Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: A Good Dose of Interpretive Humility

Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: A Good Dose of Interpretive Humility

In Francis Chan’s book, Erasing Hell, chapter four, he writes:

…Paul never wrote about the details of hell.  However, there is one passage where he comes pretty close – a passage blistering with passion and urgency about Christ’s second coming and the wrath that follows:

God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal desctruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. (2 Thess. 1:6-9)

I understand why Chan believes the way he does, given the English butchering of the Greek.  I used to read the Bible and take everything at face value, too, putting my full trust in the ability of modern translators to communicate the meaning in the Greek.  Not any more.  Not after finding case after case of biased and sometimes downright misleading English renderings of Greek words.  I looked up some of the key words in this verse that demonstrate a meaning in the Greek that doesn’t show up in the English translation:

  • “with” Strongs 1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within); specifically used of that with which a person is surrounded, equipped, furnished, assisted, or acts, also with an adverbial force: as ἐν δυνάμει, powerfully, with power
  • “revelation” Strongs 602 apokálypsis – properly, uncovering (unveiling). See 601 (apokalyptō). 602 /apokálypsis (“revelation, unveiling”) is principally used of the revelation of Jesus Christ (theWord), especially a particular (spiritualmanifestation of Christ (His will) previously unknown to the extent (because “veiled, covered”).
  • “fire” Strongs 4442 pýr – fire. In Scripture, fire is often used figuratively – like with the “fire of God” which transforms all it touches into light and likeness with itself
  • “inflicting” Strongs 1325 the act or effect of him who gives, in such a sense that what he is said διδόναι he is conceived of as effecting, or as becoming its author.
  •  “vengeance” Strongs 1557 ekdíkēsis (derived from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 1349 /díkē, “justice, judge”) – properly, judgment which fully executes the core-values of the particular judge, i.e. extending from the inner-person of the judge to its out-come.
  •  “know” Strongs 1492 /eídō (“seeing that becomes knowing”) then is a gateway to grasp spiritual truth (reality) from a physical plane. 1492 (eídō) then is physical seeing (sight) which should be the constant bridge to mental and spiritual seeing (comprehension).
  • “punishment” is here translated as if it were part of the verb clause, but the word is actually a noun, Strongs 1349 díkē – properly, right, especially a judicial verdict which declares someone approved or disapproved; a judgment (just finding) that regards someone as “guilty” or “innocent.”  (there is no English word in this translation to represent the verb in the Greek, which is attached to the noun “punishment”) Strongs 5099 tínō (a primitive root, NAS dictionary) – to be punished, having to pay the penal fine attached to the crime (used only in 2 Thes 1:9). In the papyri tinō also means “pay the penalty”, like “paying the fitting penalty”
  • “destruction” Strongs 3639 ólethros (from ollymi/”destroy”) – properly, ruination with its full, destructive results (LS). 3639 /ólethros (“ruination”) however does not imply “extinction” (annihilation). Rather it emphasizes the consequent loss that goes with the complete “undoing.”
  •  “everlasting” Strongs Cognate: 166 aiṓnios (an adjective, derived from 165 /aiṓn (“an age, having a particular character and quality”) – properly, “age-like” (“like-an-age”), i.e. an “age-characteristic” (the quality describing a particular age) 166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to.
  •  “from” Strongs 575, this particular usage is translated elsewhere as “by” and it is defined as “of persons from whose will, power, authority, command, favor, order, influence, direction, anything is to be sought”

Put it all together and you have Paul inviting those who have been afflicted to find relief in (en 1722) the previously unknown spiritual unveiling of the will of Christ, in a powerful fire from Heaven.  The Author of a judgment of core values extends out from Himself to those who don’t have a “seeing that becomes knowing” and this judgment is like paying a fitting penalty, in an age of loss and undoing, by the presence of the Lord and by the glory of His power.

This doesn’t sound pleasant, but it also has a very redemptive undertone.

Chan writes:

There are several things to note in this passage.  First, the wrath of Jesus here is retributive and not corrective.  In other words, the wrath isn’t intended to correct the behavior of those opposing Christ to make them fit for salvation.  Rather, the wrath is an act of – dare I say – vengeance.  In fact, this is the exact word that Paul uses.

