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Do Christians go straight to Heaven when they die? September 29, 2011

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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This issue was raised by Marianne under another post on “The Heresy of the Heaven’s Gate cult” and I thought I would separate the issues out by dedicating this issue to its own post.

It is my firm belief that Christians DO NOT go straight to heaven when they die and that is what I believe scripture is saying. By the same token though we might equally ask do sinners go straight to hell when they die?

Here is a detailed study which I believe has done a fine job in presenting the case that Christians do not go to heaven on death.

What do others think? Lets hear your views.

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1. Henry - September 29, 2011

Hi Henry,

The souls of those martyred from Christ whose blood cries out to God is not literal. We know that no one is lying around crying out. Just as God told Cain that Abel’s blood cried out from the ground, he was speaking metaphorically. The justice of the matter was the cry!

The awesome teacher, Jonathan Edwards, did a great exposition on this matter that may clear some things up for you. (Absent from the body and present with God is what Paul spoke of in 2 Cor. 5 ). Please read it when you can. Edwards was a great teacher:

http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/je-absent.htm

Hi Marianne,

I have decided to respond to you under this post. I have read most of the article you provided but again I do not think that that article fully dealt with the issue. I think the author uses mostly suppositions rather than take the whole of scripture together and weigh it up and in so doing have left untouched some of the very scriptures I have raised in my earlier responses to you under the other topic. Thanks for sharing though.

I agree that the souls that were martyred were merely symbolic.

I have supplied a very good article which gives a much more balanced perspective on this issue. One of the most important questions is raises is that if Lazarus was dead and gone to heaven (as per the belief that Moses was also in heaven) did God send Lazarus back to earth to again live in sinful flesh? The answer of course in no. Whilst the spirit goes back to God we are not conscious living beings in heaven when we die. We are ‘asleep’ until the judgement – this is when we are transform so that we can then inherit eternal life. To say that we go straight to heaven would imply that we already have imortal lfe and this is not true. I hope this will help us to reach a point of consensus on the issue.

2. Don - September 29, 2011

Hi Marianne and Henry,

First of all, I’d like to clarify that one, the Lazarus of “Lazarus and the rich man” is not the same Lazarus who was the brother of Mary and Martha. Just wanted to clear that up in case there was any confusion. And two, the Lazarus that Jesus brought back to life, would have at that time, still have gone into that area where Abraham and the other Lazarus were, which was across from Hades, yet was secluded and a place of paradise. It wasn’t until sometime after Jesus resurrection that the souls of those who died in Christ went directly to be in his presence. I had done a study on this some years ago and there are just too many verses of Scripture to support that we are conscious after we die as can be seen from the following:

II Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

In the verses above, Paul makes the distinction that, as long as we are in these bodies we are absent from the Lord and if we are away from the body, that is, dead, then we are at home with the Lord. In essence, Paul is saying that, as long as we remain alive, we are restricted to our bodies, which keeps us from the Lord’s presence, but at the time of death, when our spirits are released from our bodies, then we go to be in His presence. The following event of Lazarus and the Rich Man, as told by the Lord, gives us much insight to what happens after death for both the righteous and the wicked found in Luke 16:19-31:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

So, from the story above, we can see that it reveals that both men died and their bodies were buried, but their souls/spirits went to Hades. Now, at the time prior to Christ’s descending into the heart of the earth after his death, both the righteous and wicked, when they died, went to Hades, which as the story reveals, had two compartments that were divided by a great chasm, on one side, a place of torment in flame and on the other, a place of paradise.

As we have seen, their bodies had died and were buried, but yet here we find their souls/spirits in Hades. They are conscious just as when they were alive, having the ability to see, hear, feel, speak and reason. Also, when the rich man asks father Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers so that they would also not come to that place of torment, Abraham says, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

Basically, the rich man is asking father Abraham to have Lazarus resurrected in order to go and warn his brothers to repent so that they will not come to the same place of torment that he is in.

Now, for those of you who are still not convinced that after death the soul is still aware and conscious, there are many other proofs in the word of God to be presented. Take for example the following verses in Luke 23:39-42.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him, “Don’t you fear God,” he said, ” since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him,” I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

So, here we have one of the two thieves that were crucified with Christ, having a repentant heart and asking Jesus to remember him when he comes into His kingdom and Jesus says “today you will be with me in paradise.” How is that possible, if after we die we are in the grave and know nothing? We know for a fact that both the bodies of Jesus and the thief were dead before sunset because the Sabbath was approaching and at the request of the religious leaders the guards went out and broke their legs to hurry the process of death, except for Jesus who was already dead, which fulfilled the scriptures which say “Not a bone of his body shall broken.” Now, if as some say, that we know nothing once we are dead, that is, we have no consciousness, how is it that Jesus could make the promise to the thief that he would be with Him in paradise that very day, when we know that they both died and were buried? The answer again is that, their bodies were truly dead and buried upon the earth, but their souls/spirits were in paradise. Jesus’ reference to paradise was most likely in regards to the same place where Abraham and Lazarus were, which was separated from the place where the rich man was in torment.

What? Still not convinced? Then let’s go investigate so more of what the word of God has to reveal.

1Pet.3:18-20 He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

Matthew 17:1-3 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.

Hey look! It’s Moses and Elijah! What are you guys doing up? According to the Jehovah’s witnesses and others you’re supposed to be in your grave, unconscious, where you know nothing! Well, how about that! I can’t speak for Elijah because God took him like he did Enoch and so he never experienced physical death, but as for Moses, we know that he was buried by God personally and yet here he is speaking with Jesus.

1 Samuel 28:11-15 “Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.” “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

Again, if there is no consciousness after the death of the body, how is it that Saul, through the medium, was able to bring Saul back up, that is, his spirit? And where was she calling him up from? As was the same with father Abraham and Lazarus whose spirits were taken to this place of paradise, which was separated and located across from Hades, so was the spirit of Samuel residing in that same place.

Here in the book of Revelation 6:9-10, John has been changed and caught up to heaven in the spirit and a mighty angel asks the following question:

“And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven, or on earth or [under the earth] could open the scroll or even look inside it.”

Under the earth? If the person who dies knows nothing because they are in the grave and has no consciousness and are unaware, then why would the angel include those who are under the earth? It would be a moot point to include those who have no consciousness. What the angel is speaking about is in regards to those who are under the earth, that is, those whose souls/spirits are in Hades and the across from it. Just as the rich man was buried and his body was decaying up on the earth, his soul/spirit was very much conscious and aware being in Hades and in torment.

Revelation 5:13: – Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and [under the earth] and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Huh! That’s pretty amazing that all those dead people under the earth, who know nothing in their graves and are unconscious, but will be singing at some future time.

Revelation 6:9 – 10 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar [the souls] of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

This is pretty much self-explanatory in that, the souls of those who have died are very much conscious and aware under the altar in heaven. The verse states that these people were killed for the word of God and for the testimony that they maintained, their souls are under the altar in heaven and they are speaking to the Lord and asking him how long it will be until he judges the inhabitants of the earth and avenges their blood and they are given white robes to wear. That’s a lot of activity for dead guys who who are unconscious.

So just to recap, it is the body, that is, the mind that is unconscious and knows nothing and that because it has died and was buried and is decaying in the earth. On the other hand, for the person who dies in Christ, their soul/spirit goes to be in His presence at the time of death and they are very much conscious and aware. And for those who die who are not in Christ, their souls/spirits go into Hades and wait in torment just like the rich man in the story who was and is very aware and conscious of his existence .
The soul and the spirit are connected, but separable. The soul is the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are. The spirit is the aspect of humanity that connects with God. The body is the container for the soul and spirit.

3. Hopeful_watcher - September 29, 2011

I think we need to look at the context of who Paul is writing to when he used the word “asleep”. He is talking to the living in terms of how we view what happens from our limited perspective. Presumably there was as much discussion about the topic of where we go after death back then as there is now. So in terms of the state of what happens to disciples after they die, he stated that they were asleep to illustrate that it was a temporary state, for one who is asleep can be awoke.

As for me personally, I believe that we do not go to heaven straight away, but we are in a suspended spiritual state very much aware, in a heavenly place (meaning pleasant) but not heaven and we aware of our judgment and destiny. Paul also speaks of us acquiring our new celestial bodies, which presumably will be given to us when Christ returns. Unsure about those who are still alive when Christ returns keeps their current body.

So a better word for awake in the spiritual world might be “aware”.

4. Henry - September 30, 2011

Don,

Thank you for your contribution but I am afraid you have not shed any new light from what has already been discussed. Moreover what you presented will leave a reader in confusion as to where people really go when they died. Your presentation has also been very one-sided in that you argue in one direction leaving certain questions unanswered. Nevertheless let me highlight some of the points you raised.

If you believe that when people die they are still conscious in the spirit realm then how do you explain the scriptures that state clearly that the dead knoweth nothing? So your conclusions therefore would render scriptures to be contradictory. So I ask does scripture contradict itself or is the word of God infallible?

You cited the thief on the cross that Jesus said today you shall be with me in paradise. Did Jesus go to paradise that very day and where is it? Is it in Heaven or beneath the earth? But hold that thought and lets have a look at the below scripture:

17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God John 20:17

If Jesus had gone to paradise that very day then it must necessarily be a separate place from heaven, right? Because after Jesus was resurrected here He is saying that He had not yet ascended to His Father who is in Heaven. Perhaps it was just a small technical error by the translators to do with placing the comma after “truth” and before “today”. (The plot thickens)

Going back to the story of Lazarus in Abraham’s bossom, we would have to agree that if this is a literal story rather than a parable Jesus used to illustrate a point, then Abraham’s bossom and paradise must be the same place. However, Abraham’s bossom sits opposite to Hades and we know that Hades is in or under the earth. So is paradise or Abrahams bossom under the earth too? Just to illustrate the point further, Samuel was seen not coming down from Heaven but ascending from the earth. So if he was in Abrahams bossom as well and he is coming up out of the earth then….. you know where I am going with this.

The question here then is this: Is Jesus residing in paradise? If we say that the dead goes to paradise (and I have demonstrated that paradise must be a separate place from Heaven where the Father dwells) then we have a number of problems. Firstly, does scripture not tell us that Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father in the throne room in Heaven (Luke 22:69, Rev 5)? Therefore, to say that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”[2 Cor 5:6-8] means that when we die in Christ we go straight to fellowship with Him, this would mean that those that die in Christ go straight to Heaven because that is where Christ is. But if the dead goes to paradise then they cannot be in heaven as well noting that if we believe Jesus and the thief were in paradise that very day, He could not have been in Heaven since He made clear that He had not yet ascended to His Father in John 20:17. Secondly, if the souls of those who were martyred for Christ was literally under the altar in heaven then again those souls were not in paradise since based on what I have demonstrated paradise would have had to be in a separate location. This would therefore mean that all the dead in Christ do not go to the same place.

Don are you beginning to see how your arguments lack clarity because of the problems they create?

Moving on. Your reference to 1 Pet 3:18-20 proves nothing of what happen to us mortals when we die. I believe you are asserting here that Jesus whilst he was yet dead went into the realms of the spirit to preach to them. I think that this however is a misunderstanding of the scripture on your part so do examine that more carefully.

