THE CULTS “PROVE” TOO MUCH
When one’s arguments or definitions logically prove too much, they do not spiritually PROVE anything. For instance, does Gen. 3:19 give us God’s complete description of Adam’s death and destiny or can we understand it only by “comparing scripture with scripture” on the subject of man’s composition and character as well as his death and destiny? “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” — Gen. 3:19.
Is not one handling the Word God deceitfully who asserts that clause, “unto dust shalt thou return” is God’s full description of a man’s death? Will the same materialistic “Bible teacher” maintain that first clause, “Dust thou art“, is the Divine estimate of man? Note well that the statement is “Dust thou ART and unto dust shalt thou return.” Not even the most rabid peddler of the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses propaganda dares that God made nothing but “dust” when He “created man in his own image”, and yet that is precisely what their “man” is at “death”. Could God have been speaking of anything more than man’s physical condition after physical death in that declaration, Gen. 3:19? God was not talking to DUST when He spoke to Adam.
In the light of these and many other clearly revealed facts about man, life, death, and the hereafter, we are Biblically forced to conclude that the Lord, standing there in the Garden of Eden, was describing Adam’s loss of his God-given place and “dominion” on earth. Psa. 34:16 was to be Adam’s fate, so far as this earth was concerned: “The face of the Lord is against them that do evil; to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” And, indeed, this was the “fate” of our Substitute and Savior when for us “He was cut off out of the land of the living… ” — Isa. 53:8.
I doubt if even Herbert W. Armstrong’s followers would think it all right to substitute the word, DUST, for Adam in this manner, “And Dust called his wife’s name Eve… And unto Dust also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin and clothed them [Dust and his dust-wife].”
THE BIBLE AN INSPIRED RECORD
One does not have to be a profound student of the Scriptures to know that while they are properly called “The Word of God” as a whole, nevertheless, there are many quotations from “the serpent”, “the father of lies”, and hundreds of others who were speaking only as men, usually not even pretending to be giving GOD’S words. One outstanding instance of this is the book of Job. After God says a few things, then Job and his three friends [finally a fourth] engage in long, drawn-out arguments concerning Job’s “misfortunes”. At the conclusion of 34 chapters of these “wise” dissertations, God Himself comes in with a rebuke saying to Job: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee and answer thou me.” — Job 38:1-3. Is it not absolutely essential, then, in seeking to understand the true teaching in the book of Job that we notice carefully who is speaking in each chapter? While the entire book is a part of the inspired Word of God, we are explicitly told that only a very few of the 42 chapters contain God’s own words.
In Genesis, third chapter, we have what God wants us to know concerning what the serpent said to Eve, what Eve said to the serpent, what God said to Adam and Eve, what Adam said to God, and several things Moses adds by divine inspiration. The entire chapter is a living part of the Word of God, though many of the words in it are by no means God’s own words. And yet such very obvious features of the Bible are deliberately ignored or wickedly twisted by those who are determined to get rid of the “wrath of the Lamb”, the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth”, the “shame and everlasting contempt” that awaits all who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
“DEFINITIONS” THAT DENY AND DESTROY
Without a doubt, when a theory logically “proves” too much, it spiritually proves NOTHING. This is quite obvious in trying to be fair and consistent with the various cults’ false definition of “death”. We are dogmatically told that death is not only the “opposite of life” but the opposite of existence — that death is NON-existence, cessation of being, or virtual annihilation. We are chided for having ever believed what “only heathens believe” about there being consciousness in death. Not desiring to be idolatrous pagans we will seek to test these definitions of “death” by using them in a few Bible passages.
