The Rapture: A Popular but False Doctrine


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The rapture, often called "the blessed hope," is sadly more hoax than hope, even though the man who started it had no intention of deceiving anyone. You need to know what the Bible actually says!

The rapture is widely taught and believed in Christianity today. Popular books and movies spin themes around this doctrine that essentially teaches Christ will come back twice, first coming only into the atmosphere to snatch believers away to heaven for several years; then actually returning to set foot on the earth.

We live in a time when most are content to get their knowledge of religion secondhand, preferably through dramatic presentations, including stage, screen and novels.

But you cannot afford to neglect your personal responsibility to prove the truth!

Those willing to take a careful look at the Bible will see that the rapture theory doesn't stand up to the scrutiny of God's Word.

The rapture was popularized in the 1970s by Hal Lindsey's writings ( The Late Great Planet Earth, etc.) and more recently by Jim Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in their Left Behind fictional books and films. But where did the idea of the rapture originate?

The origin of the rapture theory

Credit for its origin generally goes to John Nelson Darby, a 19th-century theologian.

Let's define some common terms to help one navigate the technicalities, for in reading about the rapture, you will often encounter the words postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism . First, the root word, Millennium, comes from the Latin for 1,000 years. Religiously, it refers to the first 1,000 years of Christ's reign over the Kingdom of God on earth (Revelation:20:4).

A postmillennialist believes that Christ returns to establish the Kingdom on earth after the 1,000 years; an amillennialist doesn't believe that the Kingdom is coming at all; a premillennialist believes that Christ returns before the Millennium to set up His Kingdom as described in Revelation:20:4.

In the century before Darby, Daniel Whitby pushed the philosophy of postmillennialism in England. "This interpretation maintains that present gospel agencies will root out evils until Christ will have a spiritual reign over the earth, which will continue for 1,000 years. Then the second advent of Christ will initiate judgment and bring to an end the present order" ( Unger's Bible Dictionary, 1988, "Millennium").

Postmillennialism gives life to the idea of "the social gospel" and the belief that the Church can actually bring about the Kingdom by its actions. It has led to many Christian churches involving themselves in politics on the premise that they are virtually obligated to lobby governments in the direction of godliness.

There were also amillennialists in Darby's day. He labored to correct both false teachings. Darby believed, rightly, that Jesus Christ would return to earth to establish and rule over the Kingdom of God. Darby was a premillennialist.

But in his zeal for countering error, he added another—the rapture theory. He believed he understood a new truth, an idea that had not been taught in the history of Christendom. While he was most likely sincere, sincerity alone does not make one right.

"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation" (2 Peter:1:20, New International Version).

How do we know whether God inspired John Darby with new understanding? It actually would not be difficult to verify. Jesus said, "...the Scripture cannot be broken" (John:10:35), meaning Scripture agrees within itself.

If the rapture were truly a biblical doctrine, it would mesh with all other scriptural references to Christ's coming. But it does not stand up to that test, as we will see.

Scofield picks it up

"Darby's pre-tribulational view of the rapture was then picked up by a man named C.I. Scofield, who taught the view in the footnotes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was widely distributed in England and America. Many Protestants who read the Scofield Reference Bible uncritically accepted what its footnotes said and adopted the [rapture doctrine], even though no Christian had heard of it in the previous 1800 years of Church history" ("Catholic Answers," http://www.catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp ).

Both Darby and Scofield claimed that the "day of Christ" refers to the rapture and that "the day of the Lord" refers to the actual second coming several years after the rapture.

In fact, "the day of the Lord" and "the day of Christ" both refer to Christ's return to the earth throughout the Bible—that is, to the time when He will step foot on earth. So also do the phrases, "the day of the Lord Jesus Christ" and "the Lord's Day." They all speak of His actual descent and setting His feet on this earth (Zechariah:14:1-4). This fact further discredits this principal premise of Darby and Scofield. (See our booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled for further information about this subject.)

The heart of the case offered by Darby, Scofield and their modern counterparts is based upon the English words "caught up" in 1 Thessalonians:4:17.

Thin proof

For such a seemingly major doctrine, one might expect a weighty argument, but this is what is offered in The Scofield Bible's Reference Notes (1917 Edition): "...'caught up'—Not church saints only, but all bodies of the saved [that is, not only the living, but also the dead], of whatever dispensation, are included in the first resurrection... [It] is peculiarly the 'blessed hope' of the Church (cf) Matthew:24:42; 25:13; Luke:12:36-48; Acts:1:11; Philippians 3:20, 21; Titus:2:11-13."

This offers surprisingly little information, considering how many accept the rapture doctrine based upon these notes. Additionally, all of the references he cited are about Christ's return and the believer's need to be ready for that event. None of them speak of a "near return" by Christ to snatch away believers.

Some rapturists today cite Acts:8:39, saying it uses the same Greek word that is translated "caught up" in 1 Thessalonians:4:17. They say that the fact the Spirit of God "caught [Philip] away" shows that 1 Thessalonians:4:17 means that the saints are caught away to heaven. Yet the Spirit did not transport Philip to heaven, but rather from one place on the earth to another.

The saints of 1 Thessalonians:4:17, on the other hand, rise to meet the Lord in the air. (We'll cover more on this point in the next article in this series.)

The words "blessed hope" also often appear in rapture literature. In fact, "The Blessed Hope" is the name by which some denominations refer to the rapture doctrine. They take "blessed hope" from Titus:2:13, where Paul writes, "looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

The implication is that the word "appearance" conveys something secretive and sudden; that is, the rapture. Therefore, "blessed hope" becomes a sort of shorthand for the rapture in literature and films on the doctrine. A few other New Testament references that mention "the appearing of Christ" are also often cited, as if these scriptures strengthen their case.

But all of these are simply referring to Christ's coming, either the first time as a perfect sacrifice for sin, or the second time, as an invincible King.

Flawed foundation

The word rapture comes from the Latin rapere, meaning, "to seize" or "to abduct." It is translated from the Greek word that is rendered "caught up" in English Bibles today.

All advocates of the rapture agree that the main argument is based on 1 Thessalonians:4:17. Here the argument stands or falls.

First, look at verse 17 in the New King James Version: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

The Greek verb for "caught up" is harpagesometha. Does it convey the sense of an abduction here? No, "[it] combines the ideas of force and suddenness seen in the irresistible power of God" (Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Revised Edition, 1984, p. 94).

Why would Paul use such a strong word? Let's allow the Bible to speak for itself. The context of the subject begins in verse 13 and concludes in verse 11 of the next chapter. Paul wrote this section of the letter in answer to concerns of the local Christians.

As you read verse 13, you discover that Christians in Thessalonica were grieving over the unexpected deaths of members of their congregation.

Albert Barnes comments: "There seems some reason to suppose...that some of them believed that, though those who were dead would indeed rise again, yet it would be long after those who were living when the Lord Jesus would return had been taken to glory, and would always be in a condition inferior to them" ( Barnes' Notes on the New Testament, notes on 1 Thessalonians:4:13).

Paul wrote that they should not grieve over this: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus [believers who had died]" (verse 14).

Was he responding to a worry about whether Christ would rescue believers from the Great Tribulation? No, nothing is said of this.

Nor is there anything in these verses that intimates Christ making a swooping pass by the earth to snatch off a few people to take them to heaven. These verses refer only to the doctrine of the second coming, at which time Jesus sets foot on the earth.

A reunion with friends who died

There is more to Paul's encouragement. Dr. Morris observes, "There will be a reunion with Christ, but there will also be a reunion with the friends who have gone before" (Tyndale).

The Commentary on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown observes something further. "The leading topic of Paul's preaching at Thessalonica having been the coming kingdom (Ac 17:7), some perverted it into a cause for fear in respect to friends lately deceased, as if these would be excluded from the glory which those found alive alone should share. This error Paul here corrects."

Verse 15 amplifies the point: "We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep."

Verse 18 reiterates this main point: "Therefore comfort one another with these words." Paul sums it up in verses 10-11 of chapter 5 (there is no chapter break in the original text): "...that whether we wake or sleep [remain alive or die], we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing."

Any claim that "the comfort" of these verses was about being snatched away to heaven takes incredible license with the Bible.

Paul's reason for using such a strong word as harpagesometha was to reassure people that, at Christ's return, God would reunite believers who remain alive with believers who had died. The dead won't be behind in any way!

But why will the saints meet Christ in the air? We will cover that in the next article. WNP


Bro.Jason

Bro.Jason's picture

Very nicely put Cecil!

I should also remember Paul teaches us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;:

Meaning that the anti-christ must reign "first" before we are called up.

As I said earlier very nicely put though, I just felt that should also be added!

Regards,
Dr. Jason Thompson PhD




Charles Goodman

Charles Goodman's picture

Excellent article, straightforward and to the point, and needs saying so badly to the brotherhood of Christ. Gives me some quick, concise "firepower" when debating this very timely topic. I feel this single doctrine will lead so many of our brothers and sisters away from the Lord and into the clutches of Satan. As said in Hos 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". Thanks Cecil, Respectfully, Chuck




Keith

Keith's picture

Well said. Jesus never said the way to the Kingdom of God would be a tip toe through the tulips. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. In the world we shall have tribulation, in Christ we shall have peace. Matthew 24 tells all. Immediately after the tribulation, the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, the Son of man will be seen coming with power and great glory, then shall he send his angels to gather his elect. AMEN! Yet, we must endure to the end and love not our own lives unto the death if be so. We are the salt of the earth and we must be here through the tribulation to give our testimonies for all to see (Rev. 7:14) No repentance after death. We must be right with God now and we must be in the 1st resurrection to be saved. The second is of the damned. Those teaching that we shall rise before the tribulation or that there is a second chance for those left behind. Teach lies!




Skip

Skip's picture

Hi Keith,

There is no 2nd chance, but what about a first chance?
Some, unlike you or me who have been raised in an "Christian" country,
had the "misfortune" to be born in a different country at a time when
the very name Jesus was unknown. They had no first chance at all!

God's Plan, as explained in at least two of our booklets,
clearly explains from scripture the sequence of events that
the Apostle Paul alludes to in 1 Cor 15: 23.
Christ is the first of the Firstfruits.
"Afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."
(Those at His coming are also called Firstfruiits.)
Here are three supporting scriptures:
Romans 8: 23
James 1: 18
Rev 14: 4

Now I want to ask, why is anyone called a Firstfruit
if there are not at least, second fruits?
If everyone not in the first resurrection is just tossed into hell,
what are they called? Rotten fruit? unripe fruit? What?
That whole idea makes God totally ineffective, wimpy, weak!

