Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
To log onto UNITYINCHRIST.COM’S BLOG, Click Here
Unity in Christ
Introduction
About the Author
Does God Exist?

The Book of Acts
Gospels
Epistles
Prayer
Faith
the Prophets & Prophecy
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes

Song of Solomon

OT History
Early Church History
Church History
Sabbatarian Heritage
The Worldwide Church Of God
Messianic Believers
Evangelism

America-Modern Romans


Latin-American Poverty

Ministry Principles

Topical Studies
Guest Book
Utility Pages
Share on Facebook
Tell a friend:
 

Luke 16:13-31

 

“No servant can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things:  and they derided him.  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts:  for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.  The law and the prophets were before John:  since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.  Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery:  and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table:  moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels unto Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may also 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 thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:  but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed:  so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into the place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham:  but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

 

“Chapter 16, and let’s pray as we continue.  ‘Father we settle our hearts before you, thank you for this evening, Lord, that your mercies are new every morning, Lord, that each day, Lord, with you, is a day that’s filled with grace and forgiveness, Lord, and your strength, your encouragement, Lord, your Word is always alive to us.  And Father we thank you that in this troubled world where it seems that so many things are disintegrating and falling apart, Lord, where there is constant threat of terrorism, Lord, and El Nino, and all of these things going on around us, Lord, that you never change, that you’re immutable, the same yesterday, today and forever.  And Lord, that we can build our lives on you, the Rock of our life.  And Lord, that our eternity is secure.  And Lord we pray that you would, Lord, in the way that only you can, gently and consistently exhort us, Lord, to take our stand, Lord, against the tide of this Last Generation, Lord.  Not in legalism, but Lord in deep love for you and for your Word, for your Kingdom, in genuine concern for so many that are perishing.  Lord we pray that everything we do, Lord, as a church, as a fellowship, Lord, there would be a genuineness about it Lord, without hypocrisy, Lord, that unbelievers when they, Lord, cross our path, Lord, would sense something real is going on, Lord, that there wouldn’t be anything phony, Lord.  And we pray that you would just lead us, and Lord give us a great sense of your presence, Lord, that we would do all that we do with our whole heart.  And Lord, that you would cause us to be infectious, Lord, that we would be so filled with your love that it would be overflowing from our hearts to a lost world.  Lord, we look to you, we believe we are praying according to your will, we pray in Jesus name, amen.’

 

You Cannot Serve God and Money

 

Luke chapter 16, Jesus has just finished a parable about an unjust steward, and the lord of a great house, and how this steward, though he had not been faithful with his master’s goods, and had been unjust it seems to some of those who were leasing land or buying goods from his master, yet when he was faced with difficulty, he went and lowered some of the bills of the debtors of his lord to secure his future.  And Jesus uses that scene, and maybe something they were very familiar with, and says that he’s commended for his wisdom.  Not because he was crooked, but because he used the present to secure his future.  And Jesus says then, that we should live all our lives in such a way that we are using the resources we have, of our health, of our finances, and of our talents, of our abilities, our spiritual gifts, that we should live our lives in such a way that we will be received into “everlasting habitations” by those that we have benefited and lived for and given our lives to.  That if we send money to missionaries, that when we step into eternity, there will be people who were saved through that investment, that will welcome us into glory and say ‘Thank you for sending the money for those tracts or for those Bibles, to wherever it might be’, that we should live our lives with eternity in view.  And he really challenges them, ‘Are you just spending your life here, or are you investing you life?’  Do you see your life that is something that is totally in your hands, that you are going to live out your days and try to accumulate a certain amount of wealth or pleasure, or accumulate to yourself stuff that you would consider the good life?  Or do you see your life as something that’s only preparatory for eternity?  Do you see your life genuinely as an opportunity right now to invest in those things that can never be taken away from you?---To lay up your treasure in heaven?  And he’s challenging them to have a perspective that’s eternal, unlike the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the religious leaders of the day.  The Sadducees did not believe in spirits or in the resurrection, or in angels.  They were a dominant force, and the dominant force of the religious leaders in Jerusalem in that day, but they lived for the present.  They were famous for immorality, they were famous for hedonism, they were famous for spending everything they could on themselves in the present, because they didn’t believe in an afterlife.  The Pharisees on the other hand, very legalistic, but very pious, self-righteous, believed in angels, believed in heaven, but had so legalized the entrance into heaven [the kingdom of heaven, which btw, will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23], had taken the Law, and so complicated the Word of God, that Jesus says they were shutting up heaven, not entering themselves, nor allowing others to enter in as well.  And he would rebuke them for that.  And now Jesus had challenged them on the way that they should live in regards to the future.  Verse 13, he said ‘No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon’, money, materialism, you can’t serve God and the material things that people in this world make the goal of their lives, even to the point of injuring or ripping off other people for their own financial well being, or their own financial advancement.  Jesus says you can’t serve God and mammon.

 

After John the Baptist, Everyone Is Pressing Into God’s Kingdom

 