Similarly your reference to creatures under the earth again does not prove anything. Scriptures use the word creatures under the earth but it didn’t say they were the spirit of dead humans. These could be living creatures or they could be the spirits of fallen angels who were cast into the earth after they fell from grace after taken the daughters of men to wife. I will leave it here for now for you to consider the points I have presented.

5. Henry - October 1, 2011

Hopeful_watcher,

Interesting ‘theory’ but we need to support our beliefs with scriptures. In my response to Don I demonstrated that if the dead goes straight to paradise then it must necessarily be a separate place from Heaven – if we believe that the scripture was saying that Jesus would meet the thief in paradise on the very same day of their deaths. But from John 20:17 we see Jesus telling Mary that He had not yet ascended to His fathers house.

NOTE however that I am not saying that paradise is a different place from heaven. Paradise is in fact in heaven as demonstrated by what Paul said in 2 Cor 12:2-4. Which takes us back to the point that the dead do not go straight to heaven on death. If paradise is the same as “Abraham’s bossom” then we have a problem because paradise is in heaven. Jesus was headed for paradise but this was after His resurrection so the thief could only join Him at the resurrection of the dead. So which separate place could the dead have gone to then? Are there any scriptures to support that?

6. Henry - October 1, 2011

I have collated a number of scriptures that I would like everyone to consider because sometimes we look at scriptures in isolation to build a doctrine when there are a number of other scriptures which appear to contradict that position. We therefore need to take a braoder view of scripture and seek explanations for those that appear controversial.

Scripture says that it is appointed unto man once to die and after death the judgement (Heb 9:27, 2 Cor 5:10). If we therefore say that Christians who die go straightway to heaven – then it follows that sinners go straight to to torment in hell. So what would be the point of the judgement since this would mean that our destinations have already been decided.

Anyway lets examine the following scriptures against what we feel we already know:

4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Ps 146:4

5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Ecc 9:5 (see also verse 10)

10Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? Ps 88

27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Acts 2

Isa 38:18
For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

Ps 30:9
What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Ps 115:17
It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to silence;

Ps 6:5
No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?

Hopeful_watcher - October 1, 2011

Acts 10 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.

1 Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Scripture such as these tell us that this is upon Jesus’s return since he is judging the living and the dead are awaiting judgement. So I reason that we do not go straight to heaven when we die, which is the subject of this blog post.

Other questions were raised of if not heaven, then where and are we conscious? I’ll consider these against some of the scripture you added. Still reading…

BTW, I appreciate how you much emphasis you weigh everything against God’s word, as it should be.

Hopeful_watcher - October 1, 2011

If the authority of being judge of our sins was given to Jesus upon His death, then conceivably the man who died on the cross next to Jesus could of gone to heaven that first day.

Henry - October 3, 2011

Hopeful_watcher, Thank you for appreciating what I am trying to do. I only aim to establish the truthfulness of scripture rather than to project my own personal view so that we together can come to a oneness of the faith. We are both agreed then that we don’t go straight to heaven when we die and that Christ will judge the world at the resurrection of the dead. However the questions still remain as to whether the dead go some place where they are conscious of their state of existence. According to you the thief could have gone to heaven that first day – theoretically, since God is sovereign then he could have have gone. But we don’t know if that is what happened. If we argue from the point of view that Jesus was saying He and the thief would be in paradise that very day then we know that this did not happen because of what Christ said in John 20 after his resurrection (that He had not yet ascended to His Father). The scriptures I presented gives more light on whether the dead are still conscious after death. I am yet to find a scripture that says that the dead go straight to be with Jesus after death or that those that died are still in a state of consciousness – being aware of what and where they are.

7. Don - October 3, 2011

Hello all,

RE:
” If we argue from the point of view that Jesus was saying He and the thief would be in paradise that very day then we know that this did not happen because of what Christ said in John 20 after his resurrection (that He had not yet ascended to His Father).”

The place of paradise that Jesus and the thief went to was the same place that Lazarus went to, which was at Abraham’s side, which was across from Hades and not heaven. Obviously it was a place that had water, because the rich man asked Abraham to have Lazarus dip his finger in the water to cool his tongue.

When the Jewish leaders wanted a sign, Jesus said that no sign would be given except the sign of Jonah, just as Jonah was in the belly of the hugh fish, so also would the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. This was not speaking in regards to his body, but where his spirit would be in that place across from Hades. Doesn’t 1 Pet.3:19 also state that Jesus went and preached to the prisoners?

Also, what do you do about the Scriptures that show Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus? Elijah, like Enoch, was taken, but Moses certainlyh did die, for God buried him himself. Or what about the souls under the altar at the 5th seal? And what about Paul’s, “to be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord?” And what about “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him?” Is he speaking about bring them back with him or bring their souls with him when he descends so that they can be reunited with their resurrected bodies?

It would make no sense for Paul to say, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” This verse does not denote any type of delay from the time of death to being in his presence, but infers immediacy.

8. Henry - October 6, 2011

Don,

First of all I think that the story that Jesus related was a parable rather than a literal event that occurred. I know some will say that because Lazarus was given a name then it must have been real but we could equally argue that the rich man was not given a name. Lazarus might be a name indicative of the state of the poor man as it is a name synonymous with leper in Hebrew. We also know that paradise was up above in the third heaven from what Paul said in 2 Cor 12:2-4. Did Paradise therefore move from its previous location below the earth and across from Hades? Hades is also synonymous with hell which is synonymous with the grave. If you compare different translations these words are used interchangeably.

On your second point about Jesus descended into hell to preach the gospel to the dead based on 1 Pet 3:19, I have presented several scriptures which would contradict that position. Perhaps you have therefore misunderstood what 1 Pet 3:19 was actually saying. I am not so certain that you read my responses because if you had you would have seen the following scriptures which contradicts your view of 1 Pet 3:19. Here are some examples:

1. 10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? Ps 88
2. Ps 115:17
It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to silence;

3. Isa 38:18
For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
How could Jesus have gone to hell to preach the gospel when scripture tells us here that the dead does not praise God nor can the dead hope for His truth. If the dead cannot hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ why would the Lord go down into the pit to preach to them. Ps 115:17 for example says the dead go down to silence which ties in with other scriptures which say the dead knoweth nothing and there is no work in the grave.
Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses was a glimpse of Christ’s glory and in no way confirms that the dead are living in another life in another world. Consider this: If the spirit was absent from the body beind dead and laid in the ground to rest then how is it possible to see the spirit in the same form as the body that lays in the ground? Jesus when He resurrected was not seen absent from the body but His old body was resurrected and transformed that is why the tomb was empty. If the dead lived apart from the body in another place what would be the point of the resurrection?
Regarding the souls under the altar – again I addressed this already. If souls were literally under the altar in heaven then do the dead go to separate places given that you said paradise was below the earth? The dead under the altar again was symbolic rather than literal in my view and in the view of some of the more well known Bible commentators.
Concerning what Paul said about “being absent from body is to be present with the Lord” again I think is a point of much confusion. I could equally ask you what about the many scriptures I presented to you that contradict this view. Can we be present with the Lord and be in a paradise below the earth at the same time? Scripture tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb 8:1) and not in a place below the earth. So what did Paul mean in 2 Cor 5? I think we need to read from verse 1 rather than look at verse 6 to 8 in isolation and also read in conjunction with 1 Cor 15. In 1 Cor 15:44 Paul says here that this body when it dies is sown a natural body but raised a spiritual body at the resurrection. So as long as we are in this natural body (at home in the body) we are absent from the Lord – when we are in our spiritual body (when it is raised incorruptible) that is when we will be present with Lord and consequently absent from the fleshly body. This was the duality of our state of being that Paul was playing on in 2 Cor 5. Paul was expressing a wish rather than stating a point of fact. Therefore it couldn’t be that he meant we would be present with the Lord immediately on death because he continues in 9 to say that we therefore labour so that whether absent or present we may be accepted by Him. Why? Here is the crucial verse: 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
There could not have been any immediacy as to being in the presence of the Lord on death if the preceding verses are hinged on this verse 10. If acceptance into the presence of Jesus occurred prior to the judgment then there would have not been any need for Paul to make this statement.
This leads into the point you raised about Paul saying that Jesus will bring those who are asleep in him (1 Thess 4:14). Paul was simply giving assurances to the Thessalonians that God would also bring those that are dead in Christ into the “Promised Land” – the New Jerusalem – along with those who are alive at His coming. It had nothing to do with bringing them back from heaven to assume their old bodies.

9. Don - October 7, 2011

It is amazing to me that whenever God presents a truth in his word, people seem to go to great lengths in order to circumvent that truth. That which sleeps and knows nothing in the grave is the body and not the soul/spirit. Everything that you presented is based on assumption. There is no reason to interpret the event of Lazarus and the richman as a parable, as it does not read like a parable. The very fact that father Abraham–a real person– and Hades–a real place– is used, shows that it was a litteral event that actually took place as can be seen in Rev.20:13-15 when those who are in Hades will be resurrected out at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ to stand at the great white throne judgment. Why does there have to be one place of paradise? At the time, that place where Abraham, Lazarus, Samuel and the rest of the OT saints were, was a place of paradise for those who had died prior to Christ’s death. Since his resurrection, they have been removed from there and now all who die in Christ go to be directly in his presence, as revealed by Paul. Of course people are going to brush off the event of Lazarus and the rich man as being a literal event and that because it does not support their view, just as the literal event of Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus on the Mountain where he was transfigured does not support their view. Regardless of your personal explanation of it, when Paul said, I would prefer to be absent from the body and to be in the presence of the Lord, that is exactly what he meant.

Once my body is dead it will be buried in the ground and will sleep, but my soul/spirit will be in the presence of the Lord waiting to be reunited with my resurrected body. Speaking of the resurrection, we partake of it because Jesus was resurrected. As far as why there is a need for a resurrected body, who are we to ask? This is God’s plan and these bodies will stand up again, which is what the word “Anastasia” translated “Resurrection” means, “to stand up again.” But when they do stand up, they take on different characteristics, from mortal to immortal, sown a perishable body, raised imperisable, sown in dishonor, raised in glory, sown in weakness, raised in power.

If my response seems a little harsh it is because I am tired of listening to people proclaim that Paul was a false apostle and a liar. I’m tired of hearing people tell me that God’s word is not dependable because man has corrupted it–as though God is not powerful enough to make sure that we have the fulness of his word. I’m tired of hearing people tell me that commas are in the wrong place! I’m tired of the Rob Bell’s who say, “All go to heaven and there is not Hell” and the Hank Hannagraff’s who say, that the book of revelation falls under the banner of hyperbole, that is, exagerated and not to be taken literally.I’m tired of hearing of all those who would circumvent the word of God. But I suppose that I should not be surprised, for it is in fulfillment of the following:

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

10. Henry - October 7, 2011

Don,

I think you figure my intentions wrongly. I think we must endeavour not deal deceitfully in scriptures but rather attempt to build scripture upon scripture, precept upon precept, line upon line. You cannot take a line of scripture in isolation and build doctrine upon it when there are many other verses that contradict that position reached. Moreover we should read the scripture in the context of the verses around it or indeed the whole passage.

The question that I have raised is whether Christians who die go to Heaven and are there in a conscious state of awareness. For the sake of clarity lets establish the fact that Paradise and Heaven are in the same place. Which scripture then clearly establish that Christians who die go straight to Heaven (or Paradise)?

