Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Here and Hereafter

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    8. — NEITHER ANGEL NOR SPIRIT

    Acts 23:8: “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both,” Paul declared himself, in verse 6, to be a Pharisee; and in telling what they believed (verse 8), it is claimed that Paul plainly ranged himself on the side of those who believe in the separate, conscious existence of the spirit of man. But does this text say that the Pharisees believed any such thing? Three terms are used in expressing what the Sadducees did not believe, “resurrection, angel, and spirit.” But when the faith of the Pharisees is stated, these three are reduced to two: “The Pharisees confess both.” Both means only two, not three. Now what two of the three terms before employed unite to express one branch of the faith of the Pharisees? — Evidently the terms “angel and spirit;” for they believed that there were “angels” and “spirits” in the unseen world, but not disembodied human spirits; inasmuch as they believed in the “resurrection,” by which alone human beings are to live again.HHMLD 102.2

    Appeal is made to the incident here narrated to try to array the apostle Paul on the side of the popular view that there are disembodied human spirits in conscious existence in the spirit world. But before this can be done, it must be shown that the Pharisees entertained such a belief, and that the apostle avowed himself a Pharisee in this respect. But we apprehend that neither of these points can be proved; for had they believed this, they would have had no use for the doctrine of the “resurrection.” It appears from verse 6 that Paul avowed himself a Pharisee only so afar as pertained to their views of the resurrection of the dead. This seems to be plainly implied by the manner in which he joins his two affirmations together: “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” He certainly was not a Pharisee in the broad acceptation of the term; for he was a Christian, and, from a theological point of view, not a Jew at all. Now whatever the Pharisees may have believed concerning spirits, it in nowise involves the apostle so far as this narrative is concerned. But there is no evidence here that they believed in disembodied human spirits. When they say (verse 9), “If a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him,” they doubtless refer to his experience on his way to Damascus, with which they were familiar, and used those two words in apposition. A voice had called to him from heaven. He did not claim that it was an angel. There were other spirit organizations in the heavenly world besides angels, without supposing disembodied human spirits; hence they say, “If a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him.” This incident therefore furnishes no support to the popular view; for the whole issue before them was not concerning the condition of man in death, but concerning the resurrection of the dead.HHMLD 103.1

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents