The old site no longer exists and many of the studies on this site may have links to the old site that do not work. Additionally, I have been transferring studies from the old site to this site, and since this is taking a long time, many studies have not yet been transferred to this site. I am endeavoring to rectify these problems as I am able. - Ronald R. Day, Sr.

Monday, March 26, 2018

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 – The Third Heaven and Paradise

Does this scripture prove that paradise is in heaven? Does it offer any proof of the alleged inherent immortal soul of humans?

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up [seized upon, carried away — Strong’s #726, harpazo] to the third heaven. And I know such a man — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows — how he was caught up [carried away — Strong’s #726, harpazo] into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” — 1 Corinthians 12:2-4, New King James Version.

The above scripture is often cited as evidence of the so-called “dual nature of man”, that man has an immortal soul or spirit that is separate from the body. Many further claim that the third heaven is now where “paradise” is, alleging that “paradise” was removed from sheol and taken to heaven. In reality, these theories have to be added to and read into the scriptures. Without the added-on theories, however, we have found that the Bible is harmonious and, of itself, leads to a different conclusion than that supplied the imaginations of men who would like to blend heathen mythology with the Bible. Exactly what is being spoken of here? Does Paul describe a man’s soul or spirit as having an out-of-the body experience?

First, we note that the idea of “up” is supplied the translators. Rotherham gives a better rendering:

2 Corinthians 12:2: I know a man in Christ, who, fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God, knoweth, such a one as this, caught away, as far as the third heaven;2 Corinthians 12:3: And I know such a man as this, whether in the body or apart from the body, I know not, — God knoweth,2 Corinthians 12:4: How that he was caught away into paradise, and heard unspeakable things, which it is not allowable for a man to utter: — Rotherham

“Heaven(s)” in the Bible does not always mean the same thing. Was Paul speaking of paradise as being in the heaven where God resides (1 Kings 8:3,39; Psalm 11:4; Matthew 6:9), and where the angels always see the face of God? (Matthew 18:10) Except for being used of various specific gardens (Deuteronomy 11:10; 1 Kings 21:2; etc.), the word paradise is used in the Bible to refer to: (a) the garden of Eden, “the garden of God” (Genesis 2:8-15; Ezekiel 28:13), i.e., the perfect abode of Adam and Eve while sinless; (b) the symbolic paradise of God from which the overcomers of this age are symbolically given fruit from the tree of life (Revelation 2:7 — compare Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8,9); (c) the earth after the kingdom is set up on it, as and after its curse of sin and death is increasingly removed (Revelation 22:1-3, compare Genesis 2:9, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:26), and it becomes increasingly (Daniel 2:35) “like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35), i.e., Paradise Lost becomes Paradise Regained, which new earth was seen in vision and prophecy together with the third, the new heaven-the spiritual control of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:1-4; 2 Peter 3:6, 7, 12, 13; Revelation 21:1-3)-that will supplant the spiritual control of Satan, “the god of this world.” — 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:2.

Of the three above Biblically-mentioned paradises, (a) was destroyed long before Jesus’ death, (b) is only a symbolic representation of (a) given to the overcomers of this age; (c) is still future; hence all refer back to or forward to the earthly paradise and none of these refer to a place where Jesus was to go when he died. Additionally on the third day thereafter Jesus stated that He had not yet gone to be with his Father (John 20:17), nor did He go there until until he ascended. — Acts 1:3-11.

Third Heaven = New Heavens

In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 the apostle Paul states that a man was seized [Strong’s #726, harpazo] into the third heaven and to paradise. What is this “third heaven?” The Bible elsewhere answers this. The apostle Peter tells us that “by the word of God the heavens were of old, the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (2 Peter 3:5, King James Version) Thus the first heaven and the first earth passed away in the flood of Noah’s day. Peter continues: “But the heavens and earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:6, KJV)

Here we have the second heaven and the second earth. But Peter further tells us: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13, KJV) So from this we can see that the man the apostle Paul spoke of was seized, either bodily or by the spirit, as in a vision received rather than being taken in the body in time to the third heaven, the “new heaven,” and paradise, “the new earth.”

The scriptures pertaining to new heavens are not referring to new planets, nor to heavens ranged one above another, as many have supposed, but to the third of three great periods of time, beginning with man’s creation and extending into the illimitable future. The first of these periods, termed the heavens and earth that were — the old order of things — passed away with the deluge of Noah’s day. The second period, “the heavens and the earth which are now,” the present order of things, are reserved of God to pass away with a great symbolic fire of trouble — revolution, etc. — which will utterly destroy the present spiritual powers and the present social arrangements. — 2 Peter 3:6,7; Galatians 1:4; Zephaniah 3:8,9.

The third great period is to be “ages without end,” under divine administration. This will be the third heavens and the third earth, or the new heavens and the new earth, which will differ from the present condition of things in that they will be righteous; whereas the present arrangement is imperfect, unrighteous. The “new heavens” is not of this age, but will consist of the new spiritual ruling powers of the future — Jesus, the joint-heirs with him, and the other saints who have been chosen in this age. (Daniel 7:22,27; Luke 1:32,33; 12:32; 22:29; 2 Timothy 2:12; John 18:36; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3; Hebrews 12:28; James 2:5; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 1:6; 3:21; 5:10; 20:4,6) The present heavens — the present ruling elements — that is to pass away, include, not just political ruling elements, but also religious ruling elements — even those elements which claim Christ as their head, but nevertheless are subservient in a very large degree to “the god of this age,” “the prince of this world,” “who now works in the children of disobedience,” and who is captivating and blinding the whole world. (John 12:32; 14:30; 16:22; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2) This, however, is not a everlasting condemnation of any of the individuals that may be in those elements, nor is it meant to include the true saints themselves are not found as represented with the present heavenly elements. Both the present heavens and earth are shaken, so that only that which cannot be shaken will remain. (Hebrews 12:26-28) Those who belong to God’s kingdom cannot be shaken with the present heavens and earth, since the kingdom actually is not of this present evil world (John 18:36; Galatians 1:4) — it belongs to the age to come.

The earth is to be made a paradise under the rulership of the “new heavens”, as in the Garden of Eden. We have many prophecies that show this. — Psalm 72:6-8; Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 11:6-9; Revelation 20:1-5.


It is to this new heavens and new earth condition, this Paradise of God, that Revelation 21:1-4,22-27 speaks of. As the “new heavens” do not mean a new place for God’s Throne, so the “new earth” does not mean another planet. The “new heavens” are a new condition, the spiritual power and control of Christ and His glorified Church; so the “new earth” means a new social order on this planet — “the new heavens and earth”–constituting the world to come — “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:10-13.) The declaration of our lesson is that the former heavens and the former earth — which are now — will then have passed away and will be no more. All present institutions found wanting are to perish utterly in the great Time of Trouble with which this Age is very shortly to end.

