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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Genesis 2:7 - Neshamah

Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Hebrew neshamah, Strong's Hebrew #5397] of life; and man became a living soul [Hebrew, nephesh, Strong's Hebrew #5315]. -- Genesis 2:7.

(1) It has been claimed by some that the Hebrew word neshamah, translated "breath" in most translations of Genesis 2:7, corresponds with pneuma of the New Testament Scriptures, that it is the soul common to all human beings, that it is immortal and does not apply to lower animals. It is further claimed by some that nephesh, translated "soul" in most translations of Genesis 2:7, corresponds with psuche (or psyche) of the New Testament scriptures, that nephesh applies to all living creatures, animal and human. It is claimed that the neshamah is immortal and cannot die while the nephesh is not immortal.

(2) What do the scriptures themselves actually show? Is neshamah only used of humans? Is it immortal? Is it an entity that continues to have conscious existence after the death of the body?

(3) The first of occurrence of the word neshamah in the Bible is at Genesis 2:7, and in this scripture we can see its meaning: "And Jehovah Elohim formed Man, dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life ; and Man became a living soul nephesh]." (Genesis 2:7, Darby) We learn here that the neshamah -- breath or force of life -- is not the nephesh, but that it is a component of the nephesh. Two elements make up the nephesh as described in our text. The body (from the dust) + neshamah (force or spark of life from God) = living nephesh. God was not placing an immortal entity in the dust from the earth, but he was supplying the energy or force that causes sentiency -- a living soul.

(4) Its next occurrence is in Genesis 7:21,22: "And all flesh that moved on the earth expired, fowl as well as cattle, and beasts, and all crawling things which crawl on the earth, and all mankind: everything which had in its nostrils the breath of life [neshamah], of all that was on the dry [land], died." Here we find that neshamah is applied to lower animals, so that if it is an immortal entity that continues to live after death, we would have to believe that the lower animals also possess such immortality.

(5) That the Hebrew word neshamah is used in the sense of force or power, especially as the force from God, can be seen from its usage in the following scriptures: 2 Samuel 22:14-16; Job 4:9; 37:10; Isaiah 30:33. This word (neshamah - Strong's #5397) is often used in connection with and interchangeably with the Hebrew word ruach (spirit - Strong's 7307): Genesis 6:3,17; 7:15;22; Job 27:3-5; 34:14,15; Isaiah 42:5. It is this life-force, represented in the Hebrew words neshamah and ruach, that returns to God who gave it, when the nephesh no longer lives, both for animals and humans. The fact that the scriptures says it "returns" to God shows that it is not a living entity, else we would have to say it was a living entity when God gave it, thus that it was a alive before becoming human. -- Genesis 7:22; Deuteronomy 20:16; Joshua 10:40; 11:11,14; 1 Kings 15:29; 17:17; Job 34:14,15; Psalm 104:29; 146:3,4; Ecclesiastes 3:18-22; 12:7. -- See our study on The Spirit That Returns to God

(6) The idea that the neshamah is immortal is based on the Jewish fables, one of which claims that the nephesh is the soul breathed into the human body, and the soul, being from God is eternal. In reality nothing is ever said of such a thing in the Bible, and the Jews adopted this philosophy from the influence of Grecian mythology. Many Christians, beginning from the first century, were bringing such Jewish fables into the church. -- Titus 1:14.

(7) Never is the neshamah spoken of in the Bible as a living entity that continues to live after the body dies, or that it possesses immortality -- a sentiency that cannot die. The idea has to be read into the scriptures.

For a complete listing of how these words are used in the Bible and how they are translated in the KJV, see:
See also:
The Occurrences of Neshamah (Breath)
(Appendix 16 from The Companion Bible)
The Use of Nephesh in the Old Testament
(Appendix 13 from The Companion Bible)
Other Related Studies:

By Ronald R. Day, Sr.; Restoration Light (ResLight) Bible Study Services (RLBible)

Friday, September 16, 2016

1 Peter 3:18 - Jesus Died a Human Being - Raised a Spirit Being

With what body do they come? -- 1 Corinthians 15:35.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. -- 1 Peter 3:18, New American Standard Bible translation.
Unless otherwise stated, all quotations from the Bible are from the World English Bible translation.
In the context of 1 Corinthians 15:35, the apostle Paul shows that without God's purpose of a resurrection those who have fallen asleep in death all would have perished and this life would be all there is. Then he assures us that "But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:20) Others, indeed, were awakened temporarily; as, for instance, Jarius' daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus the friend of Jesus. (Luke 7:11-18; 8:41-56; John 11:1-44) Yet none of these instances is counted as a resurrection in its fullest sense: for it is written that Christ is the First-fruits of them that slept, and the firstborn from the dead. (Colossians 1:18: Revelation 1:5) Their awakening was merely of a temporary nature, since after being raised, they were still under condemnation of death through Adam, and thus they soon relapsed into the death sleep. They did not have a full resurrection -- anastasis -- a raising up such as Jesus' redemptive work guarantees to Adam and to all his race who are raised in the last day. -- John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Timothy 2:5,6.

God, by means of His Holy Spirit reveals through the scriptures that not the present body, but the soul, is promised a resurrection -- that it was our Lord's soul that went to Sheol, Hades, the death state; and that God raised him out of death on the third day. (Acts 2:27,31,32) Generally speaking, however, Christendom has been plunged into difficulties by the unscriptural theory that the present body is to be resurrected, and that the soul, thought to have never died, simply re-enters the former body. We shall now note a few of the difficulties into which this error has plunged many as believers in the Scriptures, particularly in connection with our Redeemer's resurrection.

What Do the Scriptures Really Say?

To the traditional Christian mind the ordinary thought respecting our Lord's death and resurrection is that Jesus only seemed to die, that he did not actually die, but only his body died, while he continued to be alive. It is generally thought that he, the being, the soul, could not die; that, instead, he went to heaven or paradise. It is then claimed that when Jesus came back on the third day his soul re-entered his former body and thus he now to this day lives in the fleshly body which had been killed. Since Jesus ascended into heaven, it is claimed that contineus to be that body of flesh and bones in heaven to this very day, and that to all eternity he will have it. Some even claim that his body will be marred with the print of the nails in His hands and His feet, with the marks of the thorns upon his brow, and with the spear wound in His side, for all eternity.

