by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2013. |
It was on one of the history channels recently about how an ancient Pharaoh of Egypt had had his servants prepare for him a place of "Eternal Residence."
Oh, is that what they were doing?
I didn't watch the whole program, I don't need the details of that crazy religion that the Egyptians had.
Though I haven't been to Egypt, I've seen pictures. That's where you find those huge pyramids. Some of those pyramids were probably built by Jewish slaves during the four centuries or so that ancient Israel was in Egypt.
You may remember that from the book of Genesis, where Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold into captivity, taken to Egypt, and promoted to be second in command of Egypt.
Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel, went down into Egypt with his people because God had revealed that the length of the famine would be seven years. Joseph nourished his father and brothers, and sought no vengeance.
No, those Egyptian servants were not preparing Pharaoh's eternal residence. They just thought they were.
They were preparing a place here on earth, and this earth is only temporary, not eternal.
2 Peter 3:10 tells us, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are in it shall be burned up."
So the earth, and all buildings in it will be destroyed; burned up.
___Revelation chapter 21 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there were no more oceans. 2 And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "See, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will live with them, and they'll be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 And he that sat on the throne said, "See, I make all things new." And he said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." 6 And he said to me, "It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty from the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
This present heavens and earth will be replaced by a new heavens and earth.
So then, Pharaoh's eternal residence that he had prepared for himself was not eternal at all, but will be destroyed by "fervent heat." Sounds kind of nuclear to me.
Nuclear weapons are known for their fervent heat, and light so bright, from what I've heard, that it caused the eyes of some of the Japanese to pop out when atom bombs were dropped on Japan, ending World War Two.
You can make a tomb for yourself. You can buy a burial plot. You can make arrangements to have your dead body cremated.
But the only way you can choose your eternal destination is by getting born again so that you'll go to heaven.
Without that, you go to the default destination for everyone, which is a fiery hell, where their worms don't die, and where the fire is not quenched, where there's crying and gnashing of teeth, Jesus said, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
If you know about computers, you know that they come from the factory with default settings. After you get the computer home, you can start to change some of the default settings to your preferences.
If you have good judgment, you'll prefer to go to heaven rather than the default destination of hell.
We have an expression in our language, “Rest In Peace.” The abbreviation is R.I.P. They sometimes put that on tombstones. That expression implies the idea that once in the grave, that dead person is at rest.
But that expression is wrong. They're not at rest.
Those dead bodies are just piles of chemicals in the shapes of the people who lived in those bodies, until the bodies have decayed, as dead bodies will do.
Is that someone at rest? No. When you die, it's only your body that dies. Then you, the person who lived in that house that was your body, either go up to heaven, or down to hell.
But how do you know that, brother Fred? I know it because I'm a student of Jesus and of the Bible.
Jesus said that we should fear Him, who after he has killed, can throw you into hell. That would be God.
It was on the news lately about a shooter that murdered people in Santa Monica, CA. But after he had killed those people, he wasn't able to send them to hell.
They went to heaven if they were born again Christians. The others went to hell. The shooter had no control over the final destination. It was God that decided heaven or hell for each of them.
Jesus said, "You must be born again." (John chapter 3)
Get yourself born again, according to Romans 10:9,10, and you go to heaven.
Otherwise, you go to hell, and most people go to hell, Jesus said, and Jesus doesn't lie.
Romans chapter 10: 9 "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you're saved. 10 For with the heart man believes for righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made for salvation."
It's not wrong to honor the dead with a funeral and burial, if that person was honorable. But by the time the dead body is dealt with, that person, whose dead body was left behind, is already in heaven or in hell.
I stopped writing for a moment because a parade was going by, down on the street. Some of them were carrying signs, but it wasn't so easy to read the signs at that distance up on the third floor.
I went down and asked one of the traffic cops what the parade was about. He said, "Gay pride."
Oh, right, Gay pride. I guess the idea is, "We're not going to be ashamed that we're homosexuals, we're proud of it."
Yes, and being homosexual may be legal under local laws. But you see, there's man's law, and then there are God's laws.
What you might be able to do legally under man's laws, you can't necessarily get away with under God's laws. And it's God that's going to decide whether you wind up in heaven or hell.
And the Bible has already told us in 1 Cor 6:9,10 that homosexuals don't go to heaven.
No matter how many cities or states or nations decide to make homosexuality legal, there is absolutely no one who will be able to persuade God to change his position on this. You can either start fearing God, and get born-again, or you are on the road that leads to hell.
May God help you to choose wisely.
I had a temporary job with a company whose founder had recently died of a heart attack. I learned that the funeral had cost about $13,000.00, which was paid for out of company funds.
That, together with other problems that the company had, resulted in the company going out of business not long after that.
And the rather expensive funeral had absolutely no effect on whether the man went to heaven or hell. He was either a Christian, or he was not. I hadn't met the man.
There was some discussion, toward the end of 2012 as to whether the Aztec calendar was correct about the end of the world being in 2012.
