Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

The Watchtower (October 2012) Does God punish people in Hellfire?

In an article entitled ‘A Conversation with a Neighbour’. The Watchtower magazine October 2012 asks: Does God Punish People in Hellfire?

The article is shown as an example of how a Jehovah’s Witness may discuss the issue of Hell with a non Witness.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in Hell and teach that a person does not have a ‘soul’ that lives on beyond death. Thus, when a person dies they no longer exist; they only exist as a memory in Jehovah God’s mind.

The conversation between Witness ‘Mauricio’ and potential convert ‘Alejandro’ serves to show how The Watchtower, in seeking to prove their pre-determined theology, uses faulty logic and selective Bible verses to make their case.

Here are a few assertions from the article:

1)    People believe in Hell because they want bad people to be punished

2)    The Bible does not teach Hell, but rather it teaches that evil people will be eternally destroyed. (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

3)    Religious leaders who teach about Hell are portraying God as very unjust.

4)    If Hell is real, God had a moral duty to inform Adam and Eve of such. That would have been the ‘loving’ thing to do.

5)    The Devil torments people in Hell

6)    Psalm 37:9 Evildoers will be cut-off but those hoping in Jehovah will be possess the earth.

People believe in Hell because they want bad people to be punished

Comment: It is true that most people will feel that evil people need to be punished in some way. This does not necessarily lead to a belief in Hell.

The Bible does not teach Hell, but rather it teaches that evil people will be eternally destroyed. (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

Comment: The Watchtower here quotes a verse out of its context and gives it a meaning that is not consistent with the rest of Scripture on the subject of Hell. They contend that 2 Thessalonians 1:9 teaches that people will be eternally destroyed (annihilated), but is that what it is saying?

The Greek for ‘eternal destruction’ is ολεθρον αιώνιον.

ólethros – properly, ruination with its full, destructive results. This does not, imply “extinction” (annihilation). Rather it emphasizes the consequent loss that goes with disobedience.

Paul says that those who ‘do not know God’ and ‘those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ’ These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.    2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (NKJV)

Paul uses “destruction” in our verse and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 to describe the effect of God’s judgments in the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation) and the Second Coming of Christ. The nature of “destruction” in this verse is that it is “everlasting.” An everlasting separation from God.

Religious leaders who teach about Hell are portraying God as very unjust.

Comment: Or perhaps Religious Leaders who teach about Hell are just teaching the Bible! We can never call God unjust. God is Sovereign and He can do as He pleases. We put ourselves in a dangerous place when we think we know better than God.

See the following link for a Biblical View of Hell.

http://contendforthefaith2.com/bviewh.html

If Hell is real, God had a moral duty to inform Adam and Eve of such. That would have been the ‘loving’ thing to do.

Comment: This sounds like a reasonable argument, but it is an argument from silence. We can’t say Hell is not real because God did not mention it to Adam and Eve. Again, The Watchtower calls into question God’s Sovereignty and tries to argue that the existence of Hell would prove that God is unloving. Strangely, they have no problem believing that a God of Love will annihilate all but JWs at Armageddon!

The Devil torments people in Hell

Comment: This again shows Watchtower ignorance of what Christians actually believe. They Bible nowhere teaches that the Devil will torment people in Hell, rather the Bible teaches that the Devil himself will be tormented.

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone wherethe beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10 – NKJV).

Psalm 37:9 Evildoers will be cut-off but those hoping in Jehovah will be possess the earth.

Comment: As usual, The WT quotes a verse out of its context to try and vindicate its unbiblical beliefs. The context of Psalm 37 shows that there are two groups of people, the Righteous and the Wicked. The wicked will be ‘no more’ and ‘cut off’ (v10, 28) and the righteous will inherit the earth (can be rightly translated ‘land’).  David, speaking of his own time, people and land, says that he and the righteous ones will be vindicated. The wicked will be cut off from the land and the righteous will reside upon the land. His intention in writing these words was not to prophetically speak about a time in the future where only Jehovah’s Witnesses will reside upon earth, with a third group – 144,000 – will govern them from heaven.