What a ghastly thought! How strange that many should ever have been misled into such an unreasonable and unscriptural theory! Such is not what the God revealed by means of His holy spirit revealed to the apostles, as recorded in the scriptures. Some endeavor to gloss the matter by suggesting that our Lord's flesh is glorified -- that it shines -- the shining presumably making the wounds all the more conspicuous.

One author writes: "Christ died in His fleshly body and rose in His body of flesh and blood." Another claims: "The Lord Jesus had arisen from the grave in His body of flesh and bones!" Another states: "Jesus rose from the dead in the very same physical body in which He died. This resurrected body was a glorified, spiritual body." (This latter would confuse the celestial, heavenly, spiritual body with the glory of an earthly, fleshly, physical body, and would claim that Jesus, having raised from the dead, had both glories in one body. -- 1 Corinthians 15:40-46, See our studies: With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised? and The Manner of the Resurrection) Many claim that Jesus took his body of flesh with him and retains that body of flesh to this day. This idea would seem to differentiate between Jesus' fleshly body and Jesus' being, as it claims that he, the soul -- his being, took his fleshly body with him as what we might describe as "luggage" or "extra baggage". Some have even claimed that by the expression "all that appertained to", refers to Jesus' sandals, walking stick and such clothing as the soldiers did not divide amongst themselves at the time of his death, supposing that there was other clothing. All this seems to be a part of the a larger theory that when the saints die they go to heaven, but come back later to get their bodies "and all that appertained thereto" -- the inconveniences that they have been rid of for centuries! How many truckloads of things appertaining thereto may be taken by some, and how mixed an assortment by others, is not stated. Neither are particulars given respecting those whose clothing, etc., have meantime worn out. While not many today would go to these extremes, we present this to show the absurdity of some of theories received from the Dark Ages -- during the night of the apostasy -- with hopes that we might awaken some to think and to investigate more thoroughly this interesting and important subject.

The Bible presentation is in every way reasonable, consistent and harmonious. The apostle Paul points out that "There is a natural [physical] body and there is also a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:44) He neither means nor says that the spirit body is a human body glorified. He plainly states that concerning the resurrection bodies to be given to the church that "the glory of the heavenly differs from that of the earthly" (1 Corinthians 15:40) and "that which is spiritual isn't first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual." (1 Corinthians 15:46) A human being is so totally different from a spirit being that, as John says, "it is not yet revealed what we will be," -- whether in earthly or heavenly bodies -- in our resurrection change; and the Scriptures do not even attempt to give us an explanation. -- 1 John 3:2.

The Holy Spirit, through the Bible, merely declares that the church must first bear the image of the earthly -- Adam, which is accomplished through faith in the blood of Jesus for justification allowing that our mortal flesh may be counted as alive to God. (Romans 4:22-24; 5:1,9; 6:11,12; 8:11) What is then sown determines what kind of body one receives in the resurrection, for, pertaining to this age, there are three levels of fruitage that Jesus spoke of. (Matthew 13:23) We conclude, by comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing, that only to those who go with Jesus jointly all the way will be counted as joint-heirs with him -- the hundredfold class. These are the ones who stand on Mount Zion with Jesus, not just as heirs, but as joint-rulers with him on the throne, for they gave of themselves 100% as did Jesus. (Romans 8:17; Revelation 14:1-4) These will by the resurrection change be given a share in the plane of existence and the likeness of the Second Adam, our glorious Lord. The rest, those Christians  who, in this life, fail to produce 100-fold fruitage, can be seen then to have failed in this age to "put on incorruption," and thus, we believe that it is quite probable that many who believe in Jesus will be raised in the flesh, and then see Jesus as he is by the eye of faith, as they are conformed in character-likeness to Jesus. The joint-heirs with Christ, however, will be like him, not only in that they will have fully proven themselves incorruptible, but they will also see him bodily as he is, not just with the eye of understanding, but also in the same kind of body as he is, a spiritual, celestial, heavenly body, and not a fleshly, physical, terrestrial body. But, be it noted, these must be changed from flesh conditions to spirit conditions by resurrection power, in order to see him as he is in his body. -- 1 Corinthians 15:49.

Heavenly Bodies vs. Earthly Bodies

The apostle Paul calls attention to the difference between heavenly  (celestial) bodies and earthly (terrestrial) bodies, and declares that they have different glories. (1 Corinthians 15:40) He tells us that the first Adam was made a living soul, a human being, but that our Redeemer, he who came from heaven, who humbled Himself, and took the earthly nature -- "for the suffering of death" (Hebrews 2:9) -- being foreshadowed by sinless Adam (Romans 5:14), and being crowned with the earthly glory as was sinless Adam (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:9). But Jesus did not remain flesh, for he offered his earthly glory, his flesh, his body, in sacrifice for the church and the world. (John 6:51; Hebrews 10:10; 1 John 2:2) What we need to remember is what Jesus sacrificed, what he offered to his God, was human life and all that pertains to it. Jesus did not die for spirit beings; he died for human beings, the "all" that are dying in Adam. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12- 19.

John tells us of Jesus that "in him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) What does this mean, that in Jesus, as a human "was life"? John 9:5 gives us the answer. Since Jesus, unlike Adam, was totally obedient, his sinless human life offered light to the dying race of mankind. Thus Jesus said: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5, New King James version) The good news is that Jesus came with a perfect human life that he could offer in sacrifice to his God on man's behalf in order to atone for the sin of the world. Thus Jesus, while a man, possessed life, and by his continued obedience brought life and incorruption to light. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh by showing that a sinless, incorrupt human can obey God's laws. -- Romans 8:3; 1 Timothy 1:10.
How God's Son Condemned Sin the Flesh

Jesus, as a human, as most know the scriptures say, was without sin. Unlike dying mankind, Jesus had life, thus in him was life! How thankful we can be that the great Logos, the Word of God, the only direct creation of God, the one through whom all things were made, when the offer was made, and the "joy set before him," said to his God, "Lo I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, 0 God." (John 1:1-3, Diaglott Literal; Hebrews 10:7; 12:2; Revelation 3:14). The life and personality of the Logos was then transferred and he became the babe of Bethlehem. "He was made flesh and being found in fashion [likeness] as a man [sinful flesh -- Romans 8:3] he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." - John 1:14; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 2:14.