See also the studies:


Since some reject Rotherham’s translation and insist that Paul spoke of paradise as being “up” in heaven, we present other translations:

2 Corinthians 12:2 I have known a man in Christ, fourteen years ago — whether in the body I have not known, whether out of the body I have not known, God hath known — such an one being caught away unto the third heaven;
2 Corinthians 12:3 and I have known such a man — whether in the body, whether out of the body, I have not known, God hath known, —
2 Corinthians 12:4 that he was caught away to the paradise, and heard unutterable sayings, that it is not possible for man to speak. — Young’s Literal

I must brag, although it doesn't do any good. I'll go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a follower of Christ who was snatched away to the third heaven fourteen years ago. I don't know whether this happened to him physically or spiritually. Only God knows. I know that this person 4was snatched away to paradise where he heard things that can't be expressed in words, things that humans cannot put into words. I don't know whether this happened to him physically or spiritually. Only God knows. -- God's Word Translation. 
2 Corinthians 12:2oida anthrwpon en christw pro etwn dekatessarwnI HAVE KNOWN MAN IN CHRIST BEFORE YEARS FOURTEEN,–1492_5 0444 1722 5547 4253 2094 1180eite en swmati ouk oida eite ektos touWHETHER IN BODY NOT I HAVE KNOWN, OR OUTSIDE OF THE1535 1722 4983 3756 1492_5 1535 1623 3588swmatos ouk oida ho theos oidenBODY NOT I HAVE KNOWN, THE GOD HAS KNOWN,–4983 3756 1492_5 3588 2316 1492_5harpagenta ton toiouton hews tritou ouranouHAVING BEEN SNATCHED AWAY THE SUCH (ONE) UNTIL THIRD HEAVEN.0726 3588 5108 2193_5 5154 37722 Corinthians 12:3kai oida ton toiouton anthrwpon eite en swmatiAND I HAVE KNOWN THE SUCH MAN,– WHETHER IN BODY2532 1492_5 3588 5108 0444 1535 1722 4983eite chwris tou swmatos ouk oida ho theosOR APART FROM THE BODY NOT I HAVE KNOWN, THE GOD1535 5565 3588 4983 3756 1492_5 3588 2316oidenHAS KNOWN,–1492_52 Corinthians 12:4hoti heerpagee eis ton paradeison kai eekousenTHAT HE WAS SNATCHED AWAY INTO THE PARADISE AND HE HEARD3754 0726 1519 3588 3857 2532 0191arreeta rheemata ha ouk exon anthrwpwUNSAYABLE SAYINGS WHICH NOT LAWFUL (THING) TO MAN0731 4487 3739 3756 1832 0444laleesaiTO SPEAK.2980Wescott & Hort Interlinear 

One may claim that the majority of translations do have the word “up”, as in “caught up” to paradise. We should note that most translators of the Bible believe in the theory that paradise was taken from sheol/hades up to heaven, thus we should not surprised to see that indoctrination reflected in the choice of words that are used to translate scripture, such as 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Additionally, even in English, the expression “caught up” does not necessarily mean a direction of “up”. A person who becomes “caught up” in a legal dispute, for instance, does mean that he went up toward the sky, but rather simply that the legal dispute, in effect, snatched him, took hold of him. This is the meaning of the Greek word:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Luke 23:43 - "TO-DAY" by E. W. Bullinger

The information below is from Bullinger's Companion Bible, Appendix 173:

Titian - Christ and the Good Thief - WGA22832

173.  "TO-DAY" (Luke 23:43).

The interpretation of this verse depends entirely on punctuation, which rests wholly on human authority, the Greek manuscripts having no punctuation of any kind till the ninth century, and then it is only a dot (in the middle of the line) separating each word.  See Ap. 94.V. i..3.

The Verb "to say", when followed by hoti, introduces the ipsissima verba of what is said;  and answers to our quotation marks.  So here (in Luke 23:43), in the absence of hoti = "that", there may be a doubt as to the actual words included in the dependent clause.  But the doubt is resolved (1) by the common Hebrew idiom, "I say unto thee this day", which is constantly used for very solemn emphasis (See note on Deut. 4:26);  as well as (2) by the usage observable in other passages where the verb is connected with the Gr. semeron = to-day.

1. With hoti : --

Mark 14:30 :  "Verily I say unto thee, that (hoti) 'this day ... thou shalt deny me thrice.' "
Luke 4:21 :  "And He began to say unto them, that (hoti) 'This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.' "
Luke 5:26 :  "Saying (hoti =that), 'We have seen strange things to-day.' "
Luke 19:9 :  "Jesus said unto him that (hoti), this day is salvation come into this house.' "
For other examples of the verb "to say", followed by hoti, but not connected with semeron (to-day), see Matt. 14:26;  16:18;  21:3;  26:34;  27:47;   Mark 1:40;  6:14, 15, 18, 35;  9:26;  14:25.  Luke 4:24, 41;  15:27;  17:10;  19:7.

2. Without hoti : --

On the other hand, in the absence of hoti (= that), the relation of the word "to-day" must be determined by the context.

Luke 22:34 :  "And He said, 'I tell thee, Peter, in no wise shall a cock crow to-day before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me.' "  Here the word "to-day" is connected with the verb "crow", because the context requires it.  Compare Heb. 4:7.

It is the same in Luke 23:43 :  "And Jesus said to him, 'Verily I say unto thee to-day [or this day (*1), when, though they were about to die, this man had expressed so great faith in Messiah's coming Kingdom, and therefore in the Lord's resurrection to be its King -- now, under such solemn circumstances] thou shalt be, with Me, in Paradise.' "  For when Messiah shall reign His Kingdom will convert the promised land into a Paradise.  Read Isa. 35, and see Note on Ecc. 2:5.

We must notice also the Article before "Paradise".  It is "THE Paradise", viz. the paradise of which the prophets tell in such glowing language, when the Lord shall come in His Kingdom.  See Ps. 67:4, 6;  72:6, 7, 16, 17.  Isa. 4:2;  30:23, 24;  35:1, 2, 5, 6;  41:18, 20.  Jer. 31:5, 12.  Ezek. 34:25-27;  36:29, 30;  47:8, 9, 12.  Hos. 2:18, 21, 22.  Joel 3:18.  Amos 9:13-15.  Zech. 8:12.

It has no connexion with Babylonian, Jewish and Romish tradition, but is a direct answer to the malefactor's prayer.   His prayer referred to the Lord's coming and His Kingdom;  and, if the Lord's answer was direct, the promise must have referred to that coming and to that Kingdom, and not to anything that was to happen on that day on which the words were being spo 338 ken.

It is alleged that the Lord's promise was a reply to the man's thought;  but this is an assumption for which no justification can be found.  Moreover, how can we know what his thought was, except by the words he uttered? The Lewis Codex of the Syrian N.T. reads in v. 39 :  "save Thyself and us to-day".  So the Lord's word "to-day" may have reference to the revilings of the one, as well as to the request of the other. 

(*1)  It is rendered "to-day" eighteen times in the Gospels, Hebrews and James;  but "this day" twenty-three times (five times in Matthew;  once in Mark;  four times in Luke;  nine times in Acts;  once in Romans;  twice in 2Corinthians;  and once in Hebrews). 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Revelation 20:4-15 – Judgment and Lake of Fire

In this study we examine Revelation 20:4-15. The Bible hell is emptied of its dead. What is symbolized by the lake of fire? Is hades presented as a place of burning fire?

Revelation 20:4 – I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ one thousand years.
Revelation 20:5 – The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years. — World English

Verses 4 and 6 tell us that there are those who come to life and reign with Christ in his 1,000 year Kingdom. Therefore, these must be resurrected at the beginning of the 1,000 years and thus these must actually be the “first resurrection”, as shown in verse 6. Yet verse 5 places the raising of “the rest of the dead” (the “unjust”) after the thousand years are completed, and thus it appears to be saying that the raising of the unjust is “the first resurrection.” This would further appear to be a contradiction to verse 6 which identifies the raising of the believers as “the first resurrection.”

It would also appear to contradict some things Jesus said. Jesus tells us that the believers, the just — those justified by faith in him — are to be raised in the “last day”. Nevertheless, he also says the world will be judged in the “last day”, the same “last day” that the believer is raised to rule with Jesus. He also speaks of both the good and the bad as being raised in an “hour.” (John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:47,48) Thus within the same “day” or “hour” that Jesus spoke of, both the righteous and the unrighteous are to be raised. Of course, Jesus is not speaking about a 24-hour day, nor is he speaking about 60-minute “hour”. What he is saying that the there is a period of time designated in which both the righteous and unrighteous will be raised. Most associated with the Bible Students movement believe this “day” in which both the righteous and unrighteous are to be raised is the 1,000 years spoken of in Revelation 20:3, after which Satan is to be released. This corresponds with the thought that a thousand years to us is as a day with God, and a day with him is as a thousand years to us. (1 Peter 3:8) In this thousand years, the righteous have to be raised first since the saints [dedicated ones] will rule with him over the earth during 1,000-year judgment day and assist in judging the world, offering to them “the water of life freely.” — Daniel 7:22,27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Obadiah 21; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; Romans 8:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 3:21; 5:9,10; 20:4,6; 22:17.

What, then, about the words: “the rest of the dead did not come alive until the thousand years were completed”? These words do not appear in the earliest manuscripts that contain these verses. These words are missing in the earliest Greek manuscripts - Codex Sinaitic and Codex Alexandrine. (The Codex Vatican #1209 does not contain the Book of Revelation.) These words are also missing in the earliest Syriac and Aramaic manuscripts.

By eliminating these spurious words, verses 4-6 can be seen to harmonize better and also with John 12:47,48. Verses 4 and 5 agree with verse 6 – the first resurrection applies to the believers.

Nevertheless, many will argue that the phrase is genuine. Therefore, let us examine that the phrase in Revelation 20:5 that the rest of the dead do not come to life until after the 1,000 years as though genuine. How does this harmonize with the scriptures that indicate that both the saints and the world are raised in the same “last day”? Some have suggested that the "last day" must be more than 1,000 years long, perhaps 1260 years, or even 2,000 years, so that it would include the unrighteous after 1,000 years. This could be, but it is very unlikely. We have the scriptural precendent for a day of a thousand years. -- Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8.

We could reason that the heathen dead who are raised to judgment to receive “life” must do so by the judgments that take place during the millennial rule. Those who obey Jesus at that time thus do not come to life in its fullest sense during the millennial reign but they are raised for judgment: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of [literally, by] judgment [krisis].” (John 5:28,29, RSV) Their final resurrection [restanding] to life is completed by judgment (krisis) during the 1,000 years. Those who are obedient to the kingdom during the millennial rule do not fully receive this life until after the 1,000 years. This agrees with Matthew 25:31-45, which shows that the sheep of that age enter into life after the judgment, and the goats enter into eternal punishment after the judgment. Thus in this manner the “rest of the dead” [who receive life] do not come to life in its fullest sense until after the thousand years are completed.

Revelation 20:10 – And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be put to the test day and night for ever and ever. – Revelation 20:10, THE REVISED VERSION (American Edition), Improved and Corrected

All who are cast into the lake of fire will suffer eternal punishment: eternal death. There is no ransom sacrifice given for any who are in the lake of fire. However, the ransom sacrifice of Jesus does cover all in hades, and all in hades are released therefrom so that they might be judged, not in Adam, but of their own works.

The lake of fire is not a literal place, but it represents the “second death”, at least for humans who fail to repent after having been released from the first death in Adam. — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

The concern of most people regarding Revelation 20:10 is over the word “tormented” that appears in most Bible translations in this verse. Please note that whatever is meant here, it is not referring to humans, or humans after death, but rather to a symbol called a “wild beast”, another symbol called “the false prophet”, and the Devil (evidently also a symbol representing not just the person of Satan himself but also his works) joins these symbolisms in the lake of fire. Very few will claim that a literal wild beast with literal seven heads and literal seven horns will be in literal fire for all eternity.

Revelation 20:9 tells of the destruction of those individuals who join with Satan in the last rebellion; and verse 15 tells of that same destruction using other words, that is, the symbol “lake of fire.” They are pictured as being devoured or consumed in fire. This being the case, the torment of verse 10 cannot refer to these humans who are consumed, destroyed. Thus, the question narrows down to this: “Will Satan and a false prophet and a beast be tortured forever? Does this verse teach this?”

We answer in God’s own words: “All the wicked will he destroy.” (Psalm 145:20) Concerning Satan, the arch enemy of God and man, God expressly tells us that he will be destroyed, and not preserved in any sense or condition.(Hebrews 2:14) 

The beast and false prophet systems, which during the Gospel Age have deceived many, will be cast into a great consuming trouble in the close of this Gospel Age. The “torment” of these systems will be aionian, that is, lasting. The systems, as such, will be destroyed at the end of this age. The system of error that will suddenly manifest itself at the end of the Millennial Age and lead the “goats” to destruction, will also be consumed. (Revelation 20:7-10) Thus here Satan is added to the false prophet and the beast and is said to be “tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) Recognizing that the beast and the false prophets are symbols for systems, we see that no humans are said to be so “tormented day and night forever and ever.” The lake of fire, we have seen, for humans, simply means the second death, a death from which no ransom, no sacrifice, is provided. The fire of this lake, however, is Jehovah’s everlasting fire of jealousy which exterminates anything that it out of harmony with his righteous principles. Thus, by extension, it becomes a symbol of destruction. Thus what does this “torment” consist of?

To get a clearer picture, let us examine the Greek word used here, basanizo, Strong’s #928. Its root is Strong’s #931, basanos. Strong gives the meaning of #928 as “torture.” However, he gives its root the following meaning: “a touch-stone, i.e. (by anal.) torture.” Related to this is Strong’s #929, basanismos, which Strong defines as torture. According to Vine #931 means “primarily `a touchstone,’ employed in testing metals”; then he adds to this: “hence, `torment,’ is used (a) of physical diseases, Matt. 4:24: (b) of a condition of retribution in Hades Luke 16:23, 28.” Regarding basanizo (#928), Vine states that it “properly signifies `to test by rubbing on the touchstone’ (basanos, `a touchstone’), then, `to question by applying torture’; hence `to vex, torment’; in the passive voice, `to be harassed, distressed’; it is said of men struggling in a boat against wind and waves, Matt. 14:24, RV, `distressed’ (KJV, `tossed’); Mark 6:48, RV, `distressed’ (KJV, `toiling’)” According to A New Greek and English Lexicon, by George Dunbar, A.M.,F.R.S.E. basanos means: “Literally — to put to the touchstone, to put to the proof. To try, prove, examine carefully, investigate carefully, investigate closely. To torture in order to discover the truth.” The New Testament Greek Lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary gives the following meanings: “1. to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal 2. to question by applying torture 3. to torture 4. to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment 5. to be harassed, distressed a. of those who at sea are struggling with a head wind”

What does all of the above mean? It simply means that basanizo, as used in Revelation 20:10, is the verb form of basanos, literally, “touchstoned” or “used as a touchstone.” A touchstone is defined as: “1. A fine-grained dark stone formerly used to test the fines of gold and silver by the color of the streak made on the stone. 2. A criterion or standard by which the qualities of something are tested.” (Funk & Wagnalls) Thus the beast, false prophet and Satan the Devil, as symbols, will be used as a touchstone for all eternity, a striking tool by which to contrast Jehovah’s righteous kingdom as opposed to the kingdoms of this present evil world. In other words, all creation will look upon the works of the beast, false prophet and the serpent as a reminder of how undesireable it would be return to such an arrangement again.

Revelation 14:11, speaking of a system described as Babylon the Great, “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” (Revelation 17:5) says, “Her smoke rose up forever and ever.” That is to say, the remembrance (“smoke”) of the destruction of these systems of deception and error will be lasting, the lesson will never be forgotten–as smoke, which continues to ascend after a destructive fire, is testimony that the fire has done its work. — See also Isaiah 34:8-10.

Of Revelation 14:9-11 we remark, incidentally, that all will at once concede that if a literal worshiping of a beast and image were meant in verse 9, then few, if any, in civilized lands are liable to the penalty of verse 11. In other words, who would be deceived by a literal beast with seven heads and ten horns coming out the literal sea? (Revelation 13:1); and if the beast, his image, wine and cup are symbols, so also would be the “torments {verbal form of touchstone), and smoke and fire and brimstone.

Revelation 20:11 – I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them.
Revelation 20:12 – I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works
Revelation 20:14 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 – If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11 – I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. — World English.

The scene here reverts back to the judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:4. Revelation 20:11-15 depict the judgment of the great “last day” that Jesus spoke of. (John 12:47,48) Remember that it is this same “last day” that the saints are raised and also in which the world is to be judged. (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:47,48) The saints are raised first, since, with Jesus, “the judgment [the authority to judge] is given” to them. (Daniel 7:22; John 5:22; Revelation 20:4) The one who sits on the Great White Throne could be Jehovah, but Jehovah judges by means of Jesus and the saints. (Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3) It is Jesus, however, who as the judge of the world, sits on his Father’s throne. (Revelation 3:21) The present evil world, the present heavens and earth, cannot stand before the holy presence of the one on this righteous throne, so they flee away, and no place is found for them.

Revelation 20:12 – I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works
Revelation 20:14 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. — World English

The casting of death and hades into the lake of fire symbolizes the eternal destruction of condemnation in Adam and its wages, death in Adam. During the Millennial age, their destruction is a part of the utter destruction which will include every improper, injurious and useless thing. (Isaiah 11:9; Psalm 101:5-8) For the individuals who are released from hades, but who fail to get their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life by obedience to the books that are opened to them at that time, the lake of fire will be their second death, which will be final. The lake of fire, as symbolically holding those in this oblivious condition, is itself never destroyed. It will continue to hold its occupants in the realm of destruction, oblivion, for all eternity. Thus, the second death itself will never be destroyed. To this all the lovers of righteousness should say, Amen; for to destroy the lake of fire, to remove the sentence of that just and impartial trial, would be to let loose again not only Satan’s works, but all who love and practice wrong and deception, and who dishonor Jehovah their evil works — so that they could oppose, offend and endeavor to overthrow those who love and desire to serve him and enjoy his favor. We rejoice that there is no danger of this, but that divine justice unites with divine wisdom, love and power, to bring in everlasting righteousness on a permanent basis.

This definitely speaks of hell (hades/sheol), and it says death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, but it does not speak of anyone suffering for eternity in hell. Indeed, we find that all those in hell are released from hell, so that they might be judged individually, not by past judgment which been counted as in Adam.

All the dead in death and hades will be released. Hell will be totally emptied. (Hosea 13:14) It is to be destroyed by being symbolically thrown into the symbolic lake of fire. Notice here that hades (hell) is not the lake of fire. Nor are we to think that death and hades are thrown into this lake so that death and hades will be suffering in flames and being eternally roasted. People need to think on what is said. If the lake of fire is a place of eternal suffering in flames of fire, or eternal suffering, then logically it would follow that death and hades would be consciously suffering (?) in this place and continually burning forever without ever being destroyed. Of course, such is nonsense. Death and hades are destroyed in the lake of fire; death and hades do not spend an eternity of conscious (?) suffering in this lake. 

According to some, paradise is taken out of hades before it is emptied. No scripture says this, but some scriptures are referred to which this idea has been attached. The truth is that nothing at all in the Bible speaks of paradise as being a part of hades. This is simply man's thoughts beyond what is written which have been added to, and read into, the scriptures to make the scriptures appear to support the their heathen-based after death philosophy.

Nevertheless, it is during the last day, after the first resurrection of the saints, all the world who have died in Adam will be brought back to life for a final judgment. This judgment is not the same as the judgment that rested upon them in this world, which judgment came through Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) This new judgment will be by “their own works”, not of judgment placed upon through Adam.

The word judge as used in the Scriptures does not mean merely to sentence, but includes -1- instruction (Psalm 19:7-11; 25:8,9: 106:3; 119:108; Isaiah 33:5; 56:1; 59:4,8-15; Ezekiel 22:2; Matthew 12:18-20; 23:23; Colossians 2:16), -2- testing (Psalm 26:1-3, compare 139:23,24; Jeremiah 11:20, compare 20:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:4,5), -3- chastisement for correction (Isaiah 26:9; 1 Corinthians 11:31,32 — compare Luke 12:47,48; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19), and -4- passing a sentence. — Matthew 7:1,2; John 7:24; Deuteronomy 1:16; Psalm 17:2.

Jesus “will judge (by these four processes) the living and the dead at (during) his appearing and his kingdom.” “He must reign [in his thousand-year reign] until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” — 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Psalm 72:1-4; Isaiah 11:1-6; 32:1; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Hosea 13:14; Revelation 20:11-15.

This is the judgment of in which the sheep and goats are separated. It is not until after the end of this present evil age, after Satan is abyssed, that Jehovah `turns to the peoples a pure language,’ a "language" that can be understood by all peoples without Satan's blinding deceptions. (Zephaniah 3:9) One has to admit that the peoples of the world are still being blinded by Satan. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is not until after Satan is bound and the veil of blindness is removed that it can truly be said that the nations have received a pure language. (Isaiah 25:6-7; Revelation 20:3) And the method of gathering the nations at that time will be through the awakening of the dead, in the day when many will be turned to righteousness. — Revelation 20:11-13; Daniel 12:2,3.

It is during the “last day” judgment that the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9) Satan will then be bound, and no one will be deceived. It will be in this judgment day that the all the heathen will be blessed by the seed of Abraham. (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8) Then peoples of all nations — all the heathen — will be enabled to learn and walk in the ways of Jehovah. (Isaiah 2:2-4) What a glorious prospect!