But the Truth of the matter as Paul & others explain elsewhere
is that God has a plan to give everyone ONE chance.

But you are so correct about the challenge to sustaining
our enthusiasm until we greet the returning Jesus Christ:
It will not be a tip toe through the Tulips!

But it certainly is worth the effort to be part of the First Fruits.




Keith

Keith's picture

Thanks for your comments Skip. However I read nothing in the scripture concerning 2nd or 3rd fruits. Keep in mind that in the days of Noah, only 8 people were saved. (I Peter 3:20) Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth ti destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The world has been given it's one chance that is Jesus Christ, he is the door and there is no other door. Since the time that Jesus walked the earth we have been in the last days. That is why John the baptist came preaching, (Luke 3:9) The axe is laid unto the root of the trees, every tree not bringing forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
Remember also the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins. They that were ready went in, those that were not ready, were shut out and could not get in even after they came back to knock on the door.
God dose not put people in hell, hell was created for the devil and his angels, man enters as an intruder. However we put ourselves there but ignoring Christ. Sorry to say heaven will not be crowded, but hell already is!




Charles Goodman

Charles Goodman's picture

I would like to take a try at the "First Fruits" question. In Revelation, it states there is a special gift for those who understand it. I think there is no time in history you could have actually understood it until now, much like in Daniel where it says the book is shut up until the end. I think being a "First Fruit" is the gift you will recieve for understanding it, and by making the sacrifice that is required of that understanding. In simple terms, to stand against and resist satan when he is on earth. Through history, men have spoke of Satan, but they have not been personally "tempted" by him. Sure we are all tempted by his spirit, but only Christ has succeeded in actually resisting him in the flesh. When the Bible tells us, that satan showed Christ the kingdoms of the world, I believe that's literally what happen, I see no reason to "spiritualize" it. When satan arrives on earth, as stated he will in Rev.12:7-9, which I also don't spiritualize, we will face the same temptation as did our Lord. That's different than for example, my parents faced in life. I think that it is reflected in Rev.20:3-7. It says in Vs.4 some particular requirements there, having given their life for the witness, or the word, and not excepting satan's mark. You may wish to expand this, I'm sure most will, but it doesn't say that. And it also adds a new parameter, that they would live and reign with our Christ. What does that mean, I think when you move down to Vs.5, what it is telling you is that all who have not faced the three criteria mentioned above, while now in spiritual bodies, are still mortal. By mortal, simply meaning that they could die. I am not implying that aunt Rose, having lived an exemplary christian life is going to hell, what I am implying is that she as well as all, will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgement. Note in Vs.7 at where it says satan will be loosen again for a short while, one again reiterating Vs.3. What I think it is saying, is all will be tempted by satan. I don't think there is a "free" pass. God is no respecter of person. Why should just those at the end be subject to satan's temptation, truthfully I believe it's not the case. In Vs.6, it says those that are blessed & holy, as outlined in Vs.4 parameters, are free from the worry of losing their spiritual bodies, they have made it, they have recieved the gift promised in Revelation!




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello again Keith,
Let's see if I can answer you.
Rev 20: 5 says "the rest of the dead did not live again until the 1000 years were finished." Who are "the rest of the dead"?

Verse 4 has just told us that some people "beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image..." will live & reign with Christ for a 1000 years. These are the First Fruits.

The "rest of the dead" are whom?

The possibilities as I see them are:

They are not good people & they are ultimately tossed in the Lake of Fire. (Rev 20: 15)

The 2nd possibility is, they are just ordinary people who lived their lives & died without ever being offered a chance by God to understand the TRUTH. They never were given a first chance and now ----- at the end of the thousand years they are being resurrected to physical life to be taught and given their very FIRST chance.

Several scriptures state the need for enduring faith and righteous living but unless a person actually is Given the understanding of what life is all about, there is a gulf that exists between living a good human life and living a truly Godly life.

God has built in rewards & punishments for living a good human life but God will not pass final judgement on a person's eternal life (or death) unless that person has really understood the Rules & how they work.

Read God's Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind, especially P. 44 to 57. Then let's talk again.




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Skip,
Thanks for the answer, but sorry, still don't see it that way. The first resurrection is unto life which the second death has no power. Truly there is a second resurrection, as you mentioned, however these are those that rise to damnation as stated in verses 12 through 15,the dead will stand before God and the books will be opened, and all will be judged by their works, and another book will be opened, which is the book of life, and those not found in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire, THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH!
Jesus said on the cross, "IT IS FINISHED". The plan of salvation has already been laid out for us. The time to obey the word of God is now! No need for us to go through great tribulation if God is going to give mankind chance after chance after chance.
I've traveled around the world and have been to many countries, and have yet to meet one single person who has not at least heard of the name of Jesus Christ and for what he stands for. No one wants to say it but the fact is, a lot of people are going to hell, that's just the way it is and if you and I do not endure unto the end, so shall we!
Personally, I am looking to go up in the first resurrection in which the second death shall have no power over me. How about you? Remember that we are here to share God's word with people to give them that CHANCE, not to make excuses for them or tell them, Not to worry, if you don't catch this bus, there will be another one along later.




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Charles G.
I agree, that all will be tempted, for satin himself will make a final desprate attempt to deceive all both phisical and spiritual so that he might try to raise an army against the true and great God of heaven and against his saints. Let us not forget, we are at war. This goes along with what I was trying to explain to Skip. The second resurrection may very well be those deceived by satin to take up arms with him against God. Rev 20:8-9 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
And they went up on the breath of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
To me, the firstfruits of God's creatures is the best, and that is what Christ gave us the chance to be. Angels desire to look into our salvation and satin himself is quite distrot over it because his pittition to be forgiven has been dinied. So he makes war with us and with God our creator. No glory to that, but all glory to God. Keep fighting the good fight, Jesus is soon to come!




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Christ said, "'If you were blind, then you would have no sin'" (John:9:41 NKJV). Many people are "blinded" now (Romans:11:7 NKJV; also see Ephesians:4:17-18)---"a veil lies over their hearts" (2 Corinthians:3:14 and context). For some, this veil will be lifted only after Christ's return, when God bestows "the Spirit of grace and supplication" (Zechariah:12:10). The Spirit is necessary to discern spiritual things; God's grace is offered and they respond in prayerful repentance---after Christ's return.

Here is a link to our booklet on God's Holy Day Plan: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gods-holy-day-plan-promise-hope-all-mankind/




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Keith,

The "firstfruits" are, by definition, the BEGINNING of the harvest. In farming terms, the firstfruits are simply the produce that ripens earlier than the main portion of the crop; therefore, it stands to reason that if Christians today are the firstfruits of God's harvest then there must necessarily be an analogue of the main portion of the harvest that will come after those of us who follow God's way at the present time.

Furthermore, when you say that "we put ourselves there [hell] by ignoring Christ," you are automatically excluding huge numbers of people throughout history who were never exposed to Jesus or the true God - you can't "ignore" Christ if you've never even heard His name! I agree with your statement that everyone gets ONE chance, but there are obviously many living and dying today without getting that chance because God has not revealed Himself to them - John 6:44 says that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws them. The only reasonable conclusion, in light of the fact that many people now are NOT being given a chance because God has not revealed Himself to them, is that those who have already died without being called by God will receive their one chance at a future time; however, Christians who are called in this life today are living out their one chance and will not get another. Those who have died without receiving their chance will be resurrected from the dead (where they are presently asleep, not in heaven or hell, Ecclesiastes 9:10) and the gospel of God explained to them so that they can choose fairly as Christians called by God have done. Revelation 20:4-5 says that the "rest of the dead" who were not in the "first resurrection" will live again when the 1000 years is finished, and this is the time period in which the masses of humanity who never knew God will get that chance.




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Ivan,
Thanks for the comment, however, sorry, no dice, don,t see it that way in the scriptures. God has already pored out his spirit upon all flesh. Remember the upper room. Now is the time to repent, not after Christ returns. Jesus died on the cross for a reason, why do we try and make a different gospel then that which has already been preached? If the righteous are scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? I Peter 4:18 We need to stop telling people that we have all the time in the world to be saved, that they will have second chances, and making excuses why God is not going to put them in hell! The message should be and truthfully is "REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Steven,
Sorry, not so, the Bible teaches us that after death there is no repentance, And Christ already preached to the spirits in prison (those who died before Christ) when he died on the cross and was in the ground for three days before he rose from the dead. There is no scriptural basis for your theory that those rising in a second resurrection will be given a second chance to except Christ. It is correct that a person must be drawn by the spirit of the Father, however that is why Jesus came, He told us that when he was taken up that he would send us a comforter from the Father, this is the Holy Ghost which will lead us and guide us into all truth. This is the pouring out of God's spirit upon all flesh. Joel 2:28 (prophesy) Acts 2: 16,17,18 (prophesy fulfilled)The spirit of the Father is already here to draw all men to him, if people are ignoring that spirit then that is there choice. I simply do not understand how that you can believe, with God's spirit in the world today,all the technology we have: TV, radio, printing presses and the internet, not to mention all the Christians in the world today that are suppose to be spreading the good news every place we go. that their are simply so many people today dying having never even heard of Jesus Christ or have, in some point in their lives been drawn by God's spirit. You make the word of God of no effect and the power of Christ void! By the way, Firstfruits refers to the best. Go on with yourself and try to offer God second best, see if he will except your offering. Second best, or second resurrection, take your pick, will not be excepted by God or be in heaven. Its time we stop trying to pacify the dead and soften God's word. Tell the living the truth. Today is the day of salvation, now is the time to repent! Less God hold us accountable for telling lies and costing souls to miss heaven because we were afraid to offend some by telling the truth. There is a hell and it's filled with souls of once, so called, good people. And there is a place of peace called Abraham's bosom were the righteous await the kingdom. There is also a place worse than hell called the lake of fire. And a place better than Abraham's bosom called heaven! I leave you with this final thought, Ecclesiastes 9:10. Choose wisely!




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello Keith,

I'll excerpt from: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gods-holy-day-plan-promise-hope-all-mankind/feast-pentecost-firstfruits-gods-harvest/

“Romans 8:29 speaks of Jesus Christ as 'the firstborn of many brethren.' Yet the New Testament Church is also considered to be firstfruits…James said, 'Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures' (James 1:18).

God's Spirit within us identifies us and sanctifies us—sets us apart as Christians. 'If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,' wrote Paul, 'he is not His,' and 'as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God' (Romans 8:9,14).

