google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2018 January

Archive for January 2018

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word - Growing as a Christian

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Today Alfie talks about the WOW Word - Growing!

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Galatians 5:16-26 - "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

What is the response of a Christian to be to these words of Jesus?

Let Alphy the WOWChurch cat explain to you!

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Spiritualism 03

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3. Spiritualism:

What Takes Place In Seances?

By Jim Allis

 

A meeting at which mediums try to communicate with the dead) During Séances people who seek to communicate with loved ones are often startled to hear familiar voices supplying details about one's life which no one else present could know. In addition to impersonating the voice of the dead these may well be the voices of the unclean spirits who actually lived within the person during their lifetime. After wondering in dry places (Job 30:3-8) and being called forth to return by the séance, they are in a position to re-enter the family. The opening is provided by seeking information from the demonic realm for them to gain a new "house." This might also explain why, after a time, these spirits can no longer be summoned in séances; they have entered a new victim and are no longer homeless. Evil spirits cannot enter people as easy as some believe. If they could they would, so that in every situation where demons were present, there would be no protection, and all could be subject to them. There must be legal grounds or legal holds to open a person to attacks. A willingness from the person to want such a spirit to live within themselves through some wrong activity they engage in such as prostitution or drugs. It is thought by some that a great many come in through family background, curses and inheritance. Even habitual sin enables a demon to enter aided by inherited family weakness and inclinations. Perhaps when habitual sin does allow the entrance of a demon it may be easier to dislodge, comparatively speaking, the same demon in a person who has an inherited opening in his family line.

Can The Dead Make Contact With The Living?

The Bible says no, No! If there is any supernatural activity in the séance, it is most certainly not the spirit of the departed one speaking through the medium. It is not possible according to the Scriptures to contact the spirits of the dead. Jesus made this very clear with the account of the rich man and Lazarus. In Luke 16: 19-31 we read, “there was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury everyday. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, "father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire." But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them.' "No, `father Abraham, he said, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'" He said, to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'

Two things need to be pointed out in this passage:

a. There is a great gulf fixed between the places of the righteous and unrighteous dead which no one can cross. The dead, in other words, are unable to change from one side to the other. They are fixed for eternity. b. The rich man was refused permission to warn his five brothers of their impending fate if they did not repent. The passage indicates, along with the rest of the Scripture, that the dead are not allowed to speak to the living on any matter. The response in this case was that the brothers needed to believe what God had said in the Scriptures to escape their doom rather than a voice from the dead. Jesus declared that those who harden their hearts against the very words of God through Moses and the prophets would not listen even if one did return from the dead. This is proved by those who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ today. Jesus Christ did rise from the dead and yet people still refuse to accept what is written in the Bible concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow: Part 4 which is our final study in looking into Spiritualism is extremely important as we look at the Bible and how Spiritualists treat the Bible and then in conclusion what the Bible has to say about Spiritualism practices. ** Disclaimer: The author of this article, Jim Allis, is a guest podcaster and Partake Ministries may or may not agree with his opinions and writings, either in their entirety or part thereof.

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POD - Psalm 111

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Psalm 111

1 Praise the LORD.I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever -
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

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Think Spot - 29 January 2018

 

We now enter a new week! Do you claim to trust God? How is trust in God exhibited? One of the natural outcomes of trusting God is joy - often an unspeakable joy that bubbles within you! A joy resulting from overcoming all that life throws at you, and overcoming those hurdles! It involves taking a daily commitment to follow Jesus Christ and not just a one off. It takes commitment, not comfort, to throw off hindrances and barriers. True joy results from being willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All of these things being done daily in your life lead to what I am convinced is the key to the reality of a successful Christian life - that key being joy. As you grow closer to Jesus, living in peace, trust and obedience, then your spiritual life will be your natural life and your natural life be your spiritual life! Your joy will abound and shine a light giving people a reason to ask "Where do you get all your joyous hope from?". You will then be able to· share Jesus as your source of joy. A joy that is anticipatory, expectant and true! Joy comes from putting Jesus first, others next and then yourself! Go practise it this week!

You can show this joy by singing, laughing, smiling, shouting praises to God, lifting hands in worship', and crying, but that is only the external part of joy. True joy also incorporates an internal joy. Real joy is when you can believe in: the mountain top when you are in your deepest valley. Abundant joy is being surrounded by darkness and still believing in 'the light'. Anticipatory joy is when amidst total confusion you still believe God has a plan of love for you. It was this type of joy that Jesus had, when in the garden praying, the night before he was betrayed, when full of mixed emotions and anguish he said "Not my will, but yours, Father!"

As sons and daughters of God, we have many reasons to be full of joy. Yet how often we forget! Here are some reasons for joy!

  • Psalm 51:8 & 12 - Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me-now let me rejoice. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
  • Jeremiah 15:16 - When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
  • Luke 15:8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbours and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
  • 1 Peter 1:8-9 - You love Jesus Christ even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Do you desire to be' overflowing with joy today and this week? Go into this week with a joy that is anticipating and expectant! Do you need to hand over to Jesus a particular area of your life' where Jesus does not fully reign and have control?

I pray that the Father will reveal more of Himself to you, as you daily seek His face, overcoming all hindrances to living a successful and joyful-Christian life. May the Holy Spirit who lives within you, if you are a Christian, continue to transform you into the image of the Son Jesus Christ, and all to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

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Exploring The Bible

47. Old Testament

Proverbs - 1000–931 BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Proverbs 1:7-9
  • Proverbs 3:5-7

 

The Book of Proverbs, tells of wisdom, that is how to live a godly and God pleasing life. It provides God’s people with a way to deal successfully with the practical affairs of everyday life, living God’s way.

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Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 129 - Revelation 2:17

Puzzles in Pergamum

 

The ‘gem’ is in the promise that ends the letter following the words ‘to the one who is victorious’. Here is the rest of the letter :
To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

This letter to Pergamum is full of puzzles. We do not know what the things said about the church actually refer to, nor do we know quite what the gifts for those who were victorious mean. However it would be a pity to do only 6 gems for the 7 churches - so here goes!

Pergamum was a considerable city with more than 120,000 inhabitants. It had a vigorous and prosperous life so there will have been a great many small firms giving an active but somewhat chaotic life to it. This seems to have been reflected in the church. We do not know exactly what the imitation of Balaam implied - he seems to be vilified in the New Testament for what he did when the Israelites were in the plains of Moab although the Old Testament account scarcely seems to merit such ill favour. What the Nicolaitans taught we do not know. We can conclude that the church was a bit of a mess with several factions teaching things that were quite wrong.

Yet, even so the church had remained faithful through persecution severe enough to lead to the martyrdom of at least one man, It is probable that the main problem the church members faced when not being actively persecuted would arise from the need for those involved in the main trades to belong to the appropriate guilds. There will have been a Baker’s guild, a Butcher’s guild, a Tent Maker’s guild etc. The problem these caused members of the church was that they would hold regular social meetings, which members would be obliged to attend, at which there would be much feasting, much eating of food offered up at the idol temples, much drinking and much revelry often of a sexual nature. The big and contentious question was how Christian were to cope with all that. They were the same sort of problems that caused so much trouble in the church in Corinth and indeed in the churches all round the Roman/Greek world but seem to have been particularly acute in Pergamum since it is said to be ‘where Satan has his throne’ (Revelation 2:13).

Jesus told the members of the church to repent else he would ‘fight against them with the sword of my mouth’ strongly suggesting that things were very wrong and it is words and argument that are needed to put things straight.

As a result of all their difficulties and struggles the promised gifts for the victorious are ‘hidden manna’ and ‘white stones with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’. Both those are puzzling. The best guesses seem to be: first, that the hidden manna is a reference back to the journey of Israel through the wilderness when they ran out of food. The people of the church in Pergamum will receive something, still hidden, which will encourage and sustain them for their onward journeys of faith. Second, the white stones are an even greater mystery, particularly in the matter of whose name is on them. Pergamum was built on a very dark, almost black, rock and white stone tablets were used for inscriptions. Was the name the very special name of Jesus “ that no one knows but he himself” mentioned in Revelation 19:12 etc.?, It is possible. Or was it the new name that was to be given to every disciple to fulfil the prophecies of Isaiah 62:2 (“The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow”). This latter would seem the most likely. They would be given a new name signifying a new start in life and a new relationship with the Lord.

The problem of fitting into the culture we are in and in which we have to live is very real for us all. The promises of new spiritual food and a new relationship with the Lord are wonderful promises for us all. So despite the puzzles of Pergamum there are good and rich things to be learnt here.

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Friday Prayers

26 January 2018

Order of Service!

 

Opening prayer

Praise time

Prayers for those grieving and lonely

Prayers for justice and peace

Prayers for those facing challenging situations

Prayers for churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for healing

Time of silence for your own prayers

Benediction

 

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Spiritualism 02

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2. Spiritualism: Is It All Trickery?

By Jim Allis

 

Although much that passes for spirit manifestation is proved to be trickery as Houdini found there are real communications with the spirit world. If this were not so there would be no need for warning against trying to do so. The Bible in a number of places warns against such experimentation
The destiny of a king who called up the spirit of the dead (1 Samuel 28;7ff)
We read in the Old Testament about Saul the first king of Israel, a God fearing man, who at one time killed all the witches and sorcerers. However, when he did wrong, God turned His face away from him. When Saul wanted to fight with the Philistines, he sought God's counsel, but He did not answer Saul.
Instead of soul searching and repenting from his sins in the presence of God, Saul asked a woman (sorcerer) to call the spirit of Samuel (who was a great prophet of God, and was dead at the time). The woman called Samuel's spirit for the king to counsel. When Samuel's spirit was called, he said: Why have you called and distressed me? (This false spirit was an evil one that had showed himself as Samuel's spirit.) Mediums or sorcerers absolutely have no access to call the spirits of dead people, any manifestation belongs to evil spirits and their job is deceiving the people and bringing them under the curse of God to get control over them and their offspring.
This wrong doing was the reason God turned His face from Saul, took away his kingship and gave it to David. Saul died in his sin. Isaiah writing in chapter 8:19-20 couldn't be any clearer warning us emphatically of the danger to our souls “And when they shall say to you, Seek to the mediums and to wizards who peep and mutter; should not a people seek to their God, than for the living to the dead? To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because no light is in them”. So the question is “what is the attraction which is hard to resist?”The main attraction, for many, is the professed ability to contact the dead. Many spiritualists are normally acting out of genuine motives and feel they are doing good by helping those who are grieving by putting them in touch with their departed loved ones.
People are often amazed at the supernatural display of information that is channelled through the medium about the departed person whom they have sought to make contact with. The supposed spirit of the departed, speaking through the medium, will give intricate details of the persons life and have access to details that only dead relative could have possibly known. This is enough for some people to convince them that they really are speaking to a departed loved one. Because people are so desperate to be in the company of the person they miss, many do not question that there may be another reason for the things that they are hearing and experiencing.
The Bible describes a supernatural world that is inhabited by many spirits, which do indeed have contempt for humanity: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12) The truth is that messages that are meant to come from the dead are actually from deceiving spirits who are familiar with the departed. Indeed, Isaiah 29:4 calls such a spirit a "familiar spirit" (KJV).
These spirits are highly intelligent manipulative beings that have supernatural knowledge of events and people. They are able to impersonate anyone they so desire. Many grief stricken widows and widowers in their lonely agony have sought comforting help through mediums. They are naturally looking for peace and comfort they are promised by spiritualists they will receive after making contact with their dear dead relatives. They often little realise they are tampering with things forbidden in the Bible. As previously said they do not make direct contact with their dead relatives but from demons (fallen angels) impersonating the dead relatives they yearn to hear from them to make sure they are safe ‘on the other side’.
However these demons are described in our Bibles as “deceiving spirits’. Did not something similar taker place in the Garden of Eden when Eve was DECEIVED by Satan, the Commander in Chief of evil spirits. From that time to this present day their character doesn't change. Many are deceived today into believing they actually make contact with their loved ones. It happens in séances and necromancy. Coming up tomorrow: Part 3 - What Happens In A Séance?

** Disclaimer: The author of this article, Jim Allis, is a guest podcaster and Partake Ministries may or may not agree with his opinions and writings, either in their entirety or part thereof.

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POD - Psalm 136

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Psalm 136

 

As Read by Bonnie & Mosephine


136:1 Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good;

for his loving kindness endures forever.

136:2 Give thanks to the God of gods;

for his loving kindness endures forever.

136:3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:4 To him who alone does great wonders;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:5 To him who by understanding made the heavens;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:6 To him who spread out the earth above the waters;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:7 To him who made the great lights;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:8 The sun to rule by day;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:9 The moon and stars to rule by night;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:10 To him who struck down the Egyptian firstborn;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:11 And brought out Israel from among them;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:13 To him who divided the Red Sea apart;

for his loving kindness endures forever;


136:14 And made Israel to pass through its midst;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:16 To him who led his people through the wilderness;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:17 To him who struck great kings;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:18 And killed mighty kings;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:19 Sihon king of the Amorites;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:20 Og king of Bashan;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:21 And gave their land as an inheritance;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:22 Even a heritage to Israel his servant;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:23 Who remembered us in our low estate;

for his loving kindness endures forever;

136:24 And has delivered us from our adversaries;

for his loving kindness endures forever:

136:25 Who gives food to every creature;

for his loving kindness endures forever.

