From a God in a Box to the Universal Sky God: Eternal Blessing and Suffering for All

As a Christian, you’ve trusted your heart when it came to faith. You might also have been accepted into the strong bond of your local Christian Church community when you were either Confirmed (as a Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran or Presbyterian) or walked the aisle during an alter call to give your life to Jesus as either a youth or an adult wanting to be free form a life as a Hell bound sinner.

But, apart from a cultural religious experience, what really do you have to look forward to after death now that Jesus is the Lord of your life? 

Well, as a Christian do now you realize you really didn’t have choice as Church dogma applied the old Carrot (Heaven) and the Stick (Hell) to convince you that - as rotten sinner - you could NOT avoid “frying like bacon in Hell” (Mark 9: 44 -48), but instead you could spend eternity walking on streets of Gold in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).
Sadly, apart from expansions by the Church Fathers, what really can you point to as fact in the Bible?  Have you really sat down and studied the “dogma” of the Christian afterlife objectively for yourself, or have you simply trusted your priest or preacher to give you spiritual directions (after all, that’s what they get paid for)?
Well, let’s start with that very special place called “Heaven”.  This is not only where you want to be . . . it’s where you need to be . . .you must be to avoid Hell!  After all, this is where your Heavenly Father God is and also where Jesus went after his resurrection in Acts 1: 9 -11.  Plus this is the very place Jesus is holding a room reserved just for you in your name (John 14: 1-5 Hum, sounds like Jesus is a Calvinist!).   And talk about being certain;  you even know this very fact is true just as all Christians KNOW it is because Jesus would NOT lie even when he has to tell us he is not lying:  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14: 2)  So if you trusted Jesus for salvation, you sure the Hell (pun intended) need to trust Him here!
Now, let’s look at some basic background facts and see if there were any concepts of some afterlife has found in the Hebrew Canon or what Christians theologically call the “Old Testament”. 
For the Israelite, the fear of death was often personified in the Hebrew  לואש / Sheol which is said to never consumer enough human life:  There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave (Sheol), the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’ (Proverbs 30: 15b -16).
Unlike the Christian Heaven, the final destination of all Hebrew humanity was Sheol (the grave); a place of dark-loneliness and separation form their local tribal god Yahweh:   No one remembers you when he is dead.  Who praises you from the Sheol? (Psalm 6:5) The like other civilizations in the ancient Near East, the dead leaders of Israel were put in a family pit or cave just as was the Patriarch Jacob (Israel) was:  Then he gave them these instructions: "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite (Genesis 49:29)
Many of the concepts and the theology of the Israelites were copied, re-engineered and given new meanings form her polytheistic neighbors and this was especially true when the Semitic Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in Alexander, Egypt beginning around 250 BCE.
A great example here is found in the Greek Hades (once the ancient name of a god itself); it was later defined as the underworld in Greco-Roman theology.  Thus it was only natural to translate the Hebrew term Sheol with the Greek term Hades (Remember, Alexandrian, Egypt was the city of the allegorical Jew Philo; so word meanings didn’t have to be exact and weren’t).  
 This term was, again re-translated and re-interpreted in our English Bibles as the popular English word Hell to convey Christian theology and as a fear factor in evangelism.  In light of this fact, many older English translations state that when a parent beats his child to simply keep him from either killing himself in foolish living or from being killed (under the Mosaic Law), these older English translation presents us with a religious parent who now simply does the beating so the child can  avoid eternal punishment in Hell:  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23: 14 King James Version).
Since the Hebrew grave or Sheol is a total separation from the tribal Israelite high god Yahweh, we might aske as to just where then did this god live?  Well, like most all high gods of the area, the ancient traditions have Yahweh living atop a high mountains such as Sinai or Horeb before this local god was finally put in a box and carried around as the Ark of the Covenant. Then he moved into the tent like Tabernacle before Solomon was commissioned to finally build God a house to live in (1 Kings 9: 10 / 2 Chronicles 3).   
Remember, this was not the Universal Sky God of the New Testament, but a small localize god who only had a contract (covenant) with Israel alone.  Thus, we find Israel’s great King David worried that Box God does not have a house to live while he does, but like a homeless bum, Box God  has to live in a tent:  the king summoned Nathan the prophet. "Look," David said, "I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent! (2 Samuel 7:2).
[A note: Sadly for Israel one time, this magical God in a Box that was their Lucky Charm got captured by the Philistines and Israel’s magical luck ran out:  She named the boy Ichabod saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured (1 Samuel 4: 21 -22)] (I’m sure the leaders of Israel must have put out stone posters everywhere reading:  Lost!  Local God living in a Box. Please Return.  Reward Offered!)

Finally, this local god who lived in a box (Damn, its just sound like a Dr. Seuss poem!) seems to have disappeared again about the time Solomon’s Temple was sacked by the Babylonians in 586 BCE never to be heard from again (Sorry all you atheists; don’t get your hopes up yet!)
In the New Testament, this small localized Box God re-emerges with a good genic name Theos which any good Greco-Roman gentile could relate to. But more than that, Yahweh has been transformed from a el cheap-o Box God to the super  hero UniversalSky God who has been given new theological titles for PR reasons and repackage evangelistically for quick sells in salvation stock shares open to any who wants to invest their time and faith (oh yes, money) in!
Not only that, our Big Daddy Sky God has taken a hint from the Greco-Roman religions and has likewise even fathered a virgin born son (though St. Paul know nothing about this . . . nothing new here for this Hellenistic Jew).
(Now don't get your panties in a wadd as we have more places to go and more of Box God's friends to meet! ) Good news! The now defunct and outdated basement of Sheol has been revamped and given a new aggressive name complete with fire: Hell.
So what about Yahweh’s old friend and gambling buddy from Job 1: 6-12  and now the Sky God’s archenemy:  Satan?  Well far some strange reason unlike the Sky God, gravity affects Satan and his small demon army which apparently has them stuck here on earth very pissed off at the Super Hero Sky God whom they can’t reach.  So instead, they screw with his religious stock holders in the Kingdom. (Yes, for now Satan and his demons even have God’s special blessings to rasie hell and continually test His believer’s faith!)
Lucky for this newly reconditioned Sky God; he’s now up high enough in the sky to where he can see everything (omniscience) . . . no more mountain tops and boxes for this God; No sir!  You want to know what else?  Mr. Big has brought something with him to prove just how powerful (omnipotent) he is.  He even hung on to an old Greco-Roman king’s throne and now sits there wheeling and dealing divine judgments on all of humanity; both now and in the future (Great White Throne Judgment).
Not sure this God is for you, unbeliever?  Well let’s see what’s behind death's curtain number 2!  Wow!! You’ve stuck the pin in the pig now! It’s a huge Lake of Fire where not only your ass, but along with those creatures personally commissioned by God for his pleasure to create hell on earth (Satan and his demons) will now fry like bacon for eternity simply because God loves them oh – so - much!  It sure sounds like this Sky God is going to clean house!
And if you thought Hell was hot, King Sky God seated on his royal throne plans to throw this small barbeque grill straight into the volcano’s stack; now we’re talking some really big-ass heat!  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  / / Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20: 10; 14-15)
Well on the other hand, if you played your doctrinal cards just right and didn’t screw up by joining the wrong denominational sect, let’s see what God has waiting for you behind death’s curtain number 1.  Yes!! It’s an emerald and gold filled New Jerusalem!  Christian, you might have had to deny your sinful material lusts on earth for Jesus’ sake, but no more now!   The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. (Revelation 21: 18 – 21)
Finally, this offer is limited due to Jesus’ imminent return and the risk of Hell, SO YOU MUST ACT FAST!
{Offer limited to those with only orthodox doctrinal beliefs. Those who want to rule  the New Jerusalem with with Jesus for eternity will have a better chance as either eunuchs or homosexuals:  No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14: 3-5)
Offer void where prohibited by Islamic law.}
Harry McCall