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Dear Refiner's Fire...

I am sincerely interested in religion; I've studied it for years. I was born Jewish and still respect and honor its teachings, though I do not actively practice. Of course, I've looked at Christianity but found something very troubling; the Hell doctrine...the idea that you must accept Jesus as your Savior or your sins will send you to Hell.

What about the Jews murdered in the Holocaust? Are they suffering in Hell, along with their Nazi murderers? What if some of those Nazis repented and became Christians before they died? Are they enjoying Heaven now while the Jews they murdered are suffering eternal torment? How can this be just, since God is a God of justice? How can you, as a born Jew, believe this?

Perhaps the problem is that I don't understand the Christian view of Hell. If so, please correct my misunderstanding. Otherwise, could you try to answer my questions? I cannot seriously consider becoming a Christian until this difficulty is resolved.

Our Response...

Thank you for writing The Refiner's Fire! Before we respond, we need to point out a few things. First, ONLY G-d decides "who goes to hell." No human has the right to decide that! Secondly, we'd like to draw your attention to the fact that we are NOT a Christian website; we are Netzarim - we have accepted the idea that Y'shua is our Messiah and that he is the "Son" of G-d who was also the "Word of G-d" (1 John 1, 14). We also believe that G-d's people need to obey His Torah (Divine Instruction in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living). In other words, we do not adhere to some "religion"; we adhere to the whole Word of G-d; Genesis through Revelation. Thirdly, we would ask that you check out our articles, Hell is a Real Place and Deliberate sinning. With that said, please read our response, below.

There is really no easy answer to your great question, so please bear with us! (Also, please forgive us for simplifying this, but our desire is word our articles so anyone can understand.) The short answer would be: "Hell" is a place of eternal separation from G-d (YHWH/Yahweh, the Father). Those who refuse Him as their ELOHIM and live life according to His Rules, will receive an "eternal death sentence" (it will be as if they never existed; while those who accepted YHWH as their G-d will live eternally with Him). He gave us all the choice to accept or reject Him; there is no "in-between." Those who accept Him will have eternal life and live in "the new heaven and earth" forever (Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22-23, etc.); those who reject Him will simply "be gone, wiped out."

G-d laid down His Torah the moment He created man so His people could learn how to be holy/set apart. ("Do this; don't do that...") Everything changed once Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for their disobedience (Genesis 3)! No longer was life stress-free bliss, heaven on earth! Now mankind had different rules in which they were expected to DO something to please God - rules that include the offering of sacrifices as we see beginning in Genesis 4.

Later on after the Hebrews/Isralites had been liberated from slavery in Egypt and were living "in the wilderness", learning all over again who their G-d was and how to be holy unto Him, He created the Levite Priesthood who were to be intercessors on behalf of G-d's people (read Exodus through Deuteronomy), sacrificing the blood of young bulls or goats to atone for the people's sins.

But then there is a "rest of the story" found in the Renewed Covenant, revealing Y'shua - who martyred Himself for our sins, thus eliminating the need for animal sin sacrifices . Y'shua was the "arm of G-d" (Isaiah 53:1), the Divine Messiah who became our Intercessor. (He was "divine" ONLY because YHWH was His Father - who had given him a divine qnoma/nature.)

NOTE: Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because counter-missionary Jews love to point out that "G-d never required human sacrifice!" Our question is: Then what are you going to do about "Old Testamant" passages like these that prove otherwise?

First of all, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him. He willingly went to the cross/stake, offering himself on our behalf (much like the Passover lamb in the first Passover was an "offering" and not a "sacrifice" (Exodus 12:3-5). As a human being he had the CHOICE to obey G-d, or not. He could have called down legions of angels to prevent his impending suffering and death at the hands of the Romans, but he knew WHO he was, and thus, went willingly to his death. As we see time and time again, he CHOSE to obey. As a matter of fact, he even said he came not to do his own will, but rather, his Father's will:

Luke 4: 43 "But he (Y'shua) said, "I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of G-d to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."

Luke 8: 1. And it happened after these things that Y'shua was going around in the cities and in the villages and was preaching and declaring the Kingdom of Elohim.