But when that question came up, I already knew the answer. The world can't end for at least one thousand seven years.
The Bible says there will be a period of seven years called "The Great Tribulation," and that afterward, Jesus will come and rule on earth for a thousand years.
And the Great Tribulation hasn't started yet. When it does, there will be a world ruler who is called in the Bible, "the Antichrist," and also "the Beast."
I don't expect to be around for the Great Tribulation. The Bible says, "God has not appointed us for wrath." (1 Thes 5:9)
During the Great Tribulation, God's wrath will be poured out on earth. You can find the terrible details in the book of Revelation. One thing that happens is one fourth of the people on earth will die.
And then, another third of the survivors will die. If you do the math, that gets the world's population down to one half of what it was.
So, I expect if I haven't already died, when the "rapture" comes, to be "raptured," as per 1 Thes 4:16, before the Great Tribulation.
Rapture is not a Bible word, but is used to mean that catching away of the church.
But when I was in Houston, my Pastor, John Osteen spoke about the Great Tribulation. He pointed out that some believe in a "pre-trib" rapture, and some believe in a "post-trib" rapture. He said, "If you want to tribulate, go ahead and tribulate."
But I am sure that I prefer not to tribulate, and I believe the scriptures support my theology that I won't. You, also, will prefer not to tribulate, if you read the book of Revelation, about the things that will happen on earth during those days.
In another place, Jesus said that men's hearts would fail them for fear, and for looking at the things that are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (Luke 21:26)
But this scripture doesn't necessarily refer to the Great Tribulation.
People can have heart attacks brought on by fear.
We are already seeing significant changes in the weather. Tornadoes have destroyed in the Midwest. Wildfires in California. Severe storms in the New England area.
It's a good time to make sure that you're straight with God.
But why would anyone take the Aztecs seriously, or the Incas, or the Mayans? Their civilizations have crumbled. No doubt some of them intermarried with Spaniards from Spain who conquered what is now Mexico and South America.
But we no longer have the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. If they really knew so much, why didn't their civilizations endure?
But the Jews have been around a long time. I mean like five or more thousand years. What is the explanation as to why the Jews have endured so long?
I believe it's mainly the fact that God made a covenant with Abraham, the Hebrew, and so, God's blessing has been on the Jews.
But that doesn't automatically get them to heaven, because Jesus said, "You must be born again." (John chapter 3)
And some Jews are born again. There's an organization called, "Jews for Jesus." I spoke with one of them who was passing out literature in front of Macy's Plaza at 7th and Flower streets in Los Angeles.
At the church I grew up in, there was a family of Jewish Christians, the Zarr family. I dated the daughter a time or two. She was quite smart.
One one date, we started quoting scriptures. We must have gone for probably a half hour quoting scriptures. I would quote a scripture, then she would, then I would, then she would.
I expect that her parents knew a lot of scriptures, too.
The Apostle Paul spoke of the great burden he had for his people, the Jews.
In Romans 9:3, Paul says, "For I could wish that I were accursed from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh..."
Paul thought about a possible trade of a curse on himself, if it would help his fellow Jews.
But, of course, a curse on Paul wouldn't have helped the Jews because the Bible says, "Every man shall bear his own burden." (Gal 6:5) Each person has to get born again for themselves.
Could I eat your food for you? I could, but that wouldn't provide any nutrition for you. If I kept on eating your food instead of your eating it, you'd starve physically.
You'll starve spiritually, if you don't do your own getting right with God, as in Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10. You confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.
Paul, of course, started out as Saul of Tarsus, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, who zealously persecuted Christians. He was present, and in agreement with the stoning of the martyr, Stephen.
He obtained letters from the Jewish High Priest to the synagogues of Damascus so that he could arrest any Christians there. It was on the road to Damascus that the Lord confronted him.
Acts chapter 9, verses 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shined around him, 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you're persecuting, it is hard for you to kick against the sharp points." 6 And he, trembling and astonished said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go into the city, and you'll be told what you must do." 7 And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul got up from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no one, but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was without sight for three days, and didn't eat or drink.
And then, God sent Ananias to Paul, who prayed for him. And Paul recovered his sight, and became an Apostle for the Lord, and the author of probably about half of the number of books in the New Testament.
There has been discussion about whether pyramids have some kind of magical powers. I don't buy it, and I'm not going to look into that at all.
That borders on the occult, and the Lord doesn't want his people messing around with the occult, or Ouija boards, or seances, or fortune tellers, or tarot card readers, or palm readers, or seers, or "spirit guides," or horoscopes ("astrology"), or anything else along those lines.
God will be your spirit guide, if you're a Christian.
Furthermore, if the Egyptians were so smart, how is it that Egypt is now one of the poorest nations?
Other people have spoken of the Davinci Code, a secret code supposed to be in the Bible. Nonsense. There's no code. The code is in the words. If you read and understand the words of the Bible, you have the code.
But when you read the Bible, ask God to help you understand what you're reading. God gives wisdom and understanding. But Jesus said, "Ask, and you'll receive." But if you don't ask, you won't have as much.
I met a man in Los Angeles who was a convert to Christianity from another religion. He said, "I never ask God for anything." I guess financially, he was fairly well off. I didn't respond to his statement the first time he said that.
But later, when he said it again, I said, "Brother, if you're not asking God for anything, you're walking in disobedience. Jesus said, ask and you'll receive."
If the man didn't need anything for himself, he could have been asking the Lord to help his students, since the man was a teacher of a Bible class. Was everyone in the class in perfect health? Was everyone well off financially?
The man himself sometimes wore a special shoe. The kind given out at hospitals to people who have foot problems. That's something to ask God's help for.
At the start of each class session, it would have been good to say a prayer asking the Lord to help the students understand the lessons from the Bible.
In 2 Peter 1:16, "For we haven't followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty."
The Bible is not a puzzle book where you use your wits to try to solve puzzles.
The Bible speaks to us in plain language, and God wants us to understand what he has said there. You don't have to solve a puzzle. Just read it, and believe it, and put it into practice.
A man in the field of education correctly said, "A knowledge of the Bible is more to be desired than a college education."
And a knowledge of the Bible will help you get to heaven, while many college graduates will wind up in hell. I'm not against college, but first things first.
A classmate of mine in grammar school was Virginia Trimble. She also took piano lessons from my mother, who taught piano.
Virginia was written up in Life Magazine for her high IQ (seems like it was 170). In her youth, she was Jewish. She visited my church, and I visited her synagogue.
Later on, Virginia got herself a college degree. She became an Astrophysicist. I saw her on TV one time, hosting an hour long program about science.
I got an email from a high school friend that was sent to a list of people. I was able to identify one of them as Virginia, and emailed her.
I learned that she had given up her religion and had become an Atheist.
Atheists say there's no God. But God says, "The fool has said in his heart there's no God." (Psalm 14:1)
A person who thinks there's no God need not make an effort to get right with God. He need not pray, if there's no God. He will wind up in hell, like my Dad did, who claimed to be an Atheist.
But there is a God, and it's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:31)
What good is it to have a high IQ, if it won't keep you out of hell?
I don't know that it would have reversed the outcome, but Virginia might have done better not to have chosen to be a scientist.
When a young person is choosing a career field, there are certain careers that would be good to avoid that can be hazardous to your soul.
Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36,37) Losing your own soul means going to hell.
If you choose a career that will tend to send you to hell, that would be a very unwise choice. There is nothing you can gain that would be worth going to hell for.
If you could be the richest person in the world, that would last no longer than a lifetime, but hell is forever.
Show biz is a bad career to choose because people in show biz tend to be married to their careers, so much so that their marriages to their human spouses often fail because of show biz.
I think it's fair to say that the majority of show biz people will most likely wind up in hell.
Another career that could be hazardous to your soul is being a doctor. And I know a man who had been a Christian in his youth, became a medical doctor, and later lost his Christianity.
I warned him probably more than thirty years ago about a possible conflict of interest between being a Christian and being a doctor. (But there are probably some Christian doctors.)
The right kind of Christians believe in divine healing as in Mark 16:17,18. But doctors try to cure with natural methods. And I heard that Doctor who lost his Christianity speak words with his mouth doubting the miracles in the Bible.
Another career that could be hazardous to your soul is becoming a scientist. Candidates to become scientists study some of the same things that prospective Engineers study.
But Engineering is the practical application of known principles. Scientists (such as Astrophysicists) tend to be more theoretical.
It may seem like a noble aspiration to become a Scientist, but Christian young people may not be aware that there will be strong pressures placed on them in the scientific field to believe the "Big Bang Theory" of the origin of the universe, and to embrace Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
Neither of those theories is correct. We got here because God created us, as in the early chapters of the book of Genesis, in the Bible.
A young Christian ought to ask the Lord what career to choose.
I met a young man who had been a student at Cal Tech. I knew that Cal Tech had an excellent reputation in the area of a technical education. But the man was leaving Cal Tech.
I asked why. He said because he wanted to be an Engineer, not a Scientist. Some colleges or universities may put pressure on students to choose vocations emphasized by those colleges.
And among Scientists, I believe the majority of them are Evolutionists. So then, if you want to be a Scientist, as a Christian, you're an oddball. You're "not one of us" because you're a Creationist, not an Evolutionist.
Why not spare yourself the trouble, and follow a different vocation?
I wouldn't recommend Psychology or Psychiatry for Christians. Many of them aren't even aware that the source behind many of the afflictions they would like to cure is demons, fallen angels who followed Satan when he rebelled against God.
So that's another conflict of interest. God wants Christians to cast out demons, not prescribe medications that dope up the patient, but that can't get rid of the demons.
Scriptures quoted are from the Holy Bible, Hoehn Version and the New Testament, Hoehn Version, copyright 2011, both available as ebooks for the Kindle reader from Amazon.com
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