Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ecclesiastes 12:7 – The Spirit That Returns to God

Is the spirit that returns to a living conscious being? What is the breath of life? What returns to God when we die? What did Jesus commit to his Father at his death?

“The body without the spirit is dead.” “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.” “Stephen, calling upon God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, . . . fell asleep.” — James 2:26; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59, 60 — King James Version

Many point to the above scriptures in a effort to prove that the dead are conscious, claiming that these scriptures indicate that there is a spirit being (or living substance) in man or some sort of sentiency that leaves him at death, and then lives apart from the body consciously in bliss or torment. This idea relies heavily on the paganistic philosophies concerning dualism in the nature of man, that man is made up of two parts: one physical and the other spiritual, and that only the physical is capable of dying. Elsewhere we have shown that the condition of the dead is described in Ecclesiastes 9:5,10. (See our publication: Hope of Life After Death) No such thought is found in the Bible, the thought has been added by many in order to explain away the scriptures that speak of death as silence by stating that it is only the body that dies, while the spirit, or the soul, continues to live as a sentient being even after the body is dead.

(2) In explaining these passages and in showing their harmony with the other Scriptures, it might be helpful for us to discuss the various meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words translated in these passages by the words “spirit” and “He gave up the ghost.” The Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma are usually rendered “wind”, “spirit” or “breath”, but in some of passages they are rendered ghost. Turning to any standard Hebrew or Greek dictionary, we find that the words ruach and pneuma are given very many different definitions. The basic meaning of these words is invisible power or energy, and therefrom they are used in a variety of shades of meaning, all of which carry the basic meaning invisible and powerful. With the thought of invisible power as basic to the significance of these words, they are used in the scriptures with meaning of {1} influence or power. (Genesis 1:2; Judges 15:14; Job 33:4; Luke 1:35; John 20:22, 23 [in the last two passages the Greek is without the definite article, thus could read: a Holy Spirit, i.e., a holy power or influence]; 1 Corinthians 14:12) The word translated spiritual in 1 Corinthians 14:12 is the Greek word for spirit or power, while the word “gifts” in the King James Version is in italics, which means that it is without a corresponding word in the Greek text. From the same basic meaning of these words, they have are used in the scriptures with the significance of {2} wind as an invisible power. (Genesis 8:1; Exodus 15:10; Numbers 11:31; John 3:8) From the meaning of wind it was a very easy transition of thought for the word to take on the significance of {3} breath, also an invisible power. (Job 15:30; Lamentations 4:20) On account of the life force being originally derived (Genesis 2:7) and subsequently maintained from the oxygen in the breath, these words have, from their meaning [breath] taken on the significance of {4} life force, the animating force of life, an invisible power, which, can be held or lost in varying degrees of vigor. (Ecclesiastes 3:21; Genesis 7:22; Genesis 45:27; Numbers 16:22; Judges 15:19; Psalm 31:5; Matthew 27:50; Revelation 11:11; 13:15) Because the mind, heart, disposition, will are invisible powers, these words also are used with the meaning of {6} the mind, heart, disposition, will, either of God, Christ, the Church or the world. (Ezekiel 36:26; Psalm 34:18; 1 Corinthians 2:12 ; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15) Because spirit beings are invisible and powerful beings, these words also mean {6} a spirit, i.e., a spirit being. (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:14; John 4:24; Acts 4:24; Acts 19:12,13,15) Finally, because doctrine, or teaching, is an invisible power, these words are used to mean {7} doctrine, teaching. (Isaiah 11:4; 29:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:2, 8; 1 John 4:3,6) Thus the Scriptures show that these words , ruach and pneuma, are used in at least seven distinct senses in the Bible. Other meanings have been added by traditionalists, but which are challenged as far as scriptural usage are concerned. Some, by borrowing from pagan dualistic philosophies, believe that the spirit is a part of man that consciously survives the death of the body. This consciousness is thought to go to various places at death: heaven, paradise, sheol, purgatory, limbo, lake of fire (to be consciously tortured), etc. The closest we can come this meaning scripturally is either meaning #4 or meaning #6 above.

THE BODY WITHOUT SPIRIT

Which of these meanings fit in each of the passages under consideration: James 2:26; Ecclessiastes 12:7; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59,60? Let us examine each passage in turn, comparing them with these seven definitions and from this examination we will be helped to understand the special use of ruach and pneuma in each of them. First, then, we will compare James 2:26, “The body without the spirit [pneuma] is dead,” with these various definitions. Manifestly the definitions {1} influence or power, {2} wind, and {7} doctrine, cannot fit here, hence need not be discussed in connection with this verse any further. This leaves four other definitions that might be especially tested as to their fitness in this verse — {3} breath, {4} life force or vigor, {5} mind, heart, disposition, will and {6} a spirit being. The connection eliminates definition {5}; for the comparison that James makes between faith being without works and the body being without pneuma would not be a happy one, if pneuma here meant heart, mind, disposition, will. Such a definition here would not clarify his thought, as a comparison, which he uses, should do. Definition {6} is the closest to the one that some of those who teach the consciousness of the dead apply here; but others of them are quite doubtful of this, as can be seen from the reading on this verse in the King James Version‘s margin, where breath is given instead of spirit. In Greek the definite article, to, the, occurs before the word soma, body, but does not occur before pneuma. The absence of the article before pneuma and its presence before the word soma — body — implies that pneuma here does not mean a spirit being or a spirit sentiency at all; for if it did, the definite article would have been used before pneuma, just as it is used before soma. It is doubtless this consideration that prompted the insertion of the word breath in the margin of the King James Version. Not only is the absence of the article before pneuma against our understanding it to mean a spirit being or sentiency in this verse, but against such a thought is the fact that James here does not restrict the word soma to the human body, but to any kind of an animal body, whether it be of man, beast, fish, fowl, or creeping thing. Therefore it is not likely that by using the word pneuma Paul would have meant a spirit being, since it generally claimed that no such a spirit (spirit beings) are in bodies of beasts, fish, fowls and creeping things. Furthermore the Bible nowhere teaches that there is a spirit being (consciousness) inside of any fleshly body, which at death leaves it and apart from it lives on as a conscious being. This idea would have to borrowed from pagan philosophies and then read into the scripture. Therefore we have no reason in this passage pneuma to believe that this takes on the meaning {6} a spirit being. This leaves us definitions {3} and {4}, either of which would fit; for it is equally true that the body without breath or without the life force is dead, just as faith without works is dead. This also would agree with the reversal of Genesis 2:7, wherein the breath of life is given and life results. Likewise, the breath of life is taken away and death (the opposite of sentiency) results.

THE SPIRIT’S RETURN TO GOD

We will now examine the meaning of the word ruach in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto God who gave it.” As in the discussion of James 2:26 we began with a process of elimination, so will we do with this passage. It is self evident that definitions, {1} influence or power, {2} wind, {3} breath, {5} mind, disposition, will and {7} doctrine, do not fit in this verse; for they would not make good sense, if applied in this passage. This would limit the choice of a definition of ruach in the passage to three meanings, i. e., {4} life force, and {6} a spirit being (or sentiency apart from the body). Practically all who believe in the consciousness of the dead assume that the word ruach here has the meaning of {6} a spirit being or of some sentiency that continues to have sentient life after the death of the body. Actually such a thought has to be borrowed from pagan dualistic philosophies and read into the scripture, for the scripture does not say this. But deeper thought shows that this is inadmissible; for the following reasons:


To give ruach here the meaning of {6} a spirit being or sentiency, would make the passage teach Universalism; for the passage lays down the universal rule that in death the body returns to its native dust and the ruach to God; and as the body remains where it returns, so the ruach would remain where it returns. This would mean that the good and the bad alike will be with God, i. e., have everlasting life with God, if ruach here means an immortal spirit being or sentiency that continues sentient life after the death of the body.

Again the Bible nowhere teaches or implies that God gives each human body, at his begettal, birth, or at any other time a ruach in the sense of {6} a spirit being or sentiency that is separate from the body, and continues such sentiency after the death of the body. The idea has to borrowed from heathen dualism and then read into the scriptures.

Moreover, if we were to view ruach as a spirit being or sentiency in this verse, this would imply that we all are spirit sentient beings before being born, as the scriptures says that the spirit returns to God who gave it. There is no scripture to support the theory that we were spirit beings or were sentient before being born on earth.

