Romans 11:2, “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.”
Who would God NOT foreknow, other than those that he did not make, who by definition don’t exist, but only think they exist, like a bad dream—that is my false self, my “ego?”
That’s the self that gets jealous of other selves, for it thinks that it deserves things, for it dreams that it is its own creator, savior, and redeemer—it dreams that “[God] did not make me (Isaiah 29:16).”
Romans 11:11, “So I ask, did [Israel (Paul’s church)] stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass [falling away] salvation has come to the Gentiles [the Nations] so as to make Israel Jealous.”
Do you ever feel jealous of others who have received God’s grace?
(Everything is grace. So, to be jealous of anything is to be jealous of Grace.)
Perhaps it’s a warning: You’ve become trapped in an illusion that you are your own creator, savior, and redeemer; it’s the illusion that you deserve salvation, which is actually damnation, for we are saved by Grace through faith and this not of ourselves.
Believing the lie, we take knowledge from the tree in the middle of the garden to justify ourselves.
Believing the lie, we take the Life, and everything dies. . . although we pretend to live.
Believing the lie, we manufacture false selves, false churches, false kingdoms, and a false world.
Romans 11:15-16, “If their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
Isaiah had been called to preach Israel down to a remnant, then a stump, that is a root, that is the Holy Seed—who “makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).”
For as Paul has said in a hundred different ways, “Where sin increased Grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).”
Some hear that and say, “Great! We don’t have to do anything, and God does everything. Great! We no longer need to fear God. And Super-Great! There is no such thing as Hell and so, we can’t go there!”
Romans 11:20, “They were broken off because of [the un-faith], but you stand fast because of [the] faith. So, do not become proud, but fear. . . Note the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off.”
Holy Crap! It sounds like you can go to “Hell,” we better fear God, and we better do something! . . . maybe take more knowledge, apply it to our flesh, so as to make ourselves like God . . . or he might not love us and make us new?
Well, God will make all things new . . . but yes, I think you can go to a place that some call “Hell.”
Paul, who preached to Gentiles, never actually used the word. Jesus, who preached to Israel (Paul’s old church) used it a lot. And yet, he didn’t, for he didn’t preach in English. In Greek and Hebrew, there is no word equivalent to the concept of endless conscious torment; but there are words that get translated into English as “Hell.”
In Scripture, there are three concepts—two the exact opposite of each other, and one representing the boundary between the other two—all spoken of by modern church people as “Hell.” I call them Hell #1, Hell #2, and Hell #3.
Hell #1 is the experience of the absence of God. In Hebrew, that’s “Sheol;” In Greek, “Hades.” Hell #1 is the land of ghosts. “You will be brought low,” says God to Jerusalem in Isaiah 29 (which Paul has been quoting). “Your voice will come from the ground like [as] the voice of a ghost.”
“Ghost” is the Hebrew word “Obe,” which also means “water bottle.” Apparently, a ghost is like a “tupos (Romans 5:14),” the hollow imprint of a man without the life of the man.
Not only can you go there, I think I’ve been there—I’ve even had some encounters with ghosts.
All you have to do to get there is close the eyes of your heart and refuse to see Jesus.
Hell #1 begins on the surface of the earth and can continue in the depths of the earth, where spirits are trapped in souls that refuse to surrender themselves and be found in Jesus.
Hell #2 is the exact opposite of Hell #1. It’s Eternal Fire; It’s the manifest presence of God—who is a consuming Fire, who is Love, who is One. Hell #2 is the substance of Heaven.
Not only can you go there; I think I’ve been there—It felt as if so much Fire and Joy was coursing through my body that I might explode; I thought God was trying to kill “me;” and I can’t imagine anything better—when I lose myself, I’m found. Hell #1 will come to an End in Hell #2—the Lake of Fire and Divinity (theion), Revelation 20:14.
Hell #1 is temporal. Hell #2 is eternal. Hell #3 is when and where this happens.
It is the temporal experience of an encounter with the eternal Judgment of God.
And it’s often represented with the word “Gehenna.”
Not only can you go there; I’ve been there—and folks were having a barbecue and playing volleyball. Gehenna is the valley surrounding Jerusalem on two sides; It’s the place where the Kingdom of God encounters the kingdoms of this world. I’ve been there and I go there, every time I kneel before the throne, confess my sins, and believe God’s Grace. Sometimes . . . this burns.
“Hell,” is never retribution from God but always discipline in Love.
When my children were anti-social, I’d often make them even more anti-social, in the hope they’d miss love and long for Love; I’d ground them; I send them to their rooms alone. Of course, I’d wait outside the door even as my spirit was with them on the inside—in Hell #1.
Then I’d go sit next to them on the bed—the presence of Hell #2.
Then I’d talk . . . and my words would burn—Hell #3.
Then we’d wipe the tears from our faces and begin to laugh . . . and that’s eternal; that’s our home.
My children were anti-social for they doubted my love and become jealous of one another.
Actually, my children were born that way and so I was bound and determined to teach each one of them to love.
Adam had no faith in Love and so, Love is now creating faith in Adam.
He does it with the Story of Mercy written into our lives with blood—His Blood.
Romans 11:26, “And in this way, all Israel will be saved…”
Romans 11:32, “God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”
I know it’s weird, but on several occasions, having dealt with demonic spirits apparently assigned to watch over the dead, I’ve preached the Gospel to ghosts—and some have gone with Jesus.
Never seek ghosts for information BECAUSE they’re lost and don’t know the Way.
But if you know the Way, you are no longer “the lost” and you can tell a ghost where to go.
I don’t see them, but my wife sometimes does. The first time it happened, I thought it was a demon, but my wife said, “I think she’s lost. Her name is Elise.” So, I told Elise about Jesus and that she needed to go to Jesus. And then she was gone. Utterly astounded my wife heard the Lord say, “Welcome home Elise.” Then she heard Elise say, “I was lost.”
The lost are all around you, don’t wait until their bodies die.
You can go to “hell” right now and give them Jesus.
Jesus said, “The gates of hell (hades) shall not prevail against my church (Matt. 16:18).”
And PS: If you feel jealous—right away—just sit with Jesus a bit on the side of your bed.
Although it will burn at first, make friends with Mercy NOW, for Hell #1 sucks, and Hell #2 is Heaven.