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2 Peter 1:12

Dear Readers,

August 2004

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:2, 3) My family and I went to Arkansas and Tennessee to hold meetings in July. It was a great blessing to meet some of our brethren who had not been able to attend our meetings before because of the long distance. They seemed overjoyed at the opportunity to have meetings in their area. The Lord greatly blessed, and several new people accepted the simple truths of the gospel; that there is one God who gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins, according to the Scriptures.

In this Issue

The Wicked Dead: Are They Now Being Punished?

by Elder J. N. Andrews

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

by George McDaniel

Upcoming Meeting Schedule

Something for the Young at Heart

An Update on Michael Sibanda

Letters from our Readers

The Wicked Dead: Are They Now Being Punished?

by Elder J. N. Andrews

This is a question of awful solemnity, and should not be treated as a matter of speculation and idle curiosity. By far the larger part of mankind live in neglect of the great duties of religion, if not in open contempt of its most solemn commands. Such has ever been the fact with our fallen race. This vast throng of sinful men, for long ages have been pouring through the gates of death, and its dark portals hide them from our further view. What is the condition of this innumerable multitude of impenitent dead? Where are they, and what now is their real state?

To this question two answers are returned: 1. They are now suffering the torments of the damned. This is the answer of all the self-styled orthodox creeds. 2. They are now sleeping in the dust of the earth, awaiting the resurrection to damnation.… Which of these two answers is the true and proper one?

There is no statement in the Bible relating to the wicked dead in general, where they are in any way represented as in a state or place of torment. Nor is there any instance in the Bible where men are threatened that they shall, if wicked, enter an abode of misery at death. Even the warning of Jesus in Matthew 10:28, which is thought to contain the strongest proof of the soul’s immortality that can be found in all the Bible, says not one word concerning the suffering of the soul in hades, the place of the dead, but relates wholly to what shall be inflicted upon “both soul and body in gehenna,” the place of punishment for the resurrected wicked.

There being no general statement in the Bible representing the wicked dead as now in torment, and no instance in which the living wicked are threatened with consignment to the furnace of fire till after the judgment, we now search out the particular cases which may be thought to teach such fact. There are just two of these cases which may be cited as proving that some of the wicked dead are now in torment, and from these if at all, the torment of the wicked dead in general must be deduced. These cases are the Sodomites, “set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7); and the rich man lifting up his eyes in torment. (Luke 16:22, 23) These are the only cases that can be cited from the Scriptures in proof that the wicked dead are now undergoing the punishment of their sins.

The case of the Sodomites then claims our attention. The text reads thus: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7) Does the apostle mean to say that the Sodomites are now in the flames of eternal fire? The clause “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” is modified by the words “set forth for an example,” which immediately precede it. In fact the real meaning of the apostle in what he says of the sufferings of the Sodomites can only be determined by giving this phrase, “set forth for an example,” its proper bearing. To be “set forth for an example” to wicked men “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” one of two things must be true: 1. They must now be in a state of suffering in plain view of the inhabitants of the earth; or 2. They must be somewhere in the Scriptures set forth in the very act of suffering the vengeance of fire from heaven. If the first of these views be correct, then the Sodomites are indeed now in torment. But that view is not correct; for the very place where Sodom was burned is now covered by the Dead Sea.

That the second view is correct, is manifest from Genesis 19:24-28. “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD. And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.”

Here the Sodomites are set forth for an example in the very act of suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Are they to this day in that fire? Peter bears testimony, and it is the more valuable in this case, because the chapter containing it is almost an exact parallel to the epistle of Jude. Thus he says: “Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah INTO ASHES condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:6) Peter thus shows that the fire did its proper office upon the men of Sodom, and that they were not in his day alive in its flames. Their case is an example of what God will do to all the wicked after the resurrection to damnation, when fire shall descend out of heaven upon them and the whole earth become a lake of fire. (Revelation 20; 2 Peter 3; Malachi 4)

The testimony of Jeremiah which represents the punishment of Sodom as comparatively brief, must complete this evidence: “For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.” (Lamentations 4:6)

The language of Jude concerning the Sodomites has therefore no relation to their condition in death, and cannot be made to furnish evidence that the wicked dead are now in a state of torment. There remains therefore, the case of a single individual—the rich man—out of which to deduce the doctrine that the wicked dead are now in the lake of fire. This is certainly a fact worthy of note.

The account of the rich man stands at the conclusion of a discourse made up of parables. Thus Luke 15 presents us with the parable of the lost sheep, the ten pieces of silver and the prodigal son. The sixteenth chapter is made up of two parables, the unjust steward, and the rich man and Lazarus. It is true that the account of the rich man and Lazarus is not called a parable by the sacred penman; but the fact is the same with respect to the two cases which precede this; and the three are introduced in the same manner: “A certain man had two sons;” “There was a certain rich man which had a steward;” “There was a certain rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen.”

It is generally admitted that a parable cannot be made the foundation of any doctrine, or be used to disprove doctrines established by plain and literal testimony. But the doctrine of the present punishment of the wicked dead, rests upon a single parable, and that parable the case of a single individual.

The proper interpretation of any portion of the Sacred Record will show that it is in divine harmony with the general tenor and plain facts of the whole book.