The Watchtowers teaching on Hell, like so much of their teaching, is not Biblical. The Jehovah’s Witnesses on your doorstep believe what they are taught and not what the Bible teaches. We can therefore confidently share with them, what the Bible really teaches.

Advertisements

Tagged as: ,

Categorised in: Hell, Watchtower Magazine

13 Responses »

  1. Really great article. I’ll be referencing this material when I meet with a JW couple in a few weeks.

  2. Mark 9:43-49 (KJV)
    “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.”

    I think the *treble* repetition of “hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” from the lips of Jesus himself is pretty unequivocal!

  3. http://www.tentmaker.org/ScholarsCorner.html

    *HELL doesn’t exist* –

    Hell was probably first implemented in the Scriptures between the 2nd and 3rd century !

    _If Hell is real why didn’t Moses warn about this fate in the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic Covenant consisting of over 613 laws, ordinances, and warnings? The Mosaic Law simply stated blessings and cursings in this lifetime._

    If Hell really did exist, we would have seen it mentioned in the Ten Commandments – But there’s no Hell in any of the Scriptures of the OT
    *Deutoronomy 32:22*
    ὅτι πῦρ ἐκκέκαυται ἐκ τοῦ θυμοῦ μου, καυθήσεται ἕως *ᾅδου* κάτω, καταφάγεται γῆν καὶ τὰ γενήματα αὐτῆς, φλέξει θεμέλια ὀρέων.
    *******
    *ᾅδου* is transliterated to Haides in the Bible
    *But:* 
    The best translation of the highlighted word *ᾅδου* is probanly “unseen” or “unseen place” refering to the “invisible”.

    The Christian Jews has “stolen” the idea of a ”Hell” from the Greeks, probably just to have a alternetiv to heaven and to threaten the wicked with

    *There don’t exist any words for Hell*, neither in Aramaic, Hebrew nor in Koine Greek for the concept of Hell.

    *In OT* – Is there one word for Hell:
    *She’ol* means in reality *grave* (and not Hell).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol

    *In NT* – Is there three words for Hell:
    1) *Geena/Gehenna* – means *the valley of* (the son of) *Hinnom* – which was a landfill with ‘eternal fire* that lay outside Jerusalem, which among other, was used to throw the corpses of executed hard criminals.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna

    2) *Haides or Hades* – comes from ancient Greek mythology = *Place of departed souls*.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hades

    3) *Tartaros* – comes from ancient Greek mythology.-
    Eg. was the immortal titans imprisoned in *Tartarus*.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartarus

    • Firstly thank you Tony for an excellent article.

      I would just like to quickly comment on Eriks post. There seems to be some confusion over terminology and origins.

      While the term or word Hell does occur late and I admit it has been misused and misunderstood for many centuries, especially during the medieval period, nevertheless the antecedent reality of post morterm retribution has long been part of the Jewish Psyche and religion. We must lay aside the word Hell and look again at the original words; Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. However in so doing we must not limit these words but allow context to dictate meaning. Only then will we be able to decide if any one of these words depict an eternal habitation for the unsaved dead.

      When dealing with Ancient Israel we must locate our understanding of the Mosaic law in History. The purpose of the law was firmly built upon the “here and now” and provided guidance on how to live under theocratic rule. Therefore the law rarely (if ever) dealt with individual eschatology. Rather you will find this topic emerging in prophetic and wisdom literature.

      The absence of clear teaching on the afterlife in the OT is apparent throughout. However to say that Israelites were not interested in life after death is incorrect. For example YHWH added to the law prohibitions against contacting the dead. The inference being that Israelites 1) believed in an afterlife 2) were tempted to contact those departed spirits.

      Deu 18:10-12 “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.”

      See also Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27; I Samuel 28:3, 7-9; 2 Kings 23:24; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3)
      See: http://www.gotquestions.org/praying-to-the-dead.html

      Why have prohibitions against contacting the dead if there is no afterlife and no underworld? The reality is that throughout the OT we glean hints and shadows of how Israelites viewed the afterlife. However speculation concerning the dead lay outside the parameters of orthodox Yahwism.

      You quote the LXX Duet 32:22 which speaks of “Hades” (ᾅδου) this word translates the OT word Sheol. The word occurs 66 times in the OT and always occurs without the definite article which implies that is is a proper name and therefore is a real place. It is never localised such as with a persons grave but always described as place. Therefore Sheol always means the realm of the dead. Naturally Sheol is missing as a term from all the legal material because it is an emotive term which apprehends ones own destiny.

      On the subject of Hell, Sheol does not indicate any form of post morterm punishment therefore “Hell” in the sense of eternal separation is not an appropriate translation for Sheol. We must locate the word in its Historical meaning which as stated is: the place of the disembodied spirits. The OT calls such spirits “rephaim” often translated “shades” in modern translations. These are said to reside in Sheol. (Job 26:5; Ps 88:10; Prov 21:16) Rephaim carries the idea of weakness because no “spirit” can escape Sheol’s grip.

      While I would agree that the LXX ᾅδου carries the thought of “invisible” we cannot limit Sheol/Hades to this one meaning because the word carries many different nuances. Hence the fact remains that whatever the nuance the single basic concept is that of the abode of the dead; the underworld. It would violate the word meaning to reduce Sheol/Hades down to any one nuance. Therefore the concept that Sheol/Hades represents just the grave is also to be rejected. In fact in the LXX Sheol is never translated grave but always Hades. Why? Because the Israelites like all Mesopotamian peoples believed in an underworld.

      It was during the inter-testamental period that the abode of Sheol/Hades took on further concepts. We have the idea of post mortem retribution viz. the wicked must be punished and the righteous must be rewarded. Out of these concepts grows the bodily resurrection doctrine. Consequently both the resurrection doctrine and the idea of separation of wicked and righteous is clearly embryonic in the OT metanarrative:

      Dan 12:2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

      While its is true that some crossover between Greek mythology and Rabbinic literature occurred during the Hellenistic period we must not force this point. Instead we must turn to scripture. If scripture speaks of Sheol/Hades as an underworld. If scripture describes Tartarus as a prison for postdiluvian angels, if scripture describes an everlasting place of torment for the unsaved, WHO am I or you to argue? Surely if we accept Biblical authority scripture has the final say?

      Consequently as we investigate Jesus understanding we find his teachings align with Rabbinic thought and literature. In Luke chapter 16 Jesus clearly reveals his familiarity with the various inter-testamental concepts. He describes Sheol/Hades as having two separate parts one for the wicked and one for the righteous, between which was a great chasm. Had Jesus not believed in these concepts surely we would not have expected him to use them in his teachings. However he did employs these concepts, therefore we must accept his conclusions. Moreover Jesus drew upon the additional concept of Gehenna which was first mentioned outside of the OT as early as 200 BC in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha literature. Why bring up Gehenna if it only represented a rubbish dump?

      Thus while you have correctly identified Gehenna with the Valley Hinnom, viz. Jerusalem’s rubbish dump. The fact remains that by the time of Jesus this Valley symbolised the final destiny of the wicked. Just as Jesus described the righteous inheriting eternal life likewise he taught that the unsaved will inherit eternal separation, viz.Gehenna an abode synonymous with the eternal fire.

      Mark 9:43 “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to Gehenna, to the unquenchable fire.”

      Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

      See also Matthew 18:8; 25:41, 46; Luke 18:30; 2 Thessalonians. 1:9 and Hebrew 6:2. This is indeed an eternal judgement; Aion and aionios – endless eternal separation from the face of God.

      Revelation 20:10 “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

      Rev 20:14-15 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

      Clearly we have a description of post mortem retribution. The Devil, his Angels and those who reject the Gospel will be thrown into Gehenna the Lake of Fire, later in Christian History translated as Hell.

      In review Eric has raised some important points, but really he has only told half a story. Yes Hell is a poor translation of three distinctive Hebrew/Greek words. However we must be very careful not to jump to conclusions about any subject before we exhaust every last avenue of inquiry. Only then will we have enough evidence to draw a objective conclusion.

      For the serious Bible student I would recommend the following books:

      Shades of Sheol; Death and Afterlife in the OT by Philip S. Johnston
      Death and the Afterlife by Dr. Robert A. Morey
      Raised Immortal – Resurrection Immortality in the NT by Murray J. Harris
      The Formation of Hell by Alan E. Bernstein

      For a historical review of Hell please watch:

      May the LORD bless your diligence
      Shalom
      Jason Wright

  4. I completely agree that there are several nuances to take into account, in terms of “land of the Dead” (Sheol), but I would not mess me into speculations. (as many people for some reason are so afraid of. (I wonder if it might have something to do with the concept of hell?)) –
    But nevertheless, we never see Pentateuch mention other than »blessings and curses in this life«.
    That there are warnings against contacting the dead one, I can not see this functioning as a warning against what Hell in total stands for.
    Sheol do not say anything about the concept, many Christians associate with hell – And that was what was my errand.
    Incidentally, so is Hades still a Greek concept, and was a place that could be visited by both the gods and demi-gods, such as Herakles and Orpheus – And Hades had more than one entries in the Greece – “The god Hades” was referred to as “the invisible” – It’s actually the only thing, I can see, are in common with Sheol, so far as I could find out.
    You mention Daniel 12:2 – At present, I am convinced that Daniel was written later AD167, partly because:
    Resurrection were also a heritage from the Greeks, And isn’t originally to find neither in the LXX nor in Hebrew – (unless I’ve missed something.)

    Erik

  5. Hi Erik, thanks for the clarification, nice to exchange ideas.

    As regards Hades it seems clear that the writers of the LXX had a conceptual understanding of an underworld prior to adopting this hellenistic term. Thus while some overlap may exist between conjectural ideas (Hellenistic/Jewish) I’m not convinced that the Hellenistic view of Hades with demigods etc. was borrowed or applied retrospectively to Sheol. Rather Hades simply worked semantically as convenient bridge to Sheol wherein Greek speakers could quickly understand that Sheol/Hades was the abode of the dead. Therefore I see Sheol as a developing idea through the OT into the inter-testimantal period and then (speaking as a Christian) codified by Jesus.

    I think we both agree that Hell as a word and concept cannot be read back into the OT, although I do believe there are some scriptural shadows which give credence to the idea of separation in Sheol. However the idea of eternal punishment (Gehenna/Lake fire) comes much later.

    The import thing for me as a Christian is that Jesus adopted terminology from Apocryphal and Pseudepigrapha literature. Terms like gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, fire, etc. he then applies such terms to Gehenna and speaks of this realm as eternal. Hence for me Jesus settles the argument concerning the final resting place of the unsaved dead. Historical development is just one thread of enquiry that leads to what I believe is the truth concerning Sheol/Hades and Gehenna codified by Jesus and the NT revelation.

    I have read the literary and higher critical arguments for various late dating for Daniel (and other books) but for me (and for many scholars) I do not find the arguments convincing. Certainly as a Christian I find the deconstruction of scripture alarming and unnecessary, a product of post enlightenment rationalism. Thus for me Daniel 12:2 is authentic and conveys embryonic ideas concerning a future resurrection.

    Overall I would love to see more Christians do their homework and understand the progressive development of post mortem concepts. In so doing they would be less likely to miss-apply the Hell fire and brimstone concept to the OT. For me I prefer to use the Hebraic/Hellenistic terms for it better identifies the various historical and theological concepts.

    Incidentally I do not believe that scripture teaches Gehenna/Hell exists NOW. Viz. when a person dies in unbelief they go to Hell immediately. Rather I believe Gehenna/Hell is an abode which will for formed or as Jesus put it prepared after the bodily resurrection. A realm made specifically for the Devil his minions and the unbeliever. In other words the eternal habitation of the unsaved dead is yet to be created. Those who die unsaved at this stage of history depart as disembodied spirits into Sheol/Hades to await bodily resurrection and judgement. That’s my take anyway!

    Nice to talk

    God bless
    Jason

  6. Hello lovelly friends u wont believe this
    the truth is beginning to suffice on his
    own.
    The truth is like a Spring if u bend it to
    ur direction it will bend, wether north or
    south it will surely bend both
    immediately u leave hold of it ,it will
    surely stand in it rightfully position.
    False religion has succeeded in covering
    d truth like a lamp that is covered with
    basket, but for how long will they
    continue to hold the snail has left it’s
    shell and he is about to tell who kept
    him in that shell.
    80Years ago people strongly hold the
    HELLFIRE doctrine tight as a the teeth to
    the gum it was only the Jehovah’s
    witnesses that was preaching and
    fighting against it for that reason they
    were cretize and hated for the teachings
    they carry several attempt we’re made to
    terminate their work or their life. Many
    were sent to prison some never faced
    trial in court and some faced but were
    falsely condemned. Their businesses
    were shot down in several countries such
    as EUROPE, AFRICA, ASIA, AUSTRALIA
    Their work was put on ban for years all
    because they spoke out the truth.THEIR
    places of worship was closed and heavy
    taxes was put on their publications and
    the church has continued to instigate
    the government in making sure Jehovah’s
    witnesses are silence all because they
    bear and spoke out the truth.
    FINALLY FINALLY THEY ARE BEGINNING
    TO see the hidden truth.
    PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY
    One man who is out to
    open many old “secrets”
    in the Catholic church is
    Pope Francis.
    Some of the beliefs that are held in the
    church
    but contrary to the loving nature of God
    are now
    being set aside by the Pope who was
    recently
    named The Man of The Year by TIME
    Magazine.
    In his latest revelations, Pope Francis
    said:
    “Through humility, soul searching, and
    prayerful contemplation we have gained
    a new
    understanding of certain dogmas. The
    church
    no longer believes in a literal hell where
    people suffer. This doctrine is
    incompatible
    with the infinite love of God. God is not
    a
    judge but a friend and a lover of
    humanity.
    God seeks not to condemn but only to
    embrace. , we
    see hell as a literary device. Hell is
    merely a
    metaphor for the isolated soul, which
    like all
    souls ultimately will be united in love
    with
    God.”
    In a shocking speech that is
    reverberating across
    the world.
    What other
    kind of truth
    is there? In
    the past, the
    church has
    been harsh
    on those it
    deemed
    morally
    wrong or
    sinful. Today,
    we no longer judge. Like a loving father,
    we
    never condemn our children. Our church
    is big
    enough for heterosexuals and
    homosexuals, for
    the pro-life and the pro-choice! For
    conservatives and liberals, even
    communists
    are welcome and have joined us.
    These comments were made by the
    father of Christaindom.
    Please answer this questions?
    why have their been so much hatred to
    the witnesses?
    why is it that its only the witnesses that
    has preached against this HELLFIRE
    teaching?
    Y is it that nearly all the world’s religion
    believe on the HELLFIRE but the
    witnesses do not? Could they be
    different from the world’s religion?

  7. Hej Jason
    I hope I have told, that I am not a believer – If not, I am sorry.
    As far as I have understood the requirement for salvation has always been faith.
    All were born sinful, but became righteous through faith –
    (Unfortunately, I am more than aware also due to own experience that not all of the very dedicated Christians are real Christians in their behavior, many looses their Christian manners, in the minute they are outside the ecclesial auspices – But they think well, that they are justified by faith and their ecclesial work alone.
    (but they arn’t: James 2 :14-26, says otherwise.))
    Jacob thought he in his sorrow could visit the grave, when Joseph disappeared due the brothers deception. –
    – Numbers 16 – tells the myth of how God lets the earth devour the men (Kora, family and possessions and his followers) who did not agree with Moses way to lead the people. (Available in a second edition in Numb. 26)
    ♦ I understand you believe there is more than Sheol ovendstående, hope you will be kind enough to send me the Scripture you believe supports this
    Re. *Book of Daniel*:
    I have carefully examined the link below:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/daniel1.htm
    1A) – The book contains Greek words:
    – If the book is Original –
    a) – Is it written by Greeks and from 4th century.
    b) – Or it can be rewritten, in this case it’s not 100% trustworthy.
    1B) – Otherwise, the book is written much later
    2) – *Daniel 3:5* – Wrong, since the instrument is a ‘sambuke’, ie a Syrian stringed instrument, and not a sackbut.
    3) – The Chaldeans – I’m not 100% sure this is right.
    4) – Cika 180 BC, writes Jeshua ben Sira a list of Jewish heroes, from Enoch to Nehemiah from the 5th century.
    In which Daniel de facto belongs – But Daniel from the 6th century is not listed – That’s a fact.
    5) – *Daniel 12*
    Bemærk: Daniel 12:4
    »you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time;«
    Bemærk: Revelation 22:10
    »Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near«. (This was written 1925 years ago)
    Verse 2 – »Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt«
    But this is only to be found in Book of Daniel.
    a) – *Because* as far as I can see, there are only two options in the Jewish theology:
    Either the resurrection of the righteous.
    Or eternal eradication of the unjust.
    But I will concede that there are signs of another death than the righteous, inter alia, Psalm 11.
    6) – Daniel 11 – “The prophecy” with ships from Kittim (Cyprus) can only be Alexander,
    a) – the rest of the “prophecies” fits surprisingly well with Alexander, but especially with his successors.
    This indicates again that the book is written later than the Greeks conquests.
    b) – and desolation reminiscent of astonishing degree of narrative in:
    *1 Maccabees 1:54*
    In the fifteenth day of the month Kislev, [that answereth to our November], in the hundred and five and fortieth year, king Antiochus builded (the) abominable idol of desolation, either [or (of)] discomfort, on the altar of God; and by all (the) cities of Judea in compass they builded altars.

    You wrote:
    »Hence for me Jesus settles the argument concerning the final resting place of the unsaved dead«
    It is therefore my belief, that the Book’s authors have taken the individual freedoms from their own convictions, and including the Hellenistic initiatives.
    I base this on, inter alia, that Jesus should have known that Moses doesn’t wrote the Pentateuch, due among other reasons:
    There are two different stories of many events, among others:
    The Creation, naming of Isaac, Jacob’s Revelation at Bethel etc. –
    And I really don’t think that Moses would/could have written anything about the below examples:
    A) – »Now the Canaanite *was then* in the land« (Gen. 12:6) (the Canaanites lived in the country until Joshua drove them a generation later)
    B) – »Abraam/Abraham hold my laws«. (Gen 26:5) (this section isn’t a speech between God and Moses)
    C) – »before any king reigned over the sons of Israel«. (Gen 36:31) – (Moses couldn’t know anything about a possible future king = Salomo who reigned 970 to 931BC)
    D) – Moses mentions generally himself as “‘Moses’ and ‘he'” etc ..
    ♦ Thoughts:
    The question is whether or not the development of the idea of an place with “eternal fire”, came from the landfill:”Gehenna” or more correct: ”the Valley of the Son of Hinnom”, which I have read, is said to have been under constant fire.

    Erik

    • Hi Erik,

      Thanks for your honesty. It makes my life a bit easier!

      I think much of how we interpret evidence stems from our presuppositions. For example if we approach the Bible as a “book” written by men – as encouraged by post-enlightenment scholars – then the inevitable consequence will be a critical, skeptical almost wilful deconstruction of biblical truth claims. Anything which cannot be proven by empirical means will be tossed out as myth etc. A quick look at the works of Schleiermacher confirm this.

      On the other hand if we approach scripture from a position of faith we will accept what is written based on the God we have personally encountered. That is not to say a reasonable person would not address the issues raised by critical scholarship but my default position through experience and study is that of a fundamental conservative as opposed to a liberal.

      I am actually just finishing my degree in Biblical hermeneutics and Theology so am familiar with your higher critical and liberal arguments. While I could progress through each point and provide an alternative viewpoint to be honest on an academic level it would be a pointless exercise. Many scholars have already provided satisfactory answers to your questions.
      If I went ahead with further discussion you would posit your hypothesis and we would just engage in intellectual ping pong.

      Again let me re-emphasise our mettanarrative is formed by our presuppositions which in turn affect how we handle and interpret evidence. This is a fact neither of us can escape. Therefore on an intellectual level we reach an impasse.

      Furthermore I work on UPFC as a volunteer, so my time is extremely limited. My motivation to help is a love of the lost. I am here to help ex-JW’s and others to meet with the living Christ of scripture whom I myself know existentially as my LORD and Savior. You cannot “learn” such realities.

      For an individual to move into such a salvific experience requires a meeting with the divine Christ, viz. a coming together of the human and divine will. Such a realisation requires humble submission and an eagerness to go beyond the temporal. Therefore while I am happy to converse on these topics it might be best if we draw a line under these peripheral discussions.

      It is good to chat and I thank you for taking the time and effort to put forth your points of view. However I have to be honest about my position and purpose. I trust you understand?

      Therefore I genuinely pray that you will meet with the real Jesus of scripture as I and millions of others have over the centuries. Such a revelation would surely soften your hardness to the biblical revelation and truth claims therein.

      I left my contact details on my last post, before reading this post. May I add a proviso. Please feel free to contact me if you are truly seeking biblical truth and revelation in Jesus Christ. If your not and you simply wish to engage in intellectual debate then may I politely ask you to find another sparing partner!

      Shalom
      Jason

  8. I am convinced that if there is a God, and the salvation functions roughly as described in the Bible, is salvation not a matter of faith, but a question about behaviour, that all the people who behave properly, will be saved (eg. James 2:14-26).
    Because I have through my life encountered several dedicated Christians who was unusually unsympathetic and rather egocentric, and at the other hand, met a lot of unusually helpful atheists, who do everything to help their fellow man –
    In my opinion, it should be these atheists who should be saved, and not the mentioned dedicated Christians.
    → If the Bible’s salvation exist, should the only thing that trigger salvation, to be love and helpfulness to your fellow man – Not a question of faith!

    Re.: Jehovah’s Witnesses/JW – The Watchtower/WBTS – The Governing Body/GB
    1) Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians. – All Christians worships Christ Jesus and pray to Him (John 14:14)
    2) The Witnesses must *not* worship Jesus Christ (Directive of: 01/01-1954).
    3) The WBTS & GB’s Christ Jesus is “only” an ‘angel’ created by God (acc to.: WBTS ‘& GB – Their proof is: Prov. 8: 22-36)
    In Proverbs there 100% is about Wisdom, has WBTS suddenly found Christ Jesus’ creation written into the verses in the end of chapter 8???
    4) In principle has the WBTS & GB decimated Christ Jesus into a kind of messenger between Jehovah and the Governing Body (more likely, and the WBTS).
    5) WBTS & GB learn about charity, is apparently limited to their own ranks.
    6) Jehovah’s Witnesses consider all people in the world, as being governed by Satan. (acc. to John 12:31+14:30+16:11), but not the Witnesses?
    7) Anyone leaving JW, being dirtying by the Elders and GB, and often excluded from the members of they of their family and friends, who still is in JW.
    8) – Watchtower and the Governing Body has itself formulated their theology.
    WBTS & GB (and JW’s) theology is not in accordance with any of the Greek Scriptures.
    9) The Watchtower claims, that their NWT is the most accurate “bible” in the market, but it is not in accordance with any of the Greek Scriptures, due to WBTS’s myriads of changes.
    10) JW’s interpretation of eg. Acts 15:20 “Blood” has cost thousands of children and adult their life.
    (I see the directive as a “requirement” for the ultimate glorification of GB & WBTS.
    (They derogating from blood transfusion, despite the absence of any indication of blood transfusion in the Bible, while many of them can’t see anything wrong, with eating a blood red piece of meat???
    11) WBTS two witnesses rules and their “demands” that it is WBTS who must be informed, and not the authorities, in issues of pediphelia in the congregation (and that these cases implied is very much hush-hush). The different WBTS directives, have unfortunately and sadly enough, nearly done JW to a kind of pedophile “smorgasbord”.
    http://www.silentlambs.org/UKPedophileRatio.htm
    http://www.silentlambs.org/RoyalCommissionInvestigates.htm
    Reform and Jehovah’s Witnesses
    Will things get better?
    Read about the latest developments at JWorg. http://www.silentlambs.org/reformandjws.htm

  9. Thanks for your comments. I agree many atheists live moral lives and contribute to society in a far more generous and loving way than many who claim to be religious. I have experienced this first hand after leaving the JW’s.

    However if I may I will briefly outline NT soteriology. Firstly eternal salvation has never been based upon mans good works. That’s where so many religions go wrong. They are trying to earn God’s approval. NT salvation is a gift from God given to all who believe upon his Son for forgiveness of sin. Subsequent works are a response to that gift.

    In Ephesians and Romans Paul is very clear about how this works. I would encourage an open minded reading of Romans chapters 1-6. You will find Paul explaining to the Romans how 1) All have sinned and therfore before God remain unrighteous no matter what their works 2) Salvation is entered into by faith alone in Christ alone.

    Romans 1:17 “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God”.

    Romans 10:10 “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

    To drive the point home Paul uses the example of Abraham and explains that he was not saved by his works but by faith.

    Romans 4:3-5 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”

    Paul also argues for salvation by faith alone in Ephesians:

    Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (note the past tense “have”)

    Below is a brief summary of the NT position

    https://carm.org/are-we-saved-faith-alone-or-do-we-need-works-too

    On the other hand many (like yourself) feel that salvation by faith alone is unjust. After all their are so many non-religious “good” people. Furthermore many who profess to be “saved” Christians behave in a way that would appear to negate their claims. Paul again addresses this dilemma. He asks “If we are saved by faith, can a person continue to sin wilfully? (This is the heresy of antinomianism). His answer is an emphatic NO – we cannot and must not sin wilfully after having received Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

    What we have then is 1) a guaranteed salvation through faith alone 2) a post-salvation life which naturally leads to changed behaviour as we progress towards glorification. However the time between salvation and glorification may be fraught with sin-battles. Paul acknowledged that he himself struggled to act in the way he would have liked.

    Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
    Rom 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

    This is the battle with inherited sin. Paul claims that victory over sin-actions are achieved in the “here and now” through the power of Christ working in our lives.

    Read carefully how Paul connects faith, baptism, and new life in the Holy Spirit as the mechanism through which Christians receive victory over temporal sin. In other words as we surrender to Christ he changes us!

    Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
    Rom 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
    Rom 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    Rom 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
    Rom 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
    Rom 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
    Rom 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
    Rom 6:9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
    Rom 6:10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
    Rom 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

    In summary salvation by faith makes us righteous before a Holy God. The punishment that we should receive due to being children of Adam is taken by the Son. Jesus himself takes our punishment for sin and in turn imputes to those who believe the righteousness of God. This gift of forgiveness of sin and imputation of righteousness is received by faith alone. If the conversion is genuine and the individual receives the Holy Spirit, He will lead the person on the path of sanctification.

    2Timothy 1:9 “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”

    Titus 3:5 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”

    To understand this clearly we must understand the difference between inherited sin and temporal sin. The first effects our eternal position before God and cannot be cleared by works, the second is temporal and affects the “here and now” as well as rewards at the Judgement seat. I could go on….

    Anyhow – That’s a lot of info!

    If you (or anyone else) would like to exchange thoughts direct I’d be happy to chat.

    My e-mail is jason02061990@btinternet.com

    Shalom – Jason

  10. Hi jason,

    Bible teaching:The teaching of external torment(Also known as the Hell fire is false)
    As you proceed to answer my may this scripture be your guide:

    1cor 4:6,don’t go beyond the things written.

    Objectives

    To prove the he’ll fire teaching to be true.

    10 Questions about He’ll fire doctrine.

    1)since the six creative days(Gen 1:1-chap2) he’ll fire was not mentioned as being part of creation when was it created?

    2)people that goes to he’ll can they ever come back again?

    3)what kind of people goes to he’ll fire?

    4)who is in charge of the punishment inflicted on the people living in he’ll fire?

    5)will he’ll fire ever be destroyed? If yes when, if No why?

    6)what body do people who goes to he’ll fire have?

    7)since the wicked will face eternal torment in he’ll fire, does that mean they too have eternal life(John 17:3)?

    8)since the dead are unconscious(Eccl 9:5)how is it that they feel the pains inflicted on them?

    9)when Adam died where did he go?

    10)what part of human body goes to he’ll fire?

    Please I will like each points to be expressed biblically.
    I will be happy to receive your reply @your convenience.

    • Hell does not exist –
      If Hell is real why didn’t Moses warn about this fate in the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic Covenant consisting of over 613 laws, ordinances, and warnings? The Mosaic Law simply stated blessings and cursings in this lifetime._

      If Hell really did exist, we would have seen it mentioned in the Ten Commandments –
      But there’s no Hell in any of the Scriptures of the OT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: