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
(1) 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 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 of the spirit"? What do the scriptures say? Matthew 1:20: "But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord 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 gennao (See Endnote 1) is the same word that is used in John 3:3 and John 3:7, where most translations render the word as "born". Of course, in Matthew 1:20, 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 Paliggenesia (Strong's #3824). This 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 the day, they must 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, 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.

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) Additionally, 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.

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More may be added to this study later.

ENDNOTES:
1. 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.

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?

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?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2 Peter 2:4 - Tartaroo Vs. Tartarus

2 Peter 2:4 - For if God didn't spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved to judgment. -- World English
The Greek word under consideration is transliterated by Wescott & Hort as *tartarwsas* (Strong's #5020, more often transliterated as "tartaroo"), a verb that is rendered in the King James Version by five words, "cast them down to hell," - thus including a verb, a personal pronoun, an adverb, a preposition and a noun. Evidently the translators were at a loss to know how to translate the word, but concluded they knew where the evil angels ought to be, and so they made bold to put them into "hell," though it took six words to twist the idea into the shape they had pre-determined it must take. This one word is similarly translated in the World English Bible translation by five words: "cast them down to Tartarus". Nevertheless, we do not find either the noun "hell" or the noun "tartarus" in the Greek. True, the noun form of the verb in Greek is Tartarus, but the word "Tartarus" itself is not found in this verse, or anywhere else in the Bible.
"Tartarus" is a noun, not a verb. The word "Tartarus," in Greek mythology, is used to describe a subterranean place or region, allegedly the lowest realm of Hades, or perhaps even lower than Hades, where, it was claimed, that the immortal souls/spirits of the most vile people were supposed to go after death. The noun tartarus does not appear at all in the New Testament Greek, and verb tartaroo only appears once, so most scholars, having accepted a philosophy actually adapted the Grecian philosophy themselves, take the Grecian philosophy and adopt the meaning used by the heathens to apply to the word that Peter used, thus comining up with renderings such as: "cast down to hell", "cast down to Tartarus" (making it appear as though Peter himself was adapting the Greek mythology to such a realm of conscious souls or spirits after death). Many become accustomed to thinking in terms of Tartarus, which in Greek mythology is a place. The word tartaroo, however, is a verb, and does not actually denote a place, but an action, that is, the process of being imprisoned, restrained, degraded, etc. The idea of casting down to sheol, hades, or Gehenna, has to be added to the Greek. The word is applied in 2 Peter 2:4, however, not to humans after death (as Greek mythology applies the word "Tartarus"), but to certain angels that sinned. Additionally Peter makes no mention of any fires in the condition into which these angels were cast.
"Tartaroo", therefore, does not mean "Tartarus", although some translations render this "thrown into Tartarus". We should not think that Peter was not appealing to Greek mythology in using the verb tartaroo. The noun, however, is actually not present in the verb tartaroo, except that one would want to read such into the verb. In comparing spiritual revealment with spiritual revealment (1 Corinthians 2:13), we conclude that the apostle Peter uses the verb tartaroo to tell us that God imprisoned the angels that sinned (Genesis 6:2-4; 1 Peter 3:19,20), and he adds that they were delivered "into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment"; and since the apostle Jude (Jude 1:6,7) tells us that such imprisonment lasts until the judgment of the great day, and since these fallen angels are said to be the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12, margin), are active among humans, e.g., in demonizing people, appearing in seances and other occult practices, we conclude that earth's atmosphere is their prison (Matthew 8:28-32; 12:22-28). Without the mythology added the word apparently simply means degraded or imprisoned.
The fall of the angels who sinned was from honor and dignity, into dishonor and condemnation, and the thought is thus: "God spared not the angels who sinned, but degraded them, and delivered them into chains of darkness."
These angels who sinned are described in Jude 1:6 as those that "Angels who didn't keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place." Having incarnated themselves in bodies as men, they lived amongst men as though they were men, marrying the daughters of men, and producing a mongrel race of giants. (Genesis 6:1-3) As incarnate men, they were destroyed, and are not permitted to incarnate themselves as such today (else we would still see such going on). Their fleshly bodies thus were evidently destroyed in the flood of Noah's day, but they themselves simply returned to the spirit world, however, under the restraints of which Peter and Jude speak of.
Many scholars say that the word "tartaroo" comes from the Greek word "Tartarus", while others claim that the word Tartarus comes from the verb, tartaroo. At this point, it would be difficult to determine which is true. Nevertheless, it appears that many scholars have a vested interest in a desire for the word to mean Tartarus, since they have accepted much of the Heathen Grecian philosophy concerning inherent immortality.
At least one authority even goes so far as to claim that Tartarus is a "transliteration" of tartaroo. This simply is not true. In reality, it is an example of how Bible scholars can become so zealous for the heathen mythologies as to force the mythology into the Bible!
Once we realize that most of the works we have concerning the Greek is prepared by scholars who believe in the traditonal "Christian" adaptation of the Jewish adaptation of the Greek mythologies, we realize that they are inclined to give the meaning of Tartarus to the the verb tartaroo, and claim that Peter was referring to such a similar place as described in the Greek mythologies. And thus the groundwork for confusion is set, and even many who do not believe in the Grecian philosophies of the inherent immortality and the dead are really dead, insentient, have difficulties getting past what has been given to us by tradition.
At any rate, many will use the two words tartaroo and Tartarus interchangeably, or they will say that the Greek verb tartaroo "refers to Tartarus". By doing this, the minds of many, however, are automatically associated with the Grecian heathen mythology, and the Jewish adaptation of that mythology, which was later adapted by the Christian apostasy*. In reality, Peter was not endorsing Greek heathen mythology, nor the Jewish adaptation thereof. ========== *Many who believe this kind of philosophy will deny that they believe in "Grecian" philosophies, and yet they will often describe their belief in basically the same terms of Grecian philosophy.
Others simply say that Tartarus is another word for their idea of a place of eternal suffering.
Some authors speak of these angels as "being held in Tartaroo", as though it were a noun and a place. Nevertheless, while the word tartaroo itself, being a verb, denotes an act, not a place, the act of degrading, and especially imprisonment, implies a place into which one is degraded or imprisoned. The "place" of degradation or imprisoment, however, in this case, is not the Greek mythological Tartarus, nor the traditional idea of a hell with burning flames, but evidently is the atmosphere of the earth. -- Ephesians 2:2.
Strictly speaking, Peter is not speaking about Tartarus (a place), but he is speaking about an action, the act of being degraded or imprisoned. The "place" itself has to be supplied by the context and/or other scriptures, as we have ascertained above.

1 Samuel 28:13 - Saul and the Elohim

1 Samuel 28:13 - The king said to her, Don't be afraid: for what do you see? The woman said to Saul, I see a god [ELOHIM] coming up out of the earth.
It should be obvious from the details given in the scriptures that the ELOHIM who claimed to be Samuel was not, in fact, Samuel risen from the dead. Practically all of the commentators, even those who believed in the immortality of the soul, before the twentieth century, explained that this spirit was not really Samuel, but a demon. The Bible story of King Saul's "seance" with the witch of Endor, a necromancer or spirit-medium, as related in 1 Samuel 28:7-20, is an illustration of what is claimed to be performed in our own day. The mediums of modern spiritism are identified with those who anciently had "familiar spirits." Some translations call them witches or wizards. Today they are often called "spirit mediums." Of course, in many cases these "mediums" are frauds, but in other cases the evidence does indicate a true contact with the spirit world. The claim made by these spirits usually is that they are the "ghost" or "spirit" of a dead person. In the case of the spirit medium at Endor, that which she brought up assumed to be Samuel in same manner as do the same spirits now assume to be dead friends of living men.

We should first note that the record does not state that this ELOHIM came from paradise, nor from heaven, but, in accordance with Hebrew belief concerning death, he appeared to be coming up out of the earth. -- Genesis 3:19; Psalm 104:29.

But why would Saul be so deceived by this spirit that appeared? Let us go back to the earlier verses and see.

1 Samuel 28:3 - Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. Saul had put away those who had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

This relates that Saul was at one time in obedience to Jehovah, and of Saul's obedience to the command to remove those with familiar spirits, wizards, and sorcerers from Israel. (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27 Deuteronomy 18:10,11) The very fact that Jehovah did not approve of these activities should be an indication of the demonic influence in such activity.