Can we assume that Moses was in Heaven because we see the scriptures saying that he and Elijah were seen with Jesus on the mount (of transfiguration Mk 9:4)? This would be an assumption because we do not have a verse of scripture which tells us clearly that Moses went striaght to Heaven on death. All we see is that these two men appeared and then vanished into thin air.

Is it a fact that Stephen went to Heaven on death becuase we see in Acts 7:55 where he looked up and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God?

We cannot build a doctrine on these examples to conclusively state that believers go straight to Heaven on death to be with Christ. We need something from scripture to support this rather than assumptions.

So is 2 Cor 5 the definitive scripture? The pertinent verses say:

6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

It goes without saying that as long as we are in this body we are absent from the Lord.

However, was Paul meant to imply that immediately we are absent from body we would be present with the Lord? Note clearly that Paul DID NOT say that when we are absent from body we will be present with the Lord – this is an assumption that is inserted in the text to convey a meaning that it most certainly did not say. What he did say was that “we are…… willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Paul was expressing something of a desire and a willingness which is embodied in his hope and the hope we all have. If this is not what Paul intended how do we explain verses 9 and 10 which continues in the illustration of the point he was making?

9Therefore we labor, that, whether present or absent [from body], we may be accepted of him.
10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may be recompensed for the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad. [emphasis mine]

Paul says here that we labor so that whether present or absent (living or dead) we may be accepted of him when we appear before the judgement seat of Christ. If Paul was trying to say here in these verses that if we were absent from the body we would immediately be present with the Lord then verses 9-10 would be something of a contradiction. The emphasis in Paul’s words here are that we labor so that we may be accepted by Christ when we appear before His judgement seat. If then when we died we immediately entered into his presence we would not need to wait until we appear before the judgement seat to be accepted (or rejected) by him. This is the point that is missed by everyone who argues that Paul meant that Christians who died would immediately enter into Christ’s presence. If you take some time to study this you will see the point I am trying to make.

Now if these verses of 2 Cor 5 cannot be used to support the view that Christians, when they die, go straight to heaven, then which scriptures can we rely on to support this? Moreover what do we do with the other scriptures that appear to contradict this view? Do the scriptures contradict themselves?

I would love to believe that when Christians die they go straight to heaven but I am yet to find a single scripture that conclusively states this. Even if we go back to the Genesis account when man was first made by God we see that the body was created then God breathe His breath into it and “man became a living soul”. The body together with the breath of life became a living soul. When the living soul dies the body returns to the dust and the spirit or breath of life which God first gave returns to Him. Can we therefore say that the soul is still alive and existing in another state (of consciousness) after death? Isn’t it the breath plus the body that creates the living soul? How can it therefore be that the soul is a separate entity from the body and the breath (spirit)?

11. Henry - October 10, 2011

I just wanted to share this article which for me deals comprehensively with all the issues we have been discussing under this topic. I hope others will find it a source of enlightenment and help them come to terms with this issue. It addresses every point of discrepancy surrounding this topic.

http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=129

12. Don - October 10, 2011

Hello Henry and all,

The following is related to what Paul said in 2 Cor.5:6-8:

“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Phil.1:22-24)

Paul says, “I desire to depart and be with Christ,” which again does not support an intermission of time between Paul’s desire to depart from his body until the time that he is in the presence of the Lord, but infers immediacy. The words “I am torn” infers that Paul is “hardpressed” between the two descisions as whether or not to stay in the body, which would be a benefit for the Philippians and fruitful labor for him, or to go and be with Christ, which he said was better by far. For those who are claiming “Soul-sleep” this verse would make no sense and that because, Paul would have been sleeping now for nearly 2000 years and he therefore would still not be in the presence of Christ. Furthermore, to claim soul-sleep would also detract from Paul’s turmoil of being hardpressed between the two descisions, for why would Paul be hardpressed to go into the ground if only to sleep? The answer is that, sleeping after death is in reference to the body only and for the believer in Christ the soul/spirit are in the presence of the Lord awaiting the resurrection of their bodies.

Also Henry, since I have done my own personal studies for the last 40 years, I rely on God’s word specifically as my basis for all truth and not the teachings of men. By directing people to other websites are we to abandon our own studies of what God’s word says in favor of their teachings? I am reading what they are reading and I can come to my own conclusions based on the truth of God’s word and not by their interpretation of it. Today people are being blown about by every wind of doctrine and that because they are no longer putting up with the sound teachings of God’s word, but instead are gathering around them teachers to hear what their itching ears want to hear and turning away from the truth.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and UNDER THE EARTH and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil.2:9-11)

Pretty difficult feat for those who are sleeping in the dust of the earth to bow to the name of Jesus, but not so if it is in referrence to those who are conscious and aware under the earth in Hades.

13. Henry - October 11, 2011

Don,
I have told you time and again that you cannot take a scripture out of isolation to build doctrine but it should be read in conjunction with the other scriptures. Let me ask you then that if you believe Paul meant he was immediately going to be in heaven on death what about the countless scriptures that I have presented that contradicts this view? Do you just select a scripture and build a doctrine around it because it gives you comfort or do you apply proper exegesis of scriptures?

If what you say is what Paul meant then I would suggest that he was a most confused man being full of contradictions in his own writings. Look at what Paul said here in Col 3:

4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

But if those that die in Christ went to heaven would they not already appearing with Him in glory without the need to wait till He appears? Is pPaul contradicting himself here? Only if you believe he meant he would be with Christ immediately he dies.

But ask yourself this question, can Paul choose the timing of his own death? He could not anymore than you or I can. So he was simply expressing a desire to rest from his labours and to be with Christ.

How would you explain this verse against what you believed Paul was saying:

Job 14:12 (1901 ASV)
12So man lieth down and riseth not: Till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, Nor be roused out of their sleep

Yet you are telling me that man is “alive” and conscious after death in heaven? Compare this verse from Job with what Paul said in Col 3:4 quoted above.

You ask why I share the writings of others? I share other writings to shed light on the topic so we can come into full edification and the oneness of the faith. If Christianity was an individual journey where everyone was supposed to study the world and interpret it for themselves then God would not have placed apostles, prophets and teachers in the church.

Eph 4
11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

I would hope that I am contributing towards this objective rather than attempting to cause people to be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

14. dmcal - October 12, 2011

Hello Henry,

First of all, I am quite of aware of the issue of taking things out of context, but I can assure you that that is not what is happening here.

You said:
“Let me ask you then that if you believe Paul meant he was immediately going to be in heaven on death what about the countless scriptures that I have presented that contradicts this view? ”

Rebutle:
In regards to your question above, I could ask you the same question, being that I have presented many Scriptures to you showing that there is consciousn awareness after death. We have Scriptures that speak about sleeping in the dust of the earth and Scriptures showing conscious awarness after death. The problem lies in yours and others inability to separate the body from the soul/spirit. Therefore, everywhere you read about someone sleeping after death, you lump body, soul and spirit together and this is where the error is.

The grave only has to do with the body. Once the body can no longer function, the soul/spirit is released and is taken to its respective destination, that is, to be in the presence of the Lord or to Hades. Once you understand that the body is separate from the soul/spirit, then all of these Scriptures that seem to be at odds with each other then make perfect sense. On the otherhand, what you and so many others are doing and have done is, instead of accepting the Scriptures that confirm conscious awarness of the soul after death, you endevour to circumvent them in order to support your claim, interpreting them as having another meaning. On the otherhand, what I am proclaiming satisfies both sides of the issue.

We have Moses speaking with Jesus, Abraham speaking with the rich man, Samuel speaking with Saul, we have Jesus telling the thief that he would be with him in paradise that very day, we have Paul stating that to be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord, we have the anouncement that that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, we have souls under the altar in heaven, but instead of embracing that information, because of your studies or someone elses teachings, you opt to explain away all of these that I have listed above and more. In fact, every Scripture that is brought to your attention that supports conscious awarness after death, you immediately look for a way to explain it away.

“And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven, or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.”

If you would just open up your spiritual eyes and understand that the grave has to do specifically with the body only and that the soul/spirit is released at the time of death, then all of these other Scriptures that you are circumventing would make perfect sense.

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living!

15. Hopeful_watcher - November 20, 2011

Everything ok Henry? You have not written in close to two months. I’ll say a prayer for you tonight for your well-being.

Henry - November 24, 2011

Hopeful_watcher, Thanks for equiring after me. I am doing ok at the moment, just not as active in recent times due to being a bit busy. Hope all is well with you. Henry

16. Sandy - January 2, 2012

While Christians today believe their spirits will go to heaven on the day they die, in the Bible, no one goes until Judgment Day. This applies to the OT, the Epistles, Revelation and the Synoptic Gospels. The writer of John hedged his bets by avoiding the topic.

So now we turn to Paul’s rendition of the great event with a reminder that this was the day he prepared for.

1. On that day of change, the living and the dead will be raised in the twinkling of an eye.

Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)

2. The day of salvation is nearer to us than we first believed. It was time to restrain our fleshly impulses and get on the right track.

Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom. 13:11-14)

3. Christ was the first to die and be resurrected. Then he will come for those who belong to him. Then the end will come when he delivers the kingdom to God after destroying every authority and power. He will reign until his enemies are destroyed.

But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
For he must reign> until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:23-26)

4. Paul reassures the Thessalonians that its appearance will be obvious. There will be a rebellion first. Then the lawless one (Satan) will be revealed, he who exalts himself and proclaims himself to be God. The mystery of lawlessness is still at work until Lord Jesus comes to slay him. There will be false signs and wonders because of wicked deception. Because they refuse to love the truth and be saved, God sends them a strong delusion to make them believe what is false so that they will be condemned.

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition,
who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this?
And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming.
The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders,
and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false,
so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thes. 2:1-12)

Verses 10 and 11 contain a circular argument: Because they refused to love the truth, God sent them a strong delusion to make them believe what is false. Or did God send them a strong delusion to make them believe what is false?

5. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, through Jesus, God will bring the dead with him first. Those of who are alive will come afterwards. Salvation was contingent on belief. It is in passages like this where we find the lure of salvation offered to those who might die before the End came.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first;
then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:14-17)

6. The day will come when we don’t expect it. Then sudden destruction will come upon them.

For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
When people say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. (1 Thess. 5:2-3)

7. We will travel in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:17)

17. Henry - January 2, 2012

Sandy,
I agree with you and I think the scriptures you presented are very clear. However there are those who say that Paul said that to be absent from body is to be present with the Lord.

Scripture says when we die the spirit (the life force) goes up to God but the body goes to the earth. I don’t seen anything in scripture that says we consciously appear with Christ in heaven or paradise before judgement day. Thanks for dropping by.

18. dmcal - January 3, 2012

To Henry, Sandy and all,

II Corinthians 5:6-8 –“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Away from the body = At home with the Lord, not in the dirt asleep. Sleep is only in reference to the body

Phil.1:22-24 – “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

If, as you say, when a Christian dies it refers to his or her body, soul and spirit sleeping in the dust of the earth, then why does Paul use the word “Depart” to be with the Lord? If when we die our body, souls and spirits are all sleeping in the dust of the earth, then there would be no need for departure, would there? Paul in essence is saying here, I desire to die and leave this earthly tent where my soul will then be with Christ. The verse infers immediacy with no delay to be with Christ. What Paul said would make no sense if there was a delay in being with Christ, because according to your interpretation Paul would still be sleeping in the dust of the earth and not in Christ presence. It would take away the immediacy from Paul being torn between the two.

Phil.2:9-11 – “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Under the earth? It would be kind of hard if those under the earth for those who were sleeping body, soul and spirit for them to bow the knee. Those referred to under the earth are those who have died and whose souls are conscious in Hades. Just as the rich man’s soul was conscious in Hades after he died, so will this be the case with all who reject Christ. Hades is a place of temporary punishment for the lost dead who will be resurrected out at the end of the thousand years and who will stand at the great white throne judgment.

The rich man and Lazarus

Do I really have to go into detail about two guys who died and were buried up on the earth, while their souls were conscious and aware down in Hades and in an area just across from Hades where Lazarus and father Abraham were? The rich man in Hades showed that he could see, feel, taste, speak and basically was aware of all his senses. Make no mistake, this event is not symbolic, but was an actual event that took place that Jesus revealed. And just to be clear, this Lazarus is not the Lazarus that he raised from the dead.

Luke 23:39-42 – “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him, ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ’I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’ ”

Luke 23:39-42 – “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him, ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ’I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’ ”

“Today you will be with me in paradise” We all know that both Jesus and the man who said “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” both died before sunset, yet, Jesus promised the man that he would that very day be with him in paradise. Since we know that Jesus did not ascend to the Father until much later after his resurrection, he could not have been speaking about heaven as the place of paradise. The place of paradise that he was speaking of was of course that same place where father Abraham, Lazarus and the rest of the OT saints were, which was that place across from Hades. The word “Paradise” is not exclusive to heaven Jesus in essence was telling the man that once they died, their bodies would be buried, but their souls/spirits would be in that place of paradise. This is also confirmed where the Scripture says:

“He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison …”

When the Scripture says that “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” he was not speaking of his body being in the tomb, but his spirit being in the heart of the earth, that is, in that place of paradise.

Matthew 17:1-3 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.

Hey Moses! What are you doing up? You’re supposed to be sleeping, body, soul and spirit in dust of the earth. What is your circumvention for this one? Special translation? Symbolism?
Moses most certainly died and was buried by God himself. If when we die our body, soul and spirit are in the dust of the earth sleeping, what in the world is Moses doing up talking with Jesus?

Revelation 5:2-3 – “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven, or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.”

Revelation 5:13: – Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earthand on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

Here again we have the mention of people under the earth. If this was speaking of people who were in there graves, it would make no sense to even mention them as not being able to open the scroll. Again, those under there earth are in reference to those souls in Hades and the same goes for those who will at some future time be singing under the earth.

Revelation 6:9–10 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Hmmm….. slain souls under the altar in heaven, conscious and aware, having a conversation with the Lord and given white robes. Most assuredly, their bodies were down on the earth in their graves, while their souls were here under the altar.

As I have said before, the reference to sleep is specific to the body only! And for those who are in the Lord, when they die their souls go to be in his presence. On the other hand, those who have rejected Christ, when they die their souls go to Hades. Until you understand this you will continue to run into the same wall and that because you have adopted the interpretation that the body, soul and spirit all sleep in the dust of the earth, which forces you to circumvent all of the Scriptures that show consciousness after death. By believing that it is the body that is sleeping and the soul/spirit is in the presence of the Lord, all of the Scriptures regarding sleep and consciousness after death are satisfied.

19. dmcal - January 3, 2012

By the way, when the resurrecton and catching away takes place, it is the body that is resurrecting from the grave, not the soul/spirit. Resurrection alway has to do with the body. At the time that the Lord descends from heaven he will be bringing with him the souls of those who have died in him and reuniting their souls with their now resurrected bodies.

20. Henry - January 3, 2012

dmcal,
I am going to ask you not to clog up this forum by reproducing information/arguments that you have already presented and which incidentally I have already addressed. I am therefore not going to respond again to all that you have said. But I will present you with a conundrum of sorts.

According to you “Paradise” was beneath the earth and positioned across from Hades. You have implied in another post that Paradise must have moved sometime later from where it was located and placed above the earth. Do you recall making this claim?

Well allow me to refresh your memory on what you said on October 7 at 7:02:

Why does there have to be one place of paradise? At the time, that place where Abraham, Lazarus, Samuel and the rest of the OT saints were, was a place of paradise for those who had died prior to Christ’s death. Since his resurrection, they have been removed from there and now all who die in Christ go to be directly in his presence, as revealed by Paul.

Your position therefore is that the “soul/spirit” of man goes to Paradise which for the Old Testaments saints was located beneath the earth across from Hades. But here is the problem. First, you insult my intelligence by claiming that I adopt the interpretation that the soul/spirit and body goes down to the earth. This is an assumption on your part which does NOT bear record of what I believe and this is what has lead you to your faulty interpretations. If you followed the original post “The Heresy of the Heaven’s Gate Cult” you would have seen in my response to Marianne where I provided scriptural evidence that whilst the body goes to the earth the spirit goes to God (see the link http://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/the-heresy-of-the-heaven%e2%80%99s-gate-cult/#comment-1623)

Here are the relevant scriptures I cited under that comment:

Ecc 3:21
20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Ecc 12:7
7Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Don, so tell me, in light of these scriptures and your above quote can you see a discrepancy with what you claim and what the scriptures say? The preacher declares that the spirit of man goes upward to God and the body turns to dust and return to the earth. Yet you say that Paradise for the Old Testament saints was under the earth where the spirit/soul of dead saints went. Could it be that this claim is false and that Jesus was simply using the illustration of Lazarus and the rich man symbolically rather than literally? If the spirit goes to paradise then paradise was always in the heavens since the preacher declares the spirit goes up to God. Note also that the preacher makes no distinction as to whether it was just the spirits of saints that went upward to God but rather implied that the spirit of all dead humans went upward to God. So if the spirits of all dead went upward how be it that you say that the spirit of evil doers go to Hades – below the earth?

