Before we tackle the complexities of “The Lake of Fire” and God’s righteous judgements over the living and the dead, it would firstly be wise to give serious consideration to the Biblical truths regarding death itself. If there was ever a perfect example of modern theologies blatant disregard for God’s word, then the subject of death is a worthy candidate. In today’s mainstream Christian churches, there are HUGE misconceptions in regards to doctrines surrounding the physical and spiritual nature of man and especially the afterlife. Churches are full of pagan traditions - the myths and nonsense of vain imaginations, visions of Heaven and Hell and visitations from the dearly departed are commonplace. None of the mainstream views of death are the least bit scriptural as we shall discover.
THE SPIRIT & SOUL IN SCRIPTURE
It is more or less commonly taught that man has a soul, a spirit and a body in which to house them and that the soul is immortal upon death, Heaven or Hell being their eternal abodes. Modern diagrams explaining the ‘tripartite’ nature of man can be found in the backs of Bibles and various Christian resources often without question. The ubiquitous use of unscriptural modern catch phrases by evangelists and pastors alike surrounding these little understood doctrines, only further cement mainstream theological theories in the minds of believers.
The fact is that the terms “spirit” and “soul” in Christian culture today, are so far removed from their original meaning determined by the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, they have become perfect endorsements for the pagan philosophical ideas that Gods Word actually warns against. Any contentious issues are often sidelined to the doctrinal grey areas of modern church theology as if the scriptures were simply unable to provide concrete proof on the matter.
But what do the scriptures really teach regarding the usage of “soul” and “spirit.” What happens to the body when it dies? Where do we go according to the scriptures and how does it compare to the practices and methodology of modern church understanding?
Unbeknownst to most Christian theologians, the foundational questions surrounding these issues could be answered within the first few chapters of Genesis, providing we have the Spirit of truth to see it of course. The reason for this is axiomatic. Gods word DOESN’T CONTRADICT! What is true in the beginning should remain consistently true to the end - Genesis to Revelation, “COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL" (I Cor. ) and "Knowing this first, that no prophecy [inspired writing or speaking] of the Scripture is of any private [Gk: ‘its OWN’] interpretation" (II Pet. ) that in order to interpret one scripture, another must be used to bare witness to it. So for the sake of argument, we shall follow such instruction.
In the beginning
Here is an important truth. The ancient Hebrew concept of “soul” is diametrically opposed to the modern understanding of an ‘immaterial substance’ and its pagan associations. In fact the mind boggles at the nescience of modern theology in comparison to the scriptures emphatic treatment of “spirit” and “soul.”
‘NEPHESH’: (Hebrew) Strongs Ref: ‘SOUL’ H5315 nephesh = neh'-fesh
FIRST USED OF ANIMALS
It not commonly understood, that the first four occurrences of the word “nephesh” (soul) in scripture relate exclusively to the animal kingdom. This fact alone is highly destructive to the “immortal soul” theory of Christian doctrine taught in today’s modern churches.
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (nephesh) (Gen. 1:20:11)
Next verse: "And God created great whales, and every living creature (nephesh) that moveth, which the water brought forth abundantly."
“the living creature (nephesh) after his kind, cattle and creeping things.” (Verse 24)
“Every beast ... every foul ... everything that creepeth, wherein there is life (nephesh).” (Verse 30)
THEN USED OF MAN
Having understood the scriptural application of “nephesh” four times to every species of living creature on the earth, the Scriptures' next use of the word is in the record of the creation of mankind himself.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh)” (Gen. 2:7). [He became a "soul" rather than received a "soul."] (Gen. 2:7)
"The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground." (and that in itself is a phrase to be well noted when we consider the nature and composition of man) EXACTLY THE SAME WORD as four times already applied to animals is used of Man, formed of the dust of the ground, becoming a living “soul” (an animal, breathing creature) when God breathed into him the breath (Spirit) of life. The usual modern theological response at this point (the immortal soulist viewpoint) is to direct attention to the word “spirit” and abandon any argument based on “soul.” It must be stated however, that exactly the same method used to prove the nature of “soul” is applicable to the usage of “spirit” also.
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath (ruach) of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die" (Gen. 6:17).
It too in these early foundation chapters of Genesis, is used of animals alone, and also of men and animals together. Solomon states emphatically that
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath (spirit); so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. (Ecc 3:19)
In applying both these words, “soul” AND “spirit,” to animals as well as to men, the Scriptures very early on lay the foundations for sound doctrine, far from the erroneous conceptions of the pagan Greek philosophies against whose teachings the Apostle Paul so bitterly and vehemently warned.
Adams Sentence: “Dust Thou Art”
We can begin to see already the importance of this study in how it relates to our understanding of mankind’s metaphysical composition. How do these long forgotten truths relate to the consequences of mankind’s propensity to sin and therefore die? Yes, we do ACTUALLY Die! The scriptural answer is of course not even in the same ball park as the carnal reasoning of Christian theology. After all, the true sentence passed on Adam is in full accord with the record of his creation from the dust;
"Dust THOU art, and unto dust shalt THOU return." (Gen. 3:19)
This death sentence was passed upon the conscious, thinking, sinning individual the LIVING SOUL, created from dust, and animated by breath from God. This is in harmony with the general expression of the dispensation of God's justice, as expressed through Ezekiel:
"The soul that sinneth, IT SHALL DIE" (Ezek. 18:4).
Any attempt to transfer this sentence from the thinking, responsible Adam to his mere body is such an obviously weak subterfuge as not to be worthy of serious consideration. And finally, we note, in passing, very distinctly that in this first pronouncement of the wages of sin, there is NO MEN TION of ETERNAL TORTURE but on the contrary, the sentence is dissolution into original dust!
Three or two stages?
So why is all this so important? In keeping with Christian doctrine, the common Christian belief is that God created man in three stages, this being that; first God formed the man of the ground, Second God breathed life into the man, and Third God put an immortal soul into the man. Most Pastors would agree body, soul and spirit right? The tripartite man!
This constitution of mankind as the ‘tripartite man’ is widely accepted and taught as fact and an unquestionable spiritual truth. There is one problem however. God created humanity in two stages, NOT three! (Gen. 2:7)
 "And the Lord God formed man [Heb: ‘adam, a human being’] of the dust [Heb: ‘aphar, powdered gray, hence clay’] of the ground [Heb: ‘adamah, soil’]
 "and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Heb: ‘n’shahmah, puff, wind’] of life [Heb: ‘chay, alive, life, living’] and man became [Heb: ‘hayah, exist, be, become, come to pass’] a living [Heb: ‘chay, alive, life, living’] soul [Heb: ‘nephesh, a breathing creature, animal, vitality, mind, mortality’]."
Did we read of these fabled three stages of man’s creation in the Scripture quoted above? No, no we didn’t. We read of two things in man’s creation at the hands of God. First God formed the man of the ground, Second God breathed life into the man, and Third God…? God what? There ain’t no Third. "Man became a living soul" IS part of stage Two! There is no third stage! God did not "put an immortal soul into the man." Where do we read of such unscriptural nonsense? In church of course.
So truth be told, God didn’t need to do anything after He breathed into him the breath of life. It was the breath of life from God that caused the man to become a “living soul.” God didn’t put a “soul” into Adam; Adam IS a “living soul.” The “spirit” of man, which God gives to every human, is like a light switch—Switch it ‘on’ and the light glows: Switch it ‘off’ and the light is dark, gone, dead. Put the “spirit” in the man, and the man is a living soul: take the spirit out of the man, and the man is a dead soul.
The "body" of the deceased is gone forever. In resurrection to immortality, God gives everyone a new spiritual body. God can bring back the person in any "body" He desires. When God puts your "spirit" (not your soul) but your spirit (which has no consciousness) back into another body (as in a resurrection with a new spiritual body), the same real person/soul will live again. God can do this, but man can’t, so fear God.
"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the Last Adam [Jesus Christ] was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is NATURAL; and afterward that which is SPIRITUAL" (I Cor. 15:45-46).
"It is sown [first] a NATURAL BODY [a physical body which dies]; it is raised [afterward] a SPIRITUAL BODY [which is made immortal and never dies]…" (I Cor. 15:44).
"Who shall change our [first] VILE BODY, that it may be fashioned like unto His [afterward] GLORIOUS BODY…" (Phil. 3:21).
"If I have told you EARTHLY things [first], and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of HEAVENLY [spiritual] things [afterward]?" (John 3:12).
It’s amazing how Bible contradictions seem to simply vanish away when the foundational constructs of scriptural truth is put into order. Confusion gives way to lucidity, the grey areas and fuzzy ideas of Christianity pale in the light of sound teaching. These are important truths indeed.
The Illusion of soul
So in scripture first and foremost, we are presented with the “soul” as the totality of what a human consists of, namely a “body” with all its senses and “spirit” (life force if you will, which gives life to the ‘living soul’ human being). It is true that we all speak of the "soul" as if there is a separate entity inside of our body that is called "the soul." This is course does not reflect the physical reality as without the “spirit” (life force) there is NO SOUL (conscious feeling). Without the “body” (a complete living soul) there is NO SOUL (conscious feeling).
A perhaps juvenile but useful take on this is to imagine a blue piece if transparent plastic or cellophane. Place it half way over a same size piece of yellow cellophane. You will have blue on one side, yellow on the other, and GREEN in the middle. The blue is the body, the yellow is the spirit, and the GREEN is the SOUL. Notice that there actually is NO physical SOUL, without the blue body and the yellow spirit. Separate the blue and yellow cellophane and the GREEN soul disappears. This is exactly how the human “soul” must be combined with a “body” and “spirit,” or IT DOES NOT EVEN EXIST. They are very closely related and appear to overlap. The distinctions between soul and spirit (perception of carnal or spiritual thinking) in scripture are purely on an abstract level only as we shall discover.
We can say then that consciousness is not in the “body,” and it is not in the “spirit.” The consciousness of man is in his “soul.” This “soul” is the resultant outcome of our “spirit,” (the breath of life) being united with a “body.” God breathed the breath and “spirit” of life into the man formed from the dust of the ground, and the man then BECAME a living “soul.” He BECAME conscious of his own being. At death we are no longer conscious of our being or our death. Our spirit (which all living creatures possess) must be reunited with a new body in resurrection before we will regain the soul and consciousness that we had before we died.
That the typical unscriptural notions have permeated throughout the hallowed halls of theology, there is little doubt. For example, Dr Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is a most helpful book. However, when it comes to the major "damnable heresies" of Christendom, Dr. Strong plays the same game of contradictions and square circles, as do many other pastors and theologians.
This is plainly evident when studying Strong’s definition of “soul” in the Hebrew and “soul” in the Greek:
The Hebrew Scriptures, “soul” is translated from:
H5315 ‘NEPHESH’ = neh'-fesh (From H5314;) properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): - any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, dead (-ly), desire, [dis-] contented, fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, jeopardy of) life ( in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (she) will, would have it.
Here (used as a definition of "soul,”) the word "MORTALITY" is applied. How pray tell, can pastors, teachers, and theologians tell us that man’s soul is IMMORTAL, when the very definition of "soul—nephesh" is "MORTAL." Yes, of course, Godly men inspired by God’s Holy Spirit have always known that man is "mortal"—"Shall MORTAL man be more just than God…" (Job ).
And so, what kind of a "living soul" did Adam become? Why a "living [mortal] soul," of course. Maybe that’s why Jesus also stated that "souls" can be "destroyed." We cannot separate the man from his “soul” in two different parts, as though the “soul” were something that existed independently of the body. For this reason, when the Bible speaks of "people" dying or being destroyed, it sometimes refers to them as "souls," for the soul is the person. Adam himself was the "living soul." (See: Joshua 10:28,35,37,39).
And now for the Greek equivalent of “soul.”
‘PSUCHE’: (Greek) Strongs Ref ‘SOUL’ G5590 psuche = psoo-khay'
In the Greek Scriptures, soul is translated from ‘psuche’
"From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.
Next notice this statement in Strong’s definition of psuche above: "G4151, which is the rational and IMMORTAL SOUL." Oh really? Just like that? Notice how casually Dr. Strong just dropped that little gem into his definition of “soul.” First he confirms the fact that the soul of man is MORTAL, but then quickly asserts that there is, however, another, different Greek word, which really does mean immortal “soul,” and it is the Greek word # 4151—‘pnuma.’
Even though Dr. Strong knew the Hebrew word “nephesh” meant "mortal," and not "immortal" he nonetheless must be quick to inform us of his own personal heresy, and tell us that although the “nephesh/soul” of man is mortal, nevertheless man also possesses an "immortal" “soul.” And in so doing, we must conclude that that “mortal” man (Job 4:17) possesses two souls: one mortal and one immortal. Do Christians ever think about all these unscriptural heresies? Of course not!
So this Greek word #4151 = ‘pnuma’ is the "immortal soul? But guess what? “pnuma” meant "spirit."!In the King James Version, the words "spirit" and "ghost" are translated from the exact same Greek word “pnuma.”
“Pnuma” is used in the Greek Scriptures approximately 360 times. Dr. Strong tells us that this word IS the word for "immortal soul." So just how many times do you think this word is translated "immortal soul" out of the 360 verses which contain the Greek word “pnuma?" Oh, go ahead—guess? Three hundred? Two hundred? Fifty? Ten? Three? One? Would you believe NOT EVEN ONCE!
What about the "soul" by itself. How many times is “pneuma” translated "soul?" Three hundred? Two hundred? Fifty? Ten? Three? One? Would you believe none?
That’s right, none. Not once is this word “pnuma,” (which Dr. Strong tells us is the proper word for "immortal soul,") actually translated "immortal soul." It is always translated "spirit" [sometimes, ‘ghost’], but never "immortal soul." Nor is it even translated "soul" even without the prefix, "immortal." Hmmm – something smells...
Christendom’s Dirty Laundry
ADMITS "IMMORTAL SOUL"
UNBIBLICAL, AND BASED ON GREEK PHILOSOPHY
When we turn to works of reference by the learned expositors of the immortal soul theory, we see how this "believing a lie" works out quite naturally. Most theologians make no attempt to conceal the fact that scriptural teaching and popular theology are very different regarding the meaning of “soul.” They are in fact, proud that they have developed many "improvements" upon what they consider the partial and hazy conceptions voiced by the "Holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
When it comes to this whole issue of death we soon find that we are forced to choose between Scripture teaching and orthodox Christianity. It is very fortunate for us that the issue is so clear-cut, and that the leading exponents of the immortal soul theory are so frank in admission of its non-Biblical origin. Why do we tolerate such nonsense in the church? Regard the following:
Webster's Dictionary says:
"The Christian conception of the soul derives from the Greek, especially as modified by the mystery cults, as well as from the Bible..."
"The more exact determination of the Christian conception was reserved for the Church Fathers, especially Saint Augustine, who taught that it is simple, immaterial and spiritual, devoid of quality and spatial extension. He argued its immortality from the fact that it is the repository of Imperishable truth."
Funk & Wagnall Dictionary is even more to the point:
"Among the ancient Hebrews 'soul' was the equivalent of the principle of life as embodied in living creatures, and this meaning is continued throughout the Bible.
"It was Augustine especially who, in part on religious grounds and in part as the disciple of the later Greek Philosophy, taught the simple, immaterial and spiritual nature of the human soul view which has remained that of the scholastic philosophy and of Christian theologians down to the present time."
Hasting's well-known Bible Dictionary freely admits:
"Soul is throughout a great part of the Bible simply the equivalent of 'life' embodied in living creature. In the earlier usage of the Old Testament it has no reference to the later philosophical meaning the animating principle still less to the idea of an 'immaterial nature' which will survive the body."
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says:
"Soul has various shades of meaning in the Old Testament, which may be summarized as follows: Soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, appetite, emotion and passion. "Nephesh or soul, can only denote the individual life with a material organization or body.
"In the New Testament 'psuche' appears under more or less similar conditions as in the Old Testament."
Young's Concordance defines both nephesh and psuche as "animal soul."
Strong's Concordance defines nephesh as, "A breathing creature, an animal; or, abstractly, vitality." Psuche it likewise defines as "The animal, sentient principle."
The noted lexicographer Parkhurst (himself a believer in immortal soulism) says:
"As a noun nephesh hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul. I must for myself confess that I can find no passages where it has undoubtedly this meaning.