Three of the dead are here introduced, Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man, and all represented as in hades. “In hell [Greek, hades] he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:23) Hades is the place of all the dead, the righteous as well as the wicked. Thus at the resurrection of the just, they shout victory over death and hades from whose power they are then delivered. “O death where is thy sting? O grave [Greek, hades], where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) The wicked dead are in hades; for at the resurrection to damnation hades delivers them up. (Revelation 20:13) The resurrection of Christ did not leave his soul in hades; i.e., He then came forth from the place of the dead. Hades therefore is the common receptacle of the dead. Those who are in hades are not alive but dead. “DEATH and HADES delivered up the DEAD which were in them.” (Revelation 20:13) Even the language of Abraham implies that all the party were then dead. To the rich man he says, “Thou in thy lifetime [now passed] receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” (Verse 25) Classing himself with dead Lazarus he adds: “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed.” The rich man then begs that Lazarus may be sent to his brethren, declaring that if one went unto them from the dead they will repent. And Abraham, denying his request, said that they would not be persuaded “though one rose from the dead.” This scene transpires in hades, the place of the dead, and those who act in it are three dead persons.

Here is found a clue to the proper interpretation of this parable. “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” (Verse 29) “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” (Verse 31) This language directs the living to Moses and the prophets for instruction concerning man’s condition in hades. In their testimony will be found adequate warning to the living wicked, and facts of great importance bearing upon the proper interpretation of this peculiar passage.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. Here an important fact is to be noticed. The Old Testament uses the word sheol to designate that place which in the New Testament is called hades. Thus the sixteenth Psalm, written in Hebrew says, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol.” The New Testament quoting this text and expressing the words in Greek says, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades.” (Acts 2:27) The Hebrew term sheol as used in the Old Testament is therefore the same in meaning with the Greek word hades as used in the New. In other words the hades of Christ and the apostles is the sheol of Moses and the prophets.

It is well here to observe that the Hebrew word sheol is used in the Old Testament sixty-five times. It is rendered grave thirty-one times. (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; 1 Samuel 2:6; 1 Kings 2:6, 9; Job 7:9; 14:13; 17:13; 21:13; 24:19; Psalms 6:5; 30:3; 31:17; 49:14, 15; 88:3; 89:48; 141:7; Proverbs 1:12; 30:16; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Song of Solomon 8:6; Isaiah 14:11; 38:10, 18; Ezekiel 31:15; Hosea 13:14) It is rendered pit three times as follows: Numbers 16:30, 33; Job 17:16. It is also rendered hell in thirty-one instances as follows: Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Samuel 22:6; Job 11:8; 26:6; Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; 113:3; 139:8; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11, 24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:9, 15; 28:13, 18; 57:9; Ezekiel 31:16, 17; 32:21, 27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Habakkuk 2:5.

Hades, the New Testament term for the sheol of the Old Testament, is used eleven times, and in ten of these it is rendered hell. (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14.) It is once rendered grave. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Moses and the prophets were indeed divinely inspired on every point concerning which they wrote; but on the point respecting which we seek light, they have the special endorsement of our Lord. We may therefore confide in their teaching concerning hades or sheol, assured that the great facts revealed through them by the Spirit of God, will be found in divine harmony with the teaching of Christ and the apostles.

The texts quoted above, relating to hades or sheol, reveal to us many important facts. We learn that sheol is the common receptacle of the dead whether they are righteous or wicked. Thus Jacob expressed his faith in what should be his state in death when he said, “I will go down into sheol unto my son mourning.” (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31) Korah and his company went down into sheol. (Numbers 16:30, 33) Joab went down into sheol. (1 Kings 2:6, 9) Job was to be hid in sheol and wait there till the resurrection. (Job 14:13; 17:13) All the wicked go into sheol. (Psalms 9:17; 31:17; 49:14) All mankind go there. (Psalm 89:48; Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Sheol or hades receives the whole man at death. Jacob expected to go down with his gray hairs to sheol. (Genesis 42:38) Korah, Dathan and Abiram went into sheol bodily. (Numbers 16:30, 33) The soul of the Saviour left sheol at his resurrection. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31) The Psalmist being restored from dangerous sickness testified that his soul was saved from going into sheol. Thus he says, “O LORD my God I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD thou hast brought up my soul from the grave [Hebrews sheol], thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit.” (Psalm 30:2, 3; See also 86:13; Proverbs 23:14.) He also shows that all men must die, and that no one can deliver his soul from sheol. (Psalm 89:48)

The sorrows of hell, three times mentioned by the Psalmist, are, as shown by the connection, the pangs which precede or lead to death. (2 Samuel 22:5-7; Psalms 18:4-6; 116:1-9. They are in each case experienced by the righteous. The cruelty of sheol is the remorseless power with which it swallows up all mankind. (Song of Solomon 8:6; Psalm 89:48)

Those who go down to sheol must remain there till their resurrection. At the coming of Christ all the righteous are delivered from sheol. All the living wicked are then “turned into sheol,” and for one thousand years sheol holds all wicked men in its dread embrace. Then death and sheol or hades deliver up the wicked dead, and the judgment is executed upon them in the lake of fire. (Compare Job 7:9, 10; 14:12-14; 17:13; 19:25-27; Revelation 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; Psalm 9:17; Revelation 20:11-15.)