Now, verse 14 brings us to the point, ‘the Pharisees who also were covetous, lovers of money, heard all these things, and they derided him.’  Now remember, he’s eating at a dinner at a Pharisee’s house, and they hear Jesus and his perspective on eternity verses temporary treasures in this world, and it says they derided him.  It means “to lift the snout”, they put up their nose and went ‘humph?!’  So they all started to deride and to mock Jesus, because of his perspective of that which was eternal.  And Jesus said to them “Ye are they which justify themselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts:  For that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.  The law and the prophets were until John:  since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.  It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (verses 15-17).  Jesus says to these men, he said ‘Look, the law and the prophets, and you claim to embrace the law and the prophets, you Pharisees, as the Word of God, and of your own righteousness, they were until John.’  Jesus says John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament Prophets.  He said, ‘But now the kingdom is present, and people are pressing into it.’  It’s just pushing.  I don’t know if you’ve been in a circumstance like that. I remember years ago, years ago, I went to a concert at the Spectrum, and it was Mountain, I’m dating myself here, Jethro Tull, and Humble Pie I believe.  And you know, everybody’s jammed up, waiting for them to open the doors, and somebody screamed ‘They broke the doors open!’  Now we just had bought tickets from scalpers outside, and when they screamed that, the whole crowd started to push, and the glass doors at the Spectrum broke, and everybody just pushed in, I remember just being carried in with this ticket I just paid all this money for, I carried it and got in for nothing, my friend was trying to get his money back from the scalpers, ‘I bought the ticket, we got in for nothing.’  But it was frightening, because it was so much force, you were so squeezed between humans you could just kind of lift your feet off the ground and just go with the tide.  And Jesus is saying there’s people that are just pressing into the Kingdom now, there were Pharisees and Sadducees and lepers and Romans and Gentiles and Jews and people that would never ever rub shoulders in normal circumstances, the woman with the blood-flow, and people that were considered unclean, they were all pressing in, they were together, they were following, thousands upon thousands upon thousands, to hear his words, and to partake of the ministry that Jesus had.  And he said the Law and the Prophets were until John, he was the last of the Old Testament Prophets.  ‘You claim to embrace the Scripture,’ Jesus was telling these Pharisees.  The Kingdom of God is now present and people are pressing into it.  [Comment:  And these thousands of differing groups of people, poor, rich, religious, irreligious, that were all pressing to hear Jesus before his death, many thousands upon thousands of them ended up within the early Christian Church at Jerusalem right after his death (thought to be 30 or 31AD by many), on the Day of Pentecost and thereafter, cf. Acts 2:1-47, and see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm.] 

 

Jesus Hammers the Religious Leaders for Committing Adultery

 

And not one jot or tittle of the Law will fail, heaven is going to pass away [cf. Revelation 21:1, shows us when heaven and earth pass away. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm], not one bit of it will pass away.  And then in verse 18, it almost seems unrelated to the scene, Jesus hammers the religious leaders where they will feel it, “Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery.  And whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (verse 18).  There was a current debate about the reason that you had to give to put your wife away.  Jesus in another place said, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses gave you the right to write a bill of divorcement, but from the beginning it was not so, because that God said that a man should cleave unto his wife, and the two would become one flesh, what God hath joined together let no man put asunder.’  And Jesus here is challenging them, because it is said, Alfred Edersheim in his “Sketches of Jewish Social Life In The Time of Christ” says, “Some of these Pharisees and Sadducees had up to twenty wives.”  [Available at http://www.amazon.com]  Because they’d be married to one for awhile, and they’d see another one someone they liked better, pretty young thing, and decide ‘I’m tired of this one.’  And they said if you found any uncleanness in her, you could put her away, the law said that, and they all had their own opinion about what that meant.  And some of them said if she burned dinner, you could divorce her.  So if you’re tired of your wife you could turn up the burner while she wasn’t looking, you could frame her [laughter].  ‘You’re gone!’  And you see, what they believed the Law said, and this is what the Law said, the Law said “if you put away your wife, give her a bill of divorcement.”  And then she can go out and marry another man.  But if that man dies or she divorces him, if she comes back then to her first husband, that is an abomination, it is confusing.  Because, let me put it in simple terms, if I divorce my wife at 9 o’clock in the morning, went out and married somebody else at 10am, went and was intimate with her sexually, divorced her at 11am, and by noon came back and married my first wife, all of that would seem very legal on paper, but I had just gone out and had an affair with someone and come back to my original partner [in reality].  And the Old Testament forbid that.  But Jesus takes it one step further, he says ‘No, when you get rid of your wife, and go marry somebody else, the confusion starts then, not when you come back again.  It’s already there when you’ve broken God’s original design.’  And he’s challenging these Pharisees saying ‘Not one jot or tittle of the Law’s going to pass away, heaven and earth’s going to pass away---you’re not going to be able to stand before God and say you kept his Word, because by your traditions, and by the Mishnah and Talmud and so forth, you’ve set it aside.’  [Comment:  Back then the written Mishnah and Talmud didn’t exist in written form, but instead existed in oral form, called the Oral Law.]  ‘You’re not thinking eternally, you’re not thinking about standing before God when you treat your spouse that way.  You don’t have eternity in view.’ 

 

The Pharisees & Sadducees Had Their Own ‘Health & Wealth Gospel’

 

And now that brings us to this record of Lazarus and the Rich Man.  And it’s in that context of thinking eternally, vesting your life in eternity that these things are said.  And you see, the Pharisees and the Sadducees in Jesus’ day had a theology very much like the Name It & Claim It parts of the Church today.  ‘Blab It & Grab It’, you know those guys, ‘Just confess it, brother, just confess it.’  And you know, there’s whole segments of the Church that teach today, that the signature of God’s blessing on your life is that you prosper financially.  And if you’re not prospering financially, it is because there is sin in your life.  Also, the signature of God’s love and blessing on your life is that you’re healthy.  And if you have some kind of a sickness, it’s because there’s sin in your life. [The ‘Health & Wealth Gospel’ which is promoted by these groups.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html to learn of the scary end to this group of Christians.]  No that is ludicrous and it’s not Biblical, and it condemns a lot of innocent people, because the Kingdom of God is about the forgiveness of sins, and it’s about eternity.  Now the religious Jew arrived had this warped understanding, because God had said in Deuteronomy, ‘If you serve me, if you keep my ordinances, if you walk in my commandments, I’ll bless you, I’ll bless your flocks, I’ll bless your herds, I’ll bless your orchards and your vineyards.  If you turn away, and you serve other gods, your heaven will turn to brass, your wives won’t conceive and bear, the enemy will come and carry you away.’  So by the time Jesus comes, the Pharisees and Sadducees have a theology ‘That if you see someone that’s rich, you see someone whom God has blessed.  If you see someone whose poor, you see someone whose a sinner or is in God’s disfavor.’  That’s why when Jesus said ‘Use your money to lay up treasure in heaven, invest it,’ they lifted up their noses and they laughed at him.  They didn’t want to hear anything about that. 

 

The Parable Of Lazarus and the Rich Man

 

Jesus now tells this, some people call it a parable [it is a parable], we’ll see, I don’t think so. Verse 19, There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,” (verses 19-20)  Now Jesus is going to set these two characters in contrast before the eyes of the Pharisees, and then tell us where they go when this life is over, to show that they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Now, the question is, is this a parable?  I don’t think this is a parable, you can have your opinion.  The lesson will be the same if it is or isn’t.  The interesting thing is, Jesus never names anybody in a parable.  And here he tells us about a man named Lazarus.  I wonder as he sits in this Pharisees house, if there happens to be someone there whose brother had fared very sumptuously, who had a poor man that was dumped at his gate every day, named Lazarus, who the dogs came and licked his sores.  And this rich person’s brother or a rich father had passed away, and they thought ‘Oh, he was blessed of God.’   I wonder if Jesus is digging very deep into their hearts as he tells this, I believe, record.  “There was a rich man” their ears perked up, “which was clothed with purple and fine linen,”---nice clothes, great digs---“and fared sumptuously every day:”---that’s every day.  Now he didn’t eat steak once a month, he fared sumptuously, whatever he wanted, every day---Now this was set in contrast, this guy was on TV, Robin Leech was over his house, you know, just showing Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  Isn’t that an interesting name for a guy who would do that, Robin Leech, I always think about that, hanging around people like that.  Just an observation, maybe he’s a great guy, never met him, probably should change his name---“and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid”---that word means “to be dropped”, they didn’t just lay him down nice, he was dropped at his gate, the rich man’s gate---“at his gate, full of sores,”---the word means “oozing sores”, this man is in trouble---“and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table:  moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.”  So they’re his only comforters.  He’s laying there, his sores are oozing, he’s dropped there, no doubt, partially crippled, hoping to eat the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table.  Because they didn’t have napkins in those days, and when you would stuff yourself, when you fared sumptuously, and you had chicken grease or lamb grease or something on your hands, and couldn’t eat anymore, you’d grab a piece of bread at the table and wipe your hands on the bread, and then just throw that on the floor.  Jesus makes reference to it in other places.  And this poor man is just hoping he could eat the crumbs that fall from this rich man’s table.  And the dogs are coming and licking his sores.  Never see a cat do that.  That’s a different subject, but [laughter].  [Actually, dogs must be programmed to do that, because their saliva has a powerful antiseptic in it, whereas a cat’s saliva can cause infections to get worse, so it’s a good thing cat’s don’t do that.]  Dogs come and comfort him. 

 

Better to be a poor man of faith than a rich man without Christ

 

“And it came to pass,” verse 22, “that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:”---or Abraham’s side, or to the blessing of Abraham---“the rich man also died, and was buried;”---the poor man wasn’t buried.  No doubt his body was thrown into Tophet, in the Valley of Hinnom, where the poor were often thrown, and their bodies were burned.  It was the garbage heap, the trash heap, and there was always a continual burning there, hence we get the name Gehenna, a place of continual burnings.  So, this poor man was no doubt, he was not buried, his body was probably just thrown into Hinnom, into the burning trash heap.  And the rich man, he also died, and was buried.  “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”  [The Greek word used for hell here is Strongs # 86, hades:--the grave, hell.  Hades is no more than the Bible’s word for the grave, 6 feet under.  The Lake of Fire referred to in Revelation 20:14-15, as Gehenna fire, is what the Bible calls the 2nd death in Revelation 20:6, and refers to the real hell-fire punishment of the wicked.]  “And 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” (verses 23-24).  We’re going to find four times he says “he’s tormented.”  All of his wealth, all of his investment, no doubt he had life insurance, no doubt he had IRAs, no doubt he had long-term disability, no doubt he had everything in place.  None of it is doing him any good at this point in time.  Because he hadn’t lived his life in faith.  We’re going to find that this poor man is comforted, and that is, in Abraham’s bosom.  The idea is, he was a man of faith, though he had nothing.  Now he’s brought to heaven, to paradise, to Abraham’s bosom, and he’s comforted there. You know, those are great words, aren’t they?  “He died, and the angels of God carried him to paradise”, man, that’s going to be some journey, isn’t it?---for the saints here at church, again, we had five funerals in the last two weeks.  And I think of those folks, when they close their eyes, the angels of God were there, to carry them to Abraham’s bosom.  Isn’t that remarkable?  I wonder what angels are going to look like when we see those guys?  [Read Ezekiel 1:1-14 in the New King James Version, it’ll blow your mind.]  When you say to your guardian angel, ‘Thanks, I know it was a long duty you had.’  The rich man closes his eyes and opens them in hell, closes his eyes in one world and opens them in the next, wealthiest guy.  You know, people look at wealth and consider it, so much of the time, I have a little article at home, and it’s Ted Turner saying that he read that Jesus said you can’t buy your way into heaven, that money really then isn’t anything.  And I’m glad that he’s thinking along those terms.  I hope he gets saved.  This little article says, “In 1923, a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, five of the wealthiest men in the world.  Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than anyone in the world, more than the United States Treasury, and for years newspapers and magazines printed their success stories, and urged young people to follow their examples.”  But here’s the rest of the story, five, six men.  “Number one, Charles Schabb, the president of the largest independent steel company in the world, lived on borrowed money that last five years of his life, and died penniless.  Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, served time in Sing Sing.  Albert Fall, the member of the President’s cabinet, was pardoned from prison so that he could die at home.  Jessie Livermore, the greatest bear in Wall Street history, committed suicide.  Leon Frazier, president of the Bank of International Settlement, committed suicide.  Evar Kruger, head of the world’s largest monopoly, committed suicide.”  You know, money doesn’t do it.  We should know that, as we see sports figures that are making millions of dollars a year getting busted for cocaine, or seeing movie stars who make millions upon millions dollars, checking into the Betty Ford Clinic. 

