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Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 (Complete)

By George Storrs

SERMON II

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.

Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

As the doctrine, "Ye shall not surely die," had its origin with the old serpent, I cannot divest myself of the conviction that the notion that wicked men will be kept eternally alive in torments, and never die, had its origin from the same source, as it appears to be a perfect fac-simile; and that it was invented to inspire hard thoughts of God and keep men from turning to Him by repentance and faith, or confidence, and acknowledging their sins against the God of love. And I solemnly believe, this doctrine has kept more away from God, and driven them into infidelity, than any other doctrine that was ever promulgated. I am solemnly convinced that it has done more to destroy men than all other errors put together.

For, if some minds have been temporarily affected by it, they are seldom found to be uniform Christians, and hardly pretend to live in obedience to God, unless under some strong excitement; multitudes of others, without any proper reflection upon the claims of God's law, have rejected eternal punishment, because of the nature of that which the "orthodox" say is to be inflicted; whilst others have lived and died in real infidelity, or what has been called so, because they could not believe that a Being whose word declares that He "is love" could inflict such a punishment on even the worst and most bitter of His enemies.

But I will not detain you longer with an introduction. I shall attempt to show you, that the death God has threatened, as the wages of sin, is not immortality in misery, but an actual and total deprivation of life. I say, then, in opposition to the old serpent, if men do not come to Christ, that they may have life, they SHALL surely die - past hope, past recovery.

Let me here briefly recall attention to the question at issue. It is not whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal, but will the conscious being of the wicked be eternal? Is the punishment of the wicked interminable being in sin and suffering? or an eternal cessation from life?

I use the term immortal, in these discourses, in its commonly received meaning, i.e. according to Grimshaw, "exempt from death;" and according to Walker, "never to die - never ending, perpetual." Strictly speaking, immortality is the development of life through an indestructible organization, so far as it relates to created beings.

In my first sermon I had brought the subject down to the inquiry, WHAT ARE THE TERMS EMPLOYED TO DENOTE THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.

Are they such as can, by any fair construction of language, be made to mean that the wicked are destined to a state of eternal sin and suffering? Let us keep in mind, that words are not to be so explained as to mean more than their primary signification, without an obvious necessity; though they may, and often do, signify less.

The terms employed are: Perish: Utterly perish - Utterly consumed with terrorsDestroy: Destroyed - Destroyed forever - Destruction - To be burned - Burned UP with unquenchable fire - Burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branchPerdition: Die - Death - Second Death, etc.

Let us now begin with the first of these terms, viz: "PERISH." Grimshaw, in his Etymology, says it signifies "to cease to have existence - to die - to decay."

Which of these definitions is suited to convey the idea of eternal sin and suffering? Can that which is never to cease, be said to be decaying? Can that which has interminable life be said "to die?" Can that which is always to continue in being, be said "to cease to have existence?" I need not pursue that inquiry; it is a self-evident truth, that however the term perish may be used, in an accommodated sense, to signify something less than actual ceasing to be, it is even then borrowed from its primary signification, and must be restored to it when there is not a known necessity for departing from it. In the case under consideration, there can be no such necessity, unless it can first be proved that men are immortal.

Paul, in 1Cor.15:18, says - "Then," (if Christ be not raised,) "they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." What! in a state of eternal sin and suffering! The supposition is so absurd that my opponents admit that the term perish here means "to cease to be." By what fair interpretation of language can they ever make it mean any thing else, when spoken of the final state of the lost? Though the term is sometimes used to denote something less than an actual ceasing to be, it does not therefore follow that it is used to mean something far greater and more horrible. To apply this term to an eternal state of sin and misery, is to force a sense upon it which is most unwarrantable and unjustifiable, in my judgment.

Let us keep constantly in mind that the whole family of man, by their natural birth, have no access to the tree of life, consequently were perishing, were destitute of immortality. Now look at the following texts:

"God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." Here everlasting life is the opposite of perishing. I pray, is everlasting sin and misery the opposite of everlasting life? The wicked, upon that view, have as really everlasting life as the righteous, though under different circumstances.

"For we," saith an apostle, "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other of life unto life."

Here perishing and life are put in opposition, and the term perish is explained by the apostle himself, to mean death, and not life in misery.   

I need not quote all the passage where this term is employed to express the final doom of the wicked, in which it is evident we are to receive it in its primary meaning, and no other. Before I leave this term, however, I must call your attention to one fact, and that is - in the Acts of the Apostles, the very place where we should expect to find, if any where in the Bible, the doctrine of eternal torments, because the apostles were addressing sinners, there is not a particle of evidence to support the common theory. On the contrary, the views I maintain are most clearly set forth by Paul, in the 13th chapter, in a discourse to the "blaspheming" Jews, telling them that they judged themselves "unworthy of everlasting life," and saying - "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." What an excellent occasion had the apostle to have aroused the Jews by the common theory, had he believed it.

Look at that chapter, and you will see, if there ever was a time in which the apostle was called to deal plainly, it was then. I ask if any preacher in these days, who believes in the immortality of all men, in preaching to such hardened sinners as the apostle addressed, contents himself with such language as the apostles here used? No. They first describe the misery of the sinner in hell, and then, with the strongest figures they can produce, go on to give an idea of its duration, which, after all, they cannot find language to describe. The apostle did no such thing. There is not a particle of evidence of it in all his preaching and writings.

"DIE" AND "DEATH." 

These terms primarily signify, "To perish - to come to nothing - the extinction of life." Hence, when these terms are applied to man, in regard to the final result of a course of sin, we ought to have good evidence that they are not to be understood in their primary meaning, before we depart from that interpretation; especially, before we fix upon them a sense so contrary to their proper signification as that of endless sin and suffering.

The apostle, in Rom.1:32, speaking of certain wicked characters, says - "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death," etc. In the 2nd chapter, 5th verse and onwards, he speaks "of the righteous judgment of God," when "wrath" will be visited on the wicked; and the death spoken of is expressly called "perish"ing, as the result of the "indignation and wrath" with which the wicked will be visited "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Death, then, as the apostle explains it, when applied to the punishment of wicked men, is to perish.

"The soul that sinneth it shall die," refers to its final doom. This will appear if we consider, men will die, i.e., leave this world, or state of being, whether they sin or not. Nor can it refer to a violent leaving this world, as some suppose, for all sinners do not die a violent death. I conclude, then, that it relates to the sinner's final doom.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked, turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" evidently looks to the same result, the final destiny of the wicked. Life and death are put in opposition: not life and conscious being in misery, but life and death, without any qualifying terms to lead any one to suspect that they are to be understood any other way than in their most obvious sense; and I cannot but think, if you were to put the Bible into the hands of a person who had never heard a word of explanation, he would so understand it.

Lest I should, in the present discourse, take up too much time in the examination of these terms, I will pass over the remainder of them for the present.

Having, as I judge, established the point that the wicked have not immortality, I might leave it to the believer in the opposite theory to prove his position from the Bible, and pursue the subject no further. I shall not, however, shrink from meeting the supposed objections to my view.

OBJECTIONS EXAMINED

The objections do not arise from any positive proof in the Bible that the wicked are immortal, but from circumstantial evidence, drawn from expressions used in reference to the punishment of the impenitent. The first objection I shall notice is founded on the language of our Lord, "Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." It is said this proves the soul immortal. I remark -

First. Whatever this punishment is, it is put in opposition to "life." "If thy hand" or "foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt" or "maimed into life, than having two hands" or "feet," etc., "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." Who does not see that here is the opposite of life, and therefore is death, or utter extinction of being without possibility of escape? In a parallel passage, our Saviour saith, "If thy right eye" or "hand offend thee, cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

Here the "worm that dieth not, and the fire" that "is not quenched," we see, is another form of expression for perishing.

Again, I remark, this expression of our Lord is a quotation from Isaiah 66:24, and is applied to the "carcasses" of men, which I presume my opponents will not pretend were immortal. But if the language in one place proves immortality, why not in the other? Then we shall have immortal carcasses as well as immortal souls. But the prophecy is describing evidently the kind of doom inflicted by the Eastern nations on the vilest offenders, who were not only slain, but their bodies deprived of the rights of burial, and either burned to ashes (which among them was regarded as a great indignity,) or left to molder above ground and be devoured by worms. If the fire were quenched, they would not be utterly consumed, but something would remain - there would not be an entire destruction. It is manifest to every mind, if a fire is quenched or put out, the work of utter destruction is arrested, and something is left of the object upon which the fire kindled. The same may be said, if the worm die the carcass will not be consumed; but as the fire is not to be quenched, nor the worm die, therefore, they shall be utterly consumed, perish, cease to be found in the universe of God. The objector says, the idea of an unquenchable fire is, that it is never to go out. To show the fallacy of this, I will suppose my house is on fire. When my neighbors arrive to my help, I say, effort is useless - the fire is unquenchable. Pray, what do I mean? That the fire will burn eternally? Any school-boy knows I mean simply the house will be totally consumed. "Yes," says the objector, "that is true when the expression is applied to that which is consumable, but man has a soul that cannot be consumed." To this, I reply, That is the very point to be proved. The objector says he has, and I affirm he has not.

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

* Editor’s Note: Did the destruction of Jerusalem prophesied by Jeremiah take place? Yes. It happened when the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, not long after he prophesied it. Jeremiah told King Zedekiah: “'But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.'" Jeremiah 38:18 NASB. Read now the account in 2 Chronicles to prove to you that the Babylonians did indeed burn Jerusalem with fire: Speaking now of the King of the Chaldees and what they did to Jerusalem it says: “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 KJV. So God fulfilled His word and destroyed Jerusalem and burned it with the fire ‘that shall not be quenched’, as it said in Jeremiah 17:27 above. Then why isn’t Jerusalem still burning to this day? You have probably seen numerous news casts of Jerusalem, and maybe the area where the former temple was, that is now an Islamic Mosque. Have you seen pictures of this so called “eternal fire” still burning? No! That is silly you may say. Then why do people say that when the Bible says someone is to perish, or to be burned up with unquenchable fire, or that the fire shall not be quenched, or talk about the eternal fire that it always means ‘to burn forever?’ This view is inconsistent with the other passages in the Bible that employ this same or similar expression, and it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these places are still not burning in our day!

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?

But as much stress is laid on the text under consideration, and on others where our Lord speaks of "hell fire" - -puros gehenna- - the fire of hell - we shall examine the subject more fully. Especially as by our Lord's using the expression "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," it is concluded that he teaches the immortality of all men, and the endless torment of the wicked. But, before we settle down on such a conclusion, it is better to examine the premises. I am disposed to think the conclusion is purely assumed. Let it be remembered the word in question "never occurs in the Septuagint Greek, nor in any classic author in the world." So says Dr. George Campbell, one of the most learned divines of the orthodox school of the last century. I remark, that it was never used by our Lord nor his apostles, when addressing Gentiles, whether by word or epistle. This fact speaks in thunder tones, as to its Jewish origin, and hence we are to look alone to Jews for an explanation of the term and its use.

The word is derived from "Ge," which signifies a "valley," and "Hinnom," a man's name. "The Valley of Hinnom," south of Jerusalem, "once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors, to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning." - Gr. Lex.

In the time of our Lord's personal ministry, a portion of the Jews used the phrase figuratively to denote the punishment of the wicked. As our Saviour adopted a figure of their own and used it only with Jews, it must be evident that he used it in harmony with facts. Now what were the facts in the case? They are these - Whatever was cast into the fire of gehenna, was cast there to be destroyed. If any flesh should fall outside of the fire, the worms devoured it, so that nothing there escaped utter destruction. No Jew was so stupid as ever to have conceived the thought that anything was thrown there to be preserved. The only idea that could have attached itself to this form of expression must have been that of a total and utter consumption, or destruction, without remedy, recovery, or escape. A Jew could understand it in no other sense; in any other sense the figure would have been both without meaning and without force.

This being the case, it is one of the strongest expressions in the Bible to disprove the common theory of the eternal preservation of the wicked in sin and suffering. The impenitent and incorrigible sinner, like the filth about Jerusalem, and the dead bodies of animals and men, if not utterly consumed and destroyed, would keep alive the plague in the universe; hence, they shall be "cast into the fire of Gehenna - hell fire;" or be utterly and totally destroyed, therefore "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna - hell." Math.10:28. Just so certain as the filth about Jerusalem, and dead carcasses were utterly consumed in the burning fire of the Valley of Hinnom, so certainly will God destroy both soul and body – that is, the entire being of the incorrigible sinner, so that the universe shall be clear of these plague spots; then shall be fulfilled that which is written Rev.5:13, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Not a creature shall be left in conscious existence but what shall join in ascriptions of praise to God and the Lamb. Glorious time - happy hour. May you and I be of that happy number. If we would be, let us seek holiness of heart and life. In Christ alone is life; know him - love him - obey him, and then we shall join the blessed company John heard praising in the strains just described, which may the Lord grant us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The advocates of the common theory of endless sin and misery bring forward our Lord's words -

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Matt.25:46.

This text is supposed by many to sustain the theory of the immortality of the human soul, and the endless misery of the wicked. 

It is said - "If the everlasting misery of the wicked may come to an end, so may the everlasting bliss of the righteous, as the self same word is employed to express the duration of the misery of the one class as the happiness of the other."

I answer - The text saith not a word of the happiness of the one nor of the misery of the other. But if it did, it would avail nothing to the advocate of the common theory, unless he could prove the two classes equally undying, and immortal.

The term aionion - translated eternal and everlasting, in this text - does not, of itself, prove either the righteous or wicked would have a perpetual and unending existence, because it does not necessarily mean without end. This can easily be shown by its use, and the use of its corresponding word - oulom - in Hebrew; which latter word occurs, in some of its forms, more than three hundred times in the Old Testament, and in a large majority of cases will be found to express a period, longer or shorter, that will have an end. Thus the Aaronical ministry is called an everlasting priesthood;" the hills are called "everlasting hills."

Those who think, because the same term expressing duration is applied to both classes, in the text under consideration, it is made certain that the wicked will exist as long as the righteous may be taught that they reason both inconclusively and dangerously. Take the following text, "The everlasting God." Is.40:25; and compare it with Hab.3:6, "The everlasting mountains." Shall the mountains continue as long as God? How will the advocates of unending misery evade the conclusion on their premises, that the mountains will continue as long as God? Will they say, "We know the mountains will melt in the final conflagration?" True; and we know the wicked will be "burned up, and be left neither root nor branch," because, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts;" Mal.4:1. But the Bible declares that God is "the King immortal:" not subject to be dissolved: while the everlasting mountains will be scattered and melted.

What is the argument, then, that the righteous are to continue in life while the wicked perish from life?  

It is not alone in the expression everlasting or eternal, in the text; but in the fact that other texts assure us the righteous "put on immortality, incorruption," at the resurrection; 1Cor.15: and, saith Jesus, "Neither can they die any more:" Luke 20. Thus their perpetuity in life is settled by language that can have no other sense than that of unending life and being: while no such language occurs in relation to the wicked. On the contrary, they are to be "consumed, devoured, burned up, be destroyed, utterly destroyed, soul and body," etc. Such expressions, in the absence of any text affirming the immortality of wicked men, must settle the question, if testimony can settle any point.

The stumbling stone of our opposers is, in their assumption that protracted pain and punishment are necessarily identical. But this assumption is false in fact. What is the highest crime known in human law? It is murder. What is the punishment for that crime? Is it the most protracted pain? Or, is it the deprivation of life? It is the latter: and that is called the "capital punishment;" not because the criminal endures more pain, or as much as he might by some other; but because he is cut off from life.

If it be attempted to evade this point by saying - "The criminal feels horribly, while awaiting the day of execution," - I ask, if his feelings are any part of the penalty of the law? Certainly not. They may be a consequence of the crime; but the law does not say he shall feel bad, but that he shall die. But, say the advocates of the common idea of pain, as essential to punishment, "there is the dreadful hereafter to the criminal." I reply, whatever may be hereafter to him, that is no part of the penalty of the law under which he dies. So the Judge understands it, who pronounces the death sentence; for he concludes by saying, "May God have mercy on your soul:" i.e.,

"May you not be hurt hereafter." Thus, turn which way our opposers may, they meet a two edged sword that hews in pieces their notion of protracted pain and punishment being necessarily identical.

In the text under consideration, the Saviour expresses the idea of punishment, without any necessary idea of protracted pain. The word here translated punishment is kolasin: and it is never used, on any other occasion, in any of our Lord's discourses, as recorded in the Bible. When he speaks of torment, as he often does in the Gospels and in Revelation, he most uniformly uses the word basanois, but never, kolasin. Kolasin properly expresses punishment; and, strictly, the kind of punishment; as one meaning of the term is "cut off." The righteous enter into life eternal: the wicked are eternally cut off from life.

But we have an inspired Commentator on this declaration of our Lord; i.e., Paul, the apostle. Whatever scene is described Matt.25, and whatever time is spoken of, the same, in both respects, Paul speaks of 2Thess.1. They are both laid in one scene. Compare them together. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him." Matt.25:31. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." 2Thess.1:7. Is here any mistake? Is not the scene the same in both texts? Is it possible to separate them? Again, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Matt.25:46. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction." 2 Thess.1:9.

Here is no room to doubt but what Paul is speaking of the same punishment as Jesus; and the apostle declares the punishment is "destruction" not preservation under any circumstances; and the apostle tells us this destruction is "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This last expression may have the sense of "out of his presence," but I am inclined to believe it has reference to the consuming fire that sometimes came out from the presence of the Lord, under the law given by Moses. As for example, in Lev.10:1,2. - "Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not: and there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." Or, take the case of those who, in the rebellion of Korah (Num.16:25,) had taken their censors to appear before the Lord, "And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense." Here was no preservation, but a being consumed, devoured; so that they "died." To this, most likely, Paul refers. The presence of Christ in his glory, with his only angels, will so overpower and fill with terror the wicked, who behold him, that they will die - be destroyed - by the sight. If Daniel, Dan.10th, and John, the beloved disciple, Rev.I, both "fell as dead" at the sight of the glory manifested to them, and recovered not till a hand was laid on them, with a voice saying, fear not , how then shall Christ's enemies live when he shall appear in glory? They cannot: they have cultivated such a disregard for Christ, and contempt of him, in his absence, that when he appears in his glory his presence will fill them with such fear as to destroy them forever. No hand is to be laid on them, nor voice heard, to soothe their fears; and they are "utterly consumed with terror." Their punishment is "death - the wages of sin:" and it is irrevocable - it is eternal. Thus Paul gives us a sure interpretation of Jesus' words, and enables us to speak with certainty as to the kind of punishment that is to be the portion of wicked men.

How death, from which there is no recovery, can be an eternal punishment, we will further illustrate. The highest punishment known in the law of God or man is loss of life, or death. The privation of life may be attended with pain or it may not. If it is, it is not the punishment, it is merely an accident attending the punishment. This truth is self-evident to the reflecting mind; because, however much the murderer might suffer in dying, that would not meet the claim of the law, or answer its penalty, unless his life is extinguished: he must "be hung by the neck until he is dead," saith the law.

If this man, when dead, could be restored to life in one year after, with the right to live, his punishment would be of only one year's duration. If a thousand years after, then it would have been of a thousand years duration: not of pain, but loss of life. If he is never to be restored, but to remain eternally dead, then how long is his punishment? Is it not eternal, in the strictest sense? It is an eternal deprivation of life. Such is the Bible teaching on the punishment of wicked men. And if we would live eternally we must come to Christ for that life. God has given to us eternal life, but that life is in His Son, and not in ourselves: See 1 John 5:11,12. It is the life-giving Spirit of God, bestowed on those, and those only, who come to Christ for it. This is that Spirit which raised up Christ from the dead, and by which, only, can any man be quickened to immortality and incorruptibility, Rom.8:11, with 1Cor.15:45,54; without it men perish - are destroyed - die, and "shall be no more." Psalm 104:35. "Be as though they had not been," Obadiah 16: "for the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23; and, "all the wicked will God destroy;" Psalms 145:20; yea, "They shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalms 37:20.

* Editor’s Note: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. If you want to live forever and have abundant life you must get it from Jesus. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. Do you believe this? Why would Jesus need to resurrect the dead and give them eternal life if they already had it? If the dead do not have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life, that would make what Jesus said here a lie. Jesus said that believing in Him was a requirement for eternal life. We think this is quite clear. He that believeth in Jesus, shall live, really live forever, not the unrepentant sinner! The unrepentant sinner will not have life abundantly either, these gifts are only given to those who believe in Jesus, not to the wicked, which are those with unbelief. John 3:16-17. Those who do not believe are the wicked. And the wicked will most certainly not live forever, but will perish after they have received all of the punishment for their wicked deeds and faithless life that they deserve. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in the word of God. They do not believe the clearest, plainest testimony of the Bible. Therefore brethren let us not be like them in departing from the faith in the Living God, and be shut out of the eternal bliss of Heaven because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:12.

Another text, on which much reliance is placed, to support the common theory, is Jude 7th. "Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Let us compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter, in his second epistle, gives us an account of this same matter. - He says, "If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell - to be reserved unto the judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah - a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those who after should LIVE ungodly," etc.

Thus Peter throws light on Jude. Both together show most clearly what displeasures God has manifested against sinners. It is concerning what has been done in this world, we are here told, that God has made an example to those who should after live ungodly.

Those judgments inflicted on the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah, are a standing, and perpetual, or "eternal" admonition, warning, or "example" to all men to the end of the world, that live ungodly.   

Those judgments prove the utter destruction of the wicked, when God shall visit them for their iniquities. For, if Sodom and Gomorrah are an "example," as Peter expressly affirms - then the wicked are to be "turned to ashes:" hence, are consumed, perish from being, and are no longer living conscious beings. Such, I am satisfied, is the scripture doctrine of the punishment of the wicked.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

In my own mind the conclusion is irresistible, that the final doom of all the impenitent and unbelieving, is that they shall utterly perish - shall be "destroyed forever" - their "end" is to be "burned up, root and branch," with "fire unquenchable" - they shall not have everlasting life, or being, but be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," the universe of God will be purified not only from sin, but sinners - and "the works of the devil" will be destroyed, exterminated; but "blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power." Then there will be a "new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away." "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away."

The day when these tremendous scenes will transpire, I conceive, "is nigh, even at the doors." Yes, the time is at hand, when the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven - a day, described by the apostle, of "indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Then they that have "sinned without law shall also perish without law;" and a not less fearful doom awaits those that have sinned in the light of the law and gospel both.

That awful day will soon overtake us; and who may abide the day of his coming? Behold, that day "shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly will be stubble;" as incapable of resisting the judgment that shall come upon them, as stubble is to resist the devouring flame.

Let us be wise now, therefore, and prepare to meet God. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little." "But blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!

#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 Part 2

SERMON II

Review of the Introduction of Part 1:

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.

Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

Review of the Last Paragraphs of Part 1:

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?

But as much stress is laid on the text under consideration, and on others where our Lord speaks of "hell fire" - -puros gehenna- - the fire of hell - we shall examine the subject more fully. Especially as by our Lord's using the expression "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," it is concluded that he teaches the immortality of all men, and the endless torment of the wicked. But, before we settle down on such a conclusion, it is better to examine the premises. I am disposed to think the conclusion is purely assumed. Let it be remembered the word in question "never occurs in the Septuagint Greek, nor in any classic author in the world." So says Dr. George Campbell, one of the most learned divines of the orthodox school of the last century. I remark, that it was never used by our Lord nor his apostles, when addressing Gentiles, whether by word or epistle. This fact speaks in thunder tones, as to its Jewish origin, and hence we are to look alone to Jews for an explanation of the term and its use.

The word is derived from "Ge," which signifies a "valley," and "Hinnom," a man's name. "The Valley of Hinnom," south of Jerusalem, "once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors, to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning." - Gr. Lex.

In the time of our Lord's personal ministry, a portion of the Jews used the phrase figuratively to denote the punishment of the wicked. As our Saviour adopted a figure of their own and used it only with Jews, it must be evident that he used it in harmony with facts. Now what were the facts in the case? They are these - Whatever was cast into the fire of gehenna, was cast there to be destroyed. If any flesh should fall outside of the fire, the worms devoured it, so that nothing there escaped utter destruction. No Jew was so stupid as ever to have conceived the thought that anything was thrown there to be preserved. The only idea that could have attached itself to this form of expression must have been that of a total and utter consumption, or destruction, without remedy, recovery, or escape. A Jew could understand it in no other sense; in any other sense the figure would have been both without meaning and without force.

This being the case, it is one of the strongest expressions in the Bible to disprove the common theory of the eternal preservation of the wicked in sin and suffering. The impenitent and incorrigible sinner, like the filth about Jerusalem, and the dead bodies of animals and men, if not utterly consumed and destroyed, would keep alive the plague in the universe; hence, they shall be "cast into the fire of Gehenna - hell fire;" or be utterly and totally destroyed, therefore "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna - hell." Math.10:28. Just so certain as the filth about Jerusalem, and dead carcasses were utterly consumed in the burning fire of the Valley of Hinnom, so certainly will God destroy both soul and body – that is, the entire being of the incorrigible sinner, so that the universe shall be clear of these plague spots; then shall be fulfilled that which is written Rev.5:13, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Not a creature shall be left in conscious existence but what shall join in ascriptions of praise to God and the Lamb. Glorious time - happy hour. May you and I be of that happy number. If we would be, let us seek holiness of heart and life. In Christ alone is life; know him - love him - obey him, and then we shall join the blessed company John heard praising in the strains just described, which may the Lord grant us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The advocates of the common theory of endless sin and misery bring forward our Lord's words -

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Matt.25:46. 