Sheol, the invisible place or state of the dead, is IN THE EARTH BENEATH. Though it is rendered grave thirty-one times, it is not the word usually so rendered in the Old Testament; for it embraces in its meaning not only the locality of the dead, but also their state or condition. All the passages which speak of the location of sheol or hades, represent it as beneath. It is always in the bosom of the earth, sometimes it is called the nethermost parts of the earth. (Numbers 16:30, 33; Psalm 141:7; Isaiah 5:14; 14:9-20; Ezekiel 31:15-18; 32:18-32) Referring to the fire now burning in the heart of the earth which shall at the last day swallow up the earth in its fiery gulf, Moses represents the Almighty as saying: “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest sheol, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundation of the mountains.” (Deuteronomy 32:22) Jonah went down into sheol, when, in the belly of the whale, he descended into the depths of the mighty waters, where none but dead men had ever been. (Jonah 1, 2) Korah and his company went into sheol alive; that is, the earth swallowed them up while yet alive. (Numbers 16)

The righteous do not praise God in sheol. Thus David testifies: “In death there is no remembrance of thee; in sheol who shall give thee thanks?” (Psalm 6:5) And Hezekiah when delivered from death in answer to prayer expresses the same great truth: “I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of sheol: I am deprived of the residue of my years… Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my SOUL delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For sheol cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” (Isaiah 37:10-19; Psalm 115:17; 146:1-4)

The wicked in sheol are silent in death. Thus David prays: “Let the wicked be ashamed and let them be silent in sheol.” (Psalm 31:17; See also 1 Samuel 2:9; Psalm 115:17, last clause.)

Sheol is a place of silence, secrecy, sleep, rest, darkness, corruption and worms. “So man lieth down and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep. Oh that thou wouldst hide me in sheol, that thou wouldst keep me secret till thy wrath be past, that thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me. If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” (Job 14:12-15) “If I wait sheol is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister. And where is now my hope? As for my hope who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of sheol, when our rest together is in the dust.” (Job 17:13-16; 4:11-19; Psalm 88:10-12)

There is no knowledge in sheol. Thus writes the wise man, the Spirit of inspiration bearing testimony through him: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in sheol whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4-6, 10)

Such are the great facts concerning sheol or hades, as revealed to us in the books of “Moses and the prophets.” Yet we have the following cases in these same writings, in which the dead in sheol in the nethermost parts of the earth converse together, and are comforted or taunted by each other, or in which they weep bitterly, refusing comfort.

The case of the king of Babylon is a noted instance of this. When he is overthrown and goes down to sheol, the DEAD, for sheol has no others in its dark abode, are stirred up to meet him. The kings that had been conquered and destroyed by the king of Babylon in the days of his prosperity, now rise up from their thrones in that dark abode, and mock him with feigned obeisance as in life they had rendered real homage. Now they taunt him saying, “Art thou become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us?” Those that see him shall narrowly look upon him saying, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms.” (Isaiah 14:9-20)

Pharaoh and his army slaughtered in battle with the king of Babylon, are set forth in this same manner. The slain upon the field of battle being buried indiscriminately, and friend and foe cast down together into pits, into “the nether parts of the earth,” into sheol, “the strong among the mighty speak to him out of the midst of sheol.” And this sheol in the nether parts of the earth full of the dead, is contrasted with “the land of the living.” These slaughtered soldiers went down to sheol with their weapons of war, and their swords they “laid under their heads.” Pharaoh, lying among them, and seeing the multitude of his enemies that were slain, is “comforted” at the sight. See this remarkable prophecy in Ezekiel 32:17-32; 31:15-18.

Perhaps the case of Rachel is even more remarkable than these. Long ages after her decease and entrance into sheol, a dreadful slaughter of her posterity takes place. Upon this, Rachel breaks forth into lamentation and bitter weeping, and refuses to be comforted, because her children are not. Then the Lord says to her, “Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:15-17; Matthew 2:17, 18; Genesis 35:18-20)

That Rachel did literally weep and shed bitter tears at the murder of her children nearly 2,000 years after her entrance into sheol, no one will assert. Nor will it be maintained that the slaughtered Egyptians and Chaldeans lying in sheol with their swords under their heads, were able to converse together in the nether parts of the earth; and that one was literally “comforted” or the other literally “ashamed.” Equally difficult is it to believe that the kings who had been overthrown by the king of Babylon were literally seated on thrones in sheol deep in the earth, and that when he was cast down to sheol they arose from their thrones and mocked him, declaring that he was now become weak as they. Please compare the following texts on the king of Babylon: Jeremiah 51:39, 57; Daniel 5:1-4, 30; Isaiah 14:4-30.