 

Are You Living Your Life in Light of Eternity?

 

You know, if we’re honest with ourselves, if we’re honest with ourselves, I think we need to ask, ‘Are we living our lives in light of eternity?’  And what is eternity?  Is it real?  You know, if you’re not here tonight, you need to think about that.  The Bible talks about hell.  And you need to get saved, if for no other reason.  People say, ‘Well, I don’t want to give up this, I don’t want to give up cocaine, I don’t want to give up my girlfriend, I don’t want to give up pleasure, I don’t want to give up this…’  Let me tell you something, you should get saved so you don’t have to go to hell, it’s a great idea, just so you don’t have to go to hell, you should get saved.  A recent poll said 65 percent of Americans believe in hell.  Only three percent of Americans believe they’re going there.  Now either there’s way more Christians than we think there are, or there’s a lot of uninformed people.  Newsweek magazine of late said, “Hell is too trite of a subject for serious scholarship.”  Gordon Koffman, Harvard Divinity School, said “The thinking of Americans has gone through a transformation.  We can no longer take seriously the subjects of heaven and hell.”  One famous business man said lately, “If there is a God, who says he’s a God of love, that would really send people to hell forever, then I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to hell, just to spite him.”  Now that sounds like bad business to me, I don’t know.  The Bible says that hell and heaven are real.  Some say ‘The punishment is too great for the crime, the sin.’  I mean, going to hell, if this is all true, forever and ever and ever and ever, is like getting a life sentence for a misdemeanor.  ‘How can this be?  It’s unfair to experience eternal suffering for only sixty or seventy years of sin.  There should be some program here.’  Or people say ‘How could a loving God send people to hell?’  And of course, now people are saying ‘People are just annihilated, that’s what it must be, you go to hell, and however long it takes, you burn up, and you cease to exist, then there’s no more existence [and suffering].’  And be careful, because there are today evangelical scholars, and if I would name some of their names, you would know who they are, who are embracing the idea of annihilationism.  Somehow, and I don’t know how they contrive this, because the same words are used of eternal suffering and eternal life, same word, that the righteous who die in faith, in Christ go to heaven, but people who go to hell are annihilated, they cease to exist.  Daniel says this, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth,” Daniel 12:2, you don’t have to turn there, “shall awake.  Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  Old Testament, same words.  We don’t have a problem with that.  But how is it that we have taken it to ourselves to change the rules when we talk about everlasting contempt.  Again, Matthew says this, “Cast ye the unprofitable servant” Jesus speaking, “into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”, let me get my verses here, and this is Matthew chapter 25, verse 34, says, “Them shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  And then he says in verse 41, “Then shall he also say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”  Not prepared for humans, you’ve gotta want to go there to go there.  And that will be your choice.  Before the night is over we’re going to give you an opportunity to change that.  Because Jesus says hell is not created for human beings, but for the Devil and his angels.  And sin won’t send you to hell, rejecting Jesus as your Saviour will send you to hell.  Because you can be a sinner, and get saved tonight and go to heaven.  Jesus said ‘these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life’, same words.  ‘Everlasting punishment,’ everlasting and eternal, eternal life, same exact words.  Now the problem is, some scholars have taken the verse where Jesus says “Fear not him,” Matthew 10:28, “that can destroy just the body, but fear him who can destroy body and soul in hell” [which would point to annihilationism, it would appear J].  And they take that word apolumi, to destroy, and says ‘that means annihilationism, fear the one whose going to destroy, cause to cease to exist, your body and your soul in hell.’  ‘That’s the one you should fear.’  Now the one you should fear is the same, either view.  The one view is, that of eternal punishment.  [his interpretation is one “view” of many that are out there.  A view is not a solid doctrine, but shows there are more than one on this subject.  This is important to realize, as we all come from differing parts of the Body of Christ, still indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit.]  If you want, Shedd has a great book, small book, big print, that’s my favorite kind of book, small book with big print, it’s called The Doctrine of Endless Punishment.  Sounds like a bummer, I know, but it’s a very interesting book.  [The book is available for download online, free of charge in pdf format.  Just log onto http://www.google.com and type in “The Doctrine of Endless Punishment” by William G.T. Shedd and you will find a free pdf version you can download, or you can order it on amazon.com.]  Very interesting book, worthwhile reading.  Well they say ‘What that means is, annihilationism, for him who destroys both body and soul in hell.’  Now they’re not being honest, because if you go to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, which everyone respects across the board, and Thayer, you have to understand, it says there, ‘This is not speaking, apolumi is not speaking of annihilationism, it does not mean to cease to exist, or to cease to be.’  He says the verb form simply means “the ruination of what something was initially intended for, it becomes ruined.”  Jesus talks about putting new wine into old skins, and it says they [the old wineskins] will burst, and the skins shall perish, apolumi.  They don’t cease to exist, they’re ruined.  In chapter 15 of Luke we read about the lost, apolumi sheep.  They didn’t cease to exist, or the shepherd couldn’t have found them.  We hear about the woman who lost, apolumi, the coin, the lost coin.  It didn’t cease to exist, she found it.  We read about the father of the prodigal son, it says “This my son who was lost”---apolumi---“is found.”  He didn’t cease to exist.  We read about Mary pouring out spikenard on the feet of Jesus, and the disciples saying ‘Why was this waste’---apolumi---‘made?’  Didn’t cease to exist, but what it was intended for was ruined.  And you have to understand that Thayer was a Unitarian, he didn’t believe in the Deity of Jesus, he didn’t believe in heaven, and he didn’t believe in hell, and he had no ax to grind.  He was simply a Greek scholar, and that’s why everyone reads him.  We’re told this in the Book of Revelation, and you can look in Jude 7 and 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1, verse 9, there’s lots of places.  Revelation chapter 14, verse 10 says this, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb:  and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:  and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” In Revelation chapter 20 it tells us there that Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire where the Beast and False Prophet “are,” not “were.”  They had already been burning for a thousand years in the abuso [abyss]. There’s not evidence at all that there’s a cessation. [Comment:  The word “are” in Revelation 20, verse 10 is italicized, which means the actual word “are” is not in the Greek, but inserted by the translators, who assumed it is “are” and not “were.”  This as a proof-text for Pastor Joe’s argument is insufficient.  And using this verse as a proof text, there is no evidence at all that there is not a cessation.] 

 

Eternal Punishment, A Difficult Concept to Imagine

 

Now that’s a difficult idea for us to imagine, eternal suffering.  There’s consciousness there, it says here, it says “in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment…”  He saw Abraham afar off, Lazarus in his bosom, at his side, “and 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, I am tormented.”  Now Abraham says to him, verse 25, Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  And besides that, between us and you there is a great gulf that is fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us that would come from where you are.”  There is no second chance.  They can’t pass over this gulf that is fixed.  Now, in the Bible we have interesting ideas.  The word “hell” here that we’re looking at is “Hades”, which means a place of torment. And in classical Greek it meant a place under the earth, some tried to say there were two compartments there, we don’t know that for sure.  It’s from the god Hades, and it’s hard to be dogmatic about it.  In the Old Testament there was the word sheol, which is used of the grave, used of the unseen realm, often used as a place that’s down, where there’s torment.  [Because sheol for the Hebrews literally meant the grave, six feet under.]  But all through the Old Testament, also “at thy right hand there are pleasures forever more.”  [Psalm 16:10, speaking of David looking forward to being in Kingdom of God.]  As you study you will find that there is kind of this geographical up, to the righteous, and down to the wicked.  Some say there were two compartments in Hades where there are righteous and wicked, I don’t know that.  It says here that Lazarus lifted “up his eyes, and afar off”, it doesn’t say over, it says “up and afar off.”  However we put it in the unseen realm, there is a place where the righteous who die in faith are comforted, and there’s joy.  “At thy right hand there are pleasures evermore” David would say (Psalm 16:10).  Paul called that place Paradise.  Jesus said to the thief who died next to him, because he believed, he never did anything good in his whole life, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”  There is another place, there is a place here where there’s consciousness, we don’t cease to exist.  This guy had memory, he was speaking, he had recognition, he was tormented, he felt heat in the flame, he wanted to be cooled, there was a crying out.  It’s a place of torment, and ultimately Hades itself is cast into the Lake of Fire in the eternal state, the Bible says, into Gehenna.  Aren’t you glad you’re saved?  Man, I read through this, it says that lake of fire that’s in outer darkness, you know there are flames, the hotter they get, the bluer they get.  There are flames that burn hotter than we understand, where they don’t cast off light.  And it says in that place of outer darkness the flame is not quenched, and the worm dieth not.  I don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t sound good.  It’s an interesting subject, you don’t want to go there.  You don’t want to go there.  Notice, “send him, that he might cool my tongue in this place of torment”, there’s no keg party going on there.  You know, people saying ‘Ah, highway to hell, I’m going there, man, I’m going to hell!  We’re going to party-down when we get there!’  No you’re not, who told you that?  Who told you that?  Some druggy on a Rock album?  You think he’s an expert on hell?  You’d better listen to Jesus.  Nobody’s partying there, Satan doesn’t have a throne there, he’s tormented there, it’s a place of his punishment.  Nobody’s partying there.  It’s a place of torment, a place of remembrance.  And I can’t imagine remembering for eternity that I rejected Jesus, of all the worms that might eat at me, over and over and over and over and over and over, without end, realizing I had the opportunity and refused Christ, refused forgiveness.  You think about that, if you don’t know Christ.  There’s remembrance.  Now you might be saying, ‘Now come on, don’t give me that stuff!’  Now let me ask you a question, where have you been?  You been somewhere else we don’t know about?  You know, Buddha had a lot of good things to say, he’s in a pot in a temple somewhere.  Mohamed might have had some good things to say, he’s in his tomb.  Grant’s in his tomb.  Confucius is in his tomb.  There’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem.  Jesus is risen from the dead.  If you’re going to listen to somebody to tell you about the other side, if I was you I’d listen to the guy who came back.  [applause]  Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things”, now he’s not suffering because he received good things, that was his god, that is what he lived for, that’s all his life consisted of, like these five wealthiest men had seen in their day.  Three of them committed suicide.  That’s what his life was filled with, it was nothing.  And the whole context here is with the Pharisees and Sadducees mocking Jesus, because he says ‘Think of eternity, live your life in light of eternity, keep in view that this is temporary, that you’re passing through.’  The Bible says life is like a vapour, it’s like a dream, that it’s here today and gone tomorrow.  And so many in this room that are 70 years old could attest to that.  How many people, wonderful saints that we have in the church that we love, and we talk to them, and they say ‘Life went by snap!, like that, I don’t know where it went.’  Well it went right where the Bible says it goes, past.  Time is a slippery substance.  “in thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:  but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed:  so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (verses 25-26).  Notice he’s not saying ‘No near-death experience here.’  ‘No, I was laying on the operating table and saw a beautiful light and heard beautiful music.’  This is not near-death.  And if you had a near-death experience, God bless you.  Our problem is not near-death, it’s through death, and in death.  We ain’t gonna get near death, we’re gonna die.  We’re not just gonna get near it. That would be ok, live to be a million years old, ‘I got near death.’  It’s not gonna happen.  You ain’t gonna get near it, you’re going to get into it.  He’s tormented.  There’s no way you can pass, there’s a great eternal gulf that’s fixed, from where you are you had your chance.  The Bible says “It’s appointed once to die, and then the judgment.” 

