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The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 4

The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 4

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Thus far in our examination of Hebrews 6:4-6 we have determined that those,

1) Who were once enlighten

2) Who have tasted the heavenly gift

3) Who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit

4) Who have tasted the good word of God

5) Who have tasted the powers of the age to come

…Were in fact those who were truly consecrated believers, i.e. those fully justified from all things, begotten again through the Holy Spirit to a new nature. Therefore our texts could have nothing whatsoever to do with either the worldly or the mere nominal or professing Christian.

Let us continue.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten and who have tasted the heavenly gift and who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and who have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, IF THEY FALL AWAY to renew THEM again unto repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame.”

First of all, let us all apply our God given ability to reason, and establish one for certain fact, to which all must agree on; no one could fall, lest at first they had been previously lifted up, and in order to be lifted up from the mire of sin and death (i.e. justified from the original condemnation which is upon all men, the Adamic curse) one must have at first believed in the forgiveness of sins which comes through Jesus Christ our Lord, for as the scriptures so state, we are justified by our faith (Rom 5:1) Those who possess no faith could not fall from that which they had never been lifted up to in the first place.

So what does this statement, “if they shall fall away” imply in respects to those with whom we have been discussing? Why cannot they be renewed again? And what does crucifying again the Son of God imply? How does this bring shame to him?

The falling away of such, the Apostle says, would mean that they could never be renewed again. Why? Because they have had their share of the blessing of Christ. Christ’s death was to bring a blessing–and only one– to every member of Adam’s race–one full blessing, a complete blessing, such a blessing as will enable every member of the race–if he will, when he understands it-to come fully and completely into harmony with God and thus to have eternal life. But after he has received his full blessing and then has rejected it, there is no hope in his case. He can never justify himself. He has had the merit of Christ (justification) and has repudiated it. There is no hope of renewing such a one, says the Apostle. The fate of such would not, of course, be eternal torment, but rather eternal destruction’, extinction of being–the Second Death.

In Heb 10:26-29 the apostle explains the matter further,

First of all note closely from the preceding verses exactly to whom the Apostle was here addressing, (Verses 19 and 20), he was specifically addressing those brethren who had come into the body through a “new and living way” which our Lord had consecrated for us, a way into the “Most Holy” as prospective members of the antitypical High Priest, i.e. the Royal Priesthood. Speaking to these he states thusly,

“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. A man that hath set at naught Moses law died without compassion on [the word of] two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God (insulted, brought to shame), and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing (by open sin or a denial of the value of the “blood of the covenant.”), and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace (the spirit of truth)?”

Now the question may still linger in some minds as to what exactly constitutes “the knowledge of the truth”, and thus upon denial of this truth, what constitutes the sin unto death? Is it possible for any except the spirit-begotten to commit the sin unto death?

We answer that sin unto death is a sin against light and knowledge. No man can sin the sin unto death unless he has knowledge. It is not a sin of ignorance; it is a willful, intentional sin against light, and therefore is called a sin against the Holy Spirit, a sin against the Spirit of Truth. Now then, is it possible for any except the spirit-begotten to commit the sin unto death?

NO, only those who have been truly begotten of the Holy Spirit, and are therefore thus able to come to an accurate (truthful) understanding of God’s Word and Plan, bear the responsibility which comes with possession of such great knowledge; neither the worldly nor the mere professing Christian, (nominal Christian) share this responsibility, because neither possesses the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, therefore neither has yet to have been brought to the truth.

They are not only unable to see (accept) the “deep things” of God, but even amongst those professing to be Christians very few are able to even comprehend the “milk of the word”, able to grasp the “first principles” of truth, to see clearly without the errors and false teachings propagated by men and devils blinding them and therefore to that extent they are not held responsible.

The responsibilities are only with those who have tasted the heavenly gift and who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and who have tasted the good word (the truth, the perfect Word, an accurate knowledge) of God and the powers of the age to come, (Heb 6:4, 5) these therefore know the truth, and are held responsible for this enlightenment, these only could sin the sin unto death, whereas no others could.

Well now, some one might query: Just how much knowledge is necessary before we could commit this sin unto death?

We answer, to our understanding it would not require a great deal of knowledge. The Apostle simply says that if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth. What kind of truth did he mean?

Did he mean the knowledge of chronology? No, for then all of those who went before us would not have had knowledge enough to go into the second death, because they did not know as much about chronology as we do today.

Did he mean those who understood the parallels between the dispensations, Jewish and Gospel? No, because plenty of people have never known anything about these parallel dispensations. Did he mean only those who know about the Jubilee? No, for plenty of Christians lived and died without knowing about the Jubilee.

What does it mean then, what kind of truth and how much truth must we have? We believe it is not the quantity of knowledge, which one possesses which makes one accountable, but rather the quality or type of knowledge understood.

The truth referred to, then dear brethren is that even grander truth, which Christians have had all during the Gospel age; for instance, the great truth that, “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That is the great truth, and those who have believed that great truth, AND in whom it has exercised the proper power, have been turned from sin to righteousness, and from darkness to light.

Here is the truth that would sanctify (set-apart). Now, then, if any have come to this clear knowledge of the truth of God’s love, and of God’s requirement of righteousness, and of our Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, he has come to a responsible position. Note carefully that when we speak of those possessing this truth we speak of those who have been properly exercised by it, many may possess this truth (i.e. have knowledge it) of whom it has little or no effect upon their lives, as was indicated by our Lord in the “Parable of the Sower

I believe those who have been properly exercised refers specifically to those who have not received the grace of GOD in vain (2 Cor 6:1)

“God’s grace as freely bestowed upon those who have come to a knowledge of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus our Lord is the grace of the forgiveness of sins, of justification through faith; and the very object of this grace is that we be exercised by it, to permit or qualify us to become living sacrifices, acceptable to God’s altar through the great sacrifice of our Redeemer.”

Now would any question as to whether or not the world has fully grasped (comprehended) this knowledge, this truth?

Although it is true that many within the world have heard various Christian hymns, which speak of the grace of God, and have heard about theology, the world could not be held responsible to this degree. Most of what they have heard, if anything has been nothing more than the ramblings of preachers, or of what the scriptures refer to as the “vain babblings of men”, errors, false teachings and etc. They have not comprehended the (TRUE) Word of God; they have not fully comprehended the provision God has made for our sins, nor for our reconciliation with Him, therefore the world could not commit this sin unto death. And likewise the vast majority of professing Christians could do so neither, having never been begotten of the truth, the Lord’s spirit, they like the world remain in darkness. “Darkness covers the earth–gross darkness the heathen [the worldly].” (Isa 60:2) “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not,” (2 Cor 4:4) and as for the rest the nominal professing believers he (The god of this world ) has substituted darkness for light, error for truth in order to deceive and confuse, thus casting doubt on the testimony of God as a whole.

Bear in mind that a mere profession of faith or belief does not a true Christian make, a true Christian is one who has been exercised (quicken, Rom 8:11) by the truth unto obedience and service. The majority of professing Christians are Christians in name only, i.e. nominal Christians, thus the term, “Tares”, imitation wheat, imitation Christians, “possessing a form (and outward appearance) of godliness, but denying its power…” (2 Tim 3:5) This form of godliness has spread to such an extent that much of the whole world is styled Christendom–Christ’s Kingdom. Outwardly they profess to be Christians, but inwardly they are skeptics of the word, covetous, extortionate, and unjust.

