Provocative Bible Verses: Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Posted: February 17, 2009 in Provocative Bible Verses, Salvation
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In an era that promotes tolerance as the highest of virtues and the idea that truth is relative, it is considered outrageous to claim that Jesus is the one and only, exclusive way, for people to attain eternal life. I have heard it more often than I can count; “What about all the people in the world who don’t believe in Jesus, who follow Buddha or Confucius or some other teacher?”. “How can you say that they won’t go to heaven?” Well there are a couple of reasons why I think we must say that. First and foremost among them is what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Jesus made it very clear that the way to the Father and ultimately the way to eternal life in heaven is through a relationship of faith in Him. The rest of the New Testament affirms this over and over again. Just one example comes from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans: “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 The only way to say that there are other ways to eternal life is to completely discount everything that the Bible teaches on the subject. In order to be certain of a place in eternity with God you must trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You must believe that He died and rose again in order to pay the penalty for your sins and conquer death on your behalf.

Of course there are certainly some folks who would discount the Bible and decide that it only makes sense that if you are sincere in what you believe then you will live forever. The thought is that sincerity, not truth, is the higher of the two virtues. The supreme being who many believe is out there somewhere is seen as a being who is only gracious and compassionate and would never draw a line in the sand that has anything to do with truth or right and wrong. So the good, sincere Buddhist, or follower of Confucianism, or Taoist, or Hindu, will still go to Heaven.

The problem is, none of those faiths have as their ultimate goal, the kind of heaven and eternal life that most westerners have in mind. In fact, in most cases, they don’t even want to go to heaven. Take the Buddhist as an example. The Buddhist doctrine is that all of life is suffering and the goal is to end all suffering. That goal is something called Nirvana. It is a state of being absorbed, if you will, into the great nothingness of the cosmos. You no longer have an individual existence or awareness of yourself. For the Buddhist, the Christian idea of heaven and earth becoming one, and living forever in that state, would be seen as a step backwards. The Hindu faces a similar though slightly different path. For them, the cycle of death and reincarnation looks at life as being a giant wheel. It goes around and around every time you die and are reincarnated. The goal is to stop coming back, to stop the wheel of time from turning, and to become one with creation. It is another loss of self and identity. It is not heaven, but being absorbed into creation.

For the most part, it is only people raised in a western philosophical mindset who have a problem with the exclusivity of Jesus. It is only people raised in some sort of “Christian” culture who seem to be embarrassed by the claim of Jesus to be the only way to heaven. Oddly enough, most other religions try to incorporate this exclusive Jesus into their faith in some way. Muslims call him an honored prophet. Buddhists refer to him as a Bodhisattva, or an enlightened one who shows the path to other. Hindus think if him as an incarnation of Vishnu, one of their highest gods. I wonder if somewhere deep on our hearts, there isn’t that general revelation from God that points us to Jesus as in fact, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. As a result, even in religious systems that are opposed to what the Bible teaches, there is a need to honor Jesus.

There is no need for a follower of Jesus to be embarrassed by the the exclusive claims of Jesus. He is the Lord who rightly demands our allegiance. Our highest command is to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is Jesus who is the way to eternal life.

Comments
  1. Mickey says:

    Thank you Dan. This is an excellent article and right on point with what I have been thinking about lately. I have heard from many so called, “enlightened” souls who have said, once you are at the top of a mountain, you find that there are manys paths that lead there. I have wanted to respond, and yet, being a new christian, I did not want to embarrass Christ by mispeaking. I have received a lot of help from Gus who has suggested that I ask questions at this point, instead of forcing the Truth. For instance, “Where did you find that enlightenment”? “Do you have a source”? Or, “How did you come up with that”? Then, we can open up the conversation instead of hammering them over the head. I want to help them with the Truth, however, sometimes, it is like casting pearls.

  2. Dan Lacich says:

    Mickey,
    thanks for the comments and encouragement. Gus has given you some great wisdom. It is so helpful to ask people questions that help them look at the implications of their ideas without making them defensive. Don’t be afraid to speak. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will guide you in those times. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be a diligent student of the word and truth.
    Dan

  3. Cindy says:

    Good thoughts… well written. Someething we need to ponder again and again so that we are ready for those conversations when they occur. Thanks, Dan.

  4. preacheral says:

    Dan,
    its not the exclusivity of Christianity that bothers me. It all those who have not heard the truth yet or who have been deceived. Are they all destined for eternal damnation or will they be judged according to their understanding of right and wrong [a law unto themselves] (Still that does not sound very hopeful). I remember one of my profs in Seminary had difficulty in reconciling scripture with his sense of fairness. I think he would have preferred to believe in annihilation vs. eternal damnation.
    I trust that God is righteous and just. I know that there are God-haters and those who chose the obvious evil over good. It just is difficult to reconcile in our poor pitiful human minds the God of love and the God who will send billions into eternal suffering. It is also hard to accept that a criminal who repents before his execution will be in heaven while a unbelieving social worker will not. I’m glad I am not God and don’t have to make the hard calls. We want nice clean answers that fit in to nice neat little boxes. But God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. He is the God who sends the rain to land on the righteous and unrighteous alike. He sees the heart of every man and woman and knows our wickedness and yet gives us opportunity to repent. Great is the Lord and worthy of our praise!

  5. Jemima says:

    I have just stumbled upon this site and was prompted to make a comment if I may.
    I would just like to know what makes a person believe that God would torture anyone forever in a hell of eternal torment or damnation? As beings made in God’s image and likeness, if we find the thought of torturing someone by ANY means to be abhorrent, then so does God!
    Our sense of justice is God given. Man’s justice declares that the punishment should fit the crime. Is God’s justice less than mans? How could a few short years of a person’s life in imperfection and sin (a fault of Adam’s disobedience not ours,) be held against them forever? That would make God a fiend! That would not be just.
    If you go back to the Garden of Eden and study what sentence was passed on the first humans, whose sin condemned the entire human race to death, you will see that God simply sent them back where they came from…back to the dust. If anyone deserved to go to “hell” it was them. But search as you might, you will find no mention of an afterlife of any description for them. They simply went from the prospect of everlasting life to everlasting death. Which strikes you as being more just, eternal damnation or eternal death? What possible reason could God have for torturing someone forever? Seriously? Eternal life was promised only to the just. In order to be tortured forever a person would have to be granted eternal life, would he not?
    The “hell” mentioned in the Bible is simply the grave. Everyone goes there. Job prayed to go there at the height of his suffering…did he ask for more suffering or relief in death? The Hebrew word sheol and the Greek equivalent, hades, are translated as “grave” in many translations including the KJV.
    When God told Adam about the penalty for disobedience, it was not that he would go to hell, but simply that he would die.
    If you think about the nature of God, who is the epitome of love, you would know how absurd the notion of torment in hell really is.

  6. Mark says:

    While Jemima has some good ideas they are still based on human reasoning. Dante Alighieri in The Inferno teaches us the best a man can do is get himself to hell. Most of us would hope all people can go to heaven. That is just not the case. However; the point is not whether hell is a place of fire and brimstone, the point is hell is a seperation from God and Divine Love that is Jesus Christ. Thank you for the article Dan. It will aid me in speaking to others the Truth in love and humbleness.

