Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    15 NATURE AND DESTINY OF MAN - (Continued)

    CHRIST and the Sadducees. Matthew 22:23-32. “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” From this it is claimed that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, though their bodies had been laid in the grave ages before, were still alive when Christ spoke these words, and it must have been as disembodied spirits in the spirit world. But hold, this was not the point under discussion. The question up was the resurrection which Christ taught and the Sadducees denied. They bring up the case of the woman who had had seven husbands, and inquire whose wife she shall be (not whose wife she now is in the spirit world, but whose she shall be) in the resurrection when she is raised, and all the seven men who had been her husbands here, are raised also. Christ first nullifies their objection by telling them that in the resurrection we are raised to a higher state of being, and the marriage relation no longer exists. Then he appeals to a source of authority which they acknowledged, the writing of Moses, to show that their doctrine of no resurrection, and consequently no future existence, was contrary to their own scriptures. “But as touching the resurrection of the dead [that is, that the dead will be raised, which you deny] have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” These words are found in Exodus 3:6; and let it be marked that they were not spoken while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were living, but to Moses, long after they were dead. Now if they were forever dead, as the Sadducees believed, then God called himself the God of something which did not exist, which would be an impeachment of his wisdom and power. But if they were to have a resurrection and future existence, God could still call himself their God; for he to whom both past and future are an eternal present, can speak of “those things that are not” (but are to be) “as though they were.” Romans 4:17. These words of God respecting Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were therefore, under the circumstances, conclusive proof that they will live again; and if they, then all the righteous dead; and hence the doctrine of Christ against the Sadducees was maintained. But no conscious intermediate state is here taught.TBI 186.1

    1. What is claimed from the words of Christ to the Sadducees?
    2. What was the question under consideration?
    3. What was the difficulty the Sadducees presented?
    4. How does Christ answer their difficulty?
    5. To what does he then appeal?
    6. Where are the words found which Christ quotes?
    7. When were they spoken?
    8. How did these words disprove the doctrine of the Sadducees?
    9. What is the case of the rich man and Lazarus supposed to prove?
    10. Does the narrative say anything about the soul of either the rich man or Lazarus?
    11. From what word in the Greek is the word “hell” here translated?
    12. Is hades the place of punishment?
    13. What is the place of punishment?
    14. What is hades?

    The rich man and Lazarus. Luke 16:19-31. “The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.” With the utmost confidence it is claimed that this was the rich man’s soul; but the narrative says nothing about his soul. The word rendered “hell” is hades, but hades is not the place of punishment, not the hell, gehenna, of the wicked. It is simply the place of the dead, where all alike go both righteous and wicked. The narrative says nothing about the soul of Lazarus, but says that he was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. When do the angels carry the saints into the kingdom of God? At the second coming of Christ, but not before. As literal events, this scene must have its location beyond the resurrection, and hence prove nothing respecting the intermediate state. But if it is not a literal narrative, it is simply a parable; and then it proves nothing for consciousness in death; for in a parable language is used figuratively, and life and intelligence are attributed to inanimate objects; and no doctrine can be based on parables; it must have the most literal and explicit language.TBI 187.1

    15. What was carried into Abraham’s bosom?
    16. When are the saints carried by the angels into the kingdom?
    17. If this narrative is literal, where must the scene be located?
    18. What then does it prove concerning the intermediate state?
    19. If it is not literal, what is it?
    20. What does it then prove?
    21. Is it literal or a parable?
    22. What shows it to be a parable?
    23. What was its object?
    24. To what are they referred for instruction?

    The narrative of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable; for it stands in connection with a notable list of narratives which are all acknowledged to be parables. Its object was to rebuke the Pharisees for their covetousness, verse 14, and to correct their false idea, that riches in this world were a mark of God’s favor, and a sure passport to bliss hereafter. And having represented the rich man as awaking from his terrible delusion, and desiring that his brethren might be informed, it is shown that Abraham does not send one raised from the dead to instruct them, but refers them to Moses and the prophets. While the Jews were thus referred to Moses and the prophets more especially in reference to future reward and punishment, modern theology needs to go to Moses and the prophets for instruction respecting the place, hades, where this scene is located.TBI 188.1