136:26 Oh give thanks to the God of heaven;

for his loving kindness endures forever.

 

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Think Spot 22 January 2018

"God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

 

All over the world, people share a common desire for peace! But what is peace? The peace the world wants varies from the peace the Christian knows. The world sees peace as the absence of conflict and people being generally ‘nice' to one another. Peace in the Christian context goes further, saying peace is perfect harmony with God, other people, circumstances and self. Therefore perfect peace will not come until Jesus Christ comes again, and takes Christians to be with Him.

That doesn't give us as Christians a mandate to sit around not doing what we can for peace, because we are commanded to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), our God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Peace is to be our business!

In a world full of conflicts, such as conflicts between nations, conflicts between neighbours, conflicts even within families and conflicts within and between churches, Christians are to be peacemakers!With that in mind, here are some thoughts on what the Bible has to say on peace, to help you this week be a peacemaker:

1. Peace with God

  • Justified by faith (Romans 5:1-2)
  • Christ is our peace between God and man and between men (Ephesians 2:13-18)

2. Peace with others

  • Live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-20)
  • Do everything possible which leads to peace and mutual encouragement (Romans 14:13-19)
  • Be a peacemaker - a sign of real wisdom producing a harvest of righteousness (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17-18)

3. Peace within/circumstances

  • Peace is a gift of God (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians3:16)
  • Worldly peace requires manipulation of circumstances, God's peace comes regardless of circumstances
  • We have peace in troubled times - an untroubled, unfearful heart and mind (John 16:33)

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing that the God of peace lives inside you if you are one of His children! Yesterday churches around the world celebrated the feast of Pentecost - the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus. If you desire peace with God, with others and in all circumstances, ask this Holy Spirit who lives inside you to help you! If you would not consider yourself as one of His children, ask Him to help you become one!

Father, I pray that this week we will do all we can to be peacemakers and make a difference in world in conflict. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

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Exploring The Bible

46. Old Testament

Song of Solomon - 1000–931 BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Song of Solomon 2:1 & 14
  • Song of Solomon 8:7

 

The Book of the Song of Solomon is a love story depicting the wedding of a young shepherdess Shulamite girl to King Solomon. Folk often express surprise that there is an overtly sexual book like this in the Bible but it shows that things sexual are a real and important part of life.

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Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 128 - Revelation 2:11

No second death.

 
The ‘gem’ is in the promise that ends the letter following the words ‘to the one who is victorious’. Here is the rest of the letter :

8 To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

The church in Smyrna had its problems and was soon going to get more and greater ones! We don’t know how John knew enough to say this unless it was a prophecy. More serious persecution was coming their way. It wasn’t a rich church, as people normally counted richness, but they were rich in the way they lived their lives, particularly their spiritual lives. Jesus, through John, is promising them that he will be with them whatever may happen to them so they should be high in confidence, in courage and faithfulness. Then he makes a promise to them that is hard to understand: “you will not be hurt at all by the second death”. There are two problems here: what is the second death and why should they be at all concerned about it anyway.

Second death is a phrase that only appears in Revelation at 20:6 and 14, and 21:8. The first of these says that those who share the first resurrection (with Jesus) have nothing to fear from it, the other two are both about ‘the lake of fire’. This seems to be about the place of everlasting torment often mentioned in the New Testament, particularly by Jesus in places like the parable of the sheep and he goats where he says ‘depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire’ (Matthew 25:41) and this is ‘eternal punishment’ (Matthew 25:46). These statements seem very much at odds with the other things Jesus said.

There are places in the world where such language would be deemed right and proper by the followers of other faiths in relation to the ‘infidels’ but for those of us in the Western world it strikes a strange note. It may simply be a different way of expressing things where only analogies can be used but it still seems very strange.

The best way round the problem is probably the word picture drawn by C. S. Lewis in his children’s book The Last Battle (one of his children’s books about Narnia but they are full of deeply spiritual insights!). At the end of the book and the world all the characters, human, animal and mythical, are forced to look into the eyes of Aslan, the lion, who is the image of Christ. ‘When some looked the expression of their faces changed terribly - it was fear and hatred …. And all who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to his left and disappeared into his huge black shadow …. The watching children never saw them again. I don’t know what became of them. But the others looked in at the face of Aslan and loved him though some of them were very frightened at the same time. And all these came in at the door, in on Aslan’s right. …’.
‘I don’t know what became of them’ is a very wise comment we should take for ourselves.

The faithful people of Smyrna did not have to worry about such things for they would not ‘be hurt at all by the second death’. The same goes for all those who are faithful in these days!

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