Taking our leave of “Moses and the prophets,” whose testimony on this subject has the direct endorsement of our Lord, let us now return to the case of the rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31) Lazarus lived in the deepest poverty; too helpless to walk, or even to stand, he was laid at the rich man’s gate; he had no other food than the crumbs, perhaps grudgingly bestowed from the table of the rich man; and no other nurses than the dogs which licked his sores. In process of time, death comes to his relief; but his burial is not mentioned, though that of the rich man, who died soon after, is distinctly named. It is likely that the dead beggar covered with sores, was disposed of with as little trouble as possible; in the sight of man, he had the burial of a dog; but this poor man, forsaken of all earthly friends, and apparently unnoticed of Heaven, had, unseen to mortal eye, such a burial as the wealth of the whole world could not command. The angels of God took part as his bearers to that quiet resting place from which, by and by, when hades gives up the righteous dead, at the sound of the last trumpet, they shall take him up through the air, to meet his triumphant Redeemer. Till that time, we leave him asleep in Jesus, resting in hope, with Abraham, the father of the faithful, and all the ancient worthies who have not yet received the promises. (Hebrews 11:8-16, 39, 40)

The rich man lived in luxury, faring sumptuously every day. To the eye of all beholders his lot was to be envied, and that of the beggar to be despised. But he dies also, and of him it is recorded that he was buried. All that wealth could purchase, all that pride could exhibit of earthly pomp and grandeur were no doubt displayed at his funeral. But there were, no doubt, no angels of God to participate in it. He had lived for himself, neglecting the great preparation for the future. He goes down to hades a lost man, waiting the resurrection to damnation. As the Douay Bible reads, “he was buried in hell,” i.e., in hades or sheol. Here he lifted up his eyes being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. Then as though calling to mind the littleness of the favors he had bestowed on Lazarus, he asks a favor at the hands of the despised beggar—the smallest indeed that he could ask—that Lazarus should dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue. This being denied, he asks that Lazarus may be sent to warn his brethren. And this also was refused because they had Moses and the prophets whose testimony was sufficient.

This scene transpires in hades or sheol, which, as we have seen, is in the nether parts of the earth. The place is one of darkness and silence, where there is neither wisdom nor knowledge. It is the place of the dead, and those who are therein are called “the congregation of the dead.” (Proverbs 21:16) In the utter darkness of hades, how can men see each other? “In the land of forgetfulness,” how can they remember the events of their past lives? In a place where there is no knowledge, how could the rich man know Abraham whom he had never seen? Where there is no work nor device, how could he devise a plan to warn his wicked brethren? And in hades where there is no wisdom, how could Abraham give such wise answers? In hades where the wicked are silent in death, how could the rich man converse? As the righteous cannot praise God in hades, and do not even remember his name, how does it happen that they can so well understand and converse on every thing else?

We answer these questions precisely as we do those which arise from the testimony of “Moses and the prophets,” to which we are in this parable referred. When Rachel long dead, is represented as shedding tears and lamenting the murder of her children; when the mighty dead converse with Pharaoh in hades, and he is “comforted” with what he sees in the nether parts of the earth; and when the king of Babylon is mocked by dead kings who rise up from their thrones in hades and taunt him with his overthrow; when we read all this of that place where all is darkness, silence, secrecy and death,—a place within the earth itself, and when we consider that this parable relates to this very place, and cites us to these very testimonies for information on the subject, it becomes evident that one common answer pertains to all these questions.

The dead are personified and made to speak and act in reference to the facts of their respective cases as though they were alive. Why should not the Spirit of God do this when it has seen fit to personify every kind of inanimate thing? Thus the blood of Abel cried to God. (Genesis 4) The stone by the sanctuary heard all the words of Israel. (Joshua 24) The trees held an election and made speeches. (Judges 9) The thistle proposes a matrimonial alliance with the cedar. (2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25) All the trees sing out at the presence of God. (1 Chronicles 16) The stone cries out of the wall, and the beam answers it. (Habakkuk 2) The hire of the laborers kept back by fraud, cries to God. (James 5) Dead Abel yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11) The souls under the altar slain for their testimony and who do not live till the first resurrection, cry to God for vengeance. (Revelation 6; 20) And finally death and hades are both personified,—the one riding a pale horse, the other following, and both cutting down mankind. And this personification is still further carried out, when both, as though living enemies, are at last cast into the fire of gehenna. (Revelation 6; 20; 1 Corinthians 15; Hosea 13:14)

The apostle Paul has given us the key to all this, when he says of God, that he “quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were.” (Romans 4:17) And our Lord, in that remarkable discussion with the Sadducees, in which He proved the resurrection of the dead by the fact that God spoke of dead Abraham as though he were alive, gives us this same key thus: “For all live unto him.” (Luke 20:38) Abraham though dead, is spoken of as alive, because in the purpose of God he is to live again.

By this parable our Lord illustrates several great truths. 1. The folly and vanity of riches. 2. The worth of true piety, though attended by the deepest poverty. 3. The importance of that great lesson inculcated in the previous parable, to make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. (Luke 16:9; 1 Timothy 6:17-19) The rich man had neglected this, wasting all on himself, though wretched, suffering Lazarus lay at his gate. The folly of this criminal neglect is shown in that part of this parable in which the rich man in his distress, as if remembering the past, is represented as asking of Lazarus the water that could be brought on the tip of his finger, and even this is denied. 4. The certainty of future recompense, and the great contrast that it will make with the present state of things. 5. The sufficiency of the Scriptures to instruct and warn mankind. 6. But to make this text teach that the righteous dead are now recompensed, would be to array a parable against our Lord’s plain statement that the recompense of the righteous is at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:14) 7. Or to make the passage teach that the wicked dead are now in the lake of fire, is to make one of the Saviour’s parables conflict in its teaching with his own grand description of the final judgment, in which the wicked enter the everlasting fire at the dreadful mandate, “Depart from me ye cursed.” (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15)

Lazarus died a beggar. But he rests in hope, an heir to the inheritance promised Abraham. Eternal life and endless felicity are his, and by personification it is said that he is “comforted.” The rich man lives in the greatest splendor, and dies an impenitent man. The lake of fire is to be his portion. By personification he is represented as in it already. This is in accordance with the teaching of Paul, when he says of God that He calleth things that be not, as though they were. That is, God speaks of things that exist only in His purpose just as though they had a present existence; because they shall surely exist; even as He called Abraham the father of many nations, when as yet he had no son. (Genesis 17; Romans 4:16, 17) This is the more clearly seen when we consider that to Lazarus in the silence of hades there will not be a moment between his death, in the grounds of the rich man, and his resurrection to eternal life. And not a moment to the rich man between the closing of his eyes in death, and his opening them in the resurrection to damnation.

That we have done right in hearing the testimony of “Moses and the prophets” on this subject we have the authority of the parable itself. And we have this further evidence of the truth of this exposition that without doing violence to a single text we have a divine harmony on the subject of the dead in hades, in all that is said by Moses and the prophets, and by Christ and the apostles.

That those who conversed together are not disembodied spirits, but personified dead men, is further proved by the following facts: 1. Not one word is said of the spirit of any person named. 2. This conversation takes place in hades which the sacred writers affirm to be in the depths of the earth. 3. The persons named are men that had lived, the one clothed in purple, the other covered with sores, and both were then dead. But these dead men have bodily organs, as eyes, fingers, tongues, &c. 4. But the truth on this point is sealed by the fact that Lazarus could only return to warn the rich man’s brethren by being raised from the dead. “Neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Greek, ean tis ek nekron anaste. It was not whether the spirit of Lazarus should descend from the third Heaven, but whether Lazarus himself should be raised from among the dead ones. This shows that the conversation did not relate to the coming back of a disembodied spirit; and in fact that they were not disembodied spirits that here conversed.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus, does not therefore teach the present punishment of the wicked dead. And as there is nothing else on which to rest the doctrine, it must be given up as having no foundation in the Bible. The testimony shows that the wicked dead are asleep in sheol where they await the resurrection to damnation. The following texts show that the resurrection and judgment of the wicked take place before they are punished; a doctrine in the highest degree reasonable and sustained by many plain testimonies.

1. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to RESERVE the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter 2:9) The day of judgment must arrive before the retribution of the ungodly.

2. “The heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7) The perdition of ungodly men comes at the judgment.

3. “The wicked is RESERVED unto the day of destruction they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” (Job 21:30) The next scripture will explain this.

4. “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28, 29)

5. The wicked dead are raised and judged, then cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

6. Vengeance is taken upon all the ungodly together, AFTER the second advent. (Jude 14, 15)

7. The wicked are cast into the furnace of fire at the end, and not before. (Matthew 13:30, 39-43, 49, 50)

8. The burning day is the time when the wicked meet their fate. (Malachi 4; Psalm 21:9)

9. The wrath of God waits till the day of wrath. (Romans 2:5-9)

10. Tribulation to the ungodly comes after the advent. (2 Thessalonians 1)

11. The wicked dead are not punished till after the seventh trumpet. (Revelation 11:15, 18)

12. The judge says, “Depart from me ye cursed,” and then, for the first time, the ungodly enter the furnace of fire. (Matthew 25:41)


(This article was taken from a tract first printed on March 8, 1865. Some minor grammatical editing was done for this publication.    Editor)

Upcoming Meeting Schedule

We would like to inform you of some upcoming meetings that will be held in several cities across the country in September of this year. Lynnford Beachy will be speaking at the following locations:

Windham, Maine Camp Meeting: Some brethren in Maine are hosting a camp meeting from September 1-4, 2004. You may need to bring warm clothing. For more information contact Mervin or Rose Marie Shoemaker at: (207) 892-2338. The camp meeting will focus on the Love of God and healthful living. There will be several speakers from across the country.

Cañon City, Colorado Camp Meeting: Philadelphia Press in Colorado will be hosting a camp meeting at the Indian Springs Ranch, about 7 miles NE of Cañon City, from September 8-11, 2004. (The first meeting begins at 9 a.m. on the 8th.) For more information contact Richard Stratton at: (719) 547-1932. There will be several speakers from across the country.

Southern Minnesota: On Wednesday evening, September 15, and all day Thursday, September 16, 2004, we will be holding meetings at the Pipestone RV Campground Pavilion (across from the National Monument), located at 919 N Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone, Minnesota, phone: (507) 825-2455. The Wednesday evening meetings will be held from 4:00-8:30 p.m., and the Thursday meetings will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by a fellowship dinner and afternoon meetings from 2:30-8:30 p.m. For more information contact Laurie Lewis at: (507) 825-2310.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: In connection with the above-mentioned meetings, there will also be meetings in Minneapolis on Friday, September 17, and Sabbath, September 18. These meetings will have the same two-day schedule as mentioned above. For more information contact Chris Walega at: (612) 374-4683.    Editor

An Update on Michael Sibanda

(A fellow believer on death row in Zimbabwe, falsely accused of murdering his wife.)

We just received a letter from a brother in Zimbabwe stating: “Sister Tshabalala [Michael’s mother] asked me to send this message to you that the brother who was in the cell with Mike has been executed, so he is deceased. Mike’s case also will be brought for a hearing in the High court but the date was not disclosed.”

Please pray for Michael, that the Lord will work in his behalf. When Peter was in prison the church had a prayer meeting where they earnestly prayed for his deliverance. The Lord sent an angel to take him out of prison. We serve the same God today, so we should pray in the same way for Michael. Mike shared the good news about God with his cell mate, who is now deceased, and he received it with joy. Praise the Lord that he received the gospel before he was executed. Michael’s case is coming up soon, so please pray earnestly for him now. God loves to show Himself strong in behalf of those who love Him.    Editor

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

by George McDaniel

New Age Holistic Health

Last month I stated that I believed that a basic change is occurring in the philosophy of traditional western allopathic medicine. This change will occur more rapidly as the old hard-line traditionalists die off and are replaced by young people with new ideas. The article this month has to do with the philosophy of health that is bringing in these changes.

Holistic health means treating the whole person, not just the physical problems. It is a fact that the spirit, the mind and the body are closely connected. What affects one also affects the others. Treating only physical symptoms doesn’t help if the cause is spiritual or mental. If the spiritual or mental condition is not treated, it can resurface as another physical symptom. A doctor who is not aware of the true cause will prescribe another medicine in addition to the first one that the patient is still taking. This is one reason that many older people are taking six or eight, or even more, medicines.

Many of these medicines, in addition to suppressing physical symptoms, are toxic. They can cause actual damage to the liver, kidneys, nerves, immune system, blood-forming organs, and others.  This is one reason each person must understand how the body works and what will keep it in good health. In addition, each person must understand his own body and what keeps him in good health, because everyone is different and responds differently to the environment. This is true holistic health. We shouldn’t have to use the medical profession except for true emergencies.

The “holistic health” that this article focuses on is sometimes referred to as new age holistic health. The term “new age” is based in astrology. For the past 2000 years, it is believed that we have been in the age of Pisces. We have now left the age of Pisces and are entering the age of Aquarius. Pisces was dominated by Christianity. Adherents of new age thinking feel that we are leaving behind the old superstitions and are entering a new enlightened age. The new age movement has adopted holistic health ideas and has helped to expand them and to gain them acceptance.

The counter-culture movement that began in the 1950s provided impetus to the new age and holistic health movement. Adherents of this movement were called by many names: hippies, beatniks, peaceniks, and flower children are among the best known. The Beatles were one aspect of this movement. The use of mind-altering drugs was encouraged, as was also transcendental meditation, another mind-altering technique. Attention was focused on the spiritualistic religions of India, China and native America. These religions include well-developed systems of healing and disease prevention interwoven with spiritualistic religious concepts.

Many young people went on pilgrimages to India to learn from the Hindu masters. The interest was so great that some Hindu sages came to the USA and other western nations as missionaries. As these people become more familiar with our culture, they are able to introduce their beliefs in language that is familiar to us so that we will accept these beliefs more readily.

Some characteristics and concepts of new age holistic health follow:

  • Energy is a recurring theme. It is called many things. The Hindus refer to prana; taoism and ancient Chinese medicine – Qi; D. D. Palmer – the innate; Mesmer – animal magnetism; parapsychologists – bioplasm; George Lucas, director of the Star Wars movies, called it the force. Many techniques are used to strengthen or alter the flow of energy: acupuncture, touch therapy, crystals, gem stones, color therapy and reflexology are some. Applied kinesiology is used as a diagnostic tool to locate imbalances in energy fields. Beware of any technique that is said to balance or increase energies or vibrations.

  • World view – monism or pantheism predominate the philosophy of new age holistic healers. (Monism is the doctrine that reality is an indivisible, universal organism and we are all a part of this reality. Pantheism is the belief that God and the universe are the same.) You are promised to become part of the cosmic whole, the Christ self. You can become your own god.

  • After death – reincarnation is a recurring theme; also the idea that death is an illusion. There is no death. Death is merely an occasion for spiritual advancement.

  • The Christ – individualized in humanity, the perfect human in each of us, with Jesus Christ of Nazareth being only one example of “Christ.”

  • God – although spoken of in personal terms, “God” is primarily considered an impersonal principle. “God” is first cause, substance, mind spirit, life principle, the ultimate essence behind all things. The universe is the body of “God,” the thought of “God” made manifest.

  • Humanity – each person is an individualization of the infinite spirit of “God,” an incarnation of the divine mind. Although “God’s” being and humanity’s differ in degree, they are identical in essence.

  • Salvation – the realization of one’s divine nature and perfect self. Salvation depends on knowledge of our real nature and right thinking. Salvation is universal, since it is the end to which all people move in the process of spiritual progression.

I am going to close this article with a few quotations from a book by Deepak Chopra, MD, to illustrate these ideas.

Dr. Chopra was born and raised in India. He taught at Tufts University and Boston University schools of medicine, and became chief of staff at New England Memorial Hospital. He is director of the Institute for Mind/Body Medicine and Human Potential in San Diego. He has written at least six books that have become best sellers.

The particular book I am quoting from is, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. One reviewer states, “Like Chopra’s other fine books on health-related subjects, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind is written in the straightforward upbeat style of a typical American self-help book. When expressed at all, the mystical beliefs at the heart of the Ayurvedic practice are couched in terms of western science.” (William A. Davis, Boston Globe)

Here is some of what Dr. Chopra has to say: “All these examples show that death doesn’t have just one value, either positive or negative. Dying is a form of change, and as such it has to be seen within the larger framework of non-change. ‘People have a wrong idea about death,’ Maharishi once remarked to me, ‘They see it as an end, but it is really a beginning!’ You may call that an article of faith, but to me it’s a realistic statement of fact.” (page 312)

“These feelings are natural, of course; there is pain at the loss of anyone we love. But the pain does not have to be deep and enduring if you have absorbed the reality of life as an eternal flow in which there is no loss or gain, only transformation.” (page 312)

“We are of timeless essence. We were born in the bottomless pool that sends up bubbles of time and space. One bubble is a moment, another is a millennium. But the pool itself is pure spirit, and no matter how many stars and galaxies rise from it and burst on the surface like fragile foam, nothing has been taken away or added. Being is deep, clear, permanent, ever the same. It is amazing to think that our everyday existence springs from this infinitely renewable source, but life has no other basis.

“Unbounded intelligence, freedom, and power are inherent in the unified field that Einstein and the ancient sages shared in their vision. Immortality dawns when you realize that you deserve your place in the eternal flow. Knowing this, you can claim your immortality here and now, in every second, for time is nothing but quantified immortality. Nature waits to lavish this supreme gift upon you. Having nourished us for millions of years, the sea, the air, and the sun are still singing the song we must begin to appreciate once more.” (page 315)

The bottom line of the new age movement is that there is a way to immortality and perfection without a personal God. There is no need to overcome sin. In fact, the concept that sin results in separation from God is seen as a false belief that gives reality to evil, disease, and death and darkens the ability to see one’s true self as an individualization of the “mind of God.”

The great majority of people in the USA don’t concern themselves with learning how to stay healthy, either physically or spiritually. They let the “authorities” tell them what to do. They go to work all day, and then in the evenings and on weekends allow themselves to be passively entertained by television. Their choices of what to eat, drink, wear, etc., are made for them by the producers with the biggest advertising budgets. When we realize how deeply our society has been infiltrated by spiritualistic Hindu theories, and that much of what Hollywood produces contains this philosophy, and that most people in this country constantly expose themselves to it, it is not hard to understand Jesus’ words in Luke 18:8: “When the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

God’s people will find themselves differing from the wisdom of the whole world. “As it was in the days of Noah”; eight people against the whole world. Remember, He that endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22) Let us each one determine to be in that group.


(George McDaniel is my father-in-law, and has been a registered nurse for many years, which, along with much research, has taught him many useful health principles.)    Editor)

Something for the Young at Heart

This month we are continuing a series of crossword Bible studies that are based on the “These Last Days” Bible Lessons. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections—Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line.

The Mystery of Godliness

TLD Lesson 13 - The Mystery of Godliness

  • God, the Father referred to Jesus as “My beloved ____.” Matthew 3:17—21 Across
  • Jesus referred to Himself as the only ____ Son of God. John 3:18—15 Across
  • The book of Hebrews calls Jesus the ____. Hebrews 1:6—7 Down
  • Wisdom said, “Before the ____ was I brought forth.” Proverbs 8:25—5 Down

Note:    The term “brought forth” in this verse literally means born, as many translations render it. (BBE, NIV, NJB, NLT, and most foreign translations.) Someone was born before the hills; before all creation.

  • ____ is called the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24— 4 Across
  • Paul called Jesus the ____ of every creature. Colossians 1:15—14 Down
  • God’s Son was born in the express ____ of His Father’s person. Hebrews 1:3—10 Down

Note:    An image is a likeness or reproduction of the original. Jesus Christ is the precise reproduction of His Father.

  • Before the Son of God came into this world He was “in the ____ of God.” Philippians 2:6—14 Across
  • The Word is “the only begotten of the ____.” John 1:14— 1 Down
  • John says “the Word was ____.” John 1:1—8 Down

Note: John applied the word “God” to Christ to describe His nature. As the firstborn Son of God, Jesus has by inheritance obtained the same nature as His Father; the nature of divinity. Even His Father called His Son God in Hebrews 1:8. Yet, the Father made it clear that He is the God of His Son. (Hebrews 1:9)

  • Even though Jesus is God by nature, He refers to His Father as, “___ ___.” Revelation 3:12 (2 Words)—22 Across
  • Paul said that the Father of ____ is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:17—17 Down
  • Jesus is the Son of the ___ ___ God. Mark 5:7 (2 Words)— 12 Across

Note: There can only be one Most High. The Father is “above all” (Ephesians 4:6), and “greater than all.” (John 10:29)

