Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 02.16.12.
Thursday – Joy and Paradise vs. Pain and Regret
Big Point: God graciously gives us a choice about where we wish to spend eternity and what we want to experience—everlasting joy and paradise or never ending pain and regret.
In a sermon discussing Heaven and Hell, pastor Craig Roeschel discusses a city from the Old Testament known as Gehenna, which means the place of everlasting punishment. In this city, a fire was constantly burning and people would throw the bodies of criminals and animals and all the garbage from the city onto the fire. Gehenna, this place where the fire never burns out, is compared to what Hell will be like. It may be impossible without an image like that to realize the serious nature of the eternity and seriousness of Hell.
On the flip side, Randy Alcorn, author of the book, “If God Is Good,” points out the promise with Christianity of a new body, heart and mind as a reality in Heaven. Alcorn writes of Heaven, “Every passing year increases my longing to live on the resurrected Earth in my resurrected body, with my resurrected family and friends, worshiping and serving the resurrected Jesus. I get goose bumps just thinking about it! Many disabled believers have heard others say about the resurrection, “You must look forward to walking and running.” True enough, but one handicapped Christian made a particularly revealing comment: “What I look forward to most is kneeling.” Our resurrected bodies will fulfill their highest function as we glorify God in our bodies, worshiping him without hindrance, fatigue or distraction.”
Can these two scenarios even be compared?
Read and Think…. Find Answers in the Bible
1. Read the following passage and look for images of the agony of Hell. What action was the cause of this punishment? How long will this punishment occur?
Revelation 14:9-11 (New Living Translation)
Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand 10 must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.”
2. Read the following passage and look for images that let you know that the rider on the horse is Jesus. What allusions to other scriptures do you see in these verses? What images indicate that this is a victorious, triumphant portrait of Jesus?
Revelation 19: 11-16 11
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider as named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from winepress. 16 On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and lord of all lords.
LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever regretted something and felt pain from the regret? Describe your experience in that situation. Then, write out how it would feel to never feel resolve or closure from that experience and to have to experience that for all of eternity.
Think about the images of the torment of Hell from question one. It is freeing to know that we can rely on our salvation and feel safe from such a fate. Indeed, it’s something to praise God for. However, when faced with the sobering thought of the reality of Hell, what effect should that have on our relationships and sharing opportunities?
Some of us live with chronic pain, fatigue and an overall sense of low energy and poor health. Imagine the joy in heaven when God creates us new: new body, heart and mind. What joys are you looking forward to? Describe the encouragement you can provide to someone who may struggle with earthly pain, sadness and regret. Write out how you can encourage them with what you learned from today’s study.
Do you stumble trying to find the right words to say to someone who is struggling? Perhaps HomeMatters’ material can help.
Simply pick up a brochure at any campus to help guide your conversation.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Take a few moments to allow the magnitude of eternity to wash over you. Let yourself feel the reality of God’s judgment. Take a moment to thank God for His plan that includes a new body, heart and mind.