  7. Storms says:

    In response to Jemima, the nature of God is completely wrapped up in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God. Your the statements you made and questions you have are all answered in Jesus Christ. I don’t know exactly where you’re coming from, but it’s almost as if you haven’t read (or don’t believe the New Testament). That might be the case, but from a biblical perspective, God does not send anyone to hell (and yes Jesus talks about a literal hell). Instead, he provides a way for us to not spend eternity separated from him, which would be a good definition of what hell is. That way is through faith in Jesus Christ. So, the question is not why would God…? but why would man want to be separated from God? It is the sin nature that is within each of us that has been passed down from Adam & Eve. That is what causes us to be separated from God & everyone else for that matter. The book of Hebrews explains the Adam & Eve connection very well and then explains the Jesus connection, too.

    Pastor Joel said this one time and it’s stuck with me as my answer to all these questions, because frankly they are so difficult to understand – even though they are true. He used an illustration of a burning building with one door. The idea is that we are all in that burning building. We are all perishing, but the door is right there. How many of us would look for another door or a window to jump out of even though the exit is right in front of us? That’s exactly what those who don’t find their salvation in Jesus Christ are trying to do. It’s a futile effort with terrible consequences no matter how sincere that effort might be.

  8. jemima says:

    I have been a student of the Bible for 40 years. When I read through it, I assumed nothing. I allowed the Bible to speak for itself, without the clouds of pre-conceived notions.
    It’s not a matter of what you believe so much as WHO you believe it seems to me.
    Mark tells me I am using human reasoning, whilst then quoting another human. Is this man’s thinking not human reasoning also?
    I have scoured the Scriptures over many years and have never once come upon a single verse that says I have an immortal soul. This is not a Bible teaching. It is Platonic, not Christian. Somewhere along the road to the 21st century Christendom replaced the scriptural teaching of the resurrection with the teaching of an immortal soul. So sneaky that no one seemed to notice it creep in. Can someone tell me how you reconcile the resurrection with an immortal soul? (Matthew 5:28, 29, John 11:11-24)

    If it was the sinful nature handed down from Adam and Eve that leads us away from God, then can you tell me what led Adam to sin? What also led once perfect spirit sons of God to rebel? Not sinful nature.
    When Adam was created he “became” a “soul”, he was not ‘given’ one. That poor old “soul” that I saw the other day, was not some shadowy inner being…it was the person herself. The soul is you with everything that makes you a unique individual.

    Adam’s punishment was not to languish in eternal damnation, separated from God. He and his wife were simply sentenced to death for disobeying a direct command.
    Where was Adam before he was formed and animated by the ‘breath’ that God gave him? He didn’t exist. When God told him he would return to the dust, that is exactly what he meant. He was to go back where he came from. Eternal death is the opposite of eternal life. Where were we before our parents conceived us? We didn’t exist either! Since God designed humans to live forever, it is a difficult thing to imagine oneself out of existence. But at death, that is what happens. Nowhere does the Bible suggest that all humans have soul that departs the body at death. Can anyone tell me the difference between soul and spirit? Are they one and the same?
    Search the Genesis account and tell me where it says that Adam was destined to go to heaven or hell at any point. Tell me where it says that God even mentioned death except as a punishment for disobedience. If man had never disobeyed would he have died? The “tree of life” that was in the Garden of Eden meant eternal life in the flesh, or else why would God have posted the angels at the entrance to prevent them from gaining access to it? (Genesis 3:22-24)
    God’s first purpose was to have perfect mortal creatures inhabit this planet forever, with no aging, no sickness and no death…unless they broke the rules! Both humans and angels are mortal beings, but they do have the opportunity to have their lives extended indefinitely if they follow the commands of their Creator. (Immortality is a whole topic all by itself if you wish to discuss this further) We know that Adam and his wife were perfect. They had no defects in mind or body. They did however, have the freedom to make decisions. Being made in God’s image meant that they could exercise a right of choice in all things.
    Satan, by abusing his free will, plotted to divide the man from his God, using the wiles of his new bride. His timing was perfect. He made him choose between the love of his life and the love of his God…..the rest as they say is history. (James 1:14, 15)

    Jesus came to offer to God a perfect life in exchange for the perfect life that Adam forfeited. God’s Law demanded “life for life” and no man was now perfect. That is why Christ became a perfect human child, so that he could redeem the human race sentenced to death by Adam. There is no salvation without the sacrifice of Jesus. So in answer to your statement that I don’t believe the New Testament…I certainly do.
    Storms, can you tell me where Jesus talks about a literal hell? There are a few words translated as “hell” in the Bible. I would be interested if you could tell me where that is.

    Sorry that this is so long…it’s a big topic.

  9. Storms says:

    Just a quick look & I’ve found 2 places that Jesus talks about hell – Matthew 5:22 & Luke 16:19-31.

    Look, here’s what I know (very little I admit, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s true.) – There is eternal life and there is eternal death. We are all guilty of sin from the time we were conceived, and even though born & living we are actually spiritually dead until the time that we confess Jesus Christ as lord. If we die in our spiritually dead state (dead in our transgressions), we are separated from God – call it hell. But, if we confess Jesus as Lord, we are spiritually alive because we have accepted his gift of salvation – our eternal life begins right there – we have crossed over from death to life.

    We can talk all day long about what hell is like and what heaven is like, and we can come up with all kinds of different opinions based upon different translations, different interpretations, and even human reasoning. Of all that, while it’s interesting to discuss, I have ot admit I just don’t know.

    One thing I do know…I once was blind and now I see. I was lost and now I’m found. I was dead and now I’m alive. That is only because of Jesus Christ. Getting back to Dan’s original point, it is only THROUGH Jesus Christ that we can be saved.

  10. Tony C says:

    You have touch on a subject I’m hot on right now, and that’s the New Age movement. New Agers believe everyone is right and there is no wrong way to God if we just be good people. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way! The book ‘The Secret’ is still on the New York Best Seller list (over 100 weeks) and Oprah embraces it. Millions of people are trying to make God fit what they want to believe or their lifestyle. God is omnipotent and all powerful. He makes the rules…He’s the Creator.

    Great post.