And take a look at this - his disciples and apostles ALSO preached the same thing!

Acts 28: 23 "From morning till evening the Apostle Paul explained and declared the Kingdom of God and tried to convince people about Yeshua from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."

Acts 24: 14. But this indeed I (Paul) acknowledge, that in that same doctrine of which they speak, I do serve the Elohim of my fathers, believing all the things written in Torah and in the prophets.

A quick side note:

While Y'shua's death, burial, and resurrection are an important part of the Good News, it's not the whole story! G-d isn't just in the business of "saving" people. As Creator and law giver, He is in the business of teaching us how to be good subjects in His Kingdom to come! If "Jesus abolished Torah at the cross" (as most Christians insist), then why was EVERY believer completely Torah observant for one hundred years after Y'shua's death, including the Apostle Paul who was "caught" being Torah observant 29 years after Y'shua's death (Acts 21:23-24)? Was Paul a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another; or were his teachings, perhaps, misunderstood?

Moving on, we're going to suggest something that the Jewish believers will find rather shocking as we don't believe that "prayer and supplication" are all that's required for atonement. (Remember, G-d always required blood for sin atonement!) Y'shua said, "No one comes to the Father but by me!" (John 14:6; see also John 5:26, John 10:9, John 11:25.) He did NOT say, "No one comes to the Father but by me EXCEPT for Judah." He said NO ONE! To pull together "the whole picture" we must do a little study that takes us back to Torah and the Levites who were expected to perform the various sacrifices (including SIN sacrifices).

Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for our souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."

After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, there was no place to do these sacrifices anymore and ultimately G-d's people, citing Hosea 6:6, decided that "prayer and supplication" were enough to be "saved." (But according to Torah that was NEVER all that was required!) Hosea 6:6 reads: For what I desire is mercy, not sacrifices, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

In reading the context of the whole of Hosea 6, however, we see that it revealed G-d admonishing His people for their endless whoring and disobedience, and telling them that their endless "works" of killing animals was useless without the required "heart" attitude! Understand this passage:

Isaiah 1:11 "What need have I of all your sacrifices?" Says the Lord. "I am sated with burnt offerings of rams, And suet of Fatlings, and blood of bulls; and I have no delight in lambs and he-goats.12 That you come to appear before Me - who asked that of you? Trample My courts 13 no more; bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to Me. New moon and Sabbath, proclaiming of solemnities, assemblies with iniquity, I cannot abide. 14 Your new moons and fixed seasons fill Me with loathing; They are become a burden to Me. I cannot endure them. (New Jewish Publication Society)

And somehow, to this day, passages such as the following have totally escaped some people:

Ecclesiastes 12:11 The sayings of the wise are as sharp as goads, and those given by leaders of assemblies are like well-fixed nails; [in this case,] they are presented by a single shepherd. 12 In addition, my son, take heed: one can write many books - there's no end to it; and one can study so much that it wearies the flesh. 13 Here is the final conclusion, now that you have heard everything: fear God, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about.

G-d's people ARE to fear God and keep His mitzvot! So WHERE and HOW does the above scripture suggest that we no longer require SIN sacrifices? The entire Torah is about who G-d is and how to worship Him according to His Mitzvot - which include over and over again the need for SIN sacrifices! That was never reversed, and it certainly wasn't abolished just because the Second Temple was destroyed and there is now no place to do those sacrifices!

Who gave anyone the authority to suggest we don't have to obey the rules anymore? Who has the authority to say that one can simply fast and do good deeds, etc.? If it were true that prayer and supplication is all that's required, then Messiah would NOT have had to give His life; He died in vain and millions of Christians and Messianic believers have been DUPED! ... Oh, what a slap in Y'shua's face!

G-d sent the human with a divine Nature - Y'shua haMashiyach - to basically "put a face on God" referred to as His "arm" (Isaiah 53:1) so Y'shua could teach mankind face-to-face and personally show them how to be holy/set apart according to Torah. Since the death of Y'shua, all we need to do is to "believe in His shed blood":

Ephesians 1:4 According as He had previously chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we might be Set Apart and without blame before Him; and, in love, as that before our beginnings for Himself; 5. And adopted us for sons, in Y'shua the Mashiyach as was agreeable to His will: 6. That the glory of His grace might be glorified which He poured upon us by his Beloved One; 7. By whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins by his blood, according to the riches of his grace 8. Which has abounded in us, in all wisdom and all spiritual understanding.

John 14:6 Y'shua said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me. 7. If only you would have known me, you would have also have known my Father. And from now on you know Him and you have seen Him.

Acts 4:10 let this be known to you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Y'shua the Mashiyach, the Nazarene, he whom (you), executed on the stake, he whom Elohim raised from the dead, by him, by the same one, behold this (man) stands before you being whole! 11. This is the stone that you builders have rejected, and has become the head of the corner. 12. And there is not salvation by another man for there is not another name under heaven which is given to men by which it is proper to have life!" (AENT)

FOOTNOTE: "Life-Giver" in Aramaic is how we would render "Savior" in English. John 5:26 reveals that the Father G-d gives life from His Qnoma (occurrence of His one nature) to the Son, who is Mashiyach. Y'shua in turn, gives that Life to those who are drawn to him. Y'shua would be powerless to give Eternal Life without His Father G-d first providing it to him, but it still falls to the Son and no other man to pass that gift on to the rest of us.

Y'shua decries the Pharisees on this issue, pointing out that according to Scripture, Life comes from Mashiyach, but they won't come to him as haMashiyach for that Life! This is a radically different perspective from those who call on "the name of Jesus" as a substitute for this G-d-ordained precious gift of salvation because, without One, the other cannot perform his function.

Y'shua has so far fulfilled more than 300 Tanach prophecies! He has so far fulfilled FOUR of the SEVEN Feasts - and there are just three more to go! For those who truly never realized that Y'shua IS the Messiah, then it's all up to G-d to decide whether or not He will allow them into His Heaven. YHWH DOES know our hearts and HE is THE Savior! But for those who have known Y'shua and turned their backs on Him - woe be unto them for Scripture tells us they are in real trouble!

Hebrews 6:4 But they who have once descended to immersion and have tasted the gift from heaven and have received the Ruach haKodesh 5. and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the power of the world to come, 6. cannot again sin and a second time be renewed to repentance; or a second time execute him on a stake and insult the Son of Elohim. 7. For the earth that drinks the rain which comes often upon it and produces the herb that is of use to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from Elohim. 8. But if it should put forth thorns and briers, it would be discarded and be approaching closely to a curse, and its end would be a conflagration. ( (AENT)

As you can see, there is more to "being saved" than just "believing in Jesus"! Unfortunately, "the church" is totally blind to that fact, and we at The Refiner's Fire honestly believe this will end up in "the church" being viewed as "lukewarm" upon Y'shua's return (Revelation 3:16). Below you can see that, to belong to G-d, it is imperative we both KNOW G-d AND keep His Commandments - AND - have the testimony of Y'shua:

John 17:3 Now this is life that is eternal, that they might know You, that You are the Elohim of Truth, and he alone whom You have sent, the Mashiyach Y’shua. (AENT)

1 John 2:3. And by this we will be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. 4. For he that says I know him, and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. 5. But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him. 6. He that says I am in him, is bound to walk according to his halacha. (AENT)

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged against the woman; and he went to make war upon the remnant of her seed who keep the Commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Y'shua. (AENT)

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See that you do not do this; I am your fellow-servant and of those your Brothers who have the testimony of Y'shua. Worship you Elohim: for the testimony of Y'shua is the Spirit of Prophecy. (AENT)

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and (persons) sat on them, and judgment was given to them, and to the souls that were beheaded for the testimony of Y'shua and for the Word of Elohim: and these are they who had not worshipped the beast of prey nor its image; neither had they received the mark upon their forehead or on their hand; and they lived and reigned with their Mashiyach those thousand years. (AENT) (See also: Revelation 1:1-2; 1:9.)

