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"Salted with fire"; THE PRESENT STATE OF THE WICKED DEAD.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Alan Gross, Nov 30, 2022.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    The "second death" no more implies non-existence
    then does the sinner's present state of spiritual death.

    Mark 9:48, 49 shows clearly that the wicked in Gehenna
    retain conscious existence.

    "Salted with fire" may mean that
    the fire will have a preserving quality like salt.

    "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

    "For everyone shall be salted with fire,
    and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."



    THE PRESENT STATE OF THE WICKED DEAD.

    That men do not enter into the final state at death
    is too evident to require detailed proof.

    The resurrections, which are yet future,
    prove an intermediate state for the present dead.

    The thing we are especially concerned with
    is the nature of the intermediate state,
    and it is to this matter that we now address ourselves.

    Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses,
    and some others teach what is known commonly as "soul sleeping."

    But the real substance of this false teaching
    is that the spirit of the dead is non-existent
    between death and the resurrection.

    This is logically true of this theory,
    and it is so admitted by Adventists, at least.

    It is logically true because a sleeping spirit (if such were possible)
    would be a non-existent spirit.

    The idea of the spirit being alive and being unconscious
    when free from the body is the limit of absurdity.

    And that this teaching amounts to the non-existence of the spirit
    is shown by the following words from "Signs of the Times,"
    a Seventh Day Adventist paper (issue of December 1931):

    "Surely no more forceful expression could possibly be used to show
    utter cessation of existence than this.

    In death 'I shall not be'"
    (Comment on Job 7:21, by Carlyle B. Haynes, on of their noted writers).
    ...

    I. THE DEAD ARE NOT NON-EXISTENT.

    Against this theory we assert and undertake to prove from the Scriptures
    that man's spirit does not cease to exist in death.

    By the term, "spirit" we mean the immaterial nature of man
    in its higher relationship.

    We use the term "spirit" in preference to the term "soul"
    because we believe spirit best expresses the immaterial part of man
    in distinction from bodily life.

    "The immaterial part of man, viewed as an individual and conscious life,
    capable of possessing and animating a physical organism
    is called psuche (soul);

    viewed as a rational and moral agent,
    susceptible of divine influence and indwelling,
    this same immaterial part is called pneuma (spirit)" (A. H. Strong).

    The spirit is man's immaterial nature looking Godward.

    "The spirit is the highest, deepest, noblest part of man.

    By it, he is fitted to comprehend eternal things, and it is, in short,
    the house in which dwell faith and the Word of God.

    The . . . soul is this spirit, according to nature,
    but yet in another sort of activity, namely, in this,
    that it animates the body and works through it" (Luther).

    "Soul is spirit modified by union with the body" (Hovey).

    Sometimes both the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit denote wind or breath;
    but that they do not always do so is evidenced
    by Matt. 26:41; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59;
    1 Cor. 2:11; 5:5; 7:34; 14:14; and 1 Thess. 5:23.

    Let those interested study these passages and substitute breath
    in the place of spirit and see what sort of sense is made.

    Then we know that spirit may signify more than breath
    because "God is a spirit" (John 4:24).

    1. Physical death does not bring about the non-existence of man's spirit,
    because it is not subject to physical death.

    We have the proof of this in Matt. 10:28;

    "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:
    but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."


    If man cannot kill the spirit,
    then physical death has no power to end the existence of the spirit.

    Man can kill anything that is subject to physical death.

    In physical death the body ceases to function and begins to disintegrate,
    and man ceases to be a "living soul" in the distinctive sense of the term "soul."

    But the spirit cannot be killed and is never spoken of as ceasing in death.

    Instead we find Jesus at death committing His spirit into the hands of God
    and Stephen committing his spirit into the hands of Jesus
    (Luke 2,3:46; Acts 7:59).

    Physical death is merely the separation of the spirit from the body.
     
  2. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    THE PRESENT STATE OF THE WICKED DEAD.

    2. The representation of death as sleep
    does not teach that the spirit sleeps,
    and is, therefore, non-existent.

    Sleep is purely a physical phenomenon.

    Death is sleep only by analogy; not actually.

    And the analogy is in the appearance of the body,
    and not in the state of either the body or the spirit.


    In sleep the spirit is still united with the body,
    and, therefore, conditioned by it.

    But in death, as all are forced to admit,
    the spirit and the body are separated.


    And the spirit separated from the body
    is no longer conditioned by the body.

    Stephen fell asleep (Acts 7:50),
    but his spirit did not cease to exist,
    because he committed it into the hands of Jesus;

    and a non-existent spirit could not be
    committed into the hands of anybody.

    Paul described death as sleep (1 Cor. 15:6; 1 Thess. 4:14),
    but he did not teach the non-existence of the dead.

    Paul looked upon death, not as a cessation of existence,
    but as a departing to be with Christ
    (Phil. 1:23).

    To Paul, being absent from the body
    meant not to be non-existent,
    but to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6).

    That which is nonexistent cannot be present anywhere
    or with anybody.

    3. Reference to the wicked dead as "spirits in prison"
    shows that the dead are not non-existent (1 Pet. 3:20).

    A non-existent spirit is a nonentity,
    and a nonentity cannot be anywhere; for to be is to exist.

    4. Moses did not cease to exist when he died,
    for centuries afterward he appeared with Christ
    on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:3).

    Will some say that Moses
    was resurrected immediately after burial?

    If so, a refutation for them is waiting in 1 Cor. 15:20;

    "But now is Christ risen from the dead,
    and become the first fruits of them that slept."


    Christ's being the first fruits of the dead
    forbids the theory that Moses
    was resurrected immediately after his burial.
     
  3. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    THE PRESENT STATE OF THE WICKED DEAD.

    5. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah
    did not cease to exist when they died (Jude 7).

    Jude describes them in New Testament times
    as "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

    The word for suffering in this passage is a present participle,
    and a present participle expresses progressive durative action.

    And that this is not a historical present
    is shown by the present tense of the verb "are set forth."
    ...

    6. The rich man and Lazarus
    did not cease to exist when they died (Luke 16:1941).

    This is not a parable, but no matter if it were.

    The Son of God did not resort to misrepresentation
    even in parables.

    All of His parables are true to facts.
    ...

    7. Christ and the penitent thief
    did not cease to exist when they died.

    Christ was not dependent on the body for life,
    for He lived before He had a body (John 1:1,2,14).

    And on the Cross Christ asserted that He
    and the thief would that day be together in paradise.

    Non-existent spirits could not be anywhere, much less together.
    ...

    8. The spirits that John saw under the altar
    had not ceased to exist (Rev. 6:9).
    ...

    9. The resurrection proves that the dead are not now non-existent.

    If they were nonexistent,
    then there would need to be a re-creation instead of a resurrection.

    And this would wholly destroy the basis of rewards,
    for those who come forth from the grave
    would be different individuals from those who wrought works here in this world.
    ...

    10. The fact that the righteous dead
    have not attained their highest state of bliss,
    and must yet pass through the resurrection
    does not prove that they are now non-existent.

    "That blessed hope" (Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:2,3)
    is the union of the spirit with the glorified body.

    This only will bring full satisfaction to the believer's longing
    (Psa. 17:15).

    But God has chosen to suspend the realization of this hope
    until a future time.

    And while the disembodied state is not the ideal one,
    it is better than continuing in the flesh (Phil. 1:23);

    and those who are in this state are present with the Lord
    (2 Cor. 5:8).
     
  4. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    THE PRESENT STATE OF THE WICKED DEAD.

    11. The fact that the wicked dead are yet to be judged
    and cast into the lake of fire
    does not prove that they are now non-existent.

    It has pleased God to confine the spirits of the wicked dead
    in prison (Isa. 24:22; 1 Pet. 3:19),

    finally to bring them forth and consign them
    all together to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).

    But that the wicked dead are already
    in conscious fiery torment, we have previously shown
    (Luke 16:19-31; Jude 7).

    The final misery of the wicked,
    like the final bliss of the righteous,
    awaits the resurrection of the body;

    at which time the wicked will be cast,
    both body and soul, into Hell (Matt. 10:28).
    ...

    12. The fact that eternal life is received through faith
    does not prove that those who do not possess it
    do not have eternal existence.

    Eternal life in the Scriptures means more than eternal existence.

    It is in contrast with spiritual death
    (John 5:24; Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13; 1 John 3:14).

    Spiritual death is inner slavery in a state of sin
    and separation from God,
    in which one is devoid of divine spirit life,
    although he possesses human spirit life.


    Eternal life is freedom and fellowship with God.

    Spiritual death makes one subject to the second death,
    which "is a continuation of spiritual death in another
    and timeless existence" E. G. Robinson).

    Eternal life is an exemption from the second death.
    ...

    13. The fact that immortality is revealed in the gospel
    and attained only in the resurrection
    does not prove the men by nature do not have eternal existence.
    See Rom. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15. 53,54; 2 Tim. 1:10.

    While in both Classical Greek and English, "immortality"
    is used synonymously with "endless existence,"
    it is not so used in the Scripture.


    In the Scripture, immortality
    means incorruption, deathlessness.


    The disembodied human spirit is not deathless,
    for it is held in that state by death; nevertheless,
    as already shown abundantly, it has endless existence.
    ...

    14. The ascription of immortality to God alone (1 Tim. 6:16)
    does not mean that no others possess eternal existence.

    This passage of Scripture means that
    God alone possesses essential and underived immortality.

    It does not deny that the elect angels now possess immortality
    (Luke 20:36).

    Neither does it prove that men by nature
    do not possess endless existence.

    As already pointed out, immortality, in the Bible,
    means more than endless existence.
    ...


    15. The statements of Jesus in John 3:13 and 13:33
    do not teach that the righteous dead are non-existent.

    Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture.

    Therefore, the first passage above
    cannot be taken with absolute literalness.

    For in 2 Kings 2:2, 11 it is twice stated that Elijah
    was taken up into Heaven.

    The meaning of Christ's statement here then
    can be no more than that Jesus alone
    had ascended up to Heaven and came back
    to reveal the mysteries there communicated to Him.

    The second passage is explained by the thirty-sixth verse.

    Christ meant merely that for the time being
    those to whom He was talking could not follow Him;

    not that they were never to follow Him,
    for in that case they could never go to Heaven.
    ...

    16. The statement of Peter in Acts 2:34
    does not mean that David was nonexistent.

    This statement concerning David is elucidated
    by the statement of Christ to Mary Magdalene
    concerning Himself (John 20:17).

    Christ said: "I have not yet ascended unto the Father."

    But Christ's spirit had ascended to the Father
    (Luke 23:43,46; Rev. 2:7; 22:1,2).

    The meaning, then, of Peter's statement about David,
    and that of Christ about Himself
    is that they had not ascended in body.
    ...

    17. Old Testament Scriptures
    do not prove the non-existence of the dead.

    Scripture must be explained by Scripture.

    The incomplete and indistinct revelations of the Old Testament
    must be explained by the fuller
    and clearer revelations of the New Testament.

    And in the light of these fuller and clearer revelations
    some statements in the Old Testament
    concerning the state of the dead
    can be taken only as the language of appearance.

    Old Testament writers, not having a clear revelation
    concerning the state of the dead,
    often spoke of the dead from the standpoint of this life.

    It is in this sense that we are to understand such Scriptures
    as Job 3:11-19; 7:21,22; Psa. 6:5; 88:11, 12; 115:17;
    Eccl. 3:19, 20; 9:10; Isa. 38:18.


    III. THE WICKED DEAD ARE IN CONSCIOUS, FIERY TORMENT.

    (Alan Note: for Hellfire and brimstone preachers, only)


    This is shown by the story of the rich man and Lazarus
    (Luke 16:19-31).

    Some reply that this is only a parable.

    But there is not one hint that it is.

    And the fact that one of the persons involved is named
    is inconsistent with all other parables.

    But suppose it is a parable.

    Did Christ misrepresent facts in His parables?

    What purpose could He have had in doing so?

    Would not a misrepresentation of facts
    in the Scripture under discussion teach an error?

    Those who seek to evade this on the ground
    that it is a parable, showing the hopelessness of their theory
    by such a miserable dodge.

    This fact is also shown, as we have pointed out already,
    by the words of Jude in verse 7 of his epistle
    concerning the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    He describes them as
    "suffering (present tense) the vengeance of eternal fire."

    The place where the wicked are confined is called a prison
    (1 Pet. 3:19).

    They are condemned criminals waiting in prison
    until the time of their being placed in God's eternal penitentiary,
    the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).

    This is to take place at the Judgment of The Great White Throne.

    At that time both the body and the soul of the wicked
    will be cast into fire, in Matt. 10:28;

    "And fear not them which kill the body,
    but are not able to kill the soul:

    but rather fear him which is able
    to destroy both soul and body in hell."

    John Gill: This is a description of God, and of his power,
    who is able to do that which men are not:

    all that they can do, by divine permission,
    is to kill the body;

    but he is able to
    "destroy",
    that is, to torment and punish both body and soul "in hell",
    in everlasting burnings;

    for neither soul nor body will be annihilated;
    though this he is able to do.

    As the former clause expresses the immortality of the soul,
    this supposes the resurrection of the body;

    for how otherwise should it be destroyed,
    or punished with the soul in hell?

    "Now this awful being that is able to hurl,
    and will hurl all wicked and slothful,
    unfaithful and unprofitable, cowardly
    and temporizing servants and ministers,
    soul and body, into the lake

    which burns with fire and brimstone,
    is to be feared and dreaded;


    yea, indeed, he only is to be feared,
    and to be obeyed:

    cruel and persecuting men are not to be feared at all;

    God alone should be our fear and dread;

    though the argument seems to be formed
    from the lesser to the greater;

    yet this, is the sense of the word
    "rather",
    that God is to be feared,
    not chiefly and principally only, but solely..."
     
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