Paul also referred to the members of the Church as those 'who have the firstfruits of the Spirit' (verse 23). He alluded to several first-century Christians as the firstfruits of God's calling (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15).

The significance of…calling these people of God firstfruits becomes evident when we consider John 14:6. Here Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'

How many, throughout the centuries, have really accepted and practiced the way of life Jesus taught? Even today many people have simply never heard much, if anything, about Jesus Christ. How will God offer them salvation?

Few people understand that God follows a systematic plan, symbolized by His Holy Days, to save all of humanity by offering all people eternal life in His Kingdom. In this world we are simply at the beginning of the harvest for the Kingdom of God.

…Paul understood this: 'But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming' (1 Corinthians 15:20,22-23). Anyone who is now called and chosen by God is included with Christ as God's firstfruits (James 1:18).

…God must call people (John 6:44; 6:63). Our Creator, therefore, controls the timing of His harvest. When God founded His Church by imparting His Spirit to believers on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31, He was expanding His spiritual harvest. It was the beginning of what Joel prophesied, that God will ultimately pour out His Spirit on 'all flesh' (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:14-17).”




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello again,

In regards to the substantial scriptural basis for the teaching that those rising in a second resurrection will finally be given their opportunity to come to God, Christ said that "if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented" (Luke:10:12-13, ESV 2007)---implying neither repented. Now, if "after death there is no repentance," then why say "it will be more bearable in the judgment for [them] than for you'"? (Would a just God sentence people to a ‘hellfire’ punishment prior to rendering judgment?) And why does he say that "it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom" (KJV)---a city so "exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD" (Gen:13:13 NKJV) that God himself personally destroyed it with fire and brimstone?

Christ said this because "these thoroughly pagan and sinful people will be treated very mercifully in a coming day of judgment (Matthew:12:41). He spoke very highly[ of] their opportunity[] to have a chance to repent and to understand and come to know God...[(something] they [ha]dn't [had]...in their lifetime[)]" ("Is Today the Only Day of Salvation?").

http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/doctrinal-beliefs/today-only-day-s...

"It is God's desire that no human beings perish but that all come to repentance so as to become members of His family as sons and daughters in His Kingdom (2 Peter:3:9; 2 Cor:6:18). As part of this process, God is now calling some individuals to inherit eternal life at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth (1 Cor:1:26-28; Mat:20:16; John:6:44, 65), with others to be called later" ("God's Purpose for Mankind").

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/fundamental-beliefs/gods-purpose-mankind/

"The ultimate intent of God's master plan is to change the hearts of all peoples so He can give them His gift of eternal life. The New Covenant promises are already available to people from all nations…But only a 'little flock' (Luke:12:32) is responding through real repentance at this time...At Christ's return…a crucial aspect of His mission will be to lead all people on earth to repentance…in every nation…‘And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him’ (Zechariah:8:20-22, NIV)" ("All the World Under the New Covenant").

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/all-wor...




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

“Is there hope for the unbelieving person who rejected God's calling and spurned His way of life? No, a person who has knowingly refused God's calling and the way of life He reveals has only the lake of fire to look forward to, which will end his or her existence for eternity (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29). However, there is another type of unbeliever—one who never had the opportunity to choose or reject God's way of life. Many sincere people believe that we must ‘accept Jesus’ in this life or we are lost forever. But what about the billions of people who have lived out their lives without ever hearing the name of Christ and therefore had no chance at salvation (Ac. 4:12)? Is it fair for God to destroy them forever when they never really had an opportunity to understand His truth?

‘Many know that God will resurrect the saints at Christ's return (1 Th. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52), but most read right over Christ's teachings about a second resurrection. He spoke of people from different ages coming face-to-face in ‘the day of judgment’ (Mat. 11:20-24, 12:41-42; Lk. 10:12-15). God will bring back to life the people of Sodom, Tyre, Sidon and Ninevah along with the queen of Sheba at the same time as those people who heard Christ speak these words [then]. The only way for this to be possible—for people who lived literally many hundreds of years apart to live again at the same time—is for God to resurrect all of them at the same time.

‘A second resurrection allows a first chance at salvation[.] As we saw in Hebrews [6 & 10], the Scriptures are plain about the fact that all people have only one chance at salvation. However, a second chance at life is not the same as a second chance at salvation. Coming to life again will enable those brought to life in the second resurrection to have their only chance for salvation” (“Will everyone have a chance for salvation?”).

http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/will-everyone-have-chance-salvation-what-happens-after-death-resurrection-judgment-day

“‘I tell you…now is the day of salvation’ (2 Cor. 6:1-2, NIV)…In the original Greek there is no modifier before the phrase…Other versions translate this…as ‘a day of salvation’…the world at large will have an opportunity for salvation in ages yet to come” ("Is Today the Only Day of Salvation?").

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/church-jesus-built/responsibility-and-mission-church/today-only-day-salvation/




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Ivan,
I agree with the scriptures you have put forth, for example in I Corinthians 15. Jesus truly is the first fruits of them that slept. He is the second Adam! We shall be like him, and because he lives, we shall live also. As we know flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of heaven. We shall be transformed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. Behold the resurrection! And we know further that Paul said, "thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.(verse 36). We, that believe and obey the word of God shall receive glorified bodies at his coming that know not death, sickness, corruption or sin. AMEN! However, what does this have to do with souls being saved after the coming of Christ? Jesus said, "I come as a thief in the night." We must watch and be ready for know not at what hour he does come. As in the parable of the 10 virgins. Remember 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. Those that were wise and ready, went in through the door to be with the Lord when he came. But the foolish who were not ready when the Lord came did not go in, and neither was the door opened unto them afterwards. Do I think that these were cast out into outer darkness? YES, I DO. Those that are not ready to meet the Lord when he comes, simply will not make it to the kingdom. No chances after that. The scriptures do not support that theory, and it is exactly that, a theory not based on scripture or fact. Why is it that we should be concerned over the dead anyway when they are already in the hands of a living and just God. We need to be concerned with the living that still have the need and chance to repent. No one seems to want to take responsibility and say that hell is as real as heaven. Well, let me speak plainly, MANY ARE GOING TO END UP IN HELL! Few there be that find the way to life eternal with God. Jesus spoke of this himself,(Matthew 7:13,14) No more excuses, we must tell the truth, Jesus is SOON to come and we all must be ready. Today is the day of salvation! Let me speak plainly again, as I read in the scriptures, there is no salvation for anyone left behind after the coming of Christ. God's spirit is drawing all men to him as we speak, but many are WILLINGLY IGNORANT! (II Peter 3: 4,5,6) Who's falt is that? Not God's. May you find truth and not excuses.




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Ivan,
Sorry, still not happening. It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon because they sinned when the Son of man walked not on the earth. They didn't see Christ in the flesh and the great works that he did. Those that did see Christ in the flesh and his mighty works, then still rejected him, so much worse will it be for them, knowing that they walked with Jesus and had great opportunity to be with him forever and chose not to. Jesus was just stating that those in Tyre and Sidon would have repented if they would have seen him in the flesh when those that walked with him in the flesh were even more responsible for their rejection of God seeing they had the light walking among them. Don't misunderstand me. I know and believe that God will not bring wrath on the innocent and ignorant. He is a just God not willing that any should parish, more that even you and I know. However God is also a man of war and a consuming fire. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. As I stated before, the Bible says that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison the time he was in the belly of the earth for three days. From the time of Adam and Eve to the time of Christ on earth God gave opportunity to those spirits in prison to come to Jesus, for at that time he was manifest. Now we have Jesus and we have the Holy Ghost and the word. We, all people, now have the way into the Holiest of all. ( Hebrews 9:3) Remember when Christ died the veil in the temple was rent. Jesus is the mediator between men and God. The whole world now has no cloak for sin and no excuse for ignorance. Having eyes to see, and see not. Having ears to hear, and hear not. If what you say is true about the second resurrection and a second chance after death, then Jesus would not have told us to watch that we may be ready at his coming. Is Jesus then a liar?
John the baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord and he stated that the ax is laid unto the root of the trees!(Matthew 3:10) And every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is cut down and cast into the fire. Ecclesiastes 11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or towards the north, in the place were the tree falleth, there it shall be. Ivan, I see men as trees!




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi again Keith,

John 12:32a does not necessarily indicate time sequence: “If [or When] I am lifted up…I will draw all people” (Expanded Bible 2011). 25 translations (KJV, ASV, HCSB 2009, etc.) use this chronologically neutral word “if.”

I agree that not everyone will be saved: “The Bible explains that unrepentant sinners are cast into the lake of fire…at the end of the age. ‘But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’ (Rev. 21:8)…the doctrine of universal salvation is false. Not everyone will be saved. Some will, in the end, refuse to repent—and they will suffer punishment…God will bring retribution on the wicked for their rebellious, reprehensible ways” (“Will a Loving God Punish People Forever in Hell?”).

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/will-loving-god-punish-people-forever-hell/

However, “Not all are called now to salvation… [Why did Christ speak] in parables instead of being more direct[?] …’Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given’ (Mat. 13:11). Many today would be shocked to consider what Jesus was saying here. It was not His intent to present salvation clearly to every person in this age. Rather, His message was meant to be understood by only some at this time… Jesus taught His disciples that God must grant spiritual insight. No one can come to Jesus unless God the Father ‘draws him’ (John 6:44)...‘at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace’ (Rom. 11:5). A remnant is just a trace, a remaining vestige. And the ‘election’ Paul mentioned refers to a relatively small part of mankind. Clearly, God has revealed that He will call only a few to salvation in this age. Notice how Jesus explains this: ‘…there are few who find it’ (Mat. 7:13-14)” (“How Eternal Life Will Ultimately Be Offered to All”).

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-happens-after-death/how-eternal-life-will-ultimately-be-offered-all/

In summary: “If someone hasn't been called in this life, at another time he will be raised to physical life and learn about God's plan for him and all mankind” ("Is Everyone Being Judged Now?").

http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/everyone-being-judged-now/




Keith

Keith's picture

Ivan,
By the way, let me make myself clear on this mater. The second resurrection, as you so call it, is not unto repentance as you would have people believe. It is, according to Revelation 20:5-10, the rising of Gog and Magog along with all those deceived by satin to do battle against the Lord Jesus Christ and the saints. Again ,I say, we are at war. This is simply not a passive situation. We must choose wisely now, not after death, FOR ALL WILL RISE, The question is on which side will you rise. Choose wisely!
Think on these things:
Some men's sins go before unto judgment, some men's sins fallow after. Also, it is better to be broken in pieces than to be ground to powder. and the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. Tell me if you can, what do you think is the meaning of these?