Chan refers to the Greek word, “ekdíkēsis” (1557).  This same word is used in 1 Peter 2:14 in the context of abiding by government laws and regulations: “Be subject, then, …to governors, as to those sent through [God], for punishment, indeed, of evil-doers, and a praise of those doing good.”  I know that there are some corrupt governments in this world that are, indeed, “inflicting vengeance,” but I don’t think this is what Peter had in mind when he wrote this.  Not everyone who broke the law in Rome was crucified by leaders who were out to inflict vengeance.  Government punishment was often corrective in nature, ranging from small fines to heavy prison sentences.  I don’t see any reason to be convinced by Chan’s assumptions that the usage of the word(s) díkē/tínō (1349/5099) is only for retributive purposes and cannot be used for corrective purposes.

Chan’s second point demands an explanation as well.  He writes:

Second, in light of this last phrase (“inflict vengeance on those who do not know God” and don’t “obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”), Paul doesn’t have a select group of people in view.  Those who don’t know God or obey the gospel include everyone not following Jesus.  No matter how innocent some people may seem, Paul says that if they don’t know God or obey the gospel, they will face God’s vengeful wrath when Jesus returns.

I disagree with Chan’s view that Paul does not have a select group of people in view.  Paul mentions in his writings a group of antagonistic Jews who were basically out to ruin him every chance they had.  You can read about it here and elsewhere in the New Testament. In fact, Paul gets pretty specific in the very text Chan quotes: “God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you…”  The “you” in that sentence is referring to a specific people-group, that is, the believers in Thessalonica who assembled to read his second letter.  This specific people-group was troubled by another specific people-group, that is, the unbelieving Jews.  If the Jewish revolt against Roman rule (Jerusalem, 70 AD) had succeeded, these unbelieving Jews would then be in a position of government-backed authority over the Thessalonian believers.

Let’s suppose for argument’s sake that Paul’s encouragement for the believers in Thessalonica wasn’t really meant for the believers in Thessalonica, it was meant for people living 2000+ years in the future.  No matter which view one takes, Chan’s take on Paul’s words are not accurate.  The select group of people are characterized in this way: They don’t know God and don’t obey the gospel, or so the English translation says.  This particular form of the Greek word “eidosin” translated “know” only occurs once in the entire New Testament.  It is coupled with “obey”: hypakoúō (Strongs 5219 from 5259 /hypó, “under” and 191 /akoúō, “hear”– to obey what is heard; hypakoúō is acting under the authority of the one speaking, i.e. really listeninghypakoúō suggests attentively listening, i.e. fully compliant, responsive).  Chan writes that those who don’t know God or obey the gospel = everyone not following Jesus.  But in the Greek this group of people is defined as NOT having a “seeing that becomes knowing”, who do not travel along that gateway to grasp spiritual truth (reality) from a physical plane. Although they have a physical seeing (sight) which should be the constant bridge to mental and spiritual seeing (comprehension), the physical seeing produces no spiritual results.  That is why they don’t really attentively listen and become responsive or compliant to what they hear.  It follows that since Jesus is the Savior of the world who seeks and saves that which is being LOST/DESTROYED/PERISHING, that this judgment must have corrective purpose.  Jesus, the Author of a judgment of core values that extends out from Himself to those who don’t have a “seeing that becomes knowing”, is, in an age of loss and undoing by the presence of the Lord and by the glory of His power, finding a way to make Himself known.

I believe that this unveiling of Christ began with the physical/seeing part in destruction of Jerusalem.  And just as Paul indicated, this was not a seeing that became a knowing.  Barnabus, after the fact, wrote:

Moreover I will tell you likewise concerning the temple, how these wretched men being led astray set their hope on the building, and not on their God that made them… because they went to war it was pulled down by their enemies… it was revealed how the city and the temple and the people of Israel should be betrayed. For the scripture saith; and it shall be in the last days, that the Lord shall deliver up the sheep of the pasture and the fold and the tower thereof to destruction. And it so happened as the Lord had spoken.

This unveiling of Christ will persist, and it will become more and more obvious that Jesus, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, “won’t let up until the last enemy is down—and the very last enemy is death! …When everything and everyone is finally under God’s rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!”

That this ends well is not just wishful thinking.  Even Jesus Christ had this in mind when He said:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.  And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!”

There is much more to be said about this, but for now, I hope that the readers of Erasing Hell will “test everything” and “hold on to what is good.”  Testing everything isn’t just casually reading someone’s commentary, saying, “Sure, that makes sense,” and going on about your business.  It is wrestling with every possibility.