Jesus' human body was not prepared from sinful human stock, but Jesus says of his God: "But a body did you prepare for me." (Hebrews 10:5) It is thus this sinless human body, having sinless life, that Jesus willingly offered in sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10) Yes, in Jesus "was" (past tense) life -- human life (John 1:4), crowned with the glory of a sinless man, who by sinlessness had not fallen short of the glory of God. -- Romans 3:23; Hebrews 2:9.

Thus seen, what did Jesus sacrifice?
  • He gave his humanity -- including his body of flesh -- as an offsetting price, which sacrifice he formally presented as priest after his ascension. - - Hebrews 8:4; 9:24-26; 10:10.
  • Jesus gave his blood in sacrifice.Matthew 26:28 - for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.Mark 14:24 - He said to them, "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.Luke 22:20 - He took the cup in like manner after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, that which is poured out for you.Acts 20:28 - Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. - Revised Standard Version.Romans 5:9 - Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God's wrath through him.Ephesians 1:7 - in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
  • However, what does blood represent? Jesus' human soul, which he also gave in sacrifice.Leviticus 17:11 - For the life [Hebrew, nephesh - soul] of the flesh is in the blood.Deuteronomy 12:23 - The blood is the life [Hebrew, nephesh - soul].The human soul consists of the body made from the dust of the ground and the neshamah, activated by spirit of life as received from God. -- Genesis 2:7.
  • Yes, Jesus did sacrifice his human body:Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    Hebrews 10:11 Every priest indeed stands day by day ministering and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,
    Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
    Hebrews 10:13 henceforth expecting until his enemies to be made the footstool of his feet.
    Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.Luke 22:19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, "This is *my body which is given [as an offering in sacrifice to God - Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14] for you*. Do this in memory of me."
  • Jesus sacrificed his flesh:John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
  • Jesus sacrificed his human soul:
    Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life [soul] as a ransom [price to offset] for many.Isaiah 53:12 He *poured out his soul* to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.He died; he was totally dead, ceased to be sentient, else there has been no ransom. His body was given in sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10; Luke 22:19) Jesus' soul -- his sentiency -- was given in sacrifice (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and went into sheol, where there is no work, device, knowledge or wisdom, and wherein one cannot give thanks to, or praise to, Yahweh. (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18) Jesus' human blood -- which represents his human soul/being (Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23) -- was given in sacrifice. (Mark 14:24; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:14) Thus his soul -- his being -- as raised, made alive, from the oblivious condition of sheol was no longer human, but spirit.
Once we realize that the human soul consists of the body of flesh activated by the neshamah, or spirit of life from God (Genesis 2:7), we can see how Jesus gave his entire humanity in sacrifice; he is no longer in the days of his flesh. -- Hebrews 5:7.
What is the Soul?

Thus, Paul says that "The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (1 Corinthians 15:45) Jesus is no longer in the days of his flesh, and not being the days of his flesh, he no longer has a body of flesh. (Hebrews 5:7) The wide distinction between the Second Adam and the first Adam is clearly set forth; one was earthly, and the other is Heavenly; one has a fleshly body, the other has spiritual body.

The apostle Paul illustrates by saying that we know of many kinds of organisms on the earthly or fleshly plane one flesh of man another of beasts, another of birds and another of fishes. But however different the organisms, they are all earthly. So, on the heavenly plane, the spirit plane, there are varieties of organisms, but all are spirit. Our Heavenly Father is the Head or Chief -- "God is a Spirit." Jesus, now, as the "life-giving spirit", is also of the same substance as his God and Father, but not on the same level as his God and Father, for in all that was subjected to Jesus, and the plenitude of mightiness given to Jesus bodily (in his spiritual body), does not include being the Might of universe. (Colossians 2:9,10; 1 Corinthians 15:27) We also know of the spirit beings called angels, who  always see the face of God, something that men of flesh cannot do. (Matthew 18:10; John 1:18)  These have not been given the spiritual might on the same level and Jesus, and although they are still of the same substance as Jesus and God, their spiritual bodies are on a plane lower than that of Jesus and God. Many also believe that the cherubs and seraphs spoken of in the Bible are spiritual beings, living beings in the spirit realm on a very high plane, higher than the angels. If so, this would suggest at least one other spiritual plane of existence somewhere between the plane of Jesus and that of the angels. We know that there are now at least three planes of existence in the celestial, spiritual realm, and possibly more.

We know that in the spiritual realm now, Christ Jesus, our Redeemer, after finishing the work of sacrificing, was resurrected to the spirit plane of life, of being -- far above angels, principalities and powers -- next to the Father. (Ephesians 1:20-23.) His soul -- his sentient being -- is no longer flesh, but in the spirit. Thus we read: "Because Christ also suffered [died, NASV] 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) Notice that Jesus was put to death in the flesh. This cannot be referring to a spiritual repentance on the part of Jesus, for he had no sin to repent of. He was actually put to death as a fleshly being. Jesus did not die what many call "a spiritual death" for our sins. He actually suffered in the flesh, and his flesh died, but he was made alive in the spirit -- not the flesh. Peter contrasts Jesus' sufferings and death in the flesh with the life he received when he was made alive -- when he was raised by God from death. Thus the one life -- in the flesh -- was sacrificed completely, totally, and for eternity. But just as it was life "in the flesh" that was sacrificed, so it was life in the spirit realm that Jesus received when he was raised from the dead. To deny this, in effect, negates the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (which had to effect eternal physical, terrestrial, fleshly death), and thus negates the atonement.

