Monday, March 6, 2017

Matthew 10:28 - The Soul Destroyed in Gehenna

Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. -- Matthew 10:28, World English.
Jesus is not here saying that the soul cannot die, as he goes on to say: "but fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna," using the fiery valley outside the walls of Jerusalem as a symbol of destruction. To have this mean eternal torture while one's body is dead, one has to change "destroy" to "torture", and also change body to "spirit" or something else.
Jesus is certainly not contradicting the entire body of scripture in this regard, which over and over states that the soul dies, can be destroyed, speaks of dead souls, etc. The body is not the soul, but it is a component of the soul. The soul is made up the body and the spirit (or breath) of life from God. (Genesis 2:7) When one dies the soul dies [ceases to be a living sentiency] and the original life process is reversed. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) With the life-giving source departed from the body, the soul [sentiency] ceases to exist.
For those who are not familiar with the Biblical teaching that the soul dies and is not immortal, we give the following: Using the King James Version with marginal references: The soul dies: Job 36:14 (margin); Psalm 56:13; 78:50; 116:8; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; James 5:20. The dead soul is not alive: Psalm 22:29; 30:3; 33:18, 19; Isaiah 55:3; Ezekiel 13:19; 18:27. The dead soul ceases: Psalm 49:8. The wicked soul is destroyed: Psalm 35:17; 40:14; Proverbs 6:32; Ezekiel 22:27; Matthew 10:28; Acts 3:23; James 4:12. The wicked soul is consumed: Isaiah 10:18. The wicked soul is devoured: Ezekiel 22:25. The wicked soul perishes: Matthew 16:25, 26 (the Greek word for soul is here often translated as "life"). The wicked soul is cut off: Leviticus 22:3; Numbers 15:30. The soul of the saints are pictured as being slain as in sacrifice, as though ashes under the altar, are asleep in death, waiting for the resurrection. -- Revelation 6:9,11.
There are many more scriptures in the Hebrew that show that the soul is not immortal; this cannot be seen in most translations, however, since the word for soul is often substituted by "creature", "body", etc. On the other hand, there is not one scripture in the entire Bible says anything about the inherit immortality of the soul, or that the soul continues to live after the body dies.
However, getting back to Jesus' statement: The above scripture does not apply to everyone, but only to the believers. Those who put faith in Jesus are counted as alive in God's sight in view of the resurrection [not immortal soul] promises. This is shown in Luke 20:34-38, where in speaking of the resurrection, Jesus says: "For he is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him." -- See also: Romans 4:5,22-25; 5:1,18; 6:11.
Further, and again speaking of the day when the righteous will be raised, Jesus said (John 6:54): "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." If a believer, after having this life reckoned to him through faith in the blood of Jesus, and partaking of the holy spirit -- powers of the age to come, turns away from this faith, he will lose the life he had obtained through that faith, for there is no longer any more sacrifice for sins left. (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26) Such a person would go into the second death, for which there is no ransom sacrifice provided. Thus Jesus, in speaking to his disciples, said the above statement as a warning. No human can take away our life -- soul -- that has been made alive in God's sight. Only God himself can do this by destroying our soul as new creatures.
Something else we might note here: Gehenna is not a symbol of the eternal roasting theory, for Jesus speaks not only of the soul being thrown into this valley, but also of fleshly bodies. In a different setting Jesus speaks similarly of the fleshly body being thrown into the fires of Gehenna. -- Matthew 5:29,30.
Some try to say that the destruction of the body is physical death, but the destruction of the soul is spiritual death. It should be apparent, however, that if "kill" in respects to the body means actual destruction -- ceasing to exist, then also "kill" and "destroy" used in respects to the soul being spoken of also means actual destruction -- ceasing to exist. We have yet to see an explanation of exactly how the concept of "spiritual death" as held by dualists would fit the death of the soul in Gehenna, since it is usually claimed that mankind fell under the sentence of spiritual death in Adam.
It has also been claimed that the death of the body is the first death (physical death), and that the death of the soul is the second death (spiritual death). This raises the question as to whether mankind has received the condemnation of the second death from Adam. Was mankind already under a condemnation of physical death (the alleged first death) before Adam sinned, so that, when Adam sinned a second death was attached to the condemnation already upon man? There is nothing in the scriptures about such.
Scripturally, the first death is the death in Adam, for which reason Bible Students usually refer to this death as "Adamic death," which death Jesus provided a ransom for. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) The second death actually belongs to the age to come, when those who, after receiving the full knowledge of truth, willfully desire sin will be thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15) There is no more ransom, so this death will mean eternal destruction, just as it means eternal destruction for the Adamic death and hades, which are also thrown into the lake of fire. However, in this age, there are those who become sons of God who are reckoned alive and who also partake the powers of the age to come. (Hebrews 6:4,5) If these, after having been sanctified by the blood of the convenant, willfully practice sin, they have have no more sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 10:26-29) They had already used up, so to speak, the merit of Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf. They cannot return to the condemnation in Adam, thus they come under a new condemnation, a more severe punishment, the condemnation of the age to come, that is, the second death.