"Gen. 35:18, 1 Kings 17:21-22 and Psalms 16:10 seem fairest for this signification. But may not 'nephesh' in the three former passages be most properly rendered 'breath,' and in the last, 'a breathing or animal frame'? "
These quotations show clearly that the immortal soul doctrine is generally admitted by Its supporters to be entirely different from the BIBLE meaning of soul, and based mainly upon GREEK PHILOSOPHY. The issue then is this: is the Word of God to be our final authority, or is religious truth something to be gradually developed by man's speculation on the basis of pagan Greek philosophy?
For nearly 2,000 years, the bulk of Christendom, beginning with the Church Fathers, have favoured the latter, but there have always been a few who have regarded the Bible as wholly inspired by God, consistent from beginning to end, and the only possible source of true knowledge of such things as life, death and the nature and destiny of man.
A Bible that is anything less than this is NO BIBLE AT ALL. And the Bible itself leaves no room for compromise. It takes a bold and unequivocal stand throughout as the direct Word of God in every part (Isa. 8:20; Jer. 36:1-4; 1 Cor. 2:9-13; Gal. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Rev. 1:1-2). We must accept it as that, or else throw it away entirely as the most brazen and blasphemous of falsehoods.
It is impossible in any one consideration to fully examine the Biblical use and meaning of “soul.” But it is possible to lay the foundation by demonstrating that popular theology on the subject is admittedly derived from other sources than the Bible, and is at direct variance with it. Trying telling your Pastor that!
And so it is that this common conception of the nature of man - being that man has an immortal soul and/or spirit within him that can be conscious after death - was the understanding of the Greek philosophers, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and numerous pagan religions. However, the Greek and Hebrew words for “soul” and “spirit” are used in many ways that do not fit in with this common conception of the nature of man. These misconceptions and speculations of carnal theology have heaped unwarranted theories upon their broad usages in the scriptures.
Much of the confusion surrounding this subject has to do with figurative language within the Bible texts. The “soul” and “spirit” are both ubiquitously used throughout the Old and New Testament to describe a range of emotions and the nature of these emotions. The personification and characteristics attributed to these words (of which there are many) should NOT however shroud the true reality as to their incorporeal nature, the foundational realities we have already discussed. These abstract notions of ‘feeling’ something in our souls or spirit seem to be conclusive Biblical concepts but how are the foundational uses of ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ (mysticism put aside) really reflected in the lives of normal Christian living? Let’s put these usages into perspective.
In the scriptures, it was commonplace for the Bible writers to take parts of man’s being and personify them, give them attributes they did not in actuality possess. This practice has given rise to the plethora of erroneous modern teachings like immortal soulism and hence eternal punishment. A familiar example of this writing style, is the personification of the human heart. The heart, simply an organ that pumps blood, is said to have qualities that the mind has, but that the heart definitely does NOT have.
Another example which is not so familiar is the personification of the kidneys, called the "reins" (Ps. 7:9) for example. The kidneys seem to have been made the seat of the affections and emotions. "Bowels" (Ps. 40:8 (translated "heart”) is another.
The Bible writers also occasionally personify the “soul” and “spirit” in like manner, In other words, the “soul” and the “spirit” may in some verses be given qualities that they do not in actuality possess. It is easy to see how carnal theology has ended up heaping confusion upon confusion on these little understood doctrines.
The Old Testament usage IS the foundation for the New and the word “soul” occurs in the Old seven times as often as in the New. It is ignoring the foundation work of the Old Testament that has prevented so many from understanding the New Testament usages. As the Bible is one single, indivisible unit, It cannot be broken up and a part cast aside. Only when it is regarded as one equally inspired and equally divine book can it be properly understood. God has varied His commands at different times to different people, but statements of FACT and TRUTH never change from beginning to end.
“Soul” in the New Testament cannot be considered apart from “soul” in the Old. Considering them together, we find them in complete harmony. As in the Old, so in the New, “soul” is used of animals; it is spoken of as dying; it is used for the mind, the heart, the appetite and the emotions but never forget- People don’t have souls, WE ARE SOULS! Let’s look at this in more detail.
OLD TESTAMENT SOUL (NEPHESH)
‘NEPHESH’: (Hebrew) Strongs Ref: ‘SOUL’ H5315 nephesh = neh'-fesh
“Nephesh” is translated in the following ways (the numbers being the number of occurrences of each way):
Any 3, appetite 2, beast 2, body 4, breath 1, creature 9, dead 5, dead body 4, desire 4, fish 1, ghost 2, heart 15, hearty 1, herself 2, himself 8, life 117, lust 2, man 3, mind 15, mortally 1, myself 1, one 1, person 29, pleasure 3, soul 475, thing 2, themselves 3, thyself 1, will 4, would have it 1, yourselves 6.
“Soul” or nephesh is the life-principle, or simply, life. Put in an existential context the nephesh is the self or person. Nephesh is NOT used for anything like the “spirit” of the dead and this is important to note in any discussion about any supposed transcendental nature of “soul.” Quite simply put, when the Hebrew word for "soul" is used, nothing more than the person (or creature) as such – as human being – is meant.
"And the king of
"The soul (nephesh, psuche) that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. ).
NEW TESTAMENT SOUL (PSUCHE)
‘PSUCHE’: (Greek) Strongs Ref ‘SOUL’ G5590 psuche = psoo-khay'
In the New Testament the word for “soul” is “psuche.” Psuche is translated in the following ways: heart 1, heartily (combined with ek), life 40, make doubt (combined with airo) 1, mind 3, soul 58, you 1.
We know that “nephesh” and “psuche” are equivalent or carry essentially the same meanings because the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Septuagint, uses the Greek word to render the Hebrew term. It’s also interesting to note that the King James Version almost always uses the word “soul” to render both the Hebrew “nephesh” and Greek “psuche.” Modern translations use a variety of English words and idioms that more precisely express the meaning of these biblical words in their specific contexts. The NIV translated “nepheph” as “a living being” in Genesis 2:7 for example. This applies equally to the New Testament meaning also.
"For whosoever will save his life (psuche) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (psuche) for my sake shall find it" (Mat. ). [People can both save and lose their “soul.” Those who do save their “soul” will lose it, and those who lose their "soul" will find it.]
SOUL: ( Nephesh vs Psuche)
When comparing the Old and New Testament usage of “soul,” it is easy to see how the foundational understanding of the word proves the continuity of the concept and brings lucidity to a seemingly contradictory Bible subject.
Old Testament Soul: “Nephesh”
“Nephesh” is said to be the seat of spiritual as well as physical needs and cravings, including one’s need for God’s presence. It is the state of consciousness itself. In this connection, “nephesh” can be used in a general sense to stand for the seat of emotions and experiences. The “soul” can be sad, grieved, weep, rejoice, bless the Lord, be distressed, be anxious and troubled, hate and love (Interestingly, the Psalmist even speaks, in Psalm 11:5, of God’s “soul” as hating wickedness.) It is associated with will as well as moral and spiritual. “Nephesh” can stand for the full range of human needs, desires and feelings, including thought, memory and consciousness
New Testament Soul: “Psuche”
Paul’s use of “soul,” “spirit,” and “body” is taking note of one single human reality, but breaking it up into three component parts, which is to state the obvious. It is a way of perceiving the totality of human life.
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul [psuche] and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
“Soul,” “spirit” and “body” in the same sentence has caused much debate over the meaning and significance of these words. In recent times, most scholars have come to view these terms as being differing aspects of one reality, which is personhood.
“Psuche,” however, we might want to further define it, is an important part of this oneness of life. If we then look at Hebrews 4:12, where the word of God is said to penetrate so deeply that it divides “soul and spirit,” we see that “psuche” simply means that the word of God (who is, ultimately, Jesus himself) probes the deepest parts of our personhood, or human self – the obvious implication of the carnal vs spriritual nature is also apparent.
Old Testament Soul: “Nephesh”
The death of the “nephesh” then, results in the loss of personhood. But the soul is not something we possess as such as though the person existed as a person outside of the “soul.” The “soul” is the person. The “soul” is what each person is as a human being. In fact, some modern translations often translate “nephesh” as “person,” as does the King James Version on occasion (1 Samuel 22:22).
New Testament Soul: “Psuche”
“Psuche” denotes one’s inner life or actual personhood. God, who has created the “soul,” can also destroy it. Jesus said: “Be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Here, Jesus differentiated between the “soul” and the body. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” he said (verse 28), proof that the body and its sensations cannot be separated.
Old Testament Soul: “Nephesh”
The Old Testament says nothing about any pre-existence or “immortality” of the “nephesh.” Also, we are not informed in any specific sense in the Old Testament about what happens to a person (the “soul”) who dies after his or her death. That’s because the word “nephesh” simply stands for the living person as human being in this life. Of course, in the Old Testament the dead are said to go to sheol, which is the grave, the state of the dead (Psalm 86:13).
New Testament Soul: “Psuche”
Thus, while Matthew 10:28 seems to differentiate the “soul” from the body, paradoxically the same writer says that “soul” can be killed (Matthew 2:20). In essence this implies that Jesus’ “soul” (He Himself) was killed by men at the crucifixion. “Psuche” is used in various contexts but here is a clear example as to how “soul” in the New Testament actually maintains its incorporeal meaning of the Old.
Old Testament Soul: “Nephesh”
The “soul” is integral to life itself. Thus, there is a relationship between blood and the “nephesh.” Deuteronomy 12:23 states that “the blood is the life [nephesh].” The “soul,” (our very existence) then, depends on blood for its physical existence.
The “soul” can also be the object of salvation and redemption. It can even be saved from Sheol, or the state or situation of death. (Psalm 86:13).
New Testament Soul: “Psuche”
Notice some of these contexts. Souls can also be purified by the truth (1 Peter 1:22). They can be strengthened by ministry (Acts 14:22). Hope in God’s covenant promises provides Christians with an "anchor for the soul" (Hebrews 6:19). Souls are to be entrusted to God (1 Peter 4:19). Those who endure suffering without a loss of faith will “keep their souls” (Hebrews 10:39). But, the “soul” (person) can die, by drowning, for example (Acts 27:22).
‘Spirit’ in the Old and New Testaments
Clearly then, the “soul” has no association with consciousness beyond death. Neither it, nor the “spirit” for that matter, supports the commonly taught Christian idea of an inner “spirit man” or an “immortal soul.” There is no end to the nonsense promulgated in church circles surrounding these little understood subjects. “Spirit” as the scriptures teaches it, is figuratively somewhat more mysterious in its usage, but is by no means beyond the realm of understanding – as long as we remember the textual foundations.
The word for “spirit” in the Old Testament is either “ruach” or “neshamah.” The Hebrew word translated in many places in the Old Testament as “spirit” is “ruach.” The word appears over 375 times. It can mean “wind,” “breath” or “spirit.” Most often “ruach” refers to the “Spirit” of God or to the “spirit” of human beings.
Anciently, “ruach” was thought to be a mysterious divine power that was demonstrated in the wind, was responsible for the ecstatic power of the prophet, or animated the life of the human being. “Ruach” was the power of God that made life possible, and which powered it in all its manifestations.
The equivalent word for “ruach” in the New Testament is “pneuma.” It appears about 375 times. About 250 of these times, “ruach” refers to the “Spirit” of God, the Holy Spirit.
OLD TESTAMENT SPIRIT (RUACH/NESHAMAH)
‘RAUCH’ (Hebrew) Strongs Ref ‘SPIRIT’ H7307 ru^ach, roo'-akh
Ruach is translated in the following ways: air 1, anger 1, blast 4, breath 27, cool 1, courage 1, mind 6, quarters 1, side 6, Spirit or spirit 240, wind 94, vain 2.
"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath (ruach, pneuma); so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit (ruach, pneuma) of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (ruach, pneuma) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth" (Eccl. -21). [There is no difference between the "spirit" of animals and the "spirit" of people.]
‘NESHAMAH” (Hebrew) Strongs Ref ‘SPIRIT’ H5397 nesha^ma^h, nesh-aw-maw'
From H5395; a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: - blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.
Neshamah is translated in the following ways: blast 3, breath 17, inspiration 1, souls 1, spirit 2.
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (neshamah, pnoe) of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). [God put the "spirit" into Adam's nose.]
NEW TESTAMENT SPIRIT (PNUEMA)
The Greek word pnoe is used in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament) for neshamah, but it is only used in the New Testament in Acts 2:2, where it is translated "wind," and in Acts 17:25, where it is translated "breath."
‘PNEUMA’ (Greek) Strongs Ref ‘SPIRIT’ G4151 pneuma, pnyoo'-mah
From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: - ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Compare G5590.
In the New Testament the word for “spirit” is pneuma. Pneuma is translated the following ways: Ghost 2, Ghost (with holy) 90, life 1, spirit 151, Spirit 137, spiritual gift 1, spiritually 1, wind 1.
"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (pneuma): and having said thus, he gave up the ghost" (Luke 23:46).
SPIRIT: ( Ruach vs Pneuma)
Old Testament Spirit: “Ruach”
In the Old Testament, it is God who sustains humans as living beings. He breathes into Adam the breath of life, and Adam then becomes a living being (living soul). God is seen as the God “of the spirits of all mankind” (Numbers 27:15). This implies that God is the source of “spirit,” of life itself and that “spirit” is sovereign to his direction. Death is seen as the release of the “spirit” God gives: “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing” (Psalm 146:4). The “spirit,” then, is that which makes possible and sustains life, or the conscious person. The Psalmist says, “When you send your Spirit, they are created” (Psalm 104:30) but "when you take away their breath [ruach], they die and return to the dust" (verse 29).
New Testament Spirit: “Pneuma”
When “pneuma” refers to the human “spirit” it is again, that which makes the human being a living person (Luke 8:55). Death results in the release of the “spirit” to God (Matthew 27:50; Acts 7:59). The “pneuma” represents an individual’s deepest thoughts and emotions (Mark 2:8; John 11:33; 1 Corinthians 2:11). The “spirit” – in conjunction with the “body” (soma, 1 Corinthians 7:34), the flesh (sarx, 2 Corinthians 7:1) and “soul” (psuche, 1 Thessalonians 5:23) – represents the whole person.
Old Testament Spirit: “Ruach”
When “ruach” refers to a person, it sees him or her as acting and thinking from an inner motivation, or consciousness. “Ruach” can be the seat of emotional expression. For example, Isaiah 19:14 says, “The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness.” Sometimes characteristics or traits of personality are attributed to the spirits of persons, which account for their actions. Caleb had a “different spirit” than the rest of those who came out of Egypt in the Exodus, and this caused him to follow God "wholeheartedly" (Numbers 14:24).
New Testament Spirit: “Pneuma”
The “pneuma” is seen figuratively as the realm where relations between God and a human being can take place (Philippians 3:3). “Pneuma” is used almost 40 times to describe that aspect of human personality or self through which these relations are possible (Romans 1:9; 1 Corinthians 5:3-5). Coming to faith is sometimes seen as a revival of the human “spirit” (Romans 8:10; 1 Peter 4:6). A person’s “spirit” can be united with the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:17) or remain a “spirit of slavery” without it (Romans 8:15).
“Spirit” and “flesh” are often seen as opposites and contenders within the human psyche. The “spirit” represents the new way of life in communion with God and the “flesh” the old way of sin (Romans 8:1-11). It is the “spirit” that experiences the final salvation, not the “flesh” as such (1 Corinthians 5:5). While the “flesh” dies, the “Spirit of God” makes alive (1 Peter 3:18).
Old Testament Spirit: “Ruach”
God is able to look into the “ruach” of a person and to examine his or her inner motives (Proverbs 16:2). The “spirit” of a person suggests the “place” of a person’s innermost thoughts and where a person’s search for and communion with God occurs. The psalmist says: “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you” (Isaiah 26:9). Interestingly, both the “soul” and the “spirit,” or the psalmist’s whole being, are involved in the desire to know God.
A person’s “spirit” can be marked by a whole range of characteristics, evil and good, including unfaithfulness (Psalm 78:8), sincerity (Psalm 32:2), and humility (Isaiah 57:15). The “spirit” can indicate a person’s mental and emotional condition. The “spirit” of a human can be broken and crushed (Joshua 5:1), but it can also be revived and refreshed (Isaiah 57:15).
New Testament Spirit: “Pneuma”
The “pneuma” from God – from above – is what provides and creates the new birth resulting in spiritual oneness with the Father (John 3:3-8), and of course with Jesus and his Holy Spirit as well (John 14:15-23). “Possession” of the “spirit” of God is the defining characteristic of the Christian (Romans 8:9; 1 John 3:24; 4:13).
Old Testament Spirit: “Ruach”
God can “stir up” the “spirit” of individuals so that they carry out some undertaking or purpose of his (1 Chronicles 5:26; Ezra 1:1, 5; Jeremiah 51:1). God can intervene in the mental and emotional aspects of a human psyche to accomplish his will. Saul was able both to prophecy and lead Israel to victory through the “Spirit” from God (1 Samuel 10:6, 10; 11:6) and to be cast into a state of fear and mental confusion by “an evil spirit” from him (1 Samuel 16:14-16; 18:10; 19:9).
The “spirit of wisdom” was an extension of the concept of the “spirit” from God which functioned as the animating principle in the prophets. The “spirit” possessed by the prophets allowed them to prophecy (Numbers 11:17; Deuteronomy 34:9; Isaiah 28:6)
New Testament Spirit: “Pneuma”
The gift of the “Spirit” marks the beginning of the Christian life and experience (Galatians 3:2-5). A person does not belong to Christ unless he or she has the “pneuma” of God (Romans 8:9); cannot be united with Christ except through the “Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17); cannot share sonship with Christ apart from sharing in the “Spirit” (Romans 8:14-17); and is not a member of the body of Christ without the “Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Yes that was tedious. And yet why did we go through all these examples of scripture regarding the “soul” and “spirit?” It’s simple. These hugely diverse comparisons prove beyond a doubt that the essential foundational notion that man is a “living soul,” who possess life giving “spirit,” remain in tact throughout the expanse of the Old and New Testaments! Their figurative uses have NO bearing on the foundational usages laid out in Genesis.
Abstract usages of “Soul” and “Spirit”
As in the Old Testament, so it must be in the New. Overwhelming scriptural evidence often clarifies the truth of a contentious doctrine but there are always a few passages that need explaining. Very few passages could even possibly be made to fit with the immortal soul idea though, as we shall see.
A passage that frequently causes confusion is;
"...fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in Gehenna." (Matt 10:28)
Can God "destroy the body?" Well, yes, of course He can, Jesus just said that He "is ABLE." So God "IS able to destroy the body." Do orthodox pastors and theologians, believe Jesus? Yes.
Next: Can God "destroy the soul?" Well, yes, of course He can, Jesus just said that He "is ABLE." So God "IS able to destroy the soul." Do orthodox pastors and theologians, believe Jesus? No, of course not. How can a soul which they teach is immortal, ever be "destroyed?" Interesting that the one passage most quoted to support the indestructible soul theory is the very one that speaks of the soul being DESTROYED.
Theologians do not regard "destroyed" as meaning destroyed, but the opposite eternally preserved! Contradiction anyone? Also, we find further that they do not regard “death” as meaning death, but "eternal LIFE in misery." We can see that with definitions such as this, we could make anything prove anything!
The scriptures state that men also kill the soul. The first use of the word in the New Testament (Matt. 2:20) speaks of Herod "seeking the young child's life" (psuche - soul). The first appearance in the gospel of Mark is similar. Jesus says
"...is it lawful ... on the Sabbath ...to save life (psuche), or to kill?"(Mark 3:4)
Paul in Rom. 11:3 quotes Elijah as saying: "...I am left alone, and they seek my life (psuche)."
So what is meant here by saying that man cannot kill the soul? Are the Scriptures contradictory? Of course they are not. We must use wisdom to discern them properly. There is no difficulty in understanding what Christ means, if we sincerely seek a scriptural solution. Man can kill the body, but this has no permanent effect on our ultimate existence. To the faithful, this is but a brief sleep.
The biggest problem in understanding Matt 10:28, is to understand who this verse is talking about. The Church will tell you that it is talking about those who will suffer loss of salvation in the eternal fires of hell. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. This verse was addressed directly to and about the 12 apostles, and is applied to all Christ's disciples throughout all generations.
Remember our study on Gehenna? How does this Gehenna fire actually judge us? Is there anywhere that we are told how Gehenna judges us to make us "righteous?" This verse specifically addresses what Gehenna accomplishes! Pay close attention.
Go back to the first verse of chapter Ten for the contextual proof that Jesus is instructing his Apostles only in this teaching: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them [no one else, just 'them,' just the twelve apostles], saying...” And Jesus continues speaking unbroken all the way to the eleventh chapter, to His twelve apostles only.
If it is the world of unrepentant sinners that are to "fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," then why oh why didn't Jesus make this clear to His apostles in these verses? But no, Jesus warned His apostles that they are to be the ones fearing. Notice:
“...He called unto Himself His twelve disciples... These twelve Jesus sent forth and commanded them saying... [Jesus continues speaking to His apostles only] ...And fear not them [their enemies and persecutors] which kill the body [their body; your body], but are not able to kill the soul [your soul]: but rather fear Him [you twelve apostles] which is able to destroy both soul and body [both YOUR soul and YOUR body] in hell [Gehenna fire]" (Matt. 10:1, 5, & 28).
Assuredly, Jesus was NOT warning the wicked to not fear the wicked who, when they kill the wicked cannot kill the soul... No, this instruction is for believers.
Gehenna is judgment. It is not torture in literal fire. It is judgment upon God's Elect to spiritually purify them; to make them holy and blameless; and to make them strong. Gehenna speaks of judgment, and Jesus taught that God is "able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." How are we (God's Elect) presently being destroyed in both body and soul? Notice what Jesus said a few verses after He made this statement:
"He that finds his life [Gk: 'psuche' - soul, not zoe which is life] shall lose it: and he that loses his life [soul] for My sake shall find it" (Matt. 10:39).
We must be spiritually baptized into Christ's death, and we must also LOSE OUR SOUL for Christ's sake! You will not learn this in your local church! This is real meaty stuff we’re talking about here.
Learn to read Scriptures accurately and precisely. Take note that Jesus did NOT say "And fear not them which KILL the body, but are not able to KILL the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to KILL both soul and body in hell [Gk: Gehenna]."
No, Jesus did NOT say that, but it is assumed that He either said that or at least meant that. No, He did not. Jesus said:
"And fear not them which KILL the body, but are not able to KILL the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell [Gk: Gehenna]."
Why the switch? Jesus switches from “kill” to “destroy.”
It is our “soul”(character) that God is more interested in than our “life.” An insane person may have a perfectly healthy life, but his soul is severely damaged. A comatose person may be in perfect physical health and be very much "alive," but possesses virtually no soul-conscious awareness, character, love, emotions, knowledge, hopes and dreams, memories, etc.
Now then, “destroy” in verse 28 is the Greek word “appolumi” and it means: DESTROY, PARISH, LOSE. Wow! Are you seeing this? How much easier life would be if only the translators had been consistent, but God didn't want them to be consistent. It's all part of the worldwide deception which is a necessary part of God's plan. In verse 18 Jesus says that God can “appolumi your body and soul.” In verse 39 Jesus tells us that we must “appolumi our own soul.” Either we “appolumi” -destroy/lose our souls, or God will “appolumi” our souls for us, and that is not the way we want to go, seeing that: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Heb. 10:31).
And notice this is precisely what we read in Matt. 5:29 – “If your right eye offend you [then YOU] pluck it out... And if your right hand offend you [then YOU] cut it off... and not that your whole body should be cast [by GOD, 'fear HIM'] into Gehenna" (Matt. 5:28-30).
We must pluck out and cut off those members of the body which are used to sin against God:
“Mortify therefore your members [Gk: 'melos' -'parts of the BODY' -Dr. Strong] which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes ['fear HIM'] on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the Image of Him that created him [it]" (Col. 3:5-10).
But hopefully by now, we all know that the different “members” of our body [pluck out your eye; cut off your hand; cut off your foot] do not actually sin, but it is the heart and carnal mind of man that uses the members of his body to commit sin: “Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin...” (Rom. 6:13).
So then God teaches us to “fear HIM” and in so doing, destroy [Gk: 'apollumi' -destroy, perish, lose] our soul by “plucking out and cutting off” these members of our body so as to stop using them as “instruments of unrighteousness unto sin” so that God will not have to “destroy both our body and our soul in Gehenna” by “CASTING us into Gehenna.” Can we now understand the judgment of “Gehenna fire” and how it works?
This is not Sunday school stuff! Its stuff that is rarely understood by most Christians – yet this crucifying the flesh, the dying to sin (the renewing of one’s mind) is a morbid yet crucial step for those in Christ who seek to receive the higher calling. It has NOTHING to do with “hell!”
Now the Greek scriptures make particular use of “soul” and “spirit” to promote an understanding of moral conscience and determining carnal or divine inspiration. After all, how many of us have used the terminology of “feeling” something in our “spirit.” As an abstract term it may be a perfect sentiment, but this is purely figurative.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (psyche) and spirit (pneumatos) , and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12)
Strongs Ref G2588 Gk ‘Heart’ kardia kar-dee'-ah Prolonged from a primary kar (Latin cor, “heart”); the heart, that is, (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle: - (+ broken-) heart (-ed).
The treatment of the human “heart” in scripture is an important to the understanding of human conduct. In fact it is very rare that the heart is represented in Scripture as a literal organ of the body. The "heart" of man is the seat of his deepest moral and emotional feelings.
But, no, it is not the "mind." There are separate words for "heart" and "mind" in Scripture. The mind (in which there are dozens of associated Hebrew and Greek words) pertains more to
Think "You make me sick to my STOMACH," for example. The reason for this is that deep and profound
emotions can be felt in the mid-section of our torso. The people of
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (Mat 15:19)
One may compose a love letter in one's mind, but the feelings are coming from that part of our “psyche” (soul- abstract) called the “heart.” Likewise a murderer may make the technical plans to carry out his dirty deed in his “mind,” but the motivation is in his “heart.”
So what exactly does the “Word of God” divide in Heb 4:12 if there is nothing actually ‘physical’ be divided? The distinction between “soul” and “spirit” is no less pronounced. Besides this passage in Hebrews 4:12, which gives the Word of God the monopoly on this distinction, we have the list “spirit” and “soul” and “body”
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit (pneuma) and soul (psyche) and body (soma) be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Th 5:23)
The fact that the “soul” is the effect of the union of “spirit” with body is neither taught nor refuted by this text. It is thoroughly in harmony with the two-fold constitution of man. For, while the “soul” is not one of the units of which man is constituted, its condition in view of His coming has a place quite as important as the “body” and “spirit.” And the preservation of the entire man involves the “soul” just as much as the two units on which it is based.
Now, instead of the “soul” and “spirit” being the same, they are put in striking contrast in the discussion of the differences between the first man, Adam, and the last Adam, Christ Jesus. The first became a “living soul,” the last a vivifying, or “life-giving Spirit.” This same contrast is even more apparent in the adjectives “spiritual” and “soulish.”
In 1Corinthians, this distinction is obscured by the rendering “natural.” Not the “natural,” but the soulish man is not receiving those things which are of the spirit of God
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Co -16)
Such perception is reserved for the spiritual man. So, too, in the fifteenth chapter. The body is there called a soulish, not a “natural” body, in contrast to the spiritual body of the coming resurrection (1 Cor.15:44,45,46).
The truth that the “soul” refers to sensation or conscious experience, is rarely acknowledged by the translators themselves as they have concealed it from their readers by their poorer renderings. Many who think of the “soul” as the seat of our highest spiritual faculties would be surprised to know that it finds its fitting place between such words as “terrestrial” and “demoniacal.” In James 3:15 we have “terrestrial, soulish, demoniacal.” The translators rendered it: “earthly, sensual, devilish.” Here, however, if we take the word sensual in its present day acceptation, they have overshot the mark. But in their days it probably meant very nearly what soulish means—one who is swayed by physical sensation.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom 8:6-7)
The crowning proof of its meaning as far as meaning soulish compared to spititual, lies in its last occurrence. There we read of those who are “soulish, not having the spirit” (Jude 19). Here again the translators rendered it “sensual.”
The context then, gives us the needed clue to a clear distinction between “soul” and “spirit.” The “soul” senses the material, tangible, visible, physical sphere; the “spirit” moves in the realm of the ethereal, the invisible, the metaphysical. The “soul” sees the letters upon the page, the “spirit” perceives the meaning which they convey.
It is not that the “soul” is essentially bad and the “spirit” essentially good. Nor yet the reverse, for many evil things, such as pride, may be spiritual rather than soulish. Yet, as the delights of the senses are satisfied by the physical, so the “spirit” craves the metaphysical. The prevailing tendency is towards allowing the “soul” to rule – this is old carnal man.
So to sum up - just as human existence is joined to the soil, (for the human was formed of the soil before the spirit was imparted) and as “spirit” is the source of life, so the “soul” is the seat of sensation. And for human beings, sensation is impossible except where there is a material body vivified by life giving “spirit.” Sensation does not depend upon a distinct entity or organism apart from either body or spirit, but rather upon their union. This union and its resultant sensation is termed “soul” in the Scriptures. It is not a physically perceived reality, it is and always was written in scripture for the benefit of differentiating between mans carnal and spiritual aptitudes.
The Mind of Christ
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
What this all boils down to in the end our ability to understand spiritual things with our functioning brain, that we might perceive revelation by attaining the ‘mind of Christ’ This of course is and can only be done by the Spirit of God. Our minds (our brain) are then able to naturally understand spiritual things. God is Spirit (pneuma): and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit (pneuma) and in truth. (John 4:24)
“Spirit,” or Gods “Holy Spirit,” is also defined as a “pneuma.” Our word pneumatic originates from this, and has to do with air or breath. The Meridian Webster dictionary
defines pneumatic as something that is “moved or worked by air pressure.”
“Spirit” is the ability embrace, discern, and manifest the pneumatic or windy movements of the Holy Spirit. To be “spiritually minded” does not involve some invisible second spiritual brain! It is our normal functioning ‘mind’ being renewed. It is not done (as some hocus pocus Christian teachers would have us believe) by some ethereal ‘spirit man’ inside of us, awaked to the spiritual things of Gods truths. The church is full of such pagan nonsense.
Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is cursed; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. (1Co 12:3)
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom 8:6-7)
"Let this MIND be in you which is also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5)
….But we have the mind of Christ. (1Co -16)
The carnal (natural) mind just cannot and will not accept spiritual truth no matter how plain one makes it to them, unless and until God supernaturally opens their mind to receive it.
But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Co -16)
God's Holy Spirit is His Spirit of Holiness which imparts spiritual knowledge and spiritual
character to those who possess it. The wicked and unbelievers have the “spirit” that keeps them alive (the breath of life), but they have no spiritual perception of spiritual truths because they do not possess the “Holy Spirit” of God living in us through Jesus.
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (rhema) that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
‘RHEMA’: (Greek) Strongs Ref: ‘WORD’ G4487 rhe¯ma = hray'-mah
From G4483; an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically); by implication a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever: - + evil, + nothing, saying, word.
“Rhema” as divine revelation is absolutely essential in furnishing us with the fullness of God’s knowledge and will, both as individual believers and corporately. The logos word defines God in general concepts and ideas to give us the big picture of who God is. But the “rhema” word is a moment-to-moment portion of the logos word uttered by the voice of God’s Spirit and tailored made to equip us with God’s commands, guidance, and the fulfillment of our needs in accordance to our specific circumstances
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every RHEMA that proceedeth( from moment to moment) out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the RHEMA of God. (Romans 10:17)
Ephesians And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is
the RHEMA of God: (Ephesians 6:17)
Faith, which produces a “rhema” word, is the FAITH OF GOD working in us. The “rhema” word is a translation of God’s faith into a medium that we can discern, minister externally, and understand. When we minister the “rhema” word we are ministering the faith that God Himself has. It is the medium by which every Christian is called, motivated and equipped to be as TRUE sons, children about their Fathers business.
It is a rare teacher indeed who truly understands these things in detail – the machinations of God’s spirit in relation to the scriptural composite man.
That the “spirit” and “soul” of the Old and New Testaments are often personified to represent feeling, sensation and even distinction between the carnal and spiritual, there is little doubt. But this must not sidetrack us from the foundational scriptures that provide the basis of biblical constitution of mankind; that of a living “soul” by means of Gods “spirit” of life. It is only through the thorough knowledge of these concepts, that we understand their nature in relation to death, the resurrection and the afterlife.
