LIFE IN CHRIST
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William Robert West
Chapters eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve
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The interpretation of figurative language, metaphors, and symbolic passages, first resurrection and second death, an immortal soul or resurrection of the dead
Part 1: THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS Luke 16:19-31
Part 2: THE SYMBOLICAL PICTURES OF REVELATION VERSUS A LITERAL INTERPRETATION–Souls under the altar–The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever–The lake of fire
Part 3: FOREVER AND EVER of the King James Version–Eternal
Those who believe in the Pagan doctrine of an immortal soul from birth and Hell have no plain statements. That they must reinterpret figurative language, metaphors, and symbolic passages into literal statements shows the weakness of their belief that it is from man and not from God. Parables and figurative language are made to be superior over plain statements. The clear language must be changed to agree with what is thought to have been said in the symbolic language; therefore, many literal passages must be made figurative to keep them from being in conflict with the interpretation given to the figurative passages. Many of the metaphors about the destruction of Israel have been discussed in the first seven chapters. This chapter is a look at some of the symbolic passages that are often changed into literal statements.
CHAPTER EIGHT–PART ONE
THE INTERPRETATION OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
METAPHORS AND SYMBOLIC PASSAGES
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS Luke 16:19-31
This parable makes no reference to eternity; it is while the rich man had brethren living on the earth; therefore, before the resurrection and before the Judgment Day. This parable is one of the most used scriptures to prove both (1) that persons have something in them that has no substance, and only this something goes to Heaven or Hell, (2) or when the person it is in dies, this something that is in the person leaves the person and goes into a holding place unto the resurrection; BUT IT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT SOULS, IT SAYS THE RICH MAN, LAZARUS THE PERSON WERE IN ABRAHAM’S BOSOM, NOT SOULS THAT HAD BEEN IN THEM. If this were a literal story and not a parable, as many believe it is, it would be both in conflict with and a contradiction of the belief that a soul leaves the person it was in and that soul at once goes to Heaven or Hell at the death of the person; if there were a soul and it went to Abraham’s bosom as soon as the person died before the resurrection it would be positive proof that a soul does not instantly go to Heaven or Hell at the death of the person it had been in, and positive proof that the dead are alive before and without the resurrection, that the resurrection is not needed.
Is hades a large underground cavern that has both a good side and a bad side? Will those that are alive on the good side of hades, or those that are alive on the bad side of hades be raised from the dead even though we are told by many that the dead in hades are not dead? This is used to prove that there is conscious life for the dead when they are dead, life before the dead are resurrected and judged at the coming of Christ; that the dead do not need the resurrection to be alive. It makes life precede the resurrection and punishment precedes the judgment.
Many realizing that the Orthodox teaching that there is something in a person that goes to Heaven or Hell at death is not from the Bible, and “it” will not be in Heaven before and without a resurrection and judgment, knew they had to have an intermediate or third place that is not Heaven or Hell to put immortal souls from death unto the resurrection, if there were immortal souls. Is the best they can do is to try to make a parable into a true story, making Abraham's bosom into a holding place unto the resurrection? In doing this, they must set aside the plain teaching on death and the resurrection as if they did not exist. Making this into a real story, and not a parable is a life or death struggle with them; it is absolute necessary for this to be a true story for the Bible gives them nowhere for a living soul to be living in before the resurrection; there is no other place, and they need to make this into a real place. If they do not, they have a living soul with nowhere for it to be living in before the resurrection and judgment. The Abraham’s bosom version says there cannot be a soul in Heaven, or a soul in any of the Protestant versions of Hell unto after the judgment day, before they are judged, but they must have somewhere to keep a soul. They cannot even agree among themselves, for some say it is a parable, and some say, "No it is a true story." Many that think it is a parable will use it as if it were a true story; they say it teaches the same thing either way. "Notes On The Parables Of Our Lord" by R. C. Trench is ranked as one of the best on the parables. He says this is a parable, and on page 17 says parables are not to be made the first sources to teach a doctrine. To go from the clear to the obscure has been recognized as the law of Scriptural interpretation, but this has been forgotten by those looking for an argument to sustain a weak position, and often invent for themselves support in parables. On page 162 Trench says it is most important to keep in mind that this parable has as it's central thought the rebuke of unbelief. Nevertheless, this parable is used as the first and only source to teach a doctrine that is not found in any other part of the Bible.
Some that believe in Hell often point to Luke 16 to prove there is torment after death, but when pushed, most of them will admit hades is not Hell, but they need to prove there is torment in Hell; therefore, use the torment of the rich man in hades in this parable and hope in some way to transfer the torment in this parable to torment in Hell. Even if this were a true story and not a parable, it may prove that there is torment before the resurrection, (1) but it would prove nothing about what will be after the resurrection, (2) or that there will even be a Hell after the resurrection, (3) or even if it were a true story it says nothing about the existence of separated souls; in this parable it was the rich man himself that was in torment, not a soul that had been in the rich man, it was Lazarus himself that was comforted, not a soul after it had left the dead Lazarus. It says nothing about a soul, nothing about a spirit, nothing about Hell, but Luke 16 is one of the most used passages to try to prove there is a Hell, and that there is torment in Hell even though there is nothing about Hell in the parable. They are desperately looking for proof of Hell, which they cannot find. This parable says nothing of Heaven, Hell, nothing of a soul, nothing of the resurrection, or the judgment. The complete silence of the scriptures about the dead being anywhere before the resurrection other than the grave is a deathblow to the doctrine of an immortal soul. Those who make this parable into a literal story are (1) trying to prove the Abraham's bosom view, (2) or to prove Hell, both use it to put aside hundreds of plain passages of scripture.
PARABLES IN LUKE 15 AND 16 is a discourse to the Pharisees and Scribes that has five parables in it.
(1). The lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).
(2). The lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) not called a parable.
(3). The lost son (Luke 15:11-32) "a certain man" not called a parable.
(4). The unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13) "a certain rich man" not called a parable.
(5). The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) "a certain rich man" not called a parable.
Five "a certain" in a row.
(1). "A certain man" (Luke 14:16).
(2). "A certain man" (Luke 15:11). No one questions these two being a parable.
(3). "A certain rich man" (Luke 16:1). And no one questions this being a parable.
(4). "A certain rich man" (Luke 16:19). Why do many question this being a parable?
(5). "And a certain beggar named Lazarus" (Luke 16:20).
Christ used "a certain" 18 times, and all 18 are in parables (Matthew 18:23; 21:28; 31:23; 22:2; Mark 12:1; Luke 7:41; 10:30; 10:31; 10:33; 12:16; 13:6; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 16:19: 16:20; 19:12; 20:9). No one questions that the other 16 times "a certain" is used as being in parables, only the two in this parable to make them fit with the literal view, but it is desperately needed for this not to be a parable for it to be proof of the doctrine of Hell, even if it were a true story it would makes the true story contradict what is believed about Hell even by those that try to make it a true story.
There is nothing about a certain soul in this parable.
o The man died
o The man was in Abraham’s bosom
o It was the “certain man” that the rich man wanted to bring water
o Nothing was said about a soul
The objection of some is that it is not called a parable. More than half, 15 of the 26 parables in Luke are not called a parable. The three parables before this one that are a part of the series of five parables, all five were spoken to the Pharisee and Scribes in the same speech are not called parables, but no one questions them being parables. The objection of others is that parables do not use proper names. "And he took up his parable, and said, 'From Aram has Balak brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East: come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel'" (Numbers 23:7). Not one but five proper names are used in one parable. "Satan" (Mark 4:14) and "the son of man" (Matthew 13:37) are used in parables, also Ezekiel 23:1-4. Even if this were the only parable in the Bible that used a name, which it is not, who made the rule that Jesus could not use a name in one, ten, or ten thousand parables?
This is the last in a series of five parables, all five were spoken to the Pharisee and Scribes, and all five were in the same speech. All five have people, but no one takes the people in the first four to be actual people, but fictitious people used to teach the Pharisees to whom these five parables were spoken.
(1). A man with a hundred sheep (Luke 15:3-7). “Both the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble…and he told them this parable” (Luke 15:2-3).
(2). The woman with two coins (Luke 15:8-10).
(3). Two sons and a father (Luke 15:11-32).
(4). The cunning servant (Luke 16:1-17).
(5). Rich man, Lazarus, Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:14-31). “Now the Pharisees…were listening to all these things…and He said to them” (Luke16:14-15).
Those who make this parable into a literal story do not accept the main part of it as being literal; they do not accept Abraham’s bosom as being a literal place, but as a symbolic place; his literal bosom had turned to dust many years before, and there would not be room for many persons in Abraham’s literal bosom; therefore, if part of it cannot be literal none of it can be literal, if it is a true story then all of it must be literal. It is either a symbolic picture, or it is a true story. It cannot be a mixture of the two; it cannot be part literal and part a true story. Does anyone believe Lazarus was literally carried to Abraham’s literal bosom by angels?
Many want to make this a true story and not a parable to use it to prove Hell, but the only part they want to be a true story is the one word “torment” even though it is clear that the “torment” in this parable is not torment in Hell; the rich man was not being tormented in Hell and Lazarus was not in Heaven.
THE RICH MAN: This is an allegory to the Jews who were rich in God's blessing. Israel was spiritually rich (see Romans 9:3-5). All Luke 16 is on the subject of stewardship. The Jews failed to share with the Gentiles giving them only the crumb, and most of the Jews failed to believe in Christ. The Gentiles were spiritually poor. This parable is a satire condemning the Jewish nation, the Scribes, and Pharisees. Christ used one of their own uninspired fables that those He was speaking to would know about (see Josephus and others), which He changed only slightly as the base of this parable to show the end of the Jewish nation as God's chosen people. See Matthew 21:43-45; 24:2; Luke 13:28; Matthew 23:1-39. Throughout much of the Old Testament Israel did not obey God, and they rejected Christ; therefore, were rejected by God. Israel is no longer His chosen people. Their anguish was being without God and rejected by Him, and as a nation Israel is dead and in hades, the grave. When they reject Christ there was no comfort for them, no water to cool their tongue (Luke 16:24).
A picture of the rich Jews and the poor Gentiles is given in Matthew 15:22-27. "And behold, a Canaanitish women came out from those borders, and saying, have mercy on me, O Lord...But he answered and said, I was not sent but unto the house of Israel. But, she came and worshipped him saying, Lord help me. And he answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children's (Israel's) bread and cast it to the dogs (Gentiles).’ But she said, ‘Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.’" He gives her the crumbs and healed her daughter.
"And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom (Israel) shall be cast forth into outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:11-12). "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you (Israel), and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43). "O Jerusalem...your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:37-38).
"Odunaomai" is used only four times in the New Testament, and is translated "tormented" in the King James Version in Luke 16:24 and 25, but is translated "in anguish" both times in the American Standard Version. It is used only two other times and was translated "sorrowing" in the King James Version. Odunaomai as it is translated in the American Standard Version in the only four times it is in the Greek.
1. “Behold, your father and I sought you sorrowing (odunaomai)” (Luke 2:48).
2. “For I am in anguish (odunaomai)” in this flame” (Luke 16:24).
3. “But now here he is comforted, and you are in anguish (odunaomai)” (Luke 16:25).
o “Tormented” King James Version
o “Anguish” American Standard Version - Revised Standard Version - The Living Bible
4. “They all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing (odunaomai) most of all for the word which he has spoken, that they should behold his face no more” (Acts 20:37-38).
a. Does anyone believe either Mary or the elders at Miletus were tormented? By the way it was translated the King James translators did not think so, but they saw in it’s use in Luke a way to add eternal torment by making odunaomai have two completely difference meaning.
b. Strong’s Concordance says odunaomai (word 3601) is “to grieve–sorrow” is from word 3602 “grief (as dejecting) –sorrow.”
The anguish (or sorrowing, not torment) of the rich man was Israel’s sorrowing because of being rejected by God as a nation. Sorrowing, anguish, and distressed are emotions or strong feeling that a person has within himself, not something that comes from without.
Young’s Literal translation: “And having cried, he said, Father Abraham, deal kindly with me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and may cool my tongue, because I am distressed (odunaomai)” in this flame. And Abraham said, Child, remember that thou did receive good things in thy life, and Lazarus in like manner the evil things, and now he is comforted, and thou art distressed (odunaomai)” (Luke 16:24-15).
This parable is about those who were rich in God's blessing, and those who were poor in God's blessing, not a literal story about a person who was a beggar. "Ptokos" is used thirty-four times in the New Testament, and is always translated "poor" except in this parable and Galatians 4:9 where it is mistranslated “beggar” in the King James Version, and translated “poor” in the New American Standard.
o “And given to the poor (ptokos) Matthew 26:11.
o “A certain poor (ptokos) widow” Mark 12:42.
o “Preach the gospel to the poor (ptokos)” Luke 4:18.
o “Contribution to the poor (ptokos) saints” Romans 15:26.
o “As poor (ptokos), yet making many rich” 2 Corinthians 6:10.
o “And a certain poor (ptokos) man named Lazarus” Luke 16:20 New American Standard.
This parable is about the Jews who were rich in God’s word and the rest of the world that was poor (ptokos), in spiritual poverty, “Having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
DR. GILL, an orthodox Protestant who believed in the intermediate state of the dead, in his commentary of Luke said, "The rich man died: It may also be understood of the political and ecclesiastical death of the Jewish people, which lay in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the temple, and in the abolition of the temple worship, and the whole ceremonial law: a Loammi was written upon their church state, and the covenant between God and them was broken; the gospel was removed from them, which was as death...their civil power and authority, were taken away from them by the Romans." Many orthodox writers say the same.
LAZARUS: Lazarus is the Gentiles, the people in spiritual poverty who had only the crumbs of God's blessing (see Matthew 15:21-26), but become the seed of Abraham-the church. Lazarus (the Gentiles) becomes rich in God's blessing by the Gospel. Christ says, "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you (Israel), and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43). "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" (Galatians 3:14). See Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 8:28' Acts 8:46; 26:23; Romans 2:28-29; 9:3-5; 9:8; 3:26-29; 4:28; Philippians 3:3; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 2:12-13). In the parable Lazarus (the church) is now in Abraham's bosom where the Jews (the nation of Israel) once were. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise" (Galatians 4:28). "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart" (Romans 2:29). "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the spirit of God" (Philippians 3:3). "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:29). Paul calls the church "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:15-16). Every person who is now a Christian is the seed of Abraham, and an heir of the promise made to Abraham.
ABRAHAM: Abraham was the father of the Jewish Nation, which was the chosen nation, the nation that was in covenant relationship with God (Galatians 3:6-22; Romans 9:8). The blessing of Abraham came to the Gentiles through the Church. Israel does not now by birth have the blessing of Abraham, and are not now God’s chosen people; therefore, are "in anguish, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." Israel is not now in covenant relationship with God; the Church is now the "sons of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7), are now the chosen people. "So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9). Israel has been "broken off," or "cast off" (Romans 11). The church is now "the Israel of God," is now figuratively in Abraham’s bosom, is now God’s chosen people (Galatians 6:16; also 1 Peter 2:9-10; Hebrews 12:22).
THE GULF: The rejection of Christ cut Israel off from Abraham and the blessing of God. One cannot reject Christ and worship God. Without believing in Christ and His resurrection, there is a gulf between God and Israel. As long as they reject Christ, there is not "a drop" of spiritual comfort for them in Christianity. Those that believe in Christ can give no comfort, no hope of salvation to them that do not believe whether it is Jews or Gentiles that do not believe. The Law of Moses, which Israel gloried in, died at the death of Christ. "Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). "Be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage" (Ephesians 2:11-22). Also Acts 15:24. We cannot cross the gulf and go back to the Law (Galatians 5:1). "That which Israel seeks for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it" (Romans 11:7). The only way any person can become a child of God today is by being born again. The Law is dead and will never be restored. The nation of Israel can never be restored. The only way any Jew could ever again be a child of God is to believe the Gospel and be baptized into Christ. "By their unbelief they (branches–plural, Jews, not nations–plural) were broken off," and Gentiles (plural Gentiles, not plural Gentiles nations) were grafted in. "And they (individual Jews) also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them (Jews) in again" (Romans 11:17-24).
The rich man (Israel) went to the grave (hades). Israel is no longer God's chosen people. Lazarus, the Gentiles believers are now in Abraham's bosom, are now in a covenant relationship with God, not in the grave. Abraham's bosom is not a division of hades, not one side of hades. Many draw a circle and make one side of it be where the rich man is and the other side where Lazarus is with a gulf between the two sides. This circle is in the back of most Bibles printed by Star Bible, and in many tract and books printed by members of the Church of Christ.
THE FIVE BROTHERS: Christ was telling the Pharisees and scribes they would not believe even when He rose from the dead (See Trench "Notes On The Parables" page 162). In the parable Abraham tells the rich man that if their own scriptures cannot convince them of their error, neither would they be persuaded if one rose from the dead. Christ did rise from the dead, but few Jews believed on Him. After the judgment there will be none alive on earth to be persuaded by one sent back from the dead, none of the rich mans brothers will then be on earth.
Judea and his five brothers became six of the twelve tribes. Some believe five brothers are used to identify the rich man as Judea to the Pharisees to whom He was speaking this parable.
THREE CONFLICTING VIEWS
THREE DIFFERENT GOSPELS Galatians 1:6-9
(1). Luke 16 is used to prove at death the body dies, then a soul or a spirit (?) goes to hades or Abraham's bosom unto the resurrection.
(2). At the death of the person a soul or a spirit that had been in the person goes to Heaven or Hell.
(3). Ecclesiastes 12:7 is used to prove that the spirit (the breath of life) in all persons came from God at their birth, both the saved and the unsaved, and at death the spirit (the breath of life) that has been in all persons goes back to God.
Which one do you believe? All three cannot be true. Many who believes a soul that was in the dead goes to hades to be with the rich man in torment, or to be in "Abraham's bosom" also believe and teach when a soul leaves the person it was in that soul goes directly to Heaven to "be with the Lord." They seem not to be able to see that they are making the immortal soul that was in the dead go immediately to Heaven or Hell after the death of the person; therefore, they have made this that they teach as a true story impossible. No soul could be in "Abraham's bosom" and in Heaven simultaneously. How many of the three conflicting gospels do you believe? Does the orthodox view not know what the orthodox view is? If a soul of the dead goes to Heaven or Hell at death, why did Luke say the rich man was in hades; hades and Hell are not the same place, yet this is one of not the most used passages to prove souls that were in the lost go to eternal torment in Hell at death. Do those who believe the Abraham's bosom view forget that they teach no one will be in Heaven before the judgment? Yes, they almost always do forget at funerals and have the dead person, not a soul, looking down from Heaven at us almost always make Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom be in Heaven, and the rich man to be in Hell; do they think Abraham is literally in Heaven, and Lazarus is literally in Abraham bosom in Heaven with those in Hell literally asking Abraham to send those in his bosom down to Hell with water?
D. SLOUGH, evangelist, Church of Christ: “Useless, perhaps, to point to Johnson…and hundreds of other learned men who select this parable to prove an immediate entrance at death into joy or sorrow. Never seemingly able to discover the impossibility of making it accommodate itself to such requirement. No wonder they become utterly nonplussed when the discrepancies involved in such a course are brought squarely to their attention through other scriptures. This fact has been tested time and time again with the same result–that of quibble and evasion pure and simple.” “The Indictment Of Eternal Torment–The Self–negation Of A Monstrous Doctrine,” page 254, F. L. Rowe, Publisher, 1914. Free on line at: www.robertwr.com/EternalTorment.htm
IF THIS WERE A TRUE STORY AND NOT A PARABLE
If one attempts to explain all the elements as though they are literal, the difficulties of making this be a true story will be seen.
If this were a true story is has both punishment and reward coming before the resurrection and Judgment Day.
If this were a true story for those that believe the newer version of Hell, that no one will be in Hell before the Judgment Day, the rich man being in a conscious state before the resurrection, judgment, and second death would not prove there was an immortal soul that had been in the rich man when he was alive, would not prove eternal torment, or anything that is to be after the Judgment Day (nothing is said about a soul after that soul had left the dead rich man that it had been in when the rich man was alive), it speaks about two men, the rich man and Lazarus, not about two souls that had been in the two man before their death, not about two souls that are now in Abraham’s bosom.
If this is a true story, it is in direct conflict with Christ and Paul. Christ said, "For you shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14); but if this is a true story, their recompense is in "Abraham's bosom" immediately after death before the resurrection. What will happen after death? Christ said, "For the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs (not in Abraham's bosom) shall hear his voice, and come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). If hades is not the grave, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes. Paul said, "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord...shall give me at that day" (2 Timothy 4:8).
If this is a true story it would make Christ be against Christ in this teaching, and in His teaching in Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:24-25; Luke 14:17-18. The resurrection keeps getting in the way of the immortal soul doctrine, for it seems to be more than just a little difficult to have a resurrection of something that is alive and not dead.
o If all go to Heaven or Hell instantly after death, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes.
o If all go to Abraham’s bosom, or the bad side across the gulf, no one will be in the tombs when Christ comes.
If this is a true story, it makes the resurrection useless and not needed by making souls that were in believers be rewarded before the resurrection, rewarded only because the person that a soul was put in was a person that became a believer. No soul would be dead; it makes void the teaching of Christ about the resurrection of the dead at His coming. Not only would the resurrection be useless, but also a lie for souls that were alive any place could not could be resurrected; they would be as alive as they will ever be, and at the second coming of Christ no soul will be in the grave to "come forth" (John 5:28-29). They would have to "come back" from somewhere, but it would not be a resurrection of the dead. (1) Coming back from "Abraham's bosom," if it is made to be a real place in a true story, (2) and the teaching of a soul going directly to Heaven or Hell after death, both makes a resurrection impossible and not needed. A living soul coming back from Abraham's bosom, or coming back from Heaven to be judged for what a person did that it had been in would not be a resurrection of the dead, not a resurrection of a soul, not a resurrection of the person that soul had been in. Any doctrine which makes the dead not be dead, and those who are asleep are not asleep, makes a resurrection an impossibility and useless. If this is a true story and not a parable, it is an undeniable contradiction of the Protestant view that all souls goes directly to Heaven or to Hell after the death of the persons they were in.
If this is a true story it makes the wages of sin being death not possible. There would be no real death; to be dead would be to be alive in another form. It is used to show the nature of punishment after death in Hell, but even if it were a true story, it says nothing about anything after the judgment or about Hell. It does not mention a soul, Heaven, or Hell, but is used to prove all three. It does not mention Jesus, God, the judgment, or the resurrection.
If this is a true story it makes being rich the only reason for going to “Hell,” and being poor the only reason for going to Heaven; “but Abraham said son, remember that you in your lifetime received the good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted, and you are in anguish.” There is no other reason given for the rich man going where he went and Lazarus going where he went. Which one of the two do you compare yourself with, the rich man or Lazarus? It would make most of us be going to Hell and be with the rich man. Not many of us have been “laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table.”
If this were a true story it would be an actual description of the intermediate state, which must be true in every detail, such as praying to Abraham, able to see and hear those in torment.
If this is a true story it is when the rich man had brothers living on earth, not after the judgment, according to then no one in Hell will have brothers living on the earth after the Judgment. The message that the rich man wanted taken to his brothers was not the gospel of Christ, but message of the Law; it was before the Christian age, it was given when the rich man and his brothers were under the Law. How did Abraham say the five brothers could be saved, not by believing in Jesus, but by believing Moses and the prophets were there only hope.
If this is a true story those who believe there is an immortal soul that is in a person, and only it (whatever they believe a soul to be) will live after the death of the person, and believe the rich man and Lazarus to be two bodiless immortal souls after the death of the persons that these souls were in. This is the point they want to make, that a person has an immaterial something in them that lives after the death of the person. Do they think one immaterial immortal soul would want another immaterial soul to bring it a drop of water?
(1). They tell us the "soul" of both the saved and the lost are in hades.
(2). They tell us at the death of the person "the spirit returns to God" (Eccl. 12:7).
o They have the "soul" in hades, and the "spirit" in Heaven at the same time.
If this were a true story souls in Abraham's bosom would be able to hear and see souls on the other side of the gulf. The gulf must be narrow enough to be in speaking distance. Could parents be in joy while they watched their children in agony? Could anyone be happy and have peace while they could hear the cries of anguish of those on the other side? Would you be happy if you were confined in a place for centuries where you had to see the agony, and hear the screaming of some of your loved ones; would that be a reward for anyone; but if this is a true story them you will see and hear their agony and screaming? Even most who believes this to be a parable do not believe the good and the bad dead can talk to each other, or that the dead can now come back and talk to the living, as the rich man wanted Lazarus to do. According to the way Revelation 6:9-10 is used by those that use this passage to prove Hell, Hell is a lake of fire with the lost souls in the lake, and the saved souls sitting on the shore watching their torment, and according to the beliefs of many, the souls on the shore would be asking God to torment those in the lake more.
If it were a true story it is the one place in the Bible where the veil is drawn aside and we can see what it is like after death. We can even hear the conversation of souls on the other side of death, and it was given to unbelievers, the Pharisees and Scribes. Luke 15 and 16 is a discourse to them, not to the Apostles.
If this were a true story we have a biblical example of praying to a Saint and to a person as if he were God, which we are forbidden to do. If after death anyone can pray to Saint Abraham, why do most who are orthodox teach we cannot now pray to Saint Abraham or any other saint?
THIS PARABLE HAS ELEMENTS
THAT COULD NOT BE TRUE IN A TRUE STORY
(1). If this is not a parable, and if the rich man and Lazarus are real people, Then Abraham is also a real person, but he is now in the place of a God. Is he a God? No, for this is a parable, not a true story. If it were a true story it would make Abraham, not God, the source of reward after death. God or Christ are not mentioned in the parable. If taken literally, Abraham is put into a position of being a God, which he never was, is not, and never will be. Coffman said the element of Abraham presiding over paradise forces one to seek an analogy, "Commentary On Luke," page 385, Abilene Christian University Press. Lazarus in the bosom of the God Abraham can have no parallel in reality; it is a parable, not a true story. It cannot be both. It cannot have both an allegorical and a literal meaning. If it did, how would one be different from the other?
(2). Many regard this as a parable, but they reason and draw conclusions from it as though it were a literal true story. They go both ways as it suits them. "No reason why Luke 16:19-31 should be viewed only as a parable," Samuel Csonka, Guardian Of Truth, January 5, 1995, page 16. This article by Csonka in the Guardian of Truth says it is a parable, but it’s author thinks it is also a true story both at the same time! It could not be both, and the article says it is a parable. It cannot, as Csonka says it does, "mean the same thing" if it is a parable that it would if it is a true story. It must be 100% a true story, or 100% a parable. It cannot be a mixture of the two. If it is a literal true story, every detail must be true and have a literal true meaning. Those who say it is a true story find parts of it that will not fit into what they believe, and always try to make these parts be a metaphor or parable. Abraham's bosom had literally turned to dust long before Jesus gives this parable. If his bosom is used symbolical, and is not Abraham’s literal bosom, the rest of the account must also be symbolic, and this is not the literal experience of the two men after they died. In a metaphor, one part of it is never figurative with another part literal. If Abraham's bosom is figurative, then Lazarus in his bosom must also be figurative and not a real person, otherwise, a real person would be in a figurative bosom. We cannot make any part of a metaphor be a literal statement just because we want it to be, or we need it to be to prove something we want to prove. If "Abraham's bosom" is a real place, where is Abraham? In his own bosom! If Abraham’s bosom is a real place where souls go after the death of the persons they were in, where is it, and why do we not read of it in any other passage any place in the whole Bible; if it is not the grave, Heaven, or Hell, where is it? If this were a true story, both the rich man and Lazarus died, but they did not die, neither one would be dead, if this was Lazarus himself that was alive, or a soul was alive that had been in Lazarus before Lazarus died, either one would be alive before and without the resurrection, just as alive as it would be possible for them to be after they were resurrected. If this were a true story it would make the resurrection 100% useless.
E. D. SLOUGH, evangelist, Church of Christ: “We want to know if this was a real experience, and if it teaches the condition of the dead. Let it be remembered, then, according to the philosophy that they are ‘spirits.’ Will you tell me how you reason that a ‘spirit’s tongue’ can be cooled with water? ‘Oh’ you say, ‘that represents’–hold on, no representations go in a real circumstance. If you say it is real, stay with it. This policy of making it half literal and half figurative, just because there is an end to gain, is a nature ‘fakir’ in theology. It, therefore, represents nothing if it is a real circumstance, as you affirm. How could Lazarus carry a drop of water on his ‘spiritual’ finger? You say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t mean literal water.’ Well sir, it does or you do not mean what you say, I care not who you are. But reason with me. How could a spiritual tongue be cooled with a drop of water? ‘Oh,’ you say, ‘that must not be pressed too literal,’ no, not too literal, but just as literal as in any real circumstance. If it was a literal fact, then the details, which make it up are literal facts also. And to deny that it to deny your position. Here is a stubborn fact. The narrative say the rich man did call on Abraham to send Lazarus. That he wanted Lazarus to dip his finger in water. And he wanted Lazarus to put that water on his tongue. And the reason was that he was tormented in the flame. That very portrait, if it was a real circumstance, will compel every one of you to admit that the torment of the intermediate state is produced by fire. How do you like it? Then stop saying it is a sort of compunction of conscience. For understand, conscience was never known to call for water to cool it. Get that? It will no doubt be granted willingly, that for a real circumstance, the peculiar incidents connected with it here make this the most remarkable and phenomenal case on record. For we would be forced to concede that a spirit craved water, that it gets thirsty or feverish, and that it asked a favor of Abraham instead of God, that it was God who rendered the verdict and cast him in prison, that Abraham has no right or jurisdiction in the matter, and a hundred other things that make this narrative an absolute mystery, if it be a real circumstance.” “The Indictment Of Eternal Torment–The Self–negation Of A Monstrous Doctrine,” page 262, F. L. Rowe, Publisher, 1914. This book is free on line at: www.robertwr.com/EternalTorment.htm
(3). This is the only parable in which some try to make an allegory literal, but only the parts of it they want to be literal for they do not want the whole story to be literal. It would teach things they do not believe. It would teach that souls that are in the many (the poor) would be saved, and that souls that are in the few (the rich) will be lost. What about Abraham? He was very rich. It is not said the rich man was evil or sinful, just rich; but those who teach innate immortal have a real person in torment before the judgment, before he is judged and found guilty. It is not said Lazarus was good and faithful, or even that he knows of God, just that he was poor, as are millions; but being rich is not sinful, and being poor will not save. Not one good thing is said about Lazarus, not one bad thing about the rich man. There is nothing negative said about the rich man, and nothing positive about Lazarus in their lifetime, but they have Lazarus who they say is a real person being rewarded before being judged; but if this was a true story, was it Lazarus himself, or was it a soul that was in Abraham’s bosom? After all, according to the immortal soul doctrine, people are not in Heaven, Hell, or Abraham’s bosom, only souls are, only a soul that had been in a Lazarus would be alive after the death of Lazarus.
(4). It would teach that a soul that had been in the rich man, would be in a supernatural state (not of this earth); therefore, that soul would have a much greater knowledge of supernatural things than we now have, that soul would believe or know that souls could come back to earth and teach living persons, the rich mans brothers. This is not what most believes, but it would greatly support the spiritualist who says they can call the dead back.
(5). What bodies would the rich man or Lazarus have when their earthly body was still in the grave? They will not have a "spiritual body" unto the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:44). Do disembodied spirits that have no body and are immaterial, and invisible have human body parts? The rich man has "eyes" and "tongue." Lazarus has a "finger." Abraham has a "bosom." Is there a third kind of body, which has these earthly body parts? What would a "spirit" or "soul," which does not have an earthly body want with water? Only in speaking in a metaphor can it be said that God or any spiritual being has a human part, or to want water. How could an immaterial, invisible soul have body parts or want water? It would make this immaterial soul be very material.
(6). If the rich man were a real person in torment, God would be unjust to be tormenting him without his knowing why. If he knew why he was being tormented, he would have known that Lazarus could not come to take his torment away by bring him water.
(7). The rich man wanted Lazarus to go to his brothers "from the dead." How could Lazarus "go to them from the dead" (Luke 16:30) or "rise from the dead," (Luke 16:31) if he were not dead, but he was alive in Heaven or Abraham's bosom? If it was a deathless soul that was in Abraham’s bosom, not a person, how could it “go to them from the dead’?
(8). If this were not a parable it would only teach what would be in the intermediate state from death unto the judgment; there is nothing in it that would teach eternal torment after the Judgment Day. Nothing is said about Heaven, or anyone or any soul being in Heaven or Hell.
(9).”Now it came about that the POOR MAN DIED and HE was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and THE RICH MAN ALSO DIED AND WAS BURIED.” If this were not a parable what “died, and was buried?” Who was the “he” that “lifted up his eyes” in hades after “he” died? Orthodoxy says death is not possible for an immortal soul. The “beggar died” (Luke 16:22), The rich man “also died, and was buried” (Luke 16:22). What “died?” In the parable whatever “died” of Lazarus was what was “carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom”; whatever “died and was buried” of the rich man was what “in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in anguish.” According to the parable what “died and was buried,” the body or a soul that we are told repeatedly that a soul could not have “died.” If a soul was what was carried to Abraham’s bosom, then it was a soul that “died and was buried.” Nothing is said about a soul or a spirit in this parable.
AL MAXEY: "To fabricate a theology of disembodied spirits and Hadean holding cells and everlasting torture of the wicked from this passage is an unconscionable abuse of biblical interpretation and should be rejected by all disciples intent upon discerning and declaring truth rather than perpetuating the tedious tenets of paganistic tradition." “Reflections,” Issue #28, April 4, 2003.
ADAM CLARKE: "Let it be remembered that by the consent of all (except the basely interested), no metaphor is ever to be produced in proof of a doctrine. In the things that concern our eternal salvation, we need the most pointed and express evidence on which to establish the faith." Clarkes Notes on Matthew 5:26.
R. C, TRENCH: "The parables are not to be made first sources of doctrine. Doctrines other wise grounded may be illustrated, or even further confirmed by them; but it is not allowable to constitute doctrines first by their aid. For from the literal to the figurative, from the clearer to the more obscure, has ever been recognized as the law of Scripture interpretation. This rule, however, has been often forgotten, and controversialists, looking around for arguments with which to sustain some weak position, often invent for themselves supports in these." “Notes On The Parables Of Our Lord,” page 17,1948.
Luke 16:19-32 – Very similar – Isaiah 14:9-20
1. Both the rich man and king of Babylon go to hades.
2. Both represent nations.
3. Both are represented as being alive.
4. Both found person(s) to speak with.
5. Both are not to be taken literally.
Chapter Eight–PART TWO
THE SYMBOLIC PICTURES OF REVELATION
The Interpretation Of Figurative Language, Metaphors And Symbolical Passage. The symbolical pictures of Revelation versus a literal interpretation. Most of Revelation is symbolism. All the literal passages in the Bible, which use words like death, die, destruction, life, it is insisted that only one word in a passage be interpreted figuratively, not the whole passage, until they come to a book that is figurative, then it is insisted that the figurative be interpreted as being literal. It is a hopeless cause that requires such poor handing of God's word.
HENRY CONSTABLE: “Driven hopelessly from the plainer parts of Scripture, the advocates of eternal life and misery in hell think that they have in this mysterious and highly-wrought figurative book as least two passages which authorize them to change numberless passages in the rest of Scripture, and some even in the book of Revelation itself, from their pain and obvious meaning to one that is forced, unnatural, and often false to all the laws of interpretation of language…They take a text or two in the very end of the Bible, and by them interpret a thousand passage written long before. No matter what may be the apparent meaning of these earlier and far more numerous passages, they must all be made to square with the text from Revelation! The first written, the more numerous, and the plainer Scriptures, must be interpreted by one or two last-written and figurative passages!” “The Duration and Nature of Future Punishment,” pages 172–173, 1871.
THE FIFTH SEAL: SOULS UNDER AN ALTAR
A symbolical picture (Revelation 6:9): Chapter 6 is a vision of seven seals being opened by the Lamb; the first four, just as the fifth seal are things that happen on earth before the judgment. To understand this chapter we must keep it in the context. John was seeing a vision of what was to shortly come to pass at the time he was writing (Revelation 4:1). When we read the symbolism of Revelation, we must remember that the figure symbolizes something that is a word picture, and they are not to be taken literally. We must look for what is symbolized, and not make the symbols into something real or literal. The red horse of Revelation 6:3 is not a literal or real red horse, and it is not in Heaven; it went out “to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another.” John did not see a literal vision of Heaven when he saw a view of horses and one of them taking “peace from the earth,” or souls under an altar. None of the symbols can be taken literally. The fifth seal is figurative just as the other seals were. Souls are not literally now living under an altar in Heaven before the judgment. An immaterial bobbles that has no body parts could not receive a mark upon their foreheads, or their hands. That the symbolic souls under an altar must be changed into literal unhappy souls that are now under a literal altar in Heaven, and they are literally crying out for revenge shows the weakness of this belief. Even those who believe souls go to their endless abode in Heaven at death do not believe souls are now living in Heaven in a prison under an altar crying out for revenge, this is definitely not the Heaven that is preached at funerals with the dead loved one smiling down at us, but they are desperate for any passage to prove there is a soul in us and that soul goes either to Heaven or Hell at our death that they make it literal, even if it makes souls (psukee--life or persons) that are in Heaven be living under an altar, even if it puts a literal altar in Heaven.
Souls (psukee--life or persons) under the altar crying out in Revelation 6:9 is similar to Abel's blood that "cries unto me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10). Both are figurative and not literal. The fifth seal is only one of six seals in this vision, and cannot be made literal while the others are figurative. Is the 5th seal literal, but the 6th one figurative? Read all six. The 5th seal is taken out of context. Souls under an altar are no more literal than white, red, black, and pale horses are. Like the horses, they are part of a symbolic picture of things on this earth before the judgment; the seven seals are all of things that are now on this earth, not things that are in Heaven. Souls under the altar is an allusion to the Jewish altar on which their sacrifices was offered and the blood was poured our under the altar, not to a real altar that is in Heaven before or after the judgment. If this symbolism were made literal, not even those who believe there is a deathless something in us that lives after we are dead would not believe what this passage would say, that an immortal immaterial something that had been in a person now lives in Heaven under an altar, and “it” wants revenge on other souls.
In this symbolism there are nations in Heaven with “the kings of the earth bring their glory into it (into Heaven) (Revelation 21:24); and outside of Heaven there are, “Dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loves and makes a lie” (Revelation 22:15). Souls under the altar are no more to be taken literal than these things are.
HOMER HAILEY: "That the blood of the sacrifices was poured out at 'the base' of the altar (Lev 4:7,18,30 et all.). Therefore, when the blood was poured out, it was the life that was being offered. The 'souls' (psuchas), which John saw beneath the altar, was the lives of those who had been sacrificed for Christ." "Revelation, An Introduction and Commentary," page 194, Baker Book House, Hailey was dean of Bible at Florida Christian College.
The life is in the blood, which had been poured out under the altar (Leviticus 17:4), Christian martyrs had symbolically poured out their lives under the altar. Psukee is translated "life," and would be a better translation of psukee than "souls," it was lives that were poured out, not souls that have no blood to pour out and cannot die. The blood of the sacrifice was poured at the base of an altar. The life was in the blood (Genesis 9:4, Deuteronomy 12:23). Just as the blood of Abel cried out from the ground for justice (Genesis 4:10), the blood of these who were sacrificed for Christ cries out for justice; it will come at the judgment. This symbol picture is taken from something on this earth before the judgment, earthly things that we know about, not a literal picture of something that is actuality in Heaven. Can anyone believe John saw immaterial souls literally living under the altar on which the persons that they had been in had been killed; has this earthly altar literally been moved from earth and it is now in Heaven?
Many of the Protestant versions of Hell are that all souls that had been in the lost are now in Hell being tormented by God with more torment than anything we can know, but it has souls that had been in the saved that Protestants teach are now in Heaven, these souls are now under an altar that has been moved from this earth to Heaven, and are now wanting more torment on other souls they believe already being endlessly tormented in Hell by God. What would you think of some you now know that were seeing many being tormented by someone, if they were asking to see more torment? To make this passage literal to prove torment in Hell would makes souls in Heaven be more heartless than any living person, and would make these souls be completely without any love. They would be seeing the agony and hearing the endless crying of unceasing anguish of other souls and asking for more torment.
Is there a literal altar in Heaven? There cannot be literal souls on a symbolic altar. If these souls are literal, and the altar were in Heaven as many believe it is, then the altar must also be as literal as the souls under it; when one part of the vision is made literal, there is nowhere to stop without making the whole vision literal. What sacrifice could be made on this literal altar if it were in Heaven? If the altar were literal, then there would be literal death in Heaven, for to have a literal sacrifice on the literal alter there must be a literal death of what is sacrificed. What would be the reason for the sacrifice? Not for sin, for there is none in Heaven. Who is making the sacrifice? Do angels have a reason to make a sacrifice? Dose anyone believe souls in Heaven would be confined to the area under an altar? See Genesis 4:10 and Hebrews 12:24. This altar in Heaven is no more literal than: (1) Jesus would have a literal sword coming out of His mouth. (2) A church would be a literal lamp stand. (3) False religion would be a literal harlot riding a beast.
Do you believe the beast in Revelation 13 is an actual giant sea monster that has seven heads?
Do you believe the lamb that was slain for our sins was really a sheep?
Do you believe the dragon in Revelation 13 was a prehistoric flying creature?
Of course not, like the altar they are symbolic pictures of things on this earth, not real things in Heaven.
Revelation 6:9; 14:9-11 are symbolic pictures of events that happen in time just as the other symbolic pictures around them are of events that happen in time. To put an altar for sacrifice, or smoke from burning flesh in Heaven is absurd. Just as absurd as making Revelation 12:1, "A woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" into a literal woman would be. Her head would need to be much larger than the sun to hold a crown with twelve suns in it. They are symbolic pictures; they are not literal or real events, not at the judgment or after it. The end of time is not described unto near the end of the book (see Hailey and Wallace below). To prove Hell, the symbolic pictures of these in time judgments (judgments that take place on the earth before the Judgment Day) are taken out of context, and are moved (1) unto after the end of the earth (2) and after the Judgment Day, and they are placed in Hell even when there is no revelation that Hell exists. Those who believe in Hell think these symbolic pictures of in time judgments in Revelations are one of their strongest proofs of Hell. Peterson said, "The book of Revelation paints some of the most graphic pictures of hell found in the Bible," page 93. He takes the visions out of context and makes them be literal by making all the judgment pictures in the book be torment in Hell after the Judgment Day is over. He ends up with such absurd things as Heaven being always full of smoke from the burning bodies of those in Hell. Although it is agreed by most that the symbolic pictures of Revelation can prove no doctrine, yet "the smoke of their torment" (Revelation 14:9-11) is constantly quoted as proof of endless torment (material smoke from an immaterial soul that has no substance is literally burning and making smoke in Heaven!). The fact that believers in Hell can prove their Hell only by misusing symbolic passages, metaphors, and parables; and must use these to set aside plain passages that says the wages of sin is death, that the lost die, perish, are destroyed shows how utterly groundless the belief in Hell is. The clear statements are the truth, not the misuse of symbolic pictures. The Bible does not say yes and no to the same thing. It does not prove both the affirmative and negative both at the same time. A symbolic picture does not prove the opposite of a clear statement. A symbolic picture of smoke in Heaven does not change "the wages of sin is death" to be "the wages of sin is endless life for an immaterial soul burning in torment" with the smoke of their burning going into Heaven for all eternity. The passage says, “any man,” but dose anyone believe “any man” will be burning for eternity? Those that believe in Hell must change “any man” to a soul that had been in “any man” and make it be a “soul” that is burning in Hell, not a man burning for eternity.
Like most, if not all the symbolic pictures in Revelation, this language is taken from the Old Testament, and it is speaking of judgments on this earth, not in Hell. On the judgment of Edom in Isaiah 34:5-17 it is said, "It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall go up forever," but Edom was not literally destroyed by fire; the rich land of Edom became a desert inhabited by jackals and other wild things. The destroying of Edom by fire is symbolic just as Revelation 6:9; 14:9-11 are symbolic pictures; the nation of Edom was completely destroyed, and the rich land that was not a desert became a desert; wild animal dwell in the land, and thorns, nettles and thistles grow in the abandon fortified cities (Isaiah 34:13-15), but Edom was not burned up by a literal unquenchable fire, the nation did not literally burn up, it was literally destroyed, but not destroyed by a literal fire, and there never was any literal smoke. God’s judgment of Edom meant that the nation completely ceased to exist just as Sodom ceased to exist, neither one are now being endless tormented in hell or ever will be. Most that believe in Hell do not believe nations or cities are tormented in Hell, yet they use this to prove individuals are to be tormented by God in Hell even though nothing is said about individuals, nothing about souls that had been in the individual persons.
A contradiction to their own belief
In an attempt to find their belief in the Bible, many make the symbolic picture of souls under the altar literal, but when they do it does not say what they want it to say, not even close to what they want it to say.
(1). Souls under the altar before the judgment does not fit with the Protestant version of Heaven, that all the saved go directly to Heaven at death. Those who believe that as soon as a person dies a soul that was in them goes to Heaven to be at home with the Lord. If souls go to their endless home with Christ in Heaven at the death of the persons, why are these souls so unhappy that they cry unto God? Why are they crying to God for judgment and vengeance on souls that are in torment if souls that were in the lost go to Hell at death and are already being tormented by God? Will souls in Heaven want more vengeance than the awful torment that is believed Hell will be for souls that may have been in their father, mother, brother, or sister?
(2). Souls under the altar before the judgment does not fit with the after judgment version, that all the saved souls are in Abraham’s bosom, and will not be in Heaven unto the Judgment Day. Many who believe in Abraham's bosom also make this literal, but when they do they have an even greater contradiction of their belief. They have souls in Heaven before the Judgment Day. They have souls that are not in Abraham's bosom, but in prison under an altar in Heaven before the judgment. They do not believe any will be in Heaven before the Judgment, but they have some souls that are now in Heaven under an altar. They have some that are in Heaven, and some that are in Abraham's bosom simultaneously before the Judgment Day. This is inconsistent with their own teaching, particularly on Luke 16. They teach Abraham's bosom with the good and bad sides, then they use this passage and teach that souls are "under the altar”; therefore, they have souls now in two different places before the resurrection. They change from one to the other, and then back to the first, as they need to. If a symbolic passage can be made to prove something they want it to prove by making it literal; it is made literal and use it just as Revelation 12:7-9 and other passages in Revelation are made literal. In the attempt to prove Hell, two symbolic passages are made literal, (Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 6:9), but if they did proved what they are trying to prove with each of the two passages, the two would contradict each other.
A drowning man will desperately grab at anything to try to keep his head above water. They have no plain statement that teaches men have an immortal inter something in them that is not subject to death; therefore, they grab at any symbolic language or parable.
B. W. JOHNSON: "Some persons have turned to the Book of Revelation and hung over its sublime imagery, as if these were literal descriptions of our endless home; but we must remember that this is a book of symbols, and that this fact will not permit a strict adherence to the letter in seeking the meaning of its glowing visions. Revelation does not aim to teach us, as some have thought, that the ceaseless employment of heaven is endless singing or praising, but that it is an abode of rapturous joy of which song and praise are the natural expressions. Nor are we to conclude that the heavenly city is literally paved with gold and fenced in with jasper walls and pearly gates, but that it is a splendid and glorious home beyond anything that mortal eye has ever seen." “Christ and the Future Life,” 1891.
Commonly accepted rules: (1) a symbolic passage cannot overturn the teaching of a passage that is not symbolic; (2) a symbolic passage cannot be used to build a doctrine on.
THE SMOKE OF THEIR TORMEN
John says, "And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night." Both are symbolic language speaking of an in time temporal punishment on this earth, not of endless torment in Hell. If “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night” were literal, the torment and smoke would not be in Hell where this passage is used to prove torment it to be, but both the torment and the smoke would literally be
in Heaven, both would be “in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (Revelation 14:10). “Day and night” has to do with time, not eternity; the American Standard Version says, “Greek, ‘unto the ages of ages’” which would put the smoke in time, and the smoke would end when time as we know it will come to an end. The smoke would be a symbolic picture of something “unto the ages of ages,” it is saying the smoke will be going up in time, whatever it is symbolic of will end when time ends; there is no hint that smoke will go up throughout the “ages of ages.” “Unto” a given time, “the ages of ages” is not “ever and ever” as it is mistranslated in the King James Version.
If this were literal, there are many more that are lost than are saved, it would make Heaven be over run with the lost that were being tormented in the present of the holy angels and Christ, and Heaven would be filled with the smoke of their torment; if it is symbolic the lost are not literally tormented in Heaven, and there is no literal smoke from their burning in Heaven. Dose anyone really believe that there will be real smoke, as we know it, in Heaven?
CHARLES WELCH: “In the clause ‘they have no rest day nor night who worship’…is the present participle denoting they have no rest day nor night while they are worshipping” “The Wages of Sin” at: www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/
Most, if not all that believe in Hell do not believe those in Hell will be worshipping “the beast and his image” or worshiping anything when they are being tormented by God with intense pain in Hell; whatever is symbolize by worshiping of the beast takes place on Earth before the Judgment Day.
“The smoke of their torment” is in the third of the seven bowls of the wrath of God poured out “into the earth” by seven angels having seven plagues. Revelation 15:1 says, “For in them is finished (completed) the wrath of God.” “Because in them the wrath of God is finished” New American Standard. According to those who believe in Hell the wrath of God will never be finished. The seven plagues are plagues that take place in time and will be finished in time, not plagues after the Judgment Day that will never be finished. All these passages speak of judgments when people are still alive on the earth, judgments before the coming of Christ and before the final judgment on the last day.