    What have these inspired writers told us about hades, and the condition of those who go there? The word in Hebrew which corresponds to the Greek word hades, and means the same thing, is sheol. This word is used sixty-five times in the Old Testament, and is translated hell and grave thirty-one times each, and pit three times; and we are taught respecting it, 1. That all alike go there. Numbers 16:30, 33; Psalm 89:48. 2. That the whole man goes there. Genesis 42:38; Psalm 30:2, 3; Acts 2:27, 31. 3. That it holds dominion till the second coming of Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55. 4. That it is located in the earth beneath. Ezekiel 31:15-18. 5. That the righteous dead do not praise the Lord there. Psalm 6:5; 146:1-4; Isaiah 38:10-19. 6. That the wicked are all silent there. Psalm 31:17; 1 Samuel 2:9. 7. That it is a place of silence, secrecy,sleep, rest, darkness, corruption and worms, in which there is no work, device, wisdom or knowledge. Job 4:11-19; 17:13-16; Ecclesiastes 9:4-6, 10.TBI 189.1

    25. What is the Hebrew word corresponding to hades?
    26. How many times is this word used in the Old Testament?
    27. How is it translated?
    28. Who go into sheol? References.
    29. In what condition do we go there? References.
    30. How long does it hold dominion over its subjects? References.
    31. Where is it located? References.
    32. What is the condition of the righteous there? References.
    33. What is the condition of the wicked there? References.
    34. What is its general character? References.
    35. What other representations have we in the Old Testament on this point? References.

    We have also in the Old Testament, representations precisely similar to this in Luke 16, respecting the inhabitants of sheol. Multitudes who have gone down to the grave through the oppression of tyrannical kings, are represented as lying with their swords under their heads, and worms covering them, and yet as rising up and paying mock obeisance to their oppressors when they come into sheol, and taunting them with becoming weak as themselves. See the address to the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:9-11, and the lamentation for Egypt in Ezekiel 32:18-32. So in the case of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man in hades, where, as they were fully instructed, there was no knowledge, consciousness, nor life, is nevertheless represented by the figure of personification, as living and acting as there represented. And the object was to show that the next state of being after the present (passing over the intermediate unconscious state) will be one of torment and suffering to the ungodly, covetous rich man, but one of happiness and bliss to the righteous poor. With the language of the Old Testament before them respecting sheol, and the parables respecting the kings of Babylon and Egypt, the Jews would readily understand it. It was not given to show the nature of hades, nor the condition of those who go there, and hence is not to be used for that purpose.TBI 189.2

    36. How do these explain the parable of the rich man and Lazarus?
    37. Where is found the record of Christ’s words to the thief on the cross?
    38. What are these words supposed to prove?
    39. What was the thief’s request?
    40. What was Christ’s answer?
    41. How is the argument then stated?

    The thief on the cross. Luke 23:39-43, is supposed to contain another strong proof of the conscious state of the dead, in the words of Christ to the thief on the cross. The thief’s request was, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” To which Christ made answer, “Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” How could the thief be with Christ in paradise that day, it is triumphantly asked, unless by means of a disembodied conscious spirit? If he was to be with him in paradise that very day, it must have been in the form of an immortal soul, unless he had been raised from the dead, or been translated. But there are two objections to the common view of this matter: the first is that Christ did not go to paradise that day, and the second is that the thief did not die that day, so that his immortal soul did not leave his body. Either of these propositions established, destroys entirely the popular view of the passage; and we know that one of them is true; that Christ did not go to paradise that day; because he told Mary, on the day of his resurrection, three days after his crucifixion, that he had not yet ascended to his Father. But where his Father was there was paradise. 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4; Revelation 2:7; 22:1, 2. He had not therefore at that time been to paradise; and consequently the thief could not have been with him in paradise on the day of his crucifixion.TBI 190.1

    42. What two objections arise to the common view of this passage?
    43. How is it proved that Christ did not go to paradise that day?
    44. Where are his words to Mary found?
    45. Where is paradise? References.
    46. From what circumstances do we infer that the thief did not die that day?

    In regard to the second proposition, that the thief did not die that day, we have a strong inference if not absolute proof in this fact: When the Jews desired that the bodies might be taken down from the cross just before the Sabbath, because no bodies could remain there over the Sabbath, the soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves, but coming to Christ and seeing that he was dead already they brake not his legs. The thieves therefore were not dead. Now the breaking of their legs must have been of one of two purposes, either to hasten their death, or to prevent their escape, after being released from the cross. But their immediate death was not the object sought. It was only to get them off the cross; and inasmuch as persons on the cross are said to live from three to eight days, it is not at all probable that breaking their legs near the close of the day would cause them to die before the day ended.TBI 191.1

    If, then, the Lord did not go to paradise that day, and the thief did not die, and so he did not go, how can the passage be explained? Place the comma after to-day, instead of before it, and all is clear. With this change, Christ does not say to him that he shall be with him that day in paradise, but he simply says to him that day that he shall be with him in paradise when he comes in his kingdom, and this is just what the thief requested. As to the punctuation, we have a right to make this change, if the sense demands it; for the punctuation of the Bible is but the work of men and of comparatively recent origin, the comma in its present form not having been invented till the year 1790. A parallel expression is found in Zechariah 9:12. Some Greek manuscripts, according to Griesbach, place the comma after to-day, in Luke 23:43. Thus punctuated it is consistent with itself and with other scriptures.TBI 192.1

    47. How then is the passage to be explained?
    48. Have we a right to make such changes in the punctuation?
    49. When?
    50. What is the comparative date when punctuation was first used?
    51. When was the comma in its present form invented?
    52. Where do we find a parallel expression?
    53. What is Griesbach’s testimony?
    54. Punctuated in this manner, does this text prove anything in regard to the intermediate state?
    55. Where does Paul speak about absent from the body?
    56. What is this supposed to prove?

    Absent from the body. In 2 Corinthians 5:8 Paul says: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather, to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” This text is urged with great assurance as proving a conscious intermediate state. But the essential point in the argument is lacking; for Paul does not say that we are present with the Lord just as soon as we leave the body. Granting that by absence from the body he means our condition in death, he does not tell us how long it is after we are thus absent from the body that we are present with the Lord. The first part of the chapter explains this verse. In our earthly house of this tabernacle, in this present mortal state, we groan, desiring, not to be unclothed, as we are in death, but to be clothed upon with our house from Heaven, or to reach the eternal immortal state promised to the believer. And when we reach this, “mortality is swallowed up of life.” Verse 4. But when is mortality swallowed up of life? When all that there is mortal is made immortal. Paul had written to the Corinthian church very plainly on this subject in his first epistle. He had spoken about this mortal being made immortal, and this corruptible being made incorruptible, which is the same thing as mortality being swallowed up of life. And when is this? Not when we die, but at the last trump, when Christ appears, and the dead are raised. 1 Corinthians 15:52-55. Then is the time when we are present with the Lord, not before, nor by any other means. John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17.TBI 192.2

    57. What is lacking in this proof?
    58. Where is this verse explained?
    59. What does Paul mean by our earthly house?
    60. What does he mean by being unclothed?
    61. What, by our house from Heaven?
    62. When we reach this, what happens?
    63. When is mortality swallowed up of life? References.
    64. By what means are we brought into the presence of the Lord?
    65. Where does Paul speak of being in the body and out?

    In the body and out. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul speaks of a man, “in the body or out,” he could not tell which, caught up to paradise, etc. Here, it is said, such a condition is recognized as “out of the body.” Very well, what does it mean? Believers in the immortality of the soul say that it means that the soul or spirit is separated from the body. But what condition is a person then in? According to popular theology, the person is dead when he is out of the body; for the separation of soul and body is death. Now what is Paul’s subject? Visions. Verse 1. He here describes the visions with which he had been favored; and while he was in vision he did not know whether he was in the body or out. If he was out of the body, according to our friends, he was dead; and when he came into the body again he had a resurrection. Do they believe that Paul, when he had a vision, died, and was raised from the dead when he came out of vision, or that he designed to teach that such a condition of things was possible? They must accept this absurdity, or surrender this text.TBI 193.1

    66. What do believers in natural immortality say this means?
    67. What is, in popular parlance, the separation of soul and body?
    68. What is Paul’s subject here?
    69. What absurdity is involved in the common view of this passage?
    70. What famous expression is found in Philippians 1:21-24?
    71. How is this text made to serve the popular cause?
    72. Does Paul make this connection?
    73. Of what is the Christian next conscious after death?

    Departing and being with Christ. Philippians 1:21-24: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.” The only way in which this text can be made to do service in behalf of the conscious intermediate state is to connect the being with Christ immediately with the departing. But Paul does not so connect them. The next thing of which the person is conscious after departing is being with Christ. But this does not preclude the idea that a long space might be passed over in unconsciousness. And such a period the apostle would of necessity pass over in silence, as it is an utter blank to the individual, and the change from one state to the other seems to him to be instantaneous. Bishop Law says: “The Scriptures, in speaking of the connection between our present and future being, do not take into the account, our intermediate state in death; no more than we, in describing the course of any man’s actions take into account the time he sleeps. Therefore the Scriptures (to be consistent with themselves) must affirm an immediate connection between death and the Judgment.”TBI 194.1

    Paul has in other places told us very definitely when we go to be with Christ. Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20, 21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 11:39, 40. His testimony in Philippians 1:23, must not therefore be interpreted in such a way as to contradict these statements. Hence it cannot be used in support of the theory of the conscious intermediate state.TBI 195.1

    74. Does this preclude the idea of a period of unconscious rest in the grave?
    75. What is Bishop Law’s testimony?
    76. What has Paul told us in other places? References.
    77. What do these scriptures teach?
    78. How, then, must we treat Paul’s testimony in Philippians 1:23?
    79. What use is made of Paul’s testimony in Hebrews 12:23?
    80. What does Paul speak of here?
    81. When are men made perfect? References.

    Spirits of just men made perfect. Paul uses this expression in Hebrews 12:23; and this is supposed by some to be a confirmation of the idea of the separate conscious existence of the spirit of man. But Paul speaks of no such thing. He does not speak of spirits made perfect, but of men made perfect. And when are men made perfect? If we take it in the absolute sense, it is not till after the resurrection, when the body is redeemed, and mortality is clothed with immortality. Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2. If it is in an accommodated sense, then it must refer to the perfection of Christian character we are able to acquire under the gospel, through the offering of Christ. Many, following Dr. Clarke, think it refers to this, as Paul is here setting forth the superiority of the blessings and advantages we enjoy under the gospel, over those enjoyed under the former dispensation. But in either case this scripture would have no bearing on the question of consciousness in death. It is either fulfilled entirely in the present state, or it has its application beyond the resurrection.TBI 195.2

    The spirits in prison. 1 Peter 3:19. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” This is supposed to be a strong text in favor of the intermediate conscious state of the dead; for here were spirits in prison, supposed to mean in the grave, or in death and they must have been conscious and intelligent, because they were preached to. We inquire who these spirits were? The following verse says: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.”TBI 196.1

    82. What is Dr. Clarke’s admission on this passage?
    83. What is Paul here setting forth?
    84. What two conditions are the only ones referred to?
    85. What bearing then has it on the intermediate state?
    86. What testimony in found in 1 Peter 3:19?
    87. What is this supposed to mean?
    88. Who were the spirits?
    89. What is meant by their being in prison?

    The persons meant by the word spirits are therefore the wicked antediluvians. But what is meant by their being in prison? In Isaiah 61:1 is found a prophecy concerning the work of Christ, and it is said that he should proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. This prophecy is quoted by our Lord himself in Luke 4:18 and an application made of it to his own work. The situation of the antediluvians while Noah was preaching to them was similar to that of those to whom Christ preached. They were in darkness and error and under the condemnation of death. Therefore the antediluvians may likewise have been said to be in prison, while Noah was preaching to them.TBI 196.2

    We inquire further who it was that preached to these spirits? It was Christ. When did he preach? In the days of Noah while the ark was preparing. Through whom did he preach? Through Noah. Dr. Adam Clarke takes the same view of this passage, that the preaching was done by the spirit of Christ in Noah. It therefore has no bearing upon this question of the intermediate state of the dead.TBI 197.1

    There are some absurdities connected with the common view which deserve to be noticed. If these spirits were the spirits of the wicked antediluvians, and the preaching was done by the spirit of Christ while his body lay in the grave, these spirits were then in hell; and we inquire, Why should the spirit of Christ go down into hell to preach to the antediluvians? Could they be benefited by it? Here is a difficulty which popular theologians are not able to solve.TBI 197.2