Psalm 16:9,10 - Jesus' Soul in Sheol

Psalm 16:9,10 - Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices. My body shall also dwell in safety. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, Neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption. -- World English
Peter applies this scripture to our Lord Jesus. (Acts 2:27-32) Many combine the scripture in Acts with Jesus' statement in Luke 23:43, and thus by use of their imagination commingled with Hellenistic Jewish philosophy, they seek to see in this that paradise was a part of sheol (hades). Some even further imagine that Jesus took paradise from sheol into heaven. In reality, in examining all the verses concerning sheol as well as paradise, we never find any mention at all about paradise as a part of sheol. Such teaching is derived from the later Judaic doctrines that were in turn adopted from Grecian philosophy and blended into the Bible.

The King James translators evidently realized that the "Holy One" of this text is Jesus, yet they translated sheol here as "hell", despite the fact that usually where the righteous were concerned they translated sheol by the words "grave" or "pit". The reason for this is apparent, because of th e fact that it is Jesus' soul that is said to be in sheol. Had they used the word "grave", they would have been admitting that Jesus' soul was in the grave. So, knowing that in the minds of the average reader hell was at least a place of life, they used the word "hell". They either were hoping perhaps no one would inquire too diligently as to why Jesus was in hell, or just what his experience there might have been, or if they did, they could use scriptures such as 2 Peter 2:4 (in their mistranslation of that verse) and 1 Peter 3:19 to claim that Jesus went to hell to preach to those being tortured there. But to admit, by a translation, that Jesus' soul was in the grave, the oblivious realm of death, would have disproved another of the dogmas of man's traditions that have been added to and read into the Bible: namely, the erroneous theory of the immortality of the soul. Actually, Jesus' soul did go into the oblivious condition of death, into sheol. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) The Prophet Isaiah writes concerning him that "he poured out his soul to death"; his soul was made "an offering for sin." (Isaiah 53:12,10) It was essential that Jesus thus give his life, his soul, in order for the human race to be redeemed from death. It was because Jesus took the sinner's place in sheol, in death, that all will be awakened from death and given an opportunity to live forever — "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." -- 1 Corinthians 15:22; see also: Romans 5:12-19; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31.

Nor did Jesus go into a place of eternal suffering/torture. Sheol is the resulting condition of the wages of sin in Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 6:23) The wages of sin is never in the bible said to be eternal suffering or eternal torture. We can tell what the wages of sin is because Jesus paid the wages of sin as the offsetting price for all condemned in Adm. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) If the wages of sin through Adam is eternal suffering, then Jesus is now suffering for all eternity to pay the wages of sin. However, Peter says: "Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) Jesus' flesh, his sinless terrestrial glory (1 Corinthians 15:40), is dead forever, but his soul was raised out of sheol in the spirit, with the celestial glory. Jesus' suffering ended with his death, thus we also read: "Now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:26) And, "Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, without [apart from] sin." -- Hebrews 9:28.

What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?

Hebrew and Greek words are presented with English transliterations throughout this study.

(1) The Bible hell (sheol/hades) is the realm of death, that is, the realm of condition of being dead; it is described as a condition in which there is no work, no device, no knowledge, nor wisdom. -- Ecclesiastes 9:10 (many translations render "sheol" as "the grave" here).

(2) The only Old Testament word translated hell in the King James Version is the Hebrew word transliterated as sheol, to which the New Testament word transliterated as hades corresponds.

(3) In the King James translation of the Bible, sheol and hades are translated hell 41 times, grave 32 times and pit 3 times and frequently when translated hell, the margin reads, "or, the grave," or vice versa. -- Psalm 49:15; 55:15; 86:13; Isaiah 14:9; Jonah 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:13.

(4) Many translations transliterate the words sheol and hades.

(5) Satan is a liar and the father of the lie. (John 8:44) It is Satan who has the world believing that a person does not really die, therefore he lies to the world that those who are bad are roasting somewhere for all eternity, thus making God appear to be some kind of fiend. With such a view being loudly presented by the traditionalists, no wonder thousands are turning away from the Bible and going to paganism, agnosticism and atheism. The doctrine of eternal roasting is a blasphemy to the Creator. Indeed, those who claim to be friends of the Bible are often its worst enemies.

(6) Satan uses all kinds of deceptive means to continue his lies, including spiritism, hypnotism, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, etc. "And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." -- Isaiah 8:19,20, New King James Version.

(7) Contrary to the idea that any part of hell is a place of fire, torture, shrieks, etc., the Bible says: "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going." - "in death there is no memory of you. In Sheol, who shall give you thanks?" - "For Sheol can't praise you, death can't celebrate you." -- Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18.

(8) Good people, as well as bad, go to sheol (hell) at death: e.g., Jacob went down to sheol (Genesis 37:35); Job prayed to go to sheol, to be hidden there, until the resurrection (Job 14:13). Nor does the Bible depict the good as going to an alleged section of sheol called "paradise" at death, as is claimed by many. (In the Bible, paradise is never depicted as a section of sheol or hades.) Instead of going to paradise at death, David expected to be in condition in sheol where he could not give thanks to Jehovah and we further read that "Sheol can't praise you, death can't celebrate you." These descriptions of the righteous in sheol do not agree with the added-on idea that paradise was ever a compartment in sheol. -- Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18.

(9) Jesus made his human soul "an offering for sin"; he "poured out his soul to death" (Isaiah 53:10, 12; Matthew 26:38), and descended into the Bible hell, but "his soul was not left in hell [sheol/hades - a state of unknowing]." Thus, Jesus' soul was in the oblivious condition in the Bible hell while he was dead, but it did not remain there. His, "soul", however in coming out of sheol, was not the sacrificed human soul, a little lower than the angels, which was offered once for all time on behalf of mankind, but was the exalted glorified soul, for he was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. -- Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27,31,33; 5:31; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 3:18.
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See our study on "Jesus Died a Human -- Raised a Spirit Being"

(10) In old English the word hell simply meant to hide or to cover - helling potatoes meant putting them into pits, helling a house meant covering or thatching it, etc.; the word hell was therefore properly used as signifying the secret or hidden condition of death. It had no reference whatever to a place of eternal suffering until that meaning was attached to it by the theologians who adopted and adapted such ideas from the Jewish and heathen mythologies.

(11) Nevertheless, in the Bible, hell (sheol or hades) means the unconscious, oblivious condition or realm of death, where all souls, good and bad, go at death, and from which only the awakening from death can deliver any.  -- Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19.

(12) When God told Adam of sin's penalty, He did not say, "In the day that you eat from it you will live forever in eternal suffering," but He told him the truth: "dying thou dost die [Hebrew, "muth temuth" (more literally, to die, you will die) i.e., cease to live- or "dying, thou shalt die" - margin of KJV]." -- Genesis 2:17, Young's Literal Translation.

(13) Adam began to die in that very (dying, thou shalt die -- see KJV margin) day he ate the forbidden fruit.

(14) Contradicting God, Satan told the lie (John 8:44), "`Dying, ye do not die," (Genesis 3:4, Young's Literal, or, 'You will not be dying until dead'), by which he has since deceived many into believing that the dead are not really dead, but that at death they live on, and, without waiting for the resurrection day, go directly into heaven or into eternal torment; whereas the Bible states plainly that "the dead don't know anything". Thus "the dead don't praise Jah, Neither any who go down into silence"; that a dead man's "sons come to honor, and he doesn't know it; They are brought low, but he doesn't perceive it of them". Additionally, the scriptures reveal that Abraham, being dead, didn't know those living in Isaiah's day. -- Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 115:17; Job 14:21; Isaiah 63:16.

(15) The Bible states plainly that the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4, King James Version); that "the wages of sin is death [cessation of life-not life in roasting]; but the free gift of God is eternal life in [by means of] Christ Jesus our Lord.." -- Romans 6:23; Acts 4:12.

(16) "God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish [i.e., forever cease to live], but have eternal life.". "The man Christ Jesus" "gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all [Adam and his race]." -- John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4-6.

(17) If the penalty against Adam and his race had been conscious eternal suffering, Jesus would have had to suffer the same suffering for all eternity in order to pay this debt; but, because the "wages of sin is death," "Christ died for our sins," He tasted death for every man; "Christ also suffered for sins once [not for eternity]," and He "was raised from the dead." When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was not raised as a human living soul of flesh, but as a living spirit soul. -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Hebrews 2:9; Romans 5:6-10; Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:18.

(18) Jesus, when on earth, said, "No man has ascended into heaven." Peter corroborates this in the case of David. -- John 3:13; Acts 2:34.

(19) The Bible says the dead, good and bad, are "asleep" (2 Peter 3:4; 2 Kings 21:17, 18; John 11:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), i.e., oblivious, unconscious, in sheol or hades, waiting for the awakening; "if the dead aren't raised, ... then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished.." -- 1 Corinthians 15:13-18.

(20) God through Christ ransoms all, not from eternal torture or eternal conscious suffering, but "from the power of the grave [sheol]" (Hosea 13:14, King James Version). None, however, actually come forth from sheol/hades until Jesus calls them in the resurrection awakening at His Second Advent (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 52), when (and not previously) the apostle Paul and others receive their crowns of life and rewards. -- 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 1:5; 5:4; Luke 14:14.

(21) Eventually, "all that are in the tombs will hear his [Jesus'] voice, and will come forth" (John 5:28,29). When sheol/hades thus delivers up all who sleep in Adamic death, sheol/hades will forever cease to exist-"O Grave, [sheol] I will be your destruction!" (New King James Version); "Death and hades [also the devil, the beast, the false prophet and the incorrigibly wicked] were thrown into the lake of fire [fire consumes; Jehovah's jealousy for his name and righteousness is represented as fire, which when kindled destroys -- Zephaniah 1:18; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 32:16,17; 1 Kings 14:22; Ezekiel 5:13; 36:5], This [lake of fire] is [represents] the second death [utter, complete and eternal annihilation, from which none will ever be recovered]." -- Hosea 13:14; Revelation 19:20; 20:14, 15; 21:8; Galatians 6:8; Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:29; 1 John 5:16; Jude 12, 13.

(22) Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth by God "as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire." (Jude 7) - not that the literal fire is still burning and is unable to destroy those cities, but that the fire of God's jealousy brought upon them eternal destruction as cities, even as the "everlasting fire [of God's jealousy] prepared for the devil and his angels" will bring everlasting destruction upon them. -- Hebrews 2:14; Ezekiel 28:19; Psalm 145:20.

(23) In Revelation 20:10 (compare 14:10, 11) the word translated "tormented" in most translations should have been rendered "tested" or "examined". The evil deeds and teachings of the devil, the beast and the false prophet will be examined forever by the righteous, and will be recognized as highly deserving destruction. -- compare Isaiah 14:15-17.

(24) "Narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life," but "broad is the way that leads to destruction [not eternal suffering], and many are those who enter in by it.." -- Matthew 7:13,14.

(25) After an individual final judgment, the wicked "will pay the penalty: eternal destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9); they 'bring upon themselves swift destruction' (2 Peter 2:1, 12); their "end is destruction" (Philippians 3:19); they "shall go away into eternal punishment [not eternal suffering or eternal torturing, but death, for 'sin, when it is finished, brings forth death' (James 1:15; 4:12); everlasting death is the everlasting punishment], but the righteous [who only will have everlasting life after the final judgment -- Psalm 37:9-11] into eternal life." -- Matthew 25:46.

(26) Also, the New Testament word gehenna is rendered as hell (or, hell-fire) in the KJV and many other translations; its Old Testament equivalent is ge-Hinnom -- valley of Hinnom. Into this valley outside Jerusalem refuse was cast, and it was destroyed there either by worms or by fire and brimstone. Gehenna., "'where their worm doesn't die [literally, "where the maggot of them not ends], and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48; see also Isaiah 66:24), represents the Second Death -- not that their worm exists eternally, nor that there is place where they will exist in a burning condition for eternity, but God's destruction of the wicked is sure, pictured by everything cast into the valley of Hinnom being completely destroyed, either by the worms or by the fire. The literal fires of Gehenna indeed were kept burning, and never allowed to be quenched. Likewise, any body thrown into the valley that did not reach the fires would be consumed by the maggots along the walls, that never ceased to be present.

(27) God "is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna". "Every soul that will not listen to that prophet [Jesus] will be utterly destroyed". "Jehovah preserves all those who love him, But all the wicked he will destroy." -- Matthew 10:28; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Acts 3:23; Psalm 145:20.

(28) God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and will punish every sinner according to his guilt (Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:47,48), but His justice forbids His exacting a greater extreme penalty than the one He declared, i.e., death - "'Shall mortal man [what man who loves righteousness would consider torturing even a cat in fire for one minute, let alone for eternity] be more just than God? ... Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness." -- Job 4:17; 34:10.

(29) "God is love" and He desires us to 'worship him in spirit and in truth,' out of love for Him, and not because of fear of punishment now and roasting or suffering in the hereafter for eternity - "perfect love casts out fear [dread]." -- 1 John 4:8-12, 16-21; John 4:24.

(30) There are those that claim that the doctrine of eternal roasting is needed to bring people into fear of God. Our fear (reverence) of him should be motivated by our love for him, not because of some fiendish plot to eternally roast us if we do not fear him. True reverence for God comes from an awe at the creation around us and within us, plus the fact that God sent his Son to die for us, to save us, not from eternal roasting, but from death.



Monday, January 23, 2017

Under the Sun - What Does It Mean?

This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event to all. -- Ecclesiastes 9:3.

There are many who believe that what appears in the book of Ecclesiastes is simply the statement of the unbelieving man, and thus the words express hopelessness and its words cannot be depended on. Some refer to the book of Ecclesiastes as the "Book of Errors". It is claimed that this book contradicts the rest of the Bible, and thus they claim that the book of Ecclesiastes is not to be trusted for truth. The argument is usually directed especially toward one chapter in Ecclesiastes, and that is chapter nine. The reason for this argument is that in chapter nine the dead are described as unconscious, and sheol (hell) is described as a place or condition without knowledge, wisdom, etc. Not understanding the divine plan, the advocates of the inherent immortality see what they consider contradictions in Ecclesiastes 9 if these statements are taken as actual evidence of the condition of the dead. They claim, that not only does the writer say in verse 5 that the dead know nothing, but he also adds that "they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun". They also claim that verse 2 (rsv) expresses the thought that "one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil," which idea they claim is contradictory to all the rest of Scripture.

We first note that the word olam, translated "forever" in Ecclesiastes 9:6, does not always carry the exact same thought of eternity in the manner that we often use the words "forever" and "eternity." The King James Version translates it several ways, depending on context: "of old", "ever of old", "old time" or "old" (Genesis 6:3; Deuteronomy 32:7; 1 Samuel 27:8; Job 22:15; Psalm 25:6; Proverbs 23:10; Ecclesiastes 1:10); "alway" (Job 7:16); "the world" (Psalm 73:12); "ancient times" or "ancient" (Psalm 77:5; Proverbs 22:28); "long" (Psalm 143:3; Ecclesiastes 12:5); etc. Leviticus 24:8 tells of the Mt. Sinai or Mosaic covenant as being an everlasting covenant yet Jeremiah 31:31 prophesies its end with a second and better covenant. Hebrews 8:7-13 reiterates this prophecy as in the process of fulfillment. In Exodus 21:5-6, we read that if a Hebrew servant serves his Hebrew master six full years and then does not desire his freedom, the 6th verse says (King James Version), "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; lie shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever." Taken as literally meaning never coming to an end, this would have the servant in service of his master for all eternity, which is absurd. From the usage of the word "olam" in Deuteronomy 23:3-5 and Psalm 73:12, we ascertain that it can be used as pertaining to a certain period of time, an age or "world". This, we believe, as can be determined from the contextual setting, is also its proper usage in Ecclesiastes 9:6.
For a thorough examination of the usage of *olam*, see:
-- Please Note: The author is a universalist, and while we do not agree with all the conclusions on this author, he does a fairly good job of showing how the Hebrew word "olam" is used.

Nevetheless, Solomon does tell us that the dead have no more any share in all that is done under the sun. Regardless of the amount of understanding he had concerning the divine plan, we believe he told the truth. We do not believe he was lying when he said the dead know nothing, nor do we believe that God would have him write something so direct and then demand that we believe just the opposite or be roasted for all eternity, as some proclaim that God will do.

Solomon does not directly say what he means by "under the sun," and it is possible that, like Daniel and many other writers of the Hebrew scriptures, even he did not know completely why God's spirit led him to use this wordage. (Daniel 12:8) We know many assume that he is referring to the actual sun that shines in the sky. Nevertheless the words in Ecclesiastes do show that he uses this expression as regarding the vanity and crooked condition of man under the sun. Thus, he uses the expression regarding the condition of man in this present evil age, the perverse and crooked generation that that through Adam, the whole creation that has been subjected to futility due to Adam's sin. (Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13; Acts 2:40; Romans 5:12-19; 8:19-22; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 1:4) "Vanity of vanity, all is vanity. What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun?" "This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith." --Ecclesiastes 1:2,3,13.

The apostle Paul agrees with Solomon that mankind has been subjected to vanity, not of his own will, but by the will of him who has subjected him (Romans 8:20), therefore the sun that mankind Solomon also describes the futility that man has been subjected to as "chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:11,17,26; 4:16; 6:9) No one would think that the expression "chasing after the wind" means to literally chase after the literal wind. Likewise, Solomon is referring to the evil as "under the sun", probably referring back to Genesis 3:17-19. He constantly makes references to the curse of evil in connection with "under the sun": "the oppressions that are done under the sun"; "the evil work that is done under the sun.", "vanity under the sun", etc. -- Ecclesiastes 4:1,3,7.

Mankind has also been subject, as the seed of the Serpent, to the sun that is presently ruling the world, that Satan the Devil. Satan depicted as the "God of this age," and thus the main ruler in the present "heavens" that is be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

This vanity and rulership of Satan is not forever, for the world of mankind will eventually be released from this bondage to vanity in order that they might enjoy the freedom of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19-23; Isaiah 2:2-4; 25:7,8) When this bondage to vanity is gone, the sun that is the source of this travail will be gone with it. Solomon does not so expressly state it, but, as noted above, we can ascertain from the rest of the Bible that the sun that produces this evil is the rulership of Satan. Jesus used the "sun" similarly as a symbol of tribulation. (Matthew 13:5,6,20,21) God's kingdom through Jesus will extinguish the sun of travail in the present heavens of Satan's rulership (as well as all the false things that man looks to for light) that is now shines upon the present earth filled with evil. (Isaiah 13:9-12; Matthew 4:8,9; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Revelation 12:9; 16:13,14; Ephesians 6:12; Galatians 1:4) The present symbolic heavens (with its symbolic sun, moon and stars) will pass away, to be replaced by the new heavens (with a new sun -- the sun of righteousness -- Malachi 4:3; 2 Peter 3:13) and a new earth. -- 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-5.

Thus the present sun under which all the present evil is being done will no longer be in existence when the dead are raised. Praise Yah!

However, with the Biblical view of this symbolic sun and the travail it produces, one can see that none of the statements of Solomon should be blown off as though he were lying or presenting a false view, or that his statements contradict the rest of the Bible. When he said that the dead know nothing, he meant they really do not know anything. And, generally speaking, they will never return to this present evil world under its present sun of travail. However, the world of mankind will return to life on the earth during the millennial rule of Jesus and his church, when the present sun that produces travail and evil will no longer be. Satan will be abyssed at that he will not be able to deceive the nations. -- Revelations 20:1-3.

What about verse 2 of Ecclesiastes 9? Does this indeed contradict the rest of the Bible? Absolutely not! The one fate or event that comes to all is death -- death is upon mankind as received through Adam, and the rest of the Bible agrees with this. Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 shows that man even shares this same fate with the beasts. It is only because of the ransom sacrifice of the Lord Jesus that mankind has any hope to return from the fate of death. -- Job 14:1,4; Hosea 13:14; Matthew 20:28; John 3:16,17; Romans 5:15-19 (See NAS or ASV); 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 2:9; 9:27,28; 1 John 2:2.

Related to this, the claim is made that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes after he fell into false worship, thus the words in Ecclesiastes do not express the truth. It is true that Solomon disobeyed Yahweh's commands and took wives who worshiped the heathen idol-gods, for which Yahweh rebuked Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-13); this does not mean that Solomon did not repent of his sin when Yahweh rebuked him, or that Solomon was telling lies in Ecclesiastes. Nevertheless, it is not certain when the book was written. It is likely that it was written after Solomon fell into disobedience and in the latter days of his life he returned to the true God and wrote down the wisdom revealed in his experience. Some scriptures within Ecclesiastes tend to support this thought, such as Ecclesiastes 2:13. Regardless, the book of Ecclesiastes is the result of Solomon's exploration of the wisdom that God had given him in Jerusalem, which wisdom he said remained with him. (Ecclesiastes 1:13;16; 2;9) The book of Ecclesiastes, although it shows the vanity of the present life "under the sun," was written to encourage worship and obedience of the laws of the true God, not the false gods of the heathen. -- Ecclesiastes 12:1,13,14.