This text is supposed by many to sustain the theory of the immortality of the human soul, and the endless misery of the wicked. 

It is said - "If the everlasting misery of the wicked may come to an end, so may the everlasting bliss of the righteous, as the self same word is employed to express the duration of the misery of the one class as the happiness of the other."

I answer - The text saith not a word of the happiness of the one nor of the misery of the other. But if it did, it would avail nothing to the advocate of the common theory, unless he could prove the two classes equally undying, and immortal.

The term aionion - translated eternal and everlasting, in this text - does not, of itself, prove either the righteous or wicked would have a perpetual and unending existence, because it does not necessarily mean without end. This can easily be shown by its use, and the use of its corresponding word - oulom - in Hebrew; which latter word occurs, in some of its forms, more than three hundred times in the Old Testament, and in a large majority of cases will be found to express a period, longer or shorter, that will have an end. Thus the Aaronical ministry is called an everlasting priesthood;" the hills are called "everlasting hills."

Those who think, because the same term expressing duration is applied to both classes, in the text under consideration, it is made certain that the wicked will exist as long as the righteous may be taught that they reason both inconclusively and dangerously. Take the following text, "The everlasting God." Is.40:25; and compare it with Hab.3:6, "The everlasting mountains." Shall the mountains continue as long as God? How will the advocates of unending misery evade the conclusion on their premises, that the mountains will continue as long as God? Will they say, "We know the mountains will melt in the final conflagration?" True; and we know the wicked will be "burned up, and be left neither root nor branch," because, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts;" Mal.4:1. But the Bible declares that God is "the King immortal:" not subject to be dissolved: while the everlasting mountains will be scattered and melted.

What is the argument, then, that the righteous are to continue in life while the wicked perish from life?  

It is not alone in the expression everlasting or eternal, in the text; but in the fact that other texts assure us the righteous "put on immortality, incorruption," at the resurrection; 1Cor.15: and, saith Jesus, "Neither can they die any more:" Luke 20. Thus their perpetuity in life is settled by language that can have no other sense than that of unending life and being: while no such language occurs in relation to the wicked. On the contrary, they are to be "consumed, devoured, burned up, be destroyed, utterly destroyed, soul and body," etc. Such expressions, in the absence of any text affirming the immortality of wicked men, must settle the question, if testimony can settle any point.

The stumbling stone of our opposers is, in their assumption that protracted pain and punishment are necessarily identical. But this assumption is false in fact. What is the highest crime known in human law? It is murder. What is the punishment for that crime? Is it the most protracted pain? Or, is it the deprivation of life? It is the latter: and that is called the "capital punishment;" not because the criminal endures more pain, or as much as he might by some other; but because he is cut off from life.

If it be attempted to evade this point by saying - "The criminal feels horribly, while awaiting the day of execution," - I ask, if his feelings are any part of the penalty of the law? Certainly not. They may be a consequence of the crime; but the law does not say he shall feel bad, but that he shall die. But, say the advocates of the common idea of pain, as essential to punishment, "there is the dreadful hereafter to the criminal." I reply, whatever may be hereafter to him, that is no part of the penalty of the law under which he dies. So the Judge understands it, who pronounces the death sentence; for he concludes by saying, "May God have mercy on your soul:" i.e.,

"May you not be hurt hereafter." Thus, turn which way our opposers may, they meet a two edged sword that hews in pieces their notion of protracted pain and punishment being necessarily identical.

In the text under consideration, the Saviour expresses the idea of punishment, without any necessary idea of protracted pain. The word here translated punishment is kolasin: and it is never used, on any other occasion, in any of our Lord's discourses, as recorded in the Bible. When he speaks of torment, as he often does in the Gospels and in Revelation, he most uniformly uses the word basanois, but never, kolasin. Kolasin properly expresses punishment; and, strictly, the kind of punishment; as one meaning of the term is "cut off." The righteous enter into life eternal: the wicked are eternally cut off from life.

But we have an inspired Commentator on this declaration of our Lord; i.e., Paul, the apostle. Whatever scene is described Matt.25, and whatever time is spoken of, the same, in both respects, Paul speaks of 2Thess.1. They are both laid in one scene. Compare them together. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him." Matt.25:31. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels." 2Thess.1:7. Is here any mistake? Is not the scene the same in both texts? Is it possible to separate them? Again, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Matt.25:46. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction." 2 Thess.1:9.

Here is no room to doubt but what Paul is speaking of the same punishment as Jesus; and the apostle declares the punishment is "destruction" not preservation under any circumstances; and the apostle tells us this destruction is "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This last expression may have the sense of "out of his presence," but I am inclined to believe it has reference to the consuming fire that sometimes came out from the presence of the Lord, under the law given by Moses. As for example, in Lev.10:1,2. - "Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not: and there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." Or, take the case of those who, in the rebellion of Korah (Num.16:25,) had taken their censors to appear before the Lord, "And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense." Here was no preservation, but a being consumed, devoured; so that they "died." To this, most likely, Paul refers. The presence of Christ in his glory, with his only angels, will so overpower and fill with terror the wicked, who behold him, that they will die - be destroyed - by the sight. If Daniel, Dan.10th, and John, the beloved disciple, Rev.I, both "fell as dead" at the sight of the glory manifested to them, and recovered not till a hand was laid on them, with a voice saying, fear not , how then shall Christ's enemies live when he shall appear in glory? They cannot: they have cultivated such a disregard for Christ, and contempt of him, in his absence, that when he appears in his glory his presence will fill them with such fear as to destroy them forever. No hand is to be laid on them, nor voice heard, to soothe their fears; and they are "utterly consumed with terror." Their punishment is "death - the wages of sin:" and it is irrevocable - it is eternal. Thus Paul gives us a sure interpretation of Jesus' words, and enables us to speak with certainty as to the kind of punishment that is to be the portion of wicked men.

How death, from which there is no recovery, can be an eternal punishment, we will further illustrate. The highest punishment known in the law of God or man is loss of life, or death. The privation of life may be attended with pain or it may not. If it is, it is not the punishment, it is merely an accident attending the punishment. This truth is self-evident to the reflecting mind; because, however much the murderer might suffer in dying, that would not meet the claim of the law, or answer its penalty, unless his life is extinguished: he must "be hung by the neck until he is dead," saith the law.

If this man, when dead, could be restored to life in one year after, with the right to live, his punishment would be of only one year's duration. If a thousand years after, then it would have been of a thousand years duration: not of pain, but loss of life. If he is never to be restored, but to remain eternally dead, then how long is his punishment? Is it not eternal, in the strictest sense? It is an eternal deprivation of life. Such is the Bible teaching on the punishment of wicked men. And if we would live eternally we must come to Christ for that life. God has given to us eternal life, but that life is in His Son, and not in ourselves: See 1 John 5:11,12. It is the life-giving Spirit of God, bestowed on those, and those only, who come to Christ for it. This is that Spirit which raised up Christ from the dead, and by which, only, can any man be quickened to immortality and incorruptibility, Rom.8:11, with 1Cor.15:45,54; without it men perish - are destroyed - die, and "shall be no more." Psalm 104:35. "Be as though they had not been," Obadiah 16: "for the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23; and, "all the wicked will God destroy;" Psalms 145:20; yea, "They shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalms 37:20.

* Editor’s Note: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. If you want to live forever and have abundant life you must get it from Jesus. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. Do you believe this? Why would Jesus need to resurrect the dead and give them eternal life if they already had it? If the dead do not have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life, that would make what Jesus said here a lie. Jesus said that believing in Him was a requirement for eternal life. We think this is quite clear. He that believeth in Jesus, shall live, really live forever, not the unrepentant sinner! The unrepentant sinner will not have life abundantly either, these gifts are only given to those who believe in Jesus, not to the wicked, which are those with unbelief. John 3:16-17. Those who do not believe are the wicked. And the wicked will most certainly not live forever, but will perish after they have received all of the punishment for their wicked deeds and faithless life that they deserve. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in the word of God. They do not believe the clearest, plainest testimony of the Bible. Therefore brethren let us not be like them in departing from the faith in the Living God, and be shut out of the eternal bliss of Heaven because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:12.

Another text, on which much reliance is placed, to support the common theory, is Jude 7th. "Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Let us compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter, in his second epistle, gives us an account of this same matter. - He says, "If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell - to be reserved unto the judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah - a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those who after should LIVE ungodly," etc.

Thus Peter throws light on Jude. Both together show most clearly what displeasures God has manifested against sinners. It is concerning what has been done in this world, we are here told, that God has made an example to those who should after live ungodly.

Those judgments inflicted on the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah, are a standing, and perpetual, or "eternal" admonition, warning, or "example" to all men to the end of the world, that live ungodly.   

Those judgments prove the utter destruction of the wicked, when God shall visit them for their iniquities. For, if Sodom and Gomorrah are an "example," as Peter expressly affirms - then the wicked are to be "turned to ashes:" hence, are consumed, perish from being, and are no longer living conscious beings. Such, I am satisfied, is the scripture doctrine of the punishment of the wicked.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

In my own mind the conclusion is irresistible, that the final doom of all the impenitent and unbelieving, is that they shall utterly perish - shall be "destroyed forever" - their "end" is to be "burned up, root and branch," with "fire unquenchable" - they shall not have everlasting life, or being, but be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," the universe of God will be purified not only from sin, but sinners - and "the works of the devil" will be destroyed, exterminated; but "blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power." Then there will be a "new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away." "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away."

The day when these tremendous scenes will transpire, I conceive, "is nigh, even at the doors." Yes, the time is at hand, when the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven - a day, described by the apostle, of "indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Then they that have "sinned without law shall also perish without law;" and a not less fearful doom awaits those that have sinned in the light of the law and gospel both.

That awful day will soon overtake us; and who may abide the day of his coming? Behold, that day "shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly will be stubble;" as incapable of resisting the judgment that shall come upon them, as stubble is to resist the devouring flame.

Let us be wise now, therefore, and prepare to meet God. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little." "But blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!

#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 2 Part 1

By George Storrs

SERMON II

"Ye shall not surely die." Gen.iii.4.

Our Saviour saith, the old serpent - "the devil, is a liar and the father of it." He commenced his attack on our race by saying they should "not surely die," if they did disobey God. He was successful in that game, and has played the same card, in some form, on men, ever since he first swept Paradise with it. He told Eve that the God of love could not give place to such feelings as to cut them off from life if they did disobey. He has never forgotten his success. True, he has turned his card since, but it is the same card still. It has still inscribed on it - "Ye shall not SURELY DIE." Now he makes use of it to insinuate that God does not love or pity man, seeing He has determined that man shall not DIE, but be kept alive in eternal and indescribable torments, for sins committed on earth, or hereafter to be committed in the theological hell, where it is impossible for the miserable ones to cease from sin!

As the doctrine, "Ye shall not surely die," had its origin with the old serpent, I cannot divest myself of the conviction that the notion that wicked men will be kept eternally alive in torments, and never die, had its origin from the same source, as it appears to be a perfect fac-simile; and that it was invented to inspire hard thoughts of God and keep men from turning to Him by repentance and faith, or confidence, and acknowledging their sins against the God of love. And I solemnly believe, this doctrine has kept more away from God, and driven them into infidelity, than any other doctrine that was ever promulgated. I am solemnly convinced that it has done more to destroy men than all other errors put together.

For, if some minds have been temporarily affected by it, they are seldom found to be uniform Christians, and hardly pretend to live in obedience to God, unless under some strong excitement; multitudes of others, without any proper reflection upon the claims of God's law, have rejected eternal punishment, because of the nature of that which the "orthodox" say is to be inflicted; whilst others have lived and died in real infidelity, or what has been called so, because they could not believe that a Being whose word declares that He "is love" could inflict such a punishment on even the worst and most bitter of His enemies.

But I will not detain you longer with an introduction. I shall attempt to show you, that the death God has threatened, as the wages of sin, is not immortality in misery, but an actual and total deprivation of life. I say, then, in opposition to the old serpent, if men do not come to Christ, that they may have life, they SHALL surely die - past hope, past recovery.

Let me here briefly recall attention to the question at issue. It is not whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal, but will the conscious being of the wicked be eternal? Is the punishment of the wicked interminable being in sin and suffering? or an eternal cessation from life?

I use the term immortal, in these discourses, in its commonly received meaning, i.e. according to Grimshaw, "exempt from death;" and according to Walker, "never to die - never ending, perpetual." Strictly speaking, immortality is the development of life through an indestructible organization, so far as it relates to created beings.

In my first sermon I had brought the subject down to the inquiry, WHAT ARE THE TERMS EMPLOYED TO DENOTE THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.

Are they such as can, by any fair construction of language, be made to mean that the wicked are destined to a state of eternal sin and suffering? Let us keep in mind, that words are not to be so explained as to mean more than their primary signification, without an obvious necessity; though they may, and often do, signify less.

The terms employed are: Perish: Utterly perish - Utterly consumed with terrorsDestroy: Destroyed - Destroyed forever - Destruction - To be burned - Burned UP with unquenchable fire - Burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branchPerdition: Die - Death - Second Death, etc.

Let us now begin with the first of these terms, viz: "PERISH." Grimshaw, in his Etymology, says it signifies "to cease to have existence - to die - to decay."

Which of these definitions is suited to convey the idea of eternal sin and suffering? Can that which is never to cease, be said to be decaying? Can that which has interminable life be said "to die?" Can that which is always to continue in being, be said "to cease to have existence?" I need not pursue that inquiry; it is a self-evident truth, that however the term perish may be used, in an accommodated sense, to signify something less than actual ceasing to be, it is even then borrowed from its primary signification, and must be restored to it when there is not a known necessity for departing from it. In the case under consideration, there can be no such necessity, unless it can first be proved that men are immortal.

Paul, in 1Cor.15:18, says - "Then," (if Christ be not raised,) "they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." What! in a state of eternal sin and suffering! The supposition is so absurd that my opponents admit that the term perish here means "to cease to be." By what fair interpretation of language can they ever make it mean any thing else, when spoken of the final state of the lost? Though the term is sometimes used to denote something less than an actual ceasing to be, it does not therefore follow that it is used to mean something far greater and more horrible. To apply this term to an eternal state of sin and misery, is to force a sense upon it which is most unwarrantable and unjustifiable, in my judgment.

Let us keep constantly in mind that the whole family of man, by their natural birth, have no access to the tree of life, consequently were perishing, were destitute of immortality. Now look at the following texts:

"God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." Here everlasting life is the opposite of perishing. I pray, is everlasting sin and misery the opposite of everlasting life? The wicked, upon that view, have as really everlasting life as the righteous, though under different circumstances.

"For we," saith an apostle, "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other of life unto life."

Here perishing and life are put in opposition, and the term perish is explained by the apostle himself, to mean death, and not life in misery.   

I need not quote all the passage where this term is employed to express the final doom of the wicked, in which it is evident we are to receive it in its primary meaning, and no other. Before I leave this term, however, I must call your attention to one fact, and that is - in the Acts of the Apostles, the very place where we should expect to find, if any where in the Bible, the doctrine of eternal torments, because the apostles were addressing sinners, there is not a particle of evidence to support the common theory. On the contrary, the views I maintain are most clearly set forth by Paul, in the 13th chapter, in a discourse to the "blaspheming" Jews, telling them that they judged themselves "unworthy of everlasting life," and saying - "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." What an excellent occasion had the apostle to have aroused the Jews by the common theory, had he believed it.

Look at that chapter, and you will see, if there ever was a time in which the apostle was called to deal plainly, it was then. I ask if any preacher in these days, who believes in the immortality of all men, in preaching to such hardened sinners as the apostle addressed, contents himself with such language as the apostles here used? No. They first describe the misery of the sinner in hell, and then, with the strongest figures they can produce, go on to give an idea of its duration, which, after all, they cannot find language to describe. The apostle did no such thing. There is not a particle of evidence of it in all his preaching and writings.

"DIE" AND "DEATH." 

These terms primarily signify, "To perish - to come to nothing - the extinction of life." Hence, when these terms are applied to man, in regard to the final result of a course of sin, we ought to have good evidence that they are not to be understood in their primary meaning, before we depart from that interpretation; especially, before we fix upon them a sense so contrary to their proper signification as that of endless sin and suffering.

The apostle, in Rom.1:32, speaking of certain wicked characters, says - "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death," etc. In the 2nd chapter, 5th verse and onwards, he speaks "of the righteous judgment of God," when "wrath" will be visited on the wicked; and the death spoken of is expressly called "perish"ing, as the result of the "indignation and wrath" with which the wicked will be visited "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Death, then, as the apostle explains it, when applied to the punishment of wicked men, is to perish.

"The soul that sinneth it shall die," refers to its final doom. This will appear if we consider, men will die, i.e., leave this world, or state of being, whether they sin or not. Nor can it refer to a violent leaving this world, as some suppose, for all sinners do not die a violent death. I conclude, then, that it relates to the sinner's final doom.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked, turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" evidently looks to the same result, the final destiny of the wicked. Life and death are put in opposition: not life and conscious being in misery, but life and death, without any qualifying terms to lead any one to suspect that they are to be understood any other way than in their most obvious sense; and I cannot but think, if you were to put the Bible into the hands of a person who had never heard a word of explanation, he would so understand it.

Lest I should, in the present discourse, take up too much time in the examination of these terms, I will pass over the remainder of them for the present.

Having, as I judge, established the point that the wicked have not immortality, I might leave it to the believer in the opposite theory to prove his position from the Bible, and pursue the subject no further. I shall not, however, shrink from meeting the supposed objections to my view.

OBJECTIONS EXAMINED

The objections do not arise from any positive proof in the Bible that the wicked are immortal, but from circumstantial evidence, drawn from expressions used in reference to the punishment of the impenitent. The first objection I shall notice is founded on the language of our Lord, "Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." It is said this proves the soul immortal. I remark -

First. Whatever this punishment is, it is put in opposition to "life." "If thy hand" or "foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt" or "maimed into life, than having two hands" or "feet," etc., "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." Who does not see that here is the opposite of life, and therefore is death, or utter extinction of being without possibility of escape? In a parallel passage, our Saviour saith, "If thy right eye" or "hand offend thee, cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

Here the "worm that dieth not, and the fire" that "is not quenched," we see, is another form of expression for perishing.

Again, I remark, this expression of our Lord is a quotation from Isaiah 66:24, and is applied to the "carcasses" of men, which I presume my opponents will not pretend were immortal. But if the language in one place proves immortality, why not in the other? Then we shall have immortal carcasses as well as immortal souls. But the prophecy is describing evidently the kind of doom inflicted by the Eastern nations on the vilest offenders, who were not only slain, but their bodies deprived of the rights of burial, and either burned to ashes (which among them was regarded as a great indignity,) or left to molder above ground and be devoured by worms. If the fire were quenched, they would not be utterly consumed, but something would remain - there would not be an entire destruction. It is manifest to every mind, if a fire is quenched or put out, the work of utter destruction is arrested, and something is left of the object upon which the fire kindled. The same may be said, if the worm die the carcass will not be consumed; but as the fire is not to be quenched, nor the worm die, therefore, they shall be utterly consumed, perish, cease to be found in the universe of God. The objector says, the idea of an unquenchable fire is, that it is never to go out. To show the fallacy of this, I will suppose my house is on fire. When my neighbors arrive to my help, I say, effort is useless - the fire is unquenchable. Pray, what do I mean? That the fire will burn eternally? Any school-boy knows I mean simply the house will be totally consumed. "Yes," says the objector, "that is true when the expression is applied to that which is consumable, but man has a soul that cannot be consumed." To this, I reply, That is the very point to be proved. The objector says he has, and I affirm he has not.

If it is still maintained that "unquenchable fire" means "never to go out," I refer those persons to an examination of a few passages of God's word on that question. 2Chron.34:25, "Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." Is.34:9,10, "And the land of Idumea shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jeremiah 7:20, "Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Also Jer.17:27, * "Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and shall not be quenched." Once more. See Ezekiel 20:47,48, "Say to the forests of the South, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched; and all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED."

* Editor’s Note: Did the destruction of Jerusalem prophesied by Jeremiah take place? Yes. It happened when the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, not long after he prophesied it. Jeremiah told King Zedekiah: “'But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.'" Jeremiah 38:18 NASB. Read now the account in 2 Chronicles to prove to you that the Babylonians did indeed burn Jerusalem with fire: Speaking now of the King of the Chaldees and what they did to Jerusalem it says: “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 KJV. So God fulfilled His word and destroyed Jerusalem and burned it with the fire ‘that shall not be quenched’, as it said in Jeremiah 17:27 above. Then why isn’t Jerusalem still burning to this day? You have probably seen numerous news casts of Jerusalem, and maybe the area where the former temple was, that is now an Islamic Mosque. Have you seen pictures of this so called “eternal fire” still burning? No! That is silly you may say. Then why do people say that when the Bible says someone is to perish, or to be burned up with unquenchable fire, or that the fire shall not be quenched, or talk about the eternal fire that it always means ‘to burn forever?’ This view is inconsistent with the other passages in the Bible that employ this same or similar expression, and it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these places are still not burning in our day!

Now, I wish to know if any man in his senses will pretend that all these fires that shall not be quenched are, "never to go out," in the strict sense of the term eternal? Does not any one see that so long as the things upon which the fire kindles are not proved to be immortal, the most extreme sense that can be fixed upon is, that there will be a total and irrecoverable destruction of them?

To be continued...

This Sermon 2 Taken From: P. 46-64 of:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!

#Die #Perish #Sin #Serpent #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Fair #Wicked #Everlasting #Life #Extinct #Immortal #Soul #Consume #Destroy #Fire #Quenched #Worm #Proud

The Fifth Commandment: Love Your Father and Your Mother Part 2: Parents’ Responsibility and Conclusion

By John Foll, written 03/10/2018 to 03/15/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12 KJV.

The responsibility of keeping this commandment is not just for children and youth, but for parents as well!

In Part 1 of this article, we showed that we are living in the last days now, and that there is a great problem with disobedience to parents, and the children or youth despising and mocking them. There are many problems in society in these last days, including rebellion, which often develops out of disobedience to parents. Now we want to present some of the problems with the entertainment and music media, and how it relates to the Fifth Commandment. In addition to portraying or promoting sin and violence, they also sometimes portray disobedience and violence against parents, and of course rebellion against God. They are training the children and youth to disobey God and sin greatly, making them unfit for Heaven and society. Since parents are given the responsibility of training their children up to obey God and love Him, this is a very big deal! The Entertainment Media is counteracting what parents should be teaching their children! Because of this and because God has commanded everyone to honor their father and their mother, it is also necessary to show the responsibility of the parents’ to teach their children to obey them and God, and to be a good citizen; to treat others the way they should be treated. Yes, it’s not just the children’s fault for disobeying and rebelling against their parents, God and society, but in many cases the parents are to blame too. If nothing is done about Hollywood‘s influence in your family, your job as a parent too teach your children the truth of how to be happy and be saved is in vain. And we will show that even though you are saved by grace, God still wants you to love Him supremely, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which includes honoring your father and your mother.

There are children, youth and adults who can still be saved from the pit of ruin the devil has planned for them. It is not yet too late! In this article we will also appeal to your heart, and help you to know what to do, to help yourself and your children or youth before it’s too late. We want to show you the start of the solution to these problems: it always starts and ends with God, because no one can ever save themselves, much less their family. Only God can do this, if you willingly cooperate with Him.

Please read The Fifth Commandment: Love your Father and Your Mother Part 1 if you haven’t already read it:

This is not going to be a strictly “feel good” article, for it deals with some of the sterner truths. But since the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32), and to those who want to obey Him, and since you must be born again if you want to enter the kingdom of Heaven, these harder truths need to be presented. You cannot have or keep the Holy Spirit if you just want to dwell on pleasant topics, unless you have already made your peace with God and have removed all the offensive things to Him from your life. Those who are not willing to cooperate with God, cannot have the Holy Spirit or will lose Him if they stop obeying Him. This means that you should want to learn and do all that God wants you to do, so that you can please Him and grow in grace. So we are presenting articles on the 10 Commandments, God’s Law of love, so that you may know all that God expects from you, so that you may have the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is not salvation by works, it is salvation by the Holy Spirit! If you want to be on the path of peace, love and joy, you will want to study God’s Law of Love and ask Him to help you keep it.

And now to our message…

Violence against parents:

There was an MTV video: a hard rock ‘n roll or heavy metal music video showing an angry teen pushing his father down the stairs, probably after they were arguing as we remember it. What is the reality of this? Someone falling down the stairs could very easily die, if their neck is broken or something hits their temple area. This is what happens in real life in some cases! This video was portraying violence against parents. It was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s we believe. We are bringing it up as an example of what the media is teaching children and youth, not because it was necessarily the worst. We are fairly certain it is much worse in our day than when that video was produced and watched. And it was set to music with a heavy beat and angry tones, to stir up anger and resentment. The video didn’t show anything bad happening to the dad afterwards, if we remember correctly.