I’ll conclude this blog with yet another gem segregated by Chan from the main reading in the notes section of chapter four.  Chan writes:

 In this passage, Paul uses the phrase everlasting destruction.  Does this mean Paul affirms that unbelievers will live forever in never-ending torment?  Or does he mean that unbelievers will be annihilated when Christ comes back?  This verse is not crystal clear, and anyone who thinks it is needs a good dose of interpretative humility.  On the one hand, the word destruction seems to speak of annihilation.  But Paul says it’s “everlasting,” so some have said that Paul is thinking of never-ending punishment in hell.  However, as we have seen, the word everlasting (aionios) doesn’t always mean “never-ending.”  Even if it does mean never-ending here, it would seem to make better sense that the “never ending-ness” speaks of the results or effects of the destruction rather than its ongoing act.  In other words, I don’t think Paul is referring to the never-ending process of God “destroying but not completely destroying” the wicked in hell here.  At least Paul’s words here don’t clearly convey this notion.

That Chan doesn’t include this idea in the chapter is suspect, to say the least.  But I hope that readers pay attention to the fact that Chan excludes this important information under the heading HELL, IN THE LETTERS OF PAUL, PETER, AND JUDE.  This is very misleading.  If Chan thinks that Paul probably isn’t referring to the destruction of the wicked in hell, then why on earth would he use what Paul wrote to support the idea that Paul is writing about hell?  Does this make any sense to you?  I hope not.

Next blog in this series: How Chan Nearly Erased Hell

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert August 3, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Alice, there is nothing corrective about paying a traffic citation. It is punitive, and if you don’t want to pay again, you avoid being caught. Penalties for breaking civil laws are only punitive. The objective of the criminal mind is to not be caught. Add rehabilitation programs if you want to add a supposed remedial factor to the system. For a long time the U.S.A. did NOT have “rehab” programs. Rehab encourages saving punitive loss by not repeat offending: helping criminals think sensibly long-term, something they should have done before committing their first crime. So the law is possibly corrective only before a crime is committed. Punishment is punitive after a crime is committed. After the crime and punishment, the law, not the punishment, is hopefully a corrective deterrent.

    Your remedial Second Death Lake of Fire punishment is again proven false.

    • Lanny A. Eichert August 3, 2012 at 3:34 am

      Alice, a liberal judge favors the criminal with a light sentence, while a conservative judges favors the victim handing down a heavy sentence. What message is sent to the victim and what message is sent to the criminal in God’s court? Christ is the Victim, every human being is the criminal. Remember the saints are IN Christ and God will avenge both His Son Christ and His saints. Upon whom and to what degree and when and where?

      • Michelle August 7, 2012 at 7:12 am

        “Christ is the Victim, every human being is the criminal.”

        God doesn’t view His kids as criminals because no sane, loving parent view their kids as filthy criminals. Add to that that “the lamb was slain from the foundation of the world”, which means He arranged His own death from the beginning. And Jesus never called any of His kids a filthy criminal, these words where never found in His mouth. But the religious system view God’s kids as filthy criminals and it serves their agenda to make people feel like wretched, filthy criminals who deserves nothing but hate and death, who don’t deserve anything good in life, anything good from their Father. Any spirit of guilt, shame and self-condemnation doesn’t come from God but from the accuser. As some people from NCG have pointed out, a child deserve a father’s love, support and help just for being his child. And a child has a right to expect support from his father, as even a law court would say so and hold a parent to his responsibilities. Do we not become responsible the day that they sin (make a mistake)? It doesn’t change a damn thing about the parent’s love and responsibilities. We deserve good things from our Father just for being His kids, just as our kids deserve good things from us just for being our kids. We deserve to be loved, valued, supported, treasured by our Father just for being His kids, just as our kids deserve to be loved, valued, supported, treasured by us just for being our kids. They need to know that they can count on us to love them no matter what and to help them when they are struggling with some problems, which is part of growing up and maturing, even spiritually. When our children do wrong, when they make mistakes, should we ressent them or help them? If we ressent them or deny our responsibilities, we know that we are doing wrong also. If we do that, if we deny our responsibilities, if we deny them our presence, our love, our support, we don’t help them overcome their problems, we only make things worse for them and for ourselves.

        Here’s an excellent video on the subject:

        “It’s just not all grace. We deserve the love of our Father. We deserve the support of our Father. We deserve for our Father to stay close to us even when we do wrong. We deserve to be treated as His children. We deserve to be called His.

        A good Father would never leave, nor forsake His created children. A good Father loves and forgives His children unconditionally. And a good Father makes His children feel safe, secure, and close.”

        The real God draws near: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeTmYkeSQ5Y

        • Lanny A. Eichert August 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          Michelle, NOTHING good do we deserve because we failed the image in which we were created as mere human beings, not God’s kids. We were conceived in sin and don’t have to do a single thing to be justly condemned from the moment of conception inside our mothers. Our mothers and our fathers were sinners who produced sinners at the very conception of their children’s bodies.

          The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. {Psalm 58: 3}

          I remind you that we are just mere created things. We are things God has by deliberate choice made the object of His affections. That’s all we are.

      • Michelle August 7, 2012 at 7:26 am
      • Michelle August 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

        “Remember the saints are IN Christ and God will avenge both His Son Christ and His saints.”

        God will avange His Son Christ (Himself) now??? Funnily enough, Lanny, I didn’t see Christ crying out for vengeance or retaliating at calvary. 1 Cor. 13:4 Love (God is love) doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. He made it clear as He was dying on the cross that He didn’t hold anything against His children, because they were so messed and sick with the sinful condition they had been born into that they didn’t even know what they were doing. As for His saints, He told them to recompense evil for evil to no man, to overcome evil with good and to overcome their enemies with love. No one who really has the christlike nature would ever desire to be avenged, would ever desire vengeance and retaliation. If I don’t want vengeance and retaliation against those who hurt me, and would even oppose it, that’s because His nature is in me and He has worked that level of maturity in me. No one who really has His nature want revenge against their enemies and they oppose fighting evil with evil, the “law” that Jesus hated, that is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth that the liar and deceiver Moses claimed came from God (“you have heard that it was said… but I tell you…, you have heard that it was said… but I tell you…”), and Jesus commanded them to do away with that evil law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and to love their enemies. According to Jesus, merely hating someone in your heart is committing murder. That’s what vengeance and retaliation lead to. It leads to people to do evil, destructive things. The nature of Christ is completely oppose to vengeance and retaliation. Not only did He command them not to retaliate or seek revenge, He also told them to turn the other cheek and to not resist an evil doer, which He did at calvary. He didn’t blast people to smitereens, He didn’t retaliate, He didn’t cry out to His Father for vengeance. He turned the other cheek, didn’t resist the evil doer and uttered that He didn’t held their wrongs against them because they didn’t know what they were doing, because of that sin-sickness they were born into that was ravaging their minds and spirits like a gangrene and cancer. Jesus never treated sin as a crime deserving of punishment and death, but as an illness people were born into, an illness that needs to be healed and cured. People were born into a sinful condition just like a baby is born with cancer, missing limbs or mental handicap. Jesus didn’t come to punish but to show He didn’t hold people’s wrongs against them and to cure their sickness. Sin is a sickness and He is the Great Physician. But of course, with your Augustinian western church mindset, you just can’t see these things. The eastern Orthodox church has the truth in that regard and share Jesus’ view and vision of things way more than the abusive, immature, babe-in-Christ western church…

        • Lanny A. Eichert August 9, 2012 at 12:52 am

          Michelle, what is the wrath of God?

          He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. {John 3: 36}

          Michelle, what to God does an abomination mean?

          These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: {Proverbs 6: 16} See the list that carries through verse nineteen.

          Are those two words mistranslated? Don’t you see God’s vengence expressed?

    • Lanny A. Eichert August 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

      Alice, you “don’t see any reason” because you don’t want the truth of eternal torment to be real. You’re living in denial. Punishment/penalty is punitive whether large or small. In the Final Judgment it is large beyond description and justifiably so.

      Again my points are two:
      1) punishment/penalty is punitive
      2) only Law is possibly corrective at some point

      Your Amazing Hope is defeated.
      Eternal Torment is proved.

      {Eternal also is large beyond description.}

  • Mary Vanderplas August 3, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I like your take on this text, though I have some trouble seeing how the punishment of persecutors referred to here can be anything other than eschatological retribution. The picture the author presents seems clearly to be a traditional apocalyptic scene of the return of the Lord and the judgment/destruction of the wicked. I agree, though, that the text was written to encourage believers, probably Christians living near the end of the first century, who were undergoing persecution and that it isn’t a general statement about how God will deal with unbelievers in the end. Its intent likely was to assure the struggling believers that God would act to manifest his justice, vindicating them and punishing their oppressors, and thus also to warn them against taking justice into their own hands. Nonetheless, the author makes clear that the unbelieving persecutors will suffer loss. I like what you say about (at least the possibility of) the judgment here referred to having a corrective, redemptive purpose.

