ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD & MAN
SUBJECT OF THE ATONEMENT--MAN
What is Man?--The "Orthodox" Answer--The Scientific
Answer-- The Bible Answer--Man's Body--The Spirit of Man--The
Human Soul--Confusion Through Mistranslation--The Propagation
of Souls--What is "Sheol," "Hades," to which
all Souls Go, in the Interim Between Death and Resurrection?--The
Scriptural Statements Severally Considered.
is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that
thou visitest him? For thou madest him a little lower than the
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest
him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put
all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts
of the field, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea."
great being is man that the Creator of the universe has been so
interested in his welfare as to make so bountiful a provision
for his reconciliation--even through the sacrifice of his Son?
We should know thoroughly, this highest of God's earthly creatures,
so far as possible: and yet, so limited are our powers of judgment,
and so circumscribed our knowledge, that on this subject we are
dependent almost entirely upon what our loving Creator has made
known to us in his Word. Although the saying has become proverbial
that "The greatest study of mankind is man," yet, strange
to say, there are few subjects upon which mankind is more confused
than this one--What is man? There are two general views on the
subject, neither of which, we hold, is the correct, the Scriptural
one. Though both have certain elements of truth connected with
them, both are grievously wrong and misleading; so that even those
who are not wholly deluded by them are nevertheless so influenced
<PAGE 302> and confused by these errors that
many truths are robbed of their force and weight, and many fallacies
are given an appearance of truth. Our subject, therefore, is important
to all who would know the truth, and have the full benefit of
the same in its influence upon their hearts and lives. The subject
is of special importance in connection with the topic under discussion,
the Atonement. He who has not a clear conception of what man is,
will find it difficult if not impossible, to clearly comprehend
the Scriptural teachings relative to the atonement for man's sin--its
operation and results.
will here consider the general and so-called orthodox view of
the question, What is man? then the strictly scientific view,
and finally the Bible view, which, we hold, is different from
both, much more reasonable than either, and the only ground of
proper harmony between the two.
View of Man
question, What is man? if answered from a so-called "orthodox
theological" standpoint (which we dispute) would be about
as follows: Man is a composite being of three parts, body, spirit
and soul; the body is born after the usual manner of animal birth,
except that at the time of birth God interposes, and in some inscrutable
manner implants in the body a spirit and a soul, which are parts
of himself, and being parts of God are indestructible, and can
never die. These two parts, spirit and soul, "orthodoxy"
is unable to separate and distinguish, and hence uses the terms
interchangeably at convenience. Both terms (spirit and soul) are
understood to mean the real man, while the flesh is considered
to be merely the outward clothing of the real man, in which he
dwells for the years of his earthly life, as in a house. At death,
they say, the real man is let out of this prison-house of flesh,
and finds himself in a condition much more congenial.
other words, "orthodoxy" claims that the real man is
not an earthly being, but a spirit being wholly unadapted
<PAGE 303> to the earth, except through its
experiences in the fleshly body. When set free from the body by
death it is theorized that a great blessing has been experienced,
although the man, while he lived, made every effort to continue
to live in the fleshly house, using medicines and travels and
every hygienic appliance and invention to prolong the life in
the flesh, which, theoretically, it is claimed is illy adapted
to his uses and enjoyments. The "liberation" called
"death" is esteemed to be another step in the evolutionary
process: and in many minds such a future evolution from earthly
to heavenly conditions, from animal to spiritual conditions, is
regarded as a reasonable proposition and a logical outcome of
the scientific conclusion that man was not created a man, but
evolved, through long ages, from the protoplasm of prehistoric
times to the microbe, from the microbe, by various long stages
and journeys to the monkey, and from the monkey finally to manhood.
It is further claimed that manhood, in its earliest stage, was
very inferior to the manhood of the present time, that evolution
has been bringing mankind forward, and that the next step for
every human being is a transformation or evolution into spirit
conditions, as angels and gods or as devils.
this is very flattering to nineteenth century pride, for though,
on one hand, it acknowledges an ancestry of the very lowest intelligence,
it claims for itself today the very highest attainments, as well
as a future exaltation. Nor is this view confined to the people
of civilized lands: in a general way all heathen people, even
savages, have practically the same thought respecting man, except
that they do not usually trace back his origin so far. This view
finds support in all the heathen philosophies, and to a considerable
extent it is supported by the scientific theorizers of the present
day, who, although they define the subject quite differently,
nevertheless love to indulge in hopes of a future life along the
lines of evolution, and experience a gratification of their vanity
along lines which do not at all accord with their own scientific
deductions respecting the spark of life in man.
as Seen by Science
scientific answer to the question, What is man? stated in simple
language, would be: Man is an animal of the highest type yet developed
and known. He has a body which differs from the bodies of other
animals, in that it is the highest and noblest development. His
brain structure corresponds to that of the lower animals, but
is of a better developed and more refined order, with added and
larger capacities, which constitute man by nature the lord, the
king of the lower creation. Man's breath or spirit of life is
like that of other animals. Man's organism and spark of life are
from his progenitors, in the same manner that the beasts receive
their life and bodies from their progenitors.
recognizes every man as a soul or sentient being; but as to the
future, the eternity of man's being, science has no suggestion
whatever to offer, finding nothing whereon to base a conclusion,
or even a reasonable hypothesis. Science, however, while it does
not speculate, hopes for a future along the lines of evolution,
which it believes it can trace in the past. Science is proud of
the said evolutionary steps already accomplished by its god, natural
law, and is hopeful that the same operations of natural law will
(without a personal God) eventually bring mankind to still more
godlike and masterful conditions than at present.
from the Bible Standpoint
Bible view, while agreeing with both of the foregoing in some
respects, controverts both most absolutely along some of their
most important lines. The Bible does not speculate, but properly,
as the voice or revelation of God, it speaks with authority and
emphasis, declaring the beginning, the present and the future
of man. The Bible view is the only consistent one, and hence the
only truly scientific and orthodox view of this subject.
But the Bible presentation
<PAGE 305> does not pander to human pride;
it does not make of man his own evolutor, nor does it commit this
to a god of nature, which is no God. The Bible view respecting
man gives God the glory for his original creation (Adam), in the
divine likeness; and lays upon man the blame for failure to maintain
that likeness, and for a fall into sin, and all the consequences
of sin--mental and physical and moral impoverishment unto death.
The Bible view honors God again, in revealing to us his mercy
and magnanimity toward man in his fallen estate, in the provision
for man's redemption and for his restitution to his original condition,
at the hands of his Redeemer, during the Millennium.
fruitful source of confusion in the minds of Christian people,
when studying the nature of man, and particularly when attempting
to obtain the Scriptural views upon the subject, is their failure
to distinguish between mankind in general and the Church, the
little flock, which God is selecting from amongst men during the
present age, and fitting and preparing for new and superhuman
conditions--spiritual conditions. Failing to "rightly divide
the word of truth," they apply to all men the statements
and promises of the Scriptures, especially of the New Testament,
which are addressed only to the Church class, and which have no
bearing whatever upon the restitution hopes held out for all mankind.
These "exceeding great and precious promises" are proportionately
as untrue of the world as they are true of the Church. Thus, for
instance, the Apostle's words, "The body is dead because
of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness"
(Rom. 8:10), which apply only to the Church: thus the special
and peculiar conditions of the call of the Church during this
Gospel age, is interpreted to mean the same with respect to all
humanity. Here the words "dead" and "life"
are used in a relative sense, of those who after being justified
through faith, by the grace of God, are at once reckoned as freed
from death-condemnation, to the intent that they may present their
bodies living sacrifices, reckoning their bodies and treating
them as dead, so
<PAGE 306> far as earthly rights and interests
are concerned: and reckoning themselves as no longer fleshly or
human beings, but as "new creatures," begotten to a
new nature through the promises of God. As such, justified and
sanctified believers (the Church) recognize themselves, from the
divine standpoint, as having obtained a new spirit of life through
the operation of faith in Christ and obedience to him. But such
uses of the words "dead" and "life" in respect
to the world would be wholly improper, for the world has no other
nature than the one human nature; it has not, in any sense of
the word, been begotten again.
text frequently misapplied to the world, which belongs to the
Lord's consecrated people, says, "We have this treasure in
earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God,
and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Here the Church alone is
referred to--those who have received the treasure of the new mind,
the new nature. They have this treasure, or new nature, in the
natural body, which is reckoned as dead, and here denominated
an "earthen vessel." The illustration is quite a correct
one for the class to whom it is applied, the Church; but it is
wholly incorrect to apply it to mankind in general, and to suppose
that every human being has a heavenly treasure or new nature,
and that thus every human body is an earthen vessel or receptacle
for such new nature. The world has but one nature--the human nature:
it has no new nature, either as a treasure or in any other sense;
nor is there any promise that it will ever have. Quite to the
contrary, the highest possible aspiration ever to be opened to
humanity, according to the divine Word of promise, is "restitution"--to
be restored to the full perfection of the human nature, lost in
Eden, redeemed at Calvary. Acts 3:19-23
we might discuss scores of statements of the New Testament, which
are not applicable to mankind in general, but merely to the consecrated
Church, begotten again by the holy Spirit to a new spirit nature.
It will be profitable for all to notice carefully the salutations
by which the apostles introduce their various epistles. They
<PAGE 307> are not addressed, as is supposed
by many, to mankind in general, but to the Church, "the saints,"
the "household of faith."
it remembered, therefore, that in discussing, What is man? in
this chapter, we are not discussing what is the Church, the "new
creature" in Christ Jesus, nor what is the spirit nature
to which the Church is already begotten of the Spirit and if faithful
shall be made partakers to the fullest extent in the first resurrection.
On the contrary, we are discussing the first Adam and his children.
We want to know who and what we are by nature, as a race--What
is man? Thus we can best understand from what man
fell, into what man fell, from what man was redeemed,
and to what man shall be restored, and other cognate subjects.
the standard definition of the word "animal"-- "a
sentient living organism," we need have no hesitation in
classing man as one of and the chief and king over earth's animals,
and thus far the Scriptures are in full accord with the deductions
of science. Note the text which introduces this chapter: in it
the Prophet David particularly points out that man, in his nature,
is lower than the angels, and a king and head over all earthly
creatures, the representative of God to all the lower orders of
Scriptures nowhere declare, either directly or by implication,
that a piece, part or spark of the divine being is communicated
to every human creature. This is a baseless assumption on the
part of those who desire to construct a theory, and are short
of material for it. And this baseless hypothesis, that there is
a portion of God communicated to every human creature at birth,
has been made the basis of many false doctrines, grossly derogatory
to the divine character-- disrespectful to divine wisdom, justice,
love and power.
is this assumption, that a spark of the divine being is
<PAGE 308> communicated at birth to every
human creature, which necessitated the theory of a hell of eternal
torment. The suggestion is that if man had been created as other
animals were created, he might have died as other animals die,
without fear of an eternity of torture; but that God having imparted
to man a spark of his own life, man is therefore eternal,
because God is eternal: and that hence it is impossible for God
to destroy his creature even though such destruction might become
desirable. And if man cannot be destroyed it is held that he must
exist to all eternity somewhere: and since the vast majority are
admittedly evil, and only a "little flock" saintly and
pleasing to God, it is held that the unsaintly must have a future
of torment proportioned to the future of bliss accorded to the
saintly few. Otherwise, it is admitted that it would be more to
man's interest, more to God's glory, and more to the peace and
prosperity of the universe, if the wicked could all be destroyed.
The claim is that God, having the power to create, has not the
power to destroy man, his own creation, because a spark of divine
life was in some unexplained manner connected with him. We hope
to show that this entire proposition is fallacious: that it is
not only without Scriptural support, but that it is a fabrication
of the Dark Ages, most positively contradicted by the Scriptures.
Scriptures recognize man as composed of two elements, body and
spirit. These two produce soul, sentient being, intelligence,
the man himself, the being, or soul. The term "body"
applies merely to the physical organism. It neither relates to
the life which animates it, nor to the sentient being which is
the result of animation. A body is not a man, although there could
be no man without a body. The spirit of life is not the man; although
there could be no manhood without the spirit of life. The word
"spirit" is, in the Old Testament Scriptures, from the
Hebrew word ruach. Its signification primarily is breath;
and hence we have the expression "breath of life,"
or "spirit of life," because the spark of life
once started is supported by breathing.
words "spirit of life," however, signify more than merely
breath; they relate to the spark of life itself, without which
breath would be an impossibility. This spark of life we receive
from our fathers, it being nourished and developed through our
It is quite untrue that the spark of human life is communicated
in a miraculous way, any more than is the spark of brute life.
The lower animals, the horse, the dog, cattle, etc., are begotten
of the males and born of the females of their respective genera,
in precisely the same manner as the human species is produced,
nor does anything in Scripture suggest the contrary. It is purely
human invention, designed to uphold a false theory, that claims
divine interposition in the birth of human offspring. To suppose
that God is the direct creator of every human infant born into
the world is to suppose what the Scriptures contradict, for thus
he would be the author of sin and of confusion and of imperfection,
whereas the Scriptures declare, "His work is perfect."
(Deut. 32:4) No, no! the mentally and physically and morally
blemished and deformed are not God's workmanship. They are far
removed, far fallen from the condition of their perfect progenitors,
Adam and Eve, for whose creation alone God takes the responsibility.
Those who claim that God directly creates every human being make
out that God is responsible for all the idiocy and insanity and
imbecility in the world: but both science and Scripture declare
that the children inherit from their progenitors their vices and
their virtues, their weakness and their talents. The Apostle most
explicitly declares, "By one man's disobedience sin entered
into the world and death by [as a result of] sin: and thus death
passed upon all men; because all men had [by heredity] become
sinners." The Prophet refers to the same thing when he declares,
"The fathers ate a sour grape [sin] and the children's teeth
are set on edge"--they are all depraved. Rom. 5:12; Jer.
31:29,30; Ezek. 18:2
some one will inquire, Might it not be possible that God had implanted
a spark of his immortal divinity in our first parents, and that
thus that spark descends nolens volens to posterity? Let
us examine the Scriptural statement respecting this subject, and
in so doing let us remember that there is no other revelation
than the account of the Scriptures open to any one else, hence
we may know all there is to be known on the subject by anybody.
What do we find in the Genesis account? We find indeed that man's
creation is particularly mentioned, while that of the brute creation
is not so particularly mentioned. We find, however, that the statements
made are in very simple language, and that they contain no suggestion
whatever of the impartation of some superhuman spark of being.
Man's superiority over the beast, according to the account given
in Genesis, consists not in his having a different kind of breath
or spirit, but in his having a higher form, a superior body, a
finer organism-- endowed with a brain organism which enables him
to reason upon planes far above and beyond the intelligence of
the lower animals, the brute creation. We find that it is in these
respects that man was created a fleshly likeness of his Creator,
who is a spirit being. John 4:24
Spirit of Man
the word "spirit" in our Common Version Bibles translates
the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma;
and hence to rightly appreciate the word spirit in God's
Word we must keep always in memory the meaning attached to the
originals, which it translates. As we have seen, "spirit"
primarily means wind, and secondarily was made to apply
to any invisible power. In connection with God we saw that
it signifies that he is powerful but invisible;
and used in reference to God's influence and operation, it implies
that they are by an invisible power. It is applied to mind
because it is a power that is invisible, intangible; words
<PAGE 311> are also invisible, yet powerful;
life, although all-important and all pervading, is an invisible
power or quality, like electricity: hence the word "spirit"
is applied to all of these various things. As a result, we have
the Scriptures speaking of the spirit of our minds, the invisible
power of the mind; the spirit of a man, a man's mental powers
and will; the spirit of life, the power of living, which actuates
our bodies and all creation; the Spirit of God, the power or influence
which God exerts, either upon animate or inanimate things; the
spirit of wisdom, a wise mind; the spirit of love, a mind or disposition
actuated by love; a spirit of evil and of malice, a mind or disposition
actuated by maliciousness; the spirit of truth, the influence
or power exerted by the truth; the spirit of the world, the influence
or power which the world exerts. Likewise, heavenly beings are
described as spirit beings, that is, invisible beings, possessed
of power, intelligence, etc. This is applicable, not only to God,
the Father, of whom our Lord Jesus said, "God is a Spirit,"
but it is applicable also to our Lord Jesus since his resurrection,
for of him it is declared, "Now the Lord is that Spirit."
It is applied also to angels and to the Church, which is assured
that in the first resurrection each overcomer shall have a spirit
body. It is applied in the Scriptures also to Satan and his associates,
spirit beings, invisible, yet powerful.
in Re the New Nature in the New Testament
considering the use of the word spirit in connection with
man, we remark:
The words "spirit" and "spiritual" in the
New Testament are often used to refer to (a) the will,
especially to the new mind of the "saints," begotten
by the Word and Spirit of God. The "new creatures in Christ"
are called to a change of nature, from human to spiritual, and
are promised that if faithful they shall in the resurrection have
(b) spirit bodies like unto Christ's resurrection body,
and like unto the heavenly Father's glorious person. In view of
this, their future prospect, the hope of the Church is designated
<PAGE 312> (c) spiritual and heavenly,
in contrast with the hopes and promises to which the world of
mankind will become heirs during the Millennium. Spirit is also
used (d) in referring to angels, who by nature are spirit
beings--not flesh beings. But the thought of invisibility
always attaches to the words "spirit" and "spiritual"
whenever and wherever used.
few illustrations of such uses of these words follow:
"Paul purposed in the spirit [pneuma--mind,
will]... to go to Jerusalem." Acts 19:21
"Paul's spirit [pneuma--mind, feelings] was
stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry."
"Paul was pressed in spirit [pneuma--in mind,
he was mentally energized] and testified to the Jews that Jesus
is the Christ." Acts 18:5
"[Apollos] was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being
fervent in spirit [pneuma--of ardent mind] he spake
and taught diligently." Acts 18:25
"God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit [pneuma--my
new mind, my new heart, my renewed will] in the gospel of his
Son." Rom. 1:9
"Glorify God in your body and in your spirit [pneuma--
mind] which are God's." 1 Cor. 6:20
"I verily as absent in body but present in spirit
[pneuma--mentally] have judged already as though I were
present." 1 Cor. 5:3
"A meek and quiet spirit [pneuma--mind, disposition]."
1 Pet. 3:4
"It is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual
[pneumatikos] body." 1 Cor. 15:44
"There is an animal body and there is a spiritual
[pneumatikos] body." 1 Cor. 15:44
"That was not first which is spiritual [pneumatikos]."
1 Cor. 15:46
"Afterward that which is spiritual [pneumatikos]."
1 Cor. 15:46
"To be spiritually minded [pneuma--to have
a mind controlled by God's holy Spirit or will] is life and peace."
"Ye which are spiritual [pneumatikos--spirit
begotten and possessed of the new mind] restore such an one in
the spirit [pneuma--disposition] of meekness."
"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath blessed
us with all spiritual blessings [pneumatikos--blessings
of a spirit kind] in heavenly privileges in Christ." Eph.
"Be filled with the spirit [pneuma--the holy
Spirit of God] speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs [pneumatikos--songs in accord with
your new spirit]." Eph. 5:18,19
"That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in
all wisdom and spiritual understanding [pneumatikos--
understanding of all matters connected with your new spiritual
relationship to God and his plan]." Col. 1:9
"Ye are built up a spiritual household [pneumatikos--a
family or household of a spirit order or kind]." 1 Pet. 2:5
"A damsel possessed of a spirit [pneuma--an
invisible power] of divination"--through fellowship with
the fallen spirit-beings. Acts 16:16
"Paul...turned and said to the spirit [pneuma--the
evil spirit-being possessing the woman] I command thee... to come
out of her." Acts 16:18
"The evil spirits [pneuma] went out of them."
"And the evil spirit [pneuma] answered and
said." Acts 19:15
"The Sadducees say that there is...neither angel nor spirit
[pneuma--spirit being]." Acts 23:8
"If a spirit [pneuma] or an angel hath spoken
to him let us not fight against God." Acts 23:9
in the Old Testament
The word "spirit" is used of mankind in general, especially
in the Old Testament; but always either with reference to (e)
the spirit of life, the animating spark which God first
enkindled in Adam and which thence (impaired) descended to all
his posterity--which is an invisible power or quality;
or (f) the spirit of the mind, the will--an invisible power
which controls the life.
Pneuma--an Animating Power
speaking of man's creation it is the spirit of life that
is understood--the breath of life. The Scriptures clearly show
that this spirit of life is common to all God's creatures, and
is not possessed exclusively by man, as the following Scripture
quotations will clearly demonstrate.
"All flesh wherein is the breath of life [ruach--the
spirit or breath of life of all flesh]." Gen.
"All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of
life [margin, ruach--the spirit or power
of life]." Gen. 7:22
"The spirit of Jacob their father revived [ruach--the
vital or life powers of Jacob revived]." Gen. 45:27
"And when he [Samson] had drunk, his spirit [ruach]
came again and he revived [his strength, vigor, energy returned
to him]." Judges 15:19
"In whose hand is...the breath [ruach] of all
mankind. [The spirit of life of all mankind is in the divine
power]." Job 12:10
"O God, the God of the spirits [ruach--life-power,
spirit of life] of ALL FLESH, shall one man sin and wilt thou
be wroth with all the congregation?" Num. 16:22
theory that the distinction between man and beast consisted in
a different spirit of life, a different kind of life, and that
at death the one went up and the other down
<PAGE 315> seems to have been very old amongst
the world's philosophers; for we find Solomon, the wise man, querying:
"Who knoweth [who can prove] that the spirit [ruach--
spirit of life] of man goeth upward and that the spirit
[ruach--spirit of life] of the beast goeth downward to
the earth?" (Eccl. 3:19-21) Solomon's own understanding
he gives just previously, saying:
"That which befalleth the sons of men [death] befalleth beasts;
even one [the same] thing befalleth them: as the one dieth so
dieth the other; yea they have all one breath [ruach--spirit
of life, breath of life]; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above
a beast"--in this respect, in the matter of having a different
kind of life--his pre-eminence must be sought and found elsewhere,
as we shall see.
"Into thine hand I commit my spirit [ruach--spirit
of life or vital energy]." Psa. 31:5
was the prophetic declaration of our Lord Jesus' dying words.
He had received the spirit of life from the Father as a gift:
he had, in obedience to the Father's plan, become a man to be
man's Redeemer: and when yielding up his spirit of life
or vital energy, he declared his reliance upon God's promise to
give the spirit of life again, by a resurrection.
received the spirit of life from God, the fountain of life,
through father Adam. Adam forfeited his right to the power or
spirit of life by disobedience, and gradually relinquished his
hold upon it--dying slowly for nine hundred and thirty years.
Then the body returned to the dust as it was before creation,
and the spirit of life, the privilege of living, the power or
permission of living, returned to God who gave that privilege
or power: just as any contingent privilege or favor returns to
the giver if its conditions are not complied with. (Eccl. 12:7)
Nothing in this text implies that the spirit of life "wings
its flight back to God," as some would represent; for the
spirit of life is not an intelligence, nor a person, but merely
a power or privilege which has been
<PAGE 316> forfeited and hence reverts to
the original giver of that power or privilege. The thought is
that man having sinned has no further life-rights: the
return of his forfeited life-rights to God, and the return of
his flesh to dust, reduces his condition to exactly what it was
before he was created.
as our Lord Jesus had hope in the divine promise for a return
of his "spirit of life" or life powers and rights under
divine arrangement, so by reason of our Lord's redemptive sacrifice
certain hopes and promises are opened to all mankind through "Jesus
the mediator of the New Covenant." (Heb. 12:24) Hence
believers "sorrow not as others who have no hope." Our
Redeemer purchased the spirit of life-rights which father
Adam had forfeited for himself and all his family. Now, therefore,
believers can for themselves (and, by a knowledge of God's plan,
for others also) commit their spirits (their powers of life) to
God's hand also, as did our Lord and as did Stephen--full of faith
that God's promise of a resurrection would be fulfilled.
A resurrection will mean to the world a reorganization of a human
body, and its vivifying or quickening with life-energy, the spirit
of life (Hebrew, ruach; Greek, pneuma). To the Gospel
Church, sharers in the "first [chief] resurrection,"
it will mean the impartation of the spirit of life or life-energy
(Hebrew, ruach; Greek, pneuma) to a spirit body.
1 Cor. 15:42-45
that graphic picture of earthly resurrection furnished us in Ezekiel's
prophecy (37:5-10,13,14) the relationship of the body and
the spirit of life, "the breath," is clearly
presented. It matters not that the prophet uses this merely as
a symbol, it nevertheless shows (proves) that a human organism
has no life until it receives the ruach--the breath of
life-- which, as elsewhere shown, is common to all animals, none
of whom can live without it. Let us notice Ezekiel's statements
very critically, as follows:
"I will cause breath [ruach--spirit of life,
life-energy] to enter into you, and ye shall live."
"And I will...bring up flesh upon you, and cover
<PAGE 317> you with skin, and put breath
[ruach--spirit of life, life-energy] in you, and ye shall
"And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon
them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath
[ruach--spirit of life, life-energy] in them."
"And he said unto me, Prophesy unto the wind [ruach--spirit
of life, life-energy--margin, breath] and say unto the wind
[ruach--spirit of life, breath of life], Thus saith the
Lord God, Come from the four winds [ruach] O
breath [ruach--breath or spirit of life], and breathe
upon these slain, that they may live."
"So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath
[ruach--spirit of life, breath of life, living energy]
came into them, and they lived."
"And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened
your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
and shall put my spirit [ruach--spirit of life,
breath of life] in you, and ye shall live."
spirit of life or power of life given to Adam by
his Creator he was privileged to keep forever if obedient.
He forfeited this right by disobedience, and the right to life
reverted to the great Giver; not as a person, nor as a thing,
but as a right or privilege, the spirit of life returns or reverts
to God, who gave that right or privilege conditionally, and whose
conditions were violated. Eccl. 12:7
"No man hath power over the spirit [ruach--spirit
of life, spark of life] to retain the spirit [ruach--spirit
of life], breath of life." Eccl. 8:8
God's grace those forfeited life-rights or privileges which each
man surrenders to God in death have all been purchased with the
precious blood, and the purchaser is announced as the new Life-giver,
regenerator or father for the race, who will give life, and that
more abundantly, to all who will ultimately receive him.
will give but one instance from the New Testament:
"The body without the spirit [pneuma--life-spark,
breath of lives] is dead." Jas. 2:26
Pneuma--the Mind, the Will
the mind or will is an invisible power or influence, it
is represented by the same words in the Hebrew and Greek languages,
as the following examples will show:
"Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful
spirit [ruach--mind, disposition]." 1 Sam.
"A fool uttereth all his mind [ruach--plans,
thoughts, mind, purpose]." Prov. 29:11
"My spirit [ruach--mind, courage] was overwhelmed."
"My spirit [ruach--mind] made diligent search."
"He that is of a faithful spirit [ruach--disposition,
mind]." Prov. 11:13
"All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the
Lord weigheth the spirits [ruach--the mind, thoughts,
motives]." Prov. 16:2
"Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit
[ruach--disposition, will, mind] before a fall." Prov.
"Better to be of an humble spirit [ruach--mind,
disposition]." Prov. 16:19
"Vanity and vexation of spirit [ruach--mind]."
"Patient in spirit [ruach--mind, disposition]...proud
in spirit [ruach--mind, disposition]...hasty in
thy spirit [ruach--mind, disposition]." Eccl.
few illustrations from the New Testament:
"The child [John] grew and waxed strong in spirit
[pneuma--mind, character]." Luke 1:80
"Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit [pneuma--
mind, disposition, character] serving the Lord." Rom. 12:11
"Now you have received not the spirit [pneuma--disposition,
mind] of the world." 1 Cor. 2:12
"I had no rest in my spirit [pneuma--mind]."
2 Cor. 2:13
"Be renewed in the spirit [pneuma--character,
disposition] of your mind." Eph. 4:23
"The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit [pneuma--
mind, disposition]." 1 Pet. 3:4
Scriptural uses of these original words show that our English
word spirit is a good equivalent, for we not only speak
of the spirit of life, but also of a gentle spirit, a good spirit,
an angry spirit or mood, a bitter spirit and a fiery spirit: and
we also use these expressions in respect to the lower animals
as well as man. The fact we are proving is abundantly demonstrated--namely,
that the spirit is not the real man, nor another man, but
that this word, when used in reference to man's creation, signifies
simply the life-spark or life-power, which is common to all animals.
Breath of Lives
the word ruach is sometimes translated "breath,"
the Hebrews had another word for breath, viz., neshamah.
It occurs twenty-six times, and in nineteen of these it is translated
"breath"--"inspiration" once, "spirit"
twice, "souls" once, "blast" three times.
As samples of the meaning of this word, and as proving that the
word simply signifies life power, and in no sense of the word
conveys any thought of everlasting life, or immortality, note
the following uses of the word:
Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed
[naphach--inflated, blew] into his nostrils the breath
[neshamah] of lives [caiyah]." Gen.
flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle,
and of beasts, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth,
and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath [neshamah]
of life [caiyah] of all that was in the dry land
died." Gen. 7:21,22
first two occurrences of the word neshamah in the Bible
are abundantly sufficient to prove our contention that the word
has no reference to immortality, nor to an immortal
<PAGE 320> principle, but simply refers to
vitality, life power. This life power, we are told, was given
to Adam, and the same life power, by the second text quoted, is
declared to have been in all the dry land animals, fowl, cattle,
beast and creeping things, as well as in man, and when deprived
of this breath of life, the declaration is that all these souls
or beings died as a result--man as well as the lower creatures.
They died alike, except that there is a divine purpose respecting
man, which in due time provided a ransom, and will in further
due time provide the deliverance promised from the power of death
by a resurrection of the being, of the soul.
in reading the account of creation in Genesis have noted the fact
stated that when God had formed man of the dust of the ground,
and had communicated to him the breath (spirit) of life, the record
is, "Man became a living soul." This statement
to the average reader taken in connection with his general misconception
of the meaning of the word "soul," as misrepresented
to him by those who should have instructed him properly, and should
have understood the subject themselves, is sufficient to bewilder
him and leads him to think that somehow there is some basis for
the prevalent error which he does not comprehend, but which he
supposes his chosen theological teachers have investigated and
proven beyond peradventure.
comprehending the meaning of the word soul, many feel at
liberty to use it in a reckless manner, and hence they reverse
the Scriptural statement and instead of speaking of man as being
a soul, they speak of man as having a soul, which is a
very different thought. It is necessary, therefore, that each
truth-seeker should, so far as possible, divest his mind of prejudice
on the subject, and especially with respect to things and features
which he admits he does not understand; because it is the
natural tendency to give attributes
<PAGE 321> and powers to that which is mysterious
and not comprehended. Thus the general idea of a soul is that
it is wonderfully intelligent, possessed of wonderful powers,
that it is indestructible, intangible, and incomprehensible.
Methodist bishop is credited with having given the following definition
of a soul, which certainly accords well with so-called "orthodox"
theories, even if it is absurd when closely analyzed--"It
is without interior or exterior, without body, shape, or parts,
and you could put a million of them in a nutshell." These
various things are predicated of a soul, to help fill out a theory
which is wholly erroneous. The theory is that the soul is the
real being, a spark of divinity, possessed of divine quality and
intelligent life, etc., separate and apart from the body; and
that it inhabits the human body for a time, and uses it for a
house, and when the body is worn out or disabled abandons it.