Additionally, Psalm 146:4 states that when the ruach leaves us, we go back to the ground, and our thoughts perish. This does not say that just our thoughts in our body perish, and that we continue to have thoughts in a spirit form. It plainly says that our thoughts perish — period. This agrees with the plain statement of Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Finally, nowhere does the Bible teach or imply that the ruach of human beings is a spirit being or sentiency that can be separated from the body; for the Bible does not teach that we are hybrids, part human and part spirit beings.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 is actually the reversal of the process given in Genesis 2:7. There we read: “Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” It was the combination of the body of dust and the breath of life caused the man to be a living sentiency. He was not a living sentiency until this combination was made. Likewise, the removal of the spirit or breath of life results in the removal of sentiency; thus when the spirit, or force, of life returns to God who gave it, there is no more sentiency, until God returns the spirit in the resurrection. (See our document on: Neshamah — Is It an Immortal Soul in Humans?

For these reasons, the word ruach in the passage, “the ruach shall return to God who gave it,” cannot mean a spirit being or some consciousness that lives on in conscious existence after the death of the body. Such a thought has to be added to the scripture.

Therefore only definition {4}, life force, is left for application in this passage as the meaning of ruach. And when we die, according to Ecclesiastes 12:7, our bodies return to their native dust (Genesis 3:19), and our life force or energy reverts to its Giver, God, in the sense that He takes it from us and keeps it in His power for whatever final disposal of it He will be pleased to make at the Judgment Day. Thus Ecclesiastes 12:7 can be seen the reversal of the original creation process as described in Genesis 2:7. — See our paper on Neshamah.

COMMITTING THE SPIRIT UNTO GOD

Next we will examine the sense of pneuma as used in Luke 23:46, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My pneuma; and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.” Again, we begin with a process of elimination. Evidently pneuma is not in this passage used in the sense of {1} influence or power, {2} wind, {3} breath, {5} mind, heart, disposition, will, or {7} doctrine. Nor is it used in the sense of {6} a spirit being; because Jesus as a human being having been made in all respects like us apart from imperfection or sin (Hebrews 2:14, 16, 17; 4:15; Philippians 2:7, 8), and we not having spirit beings or within us, or some sentiency within us that continues to live after the death of the body, He did not have such within Himself, and hence in dying could not have commended it to God for safe keeping. The fact that David used these words of himself, and also as a prophecy of Jesus’ use of them in dying (Psalm 31:5) proves that the ruach of Psalm 31:5 and the pneuma of the passage under consideration, meaning the same thing, pneuma cannot mean a spirit being in Luke 23:46; for David had no such thing, nor did David go to heaven to be with God when died. (Acts 2:34) David, rather than expecting to be with God, expected to be in a condition where he could not thank or praise Yahweh when he died (Psalm 6:5; 115:17), an oblivious condition. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) Hence there is only one other definition of the six left for consideration in Luke 23:46, {4} life force, life energy. Accordingly the passage would mean that Jesus in dying, deposited his spirit — life force, energy — with the Father, being fully submitted to the Father’s will as to what should become of it. And the Father was pleased to return Jesus’ life force when he was raised from the dead. How fittingly this passage, so interpreted, describes the Lord Jesus’ full obedience and submission to, and confidence in, the Father, as He was entering the jaws of Death!

The last part of Luke 23:46, “He gave up the ghost”, is a wrong translation. The five words that we have italicized in the preceding sentence are used to translate but one Greek word, not the noun pneuma, but the verb exepneusen, which literally means, “He breathed out, He expired”. The word ghost in English is usually used to mean a spirit being that has conscious personal existence apart from the human body which once was supposedly its body, and which it is supposed to have left at death. As said, above, the Bible nowhere teaches or implies that such a pneuma exists in a human being or exists separately from the human body as a sentiency after death. The teaching that there is in man a spirit being which at death leaves the body and, separate from it, and is conscious, was invented by Satan, and was originally palmed off by him as one of the first three lies or falsehoods ever told — the three falsehoods by which he deceived Eve and murdered the whole human family (Genesis 3:4, 5, 13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14; John 8:44); and it has been since used by him so effectively as to deceive almost the entire human race. (Revelation 12:9) In Matthew 27:50, the parallel reads, Jesus . . . yielded up the ghost. In this verse, the word ghost is given as the translation of pneuma. But this part of the verse being parallel to, i.e., synonymous with exepneusen of Luke 23:46, it means exactly what that expression means in Luke 23:46: “He breathed out”, or “He expired”. Therefore pneuma in Matthew 27:50 should have been rendered {3} breath, or {4} life force, either of these renderings used as the object of the verb “yielded up” is with its governing verb equivalent to the expression, “He expired, He died.” Jesus, at this time, had not yet been exalted above the angels, and thus, he had not yet received the full mightiness bodily and the full authority that would belong to his highly exalted celestial body.

The word pneuma, as used in Acts 7:59, 60, “Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, . . . fell asleep,” is very similar in meaning to Jesus’ dying words in Luke 23:46, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” For the same reasons given above in the discussion of this latter passage, the word pneuma in Acts 7:59 evidently means {4} life force. And by the language of this verse, Stephen prayed our Lord Jesus to take unto His care for safe keeping Stephen’s life force or energy, and in such faith fell asleep, an expression that proves that he became and remained unconscious in death. The expression used in the King James Version “calling upon God” is from the Greek word epikaleomai and should have been rendered “cried out” or “prayed”; there is no word in the Greek to correspond with “God”, thus most translations say nothing about God in this verse. Consequently the Word English Bible (Hebrew Names Version) reads: “They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, ‘Lord Yeshua, receive my Spirit!'”

THE FORCE OF LIFE IS NOT SENTIENT

The Bible reveals that this same life force from God that is in man is also in the lower animals. In the Hebrew text, both neshamah (used in describing the creation of the first human soul — Genesis 2:7), and ruach are applied to the lower animals, in the same manner as they are applied to humans. (Genesis 6:17; 7:15,21,22; Job 33:4) The two words are used interchangeably in Genesis 6:17; 7:15,21,22 and in parallel with each other in Job 27:3-5; 34:14,15; Isaiah 42:5. In Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 we find that humans die in the same manner as the beasts, and that both have but one spirit (ruach). The life force from God is common to both man and beast. Thus this “spirit” or life force from God is insentient in itself. This is further shown in the statement of Ecclesiastes 12:7, where it states that the spirit returns to God. Since it states that this spirit returns to God, if we view this word as denoting sentiency, then we would have to say that we were thinking sentiencies before being born into this world.

A little more concerning Psalm 146:3,4: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Here ruach is translated “breath” in the King James Version. It is the life force that returns to God, and the body returns to the earth, just as the spirit returns to God who gave it, the reversal of the creative process described in Genesis 2:7. Some want this scripture to say that the thoughts in the body only perish, but that is not what is says: “In that very day his thoughts perish.” The person is no longer a living soul, no longer a living sentiency.

One more point concerning the condition of the dead: if the dead are conscious, then those raised from the dead through Elijah, Elisha and Jesus would presumably have remembered being alive during the time that they were dead. Yet there is no record that any of these had any recollection of being conscious while in the death state. — 1 Kings 17:17-23; 2 Kings 4:32-37; John 11:38-44.

We want to point out however, that the scriptures show that in the resurrection day, the spirit of life — the force of life — will be returned to us. “You hide your face: they are troubled; You take away their breath [ruach]: they die, and return to the dust. You send forth your Spirit [ruach]: they are created. You renew the face of the ground.” (Psalm 104:29,30, World English Bible) Many believe it is this link that allows us to actually be ourselves in the resurrection. Whatever method God uses in the resurrection, we will not be a creation of another being in whom is implanted our memories, but rather we will be ourselves — we will be the same being raised with new bodies. We further note that one of the meanings given to the Greek word paliggenesia is “re-creation.” The King James Version translates this word as “regeneration” in Matthew 19:20. We will be re-created, but we will be re-created as ourselves, and not another being that receives our memory.

Only if one wants to add heathen philosophy with the Bible can one obtain from the above scriptures anything concerning consciousness during the death state. Not one of the scriptures say anything about anyone being alive or conscious after death. Thus we see that in their proper setting and in harmony with the rest of the Bible, none of the scriptures of our discussion prove that the dead are conscious.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Genesis 2:17 – Was Adam Sentenced to Spiritual Death?

Was the condemnation upon Adam and Eve "spiritual death" or actual physical death?

Genesis 2:17 – But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”

It is claimed by many that this scripture is saying that the penalty of sin is “spiritual” death, as opposed to “physical” death. It is claimed that the penalty for sin – death – is spiritual separation from God. Some claim the penalty was both spiritual and physical death, while others claim that Adam would have died anyway even if he had not disobeyed.

Scripturally, however, the scripture is saying Adam began to perish when he sinned — he began to die — began to perish in the day he ate: “for in the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die” (Genesis 2:17, Young’s Literal Translation; see also KJV margin) His dying condition, his perishing condition, finally brought the wages of sin — death, total and complete absence of all sentiency; thus Adam perished in death and went into the condition of sheol, the condition of being dead, in which condition he had no knowledge of anything, the condition in which “there is no work, and device, and knowledge, and wisdom.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) This is the same condition in which the righteous are not able to praise Jehovah, or give thanks to him. (Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18) It is the condition to which all go when they die, both good and bad.

This same perishing condition has been upon the race in Adam ever since, and the resultant removal of sentiency would have been eternal had it not been for Jesus’ sacrifice for the church and the world, so that all will be brought back from the perished condition, some to life, and some to judgment. — John 5:28,29; Romans 5:8-12; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,.6; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 20.

We know Adam did not die in the very day that he ate of the fruit. He lived for a long time after that, for he had many sons and daughters. Of course, there are those that argue that “muth temuth” (to die, you die, or you will die) is a Hebrew idiom of emphasis, and that it is why many translations render it “You will *surely* die”, rather than “Dying, you will die.” The idiom argument is often put forth in order to promote the idea that Adam’s fleshly body would have died anyway even if he had not sinned, and that thus the death received through Adam’s sin is “spiritual” death rather than “physical” death. However, such an idea runs counter the whole idea of Jesus’ death for our sins. (Jesus did not die an eternal “spiritual” death as opposed to an eternal “physical” death for our sins.)

There are others that admit to the literal rendering of “dying, you will die”, but still try to force the "spiritual death" teaching into this, as some have claimed that “dying, you will die” refers to spiritual death, not physical death.

Why did Adam have to die? When Paul wrote of those dead in Adam, Was Paul referring to spiritual death — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22, or was he referring to being totally dead — soul and body? We can find out the kind of death that is the penalty of sin by the kind of death that Jesus died. Did Jesus give to God a sacrifice of “spiritual death”? (1 Corinthians 15:3) “Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) Whatever death Jesus “died”, as shown in Romans 5:6, has to be same death that is the penalty of sin as shown in Romans 6:23. Why? Because of the equivalent offsetting price -- ransom -- needed to pay the debt for mankind. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) So what was the death that Jesus died? Is he now suffering eternal separation from God for the sins of mankind? Those who claim the wages of sin that came upon Adam and his descendants is spiritual death end up with all kinds of self-contradictions and extra-Biblical explanations by trying to add and blend the various extra-Biblical philosophies into the Bible.

Adam was created a living soul consisting of the spirit of life from God and the body made of dust (Genesis 2:7), but he -- as a living soul -- came under the death sentence because he disobeyed God. (Genesis 2:17; 3:19) It is man as a soul that needed to be delivered from death, not the exact dust and vapor particles that make up his flesh. Thus the Psalmist says: “God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol.” — Psalm 49:15, New American Standard.

To accomplish this redemption, we read that Christ Jesus “poured out his soul to death”; he made his soul (which includes his human flesh — Genesis 2:7), represented in his blood, “an offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:10; 13:11; Leviticus 17:11) Obviously, these scriptures are referring Jesus as a human, not to Jesus' soul, his being, as raised from the dead. However, we are particularly told that it was the “soul” of Jesus that was raised from the dead: “you will not leave my soul in Sheol — the oblivious realm of death. (Psalm 16:10; Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) The apostle Peter quotes this statement as prophetical of the resurrection of Jesus, that His soul was not left in hades; God raised Jesus from the dead. (Acts 2:31,33) Thus Jesus gave his soul as a human — a soul for soul — in death as an offsetting price to correspond to what Adam lost. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 2:9) Jesus gave his human soul as represented in his blood once for all in sacrifice. When raised back to life, Jesus’ soul was no longer human or fleshly, terrestrial, a little lower than the angels (Jesus offered and gave his humanity in sacrifice, he is therefore no longer human), but he as a soul was not raised as a human soul, but he was raised in a spiritual, celestial, heavenly body -- a soul, sentiency that is above the angels. — 1 Peter 3:18,22; Acts 26:13; 1 Corinthians 15:39-41,45; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 1:4,6; 1 Peter 3:18,22.

Many of our trinitarian neighbors, however, would have us believe that Jesus only died physically for sins, and that spiritually he continued to live and never died at all. To do this, they present the idea of what they often call "the hypostatic union" of Jesus, or they present the heathen idea of human dualism, that is, that man is two parts, one part of which dies (the body) and another part that cannot die (soul or spirit) and conciously lives on after the body dies. However, with such philosophies in view, if then the penalty of sin is spiritual death, the ransom price has never been paid! Thus the trinity dual natures and/or dualistic philosophy actually ends up denying the basis of the ransom!

Others would claim that the man Jesus died both spiritually and physically, but they usually deny the eternality of either. They certainly would not claim that Jesus is now and will be for all eternity separated from God, for they claim that Jesus now has both of his "natures" — his alleged “God” nature, as well as human nature — and will have both natures for all eternity.

The truth is that the penalty for sin is not "spiritual death." While sin does indeed separate one from God, and this could be called "spiritual death", this was not the wages of sin. While such separation is associated with Adam's sin, that separation itself is not the actual penalty, for if it were, then the offsetting price needed to pay that penalty would be for a sinless man to be eternally separated from God.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Matthew 12:31,32 - The Unforgivable Sin

Many often refer to what they call the "sin against the Holy Spirit", [or as some prefer, "sin against the Holy Ghost"] and often make many unfounded claims concerning such. Many believe anyone, once he has 'sinned against the spirit', has already come under an eternal condemnation from which they cannot repent. Actually, the expression "sin against the holy spirit", as such, is not in the Bible. The "sin" that is often spoken of is actually blaspheming [railing, speaking abusively] against the holy spirit.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/blasphemia.html


Matthew 12:31 - Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
Matthew 12:32 - Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither in this [age], nor in that which is to come.


Mark 3:29 - but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment.  - Young's Literal


Luke 12:10 - Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.


As already mentioned, some read into Jesus' words that those who speak against the holy spirit are eternally lost, that there is no more hope for them at all. This, however, is not what Jesus said. Directly, Jesus was speaking of the Pharisees, who had just witnessed the power of the holy spirit through Jesus, in the healing of a demon-possessed blind and mute man. (Matthew 12:22) The question was raised as to whether Jesus was the Son of David. (Matthew 12:23) Evidently, these religious men did recognize the power of the holy spirit in Jesus, and that Jesus was indeed the Son of David, the long-promised Messiah. The scripture says that Jesus knew their thoughts. (Matthew 12:25) These Pharisees were not sons of God, being the offspring of vipers. (Matthew 23:33) They certainly did not have God's holy spirit, and thus did not have the truth. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8,14) Yet they did have some understanding that Jesus was indeed the promised one, but did not wish to accept it. That they understood Jesus to be the promised heir is indicated in the parable that Jesus spoke. (Matthew 21:38; Mark 12:7,8; Luke 20:14) Caiaphas spoke the truth to them, but they did not understand the truth, and evidently Caiaphas himself did not understand the truth concerning his own words. Their desire was not that Jesus be the savior, but that through his death, they thought Israel would not be troubled by him anymore. They took counsel and began to seek some way to kill Jesus. (John 11:47-53) Caiaphas evidently did have some knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah, but did not want to accept it, as can be seen by his words at Matthew 26:63-65.


The general penalty of sin through Adam was still upon these Jewish leaders. Unlike the sons of God, who become regenerated to a new life by means of the holy spirit, these Jewish leaders had not had any such experience. Not being made alive, they could not, at that point, come under the condemnation of a second death. Nevertheless, seeing that they were at least partly knowledgeable of who Jesus was, in that they did realize that Jesus was the promised Son of David, their sin was also partially willful in their words against the operation of the holy spirit as demonstrated through the works of Jesus.


Jesus, in his above words, is not speaking of the penalty of death, or the second death, but he is speaking of giving account in the day of judgment, that is, in the age to come. (Matthew 12:36) Jesus is not saying that these religious leaders have no opportunity to repent, for we know that some of them did. Most translations speak of "idle words" said by men that will need to be accounted for in the day of judgment. Our English word "idle" may fall short of what Jesus was speaking about, since the Greek word he used carries a thought of shunning of responsibility. This was what these religious leaders were doing in speaking words against the operation of the holy spirit. Jesus did not say that they would not come back in the general resurrection for judgment in the last day, for he plainly speaks of their giving an accounting in the day of judgment. What he is saying is that their words were spoke so willfully against what they knew to the contrary, that they could not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come (thus they will be there in the age to come), but they must be accounted for.