The entertainment media trivializes violence:

There are many shows for people to watch that trivialize violence, especially the cartoons. Many movies mix comedy with violence, trying to make people giggle or laugh when someone gets hurt or killed. In the older cartoons that they used to make, the character would always get up after being dealt a blow that could kill them. These shows and movies are conditioning your children to evil. Some of them imply that it may be ok to commit violence if there is a justification for it. (I.e. if the teen doesn’t get their way, or if their parents or authorities try to restrain them.) And these shows and movies teach that nothing bad will come from acts of violence in some cases, the person who was hurt will get back up again.

The entertainment media portrays violence as the solution to problems:

In some of the movies, violence or killing is taught as the solution to someone’s problems. In some of the movies “the bad guy” who was against “the hero” or doing something bad gets killed by the “hero”, and suddenly the “hero’s” problems are fixed, and the audience claps and shouts out ‘yeah!’ The audience is led to believe that the killing of the villain will solve the problems of the “hero.” For instance, the law might have accused the hero of murder. But when the movie shows who the real killer was and the “hero” kills the villain, the movie usually ends there or it is mostly done there, leading the audience to believe that everything is good for the hero. We have personally seen things like this in the movies or on TV when we used to watch them. But in real life, if what happened in the movies happened, the hero would probably go to jail and be convicted of murder! In real life law enforcement do not watch “the movie” of someone’s life. Therefore those who take the law into their own hands, vigilantes, may be punished as murderers. There will be and investigation. The police do not watch the movie and do not necessarily come to the same conclusion that the audience did. In real life there will be an investigation when someone gets killed, and the person doing it may be arrested, the outcome to be decided in court. Thus the media is lying to its watchers about the true nature and the consequences of violence and the sin it presents. But the entertainment media is also lying about many other things besides the consequences of violence or ‘getting even,’ or ‘payback.’

Life is not a movie. There are consequences to what you think, say and do, your life does not have a script writer ending. Nothing good can come from watching violence or any other thing prohibited by the Bible on the silver screen. We are also including in this the music, music videos, and computer games produced nowadays that portray sin, vice and violence as well, especially those that are appealing to children and youth, but also to the adults as well. We are sorry for watching and listening to this stuff in the past. It required much prayer and struggling against the flesh, but God gave us the victory over it and other bad entertainments. We want everyone who wants it to get the victory over sin.

The entertainment media versus God:

The entertainment media tries to package sin as desirable or something that should be done. It gives the watchers a fantasy of getting ‘even’ with those who have wronged them, i.e. ‘payback’. This is very popular because it pumps up people’s pride and appeals to their lower nature. It appeals to those who want revenge on those who have wronged them or slighted them in anyway. The entertainment media promotes revenge and ‘payback.’ But this is the exact opposite of what Christ taught. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the meek [or gentle] for they shall inherit the earth’. Matthew 5:5 KJV & NASB. And: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NASB. This is the exact opposite message than what is usually taught in the movies or TV! We are not to take revenge on those who have wronged us, but to let God take the vengeance when it is needed (His decision). We are to be like our Father in Heaven who loves and forgives others, who is merciful and long suffering with them, not willing that any should perish; He is rich in mercy. 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 2:4. Sometimes we forget that we are not worthy to live, because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that the ‘wages of sin is death.’ Romans 3:23; 6:23. God does not treat us as we deserve, because we all deserve to die for any of our sins. But it is because of His mercy that we have a chance to be saved. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19 KJV. Those who love the world’s entertainments are making themselves unfit for Heaven.

There is a price to pay for watching violence, disobedience to parents, rebellion and all wrong doing, regardless of how Hollywood portrays it. This is what the word of God, the Bible, teaches. And there is a price to pay for fantasizing over the evil that is presented in these movies, TV and bad music. We know someone will say, ‘I have watched or listened to that and I have not done anything bad.Oh really? No one can fill their mind with corruption and not be affected in some way by it. The very act of watching impurity or corruption is sin, whether any action is taken or not that was portrayed in the movie. It invites evil angels into someone’s life that tempt, annoy and bind them into sin. This can influence them into getting irritated or angry with others, or losing their self-control if nothing else. The movies also implant thoughts in the minds of those who watch them, which may play out at a later date, if the person watching them gets into a similar situation as in the movies they watched. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8 NASB. Do you want to reap eternal life? Then sow to the Spirit, and stop planting the seeds of corruption from the world’s entertainments.

The apostle Paul admonishes us: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just [or righteous], whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 KJV. We are to fill our mind with the mercy, love and goodness of God, not violence, conflict, sexual impurity, corruption, anger, resentment, sadness or any of the other things that are presented in the Entertainment media as ‘food’ for our thought. The reality is that these entertainments are not food at all but poison! As long as these entertainments are indulged in, these “idols” will make it hard to have a spiritual life with God, they will ruin it! They form habits of sin that weigh you and your children down. It causes a loss in true spirituality. God loves you and your children and doesn’t want anyone to fantasize or make believe about any kind of wickedness or anything prohibited by the Bible, or to be trapped in sin. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost, or hurt anyone else. So He doesn’t want anyone to fill their mind with these sinful entertainments.

Since the Bible tells us that we are to think on whatsoever is pure, true, good, lovely, honest, praise worthy, virtuous, just, etc., this excludes all worldly or sinful entertainments of the world for the believer. This excludes all impure, all evil, all unlovely, all dishonest, all shameful, all unvirtuous, all unjust, and all unrighteous entertainments, thoughts or activities. When was the last time you saw a movie which extoled all of the virtues that we are ‘to think on,’ as Paul declared, with no sinful suggestions? How many times is dishonesty or lying shown in a good light in the movies? Have you ever seen them extol the virtues of their so called “good guys” in the movies, who were really bad guys or robbers? Like ‘Robbin Hood,’ who robs from the rich and gives to the poor? This is dishonesty any way you slice it. If you go by Philippians 4:8, it probably prohibits everything produced by Hollywood! We are not to think on or contemplate anything that doesn’t match the standards in Philippians 4:8, or in any of the other places in the Bible where God gives the standards of righteousness. Even many of the movies that appear innocent on the surface are pushing subtle lies that people may not detect, including some of the so called heart-warming movies, or even children’s movies or shows.

What does the Bible say regarding violence to parents?

"He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:15 NASB. And: “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:17 NASB.

In the days of Moses and in the Old Testament, a son or daughter could be put to death if they hit or cursed their parents! Even though we are not living today in a theocracy state, ruled directly by God, as the children of Israel were in the Old Testament days, you can be sure that God takes note of all those who harbor any bad thoughts, or say any hurtful or hateful words to their parents, or do anything bad to them. He is not happy with any of this! We know that not all who watch or listen to worldly entertainment will do what is portrayed in them, but it will have an evil effect of some kind on them. Jesus made it clear that anyone who hates someone or calls them a fool has committed something similar to murder in the eyes of God, and will be guilty before the court of Heaven. See Matthew 5:21-22. This includes hating and cursing parents too.

There were reasons why God instituted the death penalty against children, who committed violence against their parents or cursed them. He was leading the children of Israel out of the bondage of slavery, and may have instituted these harsh penalties to teach them to stop these practices which He hates. We are not suggesting here that we should return to these penalties. We are not living in a theocracy state ruled by God in our day. But make no mistake, there will be a price to pay for those who do not treat their parents with love and kindness, unless they confess it and repent.

What does the Bible say regarding the watching of violence or wickedness?

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3 KJV. This last part means: ‘I hate the work of them who turn aside from truth and righteousness, this shall not be part of me.’ This Psalm seems to be speaking directly against watching violence or any sinful thing in the Movies, on TV, in computer games, or on the Internet, etc. No Christian should fill your minds with any kind of wickedness, violence, or anything prohibited by the Bible. This excludes watching or listening to every sinful thing presented by the entertainment media. Dear reader, set no wicked thing before your eyes. Turn not aside from the truth or righteousness. This is what God commands. If you love and want to obey God, ‘it shall not cleave to you.’

What does the Bible say regarding those who love violence? “The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” Psalm 11:5 NASB. Those who love violence God hates. This is clear. God tests the righteous and the wicked to see who are good or bad, and those who love watching or committing violence will prove to be the wicked. Can anyone doubt that it is a bad thing to watch violence? Can anyone still believe that there are no consequences for watching violent entertainments? There will be a price to pay for watching any kind of violence, wickedness or any sin or listening to music with vile lyrics or angry tones; when God is aroused, He will despise their form. Psalms 73:12-20. It will be a sad day for them when God is aroused and despises their form! We don’t want this to happen to anybody. See also Haggai 2:21-33; Hebrews 12:25-26.

But God has not left us without the blessed hope, the Gospel; He wants to save us from ruin! He will not forsake those who are sick of sin and corruption, who want a new, better life, and cry to Him for help! He will give all who want it the victory over all sin, bad entertainments and addictions. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 KJV. If you allow God to make you born of Him, you will get the victory over the world, because whatever is born of God overcomes the world. Amen! This is the Gospel.

The Responsibility of Parents:

What to do for your children and family:

You should have family worship, teaching your children to love and respect you and God, and love others. The home can be made better, if the parents have the Holy Spirit in their heart and are devoted to God. You have no ability of fighting against evil, or the sin in the world trying to invade your home, or the minds of your children apart from God. You and your children need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in full, to shield and protect you and them from sinful thoughts, words and actions. Look around your home to see what is contrary to God’s Law of Love and standards of righteousness, and pray to God what you should do about them.

Parents should shield their children and youth as much as possible, by not allowing them to watch or listen to bad entertainments. The parents can help by removing the temptations, by getting rid of the bad movies, bad music, bad games and the devices that play them (if there is no good use for these devices), from around the home, to help keep them from getting off track. If these devices or media are your children’s, it probably won’t be easy to get rid of them, because they will resist it. * It is best to have a talk with them about this, praying with them, teaching them from the Bible, and explaining what needs to be done and why, and that you love them, and don’t want them to be misled or lost. You should take your situation to God in prayer, praying for His divine guidance and to have His sweet Spirit in your home as an aide to your quest. But these entertainments should be gotten rid of. You and your family will not be able to continue to make spiritual progress, unless you want to do what God has asked you to do.

* In the Bible, there were men like Gideon, Josiah and other leaders or kings who went out and destroyed the idols that were owned or built by others without their permission. There was a cost to these idols, so there was also a monetary loss when their idols were destroyed. See 2 Chronicles 34:7; Ezekiel 6:4, 6; Judges 6:25-32. Is it right to destroy a modern “idol” that leads someone away from God? We won’t answer this. It is best to discuss the destruction of the idols in your home with your children first. We are told in Acts 19:17-20 that the new believers at Ephesus voluntarily brought their books on magic and burned them, and their value was found to be 50,000 pieces of silver. So you should teach your children the truth of the way that God wants us to live in love first, teaching them from the Bible what honors Him and what does not and what will hurt them. Maybe they will want to get rid of these ‘idols’ like the new believers at Ephesus did? We hope so.

How to be an overcomer and help your family:

You cannot have the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit, unless you have yielded to God all the way and want to obey Him. If you would like to have this full indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you need to get rid of everything in your life that is offensive to God, including the entertainments of this world, with His help. You should study the Bible thoroughly and pray much, asking God to reveal to you what is offensive to Him in your life and home. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17 KJV. So if you want to abide forever, do His will. If you want to live forever, ask Him for the help to love not the world, or the lusts of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. These are not from God, but from the world. If you pray this prayer and truly want it, God will hear your prayer and help you! If you are not there yet, pray to God, ‘Please be merciful to me a sinner! Please help me to be willing to obey you.’ And He will help you! Luke 18:13-14. If you pray this prayer and desire it, you will go to your home justified before God. This is Jesus’ promise to you! Is that what you want? To be just before God? Then pray, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

The reason for our ministry, White Raiment Evangelism, is to help people get closer to God, so that they can get all the help from Him that they need to battle evil and be an overcomer. We are sorry if this article sounded way to hard or unpleasant to you. We don’t like writing articles like this, because they seem out of place, since God is love. 1 John 4:8. But there are people out there who need to hear this message, because it is the truth. Who knows? It may be just what you need to help you get out of the spiritual rut you might be in. We struggled with some of these things in our past life, before getting the victory over them by God, and do not want anyone else to have to go through the problems these things cause! We want everyone to have the love of God in their heart, and be free from addictions, vice, corruption and worldly entertainments. No one can be happy or be at peace or have the Holy Spirit and indulge in worldly entertainments or sinful addictions. They will crush the life out of your soul if they are continued. We hope you stayed with us.

There is a time to preach the harder truths. That time is now, because we are living in the last days! Ecclesiastes 3:1. But never fear, because Jesus came to free the captives (Luke 4:18-21), and if you long to be free from this or any other sin, Jesus will help you! Call out to Him for help, give yourself into His hand! Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV. This is what Jesus wants to do for you!

Jesus said in the book of Revelation: “'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' Revelation 2:7 NASB. Dear reader, do you want to be an overcomer and eat from the tree of life in Heaven? Do you want your children to be an overcomer too and be able to eat from the tree of life in heaven? Then don’t go it alone! You need God’s precious Holy Spirit in your heart and in your home, or you will surely fail. You and your family cannot do it alone, don’t even try. Both parents should devote themselves to God, praying daily and moment by moment for their children and youth; that they would be good parents, faithfully representing God and the truth to their family. And that God’s Spirit would be in their home at all times, and that their children would not choose companions who are rebellious against parents or God. If there is just one parent willing to devote themselves completely to God, they should by all means do this, and pray for their spouse that they would too. Do your best, and pray for divine help! We all need God’s help! Don’t go it alone!

Parents: Where are your sheep?

Where are thy sheep, thy beautiful sheep?Lift up your eyes and see those coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful sheep?” Jeremiah 13:20 NASB. In many Bible prophecies the enemy comes from the north. The prophet Jeremiah said to look and see those coming from the north, the invading army, implied in verses 17-19, and then asks: ‘Where are your sheep?’ Parents: where are your sheep? Where are your little lambs? Do you know where they are? Do you know what they are doing? Do you know if they love Jesus and His Father? Do they want to learn how to please Him? Do they love, respect, and obey you? There is an invading army from the north that seeks to destroy your children. Where is the flock that God has given you?

You have an obligation from God to do everything in your power to train up your children, your beautiful sheep, that you have been given, to love the Lord God with all of their heart, mind and soul and strength, and to love their neighbor as themselves, and to love, honor and respect you. If you would see your children saved and in the kingdom of Heaven, and have no marks against your name in the book of life, you must do everything that you can, by God’s mighty strength and power, to help your kids become overcomers against evil. If you love your children, how can you do otherwise? Teach them to love and respect you, if you want them to love and respect God and love their neighbor as themselves. Do not take these warnings lightly dear reader, if you are a parent. Jesus takes all wrongs or sins of neglect done to others, including your children, as if they were done to Him personally, as we saw in our message:Who is My Neighbor? Part 1http://whiteraimentevangelism.blogspot.com/2018/02/who-is-my-neighbor-part-1.html

A lot of problems in society can be traced back to family life, with the deficiencies some had in their training as a child or youth. Many children are not taught to love and obey their parents or God the way they should be, if at all. Solomon exhorts parents to train up their children in the ways of salvation and God:Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 KJV. You should also discipline your children when they do something wrong and need correction. Solomon declared, “A fool rejects his father's discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.” Proverbs 15:5 NASB. And: “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” Proverbs 19:18 NASB. To fail to discipline your children when they need it is to enable their physical or spiritual death.Do not hold back discipline from the child’ Proverbs 23:13 NASB. Discipline your children while there is still hope that they can learn to love Jesus and His Father, before their peace, love, joy and happiness and their hope for eternal life is forever ruined.

Why are we showing the responsibility of parents in this article on the First Commandment?

Why did we spend so much time on this? Because many parents are culpable when their children break this and other commandments. As a parent you have a responsibility to your children and youth, your little lambs. You have a responsibility to God and society to help them become good citizens, being helpful to others and keeping the laws of the land. Jesus may ask you someday, ‘Where are your sheep, your beautiful sheep?’ If you don’t know where they are, or if they loved Him, you will be speechless before Him. We don’t want this to happen to you! Jesus loves your children and doesn’t want them to be lost. There are two sides to every story, not just the side of the youth obeying or disobeying their parents. This article needed to be written, because there are way too many families where the home is not the way it should be. And when these children grow up and have their own children, this problem is perpetuated. We want to help stop this downward spiral of society, so that more families can be happy and be saved. As a parent you have the care of your children, your little flock that Jesus wants you to bring to the kingdom for Him. Please don’t let Him down.

There is still hope!

If you have not been a good parent all the time, or your record is “spotty,” or even if you have been a bad parent, there is still time to confess this to God, get forgiveness and a clean record before Him. Plead with Him for help, and give your heart to Him all the way, so that you can do your best to repair the problems in your family, by His grace and power. He will listen to this prayer, if you pray it and mean it!

In order for your children to love, obey and respect you like the fifth commandment requires, they need to learn to love and obey God and how to receive the Holy Spirit. They should not be compelled to do this. When they see your love for them, and your love and devotion to God, the Holy Spirit can awaken in them the desire for the good things that God wants to give them! The gifts that God wants to give to you and your children are sweet indeed! How precious and sweet is the love of God! It has to be experienced to be understood. It is the strongest motivating power in the universe! Love begets love, love awakens love, and love awakens trust and obedience. There is a beauty and wonder when God’s Holy Spirit is in your heart, and when your children discover how much God loves them! Children and youth are naturally ideal, and when they see mommy and daddy living what they teach, who have love for each other and them, they will see it, be happy and glad! Hypocrisy turns many children and youth from God, but it doesn’t have to be this way! God has made a provision for you and your family, if you would appropriate these blessings for yourself and your family that He wants to give you. Oh if there were more parents living God’s love, what a difference their children and youth would make in this world! How different their lives would be! Allow Him to work in your family the miracle that only His Divine grace can do.

Are we making too big a deal out of honoring your father and mother?

Aren’t we saved by grace, not by works? What did Jesus say? Listen carefully to His answer: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 19:16-19 KJV. Jesus answered the question that the man had asked, ‘What should I do that I might have eternal life?What was one of the things that Jesus told the man? Honor your father and your mother. If you would enter into life, honor your father and your mother. This is part of loving your neighbor as yourself as Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40. If you would enter into life, ask God to help you keep His commandments, to love Him and your neighbor as yourself. You will hear us harping on this over and over again in our articles. This does not go against being saved by grace! No, not by any means!

God’s grace covers our sins when we confess them, but the grace He gives doesn’t mean that we do not need to love Him, our neighbor or our parents. God forbid!What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2 KJV. “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:15 KJV. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 KJV. So because we are save by grace does that mean that we do not need to honor our father and our mother, or our heavenly father or our neighbor as ourselves?May it never be!” as the NASB says this in all of these passages.  So to sum it up, God’s grace is forgiveness for our sins, not a license to sin. Notice that Jesus didn’t tell the man to keep God’s commandments in his own strength; He makes no mention of being saved by your own works or strength there in our Matthew 19:16-19 passage. He is making a statement about the choice that all should make if they would enter in to life, to want to obey God. Don’t believe what we are saying here? Notice Jesus said ‘there is none good but one, that is, God.’ Since no one is good but God, to be able to do that ‘good thing’ that you may have eternal life, you must get it from God, not yourself, or you will be unable to do it, since only God is good!

If you have broken God’s Law of love, the 10 Commandments, or have not honored your father and mother like you should, you can ask God for forgiveness and receive mercy. There is no reason to have this sin on your conscience if you will confess it, and ask God to help you treat your parents with respect, kindness and tenderness.

Conclusion:

If you would enter into life, dear reader, keep God’s commandments. Ask God for the help to keep them. When you have broken them, come to Him for forgiveness (this is God’s grace and mercy), and ask Him to help you keep them. No one who defiles, makes a lie, or is unfaithful or steals or covets will enter into Heaven. Jesus declared: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:12-15 KJV. Those who don’t want or ask for God’s help to love and obey Him and others, will not enter into that beautiful city, but will be outside of its gates, to be cast into the lake of fire, make no mistake about it.

Revelation states how everything will conclude. Those who wish to enter into the pearly gates, and walk on the streets of gold in Heaven, will want to keep God’s commandments. These are the words of Jesus that He declared in Revelation: ‘blessed are they that do His commandments.’ Those who keep and want to keep God’s commandments will have the right to the tree of life, and will enter into the gates of Heaven. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3 NASB. It is quite simple really. Those who know Jesus will keep His commandments, because He will help them keep it. Those who love Jesus will obey Him, and He and His Father will make their abode in them. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” John 14:23 NASB. Wonderful promise! Wonderful love! This is the secret of how you can obey God, if Jesus and His Father make their abode in you! If you want to obey them. If you love Jesus, choose to keep His word, and He and His Father will make their abode in you! Is that what you want? This promise is yours, dear reader, if you want it!

If you love Jesus and His Father, love their commandments and take delight in keeping them. Obeying God is not a burden to those who love Him. Oh no! It’s a delight! For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:3-4 NASB.

Dear reader are you born of God? Do you long for the victory and to overcome? Do you long for God’s sweet Spirit to fill your heart, and make you a vessel of love to the world, to your parents and to your children? Then give your heart to God now, asking His forgiveness for your sins and failures. Dedicate your heart completely to Him, and receive the benefits of your new life with Him, the seal of the Holy Spirit, to seal you for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30. And God will help you to honor your parents and train your children the way He wants you to. Amen!

May the grace of God be with you. May you honor your father and mother, that your life may be long on the land which God gives you. May you enter into the gates of Heaven and eat from the Tree of Life. Amen.

Scriptures for further study:
Leviticus 19:1-4; Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 10:28-31; Proverbs 2:1-12; 3:1-12; 3:21-26; 4:20-22; 5:1-11; 10:1; 15:20; 17:21, 25; 19:26-27; 20:20; 23:22-28; 29:3, 15.

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The Fifth Commandment: Love Your Father and Your Mother Part 1

By John Foll, written 03/10/2018 to 03/21/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12 NASB.

Introduction:

This is the first article in our new series on the 10 Commandments. We are presenting this series because the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God, Acts 5:32, and we want to help as many people as possible to learn to love and obey Him. We want as many people as possible to know the joy of their salvation. There is no reason for anyone to barely eke out a spiritual existence or be dying spiritually. You can have wonderful peace, and have the richest blessings of your life, when you learn to fall in love with God! There is no reason for you to starve, when you can have the bread of life and the water of life that God is offering to you freely! Those who have not given themselves completely to God yet are missing out on the very best things in life: wonderful peace, love, joy, faith and hope; they are missing out on the joys of knowing and loving God, which can only be had when they give into Him all the way, and are flooded with His love!

Those who do not think that they need to keep God’s commandments, which is to love Him all the way, and love their neighbor as themselves have not discovered the fountain of love and joy yet. They are unable to know real love, until they have truly gotten to know God, who is the source of love. 1 John 4:8. Until they have gotten to know Him, and learned to obey Him, they cannot have received the Holy Spirit in full, because the Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey Him. Acts 5:32. Therefore it is imperative that we present articles on each of the 10 Commandments, God’s Law of Love, so that you know what He expects from you, so that you can receive the Holy Spirit for yourself. When you study the true meaning of the 10 Commandments and how to keep them, you are really learning what it means to love!

Do you love Jesus and His Father more than anyone and anything else? Then obey Them! Pray that you will have the continued desire and the power to obey Them; you will never regret it, we promise you! This is the key to eternal peace, eternal joy, eternal love, and eternal life! This is the key to everything good in this life and the life to come! We long for all who read this article and all of our other articles to know this sweetest peace, love and joy of receiving the full power of the Holy Spirit in their lives! Dear Reader, you can have and know this sweetest joy! We want you to know that if you love God, and want to obey Him, that He will give you this greatest blessing! So we will continue to write on this subject, and other like subjects of ‘How to Please God’ for as long as we are able to and draw breath, by God’s wonderful grace, so that all may have a closer walk with Him and gain this everlasting joy for themselves, to know God and be filled with the Holy Spirit! Amen. Pay close attention to God’s messages to you here.

Love Your Father and Your Mother, and God’s Law of Love:

The Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that ‘God is love’. We cannot comprehend His love, it is beyond our ability to take it all in. But God has given us rules to live by that will help us to know love; they will help us to know how we should behave towards Him and others. These are all based on love. The Fifth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother is no exception. Since God is love, it is without question that He is pleased when you love your father and your mother and seek to honor them. Those who wish to receive the Holy Spirit in full, will honor their father and their mother, by God’s grace, and they will love and cherish them. It is not possible to get to know God and not love your parents. If you love them, you will not ignore their wishes for you, but will honor them and give heed to their wise counsel; you will listen to what they say.

David and Solomon’s Counsel to their Sons:

In Proverbs King Solomon gives the story of his father, King David, instructing him to obey him and seek after wisdom:

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding, for I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live; acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty.’ Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.” Proverbs 4:1-13 NASB.

What wonderful instruction King David gave to his young son Solomon of the path of life! What wonderful instruction this is for us too! He was instructing Solomon to listen to all of his words, and gain wisdom and instruction. David said that if his son would seek out wisdom and understanding, and would prize it, that it would be a garland of grace on his head, and would give him a crown of beauty. Is that what you want dear reader? A garland of grace, and a crown of beauty? Then prize your parent’s instruction and teachings, and seek after it, in as far as it follows the Bible. Seek to bring honor to your parents, or to their memory if they have passed, not shame. It is the way God wants you to treat them. If you have God’s love in your heart this is the way you will be.

In like manner as David instructed his son Solomon in Proverbs, Solomon also instructed his son too:Hear, my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” Proverbs 1:8-10 NASB. Isn’t this what every good parent should tell their son or daughter? ‘My son or daughter, if sinners entice you, do not consent!’ This is wonderful counsel!

“My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your intimate friend; that they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.” Proverbs 7:1-5 NASB. Solomon also writes that “A wise son accepts his father's discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1 NASB. So there you have it: the wise person accepts their father’s discipline, but the scoffer does not listen to rebuke. The scoffer doesn’t believe in God either and does not believe in His word – the Bible, and does their own thing. Where or when do they learn to scoff at God? It most likely starts with them not listening to their father or mother, or when they will not accept their discipline.

Listen to David’s counsel to Solomon when he was turning over his kingdom to him:

Now, my son, the LORD be with you that you may be successful, and build the house of the LORD your God just as He has spoken concerning you. Only the LORD give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.” 1 Chronicles 22:11-13 NASB.

David was speaking to Solomon his son regarding the temple of God that his son was to build. David’s counsel to Solomon describes Solomon’s course in his early rein, but unfortunately Solomon stopped following his father’s advice, and his offspring and the children of Israel paid for it dearly! After Solomon’s death the children of Israel were split up into two different nations, never to totally reunite again! And the idolatry that Solomon brought in, or that his foreign wives brought in caused Israel to sin greatly against God. Oh that Solomon had listened to his father’s advice, and to the advice that he gave to his own son! (Most likely Rehoboam.) Read the books of Kings and Chronicles for this sad account, of the mess started by King Solomon after he departed from the charge his father gave him, that God had given through Moses. Solomon repented from this, but it was too late to stop all the damage and lost souls that accrued because of it. There is a very heavy price to pay for disobeying your parents and God. No happiness ever comes from it, only misery and destruction. So we see here that following your parents’ counsel is important! Look at what happened to Solomon’s offspring and the children of Israel because he didn’t keep following his father’s counsel!

Jesus and Honoring Your Father and Your Mother:

What does Jesus have to say regarding honoring your father and your mother? “And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER'; and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH'; but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),' you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."” Mark 7:6-13 NASB. Where have we seen this before? People try to say that we don’t have to keep God’s Law anymore, because we are under grace. Yes, even in our day there are “scribes and Pharisees” who are expert at setting aside the Law of God. But they have no authority from Him to do this!

Many people today are ‘expert’ at setting aside the Law of God, just like some of the Scribes and Pharisees were in Jesus’ day in their hypocrisy. It is not a good thing to set aside the commandment of God for tradition or for any other reason! The modern world tries to teach us that we can do as we please, if it feels good do it, and that we don’t need to obey our parents. But this is not a good thing! Could it be that those who are teaching rebellion against God, rebelled against their own parents too? Or maybe there has been a rebellion going on for many generations, of children against their parents, and parent’s against their parents? Could this be one of the major problems or sins in our society? Disobeying parents? We think it is.

Obey Your Parents:

The apostle Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” Ephesians 6:1-3 NASB. Paul says that this is the first commandment with a promise. What promise? Long life, i.e. eternal life. What does honoring your father and mother have to do with eternal life? It has everything to do with it! If you wish to live forever, honor your father and mother, treat them with kindness and respect, and ask God to forgive you when you’ve missed the mark. Why is this? Because your parents are there to teach you about God and how to live. They act as your guardians until you get older. People who are disrespectful to their parents are usually disrespectful to God. Those who disobey their parents usually disobey God as well. Good parents want what’s best for their children and seek for their good, though they may have trouble showing it sometimes, and they may lose their temper with their children, or not do everything the right way from time-to-time. You are only to obey your father and mother ‘in the Lord,’ in as much as they instruct you according to the Bible, as Paul says above. If they tell you something contrary to God’s word in the Bible, you are not to do it, but you are to still love and respect them.

Where would we be without our parents? We would not exist. We exist because God created our first parents Adam and Eve, and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Genesis 1:27-28. And so it happens generation after generation, father and mother to son and daughter – they bequeath life to their children, giving them a chance to get to know God, have love, peace, joy and happiness, and a chance to have eternal life. So not only should we be grateful to God for our life and happiness, love, joy and peace, but to our earthly parents for bringing us into this world, and giving us this chance too! Parents take part in God’s creation when they have children. This is God’s plan. He created man and woman to be companions of each other, to share their love with each other and with the children He gave them. And the children in turn to their children and so on. This tells us a lot about our Heavenly Father doesn’t it? He is very kind, loving, and giving! He allows us to take part in His creation, to train up our children if we are parents, to teach them about Him and the way to eternal life. He knows just what we need, and has provided for all of our needs. Oh, why don’t we thank Him more for His great kindness to us? Why don’t we love and trust Him all the way? Hasn’t He abundantly supplied all of our needs?

When you leave home and strike out on your own, should you still follow your parents’ council? When your parent’s get old should you still listen to them? Yes. “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Proverbs 23:22 NIV. Do not shame your parents. Think about their needs and be helpful to them, and try not to bring reproach or shame upon them. There will come a day when you will need to take care of your parents, when they get older. When you were young they took care of you. When they are older take care of them too, when they need your help, even if it is inconvenient to do so. If you love them this will not be a problem. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NASB. If you know God you will love your parents, for the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Even if you feel your parents have greatly wronged you, no matter what they have done to you, you still need to love them. What? Remember what Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45 KJV.

Even if your parents have greatly wronged you, Jesus wants you to forgive and love them! If you are a Christian and follow what Jesus said, you will love everyone: family, friends and enemies (i.e. those who have made your life miserable and hurt you, etc.) It is clear based on what Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, that a true Christian should love everyone, enemy or not. Therefore you should also love your parents, regardless of what they have done to you. You need divine help to love your enemies, but God will help you if this is your desire. God does not want you to hate anyone. No one will be given a pass from loving their enemies or an excuse to hate them! Jesus said that forgiving those who have wronged you is a requirement for eternal life. See Matthew 6:12. This includes your parents and other family members! So you must forgive and love your parents too, even if you feel they don’t deserve it, if you want eternal life.

Those who honor their parents while they live, will press on and continue to try to please them after their death, as if they were still alive. This is what creates the fabric of a good society. If this were happening more often than it does, this world would be more like heaven on earth! See how important it is to honor your father and mother? It is important that parents teach their children to love and obey them! This is their duty. This is very important! It teaches them to love and obey God and keep His Law of love too!He who keeps the law is a wise son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.” Proverbs 28:7 RSV. The King James has this last part as ‘a companion of riotous men shameth his father.Those who disobey their parents may eventually turn to riotous living: living without restraint, living in sin.

Rebellion, Mocking and Crime can Develop out of Disobedience to Parents:

“And Samuel said [to King Saul], Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23 KJV. The Bible compares those who rebel against God with the sin of witchcraft. Rebellion and stubbornness can lead to being lost.

There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” Proverbs 30:11-14 KJV.

People don’t start out in rebellion against God. It probably starts with them dishonoring their parents, disobeying them, and doing their own thing. Then when they are reproved or rebuked by others, they get stubborn and refuse to listen, and become rebellious.

Not only can rebellion develop out of disobedience to parents, but so can despising and mocking them too. The Bible warns against this: “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” Proverbs 30:17 NASB. This indicates that those who don’t listen to their father or mother, who mock and despise them what their end could be… They could end up hanging around with violent people or getting into crime, and getting killed in the end. Their body may end up lying in some field where the birds would pick their eyes out. Those who listen to their parents will be shielded from a lot of problems! Disobedience to parents or dishonoring them can also lead to crimes against them. The Bible warns against this: “He who robs his father or his mother and says, "It is not a transgression," Is the companion of a man who destroys.” Proverbs 28:24 NASB. Does it need to be mentioned that no one should steal from their parents? The Bible brings it up; it is part of honoring your father and mother. There are many problems today in our society caused by rebelliousness and disobedience to parents.

Children and even young adults are often disobedient to parents. The entertainment media, including music, Hollywood movies, TV shows, and violent or sinful computer games, etc. are doing everything they can it seems to try to get children or youth to rebel against parents, authority, and God. There is great peer pressure among the teens to rebel! It is not an easy thing to grow up in this day and age and honor your father and mother, much less God!

Paul warns of the perils and the problems of the last days including disobedience to parents:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult [or perilous] times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB. The King James renders this as ‘in the last days perilous times shall come.’  We believe this to be clearer for this last part than the NASB. In the last days, perilous times will come. We believe this is describing the days we are living in now!

Make no mistake, we are living in the Last Days now. What Paul has been describing here has been going on for years and years now! It is not for some day in the future! It’s here now! Our salvation is now closer than when we first believed, it is high time to wake out of sleep! “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:11-14 NASB. Put on the armor of light, give yourself to God all the way, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a parent, this will also help you to train your children.

God is more than able to help all who learn to love and trust Him to overcome, if they are willing to forsake the world and sin and get to know Him.Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 NASB.

In Conclusion:

You learned that God is love and that all of His commandments are love, and that the Fifth Commandment to ‘honor your father and your mother’ is also love; it is the right thing to do. And that if you want to have the Holy Spirit in full, that you must obey or want to obey God; this is the key to everything good in this life and the life to come. You learned that children should listen to the counsel of their parents, and prize getting it and wisdom, that they may be exalted and not have to live in shame, with the results of making bad choices, and to have a long life with happiness. You also learned that if you want to have eternal life, you need to listen to your parents and heed their wise counsel in the Lord, which is to do what they say, if it follows the Bible and doesn’t go against it. You learned that there is a heavy price to pay for not listening to or not following your parent’s wise counsel, like what happened to Solomon’s offspring or the children of Israel, because he stopped following his father’s counsel. Even though Solomon repented from what he had done, it was too late to stop the evil which resulted from his sins, which were are result of not continuing to listen to his father’s counsel.

You learned from Jesus that some scribes and Pharisees taught that it was ok for someone to not do their duty to ‘love and honor their parents’, if they devoted their wealth to God after their death. But Jesus told them that they were hypocrites (because they claimed to follow and obey God), but were setting aside some of God’s laws, when it suited their own purposes. In fact, they were expert at it! His message to them was a harsh rebuke. It was not a good thing what they were doing! You also learned that there are those in our day who are expert at setting aside the law of God too, and that rebellion against God may have been caused by parents rebelling against their parents, and so on, for many generations. Disobeying or rebelling against parents is also disobeying or rebelling against God. This is probably one of the major problems or sins in our society today. The sin of disobeying parents is not to be taken lightly! The ones doing it usually have problems obeying other laws and authority as well.

You also learned that Paul said that you need to honor your father and mother, that you may live long on the earth, which also has to do with your eternal life as well. Those who want to live forever need to honor their parents. You also learned that God gave to mankind this blessing of having a family to share your love with, and that this is passed on from parent to child, which is part of God’s plan, and that you take part in God’s creation when you are a parent. You also learned that God is kind and provides for all of your needs, and that you should thank Him for it. You should still follow your parents’ council when you and they get older, and after they die. If you know God (and love God), you will love your parents too, no matter what they have done to you; you have an obligation to do this. If you have hate towards anyone, including your parents, you are guilty to some degree as if you were a murderer, and are guilty before the court of Heaven, if you haven’t confessed this to God. If you wish to live forever, you must forgive everyone, including your parents.

You also learned that rebellion can develop out of disobedience to parents. You learned that we are living in the last days, and that one of the predominate signs of this age is children who are disobedient to parents, along with all of the other great and excessive corruptions, wickedness and rebellion that seems to be taking over everywherethese are all signs of the times. Evidently in the Last Days there will be great wickedness that will be very widespread throughout the earth; it will eventually be a rare thing to find people who aren’t totally wicked; they will be the exception. It will not be long before this world’s history concludes, and the Second Coming of Jesus takes place. It is time for you to wake up out of your sleep, if you are not aware of all of this yet, or if your life is not right with God. Or if you haven’t received the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit yet, to help you stop hurting God, yourself, and others. One of the big reasons why this world is getting wicked so fast, is because there is much wickedness in the entertainment media, that people are consuming a lot of, including music, TV, movies, bad internet sites, and many computer games, etc. Do not love the world or the things in this world. Those that love the world, or the things in it, do not know God or love Him. The world is passing away, and those who love the things of this world will pass away too. Those who want a better life, who want to live forever, will allow God to help them not to love this world, and to help them not indulge in the unlawful lusts of the flesh, or be full of pride. Those who want to live forever will want to do God’s will, and will not love the things of the world.

Concluding Appeal:

Dear reader, if you still have guilt from your past, unfulfilled duties, or for not giving yourself totally to God, you can still ask Him to forgive you for this and receive mercy. If you have ever failed to treat your parents with the utmost kindness, honor and respect, or failed to heed all of their wise advice to you, or have been disobedient or rebellious against them, or God, you can beg for God’s mercy and receive it, if you would humble your heart before Him now, confess, and you will receive it. And then ask Him to help you make amends, to repent and change your ways. God loves you, and longs for you to be in harmony with Him, and that you would love Him, your parents, and your neighbor as yourself, and be filled with His wonderful peace! He longs to give you His precious Holy Spirit to help you to love and obey Him, and to love others. What a wonderful God we have, who is so kind, loving and merciful! No one deserves His love or mercy, but it is still there for all who want it. But do not wait, He is calling you now – do you hear His voice? Do not wait, when you can have this wonderful peace and His sweet Spirit now. Why wait, when you can have peace now? Don’t put it off, because tomorrow may never come. Listen to His sweet voice, while you can still hear Him pleading with you.

If you already have God’s wonderful peace, and are filled with His Holy Spirit, we are happy for you, and hope you have learned more about God’s Law of love, in the Fifth Commandment Part 1.

May the grace of God be with you. May you honor your father and mother, that your life may be long on the land which God gives you, and enter into the gates of Heaven. Amen.

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Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1 (Complete)

By George Storrs

"May we know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know, therefore, what these things mean." - Acts xvii.19, 20.

PAUL, the apostle, in preaching the gospel, came to Athens; he there beheld an altar inscribed "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." At the idolatry he saw, his spirit was stirred within him; hence he disputed daily with them that met him. He encountered certain philosophers - wise men, no doubt, - at least in their own estimation - and some of them said: What will this babbler say? Others said, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange Gods. Doubtless they thought he was a heretic of the blackest stamp; yet they seemed disposed to hear him, before they passed final sentence upon him. In this respect they manifested a better disposition than many of the present day, who are so wise in their own estimation, that no one can advance a thought to which they will listen, unless it has first received the approbation of some doctor of divinity.

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Not so with the men of Athens; strange as the things were that the Apostle taught, they were desirous to know what the new doctrine was. Not that it was new in itself, but only new to them.

Various errors exist among men in regard to revealed truth. These errors go to show how imperfect we are in knowledge - the mistakes committed in our education - the reluctance of the mind to investigate - and a want of moral courage to step aside from the track marked out by learned men, as they are thought to be, but who, most likely, have conducted their own investigations under the influence of the fear of being denounced as heretics, if they should be led to results unlike to those who are reputed for wisdom. But "if any man will be wise, let him become a fool that he may be wise," is the language of the apostle. We honor God only so far as we have right conceptions of His character, government and purposes, and act in accordance with them. If we believe God will reward, or punish men contrary to His own word, we dishonor Him, however much sincerity we may possess. Truth and the honor of God are inseparable: and we cannot glorify our Heavenly Father by erroneous opinions. Yet, most professed Christians, if pressed on the subject, can give little better reason for what they believe, on many points, than that such has been the instruction they have received from men. It is a solemn duty to study our Bibles, and form our opinions of what they teach for ourselves, as we must answer for ourselves. But in this study the adoption of correct principles of interpretation is of the first importance. Without this, our appeal to the word of God may only serve to confirm us in error. The plainest truths of the Bible have been wrapped

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in darkness by pretending that the language of the Scriptures has a mystical or secret meaning that does not appear in the words employed. Such a principle of interpretation is a libel on the Bible. That Book professes to be a revelation; and the Saviour says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." The language of the Bible, then, should be explained as the language of any other book, i.e., according to its plain and obvious meaning: unless there is a clear necessity for departing from it. A strict adherence to this principle is necessary, if we would be saved from the wildest errors, and see the children of God united in one. With these remarks I proceed to

THE QUESTION AT ISSUE, OR POINT IN DEBATE

The question is not, whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal. These points are admitted and abundantly proved by the Bible; but the question is - Will the wicked who live and die in their sins, continue eternally, or without end, in a state of conscious existence? Or, once more - Is the punishment God has threatened to sinners an eternal state of suffering and sin? This involves the question of immortality. For if all men can be proved to be immortal, it seems to follow from the Bible, that the finally impenitent will be left in a state of endless suffering and sin.

THE ARGUMENTS IN PROOF OF MAN'S IMMORTALITY

These are mainly three, viz: First - The desire all men feel for it. Second - That the soul is immaterial, uncompounded, indivisible, hence indestructible, and

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therefore immortal. Third - That God wills the immortality of all men. To these, perhaps, another should be added, viz: - "All nations and people have believed the soul immortal." To this last argument, I answer - There is no evidence that all nations and people have believed it. There is evidence to the contrary. In the "Dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul" - found in "PLATO'S DIALOGUES" - Socrates, having spoken of the nature of the soul, says - "Shall a soul of this nature, and created with all these advantages, be dissipated and annihilated as soon as it parts from the body, as most men believe?" Here the fact is brought out, that so far from its being a general belief that the soul is immortal, the exact reverse was true in Socrates' day. Socrates is supposed to have believed the souls of the good were immortal, and would ascend to the Gods at death. With respect to bad men, it is not so clear what his opinion was in regard to the final result with them. It seems, however, that he thought after they left the body, they wandered awhile in impure places, in suffering, "till they again enter a new body, and in all probability plunge themselves into the same manners and passions, as were the occupation of their first life. "For instance," continues Socrates, "those who made their belly their God, and loved nothing but indolence and impurity without any shame, and without any reserve, these enter into the bodies of asses, or such like creatures. And those who loved only injustice, tyranny and rapine, are employed to animate the bodies of wolves, hawks and falcons. Where else should souls of that sort go? The case of the rest is much the same. They go to animate the bodies of beasts of different species, according as they resemble

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their former dispositions. The happiest of all these men are those who have made a profession of popular and civil virtues, such as temperance and justice; to which they have brought themselves only by habit and exercise, without any assistance from philosophy and the mind. It is probable, that after their death, their souls are joined to the bodies of politic and meek animals, such as bees, wasps and ants."

Surely, one would think that this is little short of annihilation itself. Socrates, after speaking of those who lived, "following reason for their guide," etc., says - "After such a life, and upon such principles, what should the soul be afraid of? Shall it fear, that upon its departure from the body, the winds will dissipate it, and run away with it, and that annihilation will be its fate?"

On this subject, Archbishop Whately, in his Lectures on "Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State," speaks thus: -

"Among the heathen philosophers, Plato has been appealed to, as having believed in a future state of reward and punishment, on the ground that the passages in his works in which he inculcates the doctrine, are much more numerous than those in which he expresses his doubt of it. I cannot undertake to say that such is not the case; for this arithmetical mode (as it may be called) of ascertaining a writer's sentiments, by counting the passages on opposite sides, is one which had never occurred to me; nor do I think it is likely to be generally adopted. If, for instance, an author were to write ten volumes in defence of Christianity, and two or three times to express his suspicion that the whole is a tissue of fables, I believe few of his readers would feel any doubt as to his real sentiments. When a writer is at variance with himself, it is usual to judge from the nature of the subject, and the circumstances

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of the case, which is likely to be his real persuasion, and which, the one, he may think it decorous, or politically expedient, to profess.

"Now in the present case, if the ancient writers disbelieved a future state of reward and punishment, one can easily understand why they should nevertheless occasionally speak as if they did believe it; since the doctrine, they all agreed, was useful in keeping the multitude in awe. On the other hand, would they, if they did believe in it, ever deny its truth? or rather (which is more commonly the case in their works) would they allude to it as a fable so notoriously and completely disbelieved by all enlightened people as not to be worth denying, much less refuting, any more than tales of fairies are by modern writers?

"Even Aristotle has been appealed to as teaching (in the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics) the doctrine of a future state of enjoyment or suffering; though it is admitted by all, that, within a few pages, he speaks of death as the complete and final extinction of existence, "beyond which there is neither good nor evil to be expected." He does not even assert this as a thing to be proved, or which might be doubted; but alludes to it merely, as unquestioned and unquestionable. The other passage (in which he is supposed to speak of a state of consciousness after death) has been entirely mistaken by those who have so understood it. He expressly speaks of the dead, in that very passage, as "having no perception;" and all along proceeds on that supposition.

"But many things appear good or evil to a person who has no perception of them at the time they exist. For example, many have undergone great toils for the sake of leaving behind them an illustrious name, or of bequeathing a large fortune to their children: almost every one dislikes the idea of having his character branded with infamy after his death; or of his children coming to poverty or disgrace: many are pleased with the thought of a splendid funeral and stately monuments; or their bones reposing beside those of their forefathers, or of their beloved friends; and many

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dread the idea of their bodies being disinterred and dissected, or torn by dogs. Now no one, I suppose, would maintain that all who partake of such feelings, expect that they shall be conscious, at the time, of what is befalling their bodies, their reputation, or their families after death; much less, that they expect that their happiness will, at that time, be effected by it. In fact, such feelings as I have been speaking of, seem to have always prevailed, even the more strongly, in those who expected no future state.

"It is of these posthumous occurrences that Aristotle is speaking, in the passage in question. But he expressly says, in that very passage, that "it would be absurd to speak of a man's actually enjoying happiness after he is dead;" evidently proceeding (as he always does) on the supposition that the dead have ceased to exist.

"The ancient heathens did but conjecture, without proof, respecting a future state. And there is this remarkable circumstance to be noticed in addition; that those who taught the doctrine (as the ancient heathen lawgivers themselves did, from a persuasion of its importance for men's conduct,) do not seem themselves to have believed what they taught, but to have thought merely of the expediency of inculcating this belief on the vulgar.

"It does not appear, however, that they had much success in impressing their doctrine on the mass of the people: for though a state of future rewards and punishments was commonly talked of among them, it seems to have been regarded as little more than an amusing fable. It does not appear, from the account of their own writers, that men's lives were ever influenced by any such belief. On the contrary, we find them, in speeches publicly delivered and now extant, ridiculing the very notion of any one's seriously believing the doctrine. And when they found death seemingly unavoidable and near at hand, as in the case of a very destructive pestilence, we are told, that those of them who had been the most devout worshippers of their gods, and had applied to them with various superstitious

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ceremonies for deliverance from the plague, finding that the disease still raged, and that they had little chance of escaping it, at once cast off all thoughts of religion; and, resolving to enjoy life while it lasted, gave a loose to all their vicious inclinations. This shows, that even those who had the firmest faith in the power of their gods, looked to them for temporal deliverance only, and for their preservation in this life, and had not only no belief, but no suspicion even, that these Beings had any power to reward and punish beyond the grave; - that there was any truth in the popular tales respecting a future state.

"It may be thought, however, by some, that the wisest of the heathen philosophers, though they did not hold the notions of the vulgar as to the particulars of a future state of rewards and punishments, yet had convinced themselves (as in their writings they profess) of the immortality of the soul. And it is true that they had, in a certain sense; but in such a sense as in fact makes the doctrine amount to nothing at all. They imagined that the souls of men, and of all other animals, were not created by God, but were themselves parts of the divine mind, from which they were separated, when united with bodies; and to which they would return and be reunited, on quitting those bodies; so that the soul, according to this notion, was immortal both ways; that is, not only was to have no end, but had no beginning; and was to return after death into the same condition in which it was before our birth; a state without any distinct personal existence, or consciousness. It was the substance of which the soul is composed, that (according to this doctrine) was eternal, rather than the soul itself; which, as a distinct Being, was swallowed up and put an end to. Now it would be ridiculous to speak of any consolation, or any moral restraint, or any other effect whatever, springing from the belief of such a future state as this, which consists in becoming, after death, the same as we were before birth. To all practical purposes, it is the same thing as annihilation.

"Accordingly the Apostle Paul, when speaking to

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the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv.) of some persons who denied the "Resurrection of the dead," (teaching, perhaps, some such doctrine as that I have just been speaking of) declares, that in that case his "preaching would have been vain." To deny the "resurrection" is, according to him, to represent Christians as "having hope in this life only," and those "who have fallen asleep in Christ, as having perished." (v. 18, 19.) As for any such future existence as the ancient philosophers described, he does not consider it worth a thought.

"Such was the boasted discovery of the heathen sages! which has misled many inattentive readers of their works; who, finding them often profess the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and not being aware what sort of immortality it was that they meant, have hastily concluded that they had discovered something approaching to the truth; or, at least, that their doctrine was one which might have some practical effect on the feelings and conduct, which it is plain it never could. And such, very nearly, is said to be the belief entertained now by the learned among the East Indian Brahmins, though they teach a different doctrine to the vulgar."