Y'shua and all the Apostles CONSTANTLY referred to and quoted from G-d's Torah! When confronted by Satan, Y'shua did NOT quote Himself; He quoted from the Torah (Luke 4:1-12)! The Bible from Genesis to Revelation ... all of it goes hand in hand!

So, yes, BEFORE the death of Y'shua, G-d's people relied on the blood of animals to cleanse them from their sins and keep them from being forever separated from G-d. Afterward, the priesthood and the sacrificial system changed and Y'shua becamse the standard bearer.

Anyway, returning to your "hell" question, it is sheer arrogance for any mere human to tell another they're going to hell! G-d and only G-d decides who will get to spend eternity with Him! Who's to say that the Christians who have taken God's Word and twisted it into something unrecognizable and decided that Torah was "nailed to the cross" and have changed Yeshua's Name and turned Him into a blond, blue-eyed Gentile adonis will end up in heaven?

As mentioned above, based on the teaching of the Tanach - specifically Isaiah 53 and many other scriptures, Y'shua was the FINAL Sin Sacrifice. He was not a "human sacrifice" (more on this at the end of this article); He martyred Himself (against which there is no law). So, if that particular Nazi you asked about, somehow "saw the light" and repented for what he had done and ended up a true, Torah observant God-fearer, then chances are God would most likely have forgiven him and accepted him as righteous. Only G-d Himself knew the heart of that Nazi; He knows when someone is for real and He knows when we're "faking it"...and He has the right to accept or reject us.

We must also remember that the tragic suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust did not automatically transform them into godly people entitled to spend eternity with YHWH. Some probably lost their faith during that time because they figured that, as Jews, NO harm could ever come to them; while others became overly hostile toward G-d during this horrible ordeal, and turned from Him completely. But only G-d knew each one on a case-by-case basis and so we reiterate no one has the right to say who "goes to hell"....(Please read Ezekiel 33:11-16 and 1 Timothy 1.)

Although there's no way of backing this scripturally, it seems our Creator would not reject anyone who has never heard of Him, because as Scripture tells us, He wants no one to perish. If, however, a Jew (or anyone else) has heard about Y'shua, yet chooses to ignore what the whole Bible says, that person will be judged accordingly. (Romans 2 explains in detail the impartiality of God.) We at The Refiner's Fire have a theory that, because the Bible says that "a day is like a thousand years" and vice versa - meaning that God views "time" differently from us humans - who is to say that He doesn't give us one, final chance in the seconds before we die? The Bible isn't specific about this, and that is why it is imperative to "get right" with Him BEFORE we die.

One final note: In case you are having problems with the "human sacrifice" idea, please read the following explanation from the Aramaic English New Testament:

Offerings "qurbana" and sacrifices "dabekha" are two different entities. Although there are certain aspects to Mashiyach's death that are utterly unique to him (Zechariah 12:10, etc.), his death nevertheless echoes aspects of offerings and sacrifices that came before. The qurbana is the human life (nefesh) that Y'shua voluntarily offers up on the stake. The result of that offering is his blood put out on the "altar"; hence dabekha.

However, this is certainly not, as some critics suggest, human sacrifice. Rather, this indicates Y'shua's status as Mashiyach ben Yoseph. Per strict accordance with Isaiah 53 and Genesis 22:8, Mashiyach ben Yoseph was required to suffer and die. After his death, the offering of himself became a sacrifice that was taken up, and he was resurrected three days later. Many of G-d's prophets also suffered and were martyred at the hands of those who fought against the Malchut Elohim. In the case of Mashiyach, his shed blood is counted as the acceptable sacrifice, the Lamb of G-d, which is most Set Apart unto G-d.

G-d surely can do whatever He wants since HE is in charge of the entire universe. He has revealed Himself through a burning bush to Moshe, through pillars of cloud and fire in the desert, through "three men" to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre, and He even spoke through a donkey - so why are traditional Jews insisting that He couldn't possibly reveal Himself through a human form as THE Messiah who actually had a NAME (Yeshua) and who G-d said would be called EMANUEL (God with us)? Thanks again for your question and we hope this has helped!