Thus the points presented concerning Ecclesiastes 9 are shown to be in agreement with, and not in contradiction of the rest of the Bible.

Some related studies written by others (We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given.)

Psalm 6:5 - No Giving of Thanks in Sheol

Psalm 6:5 - For in death there is no memory of you. In Sheol, who shall give you thanks [Hebrew, Yadah (transliterated), "laud, praise", or, "praise for mercies." -- Fausset*] -- World English.
David is here speaking of closeness of his Impending own death. David's statement here is probably one of the most damaging to the theory that sheol consists of several compartments, or that those in sheol are conscious of anything. Certainly if David expected to go to the supposed paradise in sheol when he died, he would also expect to to give thanks to Jehovah in such a place; alternatively, David was certainly not saying that he expected to go to a place of eternal torture in sheol. However, once we realize that sheol is the oblivious, unconscious realm of death, we can see how this scripture fits well with other scriptures. -- Psalm 115:17; Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10. -------- *Jamieson, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalm 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?book=ps&chapter=006. 1871

Some have claimed that Psalm 6:5 is not speaking literally, that it is speaking "poetically"; thus it is claimed that David did not did not mean for this to be an actual description of those in sheol. While it is true that the Psalms are poetical, there is no reason to believe this means that we should view David's description here to mean anything other than what he stated, except that one wishes to discard what David said in order to hold onto the dualistic philosophy that the dead are not dead. Psalm 88:5 is cited to prove such an pictorial use. It is claimed that it is not true that God does not remember anymore. Yet when one examines Psalm 88:5 in its context, we can see that what David actually supports Psalm 6:5. God does no more remember the dead in the sense that his lovingkindness, his blessings, reach them while they are dead. See our comments on Psalm 88:3.

It is further claimed that by taking Psalm 6:5 in context with verse 4, that we should see that David is explaining to the reader that the living, not the dead, remember God's mercies and celebrate his deliverance. Verse 4 reads: "Return, Jehovah. Deliver my soul, And save me for your lovingkindness' sake." One states: "Verse 5 of Psalm 6, when put back in context is a continuation of verse 4, explaining to the reader that the living not the dead remember God’s mercies and celebrate His deliverance." The statement itself is true; yet it also confirms what we say. But the writer continues: "For as the context of Psalm 6 shows the perspective is from this physical life." Evidently by this he means that all that Paul is referring to is this physical life, and that one actually does not continue to praise Jehovah in sheol. This again reads a whole lot into the what David said that just isn't there, with the evident desire to support the paganistic thought that the dead are not dead.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hope of Life After Death Part 05 (Psalm 17:15; 73:24,25; John 14:2; Conscious Sleep?)