There will be those, however, who will at heart not be in harmony with the kingdom. These are those who prove themselves to be incorrigible; their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. These are those who are figuratively thrown into the lake of fire where they, like death and hades, will be destroyed for all eternity.


Revelation 20:14,15 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

The “lake of fire” is several times mentioned in the book of Revelation, which all Christians usually admit to be a book of symbols. However, most often think and speak of this particular symbol as a literal statement giving strong support to the eternal torment doctrine, notwithstanding the fact that the symbol is clearly defined as meaning the second death: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”, etc. (Revelation 20:14) It is sometimes spoken of as “a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20), the element brimstone being mentioned to intensify the symbol of destruction, the second death. Burning brimstone is one of the most deadly elements known. It is destructive to all forms of life.

We are also told that the Bible hell (hades/sheol), as well as death (Adamic death — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22), will be cast into the lake of fire. Does this mean that hell (hades/sheol) is to be tormented forever? No, but rather it means that “death will be no more.” (Revelation 21:4) Hades and Adamic death will be destroyed by being cast into the lake of fire.

The expression “lake of fire”, is a forceful figure of complete destruction — a death from which there will not be a resurrection: for “the Messiah dies no more,” there will not be a second ransom for those who willfully practice sin after receiving the benefits of the ransom. (Romans 6:9) In the Greek text of the Bible, from which our translations are made, the second death is sometimes referred to symbolically as “Gehenna”, one of the three Greek words translated “hell” in the King James Version of the Bible. “Gehenna” is the Greek form of the name “Valley of Hinnom”, the valley situated immediately outside Jerusalem below Mount Zion. It was the garbage dump of the city. Fires were kept constantly burning in it and brimstone was added for the purpose of aiding the work of destruction. All the garbage of the city was cast into it; also the bodies of criminals, so as to signify that these were not worthy of a resurrection.

Jesus used the fires of Gehenna as a symbol — not of torture, but of destruction. (Matthew 10:28)* Some, however, regard the literal fires spoken of in the valley that were continually kept burning as being a literal description of a supposed life in hell. Yet if Jesus were speaking literally, then we should expect that the wicked would literally be thrown into the Valley of Hinnom. Actually, the “fire that is not put out,” the “worms,” and all the language used in connection with Gehenna is figurative. God’s jealousy for his name and righteousness is never quenched. Jehovah’s zeal or jealousy for righteousness will never be extinguished. Thus we read that “all the earth will be consumed by the fire of his [Jehovah’s] jealousy.” (Zephaniah 1:18) “For you must not bow yourself to another god; for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, he is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14) “With foreign gods they moved him [Jehovah] to jealousy; and with idols they provoked him to anger; they sacrificed to demons, not God.” (Deuteronomy 32:16,17) “And Judah did evil in the sight of Jehovah, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.” (1 Kings 14:22) “And my anger will be spent, and I will make my fury rest on them, and I will be eased. And they will know that I, Jehovah, have spoken in my zeal, in my fulfilling my fury on them.” (Ezekiel 5:13) “Surely I have spoken in the fire of my jealousy against the rest of the nations.” Ezekiel 35:5. Worms (or maggots) that consumed the body of the criminals thrown into the Valley of Hinnom represents the utter destruction, not torture, of those thrown therein. These maggots were ever present in the valley. Thus they never died out. Likewise, those who are symbolically thrown into the fires of Gehenna find that there are always consuming worms [elements of destruction] ever present to destroy those who prove themselves unwilling to produce the fruits of the kingdom.

Some believe that Hades and the Lake of Fire are one and the same, as far as the place is concerned. But when that place is called Hades, they believe it refers is to the abode of the souls of the wicked before the judgment day; when it is called Lake of Fire they believe the reference is generally to the abode of the wicked, body and soul, after the judgment day. According to this theory, the physical bodies of the dead are raised and made into spiritual bodies, which are then thrown into a literal burning flame of fire. Evidently the thought added to the scriptures above is that hades becomes the Lake of Fire by being thrown into the Lake of Fire. The truth is that the “Second Death” already exists before Hades is thrown into the Second Death.

Actually Hades/Sheol is used in reference to the oblivious realm of death as mankind has inherited it from Adam. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) The Lake of Fire represents the “second death,” from which there is no return. Jesus died and went to Hades to redeem all in Hades/Sheol.

In the present age, once we have reckonedly partaken of the deliverance, we are counted, imputed, as dead to Adam’s sin and alive toward God. (Romans 4:1-25; 6:11) Such who obtain this justification, in effect, partake of the powers of the age to come. (Hebrews 6:5) If, having received of this grace, such a person then turns back so as to willfully practice sin, he will have “trodden under foot the Son of God”, and have “counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy [common, worthless] thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace.” (Hebrews 10:29) For such, there is no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:18,26), thus such a willful sinner would could be symbolically thrown into Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, the second death. He would be “twice dead,” entered into the second death.

Likewise, the world of mankind will be made alive during the “last day,” the resurrection day, and if they do not obey that which is revealed to them out of the books that are opened to them, they also will be symbolically thrown into Lake of Fire, the second death. However, while there will be those who will be thrown into the lake of fire, the parable of the sheep and goats shows that many, we trust by then, most, will become the Lamb’s “other sheep” (John 10:16) in the age to come, so that they will depart into everlasting life, not the eternal punishment of the second death.

The symbolism of this lake of fire is further shown by the fact that the symbolic “beast” and the symbolic “false prophet,” and death and hell [hades], as well as the devil and his followers, are destroyed in it. — Revelation 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8.

This destruction or death is called the “second death” in contradistinction to the first or Adamic death. It does not signify that everything that goes into it dies a second time. For instance, death (the first or Adamic death), and hades, the realm of death inherited from Adam, are to be cast into it. In no sense will they ever have been destroyed before. So also “the devil,” the symbolic “wild beast,” and the symbolic “false prophet,” will never have been destroyed before.

From the first, or Adamic death, a resurrection has been provided. All that are in their graves will therefore come forth. The Revelator prophetically declares: “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hades gave up the dead that were in them. . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened.” (Revelation 20:13,12) It was in view of God’s plan for redeeming the race from Adamic death that in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures it is called a “sleep.” In Israel’s history of the good and the wicked it is repeatedly stated that they “slept with their fathers.” The apostles used the same symbol, and our Lord also. But no such symbol is used in reference to the second death. On the contrary, the strongest figures of total and utter destruction are used to symbolize it, that is, “fire and brimstone.” That will be a destruction from which there will be no recovery.

The Adamic death, which claimed the whole race for the sin of their progenitor, will be forever swallowed up, and will cease in this second death into which it is to be cast by the great Redeemer who bought the whole world with the sacrifice of himself. Thus God tells us through the prophet: “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. . . . O Sheol, I will be your destruction.” (Hosea 13:14) The first or Adamic death will no longer have liberty or power over men, as it has had for the past six thousand years; no longer will any die for Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12; Jeremiah 31:29,30; Ezekiel 18:2) From that time onward the new covenant, sealed with the precious blood, will be in force, and only willful transgressions will be counted as sin and punished with the wages of sin — death — the second death. Thus will the Adamic death be cast into and swallowed up by the second death.

