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Death and Judgment
What Is The Soul?”
The lack of vitality and penetration in human literature and conversation is
most clearly evidenced by the utter failure to distinguish between soul and
spirit. It is almost universally the case that when the soul is spoken of, the
spirit is intended. The English words which have been derived from psuchee,
the Greek word for soul, all, erroneously, refer to various aspects of spirit.
For instance, psychology has to do with the mind, not the soulish sensations.
Psychic, instead of bearing its true meaning, soulish or sensual, denotes
pneumatic, or spiritual. These are not mere curiosities of philology, but the
sure indexes of the present day confusion which we must detect and avoid if we
wish to get the truth on the subject of the soul.
What Is Death?”
Amazing as it may seem to some, death is a return. Man is soil and
returns to the soil (Gen.3:19). The spirit returns to God who gave it
(Ecc.12:7). The soul returns to the unseen whence it came (Psa.9:17 and
Acts 2:27,31). In fact Job speaks of death itself as a return when he
says: For I know that Thou wilt return me to death. (Job 30:23 AV). Neither man as a whole, nor any part of him enters a
new, unknown condition at death, but all returns to the state from which
it emerged when life was imparted. Even as the body was created of
existing entities, so with the spirit which was given by God; and at death
these return to the same condition in which they were before.
The Soul and the
In approaching the question of the scriptural meaning of the Hebrew sheol and
the Greek hadês, it is necessary first of all to establish the scriptural
significance of soul. This is because, in Scripture, man, who is said both to
be a soul and to have a soul, returns in death to the unseen, which is sheol
The Gehenna of Fire
The meaning of Gehenna must be established from facts furnished by the Scripture, not by
falsehoods foisted by human tradition. To the reader of the Hebrew Scriptures themselves,
Gehenna can only mean a verdict which, besides condemning a man to death, also ordains
that, after death, his body should be cast into the loathsome valley of Hinnom. This being
the sense of Gehenna in the Hebrew Scriptures, we may be sure that this is the sense in
which Christ used it.
The Judgment of the
Tremendous judgment upon the nations of the earth, certain and sudden, has long been
predicted by Israels prophets. Quite a number of passages in the Greek Scriptures
(New Testament) are concerned with this theme as well. The time is coming, when the day of
the Lord begins to unfold, when men will say, Peace and security. Yet it is at
that very time when extermination will be standing by them unawareseven as a
pang over the pregnant, and they may by no means escape (1 Thess.5:2,3).
Eonian Fire and
The fire eonian spoken of in Matthew 25 is a figure of the chastening
of the unjust nations during the coming eon, even as it is written in the prophets.
Nations cannot be chastened in literal fire. In Matthew 25, the chastening of
nations in fire should alert us to an obvious figurative usage. Indeed, even
individual persons could never be put into a literal fire for even a few seconds without
destroying their bodies, thus making chastening impossible, since death would ensue nearly
The Lake of Fire
The words this is the second deaththe lake of fire, may be
clarified thus: Let me show you the second death. There it is: the
lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. That is, the lake of fire is
the cause of, or the agency which produces, the second death. This represents
that. The idea is, the lake of fireby figure of association in which the cause is
put for the effectrepresents the second death.
A Resurrection of
The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years should be
finished (Rev.20:5). This is the latter of the two resurrections considered in
Revelation 20:4,5. After the thousand years, the rest of the dead will be
returned to life. This will occur so that they might be judged. Their judgment, the
experience of judging which they undergo, will transpire in association with a great
white throne and in the presence of Him Who is sitting upon it
(Rev.20:11), the Son of God, into Whose hands God has committed all judging (John
Judgment and Death
The day of judging (Matt.11:24; Rom.2:5) will transpire in connection with the
great white throne, prior to the second death, not in it. The day of judging not
only will occur at this juncture, prior to the second death, but this is the only
era in which it can occur. Before the great white throne, men are not simply tried,
they are judged. And this continues until they are cast into the lake of fire.
Then, in death, all sensation ceases. It is a release, not a torture
chamber, or even a place for chastening. The lake of fire mercifully close the judgment
period of all who suffer for their sins. It is not an infliction but its cessation.
of Gods Just Judgment
In considering God's judgments it will help us greatly to keep in mind that, for all their
good as divine operations, they do not deliver anyone from sin. Far from being a gateway
to life and righteousness, the judgment of the great white throne leads to death. The lake
of fire is the second death in that, as the agency which is its cause, the
lake of fire becomes the symbol of the second death.
The Repudiation of
We find untenable the idea which some have taught concerning the diminutive form for
scroll in Revelation 20:12. The claim is that it refers to a small
scroll here, and that this little scrollet becomes a very large
scroll following the day of judgment. This supposedly will occur inasmuch as
the names of most men will then be added to the scroll of life. The great majority,
having finally done their part, using their free wills aright, will thus qualify
themselves for exemption from the second death. It is claimed that therefore only a few
enter the second death. This remarkable claim is based on the irrational idea popularly
known as free will.
Challenges to Gods
This article continues the theme begun in the previous article. Etymology, or
the study of a words origin, is not central but strictly peripheral in determining
word meaning. Even the meaning of a words elements is not determinative of the
words own meaning. Definitive context alone determines meaning. We have a definitive
context not when a certain idea can fit but when it alone can fit.
Questions About Resurrection
We have been asked to reply to a recent book entitled CRUCIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT HELL.
For the most part, the author simply makes a case for eternal punishment and Hell such as
will appeal to and, we suppose, satisfy the so-called evangelical public. Will all who die
in unbelief, including those who have never heard the gospel, experience the horrors of an
orthodox Hell for all eternity? According to the author, they will indeed. Remarkably
however, this expositor only considers the vital scriptural points at issue in this
controversy quite cursorily.