JESUS' DOCTRINE CONCERNING HELL AND THE SOUL:
A REFUTATION OF THE LIES OF THE JEHOVAH WITNESSES AND THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS CONCERNING THESE DOCTRINES.
Mar 12:19 Master, Moses
wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and
leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed
unto his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventist church embrace a doctrine that reflects the error of the Saducees who tempted Jesus, because they do not believe that when a person dies that they go to heaven to be with the Lord. Their doctrine is called "soul sleep". They teach that when a person dies they remain in the grave asleep until the second resurrection.
They also do not believe that there is a literal place of torment called "Hell". They teach that if a sinner dies, that they are simply "annihilated". The Saducees, who didn't believe in the resurrection came to Jesus to catch Him in His Words - to trip Him up and to confuse them. After they gave Him a challenging situation, Jesus did not tell them that they erred because they didn't understand what He taught. He told them they did not understand the scriptures, nor the POWER OF GOD, which is the problem that these two cults have as well.
Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists have a talent of plucking Scriptures out of context and presenting a case for their error, just as the Pharisees and the Saducees of Jesus' day did.
And, just like the religious leaders of that day, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists deny the Power of the Almighty God in their doctrines and their lifestyles. Theirs is a works-oriented righteousness. Jesus said that when a person rises from the dead, he or she is like the angels in heaven. Where are the angels? IN HEAVEN!
Then He compared those who have died with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the present tense, saying that He told Moses "I AM (present tense, not 'I was') the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." According to Jesus, if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still dead, He would have said "I WAS the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Jesus told the Saducees that God is NOT the God of the dead, but of the Living, and that they greatly err in their doctrine.
The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists explain away Jesus' teaching by ripping verses out of context or by saying that He did not mean what He said.
IS THERE A HELL WHERE UNSAVED SOULS EXPERIENCE ETERNAL TORMENT?
Jesus' account of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 is explained away by the cults as a parable. But Jesus always spoke the Truth. He said that He IS the Way the Truth and the Life. Even His parables dealt with truths. He didn't just fabricate stories to entertain the masses. Jesus wouldn't use a lie to prove a point. He was sinless.
That means He didn't lie, even to make up stories that weren't true, so he could tell a Truth. Here in this account, we see that both men are conscious after they die. There is no indication of soul-sleep here.
One was carried to Paradise, which, according to rabbinic tradition was where the righteous would go after death (also known as "Pardes"), and the other man was in a place of torment, also known as Hell (or Hades) and there was no way that they could cross from one place to the other.
Jesus warned against a hell where there is endless torment and not "Annihilation" (Matt 5:22, 29, and 30). The cults mentioned above attempt to explain away these references made by Jesus by saying that the word translated as "hell" here is the Greek Word "Gehenna", which was a valley south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned. But any thinking person would recognize that Jesus was using a literal place to illustrate to the people whom He taught the seriousness that awaits the sinner in the after life.
In Matt 10:28, Jesus indicates that although the body is killed, the soul of a person is not. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:" Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists equate the body and soul as being the same thing, but from searching the scriptures, we can see that Jesus' teaching obviously refutes that doctrine.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. ( See also Luke 12:4-5)
Those who want to argue the point may say that Jesus speaks of the soul and body being DESTROYED in hell. They may say if something is destroyed, it isn't living any more, or it does not exist.
The Greek word used here is "apollumi", and does not exclusively mean "destroy" as we understand the word "destroy". Interestingly, just a few verses before this passage, in Matt 10:6, Jesus uses this same word to commission the disciples to go seek the LOST sheep of the house of Israel. If we are to look at this word in it's context, we can see that Jesus is saying don't fear those which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (note that Jesus draws a distinction between the soul and the body here as being two different things), but we should fear the one who is able to cause both the soul and the body to be lost (or separated or alienated from God, just as the sheep of Israel mentioned earlier were lost, or separated from God) in hell.
Mat 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Again, look at just a few verses down from Matthew 10:28 where the same word is once more translated as lose and loseth:
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
And one more time, in Matt 10:42, we can see that the word Apollumi is translated as "lose":
Mat 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
I believe it isn't any coincidence that Jesus used this particular word so many times in this one passage of scripture. Jehovah's witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists have a habit of not rightly dividing the Word of Truth, and by plucking words out of context form their true meaning to prove their point. Jesus' warning in Matt 10:28 was concerning separation from God, not annihilation of the soul (see also Matt 16:24,25; Mat 18:11; Mat 18:14; Mar 8:35, etc…).
Luk 9:24 For whosoever
will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my
sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
So we see that Apollumi can either mean being lost, lose, or losing, as well as to perish or to destroy. We need to look at the context in which a word is being used to understand its meaning. In context, it ought to be very apparent that Matthew 10:28 is speaking of being lost or separated from God in Hell. This realization throws a serious wrench in the errant doctrine of the annihilation of the soul.
Look at the parallel passage in Mark 8:36, where Jesus mentions losing one's soul:
8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and
lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The Russelites (Jehovah's Witnesses) and the White-Millerites (Seventh Day Adventists) ridicule the concept of a person experiencing eternal torment, using human sentiment to argue it away ("would a loving God really condemn a person to eternal torment?"). But who are we to answer against the Word of God?
In addition to Jesus' words in Matthew 25:46 regarding those who would be condemned to everlasting punishment, or torment (Gr. Kolasis), along with the devil and his angels in the lake of fire (Matt 25:41), look at the account of what awaits the devil, the beast, and the false prophet in Revelation 20:10:
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever
Notice that the sentence of the devil, and the beast and the false prophet is that they will be tormented day and night forever and ever! This bears witness with what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 25:41:
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
But notice that Jesus includes those who rejected Him with the devil and the angels, and now remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:46:
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
One more time, let us go to Revelation chapter 20, and see what happens to those who are not found written in the book of life:
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
From our teacher, Jesus' own words, we see that those who were cast into the lake of fire (everlasting fire in Matt 25:41) went into everlasting torment, just as the devil and his false prophet and the beast will. To teach other wise is to call Jesus a liar.
Mat 18:8 Wherefore if
thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it
is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two
hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Mat 5:29 And if thy right
eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable
for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body
should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Mar 9:43 And if thy hand
offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed,
than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
SOUL SLEEP OR PRESENT WITH THE LORD?
Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in Paradise.
Luk 23:40 But the other
answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in
the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Those who seek to perpetuate the lie of the "Soul Sleep" doctrine do a little juggling with the words of Jesus by placing the comma in a different place and switching places with "thou" and "shalt", so they have Jesus saying: "Verily I say unto thee Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise".
Their argument is that Jesus just made a comment to the thief that "This is what I am telling you today: You will be with me in Paradise." How ridiculous can that be? Had Jesus wanted to make a comment like that, He would have left the "Today" part out because it was obvious that He wasn't speaking about yesterday or tomorrow. They were about to die "today".
He said what He said, and what He said was "Today you shall be with me in Paradise!" But the cults have to mess with Jesus' words in the attempt to make His Words conform to their manmade and hell-spawned doctrine. Remember earlier, that we saw a reference to Lazarus being carried to Abraham's bosom and to the rich man being in Hades?
While Jehovah's winesses and SDA's scoff at the term "Abraham's Bosom" and say that this is merely a parable, because how many souls can fit into Abraham's bosom, the fact of the matter is that John 1:18 declares that the Son is in the Bosom of the father. John leaned on Jesus' Bosom (John 13:23). The word translated as "into" in Luke 16:22 is the Greek word "eis", which can be translated as to, or toward. So we see the beggar being carried to Abraham's bosom.
Jesus Himself declared in Matthew 8:11 that many would come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven (Again, He is the God of the Living, and not of the Dead). Through faith, Abraham became a friend of God. Through faith in the Living God, all who lived righteously before God had access to Paradise, a place where they would consciously await the fulfillment of the promise of God which was eternal life in Jesus Christ, the soon to come Messiah (see Hebrews 11:39&40).
Because of Abraham's standing with God, Paradise was equated with Abraham, Issac and Jacob's abode. The rich man saw this beggar reclining with Abraham in Paradise. But the wicked were cast into Hell, or Hades, where they would wait for the righteous judgment of God as well, which was in Jesus Christ. Eventually, at the Judgment, Death, Hell and all the souls they contain will be thrown into the Lake of fire, a place of unspeakable torment.
Upon His Death, Jesus and the thief were taken to Paradise where there was no doubt great rejoicing among the patriarchs and those righteous ones who awaited the Promise for so long. Some believe that Jesus went from Paradise to Hades where the rich man and others were, and preached to all who were there so that none would be without excuse, and could never say "I never knew" (1 Pet 3:18-20, 1 Pet 4:6, Eph 4:9-10), but whatever the case may be, the fact of the matter is that we know Jesus did not lie to the thief next to Him when He said "Today you shall be with me in Paradise." We don't need to wrestle with that, unless we want to nourish a false pet doctrine that was embraced and taught by a false prophet (Charles Taze Russel) and a false prophetess (Ellen G. White).
In Acts 7:59, Stephen called out to the Lord to receive his spirit. Why? He was saying "I am coming to you, Lord!" In Revelation 6:9, we see under the altar (which is in heaven) the souls (not the bodies) of them that were slain for the Word of God, and they are obviously not sleeping, because they are aware of their surroundings. If the doctrine of soul sleep was true, then those who believe in it wouldn't have to wrestle with scripture like they do, and explain away Jesus' teachings or other important teachings in the Word of God. Under the altar, the souls are crying out to the Lord for justice to be done. They are clothed in white robes, and their question is answered.
Rev 6:9 And when he had
opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain
for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8, we are taught that when we are absent from this body (dead), we are present with the Lord.
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are
always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are
absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
In Philippians 1:23, Paul declares plainly that if he dies, he will be with Christ.
Phi 1:21 For to me to
live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Again, in Revelation, we see a multitude of people who have been killed standing before the throne, and arrayed in white robes:
Rev 7:13 And one of the
elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white
robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Jehovah's witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists like to dwell in the Old Testament for their scriptural evidence, so I will include a very important passage that they never address, probably because Ellen White or the Watchtower leaders also avoid it:
1Ki 17:18 And she said
unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come
unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
Not to be redundant, but just in case anyone who has been conditioned by these cults may miss the point, notice in verse 21, that Elijah prayed that the child's soul come into him again. And again, in verse 22, we see that the soul of the child came into him again. This disproves the notion that the soul and the body are the same.
Now see our Lord Jesus' Words in Matthew 10:28 again:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:
Friend, the doctrine of Soul sleep and the denial of eternal torment for all who reject Jesus are doctrines that the enemy of your soul, Satan wants you to embrace, because they both take away from the Work that Jesus Christ has done on the cross for us.
If you belong to the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists, and are reading this, by now you should begin to see that their doctrines are false. You need to reevaluate your position with God. Jesus said UNLESS any man (that definitely includes you!) is Born Again, He cannot see the Kingdom of God. Believe Jesus Christ, the One Who died for you so that you could have eternal life.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit
speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,
giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you want to embrace the doctrines of false prophets, that is your choice. You better hope and pray there is NOT a place of eternal torment, like Jesus alluded to. Don't be decieved: It's a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God.
1Ti 4:6 If thou put the
brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of
Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto
thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
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