Posts Tagged With: Love Wins

Universalism? (Theology behind the Shack)

A quote from Wm Paul Young:

“Many of us, if we’re being honest with ourselves, interpret the Bible in terms of what’s acceptable. Instead of going to the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts to what’s being said in it, we interpret it in terms of what won’t get us in trouble, stir the pot or make too much noise. We don’t want a controversial opinion that might put us at odds with what’s considered “safe,” so we think of it in terms of what won’t cause a racket.

We come to the Bible with fear and insecurity instead of coming with confidence and openness, knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in us, guiding our hearts.”

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Can you relate? Do you agree?

After thinking long and hard about this for the past 20 plus years, I’ve come to this philosophy:

Over and above any teachings (doctrines) we extract from the Bible we have to realize that the Scriptures are carefully crafted by God for one purpose: to lead us into relationship with Papa, Son, and Holy Spirit. THIS is why there is such ambiguity on SO many topics in Scripture. You were never meant to only just extract truths from Scripture, but to be in relationship with the One who is Truth. This is the heart and soul of my philosophy and theology now, to be in relationship with Mr. Truth Himself. He has all his theological ducks in a row. He has all his theology worked out. He is perfect theology. I trust him and I trust him to reveal himself.

All of us have holes in our theology: two in the hands, two in the feet, and one in the side.

In the following interview, Wm Paul Young, (author of The Shack), is asked “In what ways are you a universalist?”

So what do you think of his response? Does he have Scriptural basis for his thoughts? Let’s take a look!

His first statement is that all the kosmos (all of creation in entire universe) was and is being created by and existing in Jesus Himself reminds me of one of my favorite verses:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17 NIV

I like keeping things in context and letting the author, Holy Spirit, actually say all of what God was intending to say.

For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

Don’t you just love that? This is especially wonderful when we consider that “God is Love” (1 John 4).

Who isn’t one of God’s offspring? Does this differ from being his child? One of his sheep? It would seem so as the Scriptures speak of some being children of the devil and Jesus clearly says to some, “you are not my sheep” to those who don’t believe. But it should be concluded logically that even these lost and fallen ones are still considered his “offspring”. Everyone came from and find their Source in their Creator – Yeshua (Jesus) Himself.

Here is another pertinent Scripture from Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:13-23 NIV)

All of creation exists inside of and from the LORD Jesus Christ who is the Creator. Is this a surprise to anyone? Is this a new way of thinking about Jesus for you? As THE Creator? As the Sustainer of all creation? I think it’s amazing!

So this Scripture also points to the fact that all the cosmos (all things!) has been reconciled. It is our joy now to accept our acceptance and receive our reconciliation. Why shouldn’t this also include even those in Sheol (the grave)? Where did we ever get the idea that there was no hope beyond the grave? Jesus preached to spirits in prison, why do we think that this activity ever stopped? What tangible ways and experiences might his “preaching” take on? Object lessons? Facing harsh hard heart realities? Refiners fire?

Paul Young’s second statement is drawn from Romans 5 and 6 among other Scriptures. In these passages it talks about how, just as Adam was our representative, Jesus was even more our representative before the Father! The thought is this: Jesus didn’t just die for us (all of creation), he died “as us” without exclusions. Without exceptions. Here are some Scriptures to meditate on from Romans 5:

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So this tells us that salvation is already true for everyone. Just as in Adam sin became true for everyone, so Christ has made salvation true for everyone. He already saved you no matter who you are. Now we have the wonderful privilege of believing and enjoying and declaring the joy of an already finished work!

Yes, only those who receive it and believe it will reign in life. Will all ultimately receive and believe it? It’s obvious that many who die in this life do not receive it. Don’t some scorn and reject the gift of the abundance of God’s grace and his gift of righteousness?

1 Corinthians 15:22 says this:

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

“All” kind of means all… kinda sorta… unless it doesn’t?

What if someone read that Scripture and dared to believe what it actually said? Would they be rejected by Christianity at large? Tarred and feathered and branded a heretic?

See what is going on here? And this is only one of many Scriptures that could lead someone to believe that in the end, “all will be made alive” like the Bible says.

More from Romans 6 (keep in mind this flows from the above passage Romans 5):

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus (and based on Romans 5, who hasn’t?) have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Okay, so what I’m seeing here is pretty amazing. Without consulting you, Jesus has already pulled something off for you. He saved you and didn’t even bother to ask your permission. The nerve!

Just this morning I had my seven-year-old little girl read this on my t-shirt:

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Here is the full context:

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And then we talked about how Jesus has already saved us. He saved us by his grace long before we were born, and as the bible puts it, even “before the foundation of the world”. This salvation is experienced through faith and that faith is “not of yourselves”, it is the gift of God. The reconciliation of all of humanity (and the entire cosmos – all of creation) is something that God has joyfully accomplished through the cross and resurrection of Christ.

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2

You and I are part of that joy! I think he wants each one of us to know how uniquely part of His joy we truly are!

Hebrews 12 talks about Jesus as the “author and perfecter of faith”. I don’t believe he is referring here to your faith but His perfect faith.

What do you think of how Eugene Peterson interprets this passage of Scripture?

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So Is Paul Young a Universalist?

Paul Young’s third statement clears up the matter. It depends on your definition doesn’t it? He is not a “universalist” by the supposed common definition. All roads don’t lead straight home to Papa. Jesus is the Only way home to Papa. Everyone should know this.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” -Jesus John 14:6

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

After thinking long and hard about where I see Wm Paul Young coming from, here is my conclusion:

Wm Paul Young is as hopeful as the Scriptures allow.

And shouldn’t we all be? Of course Paul Young is aware of the tension and ambiguity in Scripture and the realities of “hell” and what it says of judgement and punishment.

Yes. There will be, what some translations render as, “eternal punishment”, upon those who resist their own reconciliation. But what does eternal punishment mean, biblically? Does it mean forever and ever and ever without end or hope? Eternal conscious torment? I wonder if God finds this idea of eternal conscious torment unacceptable and is prepared to do something about it? After all, he has the keys to Death and Hades.

I trust the One with the keys!! I trust his heart! I trust his plan! No matter what it is. He does, after all, have to keep the children in heaven safe from an unrepentant pedophile. The unredeemed MUST be kept out.

Could it be, as some theologians have pointed out, that the punishment is restorative and not punitive? That everyone is eventually redeemed? The Scriptures are unclear.

It is brought up in the book by Brad Jersak, Her Gates Will Never be Shut, that the words the translators have chosen for punishment and judgement do have a restorative and not a punitive tone to these Greek words.

For those people who have misunderstood and refused him now and died in that condition of unbelief, will they somehow be drawn to him and surrender to his love beyond the grave?

Could Papa, Son, and Holy Spirit craft a scenario for each and every heart much like Mack experienced portrayed so beautifully in The Shack?

There are plenty of Scriptures that suggest this very thing and reveal this hope of Papa’s heart. “Love always hopes” you know, and “God is Love” and Love will always love his enemies just as he asks us to do as well. Love asks Mack to forgive the killer of his daughter. Love asks Mack to “release his throat” and for the opportunity to redeem even him.

I was surprised myself while in conversation about this topic when I was reminded of Jesus words:

“For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.” John 6:44 NLT

and this: “The Father and I are one.” John 10:30 NLT

And finally: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” John 12:32 NLT

So there you have it. Jesus will draw everyone to himself. Why would anyone object? Don’t we all share Papa’s heart that, “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent“?

(Repent is to have a change of mind and receive the free gift of restored relationship – which is the very definition of “eternal life” John 17:3).

Does God get what God wants?