But Saul lost favor with Jehovah through several acts of disobedience. (1 Samuel 15) Although he stated his repentance, evidently his repentance was not actually from the heart, and Jehovah realized this; thus, we read:

1 Samuel 15:35 Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death; for Samuel mourned for Saul: and Jehovah repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Thus, there was a spiritual barrier between Samuel and Saul until the day that Samuel died. So the question might be asked, Why would Samuel come forth from the dead to see Saul, if he refused to do so before his death?

We read further:

1 Samuel 19:9 - An evil spirit from Jehovah was on Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing with his hand.

The scriptures often speak of things that Jehovah permits, or allows, as being from Jehovah. We should not think that Jehovah is keeping the evil spirits in heaven and that these evil spirits are directly in his service.

Returning now to 1 Samuel 28:

1 Samuel 28:5 - When Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

Saul thus inquired of Jehovah, but the scripture lets us know that Saul was still not in Jehovah's favor:

1 Samuel 28:6 - When Saul inquired of Jehovah, Jehovah didn't answer him, neither by dreams, nor 
by Urim, nor by prophets.

The question is raised, If Jehovah refused to answer Saul in these means, should we expect that Jehovah would have raised Samuel from death in order to speak to Saul? Would Jehovah be in agreement with what he condemned?

1 Samuel 28:7 - Then said Saul to his servants, Seek me a woman who has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. His servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor.

At this point, we should not think that Saul thought Samuel was still alive somewhere in a spiritual paradise. It appears that his thought was perhaps such a woman could use her power to raise Samuel from his grave.

Although the law with reference to these mediums was very strict and the punishment death, there were some who were willing to risk their lives because of the gains which could thus be obtained from people who believed that they were obtaining supernatural information from their dead friends -- just as with spirit mediums today.

1 Samuel 28:8 - Saul disguised himself, and put on other clothing, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, Please divine to me by the familiar spirit, and bring me up whoever I shall name to you.

As stated before, Saul had sought to wipe out all such who would commune with such spirits, as Jehovah had commanded, so he felt he needed to disguise himself in order not cause an alarm when he came to see this woman.

1 Samuel 28:9 - The woman said to him, Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: why then lay you a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

The woman evidently did not give her services to just anyone, but probably only to those whom she trusted. Thus when this stranger came to her, she became afraid that Saul would find out about her, and have her put to death.

1 Samuel 28:10 - Saul swore to her by Jehovah, saying, As Jehovah lives, there shall no punishment happen to you for this thing.

Here Saul actually swears his disobedience to Jehovah in the name of Jehovah himself.

1 Samuel 28:11 - Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up to you? He said, Bring me up Samuel.
Most spirit mediums today would not ask, "Whom shall I bring up", because of the prevalent belief that the dead or not actually dead, but alive in the "spirit world". They might refer to conjuring up someone from the spirit world, but they do not usually think of bringing someone up from the dust of the ground. This further shows that this spirit medium that Saul went to see was knowledgeable of the Hebrew belief. 

Samuel 28:12 - When the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, Why have you deceived me? for you are Saul.

Here a spirit appeared, that the woman perceived this spirit as Samuel. At this point, evidently the spirit revealed to her that the stranger was Saul, and she became afraid.

1 Samuel 28:13 - The king said to her, Don't be afraid: for what do you see? The woman said to Saul, I see a god [elohim] coming up out of the earth.

Evidently, Saul did not see or hear this elohim, but the spirit could be seen, probably by means of some kind of mental projection perceived as an apparition, by the woman. Thus, Saul asked the woman to describe what she was seeing.

1 Samuel 28:14 - He said to her, What form is he of? She said, An old man comes up; and he is covered with a robe. Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.

What are we to think of this? Are we to assume that Samuel is an old man in the spirit world, covered with a robe?

Someone might say, this scripture says it was Samuel, so it must have been Samuel. The fact that the scripture speaks of this "elohim" as "Samuel" is done in an accommodating manner, even as angels were often spoken of as "men", although in reality they were not men. Some translations put the word Samuel in quotes, to signify this.

1 Samuel 28:15 - Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disquieted me, to bring me up? Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I shall do.

The spirit here does not say, Why have you brought out of paradise, or from heaven, but in accordance with Hebrew belief, he asked why he has been, as this translation put is, disquieted? The Hebrew word rendered "disquieted" can mean to disturb, as from one resting in sleep. Again, the spirit is accommodating the Hebrew belief that the dead know nothing, and are like asleep, resting in death. It is similar today of spirits who pretend to be dead loved ones. They will usually appear in harmony with what belief the deceived one is willing to believe. Thus to a Muslim, a spirit pretending to a loved one who has "passed on" might speak of seeing Mohamed; to a Buddhist, the spirit might describe things in harmony with Buddhist thought, etc.

