1. Jesus taught us that Humans should seek desperately to enter into Eternal Life rather than perishing in everlasting fire

In August 2008, we began to study the Doctrine of Life.  It is now time to examine the word life:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life (G2222 – zōē) and that they might have [it] more abundantly (John 10: 10).

2. Eternal Life is not received at birth

Let us now track the word life (G2222 – zōē) in the New Testament.  I noted several critical truths as I read the texts in which  zōē is found:

1. Jesus said that there is a WAY THAT LEADS TO LIFE   and that few people find it.

2. Jesus said that humans must ENTER INTO ETERNAL LIFE – It is not inherited at birth.

One of  the first references to “entering into life” is found in Matthew 18: 1 – 11.  Jesus was teaching the disciples about the dangers of offending one of heaven’s “little ones” since the Angels of God are watching them and will avenge.

He said that it would be better for the human justice system to penalize those who offend heaven’s “little ones”  rather than waiting for His Angels to do so.  As far as Lord Jesus is concerned, it is better to cut out one’s eyes and to cut off  one’s hands and feet rather than using  them to harm heaven’s little ones.

“It is better to  squint, walk on crutches or hop into Eternal Life than to enter into everlasting fire with all your body parts intact.”  (Jesus, AD 30 – 33).

Lord Jesus was very humorous in this teaching, but He informs us through this  picture that humans must take every desperate measure to live forever rather than burning in everlasting fire:

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast [them] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 18: 8 – 10).

3. The Eternal Fire that Jesus warns us to escape

Jesus made FOUR direct references in relation to entering into life. He presents a picture of human existence outside of  that state of  Eternal Life which is offered as a GIFT to those who receive it.

 Was the Lord thinking about  how Adam and Eve lost the right to  live forever?  Subsequent to their expulsion to the Garden of Eden, death came upon all human beings and eternal fire became an undesirable inheritance.

Jesus always showed the contrast between the state of   ETERNAL LIFE and ETERNAL DEATH.   One of the most famous pictures is that of the poor man called Lazarus who entered into Eternal Life and the sad outcome of  the rich man who entered into Everlasting Fire   (Luke 16: 20 – 31).

Look at  some amazing truths that Jesus revealed in the text:

  • Lazarus was deprived of  comforts in the earth.
  • The rich man had earthly wealth, but it could not purchase Eternal Life.
  • The rich man entered into eternal damnation because he was mean and failed to obey the commandment to love his brother as himself. Was this commandment found in the Law of Moses? Yes. Those with means were commanded to help the less fortunate.
  • The Angels of God carried the poor man into Abraham’s bosom when he died. Abraham’s bosom is a place of fellowship and friendship.
  • We will know the saints in eternity even though they died centuries before.
  • The rich man lifted up his eyes in hell – he did not expect to go there.
  • People in hell will be aware and see the bliss of Eternal Life that they had rejected while on the earth – the  rich man could see into heaven.
  • Memory exists in hell – the rich man did not forget his relatives.
  • He was in TORMENTS  and begged to go back to earth to warn his family about “this place of torment”.
  • The torments of hell are mentioned THREE times in the text – once by Abraham and twice by the rich man.
  • Fire is one torment in hell. The eternal body does not become ash, but remains forever in the flame.
  • A human in heaven – ABRAHAM – told the rich man that the fiery torment was his reward and that he had already had his pleasures in the  previous life.
  • The rich man never begged to escape from hell – he could not.  He could see the great gulf and resigned himself to his fate.
  • Jesus did not speak of a purgatory.  One is either in hell or heaven.

Which would you choose? Life or Fire?