  • Jesus called His Father the only ____ God. John 17:3— 18 Across

Note: True “contrasts realities with their semblances” or resemblances. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, See also Hebrews 8:2) Christ is the image or resemblance of the true God. The Bible uses the term “one God” 7 times. (Malachi 2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19) Every time, it refers only to one Person, God the Father. God the Father is the one God of the Bible, the Most High, the Highest, the only true God. The word God is used to refer to others, including men and angels (John 10:34, 35), but never to signify the one God of the Bible. When the word God is used to describe divine Persons, it is only applied to two individuals, God, the Father, and the only other Being who shares His nature, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

  • The name Emmanuel means ___ ___ ___. Matthew 1:23 (3 Words)—17 Across
  • The great mystery of godliness is that God was manifest in the ____. 1 Timothy 3:16—6 Down
  • Jesus took upon Himself the same flesh and ____ that we have. Hebrews 2:14—3 Down

Note: “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:17)

  • Jesus took the human nature of the seed of ____. Hebrews 2:16—2 Down

Note: “Made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Romans 1:3)

  • Jesus was ____ in all points like as we are. Hebrews 4:15—9 Down

Note: “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” (Hebrews 5:2) “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) “And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” (John 2:25)

  • When Christ ____ He did not threaten His persecutors. 1 Peter 2:23—16 Across
  • Jesus did no sin, therefore He could say, “Satan has ____ in me.” John 14:30—20 Across
  • Jesus said, “Be of goodcheer; I have ____ the world.” John 16:33—11 Across
  • At the culmination of a life of victory, Jesus bore our ____. 1 Peter 2:24—23 Across

Note: “Christ died for our sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:3) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

  • Jesus revealed His internal struggle when He cried out, “My God, why hast thou ____ me.” Matthew 27:46— 19 Across

Note: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

  • Christ did all this for us while we were yet ____. Romans 5:7, 8—24 Across
  • Christ came to give His life a ____ for many. Matthew 20:28—13 Across

Note: For an inspiring prophecy of Christ’s mission, read Isaiah 53.




TLD Lesson 13 - The Mystery of Godliness-Answers

Letters from our Readers

“Thank you for being there and for all you’re doing to bring the truth about God to His children. May you enjoy the blessings found only in Him—always! Hallelujah!!!!”


“The May issue of Present Truth was just what I needed, if there were any remaining doubts as to the continuing prominence of God’s Ten Commandment law. J. N. Andrews’ writing of 1875 is much needed in 2004. It was well worth utilizing the whole newsletter.”


“I wish to inform your ministry that recently I and my family and a few friends were disfellowshipped from the church due to our message about the Godhead. We have decided to set up a home church, in fact right now we are holding worship every Sabbath day and every Wednesday and Friday in my house. Please let the ministry pray for us.”


“I hear you guys have a free video on the pagan trinities?”


(This video may be obtained by writing to our office or by calling my secretary, Esther, at: 304-294-8424. The video will be sent free upon request, but a $7 donation is appreciated by those who are willing and able to help.    Editor)

“Please do not send me the Present Truth or any of your literature until further notice. Thank you for sharing with me your teaching so far. May God bless your ministry.”


“Thanks for the tracts you sent me. They have opened many blind spiritual eyes and they are of great help to my ministry. Please send your free copies of the life changing book, Shelter in the Storm, and more detailed Bible studies on the truth about God for use and distribution.”


“I was more than happy and grateful to receive your reply according to my request for free literature. Thank God for your kind response in the Lord’s work you are doing for Him.”


“I want to thank you for taking the time to send me the Present Truth.  I learn so much from them. It also helps me to understand some of the things I already know.”


“I am now in the process of reading and studying the May 2004 issue of Present Truth on the two covenants.  It’s very good. It speaks of a ‘thorough explanation of the distinction between those things that were to cease at the cross and those things that were to continue’ as being in the March issue of Present Truth (also written by J. N. Andrews). Could you please send me a copy of that issue—I don’t think I received it. I really got a lot out of the ‘Passion of Christ’ issue [April 2004]. Fantastic! Thank you so much for all the enlightening publications you send me.”


“I found ‘Something for Marriage Hopefuls’ [July 2004] to be enlightening. Although, after 36 years of marriage, I think it comes too late for me, but it should be required reading for all ages. Teenagers should be more aware of what God expects and how, when the proper time arrives, to better determine the right mate for life. Parents and grandparents have a responsibility to help guide their children and grandchildren on the right path. This should be a part of the normal teachings in the home.

“‘Fearfully and Wonderfully Made’ is good educational reading. I have gone to chiropractors all of my life… I did not know that there is another side of some chiropractic care…

“I’m sure you realize that the page numbers listed on the first page, for the articles, are wrong. But we won’t rib you too much, as it is not a sin leading to death J.”



To view or print this issue of Present Truth in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) click here.

Present Truth is published monthly by Present Truth Ministries. It is sent free upon request. Duplication of these papers is not only permitted but strongly encouraged, as long as our contact information is retained. Present Truth is available online at www.presenttruth.info.

Editor: Lynnford Beachy, PO Box 315, Kansas, OK 74347, USA. Phone: (304) 633-5411, E-mail: webnewsletters@presenttruth.info.

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