God of the Living in Heaven and Hell

What does it mean that God is God of the living, not the dead.


Interestingly, Jesus directed most of his criticism against the Pharisees, but there were two groups of religious leaders during his time. The other group was known as the Sadducees. In one of the rare encounters with the Sadducees that we read in the Gospels, they asked Jesus about marriage in heaven. This is because the Pharisees believed in resurrection in bodily form (at the end of the age), but the Sadducees did not. In the biblical passage that inspires this blog post, the Sadducess pressed Jesus on the issue of resurrection.

They confronted Jesus with the hypothetical example of a woman married to the oldest of seven brothers. In Jewish culture and tradition, a brother had an obligation to marry the wife of a deceased brother. In the hypothetical, they asked Jesus, if each brother died in turn, with a surviving brother marrying the widow, who would be her husband after the resurrection? (Matthew 22:23-28)

Jesus, in typical fashion, responded that they should know the answer if they know the Scriptures. (Matthew 22:29) Imagine the upstart Jesus putting the respected leaders in their place like this!

But, Jesus didn’t leave them hanging. He answered that people neither marry nor are given in marriage after death because people are “like the angels in heaven”. (Matthew 22:30) And, then Jesus said,

“And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:  ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.’” (Matthew 22:31-32 ESV)

The statement that jumps out at me in this passage is the last one: God is not a God of the dead, but of the living!

Jesus made it clear when answering the Sadducees that there is a physical resurrection. Indeed, he had been talking about his own death and resurrection multiple times by this point in his ministry. Jesus came for the precise purpose of living and dying and rising from the dead.

And what this means for us is of the very most significance. God is a God of the living, not the dead.

What are the implications for us? While there are some obvious implications, I see some less obvious ones as well.

Continue reading “God of the Living in Heaven and Hell”

Accepting God’s Invitation: The Narrow Door

We need to pay attention to the terms and conditions of God’s invitation to us.

Depositphotos Image ID: 85895480 Copyright: sergeyxsp

In previous articles I have explored the idea that God Does Not Send People to Hell and that God’s Invitation is made to everyone to open the door at which He knocks. Not everyone, however, will enter in. God gives us a real choice, and our fate rests on that choice.

God desires that we all enter in, but whether we do enter in is up to us. We can chose to reject the invitation, or simply fail to respond, and God will let us go. That is because God is love, and love does not coerce.

God’s invitation is compared to the parable told by Jesus of the great banquet. In that parable, a man sent out invitations, but the people he invited were too busy to come. So he sent invitations out to the people in the streets and alleys and country roads and filled up the banquet table with all who were willing to come.

This may seem on the surface like universalism, but it isn’t. Anyone familiar with the Bible knows that there is more to it than that. The door to which we are invited to enter in is a narrow one.

Continue reading “Accepting God’s Invitation: The Narrow Door”

God Doesn’t Send People to Hell

Sun by Me


Imagine a survivor of the Holocaust, living life out quietly, suffering the residual emotional, mental and spiritual pain of the atrocities she witnessed and experienced. She harmed no one and was a decent mother, grandmother wife and citizen. Someone preaches the Gospel to her on her death bed, and she rejects it. Will God send her to heaven or hell?

This question is compelling, suggesting that no God would send anyone who suffered so much to hell. But, the question really isn’t a good one. Not that the circumstance isn’t compelling. The question is loaded, and it’s intended to negate the the Christian idea that the only way to God is through faith and belief in him.

Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.[1] Peter, who walked with Jesus, ate meals with Him and sat at His feet as he was mentored by Jesus, proclaimed that there is salvation in no one else.[2]

If Jesus is God’s Son, sent to bring the world to the Father, and there is no other name by which men must be saved, then a person who rejects rejects Jesus is not going to heaven. according to these words that Jesus spoke. So, doesn’t that mean God sends people  who don’t believe to hell, like the good citizen who suffered in Auschwitz?

God is love.[3] Right? Many people believe, based on that proposition, that God would not send people to hell, especially people who suffered in this life. I think they are right, but for different reasons. I believe that love is the reason God will not send someone to heaven!

Continue reading “God Doesn’t Send People to Hell”

The Great Divide

Grand Canyon


“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance[i].” (2 Peter 3:9)

People have spoken about the second coming of Christ since soon after Jesus died. We still talk about it today. I am not going to try to suggest when the second coming will be. No man knows the day or the hour. (Matt. 24:36) But, a God who could raise Jesus from the dead can cause Him to come again. It will happen. We will also all die as surely as we live. Continue reading “The Great Divide”