Desiring God

Desiring God was founded by Pastor John Piper. He started the ministry with the purpose to distribute tapes and write books, however, the ministry developed into a successful online ministry featuring over 12 000 free resources and more than 3.5 million monthly users.

Please read the excerpt from the ministry’s website below:

Most people in the world have no experience of deep and abiding joy.

Even though it is something we all desperately long for, the assurance that true happiness can be known — fully and forever — is a hope that billions of people live every day without. This is a tragedy.

Desiring God is on a mission to change that.

We aim to help people everywhere embrace a profound truth that changes everything about life and eternity: You were created for something greater than yourself. You were formed for something awesome and magnificent.

You were made to know glory — God’s glory. And the deepest longings of the human heart can be fully satisfied by pursuing that glory. In fact, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

We call this truth Christian Hedonism. And declaring it to the world is why we exist.

Everything we create and distribute here at Desiring God exists to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Here are a few of our most popular resources:

Ask Pastor John – Life is hard and often leaves us asking tough questions about God. Listen to John Piper answer these questions from the Bible.

Look at the Book – Can we really hear from God by reading the Bible? Absolutely! Watch John Piper study a short passage of Scripture (with color-coded highlights) and learn to know God through his word.

Solid Joys – By fueling our minds with truth day after day, our hearts will grow to see God as a satisfying treasure. Read or listen to a short, God-centered devotional from John Piper for every day of the year.

We also have thousands of articlessermonsbooks, and podcasts

https://www.desiringgod.org/about-us

Visit the ministry’s website to explore some of these great resources.

Youth Apologetics Training

The Youth Apologetics Training ministry focuses on pertinent topics in culture, which includes issues such as creation/evolution, science and the Bible, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, the New Age Movement, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, witchcraft (including wica), Mormonism, Jehova’s Witnesses, the Unification Church, Christian Science, Scientology, Word of Faith, and the New Apostolic Reformation.

Founder of Youth Apologetics Training, Michael Boehm

Below is an excerpt from the ministry’s website:

This ministry is for the new Christian as well as for the seasoned saint.  Don’t think that just because this ministry has “Youth” in the title, that we ministry has little for you to glean.  We at YAT believe that today’s youth are far more intelligent than many give them credit for.  In this blog and podcast, we go deep and explore some of the most advanced apologetics ideas and worldviews you will find out there.  The difference is that we believe in teaching these often-difficult subjects in a way that is easily understood and digested.

Youth Apologetics Training Website

Visit the ministry’s website, Sermon Audio podcast or YouTube channel.

Behold Israel

Amir Tsarfati was born in Israel and has lived there most of his life. Since fulfilling his mandatory service in the Israeli Defense Force, he has continued as a major in the IDF Reserve. Amir has been a tour guide in Israel for the last twenty years, and served as chief tour guide of Sar El Tours and CEO of Sar El Tours and Conferences. In 2001, he became founder and president of Behold Israel – a non-profit organization which provides worldwide real-time access to reliable sources of news and information about Israel from within the powerful context of Bible history and prophecy.

Amir is married to Miriam, and together they have four children. His home overlooks the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) which is a constant reminder of the call that the Lord has placed on him to teach from the Bible what God’s plans are for the end of times.

Behold Israel is a non-profit organization led by native Israeli Amir Tsarfati. Our mission is to provide reliable and accurate reporting on developments in Israel and the region. Amir’s live updates and teachings, based on God’s Written Word, sift out the truth on current events amidst global media bias against Israel.

Through our website, free app, social media and Amir’s teachings in multiple languages, we are able to reach communities worldwide. His teachings abroad and in the land explain the central role of Israel in the Bible as a blessing to the nations and a way to bring them to the Word of God and the Messiah.

https://beholdisrael.org/about/
Behold Israel Welcome Video on Behold Israel’s YouTube channel

Enduring Word

Enduring Word exists to promote the work of Christian discipleship and evangelism worldwide, mainly through the publication and dissemination of the Bible teaching work of David Guzik and likeminded people.