REVELATION 14:9-11 WORSHIPERS OF THE BEAST
"And another, a second angel, followed, saying, fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worshipped the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment doth go up to ages of ages; and they have no rest day and night, who are bowing before the beast and his image, also if any doth receive the mark of his name." Footnote in the American Standard Version, "Gr. unto the ages of the ages." This smoke goes up only “unto the ages of ages.” It is symbolic of something that is before the judgment, not of something that will be after the judgment. The seven angels were told, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Revelation 16:1), not in Hell after there will be no earth.
Revelation is a book of figurative language taken from the Old Testament. It was written to people who knew the Old Testament, and would be familiar with its symbolisms, but those persecuting them would not understand it. The symbolism in Revelation can be understood by the way it is used in the Old Testament; rising smoke that Abraham saw the next day after Sodom was completely destroyed is used through out the Bible as a symbol of complete destruction even when there was no literal fire as there was not in the destruction of Edom (Isaiah 34:8-10).
Changes that must be made
(1). The persons that committed the sins listed in Revelation 21;8 must be changed to souls that are deathless and cannot die a first or second death.
(2). “Second death” must be changed to second life for souls that cannot be dead and; therefore, they still has the first life; the first and second life at the same time!
(3). Then a place added, and then named “Hell” for those souls to have a second life.
(4). Then eternal torment of those souls that has a second life added in the place that was added.
Why can the Bible not believed? The persons that committed the sins listed in Revelation 21:8 will be raised, judged, and the resurrected persons will die the second death.
WHAT OR WHO IS THE BEAST? To understand who is worships of the beast are we need to know what the beast symbolizes. In Daniel, "beast" is used to represent a great political empire.
A. M. OGDEN says worshiping Babylon is Emperor worship. "The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets," page 295.
F. E. WALLACE: "The name Babylon had come to symbolize the ultimate in corruption, and the fallen Babylon of verse 8 is figurative of the spiritual degradation of Jerusalem–'the faithful city turned harlot.'" "The Book Of Revelation," page 310.
HOMER HAILEY: "Judgment should motivate and bring men to repentance (Acts 17:30f). But, what judgment is in the divine mind here–the final judgment, or an immediate one? In the light of this exhortation to fear God, give Him glory, and worship Him, it is impossible to make 'the hour of his judgment' refer to the final judgment...but rather, it refers to the hour in which God is to judge Babylon." "Revelation, An Introduction and Commentary," page 30, Baker Book House, 1979. Most commentaries say this passage is speaks of a judgment that takes place in time before the coming of Christ, and before the Judgment Day. Whether the beast is pagan Rome or the papal power, it is only a small part of those who are not in Christ. It says nothing about all of the lost in John's time or today, and nothing about any souls going to Hell. It is not the judgment at the coming of Christ for all the lost will be in that judgment. Those who believe in Hell do not believe anyone will worship the beast nor receive the mark of his name after they are in Hell, but these people do worship the beast while they are alive on earth. If the powers of this world are cast alive into Hell and tormented forever, then the evil powers of this world will exist forever, but even those who believe in Hell do not believe evil nations, world powers will exist forever and be tormented in Hell. Like the seven plagues that followed this was poured “into the earth” (Revelation 16:1), this judgment was a judgment on this earth before the Judgment Day, not in Hell after the Judgment Day when this earth will have been destroyed.
There are four symbolisms in the passage, each one taken from the Old Testament.
(1). Those that worship the beast shall drink of wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of His anger. This is an Old Testament expression of destruction. See Jeremiah 25:15-27; Obadiah 16 and 18; Psalm 75:8; Job 21:20; Habakkuk 2:16; Malachi 3:2.
(2). Those that worship the beast shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. See “The Types Of The Judgment” in chapter seven.
(3). They have no rest day and night. This is often applied to souls in Hell being tormented forever, but it says nothing about all the lost souls in Hell, but is about people who are worshiping the beast (Emperor worship or pagan Rome) while they are alive on earth. All four symbolisms in this passage are speaking only about those who are worshiping the Emperor and not God, not about endless torment in Hell. This is the third of seven angels with seven plagues upon the earth; after the seventh plague John says, “For in them is finished the wrath of God.” Nothing is said about the wrath of God beyond the seven plagues, nothing about wrath that is not on this earth that will never be finished, not a word about endless wrath in Hell.
(4). The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Even if Revelation 14:9-11 were literal, it would not be depicting torment, but the aftermath of the destruction that was completed just as the smoke of Sodom that Abraham saw depicted that Sodom had already been total destroyed. The ascending smoke is a sign of the destruction that has already taken place on this earth, a destruction that had been completed; it would be evidence that the fire had done its work of destruction. Revelation 14:9-11 does not say the lost are being tormented forever and ever, it says “the SMOKE of their torment GOES UP UNTO THE END OF THE AGE.” Those in Sodom were dead when Abraham saw their smoke ascending. When a city or a person has been turned to smoke, the destruction is past, not forever ongoing. The ascending smoke seen by Abraham after the complete destruction of Sodom became the basis of much of the language of destruction found in the Bible. The smoke is a sign of an utter, complete, and endless destruction that is passed, not of being eternally tormented by God, Genesis 19:24-28; Isaiah 34:9; 66:24; Jeremiah 17:27; Ezekiel 20:45-50; Revelation 14:9-11; 18:9; 18:18. Like the rainbow the smoke is a reminder of a destruction that is already complete.
SMOKE IN HEAVEN Revelation 14:9-11: A symbolic picture of a judgment in the time of Emperor worship or pagan Rome, It is a picture of the destruction of these powers on this earth, not of the torment of individuals in Hell after the coming of Christ, after this earth does not exist. If this passage were literal, who would worship a beast with seven heads? How many have you ever seen with the mark of this seven headed beast on their forehead? That some would make everything about the beast be a symbolic picture unto it comes to the punishment of those with his mark on their forehead, but then change from symbolic to literal shows how desperate they are for anything that may support the doctrine of Hell. According to this passage, the torment referred to is occurring on this earth for IT IS WHILE THEY ARE WORSHIPING (PRESENT TENSE) THE BEAST, AND WHILE THERE IS "DAY AND NIGHT." Where is Hell? If this passage were literal and is made to be literal picture of Hell, then Hell would be on this earth, and those in it would not have died, but the smoke of the torment of those still living on the earth would go from the earth and would fill Heaven with smoke. This passage speaks of a limited number of persons when they are living on the earth, only these persons who worshiped the beast, not all the lost being tormented while they are alive on earth before the resurrection. Young's literal translation of the Bible translates this action in the present tense as "bowing" (i.e. worshiping). THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO REST WHILE THEY ARE STILL WORSHIPING THE BEAST, NO REST WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE AND ON EARTH.
o What is not said is that they are tormented forever.
o What is said is that the smoke from the torment (the aftermath of destruction) goes up forever, evidence that God has already destroyed them.
The same symbolic language that John used is used in Isaiah 34:10 when speaking of the destruction of Edom, “It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall go up forever.” Edom was totally and forever destroyed, not forever being tormented. Also in Ezekiel 28:1-19 when speaking of judgment on the King of Tyre, it is symbolic language of earthly judgments that is used in both the Old Testament and New Testament taken from the smoke that was seen going up after the judgment and complete desolation of Sodom and Gomorrah.
N. W. ALLPHIN said smoke symbolizes the effects or evidences of fire and the evidences of this destruction will never end. "Visions Unveiled, or The Revelation Explained." Page 168, Star Bible Publications, 1985.
LEROY EDWIN FROOM: “Smoke has aptly been said to be the formless relic of an object that has been consumed or decomposed, by the action of fire. It is but a relic, a vestige, an emblem, a lingering trace of the passing, the drifting aftermath that remains from AN OBJECT THAT HAS BEEN DESTROYED. A perpetual smoke may, therefore, well stand for a perpetual reminder before the universe of an irreparable ruin that has taken place, a burning up that has accomplished its allotted purpose, The same inspired portrayed, it is to be ever remembered, declares that God will 'consume,' 'devour,' 'destroy,' cause to 'perish,' and 'blot out' all the wicked. That dread transaction, or operation, involves and constitutes the 'second death.' The perpetuity intended is not, therefore, of the torment, but of the death following thereafter and caused thereby." “The Conditionalist Faith of Our Father: The Conflict of the Ages Over the Nature and Destiny of Man.” Volume one, page 409.
BABYLON DESTROYED Revelation 18: John says there will be a time when Babylon “shall be found no more at all” Revelation 19:3 says the smoke of Babylon goes up forever end ever (Greek–“unto the ages of ages”). Whose smoke is this? Where is this smoke? Who is made desolate? The answer is Babylon. Where and when shall Babylon “be utterly burned with fire”? The fall and desolation of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18 is the desolation of “No more at all” as it is used in the Book of Revelation.
(1). Babylon “shall be found no more at all” Revelation 18:21.
(2). “Voice of harpers…heard no more at all” Revelation 18:22.
(3). “Craftsman…found anymore at all” Revelation 18:22.
(4). “The voice of a mill shall be heard no more at all” Revelation 18:22.
(5). “A lamp shall shine no more at all” Revelation 18:23.
(6). “Voice of bridegroom…shall be heard no more at all” Revelation 18:23.
o Being “found no more at all” clearly means Babylon will not exist forever in endless torment.
The smoke of their burning is a symbol, just as are the wine and the cup. The “smoke of her burning" cannot be made literal without making the other symbols in the passage literal, which those that use it to teach endless torment are not willing to do. This smoke has been changed from Babylon before the judgment, and has been changed to be not the smoke of Babylon but the smoke that is coming from all the unsaved who are being burn in Hell by God after the judgment, even though this judgment scene takes place on this earth before the judgment. Babylon being “utterly burned with fire” (Revelation 18:8) and the people on this earth (“merchants”) that had did business with her were looking “upon the smoke of her burning” (Revelation 18:15-18) before the judgment that believers in Hell have changed to smoke coming from all souls that we are told are immaterial and has no substance, but smoke that has substance, is coming from the no substance souls in Hell, changed from being before the judgment to being after the judgment. The judgment and punishment of Babylon in Revelation 18 and 19 is not souls that had been in individual burning in Hell. The smoke is the evidences of the destruction of Babylon, which is symbolized by smoke that will last "unto the ages of the ages," Babylon–an evil world powers, whether it is a nation or a religious power, will come to an end, not be tormented forever. In Isaiah 34:10 the smoke from Edom will go up forever; the smoke going up is an Old Testament symbol of the destruction of a nation or city that the Jews reading in the time of John would understand to be a destruction that was passed as the destruction of Sodom was passed when Abraham saw the smoke ascending.
o The kings of the earth that committed fornication with Babylon will weep over her (Revelation 18:9). Will kings on the earth weep over a nation in Hell?
o Merchants will buy from her no more (Revelation 18:11-17).
o Shipmasters and mariners will cry and cast dust on their heads when they look upon the smoke of Babylon burning (Revelation 18:17-20). Would shipmasters be able to look on Babylon if Babylon were in Hell? Will there be ships in Hell after the judgment?
ADAM CLARKE: "Her smoke rose up. There was, and shall be, a continual evidence of God's judgments executed on this great whore or idolatrous city; nor shall it ever be restored."
HOMER HAILEY: "A constant reminder of the punishment for sin…Edom is not burning today, and Heaven is not literally full of smoke. It is the everlasting remembrance of God's victor over evil that is symbolized by the smoke." “A Commentary On Isaiah," page 290, Baker Book House, 1985.
The "everlasting smoke" is that Babylon will be forever remembered with disgrace and contempt.
Some say, "O. K., if we must put the smoke of Hell in Heaven forever to have our Hell, then we will take this symbol out of context, make it literal, and fill Heaven with the odor from the burning souls that had been in most of mankind before they died."
Smoke in Heaven in chapter 14 is a vision of the fall of beast (Emperor worship or pagan Rome) and her worshipers. In chapter 18 the kings of the earth weep and lament over Babylon (probably symbolisms for Rome that would not be understood by those persecuting them, and would have caused more persecution if they had understood) when they see the smoke of her burning. "Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come" (Revelation 18:10). And in verse 21, "Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer." Then in 19:3 "And a second time they said, 'Hallelujah!' her smoke (not the smoke of burning thoughts only souls in Hell that have no substance to burn) rises up forever and ever" ("Unto the ages of the ages" eiv touv aiwnav twn aiwnwn). It is clear that this is a vision of a judgment that takes place in time, a judgment on Babylon; it is not the judgment at the coming of Christ.
The same apocalyptic language is used in Isaiah of the judgment of Edom. "It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall go up forever" (Isaiah 34:10). After God’s judgment on Edom it became a place for wild creatures (Isaiah 35:11-15). "Day and night" means there is no let up of God’s judgment until the judgment is complete. The outcome of the unquenchable fire that burned "day and night" was permanent destruction of Edom, not a literal burning forever. "From generation to generation it shall be desolate" (Isaiah 34:10) not "from generation to generation it shall be burning." A person suffering from cancer will suffer "day and night" until the end. "Day and night" does not mean "forever." Examples where "day and night" were temporary, and means continued day and night as long as they existed, but have ended (Isaiah 34:10; Acts 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 3:10). Both Babylon and Edom were nations on this earth that were judged and have been destroyed (a judgment and destruction where fire is used symbolical when neither Edom or Babylon were literally burn up but both were destroyed by going out of existence), not persons that are being tormented, nations will not be tormented in Hell. Yet, when this passage is made literal it proves something that even those using it do not believe. They must change it from nations that were judged and destroyed before the resurrection and judgment to souls being tormented after the resurrection and judgment, and then say they do not believe in changing the Bible.
Those who believe in Hell use 2 Thessalonians 1:9 to prove Hell is away “from the presents of God,” and that death is being alive but separation from God. Yet they make Revelation 14:10-11 be literal to prove Hell. In doing so, they make Hell be in Heaven “in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” Even those who believe in Hell do not believe that any will be tormented in Heaven forever, but when this torment is changed to be literal torment, the torment is made to be literally in Heaven in the presence of the angels and Christ, not in Hell.
Where do they think Hell is? Away "from the presence of God"–or–"in the presence of God." The same people say both are speaking of Hell.
THE LAKE OF FIRE
The "lake of fire" in which the Devil is cast is used five times, all five in the Book of Revelation.
(1). LAKE OF FIRE: First time it is used–Revelation 19:20: The beast and the false prophet, two world powers, not souls or any kind of living being, are cast into the lake of fire, both are cast into the lake of fire before the Judgment Day. The beast, which is the great heathen world power of that day, the Roman Empire, and the false prophet, "These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire." Those that worshiped the beast were not thrown alive into the lake of fire, but they were killed with the sword, which came from the mouth of him who sat upon the horse, "And all the birds were filled with their flesh." How could birds eat the flesh of souls when Vine tells us that souls are, “immaterial, invisible.” “Vine’s Expository Dictionary,” page 588? The fire was no more a literal fire than the beasts are literal beasts, and the birds are not literal birds that eat the literal flesh of literal people. It is a symbolic picture of total destruction, the end of the beast and the false prophet (world powers). Those who make this literal have a literal beast being burnt in a literal lake of fire. Only the beast and false prophet where cast into the lake of fire; the rest, those people who worshiped the world powers, the ones that those that believe in Hell are trying to put in Hell, were killed and eaten by birds on this earth, they were not cast into the lake of fire, not tormented by God in the lake of fire. When this is made into a literal endless torment to prove there is a Hell, it is not even close to the Hell that is taught today, not even close to the Hell that it is being used to prove. When something is not taught in the Bible, no passage that is misused to prove it will prove it. They want to make only the lake be literal, but all others things in the same passage, the beast, the sword, the birds, etc., must be symbolism for if they were literal the sword that kills and the birds that eat those that have been killed by the sword would not fit with today's Hell. Why is this passage used to prove Hell when it is nothing like the Hell that is believed in today? It puts a beast alive in Hell and leaves the people that they say will live forever in Hell not in the lake of fire (not in Hell), but they are dead persons on this earth and are eaten by birds, not deathless souls that that could not be eaten by birds that are alive and tormented in Hell. The "Hell" that is preached today does not have a beast that is alive in it, and it definitely does not have dead people that are not in Hell being eaten by birds.
The lake of fire is used only in the Book of Revelation and is a symbolic picture taken from this earth. Literal fire will not exist after the end of this age (1 Peter 3). Anything cast into a literal lake of fire would be totally destroyed, totally incinerated, no living being could live and be tormented forever in a literal lake of fire. It is a symbol of total destruction, not of endless torment, not a place of literal fire that will exist after the destruction of the earth. To have Hell in this passage, both symbols and literal must be mixed together in the same passage, and only those that do the mixing can tell us what part is literal, and even then anything that is close to the Hell that is preached today that cannot be found in the Bible.
HOMER HAILEY: "The beast is the great heathen world power of that day, the Roman Empire," page 387. Then on page 388 he says, "These 'two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone,' where the harlot had already met her fate, being 'utterly burns with fire'...Because of the expression, 'cast alive,' some writers have concluded that these two are literally individuals who will appear in person before the end of time. But this does not necessarily follow; for 'being cast alive into the lake' indicates that up to the actual time when they were cast into the lake of brimstone and were brought to final destruction by His mighty power and judgment, these two personified forces of political and spiritual power were actively fighting against the Lamb. The Roman Empire and emperor worship backed by the imperial power were now brought to a final and complete end, never to rise again…The Roman power and the paganism, which it supported, are now destroyed forever. The vision of Daniel is fulfilled (Daniel 7:11), and in this defeat and destruction is revealed the destiny of all such powers that should ever arise to fight against God and his kingdom. This is God's guarantee to victory to the saints who lived then and to all who would come after them, even until the end of time. 'And all the birds were filled with their flesh' completes the symbolism of verses 17–18. Not a vestige of the anti-Christian forces were left; the destruction was complete." And on page 398, "The devil, man's great deceiver from the beginning, now reaches his final doom and eternal end. First, he was cast down to the earth (12:9), then into the pit of the abyss (20:3), and now into the lake of fire and brimstone, his ultimate end." When Hailey gets to Revelation 20:11 he said, "Thus far in the book several scenes of judgment have been described, but none depicted the final judgment." "Revelation, An Introduction And Commentary," page 399, chapter 19, Baker Book House.
FOY E. WALLACE, JR. said the lake of fire is a figurative description of complete destruction an of all persecuting powers opposed to the church (page 434), and then of the complete destruction and annihilation of Satan, and all who are not in the book of life. "The ones who had part in it (the lake of fire) came to the same end as the persecuting beast–a figurative description of complete destruction and annihilation of all persecuting powers opposed to the church whose opposition was crushed." Wallace said, "One of these passages cannot be considered more or less literal than the other–both were figurative expressions which signified the utter end of the persecuting authorities of heathenism against Christianity. The phrase cast alive into a lake of fire was equivalent to burn alive, and it symbolized complete destruction. The signal triumph of the cause of truth represented by the burning alive of the beast and the false prophet did not symbolize the destruction to the Roman Empire, but of the persecutions waged by the emperors, which the beasts represented. The lake of fire was not literal any more than the beast was literal. Neither was subject to literal application, both were figurative. The beast symbolized the persecuting power of the Roman Emperor: and casting him into a lake of fire signified the complete defeat of the heathen power he represented in the war against the church." “The Book Of Revelation,” page 397.
HOMER HAILEY: “Of the ‘second death' (2:11); those that overcome had part in the first resurrection (20:6). Thus far the harlot, the beast, the false prophet, Satan, and now death and Hades, have been brought to their end in the lake of fire...There remains only one group to be dealt with: those not found written in the book of life...Of this second death, Alford writes, 'As there is a second higher life, so there is also a second and deeper death. And as after that life there is no more death, so after that death there is no more life.'" The Book Of Revelation, page 403.
A. M. OGDEN said the lake of fire in Revelation 19:20 is symbolic of God's fire of destruction coming upon the Roman Empire and its pagan religions that were the persecutor of the church. “Revelation,” page 354.
B. W. JOHNSON on Revelation 19:20: "Here the false prophet, both symbols of the same power, is cast in the lake of fire. The symbol indicates utter destruction. What is cast into this lake is seen no more."
ALBERT BARNES: “The whole scene is symbolical…meaning that the destruction of these powers would be as complete as if they were thrown into such a burning lake.” Albert Barnes’ “Notes On The New Testament,” page 1707.
These commentaries are some of the best, if not the best, and they all say the lake of fire is symbolic of total destruction, symbolic of death, not of endless life in torment. If Revelation 21 is a symbolic picture of the church on earth as the bride of Christ, or if it is a symbolic picture of the church in Heaven, in either case the lake of fire is symbolic, and not a real place. Many who believe that immaterial souls will literally burn in Hell are forced to admit that in Revelation 19:20 the lake of fire is symbolic, but they insist the same lake of fire in chapters 20 and 21 is a real literal lake of fire that will burn without an end in Hell.
"False prophet" in Hell before the judgment: In “Hell On Trial” on page 169, Robert Peterson said the "false prophet" (Revelation 19:20) are thrown alive into it, and are still there a thousand years later. Then he says Revelation 20:14 speaks of all human standing before God at the Last Judgment. By making symbols literal, he changed nations (false prophets) into people and puts humans, not souls, into Hell before they are judged at the Judgment Day.
"Devoured" not "tormented" Even if this symbolical language were made literal, it would teach God would destroy His enemies, not torment them. "And fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them," Revelation 20:9; those that were devoured were on the earth. As in many other passages that are used to prove torment in Hell, nothing is said about Hell or torment; the Bible language does not suit today's teaching of fire that eternally burns but never devours, fire that never consumes.
Some commentaries say the false prophet is the Roman Church of the Dark Age; if they were right it would not be possible to find a false prophet that is more false.
(2). LAKE OF FIRE: Second time it is used is in Revelation 20:10. The devil is cast in with the beast and the false prophet. Nothing of the physical realm could live in a lake of fire; it is a symbolic picture of destruction, not of torment. Just as any living thing of the earthly realm we know, if it were cast into a lake of fire it would be totally destroyed, a symbolic picture of the devil being cast into it would be a picture to us of his total destruction, a picture that we could not understand to be anything but total destruction, for if the devil were a flesh and blood being, he would be totally destroyed by a literal lake of fire: any living thing that is cast into fire is destroyed; all life is completely destroyed by fire. The devil, the beast, false prophet, death, the grave, and all that are not in the book of life will be totally destroyed. After the resurrection and judgment, no one will be of the physical realm and could not be tormented by a literal lake of fire that is of this physical realm. A literal lake of fire could not torment a spiritual being, and could have no effective on Satan, or on an immaterial "soul" as the word is used today. The devil that is a being not of the earthly realm, a being of the spiritual realm, is cast into the lake of fire along with two earthly things, the beast, and the false prophet. It is a symbolic picture of their destruction, not a literal casting of beings of two realms, both earthly beings and spiritual beings, into a literal lake of fire that is of this earthly realm. Things of the earthly and spiritual realms can be mixed in symbolic pictures, but not in reality. If the lake of fire were of the earthly realm Satan could not literally be cast into it, and if it were of the spiritual realm, the beast and the false prophet could not be cast into it. In Revelation 20:15 and 21:8, John interpreted the figure or symbol he used, and said the symbolic picture of the lake of fire is in reality the second death. The lake of fire will have the same effect on Satan that it will have on death; "And death shall be no more" (Revelation 21:4). If it is the end of death, then it is the end of Satan. It is a symbolic picture of the end of both.
Satan's ministers: The ministers of Satan, like Satan, shall have an end. "Whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:15).
Revelation 20:10 is a symbolic picture of the end of Satan, of his being abolished (destroyed), not tormented forever. Hebrews 2:14 is a literal statement of his end. "That through death he might bring to naught (nothing) him that has the power of death, that is, the devil" (American Standard Version). God made the world and all that is in it out of nothing, and they will go back to nothing. Satan also will be brought to nothing. "So that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (New Revised Standard Version). In Hebrews 2:14 "naught" (nothing) is translated from "katargeo," which is translated abolished, vanish away, bring to naught, do away with, destroy, be done way, and ceased.
The same word (katargeo) is used for:
A death bruise to the head of Satan: The serpent of Genesis 3 is not said to be Satan, but most all believe it to be Satan working through the serpent, which was "more crafty than any beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1). Did a serpent or any other animal have the power to speak, or was it Satan speaking through a serpent? God did speak through an animal (2 Peter 2:1). It looks as if Satan did, 2 Corinthians 11:3. Christ said the devil, "Is a liar, and the father of lies" (John 8:44). With the first lie the devil brought death into the world, and Satan became the murderer of Adam and Eve; therefore, the murderer of all their seed (John 8:44). He sinned "from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). "He (Christ) shall bruise you (Satan) on the head, and you (Satan) shall bruise him (Christ) on the heel." See Romans 16:20. A wound to the heel is not fatal. Satan wounded Christ by sin and death, which he is responsible for being in the world. It made the death of Christ necessary, but Christ rose from the dead and in doing so bruised the head of Satan (Hebrews 2:1).
JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN: "Thus, fatal shall be the stroke which Satan shall receive from Christ." Commentary on Genesis 3:15.
J. B. COFFMAN: “The terminology of this verse is such that it cannot apply to anything in heaven or upon earth except the long spiritual conflict between Christ and Satan." Commentary on Genesis 3:15.
ALBERT BARNES on John 8:44: "He was a murderer from the beginning. That is from the beginning of the world, or the first records there are of him. This refers to the seduction of Adam and Eve. Death was denounced against sin Genesis ii.17. The devil deceived our first parents and they became subject of death, Genesis iii. As he was the cause why death came into the world, he may be said to have been a murderer in that act, or from the beginning."
Revelation 20:7, which most likely is symbolic language, and is not intended to be taken literally says, "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." Also see Revelation 12:9.
It is difficult to know what John meant by much of the symbolic language he used in Revelation, but even more difficult to understand if it is made to be a literal non-symbolic book, yet many use a symbolic passage as the base of their faith and make the symbolic override many clear passages.
(3). LAKE OF FIRE: The third time it is used is in Revelation 20:14 where death and hades are cast into the lake of fire; “And there shall no longer be any death” (Revelation 21:4). If death and hades come to an end in the lake of fire, all who are not found written in the book of life must also be come to an end. If all who are not found written in the book of life are not annihilated, death is not abolished (1 Corinthians 15:26). The same thing happens to all three (death, hades, and those that do not have their name in the book of life). They come to an end. “And there shall no longer be any death” (Revelation 21:4), death will came to an end in the lake of fire.
Death and hades are nonliving things. They have no life, thoughts, or feelings. They can be destroyed, and can be brought to a final and complete end, but it would not be possible to torment them. They can no more be tormented than a rock, but both will come to an end; both death and hades will be made not to exist. A literal lake of fire could not torment death; what would be the point of casting something abstract (death and hades), something that has no life into the lake of fire if it were a place of torment where there is no death? Death cast into a lake of fire, which many tell us is Hell where there is no death! But death will be “destroyed” and “shall be no more” (1 Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 21:4), death will not exist after it is cast into the lake of fire: death will come to an end. There is no way the lake of fire in this passage could be anything even remotely like the Hell that is taught today.
Hell cast into Hell (Revelation 20:14 King James Version). I have often heard in sermons that souls that had left the lost persons they were in will forever be tormented in the lake of fire. Most who believe in Hell teach the lake of fire is Hell, but in the King James Version Hell is cast into the lake of fire, if, as in the King James Version, one place is cast into another place, both cannot be the same place, but both Catholics and Protestants believe both are the same place. Both believe the lake of fire is Hell, and both use the lake of fire to prove there is a Hell with endless fire. Hell being cast into Hell presents an absurd problem for both the Catholic and Protestant versions of Hell. Casting Hell into Hell is another blunder made by the King James Translators trying to put Hell into the Bible; most other translations have corrected this blunder, there is nothing about “Hell” in this passage, and Hell is not in the American Standard Version or most others.
DR. C. CAMPBELL on Revelation 20:14 said, "If we interpret Hades, 'hell,' in the Christian sense of the word, the whole passage is rendered nonsense. Hell is represented as being cast into hell...the phrase 'cast into the lake of fire' is a figure of utter destruction. It is simply saying 'death and hell was destroyed.'"
Death is also cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14) Will the lake of fire be the end of death, but not the end of Hell? Or will death be forever tormented in the lake of fire, which many say is Hell? Death cannot be tormented; this is a symbolic picture of the end of all three, death, hades, and the wicked; there is nothing about Hell in this when it is not mistranslated. The lake of fire will abolish death, not torment people in Hell.
"And Hell delivered up the dead" Revelation 20:13, the King James Version has Hell being emptied before the judgment, but, most who believe in Hell do not believe that any in Hell will ever get out, "And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them" Revelation 20:13 King James Version. Many believe that no one will be in Hell unto after the Judgment Day to be "delivered up," but they use this passage to prove the lost will go to Hell after the Judgment, even though this passage says hades (Hell in King James Version) will be emptied and cast into the lake of fire before the Judgment. In the King James Version the judgment is after Hell has been emptied. Not only is Hell emptied before the judgment, but also (according to the King James Version) some that were in it before it was emptied will even be found written in the book of life, and some taken out of Hell are never put back into it, but are put in Heaven.
1. According to the King James Version, the judgment will not take place unto after all that are in Hell have been taken out of Hell.
2. Then most of those that were taken out of Hell will be put into the lake of fire “which is the second death,” but some that were in Hell will be in the book of life.
1. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell deliver up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works" (Revelation 20:13).
According to the King James Version:
1. “Hell delivered up the dead” (Revelation 20:13).
2. Then both “Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14).
o But according to much of today’s preaching, Hell will never give up those in it, and the lake of fire is Hell!
o Is there anyone that believes the King James Version?
In trying to put a place of endless torment in the Bible by mistranslating, the translators made the Bible teach something that they did not believe, and most today that believe in Hell do not believe. Most other translations, including the New King James Version, have corrected this blunder, but unfortunately this has done little or nothing to correct any of the many Protestant versions of Hell.
(4 and 5). LAKE OF FIRE: Forth and fifth times it is used. Any not in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Lake of fire is the second death (Revelation 21:8). “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life…He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:10-11). “He that overcomes shall inherit these thing; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Revelation 21:7-8). Nothing can live in a lake of fire, any life would immediately and completely be destroyed making it a perfect symbol for death; fire is one of the most destructive elements that is known to science, it is a perfect symbol for death, but would be a terribly false symbol for any kind of life; there is no life that is not completely and quickly destroyed by fire; the lake of fire is one of the few symbols that is interpreted for us so that we can have no excuse for not understanding it; the lake of fire “is the second death,” not endless life.
1. It is life or death, not life or life not life in Heaven or life in Hell.
2. Death is the opposite of life. Eternal death is the opposite of eternal life.
3. Death is not two kinds of life, a better kind of life, or a worse kind of life. If death is really life with a lost of well-being, try substituting “life” for “death,” “He that over comes shall not be hurt of the second life” (Revelation 2:11).
When the second death is used, it is a contrast to life, death is the opposite of life, death is not another kind of life; death is not endless life being tormented by God.
1. “Faithful unto death…crown of life” (Revelation 2:10-11).
2. “He that has part in the first resurrection; on such the second death has no power” (Revelation 20:6).
3. “And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
4. Water of life given free to all believers, second death is for all sinners (Revelation 21:6-8).
5. In Revelation 21:1-8 there is a contrast between life and death. In verses 1-7 it is life with no more death. In verse 8 it is the second death with no more life.
6. In Revelation 22:3 “Nothing accursed will be found there any more.” The footnote in the American Standard Version says, “No more anything accursed.” Those that are the cursed are not alive somewhere else, the accursed will ceased to be, they will not be found any more, they have no access to the tree of life.
WHAT IS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?
(1) The beast and the false prophet, which are symbols of two world powers, two nonliving things, no one believes a literal beast will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). “Where the beast and the false prophet are,” in the King James Version “are” is in italics which means it was supplied by the translators, it is not in the Greek. William Tyndale translated this “where the beast and false prophet were.”
o “These two were thrown” Revised Standard Version.
o “The two of them were thrown” The Revised English Bible.
o “The Evil Creature and his False Prophet-were thrown” The Living Bible.
o “These two were thrown” The Christian Bible.
o “The two of them were thrown” New International Version.
o “These two were thrown” The New Revised Standard Version.
o “The two were thrown” McCord’s New Testament, Freed-Hardeman College.
o “Both of whom were cast” The Living Oracles, Alexander Campbell.
o “These two were thrown” The New Testament In Modern English, J. B. Phillips.
Anything that was alive when it was cast into a lake of fire would die immediately. “Are” is not in the Greek. The beast and the false prophet were nations that “were” destroyed, not nations that “are” now being tormented but will never be destroyed; they “were” destroyed by the lake of fire just as anything cast into fire is destroyed; is there anyone that believes nations will be kept alive and endlessly tormented by God in a literal lake of fire? Fire destroys things that are put into it, whatever torment there may be of a living thing is very short, not endless; to make this fire be the fire of Hell the nature of fire has to be changed to something that is nothing like fire; changed from a fire that destroys life must be changed into something that preserves the life of any living thing that is in it.
Those that teach endless torment of souls by God believe this passage is one of their few strongholds; for it to teach torment depends on what you add to it, on wherever you add an “are” to it; if you do then you have God keeping these two world powers alive and tormenting them even after the world has been destroyed. This passage says nothing about souls, but it is used to prove a soul is being kept alive and endlessly tormented in fire that that has been changed into something that is not fire. Nations being cast into a lake of fire is a symbol picture of them being destroyed, coming to an end. Nations or world powers are not literally cast into a literal lake of fire.
