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Here and Hereafter

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    10. — REMAINING TEXTS CONSIDERED

    We have now examined all the principle texts of the Scriptures which are supposed to have a bearing on the question of the intermediate state. A few others of minor importance are occasionally urged in favor of the popular view, and as such are entitled to a passing notice. We give them in consecutive order as follows:—HHMLD 214.4

    a. Romans 8:38, 39: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”HHMLD 215.1

    It is claimed that death cannot separate us from the love of God; but, as God cannot exercise his love toward any but a rational and conscious creature, therefore the soul must be alive after death. 1“Immortality of the Soul,” by Luther Lee, p. 111. We should not introduce this passage were it not used as an objection to the view here advocated. The reasoning of the apostle has to be completely inverted before any argument (pardon the misnomer) can be manufactured out of it for the conscious-state theory. For it is of our love to God through Christ, and not of his to us, that the apostle speaks. It has reference, also, wholly to this life. Thus he says (verse 35): “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” That is, shall these things which we have to endure in this life on account of our profession of the gospel and our love for Christ, quench that love in any wise? Shall we compromise the gospel, and alienate ourselves from the love of Christ, who has done so much for us, and through whom we hope for so much (see the whole chapter), to avoid a little persecution, peril, and distress? The separation from the love of Christ by death, of which he speaks, is the same as the separation by persecution, etc.; but tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword, do not necessarily kill us; they have respect to this life; the separation, therefore, is something which takes place here —simply an alienation of our hearts from him. And shall all these things, he asks — nay,, more, shall even the prospect of death on account of our profession of Christ, prevent our loving and following him? No! is the implied and emphatic answer.HHMLD 215.2

    But looking at this scripture from the objector’s stand-point, the singular inquiry at once forces itself upon us, Can the immortal soul in its disembodied state suffer tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword?HHMLD 216.1

    b. 2 Corinthians 4:16: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”HHMLD 216.2

    Is this inward man the immortal soul? We answer, No; but the new man which we put on, Christ formed within, the hope of glory. (See Colossians 3:9, 10; Ephesians 4:22, 24; 3:17, 18; Colossians 1:27.)HHMLD 216.3

    c. 1 Thessalonians 4:14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”HHMLD 216.4

    Yes, says the believer in the conscious state of the dead, bring them from heaven; so they must now be with him there in a conscious state. Not quite so fast. The text speaks of those who sleep in Jesus. Do you believe those who have gone to heaven are asleep? We always supposed that heaven was a place of unceasing activity and of uninterrupted joy. And again, are all these persons going to be brought from heaven asleep? What a theological incongruity! But, from what place are they brought, if not form heaven? The same place, we answer, from which God “brought” our Lord Jesus Christ. See Hebrews 13:20: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,” etc. We may then read the text in Thessalonians as follows: “For if we believe that Jesus died, and God brought him from the dead, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God likewise bring with him from the dead.” Simply this the text affirms, and nothing more. It is a glorious pledge of the resurrection, and so far diametrically opposed to the conscious-state theory.HHMLD 216.5

    d. 2 Timothy 4:6: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”HHMLD 217.1

    It is claimed that the departure here referred to is death, which is doubtless true. No exception is taken to the remark so often made, “Departed this life,” etc. But as Paul does not here intimate that his departure was to be to heaven, or even to any conscious intermediate state, we have no right to infer this. He simply speaks of leaving this state of existence, which every one does who goes into the unconscious condition of death.HHMLD 217.2

    e. Hebrews 12:1. It is claimed that the “great cloud of witnesses” by which we are surrounded, are the immortal, disembodied spirits of the patriarchs, looking down upon us as we run the heavenly race. From a superficial reading of the English version, an unscholarly person might possibly gather such an idea. But it is open to two insuperable objections: 1. The word “encompassed” is (perikeimenon), and means “lying around,” involving the idea of an incumbent posture. The whole expression is, hemei echontas perikeimenon hemin (“we having lying about us,” so great a cloud of witnesses, etc). This would well refer to the ancient worthies as lying in their graves, but not to the position they are supposed to hold in heaven. 2. The word “witness” is (marturon) from (martus), which does not mean a looker-on, one who beholds another, but one who bears witness, or testifies, to anything. It is the word from which comes our English word “martyr,” — one who has borne witness by death to the strength of his faith. Paul simply speaks of the ancient worthies, not as disembodied spirits, but as those who have “borne witness” to the faithfulness of God; and having these “lying all about us” — having the full account of them given in the word of God (Paul had just mentioned many of them in Hebrews 11), we should run with patience the race set before us.HHMLD 217.3

    f. 2 Peter 1:14: “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.”HHMLD 218.1

    It is here claimed the the “I” that speaks, and the “my” that is in possession of a “tabernacle,” is Peter’s soul, the man proper, and the tabernacle is the body which he was going to lay off. That Peter here has reference to death, is doubtless true; but it was to be as the Lord Jesus Christ had showed him. See John 21:18, 19: “But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.” Here we are shown that the “thou” and the “he,” claimed on 2 Peter 1:14 to be Peter’s soul — the man proper — was going to die, and by death, glorify God. And Peter himself says in the next verse, “Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” Here, then, the same “my” (Peter’s soul, the man proper, remember), which in the verse before is in the possessive case, and governed by “tabernacle,” is again in the possessive case, and governed by “decrease,” or death! Yes, Peter himself was going to die. No one can find any proof of a double entity here, or of a conscious intermediate state.HHMLD 218.2

    This phraseology is well illustrated by Job 7:21, which shows that the man proper, the “I,” sleeps in the dust: “And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.”HHMLD 218.3

    g. 2 Peter 2:9: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of Judgment to be punished.”HHMLD 219.1

    This testimony shows that the unjust do not enter into a place of punishment at death, but are reserved to the day of Judgment. Where are they reserved? Answer: In the general receptacle of the dead, the grave. (See Job 21:30, and previous remarks on sheol.)HHMLD 219.2

    h. Revelation 20:5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”HHMLD 219.3

    By the first resurrection a portion of the dead are restored to life, consciousness, and activity; while it is said of those whose condition is not affected by this resurrection, that they lived not for a thousand years. This proves that up to the time of this resurrection, all the dead were in a condition just the opposite of life — a condition in which it might be said of them that they “lived not.” And this, be it noticed, is spoken of the whole conscious being, not of the body merely. No language could more positively show that in death the whole person is in a state just the opposite of life.HHMLD 219.4

    i. Revelation 19:10, and Revelation 22:8, 9: “And I John .... fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets.”HHMLD 219.5

    This text is supposed to prove that one of the old prophets came to John as an angel, showing that the dead exist in a conscious state. But it does not so teach. The personage which here appears is called an angel; but angels are not the departed spirits of the dead, inasmuch as they are brought to view as a distinct class of beings before any of the human family had died. (See Job 38:6, 7; Genesis 3:24.) This angel does not declare himself to be the disembodied spirit of one of the prophets; and whoever takes the ground that he was, is to all intents and purposes a Spiritualist; for the very groundwork of Spiritualism is that it is the disembodied spirits of dead men that communicate through their mediums. No! the glorious scene that transpired upon Patmos was not a manifestation of the dark workings of Spiritualism. The angel simply stated that he was John’s fellow servant, and the fellow servant of John’s brethren, the prophets, and the fellow servant of them which keep the sayings of this book. The Being of whom they were all worshipers together was the great God. Therefore, says the angel, do not worship me, since I am only a worshiper, with you, at the throne of God; but worship God. This angel had doubtless been sent to the ancient prophets to reveal things to them, as he had now come to John.HHMLD 219.6

    A. Hovey, D. D., assents to this view. He says: “The angel simply asserts that he is a fellow servant of John, and of his brethren, the prophets, literally, ‘a fellow servant of thee and of they brethren, the prophets’ — that is, a servant of God along with them, a servant of God as well as they, and therefore not entitled to worship.” 1“State of Men after Death,” p. 47. Such we believe to be the legitimate teaching of this scripture, the last that is found in the book of God supposed to teach an intermediate conscious state.HHMLD 220.1

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