Keith

Keith's picture

Ivan,
Knock and it shall be opened unto you, seek and ye shall find.
Jesus spoke in parables because is it up to us to seek and find. With out faith it is impossible to please God. All men have not faith, all do not believe. have you not read the parable of the talents?
Matthew 25:29,30 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
You, as many others just refuse to understand that many, many people do not want to believe, don't want to have faith, don't want to understand, don't want to confess their sin, humble themselves and repent. They just don't want Jesus. Have you not also read the parable of the sower?
Mark 4:11,12 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
It is not because of God that people do not understand, nor is it because his spirit is not drawing them or that the spirit is only given to a select few. It is because of the hardness of their own hearts!
Take care of what you think you know and teach others because you may be closer to hell fire than you think! Heaven is FOREVER, and so like wise hell and the lake of fire are FOREVER!
Put simply, YES, souls that are lost will suffer for eternity. We are not God's judge, he is the judge of all and his word has warned us of the wages of sin. It's not bad people that will be lost only, because we have all come short of the glory of God. There is none good, no, not one. People will go to hell for their unbelief, lack of repentance and disobedience to God's word. Not because their bad people. They just refuse to come to Christ.
I can see that you can not and will not understand these things just as your theories will never be excepted by me. So at this point we will just have to agree to disagree.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Keith,

I'd like to focus this discussion onto a fundamental difference in our beliefs that causing a lot of this head-butting on these issues. You believe that people do not actually "die" when they die - that every human being has an immortal soul that either goes to heaven or hell where they live forever either in bliss or in torture - correct?

We in the United Church of God believe that death means the cessation of existence similar to sleep. This is corroborated by scriptures such as Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave where you are going." Additionally, the consistently delivered ultimatum given to humanity by God throughout the bible is "choose my way and live forever, or choose another way and die" (see Ezekiel 18:4, John 3:16, etc.) God's promise of salvation is eternal life - if a person goes to hell, then they are still alive.

You can see how this shapes our view of the fate of the dead. 1 Peter 3:19, for example, cannot be taken to mean that Christ preached to anyone while He was dead because there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave. If you go back and read 1 Peter 3:19 carefully with an open perspective, you will see that it does not say that Christ preached while He was dead - you may INFER that based on your understanding of the rest of the bible, but it's not explicitly stated there.

Like I said, the key to understanding each other in this argument is to settle the issue of what "death" is. All of the other points that have been raised hinge on this, and there is no point in continuing to argue them if we are reasoning from completely different understandings of something so basic as the nature of death - it may be that the best we can do is agree to disagree, but that will be better than endless arguing that doesn't cut to the heart of the matter.




Keith

Keith's picture

Steven,
As I stated before, let us agree to disagree. And may God's truth be received by us all. That may not happen, but it is my prayer. It's not about you, me or anyone else being right, let every man be a liar, and let God's word be true.
So may we lift up Christ that he may draw all to him.




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

From “The Mystery of Death”:

“[T]he Bible does not speak of the dead going to live on forever in a place or condition of ‘heaven’ or ‘hell.’ …mankind and animals are destined for, in death, a common fate. ‘For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals…All go to one place…all return to dust’ (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).

…‘And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt’ (Daniel 12:2)…a resurrection from death…will take place in the future. Some will receive immortality then, and some will not. So clearly we are not immortal souls at present. Moreover, the passage compares death to sleep—and explains the resurrection as waking up from that sleep. Sleep connotes unconsciousness…

[T]he dead have no awareness…: ‘For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going’ (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). The person who has died is unconscious and unaware of the passing of time…

Job noted the stark reality of death: "So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep" (verse 12). Job understood that death was the absolute cessation of life…

[In] Genesis 3:4…[though] God [had] said that man is mortal and subject to death[,] Satan contradicted God and said that man would not die—that man is immortal. Isn't it amazing that, as evidenced by the pervasive belief in the immortality of the soul, more people accept Satan's teaching than God's?”

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-happens-after-death/mystery-death/




Keith

Keith's picture

Ivan
No, it's really not amazing that so many fallow satan and the lies he teaches seeing that the whole world will wonder after the beast. Man kind does have an immortal soul, this is God's image that he made us after. Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Adam and Eve, mankind, were never meant to die. Only after disobeying God did we become mortal flesh. And so 900 and some years later, Adam and Eve went to the grave. And now , scripture says, that the days of a man shall be 120. Not many people live past that age today. However souls live on. Its just a question of where.
I know why you want to believe that there is no feeling, no consciousness and no awareness after death. Everlasting torment is hard to swallow, isn't it? Kind of scary when you think about it. Yet I chose to believe the scripture rather than your theory. All souls are eternal. It is the flesh only that dies. And the second death is one that's lived. Seems to me that you are having a hard time distinguishing between the flesh and the spirit.
Those that are in the truth are not worrying about the torments of hell. We look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. And we look for new bodies that are immoral and incorruptible, as Jesus is the second Adam, so shall we be like him. Jesus is taking his people back to the garden and even better than it was before. I Corinthians chapter 15.
You have also failed to note the story Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus. Luke 16:19-31 Note verse 23 " And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." verse 23 " And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on be, 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.
Is Jesus now the one fallowing the teachings of satan? Has Jesus lied to us , or is he just using scare tactics on us to keep us on the straight and narrow?
Sleep on if you want Ivan, but the death sleep is not the same as the sleep we experience here in the flesh upon this earth.
This life is but a passing moment, but life on the other side is eternal! We need to take care how we treat this life for it will determine how and where we will spend eternity.




Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

Hi Keith,
I agree that life is but a vapor and we should be taking care of our spiritual life now in order to have one in the future. I have a few more thoughts on your statements above.

Concerning the soul referred to as nephesh in the Old Testament:
"The soul ( nephesh ) is not immortal, because it dies. This is clear in the Bible. For example, through the prophet Ezekiel God proclaimed, "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, see also verse 20). Again, the Hebrew word translated "soul" here is nephesh. Indeed, the same word is even used of corpses—dead bodies (see Leviticus 22:4; Numbers 5:2; 6:11; 9:6-10).So Scripture plainly states that the soul can die. It is mortal —it is in no way im mortal— because it is subject to death and decay" ("What Happens After Death?": http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-happens-after-death/mystery-death/).There does have to be a part of us that God can "record" and keep so that when we are resurrected, we are restored to ourselves if we prove ourselves to be righteous.

And for the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, it seems to be an allegory or familiar story of the time to point out a spiritual lesson of not being hardened to the poor or oppressed. I was reading a bit more about it in the "Heaven and Hell" booklet here: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/will-loving-god-punish-people-forever-hell/laza/ and in the BFAQ: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-does-parable-lazarus-and-rich-man-mean.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Keith,

If the story of Lazarus and the rich man were literal, then this would imply that the dead are already judged. This is contrary to Revelation 20:12 - "I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."

It is not until the 2nd resurrection that "the dead" are judged, so how could this rich man already be in torment unless he had already been judged? (On a side note, it does not specify that these are the unrighteous dead, as you claim them to be, and especially so since the Book of Life was also open and verse 15 would be superfluous if ALL of the people in the 2nd resurrection were cast into the lake of fire).

Even if you believe that souls are immortal and burn in hell for eternity, shouldn't you have to be consistent with the scripture about the timing of such? Revelation 20 makes it clear that God will not judge the dead until the appointed time after the 2nd coming of Christ and the 1000 year reign of the saints on earth. If the rich man had already been sent to hell, then he had already been both judged and sentenced. So no, the story of Lazarus and the rich man is not literal.




Keith

Keith's picture

Sabrina,
Hi, thanks for your comment, but I'll have to disagree with you on this matter as well. Jesus states that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God. Neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Read again (I Corinthians chapter 15 carefully). If the dead rise, then with what body do they rise? There are bodies terrestrial (fleshly) and there are bodies celestial (spiritual).
There is a spiritual realm and a physical realm in which we are now partakers of upon this earth. But we shall all be partakers of that spiritual life on the other side. You simple must know that there is a difference between the spiritual and the physical or fleshly life. The bible says to be carnally minded is death. (Romans 8:6-7)
Spirit or soul does not decay as flesh does, it merely transforms or transcends to another realm. Sleep in the spiritual is not the same as it is in the physical. Just the same, death is not the same for souls as it is for the flesh. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment.
As for the word nephesh in Hebrew, it had many meanings depending upon it's use in a given content. The word also could mean bodily in a physical or figurative sense; beast, creature, dead, as you stated, man, desire, lust, mind, one, person, pleasure and so on. You must understand though, that the word nephesh was taken from the root of the word naphash witch means breathe or refreshed, life giving.
The word for soul in the Greek is (psuche) meaning, from breath, human, animal or even plant, but the key meaning here is spirit or immortal soul. We need not play with words to understand God's truth. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
I tell you this Sabrina, there is a hell just like there is a kingdom of God and they are both very real, and they will both stand forever. The rich man and Lazarus is only one of many warnings given to us by Jesus. and it has much more to do with than just feeding the poor. Jesus talked of a place where the fire is not quenched, and the worm dieth not, many times.
The second death is one thats lived. My hope and prayer for you is that your name will be written in the book of life so that the second death can not touche you. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.




Keith

Keith's picture

Steven,

Both death and hell are cast into the lake of fire. Judgment has been set at the time of Jesus Christ. and who says that the 1000 year reign with the Lord is here on earth? Not the Bible. Yes, the dead small and great shall stand before God and be judged. But remember there are greater sins to be punished for just as there are greater rewards to be had in the kingdom of heaven.
Yes, I do believe the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to be very literal just as Jesus asked the Pharisees, (Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?) You talk as if God is week and will not or can not punish the unbelievers and the ungodly. You talk of a second resurrection for those that will be saved and forgiven after death, which is totally not scripture. You speak with dogma theory and not scripture. It is as the serpent in the garden of Eden told Eve, "surely you shall not die" What are we trying to say here? "surely you'll have another chance after death, and surely there is no eternal damnation". If so, then Jesus Christ himself is a liar. AND THAT IS NOT THE CASE.
We are to warn people to repent for the coming of Christ is at hand. You are only seeking to pacify them into a false sense of security. There is no 2nd resurrection of the saints! What do you think Jesus is speaking of in (Mark 9:42-49) When he talks of a place were the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not?
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. Remember, only 8 people saved in the days of Noah.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

On the contrary, Keith, you are the one who has believed the words of the serpent, who said, "you shall not surely die." If someone is consciously suffering eternal damnation in hell, that's still life (albeit a miserable existence). God told Adam that "from the dust you came, and to the dust you shall return" - not "your flesh will become dust, but the part of you that actually matters, your brain, will go somewhere else and either live happily ever after or miserably ever after." I don't know how it could be any more clear - Jesus came and died for us, "that we should NOT PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE." How can you quote the scripture, "fear He who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell," and yet deny that God will destroy the soul? Which of us has read into the scripture that which isn't there?

As for Christ's reign being on the earth, Zechariah 14:16-21 states plainly that the Lord will reign from Jerusalem, that all nations will travel there to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and that those who do not will not receive rain as a punishment. More well known is Isaiah 2:2-4, which states that God's law will go out from Jerusalem, that all nations will go to Jerusalem, that God will "judge between the nations" (i.e. arbitrate disputes), and that people in those nations will beat their weapons of war into farming tools. Revelation 12:5 states that Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and yet at the present time Satan rules over this world according to 2 Corinthians 4:4 (i.e. Christ's reign over the earth has not started yet, unless you claim that it started sometime after Paul wrote those words.)

Concerning the current state of the dead, how do you explain 1 Thessalonians 4:16? If the "dead in Christ" are already raised incorruptible into their spirit bodies in heaven, then what need is there for them to rise at the last trumpet?




Keith

Keith's picture

To be carnally minded is death. You understand not the spiritual therefore you understand not the scriptures. To continue this disagreement is futile. So if you want to believe your soul dies, and that your brain is the most important thing you have that will go somewhere, and that Christ's kingdom will be here on earth and that there is no hell or lake of fire and everyone will have second and third chances to repent after death and all good girls and boys will just be with God in heaven (whatever that is to you) and all bad girls and boys will just not be. Then have at it.

Matthew 13:13
Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

I will cast no more pearls before you!

NOW WE AGREE TO DISAGREE!




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

When I said "brain," I was referring to the collective body of thoughts and experiences that defines who we are as an individual, not the physical organ. I have not said that there is no hell or lake of fire, only that you do not understand the nature or purpose of them. I have not said that anyone will have a second or third chance to repent, only that everyone will have a first chance, as many who have already lived and died have not truly had a chance to know God. Peace be with you, Keith.

Romans 10:2-3
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hi Keith,
Wow! You are certainly into what you believe.
I have to commend you for that. However
1 Tim 6: 16 says only Christ has immortality.
The context is also important: 1 Tim 6: 13 -- 16.
" I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things,...
that you keep this commandment without spot,
blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing,
which He will manifest in His own time,...
who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light,
whom no man has seen or can see,
to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen"

1 Tim 1: 17 adds, "Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible,
to God who alone is wise..."

Keith! God is immortal, eternal, not puny people! And souls?

Ezekiel 18: 4 When someone sins, the responsibility for the sin will rest squarely on the soul/life! of the sinner and the penalty for sin is death, not eternal life in hell.
Ezekiel 18: 20 repeats that concept.

Look, I don't want to rub it in but
the concept of "intrinsic" eternal life is PAGAN.
The Egyptians, Babylonians, and especially the GREEKS all
taught eternal soul life!!!
Christ died for us so that we don't have to die...forever!

Perhaps you find the book of Ecclesiastes to be just wise sayings
but I believe it is the Word of God.

Ecc 9: 5 & 10 say to me that when you are dead, you are dead!
Jesus Christ is THE Resurrection & THE Life.

We don't go to heaven; He is returning here, to earth and
the dead (in Christ) will be raised &
the living (in Christ) will be changed. 1 Cor 15: 52

We don't have souls; we are souls!




Keith

Keith's picture

Skip
I agree that we are souls, but we do have a body of flesh and blood, it is that that shall die and return to the dust from which it came. Our souls belong to God and to him they shall return. Has not the scripture spoken that ye are gods. This is how we were made in Gods image. We were never made to die but from the beginning we were made like him that created us. Only after sin did we receive these mortal flesh and blood bodies that were cursed to die.
Through Christ we have the chance to go back to the garden from which we came, walking with him in glorified bodies as God intended, as it was, from the beginning. He is the second Adam to us. (I Corinthians chapter 15)
Pagans may believe in the immortal soul and that't true, the soul will continue on after this life. It is only the body that dies. However, they miss one very very important fact. We can only have true life forever through Jesus Christ. Those not in Christ will continue to exist but only in outer darkness.
Jesus said, " The kingdom of God comes not with observation but is within you. Jesus also said, " My kingdom is not of this world, if it were then men would fight for it." There is a spiritual realm that is eternal and we are but a vapor passing rapidly from this physical life of flesh into the true eternal realm of God, angels and souls of men.
We know the bible states that the body without the spirit is dead. (James chapter 2) The bible also states that this world and all that is in it and the heavens above us will burn and melt away with a great noise and a fervent heat.
God needs not this world nor our flesh to make his kingdom and all of us alive again. I am looking for a new heavens, a new earth and a new glorified body for my soul to dwell in as God has promised to them that live him. (II Peter chapter 3)
Why are people so afraid to admit that there is a hell? Satan himself has an immortal soul that is bound unto the judgment. The sad part is that he knows this and we don't. I'd rather that you were right in that souls did die as the flesh did. Then no one would ever be in torment. But who are we to question God's ways and his judgments?
Rev. 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
May you find truth in all things.




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

“The concept of the soul's supposed immortality was first taught in ancient Egypt and Babylon. ‘The belief that the soul continues in existence after the dissolution of the body is...speculation...nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture...The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended’ ( Jewish Encyclopedia, 1941, Vol. 6, ‘Immortality of the Soul,’ pp. 564, 566).

‘Plato (428-348 B.C.), the Greek philosopher and student of Socrates, taught that the body and the ‘immortal soul’ separate at death. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia comments on ancient Israel's view of the soul: ‘We are influenced always more or less by the Greek, Platonic idea that the body dies, yet the soul is immortal. Such an idea is utterly contrary to the Israelite consciousness and is nowhere found in the Old Testament’ (1960, Vol. 2, p. 812, ‘Death’).

‘Early Christianity was influenced and corrupted by Greek philosophies as it spread through the Greek and Roman world. By A.D. 200 the doctrine of the immortality of the soul became a controversy among Christian believers.

‘The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology notes that Origen, an early and influential Catholic theologian, was influenced by Greek thinkers: ‘Speculation about the soul in the subapostolic church was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy. This is seen in Origen's acceptance of Plato's doctrine of the preexistence of the soul as pure mind ( nous ) originally, which, by reason of its fall from God, cooled down to soul ( psyche ) when it lost its participation in the divine fire by looking earthward’ (1992, ‘Soul,’ p. 1037).

‘Secular history reveals that the concept of the immortality of the soul is an ancient belief embraced by many pagan religions. But it's not a biblical teaching and is not found in either the Old or New Testaments” (“The History of the Immortal-Soul Teaching”).

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/biblical-truth-about-immortal-soul/history-immo/

“[T]he serpent said…‘Ye shall not surely die’ (Genesis 3:4a KJV)—“‘Dying, ye do not die’” (YLT).

“[S]ays the Lord GOD…‘The soul who sins shall die’” (Ezekiel 18:3b-4b NKJV).




Keith

Keith's picture

Ivan,
Thanks for the comment, I'm sure you are trying to reach me in some way. Thanks for the thought. However, I am well aware of the history of the Jews and the influence of Greek, Babylonian and Roman cultures on the subject as well as many others. In fact we are still greatly influenced by these empires in our society unto this very day. In more ways than even I care to admit.
This does not take away from the fact that God created us perfect in every way. Only after sin did death come into the picture.
Answer me this, if you can! If Adam and Eve never eat of the forbidden tree, would they have died?




Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

When asking the question.

"If Adam and Eve never eat of the forbidden tree, would they have died?"

Then another question can be asked, of which death is God referring to? How does a reader know the mind of God in this matter?




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Keith,

Did God create humanity in a glorified state? Let's take a look: "[T]he LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Genesis 2:7b, ESV 2007). This describes Adam at the moment of creation--prior to his having eaten the forbidden fruit.

Paul cites this same verse to contrast Adam's perishable nature with the glorified Christ's immortal nature: "What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable...dishonor [versus]...glory...weakness [versus]...power...If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:42b-47 ESV).

Lastly, we have the testimony of God Himself that only if Adam had eaten from the tree of life would he have lived forever: "[H]e must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever'" (Genesis 3:22b, HCSB 2009). So, from the very beginning we see that only by God's established process of salvation can a person live forever. God "alone has immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16 ESV).




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Keith,

Did God create humanity in a glorified state? Let's take a look: "[T]he LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Genesis 2:7b, ESV 2007). This describes Adam at the moment of creation--prior to his having eaten the forbidden fruit.

Paul cites this same verse to contrast Adam's perishable nature with the glorified Christ's immortal nature: "What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable...dishonor [versus]...glory...weakness [versus]...power...If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:42b-47 ESV).

Lastly, we have the testimony of God Himself that only if Adam had eaten from the tree of life would he have lived forever: "[H]e must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever'" (Genesis 3:22b, HCSB 2009). So, from the very beginning we see that only by God's established process of salvation can a person live forever. As Skip's referenced scripture states: God "alone has immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16 ESV).




Keith

Keith's picture

Yes, Adam and Eve were created in a glorified state. God did form man from the dust of the earth and man became a living soul, not a living creature as you so stated. There is a difference. God made man in his own image. Do you think the image of God is a fleshly body, both male and female? No, not at all. The image of God is the soul. The soul that can not be destroyed or put to death, but only by God himself because all souls belong to him.
God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the mist of the garden for a reason. God allowed satan to tempt for a reason, knowing from the very beginning what he would happen and what he would have to do to save us. This is the greatness of our Lord God. He gave us a choice to love and obey him, and a choice to reject him just as he gave satan and the other angels that fallowed him a choice. They were cast out because they kept not their first estate, and so it was with man. That is why Jesus truly is the second Adam. He showed us the glorified body that we that believe and obey him shall also have. Even better than what Adam and Eve had at the beginning. Truly God made man never to die as also he made the angels. Yet, all have been given a choice, both men and angels. In the end of the beginning God will have a perfect creation of worshipers that love him because we choose to. Not because they are robots.
As for I Timothy 6:16 God truly is alone immortal. Always was, always will be. No one can take that from God. Yet God can take from us, both men and angels, whatever mortality or immortality he so pleases. We are his creation, he is nor ours. Yes, truly if Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would not have died, Yet they did as he knew they would. However, only to bring us a better end, or should we say, a better beginning! Great are the mysteries of God!




