, Beelzebub, the god of this world, the wicked one, the enemy, tempter, ruler of this world, the power of darkness and the prince of the power of the air. There are others, but this list will suffice.


Satan began, according to Ezekiel 28, as the anointed Cherub who covers. He was the greatest of God’s creations.  In fact, God said to him, You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Ezekiel 28:12 NKJV) For some unexplained reason, Satan became self-conscious and “iniquity (lawlessness) was found in him.” Whereas he once worshipped God, he turned to desire worship for himself. Isaiah 14 gives us five “I wills” that Satan said in his heart. The most shocking is that he determined to ascend to the throne of God and “be like the Most High.” God responded to Satan’s musings saying, Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah 14:15 NKJV) These basic facts in Revelation, Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, and a few other places are all that God has chosen to reveal about Satan’s origin. 



Obviously, God would not tolerate the enemy trying to overthrow Him in Heaven. Satan has power but God is all powerful. In other words, God is infinitely more powerful than Satan. In fact, the power that Satan does possess he has on loan from God. Nobody possesses anything that they did not receive from the Creator. Nevertheless, before God cast Satan out of Heaven, he deceived countless angels into following him. Depicted as “The Dragon” he is said to have drawn one third of the stars (angels) with his tail. (Rev. 12:4) His evil campaign of lies led to the fall of millions and millions of angels. They will share in his destiny.


Satan: that Old Serpent 

Ezekiel 28 reminds us that Lucifer (Satan) was also in Eden. While there, posing as a Serpent, he seduced Adam and Eve into desiring to “be like God” just as he had done. He apparently figured that it worked for him and the other fallen angels, so it might work to bring man down too. He was right. Just as Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven; Adam and his wife were cast out of the garden of Eden. 


Satan not only took on the form of a serpent, but he also transforms himself into an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) Just as he was cast out of the presence of God with his angels, mankind followed with them and were cast out of God’s presence – separated from God’s unique presence. Satan’s murderous, hate-filled nature entered the human race. As a consequence, by Genesis 6 the world was so wracked with perversion and violence that God had to destroy it and begin again with eight people (Noah and his family). (Genesis 6)

Working to Get God “Cursed” 

Even God’s people have not been immune to Satan’s antics. He went before God to accuse them in the time of Job. Before it was over he had destroyed everything meaningful to Job trying to get him to curse God to his face. What kind of character works tirelessly to get other creatures to curse God to His face? Satan is described as a murderer and a liar. (John 8:44) He is the “god” of this world. In fact, the whole world is pictured as lying in his lap. In other words, the whole world is under the sway of his influence. (1 John 5:19) 


Ten eternities would probably not be enough time to fully comprehend the magnitude of Satan’s evil and it’s disastrous consequences for everyone. Even God has suffered because of him. Understand that he is infinitely less powerful than God; but he is the closest thing God could have to an arch enemy. Satan reigns in this world and expresses himself through the world. He is the father of lies and of darkness. His children love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil (John 3). The same can be said of Satan. This will suit all of them well, for Jesus told of a time when Satan and his followers will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30) Outer darkness in the Greek New Testament is strongly emphasized: Into the outer darkness” (eis to skotos to exoœteron). Just as Jesus went to “prepare a place” for the saints where He will be the light of it (John 14, Rev. 21:23); Satan and his followers have a place prepared eis to skotos to exoœteron (into darkness the outer).

Called Out of Darkness  


In contrast to Satan and his followers, Peter tells the saints, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV) This and many like verses makes one wonder why so many modern-day youth workers, worship leaders and Charismatic ministers have started blackening the walls and ceilings out in their meetings. For about the last 20-30 years they have increasingly shut the lights out where people are then led to worship and (or) prophesy in near complete darkness. It would be superflous to list off the verses that show God as being of light wherein is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

In the Old Testament God dwelled in the “thick darkness” where only He was the light. His glory had to be shielded to keep people from being consumed. He dwells in a light that no one can approach. Is it any surprise then that Satan would identify himself with darkness? Why do you think children are often afraid of the dark? They have been told that bad things lurk in the darkness. Paul reminds us, For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:7–8 NKJV) Even the world has a saying that “past midnight the only people who are out are cops and crooks.” Why? Because much crime takes place under the cover of darkness.  

Satan loves darkness. His servants often perform their Satanic rituals in darkness. I would not stoop to post several pictures here to prove my point. How many scenes of a seance have we seen where the place is pitch dark with only a few candles lit? This is really just a foretaste of the outer-darkness that Satan and his followers are destined for. Paul added this reminder, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5 NKJV) Although carnal professors of Christ wish to mix light and darkness, God separated them in Genesis 1:4. If we are someplace where we have no means of light, that is one thing. The Catacombs in Rome were a favorite Christian meeting place in the early days, not because it was dark, but because it was a safe place to meet in times of persecution. They did not intentionally darken the meeting. We are not of darkness, Satan is. 

The Power of Darkness

When Jesus was crucified it was described this way, “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53 KJV) This cross event enabled Jesus to give the promise, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 KJV) Paul was given the task, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18 KJV) Paul was not disobedient to his God-given commission and neither should we be. I think we needs to ask ourselves once again, “What communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV) Satan may have been cast out of God’s presence, but his influence and darkness is found more and more in the very place where Christians attempt to enter God’s presence.


The End of the Enemy

Satan knows that he has but a short time. He has pulled out all the stops. I commonly hear people tell me that thirty years ago they could not have imagined how evil this world has become. What is worse is that Satan has infiltrated many churches. Many of today’s generation are way too friendly with Satan and this present evil world. In fact, people like Rob Bell are working overtime to make Satan’s final punishment (hell) unnecessary. However, if we understand why hell is necessary we will see that God has done nothing wrong by creating it. It is an expression of His love; not for Satan and his followers (angelic and human), but for the elect angels and the saints. 

For a professed Christian to insinuate that God has erred creating hell is to demonstrate how evil and adulterous this generation has become. True and righteous are all of His judgments. (Rev. 16:7, 19:2) Jesus never gave any disclaimers for having created hell; though He did weep for those who refused to be gathered to Him. Some day this will change. In fact, as Jonathan Edwards has demonstrated in his classic work, “The End of the Wicked Contemplated By the Righteous,” the Saints will not weep over hell when they get to Heaven, but will be encouraged to rejoice as God judges His enemies. (Rev. 18:20)    

Christians respond to the topic of hell in different ways. Some think of hell and weep. This is in order. Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28 NKJV) Others consider the “terror of the Lord” and persuade men to repent and believe the Gospel. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (Jude 1:22–23 NKJV) Whether with tears or with the utmost solemnity – hell must be preached. Only a fool would approach the topic in a flippant or cavalier way. 

Why Hell?

Satan is a murderer. Murderers are not allowed to walk the streets on earth and they will not walk the streets of Heaven. Children are safe in Heaven. Hell, on the other hand, was created to dispose of everything that “defileth or maketh a lie” (Revelation 21:27). Hell is necessary because Heaven is necessary. So long as they are things that defile God’s sanctuary, rebel against His will, and bring suffering to His creation – there will be a need for hell. We have jails and God has hell. What most people do not comprehend is that following Satan means that they will share his destiny (destination). What is his destiny? What is Satan’s final exit? We have more clues to discover. 

Payment for Sin

Sin earns wages (Romans 6:23) and God will not withhold payment. The book of Hebrews tells us that the unsaved will receive a just repayment and reward for every single act of sin they commit (Hebrews 2:3). The book of Revelation tells us that sometimes God pays double dues for sin. As it is written… Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double (Revelation 18:6).


HELL AS JESUS TAUGHT



1. Hades

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus we have a fearsome picture of what hell is truly like. We learn that people go either to heaven (Paradise) or hell (Hades) immediately after death. Some have so feared this passage that they have tried to translate the Greek word Hades as “the grave.” This makes nonsense out of a perfectly understood passage.

There are two primary Greek words that deal with hell; they are Hades and Gehenna. By way of analogy we will consider Hades as God’s county Jail and Gehenna as God’s Federal Penitentiary. Hades is the abode of the dead and it is divided into two compartments: Abraham’s Bosom and hell. We read of the rich man in Luke 16:22-24:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 

The Greek word for torments is basanois and it is in the plural. It means “to torture.” (See BDAG, TDNT, EDNT) It was used to describe the hideous instruments of torture used to extract information from prisoners (such as a rack). Ancient Greeks believed that the way to extract the purest truth was by torture. Loyalty could be proven by this means. Some people will not tell the truth unless it is tortured out of them. Such was the case with the rich man who humbles himself in Hell and begs for mercy.

We notice from this passage that there is no water in Hell and that the flames are affecting the man’s soul – though flames generally only affect physical objects. This sheds light on the passage Jesus taught in Matthew 10:28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell. So we see then that the pain is in the soul at this point; but later, after the judgment, the soul will be reunited with the body at the resurrection of damnation and both will be cast into the lake of fire–reunited (Revelation 20:14). 

2. Gehenna

Having finally chosen to follow Satan to his destiny, unbelievers are vessels of wrath perfected for destruction (Romans 9:22). Such were we all until God created us as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:21).

a. Tophet the Precursor of Hell

Another of the most terrifying ways Jesus chose to describe Hell was that of Tophet and Gehenna. Tophet was a small valley south to southwest of Jerusalem, which belonged to the sons of Hinnom. Tophet and Gehenna came to be designations of Hell because of the terrible things that occurred there.

The backslidden Israelites of old went to Tophet to sacrifice their children to the god Molech (Jeremiah 7:31). At Tophet, the idolatrous worshippers had placed a large, bronze statue of Molech, shaped like a man with outstretched arms and hands. A fire would be built within the statue. When the statue was red hot, the idol-worshipers would place their baby sons and daughters onto the outstretched, red-hot arms and hands. Their little infants would die the most painful, excruciating death imaginable. Their skin would be seared off their bodies and their flesh would be roasted, as they were burned alive.

The screams, cries, and screeches of their children’s agony was unbearable, even to these wicked, debauched parents. Therefore, drums were played to drown out the babies searing – hideous screams. Hence Tophet, in the Hebrew, signifies the beating of drums. 

One of the most disturbing pictures of hell is drums drowning the screams. The enemy has long used distraction to keep people from hearing either their conscience or the Holy Spirit. Today music is played loudly, even in churches, unwittingly doing Satan’s work. People are blasted by so much sound that they can’t even focus on God. Sometimes they can’t even think. This is one of Satan’s oldest strategies. He played music and beat drums to drown the sound of screaming babies at Tophet, and today he uses the same strategy to drown the voice of God in a meeting. Instead of leading the people to heaven, unscrupulous Christians use Satan’s devices to lead the people to hell. Darkness and loud music is Tophet in microcosm. It is a 20th century “Screwtape Letter.” (see C.S. Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”) 

b. Tophet before the Foundation of the World


Although Tophet became associated with judgment and slaughter in Israel’s history, God created the true Tophet before the foundation of the world. As it is written… For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it (Isaiah 30:33). Further Isaiah described this place saying… And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. (Isaiah 33:12-14).

c. The Historical Tophet and it’s Eternal Counterpart

Historians tell us that the armies of Babylon would come and slay so many people of Israel that there would be too many bodies to bury. Thousands upon thousands of bodies would lie in the open fields to be consumed by birds and animals. Tophet would be filled with the bloated, rotting bodies of rebellious Judah. Again it is written… “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room. The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away’” (Jeremiah 7:32-33). Because of the great rebellion against God there is further evidence of this place given by Isaiah when he prophetically spoke these words… Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it (Isaiah 5:14).

The historical Tophet and the gruesome events that occurred there are a foretaste of the destruction and torment of Hell. God Almighty’s proclamation of damnation against unbelieving, rebellious Judah will echo forth from the lips of Jesus Christ against all those who reject the gospel. As it is also written… And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (Isaiah 66:24).

3. God’s Cosmic Trash Dump

We learn by tradition that by the time of the birth of Jesus Christ, Tophet (or Gehenna) had become a garbage dump for Jerusalem. Gehenna was also used to dispose of the dead bodies of criminals. Fires burned continuously to consume the garbage. The garbage and dead bodies were also consumed by worms (maggots). In the same way, Hell is the ash heap—the garbage dump—of all history. It is a bottomless pit with the heat of a burning furnace (Revelation 9:1). We are told seven times in the New Testament that those who go there will weep and gnash their teeth (Matthew 8:12).

4. Everlasting Fire

The most terrifying aspect of the torment in Hell is that it never ends. It goes on forever and ever. The words used by Christ and the apostles to describe the duration of the suffering in Hell clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally teach that the punishment in Hell is eternal, unending and everlasting.

Jesus Christ describes the suffering in Hell as: “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46); “everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8); “the fire that will never be quenched” (Mark. 9:45); “the worm that never dies” (Mark. 9:46). The apostles totally agree with Christ when they describe Hell as: “a flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:8); “everlasting chains” (Jude 6); “eternal fire” (Jude 7); “the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13); “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” (Revelation 14:11; 19:3); “the lake of fire and brimstone, in which the devil, the beast, and the false prophet ‘shall be tormented day and night, forever and ever’” (Revelation 20:10).

C. Satan’s and His Followers Final Home

Satan has done much more than draw a third of the angels to be cast out of heaven and into Hell. He has lured countless multitudes of human beings. Millions are following their leader. Satan’s final home is a place of eternal fire, a place where the fire is not quenched. “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:40-42)

When the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001, scenes of people preferring to fall to their death rather than be burned alive horrified millions of people around the world. it was a nightmarish scene. Burning to death is a terrifying thought. Throughout history, death by burning was reserved for what the world perceived to be the most wicked of criminals. Yet the fire in Hell is much worse than earthly fire. Earthly fire consumes the flesh of its victims. When the nerve endings are consumed, the pain ceases. But for those in Hell, the pain will not cease, because the fire of Hell does not consume. We read in Mark 9:48-49 “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” 

It appears that the fire of Hell does not consume the flesh, but rather, it preserves the flesh as would salt. Rather than being consumed by it they are preserved to burn and suffer and be tormented on and on, forever and ever. “They are to be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever” (Revelation 14:10). The fire of hell, whatever its nature, is much worse than an earthly fire. The fires on earth will someday burn out. The flaming sun and all the stars of the universe will someday spend their fuel. But the flames in Hell will continue. “They will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). 

There will be no rest from the torment of the flame, no sleep, because it burns “day and night forever and ever.” This place of punishment will bring final closure to the rebellion that began in heaven and spread to the earth. It is the apex of ironies because Hell is an end that never ends. Is there any wonder John the Baptist asked the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7 KJV) 



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Bibliography:


Schwertley, Brian. The Biblical Doctrine of Hell Examined. http://www.reformed.com/pub/hell.htm © Brian Schwertley, Lansing, Michigan, 1996

Cockrell, Milburn. The Doctrine of Hell. http://www2.tnweb.com/pbc/MCockrel/hell.htm



Regeneration or Reprobation (Revisited)

Regeneration or Reprobation (Revisited)
Gospel Hardened
Robert Wurtz II

The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed by the fire; the founder is smelting in vain: for the wicked are not drawn off. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them (Jeremiah 6:29-30).




There are many people in the world today that are in inconceivable danger. Rebellion has taken root until it has taken their mind. The same was true of the people in the time of Jeremiah. God had turned the temperature up in the lives of these Israelites until the bellows caught fire and burned up. This is an awful picture of people that refuse to turn to God no matter what He does to arrest their attention. C.S. Lewis used to say that “pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Pain is a form of distress, and it comes in many forms. Matthew Henry once said that “God is never at a loss for a means of dealing with rebellious people; His quiver is always full.” 

No matter what God does, the rebellious refuse to repent and believe. It is a sad and vexing reality. God provides the necessities of life as an expression of His goodness, and yet sinners go on pretending He has done nothing at all. An attitude of “expectation” and “entitlement” enters in, along with a general ungrateful spirit, ripening the person for total destruction. They credit anything and everything for what they are or have, except the God that provided. What happens? God’s goodness is disregarded and scoffed at — so He has to turn the temperature up; that is to say, He has to bring greater pain and distress. Contrary to the health and wealth heresy gospel, God is not in the business of giving people good and comfortable lives; He is about saving souls. Did Jesus shed His blood so men and women could be comfortable? Obviously not. God wants sons and daughters. God wants people who will agree with what is right and surrender their lives to Him. 

Many people want Heaven, they just want a heaven after their own lusts. They don’t want God to be there. They blasphemously envision partying and all kinds of sinful acts going on there. Just attend a funeral of a lost sinner, and you will hear the comments of how the dead are enjoying a Jack Daniels or some other crazy notion. I have been to funerals where the deceased were given 4 aces in their hands or a pack of smokes in their pocket as if they were headed to some Las Vegas style poker match. Horrified as I was, this is the mentality of the reprobate. They have lost all sense of rationality and right and wrong. Having heard Gospel messages perhaps hundreds of times throughout their lives — they became Gospel hardened. Their faculties have become pickled, and I wonder whether God will ever grant them repentance. 

Many are simply unwilling to be saved; that is, they are unwilling to be saved on the terms upon which God will save them. Some so-called ministers understand this, so they modify the Gospel to make it more acceptable. Paul makes a staggering statement in Acts while speaking to a massive group of soon-to-be reprobates, Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Many ministers preach as if God is asking people if they would like to repent. This is not the case at all; God is commanding all men everywhere to repent. It is a direct order from God. You and I are commanded to repent. To ignore this command for one more second is to invite a greater level of reprobation and with it a growing doubt as to whether or not you will ever be saved. 

Ask sinners whether they are willing to be saved, and they almost universally and sincerely say “yes,” but they will only be saved upon their own terms. However, when the minister offers God’s terms for salvation, they make excuses. The only terms on which they can possibly be saved, they reject. As the rich young ruler, they go away sorrowful. I think about the hundreds of people that I have ministered to over the years that have turned away from Christ just like that rich young ruler. Some went away sorrowful, not having great possessions, but have little more than the shirt on their back. You do not have to be rich to become a reprobate, all you have to do is keep resisting God and rejecting the Gospel. 

I have seen perhaps thousands of people go forward to make commitments to serve God over the years, and yet they never followed through. Was it not an insult to God to make a false commitment? The only true reason that anyone is not a Christian, is that they are unwilling to repent, turn to Christ and obey the Gospel. Many have done this until they don’t even feel God anymore; they are reprobate. The bellows are burned up from fanning the flames of adversity in their life, and yet they have only hardened and became more evil. They have treasured up wrath against the day of judgment; they have trodden under foot the blood of Christ; they have traded almost nothing for their everlasting soul. Many keep telling themselves there is time, and that they will repent in the end. They are blinded even now and are being made into vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. Like Pharaoh, they are becoming increasingly bolder in their sinning. They don’t feel conviction or their conscience. The Holy Ghost has been grieved away, and their conscience is seared with a hot iron. With each passing second, they are hardening all the more- getting farther from God and the ark of safety. 

I look at young people that are now adults and tremble. People that have heard things that many prophets and great men desired to hear and did not hear them. God has poured out His Spirit to them and shown them many signs and wonders. Nevertheless, the rebellion and the reprobation goes on. The trouble is, I have been at the bedside of the rebellious as they we passing into eternity. Many people think they will come to God on their death bed, but I have watched the blank stares when you try to share the Gospel. I have been told of the terror that the person felt knowing in a short while they were about to face God; only to never see them alive again. They lived their whole lives rebelling against God and playing games — never getting serious about their soul. Now they are in their grave. I have watched many at the end of their life struggle to receive the grace of the Gospel. Years of running and rebelling had finally caught up. 

Of the funerals and memorial services, I have presided over, I often come back to the words of Solomon. He had it all. He had everything this world wants and in super abundance. He was drowning in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He called it all vanity. Nevertheless, he ended his thoughts with these words I would like to leave in this entry to those who are following a similar path;  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; […] Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.    

From Cellfire to Hellfire

From Cellfire to Hellfire
Robert Wurtz II

And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. (Genesis 11:6)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6)

Well, it’s another week as a manager and already two “three-alarm fires” and a “slow-burner” are in play over cell phone enabled corrupt communication. It’s the story of my life over the years. To tell the truth, as much as I try to tolerate it all and let it pass, this corrupt communication that causes so much suffering and pain in this world gets old and angering after a while. Boyfriends vexed out and can’t think straight; moms at home crying their eyes out; little kids left behind in divorces to make a life for themselves without their parents living together. All because of a bunch of filthy, rotten, corrupt communication.

I truly believe that if we had eyes to see in the Spirit, every cell phone tower in our cities would look something like the picture above. They are ablaze from all the filthy communication that spews from their sensors with the fires of hell. Even Springer blushes as a virtual, “All My children,” “One Life To Live,” and “Edge Of Night” broadcasts from the hilltops of every city.

There is no new thing under the Sun. From the letter that issued the death sentence for Uriah the Hitite, to the adulterous text messages of modern times, filthy communication has been the scourge of humanity. I recall the story of an illiterate man in the 1940s receiving a letter and asking his wife to read it. Little did he know it was from his secret lover in another state. Having little else to do, he asked his wife to read it to him. Imagine the horror and fight that broke out when she opened with the words, “Your baby needs milk!” We have come a long ways since the 40s.

It happens everyday anymore, doesn’t it? Another cell phone discovered as having been used as a “hookup” tool of filthy communication. One of the more grizzly accounts happened in my city in 2005. Twenty-five year old Marlin Gill stuffed his girlfriends cell phone in her mouth after she refused to tell him who she had been calling. He was sentenced to six years in prison for afterwards shoving it down her throat. But some accounts are not as dramatic. What happens? The phone is thrown into the floor and busted and the police are called. I wish I could have a dollar for every fight that will happen this year between boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife – over the corrupt communication of the cell phone. The cell phone has always been the cheaters tool of choice.

Footprints 

With each passing day man’s capacity to corrupt themselves increases. I’m reminded of the man who came home in the early 1900s to his stay-at-home wife and found footprints in the snow leaving the house. Assuming his wife had had a lover in the home, a fight commenced. Fortunately, he realized they were his own footprints that he left on the way to work that morning. Indeed, jealousy and footprints are digital these days. In the old days cheaters would simply get a post office box to hide their “love letters.” Today, cheaters simply purchase a pre-paid cell phone to cover their tracks. I sobered to know that no matter how well man covers his tracks from man, God has an infallible record of them.

Nothing Restrained 

The message of Genesis 11:6 is that communication can be a vehicle to destruction. God confounded the languages to slow the spread of sin. In 2014 that barrier can be electronically circumvented by simply pressing “translate” or using some other translation service. Nevertheless, the age of mass communication has enabled sin in a way never before known to man. The time would fail to list all the names of social networking apps, websites and programs enabling cheaters to cheat. Cell phones are even used to send elicit photos to prospective “hook-ups.” Bathroom-selflies, mirror-selfies, you name it and the salivating begins. Sometimes it is a more subtle, “I’m available pic” on Facebook or some other photo sharing site. You know the pics; the guys in tank-tops and the gals with their top half down. We don’t have time to deal with it here, but another iniquity of this age is the sheer denial of these type of whoredoms. Let me ask, would you have dressed that way in the pic if all the recipients were blind? I didn’t think so.

Corrupt Communication  

When I was youth pastor years ago, I used to use an old 80s TV commercial to express how demon-inspired lustfulness plays out in peoples’ life. The commercial featured a couple hounds running after their favorite dog food with their minds ringing, “Kibbles and Bits… Kibbles and Bits… I’m going to get me some ‘Kibbles and Bits.'” If the devil gets a foothold in your life you will be a slave to corrupt communication – “Jones-ing” for that next filthy text or elicit selfie. Needless to say, for a Christian, the terms “phone” and “flirt” ought not be synonyms. 

From Cell Fire to Hell Fire 

If you type the words “cast into hell” into your Bible software search engine, you will find that 5 out of 6 times Jesus uses the phrase in connection with things in our lives that cause us to stumble. The other time the Lord simply says, But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. (Luke 12:5) Nobody in their right mind wants to be cast into Hell. Nevertheless, nobody seems to want to get rid of things that are helping send them there. Jesus said if you eye or hand offend, get rid of them. Better to make heaven without a hand or an eye than enter whole into Hell. That’s plain enough. However, the brightest and best theologians will spend their resources explaining away this common-sense passage; but that only enables the damnation of transgressors all the more. Simply put, if it is sending your soul to Hell- get rid of it. Stop stumbling yourself with it. Stop making excuses. Stop hiding from your significant other what ought to be in plain sight. Its too late to posit your mate as a “jealous crazy” once your hand is caught in the cookie jar. I’m not saying a person should have a phone shoved down their throat, but if you know anything about the warnings in Proverbs you will know that jealousy is the rage of a man; and if I might so say, of a woman. Its common sense, really. 

The Fires of Hell

James warns of how the fires of Hell can set on fire the course of nature. This is not limited to the tongue- because the mind can bypass the tongue through written communication. A person can set their entire life and that of their progeny on fire with the fires of Hell through the misuse of digital communication, such as a computer or cell phone. Think of the suffering that is going to be caused by the selfish, self-centered, cruel-hearted expression of corrupt communication. Maybe if I spell it this way, s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g it will better convey the emphasis. Can a person take fire into their bosom and not be burned? Nay verily, they will burn their whole family and future up. 

Solution?
   

One of the greatest problems with whoredom is that the people almost never admit guilt and they are surrounded by a host of fans who enable them in their madness. Nevertheless, if perchance God might penetrate the darkness and bring a moment of sobriety to the mind, the first thing to do is acknowledge the sin. The second thing to do is turn from and renounce the sin. Get rid of the offending device or make yourself accountable to your husband or wife (or significant other). You shouldn’t have anything to hide, and if you do then you might as well brace yourself for destruction. Be accountable. The offended party is going to be hostile, no matter how spiritual they may be. People who don’t believe so don’t know what they are talking about. That’s straight- but it has to be said. So, take your blows and get back on track. Be prepared for a long road back to establishing trust. Forgiving you is one thing- trusting you is something all together different. You have already demonstrated you can’t be trusted- no, not to destroy your own life and those around you; so be understanding when it takes years to gain trust again. That’s the choice you made when you acted out. Now here it is.

Do everything in your power to distance yourself from the behavior. If you’re a woman, adopt a pattern of modesty. What sham would it be to pretend to repent and go on trying to seduce people by dressing provocatively and posting the pics to Facebook. People are not dumb and they are not buying it. Don’t insult peoples intelligence. If you want to regain credibility you have to demonstrate unadulterated and unaltering change. Radical change. Not a sweep it under the rug change- but a change as notorious as was the sin. then and only then will their be any real hope of reconstructing the damage done. A fire causes a serious mess and its going to take some serious time.

What else? Humble yourself and stop blaming all your problems on your perceived God-given charm and personality. It is the devil working in you to act out – not God. Recognize it and renounce it. Rebellion will only ruin you all the more at this point. Ask an honest person for their perceptions of your behaviors. Ask them, do you think I act inappropriately, dress inappropriately, approach the opposite sex inappropriately? Again, incorrigible flirt is not a fruit of the Spirit, so renounce it. 

Adopt a pattern of Godliness and contentment. after all, if you have a spouse at home and you are texting another man or women- it’s because you’re not content. Discontentment is the root of many sins and leads a person to eventually covet the forbidden things such as a strange man or woman. Recognize it and renounce it (deeply renounce it). 

If the Shoe Fits…

Lastly, surround yourself with people that you didn’t want to hear from when you were in rebellion. Think about it. Why didn’t you want to talk to them when you were acting out? That’s right. It was because you knew they would challenge you. Chances are, these were the very folks you needed as mentors. Your present mentors and friends have helped you get where you are. Understand that reality. That’s why you hang with them. They are like you. You agree with each other. 

If you want to change- you are going to have to get around people you want to model. Can two people walk together except they be agreed? That’s why you hang out with the people that enabled you to act out. They agree with your actions either passively or actively. At any rate, they won’t confront you. Why? Because they have likely done the same things and can’t confront you in good conscience. Otherwise, they would agree with God’s word and not you. They can’t help you. Understand that you will never resolve your problems with whoredom in the midst of an enabler. Ask yourself, who would never tolerate me acting out? Get with them. They are your beloved friend (whether the devil tells you so or not). After all, you are already hanging out with his selections for you. Remember, evil associations corrupt good manners. So forsake them and cling to an older respected woman or man of God that is more concerned about your soul than being your friend.  

Cellfire or Hellfire?

The Effects of Sin Upon Beliefs

The Effects of Sin Upon Beliefs
Robert Wurtz II


But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there wasno remedy.(2 Chronicles 36:16)

I sometimes wonder what it will take before some people finally turn to Christ sincerely. As a young boy in the seventies, I recall in Sunday School and church being told about all kinds of terrible things that would happen in the ‘last days.’ It would send terror through me. Nevertheless, the truth is, nobody in those days even had the mental and moral depravity to be able to express the level of evil and wickedness that exists in our times. I doubted things could ever get as bad as what the teachers and preachers used to say; but, here we are and in many ways we have blown past their wildest imaginations. Why is this happening? How has it come to this?

The Noetic Effects of Sin

Theologians refer to the condition in which there is an obstinate refusal to acknowledge simple facts about God and His creation they call “the noetic effects of sin.” The fall of man and his and her insistence in continuing in sin has dropped a cloud of darkness over multitudes. Because people refuse to acknowledge God as His creation puts forth its evidence of His existence, He gives them over to their foolish hearts. Denial is, likewise, described by psychologists as a defensive means of coming to terms with difficult facts. People refuse to allow the truth to come into their consciousness. They are stubbornly and deliberately obtuse. This would be bad enough if we were talking about trivial matters; but this is the mentality behind the machinery that is building our culture! 

Some people envision a world that can determine morality independent of God and His word. As Dawkins has put it, “God is no longer necessary.” Nevertheless, we see where it is heading. Recently, an article was put forth in the British newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’ stating, “Killing babies (sic) no different from abortion, experts say. Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.”

Experts? Expert in what? Rebellion? In light of this, it is obvious that fallen man is becoming increasingly incapable of rightly choosing what is good and evil (moral). Why? Because of the noetic effects of sin. Sin and rebellion have a direct effect on a person’s moral judgments. This is almost scary to think about. In the 1980s, there was a campaign promoted by the Partnership For A Drug-Free America (PFDFA)using the slogan, “This is your brain on drugs.” A person would say “this is your brain on drugs” and drop a couple of eggs into a hot frying pan. The searing sound and sight gave the impression that drugs fry your brain. In like fashion, sin fries your moral judgment. The more you partake the more dull it becomes. In fact, we can see from scripture that sin hardens a person’s heart. The problem is that it plays out in three ways:  

1. The heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

2. The devil comes in and further blinds their minds. 

3. God sends strong delusion to those that have pleasure in sin. 


This is the process by which the masses have their judgment totally out of calibration. This is the consequence of rebelling against truth- while enjoying the temporary pleasure of sin. This is how men and women are conditioned to call good evil and evil good.

God has given us an inward “a priori” knowledge of Himself. This is why the Bible never makes a case for the existence of God. People try to put God on trial, but they already know God exists. Moreover, His moral law is the basis of civilized society. When God and His word are removed- the society ceases to act civilized. They may never admit it or they may insist on constantly updating their definitions (v 1.01, v1.02, v1.03, etc.); but their own heart condemns them. This is why they hate Christians. Anyone that says something to awaken their conscience is violently detested. 

We know God is good (moral) because it is His very nature. Like Job, we may not understand at the time what God is doing, but we can trust that He is good. However, indolence and pride rule the day. They reject the light and eventually lose their moral reasoning ability. Ever wonder why its seems impossible to rationalize with people on hot-button moral issues? To them fornication, abortion and to some even infanticide passes muster as “moral.” It is “immoral” to them, to inhibit folk from expressing fornicative acts and prohibiting abortion! And there is no reasoning with some even when the baby is being killed out of the womb. They obstinately refuse to SEE it as immoral. The masses keep on rebelling against what God has told them and then have the nerve to sit back and blame Him for so much of the problems in our times. Amazing! But again, it is the noetic effects of sin on their reasoning ability. The more they sin the darker their mind and reasoning gets. If some of these minds were moral calculators, 2+2 = 6. 


Making ‘Adjustments’

I’m amazed at how easily one can get used to outrageous behavior. Think of the workers in the death camps of WW II that could do their work and go home to their family at night with seemingly no pain of conscience. This ought to shake us. What are human beings really capable of? I think the thing most dangerous to mankind is their proficiency in willful ignorance. They are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Why? Because there is a dishonesty with themselves at the core of their reasoning. The noetic effect of sin has done this. They don’t follow Divine evidence, they tamper with it mentally until it goes in the direction of their wretched lifestyle and evil desires. But what about Christians? Can they be effected by the mindset of the world? Absolutely! This is what Paul expressed in Romans 12 when he said, Do not be conformed to this world.” We have to get away from worldly influences that can mess our minds up. Soon we will think all manor of sin is ‘moral’ and ‘ok’ if we are not careful. 

Universal Madness

Imagine the madness of our times. We have tsunamis wiping out whole cities, bodies washing up on shore by the thousands, earthquakes unsettling the masses in divers places, volcanoes erupting in a wild spectacular combination of molten rock and lightening storm; and yet there is almost a yawn in the mouth of the people. What hardness of heart has allowed even the most spectacular phenomena to have no effect? Sinkholes open up in the earth in South America as if we were facing a foretaste of the Abyss. People seem to carry on as if these foretastes of Hell are merely assessed for their shear entertainment value. Christians being brutally murdered by machete wielding Islamic fundamentalists in third world nations as if they were demon possessed. Men and men and women and women getting married. And then if someone says something about it somehow they are “politically incorrect” or “intolerant.” Has there ever been such high-handedness as we see in our times? It’s almost as if the people have convinced themselves that they have effectively killed God and now are free to act out and do whatever foolery they can imagine no matter how vile.

Where do things go from here?

Imagine a tour bus load of people heading down Pikes Peak with no brakes. The bus is starting to perform all manor of wild acrobatic acts as if Evil Knieval were at the wheel. All the while the people are looking out the windows, popping their champagne and toasting to their fine accomplishments and education. Nobody seems to be hearing the sound of rubber burning off the tires or the creek of the suspension- taxed to its design limits. It’s as if they have convinced themselves that, “Were so educated, we don’t even recognize Newton’s basic laws anymore! Were the generation of the Antinomianists; we do what’s right in our own eyes no matter what it is.” The problem is, the bus is picking up speed and we just passed acceptance of homosexual marriage, and a sign that says, “Sharia Law Ahead.” Stop and ask yourself a question; whether you are an evangelical or an atheist; “Where is this ‘midnight bus to Memphis’ headed?” What will be acceptable in 10 years that would horrify us now? How long until child molestation is legal or until various forms of murder is acceptable? How long until we pass the moral degeneracy of the Nazi’s? Because this bus is rolling on the unlocked wheels of unrestrained wickedness and hardly a rider on board seems to be blushing no matter how reckless and hopeless their plight. 

The Long-Suffering of God

God is waiting today even as He did in the days of Noah. Yet men and women are hardening thmselves more and more. The Galileans are lying dead in the streets and the Tower of Siloam seems to fall every night and folk just keep on as they whist not that unless we all repent we all will likewise perish. It will be too late to mock God when the tide of His judgments are carrying all before it. It will be too late when Hell enlarges itself once again to make room for the bus riders that die by the billions on the way down the mountain. God is not willing that any perish, but man is not willing to hearken unto God and repent. Yet, there will come a point, when the hand of God is directly responsible for the plagues that come upon this earth. There will be no guessing. The Revelation gives a sobering and frightful account, “yet they repented not… but rather blasphemed the one that had power over these plagues…” This is hardness ad infinitum.

Calling Upon God

Hardness brings with it an anger towards God and a destructive self-confidence. Think of Pharaoh. He pursued the people of God after seeing the Finger of God manifest over and over. Soon… he was face down in the water. This is a grim picture of our times. So many are rejecting the Light that they have and partying on as if there is no bottom on this bus ride. The light that now shines is now passing through the prism of God’s longsuffering and grace; but the time will soon come when the rainbow around His throne will turn a brilliant and blinding white as the prism of mercy is gone forever. May men hearken to His voice and receive His grace even now before it is finally too late.  

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