Appreciation and thanks for study guides and Beyond Today
Peace and love to you from distant Russia! In these days of criminal war, your gospel word is very important! I am very grateful to you for your preaching and for your prayers. With gratitude, I received from you a package with six precious publications that carry the good news from the Holy Bible about the coming Kingdom of God.
Reader in Russia
I have read your study guide Why Were You Born? It is the most amazing book I have ever read. The reasons you write about are so incredible that one finds it hard to believe! But when we read what is plainly written in Scripture it becomes the most fascinating potential for mankind. And what is also astonishing is why so many don’t see what you see!
Reader in the United Kingdom
I received your study guide You Can Have Living Faith. Since I am struggling with life experiences, it really served as a source of comfort for me.
Reader in New York
Thanks for sending regularly Beyond Today, which is very informative and provides spiritual guidance.
Subscriber in Pakistan
Reader responses to recent Beyond Today articles
Regarding your issue on “What If Sodom Has Been Found?”—it is rather stunning to have such a discovery be made and yet have much of the media dismiss it immediately as nothing significant. It has been said to be just a chance encounter with a meteorite, from which a myth sprang up about Sodom and Gomorrah. The majority of people in this world are sleepwalking, spiritually speaking. Hopefully some people will look at all the evidence and wake up to the destruction we are heading into.
From the Internet
What an outstanding issue that last one was. I love the in-depth archaeological proof you’ve shown to prove the biblical history of the Old Testament and the life of Jesus. Great job on that. I’ve always loved reading your magazine. I don’t always agree with some of your traditions, but you do preach a sound biblical teaching. We need to focus on knowing Jesus so we can be like Him. And you do that. Your articles are full of good biblical teaching. Thank you for putting out such an informative magazine. God’s blessings to you all.
Subscriber in Michigan
I wanted to offer my sincerest thank you for this excellent piece, “Seven Scientific Proofs of God.” As a certified biology teacher, researcher and statistician, I have sometimes been troubled by the little bit of knowledge accrued in my past education, I think mostly from my unperfected love and faith, try as I might. Your article was so well-written and convincing, I was moved to tears when I finished. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
From the Internet
Reader question about hell
I just wanted to discuss your belief that eternal torment in hell is not the punishment of the wicked. I’m concerned that pushing this idea of hell not being an eternal punishment is harmful to new believers and also nonbelievers. There are so many verses that insist on the punishment being eternal. This was honestly the hardest part of Christianity for me to come to terms with, but it is the truth.
I encourage you to seek truth at all costs. I’m afraid that this sort of teaching is what 2 Timothy 4:3 2 Timothy 4:3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
American King James Version×refers to as “tickling the ears”—this idea that the punishment isn’t that bad. This promotes complacency and takes away from the magnitude of what Jesus did for us. Please consider asking God to lead you to the truth. I’m happy to discuss this at length if you’re interested!
From the Internet
Thank you for your letter. Our teaching is based on a careful study of all the relevant scriptures and history. Throughout the Bible those who die are described as being “asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:18 1 Corinthians 15:18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
American King James Version×; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 1 Thessalonians 4:14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
American King James Version×), who “know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 Ecclesiastes 9:5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
American King James Version×), and who await a resurrection to judgment (Daniel 12:2 Daniel 12:2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
American King James Version×; John 11:24 John 11:24Martha said to him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
American King James Version×). After that resurrection—which takes place at a future time after the return of Jesus Christ—that judgment will reward some with eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10-13 2 Timothy 2:10-13  Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself.
American King James Version×). But that judgment will also bring punishment for the incorrigibly wicked, who actively choose to disavow God and refuse His offer of salvation (Revelation 20:14-15 Revelation 20:14-15  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
American King James Version×; 21:8).
And yes, that punishment will be eternal; it will be irreversible (Matthew 25:46 Matthew 25:46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×). But it will not be eternal torment, as many assume. Instead it will be a merciful eternal death (the "second death" in verses just cited).
The apostle Paul succinctly explains the biblical truth of the final judgment of human beings: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×). Notice that the wages of sin are not an eternal life of torment in hellfire, but “death”—the cessation of life. Immortality is a gift for only those who submit to God and choose to live His way.
In short, God is merciful, even to those who hate Him—whom He will destroy completely, never to live again. This is truly a terrifying—and eternal —final judgment of death. All this is covered in much greater detail in our free study guide Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? Those interested can download or request it for free at ucg.org/booklets.