Inasmuch as no one ever saw a soul enter a body, and inasmuch
as a soul cannot be found while it is in the body, by the most
critical examination, and with all the improved appliances of
the microscope, photograph and "X" rays, therefore it
is supposed that it is "without a body, without shape, and
without parts"; and since it is supposed to be so small that
it cannot be distinguished by a microscope, it might as well be
said that you could put fifty millions of them in a nutshell.
Really, the bishop gave an excellent definition of nothing;
and all will agree that a hundred millions of nothings could be
put into the smallest kind of a nutshell and have room to spare.
what foundation is there for such wild speculation? We answer,
It is wholly unwarranted. It is the result of man's taking his
own theory of a future life, and rejecting the divine theory and
plan. Human theory says, There must be something which never dies,
else there can be no future life. The divine theory says, The
same God who created in the beginning is able to resurrect the
dead. This is the conflict between the Word of God and all the
human theories of earth amongst the civilized as well as amongst
<PAGE 322> the barbarians: all human theories
teach that man does not die, and hence has no need of a Life-giver
and a resurrection. The Bible theory is that man does die, and
that without the Life-giver, and without a resurrection, death
would indeed end all, and there would be no future life.
is to support its theory that the world, and all its religious
books (including, we are sorry to say, the majority of works on
eschatology written by professed Christians), teach the doctrine
of the immortality of the soul--that there is a soul in man, possessed
of a separate life from his body, and that it is immortal, indestructible,
and therefore destined to an eternity of pain or pleasure. We
come then to the inquiry:
Is a Soul?
this question from the Bible standpoint we will find that man
has a body and has a spirit, but is a soul.
Science concurs with the Scriptures in this. Indeed, one of the
sciences, Phrenology, undertakes to treat the skulls of men and
the lower animals as indexes and to read therefrom the natural
traits and characteristics of the owners: and do not all men find
themselves possessed of some ability in judging character physiologically?
All can discern between the intellectual and the idiotic, between
the kindly benevolent and the viciously brutal. Those who have
not learned that organism (bodily form) is indissolubly
connected with nature, character and disposition have made poor
use of life's lessons and are unprepared to pass judgment on our
topic or any other.
word "soul," as found in the Scriptures, signifies sentient
being; that is, a being possessed of powers of sense, sense-perception.
With minds freed from prejudice, let us go with this definition
to the Genesis account of man's creation, and note that (1) the
organism or body was formed; (2) the spirit of life,
called "breath of life," was communicated; (3) living
<PAGE 323> soul, or sentient being,
resulted. This is very simple, and easily understood. It shows
that the body is not the soul, nor is the spirit or breath of
life the soul; but that when these two were united by the Lord,
the resultant quality or condition was living man, living being--a
living soul, possessed of perceptive powers. There is nothing
mysterious about this--no intimation that a spark of divinity
was infused into humanity, any more than into the lower animals.
Indeed, while the creation of the lower animals is passed over
and not particularly described, we may know that with them, as
well, the process must have been somewhat similar. We know that
there could be no dog without a dog organism or body, nor without
spirit or breath of life in that body. The body of the dog that
had never been animated would not be a dog; it requires first
the infusion of the spark of life, the breath of life, then doghood
begins. The same would apply to all animals.
full accord with this, we now call attention to a fact which will
surprise many; viz., that according to the Scriptural account
every dog is a soul, every horse is a soul, every cow is a soul,
every bird and every fish are souls. That is to say, these are
all sentient creatures, possessed of powers of sense-perception.
True, some of them are on a higher and some on a lower plane than
others; but the word soul properly and Scripturally applies
to creatures on the lower planes as well as to man, the highest
and noblest--to fish, reptiles, birds, beasts, man. They are all
souls. Mark, we do not say that they have souls, in the
ordinary and mistaken sense of that term, yet they all do have
souls, in the sense of having life, being, existence--they
are living souls. Let us prove this:
the first, second and ninth chapters of Genesis the
words "living soul" are applied in the Hebrew language
to the lower animals nine times, but the translators (as though
careful to protect the false but common vagary respecting a soul,
derived from Platonic philosophy) sedulously guarded their work,
so that, so far as possible, the English
<PAGE 324> reader is kept in ignorance of
this fact--that the word soul is common to the lower creatures,
and as applicable to them as to man in inspired Scripture usage.
How else could it happen that in all of these cases, and in many
other instances throughout the Scriptures, they have carefully
covered the thought, by using another English word to translate
the Hebrew word, which, in the case of man, is rendered "soul"?
So carefully have they guarded this point that only in one place
in the Bible is this word translated "soul," in connection
with the lower creatures, viz., in Num. 31:28, and there,
very evidently, they were compelled to show the matter, by reason
of the peculiar construction of the sentence--no other translation
being reasonably possible. The passage reads:
a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle:
one soul of five hundred, both of the persons and of the beeves
and of the asses and of the sheep." Here it will be noticed
that the word "soul" is used respecting the lower creatures
as well as in reference to man; and so it would appear elsewhere
in the Scriptures, had the translators been free from the warp
and twist of their false theories on this subject.
us now notice the nine texts in Genesis in which the Hebrew original
of the word soul (neh-phesh) occurs in connection
with the lower animals:
said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving [creeping]
creature that hath life [Heb., neh-phesh-- soul]."
(Gen. 1:20) Note that the marginal reading is soul;
and that this was on the fifth creative day or period, long before
created great whales, and every living creature [Heb.,
neh-phesh--living soul] that moveth, which the waters
brought forth abundantly." (Gen. 1:21) This also was
in the fifth "day," before man's creation. These were
said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [Heb.,
neh-phesh--living soul] after his kind--cattle and
creeping thing and beast." (Gen. 1:24) These were dry-land
<PAGE 325> souls, higher than the fishes--but
man, human soul or being, had not yet been created.
God said...To every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the
air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there
is life [living soul--neh-phesh] I have given every
green herb for meat." (Gen. 1:30) Here the lower animals
are specified, and it is distinctly declared that they are all
living souls--in exactly the same terms that refer to man.
of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and
every fowl of the air;...and whatever Adam called every living
creature [Heb., living soul--neh-phesh], that was
the name thereof." (Gen. 2:19) Comment here is unnecessary:
there can be no question that soul is not exclusively a
human part or quality, but rightly understood is applicable
to all sentient creatures from the lowest to the highest--
all creatures possessed of sensibilities.
moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you... but flesh with
the life thereof [Heb., flesh, soul--neh-phesh] which
is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." (Gen. 9:3,4)
Here the animals which man may eat are not only declared to possess
soul or being, but their blood is said to represent
their existence, being or soul, and hence
man is forbidden to use blood as food--forbidden to cultivate
I establish my covenant with you [Noah] and with your seed after
you; and with every living creature [Heb., living soul--neh-phesh]
that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast
of the earth." (Gen. 9:9,10) A very plain statement that
all living creatures are souls as well as man--though inferior
to him in nature, organism, etc.
is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and
every living creature [Heb., living soul--neh-phesh]."
(Gen. 9:12) What could be more explicit than this?
will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every
living creature [Heb., every living soul--neh-phesh]
of all flesh." Gen. 9:15
same expression exactly is repeated in verse 16. And there
is no room for cavil as to the meaning when the veil of mistranslation
is lifted and we catch the thought God wished us to receive from
might similarly proceed through other books of the Bible, but
we have quoted sufficient to establish our contention before any
reasonable mind--that soul in Scriptural usage as properly applies
to the lower animals as to man; and hence that all claims or theories
built upon the idea that man's hopes of a future life and his
present superiority over lower animals result from his being a
soul and they not, is a false theory and needs radical
reconstruction if we would see matters from the true standpoint
of divine revelation.
let no one misunderstand us to teach that because all living,
moving creatures, from a mite to an elephant and from a tadpole
to a whale are living souls, therefore all these must have
a future life, either by a transfer to spirit conditions or by
a resurrection future. Such a thought would be arrant nonsense--insanity--without
a shadow of reason. Billions of living souls on these lowest
planes of animal nature are born every minute, while other billions
die every minute.
argument is that man is a soul or being of the highest
order--the king and lord over the lower orders of souls or sentient
beings, yet one of them--an earthly, human animal soul; and yet
so grandly constituted originally (Adam) that he was properly
described as in the likeness of God--the image of him that
as a soul is differentiated from the lower animals or souls by
reason of his higher organism: not merely is his superiority
indicated by his upright form; it is witnessed to by his superior
mental endowments, which are Godlike and are reflected in his
countenance. It is in his mental and moral endowments rather than
in physical form that man was created in divine likeness. While
many of the lower orders of animal soul or being possess reasoning
powers and demonstrate them in thousands of ways, yet each
has a level
<PAGE 327> beyond which no progress can be
made; but man's reasoning powers are almost unlimited, because
he was created an "image of God," "the likeness
of him that created him." And notwithstanding man's fall
into sin and his thousands of years of gross darkness and degradation
we can still see Godlikeness--especially in those who have accepted
Christ's ministry of reconciliation to God, and have again become
"sons of God," and who are seeking to be conformed to
the image of God's dear Son.
illustrate: horses, dogs and birds may be taught the meaning of
many words so as to be able to understand many things pertaining
to life's affairs. They often demonstrate their reasoning powers,
and some are able to count-- as high as twenty: but who would
attempt to teach a horse or a dog or a bird algebra or geometry
or astronomy? The highest of the lower animals can be taught a
certain degree of moral honesty and obligation to their masters--not
to kill sheep, not to bite, kick, etc., but who would attempt
to teach his dumb brutes the Decalogue? They may be taught a certain
kind of love for their master and his friends, but who would think
of teaching them to love or worship God, or more than mere endurance
of enemies who had despitefully used them.
point to be noticed is that all these differences are not by reason
of the lower animals having a different kind of breath
or spirit of life, for as we have seen, "they have all one
breath" (Eccl. 3:19); nor because man is a soul and
the brute beast is not, for as we have seen they are all souls.
But as we have found, and as all men are witnesses, each has a
different bodily organism which gives to each his different
characteristics, and which alone constitutes one higher and the
other lower in the scale of intelligence. Notice, too, that not
size and weight give excellence and superiority, else the elephant
and whale would be the lords of earth; the excellence is in the
"organic quality" represented chiefly in brain-structure
therefore, is the highest type of earthly creature-- "of
the earth, earthy"--and his excellence consists in the superiority
<PAGE 328> of his mental endowment--not a
development, but a gift from his Creator.
Soul That Sinneth, It Shall Die"
is quite in harmony with the foregoing, but quite out of harmony
with the usual thought on the subject, that we find the Scriptures
declaring repeatedly the death of the soul, which human philosophy
and hymn-book theology most emphatically declare to be indestructible.
We read, for instance, that our Lord, when he became our ransom-price,
"poured out his soul [being] unto death." "He
made his soul an offering for sin." (Isa. 53:10,12)
This was necessary, because it was Adam's soul that was
sentenced to death, and the promise to mankind is a redemption
of soul or being from the power of death. "God will
redeem my soul from the grave [sheol--the condition
of death]." (Psa. 49:15) And, as we have seen, it is
because all souls are thus redeemed in the one redemption that
all our friends--all mankind--are said to "sleep in Jesus."
1 Thess. 4:14
remark here that the Apostle could not, in this expression, refer
merely to the saints, as when he speaks of those who are "in
Christ"; for those referred to as "new creatures"
are those only who are begotten of God through the Spirit, to
joint-heirship with Christ, as his Church, the members of his
body. But "those who sleep in Jesus" include the entire
race, for our Lord Jesus was a propitiation for our sins, and
not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world, and
he is by virtue of that sacrifice our Life-giver, and not only
ours, but also the Life-giver for the whole world--the testimony
and the opportunity for acceptance being, with the majority, still
future. 1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:4-6
the Apostle has this thought in mind is manifest from this context:
he is here exhorting believers to sorrow not as others who have
no hope; and gives as the reason of
<PAGE 329> the hope this fact, that Jesus
died for man's sin, and rose again to be man's justifier, and
hence that all "sleep in Jesus," or are legally freed
from the death sentence, and amenable to Jesus, to be brought
from the dead by the divine power. Had the Apostle said or been
understood to mean that merely the saints would be thus blessed
through Jesus, we can readily see that believers then and since
would have very little consolation in his words, because the vast
majority of the friends of believers, then and since, cannot be
termed saints: and if the awakening from the sleep of death is
a blessing intended only for the saints, the thought, instead
of being a consolation, would be the reverse, an anguish, a distress.
But the Apostle refers to the whole world as being thus asleep
in Jesus, although none knows it from this standpoint except the
heavenly Father and his consecrated people, whom he has instructed
respecting his future gracious plans, through the Word of truth,
that they may rejoice in the lengths and breadths and heights
and depths of divine goodness, and "sorrow not, even as others
that have no [such substantial] hope."
the natural sleep, if sound, implies total unconsciousness, so
with death, the figurative sleep--it is a period of absolute unconsciousness--more
than that, it is a period of absolute non-existence, except as
preserved in the Father's purpose and power. Hence the awakening
from death, to those restored, will mean a revival of consciousness
from the exact moment and standpoint where consciousness was lost
in death. There will be no appreciation of time, as respects the
interim. The moment of awakening will be the next moment after
the moment of death, so far as conscious appreciation is concerned.
same condition has been noted in connection with persons who have
sustained injuries which have caused pressure upon the brain,
and thus temporarily suspended consciousness, without extinguishing
life. In cases of this kind, when the pressure upon the brain
has been removed by trepanning, the subject suddenly coming to
<PAGE 330> has in numerous instances been
known to complete a sentence which had been interrupted by the
concussion which interrupted thought: for divine power will thoroughly
duplicate every convolution of every brain and vivify them. Thus
in the awakening-time the world of mankind in general will revive
with the same words and thoughts with which they expired. But
let it not be forgotten that we here refer to the world in general,
not to the elect and special class selected out of the world,
namely, the Church, the body of Christ, which will have part in
the first resurrection, and in many respects know a different
while, as the Adamic death has been turned, by reason of the divine
plan and the ransom, from being a destruction to a suspension
of existence, called sleep, nevertheless we find that the Scriptures
very distinctly assert that after the revival or awakening from
the death-sleep, it will depend upon each individual whether he
shall go on unto perfection and life, under the guidance, government
and tutelage of the glorious Christ, or whether he will wilfully,
deliberately and stubbornly choose the way of sin. If he choose
the latter he will get the punishment originally designated for
father Adam, viz., death, but no longer Adamic death, the penalty
of Adam's sin: this is styled Second Death. This Second Death
is nowhere spoken of as a sleep, nor is there the slightest
intimation anywhere given that there will be any awakening from
it. On the contrary, it is designated "everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord." 2 Thess. 1:9
this redeemed and awakened class, which in general shall have
its trial during the Millennial age, the Scriptures declare, "The
soul that sinneth it shall die." (Ezek. 18:20) That this
scripture is not generally applicable at the present time is evident
from three considerations:
It would be meaningless, at the present time, when all die--saints
It is expressed in the form of a second sentence, and
<PAGE 331> based upon the individual action,
and this could not be applicable in the present time, because
now we all die because of "one man's disobedience,"
and the sentence of death which came upon him, and indirectly
affects all his race. Rom. 5:12
The context shows that this passage refers particularly to those
who have gotten free from Adamic sin which prevails in general
today. Its special applicability, therefore, must belong to the
next age, the Millennial age. Note the connections, not forgetting
that the law covenant of the Jewish age was analogous to the covenant
of the Millennial age, except that the latter will have a better
Mediator, able and willing to succor and to help all who shall
seek to walk righteously, not imputing unintentional short-comings.
context declares: This shall no more be a proverb in Israel, The
fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set
on edge. But, on the contrary, each soul shall be responsible
to God for itself, and "the soul that sinneth it shall
die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither
shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness
of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the
wicked shall be upon him." (Ezek. 18:2,4,20) It is evident
that this time has not yet come. The children still have their
"teeth set on edge," by reason of the sour grapes of
sin which their fathers have eaten; we are still under the law
of heredity; all still die for Adam's sin, and not for individual
sin. In proof of this note the indisputable fact that nearly one-half
of the human family die in infancy, without having reached years
of discretion or responsibility on their own account. Who cannot
see that the agonizing and dying infant of a few days or a few
months old is not dying for its own sins, but that it is
dying because it is a member of the Adamic race, which is still
under the curse pronounced against our father Adam, "Dying
thou shalt die"? It has inherited a share of the curse, and
will also inherit a share of God's blessing through Christ in
<PAGE 332> awakening, secured through the
merit of the great Atonement finished at Calvary.
we turn to Jeremiah 31:29-34, we find another reference to
exactly the same conditions mentioned by Ezekiel, only that in
Jeremiah we are furnished with more explicit details, which show
that this condition belongs not to the present age, but to a future
age. Jeremiah declares:
those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten
a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every
one [who dies] shall die for his own iniquity: every man that
eateth the sour grape his teeth shall be set on edge."
words "In those days" clearly refer to the future times
of restitution, under the reign of Christ, and not to the present
time of the reign of sin and death. Notice that the Prophet proceeds
to describe other features of the Millennial age, telling about
the New Covenant which is to be confirmed to Israel and Judah,
the everlasting covenant, under which they shall obtain their
long-looked-for portion of the Abrahamic blessings and promises.
Compare Rom. 11:26-31
same thought, that death will again be the penalty for sin, to
all redeemed from the Adamic death, if after they come to a knowledge
of the grace of God, they receive that grace in vain, is shown
by our Lord's own words, "Fear not them which kill the body
but are not able to kill the soul [fear not them which take away
the present life, which is already under sentence of death, anyway;
but remember that you have been redeemed, and that a future life
is a possibility to you, and that no man can rob you of that which
God has provided for you through the redemption in Christ Jesus],
but fear him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna."
(Matt. 10:28) Here the power of God to destroy the soul is
positively asserted, and that by an unquestionable authority.
We are aware that a crooked theology has sought to wrest the Scriptures,
and therefore asserts that this signifies that God is able to
destroy the happiness of the soul in Gehenna, but that
he is unable to destroy the soul
<PAGE 333> itself. We reply, that this is
a wresting of the Scriptures, and their perversion in a manner
which cannot fail to bring evil consequences upon those who "handle
the word of God deceitfully." We elsewhere show20
that the word "Gehenna" here used signifies "the
Second Death"--utter destruction-- to all souls which will
not hear God's great Prophet, when, in due time, he shall speak
plainly unto all the people, as he now is speaking under parables
and dark sayings, expounded only to the Church. Acts 3:23;
claim, therefore, that the Scriptures unquestionably declare that
man is a soul or being; that his right to existence under
divine arrangement was forfeited by sin, and that he is now under
the curse or penalty of the divine sentence, death; that
man's privileges and rights were all purchased by the man Christ
Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; that as a consequence
death is not to be accounted as death, utter destruction, but
merely as a temporary "sleep," from which the world
of mankind will be awakened by their Redeemer in the resurrection
morning of the Millennial age.
should not surprise us when we find that, holding grossly erroneous
views respecting what is the soul, what is the spirit, what is
the real man, the translators of our Common Version English Bible
have been sorely perplexed: and in their endeavor to force the
translation into harmony with their preconceived ideas on this
subject, they have confused the ordinary English reader tenfold.
They have so covered and twisted the meaning of words as to make
it extremely difficult for the English reader to see through the
now double difficulty, (1) the false teaching on the subject,
and (2) the mistranslations which support that false teaching.
in divine providence, we are now living in a day provided with
helps of every kind, so that man or woman of even ordinary education,
with the helps before him, can get a better view of the entire
subject than the translators themselves had. There are now three
works which give the English reader a tolerably clear insight
into the Common Version English Bible, and show exactly how it
has translated the Hebrew and Greek originals. (1) The
Englishman's Hebrew and Greek Concordance of the Holy Scriptures
[unsectarian]. (2) Professor Young's Analytical Concordance
to the Bible [Presbyterian]. (3) Dr. Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance [Methodist]. All three of these give each word
of the Scriptures, and show the original from which it is derived.
And although we have mentioned the denominations represented in
these different Concordances, it is but fair to say that, so far
as we have yet observed, denominational prejudices have not been
permitted to interfere with the accuracy of any of them. Although
gotten up on somewhat different lines, their testimony is harmonious
and accurate, the differences between them being those of convenience
these standard works what do we find? This: that the Hebrew word
neh-phesh, which is generally rendered "soul"
(436 times) throughout the Old Testament, and which has the signification
of "sentient being," is translated in thirty-six different
ways, as follows: "any," 4 times; "appetite,"
2; "beast," 1; "body," 4; "breath,"
1; "creature," 9 [see Gen. 1:21,24; 2:19; 9:10,12,15,16;
Lev. 11:46, twice]; "dead," 5; "deadly,"
1; "desire," 3; "discontented," 1; "fish,"
1 (Isa. 19:10); "ghost," 2; "greedy,"
1; "hath," 1; "he," 1; (Psa. 105:18);
"heart," 15; "hearty," 1; "herself,"
1; "her," 1; "himself," 4; "life,"
100; "lust," 2; "man," 2; "me,"
3 (Num. 23:10; Judges 16:30; 1 Kings 20:32); "mind,"
15; "mortally," 1; "myself," 1 (Psa. 131:2);
"one," 1 (Lev. 4:27); "own," 1 (Prov.
14:10); "person," 24 (Gen. 14:21; 36:6;
Num. 31:19; 35:11,15,30; Deut. 10:22; 27:25; Josh.
20:3,9); "pleasure," 3; "self," 21; "slay,"
<PAGE 335> "thing," 2 (Lev. 11:10;
Ezek. 47:9); "will," 3; "your," 3.
Greek word, psuche [sentient being], of the New Testament
corresponding to neh-phesh, is translated "soul,"
fifty-six times; is also translated "mind," three times
(Acts 14:2; Phil. 1:27; Heb. 12:3); "heart,"
once (Eph. 6:6); "life," forty-one times.
these variations in translation none has served to obscure the
truth more than the last. It has tended to give the impression
that the life is one thing, and soul or being another
thing; and has fostered the idea that a man might lose his life,
without losing his soul, his being. The following are the instances
in which the word psuche is translated life, but
would better have prevented confusion if translated being
sought the young child's life [psuche--soul, being]."
no thought for your life [psuche--soul, being],
what ye shall eat." Matt. 6:25
not the life [psuche--soul, being] more than meat?"
that findeth his life [psuche--soul, being] shall
lose it, and he that loseth his life [psuche--soul,
being] for my sake shall find it." Matt. 10:39
will save his life [psuche--soul, being] shall lose
it, and whosoever will lose his life [psuche--soul,
being], for my sake shall find it." Matt. 16:25
Son of man came...to give his life [psuche--soul,
being] a ransom for many." Matt. 20:28
it lawful to save life [psuche--soul, being], or
to kill?" Mark 3:4
will save his life [psuche--soul, being] shall lose
it, but whosoever shall lose his life [psuche--soul,
being] for my sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it. For
what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose
his own soul [psuche--life, being], or what shall
a man give in exchange for his soul [psuche--life,
being]?" [How few English readers are aware that "life"
and "soul," each used
<PAGE 336> twice in this scripture, are from
the same Greek word psuche.] Mark 8:35-37
Son of Man came to give his life [psuche--soul,
being] a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
it lawful to save life [psuche--soul, being] or
to destroy it?" Luke 6:9
will save his life [psuche--soul, being] shall lose
it, but whosoever will lose his life [psuche--soul,
being] for my sake the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged
if he gain the whole world and lose himself, or be cast away?"
Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives [psuche--souls,
beings], but to save them." Luke 9:56
no thought for your life [psuche--soul, being] what
ye shall eat, neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The
life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment."
any man come to me, and hate not [love not less] his father and
mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea, and
his own life [psuche--soul, being] also, he cannot
be my disciple." Luke 14:26
shall seek to save his life [psuche--soul, being]
shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life [psuche--soul,
being] shall preserve it." Luke 17:33
thought in this last text, and in several preceding it, is that
the Lord's people are to remember that their present existence
or being is under sentence of death anyway; but that divine grace
has provided redemption--not a continuance of being, but a resuscitation,
a resurrection, a living again. The call of this Gospel age is
to lay down our lives in the Lord's service, as living sacrifices,
following the example of our Redeemer--the promise being that
all believers in Christ who so do, faithfully, shall be granted
a share with him in the divine nature, through the operation of
the first resurrection. Thus they will get back again their soul,
being, existence--with "life [zoee] more abundantly."
good Shepherd giveth his life [psuche--soul, being]
<PAGE 337> for the sheep [our Lord "poured
out his soul unto death; he made his soul an offering
for sin." Isa. 53:10,12]." John 10:11
lay down my life [psuche--soul, being] for the sheep."
lay down my life [psuche--soul, being] that I might
receive it again [according to the divine promise and power, through
the resurrection]." John 10:17
that loveth his life [psuche--soul, being] shall
lose it; and he that hateth his life [psuche--soul,
being] in this world shall preserve it unto life eternal."
thought here is, that faithfulness to God under present evil conditions
necessarily means dissatisfaction with present conditions, and
a willingness to sacrifice them all in the service of God and
righteousness and our fellow creatures-- and thus, according to
the divine provision, to be accounted worthy of existence
[soul, being] under the more favorable conditions of the dispensation
to come. He who loves the present conditions of things, and who
values the enjoyments and pleasures of the present time higher
than he values righteousness and obedience to God, will thus be
proving himself unworthy of the future existence God has proffered
us, unworthy to have his soul, his being, restored in the first
thou lay down thy life [psuche--soul, being] for
my sake?" John 13:38
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life
[psuche--soul, being] for his friends." John 15:13
that have hazarded their lives [psuche--souls, beings]."
not yourselves, for his life [psuche--soul, being]
is in him [he has not expired, or breathed out existence]."
count I my life [psuche--soul, being, existence]
dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy."
Apostle had learned to rightly view the present existence
<PAGE 338> as of small value in comparison
to the future one promised in the resurrection. He did not count
it "dear," precious, in the sense of valuing it more
than the Lord and the Lord's favor, and the opportunities for
serving the Lord's cause. He was willing to spend and be spent
in the Master's service, in hope of attaining to the first resurrection,
as he explicitly tells us in Phil. 3:8-11.
I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage,
not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives
[psuche--souls, beings]." Acts 27:10
shall be no loss of any man's life [psuche--soul,
being]." Acts 27:22
am left alone, and they seek my life [psuche--soul,
being]." Rom. 11:3
have for my life [psuche--soul, being] laid down
their own necks." Rom. 16:4
for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his
life [psuche--soul, being], supplying your lack
of service toward me." Phil. 2:30
he laid down his life [psuche--soul, being--"he
poured out his soul unto death; he made his soul an offering for
sin"] for us; and we ought to lay down our lives [psuche--souls,
beings] for the brethren." 1 John 3:16
third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life
[psuche--soul, being] died." Rev. 8:9
loved not their lives [psuche--souls, beings] unto
death." Rev. 12:11
we get our minds clear upon this subject of the soul and obtain
a clear understanding of just how the words neh-phesh and
psuche are used throughout the Scriptures, by the inspired
writers, it removes all the mystery that has heretofore been shrouded
under the obscure words, soul and ghost, which,
not only to the ignorant, but also to many of the educated, have
meant something indefinite, indescribable and incomprehensible.
let none get the thought that the body is the soul: this
<PAGE 339> is an error, as our Lord's words
clearly show--"God is able to destroy both soul and
body." But on the other hand there can be no soul, no sentient
being without a body--heavenly or earthly, spiritual or animal.
to the Genesis record of man's creation we see that the body was
formed first, but it was not a man, soul or being, until
animated. It had eyes, but saw nothing; ears, but heard nothing;
a mouth, but spoke nothing; a tongue, but no taste; nostrils,
but no sense of smell; a heart, but it pulsated not; blood, but
it was cold, lifeless; lungs, but they moved not. It was not a
man, but a corpse, an inanimate body.
second step in the process of man's creation was to give vitality
to the properly "formed" and in every way prepared body;
and this is described by the words "blew into his nostrils
the breath of life." When a healthy person has been drowned
and animation is wholly suspended, resuscitation has, it is said,
been effected by working the arms and thus the lungs as a bellows,
and so gradually establishing the breath in the nostrils. In Adam's
case it of course required no labored effort on the part of the
Creator to cause the perfect organism which he had made to breathe
the life-giving oxygen of the atmosphere.
the vitalizing breath entered, the lungs expanded, the blood corpuscles
were oxygenized and passed to the heart, which in turn propelled
them to every part of the body, awakening all the prepared but
hitherto dormant nerves to sensation and energy. In an instant
the energy reached the brain, and thought perception, reasoning,
looking, touching, smelling, feeling and tasting commenced. That
which was a lifeless human organism had become a man,
a sentient being: the "living soul" condition
mentioned in the text had been reached. In other words, the term
"living soul" means neither more nor less than the term
"sentient being"; i.e., a being capable of sensation,
even though Adam was perfect in his organism, it was necessary
for him to sustain life, soul or sentient
<PAGE 340> being, by partaking of the fruits
of the trees of life. And when he sinned, God drove him from the
garden, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also
of the tree [plural trees or grove] of life, and
eat, and live forever [i.e., by eating continuously]."
(Gen. 3:22) How the fogs and mysteries scatter before the
light of truth which shines from God's Word!
because of his fall into sin and death, man's condition is far
from what it was in its original perfection when pronounced "very
good" by the highest Judge, so that some, by the cultivation
of the lower organs of thought and a failure to use the higher
intellectual faculties, have dwarfed the organs of the brain representing
these higher faculties, yet the organs are still there,
and are capable of development, which is not the case with the
most nearly perfect specimens of the brute creation. So then it
is in that the Creator has endowed man with a higher and finer
organism, that he has made him to differ from the brute.
They have similar flesh and bones, breathe the same air, drink
the same water, and eat similar food, and all are souls or creatures
possessing intelligence; but man, in his better body, possesses
capacity for higher intelligence and is treated by the Creator
as on an entirely different plane. It is in proportion as sin
degrades man from his original likeness of his Creator that he
is said to be "brutish"--more nearly resembling the
brutes, destitute of the higher and finer sensibilities.
whose eyes of understanding begin to open to this subject, so
that they see that the word "soul" signifies intelligence,
being, and the word "breath" or "spirit of life"
signifies the divine power to live, can readily see, from the
foregoing, that every creature which possesses life-consciousness
has, first of all, a body or organism; secondly, the spirit of
life animating it, and thirdly, existence, being, soul, as a result.
An illustration which helps some to grasp the proposition is the
similarity between heat and soul. If a lump of coal is placed
under favorable conditions, giving access to the oxygen of the
air, and then ignited, a new thing will be produced--heat.
The coal is not heat, though it
<PAGE 341> possesses some of the qualities
which, under favorable conditions, would produce heat; neither
is the oxygen heat, yet it also, under favorable conditions, may
be an element in producing heat. So, to carry the analogy, the
body is not the soul, though the body possesses the qualifications
necessary to soul; neither is the breath or spirit of life the
soul--it is the power which came from God, and which is necessary
to the production of the sentient creature. The body, when properly
united with the breath or spirit of life, produces a new thing--a
being, a soul, a sentient creature.
the process of dissolution, death, is in harmony with these facts.