First we will note the King James Version, and then we will give the cults’ meaning of “death”:
|Bible Reference||King James Version||With ‘cults’ meaning of death|
|Revelation 14:13||“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”||“Blessed are the non-existent which become non-existent in the Lord.”|
|Psalms 116:15.||“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”||“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the annihilation of his saints.”|
|1 Timothy 5:6||“She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”||“She that liveth in pleasure has ceased to be while she liveth.”|
|Romans 14:9||“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.”||“For to this end Christ both became NON-existent, and rose, and revived that He might be Lord both of the NON-existent and the living.”|
|Philippians 1:21||“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”||“For me to live is Christ and to be annihilated is gain.”|
|Luke 9:60||“Let the dead bury their dead.”||“Let the non-existent bury their non-existent.”|
|Romans 6:8||“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”||“Now if we be NON-existent with Christ…”|
The results of thus honestly using the cults’ utterly false definitions of “death” are too obviously shocking to need further comment. The cults’ “definitions” do not define; they pervert and destroy.
“WORDS WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHETH”
God’s definitions of death are as surely divine REVELATIONS as are His definitions of life. Only the Spirit of God can reveal to us the real meaning of Paul’s inspired declaration that “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth”. — 1 Tim. 5:6. So also with John’s statement in 1 John 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”. The materialist, whether a professing Christian or a “profound scholar” like Charles H. Welch of England, exclaims, [each in his own words]: “Why, how could a man be living and not living at the same time?” Or, “How could a person be both dead and alive at the same time?” But the Spirit-taught Bible student answers: “Precisely that is very often true” — that there are millions of “living dead people “dead” living people. “Utter foolishness!” retorts the “natural mind”. — See 1 Cor. 1:18-25; 2:9-16.
The Apostle Paul cries out: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? or who hath given to him… ” “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God… But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “EVIL MEN UNDERSTAND NOT JUDGMENT.” — Rom. 11:33, 34; 1 Cor. 2:9-14; Prov. 28:5.
GUILTY SINNERS ARE NOT THEIR OWN JUDGE!
It is not one of the characteristics of a guilty criminal that he clearly understands and joyously concurs in the just decisions of the judge as to the exact nature of his crimes and the proper punishment for them. Nor can one who deliberately rejects the Lord Jesus Christ, trampling His precious shed blood under ruthless feet, have any correct understanding or application of the just punishment due his wilful sin of unbelief. Therefore, from those who reject the “gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, nothing can be expected but “pious” professions about “the love of God”, “a just and merciful God wouldn’t punish one of his children worse than a human father would”, etc. etc.
Though this is not intended to be an examination of the Bible’s teaching about punishment, these few words of caution are considered necessary lest the impression be left that God will teach other truth to those who scorn the death, burial and resurrection of His dear Son. Those who reject the truth about Christ’s death for them will be taught no other truth. Reader, if you have not passed from death to life as the supernatural result of humbly believing the gospel of Jesus Christ, then you are not only incapable of understanding God’s Word concerning death, hell and the final judgment, but you are in exactly the right position to be deceived with whatever religious delusion “the god of this world [the Devil]” selects for your particular type of mind.
The writer is quite familiar with the subtleties and sophistries, the text-twistings and half-truths of most, if not all, of the cults that deny conscious punishment in hell and the lake of fire. The 7th Day Adventists, the “Advent Christians”, Watchtower witnesses, A. E. Knoch, Charles H. Welch, Otis Q. Sellers, Herbert W. Armstrong, the 7th Day Church of God [so-called], the “Christadelphians”, etc., all stop short of the obviously ridiculous and utterly anti-Christ conclusions that their arguments logically lead to. I will not stop but will finish their line of pseudo-Biblical reasoning on the subject of man, life, death and judgment. Note well!
THE UGLY ESSENCE OF THE CULTS
Man was made a “living soul”. Animals are called “living souls” in the Bible. Men and beasts die exactly alike, Solomon writes. Eccl. 3:18, 19. Death is the opposite of life. Jesus, the man, died, paying the “wages of sin”. Therefore Jesus died exactly like a rat run over by a truck. And, since “a man hath no preeminence above a beast “, therefore the death of Christ was of no more importance or value than that of a rat. Hence, and therefore, the Bible argument in Hebrews, 9th and 10th chapters, to the effect that “it was impossible” for the blood of bulls and goats to ever take man’s sins away blood of Jesus Christ was a “better sacrifice” and therefore could and did take away man’s sins is the BUNK. Man is his own “savior”, saving himself from “punishment” that doesn’t exist.