This harmonizes with Jesus' statement that he came to save, deliver, the world, not to judge the world in this age, but that judgment would come in the last day. Jesus did not judge or pronounce an eternal condemnation upon these religious leaders, for he declared that he had not come to judge the world, or to condemn it and those who did not accept him, but quite to the contrary, to die for it/them, to redeem it/them, to purchase it/them at the cost of His life. -- John 3:16,17; 12:47,48.


In a parable, Jesus also demonstrated this principle when speaking of his true servants, that there must be some accounting for partially willful sins. He spoke of this correction as the giving of "stripes".


Luke 12:47 That servant, who knew his lord's will, and didn't prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes,
Luke 12:48 but he who didn't know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes.


This same kind of principle will be applied in the day of judgment. Thus Jesus said of those who rejected him and his disciples in his day, because their rejection was partially willful, especially in light of the many miracles performed:


Matthew 10:15 - Most assuredly I tell you, It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.


Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Matthew 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
Matthew 11:23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to Heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until this day.
Matthew 11:24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for you."


It should be noted that these were not condemned to the second death, represented by Gehenna, but to Hades. Thus, they they are included in the salvation of the whole world and will be raised for judgment in the last day, as can be seen from John 12:47,48; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 20:13.


Although not expressly stated, the actual basis for forgiveness in this present evil world is though faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Son of God, since it is through is blood that one is forgiven of sin. -- Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:17.


Forgiveness by God before Jesus' sacrifice was also due to faith, especially in the promises; in effect, Jesus' sacrifice was evidently prospectively applied to various ones of faith, justifying them in the sight of God. -- Luke 20:38; Acts 4:3,6-8,13,17,18,20-25.


Notwithstanding, Jesus, in his words recorded at Matthew 12:32,33 and elsewhere, does give a warning reproof to the religious leaders who opposed him that those who could thus see the righteousness of his teachings, and how He made use of the holy spirit to glorify God in his words and actions, and who could then impute all of this to Satan, must be to a considerable extent perverse in their hearts, and if so, they would be in great danger in the judgment day to be condemned to Gehenna, the second death, since they had hardened their hearts to such great truths and works of God that Jesus had done by means of the holy spirit in him. -- Luke 4:1,14; Matthew 12:28; Mark 23:33.


The Bible teaches that the penalty of Adam's sin was death -- cutting off from life -- but that under divine providence the work of Jesus is to release all mankind from that death sentence, and give to all an opportunity of returning to harmony with God by bringing all to a clearer knowledge of the Truth. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Timothy 2:5,6) To some this knowledge comes now, with the privilege of becoming sons of God, the seed of Abraham (by faith) that is to judge and bless all the heathen. (Genesis 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Romans 4:13; 1 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 3:29; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Obadiah 21; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; Romans 8:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 3:21; 5:9,10; 20:4,6; 22:17) To such as accept this privilege and receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit, a judgment begins now to qualify them for their reward in the kingdom. -- 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:20-22; 4:12-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:4,5; 1 Peter 4:17; James 1:18.


But with the world, including those religious leaders Jesus spoke to, this is not the time of judgment respecting life or death everlasting, for they have already been judged in the sin of Adam. (John 3:18; Romans 5:12-17; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) For them the next Age, the period of Messiah's Kingdom, will be the time of judgment, when the books are opened for their understanding when Satan is not around to deceive, and their privilege will be to attain human perfection, otherwise to be cut off in the Second Death. (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:9,10; 25:6-9; 40:5; 52:10: Jeremiah 31:34; Habakkuk 2:14; Revelation 20:1-4,12) Meantime, whatever light they may be enjoying will be either helpful or injurious, depending on how they deal with it. If they allow it to have an uplifting influence in their lives they will be that much more advantaged when they shall come under the Kingdom influences and tests; and their trial will be more tolerable, or easier, in that day of judgment than those who sinned against greater light. -- Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12,14.
See our study:
The Restoration of All Things


On the other hand, even those of the world who violate clear opportunities and ignore the light which they have opportunity to see and sin against it, will find themselves proportionately degraded when they shall come under the Kingdom influences and tests. The scribes of this lesson had so misused their education and opportunities as to be in great danger of becoming so degraded that even the Kingdom influences would not bring them to a condition worthy of everlasting life.


Now regarding those who have been, by faith, made alive, and have partaken of the powers of the age to come, who persist in sinning, these, we believe, are of two classes: those who have not committed the sin to death, and those who have committed the sin to death. (1 John 5:16,17) Once a spirit-begotten Christian crosses the line in their practice of sin so that they fall into the class spoken of in Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29, in his heart, he "who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace", for such their 'blaspheming of the holy spirit' becomes a sin for which there is no more sacrifice for sin. Such have, in effect, willfully and fully rejected their sanctification through the holy spirit. They cannot return to the condemnation in Adam, but having been made clean by means of the powers of the age come, they would then, due to their rejection of their sanctification, also come under the adverse condemnation of the age to come, that is, the second death.


At what point can we determine that such a person has reached this point of no return? We have not found a scriptural answer to that question by which we today could determine. We do believe the apostles, having received special power of the holy spirit, could so determine such. (Acts 5:3; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5,7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:2) Additionally, the Bible was written directly mostly for and concerning Christians in the first century, most of whom had received, not just the holy spirit, but additional gifts, powers, of the holy spirit, powers of the age to come, that we today do not have. Thus, it would appear that there was a greater responsibility upon those Christians in the first century than Christians here at the end of the age. Today, as foretold, Satan is working all kinds of miracles so as to deceive, if possible, the elect. (Matthew 24:24) And Jesus spoke of his servants as though fulfilling several roles, none of which he expressly condemns to the second death. (Luke 12:42-48) So, we doubt that one will find many who have been sanctified today who would come under the judgment of the second death. Such a determination we have to leave in the hands of Yahweh.


See our study:
Parable of the Four Servants


See also (we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions presented by others):


"Some Sins Forgivable and Some Unforgivable"
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/Newspaper_Sermons/NS14.asp#NS242:6

"Fogivable and Unpardonable Sins"
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/reprints/Z1910JAN.asp#Z46:5

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Genesis 5:24 - Is Enoch Still Alive?

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. — Genesis 5:24, World English Bible translation.
By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” — Hebrews 11:5, New Revised Standard Version
All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. — Hebrews 11:13, New Revised Standard Version

There have been many imaginative claims made based on the above scriptures. Some have claimed that Enoch is still alive in the flesh on another planet or somewhere; some have claimed that Enoch is still alive in some kind of suspended animation. But the most common claim is that Enoch was taken to heaven, or to “paradise” (based on the  later Jewish doctrines adopted and adapted from the Greek mythology, by which they place “paradise” as a compartment of sheol). All of these views claim that Enoch never died. In truth, our conclusion, based simply on the scriptures, is that Enoch died, and was not found, without experiencing death, that is, he did not experience the normal process of dying.

In the World English Bible translation, Paul’s statement in Hebrews 11:5 is rendered in this manner: “By faith, Enoch was translated, so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.” The New Revised Standard Version demystifies what was said by saying that Enoch was taken. The Greek word rendered “translated” in the World English Bible simply means to change, transfer or to transpose. The King James Version renders it as “carried over” in Acts 7:16; as “removed” in Galatians 1:6; as “changed” Hebrews 7:12; and as “turning” in Jude 1:4.

The scripture does not say that Enoch did not become dead, but that he did not “see” death. [eidw = to see, (by impl. and in the perf. only) = to know (perfect used as pres.) — John Meggison] Paul doesn’t say that Enoch was translated into heaven, as many assume, nor does he say that he was translated from mortality into immortality as is also assumed by some. Such would mean that Jesus was not the firstborn of the dead. (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5) Jesus plainly stated, "No one has ascended into heaven." (John 3:13) Genesis and the Letter to the Hebrews certainly do not say anything about Enoch’s soul being immortal at all. All that is stated is that Enoch did not go through the normal process of dying, thus he did not know death as other people do, and was “translated” into sheol — the realm of death — by God. Nor does any scripture say that every believer will be like Enoch, so as not to see death, nor does any scripture say anything about an alleged immortal soul or immortal spirit sentiency going to heaven.

We know that Enoch did die, for it is stated (Hebrews 11:13): “These all died in faith,” which includes Enoch. (Hebrews 11:5) And rather than saying that Enoch was taken to heaven, the Genesis account simply says that “he was not.” (Genesis 5:24) Taken as it is stated,  if one would conclude that if he was taken to heaven, then it would seem to say that his mortal human fleshly body was taken to heaven; however, in reality,  this is absurd, since flesh is of the earth, earthly, not of the heavenly. — 1 Corinthians 15:39-41, 48.

Nothing in any of the scritpures says anything about Enoch’s alleged immortal soul or spirit having anything to do with this, or anything about his alleged immortal soul or spirit going to heaven. Indeed, from the way it reads in Genesis, and if anyone would wish to entertain the thought that Enoch went to heaven, then it would appear that he went to heaven in his body of flesh. This, of course, is not at all what the scripture is saying. It simply says “he was not”, which, without the Hellenistic influence of inherent immortality read into this, one would simply reason this to mean that he was in the realm of death: sheol.

We also read of all of the faithful of old, which includes Enoch (Hebrews 11:39,40): “These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
The Bible says nothing about Enoch’s being translated from life on earth to life somewhere else; it says “he was not.” God took (Strong’s #3947) him into the  death condition. — Genesis 5:24.

The Hebrew word (Strong’s #3947) is used of being taken into death at Proverbs 24:11:

Rescue those who are being led away (Strong’s #3947) to death! Indeed, hold back those who are staggering to the slaughter!

This is not saying these are being taken away to heaven, they are being taken away from life into the condition of being dead.

The same word (Strong’s #3947) is used in Ezekiel 33:4:

then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and doesn’t take warning, if the sword come, and take him away (Strong’s 3947), his blood shall be on his own head.

Certainly this is not saying that God was taking these away to heaven, but rather they were taken away from life; they were to die.

Again, in Ezekiel 33:7:

But if the watchman sees the sword come, and doesn’t blow the trumpet, and the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes, and take any person from among them; he is taken away (Strong’s 3947) in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

Likewise, this does not mean that these taken away are taken to heaven, but they are taken away from life.

In the New Testament, we read (Matthew 24:39):

and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Those destroyed in the flood of Noah’s time were not taken to heaven, but they were taken away from life — they entered into death.

It is possible that God took Enoch into the realm of death to spare him the suffering that was coming upon him due him to his faithfulness. His walk was not as the world around him, and we can be sure that he suffered persecution because of this. — 2 Timothy 3:12.


Some related links (we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions presented by other authors):

The Epistle of Jude – A Brief Exposition
by T. E. Patmos – We include this for his comments concerning Enoch.

Bible Study – What Happened to Enoch?
by Wayne Blank – This writer claims that Enoch was simply taken or transfered away from his persecutors to another part of the earth, where he lived out his natural life and finally died.

Enoch – In Heaven or Not?
Not I But Christ Ministries

Enoch and Elijah: R.I.P.
By M. Thomas Wark

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Born of the Spirit

John 3:3 - Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born [begotten] anew, he can't see [comprehend] the kingdom of God."
John 3:7 - Don't marvel that I said to you, "You [Nicodemus] must be born [begotten] anew." -- World English
Jesus was addressing Nicodemus in his words as quoted above. Why did Jesus teach that it was necessary for one to be begotten/born again? For an answer to this, we must look back to the first man, Adam. Adam did not need to be born again of the spirit, because his original creation, in effect, gave him birth of God's spirit. He was created with a crown of glory, and before he sinned, he had not fallen short of that glory. (Psalm 8:5; Romans 3:23) Paul indicates that Adam was created with the law of God in his heart (Romans 2:15), and if he had followed this law, he could have developed the fruitage of the spirit perfectly, and would still be alive today upon this earth. (Galatians 5:22,23) Before Adam sinned, he was sinless, and did not have sinful flesh. (Romans 8:3) God put before him a choice; he could have walked after the spirit in obedience to God, or he could have walked after the flesh in disobedience. Obedience would bring life; disobedience death. Most know that Adam and Eve disobeyed, and thus came under the condemnation of death, and that condemnation came to be upon all mankind through Adam. -- Romans 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

Why do we say that Adam was born/begotten of the spirit? Because he, before he sinned, was a figure of the one to come as a man to redeem mankind. (Romans 5:14) Adam was a "son of God." (Luke 3:18) Was Jesus, as a human, "born/begotten of the spirit"? What do the scriptures say? Matthew 1:20: "But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of Jehovah appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived [gennao] in her is of the Holy Spirit.'" The Greek word often transliterated as gennao is the same word that is used in John 3:3 and John 3:7, where most translations render the word as "born". The Greek word gennao (Strong's #1080) can be rendered different ways. The King James Version renders it several ways, including the following: begat, born, be born, bear, gender, bring forth, be delivered, conceived. It can refer to the conception, beggetal,  or it can refer to the actual birth. We believe that in all eight instances of this word in John 3, it should have been rendered as begotten. This harmonizes with Matthew 1:20, where it is apparent that the angel is not speaking of Jesus' birth, but rather of his being begotten by the holy spirit as then an unborn embryo in Mary's womb.

Likewise, we have all reason to think that when Adam was created, that God used his holy spirit in the creative process. (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30) Additionally, Adam, as a son of God (Luke 3:18), would have been led by God's spirit, for "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God." (Romans 8:14) As we pointed out in our study on "With What Body Will We Be Raised?", Adam, before he sinned, was incorrupt, but he was not incorruptible. It was possible for him to become corrupt. As long as Adam obeyed, he was thus following the leading of the holy spirit. Of course, we know that his wife, Eve, was deceived, and was thus led into disobedience, and Adam, wishing to please his wife, was led by her into disobedience, and thus man had become corrupted before God.

Romans 1 describes the result of this corruption, and its remedy. Paul says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation [deliverance] to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith to faith. As it is written, 'But the righteous shall live by faith.'" (Romans 1:16.17) What is it that Paul is speaking of that man needs to be delivered from? Paul continues: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18) Paul here identifies what it is that we need to be delivered from: "the wrath of God." The wrath of God has been revealed ever since Adam disobeyed. Paul is speaking of man as represented in the first man and woman. Later he tells us that "the judgment came by one to condemnation," and that "through one trespass, all men were condemned." (Romans 5:16,18) Through Adam, mankind had become "sons of disobedience", "children [sons] of wrath." (Ephesians 2:2,3; 5:5; Colossians 3:6) Being corrupted, and no longer reflecting God's glory (Romans 3:23), God could no longer recognize them as His sons, so Paul tells us that "God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting." (Romans 1:28; see also Romans 7:20) And thus mankind came in need of a rebirth, a regeneration, to sonship of God.

The word "regeneration" comes from the Greek word often transliterated as Paliggenesia (Strong's #3824). The last part of this word is a form of the word gennao, which Strong gives a number: 1078. The regeneration word is only found twice in the Bible: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly I tell you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'" (Matthew 19:28) "not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5) At first glance, it may appear that the two scriptures contradict each other. Jesus speaks of the regeneration as something in the future, when the apostles have been exalted to judgment, whereas Paul in Titus seems to speak of it as something already accomplished in believers. Both statements are correct, however, as we shall see.

Jesus sets the regeneration in the age to come, the resurrection day -- the last day -- when the saints will rule and judge Israel and the world as co-rulers with Jesus. Jesus was in, in effect, speaking of that regeneration when he spoke the famous words to Nicodemnus as recorded in John 3:16,17: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved [delivered] through him." Likewise, Jesus was speaking of the day of regeneration when he said: "If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn't believe, I don't judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me, and doesn't receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day." (John 12:47,48) By saying this, Jesus identifies the day of judgment of the world as "the last day".
Paul spoke of the "last day" -- the world's day of judgment -- as recorded in Acts 17:31: God " has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead." God does not do the actual judging, but he has appointed his Son to do the judging for him. Thus Jesus stated: "For neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment [the power and authority to judge] to the Son." (John 5:22) Paul also lets us know that the saints will participate with Jesus in that judgment, when he asked the question: "Don't you know that the saints will judge the world?" (1 Corinthians 6:2) Paul probably had in mind the prophecy of Daniel, that "judgment [the power and authority] was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." (Daniel 7:22) Thus the authority and time when the saints are to judge the world is linked with the kingdom -- Messiah's kingdom. John saw this in vision as he records in Revelation 20:4: "I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment [authority and power to judge] was given to them."

It is in that last day of judgment that the regeneration of the world takes place, and that is why Jesus spoke of that day as 'in the regeneration" when the apostles are said to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. In order for the disbelieving world to be judged in that day, they must be saved from Adamic death so as to be brought back to life, in effect, "made alive", "born again". (1 Corinthians 15:22) Thus, Jesus says that in that time of regeneration, "the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, and will come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:28,29) Jesus speaks of two resurrections, one to life, and one to judgment. The one to judgment is what Jesus was speaking of in John 12:47,48. As we have shown in our other studies, that day of judgment is not a doomsday for the world, but a day of salvation. Our point now is that the regeneration belongs to that day. So how is that Paul, in his letter to Titus, speaks of it as applying to believers now?

Going back to Romans, we find that Paul explains how this is. Paul tells us that God "calls the things that are not, as though they were." (Romans 4:17) In Hebrews we learn that those who accept the call in this age taste of "the powers of the age to come". (Hebrews 6:5) Thus, the believers in this age are "reckoned", "counted", "imputed" as righteous and alive in the eyes of God, before the day of regeneration has actually begun. In this manner, God can call out beforehand a people for his name in this age, as a firstfruits to God, who can become the seed of Abraham with Jesus, by faith, in order to bless and judge the nations with Christ in the age to come. -- Genesis 22:18; 26:4; Galatians 3:8,16,26-29.

Nevertheless, the regeneration generated through the second Adam produces children of God, as opposed to children of wrath. The regenerated child of God is called a new creation or new creature, and the old creation produced through the generation of Adam which is associated with that which is passing away.  -- 2 Corinthians 5:17; Matthew 5:18; 24:34-36; Mark 13:30-33; Luke 16:17; 21:32,33; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22,47; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:1-5.

Thus, closely associated with the word Paliggenesia and being begotten or born again, is the phrase "new creature" or "new creation".  The old creation is the creation of mankind in Adam, the "whole creation" that has been subjected to vanity of Romans 8:20-22 -- mankind under the present sun of vanity, of which there can be no new creation. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,9,10,13-19) Thus, due to the one tresspass of Adam, Adam and all of his offspring were condemned to this bondage of corruption, from which none could escape. -- Romans 5:12-19; 2 Peter 1:4.

Nevertheless, what man could not do for himself, God could do, and thus he provided a new creature separate from the old creation condemned in Adam, when he sent his son to begotten in the womb of Mary. (Matthew 1:20) God prepared Jesus' body totally separate from the old creation condemned in Adam. (Hebrews 10:5) Thus, Jesus was begotten as the first "new" creature when he became flesh in the womb of Mary. (John 1:14) As a new human creature, while in the days of his flesh (Hebrews 5:7), Jesus was the exact equivalent of first of the old human creation, that is, Adam -- before Adam sinned, but because Adam sinned, the world  -- the old creation -- became subjected to the bondage of corruption. Jesus sacrificed his life as a human son of God -- as was Adam before he sinned (Luke 3:38) -- to offset the condemnation in Adam, which allowed God to remain true to His own standard of justice, while as the same time provided a way to justify those condemned in Adam. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 3:26; 5:12-19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.


THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The promise through Abraham that through his seed all the families of the earth would blessed suggests a promise of a king and kingdom who would bring about such blessings. Any who have not carefully examined this subject, with concordance and Bible in hand, will be surprised, on doing so, to find its prominence in the Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures abound with promises and prophecies in which the Kingdom of God and its King, Messiah, figure as the very center. It was the hope of every Israelite (Luke 3:15) that as a people God would exalt their nation under Messiah. When Jesus came to them, it was as their King, to establish the long promised Kingdom of God upon the earth. John, the forerunner and herald of our Lord Jesus, opened his mission with the announcement, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) Jesus commenced his ministry with the same announcement exactly (Matthew 4:17); and the apostles were sent forth to preach the same message. (Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:2) Thus, Jesus said to Nicodemus: "unless one is born [begotten] anew, he can't see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Not only was the kingdom the topic with which Jesus began his public ministry, but it was really the main topic of all his preaching (Luke 8:1; 4:43; 19:11), other subjects being mentioned merely in connection with or in explanation of this one subject. The majority of his parables were either illustrations of the kingdom from various standpoints, and in different features, or else served to point out entire consecration to God as essential to a share in the kingdom, and to correct the Jewish misapprehension that they were sure of the kingdom because natural children of Abraham, and hence natural heirs to the promises.

Our Lord Jesus in his talks with his followers strengthened and encouraged their expectations of a coming kingdom, saying to them, "I make a covenant with you as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:29,30, RL Improved Rendering) And, again, "Don't be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) And when, instead of being crowned and enthroned, their recognized king was killed, his disciples were sorely disappointed. As two of them expressed it to the supposed stranger on their way to Emmaus after his resurrection, they "were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel"-- delivering them from the Roman yoke, and making of Israel the Kingdom of God in power and glory. But they were sadly disappointed by the changes of the few days previous. Then Jesus opened their understanding by showing them from the Scriptures that his sacrifice was needful first of all before the kingdom could be established. -- Luke 24:21,25-27.

God could have given to Jesus the dominion of earth without redeeming man; for "the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whoever he will.." (Daniel 4:32) But God had a grander design than could have been accomplished by such a plan. Such a kingdom could have brought blessings which, however good, could have been of only a temporary character, since all of mankind were under condemnation to death. To make the blessings of his kingdom everlasting and complete, the race had first to be ransomed from death and thus legally released from the condemnation and the bondage of corruption which passed upon all in Adam. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19; 8:19-22.

At this point, we wish to note that Jesus did not say, "Unless you are born again, you cannot go to heaven," although this appears to be what many read into Jesus' words recorded in John 3:3. Jesus, however, had come to select a particular class who would inherit the kingdom, that is, those who are to be of the royal house, the ruling house, in the Kingdom. The Kingdom, however, has two general levels, one that is in spirit realm, in heaven, and another that is on the earth. As we show in our studies, With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised? and The Manner of the Resurrection, those called in the Gospel Age, are first given, or assigned the fleshly body, and are given, or assigned, the spiritual body only if they "put on incorruption", proving their faithfulness to God to be incorruptible.  All others of the called in this age remain on the physical, terrestrial level, and evidently that is the way they will be raised in the "last day".


<< Still need to discuss: John 3:4-21
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More may be added to this study later.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Postings: Paradise

This page provides links to studies related to paradise as found in the Bible.  (Arranged Alphabetically)

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

1 Samuel 28:13 - Saul and the Elohim

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 – The Third Heaven and Paradise (Old Site)

Ecclesiastes 12:7 - The Spirit That Returns to God

Genesis 1:26,27 - Man in God's Image

Genesis 4:10 – Was Abel Conscious While Dead?

Luke 16:19-31 - The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 23:42,43 - The Repentant Criminal in Paradise

Luke 23:43 - The Thief in Paradise

Mankind's Course to the Day of Judgment

Paradise Earth (Old Site)

Psalm 116:3,4 – Pains of Sheol (Old Site)

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

Psalm 6:5 - No Giving of Thanks in Sheol

The Intermediate State

The Manner of the Resurrection

What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?

What is the Soul?

When God Blesses All Families of the Earth

With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?

More links may be added later...


1 Peter 3:18 - Raised in the Spirit - What Does It Mean?

 Was Peter saying that Jesus was raised by means of God’s spirit? Was Peter speaking of Jesus as having been spiritually put to death?

Because 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. -- World English

There is some dispute as to what "in the spirit" means in 1 Peter 3:18. There are some who claim that the phrase "in the spirit" uses the word "in" as instrument, meaning "by means of" the spirit. (Actually, the Greek word "en" is not used in 2 Peter 3:18.) Similarly others would have it read "by the spirit", producing almost the same thought. Some point to scriptures such as John 4:23,24 and Philippians 3:3 as proof of this.



John 4:23 - But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in [Greek, en, Strong's #1722, by means of] spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. -- World English.
John 4:24 - God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in [Greek, en, Strong's #1722 - by means of] spirit and truth. -- World English.
These two scriptures are definitely speaking of instrumentality, that is, through, or by means of, spirit.
Philippians 3:3 - for we are the circumcision, who by [no preposition in the Greek here, although it could be understood as instrumental in the context as contrasted with the flesh] the Spirit are serving God, and glorying in [Greek, en, Strong's #1722 - by means of] Christ Jesus, and in [Greek, en, Strong's #1722 - by means of] flesh having no trust. -- Young's Literal.
Robertson states concerning *pneumati* (translated "spirit"): "Instrumental case, though the dative case as the object of latreuw makes good sense also (worshiping the Spirit of God) or even the locative (worshiping in the Spirit of God)."
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/1998-09/27678.html

Nevertheless, most, if not all, scholars agree that *pneuamti* is used in the instrumental case in Philippians 3:3.