 

“If one went to them from the dead, they will repent”

 

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (verse28).  You know, he’s completely conscious.  You know, we hear people in the church talk of soul-sleep, no such thing in the Bible as soul sleep. Elijah’s at the widows house.  Her son dies.  Elijah climbs on him, prays for him three times, it says clearly, and his soul came into him again.  His soul wasn’t sleeping in the body, it was somewhere else …[tape switchover, some text lost]…Revelation chapter six, we see the souls of those who were martyred for Christ in heaven under the altar, they’re not sleeping somewhere in the body.  Not Biblical, not taught in the Scripture [unless you include the book of Ecclesiastes, which is Scripture also].  Lazarus’s body burnt on the trash-heap, rich man’s body in a tomb, they are both somewhere else, ain’t sleeping, they’re both conscious, one’s enjoying the consolation and pleasure of heaven, the other is suffering in hell.  That’s why Paul says ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’  Interesting, I have a fellow that came to church a number of years ago, he was in a bad car accident.  He said he was a nominal Christian, wasn’t really a believer.  They wheeled him into the trauma unit, he was in shock, was in a coma.  And he said the doctors were working on him, and he heard them go out and say to his wife “He’s not gonna make it.”  And he said, “There I was,” he said “I was aware of everything going on around me, I couldn’t move my body, I heard the doctor say to my wife “He’s not gonna make it”, and he said “Right at that moment, I realized, I didn’t really know Christ.  I’d gone to church, but I didn’t know Jesus.”  And he said, “Without my mouth, within my heart I started to cry out on the Lord”, and he said “I felt myself be born-again in my heart by the Spirit of God.”  He said, “All of a sudden I felt God’s Spirit come into my being, and I was saved.”  And he said “The first thing I thought was ‘Whose gonna tell my brothers, this is all true?’”  And of course he lived, because I heard the story.  But I’m not surprised when Jesus says ‘This guy says someone needs to tell my brothers.’  I wonder if they’re sitting at the banquet Jesus is sitting at right then.  ‘Testify to them so they don’t come to this place of torment.’  Look what it says, “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”  ‘They claimed to believe the Word of God, they have the Word of God.’  “And he said, Nay, father Abraham:  but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”  “From the dead”, very important.  Repent, metanoeo, means to change the mind, to turn away.  Repentance, we hear that word.  It means this evening, if Christ is calling you to himself, it means you need to make a U-turn, you need to say, ‘My life has been going away from you, but tonight I change my mind and I turn to you.’ 

 

It’s All Being Recorded

 

You know, it’s interesting, Jim Voss, who has worked with Mike McIntosh, years ago worked with the Mafia before he came to Christ, and said one of the things he did, was that he was a surveillance specialist, even years ago.  And he would put little microphones in people’s cars, in their houses, in their hotel rooms, and he had tiny little cameras that people wouldn’t even see.  He put them in the hotel rooms.  And then when someone tried to take someone else to court, they put up a screen or turned on a tape-player, and played back to them all of the things they talked about when they thought no one was listening.  And he said, “A few times we put on the screen some very notable people, some sexual liaison was filmed in a hotel room and they weren’t even aware of it.”  And he said, “But it was through that, that I came to Christ.”  He said, “I realized that if I can do this, with a microphone or a little camera, what in the world is God recording?  If I can take somebody and put a screen up and play in front of them something I snuck in, what is the almighty God doing who says ‘Every word will come into judgment, every act we do, it’s all recorded, he sees it all.’”  That’s the story.  Some day, if we don’t repent, everything we have ever said, and every thing we have ever done is gonna be put up on the screen and played, sound, Technicolor, quadraphonic sound, digital---unless we repent.  The Bible says that when we repent and we turn to God for forgiveness, that all of our sins are washed away, and God will remember them no more.  It doesn’t say he forgets them, God can’t forget.  But he can choose not to remember, and that’s vastly different, vastly different.  Because all of your sins are somewhere.  Scientists tell us today, that everything we’ve ever said is somewhere.  If we could pick it up, it may be very, very faint, every word we ever said is traveling somewhere.  [We know that’s true of FM radio waves, going out into outerspace non-stop.]  They did an interesting study, a man in England, Dr. Rupert Murdock, who made it his life’s work to study memory.  Because as they’re doing AIDS research, and they’re working on the helix in the DNA, and they’re trying to figure out what the digital code is and information.  And as they studied memory, he was having a problem, because they realized when there’s conception, and a cell begins to grow, the cell divides, becomes two, four, six, eight.  But all of a sudden, no one knows why, certain cells decide to become bone cells.  They’ve got the same information as all the other cells in the nucleus.  Certain cells decide to become blood cells.  And certain cells all of a sudden decide to become stomach cells.  And he said “We have no idea why that happens.”  So Rupert Murdock said, he comes up with this genetic resonance idea, theory.  And his theory is, that there is all around us this force, a field that has extra information that is kind of like outside of the biology.  Billy Martin when he was here, a friend of his at Stanford was working on memory, and they would teach a rat to go through this maze.  And then they would start to reach in with something and scramble the different lobes, divided his brain into sixteen lobes, and started to scramble the lobes in his brain.  They found they could scramble thirteen of the sixteen lobes and he could still go through the maze.  But then they found out they could scramble any thirteen of the sixteen lobes and he could still go through the maze.  And they started to think, “Where is memory?  If everything we’ve said or ever done is in some field somewhere.”  You know, isn’t it interesting that God says “Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more.”  [Ecclesiastes 3:21, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward [upon death] and the spirit of the beast [animal] that goeth downward to the earth?”  I’d say it is this same “spirit of man” and “spirit of the beast”, “animal spirit” that is the unseen controlling influence in human and animal memory.  This “spirit of man” and “spirit of the beast” comes from God, and is like the software in your computer, but for our minds, and even controlling cellular development.]  There is some eternal record around us that God can strike them from so they no longer exist when they’re under the blood of Christ. 

 

‘If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded’

 

He says, ‘Send someone there to tell my brothers, so they don’t come to this place of torment, so that they repent, so they turn, and turn to God.’  “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (verse 31).  Now of course the interesting thing is, as you read this verse, Matthew in his Gospel tells us that on the third day, early in the morning certain women came to the tomb.  But then Matthew goes into this routine about how the Roman soldiers had been there, they had fixed a Guard, and how an angel had come with the appearance of lightning and had rolled the stone away, how the Roman soldiers fell down like dead men and began to quake.  Only Matthew knows that because he’d been a tax gatherer, he had worked for the Romans, and he had friends that were Roman soldiers that were on that Guard.  When you read Mark, Luke and John there’s none of that.  Matthew got the inside scoop from the soldiers.  They said ‘Matthew!  Tell us about this guy you followed, I can’t believe it, an angel came down, everybody started shaking, we fell down on the ground.’  And you know what, those guys went to a priest from there, when they ran.  They didn’t go to Pilate because they could all be put to death.  Those sixteen men that stood guard, if one guy fell asleep and the commanding officer came, sixteen guys were on guard, if he found one guy asleep, they killed all sixteen of them.  It was a crack outfit.  We today, in the United States military, use some of the writings of the Roman Legions when we train our Special Forces and Seal Teams.  No women came and rolled the stone away and stole the body, they’d have all been dead.  Matthew hears from them, the angel came, rolled the stone away, he’s risen. It says the soldiers then ran and told the priests, ‘He’s risen!  He’s risen!  The angel came and rolled the stone away.’  The priests said, ‘Take this sum of money, and don’t tell anyone.  And if it comes to Pilate’s ears, we’ll cover you.’  Jesus said here, ‘Even if someone rises from the dead, they will not believe.’  Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus.  It tells us there in John chapter 11, he said to the people that were there ‘Remove the stone from the tomb.’  They said, ‘Lord, he stinketh.’  I love the King James.  You see, but that was the point.  He had raised Jairus’ daughter, who was only dead a short time.  People could say ‘Oh, that was resuscitation, he pounded on her heart.’  He had raised the son of the widow of Nain, her son, the same day that he died.  Jesus does this one for us.  He waits four days.  Within 12 hours rigamortis sets in.  The body of Lazarus had become stiff as a board.  In 24 to 48 hours the rigamortis goes away, then all the muscles and blood begins to break down.  The blood breaks down into a clear serum and into very thick granulate corpuscles.  The whole back of the body by the third day would have been blue from everything oozing down.  The eyes would have collapsed, the tissue begins to turn into jelly.  Four days dead in that  climate, it’s hard for us to imagine what condition that body was in.  And all Jesus had to say is ‘Lazarus, come forth’, and he came jumping outa there.  It was a heavy-duty miracle.  Because that body, snap! went back together like that, jump-started, everything got back where it should have been.  And you know what it says?  ‘The Pharisees and Sadducees conspired how they might kill Lazarus.’  ‘That guy’s got guts, coming back from the dead, we’re gonna kill him.’  You know, because the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, Lazarus was bad theology, they had to get rid of him.  And the Pharisees didn’t believe Jesus was who he said he was, and he’s calling people back from the dead who’d been laying there rotting for four days, that even ‘stinketh.’  Now he’s the same yesterday, today and forever.  I want to have the musicians come.  The question is this, if you’re here tonight and you don’t know Christ, he simply said this, ‘If you’re not going to listen to the Word of God, you won’t believe anything miraculous either.’  Jesus said ‘the Holy Spirit when he comes will convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.’  If you’re here tonight and you don’t know Jesus, and you’re wondering, ‘Is all of this true?’  Jesus said all you need to do now is quiet down, and sit still, and listen to your heart, and you will hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you, saying, ‘There is a heaven, there is a hell’ and saying to you, ‘You need only repent, turn to Jesus, and ask forgiveness, and you’ll be saved’, even though you stinketh.  Even though there’s sin in your life that stinks.  There was in mine, and he just took me the way I was.  But the challenge is this, and it’s the same, if you won’t believe the Word of God, you won’t believe it if you even see somebody raised from the dead.  You know, look, we aren’t playing church here.  I mean, look at everybody here.  We’re not here polyester’d out, going through some tradition (nothing wrong with that), not going through some formula, we’re not going through some liturgy.  We came in here, we didn’t hock you for money, we didn’t give you offering envelopes.  We sang and lifted our voices to the Lord, and then we opened his Word.  What a privilege to be that simple.  But yet what a responsibility it places on you if you don’t know Christ.  Because he said ‘If they won’t hear my word, they’re not gonna believe it, even if they see something miraculous either.’…[connective expository sermon given on Luke 16:13-31 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Alternate Interpretations of the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man within the Body of Christ

 

I have been faithful to present Pastor Joe’s transcript as it was preached.  It is the specific interpretation that the Calvary Chapel’s hold in their doctrinal interpretation in areas of heaven, hell and the immortality of the soul, and soul-sleep verses soul stays conscious at death.  Now I will present some alternate beliefs, and/or links to articles giving alternate interpretations for this parable.

 

Does the Parable Teach ‘Going to Heaven?’

 

Pastor Joe doesn’t want to call it a parable, even though it clearly is, because the Calvary Chapel’s like to use this parable as a central proof-text to their doctrinal belief in the immortality of the soul.  There are various beliefs pro and con on this subject within the Body of Christ on this subject of heaven and hell.  To read a few, see:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  You see, by their own admission, parables can’t be used to set or base doctrine on, so they don’t want to admit this is a parable.        

 

Pastor Joe refers to going to heaven a lot of times, but in the parable it nowhere says heaven, but implies the Kingdom of heaven or Kingdom of God, which will end up on earth.  Don’t forget, Abraham was promised that he would inherit the entire earth, under Jesus Christ, of course.  All believers, in Galatians, are called the spiritual children of Abraham.  God’s very Kingdom, headquartered in the New Jerusalem, will come to earth, as seen in Revelation 21:1-23.  This earth after the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, will become that Paradise for all eternity, the headquarters planet for the whole universe.  Again, he’s taking this parable literally in a doctrinal sense, which is a very big stretch for a parable, taking it literally to teach doctrine.  Just be aware of that.  You’re getting off the sound foundation of Biblical interpretation when you use a parable to prove doctrine.

 

The Use of Daniel 12:1-3 taken out of context for what those verses teach

 

Daniel 12:1-3 is one of three places in the Bible, the other one is in John 5:28-29, and the other is in Revelation 20:4-6 and verses 11-13, that mentions the two resurrections, one to eternal life, the other back to physical life.  He is misquoting Daniel 12:1-3.  See that section about the various Biblical interpretations for heaven and hell at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/destiny/2ndResurrection5.htm to read a complete study on this subject of Bible resurrections.  And there are so many differing interpretations, which kind of makes it a secondary belief not effecting one’s salvation, amazingly enough.  If you have God’s Holy Spirit, and you are growing and overcoming, you will be in the first resurrection to immortality, regardless of what you believe on this subject that people like to hammer into the ground so dogmatically.

 

Annihilationism verses existing in an Ever-Burning Hellfire

 

Revelation 20:6 and 14-15 would indicate, calls going into gehenna fires of hell “the second death.”  Revelation 20 verse 6, says this, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:  on such the second death hath no power…”  Death is cessation of all life.  So we would appear to be at a point where Scripture is not clear on this issue about everburning hell fires verses annihilationism.  About “Hades” being a place of torment, it’s not exactly true.  In Greek mythology, it held that meaning.  But as used in the Bible, it merely meant six feet under, the grave.  I don’t think Jesus was trying to teach us Greek mythology.  If Jesus were referring to the known Hellenistic idea of Hades in the parable, it was tongue-in-cheek, because a Hellenistic view of Hades, hell, was not Biblical or true to what the existing Scriptures of the time taught, i.e. the Old Testament.

 

The “spirit in man,” what Christians like to call “the soul.”

 

Actually, in Ecclesiastes, when people die, giving no distinction to the evil or the good, it indicates all, the spirit in man goes upward when men die (women too you gals), and the spirit within animals goes down into the earth.  We will look up Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, particularly verse 21, and also Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 shortly.  I think if you are honest, you will see that the Scripture is not as cut and dry on this subject of heaven and hell as it would appear.  To gain a real understanding of a Bible doctrine (doctrine means teaching), you have to gather together all the Scriptures on a given subject, and add them combine them.  You cannot take one Scriptural passage and use it to subtract from the meaning of another.  In finding proper Biblical doctrine, all Scripture is additive, not subtractive.  That’s a handy rule of thumb to remember.

 

Soul-Sleep verses Soul Stays Conscious Upon Death

 

Regarding “soul-sleep,  I beg to differ with the above sermon transcript.  And this is why this interpretation and all interpretations about heaven and hell are so secondary to the Gospel of Salvation.  Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them:  as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:  for all is vanity.  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”  Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, “For the living know that they shall die:  but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”  Calvary Chapel’s, not liking what is written in those two sets of verses, say that “they don’t use Ecclesiastes for making doctrine.” That is what they wrote back to me when I asked them about this.  But for the early Christian Church and during Jesus’ lifetime, these Old Testament Scriptures were all they had for making doctrine.  And all was inspired by Yahweh, the pre-incarnate Christ.  Would Jesus knowingly, willingly contradict what he inspired to be taught and written in the Old Testament?  Let’s see what the apostles Peter and Paul had to say about all Scripture.  When they wrote, the New Testament was not fully penned.  Peter says in 2nd Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  Now this is the clincher, which shows you cannot just cast aside two Old Testament passages because it they don’t fit your interpretation to of Scripture.  2nd Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”  Also, the apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep,”---Paul referring to the death of a saint as sleep, soul-sleep.  You can’t get plainer than this---“but we shall all be changed.  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  This issue of soul-sleep, pro-and-con, is more fully discussed at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  Read it and make up your own mind.  This issue is fast becoming a hot-bed for discussion, and I can see why.  It is because the issue is not as thoroughly nailed down in Scripture as most would like to see it be.  I’ve been a keen student of the Bible for over 40 years now, and attended numerous different denominational fellowships, all teaching different things on these subjects, and I have to be honest when I see grey areas in Scripture like this.  And a grey area is an area where they all tend to teach something different.  I think, as the time of Jesus’ 2nd coming approaches, the entire Body of Christ should strive to get on the same page in these grey areas. It seriously affects our witness to this dying world when we’re all teaching differing and opposing views about God’s eternal rewards and punishments.  This website is all about achieving unity within the Body of Christ, not division, or the promoting of division and doctrinal differences.  Proper education may be one of the keys to achieving that unity.  I’m just as curious as the next guy as to what happens and where I’ll go upon death, and whether my “spirit in man” remains conscious as it wafts up to the 3rd heaven where God’s throne is.  But gaining a clear understanding of what the Bible actually teaches us may help us understand the answer to that question before we die.  The real answer may astound us, and I think it will.  But all of us must put our denominational pride aside, and study the issue with an open, honest mind.

Click Here to Print

 

content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
Questions or problems with the web site contact the WebServant - Hosted and Maintained by CMWH, Located in the Holy Land