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by Readers
From the October 2006 Signs  

To say the Bible leaves no hope for Judas
                     is presumptuous and judgmental.


I’m a Marine on my third tour in Iraq. In your June 2006 issue of Signs there is a picture of a replica of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace with some service members in the foreground. The caption states that the servicemen are Marines. They are not Marines. There is only one Marine in the photo. The rest are Army soldiers. This may seem of little significance, but believe me, it isn’t.

SSgt Paul Willis, U.S. Marine

Editor’s comment: We regret the error, and we thank you for calling it to our attention. We purchased the image from an agency that provides news photographs, and we used the information about the photo that the agency provided.

Did Judas repent?

Regarding Ed Dickerson’s article “Did Judas Really Betray Jesus?” (July 2006), we don’t know the heart of Judas. He may have been truly sorry for what he did—so remorseful that he took his own life. And he may have sincerely asked God for forgiveness. To say the Bible leaves no hope for Judas is presumptuous and judgmental.

Julie Brown, email

Editor’s response: The Bible says that “Satan entered Judas” and prompted him to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3). After Judas had taken the bread at the Last Supper, the Bible again says that “Satan entered into him” (John 13:27). This is followed immediately by Judas leaving the upper room to betray Jesus. This evidence has prompted most Bible interpreters to conclude that Judas was a lost man at the time he committed his betrayal, and his repentance was not genuine in any saving sense.

Kids, parents, and computers

I shout “Amen!” to John Rosemond’s advice in his article “Who’s in Charge of the Computer Monster?” (April 2006). A significant percentage of businesses require new employees to sign a form acknowledging the company’s absolute right to filter, limit, and monitor Web, email, and instant messaging usage. When business management finds it necessary to implement these controls over mature, adult professionals, how much more should parents be encouraged to control the usage of computers by children, for whose welfare they are responsible.

Rod Leiske, Kennewick, Washington

Is hell eternal?

In your May issue a question was asked about Revelation 14:9–11 and eternal torment. In Revelation 20:10, 14 there is a mention of a lake of fire that burns forever and ever. However, there will be no “beast” or “false prophet” or “hades” or “death” that can be grabbed, bound, and thrown into such a lake. These are clearly spiritual/symbolic concepts. Since four out of the five things that will be thrown into that lake are clearly symbolic, it is highly likely that the “lake” is also symbolic. This is a beautiful representation of God totally destroying everything that brings pain or hurt to this earth or His people.

Marlan Knittel, email

How big is the New Jerusalem?

The capital of the new earth, the New Jerusalem, is said to be 12,000 furlongs in circumference. This would make the city 1,500 miles around (375 miles on each side), or 140,000 square miles. This would be about the size of Minnesota or Idaho. Unless God creates a much larger earth, given the billions of billions of human beings who have ever been born, it seems to me that there will be only a trace of all the people who have passed through life on this earth who will be saved.

Frank Calkins, Lubbock, Texas

Editor’s response: Revelation is highly symbolic. There’s enough literal that we can make some sense out of it, but in some cases it’s difficult to know how literally we should interpret particular words. It’s probably best to postpone a decision about the dimensions of the New Jerusalem till we are there.

We welcome your reaction to any of the articles or columns in this issue. We reserve the right to edit for grammar, punctuation, and space. All letters to the editor become the property of Signs of the Times®. You can write a letter to the editor and submit it online on the Letters to the Editors page.