Of course, there is no doubt that the God and Father of Jesus did indeed use his spirit to raise Jesus from the dead. Romans 8:11 is often misused in an effort to show that it was God's spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. While we can be sure that God did make use of His spirit to raise Jesus from the dead, that is not what is said in Romans 8:11. Nevertheless, was this what Peter was saying by his words in 1 Peter 3:18? Was Peter speaking of the instrument of the spirit being used, or was he speaking of what Jesus became? We should note that there is no Greek word "en" (Strong's #1722) in 1 Peter 3:18 before "the spirit", although the statements made by some may leave that false impression. The English words used (in, to, by) are supplied by translators, thus the argument that says that "in" as used in 1 Peter 3:18 cannot be based upon the Greek instrumental word "en", since it does not appear there.

What we should note is that whatever is meant by his dying "in the flesh", he was likewise "made alive in the spirit." If God's spirit was the "instrument" to make Jesus alive, then likewise, we would have to conclude that the flesh was the "instrument" of his death. Thus those who propose that, in 1 Peter 3:18, it is speaking of God's spirit as the instrument of Jesus' being made alive would need to also show how the flesh was the instrument of Jesus' death.

Some have claimed that the word "to" should be before "flesh" and "spirit", making it appear to read that Jesus died to the flesh and was made alive to the spirit. This is evidently done to make it appear to correspond with what is stated to Christ's followers: "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11) And also: Romans 8:10,11: "If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Did Jesus need to reckon himself dead to sin? No, since he actually was never a sinner, he did not have to reckon himself dead to sin. Likewise, did Jesus ever need to reckon himself alive to God? Absolutely not! Did Jesus' body ever need to become dead because of sin in it? No. It is because of the sinful flesh of the believer that there is a need to be given reckoned life through God's spirit. Thus, to be joint-heirs with Christ, one can be reckoned as having a "living body" through the spirit, a body that, having God's spirit, is able to develop perfected fruitage of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-25; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 6:1; James 1:4; 5:10; 1 John 4:18), and which body, counted as perfected, can then be sacrificed as joint-sufferers with Christ, so as to attain the prize of joint-heirship with Christ. -- Romans 8:17; 12:1; Philippians 3:14.

Similarly, some claim that "made alive", or "quickening", in 1 Peter 3:18 means being made spiritually alive. In some vague manner many claim that "died in the flesh" means death to the sinful flesh and "being made alive" means being made spiritually alive. (Of course, this tends toward the dual nature of man that many would impose upon the being of man.) Did Jesus die spiritually for our sins, so that he needed to made spiritually alive? No, again, Jesus actually died as a human, a fleshly being, and his body, his flesh, was an offering for sin. (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; Ephesians 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:14,24-28; 10:5,10) Since his death was actually his flesh death, then he was actually made alive as a spirit being.

Others claim that Adam was created with a sinful nature, and thus his flesh would have died regardless of whether he ate the fruit or not. Some dualists and others even claim that Jesus' flesh was also of the sinful nature. Thus, in applying this idea to 1 Peter 3:18, some claim that Jesus had to die to his sinful flesh and be spiritually made alive. See the study: "How God's Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh"
http://atonement.reslight.net/?p=51

If Jesus was born with sinful flesh, this would indicate that Jesus was under condemnation of sin, as all mankind is through Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) Adam did not have sinful flesh until his flesh became sinful through sin, and then it was that God subjugated all in Adam to the condemnation, so that all of the offspring of Adam were "made sinners" through the one disobedience of Adam. (Romans 5:12,19) To one whose understanding falls short of the wisdom of God revealed in the scriptures, this may seem harsh and unjust on God's part, to make "innocent" babies before they are born sinners because of another's sin. From God's standpoint, however, it is a display of his love, his justice, and his wisdom, all working in perfect accord, for, by condemning all in one, only one who is not sinful can make an offering to satisfy justice, thus releasing all who are condemned in the one. Indeed, if the stillborn, embryos and infants that have died were not 'made sinners' due to Adam's disobedience, then neither could they be included in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, since their death would not have been "in Adam". See the study: Divine Economy in the Ransom http://atonement.rlbible.com/?p=192

In actuality, there would be no need for Jesus to be reckoned "dead" to the sinful flesh, since Jesus' flesh was never sinful. -- Romans 6:11; 8:10.
1 Peter 3:18 -- Westcott & Hort Interlinear hoti kai christos hapax peri hamartiwn apethanen BECAUSE EVEN CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL ABOUT SINS DIED, 3754 2532 5547 0530 4012 0266 0599 dikaios huper adikwn hina humas RIGHTEOUS (ONE) OVER UNRIGHTEOUS (ONES), IN ORDER THAT YOU 1342 5228 0094 2443 4771_7 prosagagee tw thew thanatwtheis men HE MIGHT LEAD TOWARD TO THE GOD, [HE] HAVING BEEN PUT TO DEATH INDEED 4317 3588 2316 2289 3303 sarki zwopoieetheis de pneumati TO FLESH HAVING BEEN MADE ALIVE BUT TO SPIRIT; 4561 2227 1161 4151
The Westcott and Hort text, based on several earlier manuscripts, states that Jesus "died" for sin once. Some ancient manuscripts state that Christ died for sins on our behalf, while other manuscripts read that Christ suffered for sins. It appears that English translations are almost equally divided between the two. The NASB, NIV, NEB, Good News, New Jerusalem Bible, and the RSV all follow the manuscripts that read that Christ "died". The KJV, NKJV, REB, NRSV, and Phillips have Christ "suffered". Regardless, Jesus, who knew no sin, physically suffered, died for sin (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3), he did not simply suffer or "die" reckonedly to the flesh. Jesus did indeed suffer death once for all time for sin. (Hebrews 5:1,3; 7:27; 9:12; 10:5,10,12,26) Therefore, Peter does indeed refer to the Father's giving to Jesus a spiritual body in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:38), but we do not agree to the meaning that the trinitarians and some others would give to this: the thought that Jesus' spiritual body was actually a glorified body of flesh. The glory of the earthly, fleshly, body is not the same as the glory of heavenly, spiritual, body. (1 Corinthians 15:40) While the joint-heirs with Christ will be raised in a spiritual body, in the resurrection there will be those who receive physical, earthly, bodies also. "It [the seed sown with the prospect of joint-heirship] is sown [reckoned with] a natural [physical, justified] body [reckoned justified and alive as Adam was alive before Adam sinned]; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural [physical] body and there is also a spiritual body [as given by the Father in the resurrection day]." This does not mean, as some have claimed, that all who are raised are given both a physical and a spiritual body. It means that "God appoints it a body [whether physical or spiritual] even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own." (1 Corinthians 15:38) Thus, in the resurrection of the justified, there will be those who have the glory of the eartly, and those who have the glory of the heavenly.
Likewise, Jesus received from his God a "spiritual body" -- the glory of the heavenly -- when he was raised from the dead; he "became a life-giving spirit." (1 Corinthians 15:45) He had the full glory of the earthly while on earth, since he never fell short due to sin (Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:5; John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21), which sinless human glory he gave in sacrifice. -- Hebrews 2:9.
By saying that he "became" this life-giving spirit, this indicates that he was *not* this life-giving spirit until he "became" this life-giving spirit.
As stated before, the Greek word "en" does not appear at all before flesh or spirit. The word "in" is actually inserted by translators. Thus more literally it is "having been put to death flesh, but made alive spirit." Some argue that "sarki" (body) and pneumati (spirit) are both locative in 1 Peter 3:18, thus referring to what Jesus was contained in, that is, his physical body that died, and then his spiritual body that he received when made alive.
We know that Jesus' literal flesh did die -- his flesh -- his fleshly being -- was literally killed; his body was the permanent offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:10) It is not speaking of a reckoned condition (as the believer is 'reckoned dead to the [sinful] flesh'), since Jesus had no sinful flesh to reckon as being dead, but it is talking about the actual death of his sinless flesh. Likewise, Jesus was actually made alive spirit -- a spirit being, not just reckoned as such.
See Also:
Jesus Has Come in the Flesh Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being Jesus’ Appearances in the Locked Room

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hope of Life After Death Part 07 - Are Any Conscious in Hell? - Job 14:13-15; Hosea 13:14; 1 Samuel 2:6; Isaiah 14:9; 38:10; Psalms 9:17; 16:9-11; 17:15; 73:24-26; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 15:24; 23:14; Deuteronomy 32:22; Numbers 23:10

Are Any Conscious In Hell?