The more we examine the subject the more foolish and unscriptural the views handed down by traditions of men appear. The scriptures clearly set forth that our redeemer, prior to becoming a man, was a spirit being -- "the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, American Standard Version) His leaving the spirit plane to become a man is Scripturally described as a "poor" condition, in comparison to the condition he had before coming to the earth. Is it reasonable to suppose that the Heavenly Father would perpetuate to all eternity that poor condition, after it had served its purpose? (2 Corinthians 8:9) Surely not. The Bible tells us why Jesus lowered himself to the human nature -- "a little lower than the angels." (Hebrews 2:9) A man had sinned; and under the Divine Law the redeemer must be on the same plane of being as the one whom he would redeem. Thus Yahweh particularly specified -- "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life." (Exodus 21:24) Hence, the death of an angel or of our Lord in His prehuman condition could not have effected the payment of man's penalty and the consequent release of the condemned race. Thus again we read, "a body did you prepare for me; "--"for [the purpose of] the suffering of death", an "offering" for sin. -- Hebrews 10:5,10; 2:9; 13:11 (New King James Version).
*See Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Dia".***

By this we can understand and appreciate our Lord's experiences during the years in which "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) Surely it is unsupposable that the Father would arrange a Plan by which our Redeemer's faithfulness in accomplishing man's redemption would cost Him an eternity of poverty, humiliation, degradation to a plane "a little lower than the angels;" while the joint-heirs would be made rich and would attain a spirit state "far above angels" -- be "raised a spiritual body." (2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:44) But, Jesus temporarily left the rich body of glory he had with his father before coming into the world (John 17:5) to take on, temporarily, a body of poverty, a body prepared for sacrifice for us, that we might be made rich through that sacrifice.

"God Highly Exalted Him"

The very same apostle who tells of our Lord's debasement carries the matter to the climax, telling us of his faithfulness, as the man Christ Jesus, even unto the death of the cross [stauros - stake]. Then he adds an assurance of the Heavenly Father's faithfulness in not leaving His Son on a lower plane: "Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name." -- Philippians 2:8-11.

This is in harmony with our Lord's words in His prayer to the Father. Ignoring the promises of a higher glory as a reward for His faithfulness, He prayed, "Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world [of mankind] existed." (John 17:5.) In humility He asked no reward, but was quite content to serve the Father's Plan and then to return to His former glorious estate. Jesus had earlier stated, "If God is glorified in him [the Son], God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately,"* after this -- the implication of a still higher glory than that crown of glory which he enjoyed while he was in the days of his flesh. -- John 13:32; Hebrews 5:7
*this he will do very quickly, he will not leave him in the grave, nor suffer him to see corruption; he will raise him again the third day, and give him glory.
-- Gill, John. "Commentary on John 13:32". "John Gill's Exposition of the Bible". 1999

The Unconsecrated Cannot Understand

In the consideration of spiritual problems two lines of difficulties present themselves. When a natural-minded man undertakes to reason these subjects out, he finds them impossible of comprehension. The apostle Paul, through the guidance of the holy spirit, explains this difficulty, saying, "Now the natural man [the person governed by the physical] doesn't receive the things of the God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can't know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) Here Paul speaks of the sons of God who are led by God's spirit, that these only can appreciably discern the truths he spoke of. -- Romans 8:14

However, we should not confuse the expression "natural man" and "spiritual man" with "natural body" and "spiritual body" that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul elsewhere contrasts those who are carnally minded with those who are spiritually minded. (Romans 8:1-9) In their resurrection all natural men, or the carnally-minded, will receive earthly or human bodies, for that is the plane of existence that mankind in general is to be restored to. However, many have assumed that all the spiritual ones referred to 1 Corinthians 2, new creatures in Christ, will receive spirit bodies, and 1 Corinthians 15:36-50 is assumed to teach this. But as we have seen, there are various degrees of fruitages produced by those who receive the spirit. (Matthew 13:23) Some produce a hundredfold, while others produce sixty or thirty. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 15 to the spirit-begotten ones, not the world, that there are two kinds of bodies to be given to those he is speaking to in the resurrection, one earthly, and the other heavenly, one of flesh, and one of spirit. While the church is counted on the earthly plane first, only they should go on to bear the image of the heavenly will they receive the celestial, spiritual bodies in the resurrection. Therefore, we conclude that only those of the church who completely bear the image of the heavenly -- the hundredfold class -- will receive spiritual bodies in the resurrection, while the remainder, still remaining on the earthly plane of salvation, will receive earthly bodies in the resurrection. Thus he says: "As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." (1 Corinthians 15:48) In other words, Paul's answer to those in the church who asked: "How are the dead raised?" and, "With what kind of body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35) is that the body they receive in the resurrection depends on what is sown by the one walking in the spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) If one accepts of the spirit the earthly life, but does not follow the lamb as the hundredfold class, then that which is revealed in the scriptures indicates that such a person remains on the earthly level, and will not receive a spiritual body in the resurrection.

Another class who have difficulty are spirit-begotten Christians who have been entangled in their reasoning through tradition respecting the resurrection of the body. It is difficult to unlearn error. As we look the world over, and study concerning many religions and philosophies, and the strong hold these traditions have upon men, we can also see the same amongst the professed Christian population. We conclude that such Christians by their traditions experience just as much difficulty, and many cases even more difficulty, in unlearning errors as do the heathen in getting free from theirs. These, we believe, Jesus spoke of in Luke 12:45-48.

He Appeared and Disappeared

During the forty days following our Lord's resurrection, Jesus appeared [Phaino - manifested] to His disciples, but for only a few moments each time, and he appeared in various manners -- once as a gardener, another time as a traveler, a third time as a stranger on the shore, etc. He  evidently did not make all of his appearances in his former human form. We should not overlook these things, and and we need to ask ourselves why these things were so. Jesus' disciples had not yet received the revealing power of the holy spirit. (John 7:39) They could not yet appreciate the spiritual aspects of the kingdom. Furthermore, they could not receive the promised guiding of the holy spirit until after our Lord's ascension and appearance in the Father's presence on behalf of the Church, to make satisfaction for their sins and to make them acceptable for the high calling as joint-subscribers with Himself. Had Jesus ascended immediately after His resurrection the stunned and bewildered disciples would have had no assurance of His resurrection. They would have found it impossible to go out and tell the people that he had risen from the dead when they had no proof to this effect. Even if Jesus had appeared to them as he did to Saul of Tarsus, this would not have been convincing and satisfactory. They might have said: Here is a phenomenon, but how can we positively associate it with the life and death of Jesus? Matters were different with Saul. He needed something to arouse him thoroughly and to teach him for all time, and others through him, that the Lord is not a man, but a life-giving spirit, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see. (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Timothy 6:16) Besides, the disciples were able to give Saul assurances of what they knew respecting Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Our Lord adopted the only reasonable way of convincing his disciples that he was no longer dead, and that he was no longer human, but had been glorified and had become a spirit being. The two things were necessary, and they were done at the same time.


One has claimed for us the only division possible is that into spirit and flesh. Luke 24:35-43 was given and it was stated: "Indeed, people of flesh and bone can't appear just like that." (Luke 24:35-37) We were asked, however: "if Jesus said Himself that he had flesh and bones, why do you try to deny that?" (Luke 24:38,39) And finally and the claim was made that "the resurrected Jesus was beyond that division into material and spiritual."

Firstly, we need to point out that we do not deny that Jesus, in his appearances in the locked room, had a body of flesh and bones.

However, the apostle Paul, in speaking of bodily glories, never crossed a spiritual body with and earthly body. Either one has the glory of a spiritual, heavenly, celestial body, or one has the glory of a physical, earthly body. One does not have both at the same time. See our study:
With What Kind of Body Are We Raised?

Jesus, having been raised in the spirit, no longer had the glory of a man, a glory that is a little lower than the angels. He is not now a hybrid of both a spiritual body, greater than man, and a physical, earthly, body, lower than the angels.
Nevertheless, after being raised from the dead, Jesus certainly could and did raise up his former body, especially for the miraculous appearances in the closed/locked room. He did so to prove that he was not a spirit as they thought him to be, that is, a phantom "ghost".

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hope of Life After Death Part 08 - The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

The Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16:19-31

It is evident from the whole setting of this passage that it is a parable. Otherwise the logical lesson to be drawn from it is that unless we are poor beggars, full of sores, we will never enter eternal bliss; and that future torment will be our portion if we happen to wear fine linen and purple and fare sumptuously every day. And, if taken literally, those who are poor are taken, not to heaven, but into the grave where the fleshly body of Abraham is buried and are physically put into the bosom of Abraham's dead and buried body.

However, the context of this passage shows that Christ in this parable was teaching a great dispensational truth, namely, the change of favor from the Mosaic Law Covenant to the Covenant of faith. (Luke 16:16-18; Galatians 3:6-29) If you read carefully the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy, you will see that Jesus was merely repeating in vivid pictorial language what Moses had already said. See particularly verses 20 to 29; and also Paul's quotation of the 21st verse in Romans 10:19, where he shows that Moses' prophecy referred to the overthrow of Israel consequent upon Jesus' rejection of that nation.

Jesus was evidently drawing upon something that was in the real world of his day, the apostate Jewish belief which blended the Grecian mythologies into the Bible. Not all the Jewish leaders believe in these mythologies, but many did. Nevertheless, the Pharisees, whom Jesus was speaking to, knew of these beliefs. He distorted their own Jewish fable (Titus 1:14) as a parody, not to condone their apostate mythology, but to illustrate the change he had just spoken of: "The law and the prophets were until John." (Luke 16:16) Jesus' parody of this fable, therefore, served to deride the Pharisees to whom was speaking, to not condone the Jewish fable.

Some other reasons that this story should be viewed as a parable:

To think that Jesus was supporting the idea of eternal roasting after death by use of this parable is contrary to God's justice, for justice demanded the forfeiture of man's life for sin (Genesis 2:17), for "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), and of God it is said (Psalm 145:20): "all the wicked will he destroy." Therefore, it would be an infraction of God's justice for him to preserve the wicked for eternity in order to see them suffer for eternity without end.

Additionally, such a conclusion violates God's wisdom, for wisdom devises plans which useful ends are attained. There is surely no useful purpose in keeping the rich man eternally in a place of conscious torture, as man's self-appointed orthodoxy would have the parable to say.

Of course, the parable says nothing about the rich man remaining in hades for eternity, but as Revelation 20:13 shows, all in hades will be brought back for the judgment day, and then hades will be destroyed in the lake of fire. -- Revelation 20:14; See also Hosea 13:14.

If the rich man were in literal flames in hades, this could contradict the entire testimony of the rest of the Bible, which shows that sheol/hades is nothingness, oblivion, silence, destruction. -- Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; 115:17; 146:3,4; Isaiah 38:18; 63:16; Job 14:21; etc. This has been showned throughout this series of studies. See also What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?

Additionally, it would contradict God's stated purpose to bless all the heathen in the age to come. -- Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; Psalm 72:11; 82:8; 86:9; 102:15; Isaiah 2:2; 25:7; 52:10; Galatians 3:8; Revelation 15:4; 22:2 -- See: Restoration of All Things.

Furthermore, to think that Jesus was preaching eternal suffering in this parable would contradict the ransom, which is clearly taught, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:3,21,22, Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:6, which scriptures teach that Christ died (not suffered eternal torment) for our sins according to the Hebrew scriptures. The prophecy of Isaiah 53:4-12 shows that our Lord would bear our penalty (which is death -- Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23 -- not eternal torment), pouring out his soul to death. The effect of this ransom is to be the salvation of all men, not the eternal suffering of the vast majority. (1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:2) See The Ransom for All.

How, then, is this parable to be explained in harmony with what Jesus was speaking of, and in harmony with the rest of the Bible? We should compare spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing rather than to jump to conclusions that would, in effect, say that the Hellenistic-Jewish fable is true. What can we find in the scriptures that can help us to know what Jesus meant?

By comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing, we conclude that the rich man of the parable (and his five brothers) represent the proud and self-righteous of the Jewish nation in our Savior's time, who were seeking self-justification by means of the Law Covenant. (Galatians 2:21; Philippians 3:9; Romans 9:31,32) The Pharisees seem to be particularly represented by the Rich Man. (Luke 16:14,15) The scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat' (Matthew 23:2) as the religious leaders and representatives in Israel. (Matthew 23:5-7) The rich man's clothing of purple and fine linen represented the honors and privileges accorded to the scribes and Pharisees. (Matthew 23:5-7) The fine linen represented the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, which they claimed by the Law. (John 9:40,41) The purple clothing represented royalty -- not only was purple the royal color in our Savior's day, but we still speak of royal purple. (Judges 8:26; John 19:2,3; Mark 15:17,18) The scribes and Pharisees were sitting in Moses' seat, therefore they had the purple in the sense that to it belonged the honor of being the typical Kingdom of God, and the promises respecting the future dominion of God as the Kingdom of God. The abundance of food upon the rich man's table represented the abundance of divine promises and blessings and instructions given to the scribes and Pharisees. (Romans 9:4,5) It was this table of divine favors that the apostle referred to saying: "What advantage does the Jew have? Much in every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans 3:1-3) This was the table respecting which the prophet and the apostle spoke concerning Israel: "Let their table become a trap and a snare to them." (Romans 11:9) In other words, the very bounties and blessings of God's revelations or oracles tended to make them not humble, but proud, and ultimately assisted in their stumbling and rejection of the Savior due to their insistence of their righteousness by works of the Law. -- Romans 9:30-32.

The self-righteous scribes and Pharisees would not so much as eat with any they considered as sinners. (Matthew 9:11) They viewed those Jews whom they judged to be sinners the same as if they were Gentiles, without law. Those who accepted the Messiah's teachings were of this lowly Jewish class, who recognized their sinful condition. Matthew, one of Jesus' apostles, was a tax collector, others were common fishermen. (Matthew 10:3; Mark 1:16,19) None of them were recognized by the religious aristocracy of the time. They were looked down upon, declared not to be heirs with the holy self-justified Pharisees and educated Scribes and Doctors of the Law. The Pharisees even determined that Jesus himself was not only a friend of publicans and sinners but an injurious person who must not be allowed to live. (Matthew 12:14) From the Jewish leaders' standpoint Jesus and his followers were all outside the gates, excluded from the special privileges and blessings of God through the "righteousness" the Jewish leaders were claiming for themselves through the Law. It was from mostly amongst these Jews that were looked down upon by the Jewish leadership that those of faith were found in the first century, and such came to be represented in the parable by Lazarus.

The Lazarus class of faith also later included those Gentiles of humble heart who accepted Jesus, thus becoming Jews inwardly and participants in the Abrahamic promises. (Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28,29; Romans 2:28,29; 10:12) As an illustration of how these fed on the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table let us remember Jesus' words to the Syrophenician woman, a Gentile who came to him entreating for the healing of her daughter. Our Master, to illustrate the relative position of the Jews and Gentiles from God's standpoint, said to her: "It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (Matthew 15:26, World English) In other words, Jesus was saying: It would not be proper for me to devote my time and energies to the blessing of yourself and daughter, who are Gentiles, because the Jewish nation is by covenant in the favored place with God. Any special blessings and favors that God has to give must be given to them first of all. Non-Jews are not to expect to get the favors I was sent to give to Israel.' We remember his words to the disciples also: "Don't go among the Gentiles." (Matthew 10:5, World English) Likewise, he explained: "I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel." -- Matthew 15:24, World English

The message and blessings and opportunities could not go to the Gentiles until first the message had been offered to the Jewish table (occupied by the rich man) and had been rejected by all except a remnant that became the Jewish Lazarus class who would seek righteousness by faith. (John 1:11,12; Romans 1:15; 2:9,10; 11:5; Matthew 22:3-10) But mark that as Lazarus in the parable got some of the "crumbs," so did the Syrophenician woman. She exclaimed: "True, Lord. Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." (Matthew 15:27; Mark 7:28) Jesus answered her: "'O woman, your faith is great. Let it be to you even as thou desire.' And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matthew 15:28) Due to her faith, Jesus gave her the crumb from the children's table -- the table being occupied by the rich man.

The Death of Lazarus

In the context of this parable Jesus said the following: "The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached." (Luke 16:16, World English) The added phrase, "and everyone is forcing [or, pressing] his way into it", does not appear in older manuscripts, and thus we find it doubtful that Jesus added this phrase to the sentence.) To those who view this parable as teaching eternal suffering after death, this statement would seem to be dealing with a completely different subject. Yet Jesus gave the parable as an illustration of this very statement. Jesus made a similar statement as recorded in Matthew 11:12,13: "From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully [vigorously] advancing, and forceful [vigorous] people have been seizing it. All the Prophets and Moses' Teachings prophesied up to the time of John. " (God's Word Translation) "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" -- Matthew 11:15, World English.

Jesus also stated: "Everyone who divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery. He who marries one who is put away from a husband commits adultery." (Luke 16:18, World English) Again, this seems to be unrelated to the parable. However, it has much to do with the parable as we will see.
The parable tells us: "The beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom." The death of the beggar illustrates the Jew who puts his faith in Jesus as figuratively dying with Jesus. Thus Paul says: "Don't you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives? For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death. But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:1-6, World English) Notice how well this parallels Luke 16:18, for like Lazarus, the Jew has to die to the law covenant in order to belong to another, that is, Christ, the seed of Abraham. Not only that, although Paul was not specifically referring to this, the Gentile has likewise to die to the law of his own justification by works in order to be part of the Abrahamic seed of faith.

When Lazarus died, he was taken by the angels to Abraham's bosom. This signifies the faith-believing Jew becoming part of the true seed of Abraham in Jesus by promise apart from the Law. "For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise." (Galatians 3:18, World English) "When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galatians 4:4,5, World English) They were being received into the favored position before God. -- Romans 4:13,14.

Likewise, the believing Gentile also, being a law unto himself, had to die to the Law of Sin that ruled in his body. (Romans 2:12-15; 3:9-20) Thus both the believing Jew as well as the believing Gentile are represented in Lazarus.