  11. jemima says:

    Storms, this is where I have the greatest difficulty. I cannot have blind faith. I have an insatiable appetite to know…I mean REALLY KNOW what I believe. The Bible is not mysterious. It contains all the answers if you take the time to really study it.
    To my way of thinking, if you “just don’t know” the answers, then how do you say you see? Or perhaps you need your glasses changed. LOL
    I fully agree with everything you just said about crossing over from death to life. But are you still insisting on belief in an immortal soul? The eternal death you mention…is it conscious?
    Now, the Scriptures you mention where Jesus is talking about a literal hell need addressing….
    Matthew 5:22….the word translated “hell fire” in this instance is “Gehenna”. The name really means “Valley of Hinnom.” This, in its literal sense, means the valley of Hinnom to the south and southwest of Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day this was used as a city dump or depository for refuse, and fire mingled with brimstone or sulfur was used to dispose of the refuse, even dead bodies of criminals who were thought to be too vile to be buried in a common grave or burial tomb (and hence to have a memorial of their existence.) In a symbolic sense, the way in which Jesus used it, Gehenna was a symbol of total and everlasting destruction, a blotting of one out of existence forever. Annihilation! The name Gehenna occurs just twelve times in the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures. (NT)
    To illustrate that Gehenna pictures total and everlasting destruction, Jesus said to his twelve apostles: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Gehenna) (Matt. 10:28, KJV) If, now, what is called the “soul” is “destroyed”, how could it be tormented consciously in a fiery hell forever? Fire destroys completely.
    Other references to Gehenna occur in Matthew 18:9; 23:15, 33; Luke 12:5, and James 3:6. Those whom God assigns to everlasting destruction as pictured by Gehenna are those who, like Satan the Devil and his demon angels, are beyond correction, beyond recovery to righteousness. That is why Jesus, in his parable on the sheep and the goats, says to those like goats: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew. 25:41.) It means eternal destruction.
    Now as for Luke 16:19-31…The rich man and Lazarus.
    Jesus relates an illustration that features two men whose status, or situation, is eventually changed dramatically. I emphasize that this is a parable, an illustration. Not to be taken literally.
    The rich man represents the religious leaders who are favored with spiritual privileges and opportunities, and Lazarus pictures the common people who hunger for spiritual nourishment. Since the rich man and Lazarus are not literal persons but symbolize classes of people, logically their deaths are also symbolic. What do their deaths symbolize, or represent?
    Jesus has just finished pointing to a change in circumstances by saying that ‘the Law and the Prophets were until John (the Baptizer), since that time the kingdom of God is preached…’ (verse 19) Hence, it is with the preaching of John and Jesus Christ that both the rich man and Lazarus die to their former circumstances, or condition. Those of the humble, repentant Lazarus class die to their former spiritually deprived condition and come into a position of divine favor. Whereas they had earlier looked to the religious leaders for what little dropped from the spiritual table, now the Scriptural truths imparted by Jesus are filling their needs. They are thus brought into the “bosom”, or favored position, with God.
    On the other hand, those who make up the rich-man class come under divine disfavor because of persistently refusing to accept the Kingdom message taught by Jesus. They thereby die to their former position of seeming favor. In fact, they are spoken of as being in figurative torment.
    This is where the parable’s illustrative purpose becomes clear. If a literal drop of water would quench the anguish of being in a literal fire, then I will leave that up to you. They wanted the disciples to let up on declaring their messages, thus providing them some measure of relief from their torments.
    The “great chasm” that separates the symbolic rich man from Jesus’ disciples therefore represents God’s unchangeable, righteous judgment.
    So you see Storms, it’s not what it appears to be….still no literal hell.
    Now before someone raises “the lake of fire” in Revelation 21:18 and 20:14, let me point out that ‘death and hades’ are cast into this lake and both scriptures call it “the second death”. It is clearly symbolic as well since death and hades cannot be cast into a literal fiery lake. Like Gehenna, it is a symbol of complete destruction. A place from which no one returns.
    I am disappointed that no one has tackled the other points I raised. I know I am stretching what you have always believed, but we must be able to defend our faith. We must know what we believe and why we believe it.
    Sorry to write a manuscript again, but you can see my passion for this subject.

  12. Dan Lacich says:

    Jemima, Storms and Mark,
    First let me say that I love the discussion that is going on here. It looks like we have certainly “provoked” something. I appreciate the passion and civility with which you have approached it. I have intentionally sat back and read and followed it for a but before getting into the discussion.

    On the question of Hell, as to what the exact nature of the punishment will be, that is hard to say and certainly over the years there have been all sorts of images of fire and sulfur and red caped devils. As such I wont even try to describe it. But that is fine since I think the details of eternal punishment are not the issue here. What seems to be at the root of the discussion is the nature of God as it relates to the possibility of a loving God actually punishing people for eternity. That is the issue. Is there some way in which the Bible in general and Jesus in particular teach that there is an eternal punishment for some and eternal life or bliss for others. To me the clearest answer to that question has always been Matthew 25. It is a chapter of three parables on the end and judgment, The Foolish Virgins, The Parable of the Talents, and the Separation of the Sheep and Goats. In each parable there is a judgment passed on someone or a group of someones. With each parable the severity of that judgment seems to increase. The virgins are thrown out of the wedding feast. The unfaithful servant is tossed out to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. In the final one the we have this conclusion;

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    The goats end up in a place of eternal fire and punishment and the sheep in a place of eternal life. It may not be something we like to think about and it certainly forces us to understand how the love of God and the justice of God work together.

    Dan

  13. Jemima says:

    I thought I raised some very thought provoking questions in those two comments, Dan. I would still like someone to address them. You are all still sticking to the script…you know, the one you all seem reluctant to step outside of. Do none of you ever think outside the box once in a while? Its as if you can’t see the forest for the trees. I don’t believe that we have an immortal soul that leaves the body at death. I have found no scriptural support for that at all. If anyone want to furnish some I will truly appreciate it. As to the nature of God and the question of his justice, I again have to ask…is God’s justice less than mans? In the case of eternal torment, how does the punishment fit the crime? Seeing as how our sinfulness is not our fault, how can God (who remembers we are dust) be so harsh in his judgment?

  14. Dan Lacich says:

    Jemima,
    I think there are several places in the BIble that make it clear that we have an immortal soul. It is also clear that for a time, prior to the coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, that soul is separated from the body. At the resurrection that soul body are united and transformed as a part of the recreation of and joining of heaven and earth into one. So if you are saying that the soul does not love for eternity apart from the body, you are right. That separation is only temporary. If you are saying that the soul is not eternal at all then I think you are missing what the Bible teaches.
    There are three verses that I think apply to this in a direct way.
    The first is Luke 23:43. Jesus tells the thief on the cross, “THIS day you will be with me in paradise”. The man’s body was clearly still on the cross and eventually buried yet Jesus said that the man himself would be in paradise momentarily.
    The second is Revelation 20:4-5 where John sees the sous of those who have been martyred for their faith. They are before the throne of God crying out for their vindication. There is a statement there about the coming resurrection that makes it clear that what John sees is somehow current or at least prior to the return of Christ
    The final passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here Paul describes the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns. The dead in Christ will be raised, those bodies will be reunited with the soul that has been in paradise until that time. The thief on the cross and the martyrs are two clear examples of people for whom this would be true.

    I think one of the problems in any discussion about eternal life or punishment is that we miss a huge biblical teaching. That teaching is that eternity is NOT a purely spiritual existence. For all who die before the return of Jesus there will be a spiritual existence in which the body and soul are separate, but at the resurrection the body will be raised and glorified and the soul will be reunited with it.

    The whole question on justice and love will have to wait for a later post since I think I have pretty much used up my word quota on this one. :)

  15. Storms says:

    Jemima,

    I’ll leave the answering of your specific questions to Dr. Dan. He’s much smarter than I. And, that actually brings me to my point – I’m okay with that, with blind faith. I’m sorry that you cannot have blind faith, that you feel you have to have all the answers. I would challenge you to take a hard look at the folks in the Bible who Jesus judged most harshly. It wasn’t the ordinary, unlearned people. It was the people who thought they had all the answers and could prove it.