Keith

Keith's picture

Norbert,
Thank you, point well made. There is more to death than what we know, or think we know here on this earthly realm. The Bible says, "The days will come when men shall seek for death and shall not be able to find it."
To me death is by no means a non existence but an existence with out or away from the presents of God. No hope is worse than death, no God is worse than the most terrible life ever lived.
This is why I see the second death as one that's lived. There are people walking among us today that are already dead and they don't even realize it.
It doesn't have to be that way. Jesus came to give us all life. If we don't have Jesus, we don't have life.
There really is such a thing as zombies.




nathanalbright

nathanalbright's picture

Keith,

You seem to greatly mistake the Bible and have some contradictory beliefs. God made mankind from the dust, in physical (mortal bodies) but at the beginning without the corruption of death. Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden had the choice between eternal life (the tree of life) and death (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). They chose death and never had the glorified spiritual bodies we read about in places like 1 Corinthians 15. They were created from the beginning with bodies like ours. Clearly, those physical bodies could have been temporary had they chosen to have a covenantal relationship with God by eating of the tree of life.

Unfortunately, you seem to have the same sort of reasoning as Satan did to Eve. For one, you argue that Adam and Eve were gods in the same sense of God, as knowing good and evil. You also argue that Adam and Eve were already like God in the sense of possessing immortality (that is to say, that the "death" spoken of by God for sin is only a physical death. But when Adam and Eve sinned, they rejected the offer of eternal life on God's terms and they and their descendents for the most part believed that either they had immortality inherently in then or that freedom was worth death.

The Bible is very clear that Adam became a living soul, not that he had an immortal soul (Genesis 2:7) and that the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). If you want to be clothed with immortality, the only way to do so is through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to the ways of God. To believe that mankind has immortality in any way already is to deny the seriousness of God's warning not to take of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to believe the Satanic lies that deceived Adam and Eve from the start.




Keith

Keith's picture

Nathanalbright,

Yes, we were made from the dust of the earth, but that was the body, not the soul. The soul is the breath of life from God. To live without the corruption of death, is to be immortal. You do contradict yourself in this matter. The death of a soul is not the same as the death of a physical flesh and blood body. The body will go back to the dust from which it came. The soul continues on. Where your soul spends eternity is completely a matter of choice.
As far as we being gods as God is God, Not happening. Satan lies and he uses half truths to do so. Remember he was once an angel of light himself. Having your eyes opened, knowing good and evil, ye shall be as gods, as satan told Eve (Gen. 3:5) did not make them or us Gods. It was his lie to deceive mankind into disobeying God. This had nothing to do with the fact that man was given an immortal soul. We always had that from the beginning. We were made in Gods image, that is the soul. However, being so-called immortal, dose not make you a god or even one of God's children of light. Satan and his angels are immortal. Does that make them gods. The reason people don't want to believe that the soul lives on is because they don't want to believe that there is a hell and a lake of fire that unbelieving souls will be tormented forever along with satan and his angels. There are many scriptures that talk of the everlasting torment to come. But I think you will not believe them even if I shared them with you.
I do agree with you that the only way to true eternal life is through faith in Jesus Christ and him alone. He is the door. However, remember we are all God's creation, but only through faith in Christ can we be his sons and daughters. There is a difference. The fact you say that Adam and Eve would have been temporary had they chosen to have a relationship with God by eating of the tree of life is not a fact at all, but only your theory. I strongly disagree, they were in the garden eating of every tree including the tree of life. There was only one tree that was forbidden. God made us pure to live forever with him. We have been defiled by satan. That is why (I Corinthians 15) states, He, Jesus, is the second Adam, the new beginning. Yes, the first man was made earthly, after that, spiritual. It would be nice if we never fell from grace, but God knew we would and what he would do to save us. Gen.3:15




D. Miller

D. Miller's picture

Hi Keith,
If we all have an immortal soul, why do we need the gift of eternal life? I think you confuse the immortal soul with the spirit in man, but that's a guess. You look like you're getting beat up in here lol. Well, I have to agree with most of the others who are disagreeing with you here. Even though I don't agree with some of what you're saying, I do agree that you're gonna just have to agree to disagree with these guys. You know, the Bible has to make sense since God isn't the author of confusion. And I know I don't need a gift of what I've already got....so since the Bible is plain that it's a gift, I must not already have it. Doesn't that make sense? God did give us the chance to be saved. But we have to work out our own salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. That's my 2¢. Thanks




Keith

Keith's picture

Thanks for the note D. Miller. not to worry though about me getting beat up in here. I've never been better. All is well with my soul.
A lot of people just don't see what I see and how I see. Being immortal and having the gift of eternal life are two totally different items. Not to say that we all understand truly what death is in the spiritual realm as apposed to the death of the physical body in this life. Let me put it to you this way, we can all exist but do we all truly live. We are all God's creation but we are not all his children. I'm not confused at all! Doesn't that make sense?
Pray on this.




KARS

KARS's picture

Greeting Keith!
These are our Savior's own words. Will you deny it?

John 3:13;6:46: "No man has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father."

Jonn 6:44: "No man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him:..

1 Cor. 1:20-32: "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?...For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified,to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those that are called,both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
v.25 "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger then men."
v.26 "For you see your calling,brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." Roms.11:29 "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

If you continue reading Roms chapter 11 verses 30-36; you will see that according verse 32 we have all been committed to disobedience. Until God our Father calls us and we change our ways snd become obedient by our own free will. As stated above
in Cor. 1:26 not everyone is being called at this time.

As the gentlemen above have been telling you. All will be given their chance. Roms. 11:32 "For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."

Just like in the days of old when the children of Israel were returning to their native homeland after being in Eygpt over 400 years; the LORD used small amounts of the men to conquer the gentile tribes. Remember the left-handed men that God chose to destroy thier enemies?

At this time God our Father is choosing whom He sees can help His Son during the millenium. "For many are called , but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14 All my references came from the NKJV

Everyone will be given their chance. By the way Keith, it's the great white throne judgement that will be our final say of where we all will end up. What we call "the last great day". Have you forgotten the sequence and meaning of the annual Sabbaths and Holy Days?




Keith

Keith's picture

Kars,
I deny nothing of the true word of God. With the scriptures I do agree. It is with you that I do not agree. Matthew 1:10 John said,"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Read what Jesus said in Matthew 22:1-14 note specialy verses 13 and 14. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Will you deny these words.
Yes, I understand that there is a great white throne judgment. But you must understand that the word of God says that judgment begins with the house of God, and if it does then where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? Remember, the wicked shall not stand in the congragation of the righteouse. By the way, your quote of I Cor.1:26 is totaly not Bible. I Cor. 1:26 says,"For ye see your calling, brethern, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: It says nothing of not calling people at this time. Seem to me that you are the one who has your times and seasons mixed up along with scripture your trying to quote that is not scripture. There is a reason why not many wise, mighty and noble men are called. They can't learn anything because they think they know it all. Judgment is now, not after death. The time to repent and be covered by the blood of the Lamb is today. Tomarrow never comes. The great white throne judgment is when we receive for what we have already done in this life, Not to judge what we're going to do, or would like to do in the next life when we are already standing before his face. The axe truly is laid to the roots of the trees, and where a tree falls, there shall it remain. Sheep to the right, goats to the left. Choose you this day whom you will serve.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hi Keith,
Matt 3: 10 was specifically directed to the Scribes & Pharisees.
But we can certainly apply it to anyone who "thinks he knows."
I too like Matt 22: 1-14. But again Christ was hitting hard at certain ones who thought that they had inherent goodness.

I wonder at verse 13, "outer darkness."
There will be "weeping & gnashing of teeth."
Where could that be and for what purpose?




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Skip,
Yes, Jesus was talking to the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus also said, " except our righteousness far exceed that of the Pharisees, we shall in no way enter into the Kingdom of God.

Outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus also spoke of a place where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not. Where and for what purpose indeed! Where is God? And for what purpose is God manifest to us? Answer me that and I'll answer the other although I believe I already have.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hi Keith,
God is in heaven (and anywhere else that He wishes to be.)
But why does God manifest Himself to humans?
God wants us to "seek Him, while He may be found" in order to---
eventually, as we learn, eventually glorify Him
as only true Spirit Beings can.

God manifests Himself to special "called out" "first fruits" so that they may become integral, real parts of God's family, now.

As they realize this incredible human potential, they will seize the day and participate with every ounce of their strength,
as they are given grace and desire and ability. (1 John 1:1--4)

1 John 4: 9 adds the perspective that Jesus Christ, also God, showed us how to do it.




Keith

Keith's picture

Well done Skip,

John 4:24 God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. He is the Great I AM. In all of us, through us, all around us, here as well as in heaven. He fills the universe every place all the time at the same time. Jesus is the expressed image of his person, God himself come down to man. So that we may know him, seek him and yes, eventually glorify him. He also came to save us from the damnation of hell.

Which brings us to the topic of outer darkness. Where is it and why? Outer darkness is the place or any place where God is not. How can there be such a place when God is every were you might ask? God made it so and he made this place so because it was prepared for satan and his angels. If we go there, we go as intruders.

I believe it is God's will that all mankind should come to repentance and be saved. Jesus died for all, past, present and future and not for just a select few, but for all. Yet, unfortunately, not all men have faith.

Jesus is Lord, spread the word. Today is the day of harvest. I want to see all my brothers and sister become Spirit Beings glorifying the Great God of Heaven.

PEACE




KARS

KARS's picture

@Keith
Hi Keith,
I forgot to tell you which translation I was using.
As far as the current judgement I agree it is to the called out ones that God our Father has called and chosen.

However, not for everyone else. There are many that don't understand the Gospel of the Kingdom of our God. So their chance comes in the future.
Ask yourself these questions: Does a Sunday worshipper know the complete Gospel of the Kingdom? Why would they be judged the same as one who has been given the proper knowledge of God our Father's Gospel? Do they have the total truth?

So in conclusion: God our Father does judge them to see if He will open up their eyes and heart to His word. But it is not everyone at this time. For as you said, many are called and few are chosen to learn the Gospel of the Kingdom. For those chosen, we are being judged right now and everyday of our human existance. So we have to be careful and examine ourselves daily.




Keith

Keith's picture

Hi Kars,

I forgot to tell you that I don,t use other translations. I use strictly the King James and the Torah. I've studied many different translations, however, have found them only to change and dilute the true word of God. Meanings become twisted and even void.

It is not for us to try and rewrite the scripture to make it easy for others to understand. Only to share the truth and lift up Christ so that all men may be drawn to him. For as we know, it is not knowledge alone that can open our eyes but the spirit of the Father that gives understanding and enlightenment to the scriptures.

The reason why few are chosen is because few are willing to trust and obey God truly. Many are willingly ignorant as stated even in scripture, turning their ears away from the truth. Not God's fault, that is our own fault. Our own choice.

We shall all be judged by the same truth and none of us can boast of our great knowledge. We are saved only by his grace. The message to the world is, to all of us is not that we must have great knowledge and understanding of all mysteries, but that we must REPENT and OBEY the word of God in truth. That's a word not heard much these days, REPENT! If a person can do that he will have total truth.

PEACE




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello Keith,

Regarding: “The soul is the breath of life from God…immortal… The soul continues on…[for] eternity… [M]an was given an immortal soul…from the beginning.”

Response: “[T]o those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7, ESV 2011). Humans do not inherently possess immortality, but must, by patience in well-doing, seek God’s future gift of eternal life.

That God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20 ESV) have been evidenced “in” creation doesn’t mean that ‘in’ humans are souls ‘eternal in nature.’ On the contrary: “‘The soul who sins shall die’” (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV). “Paul is saying here that we can see ample evidence of a Creator, as well as His nature and character, by observing the physical creation” (“Meet God”).

Likewise, that humans “exchanged the glory of the immortal God” (Romans 1:23) (“for images”) doesn’t mean that the first humans had a glorified, immortal nature. The context (v. 18-25) addresses the practice of exchanging the worship of the “immortal God” for the worship of idols which – in their perishability – resemble “mortal man.”

That “if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1 ESV) does not mean humans have an eternally existent soul that migrates to the heavens upon death (as in King Lear—“‘Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass!...’ ‘He is gone, indeed.’”). His preceding letter explained that the body, like a seed planted in the ground, “is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” (1 Cor. 15:43). God, “who has called [us] to his eternal glory” (1 Peter 5:10), “has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come” (2 Cor. 5:5, NIRV 1998). If the human soul is eternal, then why is it instead the Holy Spirit which is the “down payment” guarantee of eternal life (2 Cor. 1:22; Ephesians 1:14)?

From “the earliest beginnings of human history…Satan, the embodiment of evil, …who opposes God, …slyly injected into Eve's consciousness the notion that God was lying and that she and her husband would not die, thus ingraining the unscriptural teaching of the immortality of the soul into human thought.”

http://www.ucg.org/death/what-does-bible-say-about-immortal-soul/




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Regarding: “There is a hell and it's filled with souls… [S]ouls that are lost will suffer for eternity.”

“The Bible does not teach that human beings have immortal souls…Unrepentant sinners…do not live forever while enduring torment in hell; instead their fate is annihilation —eternal, permanent death from which there will be no resurrection.” (“The Penalty for Unrepentant Sinners”).

http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/penalty-unrepentant-sinners/

“[T]he punishment of the wicked is death, utter cessation of life, not a life of eternal suffering in another place ([Romans 6:23,] Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).”

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/biblical-truth-about-immortal-soul/

*

Regarding: “There is no scriptural basis for your theory that those rising in a second resurrection will be given a second chance.”

Response: That’s not our teaching. “A second life is not the same as a second opportunity for salvation. Coming to life again will enable those brought to life in the second resurrection to have their only real opportunity for salvation. Only a few out of the multiple billions who have ever lived have had this one and only opportunity in the present lifetime” (“Your teaching that people will receive a second chance for salvation after they are dead is totally wrong, un-scriptural and very dangerous. Please reply”).

http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/your-teaching-people-will-receive-second-chance-salvation-after-they-are-dead-totally-wron

“Consider that the majority of all people who have ever lived have never heard God's truth. Rather than condemn such people to eternal suffering in a fiery hell, the God of the Bible is much more comforting and encouraging. He will extend the opportunity for eternal life to everyone —to relatively few in this age, but to billions of people in the coming second or general resurrection” (“The Resurrection: God's Promise of Life after Death”).

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/resurrection-gods-promise-life-after-death/

*

Regarding: “As far as we being…as God is…Not happening.”

Response: God has “called us to share in his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 GNB). We “will be divine—though the Father and Christ will forever be greater than us in authority and majesty.”

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/gods-purpose-you/




Keith

Keith's picture

Ivan,

Let me make this as direct and as plain as I can, again.
God created man to never die in the beginning.
Death came after sin when man chose to leave his first estate.
There is a hell and a lake of fire and everlasting torment, this is the second death. And it will be felt.
The 1st resurrection is of the saints.
The second resurrection is of the damned.
There is no repentance after death, there is no 1st or 2nd chance after death.
Today is the day of salvation! Any person that dies without Christ, has not God and never will at that point.
God has given all mankind the chance to be saved through Jesus Christ. Since his birth, death, burial and resurrection God's grace has been extended TO ALL. Preach Christ and stop making excuses for all those souls whom you say," never had the first chance."
Only God can judge who had and didn't have a chance. You make the word of God of none effect by being far to passive in allowing people to believe that those passed on can still come to Christ and that there is no eternal torment for the lost.
Be careful. All those that love and make a lie are in danger of hell fire!
Again, now we need to agree to disagree.




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

@Keith, Re: “telling lies and costing souls to miss heaven”

As we are both committed to the supremacy of Scripture, I would respectfully posit the following for consideration:

“[W]e who are alive praise the LORD, both now and forever” (Psalm 115:18, NIRV 1998).

Is heaven God’s gift for the righteous? Is heaven filled with risen saints praising Jesus? “The heavens are the LORD's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any” – no, not “any” (KJV, ASV) – “who go down into silence” (Psalm 115:16-17, ESV 2011).




pausonne

pausonne's picture

I'm very puzzled that a doctrine like the Rapture should receive so much attention to study out but the equally false doctrine of the Trinity is accepted as truth from the apostles themselves. The trinity was not a doctrine of Christianity until the so-called church fathers brought in their Greek pagan ideas and used Greek arguments to "prove" it and the Roman Church forced it into acceptance at the council of Nicea.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.




Lena VanAusdle

Lena VanAusdle's picture

Pausonne,
You are correct in stating that the Trinity doctrine is false. The United Church of God does an excellent job of proving just that in the booklet, "Is God a Trinity?" (http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/). I hope you get a chance to read it.




MARK 1

MARK 1's picture

Hello and may God bless us all.
as searching this morniing on the teachings about the rapture i came across this site. After reading some of the post i thought i wold like to just make a few comments about some things i see in the word of GOD.
1) i would like to say i agree with keith that we have our one chance at salvation. Jesus Christ came and died for all. and HE Jesus said. jOHN 3 IF we are NOT born again of waater and spirit we can not see the kingdom of GOD nor can we enter the kingdom.
we are to obey the gospel. which is the death burial and
ressurection of christ. 1) death- repentance. 2)burial- baptism.
3) ressurection - Holy ghost the spirit of GOD in our lives.

now aomething about rapture i have beleived in the rapture for the past 30+ years antil i started to do some studying about the book of revelations and the tribulation. I beleive the tribulation has already happened. the book of revelations is not for us today. the book was written to who? the seven churches in ASIA. why? to warn of the trouble that are at hand. (NOW)
isaiha c17 c23 on gives answers to who is who in revelations. I am still looking for answers. but some good things to note and gofr ther




MARK 1

MARK 1's picture

i can not say at this time this is gospel. some question s about the first and second death?
my question is what is the first death?. 1)is it not sin in our lives? 2)after we die without taking care of the sin in our lives we are judged by christ the judgement and then damned forever. GOD have mercy on every man womaan and child as i want noone to be lost.
2) could the first resurection be? when we acknoledge CHRIST and his word and see ourselves for who we are sinners for all have sinned and come short of the glory of GOD and need a saviour. that we Obey the gospel and we die to our old nature and repent. we are buried with CHRIST in water baptism.submersed NOT SPRINKLED. that is a false teaching (sprinkling). and filled with the spirit of CHRIST the Holy Ghost. without his spirit we are none of his. (first resurection) old account settled. YEHAW thank GOD for the blood. then we who are alive well when we die we will be caught up together with them in the clouds of glory if we are in Christ.
SOME MIGHT THINK IM CRAZY BUT NO. READ IT AND THINK ABOUT IT.
may the good LORD bless us all.
your BRO in christ. MARK 1




MARK 1

MARK 1's picture

I have to make a correction to an earlier comment about the first resurrection. revelations ch 20 vs 4-5 states the first resurrection is those who take not the mark and those who are beheaded for the name of Christ. see we are never to old to learn.




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Mark, one of many reasons I believe the Tribulation has not yet happened is Christ's explanation that "'God [the Father] has decided to make that terrible time short'" (Matthew 24:22a, ERV 2008)--and that "'had [H]e not done so, nobody would survive'" (v. 22b GNB; cp. Mark 13:20).

The church has traditionally understod this verse to mean that global war would annihilate humanity were it not for the timing of Christ's second coming--that "Conditions will be so dangerous that if Christ didn't intervene in human affairs, no flesh would be saved alive (Matthew 24:21-22)" (Aust 2011, "An Overview of End-Time Prophecy"): http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/overview-end-time-prophecy/

Mark, you may be interested in our article "Seven Prophecies That Must Be Fulfilled Before Jesus Christ's Return" (Rhodes 2008): http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/seven-prophecies-must-be-fulfilled-jesus-christs-return/

We also have the following resources related to the Great Tribulation: www.ucg.org/tags/great-tribulation/




Bo

Bo's picture

Sorry Keith but the soul is not immortal unless it has been redeemed by Jesus Christ.Souls(persons mind,will,and emotions)will be blotted out if the individual possessing that soul is not in Christ at the end of God the Fathers plan.Based on your prior comments,you are probably going to disagree so no need for me to cite the several dozen scriptures that prove this.Do some research and don't simply accept for fact what you have been taught by someone else.Best regards.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Mark 1,
"...it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment," Heb 9: 27

All humans will die a natural death (barring God's intervention.)

The second death is the term used to refer to eternal death.
As the scripture states, all humans were created to die the first, physical death. The Good News is that scripture explains that humans were created for eternal life.

It is the gift of God. Find out how to be given it.




Reborn

Reborn's picture

Knowing GODS plan (which also reveals satans) is how we are identified as approved workmen. Satan has always tried to thwart Gods plan and will continue until Gods plan is FULLFILLED. Knowing this should mean that UNTIL GOD COMES TO EARTH, that salvation is still available to the sinner. Just because JESUS returns as King does not relieve Him of being PROPHET AND PRIEST. During His 1,000 year reign He will teach in all truth and righteousness. He determines who He has SAVED, and God,(who appears at the END of the 1,000 years), will then take the rightful position of AUTHORITY on HIS GREAT WHITE THRONE to JUDGE. NOBODY that JESUS has declared as HIS will face that judgement. God has been patient and when HE says HIS COURT IS OPEN, only the guilty will be judged and the only VERDICT TO COME WILL BE GUILTY.




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello Reborn,

“Our loving Father in heaven does not doom people to the everlasting, fiery hell preached by many mainstream churches…God ‘desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy:2:4). This is not happening in this present age of man, but it will occur [later]...Those resurrected...will then hear and learn God’s truth for the first time. Scripture shows that conditions will then be optimal for these people to repent of their sins, accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for forgiveness and be saved”: http://www.ucg.org/files/issues/pdf/gn07so.pdf

"The purpose of this resurrection is to make God's Spirit available to these people so they can live, not to condemn or destroy them... This resurrection will make God's fervent desire possible. It will open the door so all people who have ever lived can be taught the truth and receive the opportunity to repent so they, too, can be saved…the judgment of that day will take time, enough time for people to change their lives, sufficient time for them to show clear evidence of repentance and prove themselves faithful to God": http://www.ucg.org/booklet/you-can-understand-bible-prophecy/beyond-mill...




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

“The 1,000-year period of peace and prosperity for the entire global human family serves as a stepping stone to a vast increase in the late harvest of human lives. Revelation:20:5 says that 'the rest of the dead' will live again when the 1,000 years are finished. This includes all people who lived but were not converted to God's way from Adam to Christ's second coming—which could number in the scores of billions. They will be raised to physical life and at last given the opportunity for salvation during a period of judgment [compare Ezekiel:37:1-14; Matthew:11:20-24; 12:41-42; 1 Pet:2:12; Rev:20:11-12]…The White Throne Judgment is not an instant sentencing but a period of evaluation and corrective measures spanning the new lifetime of those resurrected—paralleling the lifetime judgment of God's saints today, whom He wants to save, not lose (see 1 Peter:4:17; 1 Corinthians:11:31-32)…Those who ultimately refuse to repent will be destroyed in a lake of fire (Revelation:20:14-15; 21:8). But the [ones who repent] will be saved—transformed into immortal spirit like those in the first resurrection”: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/biblical-festivals-reveal-gods...




phil stephens

phil stephens's picture

Gentlemen, though I enjoyed perusing these comments, amazed at the civility, and agree that Christ will come once more to gather believers of all ages to HIMSELF in HIS Kingdom, I believe this is all simply becomes delving deep for the sake of delving and discussion between those who have a fundamental and sufficient faith to serve the Most High God. I think I would rather go teach some guys sitting by the wayside who Jesu Emmanuel is (old and Zambian English) and HE can be their own Eternal Life come what may by repentant obedient faith in HIM and HIM alone. Now the operation of Christ's Spirit by words of Scripture for man, that is a consuming life long pursuit to know and present HIM to the lost and lonely! WELL guess am a bit hypocritical as I was spending time surfing instead of fishing! See you in the Kingdom to come...




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hello again Reborn,

“The word judgment does not have to imply a condemnation to death. It can just as well refer to an acquittal, the [decision] that a person should not be punished. Judgment is simply a process to decide who deserves a punishment or reward and who does not. The judgment [of Rev. 20] is…a separation of the wicked and the righteous. Some will be punished, but many more will have their names entered into the Book of Life…Those in this resurrection are judged by the biblical criteria for righteousness” (UCG 2008, “Beyond the Millennium.” From “You Can Understand Bible Prophecy” booklet).

"[I]n the second resurrection people who have not yet had a chance will have their opportunity—their time to learn spiritual knowledge and then be judged over a period of time for how they apply and obey that knowledge...If they believe, repent, obey and receive God's forgiveness and grace, their names will be written in 'the Book of Life'…[having] grow[n] spiritually and develop[ed] godly character...Most people will receive their chance for salvation when they rise in the second resurrection" (UCG, BSG “Lesson 15: The Second Resurrection: Humanity's Opportunity for Salvation!”).




the1mack

the1mack's picture

Well see there's no rapture period no pre mid or post he's going to rebirth the planet as he did in noahs age but by fire then tidal waves to rebirth the planet don't be decieved friend no rapture at all




Chaplain Ray

Chaplain Ray's picture

I'm very glad that the future events are under God's control, and not in the hands of men.




tracy harris

tracy harris's picture

Why are so many 'so called' men of God, teaching the false doctrine called the Rapture? It's not found anywhere in the Authorize 1611 King James Bible, or any Bible in the world!! In Mark 13 Christ told his disciples, "i have foretold you all things"! Nowhere in his teaching did he ever mention the word Rapture. Nowhere in God's word is it's written that Christ will return to "rapture his church", that is totally false! Christ will return only 'ONE' time and it will not to take the true believer's anywhere. Teach otherwise, is false and, those who listen to this false doctrine, into Satan's camp! Judgement starts at the pulpit and, those who preach this falsehood will answer to God. Read revelation chapter 22,verses 18 and 19, to find out what the Creator has plan for those who lead his sheep astray.




cribbswh

cribbswh's picture

Darby did not originate the doctrine of the rapture. Matthew Henry, all the way back in the 1600's referred to the rapture by name: "Those that shall be found alive will then be changed. They shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, v. 17. At, or immediately before, this rapture into the clouds, those who are alive will undergo a mighty change, which will be equivalent to dying. This change is so mysterious that we cannot comprehend it: we know little or nothing of it, 1 Co. 15:51. Only, in the general, this mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies will be made fit to inherit the kingdom of God, which flesh and blood in its present state are not capable of. This change will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Co. 15:52), in the very instant, or not long after the raising up of those that sleep in Jesus. And those who are raised, and thus changed, shall meet together in the clouds, and there meet with their Lord, to congratulate him on his coming, to receive the crown of glory he will then bestow upon them, and to be assessors with him in judgment..."




FollowerOfTheRi...

FollowerOfTheRisenKing's picture

If we cannot function the Body of Christ together, how will we accomplish any work for his Kingdom?? Please, permit ME to submit to you a few key points that must be made after reading over this ridiculous and embarrassing conversation between debating brethren.

1) Keith, while I can respect how determined you are to try and hold your view on the matter, I find it discouraging that you as one who has been redeemed by Christ to be so closed off and unwilling to hear your fellow brethren speak with you in regards to our Law set forth by the Father. The ultimate verdict of what the Word truly says is not ours to decide as absolute. YOU can be wrong as well as others about details you've discussed, but are your ears open? No. It is unfortunate and very unbecoming of a Christian.




FollowerOfTheRi...

FollowerOfTheRisenKing's picture

2)Steven, I am inclined to believe you have some inaccuracies in what you define death.The teachings held in Ecclesiastes, which were written by Solomon, were written as an ultimate lesson of using your life for serving God before the Savior had came to bridge the gap between mankind and God. They believed at the time only a sleep awaited them. Which, at that time, may have been true. Christ, in our Father's infinite Love and Wisdom, gave opportunity to change our original fate and first destiny after death. Please remember in Luke:23:40-43 how he tells the penitent thief that he will join Christ in paradise? That is because of the thief's repentance and admittance of Jesus as Lord. The first to die as a Christian under the new pact forged by God with mankind. So, if that is so, would we not join Him as well in the Heavenly Place?? Our future Paradise??




Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

Hi FollowerOfThe...
A good article you can reference concerning "The Thief on the Cross" can be read at http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/...




Lester Chua

Lester Chua's picture

Kieth, I would like to offer a word of encouragement. Although I suspect you already have the Lord's peace with regards to this. But I agree with you in your stance.

Daily I wallk in the fear of the Lord. So that we may keep His commandments and bear good fruits. And truly, the Lord has spoken the truth when He says that narrow is the gate and only few will be saved.

Nobody can claim to know God's Will. And it's useless to invent doctrines so that we can explain His Will with our own STUPID understanding about His love for us. Is His love like 2 carnal lovers? Like how we love our children? Lke how we love our wife/husband? Of course not!

2nd chance, everyone to be saved, rapture. All non-scriptual. Have we considered that God DID NOT preach His Love to those already condemned because He already knew their hearts of hearts? Have we considered that God may have already sent His prophets to them but they rejected His message ane they are lost to History.

The wisest are fools when it comes to the ways of our Lord. Do not add or subtract. Do NOT invent new doctrines. Because all that has been revealed is already enough to redeem us. Why worry about those that have already chosen?




MickDannel

MickDannel's picture

Hi! I'm surprised to see a church say that the rapture is false. Most churches, no matter they're denomination, would say the rapture is true. As for myself, I don't know. Actually, that's why I'm writing this. Maybe someone can answer a question I have about the rapture ad help me decide where to stand on this issue. Here's my question: The Old Testament says that Enoch "walked with God and was no more" and that Elijah "was taken up in a whirlwind". So, are these two instances examples of the rapture (just like the sacrifice of Isaac was an example of Christ's sacrifice on the cross) or were the two instances isolated instances meant only for Enoch and Elijah?




Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi MickDannel,

It’s good that you want to look into these things yourself, and not assume that the rapture is a true doctrine just because many teach it.

Enoch didn’t go to heaven, because both Jesus and Peter taught that no one except Christ had ever gone there (Jn:3:13; Acts:2:29, 34). Hebrews:11:5 says he was “taken away” or “translated” (depending on the Bible version you have), but these words can also be translated “taken elsewhere” or “transferred to another place.” So perhaps his life was in danger, and God temporarily protected him. We know he eventually died, because he only lived for 365 years – a much shorter lifespan than the average of his day (Gen:5:23).

Elijah was also transported to another place by a whirlwind, or what we might call a tornado today. Years later he wrote a letter to Judah’s King Jehoram (2 Chron:21:12-15), so we know he was still alive and on earth long after being whisked away by the whirlwind and replaced by Elisha.

The links below may be helpful:

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/...

http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/did-god-take-enoch-and-elijah-heaven



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