The Death of the Rich Man

John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and Sadducees that even at that time the ax is laid to the root of the trees and that every tree that would not bear good fruit would be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10) John the Baptizer was the last prophet under the Law. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes claimed to be the representatives of the Law. (Matthew 12:2; 19:3; 22:34-36; John 7:47-49) As a rich man riding upon the Law as a means to righteousness, they missed the righteousness of God. As the apostle tell us, Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. They being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus. -- Romans 9:31,32; 10:3

Did the Jewish nation, seeking righteousness after the law, continue in the favor of God? Or, on the other hand did that nation figuratively begin to die to special blessings and mercies of God that they previously so richly enjoyed, and eventually died as nation? Shortly before Jesus died, he wept over Jerusalem and said: "Behold, your house is left to you desolate." (Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35, World English) Thus the parable continues: "The rich man also died, and was buried." With the rejection of the national polity of Jerusalem, the city of the Jews, rich man died, for he no longer had any standing before Jehovah. This was signified by the vail being ripped apart in the temple at Jesus' death. -- Mark 15:38.

The Rich Man in Torments

Then we read that the rich man, in Hades, lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and he saw Abraham in the distance, and Lazarus in his bosom. So much were the Jewish leaders tormented by the change of conditions that they persecuted the followers of Jesus, even to putting them to death. The torment of the Jewish leaders is demonstrated at Acts 5:33 (World English), when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard the things Peter and the other apostles told them: "They, when they heard this, were cut to the heart, and determined to kill them." They demonstrated a similar torment at the words of Stephen: "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54, World English) The fulfillment of this is also well-illustrated by Saul (before he became Paul the apostle), who was a Pharisee. Paul himself states: "You have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it." (Galatians 1:13, New King James Version) "I most assuredly thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem. I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. Punishing them often in all the synagogues, I tried to make them blaspheme. Being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities." (Acts 26:9-11, World English) Their torment of feeling the rejection of God by the preaching of Jesus' followers led them to try to prove that they had not been rejected. A successful revolt against the Roman yoke would be such a proof.

The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus, that he might dip the tip of his finger in water and cool the rich man's tongue while he is tormented in the flames. (Luke 16:24) The rich nan is not here really wanting to receive help from the Lazarus class. We should note that the rich man speaks, not to Lazarus, but to Abraham, asking for water from Lazarus. Nor does he wish to join with Lazarus, but he seeks something that Lazarus has. Lazarus, being in the favored position of Abraham's bosom; God's grace/favor through Jesus is likened to the waters of life. (John 4:10,14; 7:38) Likewise, the Jewish leaders began to realize that something was happening. They did not want to admit that they had missed the Messiah. They wanted Messiah to deliver them, but on their own terms. Seeing those represented by "Lazarus" at a distance, they desired a Messiah, someone to deliver them from the torments they had come into. They did not want to join the Christians so as to become part of the Lazarus class, but they desired the favor of God that was being given to the Lazarus class. Especially were they seeking deliverance from the Roman yoke. In May, 66 CE, the group known as Zealots, with whom were joined Pharisees and Sadducees, openly rebelled against Roman rule. Under the leadership of one Joseph Ben Matthias, a Pharisee (better known as Flavius Josephus), the Jews repulsed the Roman armies for 47 days before surrendering the fortress of Jotapata. By seeking deliverance from another source than through faith in Jesus they in effect were saying to Abraham: "Send Lazarus over to us, that he may cool our tongue." Returning to the parable, Abraham reminded the rich man how he had the good things during his lifetime, while Lazarus received bad things. The rich man had all the favors -- the Law and the Prophets. "To them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans 3:2) Now matters were reversed: Lazarus was comforted with the knowledge of the Good News and receiving grace by means of faith, while the rich man was in anguish. -- Luke 16:25; Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 1:3-6.

The Chasm

Then Abraham informs the rich nan that there is a great chasm (canyon, gulf) between the rich man and himself. This chasm represents the difference between faith in Jesus and the seeking of righteousness through the Law. The rich nan, representing those holding to the Law and denying Jesus as the Messiah, could not cross over the chasm to the other side in an endeavor to blend faith in the Messiah with seeking righteousness by Law. Likewise, Lazarus, representing those who are justified by faith in Jesus apart from the works of the Law, could not cross the chasm to the other side so as to blend the two opposing parties. Any individual Jew putting faith in Jesus (apart from the Law) would be represented in the Lazarus class. Any individual Jew who continued in seeking righteousness according to the Law would be represented by the rich man class. The Jew could be represented by one or the other, but not both. One could not accept righteousness through faith in the Messiah and at the same time seek righteousness by Law. Such would be crossing the chasm, that is, trying to bring salvation by works of the Law over to the side of Lazarus, or trying to take salvation by faith in the Messiah over to the side of the rich man, neither of which could be done. -- Galatians 2:16,21.

The Rich Man's Brothers

Next, the rich man, again addressing Abraham, asks for Lazarus to go to his father's house to warn his five brothers, that they not come into the place of torment he was in. (Luke 16:28) In the years 67-68 CE many Jews were taken prisoners by Vespasian. A knowledge that God was punishing the chosen people was growing amongst many of the Jewish people who had been taken prisoners. Josephus was among these. Another Pharisee, Jochanan ben Zakkai, likewise began to recognize that it was not God's will for the Jews to be freed from the Romans. These prisoners and others, in effect, were asking Abraham for a Messiah, not to deliver the remaining revolting Jews from the Roman yoke, but to warn their fellow Jews of the tragedy that was to come if they continued in their revolt. In doing this, however, they still did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah nor his followers as the true Lazarus. They wanted a justification, a Lazarus who would come to help their "brothers" under the Law. Abraham replied that they had Moses and the Prophets; they could listen to them. These, we are told, would lead them to the Messiah. (Galatians 3:24) On the other hand, to send the true Lazarus class to the "brothers" of the rich man in the manner requested, would have necessitated the revoking of their death to sin and the law. (Romans 6:2,7,8,11; 7:4) To do so would have meant they would become "twice dead" condemned to death twice by the law of sin. Thus Abraham told the Rich Man that if his brothers would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither would they listen to one who rose from the dead -- those dead with Messiah, who would have to renounce their death in Christ in order to again be alive to the Law. The remaining Jews in Jerusalem, Masada, etc., did not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they continued their rebellion until the city of Jerusalem with its temple was totally destroyed in the year 70 CE. In the year 73 the siege of Masada ended in disastrous results to the "brothers" of the rich man. Jesus does not take the narrative any further.
The number of "brothers" used in the parable is a total of six; the one who dies and the five who remain alive. We believe this number -- six -- the number of imperfection, is used to represent the unrighteous condition of the six brothers, that is, they had not been justified in the blood of the lamb.

Some try to show that Abraham's bosom in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus represents heaven or paradise. One has written: "The fact that at death Abraham's soul went to heaven is plainly stated in Scripture (Hebrews 11:10,16; cf. Matthew 8:11)" Yet, neither Hebrews 11:10,16 nor Matthew 8:11 say anything about Abraham's continuance of life in heaven while in death. Those who refer to the scriptures in this manner desire to read into scripture something which is not there. Matthew 8:10-12 and Luke 13:28-30 depict the end results of the Jewish rejection of their Messiah in the resurrection. The Kingdom was taken from them and given to a nation producing its fruitage. (Matthew 21:43) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sit in this kingdom because it is this nation that becomes the seed of Abraham. Of course, the language of the parable is pictorial, not to be taken literally. The children of the kingdom, the Jews as a whole, were cast out into outer darkness. There they were weeping and gnashing their teeth. They were cast out when Jesus stated: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem you who killed the prophets, and stoned them that were sent to you how often I would have gathered your children together, as hen gathers her offspring under her wings, but you would not allow it! Look, your house is left to you in desolation. Truly I say to that you will not see until the time comes when you will say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of Jehovah!'" (Luke 13:34,35) In all this there is no reference to a living existence of Abraham going to heaven when he died.

Likewise, Hebrews 11:10,16 refers to the figurative city that will come down from from heaven in the next age. (Revelation 21:1-4) Thus it will be in the time when Abraham will be resurrected, and the time when God himself is spoken of as dwelling with men. Hebrews 11:35 indicates that the resurrection, not an undieable soul, is referred to. Abraham did not receive the promise, we are told, nor was he made perfect before the believers in the Messiah. (Hebrews 11:39,40) Nothing is stated in the scriptures cited nor in the context to the effect that Abraham's soul went to heaven when he died.

Death and Restoration to Life

When Adam sinned, the sentence of death was passed not only upon him but also upon the whole human race yet unborn. Many deny this, and say that God would not condemn the whole race because of one man's sin; but we see this law in operation every day. They overlook the fact that through the law of heredity children suffer because of the sins of their fathers. As the prophet expresses it: "The fathers have eaten the sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge." (Jeremiah 31:29) It was a dying existence that the dying Adam passed on to the race. The whole basis of our salvation hinges on this fact. If all were not condemned in one, then neither are any of us justified by one. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) The stream was contaminated at its source. Accordingly, "there is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10, New Kings James) All are guilty before God, and all therefore, have been justly condemned to death. (Romans 2:1; 3:9,19) This is known as the doctrine of man's original sin. It is exactly what Paul tells us in Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (King James); also in the 18th verse: "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation." (Romans 5:18, King James) Again in 1 Corinthians 15:22: "In Adam all die." (King James) There is nothing more plainly taught in the Scriptures than this doctrine of man's original sin.

Those who are dead in Adam have been condemned to death because of innate sin. God, the righteous Judge, is completely righteous. He hates sin, and could not allow any imperfect sinful being to have eternal life. In this is seen the justice of God; but now, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8, King James) He "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever exercises faith in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -- John 3:16, King James.

To believe in Christ does not mean merely that mental form of belief that says: "I believe that there was such a man as Jesus Christ, and that He was put to death by the Romans," not that kind of belief, but the kind that is a living faith, that trusts in God and says: "I believe that God so loved the world that He gave His Son to be the Savior of mankind, and I believe God's promise that I am justified by my faith. Because of this faith, I further believe that I must obey the commandments of Jesus in demonstration of my faith." -- James 2:14-26; 1 John 5:1-3.

Those who exercise this living faith in Jesus pass from death unto life. (See John 5:24) Not that they have actual life; but God reckons, imputes, or counts (Greek, logizomai) it to them because his justice has been satisfied by the death of the Messiah, and they have accepted the provision that he has made for them in the Messiah. -- Romans 4:23-25.

Not only this, but even those who lived before the Messiah who exercised faith in God's promises were reckoned with God to be justified by their faith. Therefore they, too, are counted as being alive before God. Abraham is a prime example of this. (Romans 4:2,3,16-22; Matthew 22:31,32) Jehovah God, by calling things that are not as though they are (Romans 7:14), could look at their faith in the promises of the coming Messiah and reckon them justified based on the coming redemption through the Messiah.

In John 8:51, we find these words of Jesus: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Does this mean that those who believe and obey Jesus are now never to die? No; if that were the case none of the apostles would have died. But having the assurance of the resurrection, these are no longer children of wrath as are others, and therefore they view death as only a sleep from which they will be awakened. And as we have already seen, in God's sight they remain alive, reckoned so since God counts things that are not (the resurrection of the last day) as though they were. He counts them alive as though they had already been raised in the last day.

Therefore we see that in the death-state, there are two classes: the just and the unjust. And it is these two classes that are to come forth from the dead: "There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [justified] and the unjust [those not justified]." -- Acts 24:15.
See also:

Will Sinners Be Happy on Judgment Day?

Will Sinners Be Happy on Judgment Day?
Christian Questions Broadcast of 9/5/2016

 Judgment Day! The very words strike fear into the hearts of many believers across the borders of many religions. After all, this world obviously does not dole out any form of true justice to its vast population, and whatever God you may believe in surely sees this and will soon balance those scales that are presently so skewed in their measure. Justice! For many believers there is a conviction that God’s justice will soon come to earth in the form of anger, wrath and fire and bring the result of a destruction never seen upon this planet! Judgment and Justice – are these images of mayhem and obliteration really what the Bible describes? Is this world in for a dark and miserable night of pain from the wrath of God from which there is no tomorrow or is there an entirely different meaning and result of Judgment Day? What does the Bible REALLY say?

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