Author Topic: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven  (Read 3645 times)

Weedon

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2020, 03:30:20 PM »
St. John Chrysostom:  And:

“For when you hear of fire, do not suppose the fire in that world to be like this: for fire in this world burns up and makes away with anything which it takes hold of; but that fire is continually burning those who have once been seized by it, and never ceases: therefore also is it called unquenchable. For those also who have sinned must put on immortality, not for honor, but to have a constant supply of material for that punishment to work upon; and how terrible this is, speech could never depict, but from the experience of little things it is possible to form some slight notion of these great ones. For if you should ever be in a bath which has been heated more than it ought to be, think then, I pray you, on the fire of hell: or again if you are ever inflamed by some severe fever transfer your thoughts to that flame, and then you will be able clearly to discern the difference. For if a bath and a fever so afflict and distress us, what will our condition be when we have fallen into that river of fire which winds in front of the terrible judgment-seat. Then we shall gnash our teeth under the suffering of our labors and intolerable pains: but there will be no one to succor us: yea we shall groan mightily, as the flame is applied more severely to us, but we shall see no one save those who are being punished with us, and great desolation. And how should any one describe the terrors arising to our souls from the darkness? For just as that fire has no consuming power so neither has it any power of giving light: for otherwise there would not be darkness. The dismay produced in us then by this, and the trembling and the great astonishment can be sufficiently realized in that day only. For in that world many and various kinds of torment and torrents of punishment are poured in upon the soul from every side. And if any one should ask, and how can the soul bear up against such a multitude of punishments and continue being chastised through interminable ages, let him consider what happens in this world, how many have often borne up against a long and severe disease. And if they have died, this has happened not because the soul was consumed but because the body was exhausted, so that had the latter not broken down, the soul would not have ceased being tormented. When then we have received an incorruptible and inconsumable body there is nothing to prevent the punishment being indefinitely extended. For here indeed it is impossible that the two things should coexist. I mean severity of punishment and permanence of being, but the one contends with the other, because the nature of the body is perishable and cannot bear the concurrence of both: but when the imperishable state has supervened, there would be an end of this strife, and both these terrible things will keep their hold upon us for infinite time with much force. Let us not then so dispose ourselves now as if the excessive power of the tortures were destructive of the soul: for even the body will not be able to experience this at that time, but will abide together with the soul, in a state of eternal punishment, and there will not be any end to look to beyond this. How much luxury then, and how much time will you weigh in the balance against this punishment and vengeance? Do you propose a period of a hundred years or twice as long? And what is this compared with the endless ages? For what the dream of a single day is in the midst of a whole lifetime, that the enjoyment of things here is as contrasted with the state of things to come. Is there then any one who, for the sake of seeing a good dream, would elect to be perpetually punished? Who is so senseless as to have recourse to this kind of retribution?” (Ad Theod. 1.10)

SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2020, 03:40:58 PM »
Yes, it is a terrifying picture of hell; Jesus is the prime teacher about the horrors of hell. And I’d note that one aspect of hell that is often overlooked: He’s alone. He’s all alone.

Something that occurred to me, and I didn't mention because I haven't thought it through (and I still haven't, but the conversation seems to have ended up here anyway), is the idea that Jesus' teachings about Lazarus and the rich man is sort of a parable or figure or allegory is also used by David Bentley Hart to support a sort of universalism among us in the Orthodox Church.  I say "a sort of universalism" mostly because Hart does a lot of dancing around the edges and makes many fine distinctions, assuring his readers that he doesn't say what his critics claim, but the central theme seems to be "there is no eternal hell."