(2) The devil was cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet “were,” cast, not where they now “are” (Revelation 20:10). “Were” is past tense, it is where they were, they were not still there when the devil was cast into it.
(3) Death and hades, two nonliving things “were cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14) where the beast and the false prophet “were” cast.
(4) And all who are not in the book of life (Revelation 20:15).
IT IS THE BOOK OF LIFE, NOT A BOOK OF REWARDS
The book of life is not a book or rewards for an immaterial soul that had been in a person; a soul that already have life and cannot die, a soul that has life and can never not have life, a soul that cannot be dead. The second death is not just a loss of well being, not a loss of privilege or pleasure, not a loss of a reward; the second death is death, not life with torment; death is the reverse of life, death is not life. Without having your name in the book of life there will be no hope of life for you without end in Heaven or any place.
THE BOOK OF LIFE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
(1). Philippians 4:3: “And the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
(2). Revelation 3:5: He that overcomes will not have his name blotted out of the book of life.
(3). Revelation 13:8: The beast given authority over all that dwell on the earth, all that worships the beast that do not have their name in the book of life.
(4). Revelation 17:8: The beast will go into destruction, and all that dwell on the earth whose name has not been written in the book of life shall wonder.
(5). Revelation 20:12 and 20:15: There is to be a judgment with all the dead standing before the throne of God, the great, and the small. At this judgment any not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. It is either one or the other, (1) either your name is in the book of life, (2) or it is not, if not then it will be the second death. It is life or death for a person, not just a reward, or a punishment for a soul that cannot be dead. “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcomes shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Revelation 21:6-8). Life or death, not life in Heaven or life in Hell, not a reward to a soul that has life, not endless life with punishment to a soul that already has endless life.
(6). Revelation 21:27: Nothing unclean, only those that are written in the Lamb’s book of life shall enter in the holy city.
(7).Luke 10:20: Jesus told His disciples, “Rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
(8). Hebrews 12:23: “You have come…to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven.”
(9). Revelation 22:19: Any that adds to or takes from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the “tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.”
If your name is not in the book of life, there will be no life without end, only death without end.
THE THOUSAND YEARS AND THE LAKE OF FIRE
In the New Testament many symbols are used, and many of them we are told just what they are symbols of. We are given the interpretation in clear plan language. When we are told exactly what the interpretation is in plan language, we must not change the interpretation of the symbol. The Premillennialists make a symbol (the thousand years) into a literal time. The Bible's interpretation of the thousand-year reign cannot be accepted by them for if it were it would end the Premillennial doctrine. In the same way those who teach the lake of fire is Hell cannot accept the Bible's interpretation of what the lake of fire is, the second death, for to them the lake of fire is an endless life of torment in fire; therefore, the second death cannot be death. The Bible's own interpretation of what the lake of fire is not accepted, for if it were there could be no Hell.
THE SYMBOLS --------- THE BIBLE'S INTERPRETATION
(1) THE FIELD -------- “IS THE WORLD”
Not a farm, Matthew 13:38
(2) THE GOOD SEED -- “ARE THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM”
Not a garden, Matthew 13:38
(3) THE TARES ---- “ARE THE SONS OF THE EVIL ONE”
Not weeds, Matthew 13:38
(4) BOWLS OF INCENSE – “ARE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS”
Not cereal, Revelation 5:8
(5) THE SEVEN HEADS – “ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS” Rev. 12:9
(6) THE TEN HORNS ---- “ARE TEN KINGS”
Not ten trumpets, Revelation 17:12
(7) THE WATERS - “ARE PEOPLES, AND MULTITUDES, AND NATIONS”
Not seas, Revelation 17:15
(8) SEVEN CANDLESTICKS “ARE SEVEN CHURCHES” Rev. 1:20
(9) THE WOMAN -------- “IS THE GREAT CITY”
Not a female, Revelation 17:18
(10) FINE LINEN --- “IS RIGHTEOUS ACTS OF THE SAINTS”
Not a tablecloth, Revelation 19:8
(11) THE DRAGON --- “IS THE DEVIL AND SATAN” Rev. 20:2
(12) THOUSANDS YEAR REIGN – “IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION”
Thousand is plural in the Greek, thousands of Years;
Christ has been reigning in the church for over
two-thousand years,(see below). Not a kingdom on earth
after the second coming of Christ, not a millennial
kingdom after first resurrection, Revelation 20:6
(13) LAKE OF FIRE ---- “IS THE SECOND DEATH”
Not a deathless place of torment
Revelation 20:14; 21:8
The lake of fire, used metaphorically, it is literally the second death, death is death, not a second life, to be dead is to have no life; death cannot be changed and made to mean life, death is not an endless life being tormented by God. There is nothing about any life after the second death; death is an endless punishment.
All die once, sinners will die twice; (1) they die, are resurrected, and judged, (2) then they die again, a second death, never to be resurrected a second time.
The interpretation is only what it is stated to be. The thousands of years (mistranslated “thousand”) is the first resurrection. The thousands of years and the lake of fire are two of the most misused symbols in this book. It is as if God knew they would be misused, and He plainly said what they are symbols of so there could be no excuses to misuse them. “The lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is (ho estin – “that is”) the second death.” The interpretation given by theology reverses the order and makes the second death be the lake of fire and says there is no death in the lake of fire. John interpretation of the “lake of fire” is that the “lake of fire” is “the second death,” but theology must reinterpret John’s interpretation to make death be something other than death; John’s interpretation of “death” must be interpreted to be endless life; death is interpreted to be deathless life with a lost of well-being.
o John said, “The lake of fire is the second death.”
o Traditionalists say, “No John you are wrong, the lake of fire is not a death, the second death is eternal life with a lost of well-being.”
The Bible speaks of two deaths, the first and the second, if the first death is death, but the second death is endless life being tormented by God, then it is not death. The second death is a real death, just as real as is the first death; both the first and second death are the end of life, neither death is endless life in another form or life in another place; nothing is said about the lost after the second death, there will be nothing to say anything about.
o “Lake of fire, which is (ho estin-that is) the second death” (Revelation 21:8). The symbolical lake of fire interpreted “that is” (ho estin) to literally be the second death.
o “And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is (ho estin) Be opened” (Mark 7:34).
o “It was the Preparation, that is (ho estin) the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42).
o “For his body’s sake, which is (ho estin-that is) the church” (Colossians 1:24).
o “A place called Golgotha, that is (ho estin) to say, the place of a skull” (Matthew 27:33).
o The words after ho estin clarifies the words before it. Who would know what Ephphatha means if it had not been clarified by saying it means, “Be opened”?
Those in Christ are now "kings and priests" (Revelation 1:6). Are a "kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth" (Revelation 5:9-10). Those who are baptized into Christ have been raised with Him; they were dead and now have the life He gives and they live with Him. This is the first resurrection, and those who have a part in it will not be subject to the second death after the judgment. All others are dead in that they do not have the life Christ gives, and after the resurrection and judgment they will die the second death. The thousands of years (plural in the Greek, thousands plural–not thousand singular) is symbolic of an indefinite time in which the saints will reign with Christ; the saved reigning with Christ begins after the resurrection of Christ and it will last “thousands” of years unto His second coming. The translators changing “thousands” to “thousand” has resulted in much false doctrines and divisions.
Strong lists ten Greek words that are translated thousand(s) in the New Testament. Only two of them are used in Revelations.
o “That with the Lord one day is as thousands (chiloi–plural) of years, and thousands (chiloi–plural) of years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
o “They lived and reigned with Christ thousands (chiloi–plural) of years” (Revelation 20:4).
o “The rest of the dead did not come to life unto the thousands (chiloi–plural) of years were completed” (Revelation 20:5).
o “They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for thousands (chiloi–plural) of years” (Revelation 20:6). It has now been about two thousand years that the saved have reigned with Christ and who knows how many more thousands of years it may be unto Christ comes; Christ is now reigning and has reign for thousands (plural) of years.
More on the use of the singular and plural of thousand can be found under “Articles” by Ken Fortier at: http://www.kenfortier.com/ “A Preliminary Study of the Greek Word Thousand and Thousands,” and many other very good articles.
In all four times the second death is used, death is from "thanatos," which is used 118 times in the New Testament. In all 118 deaths is really death, not endless life with torment, not alive but separated from God, not alive with only a loss of well being.
Thanatos always means death, never any kind of life, but today's theology tells us that John's interpretation of the lake of fire must be reinterpreted, and death changed to endless life with torment, for there could not be death to a soul that cannot die; therefore, John's interpretation of the lake of fire being the second death must be reinterpreted to be the lake of fire is endless life with death. torment for souls.
The lake of fire is only a symbol of the real thing (the second death), but many preach and teach it as if there is a real lake of literal fire somewhere, but it is not on this earth, and this fire will last forever. There is not now or ever will be a lake of literal fire. They must turn it around and make the second death be only a metaphor of the lake of fire, and make the second death not a real death, for the second death cannot be a real death if a "soul" can never die. They also make the second death be only a metaphor of Gehenna (but only after Gehenna has been mistranslated into "Hell"). They do not seem to be able to make up their minds on whether the second death is a metaphor of the lake of fire, or if the second death is a metaphor of Gehenna after Gehenna has been changed to "Hell."
Changes made by those who say they do not change the Bible
The Bible says THE LAKE OF FIRE -------IS THE SECOND DEATH
Today many say THE SECOND DEATH---IS THE LAKE OF FIRE
Today many say THE LAKE OF FIRE ---- IS HELL
Today many say THE LAKE OF FIRE ---- IS GEHENNA
FIRE THAT CANNOT BURN UP!
Fire must be reinterpreted, changed to be something that cannot burn up. If the lost are never to be destroyed, why did God use throwing them in fire (something that to us always means the death of any living thing, something that no living thing can live in) as a symbol of deathlessness? To teach everlasting deathless torment, theology had to make a reinterpretation of “fire” to be something that never destroys or consumes, fire had to be reinterpreted, completely changed into something that will not destroy any living thing, but would forever torment it, fire had to be made to be something that is the opposite of what fire really is, and dose the opposite of what fire does; fire must me made into something that preserves, not consumes; something that protects from harm, not destroys. God is made to use a symbolic picture to teach us that we could never understand without help, made God’s word to us to be unable to teach us without help from men to interpret His word to us and tell us that fire does not burn up; something that burns up and kills any living thing must be changed into something that never burns up, changed from fire into something that never kills, if not, it would make unconditional immortality not be possible.
Death will end after the judgment when death is destroyed. The end will not come unto Christ "shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power for he must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet, the last enemy that shall be abolished is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26).
BRIMSTONE AND FIRE IN NON-SYMBOLIC PASSAGES
How "fire and brimstone" are used in the Bible and in the Book or Revelation.
Fire and brimstone (burning sulfur rock) were literally rained on Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24. The "fire and brimstone" that destroyed Sodom was rained from Jehovah out of Heaven, not from Hell, and the destroying was persons on the earth, not souls tormented but not destroyed in Hell. "Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of Heaven" (Genesis 19:24; Luke 17:29). Both cities were literally burned up, and were brought to a total end by the fire and brimstone that rained on them. Fire and brimstone are used six other times in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 30:33; 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22), one time by Christ in Luke 17:29 speaking of the total destruction of Sodom. If the destroying will be "after the same manner," then the fire would be rained from Heaven, not be in Hell, and this fire will destroy, not forever torment those on which it is rained. Most believers in Hell put both the brimstone and the fire in Hell, but in every passage in both the Old and New Testament, it is a real fire and real brimstone, and the fire is always on this earth, it is never in Hell. They must move the brimstone and fire from earth to Hell, for they have no scripture that puts the fire and brimstone in Hell where they want it.
It is always a total destruction, never a forever ongoing torment. Today's preaching of "Hell fire and brimstone" does not fit with the use of fire and brimstone in the Bible. In today's theology the destruction is changed from total destruction into a never-ending torment without destruction.
BRIMSTONE AND FIRE IN SYMBOLICAL PASSAGES
Fire and brimstone are used six times in Revelation as a symbol of total destruction, which is taken from its literal use in the rest of the Bible.
(1) Revelation 9:17: "Out of their mouths proceeds fire and smoke and brimstone." Out of the mouths of horses! This does not sound like the fire and brimstone we are told will be in "Hell?"
(2) Revelation 9:18: "The third part of men killed, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths." Even most who believes in Hell say this fire and brimstone coming out of the mouth of horses are a symbol of something on this earth before the end of time, something before the coming of Christ, and is not an endless torment. Believer's in Hell does not believe that a third part of those in Hell will be killed by the fire and brimstone that comes out of the mouths of horses; they believe that a soul that is in Hell cannot be killed. Fire and brimstone coming from horse’s mouths is a symbolic picture of destruction and/or death that is on this earth before the Judgment Day. Does anyone believe this "fire and brimstone" that kills is the Hell-fire that torments as preached by Jonathan Edwards? They do not think fire comes out of horse’s mouths and kills souls that are in Hell? They want to make only a part of the symbolic language be literal, and they get to pick what part. Most who believe in Hell believe the first and second occurrences of "fire and brimstone" in Revelation are both used figuratively, not literally. They only make it be used literally when they think it will prove their Hell, and fire and brimstone coming out if the mouth of horses and killing a third of them that are in Hell is not what they are trying to find; they do not believe any souls in Hell can be killed.
(3) Revelation 14:10: Brimstone used in a symbolic picture of Babylon. A part of the same symbolic picture is smoke in Heaven in Revelation 14:11. Isaiah 34:10 said the smoke of Edom "shall go up for ever and ever." There is no literal smoke going up from Edom and never has been; it is symbolic for a punishment that has endless consequences, and not a literal endless punishment of Edom, a nation that does not now exist, it is not burning it with a fire that shall go on forever; the Bible is its own best interpreter.
(4)-(5)-(6) Revelation 19:20; 20:10; 21:8: Three of the times the lake of fire is used, the lake which burns with fire and brimstone is the second death. The symbolic use of brimstone and fire depends on its use in the non-symbolical passages for it meaning. In them, it is always a destruction that ends when the destruction is total. Many symbols in Revelations come from the Old Testament. In the Old Testament fire and brimstone always brought a literal death; in Revelations fire and brimstone are used as a symbolical picture of total destruction and death.
Chapter Eight–PART THREE
EVERLASTING OR FOREVER of the King James Version
Olam in the Old Testament: "Age, age-lasting, olam" Robert Young, Young's Analytical Concordance To The Bible, page 310. Olam (olamim-plural) in the Hebrew Old Testament is translated everlasting in the King James Version and others, but does not mean without end as eternal in today's English does; in the popular use of today eternal means endless, which is not the way olam or olamim are used in the Hebrew Old Testament.
Olam-singer and olamim-plural are used of:
(1). Periods of times that had both a beginning and an end. Forever (olam) is used about sixty-five times in the Old Testament for things that have already came to an end.
(2). Periods of times that had a beginning, but the time of their end is has not yet came.
(3). A Period of time that is followed by another period of time; “from olam (age) to olam (age),” and “from olam (age) to olamim (ages), which are often translated “for ever and ever.” If “for ever and ever” made senses, which it doesn’t, then it would make there be more than one eternity, “eternity, and eternity?”
(1) AGES WITH BOTH A BEGINNING AND AN END
Some of the things that are "everlasting" or "forever" in the King James Version that was age lasting, not everlasting; many “forevers” (olams-ages) of the King James Version have passed away, have already came to an end.
(1). The Law of Moses: "A statute forever (olam-age)" See Exodus 12:24; 27:21; 28:43; 29:28; 30:21; Leviticus 6:18; 6:22; 7:34; 7:36; 10:9; 10:15; 16:29; 16:31; 17:7; 23:14; 24:3; Numbers 10:8; 15:15; 18:8; 18:11; 18:23; 19:10; Deuteronomy 12:28; 13:16; 15:17; 23:3; 28:40; 29:29; Joshua 4:7; 8:28; 14:9. It lasted for an age (about 1500 years), and was replaced with a better covenant (Hebrews 8:7-14), it had a beginning and an ending; it was not "forever" with the meaning of forever in today's English. Forever in the King James Version is a bad translation of olam, for olam in the Old Testament did not have the same meaning that forever had in 1611, or not the same meaning that forever has today.
(2). Jews were to posses the land "forever" (olam-age) (Genesis 13:15).
(3). Temple rituals to continue forever (olam-age) (2 Chronicles 2:4). Today there is no temple in Jerusalem, and no rituals in the temple that does not exist.
(4). Levites were to bear the ark forever (olam-age) (1 Chronicles 15:2). There are no Levites to bear the Ark, and no Ark for them to bear.
(5). Sacrifices were forever (olam-age) (Leviticus 3:17; 6:18; 7:36; 10:9-15; 16:29; 17:17; 23:14: 24:3; Numbers 10:8; 15:15: 18:8; 19:10).
(6). Circumcision was forever (olam-age) (Genesis 17:13).
(7). David's throne was forever (olam-age) (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 1 Kings 9:5).
(8). A slave was a slave forever (olam-age) (Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17) Olam (forever) lasted only to the end of his life.
(9). Jonah's "everlasting" (olam-age) lasted only three days (Jonah 2:6).
(2) AGES THAT HAD A BEGINNING
BUT THE ENDING ARE IN THE OBSCURE FUTURE
The everlasting (olam) hills (Genesis 49:26): The hills had a beginning when the earth was made, but there ending is some times in the obscure future.
The everlasting (olam) covenant of the rainbow (Genesis 9:11-17): Like the hills, the beginning of the rainbow covenant is known, but both the hills and the rainbow ends at the end of the earth. Neither is eternal, both had a beginning, both will have an ending; “olam hills” are not “eternal hills.”
(3) FROM ONE OLAM (age) TO ANOTHER OLAM (age)
From one age to another age, not from one eternally to another eternally: Old Testament–"from olam to olam" (from age to age) is used twenty-one times. From one period of time to another period of time demands a separation of the two periods–ages; therefore, neither of the two olams could be without a beginning or ending. Two olams would demand that there be more than one olam, more than one age, not more than one eternity.
From olam (age) to olam (age) applied to people or things
(1). “Thou hast blotted out their (the wicked) name for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age) (Psalm 9:5).
(2). “He (the king) asked life of Thee, Thou didst give him length of days for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 21:4).
(3). “The people praise thee for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 45:17).
(4). “Even from everlasting (olam-age) to everlasting (olam-age), you are God” (Psalm 90:2). ”From eternality to eternality”?
(5). “All His precepts are sure. They are upheld for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 111:8). From one age to another age, not from one eternity to another eternity.
(6). “Thy law continually for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 119:44).
(7). “From this time forth and for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 125:2; 131:3).
(8). “I will bless thy name for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 145:1).
(9). “I will praise thy name for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 145:2).
(10). “He has also established them (the heavens) for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 148:6).
(11). “Also established them for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Isaiah 30:8). “That it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever (olam-age)” New American Standard Version.
(12). "Then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever" "from olam to olam" (Jeremiah 7:7). From a long time past to a long time to come, but not forever as the word "forever" is used today, not from eternity to eternity.
(13). "And dwell in the land that the Lord has given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever" "from olam to olam" (Jeremiah 25:5). If "forever and ever" is for eternity, then the world cannot end for they must dwell in the land for one eternity, and then for another eternity. None of them could dwell in Heaven or in Hell, for they would be dwelling in the land of Israel on this earth for eternity, and after that eternity dwelling on this earth for a second eternity.
(14). “As the stars for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Daniel 12:3).
(15). “A statute for ever (olam-age) in your generations” (Leviticus 6:18).
From olam (age) to olam (age) applied to God
(1). “The Lord shall reign for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age) (Exodus 15:18). From one age to another age, not from one eternity to another eternity.
(2). “Blessed the Lord God of Israel for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age) (1 Chronicles 16:36).
(3). “The Lord is King for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 10:16).
(4). “God is our God for ever (olam-age) and ever (olam-age)” (Psalm 48:14).
(5). “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting (olam-age) and to everlasting (olam-age)” (Psalm 41:13).
(6). “Even from everlasting (olam-age) to everlasting (olam-age) thou art God” (Psalm 90:2) "from olam to olam"–from age to age. "From everlasting to everlasting" would mean one everlasting would have to end for there to be another. Two everlasting are not possible. There cannot be a "from one eternity to another eternity."
(7). “The Lord is from everlasting (olam-age) to everlasting (olam-age)” (Psalm 103:17).
(8). “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting (olam-age) to everlasting (olam-age)” (Psalm 106:48).
o From “everlasting to everlasting,” from “one eternity to another eternity”? How could there be from everlasting to everlasting, or from eternity to eternity? Today’s concept of eternity seems not to have existed in the Old Testament; they had the concept of one age after another age after another age, but not of today’s eternity.
OLAM TRANSLATED DAYS OF OLD
Days that had ended lone ago: If olam means everlasting or endless, why did the King James Version translate it old and ancient; could it be that they knew eternal, as it is used today, would have made no sense in these passages? “Days of old” (olam-age) is duration (a period of time) that has already at some time in the past ended, not endless time that will never end.
(1) "Remember the days of old (olam-age), consider the years of many generations" (Deuteronomy 32:7). One word translated into four words with not one of the four in the Hebrew.
(2) "For those nations were of old (olam-age) the inhabitants of the land" (1 Samuel 27:8). The same one word translated into two words, also neither of the two words are not in the Hebrew.
(3) "The old (olam-age) way which wicked men have trodden" (Job 22:15). The same one word translated into only one word, but the word into which it is translated is not in the Hebrew, the translators changed it into a completely difference word.
(4) "For they have been ever of old (olam-age)" (Psalm 25:6).
(5) "I remembered the judgments of old (olam-age)" (Psalm 119:52).
(6) "Is there anything whereof it may be said, see, this is new? It has been already of old times (olam-age) that was before us" (Ecclesiastes 1:10).
(7) "I held my peace even of old (olam-age), and you feared me not" (Isaiah 57:11).
(8) "And he bare them, and carried them all the days of old (olam-age)" (Isaiah 63:9
(9) "Then he remembered the days of old (olam-age), Moses, and his people" (Isaiah 63:11).
(10) "The prophets that have been before me and before you of old (olam-age)" (Jeremiah 28:8).
(11) "He has set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old (olam-age)" (Lamentations 3:6).
(12-13) "When I shall bring you down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old times (olam-age), and shall set you in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old (olam-age)" (Ezekiel 26:20).
(14) "Then shall the offering of Judea and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old (olam-age), and as in former years" (Malachi 3:4).
(15) Olam is also translated old in Genesis 6:4; Joshua 24:4; Proverbs 23:10; Isaiah 46:9; 51:6; 61:4; 63:9; 63:11; Jeremiah 6:16; Amos 9:12; Micah 5:2.
o Not one of the three words, “days,” “of,’’ or “old” are in the Hebrew; they were changed from “age” by the translators.
OLAM TRANSLATED ANCIENT
(1) "And they have caused them to stumble in their ways from ancient (olam-age) paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up" (Jeremiah 18:15).
(2) “Remove not the ancient (olam-age) landmarks, which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). The translators saw the folly of translating olam into eternal; the landmarks that the fathers of the nation had placed could be removed easily, and they were removed long ago; therefore, they were temporary, not eternal landmarks.
(3) and (4): Olam is also changed to “ancient” in both Jeremiah 5:15 and Psalms 77:5
OLAM TRANSLATED LONG: Olam is changed to long three times.
(1) “As those that have been long (olam-age)dead” Psalms 143:3.
(2) “I have long (olam-age) time holden my peace” Isaiah 42:14.
(3) “Because many goes to his long (olam-age) home” Ecclesiastes 12:5.
OLAM TRANSLATED WORLD: Olam is changed to world three times
(1) “Since the beginning of the world (olam-age)”. Should have been “Since the beginning of the age.” Anyone can see why they did not translate it, “Since the beginning of everlasting” as they translated olan in many places.
(2) Psalms 72:12; (3) Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Olam is used repeatedly where it means an age, but it cannot be changed to mean everlasting. To go into all of them would take many pages. Look up "ever" in any good concordance or Wigram, pages 907-910, Old Testament. A few of them–1 Samuel 13:13; 2 Samuel 7:13,16,25, 26, 29; 1 Kings 2:33; 2:45; 9:5; 1 Chronicles 17:12, 14, 23, 27; 22:19; 28:4, 7; 2 Chronicles 8:5; Psalm 89:4; Ezekiel 37:25. Olam is used many time for things where both the beginning and end are known; many times where the beginning is known, but the end is unknown; the beginning of God’s covenant of the rainbow is known, but not it’s end, probability at the end of the earth.
AION, AIONS, AND AIONIOS in the New Testament
AION (a noun–the plural is AIONS) and AIONIOS (the adjective form of aion) in the New Testament. Like olam in the Old Testament, aion in the New Testament is also used repeatedly where it means an age, but it cannot mean everlasting. One example is Colossians 1:26.
PLURAL AGES–NOT PLURAL ETERNIALIES
NOT MORE THAN ONE ETERNITY.
o King James Version: "The mystery, which hath been hid from ages (aions) and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints."
Why did none of the translation use "forever"? It was obvious to them that God had kept this mystery hidden for ages, but not for eternities.
An aion (age) has a beginning (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:9, Hebrews 1:2).
An aion (age) has an end (Matthew 24:3, 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 9:20). Forever and eternally, as they are used today, have no beginning and no end.
AGE CHANGED TO "WORLD" (Greek-aion-age)
Aion is changed to world 41 times in the New Testament in the King James Version: A PERIOD OF TIME (AN AGE) IS CHANGED TO A PLACE (WORLD) 41 TIMES. It had to be obvious to the translators that there are more than one aion-age, but the translators hid this from their reader by changing “age” to "this world" and "the world to come." Everlasting has no beginning or ending, when everlasting would not fit in the text they changed it to would; ages have a beginning and an ending; like ages the world had a beginning and will have an ending and could be made to fit in. In many passages they could not change an aion into everlasting, but were able to change age to world that also had a beginning and will have an ending, therefore, they forced the word “world” into many passages that had aion (age) in them to hide from their readers that the Bible speaks of ages that have ending, not an eternal that will have no ending. THERE IS NO WAY TO SAY CHANGING AGE TO WORLD WAS NOT A DELIBERATE CHANGE BY THE TRANSLATERS TO MAKE THE BIBLE TEACH WHAT THEY WANTED IT TO TEACH.
“Age, indefinite time, dispensation” Robert Young, “Young’s Analytical Concordance To The Bible,” page 1073.
(1) Matthew 12:32 "Neither in this world (aion-age) nor in that which is to come." "Either in this age, or the age that is to come" New King James Version - New American Standard Version, not "neither in this eternity or that eternity which is to come;" there are not many forevers, one forever that now is, and more forever to come.
It is undeniable that the King James Version has two worlds.
o The world that we now live in.
o A world to come after the end of the world that we are now in.
Does anyone believe that there will be another world between this one and the time the saved will be in the place Christ has gone to prepare for the saved in His Father’s house in Heaven? Not in this world or the next world makes this passage make no sense if there is not another world after this world that the saved will spend some time in before they go to the place prepared for then in the Father’s house (John 14:2). (1). Not in the age that then was when Christ was speaking, the Jewish age. (2). Or the age that come after that age, the Christian age.
(2) Matthew 13:22 "Care of this world (aion-age)." Care of this age, not "care of this forever or eternity."
(3) Matthew 13:39 "The harvest is the end of the world (aion-age)." "The end of the forever, or the end of eternity"? "The end of the age" New King James Version - New American Standard Version. If aion had been translated “eternity” in this passage it would have put the harvest at “the end of eternity,” not at “the end of the age.”
(4) Matthew 13:40 "So shall it be at the end of this world (aion-age)." "At the end of this forever or this eternity"? "The end of this age" New King James Version - New American Standard Version.
(5) Matthew 24:3 "At the end of the world (aion-age)." "At the end of the forever, or the end of this eternity"? "The end of the age" New King James Version - New American Standard Version.
(6) Matthew 28:20 "Unto the end of the world " (aion-age). "The end of eternity"?
(7) Mark 4:19 "The cares of this world (aion-age)." Cares of this age, not "cares of this forever, or this eternity."
(8) Mark 10:30 "In the world (aion-age) to come." "In the forever or eternity to come"?
(9) Luke 1:70 "Since the world (aion-age) began.” Since the age began, not since the forever began.
(10) Luke 16:8 "Children of this world (aion-age). "This age, not "children of this forever."
(11) Luke 18:30 "In the world (aion-age) to come." "In the eternity to come"?
(12) Luke 20:34-35 "Children of this world (aion-age) marry, and are given in marriage: but they that are counted worthy to attain to that world (aion-age)" "Children of this eternity"? In this passage aion is used both of this age and the age to come, not of this eternity and the eternity to come, not of another world to come after this world ends, but the King James Version says there will be.
(13) Luke 20:35 "Worthy to obtain that world (aion-age)." "That eternity"?
(14) John 9:32 "Since the world (aion-age) begin." "Since the age (aion-age) begin," probably the beginning of the Jewish age.
(15) Acts 3:21 "Since the world (aion-age) begin." Also probably the beginning of the Jewish age, not "Since eternity begin."
(16) Acts 15:18 "From the beginning of the world (aion age)." Probably the beginning of the Jewish age, not "from the beginning of the forever."
(17) Romans 12:2 "From the beginning of the world (aion-age). Also probably the beginning of the Jewish age, it is neither the beginning of the world, nor "from the beginning of the eternity."
(18) 1 Corinthians 1:20 "Where is the disputer of this world " (aion-age)." Disputer of this age, not "disputer of this eternity."
(19) 1 Corinthians 2:6 "Not of the wisdom of this world, (aion-age) nor of the princes of this world (aion-age)." "Wisdom of this forever-princes of this eternity"?
(20) 1 Corinthians 2:7 "Which God ordained before the worlds" (aions-ages, plural in the Greek, singular in the King James, plural in most translations). Ordained before the eternities? God’s wisdom, which had been hidden in past ages, the Law age and others ages, but has now been made known, was foreordained before the ages, not before the worlds plural, or before eternities plural. “In hope of eternal life, which God…promised (Genesis 3:15) before the ages (aionios-ages)” (Titus 1:2). “Promised before the world began” (King James), or promised “before times eternal” American Standard makes no sense, promised to whom before the world began or before times eternal? Promised to whom before Adam? If eternally has no beginning or ending, when and what promise was made before eternally began?
Š “Before the ages (aions-ages)” New American Standard and Revised Standard Version.
(21) 1 Corinthians 2:8 "None of the princes of this world (aion-age)." Princes of this age, not "princes of this eternity."
(22) 1 Corinthians 3:18 "Seems to be wise in this world (aion-age)." "Wise in this eternity?"
(23) 1 Corinthians 8:13 "While the world (aion-age) stands." "While the forever stands?"
(24) 1 Corinthians 10:11 "The ends of the world (aions-ages).” "The ends of the eternities?" "Upon whom the ends of the ages are come" American Standard Version; both “ends” and “ages” are in the plural in the Greek New Testament.
(25) 2 Corinthians 4:4 "The God of this world (aion-age.)" "The God of this eternity?"
(26) Galatians 1:4 "From this present evil world (aion-age.)" "Present evil forever?" Is this present evil world to last for an age, or to last for an eternity?
(27) Ephesians 1:21 "Not only in this world (aion-age)." "Not only in this eternity, but also in another eternity"?
(28) Ephesians 2:2 "According to the course of this world (aion-age)." The course of his age, not "course of this forever, not this eternity."
(29) Ephesians 3:9 "The beginning of the world (aion-age)." This age, not "the beginning of the eternity." Young's Literal Translation says, "And to cause all to see what is the fellowship of the secret that has been hid from the ages in God, who all things did create by Jesus Christ, that there might be made known now to the principalities and authorities in the heavenly places, through the assembly, the manifold wisdom of God, according to a purpose of the ages, which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(30) Ephesians 3:21 “World (aion) without end.” The footnote in the New American Standard says, “To all generations of the age of the ages.”
(31) Ephesians 6:12 "Of the darkness of this world (aion-age)." Of this age, not "of the darkness of this eternity."
(32) 1 Timothy 6:17 "That are rich in this world (aion-age)." Rich in this age, not "rich in this eternity."
(33) 2 Timothy 4:10 "Having loved this present world (aion-age)." Loved this present age, not "loved this present forever."
(34) Titus 2:12 "Godly, in this present world (aion-age)." In this present age, not "in this present eternity."
(35) Hebrews 1:2 "By whom also he made the world (aions-ages)." Made the ages-plural, not made plural worlds.
(36) Hebrews 6:5 "Powers of the world (aion-age) to come." " Powers of the age to come, not powers of the forever to come." Will there be another world (another place) to come? This is speaking of another age, another time, but was changed from another time to another place.
(37) Hebrews 9:26 "Now once in the end of the world (aion-age).” In the end of forever, which was about 2,000 years ago? It was in the end of the age of the Law or Jewish age, which lasted from the giving of the law by Moses to the death of Christ, not the end of the world. The sacrifice of Christ was in the end of the age of the Law given through Moses, not in the end of the world, not the end of eternity.
(38) Hebrews 11:3 "The worlds (aions-ages) were framed." God made the ages. Did the King James translators think there is more than one earth? “By faith we understand that the ages (aions-ages)." were prepared by the word of God” New American Standard footnote. Plural ages were prepared by the word of God, plural periods of time, not plural places, or not plural worlds.
o Five times the King James Version translates “aions” “the end of this would,” then it translates it “for ever and ever.” How did they get something that will end and something that will never have an end from the same world?
Aionios, the adjective form of the noun aion
Is translated and changed to a noun–world three times:
(39) Romans 16:25-26 “Kept secret since the world (aionios-age) began, but now is made manifest…is made known.” Since the ages began, not kept secret since eternity began, as eternity is understood today. Plural ages changed to one place, the world, an adjective changed to a noun.
o “For long ages past” New American Standard and New International Version.
o “For long ages” New Revised Standard Version.
(40) 2 Timothy 1:9 “Which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world (aionios-age) began. (”Translated "age(s)" in the New Revised Standard Version).
o “Before times eternal” American Standard Version, footnote “long ages ago.” What times does anyone think was before eternity began?
o “Before the ages (aionios-age) began” New Revised Standard Version.
o The promise of salvation was first given in Genesis 3:15 at the beginning of the first age on earth, the Patriarchal age, which was from Adam to Moses, before the Christian age that Paul was in begin; no promise of salvation was given to mankind before there was a mankind, or before there was a world.
(41) Titus 1:2 “Which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world (aionios-age). Given or promised to whom before the world began, there was no man before the world began, before everlasting or eternity began? If eternity had no beginning, and will have no ending, how could there be a “before eternity began?” “Before the age began” not before the world began, by “the age” Paul is probably speaking of before the beginning of the Christian age that we are now in; Christ lived in the age of the Law, and before the Christian age had began He give the promise of the resurrection to life.
IN THE ABOVE THERE ARE:
1. A past age, and past ages: not many worlds that have passed, or many eternities that have passed.
2. The present age: not the present world we are now in, or the present eternities.
3. An age to come, and ages to come: not a world, or more than one world to come, not a past eternality, or many eternities to come.
There are not worlds past, present, and future. “World” in the Greek is “kosmos” not “aion.” Kosmos (world) is used about 184 times in the New Testament and is never in the plural as aion often is, never plural worlds. We speak of "the Stone Age," "the Iron Age," etc. Age (aion), century, and year are all periods of time. The world is a place. How did the translators get a place-world from aion-age, which is a word that means a period of time, not a place? The King James Version has both (1) “world without end” and (2) “in the end of the world” (Ephesians 3:21; Hebrews 9:26). Eternity, as the word is used today, has no beginning; therefore, they could not translate it forever so they change a word that means a period of time that has a beginning and an end to a place, changed to a place that had a beginning and will have an end, changed to a created place that is not eternal. Most translations used "age(s)." If aion means forever, what did the translators do when they came to Matthew 24:3? Did they translate it "the end of forever"? No, they could not have an end to eternity; therefore, they change aion to "world." To most reading “world,” it means the earth that we live on, in the Greek "world" is from "kosmos," not "aion" or “aionios,” it is a mistranslation that I cannot but believe the translators knew it was a mistranslation, a mistranslation that most other translations of the Bible have changed. Were they not being less than truthful with their readers? Just as untruthful as they were in the Old Testament where "olam" is also translated "world" in Psalm 73:12. Despite the fact that they have translated "olam" into "everlasting" repeatedly, they could not have the ungodly prosper for "forever." An aion (age) in Matthew 24:3 is not a place, not a world. When aion is translated “world,” it is a mistranslation that makes those who do not understand Greek to understand something that is 100% different from what God did say.
KOSMOS MEANS WORLD, NOT AION
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL: “The word kosmos, translated almost uniformly world, which is found one hundred and eighty-four times in the New Testament, is in some respects very different from aion. Concerning the word kosmos, we would have it noticed, that it is never found in the plural form in the Christian Scriptures. There is but one kosmos, though different aions, found in this volume. Kosmos denotes the material globe with all its elements–sometimes, the universe; and by a figure called metonomy, which substitutes the thing containing for the thing contained, the human family is often called the world...The phrase ‘foundation of the world’ occurs ten times, and always kosmos. But wherever mere time or continuance is implied, it is always aion, and not kosmos.” “The Living Oracles,” Appendix 14, 1826, Gospel Advocate Company.
G. CAMPBELL MORGAN: “Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how we use the word ‘eternity.’ We have fallen into great error in our constant use of that word. There is no word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our ‘eternal,’ which, as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end. The strongest Scripture word used with reference to the existence of God, is ‘unto the ages of the ages,’ which does not literally mean eternally.” “God‘s Methods with Man,” page 185, Fleming H. Revel Company, 1898.
PLURAL is changed to SINGULAR
When the King James translators translated aions into "worlds" (Hebrews 1:2; see Ephesians 2:7; Colossians 1:26), they left it in the plural, but when they translated it "forever" they changed it to the singular. They could have plural worlds, but they could not have a plurality of forever, or more than one eternity. Their Hell must last forever (singular), not forevers (plural), and not just unto the age of ages.
How could anyone know "Hell" is everlasting when not one of the four words translated "Hell" in the King James Version is used with aion or aionios. Not one of four words (sheol, hades, Gehenna, Tartarus) is said to be everlasting.
Aion is used of past ages, the present age, future ages, and in the plural about two-thirds of its occurrences in the Bible. Therefore, there is more than one age. It follows that eternity is not an acceptable meaning of this Greek word. There cannot be past eternities, a present eternity, and future eternities, neither can there be plural eternities. An aion (age) is a long period of time that has a beginning and an ending, but it is not an eternity that has no beginning or ending. There are more than one aions, but there can be only one eternity.
(1). How can it be said “this eternity,” “that eternity,” or “eternities”? There is only one eternity (Luke 16:8; 20:34-35; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6-8; 3:18; 10:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2, 7; 3:9; Colossians 1:26; 2 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 11:3)?
(2). How can it be said “before eternity” or “eternity began”? Eternity has no beginning (James. 9:32; Acts. 3:21; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9)?
(3). How can it be said “present eternity,” “eternity to come,” and “end of eternity?” (Matthew 24:3; 28:20; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Titus 4:10; He. 6:5; 9:26)?
In the Bible there is the Patriarchal dispensation (age), and the Law of Moses dispensation (age) (Luke 1:70; Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:26), and the Christian dispensation (age). Age (aion) is applied to the Jewish dispensation (age) that has ended. See Hebrews 9:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Matthew 24:3; Luke 1:70. This age will end at the coming of Christ. Endless life, life that will last for all the ages to come will be given in the age that is to come after the resurrection (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; 2:7; Hebrews 6:5).
Aion and aionios: When both the singular and plural are used together in one passage there has to be more than one aion (age). A plural eternity or forever is impossible; aionios refer to periods of time (ages). Unless an age means all of time, there has to be another part(s) of time (another age or ages); an age is not forever, not eternity as the English word "eternity" is used today.
The word "eternal" was first put into the Bible when the Latin Vulgate Version of Jerome was translated into English; there is no word in the Hebrew or Greek Bible that corresponds to the English word "eternal"; Jerome translation give aion two difference meaning by translating aion into two different Latin words. If the first English translation had come directly from the Hebrew and Greek, it is unlikely that "eternal" would have ever been in it. Jerome was inconsistent in the way he put eternal into his Latin Catholic translation by translating aion into eternal twenty-seven times out of about one hundred twenty-five times that aion is used, nevertheless, his inconsistent changes were translated into English, and most later translations copied them.
"TO or UNTO the ages of the ages."
(1) “The smoke of their torment doth go up UNTO the ages of the ages” (Revelation 14:11). If, as some believe, the ages of the ages is eternity after the judgment, then the smoke of their torment, the torment of the devil last ONLY UNTO the end of time, but nothing is said about any smoke or torment after the judgment.
(2) “Her smoke doth come up UNTO the ages of the ages” (Revelation 19:3).
(3) “They (the devil, the beast and the false prophet) shall be tormented day and night UNTO the ages of the ages” (Revelation 20:10). "Day and night" belongs to time, not eternity (Revelation 22:5); “unto” means up to “the ages of the ages,” but not after that time. We do not know what is going on in the mind of Satan, but it is only reasonable to believe that he knows his time will come to an end. Would this not be torment to him? "The Lord knows how to...keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the Day of Judgment" (1 Peter 2:9). “Unto the ages of ages” could only mean the time that is before the ages to come, before any one will be in Heaven, not forever, not during or throughout eternity. This torment, whether it is literal or figurative torment, is only said to be "UNTO the ages of the ages," which is before many believe anyone will be in Hell. It ends at the time they say Hell will begin (“UNTO the ages of the ages”). It says nothing about torment, neither literal torment or figurative torment in the "ages of ages." When the Greek says, "unto the ages of the ages," it is not "forever and ever." This is just another attempt of the translators to impose the Greek philosophy of innate immortality on God’s word, and to put an eternal place of torment in the Bible where there is not one. If “day and night” are to be taken literally then the “beast” that is being tormented “day and night” must also be literal; therefore, there will be a literal beast literally tormented in Hell “which (literally) has seven heads and the ten horns,” (Revelation 17:7-9); is there literally such a beast? How many that believe in Hell believe there is such a literal beast, or that there will be any kind of beast in Hell? Does a beast with ten horns or a cow with two horns have a soul?
The ages to come: "UNTO the ages of (the) ages" (Revelation 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:18; etc.) Does eternity have ages? "Who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come (aion–the age to come) eternal (aionios, the adjective form of aion) life" (Luke 18:30; Mark 10:30). Life that will have no end will be given at the judgment after the end of the Christian Age (Romans 6:22; Galatians 6:8; Titus 1:2). Paul speaking to those in the Christian Age, those that were saved by grace when he said, “That in the ages (aions) to come (ages to come after the Christian Age) he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7).
There may be no way we can know, but it is possible that there was a time before God made anything, where there was just God, was one age. Then after He made Heaven and all was perfect was another age. After Satan and other angels sinned was another age, and things we know nothing about could be the beginning and ending of many ages before God made the earth. There is no way we can know something God has not revealed to us, but it is unreasonable to think that we with our limited knowledge could know even the hem of the garment when it comes to knowing what an infinite God has done before He made this world, and what He will do throughout all the coming ages. "Unto the ages of the ages" may mean that time after the judgment will be made up of "ages," one age after another age for an endless number of ages all in some way will be difference from each other. God does not change, but there is no reason to believe that after the judgment He will just sit and do nothing that could be the end of one age and the beginning of another. In all of time we know anything about, God has used ages that had begins and ends, and there is no reason to believe He cannot or will not always use them. There is no person now in Heaven, but the saved will be in Heaven after the judgment; when all the saved of mankind are in Heaven, will that not be one change from what Heaven is now, it maybe the beginning of a new age in Heaven. And there could be others changes later that would be the beginning and ending of ages. I do not believe God is a sleeping God who woke up one day and made the world in six days and went back to sleep. What God has done and will do throughout all the countless ages to come is beyond my imagination, and as He has not revealed it no one can know, but eternity is a long time and it is not reasonable to believe He is now sleeping, and that He will not frequently do many things as great or greater than making the earth; things that will be the beginning of an endless number of new ages. Angels are not self-existing being as God is, they were created by God; therefore, their creation may have been the beginning of an age in Heaven. Heaven itself was created; only God is self-existing, unchanging and without a beginning. All the things that God created that we know about and all the beings, angels and mankind, were not created at the same time, there is no reason to believe that God will not go on creating both new things and new beings in the ages to come.
PAST AGES, A PRESENT AGE, FUTURE AGES
If, as many teach, "aion" did means "forever" or "eternity," then there would be past eternities, present eternities, and future eternities to come, both singular and plural etemities. More than one eternity, as we use the word eternity today, is not passable.
(2) PLURAL: Of the one hundred twenty-seven times aion is used in the New Testament sixty-two are in the plural, more than one age, not more than one eternity, and in twenty-one others that there is more than one age when the plural is implied by “this aion” or “that aion,” this age, or that age, not this eternity or that eternity.
(3) DOUBLE SINGULAR: age of the age (aiona tou aionos) Hebrews 1:8.
(4) SINGULAR AND PLURAL: age of the ages (aionos ton aionon) Ephesians 3:21 .
(5) DOUBLE PLURALS: ages of the ages (aionas ton aionon) Revelation 20:10, 1 Peter 4:11.
In the Bible there are:
1. Aion (age) in the singular–65 times
2. Aions (ages) in the plural–62 times
3. Aions (ages) in the past–plural
4. Aion (age) in the present–singular
5. An aion (age) to come–singular
6. Aions (ages) to come–plural, more than one age is yet to come
7. The ends of the aions (ages) –plural, more than one age that ends
IF AION MEANS ETERNALITY THEN THESE PASSAGE WOULD BE SAYING
o “And of the end of the eternality?” (Matthew 24:3).
o “Even unto the end of eternality” (Matthew 28:20).
o “The sons of this eternity are more shrewd” (Luke 16:8).
o “Worthy to attain to that eternity” (Luke 20:35).
o “Since the beginning of eternity” (John 9:32; and Acts 3:21).
o “A wisdom, however, not to this eternity, nor of the rulers of this eternity, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God destined before the eternities to our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).
o “Upon whom the ends of the eternities have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
o “The God of this eternity (2 Corinthians 4:4).
o “That He might deliver us from this present evil eternity” (Galatians 1:4).
o “Not only in this eternity but also in that (eternity) which is to come” (Ephesians. 1:21).
o “That in the eternities to come” (Ephesians 2:7).
o “The mystery, which for eternities has been hidden” (Ephesians 3:9).
o “The mystery, which has been hidden for the past eternities” (Colossians 1:26).
o “Having loved this present eternity” (2 Timothy 4:10).
o “Powers of the eternity to come” (Hebrews 6:5).
o “But now in the end of the eternity (Hebrews 9:26).
o We understand the eternities have been prepared by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3).
The Greek is "unto the aions of the aions." It is not "ever plus ever," not one "ever" added to another "ever" as in the King James Version. It is ages that last unto, not a plural of eternities which none can end. "Forever and ever" is a contradiction of itself. When a word is plural it can only be finite for only finite things can have the plural; there cannot be more than one infinite eternity; not more than one forever. There cannot be eternities after eternities. An age or ages will fit into eternity, but eternity will not fit into an age. Eternity is infinitely bigger then an age. Neither can one eternity fit into another eternity, or two eternities exist at the same time. Neither can one eternity come after the end of another eternity.
HENRY THAYER, “For ever (aionas) AND (ton) ever (aionon)” (Revelation 4:11), “The double plural,” “A Greek–English Lexicon Of The New Testament,” page 19.
Both Greek words are in the plural; “ever” that is used in the King James Version is singular; there is no plural of “ever” in English; it cannot be translated “for everS and everS.” The “and” that is between the two everS is from “ton” (of the) and it never means “and” in the Greek; “and” is from “kai.” “For ever and ever” totally changes what the Greek says; the King James Version correctly translated “ton” (of the) except when there was a denoting of times or ages as in “ages of the ages”, then ton “of the,” was changed to kai-“and” as in “forever and forever.’
As there is no word in the Hebrew Old Testament for “eternity.” "Ages" more than one long period of time followed by more long periods of time might have been the nearest concept the early Hebrew people had to "eternity" as we understand the English word "eternity" today. Can "olam" or "aion" ever mean eternal as the word is used today? Endless is not inherent in either of the two words and in over 90% of the times they are used it is unquestionably that they mean a limited time-a time that has ended or will end. When they are applied to God (as in Exodus 3:15; Genesis 21:33) and things that are intrinsically endless, it is claimed aion-age takes on a meaning not inherent in the word itself, but from the thing that is endless, but it is more likely that God was speaking to them using the only words that they would understand, words with nearest concept the early Hebrew people had to an eternity without beginning or end–ages followed by more ages, an endless number of ages one after another after another. The concept we have of eternity was not in the Old or New Testament and did not come about unto after the New Testament. In the Greek New Testament God is the “king of the ages (aion),” not “king eternal” as in the King James and other translations.
o 1 Timothy 1:17: “To the King of the ages (aion), the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, [is] honor and glory-to the ages (aion), of the ages (aion)! Amen” Young's Literal Translation.
o “Now to the king of the ages” Alfred Marshall, “Parallel New Testament In Greek and English.”
o “Now to the King of the ages” Recovery Version.
o “Now to the King of the ages” Hugo McCord, Church of Christ, “McCord’s New Testament Translation,” published by Freed-Hardeman College.
o “So to the king of all the ages” “The New Testament In Modern English,” J. B. Phillips.
o “To the King of ages” New American Bible, Catholic.
“To the King
of the ages” Revised Standard
Version - New Revised Standard Version.