Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jesus preaches more about heaven than hell!

It isn't exactly surprising that Jesus mentions heaven more often than he mentions hell (at least when considering his words as recorded in the bible.) However it seems to be persistent myth that Jesus really talks about hell more than heaven! I don't know where that idea came from, but it annoys me when preachers don't bother to do the research to find out if what they say is true or not. Every time I hear some one say, the bible says more about X than it does about Y, or Jesus talks about Z 3 times more often than he mentions Q. I'm alway skeptical...

Thanks to Frank Ritche for doing the math.
Did Jesus Preach About Heaven or Hell More?


Clive Smit said...

We always talk about Hell in the context of 'sinners' going there... but isn't it interesting that Jesus spoke about hell around religious folk who needed to deal with the big 2: Pride & Greed!
Scary thought isn't it!

James said...

That is very interesting Clive, It isn't something I'd picked up on before, but then I haven't exactly studied it...

It is fair to say though that no matter how religious, we are all sinners. Perhaps Jesus was simply saying, religiousness can't save you, only righteousness can.

Pride and Greed - Reminds me I need to look into the 7 deadly sins. I'm sure those are both listed in that list :)

Greed takes away our ability to focus on what is truly important, and Pride takes away or sense that we need to change. Both are severely limiting to our growth.

- James

Anonymous said...

Hello, I posted this over at Fritchies blog, but I thought I'd put it here for anyone who did the same google search I did and is looking for answers.

Frank did a simple word search through the gospel and found that the word Heaven came up more times than Hell did. Very true.

Unfortunately, this does not shed any light on the oft quoted "Jesus preached more on heaven than Hell".

Hundreds of times Jesus makes a reference to heaven, but is clearly not talking about nor preaching directly on the literal heaven that Christians will go to when they die (the New Jerusalem). For instance, throughout the book of Matthew Jesus constantly refers to "The Kingdom of Heaven", yet this is not talking about a literal heaven.

If it is, then we have a lot of explaining to do: Mt 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Jesus constantly refers to heaven by saying things like "My Father in Heaven", yet this is not preaching on heaven.

Jesus sometimes preached directly on heaven without even mentioning the word. For example, he talks of going to prepare many mansions for us, which talks of the dwellings Christian's will enjoy in heaven, yet he never uses the word heaven.

However, after going through all the gospels with a red letter Bible, I can tell you that whenever Jesus is preaching on the afterlife, the vast majority of times He preached on Hell and he was repetitive about it. If you don't believe me, grab a Bible and get skimming.

Unfortunately, it is true. The modern church is very comfortable preaching on the afterlife, so long as they keep it all about how wonderful it will be in Heaven, yet this was never Christs' focus.

The old saying is true: Jesus preached more on Hell than Heaven

James said...

Thanks Joshua,

I can certainly see where you are comming from. I think one of the big problems we face is that we filter the biblical accounts of heaven/hell etc through our western ideas of the after life. Are we looking forward to heaven or to the resurrection of the dead?

More pondering required...


Anonymous said...

so, where is YOUR "research" that shows Jesus preached more on heaven than hell IF what you claim is true?