The Daily Word of Righteousness

Diversity of Destinies, #6

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. (Luke 12:47)

It is our point of view that "stripes" do not indicate the Lake of Fire. Stripes imply chastisement, punishment, not ultimate destruction. There may be many forms of punishment in the spirit realm. Assignment to the Lake of Fire is the supreme penalty. The Scriptures teach that the torment of the Lake of Fire goes on forever. The doctrine of "many" and "few" lashes signifies differences in number or duration, with the few terminating before the many; and possibly differences also in intensity.

The doctrine of "stripes" suggests correction, not banishment from God as in the case of the Lake of Fire.

If we are correct in assuming that the "many" and "few" lashes are not referring to the ultimate separation and torment of the Lake of Fire, to what are they referring? What will it mean to the careless—and yet saved—individual to be beaten with lashes in the Presence of his Lord?

The spirit realm may be thought of in terms of the natural realm for the two realms are more similar than dissimilar. We can study the manner in which the Lord punishes us in the natural realm in order to gain understanding of how He may punish us in the spirit realm.

The disobedient Christian may suffer sickness (or the sickness of a loved one), an accident of some kind, mental anguish from the loss of the Lord's Presence, loss of strength in prayer, the loss of the joy of reading the holy Scriptures, or a whole array of assorted troubles, pains, and difficulties. The way of the transgressor is hard. The rebellious dwell in a dry land. Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of Eden and forced to live by hard work in a hostile environment.

We are suggesting that the counterparts of these afflictions and tribulations exist in the spirit realm. They do not cease necessarily when we die. What passage of Scripture states when we die we no longer can be disciplined?

Our peace is in obedience to Christ, not in dying and passing into the spirit realm. Who knows what passing into the spirit realm holds for any one of us? The only guarantees we have are those found in the Scriptures. The remainder of our ideas are conjecture.

A backslider can testify to the years of agonizing effort he has endured, or is enduring, in the attempt to regain the Presence and joy of Christ in his or her life. To behold a backslider crying to God for mercy is a sobering experience.

To those who may protest that the Scriptures indicate the backslider is forgiven instantly and there is no need for him to suffer agony, let us answer by saying that the salvation that comes from the Lord is more tangible than this. It is something we can feel. Our salvation is more than belief in the text of the Scriptures.

To be continued.