Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

The Immanuel Project – Chapter 1 (Part 3)

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 14, 2009

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Chapter 1: Confining the Infinite (Part 3)

The third death experience occurs to those that are cast into the lake of fire (ghenna).  They will suffer the “second death”[i] (as John calls it).  What makes this death so bad is not the lake itself, though you would think that would be enough.  The worst part of hell lies in the fact that God does not exist in hell.  God’s omnipresence stops at the gates of ghenna.

Even Hades, the place Jesus described in His story of Lazarus and the rich man[ii], had godly people within earshot.  The rich man suffering in torment saw and spoke with Abraham across the great canyon that divided them.  What torture that must have been.  The rich man agonized so much that of all the things he could ask for, he asked for one drop of water to cool his tongue.

Hades tortured people because they would always crave and never be satisfied.  You would be tormented in ways man can’t even dream up.  Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything to get it, but you can’t? It just burns you up inside.  You crave it, but you can’t have it.  Hades exhibits that a trillion times over.  When you die without Christ, you go to Hades until the end after Christ rules and reigns for 1000 years.  At that time, he will cast the occupants of Hades into a place known as ghenna or the “Lake of Fire”.  . 

In ghenna or Hell, you will not see Abraham.  You will not see light.  And most importantly, it will not have even the hint of God’s presence.  The second death is total and complete separation from God for eternity in a lake of fire with the antichrist, Satan, unrepentant humans, demons and fallen angels suffering with you.[iii]  Paradise does not exist across the way; saintly conversations cannot be heard in the background.  The only sounds emanating from ghenna come from the endless wailing and gnashing of teeth of those suffering.[iv]

Jesus experienced this second death briefly while hanging on the cross. God turned His back on Him because of the sin of the world that he was bearing.  The only complaint Jesus utters on the cross is “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”[v] He experienced something that for eternity had not taken place.  He felt God’s presence leave him while He took on the sin of the world.  God the Father, for the first time, took His loving eyes off his “One and Only Son”.  Don’t think this was any small matter. Jesus experienced the second death in our stead when His Father forsook Him on the Cross.

We must understand that the wages of our sin is death – total separation from God.  The price must be paid by everyone.  No exemptions or immunity exists from the price tag.  Unfortunately, when you purchase something that cost you your life, you won’t get the opportunity to enjoy it.  The reason lies in the fact that your death does not purchase eternal life; your death repays a debt[e1] . 

God created mankind with eternal life before Adam sinned.  The sin committed caused man to drop below “perfection”.  We don’t have enough in our life’s bank account to repay that debt even with our whole life.  Therefore, we need to have someone with a bigger checkbook, so to speak, in order to pay the price we can’t pay to obtain eternal life. 

The price tag for our sin only takes into consideration our debt to sin, not our eternal life.  Only God could pay both the debt to sin and give us to ability to regain the eternal life that was lost.  That part required God’s forgiveness.

Let me summarize that point this way.  The payment for sin is your death (separation from God.)  Everyone is required to pay that debt.  However, repayment of the debt does not allow us to regain what we lost.  It only repays a debt leaving us with nothing. 

God’s grace and forgiveness makes us regain our lost lives.  Millions upon countless millions will one day repay the debt to sin; even Satan is paying that debt.  But it doesn’t regain citizenship.  God returns citizenship to us through receiving something we don’t deserve.  God calls this “grace”.  We receive grace only by accepting grace.  The gift of grace makes it truly unique.  It can’t be bought, borrowed, stolen or earned. Only grace freely given matters, and only grace freely received by faith works. Paul said it this way, “You are saved by grace through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”[vi]

This fundamental concept provides greater understanding concerning the true depth of despair you and I existed in and the true blessing of grace that we received if we accepted life through Jesus Christ.  God knew you as aliens and foreigners, now He welcomes you as citizens.[vii]  If you accept the work of Jesus, you have both a cleared debt to sin and a name written down in the citizenship records of heaven.

This salvation we have directly results from the very involved process that God went through to restore relationship with man.  God stepped out of time and eternity to encounter man.  He went from infinite to limited.  The robes of deity that he took off were robes of infinite.  The robes of man that He put on were robes of limitations.  Think about the potential impact.  God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth would need to learn how to speak, eat, sit up, crawl and walk.  He wet his diapers, got hungry, cried, skinned his knees, smashed his finger with a hammer and went to school like the rest of us.  He grew up both physically, emotionally, mentally and relationally while he walked with man as the Son of God.  Truly, God desperately sought a relationship with His creation.    


[i] Rev 2:11, 20:6, 14 and 21:8

[ii] Luke 16

[iii] Jude 1:6; Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14,15

[iv] Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30

[v] Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46

[vi] Ephesians 2:8

[vii] Ephesians 2:19

 [e1]Wages of sin is death


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