Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fun Question of the Day

I'm reading Chronicles now.  It's all begats at the moment and I can skim over it so the suffering is low.

It got me to thinking.  Heaven and Hell have not been quantified yet in the OT.  So, what has happened to the cast of characters that we've read about so far?  Are they just dead and soulless since God hasn't created the rules for the afterlife?  Are they just hanging out in limbo waiting for God to open up the gates?

Will they have to accept Jesus as their savior?  How would that work?

I'm sure I could get answers to this by searching Google but  I'd rather hear from you.
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  1. The promise made to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 is generally regarded by Christians as the first promise of a coming salvation. As long as OT "characters" trusted in that coming savior to destroy sin, we regard them as being saved. In other words, when a believing person in the Old Testament trusted in the coming savior, they met Him when they died. So in terms of heaven and hell, not a lot has changed, except that the NT "characters" learned a lot more information. That's being simplistic, but it's a rough sketch.

    BTW, you really won't find a fully fleshed-out understanding of the afterlife in the Old Testament, in my opinion. There is definitely a belief in an afterlife of some sort, but most of the things we believe about heaven and hell come from things Jesus said later. He preached a lot about Hell and Heaven, and that is where Christians get most of their doctrine of punishment and reward in the afterlife.

  2. Thanks Adam,
    But Genesis 3:15 doesn't seem to offer any relevant info.

    3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Could you clarify?

  3. @Bruce,

    God hasn't created the rules for the afterlife?
    UM Bruce, this was all designed before creation. Before God started it He knew how it was going to end. Isaiah 46:10 It was all known and planed before "And God said..."

    Are they just hanging out in limbo waiting for God to open up the gates?
    I think Abraham's bosom. (Luke 16:23; read 16:19-31 for the full story).

    Will they have to accept Jesus as their savior? How would that work?
    Yes they would have to accept Jesus as their Saviour. It works by bowing down and acknowledging Him as such. Believe with their whole heart and confess with their mouth (John 5:25-29; Romans 10:10). It's always been that way as far as i know.

    I'm sure I could get answers to this by searching Google but I'd rather hear from you.

    That's good Bruce, because Google would give you some crazy stuff. Like one guys site that says Hell does not exists, it's a miss-translation of words. Hell is real so is Heaven.

    Something that strikes me as interesting, is that there are people that won't believe Christians when they talk about God, Heaven, Hell, forgiveness. Then they will say something along the lines of "Well if there is a Hell i will be partying with my friends." It kinda shows how illogical they really are. I say this because, first they have asserted that the Christian is wrong, then, well if they're not wrong and Hell does exists then i'll party with my friends. Um? Well let's see if you were wrong on count 1, Hell doesn't exists, what in the name of logic makes you think your going to be partying while your there? It's eternal punishment. (for some, Bruce, it will be reciting the first 9 chapters of Chronicles again and again.)

    Some crack heads want to say that Hell is temporary, that God is so merciful that He won't leave you there for eternity. A question to ask them is, "who calls the shots? You or God?. When God says for eternity does He let you decide how long eternity is?" There is no end (Matthew 18:8; II Thessalonians 1:9; Jude 1:7) the judgement is permanent.
    Some men think they can teach God. How funny.
    Isaiah 55:6-9

  4. At the risk of posting 'crazy stuff', I believe all the relevant information regarding heaven and hell is contained in the OT with the NT expanding upon, but certainly not changing the fundamentals of what have already been established in the early chapters of Genesis and the covenant with Abraham.

    The NT is not a replacement for the OT, it is the completion and expansion of it.

    At the point you've reached, I believe the record has established that God has a future plan for this earth and that prior to this, every man will die, waiting for the resurrection. Heaven is the abode of God, hell is the grave, sheol, the place all men go as Job states in Job 3.

    The alternative is go the conventional Christian route and start adding 'buts' to each doctrine. When, for example, we are told 'dieing you shall surely die', we add, 'BUT only our body, not our soul, which goes to heaven or hell'.

    Where's the reasoning behind that?

  5. "That's good Bruce, because Google would give you some crazy stuff."

    Pot, meet Kettle. Notice that you both share a certain hue.

  6. @Blotz (with apologizes to Edward),
    That's EXACTLY what I thought when I read that! ;-)

  7. Romans 5:9 says "that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness". That is the process of salvation in the OT because there was no Jesus yet to this point to acknowledge as Savior. The book of Luke also tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus, giving an indication of heaven and hell and a great separation between the two. There is also a controversial passage in I Peter 3 that talks of Christ preaching "to the spirits in prison", which some believe to be hell.

    As a matter of introduction, a friend guided me to this site and I frequent it a couple of times a week. I am an ordained Baptist minister and while I don't agree with all being posted here, I do respect your views and thoughts, as I hope you will do the same with mine.

    Congrats on being willing to read through the Bible. Hopefully a lot will make more sense as you get into the New Testament or further into the Old. And, having been a Christian for over 40 years, there is still much I don't understand/comprehend and have questions about. I take it all by faith and desire to learn more. Happy reading!

  8. Thanks for reading and commenting Scott.
    The Bible makes more sense to me now that I'm reading it, but, I don't think in the way you'd want it to. ;-)

    I try to be respectful of others beliefs but sometimes I just can't bite my tongue when I see people using the Bible to justify their prejudices and irrational beliefs.

    I also have a quirky sense of humor which can throw people off.

  9. Haha, you're right Bruce....but it's up to each individual to accept or reject the Bible and Christianity as truth--not for me to cram it down your throat.

    I also have a hard time with irrational beliefs and prejudices, masking it behind the Bible, i.e., all the rapture nonsense this past weekend. If you can prove your point biblically, I'm open to it, but not at the expense of adding 2+2 and coming up with 5.

    Thanks for the welcome.

  10. @Bruce

    Look at Gen. 3:15 again: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

    Now, broadly speaking, the first meaning of the text is, of course, that humanity would be at enmity with the serpent. This verse in Genesis 3:15 has a deeper thematic meaning is seen as a prophecy that Satan's head would be crushed, even as the "seed" would have his heel bruised. The New Testament authors themselves saw this as a prophecy of the coming Messiah, and so from our perspective, this is a divinely inspired interpretation of Gen. 3:15.

    So what we're saying is that even as early as the first man and woman, humanity knew that salvation was coming, that the God who keeps his promises would not abandon His creation. This is a prevalent theme in the old testament and is sufficient grounds for the Old Testament Saints to have faith in Jesus, even if they did not know His name.

    Hope that helps you understand our theology a little bit.

  11. @Adam,
    Thanks, but man, that is REALLY forcing a lot of meaning onto that line.
    WITHOUT reading into it, God is telling the serpent that it will always be at odds with man. Man will trample on the serpent and the serpent will strike at men's/women's heels.
    If we continue the reading, God then punishes the woman with pain during child birth. We could infer a lot of meaning into that also but I think it's there just to explain why having a baby is a painful experience!