If the breath or spirit of life be withdrawn, death results. Now
the question is, what dies? Does the breath or spirit of life
die? Surely not; it never had sentient being, it is a principle
or power, like electricity; it has no thought, no feeling; it
could not die. Does the body die? We answer, No. The body may
lose the life with which the Father animates it, but the body
of itself, apart from the breath or spirit of life, had no consciousness,
no feeling, no sense, and could not, therefore, be said to die;
it was inanimate before the breath or spirit of life came
into it; it was animate while the breath or spirit of life
was in it; it becomes inanimate again, or dead, when the
spirit of life is withdrawn.
then, dies? We answer that it is the soul that dies-- the sentient
being ceases. Let us remember that the sentient being was produced
by the union of the breath or spirit of life with an organism,
and that the separation or dissolution of these two causes the
cessation of the being, the soul--death. That this is true of
the lower animals, none would for a moment question; but is it
not equally true of man, the highest animal, created in the intellectual
image and moral likeness of God? It is no less true, and should
be equally evident to every reasoning mind. We are aware that
some few scriptures might be twisted and misunderstood to contradict
this proposition, but in due course they will have consideration
and will be found in most absolute accord with these presentations.
another illustration of the relationship between the human or
animal body, spirit and soul: an unlighted candle would correspond
to an inanimate human body or corpse; the lighting of the candle
would correspond to the spark of life originally imparted by the
Creator; the flame or light corresponds to sentient being, or
intelligence, or soul quality; the oxygenized atmosphere which
unites with the carbon of the candle in supporting the flame corresponds
to the breath of life or spirit of life which unites with
the physical organism in producing soul or intelligent existence.
If an accident should occur which would destroy the candle, the
flame, of course, would cease; so if a human or animal body be
destroyed, as by disease or accident, the soul, the being,
intelligence, personality, ceases. Or if the supply of
air were cut off from the candle flame, as by an extinguisher
or snuffer, or by submerging the candle in water, the light would
be extinguished even though the candle remained unimpaired. So
the soul, life, existence, of man or animal would cease
if the breath of life were cut off by drowning or asphyxiation,
while the body might be comparatively sound.
the lighted candle might be used under favorable conditions to
light other candles, but the flame once extinguished the candle
could neither relight itself nor other candles, so the human or
animal body while alive, as a living soul or being can, under
divine arrangement, start or propagate other souls or beings--offspring:
but so soon as the spark of life is gone, soul or being has ceased,
and all power to think, feel and propagate has ceased. In harmony
with this we read in the Scriptures of Jacob's children: "All
the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy
souls." (Exod. 1:5) Jacob received his spark of
life as well as his physical organism, and hence the united product
of these, his soul or intelligent being, from Isaac, and
hence from Adam, to whom alone God ever directly imparted life.
And Jacob passed on the life and organism and soul to his posterity,
and so with all humanity.
candle might be relighted by any one having the ability; but by
divine arrangement the human body bereft of the spark of life,
"wasteth away," returns to the dust from which it was
taken, and the spark of life cannot be re-enkindled except by
divine power, a miracle. The promise of resurrection is
therefore a promise of a relighting, a re-enkindling of animal
existence or soul; and since there can be no being or soul without
a body and restored life-power or spirit, it follows that a promised
resurrection or restoration of soul or being implies new
bodies, new organisms. Thus the Scriptures assure us that human
bodies, which return to dust will not be restored, but
that in the resurrection God will give such new bodies as it may
please him to give. 1 Cor. 15:37-40
Apostle here declares that in the resurrection there will be a
special class accounted worthy of a new nature, spiritual instead
of human or fleshly: and, as we should expect, he shows that this
great change of nature will be effected by giving these a different
kind of body. The candle may here again serve to illustrate:
suppose the fleshly or human nature to be illustrated by a tallow
candle, the new body might be illustrated by a wax candle of a
brighter flame, or indeed by an electric arc-light apparatus.
any power and wisdom less than that of our Creator guaranteeing
the resurrection, we might justly fear some break or slip by which
the identity would be lost, especially with those granted
the great change of nature by a share in the first (chief)
resurrection to spirit being. But we can securely trust
this and all things to him with whom we have to do in this matter.
He who knows our very thoughts can reproduce them in the new brains
so that not one valuable lesson or precious experience shall be
lost. He is too wise to err and too good to be unkind; and all
that he has promised he will fulfil in a manner exceedingly abundantly
better than we can ask or think.
suppose that the bodies buried are to be restored atom for atom,
but, on the contrary, the Apostle declares,
<PAGE 344> "Thou sowest [in death] not
that body which shall be." It is the soul, the sentient
being, that God proposes to restore by resurrection power;
and in the resurrection he will give to each person (to each soul
or sentient being) such a body as his infinite wisdom has been
pleased to provide; to the Church, the "bride" selected
in this age, spirit bodies; to the restitution class, human
bodies, but not the ones lost in death. 1 Cor. 15:37,38
in Adam's creation, the bringing together of an organism
and the breath of life produced a sentient being
or soul, so the dissolution of these, from any cause, puts
an end to sentient being--stopping thoughts and feelings of every
kind. The soul (i.e., sentient being) ceases; the body returns
to dust as it was; while the spirit or breath of life returns
to God, who imparted it to Adam, and to his race through him.
(Eccl. 12:7) It returns to God in the sense that it is no
longer amenable to human control, as in procreation, and can never
be recovered except by divine power. Recognizing this fact, the
Lord's instructed ones commit their hope of future life by resurrection
to God and to Christ, his now exalted representative. (Luke 23:46;
Acts 7:59) So, then, had God made no provision for man's future
life by a ransom and a promised resurrection, death would have
been the end of all hope for humanity. 1 Cor. 15:14-18
God has thus made provision for our living again; and ever since
he made known his gracious plan, those who speak and write intelligently
upon the subject (for instance, the inspired Scripture writers),
as if by common consent, speak of the unconscious interim between
death and the resurrection morning, in which sensibility (sentient
being) is suspended, as a "sleep." Indeed, the
illustration is an excellent one; for the moment of awakening
will seem to them like the moment after the moment of their dissolution.
For instance, we read that speaking of Lazarus' death our Lord
said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, I go that I may
awake him out of sleep." Afterward, because the disciples
were slow to comprehend, he said, "Lazarus is dead."
<PAGE 345> Were the theory of consciousness
in death correct, is it not remarkable that Lazarus gave no account
of his experience during those four days? None will claim that
he was in a "hell" of torment, for our Lord called him
his "friend"; and if he had been in heavenly bliss our
Lord would not have called him from it, for that would have been
an unfriendly act. But as our Lord expressed it, Lazarus slept,
and he awakened him to life, to consciousness, to his sentient
being, or soul returned or revived; and all this was
evidently a favor greatly appreciated by Lazarus and his friends.
thought pervades the Scriptures that we are now in the night of
dying and sleeping as compared with the morning of awakening and
resurrection. "Weeping may endure for a night, but
joy cometh in the morning" (Psa. 30:5)-- the resurrection
morning, when the sleepers shall come forth from the tomb, as
expressed by the Prophet: "Awake and sing, ye that dwell
in the dust [of the earth]." Isa. 26:19
apostles also frequently used this appropriate, hopeful and peaceful
figure of speech. For instance: Luke says of Stephen, the first
martyr, "he fell asleep"; and in recording Paul's
speech at Antioch he used the same expression, "David fell
on sleep." (Acts 7:60; 13:36) Peter uses the
same expression, saying, "The fathers fell asleep."
(2 Pet. 3:4) And Paul used it many times as the following
her husband be dead [Greek, fall asleep]." 1 Cor.
greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen
asleep." 1 Cor. 15:6
there be no resurrection,...then they also which are fallen
asleep in Christ are perished." 1 Cor. 15:13-18
is risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that
slept." 1 Cor. 15:20
I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep." 1 Cor.
would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that
are asleep." 1 Thess. 4:13
that sleep in Jesus, will God bring [from the dead] with
[by] him." 1 Thess. 4:14
the Kingdom, the resurrection time, comes, "we who are alive
and remain unto the presence of the Lord shall not precede
them that are asleep." 1 Thess. 4:15
same thought is presented by the Prophet Daniel: describing the
resurrection he says--"Many that sleep in the dust
shall awake"--and the description shows that these sleepers
include both the good and bad. (Dan. 12:2) They "fell
asleep" in peace, to await the Lord's day--the day of Christ,
the Millennial Day--fully persuaded that he (Christ) is able to
keep that which they committed unto him against that day. (2 Tim.
1:12) This same thought runs through the Old Testament as
well--from the time that God first preached to Abraham the Gospel
of a resurrection: the expression, "He slept with his fathers,"
is very common in the Old Testament. But Job puts the matter in
very forcible language, saying, "Oh that thou wouldest hide
me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret until thy wrath
be [over] past!" The present dying time is the time of God's
wrath--the curse of death being upon all, because of the original
transgression. However, we are promised that in due time the curse
will be lifted and a blessing will come through the Redeemer to
all the families of the earth; and so Job continues, "All
the days of my appointed time will I wait, until my change come;
[then] thou shalt call (John 5:25) and I will answer thee;
thou shalt have a desire to the work of thine hands." (Job
14:14,15) And we of the New Testament times read our Lord's
response, "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice
of the Son of God [calling them to awake and come to a full knowledge
of God and to a full opportunity of everlasting life]." John
death-"sleep" is so absolutely a period of unconsciousness
<PAGE 347> that the awakened ones will have
no knowledge of the lapse of time. Indeed, "sleep" is
merely an accommodated term, for really the dead are dead, utterly
destroyed, except as God's wisdom preserves their identity, and
has decreed through Christ their awakening--their reorganization
and resuscitation. And this, indeed, will be a re-creation--a
still greater manifestation of divine power than was the original
creation of Adam and Eve. It will be the re-creation of fifty
billions instead of two persons. It will be the reproduction of
infinite varieties instead of one. Only our God possesses such
omnipotent wisdom and power; he is both able and willing to perform.
It is to be one of the benefits resulting from the permission
of evil that its eradication will manifest all the features of
divine character as they could not otherwise be manifested and
known. Before both angels and men divine justice will shine,
so will divine love, so will divine power, and finally
the divine wisdom in preparing and permitting such an exhibition
of God's character will be seen and owned by all his creatures
Scriptural testimony regarding the necessity for a resurrection
of the dead is most clear and explicit--and how could there be
a resurrection of the dead if none are dead, but,
as some maintain, "all who seem to die are more alive than
they ever were"; thus contradicting the five senses of every
intelligent being as well as the positive declaration of Scripture
that "To all the living there is hope: for a living dog is
better than a dead lion. For the living [even the least intelligent]
know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything,
neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is
[very generally] forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred
and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a
portion [interest] forever [Hebrew, olam--for a long indefinite
period] in anything that is done under the sun...Whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work,
nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave21
whither thou [the soul, the
<PAGE 348> sentient being] goest." Eccl.
9:4-10; Isa. 26:14
destroyest the hope of man [in himself]. Thou prevailest forever
against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance and
sendest him away. His sons come to honor and he knoweth it not;
and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them."
Job 14:19-21; Isa. 63:16
the significance of the Apostle's words in his celebrated treatise
on the resurrection in 1 Cor. 15:12-54. He says:
Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among
you that there is no resurrection of the dead?"
the dead are not dead, but more alive than ever, then none are
dead, and surely there could be no resurrection of the dead. The
Apostle held no such theory, but the very contrary, that the dead
are perished like brute beasts unless God will resurrect
them; and that our hopes for them are vain hopes except they be
resurrection hopes. Mark well every word of this forceful argument
by one of earth's greatest logicians. He says:
there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen
[but is still dead]: And if Christ be not risen [but still dead],
then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain [because
a dead Christ could know nothing and could help nobody]. Yea,
and we are found false witnesses of God [we are wicked deceivers
instead of divinely appointed ambassadors]; because we have testified
of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up--if so
be [if it be true] that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise
not then is Christ not raised."
should be observed that the Apostle is not pressing his argument
as respecting a resurrection of the body, but as respects
a resurrection of being, or soul; "that his soul
was not left in sheol, hades." (Acts 2:31,32)
Had Paul the popular theory of our day respecting resurrection,
he would have said something like this: Some of you speak of a
resurrection of the body as though it were a matter of
importance; but really the body is a "clog," a hindrance,
a "prison house" for the soul, which is far better off
when "set free." The resurrection of the body, whenever
it comes, will be a calamity and imply the "re-fettering"
of the soul and a limitation of its powers.
Apostle said nothing of the kind because it would have been the
reverse of the truth. He taught a resurrection of the soul or
sentient being from unconsciousness, from death; but denied the
resurrection of the body which died, saying, "Thou sowest
not that body which shall be:...[in the resurrection of
the soul or being] God giveth it a [new] body, as it hath pleased
him, and to every [kind of] seed his own [appropriate kind of]
body." (1 Cor. 15:37,38) The masses of mankind of human
seed or kind will receive human bodies; but not the same bodies
which mouldered to dust and whose fragments or atoms have passed
into vegetable and animal organisms infinitesimal. The Church
will receive spirit bodies like to that of their risen Lord and
wholly unlike their earthly bodies--so much so that the Apostle
declares, "It doth 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"--not as he was. 1 John
let us follow the Apostle's argument further. He declares:
Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."
who claim that the soul cannot die and therefore does not die
and who therefore deny the resurrection of the
<PAGE 350> soul or sentient being, and who
in consequence are forced by their argument to claim that Scriptural
references to resurrection refer merely to the body, are in a
quandary what to do with these words of the inspired Apostle.
If they claim that our Lord was alive, "more alive than ever,"
during the three days the Scriptures declare he was dead, and
think of his resurrection body as the one that lay in Joseph's
tomb wounded and scarred, how could they claim that faith in a
Christ who did not die (but who merely shed off his body for three
days) is a "vain" faith? How can they acknowledge
that such a faith does not release from condemnation? How could
they claim that the "more-alive-than-ever" Christ "freed"
from his body of flesh could not save sinners and hence that all
that have fallen asleep in Christ have "perished?"
entire theory is in conflict with the Scriptural presentation
of the facts. They deny that any soul could perish
[Greek apolloomee--be destroyed] while the Apostle says
it could; and so says our Lord--"God is able to destroy both
soul and body." They deny also that any "are fallen
asleep in Christ" denying that death is a sleep, awaiting
a resurrection morn awakening, while the apostles, our Lord and
all the holy prophets unitedly declare it to be a "sleep"
from which God's power alone can awaken to consciousness, soul,
sentient being, on any plane of existence. For be it noted that
those who experience the "change" of the first resurrection
to the divine nature will be souls as truly as they were
in their earthly nature. God is declared to be a soul,
the same word psuche being used--"If any man draw
back, my soul [psuche--sentient being] shall have
no pleasure in him." Heb. 10:38
Platonic philosophy (that man does not and cannot die, but merely
appears to do so) prevailed throughout Greece at the time of the
first advent, and constituted the great obstacle to the progress
of the gospel among the Gentiles. For instance, we read that when
Paul preached at Athens he was listened to as a great teacher
by the philosophers
<PAGE 351> until he touched on the resurrection
of the dead--that was enough; they had no further interest; they
considered themselves far in advance of the Jewish idea that the
dead can have no future existence except by a resurrection. "And
when they heard of the resurrection of the dead [and thus
discerned that Paul disagreed with their theory that the dead
are more alive than ever] some mocked" and others said, That's
enough at present. Acts 17:32
heathen idea, that death is not death, but a step into broader
conditions of life, had not to any extent permeated Jewish thought
up to the time of the first advent. The Pharisees were the principal
sect of the Jews, and our Lord declares them the successors and
representatives of the Mosaic law, saying, "The scribes [writers]
and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat." (Matt. 23:2) The Sadducees,
much less numerous than the Pharisees, were next as a sect in
point of influence: they were really unbelievers, infidels. They
denied entirely a future life, holding that man dies exactly as
does the brute, and that there will be no resurrection of the
dead. They were disbelievers in all the Messianic promises, deniers
also of the superhuman intelligences, such as angels, etc. True,
Josephus does call attention to a sect called the Essenes, which
he declares held the Platonic theory prevalent amongst the Gentiles,
to the effect that man never really dies, but merely takes a progressive
step in life development, at the crisis termed death. But we are
to remember that Josephus wrote his history of the Jews while
at the Roman court, and that he wrote it with a view of influencing
the minds of the emperor and his court in favor of the Jews. The
Romans had come to regard the Jews, as the Scriptures declare
them to have been, "a stiff-necked and rebellious people,"
and naturally had concluded that the cause of this rebellious
disposition lay somehow or other in their religion. This was a
true supposition; it is undoubtedly a fact that the truths of
divine revelation tend to produce a spirit of liberty wherever
they are applied--breaking down the wide distinctions as between
priests and people, kings and
<PAGE 352> subjects, teaching that all are
amenable to one great Judge and King. But Josephus wished to counteract
this correct estimate of the Jewish people, and the Jewish religion;
and hence he stretched the truth in his endeavor to make out a
case, and to show the Roman court that the Jews' religion was
practically the same as the various heathen religions, (1) in
respect to consciousness of the dead, and (2) a belief in eternal
To make out his case, he cites the sect of the Essenes, as though
they were the chief religious sect amongst the Jews. On the contrary,
they were so insignificant that they are not so much as mentioned
in the New Testament, and evidently never came in conflict with
either the Lord or the apostles, whereas the Pharisees and the
Sadducees are continually and frequently referred to.
Live unto Him"-- Luke 20:37,38
was after our Lord had answered the doctors of the law and the
scribes and Pharisees, and had discomfited them, that the Sadducees
put in an appearance, thinking that they could show the superiority
of their infidel position, by refuting our Lord's doctrines. To
these Sadducees, who claimed that the dead were forever dead,
our Lord said, "And now that the dead are [to be] raised,
even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God
of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he
is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto
him." Luke 20:37,38
Lord suggests that this of itself is a proof "that the dead
are [to be] raised," because God would surely not refer thus
to beings totally and forever blotted out of existence. He then
shows that God's plan for a resurrection is fixed,
<PAGE 353> and that those whom men call "dead"
"all live unto Him"--from God's standpoint they only
"sleep." God's Word, therefore, speaks of these as "asleep"
and not as destroyed. Though the original sentence was to destruction
it is now offset by the ransom. So Moses says: "Thou turnest
man to destruction, and sayest [in resurrection], Return, ye children
of men." (Psa. 90:3; 103:4) In saying, "I am
the God of Abraham," God speaks not only of things past as
still present, but also of things to come as if already come to
pass. Rom. 4:17
Body, Spirit and Soul of the Church
--1 Thess. 5:23--
terms body, soul and spirit are figuratively used of the Church
collectively. For instance, the Apostle says: "I pray God
[that] your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless,
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This prayer must
be understood to apply to the Church as a whole--the elect Church
whose names are written in heaven. The true spirit has
been preserved in the little flock. Its body is discernible today,
also, notwithstanding the multitude of tares that would hide as
well as choke it. And its soul, its activity, its intelligence,
its sentient being, is in evidence everywhere, lifting up the
standard for the people--the cross, the ransom.
no other way could we apply the Apostle's words; for, however
much people may differ respecting the preservation of the individual
spirits and souls of the people addressed, all will agree that
their bodies have not been preserved, but have returned
to dust, like those of others. Besides, the words body, soul and
spirit are in the singular, not in the plural.
Is Signified by "Sheol" or "Hades"
to Which All Souls Go?
is held that since souls are said to go to sheol,
<PAGE 354> therefore the soul of man must
be something tangible and conscious after dissolution--after the
separation of the spirit of life from the organism or body. It
is therefore proper that we examine the Word of the Lord on this
line, and see--What is sheol, hades?
Hebrew word sheol occurs sixty-five times in the Old Testament
Scriptures. It is three times translated pit, thirty-one
times translated grave, and thirty-one times translated
hell. These are all faulty translations, if measured by
the present general use of the words, hell, grave and pit.
meaning of the Hebrew word sheol (hades is its Greek
equivalent) can scarcely be expressed by any one English word:
it signifies hidden or extinguished, or obscure--the
condition or state of death: it is not a place but a condition,
and perhaps the word oblivion would more nearly than any
other in our language correspond with the word sheol of
the Hebrew and hades of the Greek. Nothing in the word
sheol signifies joy or misery, or any feeling; the connections
must guide us in this. Let us therefore examine uses of the words
sheol and hades and ascertain from the connection
all we can respecting "hell." We will find it clearly
stated in the Scriptures that sheol, hades, oblivion,
receives all mankind, good and bad alike; that it has no light,
no knowledge, no wisdom, no device; that no tongue there praises
the Lord, neither blasphemes his name; that it is a condition
of absolute silence, and in every way an undesirable condition,
except that it has attached to it a hope of resurrection.
will be noticed also that it is "souls," both good and
bad, that go to this condition--sheol, oblivion--to
await the summons of the Life-giver in the morning of the Millennial
age. It cannot be denied that the translators of our Common Version
English Bible have been at times inconsistent, but we urge that
this be not charged wholly to dishonesty, even though in many
instances it may appear to be little short of this: rather let
us believe that it was the result of a confusion of mind on this
subject, superinduced by long centuries of false teaching, handed
down from the "dark
<PAGE 355> ages." Another thing that
can be said in extenuation of the work of the translators is,
that in the "old English" the word hell had no
such meaning as it has in modern English language. It, in no sense
of the word, signified or implied a place of flames or torture
or trouble or pain, but more the thought of grave--hidden condition,
oblivion. The translators in using the word hell
probably partially justified themselves, on the ground of its
ancient significance, its primary meaning, as given in unabridged
examining the following occurrences of the word sheol,
the reader is urged to note what would be the sense of the passage,
if the word sheol were translated in each case "hell
fire," or "place of torment," and then also to
note how, in every instance, the translation would be thoroughly
smooth and consistent with the context if it were translated oblivion.
These prove conclusively that "souls" go to sheol,
oblivion, and that they are not in torment there, nor have
they any knowledge or wisdom or work or joy or pain or feeling
of any kind, but simply wait in oblivion for "the
voice of the archangel and the trump of God."
will go down into the grave [into sheol, into oblivion]
unto my son, mourning." Gen. 37:35
did Jacob mourn for his son Joseph, whom he supposed had died
a violent death.
mischief shall befall him [Benjamin] by the way in which ye go,
then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave
[to sheol, to oblivion]." Gen. 42:38
were the words of Jacob, when parting with Benjamin, and fearful
lest he should be killed, as he supposed Joseph had been.
same words identically are repeated under similar circumstances,
in chapter 44:29, when the brethren of Joseph are relating
to him the parting injunction of their father respecting Benjamin.
And in the 31st verse the
<PAGE 356> brethren again state the matter
as for themselves, saying, "Thy servants shall bring down
the gray hairs of thy servant our father to the grave [to
sheol, to oblivion]."
are four instances in which the word sheol has been translated
"grave," and we invite all to consider how inappropriate
it would have been to have used the word hell, attaching
to it the usual, ordinary thought of fire, torment and anguish.
The translators were evidently quite positive that the word hell,
as ordinarily understood, would give very false ideas of the expectation
of Jacob for himself, and of his sons respecting him: hence they
here translated the word "grave." Nevertheless, they
did not believe, nor do the majority of people believe, that Jacob
went into the grave, or had any thought of going into the grave.
Nor was the patriarch thinking of the burial of his body in a
tomb, for then doubtless he would have used the same Hebrew word
for grave which he used in speaking of Rachel's grave, viz., qeburah
(Gen. 35:20), or else he would have used the same word which
his son Joseph used (qeber), when speaking of Jacob's grave,
which Jacob himself had already caused to be prepared before he
died. (Gen. 50:5) On the contrary, we see that Jacob was speaking
about himself, as a soul or being--that the disappointment
of the loss of Benjamin would bring him down to oblivion,
to the state of death, in his now old age and feeble health.
the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow
them up...and they go down quick into the pit [into sheol,
into oblivion]." Num. 16:30
down alive into the pit [sheol, oblivion], and the
earth closed upon them and they perished from among the congregation."
two texts referring to Korah, Dathan and Abiram, showing how they
were destroyed, could not have been consistently translated "into
hell," for fear of proving that the claimed place
of torture is under the surface of this earth. But how simple
the statement when rightly understood: the
<PAGE 357> earth opened her mouth and swallowed
them up and they went down from the midst of life's activities
into oblivion, unconsciousness.
fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the
lowest hell [sheol, oblivion], and shall consume
the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of
the mountains." Deut. 32:22
certainly is a mention of fire, but not of literal fire. The entire
context shows that it is the fire of God's jealousy, and the statement
follows, "They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with
burning heat and bitter destruction ...the sword without and terror
within shall destroy." We are not left to conjecture respecting
how this prophecy was fulfilled; for the Apostle Paul, speaking
under the inspiration of the holy Spirit, refers to this passage,
and applies it to fleshly Israel, and to the trouble which came
upon them as a nation, when they rejected the Lord Jesus, and
in turn were themselves rejected of the Lord. The Apostle declares
that wrath came upon them to the uttermost (1 Thess. 2:16):
divine anger burned against them and did continue to burn against
them until, as a people, they had suffered for their national
sins. After divine wrath has burned out their national transgression,
even searching them out to the very lowest oblivion (sheol)
he will then speak peaceably toward them, saying to the Church,
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people; speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's
hands double for all her sins." (Isa. 40:1,2) Then also
shall come the deliverance of Jacob predicted by the Apostle Paul,
on the strength of the divine statement, "For this is my
covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Rom.
11:26,27) The same thought that this burning of divine wrath
against Israel, to the very lowest oblivion, will be followed
by divine blessing, is shown in the context. See Deut. 32:26-43.
Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to
<PAGE 358> the grave [to sheol,
to oblivion], and bringeth up [by a resurrection out of
oblivion, out of sheol]." 1 Sam. 2:6
sorrows of hell [sheol, oblivion] compassed me about."
2 Sam. 22:6
prophet David here expressed the fact that his life was in jeopardy,
but that God delivered him from the hand of Saul. The context,
however, shows quite clearly that the Psalmist speaks prophetically
of the Christ, and the time of the full deliverance of the body
of Christ, which is the Church, from the present evil world, into
the glories of the world to come, showing (verses 8-18) that
the deliverance of the body of Christ would be just before a great
time of trouble, and manifestation of divine power and indignation
not his hoar head go down to the grave [sheol, oblivion]
in peace...but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave
[sheol, oblivion] with blood." 1 Kings 2:6,9
was the speaker, pointing out to Solomon his son that Joab was
a dangerous man, a man of blood, justly deserving of some retribution
before he died. The translators evidently thought that, although
Joab was a bad man, it would not do here to translate the word
sheol by the word hell, because the context speaks
of gray hairs, while their theory asserts that the hairs and all
the remainder of the physical body are buried, and that the naked
soul or spirit goes to hell. Hence they preferred here to render
sheol by the English word grave. But with the proper
thought in mind, there is no difficulty about having Joab's gray
hairs and also Jacob's gray hairs go down into sheol, oblivion,
the state of death, together. The words "gray hairs"
and "hoar head" are simply figures of speech signifying
a cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down
to the grave [sheol, oblivion] shall come up no
more." Job 7:9
here points out the utter destruction of man's soul, or
<PAGE 359> being, in death. Nevertheless in
verse 21 he concludes the argument with the declaration, "I
shall sleep and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall
not be." Here the interim of death is referred to as a sleep,
as the Millennial age is referred to as the morning, and the present
age as the night of weeping and trouble, dying and crying. The
Lord will seek Job in the morning, in resurrection power, and
though he shall not be, though death shall have worked utter destruction,
nevertheless the case is not beyond divine power, and hence, when
the Lord's time shall come "he shall have a desire unto the
work of his hands," when the day of the Lord's vengeance
shall have passed, and the times of refreshing shall have come--then
he shall call, and Job and all others will answer him. See Chap.
is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell
[sheol, oblivion]; what canst thou know?" Job 11:8
words are by Zophar, one of Job's mistaken comforters, whom the
Lord reproved. By this statement he is attempting to show Job
that the divine principles of government are inscrutable to humanity:
as an illustration of man's utter lack of knowledge of God he
refers to sheol, and compares the two; as there is no knowledge
in sheol, equally, he claims, there can be no knowledge
of the divine wisdom and plan.
that thou wouldst hide me in the grave [sheol, oblivion],
that thou wouldst keep me in secret until thy wrath be past, that
thou wouldst appoint me a set time and remember me." Job
is the most simple and most explicit statement of Job's hope.
He was not anxious for a perpetuation of the present conditions
of sin and sorrow and trouble and pain; he was quite willing to
be hidden in oblivion until the time when the curse, "wrath,"
shall be lifted from the earth, and the times of refreshing instead
shall come. But he does not wish to be blotted out forever. Oh
no! having confidence in the divine provision for a future life,
through a resurrection,
<PAGE 360> he prays that God in due time,
after the curse of sin has been rolled away, will remember him,
and call him out of oblivion into being again, by the restitution
powers then to be exercised through the Christ. See Acts 3:19-21.
I wait, the grave [sheol, oblivion] is my house:
I shall make my bed in the darkness. I have cried to corruption,
Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister."
expressive this language! Oblivion is the house or is the bed,
and it is full of darkness--Job's soul, his being, sleeps, is
inanimate, waiting for the morning of the resurrection, while
his body turns to corruption.
is now my hope? As for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go
down to the bars of the pit [to sheol, oblivion,
separately]. Truly in the dust alone there is rest for all."
servant of God expresses his own hope or confidence, but questions
how many can have such a confidence. He has already expressed
the hope that his death will be merely a sleep, from which he
shall awake in the morning. But although each separately goes
down to sheol, to oblivion, whether they have this hope
or not, all find rest in the dust.
spend their days in wealth and in a moment go down into the
grave [sheol, oblivion]." Job 21:13
is here describing the prosperous course of some who are not the
Lord's people--contrasting the same with the tribulations experienced
by some who are the Lord's people, and come under the rod of divine
correction, to fit and prepare them for better things hereafter.
and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave [sheol,
oblivion] those which have sinned." Job 24:19
mankind has sinned, and hence all mankind is subject to death,
and goes down to oblivion. The only hope is in him who redeemed
us from death, and who, "in the
<PAGE 361> morning," will bring us out
of oblivion, according to his own gracious promise. Job, however,
in this instance is specially referring to evildoers, who hasten
their death by an evil course.
[sheol, oblivion] is naked before him, and destruction
hath no covering." Job 26:6
Job points out the all-wisdom of the Creator, who not only knows
the end from the beginning, but every secret thing of oblivion
is open to his inscrutable gaze.
in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave
[sheol, oblivion] who shall give thee thanks?" Psa.
a clear, positive statement we have here, proving the unconsciousness
of man in death! It should be noticed also that the statement
is not with reference to the wicked, but with reference to God's
servants who desire to thank and to praise him for his mercies.
Note also that the reference is not to the dead flesh which
is buried in qeber, but to the soul which goes to
wicked shall be [re-] turned into hell [sheol, oblivion]
and all nations that forget God." Psa. 9:17
Hebrew word shub in this text is properly translated "returned."
This gives the thought of one recovered from sheol, oblivion,
and that some thus recovered will be returned to oblivion on account
of wickedness and forgetfulness of God. The deliverance of mankind
in general from sheol will occur during the Millennial
age, as a result of the ransom price finished at Calvary. However,
those once awakened and brought to a knowledge of the truth, who
then are wilfully perverse, will be returned again to oblivion--
"the Second Death," from which there is to be no ransom
and no restitution. That this passage is not applicable to the
masses of mankind (the heathen) who have never known God, is very
evident--from its own statement it refers to those who forget
God after they have been brought to clear knowledge of him, and
to corresponding responsibility.
wilt not leave my soul in hell [sheol, oblivion];
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Apostle Peter, speaking on the day of Pentecost, under the plenary
influence of the holy Spirit, expounds to us the true significance
of this statement, pointing out that it could not possibly be
true of David himself; because David's soul was left in sheol,
and his flesh did see corruption. He declares of David, "He
is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto
this day." "David is not ascended into the heavens."
Apostle's words are emphatic and thoroughly convincing on two
points, (1) that the soul of David went to sheol, oblivion,
and still remained there and up to the time of Peter's discourse
had not gone to heaven; (2) that the soul of Christ Jesus went
to sheol, oblivion, also, but did not remain because resurrected
the third day--and subsequently ascended to heaven.
plain statements from an inspired source should clarify this subject
to all genuine truth seekers. They set before us the following
facts: (1) The soul (being) of our Lord Jesus went to oblivion,
to sheol, at death. (2) He was dead parts of three days.
(3) He arose, was quickened, brought out of oblivion, to the divine
nature, on the third day, by the power of the holy Spirit of God,
and became "the first fruits of them that slept."
Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during the period of
death: "He poured out his soul unto death; he made his soul
an offering for sin." But his soul [being] was revived in
resurrection, being granted a new spiritual body.23
bonds of hell [sheol, oblivion] encircled me: the
snares of death seized on me." Psa. 18:5 (Leeser,
figurative expression of deep anguish and fear of death.
Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave
<PAGE 363> [sheol, oblivion]; thou
hast kept me alive." Psa. 30:3
is a thanksgiving for recovery from severe illness, which threatened
the wicked be ashamed, let them be silent in the grave
[sheol, oblivion]; let the lying lips be put to silence."
as elsewhere, the Psalmist longs for the cleansing of the earth
from those who love and practice wickedness. This has no reference
whatever to a future life, nor does it imply a hope of resurrection.
When the Kingdom is the Lord's and he is the governor amongst
the nations, and the laws of righteousness and truth are established,
and when mercy and love shall bring to every creature fullest
opportunity of knowledge and recovery from sin, it may be that
some who are now wicked will seek righteousness, seek justice,
and be hidden under the mercy of Christ's righteousness, and eventually
attain to eternal life through him. Neither the prophet David
nor any one else could offer objections to such a reformation,
nor to the giving of eternal life to those thoroughly reformed
and brought back to harmony with God.
sheep they are laid in the grave [sheol, oblivion];
death shall feed upon them, and the upright shall have dominion
over them in the morning; and their strength shall consume, the
grave [sheol, oblivion] being an habitation to every
one of them. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the
grave [sheol, oblivion]." Psa. 49:14,15
sheol does not signify grave in the ordinary sense, but
as we translate it, oblivion, is clearly manifested from this
text; for sheep are not buried in graves, though all sheep go
into oblivion, are forgotten, are as though they had not been.
The Prophet is here pointing out his own confidence in the resurrection,
that God would redeem his soul from sheol, oblivion. This
is in full harmony with the Apostle Peter's statement that "David
is not ascended into the heavens." David's soul went to sheol,
to oblivion, and
<PAGE 364> David's only hope is in the redemption
of his soul from sheol, from oblivion, to life, by the
Redeemer in the resurrection. Moreover, even those who go into
oblivion like the sheep are to come out of oblivion again, for
this passage distinctly declares that "in the morning"
of the resurrection, the Millennial morning, the righteous shall
"have dominion" over these, shall rule them, shall control
them, shall judge them in righteousness. So also saith the Apostle,
"The saints shall judge the world." 1 Cor. 6:2
death seize them, and let them go down quick into hell
[sheol, oblivion]: for wickedness is in their dwellings."
scripture, as ordinarily misunderstood, has been a great stumbling
block to many of God's people. They have said, how could it be
that a good man like David should pray for his enemies to go down
into hell--into everlasting torture. A good man would not
so pray, nor was this the tenor of David's prayer. As we have
seen, and are seeing, the word sheol contains no thought
whatever of fire or blaze or torment or anything of the kind,
but simply signifies oblivion, the extinguishment of life. It
follows, then that David's prayer or desire for his enemies, the
opponents of righteousness, was a perfectly proper desire, in
fullest harmony with the laws of the most civilized peoples in
this day of greatest enlightenment. Today the laws of civilized
nations declare that all murderers shall be executed, and they
generally stipulate the supposedly easiest and least painful methods
of execution. The law is thus saying, as did David, Let these
culprits go to sheol, oblivion--let them die. Nevertheless,
God in his mercy, has redeemed, by the precious blood of Christ,
the vilest sinner as well as the least vile, for "Jesus Christ,
by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." "He
gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
If some of our fellow-creatures are more perverse than ourselves,
it may, for aught we know to the contrary, be because of the specially
blinding influences of the Adversary upon them (2 Cor. 4:4);
or because of a more evil heredity.
<PAGE 365> In any case, God's provision is
that each individual of the race shall have a full, fair, impartial
opportunity of deciding his choice for righteousness and
life, or for unrighteousness and the Second Death--to be returned
to sheol. All this is fully guaranteed to us in the New
Covenant secured and sealed to us through the merit of the precious
blood of Christ.
is thy mercy toward me: thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest
hell [sheol, oblivion]." Psa. 86:13
words "lowest hell" here would signify depth of oblivion.
We may not improperly consider that the Prophet is here personating
the Lord Jesus, as he does in many of his Psalms. If so, the words
"depth of oblivion" would have a peculiar applicability.
In the case of the world of mankind death is but a sleep, and
its oblivion but a temporary one, from which there shall come
an awakening in the resurrection, as a result of the redemption.
But in the case of our Lord Jesus it was different: inasmuch as
he took the place of the sinner (Adam), death to him must have
meant the extreme penalty of sin, viz., a perpetual oblivion,
except as, by the Father's grace and power, he should be raised
from the dead, and become the Deliverer of those whom he redeemed.
soul is full of troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the
grave [sheol, oblivion]." Psa. 88:3
again, sorrow nigh unto death is briefly and poetically described.
man is he that liveth and shall not see death? Shall he deliver
his soul from the hand [power] of the grave [sheol,
oblivion]?" Psa. 89:48
consistent this inquiry and its implied answer, with all the facts
of the case as we have thus far seen them, and how inharmonious
are these words with the common thought upon the subject discussed!
The common thought is that no man, no soul, experiences
death; that the moment of dying is the moment of an increase of
life; hence that the soul is quite superior to the powers of sheol,
<PAGE 366> the soul cannot die: so far from
it being a question whether it could deliver itself from the power
of sheol, it passes unquestioned that sheol has
no power whatever to touch the soul. How consistent the Scriptures
and the truth! How inconsistent the commonly accepted Platonic
sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell [sheol,
oblivion] gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow."
again, fear of death is graphically portrayed.
shall I go from thy spirit [power--to escape or be hidden from
divine power], or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I
ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell
[sheol, oblivion] behold, thou art there." Psa. 139:7,8
to the prevalent idea, this would mean that God is a permanent
resident of the awful torture chamber which sheol is represented
to be. On the contrary, the Prophet is taking a large view of
the divine power, and telling us the result of his researches,
that there is no place in all the universe that is not accessible
to divine power. Even the oblivion of death is subject to our
Lord who declares, "I have the keys of death and of hades
[oblivion]." It is our confidence in God--in his omnipotence--that
constitutes the basis of our faith in a resurrection of the dead.
bones are scattered at the grave's [sheol, oblivion]
mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth upon the earth."
significance of this passage is very obscure, but in any event,
it has nothing in it favorable to the common idea of a hell of
torment. Young's translation renders this verse-- "As one
tilling and ripping up the land, have our bones been scattered
at the command of Saul."
us swallow them up alive, as the grave [sheol, oblivion]."
purports to be the language of murderers, who would destroy their
victims quickly, and have them lost from sight and from memory--in
feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell [sheol,
oblivion]." Prov. 5:5
the temptations of an evil woman, and their baneful results, are
poetically set forth: her ways lead to destruction, to death,
house is the way to hell [sheol, oblivion], going
down to the chambers of death." Prov. 7:27
similar expression to the one preceding, but giving evidence that
the hell referred to is not ablaze; not a place of torment, but
the dark chambers of death, nonentity, oblivion.
guests are in the depths of hell [sheol, oblivion]."
in hyperbolic language, the harlot's guests are represented as
dead, as having lost self-respect, and all the dignity of manhood--undoubtedly
they are in the way of death, for the way of licentiousness hastens
disease and death. They are in the way of oblivion, not only in
the physical sense, but also in the sense of losing their respect
and influence amongst men.
[sheol, oblivion] and destruction are before the Lord:
how much more, then, the hearts of the children of men?"
should be noted that there is no intimation here of torture, but
quite the reverse, sheol, oblivion, is associated with
way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell
[sheol, oblivion] beneath." Prov. 15:24
translators have very nearly made this text favor their theory
that the righteous go up to heaven, and the unrighteous
go down to hell. Notice the Revised Version's rendering--
"To the wise the way of life goeth upward that he may depart
from sheol [margin, the grave] beneath." The correct thought
might properly be rendered thus--The path of life for the wise
is an upward one toward righteousness, that they may be delivered
by resurrection power from oblivion.
shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell
[sheol, oblivion]." Prov. 23:14
is, perhaps, unnecessary to explain that this passage does not
teach that after death the corpse should be beaten, in order that
the soul might be gotten out of a hell of torment. The meaning
is clearly indicated by the context. The injunction is that the
child shall not be spared the rod, if it needs it, for in so doing
years of usefulness may be added to its life--its soul (being)
shall be kept back from a premature oblivion, and possibly be
saved from the Second Death-- from being returned to oblivion.
[sheol, oblivion] and destruction are never full; so the
eyes of man are never satisfied." Prov. 27:20
far from this signifying a burning hell, of so immense proportions
that it never can be filled, it merely signifies that there is
no limit to the capacity of death--oblivion and destruction cannot
are three things that are never satisfied; yea, four things say
not, It is enough: the grave [sheol, oblivion];
the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water, and
the fire that saith not, It is enough." Prov. 30:15,16
this text, as in the one preceding it, death, oblivion, is said
to have no end of capacity, and cannot be over-filled.
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no
work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave
[sheol, oblivion] whither thou goest." Eccl. 9:10
is a most positive statement respecting hell, sheol, oblivion.
It is applicable not merely to the wicked, but also to the righteous--to
all who enter death. There is neither good work nor bad work,
neither praising God nor cursing God, neither thinking good nor
thinking ill, neither holy knowledge nor unholy knowledge, neither
heavenly wisdom nor other wisdom, in sheol, in the oblivion
of death. How could the matter be more clearly or more emphatically
is cruel as the grave [sheol, oblivion]." Sol.
the death state, oblivion, is represented as the very personification
of relentlessness. It swallows up the entire human family, making
no exceptions, either of character or condition.
hell [sheol, oblivion] hath enlarged herself and
opened her mouth without measure." Isa. 5:14
Prophet here uses the word sheol, oblivion, to describe
the loss of prestige, the ignominy, the dishonor upon Israel.
They had become as though dead, they had passed into oblivion
in large numbers. The passage has no reference to a literal grave,
nor to a lake of fire.
[sheol, oblivion] from beneath is moved for thee to meet
thee at thy coming." Isa. 14:9
is highly symbolic language. It is applied to Babylon. Its fulfilment,
we believe, is still future, and is now close at hand. Great Babylon
is to be swallowed up; as a stone cast into the sea, it shall
be utterly lost sight of and forgotten-- it will go to oblivion,
sheol. (Rev. 18:21) This is shown by the context, which
declares, "How hath the oppressor ceased, the golden city
ceased!" See verses 4-8.
pomp is brought down to the grave [sheol, oblivion]."
is a continuation of the same symbolical picture of the destruction
of mystic Babylon, whose greatness will soon be a thing of the
past--buried in oblivion, not in a burning hell.
have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell
[sheol, oblivion] are we at agreement." Isa. 28:15
the Lord predicts direful trouble, stumbling, and falling amongst
those who, through false doctrines, have come to disregard the
Scriptural teaching that death is the wages of sin. This time
of retribution upon those who have handled the Word of God deceitfully,
and who, instead of being sanctified by the truth, are preferring
the error, is near at hand. Our great adversary, Satan, is taking
advantage of the prevalent misbelief on this subject to ensnare
<PAGE 370> world with various false doctrines
presented upon this false premise. Already he has misled the Papists
and the entire heathen world into prayers and masses for the dead,
who are believed to be not dead, but very much alive in the torments
of purgatory. And now, through Spiritualism, Theosophy and Christian
Science, the same Adversary is making special attacks upon Protestants,
who because of their belief that the dead are not dead, are very
susceptible to these deceiving influences.
of various denominations have "made a league with death,"
and declare that it is a friend, whereas the Scriptures declare
that it is man's greatest enemy, and the wages of his sin. With
the grave nominal Christians are in agreement; they consider it
to be nothing but a storehouse for the earthly body, which they
declare themselves well rid of. Failing to see that death (oblivion)
is the wages of sin, they are ready to believe Satan's falsehood,
that eternal torment is the wages of sin. Failing to believe that
death is the wages of sin, they are ready to deny that the death
of Christ was the remedy, the corresponding price, for man's release,
and thus all the gracious features of the divine plan of the ransom
and restitution are more or less obscured from their view,
and made difficult of apprehension.
covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with
hell [sheol, oblivion] shall not stand." Isa.
the Lord declares that he will ultimately convince the world of
the truth of the Scripture statements respecting death and the
oblivion condition; but it shall be through a great time of trouble
and confusion to those who are under this deception, and who refuse
to hearken to the voice of the Word of the Lord on this subject.
said, in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of
the grave [sheol, oblivion]. I am deprived of the
residue of my years." Isa. 38:10
are the words of Hezekiah, the good king of Judah,
<PAGE 371> on whose behalf a miracle was wrought,
prolonging his days. In these words he is telling what were his
thoughts at the time of his sickness. He certainly did not mean
that he expected to have gone down to a hell of eternal torment,
and the translators were wise enough to see that if in this instance
they had translated sheol with the word hell, it
would have aroused questionings and investigations on the part
of the readers, which would the sooner have brought the truth
on this subject to general attention. The king simply declares
that he felt himself near to death, to oblivion, and that he was
about to be deprived of the residue of his days, that he might
reasonably have expected to enjoy.
grave [sheol, oblivion] cannot praise thee: death cannot
celebrate thee." Isa. 38:18
are the words of Hezekiah, a part of the same description of his
sickness, his fear of death, his record of the Lord's goodness
and mercy in prolonging his life, and his thanksgiving to the
Lord. He declares, "Thou hast in love of my soul [being]
delivered it from the pit of corruption." The translators
did not render this, "Hell cannot praise thee," else
those of inquiring mind would have been asking what kind of a
hell would be referred to. Hezekiah associates the thought of
death, with oblivion, sheol, and uses them synonymously,
and then he declares, "The living, the living, he shall praise
thee, as I do this day." In other words, a living man can
praise the Lord, but if a man be dead, if his soul be gone
to sheol, to oblivion, he cannot praise the Lord, nor in
any sense recount his mercies--until, in the morning of the resurrection,
as Job declares, the Lord will call, and all will answer him.
wentest to the king with ointment...and didst debase thyself even
unto hell [sheol, oblivion]." Isa. 57:9
is a figurative expression. It does not refer to a hell of torment,
nor to a literal grave. It represents Israel as a woman, negligent
of her husband, the Lord, seeking alliance
<PAGE 372> with the kings of the earth, to
oblivion--to the extent of becoming figuratively dead, oblivious
to the Lord and to the principles of his truth and the righteousness
which is of faith.
the day when he went down to the grave, [sheol, oblivion]
I caused a mourning...I made the nations to shake at the sound
of his fall, when I cast him down to hell [sheol, oblivion]
...they also went down into hell [sheol, oblivion]
unto them that were slain with the sword." Ezek. 31:15-17
the Lord, through the Prophet, is in figurative language describing
the fall of Babylon. As heretofore seen, the fall of Babylon,
and the extravagant descriptions of it, were in part applicable
to literal Babylon, and in greater part are yet to be applied
in the complete fall and collapse of mystic Babylon. The old-time
nation of Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and Persians, and
went down into oblivion, into the death state as a nation: modern
mystic Babylon is similarly to fall into oblivion, to rise no
strong among the mighty shall speak to him, and them that help
him, out of the midst of hell, [sheol, oblivion]."
the passing of the nation of Egypt into oblivion, and the other
strong nations which went down into oblivion prior to the fall
of Egypt, are represented as speaking to Egypt in respect to its
fall. Thus we say that history tells us certain things--that
history repeats her lessons.
shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised
which are gone down to hell [sheol, oblivion] with
their weapons of war." Ezek. 32:27
Prophet is here foretelling the destruction of Meshech and Tubal,
how they also will go down to oblivion with their weapons of war.