    I don’t have all the answers as I’ve said before, but I do know that Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the father but through me.” He is the only way. Now how all that works out in the end I’m not completely clear about. My responsibility is to die to myself and live my life only in Christ.

    God Bless!

  16. jemima says:

    Dan, thank you for your reply. I appreciate your efforts to explain these texts.
    In order to demonstrate that these verses can be explained from a totally different perspective. May I take them one at a time? Firstly, Luke 23:43.
    It appears that you are quoting from a paraphrased version with this text. (Please correct me if I’m wrong, but serious Bible students do not use paraphrased versions for study.) In the Greek, there is no punctuation. That verse and its meaning can be completely changed if a comma is placed after different words. In the KJV the comma is placed after the word “thee” making it appear as if Jesus is telling that criminal that he will be with Christ in paradise that very day. If however, the comma is placed after the word today, then that statement takes on a totally different meaning. Who decides where the comma goes? Whatever version of the Bible you use, you may get a different placement of the comma. (Please let it be noted at this point that I use a variety of Bible translations. They are almost all literal, word for word translations, however. I consult paraphrased versions only for comparison.)
    Dr. George Lamsa writes:
    “According to the Aramaic manner of speech, the emphasis in this text is on the word ‘today’ and should read, ‘Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.’. . . This is a characteristic of Oriental speech implying that the promise was made on a certain day and would surely be kept.” (Gospel Light from Aramaic on the Teachings of Jesus.)
    The Hebrew Scriptures themselves provide numerous examples of this solemn idiom using “today” or “this day”. Zech. 9:12; Deut. 4:26, 39, and 40 other instances in the book of Deuteronomy alone.
    In his footnote on Luke 23:43, German Bible translator L. Reinhardt says: “The punctuation presently used [by most Bibles] in this verse is undoubtedly false and contradictory to the entire way of thinking of Christ and the evildoer. . . . [Jesus] certainly did not understand paradise to be a subdivision of the realm of the dead, but rather the restoration of a paradise on earth.”
    Note also that Jesus did not ascend to heaven the day he died or even the day he was resurrected. Shortly after his resurrection he told Mary: “I have not yet ascended to the Father.” (John 20:17.) This also has a bearing on the question as to when Jesus words to the evildoer applies. Jesus did not go back to heaven for 40 days.
    Now Revelation 20:4, 5.
    In view of what it says in Leviticus 17:11…” For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul [in it]”
    It is quite evident that John’s words in Revelation are symbolic and here mean that he saw the ‘blood’ (soul) of faithful Christians who had been slaughtered because of their faithfulness to God and his Word. They were no more crying out to God for vindication in the literal sense than Abel’s blood was crying out to God when he was killed by Cain. (Genesis 4:10)
    1Thessalonians 4:13-18:
    This passage begins with the words “Moreover, brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who are asleep [in death]; that you may not sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope. For if our faith is that Jesus died and rose again, so, too, those who sleep [in death] through Jesus God will bring with him.”
    The resurrection hope was always to life back on earth. All resurrections reported in the Bible, apart from Jesus’, were back to their former life as humans. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, he told his disciples that he was sleeping; a sleep from which he was going to awaken him. (John 11:11-14)
    Lazarus’ sister spoke about the resurrection hope…one she was well acquainted with. (John 11:23)
    In the beginning, before Adam sinned he had no need of a savior, no need of God’s Kingdom, no need for a mediator. Why? Because he was perfect and needed none of those things to commune with his Heavenly Father. He had no need of Christ’s sacrifice or his kingdom. But his imperfect children did and Christ came to bring back what mankind had lost due to Adam’s sin. I.e, eternal life in paradise on earth. Remember my previous reference to the “tree of life” in the Garden of Eden?
    The prevailing belief among the Jews of Jesus’ day was that of an earthly resurrection. When Jesus began to infer that his first disciples would experience a heavenly resurrection, they were puzzled. They even asked if he was going to restore his kingdom to Israel at that time. Your previous reference to Revelation 20; if you read on it says in vs. 5, 6, ” And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” These ones are priests and kings who are chosen to rule with Christ in the heavens. These are resurrected first. Over whom will they rule? “The rest of the dead” are mentioned here.
    Revelation 21:3, 4 tells us…” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
    As God is pictured with MANKIND, it is apparent that this kingdom rules over earthly subjects. There are no more tears or pain as the former things (the awful conditions on earth at present) will be gone. The Kingdom Jesus taught us to pray for will “come” and re-establish his rulership over the earth, where it should have been in the first place….crushing all opposers out of existence. (Daniel 2:44)
    So many Christians today are so hung up about going to heaven that they fail to realize that the Bible speaks of two groups; a smaller group who go to heaven as co rulers with Christ and the ones over whom these will rule. Both are pictured before God’s throne as his subjects, both are attributing salvation to the Lamb. (Rev.7:2-4, 9, 10) A numbered group are “sealed” whilst an unnumbered group are also saved.
    To study theology does not necessarily mean that one studies the Bible. It is certainly a big subject and its verses definitely ‘provocative’.

  17. jemima says:

    Storms, I am ‘unlearned and ordinary’, like Jesus’ disciples were. I have no credentials, no diplomas as proof that I have a degree in theology. I am simply a student of the Bible…a school from which I will never graduate. Why do we have God’s Word if we are not supposed to know what it says?
    People whose faith is blind are subject to the devil’s whims. The Apostle Paul issued this warning about some who claimed to teach us God’s requirements, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.”
    How does one know when he is being fooled by an expert? Do you honestly believe that those whom Jesus rejects are aware that they are on the wrong road? (Matt. 7:21-23) Why do you think that Christianity has splintered into so many denominations? Is this ok with God in view of Paul’s words?
    Knowledge is the key to understanding. Ignorance is a tool in the hands of the devil.
    I am sad when people can’t furnish any proofs for what they believe. If Jesus is the way, then how do you offer hope to others who ask for reasons? Obviously you do what you just did to me…refer me to someone who should know. The first Christians were instructed before being sent out to preach. They didn’t have to take an Apostle back with them every time someone asked a curly question surely.
    Do you have a ‘big picture’, Storms? One where you can say that “this is what God intended at the beginning and this is why all this went wrong, and this is how it all gets fixed’? Is it logical? Can you back it up with God’s Word? I have to be able to do this. I am a logic freak…it all has to make sense. And Christendom’s version of events makes no sense to me at all.
    Agreeing to disagree I suppose is all we can do.
    My best to you.

