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Switch to Forum Live View If you believe in "hell-fire"--Why?
10 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:40PM #331
Posts: 825
ATL writes: That indicates that one doesn't have immortality inherently, or as in having an immortal soul inside of him, but immortality is granted with those who will rule with Christ in the heavens. They are changed from that of flesh to that of a spirit life, thus able to join all of the other spirit creatures in heaven, since "flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom." (1 Cor. 15:50). And when does this take place? At the resurrection of those who will rule with Christ during that resurrection "during the last trumpet". Until then, the dead are asleep, waithing for that resurrection. Many of those fell asleep in death (15:52) from Jesus' death until the last trumpet, which we believe has already taken place (dare I say in 1914 C.E. without getting into another debate?) And then, as verses 51,52 show: "Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, DURING THE LAST TRUMPET. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed." I believe Paul's words are quite clear. Perhaps our differences of opinion result in our interpretation of what Paul said. You certainly are free to believe whatever you want to, as am I. But, I believe how JWs interpret this is quite consistent with Scripture as a whole

  Is there any instance in the Bible that speaks of a “spiritual” resurrection? (I e not physical)

To answer this question we must look at all the resurrection accounts recorded in the Bible.

Elijah and the widow's son:

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, "See, your son is alive." (1 Kgs. 17:22-23, NAS)
What was the nature of this resurrection? Was it spiritual or physical? Did Elijah tell the widow that her son was raised as an invisible spirit creature or did he give her son back to her alive? The widow's son was bodily resurrected. She would never be satisfied with anything less than her son being bodily resurrected.

Elisha and the Shunammite's son:

When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both, and prayed to the LORD. ...the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite." So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, "Take up your son." (2 Kgs. 4:32-36, NAS)
Was this a physical or a spiritual resurrection? Did Elisha give the son's lifeless body back to his mother and comfort her with words about a resurrected spirit creature? No. He gave her son back to her alive! This too was a bodily resurrection.

Elisha's bones and a dead man:

And Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. And as they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. (2 Kgs. 13:20-21, NAS)
What was raised here? A ghost? A spirit creature? The man came to life and stood up on his feet. This is a physical, bodily resurrection.

Jesus resurrects a ruler's daughter:

While he was saying these things to them, behold, there came a synagogue official, and bowed down before him, saying, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live." ... But when the crowd had been put out, He entered and took her by the hand; and the girl arose. (Mat. 9:18-25, NAS)
What was the ruler hoping for? He knew Jesus could resurrect her. Was she resurrected as an immaterial, invisible spirit creature or was she raised bodily? She was raised bodily!

Jesus resurrects a widow's son:

Now as He approached the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Lk. 7:12-15, NAS)
Once again we have to ask the question about the nature of this resurrection. Did Jesus resurrect an invisible spirit to comfort the grieving widow? No. He delivered her son back to her alive in the flesh.

Jesus raises Lazarus:

He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. (John 11:43-44, NAS)
How was Lazarus raised? He was raised physically.

The resurrection from the tombs:

and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Mat. 27:52-53, NAS)
What was raised to life? Their bodies were raised to life. This is yet another example of bodily resurrection.

Peter and Tabitha:

But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. (Acts 9:40, NAS)
How was she raised? Bodily or spiritually? She was raised bodily.

Paul and Eutychus:

And there was a certain young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor, and was picked up dead. But Paul went down and fell upon him and after embracing him, he said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him." And they took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:9-12, NAS)
The people were comforted by the young man's bodily resurrection.

God's Word tells us that Christ's body could not be destroyed or dissolved into gasses. (Acts 2:25-27)
His body was not in the tomb. "He is not here, but He has risen." (Luke 24:1-8, NAS)
Jesus himself said that his body would be raised. In John 2:18-22 he said that he would raise his "body" in three days. Was he speaking of his own physical body or the church? Read verse 22 and note that "when therefore He was raised..." refers to his physical body.   
He showed the wounds in his body. (Lk. 24:39-40)
He ate and drank before them. (Lk. 24:41; Acts 10:40-41)
He explicitly denied that he was a spirit. (Lk. 24:39; John 20:24-29)
Over 500 people saw his resurrected body. (1 Cor. 15:6)
Lastly, our resurrection will be bodily based on the pattern of Christ's resurrection. (Rom. 8:11; Phil. 3:21)