(51) In the Hebrew scriptures (commonly called the Old Testament), the word that is used to name the grave, gravedom, or the death-state, in which all the dead are at rest, is Sheol (Strong's 7585). This word occurs 65 times altogether in the Hebrew scriptures. It is not, however, translated in the popular King James Version uniformly as "grave." Three times it is translated "pit," 31 times "grave," and 31 times "hell." The word "hell" occurs in the King James Version of the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) exactly 31 times; that is, the only Hebrew word translated "hell" is this word Sheol.2 The Hebrew Sheol corresponds to the Greek Hades, a word that appears in the "New Testament" to designate the same condition, the death-state. This is proved by the fact that the apostles Peter and Paul, in two quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures in which the word Sheol occurs, have translated it into the their writings by the Greek word Hades.3 Compare Psalm 16:10 with Acts 2:27; and Hosea 13:14 with I Corinthians 15:55, and in the last named text note that in reference KJV Bibles the word "grave" has opposite to it in the margin the word "hell."

(52) It is very important that we should realize that there is no thought of eternal torment in the Bible use of the words Sheol or Hades. Let us see what Job said: "O that thou wildest hide me in sheol" -- that would be a strange desire if Sheol was a place or condition of eternal torment! "that thou wildest keep me secret" -- Ah, yes! That is the true thought; Sheol is the hidden state "until thy wrath [the present time of sin and evil] be past, that thou wildest appoint me a set time, and remember me [in the resurrection day]! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time [in death] will I wait, till my change [in the resurrection] come. Thou shalt call [Matthew 5:28, 29], and I will answer thee [by being awakened from death]; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." -- Job 14:13-15 KJV.

(53) In Hosea 13:14, we are assured that Sheol (hell, the death-state) is to be destroyed. It cannot, therefore, be an eternal place or condition of any kind whatever. The verse shows that it is by the resurrection that the death-state will be destroyed. The words of the prophet are: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave [Sheol]; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave [Sheol] I will be thy destruction (Strong's #6987, extermination]." The apostle Paul, alluding to this, exclaimed at the end of that wonderful chapter on the resurrection of the dead: "O death where is thy sting? O grave [Hades; marginal reading "hell"), where is thy victory?" -- I Corinthians 15:55.
(54) The very best of men, Jesus himself, went to hell [hades], not his body merely, but his soul. We learn this from the verse that has already been referred to, Acts 2:27, quoted from Psalm 16:10: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [hades]." Seeing that Jesus' soul went to hell, it is manifest that hell does not signify a place or condition of eternal torment, but the death-state. (For an explanation of 1 Peter 3:19 see discussion beginning with paragraph 169.) This agrees with the statement of the prophet: "He [Jesus] has poured out his soul unto death." Isaiah 53:12.

(55) Some declare that at times Sheol is a place of torture for the wicked, (Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalm 9:17; 55:15; Proverbs 15:11,24; etc.) that in other instances Sheol probably refers to the grave (Genesis 44:29,31; 1 Kings 2:6,9), and that in several other instances "state of death," "disembodied existence,"4 may well be what is meant (1 Samuel 2:6; Isaiah 38:10). Those who take this position simply have a desire to give "Sheol" the meaning that best suits belief in Satan's lie that the dead are not really dead. In every instance, Sheol could and should very properly be rendered "the realm of death." We should note, however, the "state of death" [Sheol] is plainly described in Ecclesiastes 9:5,10.

(56) Some may ask: "If Sheol is the place to which all people go when they die, how can descent into that place be held up as a warning (Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 15:24; 23:14)?" This is a good question. But we should not assume that because Sheol is held up as a warning, that those who go there are conscious. Psalm 9;17 refers to the destruction of the nations at the great day of God the Almighty, when Jehovah executes his judgment the judgment placed upon Adam death. The references in Proverbs are general and referring to this life. For example, we might say to a child: "Don't walk in front a car or it might hit you and you could die." It could be said that by obeying this admonition the child would keep on living. This does not mean that child will never die. (Ecclesiastes 7:17) Likewise, by observing the admonitions given in Proverbs, we can keep ourselves from prematurely entering death and Sheol. But it does not mean that we will not someday die and go to Sheol.

(57) Another question one might ask is: "If Sheol is never a place of pain, how can Moses tell us that God's anger burns there (Deuteronomy 32:22)?" However, this is not what Deuteronomy 32:22 states. It does not say that God's anger burns in the lowest hell, but that his anger will burn (against the nation of Israel) to the extent of bringing them to the lowest realms of death. Their death would not be just an ordinary death, but a death of the most disgraceful sort. If we just think a little about what the context is saying, scriptures make sense, and we do not have to add Greek philosophies to them.

(58) Another claim made is: "If the Law and the Prophets teach that at death everybody goes to the dreary abode of the sheol, how then is it that believers faced death with joyful expectation (Numbers 23:10; Psalm 16:9-11; 17:15; 73:24-26)?"

(59) When we look at Numbers 23:10, we find that Balaam was not looking forward to death with joyful anticipation, but rather that he desired that when he died, that he die the death of the righteous. Again, we must look at the context. (Numbers 22:1 through 24:25) Balaam knew he had sinned and was fearful for his life. He did not want to die with the sin upon him. However, Balaam evidently thought he could outsmart the blessing that Jehovah was giving Israel by suggesting that Balak could seduce Israel into disobedience. If Israel disobeyed Jehovah, he thought, then Israel would not receive God's blessing and he could obtain the rewards being offered him from Balak if he could cause. (Numbers 22:4-7; 23:17-22; 25:1-3) This, of course, did not work, as Jehovah curses Midian. (Numbers 25:16-18) Thus Balaam did not die the death of the righteous as he had hoped, but rather he died with the Midianites. (Numbers 31:8) Thus we see that once we take the context into consideration, Numbers 23:10 does not provide an example of a believer facing death with joyful expectation.

(60) Psalm 16:9-11 is prophetic of Jesus' joyfulness, not about entering Sheol, but that his soul would not remain in Sheol. (See Acts 2:22-36) Similarly in Psalm 17:15, David is satisfied, not about going into Sheol, but being awakened therefrom and becoming in the likeness of God. Psalm 73:24-26 does not refer to death at all, but to Asaph's walk with God before death.

(61) Some claim that Leviticus 26:28 and Luke 12:47,48 refer to degrees of punishment in Sheol. Actually neither of these scriptures refer to punishments in Sheol. The first applies to Israel as a nation here upon the earth as the context indicates. Luke 12:47,48 refers to servants of Jesus living in the end of the age when he returns and to the things they will have to go through either during the tribulation period or else during the resurrection day. (Luke 12:42,43; Matthew 24:45,46) Neither scripture says anything about these punishments or chastisements coming during death.

Isaiah 14:9

(62) Isaiah 14:9 is sometimes quoted as proof that the saints will recognize each other in heaven. This scripture depicts the cessation of Babylon's existence as the world power, as shown from Isaiah 14:4. The context shows that there is no reference here to the saints nor to afterlife at all. Sheol is moved to meet Babylon when she comes to her destruction. When she does come to her destruction, the "dead" are stirred up, that is, all the chief ones of the earth. All the kings of the nations raise up from a death-like state to their thrones. In Babylon's period of glory all other nations were lying down as dead. The other nations had become dormant, as though buried. Babylon would not join the other nations in such a burial condition. Babylon would be completely cut off. But with Babylon's downfall, all other nations are stirred up. (Isaiah 14:4-23) And so, today, while we still have Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, etc., with us, Babylon has long ago ceased to exist. Babylon did not just go into a slumber, as in Sheol a death-like state from which to later be awakened. Babylon's empire is gone forever! Thus there is nothing in Isaiah 14 about whether the dead who supposedly go to heaven at death will recognize each other there. Notice how those who want to hold to Satan's lie take symbolic phrases out of context to support Satan's claim.

Thus, again we see that the Bible's hope is the resurrection of souls from Sheol/Hades, not in the supposed immortality of a soul or spirit being that survives the body. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it. Death and Hades delivered up the dead which were in them." (Revelation 20:13) What a marvelous prospect! Next we will discuss the rich man in Hades. This parable has often been quoted as proof that the bad will suffer in eternal torment after death. But does it? What will a close examination of this parable in the light of the context show us?