Thus, then, it appears there is no truth in the oft repeated assertion that all nations and people have believed in man's immortality, or an endless conscious survivance of a fancied entity called the soul. It was not true of the ancient heathen philosophers themselves, much less of the mass of the people. So far from all nations and people believing the soul immortal, there were a large class among the Jews who did not believe it, viz.: the Sadducees, who said, "There is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit."

It may be replied - "The Sadducees were infidels, but the nation at large believed in the immortality of man; for the Pharisees taught it." I reply – These

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two sects were both extremes: the first denying any future life, and the other making a future life dependent on what we now call transmigration of souls, rather than a real resurrection: and that idea probably arose from their notion of the soul's immortality. - These two sects are alike condemned by our Lord; and his followers are warned to beware of their doctrine: see Matt.16:6-12. Both sects were corrupt in doctrine and in practice. Enough has now been said to show that all nations and people did not believe in the immortality of man.

I proceed to take up the three main arguments in support of man's immortality.

1. The desire all men feel for it.

This argument can avail nothing, unless it can be proved, that what men desire they will possess. But men desire many things they never obtain. All men desire happiness; but does it, therefore, follow that all men will be happy? Certainly not. So, neither does it follow, because all men desire immortality, that therefore, they are immortal, or will all attain it. We might as well argue that because all men desire to be rich, therefore they are rich, or will certainly be so. The desire for immortality is, without doubt, a strong principle implanted in us by the author of our being, to excite us to a course of living that shall secure that invaluable blessing, which He designed to bestow upon man, if he would walk in obedience to the law of his God. - Hence, the dread of the loss of it was to influence men in enduring whatever of trial might be their lot, during their sojourn in this state of probation; and, properly considered, will be a mighty stimulus to enable us to suffer even unto death, if need be, that we may gain ETERNAL LIFE.

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2. It is said - "The soul is a simple essence, immaterial, uncompounded, indivisible, indestructible, and hence immortal."

Here is surely an array of words that might deter a timid man from investigation; but, following the apostolical injunction, I proceed to prove, or examine, these assumptions.

1.) How do those who take this position know the soul is a simple essence? Again, what is a simple essence? can they tell us? Or, is it merely a phrase to blind the mind and hinder investigation? Surely the phrase communicates no idea to the mind of man - it is too vague to give any instruction - it is too subtle to admit of being the subject of thought, and therefore it must pass for an unfounded assumption.

2.) What is immateriality? Strictly speaking it is, not material - not matter. In other words - it is not substance. What is that which has no substance? - What kind of creation is it? If the Creator formed "all things out of nothing," it would seem that man's soul has taken the form of its original, and is nothing still; for it is not matter, we are told. If it is said - "It is a spiritual substance" - I ask, What kind of substance is that, if it is not matter? I cannot conceive, and I do not see how it is possible to conceive, of substance without matter, in some form: it may be exceedingly refined. I regard the phrase, immaterial, as one which properly belongs to the things which are not: a sound without sense or meaning: a mere cloak to hide the nakedness of the theory of an immortal soul in man; a phrase of which its authors are as profoundly ignorant as the most unlearned of their pupils.

3.) It is said - "The soul is uncompounded." If that is true, then it follows that it is uncreated. I can form

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no idea of a creation without compounding. If not compounded it is only what it was: no new idea is produced. Then, if the soul exists at all, as an entity, it must be a part of the uncreated: that is, it must be a part of God. If a part of God, how can it sin? Can God be divided against himself? But how is that God who is "without body or parts" to be separated into the millions of souls that have inhabited, and do inhabit this earth? And then these parts of God often meet in the battle field, slaying each other! Horrid work, truly, for parts of God to be engaged in! But we cannot stop here. Millions of these parts of God sin against other parts of God, and are sent to hell to be tormented eternally, and eternally to curse and blaspheme the other parts of God! Such is the inevitable result of the theory I oppose, disguise it as its advocates may.

4.) "The soul is indivisible," it is affirmed. Then, if a part of God, it is an undivided part of God; and there is not, and cannot be, in the nature of the case, but one soul to the whole human family. If the soul is indivisible, how could Abraham give or communicate a soul to Isaac? It could not be an offshoot from his own, for that would make his soul divisible, and our opposers say it is "indivisible." I cannot see, if Abraham communicated Isaac's soul to him, but what it must still have been Abraham's soul in Isaac, if the soul is not divisible; and then I do not see how there can be more than one soul for the whole family; and as that is "indivisible," it is a family soul; hence it follows that the action of any one man must be the action of the family soul; so if one man sins, it is a family sin, or if one man acts virtuously it is a family virtue. Again, as the soul is "indivisible," all men

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must have the same common destiny: say, for example, if Abraham should be lost, Isaac must be lost, for the soul can't be divided! and so whatever is the fate of the first man, Adam, must be the fate of all his race, or else the soul must be divisible; and then, what would become of the theory of its indivisibility? - Happy for man, however, we have the assurance that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are saved, and that proves Adam and Eve were, and that all their posterity must inevitably be so too - for "the soul is indivisible!" Thus our opposers take a short and certain rout to universal salvation. Can they get out of that dilemma without abandoning their theory?

There is no avoiding these conclusions only by affirming that a soul is created for each new-born child. But if created, is it holy or unholy? If holy, does God place holy souls in unholy bodies to pollute and defile them? If souls are a new creation at birth, how is Adam's moral depravity transmitted to his posterity? as theologians affirm it is. But if they are created unholy, is any soul of man blameworthy for his moral depravity? These are questions for the theologians to solve who maintain the indivisibility of the soul: questions which are no longer to pass by any man's mere affirmation. Give us proof - "thus saith the Lord," for these assumptions about the soul.

5.) Shall it be affirmed the soul is "indestructible?" If so, it is because God has determined it shall not be destroyed, or because he lacks power to destroy it. - If it is the first, give us Scripture testimony of such determination. I hesitate not to say, there is no "thus saith the Lord" for any such assumption. If it is said, God cannot destroy it - I ask, did he create it? If so, does it take a greater exertion of power to destroy

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than to create? or, did God so exhaust his omnipotence in the act of creation that it is not now equal to the work of reducing back to its original state that which he has made? If I were to affirm God's inability to destroy anything he has created I might justly be charged with being "infidel." As it is, my opposers might more justly be charged with atheism; for they, in fact, deny Jehovah's omnipotence, which is equivalent to a denial of his being.

If to make their assumptions stronger they use the term annihilate, and say, "nothing can be annihilated - therefore man cannot be;" I answer, this position is wholly untenable, and is a deceptive play upon words. If a man dash in pieces a bottle, or burn a house to ashes, or consume a lamb in the fire, are not the bottle, the house, the lamb, annihilated? Say not, the elements of which they consisted still exist: they - the bottle, the house, the lamb - do not exist, as such: that form is annihilated. Not the elements of which he was formed: but as man he is no more. On the subject of annihilation, however, I may speak more at large in another place: I will only add now - If "God created all things out of nothing," as the theology of the age affirms, then he can, if he will, reduce all things back to nothing, or omnipotence has ceased to be omnipotent.

The attempt to prove the immortality of the soul, from its supposed indestructibility, is without force or truth; and with it falls the whole catalogue of assumptions, with which it is connected. He who created can destroy - "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" - in gehenna.

The Philosophical argument for the immortality of

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man's soul, when stript of all its useless attire, stands thus: -

1. There are only two primary substances, viz: matter and spirit.
 
2. Matter has no power of self-motion, or self-determination, however it may be organized.

3. Therefore, wherever we see matter endowed with this power, there must have been added to it an immortal spirit or soul, that is immaterial, etc.  

This is the soul of all the philosophical arguments that have ever been put forth to prove man has an immortal soul. If the position is true it endows every animal, insect, or crawling worm upon earth with an immortal and immaterial soul just as really as man; and strips Jesus Christ of all the glory of bestowing immortality upon man by his work and meditation.

Having examined the first two arguments in favor of the natural immortality of men, and shown, as I think, that they have no foundation in truth, the ground of argument is narrowed to the one point, viz:

3. Is it the will of God that wicked men, who die in their sins, shall be immortal?

In determining this question, no man will be called master or father that now lives or ever did live. It will weigh nothing in my mind, what any of the (so-called) "fathers," have said or written; but what saith the testimony of God? * "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

* Isaiah 8:20 KJV.

First, I call attention to what man lost by the fall. In order to understand this, let us look at man prior to the fall. He was a probationer. For what? Not for life merely, as he was in the enjoyment of that. I conclude it was for eternal life, or, life uninterrupted

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by death - figured and set forth before his eyes by the "tree of life" - as death , the opposite, was set forth by the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." Each of those trees, I conclude, were signs; the one of Life, the other of Death - not of man's body merely, but of the whole man; or, in other words, "Life and Death" were "set before" him. Eternal life must depend upon the development of a moral character in harmony with his Maker. If a development is made hostile and unharmonious, he is assured he shall not live, but shall "surely die." Thus permanent disorder is guarded against in God's universe, and man had before him a standing call and warning - a call to obedience and Life; a warning against disobedience, or sin and Death. He disregarded the warning, and slighted the call - he sinned. Now, "The Lord said, lest he (man) put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat, and LIVE FOR EVER, he (God) drove out the man, and placed a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." That is as clear as language can express it, the Lord God determined, or willed, that man should not be immortal in his sin; or, in other words, by sin man failed to secure a title to immortality, and was cut off from the "tree of life;" or, the sign God had given him of eternal life, was "hid from" his "eyes."

That this loss relates to the whole man, and not to the body merely, as some suppose, I prove from the fact, that if it related to the body only, then there is not a particle of evidence in the transaction, of pronouncing sentence upon man, by his Maker, * that any penalty was threatened to the soul - supposing man to possess such an entity - or inflicted upon it. There is surely none in the context; and it appears to me, that

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if the exclusion from the tree of life, lest man should eat and live for ever, does not relate to the entire man, there is no evidence there that the denunciation of God against him affected any thing but his body. - It appears it was God's will that man should not be immortal in sin and misery; and this will is expressed in the text under consideration.

* Editor’s note: This paragraph could be confusing to you. The point that George Storrs is making here is that there is no evidence that the Tree of Life was just for someone’s body; the loss relates to the whole man. If the sentence of death was to the body only, it is not a strong enough penalty, because if the man could go on living as a dead soul, they would not be fully dead. But what does the Bible say? Paul under inspiration tells us that ‘the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23 KJV. There are only two options here: death or eternal life, nothing in between! Paul makes no mention here of an in between state where someone’s body is dead, but their soul is still alive. Paul states that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The death of the sinner is contrasted to the life that God gives to the believing sinner who repents. If the sinner repents and receives God’s gift, they will have eternal life, which is life in every sense of the word, not eternal life for a soul whose body has long since departed. But if the sinner fails to repent or fails to receive God’s gift that He longs to impart to man, when they die they will permanently lose their ability of gaining eternal life. We want you to get this! Because there are some religions in this world that teach that people get another chance if they totally mess up this life and die! Don’t believe it! Paul only lists two possibilities here, either death or life, he makes no mention of anything in between. We think that most people would agree on the definition of life for a human being, just look around you, look at yourself, and talk to the ones you know and love. We don’t think anyone really needs to hear some philosopher, scientist or Christian theologian explain to them what it means to be alive and living. It should be evident to all. The Bible in most cases, except for symbolic prophecy and some symbolic parables, speaks in the plain language of men, so that all may understand. You don’t need a PhD in order to understand what it says, if you can read and pray to God for His guidance, He will make it clear to you what you need to know now. Life in Heaven will be similar to life on earth here now, except there will be no sin, and peace, love and joy will be unabated throughout eternity! It most definitely will be a real, physical place, with real physical people living in it. But in the cases where the Bible uses symbolism, it can also be clearly understood if someone loves and wants to obey God, and if they will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbols in other parts of the Bible, instead of injecting their modern ideas and beliefs into the Bible! You must have the Holy Spirit working in your heart in order to be able to understand the Bible. If someone has departed from God, or is living in disobedience, you can be sure that they will get off track in some portion of the Bible or more if they even read it, because spiritual things are “Spiritually” discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14. The Bible is not for those who wish to have their own way, live their life the way they please, or for those who don’t want to obey God. Those who don’t want a better life, and don’t want to repent or get relief from their guilt and sins should move on, and not waste their time reading the Bible, until they finally see their need and turn to God for help. You can only gain new light from the Bible if you are living up to what God has already revealed to you!

Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Again - that this loss related to the whole man, I prove from the fact, that our Saviour, in his address to one of the seven churches of Asia, says, "to him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God." How clear the reference, and how obvious, that it is the whole man that is spoken of; and that none are to have access to that tree, or have immortality, but such as overcome. Will it be pretended that this relates to the body only? If so, then it proves that the body will not be immortal, unless we overcome - for the objector has admitted that the loss of the tree of life was the means of death to the body; and unless he regains access to that tree, or that which it represented, he must remain under death; and, as access to that tree is to be had only on condition of victory, the impenitent sinner will not have an immortal body, if the objector's theory is correct, whatever becomes of the fancied soul.

But I wish to call attention further to the tree of life, to show that it related to something more than the body. Revelation, 22nd chapter and 2nd verse, we read thus: - "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life," etc.; and at the 14th verse - "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the

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city." The reference here is too clear to be misunderstood; no one will pretend that this relates to the body merely. By what authority, then, do they assume it, in regard to the "tree of life" in Paradise?

* Editor’s note: Why would a dead soul need the Tree of Life? The fruits on the Tree of Life give eternal life to those who are alive if they eat from it; it keeps them from dying. See Genesis 2:9. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created alive and given access to the Tree of Life until they sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. There is no mention anywhere in the scriptures that the Tree of Life can bring life back to the dead, only that it can extend the life of one who is already alive, that they may live forever if they eat it. Genesis 3:22. What did Jesus say regarding Himself? “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. According to the Bible, the only way that someone can be raised from the dead, is if Jesus raises them from the dead, because He is the Resurrection and the Life. Even though some individuals in the Bible like Elijah, Peter and Paul were said to have raised someone from the dead, it was only by the power of God, or by the power of Jesus that they were able to do so, because it cannot invalidate Jesus’ claim that He is the Resurrection and the Life. And God honoring their request to raise someone from the dead, whom they prayed for, rested on Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world, in fact it depended on it. So Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Allow me here to introduce an extract or two from Richard Watson. Few men have written better than he. His "Institutes" are well known among many in this country, as well as in Europe. In his sermon on "Paradise shut and re-opened," he has this remark

"The tree of life was a kind of sacrament. As the promise of immortality was given to Adam, every time he ate of this tree by God's appointment, he expressed his faith in God's promise; and God, as often as he ate of it sealed the promise of immortality to man. - In this view, sin excluded man from the tree of life, as he lost his title to immortality." Again, Mr. Watson says, in his sermon on "The tree of life," - "It has been suggested that it was the natural means appointed to counteract disease by medical virtue; and thus to prevent bodily decay and death." "This" he says, "is not an improbable hypothesis; but we have no authority for it; and if we had, our inquiries would not be at an end. For this hypothesis relates only to the body; whereas we find the tree of life spoken of in connection with the life of the soul - not only with immortality on earth, but with immortality in heaven. Thus wisdom, heavenly wisdom, is called 'a tree of life, with reference to the safety of the soul; and the 'fruit of the righteous' is declared to be 'a tree of life,' with reference to its issue in another world. - Thus also in the visions described by Ezekiel, of the glories of the Church on earth, and of those of St. John relating to the Church in heaven, 'the tree of life' stands as a conspicuous object in the scenes of

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grandeur and beauty which each unfold; and therefore as closely connected with ideas of spiritual life here and hereafter."

"Is it not, therefore, without reason," he continues, "that many eminent divines have considered this tree as a constant pledge to Adam of a higher life; and since there was a covenant of works, the tenor of which was, 'this do, and thou shalt live,' - and as we know God has ever connected signs, seals, and sacraments with his covenants - analogy may lead us to conclude that this tree was the matter of sacrament - the eating of it a religious act; and that it was called 'the tree of life,' because it was not only a means of sustaining the immortality of the body, but the pledge of spiritual life here, and of a higher and more glorious life in a future state, to which man might pass, not, indeed, by death, but by translation."

"This will explain," continues Mr. Watson, "the reason why the fruit of that tree was prohibited after man had sinned. He had broken the covenant, and had no right now to eat of the sign, the sacrament, the pledge of immortality. 'Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever: therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. God resumed his promises, withdrew the sign of them, and now refused any token or assurance of his favor."

Mr. Watson adds, "The Judge passes sentence, but the Judge also gives a promise; and man is bidden to hope in another object, 'the seed of the woman.' That seed was henceforth to be his tree of life."

Thus much for Mr. Watson. He did not hold the doctrine for which I contend, in regard to the final destiny of the wicked; still, there are passages in his FACTS FROM GOD'S WORD FOR CONSIDERATION.

FACTS FROM GOD'S WORD FOR CONSIDERATION

Before I proceed further, I wish to call attention to a few facts from the Scriptures of divine truth.

The word "Eternal" occurs but twice in the Old Testament. Once in Deut. 23:27, and is applied to God - "The eternal God is thy refuge" - and once in Is. 60:15, and is spoken of the city of God - "I will make thee an eternal excellency." The phrase "Eternity" occurs but once in the Bible, viz., Is.57:15, and is applied to God - "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity." How common to hear men talk about eternity - and to hear ministers tell their hearers they are going into eternity - and urge that consideration upon them, to call up attention. "Prepare for eternity," say they. To my mind, it is evident, that consideration is not made use of in the Scriptures, to lead men to God. I conceive it is false, in fact, to say a man has gone into eternity, because nothing can be clearer than that time will continue endlessly to any being that had a beginning: if he continues in life a relation will always exist to the period when life commenced, and that relation

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cannot be separated from time. To say, then, that a man has gone, or is "going into eternity ," is saying that which is not true; and to urge upon a person such a consideration is to be "wise above what is written." Jesus Christ, nor his apostles ever used it. They preached that men were perishing - dying - exposed to death - in danger of losing everlasting life - traveling in the way that leadeth to destruction, etc.; and exhorted them to repent - believe - to lead a new life - to save themselves from this untoward generation - to lay hold on eternal life, etc. - but never told their hearers - "You are hastening to eternity;" for, I repeat it, that is not true, in fact.

When men die they "sleep in the dust of the earth:" Dan.12:2. They wake not till Christ returns "from heaven;" or till the last trump. See 1 Cor. 15:18,32,51,52; Phil. 3 :11,20,21; and 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

The phrase "eternal life," occurs no where in the Bible, except in the New Testament, and is always spoken of the righteous; it never has connected with it any qualifying terms, such as "happy," "blessed," or "miserable," etc., but simply denotes life in opposition to the death of the wicked. See Romans 6:21-23. "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life; for the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Here life and death are put in opposition, and no intimation is given that the death of the wicked is eternal conscious being in torments. It is very common to hear people talk about a happy

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eternal life - a blessed eternal life - a glorious eternal life; as though the language of the Bible were not explicit enough. Such additions to the word of God, give evidence, if we had no other, that there is something defective in their theory. Such additions ought always to be looked upon with suspicion; and, if received at all, be received with great caution.

In interpreting the Scriptures, if we would be saved from the wild fields of conjecture, and save ourselves from an entire dependence upon others for the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, we must have some settled principles of interpretation.

The following I consider the most important: -

First - That words are to have their primary and obvious meaning, unless there is a clear necessity of departing from it. By their primary and obvious meaning, I mean the plain and direct sense of the words, such as they may be supposed to have in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country in which they lived, without any of those learned, artificial, and forced senses, such as are put on them by those who claim the right to be the "authorized expounders of the Bible." Such forced sense is, usually, nothing more than the peculiar notions they have been brought up in, and may have no better foundation than the superstition of some good old ancestor.

The next principle of interpretation I would lay down is, That it is a truth, from which we are not to depart without the clearest evidence, that words are never used to mean more than their primary signification; though they may be, and often are, used to signify something less. Not to adhere to this principle is to make revelation no revelation. Those who abandon

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it may as well admit, at once, that the common people ought not to have the Bible, for it will only lead them astray. Why should Protestants boast over the Catholics in this respect? Do not both, virtually, claim that the language of Scripture is mystical, or has a meaning that does not appear in the common signification of the words? and, therefore, the Priests must interpret them to the people? Might we not as well give our Bibles altogether into the hands of these interpreters? Especially, if the plain common sense meaning of words is not to be followed, when there is no clear necessity for departing from it.

The primary meaning of the term death is, "the extinction of life." To say that when God threatens men with death, he does not mean they shall die, but be kept alive in eternal torments is not warranted by any ordinary use of language. What should we think of a law that says, "For murder thou shalt die," if we were told the meaning is not, that the transgressor shall actually die, but be kept alive in indescribable torments, protracted to the greatest possible extent? Would any man think he was fairly dealt with by such an administration? And would he not have just cause of complaint at the want of definiteness in the terms used to denote the punishment threatened!

The term "Immortal" occurs but once in the Bible, viz.: 1 Tim. 1:17; and is applied to God, "The king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God." If we were to judge by the frequency that we hear the phrase "immortal soul," we should suppose it was the most common expression in the Scriptures. You will hardly hear a sermon without the preacher often telling, with great emphasis, about "the immortal

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soul," as though he thought that qualifying term was all important to impress his hearers with a sense of the soul's value; not content, with the Saviour to ask - "What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" No, that would be quite too weak, in his estimation, and he must strengthen it by adding, "immortal." To show the absurdity of such a course, I have only to say - That which is immortal cannot be lost. Hence, the persons who use this qualifying term, have to add another, and say - lose all "happiness." Now, the loss of the soul, and the loss of happiness, are two very different things, and each capable of being expressed in appropriate language.  *To say, when our Saviour said, a man may "lose his own soul," he did not mean that he will come short of immortality, perish, or cease all sense and life, but only that he shall lose the happiness of his soul, is, in my mind, corrupting the word of God.

* Editor’s Note: This belief is clearly at variance with the word of God, for it contradicts Jesus, as George Storrs’ notes.

As in sermons, so it is in prayers. Men seem to think prayers have but little power, unless they spice them often with "immortal soul:" and they would probably regard you as an infidel, if you were to tell them the Bible no where speaks of an immortal soul. How often, too, do we hear men talk about "the undying soul," in direct contradiction of the testimony of God, which expressly declares, "the soul that sinneth, IT SHALL DIE." A hymn, often sung begins as follows:

"A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify, A never dying soul to save And fit it for the sky."

The same hymn ends thus: -
"Help me to watch and pray, And on thyself rely, Assured if I my trust betray, I shall forever die."

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How a never dying soul can forever die, it will take a poet to tell; or a very learned divine. Common people are not skilled in such palpable contradictions. The hymn under consideration is one of great beauty and excellence, with the exception of this defect.

The term "immortality," occurs only five times in the Bible, and is never spoken of the wicked; but is either applied to God and His Christ, or brought to view as something to be sought after, and to be found alone in Christ. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for honor, glory, immortality, - eternal life," Rom.2:7. Why, I pray, are men to seek for it, if it is the inheritance of all?

"Shall mortal man be more just than God?" Job 4:17. Man's body is neither just nor unjust in itself; this text, therefore, speaks of the man, as such; or the whole man, who is said to be mortal. Paul, in Rom.8:10, says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead" (i.e. mortal, doomed to die,) "because of sin; but the spirit is life" (why? because the soul is immortal? No; but) "because of righteousness;" clearly implying that it is being righteous, or having Christ in them, and possessing the Spirit of God, that is to make them immortal. This is further evident from the next verse, where he assures them that their mortal bodies should be quickened, i.e. be made immortal by the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead.

Man is said to be "corruptible," in opposition to the "incorruptible God." See Rom.1:23. Again; "They that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption," not immortality. See Gal.6:8. The wicked shall "utterly perish" in their own "corruption." 2 Peter 2:12.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
If the view I take of this subject be correct, then many portions of Scripture, which have been obscure on the common theory, become clear, beautiful and full of meaning and force. If men are really dying, according to the strict and literal meaning of that term, that is, the whole man, then the language in which they are addressed is strictly calculated to awaken attention, and move their hearts. For example: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Men are represented as sitting "in darkness, and in the shadow of death;" i.e. death is so near them that his dark shadow is over them; but Christ is "the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world;" thus showing them how to escape death. "The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world - I am the bread of life. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and NOT DIE."

How natural and forcible these and similar texts are, on the supposition that man is actually dying. It takes not a doctor of divinity to see how appropriate the remedy to the disease. Men by sin have been cut off from the tree of life - they were starving, dying. Christ cometh: the bread of life - the feast is spread; hungry, dying souls are invited, without money and without price. Come, eat and LIVE. If you stay away, you DIE. O come to Christ and live - yea, live forever, and not die. Amen.

This Sermon 1 Taken From:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.


From the Editor:
Greetings! Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summary of Sermon 1:

* The question is not whether the righteous will be immortal, but whether the wicked will be immortal. What does the Bible say regarding this?
* The Bible does not have mystical meanings that only those schooled in Philosophy can understand, nor just the men of “the cloth”, but it is written in language that all should be able to understand who can read it.
* “If any man wants to do God’s will He will understand he shall know of the doctrine.” I.e. he will know the truth.
* The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless there is a clear necessity for departing from it. A strict adherence to this will save us from the wildest of errors.
* Not all nations in the past believed in the immortality of the soul on death. In the days of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates the common people seemed to doubt this theory, and even the philosophers themselves in their own writings. Many of them seemed to believe in the total annihilation of man at death, even though some of them tried to persuade people otherwise.
* The desire that all men have to live forever does not mean that they are immortal. This desire was implanted in us by our creator [as an inducement to obey Him – the editor].
* The belief that the soul of man is immortal, puts him on par with God or a part of God. This is clearly a lie. No created being is God! [This is what all or most of the pagan religions of the world taught, that man is part of God, instead of just a created being. – from the Editor]* The soul is not a simple essence.
* The soul is not immaterial.
* The soul is not uncompounded, indivisible or indestructible and hence not immortal.
* The attempt to prove the immortality of the soul, or that the soul is indestructible is without force or truth, it is an assumption.
* Is it the will of God that wicked men, who die in their sins shall be immortal? No!
* We should consult the Bible for the truth, not church Fathers.
* Eternal life must depend upon the development of a moral character in harmony with the Creator, God.
* God determined or willed that man should not be immortal in his sin, and shut him out from the Tree of Life after he sinned.
* Man needs to eat from the Tree of Life in order to live forever.
* If man is shut out from the Tree of Life because he failed to overcome, he cannot have eternal life.
* Death was promised to man if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, it was death to the whole man that was promised, not a death to part of man.
* In Revelation Jesus promises eternal life to him that overcomes, not to the unrepentant sinner.

* Eternal life has never been promised to the unrepentant sinner, only for the one who repents.
* God is the only one who has immortality. 
* God is the only one who is eternal or inhabits eternity.
* Mankind, who starts their life at their birth, can have an endless life in Heaven if they are saved, but they are not eternal or infinite – only God is.
* You should understand the plain meaning of the words of the Bible, and not try to “philosophize” or seek mystical meanings of its terms, that only the  learned or those trained in ‘the Mysteries’ can understand.
* You should not depart from the truth, without the clearest evidence that what you perceive the Bible is teaching as the truth is wrong.
* The plain meaning of the word “perish” or “die” is cease to exist (in all forms); i.e. the total extinction of life.
* You must get the bread of Heaven, Jesus, that you may never die.
* If you don’t’ feed from the bread of Heaven, you will die and cease to exist.
* People talk about the undying soul in contradiction to God, who declared through His prophet Ezekiel that the soul who sins will die.
* The term “mortal man” from Job refers to the whole man, not just the body.
* You don’t need a Doctor of Divinity or to be schooled in philosophy to be able to understand the Bible.
* You need to understand that the word of God uses the plain meaning of words. [Unless it can be clearly shown as symbolic, as in prophecy. But even then the Bible explains itself, if you will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbolic terms. -From the editor.]* Eternal life can only be given to the believer by Jesus. If they fail to get it from Him they must die.
* No one is born possessing eternal life, Jesus is the only one who can give it to you!
* Those who fail to secure their eternal life in this lifetime, by believing in Jesus and becoming His son or daughter, will utterly fail at gaining eternal life.
* But all who fail to gain eternal life will not go on in endless ages of torment. God forbid!
* Death is a sleep.
* Eternal Death is eternal extinction. (Referred to by the Bible as the 2nd Death.)
* Life or Death – they are contrasted with each other. Eternal life or eternal death. Each person may have one or the other.

You can quibble over these points if you will, but this is what the Bible teaches regarding the un-immortality of the soul.

Summary:

Why are the points that George Storrs is making so important? Because you need to understand and follow ‘the plain’ meaning of words, so that you can understand the Bible. Each fallacy that is accepted and believed makes it easier and easier to get confused over more and more of what the Bible really teaches. If this goes on long enough, the person holding these fallacies may make a total shipwreck of their faith. Or they may be overcome by evil, and not think there is anything that they can or should do about it, if they believe what some “preachers” say. Or they may get so hardened against the truth, and become selfish and an abuser of others, racking up a heavy debt of sin that will never go away, unless they confess these sins and repent from them. But if they become completely hardened against the truth, they will never repent and be lost! Some of the lies that are taught and believed by many can cause someone to be overcome by sin and suffering. Some are told that they have a ticket to paradise, and that all they have to do is to wait until they receive it, because they can’t lose it once they have been “saved.” But this is a lie! That is why the truth is so important! The truth protects you from harm and losing your eternal life, if you believe it and receive it! Some people discard Christianity all together, thinking that it is no good; probably because of the mass of contradictions they were taught and have believed. But the more of the truth you learn, the easier it is to understand and believe what the Bible is really teaching and not be confused. When it starts to make sense, the devil’s lies lose their hold over you, and your way becomes clear and full of the light of God, lightening your path more and more until the perfect dawn.But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 KJV.  See also 2 Peter 1:19.

Oh that people would believe what God says in His Holy Bible! And put away all humanism, human philosophy, modernism, priest-craft, lies, and all deceptions, and would see the truth in its beauty! Then life would make sense, be sweet, and their eternal life could be secured by them! Then they would be free to be happy, full of God’s peace, love, joy, faith and hope! Is that what you want dear reader?

Dear reader, don’t let the devil take away the peace, love and joy that God wants to give you! Don’t let him steal away your crown of eternal life that Jesus wants to give you!Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 KJV. Don’t let the devil steal your crown of righteousness: Be like Paul who said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV.

Dear reader, do you long for Jesus’ appearing at His Second Coming, to take you back to Heaven with Him? Are you tired of the sin and suffering on this earth? Do you long for the crown of life and the crown of righteousness that Jesus wants to give you? Do you long to see your loved ones again who have already died who will be saved? Then ask God to help you understand His revealed will for you in the Bible, and not get confused over any of the truth contained in it, and to help you to obey Him in all that He has commanded you, and have the power to obey Him. Then your peace will flow like a river from the River of Life, which flows endlessly from the throne of God! Message from God: “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:” Isaiah 48:18 KJV. So harken to God’s commandments that your peace be like a river and that your righteousness will be as the waves of the sea!

May the grace of God be with you dear reader! Amen!


Editor’s Comments:

We want to conclude George Storrs’ Sermon 1 with some of our own observations:

Now get this point: Many believe that when good people die their soul goes straight to Heaven at death. So now they are faced with a conundrum: If the soul is a bodiless spirit when it goes to Heaven, how then does it get to eat from the Tree of Life? Jesus says that only those who have overcome have a right to the tree of life. This is how one gains eternal life, according to what Jesus stated here in Revelation 2:7, after they are resurrected by Jesus. John 5:25-30. So how can a soul be immortal (at birth or from eternity as some believe) if it has to gain it by becoming and overcomer as Jesus stated here? (Which is at the end of their life’s probation.) Either what Jesus has said here is true, that the soul must become an overcomer to be able to eat from the tree of life and live forever, or what is taught and believed by many, that the soul is immortal (at birth or from eternity before), but they both can’t be right. Who are you going to believe? Jesus or those who are contradicting Him? What does Paul say regarding those contradicting Jesus or God?May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." Romans 3:4 NASB.

The author George Storrs also indicates that unless a person who dies gains access to the tree of life again, they will remain dead. Remember Jesus promised Eternal Life to the overcomer, so in order for what Jesus promised to be true, the souls who died must be given eternal life and made alive again in every sense of the word, or they do not have Eternal Life! A dead spirit entering Heaven who has not been fully resurrected just doesn’t cut it! It doesn’t fulfill Jesus promise in any way! Some may try to say that souls get resurrected at a later date and think that this fixes the problem. But there are problems with this view too. Jesus indicated that the resurrection of the righteous, and the resurrection of judgement take place on or after His second coming. (Jesus declared that the righteous dead are raised at His Second Coming, but didn’t state in John 5:25-30 when the wicked dead would be raised – to know when this happens we must study other Bible texts, which are outside of the scope of this article.) Many sermons have been preached claiming that the soul appears before the judgement seat of God at death, to be judged and to receive either their sentence or their reward, but this is in direct contradiction to what Jesus declared! How can it be that the soul is judged at death and enters Heaven (and presumably given Eternal Life then) before the Resurrection at the Second Coming, since Jesus plainly declared that the resurrection takes place at the Second Coming, and the Second Coming hasn’t happened yet? But many preachers preach that the soul is in Heaven after their death. Surely none of those who teach that the soul is immortal are ready to suggest that Jesus’ Second Coming has taken place already, are they? Jesus’ Second Coming precedes the judgement when the wicked receive their sentence. At His second coming He raises the dead and takes His people home with Him to Heaven. Jesus declared: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [the Son of Man - Jesus], and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:25-30 NASB. This agrees perfectly of course with what Jesus said in Revelation 22:14 that George stores was quoting from above.

Does anybody really believe that this statement by Jesus here in John 5 is not referring to His Second Coming? Paul declares: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [This is an indication that souls only go to Heaven after Jesus’ 2nd coming.] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 KJV. It is clear here that Paul is talking about the same thing that Jesus was talking about, the Resurrection. And after the Resurrection of the good or the just, Jesus takes them with Him and so they shall ever be with the Lord! Therefore comfort one another with these words.

We think that this is unmistakably clear, that no one goes to Heaven before the Resurrection or before Jesus’ Second Coming. (With the exception of a very few people that the Bible said already went to Heaven: Enoch, Elijah, Moses and possibly the 24 Elders in Heaven. Genesis 5:22; Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:9-12; Matthew 17:1-4; Jude 1:9; Matthew 27:53; Revelation 4:4,10; 5:8; 7:13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4.) And that the wicked do not receive their punishment at death, but at some point after Jesus’ Second Coming, at the Resurrection of Judgement. And that the Judgement of the wicked (where they receive their sentence for their crimes against God and humanity) does not happen at their death, contrary to popular belief. And we think that it is crystal clear to all or most people, that the Second Coming of Christ hasn’t taken place yet. Don’t believe it? Have you ever heard of massive resurrections all across this world and massive numbers of people being raised from the dead and ascending to Heaven? No? John 5:25-30. Have you seen the heavens (the sky) roll up as a scroll? Have you seen the wicked praying for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them to cover them from the face of the Lamb of God?The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:14-17 NASB.

Have you seen Jesus the Son of Man coming in the bright clouds with great glory, sitting at the right hand of God’s power with the angels? Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27. No. Then there are no souls of the dead in Heaven yet, and there are no souls of the dead burning in hell yet, it’s that simple! Clearly none of these end of the world events we cited above have happened yet, so there are no souls of the dead in Heaven now awaiting their resurrection.

Why is all of this so important? Listen now to Jesus’ answer regarding this when He was asked by His disciples to know what the signs were for the end of the world: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you.’” Matthew 24:4 KJV. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13 NASB. We don’t want you to be deceived, dear reader! We want you to endure to the end and be saved.

Revelation 22:1-5 describes Heaven: John was shown the river of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God. This passage says that the tree of life yields 12 different kinds of fruit, yielding fruit every month. This implies there is a different kind of fruit for every month of the year, and it says that the leaves of it are for the healing of the nations. And it says that there will be no night there, and that the saints will reign there for ever and ever. But this passage is continuing from Revelation 21, where it was describing the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven, which is prepared for those who are saved; which are those whom Jesus is coming back for at His Second Coming. At His Second Coming they go back with Him to Heaven, to the mansions and the endless delight that He has prepared for all who love Him! John 14:1-3. There is nowhere in this account in Revelation 22 where it describes souls or disembodied Spirits wandering around having a grand joyous time, they are not even mentioned! It says that they (which are the eternally saved) will reign there forever and ever – this seems to indicate that there is no end to their stay there. It doesn’t mention that they, at a later date, leave Heaven so that they can get resurrected at the Second Coming and then come back to Heaven. But what does it say? It says that they rein there for ever and ever, with no end; apparently with no interruption.

So how is it that souls or ‘spirits of the dead’ manage to get into Heaven, and have no use of eating from the tree of life or drinking from the river of life? If the saints go there at their death before their resurrection, this is the way it would be - they would be spirits of the dead. It is assumed that the river of life and the tree of life are for living beings! Why else would it describe fruits on this wonderful tree that is apparently big enough to feed the nations of the saved – enough for everyone who makes it there, with its healing properties to it, if there were only souls or disembodied spirits of the saints occupying this wonderful place? Why would a disembodied spirit even care about these fruits? Why would disembodied spirits need to have the leaves of this tree which are for the healing of the nations? They are dead and beyond the need of such remedies. From the descriptions of Heaven throughout Revelation, particularly in chapters 21 to 22, it is obvious it is describing a physical place, which is the reward for physical beings who are alive, not dead. That is why Paul tries so hard to encourage all believers with the hope that those who died will live again, and that there is hope that we can see our loved ones again in Heaven! We are looking forward to that day, aren’t you too? Furthermore, the Bible states that life will be given back to the righteous dead at the Resurrection, which takes place at the Second Coming of Christ, which hasn’t happened yet. Heaven supplies everything that a real and an alive person would need to make them happy and sustain them with peace, love and wonderful joy and happiness throughout eternity, not for the spirits or the souls of the dead! This is because it is a physical place, meeting physical needs and supplying joy and happiness – supplying eternal life!

If you say that this passage in Revelation 22 is describing ‘spiritual fruits’ and ‘spiritual leaves’, what does that mean? A dead soul is beyond the need of anything whatsoever, much less ‘spiritual fruit’ or ‘spiritual leaves’ or ‘spiritual water’ from the River of Life. If these are ‘spiritual fruits’, and the River of Life is ‘spiritual’ and Heaven is ‘spiritual’ or metaphysical or ethereal, then where does the Resurrection fit into all of this? We think if someone takes the view that the fruit from the Tree of Life, as described here in Revelation 22, is only ‘spiritual’ or ‘ethereal’, then this does away with the need of the resurrection. This idea contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection found in the New Testament, for it makes it completely unnecessary, and causes great confusion in the scriptural interpretations in many places of the Bible. This causes people to doubt what Jesus said, which is the point of this error! But we want you to know dear reader, that Jesus and His Father can be trusted, and that everything that they said in the Bible is true! You can stake your life on it! Your eternal life!

Those who still doubt the premise of this blog article, show proof from the Bible for the idea that the souls of the saints go straight to Heaven at their death, and at the Second Coming they get resurrected. Many will try to say that such and such a text shows that the soul goes to Heaven at death (this article has debunked this idea), but we have yet to see any proof texts from the Bible regarding souls coming back to earth so that they can get resurrected. There is nowhere in the Bible where it states this. We don’t know how many people believe this, but most people probably haven’t thought about it too much, and just accept what they have been taught regarding this, without questioning whether it makes sense or not. But this is what someone is left with who believes that souls go to Heaven at their death, if they try to fit it together with Jesus’ promise of the Second Coming and the Resurrection. Why would a soul who is in Heaven need to leave Heaven to receive their reward, if they were already in Heaven and thus had it? Duh! Heaven is the reward! Once someone makes it to Heaven, they have their reward! Jesus declared, ‘My reward is with me to give to every man according as his works shall be.’ Revelation 21:12 KJV. Jesus’ reward, the promise of eternal life in Heaven through all eternity, is held out to the believer as something to be sought after, not something they already have! It is given by Jesus after the Second Coming, not at their death. In many texts in the Bible the reward to be sought after is eternal life in Heaven, which Jesus promised to those who overcome. But if the soul goes to Heaven immediately at their death, they would have already received their reward! Resurrection restores life to the dead. Eating from the Tree of Life gives eternal life to the one who eats it. If souls went to Heaven before their resurrection and were able to eat from the Tree of Life, this would give them eternal life if it were possible, and would bypass the need for the Resurrection promised by Jesus at the Second Coming. But spirits of the Dead are unable to eat physical food of any kind, because they are spirits, not physical, if they can exist at all (we think that they can’t). But we have already shown in our earlier editor’s notes in this article that the Tree of Life does not raise someone from the dead, this is something only Jesus can do, it causes the alive person who eats its fruit and eats its leaves to have eternal life! Death is the opposite of life, life is the opposite of death. There is no partial resurrection, the resurrection is for the dead only. Dead souls are not fully dead if they can exist after their body dies, because it is said that they still have their thoughts, and if they were in Heaven wouldn’t they want to praise God for their deliverance? But the Bible tells us that at death the thoughts perish and it says that the dead cannot praise God, so this notion of dead souls going to Heaven contradicts the Bible. See Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 88:10; 115:17. It would be ridiculous for them to have to come back to Earth again, just so that they can get ‘resurrected’, so that they can finally receive their reward that they already had! The foolishness of this line of thinking is beyond belief. So it comes down to who people will believe: Jesus or tradition.

Where is the proof texts in the Bible where Jesus or Paul or anyone else said that souls are brought back to the earth, so that they can get resurrected after they have been in Heaven awhile? They don’t exist! This is an assumption based on the fallacy that the righteous dead go to Heaven at death, and is an attempt to harmonize this view with Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at His Second Coming. No, the promise of eternal life and the trip to Heaven are made as a reward for the righteous who are alive when Jesus comes back, and for the righteous dead who are raised; they go to Heaven together at the same time (although the dead in Christ rise first). All go to Heaven with Jesus together, when He takes them back Home to the mansions He has prepared for those who love Him. Also note that Jesus Himself declared in John 14:1-4 that He was preparing a place for His people, and would come again to receive them that where He is, there they would be also. Read it carefully! Nowhere does it say that Jesus would receive them twice into their mansions in Heaven that He has prepared for them, once when they die and go as souls of the dead to Heaven, and once at the Second Coming at the Resurrection He promised. It only happens once according to the Scriptures! Paul’s testimony here agrees perfectly with Jesus’ testimony. Therefore the belief that righteous souls go to Heaven at their death contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at the Second Coming. And it also contradicts the need for the Second Coming and makes it unnecessary, since all someone would have to do is to ‘die’ and they would make their way into Heaven, if they were an overcomer. And if it were true, Paul wasted his time telling believers not to sorrow as those who have no hope, because the souls would go to Heaven at their death, without the need for the Resurrection! If it were true, there would have been no need to tell them the hope of the Resurrection, but this is not true. Why is it that people cannot see these inconsistencies and fallacies? This belief contradicts Jesus, Paul and the other writers in the Bible.

Paul clearly stated about the Second Coming and the Resurrection: that after this ‘thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words.’ Paul also stated at the beginning of that same passage in 1 Thessalonians 4: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 NASB. Paul tells us that Jesus will come back, raise the dead, who rise first in the air, and then those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with Him, and thus ‘we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.’ We think that many people who believe that the dead go to Heaven at death do not understand or catch the importance of what Paul was teaching here in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Did you catch that? It is crucial that you understand it dear reader, so that you will have your hope built on the solid rock and not on shifting sand. Paul was trying to console his readers that when the believer dies this was not the end of their hope! Many of the ones he was writing to believed that when someone died that was it, they were forever in the grave. But Paul tells the Thessalonian church to hope for the Resurrection, which implies that nothing happens to the ones who died until Jesus comes back, at the Second Coming. The believer was to hope for the Resurrection. Paul was telling them that there was hope in the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, but he made no mention of any soul’s trip to Heaven immediately at their death, to be resurrected later at the Second Coming. If this were the case, Christians would have the reward of their hope before Jesus comes back at the Second Coming and the Resurrection, and would not need to hope after this, for they would have already received the promised reward. But Paul is clear here that the hope of the Christian is centered on the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, not death, even though many teach that the hope for Christians is centered on their death. Paul lays it out, and it has nothing to do with the way many are teaching it. We wish people would read the Bible carefully, thinking about what it is saying, using their reasoning ability to understand what it means, and reason from cause to effect. Jesus and Paul clearly taught what is important for Christians to understand: that the Resurrection to eternal life is the reward for the righteous, to be given at Jesus’ Second Coming, not their death. The way many believe, the rewards are handed out at death, not after the Resurrection, which is contrary to what Jesus, Paul and others in the Bible taught. And at funerals or memorials, many times it is said that the person who died ‘has gone on to their reward’, in direct contradiction of Jesus!


Conclusion of the Editor’s Comments:

Why are we running these articles about the afterlife, and spending so much effort to disprove the common beliefs about how one gets to Heaven? Because there is a certain wonder, beauty, peace and joy that many people are missing out on. And because it provides an opportunity for people to become deceived, if they accept these falsehoods regarding Heaven and Hell. It causes people to doubt what Jesus and other writers in the Bible taught, whether they realize it or not. And it causes them to not understand or believe some of the plainest teachings in the Bible, but to instead look for some other mysterious meaning rather than the obvious one. The acceptance of any fallacy makes it easier to accept other fallacies. But it brings us much comfort to understand the truth in its beauty, and understand God’s great love for humanity in the wonderful salvation He is providing! God is not offering some ‘cheap’ parody of life in Heaven, but the real thing. It is life eternal, eternal life! It is life in every sense of the word, but it is eternal life, not a short life of a few mortal years like we have here! It is not some abstract concept that only theologians, philosophers, or ‘gurus’ or just a few of the ‘enlightened ones’ can understand. It is the same thing as what you already have now, except there will be no more sin, suffering, pain or death, and there will only be wonderful peace, love, joy, and happiness throughout eternity!

Dear reader, Heaven is a real place, and real people with flesh and blood will dwell there throughout the countless ages of eternity! Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you there. John 14:1-3. Won’t you come and go with me to that bright and fair land? We hope and pray that you will. Will you accept the invitation? Don’t let anyone confuse you, and “don’t you let nobody turn you ‘round” as the song says. Jesus and His Father have provided for all of your needs now and forever. Yes, you can make it there if you will give your heart completely to God, and trust in His mighty power to save you! If you are not there yet, just allow His loving kindness to lead you there and shelter you in His love, then you will have all the faith you need to be saved.

Heaven is not a place inhabited by “spiritual only beings”, known by some as souls (of the dead), but Heaven is a real place inhabited by real beings who are ‘spiritual’ and fully alive, who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They have a real life in Heaven, they really eat the fruits from the Tree of Life, and they really drink from the River of Life, clear as crystal, which is flowing endlessly from the throne of God! And they have real peace, real love, and real joy forever and ever!

Heaven is not the realm of dead souls, ghosts or the like, but it is the realm where real people with new life from God live, filled with His Spirit who will be living there through endless ages.For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 KJV. Amen.

Yes, Heaven is real! Heaven is a real place, and you can really live there forever! You have been invited! Won’t you go there?

-- From the Editor. May the Grace of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you! 


Inspirational Songs for this Message :

What Will it be to See Jesus:     By Fred P Morris, pub 1909
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOyq8hPIIlo&list=RDIOyq8hPIIlo

What will it be to see Jesus?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
On the brink of that beautiful river,
Its wonderful light,
Will burst on my site,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

When in wonder I stand
With my hand in His hand
In that home of the ransomed forever,
The sorrow all passed
Triumphant at last!
Oh what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/What_Will_It_Be/

How Bright the Shore:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax3_D1w6Y_Q

How bright the shore
Where waits my Jesus,
The streets of gold
Outshine the sun!
How bright the shore,
Like glistening diamonds,
A palace there for everyone!
I’m going there, yes going there,
In matchless splendor I’ll abide!
I’m going there,
Yes going there,
To spend my days at Jesus’ side!

Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Round!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4JimBzxumE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbywi1qiLlI



We hope you have stayed here with us on this series on this sermon and on our other blog articles on the How To Please God Blog. We hope that you will keep reading our articles here and the articles on our other blogs. If you don’t agree with all of our articles, please keep reading them. We believe that you will find something that you need, to help you grow closer to God and help you with your spiritual walk with Him, to give you much peace, love, faith, joy and hope. God gives everyone the time to get to know Him and to want to love and obey Him, if only they would! Give yourself the time to get to know Him, and allow His sweet Spirit to guide you. And you may find yourself agreeing with more and more of our articles, as the Spirit leads you. This is our prayer for you dear reader. Amen. It takes a while to learn all that God wants you to know and to have the experiences that He wants you to have, and you may not always be ready and willing the first time you come across the lessons that you need to learn, but He is patiently waiting for you to follow Him. It is a journey with Him, the one we hope that you are learning to love. We are still learning too; there are always knew things to learn and new heights to climb, and new joys to experience on our way to Heaven! Amen.  

We want to write blog articles on the Second Coming here, and at least one blog article for each of the 10 Commandments. We think that many people may not fully understand God’s 10 Laws of Love, or have fully thought about what they mean. Many people may not be aware of the ramifications of God’s Law and how their life needs to change so that they can be pleasing to Him. We want to break it down to you, so you can make progress on your way to Heaven. We want to show you the sinfulness of sin; of hurting God, yourself or others, so that you can turn fully to God for help, while there is still time. We want you to know if you are going down the right path or not. There is much ignorance about the full meaning of each of the 10 commandments, and how encompassing they are, including actions, words and thoughts. Some think they are keeping God’s commandments, when their heart is far from Him, with the unkind way they are treating others. And with their inability to keep all of His commandments, which they may try to hide from others. Many see God’s commandments as merely a list of don’ts, thinking that they don’t need to concern themselves with it, instead of viewing it through the eyes of love. No one who rejects God’s Law of love, the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20, can make the claim that they are into love, not works. Because true love always treats others with kindness and respect, and loves God supremely or confesses and repents when they miss the mark. And true love is the fulfillment of the Law! Love does no wrong to their neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law as Paul says in Romans 13:10.

You will see that the 10 Commandments should encompass everything that you do in this life; it is how God wants you to treat Him and others. But many are ignorant of the full significance of how bad sin is, and how they need to let God deal with it in their life, if they want to make progress and have God’s peace, love and joy. We have presented articles and written articles in our other blogs and books talking about God’s Law of Love, the 10 Commandments, why they are important, and how God can help you keep them. But in this “How To Please God” Blog, we will expand on each of these commandments separately and break them down that all may see more of what each of them means more fully. This is important, because they should touch on every part of your life, as you will see.

As time goes on, we also want to put more articles here by George Storrs from his Sermons 2 to 6. And we want to write more articles on the problem texts in the Bible that seem to indicate something different than what we are teaching. We want to present the Bible teaching in a way that has the least contradictions, and try to figure out what the passages may mean that seem contrary to the Bible’s main teaching, instead of being like others who take 1 or 2 texts or so, and discard everything else in the Bible that goes contrary to this, against sound reasoning. But some of what is taught and believed out there goes against plain reasoning and sound teaching.

We hope to present more articles on the future judgement, crisis, day of trouble, and future events, etc. from Bible prophecy to help all grow in their understanding of what God wants them to know. You will need wisdom from God to use this truth wisely.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!


#Death #Sleep #Soul #Immortal #God #Eternal #Torment #Punishment #Wicked #Plato #Future #Punishment #Life #Tree #Perish #Perish #Spirit #Heaven #Judgment #Resurrection

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1 Part 4 of 4

By George Storrs

FACTS FROM GOD'S WORD FOR CONSIDERATION

Before I proceed further, I wish to call attention to a few facts from the Scriptures of divine truth.

The word "Eternal" occurs but twice in the Old Testament. Once in Deut. 23:27, and is applied to God - "The eternal God is thy refuge" - and once in Is. 60:15, and is spoken of the city of God - "I will make thee an eternal excellency." The phrase "Eternity" occurs but once in the Bible, viz., Is.57:15, and is applied to God - "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity." How common to hear men talk about eternity - and to hear ministers tell their hearers they are going into eternity - and urge that consideration upon them, to call up attention. "Prepare for eternity," say they. To my mind, it is evident, that consideration is not made use of in the Scriptures, to lead men to God. I conceive it is false, in fact, to say a man has gone into eternity, because nothing can be clearer than that time will continue endlessly to any being that had a beginning: if he continues in life a relation will always exist to the period when life commenced, and that relation

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cannot be separated from time. To say, then, that a man has gone, or is "going into eternity ," is saying that which is not true; and to urge upon a person such a consideration is to be "wise above what is written." Jesus Christ, nor his apostles ever used it. They preached that men were perishing - dying - exposed to death - in danger of losing everlasting life - traveling in the way that leadeth to destruction, etc.; and exhorted them to repent - believe - to lead a new life - to save themselves from this untoward generation - to lay hold on eternal life, etc. - but never told their hearers - "You are hastening to eternity;" for, I repeat it, that is not true, in fact.

When men die they "sleep in the dust of the earth:" Dan.12:2. They wake not till Christ returns "from heaven;" or till the last trump. See 1 Cor. 15:18,32,51,52; Phil. 3 :11,20,21; and 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

The phrase "eternal life," occurs no where in the Bible, except in the New Testament, and is always spoken of the righteous; it never has connected with it any qualifying terms, such as "happy," "blessed," or "miserable," etc., but simply denotes life in opposition to the death of the wicked. See Romans 6:21-23. "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life; for the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Here life and death are put in opposition, and no intimation is given that the death of the wicked is eternal conscious being in torments. It is very common to hear people talk about a happy

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eternal life - a blessed eternal life - a glorious eternal life; as though the language of the Bible were not explicit enough. Such additions to the word of God, give evidence, if we had no other, that there is something defective in their theory. Such additions ought always to be looked upon with suspicion; and, if received at all, be received with great caution.

In interpreting the Scriptures, if we would be saved from the wild fields of conjecture, and save ourselves from an entire dependence upon others for the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, we must have some settled principles of interpretation.

The following I consider the most important: -

First - That words are to have their primary and obvious meaning, unless there is a clear necessity of departing from it. By their primary and obvious meaning, I mean the plain and direct sense of the words, such as they may be supposed to have in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country in which they lived, without any of those learned, artificial, and forced senses, such as are put on them by those who claim the right to be the "authorized expounders of the Bible." Such forced sense is, usually, nothing more than the peculiar notions they have been brought up in, and may have no better foundation than the superstition of some good old ancestor.

The next principle of interpretation I would lay down is, That it is a truth, from which we are not to depart without the clearest evidence, that words are never used to mean more than their primary signification; though they may be, and often are, used to signify something less. Not to adhere to this principle is to make revelation no revelation. Those who abandon

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it may as well admit, at once, that the common people ought not to have the Bible, for it will only lead them astray. Why should Protestants boast over the Catholics in this respect? Do not both, virtually, claim that the language of Scripture is mystical, or has a meaning that does not appear in the common signification of the words? and, therefore, the Priests must interpret them to the people? Might we not as well give our Bibles altogether into the hands of these interpreters? Especially, if the plain common sense meaning of words is not to be followed, when there is no clear necessity for departing from it.

The primary meaning of the term death is, "the extinction of life." To say that when God threatens men with death, he does not mean they shall die, but be kept alive in eternal torments is not warranted by any ordinary use of language. What should we think of a law that says, "For murder thou shalt die," if we were told the meaning is not, that the transgressor shall actually die, but be kept alive in indescribable torments, protracted to the greatest possible extent? Would any man think he was fairly dealt with by such an administration? And would he not have just cause of complaint at the want of definiteness in the terms used to denote the punishment threatened!

The term "Immortal" occurs but once in the Bible, viz.: 1 Tim. 1:17; and is applied to God, "The king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God." If we were to judge by the frequency that we hear the phrase "immortal soul," we should suppose it was the most common expression in the Scriptures. You will hardly hear a sermon without the preacher often telling, with great emphasis, about "the immortal

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soul," as though he thought that qualifying term was all important to impress his hearers with a sense of the soul's value; not content, with the Saviour to ask - "What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" No, that would be quite too weak, in his estimation, and he must strengthen it by adding, "immortal." To show the absurdity of such a course, I have only to say - That which is immortal cannot be lost. Hence, the persons who use this qualifying term, have to add another, and say - lose all "happiness." Now, the loss of the soul, and the loss of happiness, are two very different things, and each capable of being expressed in appropriate language.  *To say, when our Saviour said, a man may "lose his own soul," he did not mean that he will come short of immortality, perish, or cease all sense and life, but only that he shall lose the happiness of his soul, is, in my mind, corrupting the word of God.

* Editor’s Note: This belief is clearly at variance with the word of God, for it contradicts Jesus, as George Storrs’ notes.

As in sermons, so it is in prayers. Men seem to think prayers have but little power, unless they spice them often with "immortal soul:" and they would probably regard you as an infidel, if you were to tell them the Bible no where speaks of an immortal soul. How often, too, do we hear men talk about "the undying soul," in direct contradiction of the testimony of God, which expressly declares, "the soul that sinneth, IT SHALL DIE." A hymn, often sung begins as follows:

"A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify, A never dying soul to save And fit it for the sky."

The same hymn ends thus: -
"Help me to watch and pray, And on thyself rely, Assured if I my trust betray, I shall forever die."

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How a never dying soul can forever die, it will take a poet to tell; or a very learned divine. Common people are not skilled in such palpable contradictions. The hymn under consideration is one of great beauty and excellence, with the exception of this defect.

The term "immortality," occurs only five times in the Bible, and is never spoken of the wicked; but is either applied to God and His Christ, or brought to view as something to be sought after, and to be found alone in Christ. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for honor, glory, immortality, - eternal life," Rom.2:7. Why, I pray, are men to seek for it, if it is the inheritance of all?

"Shall mortal man be more just than God?" Job 4:17. Man's body is neither just nor unjust in itself; this text, therefore, speaks of the man, as such; or the whole man, who is said to be mortal. Paul, in Rom.8:10, says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead" (i.e. mortal, doomed to die,) "because of sin; but the spirit is life" (why? because the soul is immortal? No; but) "because of righteousness;" clearly implying that it is being righteous, or having Christ in them, and possessing the Spirit of God, that is to make them immortal. This is further evident from the next verse, where he assures them that their mortal bodies should be quickened, i.e. be made immortal by the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead.

Man is said to be "corruptible," in opposition to the "incorruptible God." See Rom.1:23. Again; "They that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption," not immortality. See Gal.6:8. The wicked shall "utterly perish" in their own "corruption." 2 Peter 2:12.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
If the view I take of this subject be correct, then many portions of Scripture, which have been obscure on the common theory, become clear, beautiful and full of meaning and force. If men are really dying, according to the strict and literal meaning of that term, that is, the whole man, then the language in which they are addressed is strictly calculated to awaken attention, and move their hearts. For example: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Men are represented as sitting "in darkness, and in the shadow of death;" i.e. death is so near them that his dark shadow is over them; but Christ is "the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world;" thus showing them how to escape death. "The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world - I am the bread of life. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and NOT DIE."

How natural and forcible these and similar texts are, on the supposition that man is actually dying. It takes not a doctor of divinity to see how appropriate the remedy to the disease. Men by sin have been cut off from the tree of life - they were starving, dying. Christ cometh: the bread of life - the feast is spread; hungry, dying souls are invited, without money and without price. Come, eat and LIVE. If you stay away, you DIE. O come to Christ and live - yea, live forever, and not die. Amen.

This Sermon 1 Taken From:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

From the Editor:
Greetings! Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summary of the conclusion of Sermon 1:

* God is the only one who has immortality.
* God is the only one who is eternal or inhabits eternity.
* Mankind, who starts their life at their birth, can have an endless life in Heaven if they are saved, but they are not eternal or infinite – only God is.
* You should understand the plain meaning of the words of the Bible, and not try to “philosophize” or seek mystical meanings of its terms, that only the  learned or those trained in ‘the Mysteries’ can understand.
* You should not depart from the truth, without the clearest evidence that what you perceive the Bible is teaching as the truth is wrong.
* The plain meaning of the word “perish” or “die” is cease to exist (in all forms); i.e. the total extinction of life.
* You must get the bread of Heaven, Jesus, that you may never die.
* If you don’t’ feed from the bread of Heaven, you will die and cease to exist.
* People talk about the undying soul in contradiction to God, who declared through His prophet Ezekiel that the soul who sins will die.
* The term “mortal man” from Job refers to the whole man, not just the body.
* You don’t need a Doctor of Divinity or to be schooled in philosophy to be able to understand the Bible.
* You need to understand that the word of God uses the plain meaning of words. (Unless it can be clearly shown as symbolic, as in prophecy. But even then the Bible explains itself, if you will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbolic terms.)
* Eternal life can only be given to the believer by Jesus. If they fail to get it from Him they must die.
* No one is born possessing eternal life, Jesus is the only one who can give it to you!
* Those who fail to secure their eternal life in this lifetime, by believing in Jesus and becoming His son or daughter, will utterly fail at gaining eternal life.
* But all who fail to gain eternal life will not go on in endless ages of torment. God forbid!
* Death is a sleep.
* Eternal Death is eternal extinction. (Referred to by the Bible as the 2nd Death.)
* Life or Death – they are contrasted with each other. Eternal life or eternal death. Each person may have one or the other.

Summary points from the earlier portions of Sermon 1:

* Eternal life has never been promised to the unrepentant sinner, only for the one who repents.

Summary:
Why are the points that George Storrs is making so important? Because you need to understand and follow ‘the plain’ meaning of words, so that you can understand the Bible. Each fallacy that is accepted and believed makes it easier and easier to get confused over more and more of what the Bible really teaches. If this goes on long enough, the person holding these fallacies may make a total shipwreck of their faith. Or they may be overcome by evil, and not think there is anything that they can or should do about it, if they believe what some “preachers” say. Or they may get so hardened against the truth, and become selfish and an abuser of others, racking up a heavy debt of sin that will never go away, unless they confess these sins and repent from them. But if they become completely hardened against the truth, they will never repent and be lost! Some of the lies that are taught and believed by many can cause someone to be overcome by sin and suffering. Some are told that they have a ticket to paradise, and that all they have to do is to wait until they receive it, because they can’t lose it once they have been “saved.” But this is a lie! That is why the truth is so important! The truth protects you from harm and losing your eternal life, if you believe it and receive it! Some people discard Christianity all together, thinking that it is no good; probably because of the mass of contradictions they were taught and have believed. But the more of the truth you learn, the easier it is to understand and believe what the Bible is really teaching and not be confused. When it starts to make sense, the devil’s lies lose their hold over you, and your way becomes clear and full of the light of God, lightening your path more and more until the perfect dawn.But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 KJV.  See also 2 Peter 1:19.

Oh that people would believe what God says in His Holy Bible! And put away all humanism, human philosophy, modernism, priest-craft, lies, and all deceptions, and would see the truth in its beauty! Then life would make sense, be sweet, and their eternal life could be secured by them! Then they would be free to be happy, full of God’s peace, love, joy, faith and hope! Is that what you want dear reader?

Dear reader, don’t let the devil take away the peace, love and joy that God wants to give you! Don’t let him steal away your crown of eternal life that Jesus wants to give you!Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 KJV. Don’t let the devil steal your crown of righteousness: Be like Paul who said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV.

Dear reader, do you long for Jesus’ appearing at His Second Coming, to take you back to Heaven with Him? Are you tired of the sin and suffering on this earth? Do you long for the crown of life and the crown of righteousness that Jesus wants to give you? Do you long to see your loved ones again who have already died who will be saved? Then ask God to help you understand His revealed will for you in the Bible, and not get confused over any of the truth contained in it, and to help you to obey Him in all that He has commanded you, and have the power to obey Him. Then your peace will flow like a river from the River of Life, which flows endlessly from the throne of God! Message from God: “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:” Isaiah 48:18 KJV. So harken to God’s commandments that your peace be like a river and that your righteousness will be as the waves of the sea!

May the grace of God be with you dear reader! Amen!


We hope you have stayed with us on this series on this sermon and our other blog articles on the How To Please God Blog. If you have not read all of the articles here in this “How To Please God” Blog from George Storrs’ Sermon 1, or our Article: “The Love and Fairness of God
we recommend that you would read all of them, and in order. We plan on soon releasing the full version of George Storrs’ “Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1” so you can read it all together or print or save its complete PDF document.

We want to write blog articles on the Second Coming here, and at least one blog article for each of the 10 Commandments. We think that many people may not fully understand God’s 10 Laws of Love, or have fully thought about what they mean. Many people may not be aware of the ramifications of God’s Law and how their life needs to change so that they can be pleasing to Him. We want to break it down to you, so you can make progress on your way to Heaven. We want to show you the sinfulness of sin; of hurting God, yourself or others, so that you can turn fully to God for help, while there is still time. We want you to know if you are going down the right path or not. There is much ignorance about the full meaning of each of the 10 commandments, and how encompassing they are, including actions, words and thoughts. Some think they are keeping God’s commandments, when their heart is far from Him, with the unkind way they are treating others. And with their inability to keep all of His commandments, which they may try to hide from others. Many see God’s commandments as merely a list of don’ts, thinking that they don’t need to concern themselves with it, instead of viewing it through the eyes of love. No one who rejects God’s Law of love, the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20, can make the claim that they are into love, not works. Because true love always treats others with kindness and respect, and loves God supremely or confesses and repents when they miss the mark. And true love is the fulfillment of the Law! Love does no wrong to their neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law as Paul says in Romans 13:10.

You will see that the 10 Commandments should encompass everything that you do in this life; it is how God wants you to treat Him and others. But many are ignorant of the full significance of how bad sin is, and how they need to let God deal with it in their life, if they want to make progress and have God’s peace, love and joy. We have presented articles and written articles in our other blogs and books talking about God’s Law of Love, the 10 Commandments, why they are important, and how God can help you keep them. But in this “How To Please God” Blog, we will expand on each of these commandments separately and break them down that all may see more of what each of them means more fully. This is important, because they should touch on every part of your life, as you will see.

As time goes on, we also want to put more articles here by George Storrs from his Sermons 2 to 6. And we want to write more articles on the problem texts in the Bible that seem to indicate something different than what we are teaching. We want to present the Bible teaching in a way that has the least contradictions, and try to figure out what the passages may mean that seem contrary to the Bible’s main teaching, instead of being like others who take 1 or 2 texts or so, and discard everything else in the Bible that goes contrary to this, against sound reasoning. But some of what is taught and believed out there goes against plain reasoning and sound teaching.

We hope to present more articles on the future judgement, crisis, day of trouble, and future events, etc. from Bible prophecy to help all grow in their understanding of what God wants them to know. You will need wisdom from God to use this truth wisely.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!

#God #Immortality #Eternal #Perish #Death #Sleep #Bread #Heaven #Mortal #Plain #Meaning #Words #Believer #Jesus #Endless #Torment #Punishment #Truth #Lie #Peace

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1 Part 3 of 4: The Tree of Life

By George Storrs

Having examined the first two arguments in favor of the natural immortality of men, and shown, as I think, that they have no foundation in truth, the ground of argument is narrowed to the one point, viz:

3. Is it the will of God that wicked men, who die in their sins, shall be immortal?

In determining this question, no man will be called master or father that now lives or ever did live. It will weigh nothing in my mind, what any of the (so-called) "fathers," have said or written; but what saith the testimony of God? * "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

* Isaiah 8:20 KJV.

First, I call attention to what man lost by the fall. In order to understand this, let us look at man prior to the fall. He was a probationer. For what? Not for life merely, as he was in the enjoyment of that. I conclude it was for eternal life, or, life uninterrupted

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by death - figured and set forth before his eyes by the "tree of life" - as death , the opposite, was set forth by the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." Each of those trees, I conclude, were signs; the one of Life, the other of Death - not of man's body merely, but of the whole man; or, in other words, "Life and Death" were "set before" him. Eternal life must depend upon the development of a moral character in harmony with his Maker. If a development is made hostile and unharmonious, he is assured he shall not live, but shall "surely die." Thus permanent disorder is guarded against in God's universe, and man had before him a standing call and warning - a call to obedience and Life; a warning against disobedience, or sin and Death. He disregarded the warning, and slighted the call - he sinned. Now, "The Lord said, lest he (man) put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat, and LIVE FOR EVER, he (God) drove out the man, and placed a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." That is as clear as language can express it, the Lord God determined, or willed, that man should not be immortal in his sin; or, in other words, by sin man failed to secure a title to immortality, and was cut off from the "tree of life;" or, the sign God had given him of eternal life, was "hid from" his "eyes."

That this loss relates to the whole man, and not to the body merely, as some suppose, I prove from the fact, that if it related to the body only, then there is not a particle of evidence in the transaction, of pronouncing sentence upon man, by his Maker, * that any penalty was threatened to the soul - supposing man to possess such an entity - or inflicted upon it. There is surely none in the context; and it appears to me, that

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if the exclusion from the tree of life, lest man should eat and live for ever, does not relate to the entire man, there is no evidence there that the denunciation of God against him affected any thing but his body. - It appears it was God's will that man should not be immortal in sin and misery; and this will is expressed in the text under consideration.

* Editor’s note: This paragraph could be confusing to you. The point that George Storrs is making here is that there is no evidence that the Tree of Life was just for someone’s body; the loss relates to the whole man. If the sentence of death was to the body only, it is not a strong enough penalty, because if the man could go on living as a dead soul, they would not be fully dead. But what does the Bible say? Paul under inspiration tells us that ‘the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23 KJV. There are only two options here: death or eternal life, nothing in between! Paul makes no mention here of an in between state where someone’s body is dead, but their soul is still alive. Paul states that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The death of the sinner is contrasted to the life that God gives to the believing sinner who repents. If the sinner repents and receives God’s gift, they will have eternal life, which is life in every sense of the word, not eternal life for a soul whose body has long since departed. But if the sinner fails to repent or fails to receive God’s gift that He longs to impart to man, when they die they will permanently lose their ability of gaining eternal life. We want you to get this! Because there are some religions in this world that teach that people get another chance if they totally mess up this life and die! Don’t believe it! Paul only lists two possibilities here, either death or life, he makes no mention of anything in between. We think that most people would agree on the definition of life for a human being, just look around you, look at yourself, and talk to the ones you know and love. We don’t think anyone really needs to hear some philosopher, scientist or Christian theologian explain to them what it means to be alive and living. It should be evident to all. The Bible in most cases, except for symbolic prophecy and some symbolic parables, speaks in the plain language of men, so that all may understand. You don’t need a PhD in order to understand what it says, if you can read and pray to God for His guidance, He will make it clear to you what you need to know now. Life in Heaven will be similar to life on earth here now, except there will be no sin, and peace, love and joy will be unabated throughout eternity! It most definitely will be a real, physical place, with real physical people living in it. But in the cases where the Bible uses symbolism, it can also be clearly understood if someone loves and wants to obey God, and if they will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbols in other parts of the Bible, instead of injecting their modern ideas and beliefs into the Bible! You must have the Holy Spirit working in your heart in order to be able to understand the Bible. If someone has departed from God, or is living in disobedience, you can be sure that they will get off track in some portion of the Bible or more if they even read it, because spiritual things are “Spiritually” discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14. The Bible is not for those who wish to have their own way, live their life the way they please, or for those who don’t want to obey God. Those who don’t want a better life, and don’t want to repent or get relief from their guilt and sins should move on, and not waste their time reading the Bible, until they finally see their need and turn to God for help. You can only gain new light from the Bible if you are living up to what God has already revealed to you!

Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Again - that this loss related to the whole man, I prove from the fact, that our Saviour, in his address to one of the seven churches of Asia, says, "to him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God." How clear the reference, and how obvious, that it is the whole man that is spoken of; and that none are to have access to that tree, or have immortality, but such as overcome. Will it be pretended that this relates to the body only? If so, then it proves that the body will not be immortal, unless we overcome - for the objector has admitted that the loss of the tree of life was the means of death to the body; and unless he regains access to that tree, or that which it represented, he must remain under death; and, as access to that tree is to be had only on condition of victory, the impenitent sinner will not have an immortal body, if the objector's theory is correct, whatever becomes of the fancied soul.

But I wish to call attention further to the tree of life, to show that it related to something more than the body. Revelation, 22nd chapter and 2nd verse, we read thus: - "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life," etc.; and at the 14th verse - "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the

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city." The reference here is too clear to be misunderstood; no one will pretend that this relates to the body merely. By what authority, then, do they assume it, in regard to the "tree of life" in Paradise?

* Editor’s note: Why would a dead soul need the Tree of Life? The fruits on the Tree of Life give eternal life to those who are alive if they eat from it; it keeps them from dying. See Genesis 2:9. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created alive and given access to the Tree of Life until they sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. There is no mention anywhere in the scriptures that the Tree of Life can bring life back to the dead, only that it can extend the life of one who is already alive, that they may live forever if they eat it. Genesis 3:22. What did Jesus say regarding Himself? “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. According to the Bible, the only way that someone can be raised from the dead, is if Jesus raises them from the dead, because He is the Resurrection and the Life. Even though some individuals in the Bible like Elijah, Peter and Paul were said to have raised someone from the dead, it was only by the power of God, or by the power of Jesus that they were able to do so, because it cannot invalidate Jesus’ claim that He is the Resurrection and the Life. And God honoring their request to raise someone from the dead, whom they prayed for, rested on Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world, in fact it depended on it. So Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Allow me here to introduce an extract or two from Richard Watson. Few men have written better than he. His "Institutes" are well known among many in this country, as well as in Europe. In his sermon on "Paradise shut and re-opened," he has this remark

"The tree of life was a kind of sacrament. As the promise of immortality was given to Adam, every time he ate of this tree by God's appointment, he expressed his faith in God's promise; and God, as often as he ate of it sealed the promise of immortality to man. - In this view, sin excluded man from the tree of life, as he lost his title to immortality." Again, Mr. Watson says, in his sermon on "The tree of life," - "It has been suggested that it was the natural means appointed to counteract disease by medical virtue; and thus to prevent bodily decay and death." "This" he says, "is not an improbable hypothesis; but we have no authority for it; and if we had, our inquiries would not be at an end. For this hypothesis relates only to the body; whereas we find the tree of life spoken of in connection with the life of the soul - not only with immortality on earth, but with immortality in heaven. Thus wisdom, heavenly wisdom, is called 'a tree of life, with reference to the safety of the soul; and the 'fruit of the righteous' is declared to be 'a tree of life,' with reference to its issue in another world. - Thus also in the visions described by Ezekiel, of the glories of the Church on earth, and of those of St. John relating to the Church in heaven, 'the tree of life' stands as a conspicuous object in the scenes of

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grandeur and beauty which each unfold; and therefore as closely connected with ideas of spiritual life here and hereafter."

"Is it not, therefore, without reason," he continues, "that many eminent divines have considered this tree as a constant pledge to Adam of a higher life; and since there was a covenant of works, the tenor of which was, 'this do, and thou shalt live,' - and as we know God has ever connected signs, seals, and sacraments with his covenants - analogy may lead us to conclude that this tree was the matter of sacrament - the eating of it a religious act; and that it was called 'the tree of life,' because it was not only a means of sustaining the immortality of the body, but the pledge of spiritual life here, and of a higher and more glorious life in a future state, to which man might pass, not, indeed, by death, but by translation."

"This will explain," continues Mr. Watson, "the reason why the fruit of that tree was prohibited after man had sinned. He had broken the covenant, and had no right now to eat of the sign, the sacrament, the pledge of immortality. 'Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever: therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. God resumed his promises, withdrew the sign of them, and now refused any token or assurance of his favor."

Mr. Watson adds, "The Judge passes sentence, but the Judge also gives a promise; and man is bidden to hope in another object, 'the seed of the woman.' That seed was henceforth to be his tree of life."

Thus much for Mr. Watson. He did not hold the doctrine for which I contend, in regard to the final destiny of the wicked; still, there are passages in his FACTS FROM GOD'S WORD FOR CONSIDERATION.

Editor’s Comments:
We want to conclude this part of George Storrs’ Sermon 1 with some of our own observations:

Now get this point: Many believe that when good people die their soul goes straight to Heaven at death. So now they are faced with a conundrum: If the soul is a bodiless spirit when it goes to Heaven, how then does it get to eat from the Tree of Life? Jesus says that only those who have overcome have a right to the tree of life. This is how one gains eternal life, according to what Jesus stated here in Revelation 2:7, after they are resurrected by Jesus. John 5:25-30. So how can a soul be immortal (at birth or from eternity as some believe) if it has to gain it by becoming and overcomer as Jesus stated here? (Which is at the end of their life’s probation.) Either what Jesus has said here is true, that the soul must become an overcomer to be able to eat from the tree of life and live forever, or what is taught and believed by many, that the soul is immortal (at birth or from eternity before), but they both can’t be right. Who are you going to believe? Jesus or those who are contradicting Him? What does Paul say regarding those contradicting Jesus or God?May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." Romans 3:4 NASB.

The author George Storrs also indicates that unless a person who dies gains access to the tree of life again, they will remain dead. Remember Jesus promised Eternal Life to the overcomer, so in order for what Jesus promised to be true, the souls who died must be given eternal life and made alive again in every sense of the word, or they do not have Eternal Life! A dead spirit entering Heaven who has not been fully resurrected just doesn’t cut it! It doesn’t fulfill Jesus promise in any way! Some may try to say that souls get resurrected at a later date and think that this fixes the problem. But there are problems with this view too. Jesus indicated that the resurrection of the righteous, and the resurrection of judgement take place on or after His second coming. (Jesus declared that the righteous dead are raised at His Second Coming, but didn’t state in John 5:25-30 when the wicked dead would be raised – to know when this happens we must study other Bible texts, which are outside of the scope of this article.) Many sermons have been preached claiming that the soul appears before the judgement seat of God at death, to be judged and to receive either their sentence or their reward, but this is in direct contradiction to what Jesus declared! How can it be that the soul is judged at death and enters Heaven (and presumably given Eternal Life then) before the Resurrection at the Second Coming, since Jesus plainly declared that the resurrection takes place at the Second Coming, and the Second Coming hasn’t happened yet? But many preachers preach that the soul is in Heaven after their death. Surely none of those who teach that the soul is immortal are ready to suggest that Jesus’ Second Coming has taken place already, are they? Jesus’ Second Coming precedes the judgement when the wicked receive their sentence. At His second coming He raises the dead and takes His people home with Him to Heaven. Jesus declared: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [the Son of Man - Jesus], and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:25-30 NASB. This agrees perfectly of course with what Jesus said in Revelation 22:14 that George stores was quoting from above.

Does anybody really believe that this statement by Jesus here in John 5 is not referring to His Second Coming? Paul declares: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [This is an indication that souls only go to Heaven after Jesus’ 2nd coming.] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 KJV. It is clear here that Paul is talking about the same thing that Jesus was talking about, the Resurrection. And after the Resurrection of the good or the just, Jesus takes them with Him and so they shall ever be with the Lord! Therefore comfort one another with these words.

We think that this is unmistakably clear, that no one goes to Heaven before the Resurrection or before Jesus’ Second Coming. (With the exception of a very few people that the Bible said already went to Heaven: Enoch, Elijah, Moses and possibly the 24 Elders in Heaven. Genesis 5:22; Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:9-12; Matthew 17:1-4; Jude 1:9; Matthew 27:53; Revelation 4:4,10; 5:8; 7:13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4.) And that the wicked do not receive their punishment at death, but at some point after Jesus’ Second Coming, at the Resurrection of Judgement. And that the Judgement of the wicked (where they receive their sentence for their crimes against God and humanity) does not happen at their death, contrary to popular belief. And we think that it is crystal clear to all or most people, that the Second Coming of Christ hasn’t taken place yet. Don’t believe it? Have you ever heard of massive resurrections all across this world and massive numbers of people being raised from the dead and ascending to Heaven? No? John 5:25-30. Have you seen the heavens (the sky) roll up as a scroll? Have you seen the wicked praying for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them to cover them from the face of the Lamb of God?The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:14-17 NASB.

Have you seen Jesus the Son of Man coming in the bright clouds with great glory, sitting at the right hand of God’s power with the angels? Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27. No. Then there are no souls of the dead in Heaven yet, and there are no souls of the dead burning in hell yet, it’s that simple! Clearly none of these end of the world events we cited above have happened yet, so there are no souls of the dead in Heaven now awaiting their resurrection.

Why is all of this so important? Listen now to Jesus’ answer regarding this when He was asked by His disciples to know what the signs were for the end of the world: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you.’” Matthew 24:4 KJV. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13 NASB. We don’t want you to be deceived, dear reader! We want you to endure to the end and be saved.

Revelation 22:1-5 describes Heaven: John was shown the river of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God. This passage says that the tree of life yields 12 different kinds of fruit, yielding fruit every month. This implies there is a different kind of fruit for every month of the year, and it says that the leaves of it are for the healing of the nations. And it says that there will be no night there, and that the saints will reign there for ever and ever. But this passage is continuing from Revelation 21, where it was describing the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven, which is prepared for those who are saved; which are those whom Jesus is coming back for at His Second Coming. At His Second Coming they go back with Him to Heaven, to the mansions and the endless delight that He has prepared for all who love Him! John 14:1-3. There is nowhere in this account in Revelation 22 where it describes souls or disembodied Spirits wandering around having a grand joyous time, they are not even mentioned! It says that they (which are the eternally saved) will reign there forever and ever – this seems to indicate that there is no end to their stay there. It doesn’t mention that they, at a later date, leave Heaven so that they can get resurrected at the Second Coming and then come back to Heaven. But what does it say? It says that they rein there for ever and ever, with no end; apparently with no interruption.

So how is it that souls or ‘spirits of the dead’ manage to get into Heaven, and have no use of eating from the tree of life or drinking from the river of life? If the saints go there at their death before their resurrection, this is the way it would be - they would be spirits of the dead. It is assumed that the river of life and the tree of life are for living beings! Why else would it describe fruits on this wonderful tree that is apparently big enough to feed the nations of the saved – enough for everyone who makes it there, with its healing properties to it, if there were only souls or disembodied spirits of the saints occupying this wonderful place? Why would a disembodied spirit even care about these fruits? Why would disembodied spirits need to have the leaves of this tree which are for the healing of the nations? They are dead and beyond the need of such remedies. From the descriptions of Heaven throughout Revelation, particularly in chapters 21 to 22, it is obvious it is describing a physical place, which is the reward for physical beings who are alive, not dead. That is why Paul tries so hard to encourage all believers with the hope that those who died will live again, and that there is hope that we can see our loved ones again in Heaven! We are looking forward to that day, aren’t you too? Furthermore, the Bible states that life will be given back to the righteous dead at the Resurrection, which takes place at the Second Coming of Christ, which hasn’t happened yet. Heaven supplies everything that a real and an alive person would need to make them happy and sustain them with peace, love and wonderful joy and happiness throughout eternity, not for the spirits or the souls of the dead! This is because it is a physical place, meeting physical needs and supplying joy and happiness – supplying eternal life!

If you say that this passage in Revelation 22 is describing ‘spiritual fruits’ and ‘spiritual leaves’, what does that mean? A dead soul is beyond the need of anything whatsoever, much less ‘spiritual fruit’ or ‘spiritual leaves’ or ‘spiritual water’ from the River of Life. If these are ‘spiritual fruits’, and the River of Life is ‘spiritual’ and Heaven is ‘spiritual’ or metaphysical or ethereal, then where does the Resurrection fit into all of this? We think if someone takes the view that the fruit from the Tree of Life, as described here in Revelation 22, is only ‘spiritual’ or ‘ethereal’, then this does away with the need of the resurrection. This idea contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection found in the New Testament, for it makes it completely unnecessary, and causes great confusion in the scriptural interpretations in many places of the Bible. This causes people to doubt what Jesus said, which is the point of this error! But we want you to know dear reader, that Jesus and His Father can be trusted, and that everything that they said in the Bible is true! You can stake your life on it! Your eternal life!

Those who still doubt the premise of this blog article, show proof from the Bible for the idea that the souls of the saints go straight to Heaven at their death, and at the Second Coming they get resurrected. Many will try to say that such and such a text shows that the soul goes to Heaven at death (this article has debunked this idea), but we have yet to see any proof texts from the Bible regarding souls coming back to earth so that they can get resurrected. There is nowhere in the Bible where it states this. We don’t know how many people believe this, but most people probably haven’t thought about it too much, and just accept what they have been taught regarding this, without questioning whether it makes sense or not. But this is what someone is left with who believes that souls go to Heaven at their death, if they try to fit it together with Jesus’ promise of the Second Coming and the Resurrection. Why would a soul who is in Heaven need to leave Heaven to receive their reward, if they were already in Heaven and thus had it? Duh! Heaven is the reward! Once someone makes it to Heaven, they have their reward! Jesus declared, ‘My reward is with me to give to every man according as his works shall be.’ Revelation 21:12 KJV. Jesus’ reward, the promise of eternal life in Heaven through all eternity, is held out to the believer as something to be sought after, not something they already have! It is given by Jesus after the Second Coming, not at their death. In many texts in the Bible the reward to be sought after is eternal life in Heaven, which Jesus promised to those who overcome. But if the soul goes to Heaven immediately at their death, they would have already received their reward! Resurrection restores life to the dead. Eating from the Tree of Life gives eternal life to the one who eats it. If souls went to Heaven before their resurrection and were able to eat from the Tree of Life, this would give them eternal life if it were possible, and would bypass the need for the Resurrection promised by Jesus at the Second Coming. But spirits of the Dead are unable to eat physical food of any kind, because they are spirits, not physical, if they can exist at all (we think that they can’t). But we have already shown in our earlier editor’s notes in this article that the Tree of Life does not raise someone from the dead, this is something only Jesus can do, it causes the alive person who eats its fruit and eats its leaves to have eternal life! Death is the opposite of life, life is the opposite of death. There is no partial resurrection, the resurrection is for the dead only. Dead souls are not fully dead if they can exist after their body dies, because it is said that they still have their thoughts, and if they were in Heaven wouldn’t they want to praise God for their deliverance? But the Bible tells us that at death the thoughts perish and it says that the dead cannot praise God, so this notion of dead souls going to Heaven contradicts the Bible. See Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 88:10; 115:17. It would be ridiculous for them to have to come back to Earth again, just so that they can get ‘resurrected’, so that they can finally receive their reward that they already had! The foolishness of this line of thinking is beyond belief. So it comes down to who people will believe: Jesus or tradition.

Where is the proof texts in the Bible where Jesus or Paul or anyone else said that souls are brought back to the earth, so that they can get resurrected after they have been in Heaven awhile? They don’t exist! This is an assumption based on the fallacy that the righteous dead go to Heaven at death, and is an attempt to harmonize this view with Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at His Second Coming. No, the promise of eternal life and the trip to Heaven are made as a reward for the righteous who are alive when Jesus comes back, and for the righteous dead who are raised; they go to Heaven together at the same time (although the dead in Christ rise first). All go to Heaven with Jesus together, when He takes them back Home to the mansions He has prepared for those who love Him. Also note that Jesus Himself declared in John 14:1-4 that He was preparing a place for His people, and would come again to receive them that where He is, there they would be also. Read it carefully! Nowhere does it say that Jesus would receive them twice into their mansions in Heaven that He has prepared for them, once when they die and go as souls of the dead to Heaven, and once at the Second Coming at the Resurrection He promised. It only happens once according to the Scriptures! Paul’s testimony here agrees perfectly with Jesus’ testimony. Therefore the belief that righteous souls go to Heaven at their death contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at the Second Coming. And it also contradicts the need for the Second Coming and makes it unnecessary, since all someone would have to do is to ‘die’ and they would make their way into Heaven, if they were an overcomer. And if it were true, Paul wasted his time telling believers not to sorrow as those who have no hope, because the souls would go to Heaven at their death, without the need for the Resurrection! If it were true, there would have been no need to tell them the hope of the Resurrection, but this is not true. Why is it that people cannot see these inconsistencies and fallacies? This belief contradicts Jesus, Paul and the other writers in the Bible.

Paul clearly stated about the Second Coming and the Resurrection: that after this ‘thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words.’ Paul also stated at the beginning of that same passage in 1 Thessalonians 4: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 NASB. Paul tells us that Jesus will come back, raise the dead, who rise first in the air, and then those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with Him, and thus ‘we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.’ We think that many people who believe that the dead go to Heaven at death do not understand or catch the importance of what Paul was teaching here in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Did you catch that? It is crucial that you understand it dear reader, so that you will have your hope built on the solid rock and not on shifting sand. Paul was trying to console his readers that when the believer dies this was not the end of their hope! Many of the ones he was writing to believed that when someone died that was it, they were forever in the grave. But Paul tells the Thessalonian church to hope for the Resurrection, which implies that nothing happens to the ones who died until Jesus comes back, at the Second Coming. The believer was to hope for the Resurrection. Paul was telling them that there was hope in the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, but he made no mention of any soul’s trip to Heaven immediately at their death, to be resurrected later at the Second Coming. If this were the case, Christians would have the reward of their hope before Jesus comes back at the Second Coming and the Resurrection, and would not need to hope after this, for they would have already received the promised reward. But Paul is clear here that the hope of the Christian is centered on the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, not death, even though many teach that the hope for Christians is centered on their death. Paul lays it out, and it has nothing to do with the way many are teaching it. We wish people would read the Bible carefully, thinking about what it is saying, using their reasoning ability to understand what it means, and reason from cause to effect. Jesus and Paul clearly taught what is important for Christians to understand: that the Resurrection to eternal life is the reward for the righteous, to be given at Jesus’ Second Coming, not their death. The way many believe, the rewards are handed out at death, not after the Resurrection, which is contrary to what Jesus, Paul and others in the Bible taught. And at funerals or memorials, many times it is said that the person who died ‘has gone on to their reward’, in direct contradiction of Jesus!


Conclusion of the Editor’s Comments:
Why are we running these articles about the afterlife, and spending so much effort to disprove the common beliefs about how one gets to Heaven? Because there is a certain wonder, beauty, peace and joy that many people are missing out on. And because it provides an opportunity for people to become deceived, if they accept these falsehoods regarding Heaven and Hell. It causes people to doubt what Jesus and other writers in the Bible taught, whether they realize it or not. And it causes them to not understand or believe some of the plainest teachings in the Bible, but to instead look for some other mysterious meaning rather than the obvious one. The acceptance of any fallacy makes it easier to accept other fallacies. But it brings us much comfort to understand the truth in its beauty, and understand God’s great love for humanity in the wonderful salvation He is providing! God is not offering some ‘cheap’ parody of life in Heaven, but the real thing. It is life eternal, eternal life! It is life in every sense of the word, but it is eternal life, not a short life of a few mortal years like we have here! It is not some abstract concept that only theologians, philosophers, or ‘gurus’ or just a few of the ‘enlightened ones’ can understand. It is the same thing as what you already have now, except there will be no more sin, suffering, pain or death, and there will only be wonderful peace, love, joy, and happiness throughout eternity!

Dear reader, Heaven is a real place, and real people with flesh and blood will dwell there throughout the countless ages of eternity! Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you there. John 14:1-3. Won’t you come and go with me to that bright and fair land? We hope and pray that you will. Will you accept the invitation? Don’t let anyone confuse you, and “don’t you let nobody turn you ‘round” as the song says. Jesus and His Father have provided for all of your needs now and forever. Yes, you can make it there if you will give your heart completely to God, and trust in His mighty power to save you! If you are not there yet, just allow His loving kindness to lead you there and shelter you in His love, then you will have all the faith you need to be saved.

Heaven is not a place inhabited by “spiritual only beings”, known by some as souls (of the dead), but Heaven is a real place inhabited by real beings who are ‘spiritual’ and fully alive, who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They have a real life in Heaven, they really eat the fruits from the Tree of Life, and they really drink from the River of Life, clear as crystal, which is flowing endlessly from the throne of God! And they have real peace, real love, and real joy forever and ever!

Heaven is not the realm of dead souls, ghosts or the like, but it is the realm where real people with new life from God live, filled with His Spirit who will be living there through endless ages.For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 KJV. Amen.

Yes, Heaven is real! Heaven is a real place, and you can really live there forever! You have been invited! Won’t you go there?

-- From the Editor. May the Grace of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you! 


Inspirational Songs for this Message Today:

What Will it be to See Jesus:     By Fred P Morris, pub 1909
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOyq8hPIIlo&list=RDIOyq8hPIIlo

What will it be to see Jesus?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
On the brink of that beautiful river,
Its wonderful light,
Will burst on my site,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

When in wonder I stand
With my hand in His hand
In that home of the ransomed forever,
The sorrow all passed
Triumphant at last!
Oh what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/What_Will_It_Be/

How Bright the Shore:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax3_D1w6Y_Q

How bright the shore
Where waits my Jesus,
The streets of gold
Outshine the sun!
How bright the shore,
Like glistening diamonds,
A palace there for everyone!
I’m going there, yes going there,
In matchless splendor I’ll abide!
I’m going there,
Yes going there,
To spend my days at Jesus’ side!

Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Round!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4JimBzxumE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbywi1qiLlI


Now back to George Storrs’ sermon for its conclusion…

To Be Continued…

This Sermon 1 Taken From:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

Click here for a Free PDF of this article!

#God #Wicked #Men #Immortal #Tree #Life #Soul #Spirit #Dead #Heaven #Eternal #Forever #Death #Second #Coming #Christ #Resurrection #Real #Ghosts #Judgement

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1 Part 2 of 4

By George Storrs

I proceed to take up the three main arguments in support of man's immortality.

1. The desire all men feel for it.

This argument can avail nothing, unless it can be proved, that what men desire they will possess. But men desire many things they never obtain. All men desire happiness; but does it, therefore, follow that all men will be happy? Certainly not. So, neither does it follow, because all men desire immortality, that therefore, they are immortal, or will all attain it. We might as well argue that because all men desire to be rich, therefore they are rich, or will certainly be so. The desire for immortality is, without doubt, a strong principle implanted in us by the author of our being, to excite us to a course of living that shall secure that invaluable blessing, which He designed to bestow upon man, if he would walk in obedience to the law of his God. - Hence, the dread of the loss of it was to influence men in enduring whatever of trial might be their lot, during their sojourn in this state of probation; and, properly considered, will be a mighty stimulus to enable us to suffer even unto death, if need be, that we may gain ETERNAL LIFE.

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2. It is said - "The soul is a simple essence, immaterial, uncompounded, indivisible, indestructible, and hence immortal."

Here is surely an array of words that might deter a timid man from investigation; but, following the apostolical injunction, I proceed to prove, or examine, these assumptions.

1.) How do those who take this position know the soul is a simple essence? Again, what is a simple essence? can they tell us? Or, is it merely a phrase to blind the mind and hinder investigation? Surely the phrase communicates no idea to the mind of man - it is too vague to give any instruction - it is too subtle to admit of being the subject of thought, and therefore it must pass for an unfounded assumption.

2.) What is immateriality? Strictly speaking it is, not material - not matter. In other words - it is not substance. What is that which has no substance? - What kind of creation is it? If the Creator formed "all things out of nothing," it would seem that man's soul has taken the form of its original, and is nothing still; for it is not matter, we are told. If it is said - "It is a spiritual substance" - I ask, What kind of substance is that, if it is not matter? I cannot conceive, and I do not see how it is possible to conceive, of substance without matter, in some form: it may be exceedingly refined. I regard the phrase, immaterial, as one which properly belongs to the things which are not: a sound without sense or meaning: a mere cloak to hide the nakedness of the theory of an immortal soul in man; a phrase of which its authors are as profoundly ignorant as the most unlearned of their pupils.

3.) It is said - "The soul is uncompounded." If that is true, then it follows that it is uncreated. I can form

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no idea of a creation without compounding. If not compounded it is only what it was: no new idea is produced. Then, if the soul exists at all, as an entity, it must be a part of the uncreated: that is, it must be a part of God. If a part of God, how can it sin? Can God be divided against himself? But how is that God who is "without body or parts" to be separated into the millions of souls that have inhabited, and do inhabit this earth? And then these parts of God often meet in the battle field, slaying each other! Horrid work, truly, for parts of God to be engaged in! But we cannot stop here. Millions of these parts of God sin against other parts of God, and are sent to hell to be tormented eternally, and eternally to curse and blaspheme the other parts of God! Such is the inevitable result of the theory I oppose, disguise it as its advocates may.

4.) "The soul is indivisible," it is affirmed. Then, if a part of God, it is an undivided part of God; and there is not, and cannot be, in the nature of the case, but one soul to the whole human family. If the soul is indivisible, how could Abraham give or communicate a soul to Isaac? It could not be an offshoot from his own, for that would make his soul divisible, and our opposers say it is "indivisible." I cannot see, if Abraham communicated Isaac's soul to him, but what it must still have been Abraham's soul in Isaac, if the soul is not divisible; and then I do not see how there can be more than one soul for the whole family; and as that is "indivisible," it is a family soul; hence it follows that the action of any one man must be the action of the family soul; so if one man sins, it is a family sin, or if one man acts virtuously it is a family virtue. Again, as the soul is "indivisible," all men

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must have the same common destiny: say, for example, if Abraham should be lost, Isaac must be lost, for the soul can't be divided! and so whatever is the fate of the first man, Adam, must be the fate of all his race, or else the soul must be divisible; and then, what would become of the theory of its indivisibility? - Happy for man, however, we have the assurance that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are saved, and that proves Adam and Eve were, and that all their posterity must inevitably be so too - for "the soul is indivisible!" Thus our opposers take a short and certain rout to universal salvation. Can they get out of that dilemma without abandoning their theory?

There is no avoiding these conclusions only by affirming that a soul is created for each new-born child. But if created, is it holy or unholy? If holy, does God place holy souls in unholy bodies to pollute and defile them? If souls are a new creation at birth, how is Adam's moral depravity transmitted to his posterity? as theologians affirm it is. But if they are created unholy, is any soul of man blameworthy for his moral depravity? These are questions for the theologians to solve who maintain the indivisibility of the soul: questions which are no longer to pass by any man's mere affirmation. Give us proof - "thus saith the Lord," for these assumptions about the soul.

5.) Shall it be affirmed the soul is "indestructible?" If so, it is because God has determined it shall not be destroyed, or because he lacks power to destroy it. - If it is the first, give us Scripture testimony of such determination. I hesitate not to say, there is no "thus saith the Lord" for any such assumption. If it is said, God cannot destroy it - I ask, did he create it? If so, does it take a greater exertion of power to destroy

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than to create? or, did God so exhaust his omnipotence in the act of creation that it is not now equal to the work of reducing back to its original state that which he has made? If I were to affirm God's inability to destroy anything he has created I might justly be charged with being "infidel." As it is, my opposers might more justly be charged with atheism; for they, in fact, deny Jehovah's omnipotence, which is equivalent to a denial of his being.

If to make their assumptions stronger they use the term annihilate, and say, "nothing can be annihilated - therefore man cannot be;" I answer, this position is wholly untenable, and is a deceptive play upon words. If a man dash in pieces a bottle, or burn a house to ashes, or consume a lamb in the fire, are not the bottle, the house, the lamb, annihilated? Say not, the elements of which they consisted still exist: they - the bottle, the house, the lamb - do not exist, as such: that form is annihilated. Not the elements of which he was formed: but as man he is no more. On the subject of annihilation, however, I may speak more at large in another place: I will only add now - If "God created all things out of nothing," as the theology of the age affirms, then he can, if he will, reduce all things back to nothing, or omnipotence has ceased to be omnipotent.

The attempt to prove the immortality of the soul, from its supposed indestructibility, is without force or truth; and with it falls the whole catalogue of assumptions, with which it is connected. He who created can destroy - "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" - in gehenna.

The Philosophical argument for the immortality of

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man's soul, when stript of all its useless attire, stands thus: -

1. There are only two primary substances, viz: matter and spirit.
 
2. Matter has no power of self-motion, or self-determination, however it may be organized.

3. Therefore, wherever we see matter endowed with this power, there must have been added to it an immortal spirit or soul, that is immaterial, etc.  

This is the soul of all the philosophical arguments that have ever been put forth to prove man has an immortal soul. If the position is true it endows every animal, insect, or crawling worm upon earth with an immortal and immaterial soul just as really as man; and strips Jesus Christ of all the glory of bestowing immortality upon man by his work and meditation.

To Be Continued…

This Sermon 1 Taken From:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?
“ALSO, A SERMON ON CHRIST THE LIFE-GIVER: OR, THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”
BY GEORGE STORRS, OFFICE OF THE BIBLE EXAMINER, 1855

Blog Edited by John Foll.

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