Good question. I just saw this very fitting quote on facebook:

“Wisdom doesn’t seem to even want to know all the answers, but it always asks the perfect questions.” – Jason Upton

I shared those above Scriptures and someone said that “everyone” or “all men (mankind)” doesn’t really mean everyone. I think someone needs to go back to kindergarten. And please tell me this, who would you exclude? Which one of God’s lost kids do you want to suffer eternal conscious torment without hope forever and ever?

Does this mean that I think hell doesn’t exist? Of course not. I know it’s real! I’ve been there and so have you. Hell is primarily the condition of unbelief itself that closes your heart to the unfailing love of your Papa. This unbelief is misery and torment and is suffering and sin. It is everything that Jesus became to make an end of.

Newsflash! He has made an end of it!

I know you don’t believe that. None of us actually seem to believe all of what Jesus pulled off at the cross. God knows this and predicted this long ago:

“Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” Isaiah 53:1

Many of us are still in our unbelief and still hangin on to hell. BUT, Jesus never gives up and never leaves the side of his Beloved to woo us back to love. And just who doesn’t Jesus love?

From a past blog post:

Another Scripture that points to the mercy of Jesus:

“So he (Jesus) went and preached to the spirits in prison – those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.” 1 Peter 3:19-20 NLT

I believe this speaks to Jesus extending redemption and the message of salvation to all those who perished in the flood. God gives us all way more chances than we deserve.

A while ago I remember sobbing at one of the closing scenes of “What Dreams May Come”. Robbin Williams character travels to hell in search of his wife who had committed suicide. He was determined to stay with her and to try to instill faith and hope in her that could set her free. At the time I watched that movie I was in a personal hell of my own and to think that Jesus was right there wooing me back to redemption was an absolutely beautiful thought!

Here is what I believe Jesus wants everyone to know:

“There is a seat reserved for you at the table of the feast that God has prepared for all of humanity.”

(By the way, there are doctrines of demons that many Christians have embraced that attempt to limit the extent of Christ’s work on the cross to somehow exclude someone. We seem uncomfortable with the notion that Jesus has included everyone.)

The Bible teaches us, however, that everyone absolutely must “wash your robes” in the blood of Jesus (like applying the blood to the doorpost of your house) and wear the wedding garments of his righteousness to enjoy this feast or you will be thrown out into outer darkness… until you are willing to repent (“change your mind”) and wear his righteousness? See Matthew 22!

The curative and restorative qualities of “hell”?

Wouldn’t it be agony and torment to resist the very Love in whom you live and move and have your being? Could it not be His fiery love that is very lake of fire in which the wicked will burn in his very Presence? Did you actually think there was somewhere you can exist that the Creator and Sustainer of all is not present?

Scripture tells us, “God is a consuming fire”.

Does this mean the torment never ends? Can those in the lake of fire never escape? Could it be that these are the very ones outside the gates of heavenly Jerusalem, to the thirsty ones to whom the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”?

Check this out:

“Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.” Revelation 22

Those who share Papa’s heart read this and have hope that God will get the reward for his sacrifice on the cross. That Everyone would come to repentance and come home! The prodigals return!

Read verse 15 and then 14 again. Doesn’t verse 17 remind you of the rich man in torment in Hades?

How could anyone who shares in the heart of the Father not rejoice over the possibility of the prodigal coming home? Every. Last. One.

Does this mean that everyone will come home? Not necessarily. Scripture seems vague on this point. I suppose anyone can choose to resist and turn away from his love. I believe He will respect your choice.

Didn’t Jesus share a story of a rich man (the rich were thought to live under God’s blessings because of his wealth) burning in agony, desperately thirsty for a drop of water?

Didn’t Jesus (and the whole Trinity) identify with this sinner when while on the cross he uttered the words “I thirst?” Doesn’t God know all about the deepest agonies anyone will suffer? Doesn’t he have compassion? Of course he does! He promises never to leave them or forsake them. I believe that he holds out hope for everyone in hell to be reconciled. After all, He does hold the keys to Death and Hades. Does he hope that those “hell” holds will find salvation? Love always hopes and He is Love.

Remember the prodigal Son story that Jesus told? Isn’t the real problem child in the story the older brother? Isn’t he the one who wouldn’t go in and to whom the Father came out and pleaded with to come in and join the grace party? This likely represents the religious ones who are determined to be the ones who get to decide who is right and who is wrong, who is in and who is out, still eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life (found in relationship and union with the Trinity (Papa, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Jesus Christ is the only One who is “right”. He alone is “the Truth” and he is perfect theology.

I love this quote:

All of us have holes in our theology: two in the hands, two in the feet, and one in the side.

So are you going to judge me? Tar and feather me and “cast out my name as evil” for taking a serious look at what the Bible actually has to say about hell and the possible hope for the “damned”?

Jesus alone knows his Father. Christ is the only One who is “in”. He is the One New Man and the “only human being”. He called himself the Son of Man which is Hebrew and Aramaic idiom which means “human being”. This brings us back to Romans 5 and what Christ has pulled off “as us” – our truest representative.

Check this out:

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Mathew 11:27

He is the only One who is “in” right relationship (“righteous”) with the Father which Jesus defines as Eternal Life (John 17:3).

You are at his mercy to reveal himself to you. Thankfully he is delighted to do exactly that! That is why he came after all, isn’t it?

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.” John 17 (a small portion of Jesus prayer, read the rest!)

So “the world” here represents those who don’t belong to God who were destined to reject him and face the fiery judgement and lake of fire?

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 24:14

Could this Scripture just relate to the first fruits, the “called-out ones”?

“The Greek word that is translated as “church” in the Bible is ekklesia. … Thus, ekklesia means “those who are the calledout ones.”. Simply put, the invisible church, the true church, is composed of those who are called by God…” (R.C. Sproul – Source)

Here is a note from Mel Wild on my blog post, The Shack (Response to a Critic):

On the universalist claims, saying that salvation and reconciliation are universal is not the same thing as being a universalist. Young calls himself a “hopeful” universalist, meaning that he hopes that all will accept God’s invitation (which is the same as God’s will – 2 Pet.3:9). There’s a good article from another evangelical in response to Mohler on Paul Young’s site here: http://wmpaulyoung.com/universal-reconciliation/

Young’s theology is almost identical to that of C.S. Lewis and respected theologians like George McDonald and James and T.B. Torrance. Not to mention, most of the early church fathers like Athanasius and the Cappadocian fathers who, ironically, were framers and original defenders of Christian orthodoxy! Nobody calls these people heretics.

It sounds like a lot of objections are Cessationist objections. There is nothing the book and movie can do to make them happy about that.

Her Gates Will Never Be Shut

I have been reading a book called “Her Gates Will Never Be Shut” by Bradley Jersak. You wouldn’t think that a book about hell would bring you much hope or joy right? Well it certainly was a comfort to me. He started out telling his story of how he came from a tradition that was firmly committed to the infernalistic ideas of hell (eternal conscious torment forever and ever and ever and ever without a shred of hope of release or parole for the damned).

The Bible I read tells me that it is God’s kindness that leads people to repentance (lit. “having a change of mind”). Of course when people experience the Love of God for themselves it changes their mind – first about who God is and also about the “sin” that is destroying you. “Sin” is anytime you function as a negation of the intended design of who you are – that which is apart from your essential design and identity of love (source).

You were created in God’s image. He is love. You are love. Anything God defines as sin: fornication, pornography, drunkenness, greed, etc… must be discarded for the truth. You are love. And sin isn’t what love does. Haven’t we all figured that out by now?

If you refuse to change your mind (“repent”) about your sin and turn from it now, there is an appointed time of judgement. His fiery eternal love will burn it away. The Bible says this fiery judgement will happen for everyone! But there is NO condemnation for those “in Christ”. Which begs the question, who isn’t “in Christ” (Romans 5-6) since he wrapped up all of the cosmos (including you) into himself when he died (to sin) and rose again (to new life and new creation)? He left no one out. It is finished! It really is.

So Be Holy! Holy is your essential design and identity of love. Holy is fullness of joy! Holy is Peace. Holy is who you truly are in Christ. So start thinking right (repent) and start being the good boy or girl that you truly are “in Christ”.

But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives in reverent fear during your temporary stay on earth (1 Peter 1:16-18)

I will close with John Crowder’s amazingly refreshing talk that will bring a great deal of clarity from the Scriptures as to how good this “Good News” of Jesus really is and how it relates to hell:

further reading:

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“Awake My Heart!”


I know this is will be a controversial topic for some but anyone familiar with Scripture will realize God does a great deal of revealing of himself and his plans a purposes through dreams. Even lucid dreams are also mentioned in Scripture:

“I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one!…” (Song of Solomon 5:2 NASB)

I-stand-at-the-door-and-knock-christian-wallpaper-hd_1280x800Your asleep but your heart is awake. That pretty much sums up lucid dreaming. The question I want to pose you, from the above passage, is this: Will you answer the knocking of your Beloved? Will you open the door?

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” ~ Jesus (Revelation 3:20 NLT)

God is inviting us into a deeper experience of him. Dreams are a small part of that. (I would caution you about getting too into dreaming. The point is not to forever distract you from being present here in this life by being caught up in dreams, but to use dreams to aid you in being more present!) In fact, God tells us to expect dreams and visions as a part of experiencing the Holy Spirit in the last days:

“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”  (Joel 2:28 ESV)

The way I see it, everything since Christ ascending is biblically considered the last days and we are currently in the last of the last days…ish… no one knows for certain… not even Jesus, but only the Father knows. But, it is closer now than it ever has been. Jesus wants us to know he is coming soon and for you to live your life accordingly by loving the person you are with in the moment.

Be expecting God to reveal himself to you in dreams and visions and please know ‘you have a friend in me’ when it comes to experiencing God in dreams. (Now I am singing “you’ve got a friend in me” from Toy Story in my head). I am serious though. I am your friend if you are honestly and openly seeking and experiencing God… especially in unconventional ways.

My dream:

My wife and I were jumping some canyons in a dune buggy. It was exhilarating and scary. After the second one, in which we flipped upside down, she told me that we can’t get hurt here.

Brick vortex

Not really how it looked but interesting nonetheless

I responded by saying, “yes, but I’m not here to play”. I looked to my right and saw an open pit. It was lined with bricks in a vortex pattern and was about 30 feet in diameter. I decided to “float that way” over the pit and as I went to the pit, thinking I would float over it (as I often fly in my dreams) I began instead to fall into it. ‘No problem’, I thought. I ‘skydived’ down into the pit. It soon got very dark and I remember telepathically requesting a light. “A light please”. A few small lights that were ‘alive’ (perhaps small light angels, like pixies) went ahead guiding the way.

Bricks everywhere lined the “tunnel”. I hit a section that jutted out from the wall which jolted me awake in my dream. (I suppose the experience of wakening in your dream could be described as when Frodo put on the ring in the movie Lord of the Rings. That’s sort of what it looked/felt like.)

I was in a darkened room that seemed like a basement or some underground structure. There was a bench that lined one wall. For some reason I stood on the end of this bench and wasn’t too interested in touching the floor for some reason.

My very first thought and impression was that hell was very real.

“O my Lord Jesus!” I prayed and my spirit sighed a heavy sigh. Was I in hell? Someone asked me this after I told them my dream. Here is what I think:

I believe “hell” is all around us. But, so is heaven. Yes, dark shadow beings, all manner of demons, and evil spirits inhabit this world, but, angels outnumber these two to one. This world is a battleground space. Each side wanting to take over more “territory”. The territory consists of space in our minds. We give hell more space as we willingly participate in sin.