I think it's fine to render those verses as parable or figure or allegory, but I think it carries with it a great danger that we go beyond that interpretation to say "the teaching Jesus has given us in this story is also a parable or figure or allegory, such that hell itself doesn't even exist."  That is, it's one thing to say "well, Jesus wasn't necessarily being literal here."  He isn't a literal door, after all.  It's another to say "Jesus wasn't teaching us what He seems to be teaching us here."
Hart is indeed cagey about universalism. His argument as I understand it really hinges on the essential unity of mankind. We are all one in Christ just as surely and inescapably as we are all one in Adam. There can't be two distinct eternal destinies for mankind. And since Christ has already been raised and lives and reigns to all eternity, all mankind must eventually be united with him, almost by definition of the word "mankind" given the Incarnation. Manind is that which is descended from Adam and that which is united to Christ. He spells that out and acknowledges that universal salvation is a logically necessary conclusion, but won't go there. But he also won't abandon the road of reasoning that leads only to that conclusion. 

Infinity is impossible to wrap our minds around. We have little recourse but to think of it in terms of more and more time and space, but infinity isn't simply the extension of those things. It transcends those things. Hell becomes a stumbling block because we picture eternity as as a timeline that just goes on an on, as though though someone who has been in hell for a billion years needs a few more days of punishment, and then a few more, etc. But then, what other way is there to picture it? The idea of infinity is where poetry, philosophy and physics merge into theology and see through a glass darkly, if at all.   

SomeoneWrites

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2020, 03:44:28 PM »


SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!

I can appreciate that. 
I don't know how to quite word it.  But I think the only way that could happen is The Father doesn't do the waiting and actually changes my mind.  I can't make myself believe something I don't believe.
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Weedon

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #48 on: October 06, 2020, 05:13:07 PM »
No, of course not. I pray that the Spirit grants you that faith in the Father which is always and only His work and gift. I pray He also sustain me and other forum participants in it as well. It will never be our achievement. “I believe ...that I cannot believe” remains true for us all.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 05:20:24 PM by Weedon »
William Weedon, Assistant Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel IL
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Tom Eckstein

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #49 on: October 06, 2020, 07:57:49 PM »


SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!

I can appreciate that. 
I don't know how to quite word it.  But I think the only way that could happen is The Father doesn't do the waiting and actually changes my mind.  I can't make myself believe something I don't believe.

 Someone, my prayer is in harmony with Will's that the Holy Spirit will grant you the faith to accept and believe the evidence God has given you that Jesus is your Lord and savior and that you will no longer resist the Holy Spirit on this saving truth. Nobody loves you more than the Lord who sacrificed his son for you.
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #50 on: October 06, 2020, 10:39:59 PM »
No, of course not. I pray that the Spirit grants you that faith in the Father which is always and only His work and gift. I pray He also sustain me and other forum participants in it as well. It will never be our achievement. “I believe ...that I cannot believe” remains true for us all.

This is most certainly true, you who are Chrysographo!
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2020, 02:23:07 AM »


SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!

I can appreciate that. 
I don't know how to quite word it.  But I think the only way that could happen is The Father doesn't do the waiting and actually changes my mind.  I can't make myself believe something I don't believe.

 Someone, my prayer is in harmony with Will's that the Holy Spirit will grant you the faith to accept and believe the evidence God has given you that Jesus is your Lord and savior and that you will no longer resist the Holy Spirit on this saving truth. Nobody loves you more than the Lord who sacrificed his son for you.


God's great love for us as revealed in Jesus is pretty easy to accept. It's the hatred that is sometimes spewed out by those who claim to follow Jesus that gives Christianity such a bad name.


A quote I've had since about 1988 about this:

I had an old seminary professor who began and ended his apologetics lecture with one sentence: “You defend God like you defend a lion – you get out of his way.” God, it seems, has never had much trouble with his enemies – it’s his friends who give him fits.... The theologian Karl Rahner put it this way: “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn’t have to worry about defending it.
            “The Last Temptation of Christians” by Bill McNabb
            Wittenburg Door, issue 103
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #52 on: October 07, 2020, 09:11:03 AM »


SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!

I can appreciate that. 
I don't know how to quite word it.  But I think the only way that could happen is The Father doesn't do the waiting and actually changes my mind.  I can't make myself believe something I don't believe.

 Someone, my prayer is in harmony with Will's that the Holy Spirit will grant you the faith to accept and believe the evidence God has given you that Jesus is your Lord and savior and that you will no longer resist the Holy Spirit on this saving truth. Nobody loves you more than the Lord who sacrificed his son for you.


God's great love for us as revealed in Jesus is pretty easy to accept. It's the hatred that is sometimes spewed out by those who claim to follow Jesus that gives Christianity such a bad name.


A quote I've had since about 1988 about this:

I had an old seminary professor who began and ended his apologetics lecture with one sentence: “You defend God like you defend a lion – you get out of his way.” God, it seems, has never had much trouble with his enemies – it’s his friends who give him fits.... The theologian Karl Rahner put it this way: “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn’t have to worry about defending it.
            “The Last Temptation of Christians” by Bill McNabb
            Wittenburg Door, issue 103
"Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable." Hmmm. What should be said to Christians whose "lifestyles" deny God's Word and God's revealed will?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #53 on: October 07, 2020, 01:05:27 PM »


SomeoneWrites, I only know from my own experience that reading through Johann Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, made me more afraid of hell than I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was a salutary fear, I think. I pray that neither you nor I shall ever experience it terrors. The Father waits; come home through His Son!

I can appreciate that. 
I don't know how to quite word it.  But I think the only way that could happen is The Father doesn't do the waiting and actually changes my mind.  I can't make myself believe something I don't believe.

 Someone, my prayer is in harmony with Will's that the Holy Spirit will grant you the faith to accept and believe the evidence God has given you that Jesus is your Lord and savior and that you will no longer resist the Holy Spirit on this saving truth. Nobody loves you more than the Lord who sacrificed his son for you.


God's great love for us as revealed in Jesus is pretty easy to accept. It's the hatred that is sometimes spewed out by those who claim to follow Jesus that gives Christianity such a bad name.


A quote I've had since about 1988 about this:

I had an old seminary professor who began and ended his apologetics lecture with one sentence: “You defend God like you defend a lion – you get out of his way.” God, it seems, has never had much trouble with his enemies – it’s his friends who give him fits.... The theologian Karl Rahner put it this way: “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn’t have to worry about defending it.
            “The Last Temptation of Christians” by Bill McNabb
            Wittenburg Door, issue 103
"Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable." Hmmm. What should be said to Christians whose "lifestyles" deny God's Word and God's revealed will?


You are talking about judgmental Christians, aren't you? (That was the topic of the whole essay by McNabb.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #54 on: October 07, 2020, 04:19:31 PM »
You are talking about judgmental Christians, aren't you? (That was the topic of the whole essay by McNabb.)
Judgmentalism is often misunderstood ... as I was taught in confirmation, the command “Judge not lest ye be judged” speaks to making judgments that are not judgments of God ... for example seeing someone out in public and judging that they are stupid, snobbish, etc.

At the same time, it is our Christian duty and responsibility to pronounce judgment on those who transgress God’s good and gracious will.

Cries of judgmentalism arise when the secularized culture norms and desires are in conflict with God’s changeless law.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« Reply #55 on: October 07, 2020, 06:05:04 PM »
You are talking about judgmental Christians, aren't you? (That was the topic of the whole essay by McNabb.)
Judgmentalism is often misunderstood ... as I was taught in confirmation, the command “Judge not lest ye be judged” speaks to making judgments that are not judgments of God ... for example seeing someone out in public and judging that they are stupid, snobbish, etc.

At the same time, it is our Christian duty and responsibility to pronounce judgment on those who transgress God’s good and gracious will.

Cries of judgmentalism arise when the secularized culture norms and desires are in conflict with God’s changeless law.
I'm leading a Bible study via zoom tonight about the seven letters to the angels of the seven church in Rev. 2-3. From the beginning, it seems, antinomianism and excessive tolerance of immoral behavior has been a genuine problem. Tolerance of immoral behavior always masquerades as love and open-mindedness and a concern not to judge. The call to repent-- to hate that behavior and turn from it-- is serious.