    I like, too, what you say about the persecutors not having a “seeing that becomes knowing” and about Christ making himself known to these ones who are lacking in spiritual perception leading to trust and commitment. I’m not sure that I agree, though, that this revelation of spiritual truth is what the author had in mind in referring to the Lord being “revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” What is being portrayed here seems more likely to be the return of Christ at the end of history.

    I agree with what you say about it not making sense that Chan uses a text that he doesn’t think is about hell to talk about Paul’s view of hell. And I agree with what you imply about approaching this text with interpretive humility given that there are grounds for arguing that it is not about the final (retributive) justice of God against human unbelief and rebellion.

    Thanks for an insightful, thought-provoking blog on a difficult biblical text.

  • Stephen Helbig August 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    It is true that God has perfected praise in the young (immature to their faith), but they are still babes and as excited as they are to share the deeper things of God, they must first mature to understand it. And they must have those growing pains, and those pains cry out. There was a time when I was younger in my faith when I would witness to everyone, I didn’t care what anyone thought OF WHAT I SAID, and like Moses I was killing the Egyptians left and right. I was carnally doing what God was preparing to be spiritually done.

    Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names (Natures/greed/lust/pride/etc) were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
    Our EGO and CARNAL THINKING is that BEAST. Ecclesiates calls men BRUTE BEASTS. the Beasts’ number is 666, the NUMBER OF MAN. ~ Aren’t you glad ~ GOD IS LOVE.

    To know God ~ ”seeing that becomes knowing”, does indeed take a good dose of interpretative humility.

    A wonderful prayer is in Ezra (9th) chapter ~ “I am ashamed and blush” ~ but “grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us”. ~

  • Lanny A. Eichert August 7, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Stephen, “Our EGO and CARNAL THINKING is that BEAST” is very far from the meaning of the text. Our ego and carnal thinking are NOT able fit all of the details given of the Beast in the Revelation 17: 7 – 18. For you to make such a statement brings everything you might say by way of God’s primary intended meaning of the passage into suspicion of being grossly far fetched and totally false. Applying Ecclesiates and 666 is reckless regarding interpretation, but it does expose your distinct tendency and warns everybody around what to think, or rather what not to think.

    • Stephen Helbig August 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Lanny, the key to understanding the book of Revelation does not lie in the dictionary or in the commentaries of thinking man, but in the new heart given to us by our Lord and Savior ~ this is a heart consecrated, humble, meek, inquiring, ready to receive and do the will of God, ~ in LOVE for God and Man, ~ (Mat. 13:9). The book of Revelation is part of God’s prophetic message, rich in mystery, clothed in the language of symbols, preserved from the prying eyes of the curious and the carnal, and all those in whose appetite is for great theological foretelling of woe of calamity and future events. Do not read the book of Revelation with the literal understanding of the natural mind so as to never see beyond the letter of the word! It is a book of the revealing of Jesus Chist ~ in you.

      Lanny your statement ~ “Our ego and carnal thinking are NOT able fit all of the details given of the Beast” ~ I would attest and concur this is TRUE.

      The “bottomless pit” or the “abyss” in the symbolisms of scripture portrays the human (non-spiritual) heart, and is beautifully expressed by the prophet David. ~ David describes the wickedness of man, saying, ~ “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity…they encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search (plumbing the depths): both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart IS DEEP” (Ps. 64:2-6). The heart is a deep! The Hebrew word used here means not only something deep, but “deeper than” other things. Now, what is meant by a bottomless pit? The Greek word for bottomless is abussos which is derived from a root word meaning “depthless.” In Greek it is called the “pit of the abussos” from which we derive our English word abyss! Perhaps it would be better translated as the “pit of the abyss” or the “pit of the unfathomable depth.” “Bottomless” is a good translation of this word, for the thought of the Greek word is that ~ whose depths are unmeasurable. As soon as one attempts to suppose a physical or literal reality corresponding to this picture-image, he falls into endless difficulty. We have here a spiritual picture of a character and nature. It is true that righteousness and truth are related to light, and also with height, and evil and error are associated not only with darkness, but also with depth. Tracing backward to the root word abussos, it is interesting to note that abussos is a variation of buthos which means “profundity.” It becomes, then, a profundity which in its spiritual meaning signifies a thought or a nature — so deep as to be beyond the comprehension of the natural mind! The heart of the natural man is his deepest and innermost sense of being, and is without GOD. The heart is the root of all human (NON- spiritual) expressions and identity. It is also the well-spring, (“or Teaching”) of what is called “human nature.” Of that nature Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come (arise) from (deep) within, and defile the man” (Mk. 7:18-23). We must conclude, then, that the heart of carnal mankind is the very lowest realm of man’s being! Sometimes the Lord’s elect fail to see that our natural heart is just like anyone else’s Adamic heart, and every son of God must clearly see, understand, and overcome the very basest things and powers that lie hidden, concealed, and buried in the unseen depths of the old, natural heart, our beastly nature. And just as these evil things come from deep within and rise up out of the heart to manifest in the flesh, so does the BEAST that overcomes the witnesses in rising up out of the abyss within them to “kill” them, (Rev.11:7, 17:8) The two witnesses! ~ THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD

      If p.s. ~ IF one really wishes to study the Book of “THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST” ~ in symbolic light ~ for REVELATION IS A SPIRITUAL BOOK COMMUNICATED IN SIGNS AND SYMBOLS! ~ I highly recommend the following site ~
      http://www.kingdombiblestudies.org/Revelation/rev1.htm

      Note; ~ He sent and “signified” it by His angel unto His servant John” (Rev. 1:1). ~ (signified) ~ (SIGN-I-FIED) ~ (to indicate by signs or symbols)

      p.s.s. ~ Alice , I truly wish to apologize for going down this subject path, considering the content of your blog post, but WE ALL need answers, myself included, and my prayer is that it has been done with a GOOD dose of interpretative humility. ~ I truly enjoy your work in the LORD.

      • admin August 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

        Why are you apologizing? Conversations are dynamic – I don’t really expect people to stay on the subject of the blog in the comment section, if the conversation naturally moves in another direction.

      • Lanny A. Eichert August 9, 2012 at 12:44 am

        So, Stephen, you agree “Our ego and carnal thinking” is not that Beast in the Revelation 17: 7 – 18. Thank you for demonstrating how you developed your original false statement by recklessness interpretation. You’ve made my point that your interpretations may be held suspicious most of the time. Stephen, please don’t be over much “spiritual.”

  • Delayed « www.whatgoddoes.com November 1, 2012 at 3:11 am

    […] Raising Hell is an excellent resource for anyone who has been following another blog series based on the book Erasing Hell by Francis Chan.  Although I’ve written a ton of blogs in that series, I’m only a few chapter into the book.  The reason?  Because I marked everything that seemed “off” in that book with a highlighter and purposed to write a blog to set the record straight.  To put it bluntly, I’m un-hijacking Christianity from fear-mongers.  The links to my review of Julie’s book are (Part One) Book Review: Raising Hell and (Part Two) Book Review: Raising Hell.  The links to the Chan series are Book Review: Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell, What I Like about Chan’s Attitude, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell, Chan’s Theological Monkey Paintings: God Swears, If God Swears, Then What About…, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: The Anathema of Scrutiny, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: All = Some, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Now or Never, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Sin Wins, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: English vs Greek, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: In This Life, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Saved by Who’s Choice?, One of Chan’s Missing Scriptures, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Fumbled Fables, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Croissants Falling from the Sky, Exposition on the Reign of God: Narrow vs Wide, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Jesus, Lord of Distance, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Abomination, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Fear Not, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Obama Is Fat, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Invalid Argument, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Everlasting Sneeze, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Jesus Didn’t Get the Memo, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Screwed Up Math, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Bad Analogies, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: A Good Dose of Interpretive Humility. […]

  • Hell in Revelation « www.whatgoddoes.com December 7, 2012 at 3:23 am

    […] Book Review: Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell, What I Like about Chan’s Attitude, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell, Chan’s Theological Monkey Paintings: God Swears, If God Swears, Then What About…, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: The Anathema of Scrutiny, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: All = Some, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Now or Never, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Sin Wins, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: English vs Greek, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: In This Life, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Saved by Who’s Choice?, One of Chan’s Missing Scriptures, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Fumbled Fables, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Croissants Falling from the Sky, Exposition on the Reign of God: Narrow vs Wide, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Jesus, Lord of Distance, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Abomination, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Fear Not, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Obama Is Fat, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Invalid Argument, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Everlasting Sneeze, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Jesus Didn’t Get the Memo, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Screwed Up Math, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Bad Analogies, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: A Good Dose of Interpretive Humility. […]

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