When David Guzik was a young pastor in Simi Valley, California, he (among many other pastors) was asked to send his teaching notes to the developers of a new internet Bible research site: Blue Letter Bible. In the late 1990’s, David’s material first appeared on the Blue Letter Bible, and was found to be a valuable resource.

David’s Bible resources – both in text and through audio and video – are used by many thousands of people every day. Many pastors, Bible teachers, and everyday Christians find these materials helpful.

https://enduringword.com/about/enduring-word/
The Story of Enduring Word

Visit Enduring Word’s website and YouTube channel.

HisChannel Ministries

Visit HisChannel.com to watch the latest world news in light of Scripture and Biblical prophecy. The website also hosts videos on Biblical teaching, Church broadcasts, as well as Movies and Documentaries pertaining to Christian topics.

Real Life with Jack Hibbs

I was recently sent a YouTube video of Jack Hibbs speaking to Don Stewart in a Biblical prophecy update in his series called “Happening Now”. I found this video quite enlightening and in line with Biblical prophecy and principles. For anyone interested in Biblical prophecy and wanting to know where we are in the prophetic timeline, these updates are quite insightful and eye opening. The latest video (as at the time of writing this article) is embedded below.

Bible Prophecy – Happening Now with Don Stewart (Jan. 2020)

Jack Hibbs is the Senior Pastor and Founder of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Southern California. You can visit his ministry’s website, Real Life with Jack Hibbs, and YouTube channel to find more videos and resources.

Below is an excerpt from his ministry’s website to provide more information about the ministry.

Have you listened to Jack Hibbs teach? Or watched him on TV? Well, if you have, it doesn’t take very long to figure out that Pastor Jack is passionate about life! That might be an understatement.

This passion comes out of his deep understanding that God, who came to earth in human skin, has through Jesus Christ provided the way, the truth and the life. Our relationship with God, broken because of our sin, can be restored through Him. Jesus said He came to give us “abundant” life. That’s real life done God’s way!

Our relationship with Christ and His instructions about the Christian life should impact every area of our being. That’s right! God’s Word – the Bible – speaks to the real life issues we all face. Depression. Joy. Suffering. Forgiveness. Peace. Fulfillment.

We trust that Real Life with Jack Hibbs is a place you will be encouraged. Listen to the daily radio programs featuring Pastor Jack’s teaching. Watch insightful interviews and discussions on our Real Life TV program. Take advantage of the resources we offer as you grow in your relationship with God. Finally, be encouraged by the Real Life Devotional by Pastor Jack.

It is our hope that through Jesus Christ you will know Real Life!

https://reallifewithjackhibbs.org/about-us/

Bible.org

Bible.org is another excellent and free online resource that can be used for Bible study; for devotional or scholarly purposes. In addition to a multitude of articles, it also provides a free Bible study tool, called NetBible.org. Below is an excerpt from the website’s ‘about’ section.

We are a nondenominational Bible based site that exists to freely share the good news from God to the entire world so you can KNOW the Truth about life and eternity. This Truth comes from Knowing GOD and having a relationship with Jesus Christ as it says in John 14:6-7Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.”

To help you search and find these truths, we provide free access on the Internet to over 20,000 articles which represent the finest, most trustworthy biblical truths and materials from Pastors and Scholars around the world. 

We also desire to come along side the Church and help it fulfill the Great Commission commandment from Christ which is recorded in Matt 28:19-20.

In addition we provide for free, the best Bible Study Tool on the web  “NetBible.org“. This free tool has the NET Bible (2nd edition) with its 58,000+ notes, Greek, Hebrew, texts linked to Strongs numbers, and it allows you to search all the translations of the Bible to find your favorite verses. 

https://bible.org/book/about-bibleorg

Go and have a look at this great free resource.

