Franklin Graham said it recently during an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, “There IS a hell” Graham said as he tried to explain how he came to believe in Jesus in answer to O’Donnell’s question on whether or not Graham had given up everything to follow Jesus. In his round-about answer, Graham warned that people would go to a literal hell if they rejected God. The idea of hell and/or eternal punishment is a traditional doctrine of Christianity, one that has fallen out of favor in today’s culture. In fact, the very thought of it, is an obstacle to many in considering the Christian faith. For them, hell makes the whole story a bit too unreasonable. Is it?
Some of the “prophetic” words of Jesus sound eerily similar to the daily news coming from around the world these days, which gives many of us a pause. Yet we shouldn’t pause too long because He also had words of encouragement and a message of hope. In a moment, I’ll get to what Jesus said precisely, but for now, I think it’s worth noting that the entire Christian belief system is built on a hope, an assurance from God, that He will provide during the toughest of times.
Some interpret the Bible, or insist philosophically, that God should rescue us from these tough times in the first place. Isn’t that what a loving God would do? And if He doesn’t, He’s either not loving, or not real. It’s the same argument used by one of thieves crucified next to Jesus. In one moment, that guy was hurling insults at Jesus, and in the next, he was demanding Jesus prove Himself by rescuing them all from death. Continue reading
The 8.9 – 9.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on Friday at 2:46 (their time) and the subsequent tsunami, left such wide-spread destruction that it is natural to question whether such an event is a “sign”. We humans often ask ourselves those type of questions after any major disaster. We might wonder if it’s a sign of global warming, a sign of geological upheaval, a sign of God’s displeasure, or a sign of the end of the world.
From Jesus until now, Christianity has talked about earthquakes as a sign of the end. Revelation speaks of a great earthquake and Jesus mentioned that earthquakes, famines and conflict would be like “birth pains” leading to the end.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
-(Jesus) Matthew 24:7-8 [NASB] Continue reading