  18. Alan says:

    Wow, this looks like it has been a wild ride in the realm of theology and eschatology. Sometimes I think the Catholics have it right when they say “It is a mystery” Knowledge puffs up. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. If any of us thinks we can get it all right and have all the answers, we are fooling ourselves. We are the finite. I know so much more not than I did at 20. Can we even begin to imagine God’s knowledge and understanding next to ours. One of my mentors says “Never underestimate our ability to deceive ourselves.” We can argue all these points till the cows come home, but when it is all said and done, are we people who know God and who are doing his will. I don’t think there will be a test on our understanding or end times when we come face to face with Jesus. There will be the question, “What have you done with what I have given you.” If we are so busy arguing who is right and what all these scriptures mean and never give a cup of water to a thirsty person or clothe a naked person… what good is any of our faith?
    Alan

  19. Dan Lacich says:

    Great post Alan,
    What fascinates me about this whole thread is that the original post was all about Jesus being the only way to heaven. As threads are prone to do it quickly became an issue of “immortal soul” or not and other very secondary issues when compared to the supremacy of Jesus in salvation. It is one of the reasons why I said it was time to move on from that part of the topic.
    Dan

  20. Jemima says:

    May I address the comments Alan posted here? I will be brief.(for a change) John 17:3, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ”. Rather than being happy with our ignorance, didn’t Jesus say we should actually embrace the knowledge, rather than act like it’s not important? There is no mystery. Romans 10:2

  21. Gouranga says:

    Great thread guys. Absolutely awesome!. Jemima, to one of your points, studying the Bible is absolutely awesome(and it would appear as though you are well ahead of me in this area). Without the word of God, we are naked in a wicked world. There are countless places where God instructs us to read the Bible and take it with us. Indeed, God presents us with many chances to speak to others, and part of reading and studying the Bible is to prepare yourself for those discussions.

    One must be careful though. No matter how much knowledge you gain, there is and will always be a point where a leap of faith is required. I am sure the devil knows every version of the Bible ever written. He could likely quote it in any language we wanted (BTW that was NOT a comparison in any way towards you), but what he will never do is follow Christ. Part of the whole idea of being a Christian is to surrender yourself to God. In doing so, the how’s and why’s do not matter. I do and will continue to read my Bible, your questions alone have challenged me to look in other areas to dig deeper, and I LOVE that.

    However, as a follower of Christ, above all else, what matters most, Christ is Lord, and he died for all our sins, and the only way I will ever see heaven is because of his Grace cause I could never earn my way there.

    BTW, as for your questions on the soul, nature of hell and heaven, I will tell you outright, I cannot answer you to your satisfaction, I will however, be doing some reading and praying to see if I cannot rectify that.

    Hope all of you have a blessed day!

  22. Jemima says:

    Sorry Gouranga, I have not visited the site for a while…no one would talk to me! Because no one had any real answers, I think I frightened them off!
    I am grateful that someone is willing to take me up on the topics I have raised. Good for you if you are prepared to do some research!
    I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Regards,
    Jemima

  23. Dan Lacich says:

    Jemima,
    You did not frighten anyone off. I think they simple felt that you were not engaging in a dialogue, but rather an opportunity to push your own agenda which is not the agenda of this blog. Your posts are incredibly long for this format and usually raise several issues at once. One question or comment at a time is better.
    Dan

  24. Jemima says:

    Hello Dan, again, I apologize for the length of my previous posts. But if things go unchallenged, who will put in the effort to do research and in the process reinforce their own faith? If ‘taking in knowledge of God and Christ’ are what lead to everlasting life, (John 17:3) then we all should be able to defend our beliefs in the light of the Scriptures, should we not? My “agenda” is to make people think twice about what they accept as truth. Christianity has become so awfully fragmented, people are confused and lost spiritually. To “provoke” discussion and debate is healthy.
    I will endeavor to concentrate on one topic at a time in future. But Couranga’s attitude is the right one! Take up the challenge and defend your faith. (1 Peter 3:15) It’s good for all of us.
    I mean no harm, Dan. Jemima

  25. Stephane says:

    I really don’t think Jesus is the only way, but rather what he has preached. For centuries, believers have thought that their relationship with God should be based on allegiance, adoration, obedience and even fear. But this is just how we, humans, tend to concieve the kind of relationship that should exist between a superior and an inferior being.

    I’m deeply convinced that God doesn’t even want to be feared and revered…because this doesn’t make any man a better man, or closer to him in nature. God simply wants us to love him, and to love each other. And it’s about time we realize that obedience and veneration are only required by those who want to control by fear, and who think that the way their subordinates act toward them is more important than what they truely are on the inside. This has nothing to do with true love. That’s what I call projecting our primitive, egotistical and imperfect human nature upon God. That’s what I call making God in OUR image.

    Yes, Jesus is certainly worthy of admiration. But adoring and worshiping him won’t do you any good as long as you don’t realize that what you have to do in order to evolve spiritualy is, in fact, to be Christ like. Jesus doesn’t want to be worshiped, he wants to be imitated. It’s not the man, but the message that’s important here.

    Why ? because it’s not what you do, but what you are that will bring you closer to God. Why do you think so many crimes could be committed through history in the name of God, by men who yet believed Jesus was the only way ? This is what happens when the messenger becomes more important than the message…and when you think about it, by believing in the truth of the message (which is love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, etc), you automaticaly end up believing in God because this is precisely what God is. God is the message, so the message itself is the only way!!

    Best regards :)

  26. Jemima says:

    “Jesus is certainly worthy of admiration. But adoring and worshiping him won’t do you any good as long as you don’t realize that what you have to do in order to evolve spiritually is, in fact, to be Christ like. Jesus doesn’t want to be worshiped, he wants to be imitated. It’s not the man, but the message that’s important here.

    Why ? because it’s not what you do, but what you are that will bring you closer to God. Why do you think so many crimes could be committed through history in the name of God, by men who yet believed Jesus was the only way ? This is what happens when the messenger becomes more important than the message…and when you think about it, by believing in the truth of the message (which is love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, etc), you automatically end up believing in God because this is precisely what God is.”

    Stephanie, I applaud you for this comment! How we conduct ourselves 24/7,…what we are in our hearts (which is where true Christianity resides) tells God who we are. We don’t tell him we are “Christians” and then justify unchristian conduct. True footstep followers of Jesus will imitate him. The man Jesus has returned to his Father, (mission accomplished) but the message and his wonderful example are what he left behind for all of us to respond to.
    How are we doing in that regard? A good question for all of us!

    Jemima

  27. Dan Lacich says:

    Jemima
    Jesus clearly claimed to be divine and when others honored Him as such He did not deny that. Thomas fell on his knees before the risen Jesus and declared, “My Lord and My God”. John 20:28 Surely if that was not true then Jesus would have corrected Thomas. Jesus is to be worshiped as well as followed, imitated, loved, and believed in.
    Dan

  28. Shawn says:

    I thought I would just add, that Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable. Jesus always began parables by specifically pointing out that they were indeed parables, intended to be an illustrative story. Critics try to explain away the realities of Luke 16 by stating that it’s a parable.

    “I emphasize that this is a parable, an illustration. Not to be taken literally.”

    Jesus never emphasized that this was a parable, why would you?

    Just some food for thought.

  29. Jemima says:

    Shaun, I would like to draw your attention to chapter 15, the preceding chapter of Luke. In this chapter Jesus uses many illustrations with chapter 16 following on from his previous line of reasoning. Why would I think it was a parable? 1)Because Jesus begins many of the parables with the expression “A certain man”. 2) “The rich man died and was buried. And in Ha′des he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Laz′a·rus in the bosom [position] with him. So he called and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Laz′a·rus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire.”
    Do we imagine that ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ are within talking distance to one another? And do we also imagine that a single drop of water would cool anyone’s tongue in a literal blazing fire?
    Jesus did not say that the rich man led a degraded life, did he? All that Jesus said was that the man was rich, dressed well and feasted sumptuously. Does such conduct of itself merit punishment by torment? Jesus did not say anything about Lazarus’ behavior meriting divine favor either, he merely described Lazarus as a sickly beggar.This illustration was evidently directed to the Pharisees. As a class they were like the rich man. They loved money, as well as prominence and flattering titles. Lazarus well represents those humble persons whom the Pharisees despised but who repented and became followers of Jesus Christ.
    More food for thought.