A true Christian is not one who merely professes with his mouth that he is a Christians, but one who believes with his heart, as in distinction with the mere professor, as our Lord so states, “These people draw near me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from me.”(It is not sufficient enough that we make a mere profession to be his people, but it is important that this profession proceed from the heart, for the “Lord looks upon the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7), and their fear (so-called reverence) is taught by the precepts of men (human traditions, false doctrines, the beliefs of men, and/or institutions of men).” Isa 29:13.

The threat of eternal torment as the wages of sin is one of thesefearstaught of men, it is held to be a necessity in order to restrain men from vices, and to inspire them to virtue and morality and thus to secure their admission to heaven when they die, all anyone has to do is to take a look around him and he can see how utterly this “precept of men” has felled in its purpose. The fear taught through the precepts of men is a false kind of fear, because it has substituted the “doctrines of devils” for the precious things of God. This type of bondage of fear can never hold the penitent nor draw him near to the Lord; only love is capable of doing this.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses practice a similar type of “fear” the only difference is that rather than consigning the un-repentant, the non-believer (that is the non-believer in what they teach) to eternal torment they simply consign them to second death. Fear is the tool of the Devil and those who would follow in his example.

But now as to the true Christian, the “wheat” class, those who have come to an accurate knowledge of the truth, those once enlightened, who have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the age to come—the restitution powers; those who were made partakers of these in that they were justified by faith, who have experienced this justification by faith, the power of the world to come, and who now enjoy it in advance of the world—and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, these are the only ones that might sin the sin unto death.

The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 3

The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 3

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We now continue with our examination of Heb 6:4-6 to determine to whom it applies. In our last post we took a look at the opening part of Verse 4, viz.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten…”

Upon investigation we established two facts, one that only those who have been justified by faith, constituted righteous and holy in the sight of God could receive true enlightenment, (knowledge of the truth), and two it appears most certain from a further examination of the scriptures that these individuals were mature Christians, i.e. those of “full age”, (not necessarily in physical age but rather in spiritual age), thus they were not mere babes in Christ, but those who had grown to a certain degree in the graces and knowledge of our Lord Jesus and had received full enlightenment, i.e. an accurate and correct understanding of the Word of God, not only knowledge of the “first principles of doctrine”, the milk of the word, but also having partaken of the meat of the word, a knowledge of the “deep things of God”, solid food.

Let us now continue with our texts.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten and who have tasted the heavenly gift and who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit…”

What is this “heavenly gift” and who has tasted of it, and who are they who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit?

The “heavenly gift” is the gift of life, a gift of which none shall see unless first they accept (believe) in the sacrifice and subsequent justification, which comes only through the precious blood of Christ. (John 3:36; Acts13:39) But to have truly “tasted” of this gift implies more than merely having a superficial belief, a knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice, etc., no it implies much more than this, it implies that one has experienced through faith the blessed results of that sacrifice, the realization that one’s sins have been forgiven, and that communion and fellowship with God has been restored, the atonement, or as we like to say, the at-one-ment.

The conditions mentioned in our texts above quoted are all more or less intertwined. That is to say, the one who has been made a partaker of the heavenly gift of justification is sanctified (set apart), begotten of the Holy Spirit; for only in that way can he receive God’s evidence respecting his justification.

No one will ever be justified by merely believing that Jesus lived or that Jesus died either in this age or the age to come. At present during the Gospel age the only way in which one can come to the point of true justification (a full reckoned justification) is to have the merit of Christ imputed to himself, how is this accomplished? At present there is but one way in which this may be accomplished, and that is to enter upon the “narrow way” or the way of sacrifice. In the next age conditions will be different, a different way will be opened, instead of the narrow way a highway will be opened,

“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but is shall be for [the redeemed]: the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err [therein]. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon; they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there]: and the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa 35: 8-10)

However at present during this Gospel age anyone having done all in his power–having turned from sin, having believed in Jesus as the Redeemer, and having presented his body a living sacrifice, i.e. taking up his cross and following in the footsteps of Jesus (Matt 16:24; Rom 12:1)–will receive the imputation of Jesus’ merit in order to make up his shortcomings, to cover his blemishes, in order that the Heavenly Father may be able to accept the sacrifice: for no imperfect thing can be placed upon the altar of the Lord. It requires the merit of Christ to make good what is lacking in the one who presents himself in sacrifice; and only those who thus believe and present their bodies in sacrifice are the recipients of Christ’s merit by imputation; and only such are begotten of the Holy Spirit. God’s arrangement is that no one can be justified unless he has first made a full consecration of himself (a full surrender of ones will, i.e. denying one’s self), this after having first professed faith and turned from sin.

Christ would not impute His merit to any except such as make this full consecration; and the Father would not accept by begetting with the Holy Spirit any others than those who have done so.

Thus it should be apparent that those who have tasted of the heavenly gift, the gift of justification and life, and who have subsequently received the evidence of this justification through the begetting of the Holy Spirit could only be those true followers who have been joined to the body, the body of Christ, the true Church, having no will (mind) of their own, but rather that of their Lord’s (1 Cor 2:16; Phil 2:5).

Thus far we have established that those once enlighten, are definitely those who had been previously made righteous, cleansed by the blood, thus (at one time) true followers of the Lord, for the scriptures clearly state, “truth (light, enlightenment) is sown for the righteous” (Psa 97:11), and none could be made righteous who had not been first justified from all things. We also determined that these would of necessity have been mature Christians, i.e. those of “full age” (Heb 5:14), as the implication of the texts tends to imply full enlightenment, growth in the graces and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Note: full enlightenment does not imply all knowledge; we are not to erroneously assume that those who have received full enlightenment understand everything. Presently we see only “in part”, and only that which is presently due to be understood. Now although I believe all knowledge presently due with respects to the Divine Plan has been given to the Church I don’t believe any one member possesses all this knowledge. Complete knowledge, complete understanding has never been given to any one brother, but rather it has pleased the Lord to spread it amongst the brethren (that is amongst those who apply themselves to the study of it) so that in turn we might all develop a dependence a reliance upon one another, that “the whole body might be joined and knitted together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effective working (of the holy spirit, the spirit of truth), by which every member contributes its share…” Eph 4:16.

Continuing on in our study we likewise had determined that these same enlightened ones had tasted the heavenly gift (the gift of life) that they had experienced a personal communion and fellowship with God, with the full acknowledgement that their sins had been forgiven, this based upon the imputed righteousness of Christ’ sacrifice, and that they had been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, as an evidence not only of their justification, but also that they had passed over the first death (Adamic death), and had been begotten again to a new nature.

Let us now continue with our texts, beginning at Verse 5,

“And who have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come…”

What is the “good” word of God, and what does this imply?

What does it mean to have tasted of the powers of the age to come?

What is “good”? The dictionary describes that which is good as being “that which is desired or approved of” But what does it imply to you? The average person might say that which is “good” implies the opposite of that which is “bad”, and naturally as all will agree there exist different levels of that which is good and that which is bad, i.e. good, better, best, and bad, worse, and worst.

Yes, this from man’s perspective, but does God recognizes these adjectives? That is, does He possess a gray scale? We think not, we believe that with God that which he has declared “good” implies that it is perfect, (pure and truthful), and likewise that which is bad is imperfect, (corrupted, false).

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment (just): a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut 32:4)

Thus we conclude that when it states that these had tasted (partaken or received of) the good word of God, that this implied that they had received THE TRUTH, unvarnished by man’s errors, the perfect word of God, just as He intends that all men shall eventually receive in the coming age, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth even as the waters cover the sea, (Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14) for God has stated that he will have all men come toan accurate knowledgeorunto an exact knowledgeof the truth. (1 Tim 2:4, Rotherham Version)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11), now it (should be) manifest to all that this knowledge has not yet come to all men yet, but God’s word insures that it will, “in due time”.

Continuing on with our texts, it states not only that these had tasted of the good word of God, but also that they had tasted of the powers of the age to come. What does it mean to have tasted of the powers of the age to come?

To have tasted of the powers of the age to come implies that one has received, in advance from the Lord, through the imparting of the Holy Spirit, the knowledge and the instruction, which shall eventually be made known or available to all in the next age. At present only those truly consecrated followers or disciples within the “School of Christ” are given the privilege of this divine knowledge and instruction, both the world and the church nominal at present are still left in darkness.

We will continued with our next post.

Zeal Not According to Knowledge

Zeal Not According to Knowledge

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Prov 19:2

“Many noble hearted Christians have gone out as missionaries and as aid workers amongst the heathen wholly unprepared for what they have encountered—intelligent individuals with app ability to reason for themselves. Many have found that the heathen were full of questions; logical questions too, which they as Christians had never thought of and which they were wholly unprepared to answer. Comparatively few missionaries are able to hold their own in argument with peoples of such countries as India, China and Japan. There is no danger of converting these people, but rather the reverse; there is a far greater danger to themselves, of their own loss of faith, both in regards to themselves and in the Bible, Why? Because of their own misunderstandings and misapprehension as to its teachings, because when one in possession of an honest disposition is asked questions for which he has no answer he begins to realizes his own lack begins to doubt his faith and his ability to speak as a mouth piece of the Lord. And what good is a missionary who has no confidence in the message he brings?

Missionaries are thus handicapped by a lack of knowledge, knowledge of the truth. Full of commendable zeal they nevertheless leave our shores intent to preach the gospel of good news, but instead in ignorance many are found preaching a gospel of bad news, of woe and despair for the vast majority of God’s creation. They are saddened to inform the heathen that their forefathers have gone to a place of eternal torment, and that unless they accept Christ they too along with their friends and family will soon be joining them.

Many of these receive a very rude awakening when asked some very reasonable questions in regards to this hell of eternal torment in which they speak, such as where precisely it is located, and why a God who claims to be the God of Love would create such a place in the first place. Why such a God would exercise no pity or compassion upon the ignorant, but instead condemn both them and their forefathers to such a horrible eternity without first making known to them that this was the just consequences of sin and that he had provided but one remedy, belief in Christ, belief in an individual with whom they had never even heard of before. More over in regards to their forefathers who had lived prior to the first advent of Christ, the question is asked, how could they have possibly known of the one name under the heavens by which they might be saved when no such individual had arisen yet?

Why all the different denominations-different theories on the terms of Salvation—by water, by election, by free grace, by joining the church, etc.?

The missionary (aid worker), wholly unable to answer these logical questions, instead insist that faith alone is sufficient, follow our example they say, just believe, don’t worry about the facts, leave the facts to the Lord. Such find it much more productive to gather around themselves, those of likewise mind, the ignorant, “simple ones” (the naïve) those who likewise lack knowledge, lack understanding, such are less likely to ask such reasonable questions, questions which they themselves have no answers.

Nevertheless we would not wish to dissuade those who would do a good work, let all Christians, missionaries, aid workers and such know assuredly that their labors to do good unto their fellow man and to spread the gospel as best they know even if ignorantly are not in vain, and will in due time receive a just recompense of reward. Remember the Lord Judges us according to the intentions of the heart, according to what we have, not according to what we have not.”

The foregoing was derived from some remarks made by Brother John A Meggison’s Notes.

The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 2

The Lake of Fire, Second Death, Part 2

 

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For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Heb 6:4-6

As there seems to be some uncertainty amongst many of the Lord’s people as to who presently is susceptible to second death, let us examine our text a little closer beginning at Verse 4 to determine just to whom it applies.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten…”

First of all what is implied by being “enlighten”, and who are those who possess this “enlightenment”?

The definition of the word “enlighten” as taken from the dictionary means to give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a particular subject or situation, in regards to religion it means to give spiritual knowledge or insight, figuratively to illuminate or make clear (a particular problem or area of study).

Strong’s gives the meaning as follows, (nagahh; a primitive root; to glitter; causatively, to illuminate: — (en-) lighten, (cause to) shine. Strong’s # 5050

The scriptures inform us that, “Light (truth) is sown (provided for) for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psa 97:11)

So who are the righteous? Do not the scriptures clearly inform us that “there is none righteous no not one.” (Rom 3:10) Yes they do, but equally so they teach, “as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be [not were] made (Greek, constituted) righteous.” (Rom 5:19)

If the ransom alone, without our acceptance of it, made us righteous, then it would have read, by the obedience of one many were made righteous. But though the ransom has been given by the Redeemer and has been accepted by Jehovah, only a few during the Gospel age have been, made righteous (justified)”through faith in His blood.” Thus by faith, the true believer personally accepts Jesus as his Savior and is made righteous and holy.

During the Gospel Age God has been selecting a church. The church is not brought to perfection in the sense that they are becoming perfect beings. They are merely reckoned perfect in the beginning; they are merely justified by faith and have peace with God, as the apostle says. This is faith justification; it is not the real justification. There is a difference. The word means, to be made righteous. You are not righteous, and I am not righteous, and nobody is righteous. But you say, ‘Have we not accepted Christ?’ yes that is true, and that means that you have come into harmony with Him, and that you have what the Bible calls faith justification, “justification by faith”. However it is not an actual justification.

You ask, ‘What do you mean by actual justification?” The word means to be made right. God does not make us over, except in the spirit of our minds, but through the merit of Christ our blemishes and imperfections in the flesh are covered in His sight and we come into relationship with God; we are justified by faith.

Let us look at it from another point of view.

Justification is a judicial or (as it is called) forensic word: a word derived from processes of law. When a judge declares a man to be “not guilty,” he does not thereby make him “not guilty.” Though declared not guilty the man may as a matter of fact be guilty. Moreover, some men have been declared guilty who later were proved to be innocent.

No scholar will dispute this forensic use of the word “justification” in the Bible. It expresses the verdict of acquittal and establishes a man’s status in the eyes of the law. Thus God justifies whenever he refuses to condemn—when he ignores whatever may have been our sins. And he declares his willingness to do this simply because a man believes in Jesus Christ. Let a man believe or take God in Jesus Christ at his gracious word and the value of this act of trust or allegiance is such that God reckons it for righteousness and admits a man into his fellowship (as a friend, not a son, not yet), as if he were already fit for such fellowship in his actual habits and conduct.

There is imputation here, but it is the right sort of imputation. It is dealing with us not as we are, nor exactly as we are not, but as we are becoming in virtue of the new attachment under which our life has passed. Faith, then, is reckoned for righteousness because it puts us upon the right basis and in the right relation to God. Therefore, it is a root out of which, provided it continues to subsist, all righteousness can healthily grow, whereas, the most brilliant efforts or works on a wrong basis may have neither sound root nor principle of progress in them. To believe in Jesus is to have the root of the matter in one self. Therefore, when a man first believes, God can ignore all his previous life and deal with him simply on the new basis, in hope.

Thus it should be fully established that only those who have been justified by faith, constituted righteous and holy in the sight of God can receive true enlightenment, knowledge of the truth.

Now someone may still query as to just how much enlightenment or knowledge in God’s word is being referred to in this text, are there not different levels of understanding, i.e. babes, young adults, and those of mature years? Most certainly, the clue however is given in the opening text, “those who were once enlighten” this statement is “pass tense” and implies that the individual had previously been brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth, that is they had clearly seen God’s grace as represented in his Word and plan, and had advanced beyond the elementary principles of Christ, the “milk” and had partaken of the “meat of the word” the only ones capable of this type (or level) of understanding first of all would be those who have been spirit begotten, thus possessing spiritual enlightenment. Now naturally even babes in Christ are spirit begotten, and possess a measure of enlightenment, but it requires time and study, growth both in the graces and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ in order to become of “full age”, a mature Christian.

Remember when you become a Christian you enter into the “School of Christ” you are a student (a disciple), one does not become fully enlighten the first day of their attendance, growth in the graces and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus is a lifetime course.

Now some advance quicker than others because their love for the Lord and the Truth is greater than others, these like the Bereans of Old are what we call “Seekers” and “Provers” of the Word, “Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you”, these have learned through experience and study that the Lord is truly a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him and to such alone he reveals his truth. These are constantly searching the scriptures, to prove (to test) everything which they received no matter the source. To them the Word of God is the final say on any matter.

“To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light (truth) in them.” Isa 8:20

Many however not being inclined to personal study lacking the necessary drive (love) for the truth,  prefer to simply rely upon the knowledge and understanding of others generally those with whom they have confidence or trust. For most this reliance typically comes from their Minister, for others it might be friends, family or a combination of one or more, thus their understanding is limited to the knowledge of those with whom they have to do. Thus in truth their faith (belief) is not actually their own, but rather some one else’s belief someone else’s interpretation of the Scriptures. Such forget that as disciples in the School of Christ we are admonished to “prove all things”, to “study to show thyself approved”, the point being is that it is the responsibility of the individual to study (for himself), that the individual proves all things (for himself), that YOU as an individual personally be established in the truth, that your faith be your own, and not that of another.

As it is written, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”, you cannot be saved through the belief or faith of another, nor does membership in a church organization guarantee this, you yourself must make your calling and election sure.

Many Christians have a great zeal (love) for the Lord, this is very commendable, but for the most part their zeal is “not according to knowledge“. Misguided faith is useless. The fact is there are many who, like the Apostle Paul prior to his conversion, believe in all good conscious that they are serving the Lord when in truth they unknowingly are working against him. Such may hold beliefs which  are completely contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. They have been so busy in what they imagined to be the Lord’s work, that they have never actually taken the time to personally prove all which they believe for themselves, by the Word of God.

In other words in their haste to exemplify love for the brethren (and especially for their Minister) they are much to eager to accept without question many of the teachings they receive, not realizing that many such teachings are not wholly scriptural, but are taught through the doctrines and precepts of men, taught through the church consoles and creeds of men, remember,

“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Prov 19:2

In our next post we will examine the next two qualifications which must be met before one is accountable to the second death.

The Lake of Fire, Second Death

The Lake of Fire, Second Death

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Before we begin our lesson we need to clear up just what precisely the “Lake of Fire” typifies as many are under the erroneous impression that the Lake of Fire is an actual place, i.e. Hell, however casting aside the foolish teachings of the blind guides and turning to the one true source of all revelation, God’s Word we get the true picture. Note closely Rev 20:14,

Then (that is, at the end of Millennial age, following the final judgment of the “Sheep and the Goats”, then) Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death.”

Once again it is important to recall that the book of Revelation is a symbolic prophecy, the greatest source of error in understanding the symbols of Revelation comes from a too literal interpretation, it is read as although it were a statement of facts, instead of a statement of symbols.

Thus we need first to understand what the various symbols used in this particular text represent, viz. “death”, “hades”, and, “the lake of fire”. Death of course needs very little explanation, it is the opposite of life, the extinction or cessation of life, of being, the specific death here mentioned is that which befalls all men due to Adam’s sin (Rom 5:12), and as such is referred to as Adamic death, the first death. The word “Hell” is from the Greek word “Hades” meaning the tomb or grave. As for what the Lake of Fire represents, the scriptures answer this for us, “This IS the second death” (Rev 20:14; 21:8).

The lake of fire is the symbolic expression of destruction, of annihilation or extinction of being, oblivion. Death and Hell being cast into this lake of fire would therefore signify their destruction, their end or termination. And so it is written of our Lord, “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed (brought to an end, terminated) is death” (1 Cor 15:25, 26), “there shall be no more death” (Rev 21:4) naturally then if death be destroyed what need would there be for the abode of the dead, the grave?

In the Bible, the abode of the dead is depicted by the Hebrew word sheol, and the Greek word hades, both of which signify, in those original languages, the hidden, covered, unconscious condition of death – the underworld, the grave, pit or tomb. Thus death and everything associated with it, including the dying process itself with its accompanying pain, sorrow, and crying shall be no more.

But what of the second death is it not likewise to be destroyed?  No! It is eternal, everlasting; the opposite of eternal life is eternal death or extinction for all things imperfect, impure, sinful, and bad. The second death is not Christ’s enemy, but rather a servant of righteousness, a tool in the permanent (or eternal) removal of everything opposed to righteousness.

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand (the “Goat” class mentioned in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats), ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into (aionious, eternal or) everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt 25:41

“And these will go away into (aionious, eternal or) everlasting punishment (eternal death, the second death, oblivion, “…the memory of them is forgotten also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” Eccl 9:5-6), but the righteous into (aionious) eternal life.” Matt 25:46

The question now is, ‘Who is susceptible to the second death? Is this something which non-believers are in danger of or is this something only believer’s are in danger of?’

In Heb 6:4-6 the Apostle gives a hint as to whom this applies.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”

This lesson coincides with our last two, (which please see) the first entitled, “Two Sorts of Sin”, which explained the difference between Venial Sins, sins which are forgivable, and Mortal Sin, that sin which “hath never forgiveness”, while the second lesson entitled , “The Unpardonable Sin”, dealt with the same thing, but from a slightly different perspective. Here however we would like to concentrate specifically on the penalty or sentence of mortal sin, the sin unto death, that sin which leads to second death and who precisely, is susceptible to it at this time. There seems to be a lot of confusion over this issue amongst many of the the Lord’s people not yet “established in the faith (the truth)“.

First of all let us state unequivocally that the possibility of falling away, after having come into full fellowship with the Lord and having been reckoned members of his “body,” is very clearly taught by our Lord as well as by the apostles. However, the only ones presently in danger of falling away from divine favor are those who have been first lifted up to that favor, i.e. those who have been joined to the body of Christ, (the spirit begotten) this excludes not only the world still groveling in sin, “without God and without hope“, but likewise the vast majority of professed believers who merely possess a watered down deluded version of the truth. One cannot be begotten by delusions (misinterpretations) and errors (false teachings), only by and through the truth (John 17:17).

The distinction between the spirit begotten and the rest of mankind (likewise between the true Christian and the mere nominal or professed Christian) is outlined by Apostle in Heb 6:4-5 such he states have been 1) enlightened, 2) have tasted the heavenly gift, 3) have partaken of the Holy Spirit, 4) have tasted the good word of God and, 5) have tasted of the powers of the age to come.

“There remains no question as to the fact that “by one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and so (as a result) death (the first death, destruction of being) has passed upon all men (all Adam’s posterity). Rom 5:12

Now logic dictates that one could not die the second death, pictured by Gehenna, until either they had first died the first death or had come out from under the original sentence of the first death, Adamic death. To make one accountable to the second death that had yet to had come out from under the sentence of the first would be un-just, double jeopardy.

“The first death must be abrogated or set aside in some manner, before the second death could be possible, and this the Lord purposes to do by means of the ransom and the New Covenant arrangement in the next age when the prisoners are released (Isa 61:1). At present the only ones to have received the benefit of the ransom sacrifice, who have passed over the first death, are the spirit begotten, members of the body of Christ, the true Church.

Beginning with our next post we will take a closer look at each of the five qualifications required of those susceptible to second death to determine just to whom this applies.

Sowing and Reaping

Sowing and Reaping

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“The fact that retribution–the reward or the penalty for certain actions or conduct performed in this life are often delayed is frequently presumed upon by the foolish, who vainly think that they can sow their crop of wild oats and never realize their harvest. Both individuals and nations have long presumed to act upon this hazardous and vain hypothesis.”

The operations of this law are most manifest upon classes and nations–first, because their prominence gives them world-wide publicity; and, second, because their harvest must of necessity be in the present life, since beyond the present life they will have no existence. A glance at the pages of history reveals the fact that all the nations of the past have reaped a bitter harvest, and amid harrowing scenes have breathed their last. They had their rising, struggling periods and then their flourishing eras; and then pride and fullness of bread caused them to rest in fancied security, and to sink in the scale of morals, until their decline was followed by their fall:–they reaped what they had sown.

Where presently do you imagine this once great nation of ours to be along these lines? Have we not experience “pride and fullness of bread”, have we not rested in our own imagined security as a super power and aloud the so-called Christian fundamentals upon which this nation was supposedly founded to erode into vanity and depravity?  Are we not now suffering the just consequences of this course?  Are we not now approaching the final outcome of this course, the fall?

Just now all the nations of the world are fast approaching the terrible crises of their national existences. In a great time of unparalleled trouble, which is even now imminent, they are about to reap what they have sown. They have sown to the wind the seeds of selfishness, and now they are about to reap the whirlwind of anarchy and terror and the destruction of all law and order and national and social organization.

“Behold, the whirlwind of the lord goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.” (Jer 30:23, 24)

Now it is our understanding that when the “Sin Offering” is complete, and has been fully applied on behalf of the world, and when all sins which, were committed against light (truth) have been atoned for (represented by the high priest laying his hands upon the “scapegoat”), then shall the slate be clean, the “books squared”, and noting more (of the past) will be held against mankind.

Before we discuss how the foregoing scriptures apply, let us first consider this “squaring of the books” that is, the accounting for ALL sins committed in this age, whether they come through original sin or are committed somewhat more or less intelligently.

Why should this be, for what purpose? Think about it, if God did not completely clear the books then justice, one of the very foundations of His throne could not be served. It was Gods purpose that through the redemption brought about through the sacrifice of His Son that ALL men should be given the opportunity for a clean slate and placed on trial even as was the case with father Adam from the beginning. In what way could it be said that they were given a fair trial if past sins could be brought against them? How could one love and trust a God who could at any time pull from the closet some past sin (i.e. form this age) to hold against the accused?

Let us let God speak for Himself,

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18)

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his loving-kindness toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psa 103:11, 12)

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon (impute) sin.” (Rom 4:7, 8)

How now shall we account for our opening text as well as several others which attest to the same facts? (Hosea 8:7; Prov 22:8; 2 Cor 9:6; Prov 15:3; Eccl 12:14; Luke 12:2, 3; Rom 12:19)

“The Scriptures, as well as observation, assure us that our justification before God does not remove at once and without our co-operation all the results of previous transgressions. The harvest comes like the sowing, but the penitent and forgiven one has promise of grace to help him in the battle with his inherited as well as his cultivated weakness; and so we read (1 John 1:9): God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It is in this cleansing process, which follows the legal justification, that the justified believer must, of necessity, experience some of the baneful results of a past course of sin, reap the reward of his former sowing. While the Lord will be very merciful in dealing with him, nevertheless, as a wise physician, he will not spare the necessary discipline to eradicate the deep-seated evil propensities of long cultivation in the past.

If you violate the principles of righteousness you deface the image of God in your being. Impure thoughts write in clearly legible signs upon the countenance the dark lines of a bad character; while pure, just and noble thoughts illuminate the countenance and render the pure character transparent to beholders.

The operations of this law in individual cases, though not so prominent, are nonetheless sure.

Every thought harbored, and every disposition exercised and cultivated, is woven into the fabric of individual character; and this character, which is more or less plastic in early life, becomes fixed and fossilized in the course of years.

If the cultivation has been along the lines of righteousness and truth, according to the light possessed–whether of conscience merely, or of revelation also–the ripened fruit of an established, right-preferring and benevolent character is a blessed harvest in comparison with others, the reverse.

If the cultivation has been along the lines of depravity, self-gratification and degradation, the terrible fruits are a fearful penalty. Even though such a one be freely forgiven upon repentance and faith in the Redeemer– fully absolved from legal condemnation through Christ, who bore its divinely pronounced penalty, death, nevertheless, the fruits of his sowing are manifest in his character, and must all be rooted out and a proper character formed at a considerable cost of painful but valuable experience; for God is just, not only to forgive us our sins, but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, i.e. cleanse from our character our fallen and mired disposition.

The eradicating of these evil dispositions, propensities and appetites, deep-rooted and long-cultivated, will cause great disturbances of the soil in which they have grown; and pain as well as joy will attend their removal, and their replacement with the graces of the spirit. The Lord, as a wise physician, will be as merciful and tender with his patient as the necessities of the cure will permit. All will be shown their need of his aid, but no patient will be treated further except with his own consent and co-operation.”

Another feature of retribution upon the world during its millennial trial will be the publicity, which will then be given to the reaping and to the deeds of the past. Our Lord has so intimated, saying, “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known,” etc. (Matt 10:26; Luke 12:2, 3) This also will come about in a natural way, when in that day all that are in their graves shall come forth–when the murderer and his victim, the debtor and his creditor, the thief and his dupe, the defamer and the defamed, must face each other and the facts which, with even the secret motives, will be discerned. The terms of their reconciliation to each other and to the judge will be equitable, and will be known to all.

Past history will have proclaimed to the world the character of many a Nero; but in addition to that, there will be the necessity of facing the former victims of their ignoble cruelty; and that in the light of a new and healthy public sentiment that will manifest crime in all its horrid deformity. Truly such “shall awake to shame and (age) lasting [Heb., olan] contempt,” even in their own eyes; for as their renewed manhood begins to assert itself, they will the more fully realize the depth of the pit of degradation whence they were dug; and even the generous forgiveness of formerly injured and outraged fellow-men will be a great humiliation. It will truly be, as the Scriptures suggest, the heaping of coals of fire on their heads (Prov 25:21, 22; Rom 12:20), so great will be their shame and confusion.–Jer 20:11.

The same conditions which will thus expose the evils of the past life and thus, in the natural operations of moral law, bring about a measure of retribution to the evil-doers, will also make manifest the good deeds of the righteous, so that even the slightest favors done for others (which at the time blessed the characters of the doers) will then be recognized and appreciated.

In this view of the matter we can see how, in a perfectly natural way, a man must reap the harvest of his sowing of wild oats, even though he has been freely forgiven, absolved from guilt and its penalty, death, and legally justified through faith in Christ. He will reap it, both in the difficulties he will have piled up for himself in the hardening of his own character, making the steps up to perfection more painful and slow, and requiring severer discipline and also in the just disapproval or indignation of a righteous public sentiment in that millennial Day of Judgment.

Such will be the natural and inevitable results of present wrong doing, though one consolation will be the fact that this humiliation, in some measure at least, will be shared by all; “for there is none righteous [none perfect], no, not one” (Rom 3:10); and all must pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.” It will indeed be a time for melting and mellowing all hearts. Thus the Lord will take away the stony heart and give to all who under the New Covenant shall become his people (typified by Israel) a heart of flesh, according to his promise.” Ezek 36:22-25-28.

Excerpts taken from R1654The Retributive Character of Divine Law

 

The Unpardonable Sin

The Unpardonable Sin

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Whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it shall be  forgiven him; but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world (age) to come.” (Matt 12:32)

This text teaches first that there is such a thing as forgiveness of sins both in the present Gospel age and in the coming, millennial age. The basis of all forgiveness of sins is in the fact that “Christ died for our sins.”

Secondly, it teaches that some sins are possible, which God will not reckon as a part of the Adamic sin which passed upon all men and which is to be forgiven all men. If men looked at Jesus and ignorantly supposed him an impostor and blasphemed him, it would be excusable and forgivable as a result of the fallen nature. Even should they blaspheme the name of God, and say they believed in no such being, etc., this too might be forgiven for the same reasons. But when God’s power (the Holy Spirit) was manifested in doing them good as it was manifested through Jesus, there certainly was no excuse for even the most depraved of men ascribing those good works to an evil power –Satan. And this is just what Jesus tells them, that such conduct cannot be classed as a part of the general human depravity, and it therefore CANNOT BE FORGIVEN.

Our text follows the conversation our Lord had with the Pharisees just previously (Matt 12:22-30) when on occasion they accused him of being in league with the Adversary, claiming that his ability to cast out demons was of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. With all the wondrous works the Lord had performed before them even yet they refused to believe.

The light was shining so clearly, that though their eyes were nearly blinded by sin, they could not help realizing some of the light (Truth) as Jesus manifested some of “the powers of the world (age) to come.” As he said to them on another occasion, their “stripes” (punishment) in the next age will be in proportion as they have been able to comprehend and do justly and have not so done.

They whose moral sight and hearing have been totally destroyed by Adam’s sin and its results (if any such there be– the Lord knows) will have no stripes in the future, will be forgiven fully. They who see a little and could obey a little and do not so do shall be forgiven the things they did not see and could not do, but will be beaten (punished) with a few stripes for the few things they saw, and could, but did not do, they who saw more and whose ability to perform was less impaired by the fallen nature, and who fail to do according to their ability, are to be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:47, 48) Notice that all who receive “stripes” receive them for unpardoned sins, for if the sins were pardoned they would not be punished for them.

So it is with God’s law; all are sinners and condemned –guilty–on account of Adam’s sin, but the full ransom from that sin has been paid, and so though condemned before the court of heaven, it is announced that all of our imperfections traceable to that cause are freely and fully forgiven. But neither more nor less is pardonable. All sins against light and ability are unpardonable, cannot be forgiven at any time, and hence must be expiated (atoned for) by punishment–“stripes”. The world will have many such sins to be punished in the age to come, and even now in the present life, they receive in some instances much of that chastisement, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”(1 Tim 5:4) In a word, all punishment indicates unpardoned sin, for if it were pardoned it would not be punished as well.

Paul tells us of extreme cases of this sort of unpardonable sin. Men of the world who have a little light we have seen can commit it, but when a man becomes a Christian and has the eyes of his understanding opened–when he is brought from the condition of darkness and ignorance, into the light of knowledge of the Lord, to then “sin willfully” is terrible indeed. Due and full allowance is made for all our weaknesses and imperfections which come to us through our fallen nature, and which clog and hinder our doing as we should wish to do—our Father’s will: but no more. If we cease to desire to do God’s will, we cut loose from our Lord and begin to walk according to our own will as natural and no longer spiritual beings. This is the thing pictured by the proverb: “The dog is returned to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Pet 2:22)

In Heb 6:4-6, Paul assures us that any Christian who has reached a full and mature development in the spiritual life, having “been enlightened,” “tasted of the heavenly gift,” “been made partaker of the Holy Spirit,” “tasted of the good (true) word of God” –if such shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance, WHY? Because this is an unpardonable sin.

But one may ask, ‘Can they not be punished for this sin and thus be free from it in time?’ (NO), with the above description of the Apostle, we understand that these had enjoyed all the blessings due them on account of Christ’s ransom: i.e., they were reckoned of God justified from all sin, as New Creatures had been brought to a condition of enlightenment and knowledge of the Lord’s will, and then, had deliberately and willfully acted contrary to it.

We do not here refer to a child of God stumbling or being overcome of the old nature for a time, but as expressed in Heb 10:26

“If WE (those begotten of the Holy Spirit, NOT the mere professing Christian, the nominally professor and certainly not father Adam who fells to have met any of the criteria mentioned above by the Apostle in Heb 6:4-6) sin willfully AFTER that we have RECEIVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, there remains no more (a) sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour (destroy) the adversaries.”

(Extracts taken from R260)

The Rich Man and Lazarus, Part 1

The Rich Man and Lazarus, Part 1

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There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.

Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’  Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:19-31)

While these scriptures are clearly to be taken as a parable it is generally treated as if it were a literal statement, by the Orthodox Church, and so most professed Christians regard it. However to regard it as such, as the majority do, especially those who believe in the theory of eternal torment for nearly everyone but themselves of course, involves any one of a number of absurdities; for instance:

  1. It is stated that the rich man went to hell simply because he had enjoyed many earthly blessings and gave nothing but crumbs to Lazarus. Not a word is said about whether or not he was good man or an evil man; the fact is there is no mention at all of any wickedness on his part. Again, Lazarus is blessed, not because he is a sincere child of God, full of faith and trust–not because he was good, but simply because he was poor and sick. If this be understood literally, the only logical lesson to be drawn from it is, that unless you are a poor beggar, full of sores, you will never enter into future bliss, and if now you wear any “fine linen” and “purple,” and have plenty to eat every day, you are sure to go to hades and be tormented forever.
  2. The plain fact is, there is not a single word in this much discussed parable about the Rich Man being a wicked man or of the Poor Man, Lazarus, been a good man. Merely being good will not save us, “for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. “ (Gal 2:16) We are saved through faith in our redeemers “perfect works” in our behalf. There is no mention of Lazarus having faith in Christ, of his having been a believer, of having accepted the one name under the heavens by which we may be saved. On what grounds then to we have in saying that he should go to heaven? Are we to believe that there is another way not made known to us?
  3. Why must the “Rich Man” be alive in torment when he is supposed to be DEAD? Is it not written, “The wages of sin is death” how then is it that he died and was buried and yet is conscious of his condition? Is it not likewise written that the dead know nothing, that “there is no work or device or knowledge (awareness) or wisdom in the grave where thou goes?” (Eccl 9:10) If “hell” is a place of “forgetfulness,” (Psa 88:11, 12) how could the “Rich Man” remember his “five brothers?”

This parable, rightly understood, does not in the remotest degree teach the monstrous doctrine of eternal torment.

  1. Also note the place of favor is stated to be Abraham’s bosom; if the whole statement is literal, then the bosom must be literal too. Abraham’s bosom could not possibly hold the millions of sick and poor people from the earth. Poor Abraham would experience considerable difficulty in clasping all of the poor to his expansive bosom!

Why consider these absurdities? All unprejudiced minds must recognize it as a parable.

“As a parable, how then shall we understand it? We answer, that a parable is one thing said, another thing meant; we know this from some of the other parables explained to us by the Lord. For instance, the parable of the “Wheat and Tares” from his explanation of the parable we learn that when in that parable he said wheat, he meant “children of the kingdom;” when he said tares, he meant (to those who would understand the parable) “the children of the devil;” when he said reapers, angels were to be understood, etc. (See Matt 13) So you will find it in every parable explained by our Lord; the thing said is never the thing meant; consequently in this parable “a rich man” means something else. Lazarus and Abraham’s bosom are not literal, but represent some class and condition.” (R283) “In this parable the rich man represents a class, and Lazarus another class; and the narrative applies to these classes.”

“The rich man represented the Jewish people which up to and at the time of the parable “fared sumptuously,” as the special recipients of God’s favors. As Paul said, the Jews had “much advantage every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God” (the Law and Prophecy). The promises to Abraham and David invested that people with royalty, as represented by the rich man’s “purple.” The typical sacrifices of the law, constituted them in a typical sense, a “holy nation,” represented by the rich man’s “fine linen“–symbolic of righteousness —Rev 19:8.” (R1087)

Continued with next post.

 

The Rich Man and Lazarus, Part 2

The Rich Man and Lazarus, Part 2

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“Lazarus represented the God-fearing people of other nations debarred, until the close of the Jewish Age, from those blessings conferred upon Israel specially. As the linen represented Israel’s justification, so the sores represented moral defilement in this class, for whose justification no sin-offering had at that time been made. They were not even typically cleansed, and had as yet no share in the rich promises of the kingdom. They were on the contrary outcasts, strangers from the commonwealth of Israel.

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:11-13.)

As to how these ate of the “crumbs” of divine favor which fell from Israel’s table of bounties, and how they accounted themselves as companions of “dogs,” the Lord’s conversation with the Syro-Phoenician woman, who was one of this class, offers a clear explanation.”

“He said to this Gentile woman–“It is not meet (proper) to take the children’s (Israelites) bread and give it to the dogs” (Gentiles); and she answered, “Yea, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”–Matt. 15:27. Jesus healed her daughter, thus giving the desired crumb of favor. Dogs were regarded as detestable creatures in those days, and the typically clean Jew called the outsiders “heathen” and “dogs,” and would never eat with them, nor marry nor have any dealings with them.”–John 4:9

But there came a change to both of these classes. The “rich man” (the Jewish nation) died, ceased to exist as a nation, and as the national representatives of God’s favors, when God’s favors were taken from them (Matt. 21:43) and given to those formerly outcasts.

But there came a change to both of these classes, a time when the typical righteousness of the Jew ceased–when the promise of royalty ceased to be theirs, and the kingdom was taken from them to be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt. 21:43) The rich man died to all these special advantages and soon he (the Jewish nation) found himself in “Gehenna fire“, NOT a place, but rather a condition–a cast-off condition, in trouble, tribulation and affliction, in which they as a people have suffered (been in torment) to this very day hindered by their law prejudices (as a great gulf) from accepting of Christ.

The “Lazarus” class also died, or ceased from their former condition, and from the Gentiles many were carried by the angels (messengers, apostles, etc.) to Abraham’s bosom. Abraham is represented as the father of the faith-full and receives to his bosom all the children of faith–who thus are recognized as the heirs to all the promises made to Abraham. For the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the “children of the promise are counted for the seed” (children of Abraham) “which seed is Christ,” and “if ye be Christ’s then are ye (believers) Abraham’s seed (children) and heirs according to the (Abrahamic) promise.”–Gal. 3:29. Yes, the condition of things then existing terminated by death–at the death of Jesus–“for if one died for all, then were all dead.” There the Jew was cast off and has since been shown “no favor,” and the poor Gentiles who before had been “aliens from the commonwealth (the promises) of Israel and without God and having no hope in the world,” were then “brought nigh by the blood of Christ” and “reconciled to God.”–Eph. 2:13.

If the two tribes living in Judea (Judah and Benjamin) were represented by one rich man, would it not be in harmony to suppose that the “five brothers” represented the remaining ten tribes, who had “Moses and the Prophets” as their instructors? The question relative to them was doubtless introduced to show that all special favor of God ceased to the ten tribes, as well as to the two directly addressed. It seems to us evident, that Israel only was meant, for none other nation than Israel had “Moses and the prophets” as instructors.”

The rich man replied, “… but if one went to them from the dead, they would repent.” One did actually go from the dead—Lazarus by name—but still they did not repent. In other words, the fact the beggar in the parable was named “Lazarus” is a reference to the Lazarus that Jesus would raise subsequently in the Jerusalem area. Jesus was on his way there now, so this parable would have been fresh in the Pharisees’ minds when the raising occurred (and yet they neither believed nor repented). And even when Jesus himself was raised from the dead, the five brothers (Israel as a nation) did not believe.”

In a word, this parable seems to teach precisely what Paul explained in Rom 11:19-31. How that because of unbelief, the natural branches were broken off, and the wild branches grafted in to the Abrahamic promises. In the parable, Jesus leaves them in the trouble, and does not refer to their final restoration to favor, doubtless because it was not pertinent to the feature of the subject treated; but Paul assures us, that when the fullness of the Gentiles–the Bride–be come in “they (the Israelites) shall obtain mercy through your (the Church’s) mercy.” He assures us that this is God’s covenant with fleshly Israel (they lost the higher–spiritual–promises, but are still the possessors of certain earthly promises) to become the chief nation of earth, etc. In proof of this statement, he quotes the Prophets, saying: “The deliverer shall come out of Zion, (the glorified church,) and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” (the fleshly seed). As concerning the Gospel, (high calling) they are enemies, (cast off) for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:30-32.

(Excerpts taken from R283 and R1087)

The Truth about Hell

The Truth about Hell

eternal-torment

“In the first place bear in mind that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. The word “hell” is an English word sometimes selected by translators of the English Bible to express the sense of the Hebrew word “sheol” and the Greek words “hades”, “tartaroo”, and “Gehenna”, sometimes rendered “grave” and/or “pit”.

The word “hell” in the Old English usage before Papal theologians picked it up and gave it a new and special significance to suit their own purposes simply meant to conceal, to hide, to cover, hence the concealed, hidden or covered place. For example compare Job 14:13 with Psa 86:13.

The Former reads, “Oh, that you would hide me in the grave (Sheol), That You would conceal me until your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!”, while the latter reads, “For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of hell (Sheol).”

The Hebrew word being the same word “grave” should have been used in both cases. Now let us apply a little common sense, how absurd would it have been for Job to pray to God to hide him in a hell of eternal torment?

The word “hell” occurs 31 times in the Old Testament and in every instance it is “sheol” in the Hebrew. It does not mean a lake of fire and brimstone nor anything at all resembling that thought not in the slightest degree. Quite the revers, instead of a place of blazing fire it is described in the context as a state of “darkness” (Job 10:21) instead of a place where shrieks and groans are heard it is described in the context as a place of “silence” (Psa 115:17); instead of representing in any sense pain and suffering, or remorse, the context describes it as a place or condition of “forgetfulness” (Psa 88:11, 12). “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, in the grave “[sheol]” whither thou goes.” (Eccl. 9:10)

The meaning of “sheol” is “the hidden state,” as applied to man’s condition in death, in and beyond which all is hidden, except to the eye of faith; hence, by proper and close association, the word was often used in the sense of grave e.g. the tomb, the hidden place, or place beyond which only those who have the enlightened eye of the understanding can see resurrection, restitution of being. And be it particularly noted that this identical word “sheol” is translated grave thirty-one times and pit three times in our Common Version by the same translators more times than it is translated hell; and twice where it is translated hell, it seemed so absurd, according to the present accepted meaning of the English word hell, that scholars have felt it necessary to explain in the margin of modern Bibles that it means grave (Isa. 14:9 and Jonah 2:2). In the latter case, the hidden state, or grave, was the belly of the fish in which Jonah was buried alive, and from which he cried to God.” (What Say the Scriptures about Hell, Pages 2, 3)

“The Bible declares that sin is disobedience to the expressed will of God, and that the penalty for sin is death! God warned Adam he would die if he disobeyed Him, that the wages of sin was death, he said nothing about the penalty being eternal torment.

Death is the cessation or end of life; not a continuation of life somewhere else. “Thou were made of dust and unto dust shall thou return.” Gen 3:19

Question: Does dust have life, does it have conscious or being? Then how then can it suffer eternal torment?

The Bible reveals that when a man dies he loses all consciousness, knowledge, feeling, wisdom and etc. (Eccl 9:5, 6, 10)

Adam willfully disobeyed his Creator, and with Eve was sentenced to death, so by heredity “all have sinned” all Adam’s children, all mankind have been born under his condemnation.

Man is placed into the grave (“sheol”) where he sleeps until Christ’s return, and the resurrection of the dead.

Some ignorantly teach that man has a soul and that even if the body returns to dust the soul, which they claim is immortal lives on, and that this is what goes into eternal torment. This belief is not taught in the Bible, for nowhere in the scriptures do we find the term, “immortal soul” or that the soul is immortal. To the contrary we find that man IS a soul, not that he has one, Gen 2:7 is quite clear on this matter, viz.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living soul (or being).”

“The soul (the being, the individual) that sins shall die.” (Ezek 18:4)

God made no mention of Adam’s soul going anywhere after his death. The power which animates life, i.e. the breath of life returns to the fountain of all life, God, and the body which was formed from the dust returns to the dust from whence it was taken. Without the body and the gift of life the individual, the soul, dies.

Question: Since a soul is not made of matter (flesh) in this human theory, how then can it be roasted and burned?

This Satanic doctrine, which was borrowed from heathen religions has caused more fear in the hearts of man, than any other of the “doctrines of demons” used by the clergy. It purposes was to keep the people in absolute subjection. And so it has, to those who do not know the true nature and character of their God. As it is written,

“Those who guide these people mislead them and those who are guided are led astray”. Isa 9:16

No such place as a hell of eternal torment is mentioned in the scriptures, if it were would not the Apostle Paul have mentioned it, did he not declare to us that he, “…shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God?” Acts 20:27

If there were indeed such a punishment held out for all evil doers and non-believers why would he fell to mention such an important fact? Why? Because there was no such thing to declare, “The wages of sin is death” as he had stated (Rom 6:23)

In Revelation many have taken the symbolic language used in Chapter 20 Verses 14 and 15 and in Chapter 21 Verse 8 to indicate such a place of torment does indeed exist. However note carefully in 20:14 that death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.

Question: How then can hell, if it be the lake of fire, be cast into hell?

Notice the rest of the verse as well as 21:8 gives the proper explanation as to what the lake of fire really is, “This is the Second Death”. from which there is no resurrection.”

What then is the “lake of fire”, since it is not a literal lake? As we have seen Rev 21:8 confirms the “lake of fire” to be the “second death”, or total destruction. Remember fire does not preserve that which is tossed into it, but rather it consumes that which is place in it until it is gone period. That is why fire is used to represent total destruction. Thus we can truly believe what is stated in Rom 6:23

“For the wages of sin is DEATH but the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We can either believe in the doctrine taught by men or in the truth as taught by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Bible. We cannot believe both.

But if as yet you are still not convinced as to the truth on this subject, I summit the following; let God be the final judge on this matter,

It is men who teach of eternal torment and, raging fire where sinner are sent for all eternity to be burned alive, this false doctrine had its origins in the “Dark Ages” of papal domination. It is BLASPHEMOUS for men to put this EVIL and false idea to our God, for the very idea of burning someone alive is EVIL and shows how depraved someone can be. But it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to do anything Evil.

“The expression, “BLASPHEMY”, in our day, is usually given only a coarse meaning, as if it related to the most vulgar forms of cursing and profanity only. But, in its true significance, the word “blasphemy” is applicable to any indignity offered to God. “Blasphemy is to attribute to God that which is contrary to his nature, and does not belong to him—and to deny what does.” Thus, Blasphemy is a sin that is commonly committed not only by unbelievers, but ALSO by many professed Christians, this they do, (mostly through ignorance), every time they ascribe to God, any one of the many false teachings commonly held by Christendom. One such Blasphemy is the FALSE DOCTRINE concerning Hell, and God’s plans to condemn and eternally torture the vast majority of His creation. This is a blatant Blasphemy, and is definitely attributing to God that “which is contrary to his nature”. This doctrine is in direct contention with the Scriptural statement that “God is Love”.

What saith God on this subject let Him answer for Himself, instead of listening to man?

“They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spoke it, NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY MIND…” Jer 19:5

Well there we have it, straight from God’s on words, God never mention anything about burning anyone alive and the very thought of doing so which is evil never even entered into His mind. So how could men say that God plans to burn men alive in eternal torment?

“Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.” Prov 3:13

The Truth shall set you free.