There is absolutely no reason for sin. We do it because we don’t believe in God. Every sin is a symptom of our unbelief. We don’t trust him. We don’t love him. We resist him. So we sin and invite hell in.

Sin has terrible repercussions throughout every dimension far beyond what we can even begin to comprehend because our every choice matters immensly. Every decision aids heaven or hell. As the Scripture says, “One sinner destroys much that is good”. Only the Atonement of Jesus Christ can undo what we have done. Thankfully it has and continues to do so and will continue to do so until all of time and history has played itself out.

I floated to another small table that faced a brick wall that formed some sort of support arch It was a three to four foot wide column that spread out as it went up to support whatever was above. On the wall was written all these names. I tried to remember them. I think one of them said Nancy. (The following day I prayed for my sister in law Nancy and then just after praying for her I received a business call from a Nancy as well.)

I put my hand over these names as my heart went out to them. My thought was for their redemption… their salvation. “May they come to know and experience Jesus”. As I placed my hand over these names all the names moved around and grouped together to form the shape of a heart under my hand. Above this was what I believed to be a psalm, poem, or a hymn written. In the lower third section of the text was this phrase “Awake my heart..”

My gaze went to the top of the text. Above it on the left was written “1875” (definitely absolutely sure of the date!) and next to that was written: “HARTFORD”.

“I need to remember this”, I said and then woke up. The hypnogogic state is a very fragile one.

I wanted to know if this was real. Did I actually visit somewhere in the spirit?

So after researching these clues, here are some of my discoveries:

The text may very well have been Psalm 57. The phrase “awake my soul” appears in the right place in that Psalm and it may very well relate to exactly what is coming.

My search also led me to discover a hymn written by John S. B. Monsell called Awake Glad Soul. The phrase in his hymn appears at the right location as well, but it reads “Then wake glad heart”… BUT, the interesting part about this discovery was the date of his death, 1875 and the theme of his hymn. I had just written two songs a few days prior about ‘the Awakening’ comparing it to Spring and he does the same in his poetic work (previous blog “Resurrection Poem”). In 1875 America was in the midst of the third Great Awakening and Spurgeon was preaching sermons about awakening to God’s Spirit. It was the year of the Civil Rights Act and great social reform. The Gospel was affecting society.

Another and perhaps most solid piece of information that came up in my research was that Hartford became the capital of Connecticut in 1875.

ANOTHER GREAT AWAKENING

The point of the dream is this: God has, throughout even just Americas own history, had four recognized “Spiritual Awakenings”. The first occuring in the 1730s, again around 1800s, late 1850s, and again in the late 1960s (Jesus people movement). I am confident God is now awakening people once again.

Will you surrender to the invitation of the Holy Spirit to this awakening or resist him? Will the established church be a safe place for awakened souls? If not, where else will these awakened souls land? I’m going to trust Jesus has a perfect answer for this.

So why do I get into all this? Why even share this dream? Well, I want to help to free you to experience God for yourself and to become what I strive to be:

A Christian mystic.

I know.

This phrase will raise suspicion, garner rejection, and ruffle a few feathers. But hear me out. Please read this link and quote below for what I’m talking about, then judge me, tar and feather me, and burn me at the stake as the religious have done for ages because they are afraid to admit that God is a real person we can literally and personally be in relationship with:

A link: Christian Mystic Explained

A quote:

“Discovering spirituality is like discovering you are in a boat. Mysticism is like pushing off from the dock. Since many leave safe mooring and perish in the waves, this is not to be done in a cavalier fashion – even though it can be exciting to push off into the deep.

The issue is not of whether we should push off, for Christians must do so as well if they intend to get anywhere (and that is what boats are for), but rather of where you are going…The Christian casts off from this world as well, but with clear intent to where he is headed, with the best of maps, circumspectly, deliberately.

The Christian Mystic arrives, against all dangers and odds. Thus we launch out with fear and trembling, but trust that He who commanded us to do so can calm the waves, and see us through to His real, safe port.” – C.S. Lewis

Sail on! Know that I am your friend in this epic spiritual journey toward Christ and the expanding of his kingdom and consciousness.

“Sail on silver girl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
Im sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.”

(Bridge Over Troubled Waters)

Have you had any “God dreams” (lucid or otherwise) you’d like to share? I will be sharing more of my journey with you in the coming days (and rocking more religious boats) so stay tuned. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Categories: Dreams | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hell is SO Horrifying BECAUSE God is SO Good

I was reading the last few verses of Isaiah just now. Jesus quoted these verses a few times when talking about how dreadful hell is. Here is how Isaiah ends:

“All humanity will come to worship me
from week to week
and from month to month.
And as they go out, they will see
the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me.
For the worms that devour them will never die,
and the fire that burns them will never go out.
All who pass by
will view them with utter horror.” (Isaiah 66: 23-24 NLT)

Just think, the last lines of Isaiah are referring to hell with those last words ringing in your ears “utter horror”. What a terrible way to end a book! I got to thinking today about why hell is so awful, terrifying, and dreadful. I came to the conclusion that hell is so bad because God is so Good! The magnitude of the agony of hell reflects the “perceived” absence of the Presence of God. Yep, God’s presence is just that good.

While getting my oil changed the other day I perused a recent edition of Time magazine. The last page featured an interview with Rick Warren. When Rick was asked about hell  he said he didn’t just believe in hell, he eats it. The article went on to say that he grows 16 different varieties of hot peppers in his garden. (I intend to grow some this year!) I must say I love my brother Rick Warren. I am so proud of him and appreciate him and all that God has done through him. He talked about losing his son to suicide and talks about meeting him in heaven. Do we believe in God’s grace and forgiveness that covers our every sin – even that of taking your own life? I watched a video once of a girl who was about to shoot herself and prayed Jesus forgive her for what she was about to do. He did forgive her and gave her life back to her.

I was researching hell awhile ago after Rob Bell came out with his book. I was interested in what Rob had to say but because of all the warnings from people I respected I never did read it. I even got as far as going to Barnes & Noble, sitting down with a coffee and two books: Rob’s Love Wins and also Erasing Hell by Francis Chan. I couldn’t even open the cover of Love Wins but instead read Erasing Hell.

Why would I respect Francis Chan’s teaching over Rob Bell?

Well, I get the feeling that Francis Chan honors, respects, and believes the Word of God. He honors Scripture as Jesus did. While I have been blessed by many of Rob Bell’s Nooma videos (I talk about them in a few of my blogs) and I appreciate many other things he has contributed. But, Rob Bell has said some scandalous things regarding the Word of God and has taught things that directly contradict what the Bible clearly teaches Especially on the issue of Homosexuality.

Bill Wiese was shown a vision of Hell in November of 1998. Jesus showed it to him because so many people don’t believe in Hell. He said Jesus weeps over anyone that goes to hell. Love gives people a choice. People who choose to reject Jesus will end up in hell. It is a place of eternal torment. Jesus has shown us all how to avoid hell. Hell is a place where people are separated in their minds from God. They can’t receive his love. That’s why it is so horrible.  I know for a fact that hell is real. Here is Bill Wiese’s testimony

I was thinking tonight about what John Crowder has to say about Hell in his talk “Hell Revisited”. He says that yes, “Hell is an eternal life sentence but does this mean that there is no parole?” After all Jesus has the keys to death and Hades and I have encountered several testimonies of how Jesus rescued some people who had died and “went to hell” and Jesus brought them back to life.

“I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” – Jesus (Rev. 1:18)

Check out what our brother John Crowder has to say on the subject as he opens the Scriptures on the topic:

Categories: Hell | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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