THE CULTS’ MORTAL “JESUS”
These satanic denials of God’s holiness and justice, of Christ’s character and saving work, and of the Bible revelations concerning “everlasting punishment” are nearly always so subtly interwoven with Bible truths that their devilish identity is concealed to the unsaved or careless reader. Though the 7th Day Adventists give far more “gospel” truth than do the Watchtower witnesses, the Mormons, or Herbert Armstrong, nevertheless in their wicked determination to get rid of Biblical punishment, they, too, find that they must attack the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, along with all who deny consciousness in death and the lake of fire, the 7th Dayists accept the Devil’s invention of a “mortal Jesus” so he could “die like a beast”. Thus it is that while getting rid of “the wrath of God” that “abideth on” the Christ-rejector, they also get rid of “the Lamb of God without and blemish” who was “manifested to take away our sins; and in whom is no sin… [He] knew no sin … ” — John 3:36; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; 1 John 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:21.
The “Jesus” who had a mortal body could not possibly have died for others since he was mortal [already dying]. The Lord Jesus Christ majestically declared: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”. — John 10:17, 18. See also John 2:18-22; 1 Tim. 2:6.
Just here let me say that the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” [as well as many other cults] positively, repeatedly and essentially deny the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They have a “human, no more and no less” who died “and remained forever dead”. Then, under the diabolically dishonest use of Bible words, they speak of the resurrection of “Christ”. This, of course, is an absurdity since their “christ” did not die, and therefore could not be raised. In other words, they flatly deny and consistently repudiate the gospel that is given so clearly in 1 Cor. 15:3-5. Read it! Read it carefully!
THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT QUESTION THAN “WHO DIED ON THE ACCURSED TREE?”
Recently I met one of the exceptionally well trained Watchtower witnesses, falsely called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. This university graduate and Watchtower peddler for fifty years began his part of our joint-discussions by asserting that “a six year old child sees a dog die and be put in the ground, sees a cat die and be put in the ground, and sees grandma die and be put in the ground. But after that child goes to church it is told by the clergyman that grandma was not put in the ground for she went to heaven, even though the six year old saw exactly where grandma was put”.
In answer to this ignorant and materialistic teaching, I said: “Were it true that a six year old child or a sixty year old man knew by natural observation whatdeath is and where grandma went when she died physically, then , of course, we would need no divine revelation on the subject”.
The Watchtower [of Babel] builder then quoted from Eccl. 3:19, 20; 9;5 and Gen. 3:19, as he sought to prove that a man dies precisely like every other form of animal life. I Biblically refuted his dishonest hodge-podge of distorted texts by obeying 2 Tim. 2:15 — “rightly dividing the Word of truth”. First I called to his attention that the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes declares at least 36 times in that short book that he is writing of things that he, himself, had discovered “under the sun” or “under heaven”, as he searched to find “out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven”. See Eccl. 1:12-18. I charged him and his whole anti-Christ cult with rank dishonesty in their use of only a disconnected clause in Eccl. 9:5, “the dead know not anything”. Were these false “Witnesses” to intelligently use the remainder of that verse, they could never again believe it was God’s revelation concerning death and the future. Let me quote the entire verse:
“The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward: for the memory of them is forgotten.”
Surely when an argument logically “proves” too much it doesn’t spiritually prove anything. In this case, if the clause, “the dead know not anything”, is God’srevelation on the subject, then, of course, the remainder of the sentence is also God’s revelation on that subject, — “neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten”. Not even the “J.W.’s” or the 7th Day Adventists deny a future resurrection of both the just and the unjust, the one to be rewarded and the other to be punished [annihilated, they teach]. And, as in this misused text, so with the others, careful and honest obedience to 2 Tim. 2:15 will show that the subject of where man goes after physical death is not here revealed by God at all. I am referring to Eccl. 3:17-22 and Genesis 3:19.
“UNCONSCIOUSNESS” NOT A JUST PUNISHMENT FOR CHRIST-REJECTORS
What Devil-induced blindness it is to argue that the deliberate unbeliever who wilfully tramples the blood of Christ under his ruthless feet will receive as his just punishment a “death” that is merely an unconscious non-existence! Even the present results of defying God’s laws of health and hygiene, morals and social relations are seen to be indescribably worse than “the sleep of death”. This present world is all but filled with conscious suffering, tormenting fears, insatiable hungerings, heart-breaking sorrows, desperate grief, raging jealousies, unbearable humiliations, blasted hopes. Does it make sense that all thesemere by-products of man’s sin against God should be almost infinitely worse than the real judgment and penalty yet to be met? “It is appointed unto men once to die; but after this the judgment”. — Heb. 9:27. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorerpunishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” — Heb. 10:28, 29. No amount of priestcraft, whether papal or protestant, no amount of text-twisting, and no amount of appeals to the “original languages” can change the above description of the disbeliever’s doom. It will be, “HOW MUCH SORER PUNISHMENT” than the disgraceful physical stoning and tortuous death under “Moses’ law”?
Only an infidel will seek to grab all the divinely inspired descriptions of this “how much sorer punishment” awaiting the wilful unbelievers and sap them of all their frightful and terrifying nature as he forces them into his misuse of the word “death”. Such unholy handlers of the Word of God often glibly argue thatdeath is the opposite of life. Starting with that semblance of truth, they will proceed to prove that death is virtually NON-existence as though LIFE were mere existence. A dead tree exists. A rock exists. “She that liveth in pleasure IS DEAD while she liveth” — 1 Tim. 5:6. Oh no, my friends, what God calls life and what God intended life to be for man “made in His own image and likeness” is not mere existence. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” — 1 John 5:12. Both “men” included in this verse are physically alive, but one is dead — “dead in trespasses and sins”. In fact, his “life” may become such an unbearable “death” — living DEATH — that he will decide to commit suicide, wickedly supposing that there is no punishment in death — physical death, and foolishly believing that “the dead know not anything” in the hereafter.
However, physical death will be followed by resurrection to JUDGMENT for all who have rejected the Savior, because “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this [but AFTER THIS, note well] the judgment”! — Heb. 9:27.
DEATH IS SEPARATION
For instance, every reader of the first three chapters of Genesis knows that Adam and Eve did not die physically “in the day” that they ate the forbidden fruit. [The J.W.’s argument about 2 Peter 3:8 being the explanation of Adam’s “postponed” death is too ridiculous to merit a refutation here]. In the light of other revelation, we know that first died instantly upon disobeying God!
2 Pet. 3:8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
“Your iniquities have separated between you and your God…” “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin… through the offence of one many be dead…” “Let the DEAD bury their dead…” “You [Christians] hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins…” — Isa. 59:2; Rom. 5:12, 15; Luke 9:60; Eph. 2:1.
Can anyone but a vulgar materialist believe that to be “dead to God”, “dead in trespasses and sin”, is to be only FIGURATIVELY dead, while to be dead to beans and bacon, to be without physical breath, is the real, the LITERAL death according to God’s Word? You had as well say that the DOOR to a mule barn is a LITERAL door while Christ is only a FIGURATIVE door into heaven [a figurative “heaven”, I suppose; and , logically then, only a FIGURATIVE Christ, etc., etc. ???]
Testy your present spiritual condition by deciding which, if any, of the following 8 Deaths is [or are] only figurative:
- Death by “the first man’s” disobedience. Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12-14, 17;
- Death by Adam’s children sinning. Rom. 5:12; 7:7-10; Jas. 4:17. Though “by nature children of wrath” [Eph. 2:3] and dying fleshlings [Jn. 3:6; Isa. 40:6, 7; Psa. 51:5], nevertheless, because of Death #3, little children are safe and innocent until they personally become trespassers. Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13; Luke 9:60.
- Death by Christ’s obedience. Gen. 3:15, 21; 1 Cor. 15:47; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 5:7-9; 2:9-18. TOTAL DEATH [Spirit, soul and body] suffered by “the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God”. — 1 Pet. 3:18. “THE Second Man” perfectly fulfilled the law [Gal. 4:4-5; Matt. 5:17-18; 17:5; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; 1 Pet. 1:18-21]. Then after proving that He had perfect dominion over everything lost by “the first man” [Adam], He voluntarily and majestically endured the death that destroyed forever “the enemy death” and “him that had the power of death, that is the Devil!” — Jn. 2:19-22; 10:14-18; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb.2:1-18; 1 Cor. 15:1-28; Matt. 27:52; Jn. 12:24 [re-read with 1 Cor. 15:20-23]; Rom. 3:23-26; 4:24-25; 5:8-10; 6:3-9; 7:4; Gal. 1:4; 2:19-20; 6:14; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Pet. 3:22; Eph. 1:19-22; Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 2:14; 1 Jn. 3:8; Rev. 1:18; Rom. 14:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:10. These passages prove nothing if they do not prove that Jesus Christ has already reigned victoriously where “the first man” was tempted and lost his God-given dominion! 2 Cor. 5:18-19.
- Death by “obeying” [submissively hearing] the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the penitent sinner’s death with Christ and to sin. In a glorious spiritual sense this is a total death for him. 2 Cor. 5:14-17; Gal. 2;20; Rom. 6:1-18; Eph. 2:1-10; Col. 2:6-12; 3:1-11. To say this death is merely figurative is to flatly deny every spiritual reality of the gospel of the grace of God and real salvation.
- Death by disobeying “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus”. [Rom. 8:2]. This is only physical, disciplinary death. While physicaldeath is common to all children of fallen Adam [Heb. 9:27; 1 Cor. 15:21-22], this is uncommon because it is inflicted by God as a result of “a sin unto death!” — 1 Jn. 5:16; Deut. 32:48-52; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 11:30-32. This disciplinary death can in no way affect the Christian’s eternal salvation. See Jn. 5:24; Rom. 4:8; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 10:38-39.
- Death in sins. Jn. 8:24; Prov. 21:16; Jn. 3:36; Heb. 10:26-27. The physical death of the wilful unbeliever. Already “dead in trespasses and sins” he now DIES IN his sins, and “remains in the congregation of the dead.”
- Death by “falling asleep”, “dying in the Lord”, “putting off” the physical body, our “earthly tabernacle”. See Acts 7:60 [HALLELUJAH!]; 1 Cor. 15:6, 18; 1 Thess. 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; 2 Pet. 1:14. This “precious” and “blessed” death in no sense is an “enemy” to the believer in the Risen Christ, Who is now “LORD both of the living and the dead”. — Rev, 14:13; Psa. 116:15; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Rom. 14:8-9; Js. 2:26.
- Death “in the lake of fire” is “the second death” — the irrevocable doom of all the “twice dead” [Jude 12]. See Rev. 20:5-15; 21:8. No amount of ungodly text-twisting and prating about “the original language” can void the horrible fact that all unbelievers will “be [not CEASE to be] unjust … filthy still.” Only such restless punishment could be “much sorer” than the stoning of Heb. 10:26-31; Psa. 11:6; 75:7-8; Rev. 14:10-11. Read also with a holy hush, Prov. 19-28; 28:5; Rev. 6:16; 22:11; Rom. 2:8.
NOTE: the words “death”, “perish”, and “destruction”, as God uses them, never, never mean cessation of being, annihilation, or non-existence. Compare Scripture with Scripture, and not Scripture with Greek or any human dictionary. “The words which the Holy Spirit teacheth” are not like ordinary words. — 1 Cor. 2:9-16; Isa. 55:9; Luke10:21.
Every man can AVOID everlasting punishment [Jn. 3:36], but no man can VOID it. See Prov. 29:1.