    Jemima

  30. Stephane says:

    History has proven so many times that a purely literal interpretation of the Bible can be extremely dangerous, and can even lead some people to commit acts that go against anything Jesus stood for. Why is it so hard for so many men of faith to understand this and to use their objectivity!

    I know it can be very comforting to think mankind was given an “instruction manual” that’s 100% accurate anf faithful to what God really is and wants. But it’s simply not the case in my opinion. The Bible, the Coran and any other “sacred” book definitaly contain many inspired passages, but very human and imperfect parts as well. And as long as we don’t want to acknowledge this, those books will always divide us as much as they can unify us.

    Blind faith is a luxury we can’t afford anymore. Objectivity, reason and even doubts should even be every believer’s best friends and I even dare to believe that God DOES want us to question everything we were tought about him…because in a world full of different faiths, religions and “truths”, it might be the only chance we have to finally discover the REAL God!

    Regards :)

  31. Jemima says:

    It is my personal belief, Stephanie, that it is not we who choose God, but that he chooses us. As an estimator of hearts he is looking at all humanity to see what is motivating them. WHY you do something is just as important to God as WHAT you do. It is when God sees a true heart that he then draws that person to him. (John 6:44)
    Everyone’s version of the truth is determined by WHO they believe not just WHAT they believe. Look at the number of factors that influence a person’s belief system….geography, parental influence, peer pressure, state of mind, personality…and a whole lot of other things. If there is A truth to be had in the world, it must be universal. There cannot be many versions of the truth, all simply influenced by geography. God is described in the Bible as a God of order. The universe is testimony to that! His ancient people were organized with laws that set them apart from all other nations. His Son began a movement that was again different to the mainstream religion practiced by his own people at the time, (since their worship had become corrupted over time.)
    True Christianity has a set of rules that identify its adherents too, (as Christianity too has been corrupted over time)
    First of all, “they are no part of the world”; a big statement! That means you will not find them being like the world in any way. They will not adopt its awful speech and conduct. They will not imitate its attitudes towards marriage, divorce, homosexuality, pre marital sex, crime, violence, choice of entertainment, politics or greedy commercialism. They will hold the Word of God to be the only ‘textbook’ on human conduct. They will have love for God, first and foremost and for their neighbors as well as their enemies as Christ instructed. They will tolerate no pagan teachings masquerading as Christianity. They will not justify unchristian conduct under the guise of Nationalism. God has no country and neither do his true worshipers. Christians can never take up arms against other humans (especially other Christians). If the spirit of the 10 Commandments is still important, then “thou shalt not kill” must still have meaning. Christ is the model; hard for imperfect humans to follow, but as long as our efforts are heartfelt and our actions conscientious, we are acceptable to God even when we fall short, because we have been redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice.

    Just as there are things a Christian must NOT DO, there are also things that they must carry out in an active way. They were told to preach the “good news of the Kingdom” in all the inhabited earth. That means that true Christians must BE in all the inhabited earth. So there is no impediment to Christ’s instructions…Christ’s true followers are active in this work just as their first century counterparts were.

    And yes I also believe that God wants us to question everything we were taught about him. It is the only way to find the truth!

    Jemima

  32. Jemima says:

    I do wish the print on these names wasn’t so small. It appears I owe you an apology for calling you Stephanie, Stephane. Please excuse my error. :[

  33. Ormond says:

    What an excellent article & one I needed to read for my journey. I am one of those Christians who finds it difficult not to question(constantly). I do wonder about all the seemingly peaceful souls who are drawn to other seemingly harmless beliefs. This is well written & I stand with you in correcting my wrongs. In pondering this article I also discovered that the other religions/philosophies make it so that you have no responsibility (judgment day) for your past life here. In other words, one need only rid of all sin here & then you can get to the desired level. Issue with this is that it is impossible to not sin even if you lock yourself in a monestary & meditate, your thoughts will still veer. They neglect to address the fact that we cant reach perfection(thus the need for Jesus). In addition, they seem to place the onus on humans as if we are 200% responsible for all that happens in our lives when in fact it is Jesus-God-Holy Spirit & we merely serve HIM if we are blessed. The mere fact that they believe we can attain perfection let alone perfection without HIS intervention adds more fuel to my Christian Fire Journey.

  34. Ormond says:

    I should elaborate & clarify. Other beliefs place responsibility on humans entirely in THIS LIFE, with no responsibility in the next (by being absorbed). Christians place responsibility on humans in both this life & the hereafter, but not 100% (only that portion which relates to believing in Jesus & then arduously striving to follow The Word and its standards). We don’t do this because we believe we can attain perfection, but we do it in honor of Jesus and who HE is for and to us in God. We never remove all responsibility at any level, but we don’t pretend the responsibility we have is plausible without God’s Intervention on every level & in every aspect of our lives, big & small.

  35. jesus is the only way to heaven full stop.

  36. Joseph says:

    If you were real and honest believers in Christ Jesus, then you would accept what has been handed down to us through his word. Questioning of fairness, etc., are ways of showing that you are not WHOLLY prepared to trust in the Lord, and thus are susceptible to that trappings of Satan. God’s ways are not ours. How many times did Jesus have to remind those around him, that everyone must come to him of their own free will, and that ONLY through him could they be saved. There is no other way. It dosen’t matter if you like it, or agree with it. It is the law. Remeber the story of Lazarous? Did not the Master beg the Lord to allow him to warn his family so that they wouldn’t face the same fate as he? Did not the Lord tell him, that they have his Prophets they can listen to. If they refused to listen, then they will suffer the same fate. DO not yourself be deceived. Satan will use you to distort the truth and give people a false sense of security. “Unless you beleive in your heart and profess with your mouth that Jesus is the Living Son of God, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Repent and Obay, or suffer the consequences…it’s that simple. Quit questioning…open your heart and be a servant.

  37. Dan Lacich says:

    Joseph,
    thank you for you comments. I do have a question though. Who were you replying to? I know that some people have posted disagreements and think that there is more than one way to heaven. Were you replying in general to them or is there something in the original post that you are talking about. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Dan

  38. Gerard Majella says:

    It was real good reading . We could not help but reading it completly . Engrossing . I would like more of this rare discussion

  39. Blesson says:

    Yes, there is no any other way except Jesus.

  40. Jacob Nulik says:

    As Jesus said: I’m the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me. Wether you believe or not you will have to go through his judment seat. He also said that I did not come to condemn the world but to save; and If I judge I will judge with fair. If you believe in Him you already passed the death to life, it is an assurance. If you don’t you will have to go trhough His judgement seat, and He is the only one that have the authority to tell that you can go to the Father or not (so you have no choice in the end, but to go through the judgement seat of Jesus). Love and GBU.