Since every single resurrection in the Bible is a bodily one, then it seems the JW teaching of a “spiritual” resurrection is unknown in the Bible.
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:43PM #332
Posts: 825
ATL Writes: Corinthians 15:50 “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. “ The Apostle Paul turns to the subject of transformation of the body not the soul. The body that we now possess is not suitable for the heavenly kingdom. It is corrupted, subject to disease, and decays. Only that which is pure, incorruptible and immortal can enter heaven, this is why there must be a change. Paul is answering the question of what kind of “body” believers will receive in the resurrection (vs. 35). It will be a “spiritual body” (vs. 44).   .

In verses 51-52, Paul speaks of a mystery which involves the change that all believers will go through, The corruptible will put on incorruption, and mortality will become immortality. We need to have a complete change to make us suitable for our new environment. This implies a conversion of our same physical bodies to a body with heavenly qualities. Nature does not know extinction but transformation, as science says energy cannot be destroyed but transformed. We will still have our body and its functions but obviously some things will change

Paul states that their dead body is sown and will be resurrected to new life. God has it become a new body  (1Cor.15:38). The old body puts on (is swallowed up) by the new body. It is transformed into something permanent. It is not done away with

The statement characterizes the resurrection body as one completely filled and governed by the Holy Spirit ... Another statement by Paul, that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God' (I Cor. 15:50) is considered to exclude the idea of a resurrection body of flesh.

The apostle however, teaches something entirely different. The expression 'flesh and blood' never denotes the substance of the body, but man in his totality as a frail and perishable creature in his untransformed state (Mt.16:17; Gal 1:16; Eph. 6:12; Heb 2:14). It has the same meaning in I Corinthians 15:50, shown by the fact that in the parallel clause (v. 50b) the word corruption is used, which obviously denotes the whole man in his corruptibility and not the substance of his body.

The entire context shows that man, as a frail perishable creature, cannot enter God's glorious, eschatological kingdom. He first must be made immortal, powerful, and glorious. There is no denial of a resurrection in a body of flesh.

There will be many flesh and blood people living in the millennial kingdom that will not be regenerated, so it is obvious that this phrase does not mean what you seem to make it to be.  Christ told Nicodemus in Jn.3:3 except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (nor enter the kingdom). The emphasis is on a spiritual rebirth that can only come from God himself, the Holy Spirit.

The key  passage that many use to prove that those who enter heaven must give up their physical bodies, is 1 Corinthians 15:50, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption." Does this means that physical man cannot enter heaven?

But let's have a closer look at this passage. Do you see that in this passage that corruption is equated to flesh and blood and incorruption is equated to the kingdom of God? Wouldn't that mean that these corruptible mortal bodies of ours that are subject to death and decay cannot possess the kingdom of God in this mortal state?

The next few verses clarify what must happen to these mortal bodies to qualify them for heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:51 says that the dead will be raised incorruptible and that we shall be changed. How are these mortal bodies to be changed? Is it by giving up or taking off the physical body as you seem to believe? Verses 53 declares that this corruptible or mortal body must put on incorruption and immortality.

Do you see that it says the mortal must put on immortality? Putting on immortality is putting on eternal life so that the mortal body is changed to a body that will never die.

Do you see that putting on is the opposite of taking off? Instead of teaching that one must give up their humanity to enter heaven, this passage teaches just the opposite. This passage agrees with Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:51PM #333
Posts: 825
I've read over your explanation of Acts 2:29-34 three times, and I still can't make out what you're saying. I think, again, that it's quite clear that "David did NOT ascend to heaven."

Let me try to explain it this way. Verse 34 says “For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said”, so this to me is simply saying that before David died (since he would not be writing after that) wrote this Psalm concerning the Messiah.

So only if one cuts off the verse after the word “heaven” could this be {mis}construed as saying that David did not go to heaven. 