The weapons of war can, indeed, go down into oblivion, and we
thank the Lord that no provision has been made for their restoration,
in the glorious age that is to come, when Emmanuel shall have
<PAGE 373> his Kingdom, for the positive promise
is, "He shall make wars to cease unto the ends of the earth."
will ransom them from the power of the grave [sheol,
oblivion]; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will
be thy plagues, O grave [sheol, oblivion] I will
be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from my eyes."
has not already been convinced that sheol does not signify
a place of torture can at least take comfort from this text, in
which the Lord declares unqualifiedly that sheol shall
be destroyed. If, therefore, anyone still believes and contends
that it is a place of torture, let him also at least admit that
it will not endure to all eternity, because the Lord himself has
decreed its destruction.
how beautifully clear and harmonious is this entire statement
from the true standpoint! The ransom price has already been paid
by our dear Redeemer, and the work of delivering mankind from
sheol, from the oblivion of death, merely waits until the
Church, the Body of Christ, has been selected from amongst mankind,
and glorified with her Lord and Head, Christ Jesus. As soon as
the resurrection of the Church is complete (the chief or first
resurrection) then, declares the Apostle, "shall be
brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed
up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is
thy victory?" 1 Cor. 15:54,55
swallowing up of death in victory will be the work of the Millennial
age, and a gradual one, just as the swallowing up of mankind by
death has been a gradual one. Eventually the death sentence which
now rests upon mankind, and sheol, the oblivion which it
enforces upon mankind, shall completely pass away, because all
have been redeemed from its power. Under the new conditions, under
the New Covenant, with its abundant provision, no one shall enter
death (oblivion) again, except such as will be intentional sinners
on their own behalf. This will be the Second Death, from which
there will be no hope of recovery.
they dig into hell [sheol, oblivion] thence shall
my hand [power] take them." Amos 9:2
this strongly figurative language the Lord declares the completeness
of his power and control over mankind, referring in particular
to Israel. As a nation, no more than as individuals, could they
escape from the divine judgments, and though they should go down
into death, individually and nationally, still all of God's promises,
and threats as well, shall be fulfilled. Nevertheless, after declaring
their utter overthrow and scattering amongst all nations of earth,
as we see it fulfilled today, the Lord's promise is (verses 11-15),
"In that day [in the dawning of the Millennial day] I will
raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen...and I will bring
again the captivity of my people, Israel...and they shall no more
be pulled out of the land which I have given them, saith the Lord
thy God." None would think of digging his way into a place
of eternal torment; but Israel as a nation did dig its way toward
national oblivion. Yet God shall prevent this.
of the belly of hell [sheol, oblivion] cried I,
and thou heardest my voice." Jonah 2:2
belly of hell, in which Jonah was, and from which he cried to
the Lord, and from which he was delivered, was the belly of the
great fish which had swallowed him. It was the belly of oblivion,
destruction, death, to him, had he not been delivered from it.
also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither
keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell [sheol,
oblivion], and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth
unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people." Hab.
apparently, an ambitious nation is referred to, an aggressive
nation. It might be very fitly applied to the nations of the present
time, which are scouring the world to bring smaller and less civilized
nations under their control
<PAGE 375> and patronage. Or it might refer
to the Man of Sin, and his world-wide influence, through which
he draws his revenues from all nations under the sun. In any case,
the thought is that covetousness is like death (oblivion), in
that it never has enough; its capacity cannot be satisfied.
in the New Testament
the New Testament the Greek word hades is the exact equivalent
of the Hebrew word sheol. We have the most absolute proof
of this from the fact that the apostles, in quotations from the
Old Testament, render sheol by the word hades. The
following are all the instances in the New Testament in which
the word hades occurs:
Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down
to hell [hades, oblivion]." Matt. 11:23
certainly was not true that the city of Capernaum went into eternal
torment, neither was it true that it went into a grave, in the
ordinary sense of that word, but it was most absolutely true that
Capernaum did go into oblivion, into destruction.
say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build
my Church, and the gates of hell [hades, oblivion]
shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:18
had just made confession of the Lord Jesus as being the Anointed,
the Son of the living God, the Messiah. This truth is the mighty
rock upon which the entire Church of Christ, as living stones,
must be built, for there is no other name given whereby we must
be saved. Our Lord declares Peter to be one of these living
stones, and Peter declares (1 Pet. 2:5), that all consecrated
believers are similarly living stones, built upon
this great foundation rock, Christ, the Anointed. These living
stones are being built up for a habitation of God, through the
spirit, to be a glorious temple for his indwelling, and through
which he will bless all the families
<PAGE 376> of the earth. Notwithstanding this
fact, that God has accepted believers in Christ and is counting
them as members of this future temple, he is permitting death
to prevail against his people now: they go down into death (oblivion),
apparently as do others: they therefore have need of the Lord's
encouraging assurance that death shall not prevail against them,
that the doors of oblivion shall not forever remain closed; that
as he symbolically burst the bars of death, and came forth in
resurrection through the Father's power, so also his Church shall
be delivered from the power of death--from oblivion, and shall
have share in his resurrection, "the first resurrection."
Surely this is in harmony with all Scriptural testimony, and surely
no other interpretation of our Lord's words would make the least
Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to
hell [hades, oblivion]." Luke 10:15
was highly exalted, highly privileged, in that it had our Lord
as a resident for some time, enjoyed the privileges of his teaching,
and witnessed many of his mighty works; and this hyperbolically
is termed exaltation to heaven. But in consequence
of a failure to rightly use these high privileges and opportunities,
our Lord declares that the city would suffer corresponding depression,
overthrow, death, as a city--be cast down to oblivion. And this
has been fulfilled.
hell [hades, oblivion] he lifted up his eyes being
in torments." Luke 16:23
is the only passage of the Scriptures in which there is the slightest
intimation of the possibility of thought, feeling, torture or
happiness in hades or sheol. At first it seems to
be opposed to the declaration that there is no work, nor knowledge,
nor device in sheol, and it can only be understood from
the one standpoint, viz., that it is a parable. Elsewhere we discuss
it in its details,24
and show that the rich man who went into oblivion, and yet was
<PAGE 377> while in oblivion, is the Jewish
nation. Israel certainly has gone into oblivion; as a nation it
is dead, yet as a people scattered amongst all the nations, Israel
lives and has suffered torments since the rejection of Messiah,
and will so continue to do until having filled her measure of
tribulation she shall be restored to divine favor, according to
the conditions of the divine covenant. Rom. 11:26-29
wilt not leave my soul in hell [hades, oblivion]."
is the quotation from the Psalms with which we started our present
examination--to ascertain whether it is the soul, or merely the
body, that goes to hades, to sheol, to oblivion.
This text most emphatically teaches that our Lord's soul went
to hades, oblivion, and that it was delivered therefrom
by a resurrection. The context proves that David's soul also went
to sheol, but that it has not yet been delivered from sheol--nor
can it be delivered, according to the divine arrangement, until
after all the Church, which is the body of Christ, has first been
delivered, and until the first resurrection is complete. See vss.
29,34; Heb. 11:32,39,40.
seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that
his soul was not left in hell [hades, oblivion]."
positive statement is a further confirmation of what we have just
death, where is thy sting? O grave [hades, oblivion]
where is thy victory?" 1 Cor. 15:55
Apostle gives this as a quotation from the Old Testament, in corroboration
of his argument that the only hope for the dead is a resurrection--not
in a resurrection of the body, for he distinctly states that the
body buried will not be the one resurrected--(see verses 37,38):
the resurrection hope is for the soul, the being,
regardless of what kind of body God may be pleased to give it.
It is not, "If your body rise not ...your faith is
vain," but "If the dead rise not...your faith
is vain...then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are
perished." (Verses 16-18) It is that which falls asleep,
<PAGE 378> not that which turns to corruption,
that is to be awakened, resurrected.
am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore,
amen; and have the keys of hell [hades, oblivion]
and of death." Rev. 1:18
passage is given as an encouragement to God's people, hence surely
hell, hades, here cannot mean a place of torment:
otherwise, what would be the force of this expression? These words
imply that the Lord's people go to hades (oblivion), whoever
else may go there, and that the hope of the Lord's people, when
going down to hades, to oblivion, is that in due time our
great Redeemer shall unlock this figurative prison-house of death,
and bring forth the captives from the tomb, from sheol,
hades, oblivion. This is the significance of the statement
that he has the keys, that is, the power, the authority--he can
open and he can shut; all power is given into his hand.
preaching at his first advent, he quoted the prophecy of Isaiah
respecting himself, which declares that he will open the prison-house,
and set at liberty the captives, and declared this to be the Gospel.
(Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18) It is the Gospel of the resurrection,
the message, the good tidings of deliverance of all the captives
from the oblivion of death, from the power of the Adversary, "him
that hath the power of death, that is, the devil." How full
of meaning are these scriptures, when viewed from the proper standpoint;
how confusing and absurd when viewed from any other standpoint,
except when the ignorance is so dense as to cover and hide the
his name that sat on him was death, and hell [hades,
oblivion] followed with him: and power was given unto them
over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and
with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
would require a very strong imagination to harmonize this statement
with the commonly accepted view that hades
<PAGE 379> is a place of torment of such immense
size as to be capable of receiving and torturing the fifty thousand
millions of the earth's population. Nor could any one see the
slightest consistency in using a symbol representing such a place
of torment riding on horseback. But the reasonableness of the
symbols, death and the state of death, destruction, oblivion,
unconsciousness, stalking through the earth and sweeping
off large proportions of the human family, is entirely consistent.
We content ourselves here with merely showing this reasonableness,
without offering any explanation of the symbols.
and hell [hades, oblivion] delivered up the dead
which were in them: and they were judged, every man according
to their works." Rev. 20:13
a result of the first trial in Eden, the death sentence passed
upon all men. Probably fifty thousand millions have already gone
into sheol, hades, oblivion; and hundreds
of millions whom we still call alive are not, in the true sense
of the word, alive, but are nine-tenths dead, under the operation
of the death sentence. As a result of the ransom price paid at
Calvary, an opportunity for a new trial is to be granted to each
member of the human family; and only a favored minority get such
opportunity and trial during this age appointed for the selection
of the Church. This means the rolling back of the original sentence
of death, and the bringing of all mankind into a condition of
judgment or trial for eternal life, on the basis of his own works
of obedience or disobedience. This scripture shows us that at
the proper time not only will the dead (those under sentence of
death, who have not yet gone into the tomb) be granted a full
trial or judgment, to determine their worthiness or unworthiness
of life everlasting, but also all of those who have gone into
sheol, hades, oblivion, shall also come forth
from unconsciousness, from the sleep of death, to be judged. This
scene of judgment is located in the Millennial age, which is the
"day of judgment" for the world, as the Gospel age is
the day of judgment for the Church.
death and hell [hades, oblivion] were cast into
the lake of fire--this is the Second Death." Rev. 20:14
confusion must necessarily come to all who would attempt to interpret
hades as meaning a place of eternal torment, when considering
this passage of Scripture, but how reasonable and harmonious it
is from the correct standpoint! The lake of fire (gehenna)
represents utter destruction, the Second Death, which shall utterly
destroy all evil things. The "death and hades"
here pictured as destroyed in the Second Death are the same as
we have just described in connection with the preceding 13th verse.
The present state of condemnation, the result of Adam's transgression,
is styled "death and hades"--the dying condition
of those now called the living and the oblivious sleep of the
the 13th verse declares that all men shall be brought out
of these conditions in due time for trial, so this verse declares
that Adamic death, and the sleep in oblivion, consequent to it,
shall be no more, after the Millennial age; and it explains why,
viz., because they shall be merged into or swallowed up by the
Second Death condition. In the future no one will die for Adam's
sin: it will be out of consideration as a factor in the trial
of the future. The only death thereafter will be the Second Death,
which will affect only the sinner who commits the sin, not the
parents, not the children. In that day he that dies shall die
for his own sin. "The soul that sinneth it shall die."
Although such will have weakness of the Adamic nature from which
they will never recover, because of refusal to use the means and
opportunities placed within their reach during the Millennium
by the Mediator of the New Covenant, yet under that New Covenant
those inherited weaknesses will not be reckoned against them,
being fully offset by their Redeemer's sacrifice. Hence from and
after the time when this full opportunity of the Millennial age
is offered to each individual, although Adamic weaknesses and
imperfections will still be upon them, their death will not be
counted as being a part of Adamic death, but as being a part of
<PAGE 381> Death--because their failure to
make progress will be the result of their own wilfulness,
and not the result of Adam's transgression, nor of their own heredity
to its weaknesses.
have now examined every text of Scripture containing the words
sheol and hades, and have ascertained that it is
the souls of men that at death pass into this condition, and that
it is a state or condition, and not a place, although sometimes
figuratively spoken of as a place, a prison-house, from which
all prisoners shall come forth in the resurrection morning. We
have found that it is figuratively described as dark, silent,
and the statement freely made that there is no knowledge, nor
device, nor wisdom, nor work, nor cursing, nor praise to God on
the part of any who enter this state or condition of oblivion.
Their only hope is in the Lord--that having redeemed their souls
(beings) from destruction by the sacrifice of his own soul, he
shall in due time deliver them, call them forth from oblivion,
in such bodies as may please him, and to more favorable conditions
than the present, when his wrath, the curse, is passed away and
the Millennial era of blessing has been ushered in.
is not surprising that the translators of our Common Version English
Bible, and most commentators, being influenced by erroneous views
respecting the nature of man, and the time and place of his reward
and punishment, and misapprehending his condition in the interim
of death, have rendered and glossed certain passages of the Scriptures,
in harmony with their misconceptions, which are to some extent
stumbling blocks to those seeking the truth. It is proper, therefore,
that we consider some of these stumbling blocks, and remove them
from our path; but as we must not interrupt our subject proper,
these will be left for examination, with other popular misconceptions
of Scripture, in our next volume of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES series.
'Twas but a little light she bore,
While standing at the open door;
A little light, a feeble spark,
And yet it shone out through the dark
With cheerful ray, and gleamed afar
As brightly as the polar star.
A little light, a gentle hint,
That falls upon the page of print,
May clear the vision, and reveal
The precious treasures doubts conceal.
And guide men to an open door,
Where they new regions may explore.
A little light dispels the gloom
That gathers in the shadowed room,
Where want and sickness find their prey,
And night seems longer than the day,
And hearts with many troubles cope
And feebler glows the spark of hope.
O, sore the need that some must know
While journeying through this vale of woe!
Dismayed, disheartened, gone astray,
Caught in the thickets by the way,
For lack of just a little light
To guide their wandering steps aright.
It may be little we can do
To help another, it is true;
But better is a little spark
Of kindness, when the way is dark,
Than one should walk in paths forbidden,
For lack of light we might have given.
ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD & MAN