THE SCRIPTURAL STATE OF THE DEAD
The misconceptions of carnal theology surrounding the nature of “spirit” and “soul” has severe repercussions, especially in the formulation of doctrines concerning the state of the dead and the afterlife. After all, how is it possible to teach Christian indoctrinated people the Truths of God? Well, of course, without the spirit of God it is completely impossible for them to understand. When people cannot even wrap their minds around the truth that “dead people are really DEAD,” there is little one can do to help them.
Dead people do not “GO” anywhere. Good dead people do not go to heaven to float on clouds and walk streets of gold, and bad dead people do not go to a place called hell to be tortured in fire for all eternity. Dead people are dead and will remain dead until the “Resurrection from the DEAD,” and that resurrection is yet FUTURE.
“Now after the DEATH of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, MOSES MY SERVANT IS DEAD…” (Joshua 1:1-2).
When Moses died, God Himself said that Moses was dead. God didn’t say that Moses’ “body” died, but that Moses was still alive with the Lord, at His side. NO. The Lord said, “Moses My servant is DEAD.” When the dog “Rover” died; he died ALL OVER. And when Moses died; he too, died ALL OVER. Physically alive people can be spiritually dead, but physically dead people cannot be spiritually alive!
When talking to modern theologians about the “resurrection of the DEAD,” they don’t know what scripture is talking about. The “Resurrection of the DEAD” has absolutely no place in Christian theology. Amazing… absolutely amazing. The entire 15th chapter of I Corinthians deals with the resurrection of the dead!
Paul tells us that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then our faith is vain and we don’t have a Saviour. Yet the Church teaches by her heathen doctrines that the resurrection of the dead is less than USELESS when it comes to living forever in a place they call heaven. They tell us that all believers go to heaven (ALIVE) at DEATH, and this “resurrection of the DEAD” stuff that Paul talked about is totally unnecessary for eternal life in heaven.—they lie.
And there are hundreds and hundreds of Scriptures which speak of “judgment,” yet the Church teaches that people by the BILLIONS are sent to an eternal hell of fire and are not even judged before they go there. Another Scriptural doctrine (judgment) bites the dust of Christian heresy. Who ever heard of sentencing something to life in prison without even being judged guilty of anything? But, according to Christendom, it happens thousands of times a day all over the world, and the sentence isn’t for a short number of years, but for all eternity.
Whenever we refuse to BELIEVE THE SCRIPTURES we become hopelessly lost in a maze of theological confusion that has no end.
Is there a Scripture that states that man is “immortal” or has an “immortal soul” as the Egyptians taught and believed. No. Does Christendom believe that man has an “immortal soul?” Yes, absolutely.
Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is DEAD? Yes. Does Christendom believe that when a man dies, he is DEAD? No, of course not.
Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is still alive? No. Do Christians believe when we die we are still alive, albeit it a different geographical location (heaven or hell)? Yes, of course.
The facts about death
In the scriptures, death has two different meanings that are essential for us to differentiate:
The ACT OF DYING or termination of life.
The STATE OF BEING DEAD.
All humanity will experience "the act of dying," but absolutely no one will ever experience the "state of being dead." And this is because:
"For the living know that they shall die but the dead know not anything…" (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
This may be comforting to some, but scary to others. It all depends on your point of view; your perspective; your emotional stability; your up-bringing; your understanding.
Not only is there no consciousness in death, but there is no consciousness OF death either.
"The living KNOW that they shall die, but the dead KNOW NOT ANYTHING."
“The living KNOW… the dead know NOTHING." The dead don’t know that they are dead. When you die, you will NOT KNOW THAT YOU ARE DEAD! But it gets better. Not only will you never know that you are dead at some point in the future, but from your perspective YOU NEVER EVEN LOST CONSCIOUSNESS. What a marvellous revelation!
Once God creates consciousness in a human they will NEVER EVER know anything BUT CONSCIOUSNESS. From our perspective and from your perspective we will never "know" ANYTHING but life and feelings and emotions and consciousness. From our perspective we will never "know" what it is like to be dead. Oh we will probably die some day (assuming that the Lord doesn’t come first), but we will never know that we were dead; we will never know what it is to BE dead, or to BE unconscious. Others will know and sorrow (maybe?) that we are dead and gone, but from OUR perspective we will never lose conscious reality, and we will never "experience" being dead.
Now that’s not to say we would not experience "dying." Most (albeit not all) people who die, experience dying, but they do NOT experience death itself, nor will they ever. It is impossible for someone to experience the death state, seeing that where there is no consciousness, there is no experience, and therefore there is no memory of it. I will carry this one step further. Even if there was no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, the dead would never know that they died and would never know that they are dead.
Once God created consciousness, cognizance, awareness, perception, sensation, emotions, and the like; we never ever lose it from OUR PERSPECTIVE, and after all, whose perspective counts the most when it comes to death—ours or someone else’s?
We may all go through the fear of dying or even the pain of dying, but there is no pain and no fear IN DEATH ITSELF. No one who is presently dead is aware of it, or experiencing it, or being frightened by it, or anything else.
Death is like sleep
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, you shall sleep [Heb: shakab—to lie down, to rest, to sleep, to decease] with your fathers…" (Deut. 31:16).
"Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death" (Psalm 13:3).
Yes contrary to the beliefs of thousands of learned theologians, the Bible emphatically refers to death - as SLEEP! During this dreamless sleep, “thoughts perish!” In the book of John we find a situation where Jesus Himself refers to the dead as being asleep.
Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. (John 11:11-14)
The disciples thought when Jesus said Lazarus was sleeping, that he would be ok. So Jesus had to plainly say “Lazarus is dead.”
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (John 11:23,24)
Theologians may not ‘get it’...but Martha the sister of Lazarus understood the biblical truth about the state of the dead! She knew Lazarus wasn't going to awaken until “the last day” when Jesus splits that eastern sky at His second coming. The book of Job also mentions the length of sleep for the dead.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1Corinthians 15:20-23)
What’s not to get here? The dead in Christ will remain in their graves awaiting the order of resurrection. What is that order you ask? Jesus is the “firstfruits of them that slept” And then those that are believers in Jesus will “be made alive.” But when will they be made alive? According to the Bible, they will have to be made alive in the order that the Lord set up. Jesus, the “firstfruits,” then those that are His followers “at His coming,” then the rest of sinning humanity.
Yes, in death there is no consciousness, nor sub-consciousness. We all who died IN CHRIST, shall awake in the morning of resurrection. And when we do, we might remember dying, but we will not remember ever being dead.
This “sleep” is a way that God can set people aside for a little while as He works with our children and our children’s children. Centuries and millennia will pass for some, yet they will know no death, only consciousness. From our perspective we will never know anything but life and consciousness. Death won’t even be an illusion: it won’t be AT ALL. And that is because "The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything."
The Apostle Paul was familiar with this verse, seeing that he earnestly studied the Hebrew Scriptures. With relation to this concept that "…the dead know not anything," Paul made the following statements:
"For we know, That if the tent of our earthy dwelling be taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, aionian, in the heavens. For indeed to this we are groaning, earnestly desiring to be invested with that habitation of our which is from [not ‘in’] heaven: surely, having been invested, we shall not be found destitute.
For, indeed, those being in the tent are groaning, being oppressed; in which we desire not to be divested [naked], but invested [clothed], that the mortal may be absorbed by LIFE. Now He Who has produced this for this same thing is that God Who has given to us the pledge of the Spirit.
Therefore, being always confident, and knowing that being at home in the body [our body, in the flesh] we are from home [our real home, our immortal home], away from the Lord; for we are walking by Faith, not by sight [‘Blessed are they that have NOT seen, and yet have believed’ John 20:29] But we are confident, and well-pleased rather to be separated from the body, and TO BE [not instantly, but at a future time] at home [with our new spiritual bodies like Christ’s] with the Lord" (II Cor. 5:1-8, Emphatic Diaglott).
Yes, Paul knew that once he died the next waking moment would be in resurrection with a new body (I Cor. 15:49), and although it would happen in an instant (from this life to the next life without missing a heart beat), in the twinkling of an eye (less than a second), nonetheless, it would have to wait until "the LAST TRUMP’ (I Cor. 15:51). But to Paul from his perspective, it would only be but a moment in time, seeing that, "the living KNOW that they shall die, but the dead KNOW NOT ANYTHING."
Soon we too shall be like Him and see our Creator as He is:
"Beloved now are we the sons of God, but it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as HE is pure" (I John 3:2-3)
Make no mistake: death is an enemy, but it is "being ABOLISHED" (I Cor. 15:26) by the One who has already had victory over it. And although we will never experience being dead, we certainly experience the loss of our loved ones who have died, and they will experience loss when we die.
The blue-print for Mankind
There is a sequence of course, to God’s plan of salvation for ALL mankind. It is most important—First is the physical and then comes the spiritual. Without the knowledge of this principle of scripture, it is impossible to understand what man is and what is his ultimate destiny.
Christendom erroneously teaches that the first Adam was indeed a "quickening, living, immortal spirit," and that afterward, at the resurrection; his “immortal soul” will be given an ETERNAL PHYSICAL BODY (Then there is also the ungodly doctrine called the "Law of Circularity" which teaches that we have always existed as spirits, and are now spirits having a physical experience—just the opposite of the truth).
But we know it was the natural body of Adam that became a living soul after God breathed into him. And that living soul was subject to death (Gen. 2:17 and Ezek. 18:4 & 20). Even this simple, straight-forward truth of Scripture is universally denied.
God said that Adam would "SURELY die" (Gen. 2:17). But most have been taught that Adam was an immortal, spiritual soul that can NEVER, EVER DIE. "Once we are born, WE NEVER DIE." quote the world’s leading theologians, parroting that Old Serpent who told the world’s first recorded lie, when he said: "you shall NOT SURELY die" (Gen. 3:4)
It is universally taught (and believed) that Adam and Eve were already formed and created in the very spiritual image of God way back in the garden. This is not, however, how the Hebrew manuscripts read, as a perfect creature formed in the very spiritual image of God, that not only does not sin, but cannot sin. The reason that Jesus (made unto sinful flesh) did not sin, was not that He could not sin, but rather His Father WOULD NOT LET HIM SIN. Jesus was born with a physical body, and therefore that body had to die. But be assured; Jesus did not possess a "carnal mind" in that body of flesh. He sinned NOT.
Making mankind into God’s own Image is a process that involves a lifetime of trials and tribulations that includes the crucifying and mortifying of the carnal human mind and body. The King James and many modern translations make it sound like it was a "past tense" made in His image at creation, but actually it was not. Gen. 1:26-27 is equivalent to our English imperfect. Here is how one Version translates it:
"And saying is God, Make WILL WE [a continuing action] humanity in Our image…"
"And CREATING [a continuing action] is God humanity in His image" (Gen. 1:26a & 27a Concordant Literal Old Testament),
Man is NOT a "spirit being" having a "physical" experience, but rather man is a "physical and mortal" being having a "spiritual" experience. We are first born mortal [physical], but in the resurrection God gives us immortality (the spiritual). Throw away this marvellous truth of Scripture, and you will be as deceived as Kenneth Copeland when he stated that when Adam was created, he was so shining, so glorious, so spiritual, so GOD-like, that one could not even see his body for the glorious radiance of his spirituality. Oh really? And is that why he was "naked," although he "…knew not that he was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and NAKED" (Gen. 3: 7 versus Rev. 3:17)?
Just prior to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, we read that Eve:
"…saw that the tree was good for food [‘the lust of the flesh,’ I John 2:16],
and that it was pleasant to the eyes [‘the lust of the eyes,’ I John 2:16],
and a tree to be desired to make one wise [‘the pride of life,’ I John 2:16],
she did eat… and he did eat" (Gen. 3:6).
It is not just the eating of the fruit that was a sin, but the "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life" that went before the eating.
And just why where they so filled with sin at their very creation? Because they were in the "perfect spiritual image of GOD?" Poppycock. They were natural, physical, carnal, and "…the carnal mind [with which Adam and Eve were created] is enmity [hatred] against God, for it is not subject to the law of God [‘But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it…’ Gen. 2:17], neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).
So, do the Scriptures really teach what the world has been taught—that Adam and Eve were made into the perfect spiritual "image of God?" No, not at all!
Here is how GOD really says He created Adam and Eve:
"For the creature was made subject to vanity [King James Margin: "futility"], not willingly, but by reason of Him [God] Who has subjected [Gk: ‘subjects’—aorist tense—subjecting is still going on] the same in hope" (Rom. 8:20).
In Dante’s inferno, "all hope is gone…," but in God’s realm He subjects the entire creation "…in HOPE,"
God willfully, wantingly, knowingly, purposely, and wisely, created mankind "subject to vanity," subject to failure, but beyond the failure, God also subjects the same in "hope." Once again, contrary to all orthodox doctrine, there is hope for all of God’s carnal-minded, God-hating people on planet Earth. God Himself says so, in the same breath: "because the creature itself [the same creation that God subjects to vanity, futility, failure, and carnal-minded hatred against God] also shall be [ah, did you catch that? ‘shall be’], delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21).
And so God, "made the creature subject to vanity"—failure, but later in mankind’s development, the creature "shall be"— [future tense]… shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." Ah yes, God created them in a condition of "bondage" and "corruption," and therefore not "immortal" as is taught, but rather in "bondage of corruption." But thanks to God, in the resurrection of the dead, ‘…this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality’ (I Cor. 15:54).
Yes, of course, first comes the PHYSICAL (death), and then the SPIRITUAL (life). There it is—the hope of all humanity. Corruption and mortality (the physical first) must put on incorruption and immortality [the afterward spiritual).
Death and Punishment
Amazingly, when one foundational truth is unlocked, the scriptures become a cornucopia of wisdom, not to mention plain common sense! Mysteries unravel and contradictions dissolve. The most astounding truths of God’s word have been lost in the theological jargons and contradictions of Christendom’s greatest doctrinal heresies. Of all these, none could be more blasphemous and insulting to Gods character than the mainstream Christian teaching of “eternal punishment.”
You’ll have to forgive us here for repeating ourselves a little with the next section (see Study notes HELL PT.1 “Sheol and the roots of paganism”) as the following revelations are pertinent to this particular study.
ADAM AND EVE WERE NEVER WARNED BY GOD OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT
So let’s look again at the TRUE state of death in relation to current church teachings on the afterlife, according to scripture.
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall SURELY DIE" (Gen. 2:17).
The wages for eating the forbidden fruit was "you shall surely die." And:
"In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground [not be turned into a terrorists hellhole of endless torture in some pagan hell]: for out of it [the ground] were you taken; for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return" (Gen. 3:19).
Death began immediately. Notice a better translation of Gen. 2:17:
"…to die shall you BE DYING" (Concordant Old Testament).
Their life was but a slow death until they returned to the dust of the ground. God said that their judgment for sinning was to be RETURNED to the ground from whence they came. They didn’t come from some terrorist hellhole of torture in fire, so how could they "return" to such a place when God plainly stated that they would "RETURN unto the ground?" They came from the earth and they returned to that earth.
God cursed the serpent, and God cursed the ground, but nowhere did God curse Adam and Eve. God pointed out the different judgments against Adam and Eve, such as multiplied childbearing pains, sorrow in gathering food all the days of his life, thorns, thistles, and sweat, but no mention of punishment in death or after death.
If Adam and Eve were to have a far greater punishment (trillions and trillions of times greater) at death or in death or after death, why did not God warn them of such a horrible destiny? Why would God tell them one thing and then pull a trick on them and do something totally different when the time came?
Listen to what God said to Ezekiel:
"When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die [hey, isn’t that exactly what God did say to Adam?] and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand" (Ezek. 3:18).
Are we to believe that God held Ezekiel to a higher standard of morality than God holds for HIMSELF?
God told Ezekiel that He would require Ezekiel’s blood if he did not warn the wicked so they could be saved from death. Do we then turn around and accuse God of a lower standard in which God Himself has utterly failed to warn the human race of a destiny that is trillions of times worse than mere death? God would hold Ezekiel responsible for the death of just one wicked person, whereas God Himself feels no responsibility for failing to warn the entire human race of a fate trillions of times more severe?
CAIN WAS NEVER WARNED BY GOD OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT
Notice very carefully God’s conversation with Cain:
"But unto Cain and to his offering He [God] had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why are you wroth? And why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, SIN lies at the door. And unto you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him" (Gen. 4:5-7).
God warned Cain that if he did not do well, that sin would be at his door. But did God say "endless torment and punishment would be at his door?" No.
"And Cain talked with Abel, his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And He said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground.