The account of Jesus' death at Matt. 27 shows that immediately upon Jesus' death, the curtain (or veil) in the temple, separating the Holy from the Most Holy was "rent in two from top to bottom" (v.51). JWs believe that was symbolic of the way now, for the first time, being open for mankind to go to heaven upon their spiritual resurrection. It appears we are not the only ones who believe this.

I have recently purchased the Book: Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. If you are familiar with this work, you know that it has a list of scores of contributors, mainly of ECs, and most of those are Baptists. Christopher Church, Prof. of Philosophy & Religion at Baptist College of Health Sciences, Memphis, Tenn. is the contributor of this particular article that discusses this point.

He states: "At Jesus' death the temple veil was ripped from top to bottom, illustrating that in Christ God had abolished the barrier separating HUMANITY from THE PRESENCE OF GOD. (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Heb. 10:20 uses the tabernacle veil, not as the image of a barrier, but of access. Access to God is gained through the flesh of the historical Jesus. (Cmp. John 10:7)."

According to Church then, Humanity did NOT have access to God (heaven--which the Most Holy symbolized) until "Christ abolished the barrier". That's what JWs have always taught, and that's because the Bible teaches that. The burden of proof is upon you to show where, prior to Jesus' teachings, any Jew, or Hebrew ever believed they were going to be resurrected to heaven. Nowhere does David ever say his hope was to go to heaven.

  The tearing of the veil is symbolic of the obsolescence of the temple ritual and the laws governing it.  I do not believe it has anything to do with gaining access to heaven since that was not the purpose of the temple.

I am not sure why you insist that I must only use the OT to justify Christian theology concerning heaven. The NT is replete with information as to the state of believers in heaven.

But, what he DOES say at Ps. 37:29 is clear: "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will RESIDE FOREVER UPON IT." What part of that do you, or other ECs NOT understand?

  What do you think I misunderstand about this passage?

So, David, indeed, had not ascended to heaven--not by means of an immortal soul, and certainly not in a human body either! The same is true concerning John the Baptizer. John died about 6 months prior to Jesus, and neither did John ever express a "heavenly reward". (Please show me where I'm wrong).

John, likewise, will not be resurrected to heaven, but like David, will be resurrected on earth in God's due time.

When the verse, referring to John says the "least" in the kingdom of heaven is greater than him, that was very true at that time. Since that "veil" had not been rent in two yet, symbolizing a heavenly presence for humankind was now possible, the only ones in heaven besides Jehovah were the angels, and Ps. 8:5 shows that men were made a little lower than the angels. (Paul applies this to Jesus in both being made "a little lower than angels" at Heb. 2:9, to him becoming "better than the angels" at Heb. 1:4). So, with none from among men were YET in heaven, it's no wonder Jesus could say this about John the Baptizer, since John was NOT in heaven.

  John is the greatest prophet since he points unambiguously to Christ. Now after the death and resurrection of Christ any believer – even the least in the kingdom - can even more unambiguously point to Jesus. The reference to the torn veil in Hebrews and Ps 8:5 have nothing to do with this verse as far as I can tell.

Steve, I really don't think you got the point I was making that "God is the God, not of the dead, but of the living." I gave you those several examples contrasting symbolic death with coming alive, or being alive, and I believe it applies here as well. God is a God of the living in that even though they have died, they remain in God's memory and so they are as good as being alive as far as God is concerned because they will be resurrected.

  If one is only alive in “God’s memory” then they are dead and not alive. Thus God is not the God of the living but of the dead, which is the exact opposite of what God said.

Further there is not one verse in the Bible which says anything about us being kept in God’s memory.

It's like Jesus said at John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, EVEN THOUGH HE DIES, WILL COME TO LIFE." So, in that way God is a God of the LIVING, and not of the dead--spiritually dead, that is.

  But what of those faithful believers who died? Is God their God? If so then God is the God of the dead and not the living.  If you look at that verse in MT 22 you will see that Jesus is speaking in reference to those who had died physically.

I am confused by one statement you made. You said: "Who said anything about an immediate resurrection? No we will not be immediately resurrected." That has been my contention all along. I can't think that you actually agree with me, so what are you saying here, Steve?

  When a believer dies his body will be in the grave but his spirit will be with Christ. Later his body will be raised physically yet it will be made immortal.