The fallen spirits are not only well-informed in respect to all the affairs of earth, but they are adepts in deceit. In answering Saul, the manner and style, and as nearly as could be judged the sentiments of the dead prophet were assumed -- the better to deceive. (Thus these lying spirits always seek to counterfeit the face manner and disposition of the dead.) The response was, "Why have you disquieted me, to bring me up?" This answer corresponds to the Jewish belief -- that when a person died he became unconscious in "sheol," the grave, waiting for the day when the day are to arise. (Job 14:12-15,21; Psalm 90:3; Ecclesiastes 9:5,6.) Hence the representation is that Samuel was brought up from the dust, and not down from heaven; and that his rest or peaceful "sleep" was disturbed or "disquieted." -- Psalm 13:3; Job 14:12; Psalm 90:5; John 11:11,14; Ecclesiastes 9:10.

But Saul answers in accordance with his disobedience, that Jehovah has left him. Possibly, he felt that Jehovah was being unfair in not answering him, and that he was thus justified in disobeying Jehovah further in seeking out that which Jehovah had condemned.

1 Samuel 28:16 - Samuel said, Why then do you ask of me, seeing Jehovah is departed from you, and is become your adversary?

The spirit shows here the crafty wisdom (witchcraft) of the Serpent, and the spirit lays the ground for acceptance by Saul by asking this question, even as the serpent laid the ground for acceptance by asking a question of Eve. See our study on Witchcraft.

1 Samuel 28:19 - Moreover Jehovah will deliver Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines; and tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me: Jehovah will deliver the host of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.

If this spirit told the truth as claimed by some, and the "orthodox" theory be right, the disobedient and wicked Saul would next day be with righteous Samuel. If Samuel was called by this spirit medium from "paradise", or an alledged compartment of sheol, then this ELOHIM was claiming that Saul would be with him there the next day. If, however, this consulting of familiar spirits was contrary to God's express command: "Don't turn to those who have familiar spirits, nor to the wizards; don't seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am Jehovah your God. " (Leviticus. 19:31), how could God's prophet who had denounced this as wickedness, be a party to it now that he was dead, and still be in the truth? (John 8:44) And whether called up willingly or unwillingly, he would in either case have become subject to the powers of darkness in this intimacy with one that was deemed guilty of death, because of this kindness.

In truth, however, this was an evil, lying spirit who impersonated Samuel. These wicked spirits eagerly avail themselves of every opportunity to bring mankind under their foul sway, deceiving those who commune with them as to their identity, notwithstanding God's command:

Deuteronomy 18:10 - There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 
Deuteronomy 18:11 - or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

And:

Leviticus 20:6 - The soul that turns to those who have familiar spirits, and to the wizards, to play the prostitute after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Saul was surely aware of the above commands of Jehovah: he knew that he was in the most deliberate and willful manner acting contrary to these commands in consulting the spirit medium of Endor; and God visited upon him the threatened punishment for this transgression.

1 Chronicles 10:13 - So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against Jehovah, because of the word of Jehovah, which he didn't keep; and also because he asked counsel of one who had a familiar spirit, to inquire [thereby].

This settles the point at issue. Saul sinned in asking counsel contrary to God's command of one that had intimacy with a spirit to inquire of it. Therefore it is plain, not only that it was not Jehovah's prophet that was consulted, but that it was an evil spirit -- the same in kind as those cast out by Jesus and his disciples. That they were of this same class of fallen spiritual beings, is conclusively proved by the similarity of description in the case described in:

Acts 16:16 - It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. 
Acts 16:17 - The same, following after Paul and us, cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation!" 
Acts 16:18 - This she did for many days. But Paul, becoming distressed, turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" It came out that very hour.

This corresponds very well with the account in 1 Samuel 28, when Saul said to her: "Please divine to me by the familiar spirit, and bring me up whoever I shall name to you." The divination practiced by the Witch of Endor was of the same nature and through the same agency used by this damsel out of whom Paul cast the unclean spirit or demon.

King Saul was well aware that there were numerous of these mediums residing in Israel contrary to the divine injunction and his own law, and his servants apparently had no difficulty in finding the one at Endor. Saul disguised himself for the interview, but through some means she recognized him as Saul, but evidently not until she saw the ELOHIM. Hence her particularity to secure a promise and oath from his own lips that no harm should befall her for the service.

The methods used by the evil spirits through the medium at Endor were similar to those in use today. They caused to pass before the medium's mental vision the familiar likeness of the aged prophet, Samuel, wearing as was his custom, a long mantle. When she described the mental (or "astral?") picture, Saul recognized it at once as a description of Samuel; but Saul himself saw nothing -- he perceived, from the description, that it was Samuel. Easily convinced, as people under such circumstances usually are, Saul did not stop to question how it could be that Samuel looked as old and as stooped as he looked in the present life, if he was now a spirit being and far better off; nor did he inquire why he wore the same old mantle in the spirit world that he had worn when he knew him as an earthly being. Saul had been forsaken by Jehovah and was now easily deceived by these "seducing spirits" (1 Timothy 4:1), who impersonated the prophet and spoke to Saul in his name, through their "medium," the witch, necromancer, Spiritist.

Saul was easily deceived into thinking that the Prophet Samuel who had refused to visit him to have any further converse with him while alive, had been forced to commune with him, by the wonderful powers of the witch. (See 1 Samuel 15:26,35.) Saul's own testimony was, "God is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams." -- 1 Samuel 28:6,15.

Any rightly informed person should readily see the absurdity of supposing that Samuel would hold any conference whatever with Saul under the circumstance. (1) Samuel (when living) was aware that God had forsaken Saul, and hence Samuel had no right to speak to him and no right to give him any information which Jehovah was unwilling to give him. And Samuel would not do so. (2) It is thoroughly absurd to suppose that a spirit medium under condemnation of Jehovah and prohibited of the right of residence in the land of Israel could have the power at the instance of a wicked king, whom God had deserted, to "disquiet" Samuel and to bring him "up" out of sheol. Was Samuel down in the earth, or was he afar off in heaven, or was he in a compartment of sheol called "paradise"? and had the witch the power in either case to command him to present himself before King Saul to answer his question? Or is it reasonable to suppose that any spirit mediums have the power to "disquiet" and "bring up" or in any other manner cause the dead?

The "familiar spirit" of the witch, impersonating Samuel, foretold nothing which Saul himself did not anticipate. Saul knew that God's word had been passed that the kingdom should be taken from him and his family, and he had sought the witch because of his fear of the Philistine hosts in battle array for the morrow. He expected no mercy for himself and his family, God having told him that David would be his successor. He even anticipated, therefore, the statement which was the only feature connected with this story that indicates in any degree a supernatural knowledge; viz., "tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me: Jehovah will deliver the host of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.." (1 Samuel 28:19) The well-informed demons knew full better than did Saul the strength of the Philistines' position and army, and the weakness of Saul's position and army, and that he himself was already panic stricken and making this inquiry of the spirit medium because he was distracted at the situation.

Any one familiar with the warfare of that time would know (1) that one day's battle would probably settle the question; and (2) that the death of the king and his household would be the only logical result. Nevertheless, the "familiar spirit" erred, for two of Saul's sons escaped and lived for years. It is even denied by many scholars that the battle and the death of Saul occurred for several days after the visit to the witch. If the events described in 1 Samuel 30 happened in between the time that Saul visited the spirit-medium, then the scriptural account seems to indicate that at least two days had passed before Saul's death. Additionally, the spirit had foretold, "Jehovah will deliver Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines." (1 Samuel 28:19) However, Saul was not actually delivered into the hand of the Philistines as the spirit foretold, because Saul took his own life before the Philistines found him. -- 1 Samuel 31:4-9.

It is not surprising that Satan and the fallen angels, his consorts in evil, should know considerably more than do men, concerning many of life's affairs. We must remember that "by nature" they are a higher, more intelligent order than men; for man was made "a little lower than the angels [elohim]" (Psalm 8:5): besides, let us remember their thousands of years of experience, unimpaired by decay and death, as compared with man's "few days ... full of trouble," soon cut off in death. (Job 14:1) Can we wonder that mankind cannot cope with the cunning of these "wicked spirits," and that our only safety lies in the divine provision that each one who so wills may refuse to have any communication with these demons? The Word of Jehovah is, " resist the devil, and he will flee from you.." -- James 4:7.