And hades and sheol — the dark, secret realm of death, which in the present time speaks to us of a hope of future life by God’s resurrection power in Christ — will be no more. The second death will devour no being fit for life — none for whom there remains a shadow of hope, but such only as, by the unerring Judge, have been fully, impartially and individually found worthy of destruction. And Satan, that lying tempter who deceived and ruined the race, and who with persistent energy and cunning has sought to continually thwart the purpose of Jehovah for our salvation through Christ, and with him all who are of his spirit, “his angels,” will be destroyed, and will never awake from death to trouble the world again. Here he is said to be cast into the “lake of fire,” the second death. The apostle Paul in Hebrews 2:14, referring to the same thing, calls it destruction: “that he might destroy death, and him that has the power of death, that is, the devil.” And “the beast and the false prophet” the great false systems that have long oppressed and misled nominal Christendom and the world, will never escape from it. These systems are said to be cast “alive,” that is, while they are still organized and operative, into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. — Revelation 19:20.

The great tribulation will undoubtedly cause great social, financial and religious difficulty and pain to all those identified with these deceived and deceiving systems, before they are utterly destroyed. These systems will be cast in, destroyed, at the beginning of the Millennium, while Satan’s destruction is reserved until its close, when all the “goats” will have been separated from the “sheep,” and the “goats” will perish with Satan in the second death as “his angels,” messengers or servants. None of those abominable individuals among men, who, knowing the truth, yet love unrighteousness — none of the “the fearful and unbelieving” — those who will trust Jehovah after all the manifestations of His grace afforded during the Millennial reign of Christ — nor the abominable, who, at heart are fornicators, murderers, idolaters, sorcerers and liars; none of these will escape the second death, to defile the earth again. All such after a full and abundant opportunity for reformation will be judged unworthy of life, and will be forever cut off in the second death, symbolized by the lake of fire and brimstone.

Several prophetic pen pictures of the Millennial age and its work, in chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation, clearly show the object and result of the age of trial, in harmony with the remainder of the scriptures we have already noted.

Chapter 20, verses 2,4,11 with verses 1,2,10,11 of chapter 21, show the beginning of that age of judgment, and the restraining of blinding errors and misleading systems. The “beast” and the “false prophet” are the chief symbols, and represent the political elements of Satan’s empire. This judgment against the “thrones” of the present time, and against “the beast and the false prophet” systems follows speedily upon the introduction of this Millennial judgment reign. The thrones of the present dominion of earth will be “cast down,” and dominion transferred to the great prophet, priest, King and Judge, “whose right it is.” (Compare Daniel 7:14,22; Ezekiel 21:27) Then the systems of error will be speedily judged worthy of destruction, “the lake of fire,” “the second death.” — Revelation 19:20.

Thus the second destruction or death begins quite early in the new Judgment: it begins with the false systems symbolized by the Beast, False Prophet, etc., but will not reach the world of mankind, as individuals, until they have first had a full trial, with full opportunity to choose life and live forever. Chapters 20:12,13, and 21:3-7 indicate the blessed, favorable trial in which all, both dead and living (except Church, who, with Jesus Christ, are kings, priests, joint-heirs, princes and judges), will be brought to a full knowledge of the truth, relieved from sorrow and pain, and freed from every blinding error and prejudice, and tried “according to their works.”

The grand outcome of that trial will be a clean universe. As it is expressed in Revelation 5:13: “Every creature which is heaven and on earth . . . I heard saying: `Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever.” Jehovah's love, justice, and wisdom will then be fully vindicated before all creation!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Revelation 1:18 – The Keys of Death and Hades

A short study regarding “hades” in Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18 – And the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

By Ronald R. Day, Sr., Restoration Light Bible Study Services

Some have presented this with the claim that Jesus' having the keys of death and hades signifies his having authority of souls that are still alive while their phsyical bodies are dead. Nevertheless, the verse does not say anything about anyone being alive in death or in hades. This idea has to be first assumed, and thus the use of this scripture for such proof become circular reasoning.

“Death” here represents the death we all are dying in Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19) “Hades” is the condition that results from that death, as described in Ecclesiastes 9:5,10.

To those who believe that hades here means a place of eternal suffering, there is no comfort in these words. One might wonder why Jesus has the keys of death and hades? Does it mean that Jesus will forever make sure that those in hades will remain locked up there for eternity? This cannot be true, because Revelation 20:13 plainly tells us that all in death and hades will be brought forth for a judgment.

In reality, the words of Revelation 1:18, that Jesus has the keys to death and hades, are meant to be a comfort to the church, as well as to the world. These words imply that the Lord’s people go to hades (oblivion) when they die, but as promised by the Lord, the “gates of Hades will not prevail against” his church. (Matthew 16:18) In other words, Jesus’ having the keys of death and hades indicates that he will use those keys to unlock the gates of hades so that the church may be released therefrom in the last day as part of the first resurrection. — John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; Revelation 20:6.

In preaching at his first advent, he quoted the prophecy of Isaiah respecting himself, which declares that he will open the prison-house, and set at liberty the captives, and declared this to be the Gospel. (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) It is the Gospel of the resurrection, the message, the good tidings of deliverance of all the captives from the oblivion of death, from the power of the Adversary, “him who had the power of death.” Thus, as Jesus promised, not only will he bring the church from death and hades, but there is also to be a resurrection of the unjust. (Acts 24:15) It is concerning these that Jesus spoke in John 12:47,48: “If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.” Thus, because Jesus came and gave his life as an atoning sacrifice for, not only for the believer, but also for those who do not believe (1 John 2:2), the Revelation tells us that those of the world will be raised for judgment in the last day. — Revelation 20:13.

Some comments from others:

Of further comfort is the wonderful message that the glorified Redeemer has the “keys” of hell; that is, the authority and power to deliver all who are imprisoned there. He has the keys of death in every degree, so that those whom he liberates from the tomb, as well as those who have not yet died but are under the sentence of death, may all be ultimately delivered or set free from the dominion of sin and death (Matt. 8:22). The privilege and opportunity of deliverance from death into abundance of life, of freedom from the bondage of corruption, and of full liberty as the sons of God will be extended to every creature of Adam’s race (Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22).
At present Messiah is still permitting death to prevail against the Lord’s people, who to all appearances go down into death or oblivion as do others. Therefore, they need his encouraging assurance that death shall not forever prevail against them, that the doors of oblivion shall not remain closed. Just as he symbolically burst the bars of death and came forth in resurrection glory through the Father’s power, so the Church shall be delivered from the power of death and share in his resurrection, “the first resurrection”
(Rev. 20:6).
Since the purpose of verse 18 is to encourage God’s people, “hell” (hades) cannot mean a place of torment. If it did, the expression would lack force. These words imply the Lord’s people go to hades (oblivion), regardless of who else may go there, and the hope of the Lord’s people is that in due time the great Redeemer will unlock this figurative prison house of death, open the doors of darkness, and bring forth the captives from the tomb.
The significance of Jesus’ having the keys is that he intends to use them; he can open and he can shut. All power is given into his hand (John 3:35). Similarly assured by the Father in Psalm 16:10, the Redeemer knew his soul would not be left in hell (Hebrew sheol). Evidently, this promise was very precious and a source of consolation to Jesus as he neared the portals of death. -- Frank Shallieu, Keys of Revelation, page 23

NO WORDS have fallen on mortal ear, of equal tenderness and consolation, to those uttered by our Savior as He approached the home bereft of a loved one in Bethany: "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." Indeed the kernel of the entire message to our race is contained in this all comprehensive statement of the Son of God; and, this good tidings of the hope of life by a resurrection of the dead, constitutes the all inspiring theme of the Bible. The message in other words is that our Father in heaven has vested in His well beloved and only begotten Son, the power of the resurrection, giving Him as He said in His last message to St. John, "the keys of death and hades," symbolical of the power and authority to unlock the prison-house of death and to set free all its captives. The Savior's words as He walked amongst men, are in full confirmation: "The hour cometh in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth." -- Author not given, "Our Living Lord", Herald of Christ's Kingdom, April, 1933.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hope of Life After Death - Part 00 - Index

Hope of Life After Death Part 01 - What is the Soul?
Hope of Life After Death Part 02 - Do Good People Go To Heaven At Death?
Hope of Life After Death Part 03 - Thief in Paradise
Hope of Life After Death Part 04 - The Intermediate State
Hope of Life After Death Part 05 - Psalm 17:15; 73:24,25; John 14:2; Conscious Sleep?
Hope of Life After Death Part 06 - Immortality and the Believer -- 1 Timothy 6:15,16; 2 Timothy 1:10 (2017-04-06)
Hope of Life After Death Part 07 - Are Any Conscious in Hell? - Job 14:13-15; Hosea 13:14; 1 Samuel 2:6; Isaiah 14:9; 38:10; Psalms 9:17; 16:9-11; 17:15; 73:24-26; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 15:24; 23:14; Deuteronomy 32:22; Numbers 23:10
Hope of Life After Death Part 08 - The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
Hope of Life After Death Part 09 – The Resurrection
Hope of Life After Death Part 10 – The World’s Judgment Day
Hope of Life After Death Part 11 – Second Death; Lake of Fire, Gehenna
Hope of Life After Death Part 12 - Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 17:2,3; 22:32; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23
Hope of Life After Death Part 13 -- John 11:25,26; Ecclesiastes 3:11; 12:7
Hope of Life After Death Part 14 - Everlasting Punishment -- 2 Peter 2:4,9; Jude 1:13; Matthew 7:22,23; 10:32,33; 25:1-13,46; Galatians 6:7,8; Hebrews 9:27
Hope of Life After Death Part 15 – Undying Worms; Quenchless Fires
Hope of Life After Death Part 16 – Spirits in Prison, Lake of Fire, Tormented Day and Night
Hope of Life After Death Part 17 - Various Notes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hope of Life After Death Part 13 -- John 11:25,26; Ecclesiastes 3:11; 12:7

Examines John 11:25,26; Ecclesiastes 12:7, 3:11; Hebrews 11:13-16; 2 Corinthians 12:2,4; Psalm 16:11; Ezekiel 32:21; Luke 16:9; Revelation 21:27 as related to the condition of the dead.

John 11:25,26

“Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die he will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never ever die.'”

The above scripture is often quoted in trying to prove that the dead are not really dead. Do we find anything in John 11:17-26 about the soul surviving the body at death? Not one word. We do find that both Martha and Jesus spoke of the resurrection as occurring in the “last day”. It is in the resurrection “at the last day” that he who lives and believes in Jesus will never die. In the resurrection will be, not only those who believe in the present age, but also those who do not believe at present. “As in Adam all are dying, so in the Messiah all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) “There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [justified] and the unjust [those not justified].” (Acts 24:15) And 2 Thessalonians 1:10 speaks of some who now oppose the truth believing in that day.’ Thus John 11:17-26 produces no evidence whatsoever of the soul surviving death.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

What about Ecclesiastes 12:7? Doesn’t this prove that the righteous go to live with God after they die? No, not at all. In fact, this scripture further supports Ecclesiastes 9:2: “All things come alike to all — there is one eventuality to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrifices, and to him that does not sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he who swears, as he who fears an oath.” And in chapter 2:14 Solomon states: “One eventuality awaits them both”, that is, to both the good and the bad. What is this eventuality? “The dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit (Hebrew, rûwach, Strong’s No. 7307, wind, breath, power) will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) This is the reversal of Genesis 2:7: “And Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (Hebrew, neshâmâh, Strong’s No. 5397, wind, vital breath) of life, and man became a living soul.”

There are several things to note about Ecclesiastes 12:7:

1) It is spoken of all men — not just the righteous. If we should accept the traditional idea concerning this scripture we would also have to believe that the evil doers also go to live with God when they die.

2) It speaks of the spirit returning’ to God. This is complete agreement with the rest of Bible, which tells us that God has given man the spirit of life, so that he could live. If we should accept the traditional view we would also have to be believe that we lived with God before we became living souls. Such is nonsense, however. Adam was not a living soul [being, or person] until God blew into his nostrils the breath of life. (Genesis 2:7) He was not a person before coming to the earth so that he would “return” to God as a person after death. Nowhere is such even hinted in the scriptures.

3) The structure of the sentence indicates that the word “spirit” does not represent life in any form. The spirit (Hebrew, rûwach, Strong’s No. 7307, wind, breath, power) God “gave” to keep us alive is taken away when we die. With this Psalm 146:4 agrees: “His breath (Hebrew, rûwach, Strong’s No. 7307, spirit, wind, breath, power) goes forth, he returns to his earth. In that very day his thoughts perish.”

4) The verse following (Ecclesiastes 12:8) indicates that Solomon is further reiterating the vanity of our present life, which ceases at death. This verse says: “Vanity of vanities,’ says the preacher, all is vanity.’

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He has set eternity in their heart.”

Another scripture used to try to prove that the soul survives the death of the body is Ecclesiastes 3:11. Again, no mention is made of the soul in this scripture, but only a reference to man’s longing to live forever. The statement that man has eternity in his heart in no wise even implies that the soul is inherently immortal. Most people continue each day, making plans for tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. He has a sense of perpetual life. God made man to live forever, as he was in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-31) Had Adam not disobeyed he would have continued to enjoy everlasting life. — Genesis 3:22.

“But,” someone might say, “even if the passage would mean that God has placed in man’s soul the urge to reflect or meditate on whatever happens during the course of time, the main conclusion would be the same, namely, that according to the solution arrived at even by the author of Ecclesiastes, man is not in every respect like the beast.” This, of course, is simply a diversion. It is not out thought, nor do we claim that man is in every respect like the beast. We know of no religious group whatsoever that teaches that Solomon was trying to say that man is “in every respect like the beast.” Thus the very premise of the above argument is meaningless. Nor does the fact that man is not in every respect like the beast prove that man’s soul never dies, or that any part of him continues to live after death.

“Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect”

Many believe Hebrews 11:13-16; 12:23 proves that the dead are not dead. Despite the fact that nowhere in the references is the soul or a continued existence while dead even mentioned, and despite the fact that Hebrews 11:13 says that the faithful ones of old all “died in faith, not having received the promises,” we often find some arguing that they actually reached the heavenly country that God prepared for them. This, however, is not so. Hebrews 11:16 tells us that “now they are stretching themselves for something better, that is, that which is from heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Nor are they now living there as alleged immortal “spirits of just men made perfect.” This is a twisting of scripture to suit the traditions of men.

The context of Hebrews 12:23 throws some light on the meaning of this passage. “But you [not the faithful of old] are approaching [Strong’s 4334, to approach, come near] Mt. Zion, and to the city of the living God, Jerusalem from Heaven, and to an unnumbered assembly of angels, to the general assembly and congregation of the first-born, who are written in heaven, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” The ones spoken of as “approaching” in this scripture are especially disciples of Jesus. The context indicates that at the end of the age everything that can be shaken will be shaken, so that only that which cannot be shaken will remain. (vs. 27) The unshakable thing will be God’s kingdom, represented by the Mt. Zion from heaven. (vs. 22) The apostle Paul likens the time of its inauguration to the inauguration of the Law Covenant at Mt. Sinai, when all the people heard the thunderings, and the noise of the trumpets, and saw the lightnings and the mountain smoking; and when Moses “drew near to the thick darkness where God was;” and Moses went up into the mountain. All of this was typical — the sealing of the Law Covenant at the hands of the typical mediator – Moses. — Exodus 20:18-22.

The antitype is what we are approaching — what will be reached by all the justified at the end of the age. When the Law Covenant was given, Paul says that God’s “voice then shook the earth.” (vs. 26) Likewise here at the end of the age it will be as he promised: “Yet once more I will shake not only earth but also the heaven.” (vs. 26) When all that can be shaken is removed, then the New Covenant will be become operative towards bringing the world back to the paradise condition. The Mediator will be Jesus the Messiah, as the glorified Head, and the church his body.

All who truly belong to Jesus have been and are approaching to the heavenly Mt. Zion, not necessarily that they would go to heaven, but it is from the heavenly Mt. Zion that the kingdom blessing will flow. This is the same that Peter spoke of: “For according to his promise we are waiting for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell.” At that time the New Jerusalem descends to the earth, and its kingdom fills the whole earth. (Revelation 21:1-3; Daniel 2:35,44,45) Thus we read: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” Eventually all nations will flow to this mountain and war itself will cease. — Isaiah 2:2-4.

The apostle says we are approaching the time when “the spirits of just ones” will be made perfect. It would not be reasonable to suppose that he would first mention the church of the first-borns, including them all and then mention a part of them. Hence we conclude that this phrase refers to another class. The word “spirit” has several meanings, both in Hebrew, Greek and English. One of the meanings is “disposition” or manner of using our energy. Thus we read of the spirit of fear, of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) As a result of the fall of our race into sin and its condemnation, death, the whole world is unsound, imperfect in spirit. “There is none righteous [perfect, sound], no not one.” (Romans 3:10) Under the coming kingdom arrangements the world will be gradually brought out of its condition of unrighteousness and unsound mind. Eventually, those who come to develop the spirit of love perfectly will be fully justified to live forever. The word “spirits” in Hebrews 12:23 we understand to mean the dispositions of those who receive justification after being resurrected and after they have been made perfect. At that time they will no longer be disposed to fight or make war. “They will learn war no more.” (Isaiah 2:4) These must learn of Jehovah’s ways that their spirits might be changed to the perfect will of God. (Isaiah 2:3) For when Jehovah’s judgments are in the earth, the people will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9) “And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.” (Isaiah 29:24) It is to these “spirits of the just ones made perfect” that we are now approaching and will eventually reach under the New Covenant to come.

2 Corinthians 12:2,4

Many tell us that heaven and paradise mean the same thing because in 2 Corinthians 12:2,4, because verse 2 says that a certain person was caught up to the “third heaven” and verse 4 says he was caught up to “paradise,” that the heaven and paradise mean the same thing. Not so! Peter outlines the three heavens in 2 Peter 3:5-13. The first heavens and the first earth existed before the flood of Noah’s day. That heavens and earth passed away in the flood of Noah’s day. The present heavens and earth will also pass away, but will be followed by the new heavens and new earth. The “new heavens” of 2 Peter 3:13 corresponds to the “third heaven” of 2 Corinthians 12:2. Likewise, the “paradise” of 2 Corinthians 12:4 corresponds to the “new earth” of 2 Peter 3:13. The paradise (Greek, Strong’s #3857, paradisos, park) spoken of here corresponds to the paradise, park, or garden (Hebrew, Strong’s #1588, gan, garden) of God spoken of at Ezekiel 28:13, where Jehovah speaks to Satan under the symbol of the King of Tyre: “You have been in Eden the paradise of God.” The Edenic paradise of God will be restored as shown in Revelation 2:7. This paradise will be on earth — the new earth — when all things are made new. — Revelation 21:1-5.

Psalm 16:11

To support their claim that the dead are awake and alive, some refer to Psalm 16:11, stating that the redeemed are in heaven experiencing fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore, while they sleep. Psalm 16:11 says no such thing! How well the blind like to be led into blindness! This scripture refers to the resurrection, not immortal soul, of Jesus. (Acts 2:25-33) Since it does not refer to what happens to a believer at the instant of death, it has no bearing on their argument.

Ezekiel 32:21

Another scripture presented to prove that the righteous go to heaven at death and will recognize each other there is Ezekiel 32:21. The strong (el – the mighty) among the mighty [Strong’s 1368 -the powerful nations that previously existed] shall speak [by the voice of history – compare Genesis 4:10] to him [Egypt – vs. 18] out of the midst of hell [sheol – the realm of death]. Again no reference whatsoever about any going to heaven and recognizing each immediately after death.

Luke 16:9

Luke 16:9 refers to the time when Jesus returns and receives his saints unto himself, thus it refers to the resurrection. (John 14:3) It does not refer to any one going to heaven at death.

Revelation 21:27

Some believe that this scripture refers to heaven. But in looking at Revelation 21:27, we do not find any reference to heaven, or those who go to heaven at all. Rather we find that the reference is to the New Jerusalem that comes down from God out of heaven. (Revelation 21:2) The reference is to the establishment of Jehovah’s Kingdom over all the earth, when all nations will learn of Jehovah’s ways and walk in Jerusalem’s light for their own healing. (Revelation 21:24; 22:2; Isaiah 2:1-4) Of course, there will be progress during that thousand-year reign of Jesus, when the nations are judged. But it has nothing to do with being in heaven. It is true that none will be permitted into the holy city condition until he has cleaned himself up, both in mind and actions, to conform to the Kingdom. But the people of the nations who receive the healing will be making progress then, else how could there be any healing of the nations?

God’s Wrath

But some might say: “Love does not exclude wrath for those who stubbornly reject his love.” With this we agree. In fact, we say that God’s wrath remains upon those who have not even had a chance to hear about his love, for all mankind was sentenced under God’s wrath, not to eternal torture, but to death. (John 3:36; Romans 5:18; 6:23; Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 5:3-6) God’s wrath is and has been expressed upon all the world of mankind. At the end of this age, his wrath will be expressed upon all not under the blood of Jesus. (Revelation 15:1) But this wrath is expressed upon the earth, not while a person is dead. (Revelation 16:1) And in the final judgment, his wrath will be expressed upon those who willfully disobey by again returning them to death — the second death from which there is no return. — Revelation 20:15.