  41. Jacob Nulik says:

    So make up your mind now, accept Jesus and have the assurance to go to the Father (in Heaven), rather than wait to pass trough His judgement seat (which you will not sure to get a pass). Besides, the judment will occur in the second resurrection, while the first resurrection will only be for people who believe in Jesus. Love and GBU.

  42. tomkuoh says:

    I’m sorry I’m so late to the discussion. I am not at all Christian like you all are, but come from more of a Buddhist/Hindu/Athiest Philosophy, although I did grow up Christian but have left the church since.

    1. The bible was written some 300 years after the fact. Even with out modern day technologies and record keeping, can we trust the facts, verbatim, of any piece of history written today about something that happened 300 years ago? The discussion here is on such a minute level of scriptural detail, but the whole discussion can be moot if the bible is not a reliable source of written history. The Bible was also strung together by the council of Nicaea under the order of King Constantine for his political purpose. Of course details of Nicaea and what was included and not, and how much influence Constantine had and all that is up for debate, but just the very fact that the bible was put together by a group of people with some agenda needs to be considered.

    2. Jesus taught in the Hindu tradition of Bakti Yoga, or loosely translated as devotional Yoga. Hundreds, if not thousands of Indian Saints, Seik Gurus (before and after Jesus) decide to go this route. Devotional yoga is simply this, I am the closest thing to God you will ever come across, worship me like a God, and you will get a sense of what God is like. And as you get familiar with that sense, drop me, and go straight to God himself. Use me as training wheels until you can do it yourself. And Jesus often spoke in this manor. And any student of Hinduism and Buddhism and Seikism knows that Jesus was just another saint who taught through Bakti Yoga. But because Christians get so caught up in the, “he’s the one and ONLY way” they never study under any other methods and don’t realize the bigger picture. There are many living Gurus today who have performed as many, if not more miracles than Jesus. I know some, and I have witnessed the miracles. And when I witnessed for myself, I asked myself, “if Jesus was alive today, and I saw him perform miracles, would I believe?” and the answer is “YES”. So then I must believe in the Gurus I have met and know that Jesus is just but One of the Many who have come to show us the way.

    3. I think anyone who is focused on Heaven, hell, judgement, evil, good, immortal soul, eternal life, is missing the big picture. I’m sorry I don’t know the bible like y’all do and can’t quote from it. But I know this, Jesus is all about love. That is his greatest teaching. Love ALL. everything else are just examples of how to do that. When applying that key “LOVE” to any verse, any religion, any situation, the truth becomes clear. Love does not divide, Love does not make judgements of good and bad. God does not create a hell to cast people out that YOU don’t like. Heaven and Hell are the creative imagination of man. God is beyond your brain, your neurons, beyond English and translations of ancient text and beyond all that. God is the creator of ALL that. If you get caught up figuring out which of the created things is more right than another, you are missing the point, and violating commandment 2 and 3. you are worshiping the thing that is created rather than the creator itself. And if in the name of God you say your thing is better than another, you are truly using the lords name in Vain. The creator creates. That’s it. the rest is your ego talking.

    4. Christians say that the Bible is the word of God and infallible, and that Jesus is the only way to god and that once you are “saved” you can go to heaven when you die. Let’s just look at another example. I built an airplane, I know it flies because I say so. No one has ever really seen it fly, but a lot of people take it on faith. The only way you’ll know if it actually flies is when you die. Would you get on the plane?

    5. Not even Christians agree on the facts of Christianity, even the most important tenets of the Christian faith, eternal life, who and what is God, what Jesus meant by what he said, etc, how can you, as a group claim you are more right than anyone else?

    I think most people are drawn to Christianity because of the love and community they feel. But Christian church is not the only place where that happens. Putting up walls via dogma does not make you superior. Get off your ivory tower and see that everything is great, everyone is cool, take the good, bad and ugly and love it all. Someone murdered your mom, love him. Someone stole your car, love it. Someone used the name of Christ to bomb little children, Love that too. Why? because it’s all created by the creator, no exceptions. We all live, we all die, and we all have lot’s of drama in between. Love it all. Even if you hate it, love your hate, too. The beatles wrote about love, and broke up? Love that as well. Love all of it. Look at your belly button, we all have one. what does that mean? we are all connected, we were all born, we were all children, all God’s children, all the animals too, and plants and rocks and planets and universe, we are all connected, part of the whole. That’s prove enough for me to Love it ALL. Keeping the big picture is being with God. Sin is falling in to the the illusion of created things, getting confused by the material things, forgetting that God created ALL OF IT. And the punishment for sin is getting caught in unnecessary drama of “I’m right, he’s wrong” and “he betrayed me” and blah, blah, blah, OH THE SUFFERING!

    The Buddhist have an often seen painting of a Wheel with 6 sections, called the Wheel of Samsara. It shows the drama of emotional life, but shows it as pictorial representations. It shows normal human state, a luxurious God-like state, a war torn state, an animalistic state, an insatiable desirous and covetous state, and a burning in hell state. And then it shows Buddha rising out of the center of the spoke and sitting on a cloud above it all. The Buddha is not a person or a being, but rather a state of mind. A state of just accepting and loving all the drama and termoil and rising about it all and seeing that it’s all just a part of existance. All part of the created universe. A recognition that yes, the drama has been here before and it will be here again. A reminder to not get caught up in it. And if you do, that’s okay too. Just when you can, use what tools you have and rise above it. Be the tool Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, an episode of Jersey Shore, whatever. That’s the true teaching of Jesus. The Kingdom of heaven is a state of mind. A rising above the drama of life. Kissing a leper on his pusing sores is just a physical demonstration of that.

    alright, I’ll shut it now. You can all tell me to go to hell and die. ;o)

    Sorry for the rant, but this was fun to spit out.

    I’ll just let you know that just last week, my son was born. He is a beautiful boy, and an absolute joy. I named him Bodhi, after the Hindu/buddhist philosophy of rising above the drama. My mom, his grandma, who is Christian is so embarrassed and ashamed and dishonors that she has not told her friends about the birth of her grandson, have not visited and have refused to talk to me about it. How’s that for the Love of Jesus.

  43. tomkuoh says:

    Reblogged this on A blog about my spiritual life and commented:
    I was browsing the internet for Bible verses that claimed Christ to be the one and only way. I stumbled upon this post and was both excited and woofully disappointed. But I’m reblogging because it’s an interesting discussion and very sincere. Let me know what you think?

  44. Daniel Christian says:

    This is hilarious!!! Forget about Christianity, I can clearly say that this article is misguiding the people. It was said that the hindu way of reaching god is slightly different with that of buddism. The Hindu way of reaching god is only by way of moksha. Yes!!! Life is a cycle. It is known to everyone that in every living being.a person will acquire his birth on the basis of his past life deeds.no doubt about that!!!! The only way of reaching god I.e eeshwar by way of praying.. Serving the people.. By the way of meditation….. Being a Christian by birth.. I have this curiosity of knowing about other religions and their god. As a part of my research I have studied many Hindu epics and Vedas!!!what people mistake about Hinduism aka Sanatana dharma is that they have millions of gods.! The fact is they have one and only one god that is eeshwar.. God is one but his forms are many..god is everywhere .. In you and me!!! I also observed that Vedas are not corrupted by anyone.unlike bible,it is not written by any human…it was a natural thing as you and me!!! Being a follower of Stephen knapp, who is a converted hindu…have the same story like me which is a coincidence. I know our country, the USA ,24%people are believing this reincarnation cycle!! Which was revealed by a most recent survey!some may say that Jesus is the only and some may that he is son of god etc. and Jesus forgives his followers for their sins. This is another bug loop hole! Let us assume that a person who is a criminal.. Had committed may murders,asks Jesus to forgive his deeds and Jesus does so. If jesus forgives him, the people who were killed by this murderer,should come back from thei graves!!! That is not happening..,see once committed a mistake that will remain as a mistake.. If you want to lessen your mistake… Do good deeds more.your sin won’t to go anywg

  45. David says:

    I’m really surprised that this is still open for posts – it has been open for so long. I normally would not comment on these threads but there are so many people who think this has been a good conversation and would be surprised to learn that Jemima is either a Jehovah’s Witness or has been taught by one. Certainly everything that Jemima has argued is from JW doctrine – annihilation instead of hell, their concept of heaven, the smaller group (144,000) and larger groups that are saved, that the comma should be placed after “today” instead of before (WRONG!). All of these (and more) are answered simply – just search for these things online. A good site I have found is the Watchman Fellowship, though there are many others, including several by ex-JW’s who know all the tricks – like throwing out many points and sidelining the conversation to one of these other points when they cannot respond to your answer (like Jemima did “I thought I raised some very thought provoking questions in those two comments, Dan” after Dan did a good job of answering the previous question.)

    Then TomKuoh steps in with more non-Christian comments that are completely wrong – The Bible was written 30-55 years after Jesus’ death. It’s quoted by people such as Polycarp and Irenaeus amongst many others much less than 300 years after Jesus’ death (btw – if you want to check out the reliability of the manuscripts , see the CARM site and look for the page on Manuscript evidence). The Council of Nicaea had nothing to do with the Bible Canon – it had to do with the Arian Controversy. I think you’ve read too much fiction by Dan Brown. Also, Jesus has nothing to do with the Hindu tradition – he was Jewish.

    I comment only because there is so much bad information in these comments that have taken away from Dan’s original post. I’m writing not to start up another wave of comments, which very well might occur, but to point everyone back to Dan’s post and the truth within it.

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
    John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
    Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

    Be like the Bereans and the Ephesians and follow the lesson in 1 Thessalonians 5 – Test Everything!

    Thanks for the great post, Dan

  46. David says:

    Here’s how God works – after writing the above, I get an email from Biblegateway with a link to an article about a manuscript copy of Mark and sermons on the Book of Hebrews dating to the first century AD (ie – before 100 AD). Not sure if links are accepted here but just in case:

    http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37273&cm_mmc=ExactTarget-_–_–_-http%3a%2f%2fwww.bpnews.net%2fBPnews.asp%3fID%3d37273

    In case that doesn’t work – search for Baptist Press and an article called “1st-century N.T. fragment”

    God Bless

  47. Dan Lacich says:

    David thanks for adding two great comments to the discussion. I look forward to seeing more of you here.
    Dan

  48. Irene O. says:

    It has been incredibly illuminating reading this post and the passionate comments following it. Praise be to God for the calm and consistent way Dan, David and a few others have continued to point out the truth. I will not even attempt to address some of the comments. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. And the simple truth is Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. PRONTO!!! God bless you richly.

  49. Bailey S. says:

    Than you so much! This is exactly what I was looking for to show a good friend of mine. I was having trouble finding how to say it myself, and the fact that it is not only my thoughts makes it much more credible- Thanks again, and beautifully said; God bless~0

  50. Andy Wrasman says:

    If you liked this blog post, you will also like http://www.contradictmovement.org.

  51. Emily Shawver says:

    I really liked this article. It speaks the truth in a way that really can’t be argued by someone who has a child-like faith. I wish it was easier for me to have faith like the kids I babysit have faith in me. I know I fail a lot but God never will. Jesus saved me. Literally, physically, emotionally. I lived in the dark as a child and, though it wasn’t my choice, it was all I knew. The sin in me, the darkness, led me to know numerous demons personally. Anger and fear were my friends. I never knew what the light was like. Before I even learned of God and Jesus in church or had a Bible they made themselves known to me. I’m so glad Jesus is the only way. God is my father, Jesus my teacher, and the Holy Spirit is my guide to them. Thank God for his mercy. And I thank him that Jesus is the bridge for us to take to heaven. I can’t begin to praise him enough.

  52. ONE WAY —- JESUS
    The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven, the only way to have sins forgiven, the only way to be reconciled to God. Why do so many so-called Christian preachers deny this as the truth?

    T.D. Jakes

    Question to T. D. Jakes: “Do you feel only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?”

    Answer: “When it comes to Heaven, I try to leave that up to God. I certainly believe that Christianity is right, but when it comes to the final test–who goes and who doesn’t go — Jesus said, Other sheep have I who are not of this fold. Them also must I bring. I’ll let Him identify who those sheep are and I stay out of the conversation.

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him,”I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

    Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven. Preacher Jakes say he has no idea if that is correct. He cannot say for sure if Jesus is the only way to Heaven. How can a preacher of the gospel not know what Jesus said concerning who is going to Heaven?

    Who are the other sheep? (John10:1-16) The sheep Jesus was talking about were the Jews who were believing and confessing that He was the Son of God. The other sheep are all Gentiles who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

    The sheep of Jesus (Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.) The sheep of Jesus are all who accept Him as the Son of God, Lord and Savior. All converted Jews and Gentiles are the sheep of Jesus.

    Joel Osteen

    Larry King question: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

    Joel Osteen: You know I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know…

    Larry King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong aren’t they?

    Joel Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know about their religions. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to a relationship with Jesus.

    John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Jesus said those who do not believe have already been judged. Joel Osteen says He doesn’t know if non-believers will go to heaven or not. Joel says he does not know if they wrong in their unbelief.

    Billy Graham

    Robert Schuller: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

    Billy Graham: well, Christianity and being a true believer–you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ…I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

    John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides in him”

    The Apostle John said that the that wrath of God abides in those who do not believe in Jesus and who do not obey Him. Billy Graham disagrees. Who are you going to trust?

    You will notice that preachers who deny that Jesus is the only way to heaven say. “I do not know if Jesus is the only way, but I think I know more of the truth than God.”

    John 8:24 ‘Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins;for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

    Jesus said men will die in theirs if they do not confess Him. Some preachers say, I don’t think so.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    A question remains, did those who proclaimed that Jesus is not the only way to heaven stop believing Jesus was the only way, first or did they declare that water baptism was not essential to be saved, first?

    The gospel should be based on what the Bible teaches, what Jesus said, what the apostles taught. The gospel of what MEN think is no gospel at all!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>steve finnell a christian view

  53. Frances says:

    People hate the idea of a God demanding obedience,so they twist the bible to suit their sinful desires e.g homosexuality.God is gentle but also punishing.The God of the old testament has not changed just because he sent jesus.the coming of jesus was to die for our sins so God would stop killing people instantly but on the last day there will be no mercy

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