Regarding Matt. 17:9, I know what Strong's says concerning "horama" and I don't disagree. A vision is STILL not a literal happening, any more than a "dream" is.

  Well then you must believe that Jesus was talking to a non-entity since the verse says that Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus.

Those are just the ones, along with the other list I provided, that I have in my library. I think you are outnumbered by the concensus of Bible scholars who translated "horama" as VISION, and I maintain, especially looking at many, many other accounts of Biblical "visions" that a vision is not a literal actual flesh and blood happening any more than characters in a dream are alive and actually speaking.

  You do realize that vision means “the act or power of seeing with the eye; the sense of sight.”  And can mean something real that is seen with the eye.

You said, in answer to my statement that the Bible "doesn't say that we will be immediately with the Lord": "BUT NEITHER DOES IT SAY THAT THERE WILL BE A DELAY." But, Steve, how can you interpret Paul's words any differently than there would DEFINITELY BE A DELAY? I repeat Paul again at 1 Cor. 15:51,52: "Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all FALL ASLEEP IN DEATH, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, DURING THE LAST TRUMPET. FOR THE TRUMPET WILL SOUND, AND THE DEAD WILL BE RAISED UP INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED." Steve--Where are the dead who would be raised to life in heaven until the TRUMPET SOUNDS? They aren't changed to their spirit bodies (all of Chapter 15) until that Trumpet sounds, which is symbolic of Christ's second coming/presence.

  Again the context here is our physical bodies, not our souls. There will be a delay between our physical bodies being resurrected. Our souls as Cor. 5:6-9 and Phil 1:21-26 indicate will not be “destroyed” or lose consciousness.

I interpret Paul's words that there would definitely be a delay since I think Paul would have mentioned a delay,  but instead he wrote that he would “prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”, and that to “depart and be with Christ, which is better by far”

1 Thes. 4:16 "Because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with GOD'S TRUMPET, and those who are DEAD in union with Christ WILL RISE FIRST. Steve--where are these dead ones until such time as the TRUMPET SOUNDS when they then rise first? Might they be asleep in their graves waiting for the resurrection?

  You seemingly discount Cor. 5:6 -9 and Phil 1:21-26 again.

I think that these two verses are the lynch pin of the Christian view of what happens to us after we die. It seems evident to me that once I am “away from the body” I will be “with the Lord” which is “far better”.

As I wrote before:

Paul says he would prefer “to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  The implication is that we are either in the body or at home with the Lord. 

Further Paul writes that it is “our goal to please the Lord at home in the body or away from it”. How does one please the Lord if one does not exist or is unconscious?

Lastly Paul says he “desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” with again no mention of some sort on intermediary state.

I think these verses are very big obstalces for you to overcome. As well as the verses I posted in post 303 which show that we have a seperate and distinct body and soul. 

1 Corinthians 15 which is one of the main verses you use to support you view is speaking of a physical resurrection and not a “spiritual” one.

It seems as if the whole of Scripture, I read it, is against you.

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10 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:59PM #334
Posts: 825
convert1 writes: Steve, I dont' recall if we have "met" or not, but I can remeber Jerry before he had his fairly recent change of heart. When he was saying almost the EXACT same things you are. And trust me, he believed those things, just as wholeheartedly as you do. He also knew his Bible, backwards and forwards. Still does, in fact. So the above argument most certainly DOES NOT apply here.

  Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say.

I would also like to add that Jerry is not ciritcal of the Bible. AT ALL.

  Jerry has said that the Bible is a fiction or at least parts of it. That is a bit critical. So I would disagree with you on that point.

He IS critical of those who choose to interpret it in a certain way; a way that many of your fellow Christians (myself included) also disagree with, a way in which the Bible, it should be argued, was never INTENDED to be read, an interpretation that leaves the believer with the impression that he, and only he, has the One True Way to salvation.

  I interpret the Bible utilizing the Historical Grammatical or Historical Critical method. This is the way all ancient documents are interpreted. So I do not what you are disagreeing with methodologically.   

Do you really think that I believe that “I and only I” have “The One True Way to salvation”? 

Isn’t the “One True Way’ referenced in John 14:6? 
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