Credit: Cover Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

United for the Messiah Podcast

This resources is the Podcast Channel of the United for the Messiah (Uni4M) Ministry. The main purpose of the Podcast will be to teach through the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.

We believe the Bible is a supernatural book given to us by God to reveal His plan of salvation, as well as to be a general manual to life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Please subscribe to our channel to stay updated with the latest episodes.

BeliefMap

BeliefMap is an apologetics tool designed for navigating four main questions that the gospel depends on: “Does God exist?”, “Is Jesus a real historical figure?”, “Does Jesus stand out as if God’s chosen?”, and, “Did God raise Jesus from death?” We aim to produce a comprehensive research tool that maps academic responses and counter-responses to these questions. BeliefMap is designed as an encyclopedia to be quickly navigated, in an interactive choose-your-own path format that feels like conversation with an expert.

More broadly, BeliefMap aims to Equip, Encourage, and Evangelize.

• We Equip Christians working to share their faith with skeptical friends and family, by providing them with a sort of pocket-apologist to train them, as well as consult and guide their live discussions.

• We Encourage Christians who are doubting by providing a customized tool for addressing their personal concerns.

• We Evangelize seekers who are exploring the truth-claims of Christianity (particulary claims central to defending the the good news of Jesus Christ), to see if it is justifiable and defensible. BeliefMap aims to be an academically rigorous resource which demonstrates and advertises that Christianity is intellectually distinguished, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be rationally dismissed or ignored.

https://beliefmap.org/

Is hell a real place?

During one of my recent Sunday School lessons, one of my students asked me whether hell was a real place or not. He also wanted to know if there was any way of getting out of hell, should a person end up in it. In an attempt to provide a thoughtful and Scriptural answer, I decided the thoroughly investigate this topic. The following paragraphs will deal with my findings from a Scriptural point of view.

The first thing you need to understand is that there are four different words used for “hell” in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of Scripture. These words are [1]:

  • Sheol
    • A Hebrew word used in the Old Testament only. This word occurs 65 times in the original text. When translated into the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, it is used 31 times as grave, 31 times as hell and, 3 times as pit.
    • Definition / description: “Sheol is the abode of the dead, a place of degradation, the locality or condition of those who have died or have been destroyed. It is implied that although, so far as the world is concerned, they have perished, yet they are still in a state of existence and are within God’s cognizance”.
  • Hades
    • A Greek word used in the New Testament only. This word occurs 11 times in the original text. When translated into the KJV of the Bible, it is used 10 times as hell and once as grave.
    • Definition / description: “Hades is the region of the departed spirits of the lost (but including the blessed dead in periods preceding the ascension of Christ)”. “It corresponds to Sheol in Old Testament”.
  • Gehenna
    • A Greek word used in the New Testament only. This word occurs 12 times in the original text. When translated into the KJV of the Bible, it is used 9 times as hell and once as hell fire.
    • Definition / description: This is an actual place in Jerusalem, ” a valley of (the son of) Hinnom (or Ge-Hinnom)”. This word is only used by Jesus himself in the New Testament. It is a word that describes a place where there is “a state of everlasting punishment”.
  • Tartarŏs
    • A Greek word used only once in the New Testament. It was translated as cast down to hell in the KJV of the Bible.
    • Definition / description: “The deepest abyss of Hades”. “To incarcerate in eternal torment”.

I have listed the four different words used for hell in the original text, but it does not automatically illuminate how these terms differ from one another, if at all. Of course the best way to illuminate this ‘grey’ picture, is to shed the light of the Word on it.

The one word that does not directly impact us as human beings, is Tartarŏs. The only Scriptural passage that mentions this place, as well as provide any explanation to it, is 2 Peter 2:4. It seems to be a temporary place where God placed the angels who sinned until the day of judgement. This may be an interesting topic to study further, however, as it does not form part of the scope of the question, I will not deal with it further in this article.

  • 2 Peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to Tartarŏs and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.”

Jesus, in Luke 16:19-31, gives a true account of a certain rich man and beggar, called Lazarus. In this account Jesus tells about a certain rich man dying and going to Hades. The rich man was conscious, but ended up in a place of torment. He was, even in this place, somehow conscious and could see the saints in Abraham’s bosom. From this passage, together with the passages corresponding to the words Sheol and Hades in Scripture, we understand that before Jesus’ death (at the time this account was given), the souls of everyone who died went to Hades. We are told in prophecy that Hades is not the final destination of souls, but that everyone will rather be resurrected; either to eternal life or eternal damnation. At the time before Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, it seems that Hades were divided into at least two sections namely, the place of torment and Abraham’s bosom. There is some that believe Tartarŏs was also part of Hades, but I cannot clearly see this from Scripture. From the account of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus, we learn that:

  • In the place of torment there is an agonizing pain caused by fire (Luke 16:24).
  • In Abraham’s bosom the souls were being comforted (Luke 16:25).
  • There was and is no way to cross over or travel between the place of torment and Abraham’s bosom.

The temporary dwelling place of souls of the dead have changed slightly since the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus into Heaven. People who now die in this period without accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour still temporarily resides in Sheol / Hades. On the other hand, born again Christians now immediately go into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The following Scripture passages provide support of this view.

  • Luke 23:43: And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
  • Philippians 1:23: For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:8: We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The previous sections dealt with our temporary abodes when we die, however, the Bible also speaks about our final destination. Note that the temporary dwelling places mentioned in the above passages refers only to the location of our souls; where our body has perished and our soul remains. There will however be a day when we will be bodily resurrected:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

From these passages in the Bible, it is plainly stated that we will one day be bodily resurrected. It is further stated that born again believers will rise first. Now you may ask, raised for what? Once again, Scripture provides the best explanation.

  • Daniel 12:2: And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
  • John 5:28-29: Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
  • Acts 24:15: I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

This means both believers and unbelievers alike will be bodily resurrected. When will this happen? In the revelation of things to come, given to the apostle John by Jesus Christ, Jesus explains the two types of resurrections, together with the different timings. The resurrection of believers will occur in two stages. Firstly, as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, all believers in Christ will be raised at the rapture of the Bride of Christ (the Church). If you believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of believers, this resurrection spoken of will take place before (or at the start of) the 7 year tribulation period.

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
  • 1 Corinthians 15: 51-54: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

There will be another group of believers that will be resurrected after the period of the great tribulation. This group of people are known as the tribulation saints.

  • Revelation 20:4-6: And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

For those who endure and who are faithful to Jesus Christ, this is excellent news. However, for those who did not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and savior while alive on Earth, the resurrection of the unbelievers is described in Scripture, as seen in the below passage:

  • Revelation 20:11-15: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

The lake of fire described here corresponds with Gehenna which Jesus spoke and warned about. Unfortunately, there is no escaping Gehenna either. In Matthew 25:41 Jesus talks about the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”.

The good news for everyone is that God provided us with a way to escape hell, whether we are speaking about Sheol/Hades or Gehenna. Scripture explains how we can escape everlasting damnation and be brought into everlasting life.

  • Romans 10:9-10: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

When you confess Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour and truly believe that God raised him from the dead, the promise (from God) is that you will be saved. When you are saved, you are born again of the Spirit of God. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus in John 3:3:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

As you have learnt in this article, the Bible clearly teaches eternal life; either eternal life in Heaven or eternal life in Gehenna (hell). I encourage you to therefore carefully consider your eternal position. The gift of eternal life is a free gift, available to everyone and anyone.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

References:

  1. Strong, J., Kohlenberger, J. R., III and Strong, J. (2001) The new Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. T. Nelson. Available at: https://search-ebscohost-com.nwulib.nwu.ac.za/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat01185a&AN=nwu.b1380957&site=eds-live (Accessed: 24 September 2019).
  2. New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible. All Scripture passages provided in article.
  3. Cover Photo by icon0.com from Pexels
  4. Copy Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay