Friday, April 29, 2011

Was Jesus Really A Hell Fire And Brimstone Preacher?

I have recently been doing quite a bit of Bible study on the subjects of what man is, and what/where/when hell is. I'm still making my way through. I watched a sermon about deception and how to get and remain undecieved. I've alo been reading a lot of verses about "sduying" and "proving all things". God actually COMMANDS us quite often to know what we believe and to know the scriptural basis for it. All that to say, I've been really convicted about studying the Bible for myself. It is really easy to just believe what we believe and use the verses presented to us as "good enough", but there's not a lot of subjects I personally have sat down and really studied out for myself to see what ALL the Bible has to say on them. Even if I know what I believe and am 100% set on it, it is still my responsibility to "prove" it. Which doesn't mean picking and choosing a few verses that fit or asking the preacher. 

I love God and I love truth, pure and simple. I have in the past been stubborn about my beliefs refuse to even consider the possibility that I might be wrong. Ignoring anything, including scripture that might make me question. That is what i have been taught to do and it is not right. I want truth, nothing more and nothing less.Iironically, i did originally go looking purely to prove myself right but that is not what I have found if the truth I find in God' word alone is not the "truth" that I have previously believed than I am in love with Him enough to accept what He teaches and deny what man teaches. 

So, in my studying I'm learning so many things I never knew before and I'm loving it! I'm also learning that a lot of things I have been taught and have believed and even repeated myself, are not actually Biblical. This is one of those. Being that it is such a reverberated line and one I myself have repeated numerous times, I wanted to share it. I have looked into this myself but I also came across this article that put it really well. I really like some of his lines so i'm just going to copy and paste. You can follow the link at the bottom for the full article.

"Did Jesus really say more about hell than He did about heaven?

It has been claimed again and again that Jesus had more to say about hell than hedid about heaven.It has been repeated so oft that the assertion has become anunquestioned maxim.Many preachers have made the statement, not because they knew it to be true, or had actually counted the references, but because theyheard it said and assumed it so.But is it?

So supposedly this maxim of Jesus speaking more about hell than heaven (“muchmore frequently” said one) is not up for debate, but is a fact we can’t get around,one that most Christians know to be true, and is quickly evident with a quickreading of the New Testament.Is that so? Being one who’s not willing to takesomeone else’s word for it, I decided to see if it‘s true. Or could it be anothersquawk of lazy parrots? Something false does not become true by saying it overand over.And men behind a pulpit bear a great responsibility to verify theirstatements. So, DID JESUS PREACH MORE ABOUT HELL THAN HE DIDABOUT HEAVEN?DOES THE BIBLE SAY MORE ABOUT HELL THANHEAVEN?You be the judge.

The word count in the gospels is as follows: HEAVEN – 130; HELL – 15.Thoughthat is a significant disparity, it does not actually prove anything as to thequestion at hand.So let’s narrow the search.We’ll take out the references thatinclude the word “Father” as in “Father in heaven.”That means 130 – 28 = 102.So now we’re down to HEAVEN: 102; HELL – 15.That’s still greatlydisportionate; so let’s remove the references that include the word “kingdom,”thus 102 – 32 = 70.
Yet all 70 are not the words of Christ, or a reference to heaven as other than skyor space.Now if we take out all references to heaven as sky or space, and onlyinclude the words in red, we are down to 31, so it’s now 31 – 15.This is more thanfair, especially considering that we are leaving out “Father in heaven” and“kingdom of heaven.”But now of the 31 – 15, how many are duplicates of each(i.e., are quoted by more than one gospel)?That would leave us with HEAVEN –21; HELL – 10.

Now if we add other references to heaven or hell that do not quote the words (orthat have “Father” in it but give other details about heaven), we have eight moreapiece, thus HEAVEN – 29; HELL – 18. Christ speaks of heaven (not theatmosphere and not “Father in” or “kingdom of”) 29 times, while He speaks ofhell 18.This would be generous to hell being that some of the verses included,such as Matthew 3:12 which says “burn up” or 13:40 which says “as tares areburned” would not even be claimed by many as speaking of hell.And even if youincluded any mention of wailing and gnashing of teeth at the judgment (7 times),the count would still be in favor of heaven.

If“most Christians know that the Bible says more about hell than about heaven,” itis because they know the unsubstantiated, thought oft repeated, assertions of lazyparrots- not because they know their Bibles! (I was guilty!)

This is a very remarkable contention, considering that the gospelsrecord Jesus using the word life 71 times (39 in the gospel of John alone).Christspoke of “eternal life” 10 times and “everlasting life” 11 times.Again, keep inmind that though many equate or associate these phrases with heaven, we are notincluding them in the overall count for heaven.Also not included are the times Christ says “I go to the Father,” or any mentions of “the kingdom” in a final, future sense that most would associate with heaven.LIFE: 71 to HELL: 18.
More than death, Brother Dolphus?In some form or fashion, Christ spoke ofdeath and dying, especially His own, and the resurrection from the dead, over 50times.The Gospels record Christ also using the word perish 14 times.DEATH(and perish): 64+ to HELL: 18.

But there is one subject that He so obviously and absolutely preached more about“than He did anything” else that it is a wonder that the editors who includedPrice’s sermon in The Baptist Vision periodical, and in the book Great Preachingon Hell, would not have readily realized that this was an utterly false statement.Even a casual reading of the gospels should make this apparent (“even with just aquick reading of the New Testament it quickly becomes evident”- see above).Perhaps Christ said so much about this subject that many miss the obvious.

What is it? “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the KINGDOM of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).“And Jesus went about allGalilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the KINGDOM” (Matthew 4:23).“And he said unto them, I must preach the KINGDOM of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43).OurLord commissioned the apostles, “Preach, saying, the KINGDOM of heaven is athand” (Matthew 10:7).“Kingdom” is included 9 times in the Sermon on theMount, including twice in the “Beatitudes” and twice in the “Lord’s Prayer.”Seven “kingdom parables” are recorded in Matthew chapter 13 alone, where theword is found 12 times.Many other times Christ would say “the kingdom ofheaven is like…” (Matthew 18:23; 20:1; 22:2; 25:1, 14).
Remember these classic statements?“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs isthe kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).“Suffer the little children to come untome, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).“Howhardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:23).Christ taught His followers, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33),to pray “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10); and that “the kingdom of God iswithin you” (Luke 17:21).From His conversation with Nicodemus (“Except aman be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” – John 3:3) to His OlivetDiscourse (“this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world”   Matthew 24:14), Christ preached more about the kingdom than He did anything else.Peruse the listing under kingdom in a concordance.Look down through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.It will be evident.

Why does this matter?It matters because it reveals a serious problem with manyfolks understanding of endless torment. Instead of finding out what theScriptures actually say, they are content to repeat what they have heard without making a Berean search to see whether those things are so (Acts 17:11).Theyhaven’t bothered to investigate how Scripture consistently uses the word perish.They haven’t searched the Scripture concerning whether the soul is immortal, orif it can and will die.They haven’t made the effort to study the comprehensivecoherency of what all of the relevant texts consistently teach.

But they don’t mind glibly repeating that Christ taught more on hell than he didon heaven, even though it’s not true. For you that have been so persevering to read this to its conclusion, I must ask you: What else is not true about what you’ve always heard about hell, judgment, and endless torment? Will you continue to repeat, or will you endeavor to verify?"

I don't know about you but I find that last statement pretty convicting!

Here is the full article

1 comment:

  1. Excellent research! I'm glad you brought up the repeated times it was mentioned in the four gospels. It isn't fair to claim a specific number of individuals times the word is used in English if it was simply a repeat in Mark of what was said in Matthew. I had counted hell in the Gospels 8 times. Would like to see your list of the ten so I can be sure of what I missed.