Psalm 73:24,25 
(42) Another scripture sometimes quoted to prove that the righteous go to their eternal reward at death is Psalm 73:24,25: "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Who do I have in heaven but you?..." We assume that the argument is that Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, went to heaven when he died. However, the first part of verse 23, which is often left out when quoted, states: "Nevertheless, I am continually with you." The thought is that Asaph was looking to Yahweh in this present life. Of course, Yahweh is in heaven, but nothing is said about Asaph going to heaven. It is stated that he would be received to glory. As Paul explains, there are many kinds of glory. (1 Corinthians 15:40,41) Being received into glory says nothing about that glory being in heaven. The glory to which Asaph will be received "afterward" is to the glory man lost but which will be restored in the resurrection. (Psalm 8:4-6; Hebrews 2:6-9) Again, those who want to cling to their traditions are simply grasping for scriptures into which they wish to "read" something that is not there.
John 14:2 
(43) John 14:2 is often quoted as proof that Jesus' disciples go to be with him when they die, for they state that the Father's house is surely in heaven. While we agree that the Father's house was in heaven, Jesus stated that he was going to prepare a place for his followers. Evidently, he had in mind his immediate disciples there, who were called to be joint-heirs with him in the kingdom. (Romans 8:17) These, we understand, will sit with Jesus on the throne upon the heavenly Mount Zion. (Revelation 14:1; Hebrews 12:22) But they do not receive this inheritance until Jesus returns: "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:3) Thus Jesus did not tell them that when they die, they would be immediately taken to heaven to be with him. No, but he did tell them that they would be with him when he comes again. This is the first resurrection spoken of in Revelation 6. Again the traditionalists have not given any proof that the believer goes to heaven at death.
Psalm 17:15 
(44) Another scripture some present to show that the righteous go to their reward at death is Psalm 17:15, where David states: "As for me, I will look upon your face in righteousness. I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness." Concerning this, we are told that the redeemed are beholding God's face in righteousness and are satisfied with seeing his form while they sleep.Again, the scripture says no such thing! David is speaking of the time when his soul will be awaken out of the sleep of death, that is, in the resurrection day. When David awakes from the sleep of death, he will be in the likeness of God, as Adam was before he sinned. (Genesis 1:26) David's looking upon Yahweh's face in righteousness pertains to his life before he died, not afterdeath. (See Numbers 6:25; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Psalm 31:16; 67:1; 81:3,7,19; 119:135) There is nothing in Psalm 17:15 about what happens to the believer's soul or spirit at the instant of death nor of the condition of those in the sleep of death. Notice how those who wish to cling to Satan's lie grasp upon any phrase in the scriptures and take it out of its context to try to "prove" the lie that the dead are not really dead. -- Genesis 3:4.
"Conscious Sleep"? 
John 17:24, Romans 8:18, 1 Corinthians 13:12,13; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21,23; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation, chapters 4,5,7,12; Revelation 5:9; 14:3; 6:10; 7:15; and 20:4
(45) The above scriptures have been given as examples of what the redeemed would be doing while they sleep in the sleep of death. Yet not one of these scriptures say what proponents of the "conscious sleep" theory would like them to say. In John 17:24, Jesus was referring to the time when he returns (nothing about the condition of the dead), so that those whom Yahweh had given him might be with him. (John 14:3) Romans 8:18 refers to the time when the sons of God will be revealed at Christ's return. 1 Corinthians 13:12 refers to the resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:8 (see later discussion starting with paragraph 127) refers to whether we are at home, finding comfort with our body of flesh, or present with Yahweh, that is walking by the spirit. Philippians 1:21,23 (see later discussion starting with paragraph 125) refers to Paul's desire to return (incorrectly translated "depart" in many translations) in the resurrection that he might be with Christ. Hebrews 12:23 simply states that there is a recording in heaven of the church of the first-born -- nothing about being in heaven while dead. There is nothing in Revelation chapters 4, 5, 7, or 12 saying anything about what happens to the redeemed during the sleep of death. Revelation 5:8-10; 14:1-4 and 20:4 refer to the saints (not just heirs of God, but joint-heirs with Jesus -- Romans 8:17, see New American Standard) who take part in the first resurrection and sit on the throne with Jesus. (Revelation 20:6; 14:1-3) In Revelation 6:9,10 the Lamb opens the fifth symbolic seal and John sees the slain souls of those who had borne witness while alive. The fact that these souls (not bodies) are slain indicates that they as souls are dead, not living. However, the souls cry out for vengeance. Now if they are dead they cannot literally cry out. But they can symbolically cry out as did the blood of Abel. (Genesis 4:10) Revelation 7:15 is speaking of the disciples of Jesus who are left remaining on earth after the great tribulation climax at the Battle of Armageddon. (Matthew 24:37-41; Luke 17:26-37; Zephaniah 2:2,3; Revelation 7:14) Thus we see that not one of the scriptures presented show that the sleeping dead are conscious, rather these scriptures are speaking either of the resurrection or the return of Jesus.
(46) From what we have seen so far it should be plain that the scriptural answer to our question is simply this: The dead are all, good and bad alike, in one place, sheol, the grave not the literal grave, but the death-state. "All go into one place. All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." (Ecclesiastes 3:20) "There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary [including the weary in well-doing] be at rest. There the prisoners [of death] rest together. They hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and the great are there." (Job 3:17-19) "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work, or planning, or knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol, there where you go." (Ecclesiastes 9:10, King James II Version) The teaching of the scriptures is, therefore, that THE DEAD ARE DEAD. -- Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Resurrection Hope - On This Site