And now are you cursed from the earth which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand: When you till the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto you her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in the earth" (Verses 8-12).
Did God threaten Cain with "endless punishment in some subterranean hellhole of torture in fire?" No. But notice Cain’s reply?
"And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Your face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth: and it shall come to pass, that every one [any one] that finds me shall slay me" (Verse 13-14).
What? My punishment is greater than I can bear? If Cain thought being a fugitive and vagabond and having poor crops was greater than he could bear, what pray tell would he have thought had God told him that he would be punished for all eternity in some hellish pit of fire? Did God fail to tell Cain about the "endless torture" because He was afraid it would be too much for Cain to psychologically handle? Did God fail to inform Cain of his coming endless punishment because He was afraid it might discourage him, or some other unfathomable fiendish foolishness?
Search all we may, we won’t find this pagan doctrine of Christendom in the Scriptures. But hold on there’s more. We are not finished with this account of Cain yet.
"And the Lord said unto him, Therefore, whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him" (Verse 15).
Let’s all use our brains together on this one: Cain is a murderer. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Not only a murderer, but, a murderer of his OWN BROTHER. But God tells us that if someone should find and slay Cain the murderer, then that person would have vengeance taken on him seven times greater? SEVEN TIMES GREATER than burning in some fabled hell for all eternity? Seven times greater than that? Are they kidding? Are they out of their cotton-pickin’ minds? Can any human mind conceive of a punishment seven times GREATER than being tortured in fire for all eternity?
Here then would be the orthodox logic of this whole scenario: Kill your brother, and receive a certain punishment: but kill the murderer of his brother, and receive "seven TIMES greater" punishment. Can we all say: Contradiction, Square Circles, Theological Insanity?
There is nothing greater, or "seven TIMES greater" than an eternity of torture in fire. Does someone wish to stop and seriously argue this point? Then how is it possible that any who would kill Cain, would have a punishment "seven times greater" than Cain, if his punishment is to be tortured in real fire endlessly? Well of course, Cain’s punishment will not be an eternity of torture in fire. This is but another Christian Hoax and Christian Lie designed to keep all of you in constant fear for your eternal well being (if you don’t give your pastor ten percent PLUS of all your annual salaries! It’s not ALL about the money: it is ONLY about the money!)
Cain died, just as his parents (Adam and Eve) died. But there is no punishment in death. Cain’s "punishment" was here on this earth while Cain was still alive, not after. And likewise, anyone who found and killed Cain would have punishment on this earth while they were still alive, "seven times greater," than that of Cain.
NO ONE BEFORE THE FLOOD WAS WARNED OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall DIE" (Gen. 6:5 & 17).
All mankind are said to be only evil continually. That’s a lot of evil. And what does God say their punishment for all this evil will be? They shall die. Punished endlessly? No, they "shall die." Do we think that God lied to the whole world? Do we think that God said, "shall die," but secretly meant: "punished endlessly?" Ask any pastor if they have an answer to this Christian enigma?
It apparently took a hundred years to build the ark, and so for a hundred years Noah warned the world around him that God would kill them for their gross sins. But not one word that God would punish them endlessly after they died:
"All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, DIED" (Gen. 7:22).
Why doesn’t even one of these verses tell us that this wicked people will be judged in death and then sentenced to an eternity of torture in real fire? Why? Why wouldn’t God give us at least one verse somewhere? He could have said something like this:
"Be it known to all sinners that whosoever repenteth not of his sins and dies, shall be sentenced to punishment in fire so hot as to burn brass, and he shall never ever be set free, and his pain and suffering shall never come to an end, no not ever, saith the Lord."
There are thousands and thousands and thousands of words in the Old Testament Scriptures, so why isn’t there one word warning us that unrepentant wicked people will be sentenced to an eternity of torture in real fire? Why? The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy have 186 combined chapters. So why couldn’t at least one of these 186 chapters contain at least one verse which warns of the horrible eternal torture for most of the human race? Why? Prov. 6:6 admonishes, "Go to the ANT you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise."
Does any serious-mined human on this planet believe that it is more important to know the work habits of ants (many so tiny one needs to get on his knees with a magnifying glass to even see one), than to know the eternal destiny of billions and billions of human beings?
Does anyone truly see what the Scriptures quoted here say? Does anyone see "eternal punishment" in even one of them? Yet the Christian Church assures us that this punishment is there even if it is not seen and not stated.
Not one verse. Not one word. Not one mention in the entirety of the Old Testament Scriptures regarding endless punishment. How much longer are you going to sit and listen to the septic-tank swill about a Loving God Who is going to torture most people’s teenagers, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, great grandmothers and great grandfathers, in an eternal hellhole of literal fire, without mercy, forever? Have you no conscience? Have you no love? Have you no respect or fear for your Creator God at all, that you can attribute such gross sins and immorality to your own Loving Heavenly Father?
Did all the people drowned in Noah’s flood go to hell? No… they DIED. Were they tortured or punished endlessly? No… they DIED. Are they in a place of punishment now? No… they’re DEAD. Did Jesus say that those in the flood are now being punished in some kind of a hellhole? No…"…and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27). Is it possible for destroyed dead people to know pain and misery and punishment? No…
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 9:5).
Hence, not one of the many men, women and children who lived before the flood and died in the flood are presently being punished endlessly. Daniel tells us that these wicked people
"…shall AWAKE… to shame [reproach] and [for] eonian contempt [repulsion, abhorrence]" (Daniel. 12:2).
This is the "the lake of fire/second death" of Rev. 20.
SODOM AND GOMORRAH WERE NEVER WARNED BY GOD OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT
Were any of these people told or warned that not only would they die for their sins, but that they would also be punished in death, endlessly? No, of course not. Not a word. Where then did the Church get the teaching that God punishes the wicked after death and in death? Not from the Hebrew Scriptures, that’s for sure.
Every generation since Adam and Noah has witnessed their loved ones either dying or being killed. Life is short, and everyone knows it and is very conscious of it:
"For the living know that they shall die…" (Ecc. 9:5a).
But Solomon and the Kingdom of Israel knew more than just the fact that they would all die one day. They also knew something that few theologians, few pastors, few Christians on earth know and believe, which is:
"…but the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 9:5b).
Is there an orthodox theologian alive, who believes this divinely inspired Scripture?
Likewise, in the New Testament, we are told emphatically that:
"For the wages of sin is DEATH…" (Rom. 6:23).
Yet millions believe many Scriptures contradict Rom. 6:23. How can anyone put their faith in a book that they believe contradicts itself? If the theologians and your pastors are correct in teaching that "For the wages of sin is eternal life in the lake of fire," how do they account for Rom. 6:23 which clearly states: "For the wages of sin is death?"
It’s very simple if you happen to be a deceiving, hypocritical, heretical, lying theologian. Their answer is: "Death IS, eternal life (in the lake of fire)." Theologians have no problem with square circles and contradictions.
What would God say if there really were such an hellhole of eternal torture in fire, and if someone about to be thrown into this hellhole would inquire of God: "But God, I thought Your Word said: "For the wages of sin is DEATH…" not LIFE in some terrorist hellhole of eternal torture by fire? How would the God of Christendom respond? Would He say: "Well, sometimes My Word does contradict?" or "So maybe I changed My mind?" or "I’m sorry, I lied?" or maybe "Ooooh, picky, picky, picky…?"
GOD’S WORD NEITHER CONTRADICTS NOR LIES
The People of God in the Old Testament never believed in an "immortal soul," for like Ezekiel, they knew that:
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it [the ‘soul’—Heb: ‘nephesh’] shall die" (Ezek. 18:4 & 20).
And for no other reason than to hear Himself speak (I guess), God repeats it again in verse 20: "The soul [Heb: ‘nephesh’—same ‘nephesh’ that Adam became when he was MADE ALIVE by God, Gen. 2:7].that sins, it [the ‘soul’] shall die…"
Maybe God forgot that He had already said the same thing in verse 4, for surely He didn’t repeat this twice in one chapter because it is IMPORTANT or anything!
Perhaps God will ask the greatest and leading theologians of Christendom, how it is possible that when God teaches twice in 16 verses, that souls "die," that they are at the same time, "immortal?" Well, heck, let’s not wait till the White Throne Judgment, let’s ask it now: Christian Theologians of the world: "How is it possible for you to teach that souls are immortal, when God Himself teaches us twice in 16 verses that souls die?"
What more does God require of the sinner for his sin, other than "the soul that sins, IT SHALL DIE?" Here is the Scriptural answer:
"For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and EVERY transgression and disobedience received [past tense] a JUST RECOMPENSE of reward [Gk: ‘a just retribution’] (Heb. 2:2).
Every transgression, disobedience and sin of the past has already "received… a just retribution." How is it then that the Church teaches these sinners must yet be tortured an eternity for their transgressions and disobedience?
Why do Christian theologians teach that the "soul (nephesh)" of man is immortal, when God teaches us twice in 16 verses, that the "soul” — the very part of man that is said to be immortal] dies" and therefore cannot possibly be immortal!
The ‘Hell’ of the Pagans
So where did Christian theology go so wrong? How did it get from silence in the grave (sheol) to “hell fire” and brimstone?
Suffice it to say that the Egyptians and the Greeks knew a hundred times more about their hell and judgment procedures than Christians know about theirs. The fundamentals of the Egyptian hereafter are identical to that of Christendom. Only the fanciful gods attending to the judgment of the dead differ from that of Christendom, however, the main concepts of what man is and what happens to him at death are virtually the same. If you want an idea about just how corrupt church doctrine has become, regard the following scenarios in the Egyptian underworld. Think about what we have been taught is church....and listen for the penny dropping!
We see that the DEAD are STILL LIVING (Anything is possible in fables).
The dead Egyptians had IMMORTAL SOULS.
At the time of death, JUDGMENT took place immediately.
Good people were ushered into a place of HAPPINESS at death.
Bad people were: (a) Sentenced to ROAM AIMLESSLY, (b) were completely ANNIHILATED by being eaten by Ammut, or (c) they could be TORTURED as in fire.
Not one of these five aspects of the Egyptian Underworld has Scriptural backing, yet virtually every one of them has a place in Christian doctrine. Some will surely say: "Who would ever believe such absurd pagan nonsense?" Who? Millions and hundreds of millions and billions of Christians, that's who. Here are more proofs from history that the Christian hell was invented by the pagan Egyptians:
"This seems to have been done on no other account, but as it was the business of princes, out of their wisdom and civil prudence, to DECEIVE THE PEOPLE in their religion; princes, under the name of religion, persuaded the people to believe those things true, which they themselves KNEW TO BE IDLE FABLES; by this means, for their own ease in government, tying them the more closely to civil society." Saint Augustine from his writing, City of God:
Do theologians believe that Saint Augustine lied? Or do they think he was miss-informed? Do they think he made this statement with absolutely nothing to back it up? For if Augustine's statement is true, then there is no Christian hell, for it is based on known deception on the
part of the "princes" who conned the citizens into believing and fearing this monstrous lie. What do you think the two billion Christians will think and do when they find out that their leaders knew all along that the doctrine of Christian judgment is based on heathen lies straight out of Egypt?
The Jews borrowed from the Pagans the doctrine of transmigration [reincarnation], with all its accompaniments of future retribution, and ENDLESS PUNISHMENT. And they abundantly justify the statement of Enfield, that 'the purity of the divine doctrine was corrupted among the Jews in Egypt, who, under the disguise of allegory, admitted doctrines NEVER DREAMED OF BY THEIR LAWGIVER [God through Moses] and prophets; and adopted a mystical interpretation of the law, which converted its plain meaning into a thousand IDLE FANCIES" (Doctrine of Eternal Punishment by Dr. Thomas B. Thayer).
But these deliberate church corruptions aren’t just a redundant relic of old ancient times. It is astounding today, that many of the corrupt doctrines that the Protestant Reformers attacked whole heartedly have been once again embraced as ‘gospel’ by mainstream churches. Few seem to care to remember that one of the most contentious issues at the heart of this spiritual renaissance was the doctrine of ‘the immortal soul’ taught by the Catholic Church.
The background to Luther's Ninety-five Theses centers on particular disputes within the Roman Catholic Church about indulgences — the (full or partial) remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven — being sold, and thus penance for sin becoming a commercial transaction instead of a genuine change of heart.
In short, the practice of indulgences became somewhat commoditized and then commercialized. So, instead of granting an indulgence as a remission of the penalty for breaking church law, making a confession, and then restoring whatever had been damaged - property or human relationships or other serious sins - an indulgence could be purchased.
The Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in the Holy Roman Empire, where Luther’s Ninety-five Theses famously appeared, held one of Europe's largest collections of religious artifacts, or holy relics. These had been piously collected by Frederick III of Saxony. At that time pious veneration, or viewing, of relics was purported to allow the viewer to receive relief from temporal punishment for sins in purgatory (borrowed of course, from the mythology of the Egyptian and Greek underworld.)
The relics were kept in reliquaries and exhibited once a year for the faithful to venerate. In 1509, each devout visitor who donated toward the preservation of the Castle Church received an indulgence of one hundred days per relic. This would allow the person relief of 100 days in purgatory, and thus hasten their entry into heaven!!! By 1520 Frederick had increased his collection to over 19,000 relics, allowing pilgrims viewing all of them to receive an indulgence that would reduce their time in purgatory by 5,209 years.
The refutation of the ‘immortal soul’ was foundational to arguing against the unscriptural Catholic doctrines of purgatory and Hell! Our founding fathers were tortured, burnt alive and slain for these Biblical truths! What a short memory the modern Church possesses!
Satan’s trinity of Man
So Christianities most heinous lies have helped formulate the most damnable of doctrines. Christendom promulgates desperately, the ‘tripartite man’ – that man composed of three separate entities of body, soul, and spirit in one being, and immortal even though his physical body dies. Virtually every pagan religion in the world believes man is immortal as the gods.
Did the ancient Egyptians believe in the trinity of man: body, soul, and spirit? Yes, of course they did. The soul of man, called Ba, was the consciousness of the man and dwelled inside the body. The spirit-like aspect of man was called Ka. The Ka was like an invisible spirit double of the man. Both the Ka and the Ba where present in every human at birth. The Ba (soul) was pictured as a bird with the head of a man. Every evening the Ba could leave the mummy body and return back to earth among the living and check on friends and relatives. This is how the dead could keep in contact with the living. This is in fact the same hocus-pocus that medians deceitfully use to deceive people into believing that one can communicate with their dead loved-ones. Sound familiar?
It seems there is more superstition and witchcraft in some Christian doctrines than any theologian would ever admit to. The souls of people do not go to a heaven or hell upon death. Such doctrines are straight out of the tombs of the Pagan Egyptians. This trinity of man and immortality of the soul nonsense is Egyptian (SIN), not Scriptural (RIGHTEOUSNESS). Who will believe it?
And so it remains that upon the infiltration and permeation of pagan concepts into the church, the myths of Christian teaching have firmly embedded themselves into the consciences of even the most learned of Bible scholars. There are none more pervasive however than the following ‘fairytale’ scenarios. The true Biblical state of the dead makes a mockery of mainstream Christian teaching.
A significant misconception that has prevailed through the centuries within Christendom has been the idea that Jesus went to hell (a place of torment) after His crucifixion, prior to His resurrection. The carnal creedal statements of historic Christianity are largely responsible for generating this notion. For example, the Apostles’ Creed affirmed belief in Jesus on the following terms: “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried; He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead” The Athanasian Creed states: “He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead”
JESUS AND THE THEIF IN PARADISE?
Christendom’s inane teaching (despite all the evidence of this study) would have us believe, that the thief on the cross that confessed and Jesus himself died and went to Heaven despite another contradictory Christian teaching that Jesus ‘preached to sinner’s in hell before his resurrection. Which one was it, did the unfortunate thief accompany Jesus, a quick tour of Hell first…what nonsense!
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
The KJV is an unfortunate translation of scripture lending credence to all sorts of unscriptural, contradictory nonsense. Jesus did not begin a sentence with: "TODAY you shall be with me in paradise," did He? No, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto thee TODAY shall you be with Me in paradise." But even that is King James translating, and King James is not inerrant. Notice how the great scholar Joseph Bryant Rotherham renders this verse:
"Verily I say unto thee this day: With me shalt thou be in Paradise." But as a footnote he suggests that "This day with me shalt...." as a possibility. So what's the solution? God tells us how to solve this verse and every other verse of Scripture. There are better translations that can be used to put an end to this erroneous myth.
"Verily, to you am I saying today (because of what I have accomplished on the cross), with Me SHALL YOU BE [at a future time] in paradise" (Concordant Literal New Testament).
"And he said unto him—Verily, I say unto thee this day: With me, shalt thou be in Paradise"(Rotherham's Emphasized Bible).
No. Jesus didn’t ‘TODAY’ go to paradise, nor did the thief! Remember that (in Jesus’ own words) And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (John 3:13)
After Jesus DIED, He was DEAD (a Scriptural and scientific truth denied by most of Christendom). God the Father raised Jesus 'FROM THE DEAD' (Gal. 1:1), which is proof that Jesus WAS DEAD! And if He was DEAD in the tomb, he was not LIVING at some other location called "paradise. When Christ "died," where did His "spirit" go? Scripture
"Father, into thy hands am I committing My spirit." (Luke 23:46)
Jesus DID DIE, he did not PRETEND TO DIE! He assuredly did go to ‘Hades’ (the state of the dead in the grave where there is no perception or knowledge).
"For the grave [Heb: sheol] cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee: thee that go down in to the pit cannot hope for Thy truth"(Isa. 38:18).
In Hebrew culture in the Old Testament, ‘Hell’ was nothing other than the final resting place of the dead, the unknown, the final destination for the good and the wicked. It was the state of the dead (location) in the grave-nothing more!
It was “The Son of man” who was entombed in the earth
“Christ [he] died ... [he] was buried ... [he] rose again ...”
When Christ died, where did His soul go?
“For Thou wilt not be forsaking my soul”
(now Jesus is a dead PERSON) in the unseen [hades]" ( Acts 2:27).
We know of course that the Hebrew word (OLD TESTAMENT) “sheol” and the Greek word (NEW TESTAMENT) “hades” are synonymous in meaning. THEY MEAN THE SAME THING!!!! And here is the proof from the Scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the Hebrew “sheol” and the Greek “hades” are identical in meaning:
Acts 2:27: "Because You will not leave My soul in hell [Gk: hades], neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption" is quoted from:
Psalm 16:10: "For You will not leave My soul in hell [Heb: sheol]; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption."
And so the inspiration of the Spirit of God proves that the Greek word “hades” is the right and proper translation of the Hebrew word “sheol.” Whatever “hades” means, “sheol” means the same, and whatever “sheol” means, “hades” also means the same………..
Since Strong defines sheol as hades, let’s look at his definition of “hades.” "#86. hades, from 1 (as negative particle) and 1492; properly unseen, i.e. ‘Hades’ or the place (state) of departed souls—hell, grave."
Therefore “Hell” as a word is acceptable only if we understand it to mean "conceal or cover" rather than, "a place where sinners are tortured with Satan and devils in literal fire for eternity." Remember, while it is true that a number of verses use “sheol”—the unseen, the grave, in a poetic or figurative sense, absolutely nowhere is “sheol” used to represent a place of life, consciousness, fire, or torture in the Old Testament—nowhere, absolutely nowhere.
THE PARABLE OF LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN
It is probably pertinent here to address what is arguably the most misunderstood portion of scripture in the entire Bible. That “hades” (hell) in the Greek carries the exact same meaning as the Hebrew “sheol” (hell) is of utmost importance if we are to understand the ‘spiritual’ symbolism of this complex parable. Parables are not to be taken literally. They are to be understood ‘figuratively.’ The real meaning is not in what they literally say, but in what the symbols and figurative language represent. That’s why they are called "parables." This is axiomatic!
This Parable is actually the last of a five-part parable beginning in Chapter 15 of Luke. Is it not obvious that the literal, physical language in all parables must be interpreted as a higher, spiritual lesson? If the parable of Lazarus and the rich man is both literal and an historical fact, then it contradicts not only the laws of physics and logic, but also literally hundreds of plain verses of Scripture.
What kind of “torment” is God talking about in this parable? Is this physical pain from the flames burning his flesh as is taught in Christendom? Not at all! Note that he does not say "flames," but rather “flame,” singular! The Greek word translated “tormented” in verses 24 and 25 is a totally different Greek word than is used for “torments” in verse 23. The Greek word here is “odunao” and it means to be sorrowful or pained, but not physically, but rather EMOTIONALLY!. “Adunao” is used only two other times in all Scripture and both times it has absolutely nothing to do with physical torture, but rather with emotional sorrow or pain.
There is only one man who scripturally fits all the descriptions of the “rich man” in this parable. Only one person “personifies” all of the symbols and identifying clues given of this rich man. And that man is JUDAH!
"Judah!" - The Jews!
It is important to note (for the sake of identifying the audience to whom this Parable was told) that the Jews had a book, written during the Babylonish Captivity, entitled “Gemara Babylonicum,” containing doctrines entertained by Pagans concerning the future state of the dead, not recognized by the followers of Moses. This story is founded on heathen views. They were not obtained from the Bible, for the Old Testament contains nothing resembling them. They were among those traditions which Jesus condemned when he told the Scribes and Pharisees, "Ye make the word of God of none effect through your traditions," and when he said to his disciples, "Beware of the leaven, or doctine, of the Pharisees."
Jesus seized the imagery of this well known story, not to indorse it as literal truth, but just as we now relate any other fable. He related it as found in the “Gemara,” not for the story's sake, but to convey a moral to his hearers; and the Scribes and Pharisees to whom he addressed this and the five preceding stories, felt the force of its application to them!
Why would this parable be the cause of such mirth? Well, it blatantly predicted that the Jewish nation, and especially the Scribes and Pharisees were about to die as a power, as a church, as a controlling influence in the world; while the common people among them, and the Gentiles outside of them, were to be exalted in the new order of things. The details of the parable show this: "There was a certain rich man clothed in purple and fine linen." In these first words, by describing their very costume, Jesus fixed the attention of his hearers on the Jewish priesthood. They were, emphatically, the rich men of that nation.
the parable doesn’t just relate to Judah as an historical individual, but
Beginning back in Gen. 15:14 God prophesied that Abraham’s descendants were to be very rich. “And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”
could therefore legitimately call Abraham, “Father.”
The Rich man said: "I have five brothers..."
There’s a rule of Scripture study that is very sound, and is applicable here. It goes like this: "Literal where and when possible." Most of this parable cannot be taken literally. Why? Because for one, it often contradicts the laws of science and physics. And two, it would contradict hundreds of other plain verses of Scripture. It’s the "parable" that cannot be taken literally. That does not mean that certain facts contained "in" the parable are not "literal." Abraham is, undoubtedly, "literally" Abraham. Moses and the prophets are, undoubtedly, "literally" Moses and the prophets. They obviously represent themselves, not someone else.
With that in mind, who was it who had literally five brothers? Not that these "five brothers" cannot represent something else in the Scriptures. For example, there were five spheres where there were "Jews" who heard Christ proclaimed after His resurrection:
The "limits of the land"
Those Jews dispersed "among the nations."
first glance, you might think Judah can’t be this “Rich man.” Didn’t
who had five brothers?
That Judah (the Jews), is here personified in this Rich man, there can be little doubt!
The Jews coveted that relationship with Abraham. They were so proud of their Father Abraham. They knew that God thought highly of their Father Abraham, and they wanted to be connected to that lofty position themselves. However, they did not come even close to qualifying for such an honour. They loved to say: "We have Abraham for our father!" But as Christ told them, they didn’t do the works of faith that their Father Abraham did.
Lazarus Identified - The Gentiles!
Christ rarely spoke of the Gentiles in His ministry. But He did speak of them. And, although, He said He was sent only to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, in His human ministry, He nonetheless, was making provisions for the Gentiles, as in this prophetic statement. As Christ’s disciples were to be like “salt” to the earth, this Syro-Phoenician woman, Cornelius of the Italian squadron, the Roman Centurion, the Samaritan woman at the well, and others were certainly like “salt” among the Jews. The very first sermon of Christ’s ministry foretold the calling of the Gentiles, and it nearly cost Christ His life (Luke 4:13-30).
Jesus’ description of the “beggar” is just as graphic as “the rich man.” He lay at the gate of the rich, only asking to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the table. Thus dependent were the common people, and the Gentiles, on the scribes and Pharisees. We remember how Christ once rebuked them for shutting up the kingdom of heaven against these. They lay at the gates of the Jewish hierarchy, for the Gentiles were literally restricted to the outer court of the temple. Hence in Rev. xi:12, we read; "But the court, which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles." They could only walk the outer court, or lie at the gate. The brief, graphic descriptions given by Jesus, at once showed his hearers that he was describing two classes, the Jewish priesthood and nation, on the one hand, and the common people, Jews and Gentiles, on the other.
When it comes to God’s blessings, faith is thicker than blood. God has not “cast off” the Gentiles! So we find “Lazarus” [Gk: helpless] begging scraps from a rich man’s table. Can “helpless” find "help?" Will God have mercy on him just as He did the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Centurion? Yes!
“LAZARUS” IS “ELIEZER”!!
The Greek “Lazarus” is from Lazaros [Heb. HELPLESS].
But in Hebrew “Lazarus” is Elazar or “Eliezer” from el [God] and azar [HELP]!
If Lazarus knew his Hebrew name, he would have known that help was on the way. The “God of Help” had already planned this whole marvellous drama from the time of Abraham.
Just as the Jews can look to their ancient “Father” Abraham as a sterling example of faith in God, so now, likewise, can the Gentiles Look to Abraham’s Steward, Eliezer as a “father” of rare faith. Truly there is no partiality with God - it only appears that way when we let the relative get in the way of the absolute.
It is the Gentiles that God is primarily dealing with today! Paul says there is to be only a “remnant” of Jews. His calling was to the nations. However, Paul knew that God was still calling a “few” of the Jews. “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh [Jews], and might save some of them” (Rom. 11:14).
For nearly two thousand years now God is calling primarily the Gentiles!
God’s call is now to the Gentiles!
Lazarus [Eliezer] was: "...cast at his [Rich man’s] gate [portal]..."
It was the “Gentiles” who were not allowed into the Royal and Priestly House of Judah. They could go no further than “The court of the Gentiles.” Any blessings they received had to come to them from inside where they were never allowed to go! Though designated as “proselytes,” they were, nonetheless, like “dogs” who only got the “crumbs” or scraps! Hence we find Lazarus cast "at the gate." Little could these Jews hearing this parable realize, that in just a few short years all this would change.
There is much more that can and will be learned and understood regarding this unique parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. It is by no means a parable about Hell fire and physical pain. Whatever we teach regarding it must at least stand on solid Scriptures and not contradict. The real truth of this parable is not nearly as morbid as it may appear at first glance. Just as the “Rich man” cried for mercy, so God has a plan that eventually brings all the Jews and all the Gentiles to salvation. The very heart of the Gospel is the salvation of the Jews and Gentiles, the salvation of the WHOLE WORLD!
Lets read this parable is context. The rich man died and was buried. This class died officially, nationally, and its power departed. The kingdom of God was taken from them, and conferred on others. The beggar died. The Gentiles, publicans and sinners, were translated into the kingdom of God's son, where is neither Jew nor Greek, but where all are one in Christ Jesus. This is the meaning of "Abraham's bosom." They accepted the true faith and so became one with faithful Abraham. Abraham is called the “father of the faithful,” and the beggar is represented to have gone to Abraham's bosom, to denote the fact, which is now history, that the common people and Gentiles accepted Christianity and have since continued Christian nations, enjoying the blessings of the Christian faith.
What is meant by the torment of the rich man? The misery of those proud men, when, soon after, their land was captured, and their city and temple possessed by barbarians, and they scattered like chaff before the wind--a condition in which they have continued from that day to this. All efforts to bless them with Christianity have proved unavailing. At this very moment there is a great gulf fixed so that there is no passing to and fro. And observe, the Jews do not desire the gospel. Nor did the rich man ask to enter Abraham's bosom with Lazarus. He only wished Lazarus to alleviate his sufferings by dipping his finger in water and cooling his tongue.
It is so with the Jews today. They do not desire the gospel; they only ask those among whom they sojourn to tolerate them and soften the hardships that accompany their wanderings. The Jewish church and nation are now dead. Once they were exalted to heaven, but now they are thrust down to Hades, the kingdom of death, and the gulf that yawns between them and the Gentiles shall not be abolished till the fullness of the Genitles shall come in, and “then Israel shall be saved.”
But this is not a final condition. Wherever we locate it, it must end. Paul asks the Romans;
“Have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.” “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness is in part happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins. (xi:11, 25, 27.”)
In brief terms then, we may say that this is a fictitious story or parable describing the fate in this world of the Jewish and Gentile people of our Saviours times, and has not the slightest reference to the world after death, nor to the fate of mankind in that world. So, the rich man, being in Hades, was in a place of temporary detention only. His confinement is not to be an endless one. This is demonstrated in a two-fold manner:
1. Death and Hades will deliver up their occupants. (Rev. 20:13)
2. Hades is to be destroyed. I Cor. 15:55; (Rev. 20:14)
And so, the New Testament usage agrees exactly with the Old Testament! So the instances (sixty-four) in the Old Testament, and (eleven) in the New; in all seventy-five in the Bible, all perfectly agree in representing the word “Hell,” derived from the Hebrew “Sheol” and the Greek “Hades”, as being in this world, and of temporary duration only!
THE STORY OF ENOCH
There are two classic Christian myths from the Old Testament that need explaining. These are the teachings that Enoch was translated that he should not see death and that Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven thus proving the Christian belief of the ‘immortal soul’ as a scriptural reality. Yet simple Bible study reveals they are not in heaven today! WHERE ARE THEY? Here's the astounding truth.
ENOCH was “translated.” But where did he go? Was he immediately taken to heaven? NO! Because Jesus Himself said: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13). Here are Jesus’ own words that no man, except Himself, had ascended into heaven! And how did He know? Why, He came from there! Then where is Enoch? Let’s see what the Bible says.
At the age of 65 Enoch had a son named Methuselah.
“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22).
Here was a man that PLEASED God, a man that WALKED WITH GOD. Enoch had to have faith, for in Hebrews 11:6 the Apostle said, “But without faith it is impossible to PLEASE Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." So Enoch walked with God. He obeyed God, and followed Him in His paths BY FAITH.
No one can walk with God unless he is in agreement with the will of God and doing it. Amos the prophet said: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3.) So in his generation Enoch was the only recorded person who followed the ways of God—even though it possibly took him sixty-five years to learn to walk with God!
But how long did Enoch walk with God? The Scripture says that he “walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years.” So Enoch followed God’s ways for three hundred years. Notice that Moses did not record that Enoch is still walking with God. The Scripture says that Enoch WALKED with God for three hundred years and not one year more! Then Enoch is not still walking with God! Why?
Because “all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years” (Gen. 5:23). All the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Not just part of his days, but all his days! If Enoch did not die—if he was changed to immortality—and thus continued to walk with God, then his days would have been more than three hundred and sixty-five years. But the Bible plainly says that ALL his days were just that many, and no more! This expression “all his days” is used in the same fifth chapter of Genesis about a dozen times and always it means that the person lived for that length of time ONLY “and he died.” So Enoch lived NO MORE than three hundred and sixty-five years because "all his days were three hundred and sixty-five years." As he lived only for this length of time THEN HE MUST HAVE DIED!
But what about his translation? Does that mean he didn’t die? That’s what most Christian teachers carelessly assume without proof!
What Really Happened at Enoch’s Translation!
Remember, Moses didn’t write that Enoch did not die. Rather Moses wrote that “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). Paul records the same event by saying that he “was not found, because God had translated him” (Heb. 11:5).
Thus the Scripture records that Enoch was not found because God took him, or “translated” him. THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THAT ENOCH WENT TO HEAVEN when he was translated. Instead it says he was not found.
Enoch was “translated,” but what does the word “translate”
Strange as it may seem, nowhere in all the Bible does “translate” mean to make immortal!
The original Greek word for “translate” is “metatithemi.” According to Strong’s Concordance it signifies: transfer, transport, exchange, change sides.
The same Greek word is rendered “carried over” in Acts 7:16. Here we read that after Jacob DIED his body was “carried over”—transported, TRANSLATED—to Sychem WHERE HE WAS BURIED! That’s what your Bible says! Jacob was transported or TRANSLATED to the place of burial.
That is why Moses said that God TOOK Enoch. God removed—translated—him so that he was not found. God took Enoch and buried him! In Deuteronomy 34:6 we read also how God took Moses from the people after which he died and was buried by God. “But no man knoweth his sepulcher unto this day.” God removed Moses—God translated him—and he was not found either!
So Enoch was not made immortal after all! He was taken away and was not found. ALL his days were three hundred and sixty-five! That’s as long as Enoch lived. Notice another proof that “translate” does not mean to make immortal. It is found in Col. 1:13: the Father “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath TRANSLATED us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
the Bible says that Christians are already
translated—but Christians still die! We are not immortal bodies,
but mortal flesh and blood. Although we were once part of the
darkness of this world, now
we are TRANSLATED, removed from darkness into
the light of the
WHERE IS ELIJAH?
This false idea of ascending to heaven is evident in the teaching of the Elijah story also. And yet again.... over 900 years after Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, Jesus still states....yip lets’ say it for effect; "NO MAN has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man!" (John 3:13.) Did Elijah really ascend to the heaven where God’s throne is?
are three heavens mentioned in the Bible, not
just one! And if, as Jesus said, no
man, which included Elijah, had ever ascended to the heaven where He came from, then
the heaven into which Elijah was taken was a different
The third heaven is the heaven of God’s throne, where Jesus is today. Jesus, being the High Priest of God, is the only one who has the right to be in that heaven with the Father.
Hebrews 8:1-5 explains that the original earthly tabernacle under the Old Covenant, with its most holy place, or compartment, was the type of the throne of God in heaven. Only the high priest—type of Christ as High Priest now—was allowed to enter!
The second heaven represents the expanse of this great universe—the space where we find the sun, moon, stars, comets and planets. How often do we find the Psalmist admiring the
"heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon, and the stars, which Thou has ordained" (Psalm 8:3; Genesis -17).
Beside the heaven of the stars, we find that the atmosphere, the air that surrounds this world, is also called heaven. Birds fly “in the midst of heaven” - certainly not God’s throne in heaven—for we read in Genesis 1:20 of "fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." In blessing Jacob, Isaac said; “God give thee of the dew of heaven:” and Moses joyed that the "heavens shall drop down dew" (see Gen. 27:28 and Deut. 33:28).
This first heaven, from which dew comes, means the atmosphere, where the clouds and the wind roam. Everyone of us is right now breathing this air of heaven! Since Elijah could not have gone to the heaven of God’s throne, then to which heaven did he go?—for the Scripture reads: “and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Kings 2:1, 11).
answer ought already be quite obvious! Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven”—not to the heaven
of God’s throne, but into this earth’s atmosphere, the first heaven.
There could be no whirlwind in any other place but in the atmosphere surrounding this earth—in the first heaven, in which the birds fly. We have certainly have seen the great lifting power of a whirlwind, haven’t we?
Why Taken Up?
What was the reason for this unusual act of God? Why did He take Elijah up into the atmosphere? Was it to make him immortal? No! The Scripture says no word about that! The ancient prophets—including Elijah—did not receive any promise of immortality prior to or apart from us. Notice it in Hebrews and 39: "These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise!" And we shall not receive it until Christ returns (Heb. ).
So Elijah was not to be made immortal—for that would give him pre-eminence above Jesus. But what does the Bible reveal as the reason for his removal? II Kings 2:3 and 5 has the answer. Notice now what the sons of the prophets said to Elisha: "Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today?" Or as the Smith and Goodspeed translation has it, "Do you know that today the Lord is about to take away your master from being your leader?"
Christ is the head of the Church today as Elijah was the head or leader of the sons or disciples of the prophets in that day. God had sent Elijah as His prophet to wicked king Ahab and to his son Ahaziah. Now God wanted Elisha to direct His work, as Ahaziah the king had died (II Kings 1-18) and a new king was ruling.
So what did God do? He could not allow Elijah to be among the people with Elisha directing the work now. That would have been the same as disqualifying him! God never takes an office from a man when that man has been performing his duty well, the only thing God could do would have been to remove Elijah so that another would fulfill the office. This God did do. When he was taken up, Elijah’s mantle dropped from him and Elisha picked it up. See II Kings -15. And what did the "mantle" mean? In Clarke’s Commentary we note that it was “worn by prophets and priests as the simple insignia of their office.” (Vol. 2, page 484.)
purpose of God in removing Elijah was to replace him with another man who would
occupy Elijah’s office in
How Taken Up?
Where did Elijah go?
Well, this has been the perplexing problem to so many! He did not ascend to the throne of God. Jesus said so! Yet he couldn’t remain in the air forever. And God did not say that Elijah was to die at that time. If he were, Elisha could have assumed his new office without the removal of Elijah, for we know that Elisha died in office after fulfilling his duty (II Kings ).
The sons of the prophets who knew that their master was to be removed also that Elijah was not to die then. That is why they were fearful that the Spirit of God might have allowed him to drop "upon some mountain, or into some valley" (II Kings ). Elisha knew that God would preserve Elijah from falling, but at their insistence he permitted men to go in search for him—to no avail. Elijah was gone! And where to? Certainly the whirlwind used by God could not take him beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Neither does the Bible account leave Elijah in the air!
The answer unfolds
us notice the next few years and see what further events the Scripture records.
The new king of
the fifth year of Joram king of
A letter comes from Elijah!
after this wicked rule by the Jewish king, God chose Elijah to write a letter
and have it sent to the king! The contents of the letter are found in II Chronicles 21:12-15. In part it
reads: "Because thou hast not walked in the
ways of. . . thy father . - . but
hast walked in
the way of the kings of
the wording of the letter, it is clear that Elijah wrote it after these events had
occurred, for he speaks of
them as past events, and of the disease as future. Two years after
the king became diseased the king died—having reigned only eight short years (II Chronicles -20). This proves that the letter was
written about ten years
after Elijah had been taken to another location by the whirlwind.
God used Elijah to convey the message because he was the prophet of God in days of the present king’s father—and the son was not going in the ways of his obedient father, Jehosophat. The letter he had others deliver was recognized as his—proving that he was known to be alive someplace. Just how much longer he lived, the Bible does not reveal. But in that "it is appointed unto men once to die"—Elijah must have died somewhat later. See Hebrews 9:27. All human beings born of Adam, and that includes Elijah, must die—for we read: "In Adam ALL DIE" (I Corinthians ). Elijah was a man "subject to like passions as we are" (James )...subject to human nature and death! The prophet, being mortal flesh as we are, could not have lived much beyond his seventy years.
To suppose that God gave him the power of an endless life of nearly three thousand years already is to read into the Bible what is not there! He was mortal, subject to death, and after being lifted into the atmospheric heavens, spent the remaining years of his separate life at some little-known location on the earth, living as every human being, before he naturally died.
Was Elijah on the Mount?
The only remaining texts that puzzle people are those relative to the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. The record of the event is found in Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36.
Leaving the mountain, Jesus told his disciples: "Tell the vision to no man (Mat. 17:9)." A vision is not a material reality but a supernatural picture observed by the eyes. Moses died, and was buried (Deut. 34:5-6). Both he and Elijah were still dead in their graves, but in vision both they and Jesus were seen in the glory of the resurrection—an event to which Moses and Elijah have not yet attained (Heb. ). The vision was granted the disciples after Jesus had spoken of the glory of immortality in the coming kingdom. How plain the Bible is! Elijah is dead in the dust of the earth awaiting the resurrection of the just. Elijah, some years after being removed in the whirlwind, went to the grave, but will rise again to live forevermore. Simple really.
SAUL AND THE WITCH OF ENDOR?
The story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor has been the source of great confusion, as far as interpreting the Biblical view of the afterlife. It is a dichotomy which has divided teachers and scholars alike, as its potential to condone the dark arts and/or to bring into question a possible hypocrisy on God’s part, both has serious consequences - if in fact God DID summon the Prophet Samuel from the dead.
Now Samuel the prophet had died and all Israel lamented for him (I Samuel 28:3). During this time, it must be remembered that King Saul had banished all the witches, mediums, and spiritualists from the land of Israel. “And Saul had put the mediums and spiritists out of the land “ (v.3) perhaps a politically expedient move on his part – but nevertheless, he did drive out those who practiced witchcraft.
The Philistines gathered their army to fight against Saul and Israel at a place called Shunem, so Saul gathered all Israel to repel their invasion. Saul “inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” Unfortunately for Saul, the priests and prophets attempts to predict the outcome were met with an ominous silence. God had abandoned Saul for good, as he had previously rejected the Prophet Samuel's counsel. Desperate, and anxious, Saul did the unthinkable –
“Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him, ‘In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor” (v.7)
Saul then sought out a “woman that hath a familiar spirit.” Ironic that although all the mediums had putatively been driven from the land, when one was called for, Saul’s servants knew where to look!
The entire incident is set at night: Saul departs from the camp after dark and returns before morning (I Sam. 28:8, 25). According to Ehrlich, this is because witches engage in their magical practices only in the dark. Josephus explained the timing by the King's desire to conceal his absence from his army. Abravanel offered a similar interpretation: "They went at night so that no one would see them and no one in the camp would know that he was gone." Both reasons may be true: darkness was essential for the medium and also for Saul to get away unseen, especially because he was now violating his own edict against mediums.
The Torah states clearly that "any man or woman that has in them an OV. shall surely die." (Leviticus 20:27, see also Deut. 18:11). The BAAL OV - "master of the Ov" - is a sorcerer who uses special rituals and incantations accompanied by certain bodily movements to divine the future by eliciting a low, almost inaudible voice allegedly coming from some dead soul to whom questions may be addressed
Members of the Sanhedrin were expected to be familiar with the various different forms of witchcraft, sorcery and divination and to understand exactly what was prohibited by the Torah. It is not that the Torah views such practices as inefficacious: the Torah recognizes that God has placed the power of witchcraft in the world, just has He has placed many other kinds of impurity in creation for His own inscrutable purposes. It is just that despite their possible efficacy, the Torah has forbidden Israel to resort to such methods.
While in the Biblical account the woman remains anonymous, the rabbinical Midrash names the witch. RaDaK, the Medieval Rabbi and scholar actually states that the surviving female BAALAS OV that Saul's men found for him in EYN DOR (="the eye of the generation") was none other than the wife of Tzefaniah, mother of AVNER - who was Saul's own chief of staff, and who was according to rabbinic tradition one of the two men who accompanied Saul on this eerie mission. Whoever it was, impurity remained close to the throne!
In Saul’s meeting with the witch of Endor, note that Saul said “... divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.”
“Divine” is qacam, Strong’s Definition is: a primitive root; properly, to distribute, i.e. determine by lot or magical scroll; by implication, to divine.
Excerpts from Vine’s Expository Dictionary on this word, state that “qacam–“to divine, practice divination.” ... was a pagan parallel to prophesying!
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination.... For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so...” (Deut. 18:10,14-15)—first occurrence. ...
So - Qacam is a seeking after the will of the gods in an effort to learn their future action or divine blessing on some proposed future action (Josh. 13:22). This is exactly what Saul in his desperation did. Yet it abundantly clear, that diviners converse with demons! (1 Cor. 10:20). The practice of divination ... might also involve the use of a hole in the ground, through which the diviner spoke to the spirits of the dead (1 Sam. 28:8). At other times, a diviner might shake arrows, consult with household idols, or study the livers of dead animals (Ezek. 21:21).
The “familiar spirit”
There is no end to the various types of incantations and ritual practices of witchcraft. Learned Sages and Jewish mystics sought out all sorts of pagan wisdom from the spiritual realm. Saul’s own knowledge is evident considering he asked the witch to invoke Samuels “spirit” during the first twelve months after his death, when, according to the Rabbis, the spirit still hovers near the body (Shab. 152b). In connection with the incidents of the story the Rabbis had developed the theory that the necromancer sees the spirit but is unable to hear his speech, while the person at whose instance the spirit is called hears the voice but fails to see. Bystanders neither hear nor see (Yalḳ., l.c.; Redaḳ and RaLBaG's commentaries). This could explain the confusion of who actually saw what and who heard what – but it’ not concrete. The narrative of this passage is hazy – some suggest it is an allegory about Saul’s pride and downfall only – not a true event, but it cannot harm us if we treat it as history.
So if we take the text of 1 Samuel 28 at face value, we have Samuel - who is dead - being called up by woman with a "familiar spirit" for Saul. What got called up? What got called up was a "familiar spirit." That is exactly what God had commanded His people to avoid and to destroy:
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits (demons in disguise), neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 19:31)
So, here we have a necromancer calling up a “familiar spirit.” But it is assuredly not Samuels “spirit” as we now know the foundational usage of “spirit.”
"And the woman said, "I saw ELOHIM ascending from the earth."
It was not the “spirit” of a man at all then – it was “elohim.” The Bible declares the witch saw "gods ascending out of the earth" vs 13, and Saul "perceived" he saw Samuel (1 Samuel 28:14). The demonic can masquerade as dead loved ones imitating both their forms and voices (Rev 16:14). In fact the witch saw a "godlike being" whom she described as an old man wrapped in a cloak.
Here he spirits of the dead are referred to as “elohim.” They have a mantic power to know and reveal what is concealed in the future, a revelation they express in human language just as prophets do. The spirit of the dead recounts what it sees or knows through its mantic power. This is a demonic form of prophecy. To be more specific, it has been suggested that the location of the ritual and the ritual itself are evidence of Hittite influence. The concept of "gods rising" echoes an ancient Hittite incantation formula for conjuring up underworld gods, which was used by the pre-Israelite residents of En-dor. Saul knew that he was invoking a pagan parallel to true prophecy when he requested the presence of Samuel.
It is worthy of note, that the “elohim” is actually plural here. The woman may have seen more than one spirit but Saul asked to speak only with Samuel. Whatever the case, these demonic gods/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. 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.” – Interesting that these Demons knew more about the state of the dead than do most Preachers today!
"And the woman saw Samuel and she screamed with a great cry and the woman said to Saul why did you deceive me?" (v 12).
Tradition states that the reason why the witch screamed was because of the way the demon rose from the ground. It was in fact the giveaway in which she saw through Saul’s disguise! The rabbis explain that the woman knew her disguised questioner must be the King because normally dead souls would rise up from beneath the earth feet first, while this spirit arose head first or upright in honour of the King (Tanchumah). According to the Talmudic sages and traditional commentators, (including Rashi and David Kimhi) the dead rise feet first.
When the medium raises Samuel, Saul asks her to describe what she sees. The woman describes the spirit as an old man wrapped in a cloak, apparently the robe that symbolized Samuel's prophetic or judicial status – a good enough implication for Saul to perceive it as Samuel. A deceiving spirit indeed.
God Didn’t Change His mind
Yet if there is any doubt to the spiritual nature of this
event, (Would God REALLY raise Samuel?) commonsense should surely prevail. Why
on earth would God speak to Saul via the means of pagan/demonic ritual if he
had already rejected Saul’s counsel to begin with? There was a spiritual
barrier between Samuel and Saul until the day that Samuel died. We must
remember, that Saul was a troubled man to begin with - “An evil spirit from Yahweh was on Saul, as he sat in
his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing with his hand.” (1
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 God’s prophet that was consulted, but that it was indeed an evil spirit -- the same in kind as those cast out by Jesus and his disciples! Just because the familiar spirit foretold Saul’s unfortunate fate does not justify Saul's disobedience.
The truth of the matter is that God had simply sent Saul a “strong delusion.”(2 Thes 2:11) A strong delusion consists of partial obedience and the ability to perform miracles. This is exactly what King Saul was subjected to here at the hands of the witch of Endor. Not only that, but the demonic spirit did not even follow the pattern of prophesy – warning and correction - as was standard procedure for the office of Prophet The ultimate result of Saul's visit to the Witch of Endor was not repentance, confession of sin and life, but despair, discouragement and death. (1Sam. 28:16,20,21, 31:3,4,9,10)
Necromancy an ABOMINATION to God
The subject of Saul and the Witch of Endor does not just prove the consistency of the scriptures regarding death, but serves as a stark warning also. The church is full of pagan superstition and indeed supposition when it comes to explaining spiritual phenomena of this kind. Necromancy is defined as “communication with the dead.” Now we don’t have to repeat ourselves on the subject of true Scriptural state of the dead as we have covered it extensively in this study. If we believe that dead people go immediately to heaven in spirit form, we contradict dozens of scriptures stating otherwise.
"There shall not
be found among you anyone that makes his son or his daughter to pass through
the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits,
or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord."
divination: one who tries to foretell the future or explores the occult
observer of times: astrologer
enchanter: a sorcerer or witch
charmer: one who casts spells
consulter with familiar spirits: a spiritualist or a witch
wizard: a magician or sorcerer
necromancer: one who claims to foretell the future by alleged communication with the dead
Do not be deceived! Any attempt to contact the dead is communion with the demonic. The dead are assuredly DEAD in the grave, until the resurrection of the DEAD. As in any occult practice, it is synonymous with the realm of "deceiving spirits." Any apparition or manifestation of a dearly departed loved one is nothing more than a demon masquerading in the form of a dead loved one. The occult is alive and well in the church today that is for sure! The church is rife with stories of Heaven and Hell experiences, words of knowledge from Heaven and the like. These deceiving spirits tell Christians all sorts of falsehoods about the afterlife, God and other doctrines and many believe it because their dead loved ones whom they trust are the conduit for such messages. The methods used by the evil spirits through the medium at Endor are similar to those in use today.
In any case, the fact that the Bible states clearly that it is an abomination to communicate with the
dead, gives us clear instruction, that any visitation from the dead ie, loved ones from heaven or hell are false. Spiritualism
- the belief that the dead survive as spirits which can communicate with the
living, is as pervasive within the church, as it is in the world.
This is a VERY DANGEROUS phenomenon and opens up children and adults who deal with psychics, astrologers, fortune tellers, seances, Ouija boards, and any other type of spiritualism, to the demonic realm.
JESUS PREACHES TO SINNERS IN HELL!
“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison”(1 Pet 3:19)
And speaking of the demonic realm - If there was ever a more confusing, paradoxical or downright stupid teaching in Christendom, this verse has to be a gold medal contender. The complete misunderstanding of this one portion of scripture has paved the way for a plethora of false doctrines, misleading millions of Christians into believing that his death, Jesus descended into Hell itself to proclaim His victory, and preach to the unfortunate souls held captive. Of course, these beliefs are entrenched in church doctrine because of the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed that states that Jesus Christ “descended into Hell.” This is often referred to as “the Harrowing of Hell” – Latin; Descensus Christi ad Inferos "the descent of Christ into hell.”
Where do we begin with such nonsense? Well, let’s just deal with the obvious fallacies before we move on to what was really being said here.
It is beyond laughable to give any serious consideration to Christ ‘physically’ descending into Hell considering the Church teaches also that on the very day Christ died, the thief on the cross would be with him in paradise! Seriously. Did Jesus descend into hell? Or did he take the thief to heaven? Or a better solution – Did Jesus take the unwitting thief on a quick tour of hell before ushering him through the pearly gates?
If Jesus did preach to the prisoners in hell, what use would it have been considering their fate is assuredly eternally sealed - as the church teaches it. Maybe he went just to gloat? But what is more absurd then all of the above, is the fact that if Jesus did go to Hell to preach the gospel and offer repentance and release for the damned – what fool suffering the tortures of hell would reject his offer? No thanks Jesus, the waters just fine in here! Hell would be empty! So much for this insane and most ridiculous teaching.
The real meaning
So what does Peter
mean when he talks about Christ preaching to the “spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19)?
In order to understand this text, we must read the entire passage (1 Peter 3:18-22). Vs 18 reveals that Jesus, the divine Son of God who was crucified for our sins, was “made alive” through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Vs19 makes a transition and declares that it was by this same Holy Spirit that Christ spoke to the spirits in prison. But when did He preach to these spirits and what on earth is this “prison” being mentioned here? Vs 20 tells us. In the days of Noah, the hearts of men and women were evil continually. They were in bondage to evil. Hence they were "in prison." Notice, it does NOT say these persons were in the grave or in hell! “Spirits in prison” is an expression for a person in bondage to sin and death. Prison has this association in the following passages:
"I the LORD have called thee [Christ] . . . to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." (Isa. 42:6,7).
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." (Isa. 61:1).
So this passage does not state that Jesus personally preached to the spirits in prison, but rather, “by which.” It was the "Spirit of Christ" IN NOAH which preached to the spirits in prison (live persons in bondage to sin and death) many years before Jesus was born in the days of Herod the King! (Matt. 2:1) By means of the Holy Spirit given to the prophets (2 Pet. 1:21) they were able to speak as though they were Christ.
When Jesus read His Messianic mission to those in the synagogue in Nazareth, He read from Isa. 61:1 where He said He was "sent to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
Literally there was no flesh and body of Christ when these words were written. The Spirit of Christ in the prophets enabled them to testify "beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." (1 Pet. 1:11). Noah, "a preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5) "being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb. 11:7).
Peter by inspiration draws a figure. He says “the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us . . ." (1 Pet. 3:21). The whole human race stands as a community of prisoners condemned to death on account of sin. Even while awaiting the inexorable judicial sentence they are “all their life-time subject to bondage”. (Heb. 2:15). The way of escape from this prison is by baptism into Jesus Christ, the real ark. "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:27).
Clearly Jesus’ mission was to speak to "the spirits in prison." The resurrection of Jesus "spoke" volumes to those in bondage to sin, about Redemption and Eternal Life available because of Jesus' sacrifice.
ABSENT FROM THE BODY
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
This passage in 2 Corinthians has also been a source of great confusion, frequently being used as definitive scriptural evidence for the immediacy of judgement after death. The reason this verse is said to be a basis of such “proof,” is because it says “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” - therefore it must mean Paul is advocating life after death immediate. This is one of those great Christian misnomers that get bandied about without a second thought....however there is a catch here. This verse is quoted a million times a day by Christians everywhere. “To be absent from the body IS to be present with the lord.” But....Did you miss it?....here is what it actually says:
"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body AND TO BE present with the Lord."
There is a huge difference between Paul saying that he is "willing to be absent from the body and ... present with the Lord," as opposed to making a statement that flatly states that "to be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord."
The words "AND to be" puts this presence with the Lord at a time INTO THE FUTURE after Paul's death at a time of resurrection. Paul did not LIE when he taught us that He, like all saints, would be resurrected from the DEAD, not at his death, but AT THE LAST TRUMP (I Cor. 15:52).
There is no doubt that Paul wanted to be present with the Lord, yet he tells us specifically that if there is no resurrection from the dead then the dead in Christ are perished!
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1Co 15:17-18)
After all, why would Paul use the words “fallen asleep” to describe someone who was, at that very moment, very much awake and “present with Christ?”
Paul knew, as we all now know, that the dead are not conscious of the passing of time. Adam will wake up in his resurrection thinking that he had just died. So it is with all the dead.
Yet there could well be more to this verse than the obvious reference to the resurrection. One point many miss in regards to this passage is the fact that Paul often commented on the carnal nature of the people that should be “absent” so as to walk “in the Lord” as true and obedient Christians. With that said, do these next two passages declare Paul dead and speaking from the grave?
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,” (1 Corinthians 5:3)
“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5)
To be absent from the body is to deny the flesh and therefore present with the Lord as we walk in the Spirit. Romans 6:6-8 put it ever so plainly when it said, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”
John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” And let's not forget Romans 8:1 wherein it says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
It’s quite obvious then, that this often misquoted passage has nothing to do with the dead passing on to paradise. After all – “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. All” (Ecc 3:20)
THE THIRD HEAVEN
“ I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (2Co 12:2)
In dealing with the subject of the afterlife, this verse has been a source of great confusion and speculation. It is commonly used to “prove” that Paul visited heaven in some way, shape or form – even astral travel/projection or some sort of “out of body experience” has been suggested as an explanation for Paul’s strange use of words. It is safe to say that it is by and large one of the more cryptic statements made by Paul during his ministry.
Yet there is implied a simpler explanation, than that of the typical ethereal approach to this verse. If we look back to the first verse in this chapter notice that Paul says;
“To be boasting, is needful,—it is not, indeed, profitable, yet will I come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2Co 12:1) Rotherham
We are told by Paul first off that he is speaking of “visions and revelations.” Then he goes on to describe what happened to him in this vision/revelation.
v. 2 I know a man in Christ, who, fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God, knoweth, such a one as this, caught away, as far as the third heaven;
v. 3 And I know such a man as this, whether in the body or apart from the body, I know not,—God, knoweth,
Surely Paul is describing an extraordinary experience (The CLV has it in verse 7 "transcendence of the revelations,") and as such it is probably safe to say that he was bereft of the words to explain his experience. Yet we have in the first verse that he knows it was in a “vision” and that somehow he was “caught away.” If Paul could not explain what happened to himself, who can? Whatever God revealed to him by His “Spirit” it was certainly not an endorsement of a life beyond the immediacy of death considering that Paul taught that we only have hope in the resurrection of the dead, or else those who have fallen asleep/died have “perished!”
1Co 15:16 “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.”
v. 17 “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
v. 18 “Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”
What Are The Three Heavens?
Much wisdom is lost in the pulpits of Christendom, due to the mainstream propensity to see all things “literally” instead of “spiritually.”According to Romans, the things of the spiritual are “understood by the things that are made.”
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:20)
Now if God grants us the faith and wisdom to apply this principle as we read His Word, then we will understand the “invisible things of Him.” The hardest thing for the carnal mind to do is to let go of “the things that are made,” and accept the truth that they are merely shadows of those true things which, for us, while yet in the flesh, are invisible.
As such, these things are to be “spiritually” discerned. It would be safe to say then, that the first, second and third heaven, are all spiritual and are all invisible. After all, while the words “first heaven,” and “second heaven”' are not in the scriptures, they are certainly implied by the words “third heaven.”
In this physical “things that are made,” world we have a “heavens,” in which the “birds of the heavens,” fly. Above that we have a stratosphere where God's “treasures,” of snow and hail are formed, but they are too high for the “fouls of heaven,” to fly or live in. Beyond the stratosphere there are the starry skies of the heavens, with all of their limitless glory and wonders that we even now can only begin to speculate upon.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Gen 1:20)
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail (Job 38:22)
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Gen 1:16)
Yet not one of these has anything in common with the three heavens to which Paul alludes. The invisible is understood by the visible. We are never told that the visible IS the invisible.
The first heaven in the realm of the spirit is that heaven referred to as the heaven of the minds of mankind:
For our conversation [our thoughts and way of life] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Php 3:20)
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (Psa 8:3)
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psa 8:4)
For thou hast made him a little lower than the [second heaven] angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psa 8:5)
The second heaven in the realm of the spirit, is that heaven from which we are told God sends “unclean spirits.”
Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. (2Ch 18:18)
And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. (2Ch 18:21)
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee. (2Ch 18:22)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [Greek- the heavens]. (Eph 6:12)
The third heaven in the realm of the spirit, is that heaven which is above all power and principalities. It is at the very right hand of the Father.
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], (Eph 1:20)
Far above [the first and second 'heavens'] all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Eph 1:21)
And hath raised [us] up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: (Eph 2:6)
So you see, the “new man” and the “new earth” are both really “seated together” [with Christ] in the heavens. The word “places” is never in the original. The translators have added that word, which is why it is always in [brackets]. The first heaven is “lower than the angels.” The third heaven is “Far above [the first and second 'heavens'] all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:”
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Eph 3:9)
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in [the second heaven below the heaven which is just above man who is "a little lower than the angels] heavenly [places] might be known by the [firstfruits] church the manifold wisdom of God, (Eph 3:10)
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: (Eph 3:11)
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. (Deu 10:14)
So we can see that none of this has to do with anything you can either see or feel or touch. This is the truth regarding the things of God. It is especially true of this word “heaven.”
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1Ti 1:17)
Make no mistake about it; God is always on His throne in every “heaven” at all times. He is “working all things after the counsel of His own will.” He is simply using the visible to communicate to us, the invisible things of the spirit.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see [the invisible] God. (Mat 5:8)
This is rarely taught stuff. But if we can comprehend these things, then we can approach the verse in question with a clean pair of (spiritual) eyes.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. (2Co 12:2)
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) (2Co 12:3)
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2Co 12:4)
It seems strange to us that Paul should refer to himself in the third person, yet Christ referred to Himself in the third person also when He made statements concerning His own coming to us through the spirit of His father.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (Joh 16:13)
This use of language is used several times throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Finally look at what Paul tells us provokes this statement about this man he knew “above 14 years ago.” It's right here in the very next verses.
For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. (2Co 12:6)
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2Co 12:7)
Hearing “words which are unlawful to utter” is “abundance of revelations” and Paul is certainly speaking of Himself. We can clearly see then that this portion of scripture has nothing to do with Paul visiting Heaven, rather it follows the “spiritual” patterns of God’s Word in that Paul received (more than most men) profound revelation from God. The stuff that God revealed to Paul certainly was not the “milk” of the Word!
Is it fitting that we draw to a close whilst on the subject of discerning things “spiritually.” There is an abundance of material (scriptural and historical) available for arguing the truths of God’s Word and this particular herd of “sacred cows” concerning the constitution of man and the state of the dead, are responsible for the formulation of Christendom’s most evil and blasphemous doctrines. It is amazing how so much of the nonsense taught in churches today, is the direct result of men substituting spiritual truths for carnal philosophies.
Consider this in relation to the foundational and “spiritual” truths we have learnt here. Remember, there is NO mention of eternal torments for the souls of the wicked in the Old Testament. Would not something so important and vital to the well-being of all mankind be revealed right from the beginning? Yet some Christian teachers state that the doctrine of immortal souls and their eternal torment in hell was something that was hidden from the Hebrews and only in the New Testament was this "truth" fully revealed! What nonsense. If this be the case, then one must admit that God kept this "truth" a near-secret for thousands of years, waiting only for Jesus and his disciples to appear and reveal this truth to their listeners. How many ignorant, wicked souls from Adam to Christ would have entered an eternity of suffering and torment simply because it wasn't time to reveal this truth to them during their eras? Yes, the church is full of such “logic.”
Yet the continued use of doctrine based upon flawed carnal theology, effects us on a personal level also. The Bible writer’s use of metaphor and personification must be understood within the boundaries of scriptural truth. Modern terminology such as “I feel it in my spirit” or “you can’t praise God with your soul” are completely deficit of scriptural integrity. The “spirit” is not ‘a good person living in side of us’ nor is “soul” a ‘bad carnal person’ fighting our “spirit man.” These ideas are purely based in the realm of watered down and misunderstood Christian theology. These are simply abstract qualities given to explaining spiritual concepts and truths.
We ARE living souls with life giving SPIRITS. Those of us who have the ability to grasp spiritual concepts have Gods HOLY SPIRIT, even the MIND OF CHRIST! We have but one brain. We can either THINK soulishly or we can THINK spiritually! Modern theologies propensity for all things to be taken literally is responsible for the most heinous of Christian doctrines. Christ plainly said “the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT and they are life”.
There is no end to the blatant contradictions of Christian doctrine when compared to scriptural truth. For as sure as the Apostle Paul warned…
“A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)
Truly these prophetic words have not returned empty. When scrutinised under the microscope of Biblical truth, unscriptural doctrines such as the ‘tripartite man’, ‘immortal soulism’ and the fables of the Egyptian and Greek underworld (now the Christian Hell) fade into theological oblivion.
The belief that the righteous and wicked go to their reward in heaven or hell straight after death not only destroys the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, but it destroys the core doctrine of the necessity of Jesus' death. If Abraham and Lazarus and all the ancient faithful were rewarded for their lives of righteousness BEFORE Jesus was even born and died, then why did Jesus have to die in the first place? Obviously Abraham got to “paradise” without Jesus, so why does one need Jesus in the first place?
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:13, 15)
What purpose is the final Judgment if all men and their immortal souls are judged immediately upon death? What sense is there in calling back the dead from hell? If the damned are sent to a fiery, eternal torment when they die, then what is the logic of judging them a second time at the Final Judgment? Will there be new evidence that will exonerate some of the damned so that a new final verdict will move them from hell to heaven? Will new witnesses come forward to testify that some of the wicked were in fact righteous and that they were assigned to the fiery torment in error? If not, then what purpose does it serve to raise the dead? Is not their future fate the same as the one they were experiencing prior to the Final Judgment? The truth about Gods righteous judgements are all there in the Bible – providing we have been given “the (spiritual) eyes to see” it of course.
As for Gods judgments in relation to “the lake of fire” and its real meaning, it is a subject worthy of a series study of its own. We shall delve into that theological minefield next! In the light of what we have learnt here, it would be wise to remember then, that the scriptures NEVER CONTRADICT!