    But further, before the preaching is spoken of, the quickening or resurrection of Christ is brought to view, verse 18, therefore it could not have been by the disembodied spirit of Christ that this preaching was done while he lay in the grave.TBI 197.3

    90. When and by whom were they preached to?
    91. How could Christ preach through Noah?
    92. What is Dr. Adam Clarke’s view of this passage?
    93. What absurdity attaches itself to the common interpretation of this passage?
    94. If the preaching was done by Christ personally, when was it done?
    95. What claim is made on Revelation 6:9?
    96. What altar is brought to view?
    97. Is there such an altar in Heaven?
    98. Is it consistent to suppose that souls are shut up under an altar in heaven?
    99. What is Dr. Clarke’s view of this matter?
    100. If not conscious, how can they cry for vengeance? References.

    The souls under the altar. Revelation 6:9. “And when he had opened the fifth seal I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for their testimony which they held.” Here it is claimed are souls brought to view in a disembodied state, conscious, and active, crying unto God for vengeance. These souls were seen under the altar. What altar? Evidently the altar of sacrifice where they were slain. Is there such an altar as that in Heaven? and are the saints there shut up under such altar? Dr. Clarke says this altar was upon the earth, and that these souls were the victims of papal persecution; and they are represented as having fallen down by the altar where they were slain. But if they are not conscious in Heaven, it is asked, how could they cry to God for vengeance? We answer, By the figure of personification, just as Abel’s blood is represented as crying to God, or the stone out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber, spoken of by Habakkuk 2:11, or as the wages of the laborers spoken of by James 5:4. These souls cried for their blood to be avenged; but do immortal souls have blood? And who were those upon whom they called for vengeance? Their persecutors. And where were these persecutors? If dead, according to the popular view, they were in hell. And as that view further represents, they were right before the face and eyes of those saints in Heaven. This, it is claimed is taught by the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. How then could they call for vengeance upon them? Was it not vengeance enough for them to be tormented in the flames of hell? How amiable does this make these righteous souls appear! And if we say that those persecutors were not then dead, in the natural course of thing they would soon be in hell, tormented, it would seem, as fiercely as any one could wish. Such is the absurdity that is attached to the popular view of this text.TBI 197.4

    But how, it is asked further, could white robes be given unto them? We answer, those were given in the Reformation when the characters of these martyrs were vindicated from the aspersions of their Romish executioners. We find, therefore, in this testimony no evidence for the doctrine of the conscious state of the dead.TBI 199.1

    In Revelation 19:10 and 22:9 John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who was employed in giving him his revelation. In restraining him, the angel said, “See that thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren, the prophets.” Here it is claimed that the angel asserted that he was one of the old prophets, of course communicating with John in his disembodied state. But the angel does not say this. He says simply, “I am thy fellow servant and the fellow servant of thy brethren, the prophets.” He had been employed in imparting to divine revelations as he was now doing to John.TBI 199.2

    101. What is the first absurdity involved in the common view?
    102. What is the second?
    103. How could white robes be given them?
    104. What argument for consciousness in death is drawn from Revelation 19:10; 22:9?
    105. What did the angel mean by the language he addressed John?
    106. What is said in Genesis 25:8?

    We notice one more text that is supposed to teach the conscious intermediate state of the dead. Genesis 25:8: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.” It is said that Abraham was not buried where his fathers were buried, therefore, this could not apply to his body, but it must be that his spirit went to be with the spirits of his fathers in the spirit world. We therefore inquire where his fathers were? We learn from Joshua 24:2 that his fathers were idolaters and died such. They were consequently according to the popular view in hell. Now if the spirit of Abraham went to be with the spirits of his fathers, he went, according to this view, inevitably to hell. But the theory which leads to such absurdity must be abandoned. We have a parallel expression in the case of David. Paul says in Acts 13:36, that David was laid unto his fathers - which of course means the same as being gathered to his people; but Paul continues - after he was thus gathered unto his fathers, he saw corruption. This explodes the idea of the conscious existence of the soul in the spirit world.TBI 199.3

    107. What argument is drawn from this?
    108. Where were Abraham’s fathers?
    109. How does this argument inevitably dispose of Abraham?
    110. What must be done with such an argument?
    111. Where do we find a parallel expression?
    112. What does the testimony show?

    Larger font
    Smaller font