In conjunction, the same preacher who recognizes that the spirit goes upward to God declares that the dead knoweth nothing?

Ecc 9:5
5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing….

Yet you say the dead are still consciously existing whether in the earth or in paradise.

So what is it then?

Dan 12
2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

REVISION on 5 Jan 2012:
Dmcal,
I thought I would edit this commet to show that even in the Luke 16 story of the rich man and Lazarus, paradise was not in the earth below as you supposed but up above as the following verses suggest:

22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

This story must have been a parable because of the use of the word hell or hades in verse 23 which is from the same Greek word. This was the same word used in Acts 2:27, 31. Why would Jesus’ soul go to hell if this was a place of torment yet at the same time you say that Jesus told the thief that on the day of their deaths they would both be in paradise?

21. Don - January 5, 2012

Henry,

My apologises Henry and all. You are free to believe whatever those websites and men have taught which your itching ears want to hear. As for me, If I should die before the resurrection occurs, then my soul, conscious and aware, will go to be in the Lord’s presence. Then when the resurrection occurs, my body will be raised from its sleep and be reunited with my soul/spirt. However, if I am alive at the time that the resurrect occurs, then I will just be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and caught up with those who will have just been resurrected to meet the Lord in the air where Jesus will take us back to the Father’s house so that where he is we may be also. And don’t worry about me clogging up your site, as I won’t be responding to yours or any other poster and that because I am blocking the address. I am tired of reading this nonsense.

22. Henry - January 5, 2012

Don,
I apologise if I have offended you but I think my request for you not to repost what you have already written was a reasonable one. Most people would have simply unapproved it because it uses up space. You are always free to post if you are bringing new insight to the topic.

It is your prerogative not to return to this blog if you so wish, it is your choice. I cannot force anyone to read what I post or to accept it either. I do however welcome debate from a scriptural perspective but please refrain from making assertions that you do not know anything about. Here you are accusing me of having itching ears and believing in what I see on other websites but nothing could be further from the truth. I have never heard a message preached on the subject at hand. If anything what I have always heard in church is the view that when Christians die they go straight to heaven. Having read scriptures for myself such as those I presented, I have begun to question whether people do go straight to heaven on death or if the conscious part of them is asleep until the judgment.

I have often found the problem with you though. Whenever I pose a scriptural challenge to you, you evade it or respond as you have done in your last comment. If you are going to believe a certain view and try to convince me to believe likewise then you should be able to reconcile what you believe with other scriptures that stand at odds with what you believe. I am therefore finding it difficult to reconcile what Ecclesiastes says with what you previously asserted. It seems however you are prepared to ignore some scriptures that go against what you believe and only accept those that endorse your beliefs. Do the scriptures contradict themselves? If I should accept what you presented then we would have to agree that scriptures contradict themselves and I do not believe that scriptures contradict themselves. However we must put precept upon precept and line upon line to ensure we arrive at a proper understanding of scriptures. This however is the same behavior you displayed under the “rapture” topics.

When you say you are “tired of reading this nonsense” are you calling the scriptures nonsense? There are a considerable number of scriptures which contradict your position on the subject and you have not made any attempt to reconcile them. I make no claim of myself but present scriptures as scripture is the only authority. You therefore need to be careful of what you say.

23. Sandy - January 9, 2012

Henry,

If you read scriptures with an open mind you will understand that Paul was a liar.

My comprehension about Christianity is that it is an immiscible mix of two religions “Religion of Paul” and “Religion of JESUS”. Paul lied to the Galatians about the law of Moses and the Jerusalem council meeting, He lied to Sanhedrin and he lied to Agrippa.

About the law of Moses

Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:13, Galatians 5:2-4 and Galatians 5:15 about the law being a curse and blah blah…

Deuteronomy 6:25 rebuffs these statements when Moses says: “Then it will be righteous for us, if we are careful to observe all commandments before the Lord our GOD, as he has commanded us.

Paul’s recollection of the Jerusalem Council Meeting to the Galatians
James – Acts 15:19-21
Letter to believers – Acts 15:28-29
James – Acts 21:25

Note: – It is reiterated time and again by James that the Gentiles are to abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from strangled animals and sexual immorality but Paul tells the Galatians that “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very things which I was eager to do”. See verses Galatians 2:1, 2, 6-7 and 9-10

Paul Lied before the Sanhedrin

Acts 23:6, 7
Acts 21: 27, 28

Paul Lied to King Agrippa

Acts 9: 3-19
Acts 22:6-15
Acts 26:12-19 – Paul’s statement to King Agrippa.

Paul’s Greatest Lie

Paul told us that JESUS was the final sacrifice and with him the sacrificial system came to an end. The disciples of JESUS who the LORD personally trained for 3.5 years during his ministry never thought the same.
Acts 21:15-26(Paul participated in a Nazirite sacrifice as enumerated in Numbers 6:14).

Paul claimed that he was an apostle of JESUS in Ephesians 1:1(Interesting because none of the original Apostles ever claimed that they were apostles). He was closely associated with the Ephesians and the Ephesians had trouble accepting his doctrines (Acts 19:8-9).

In Revelation 2:2, JESUS said the following to the church we know Paul was involved with.
“I know your works, your labour and your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars”. Paul himself claimed that all of ASIA (A Roman territory now southern Turkey) rejected him (2 Tim 1:15).

JESUS has time and again through various parables( Zacchaeus, Sermon on the Mount, Final Judgment, Cornelius etc) so clearly enunciated that it is faith as well as works that is essential for attaining salvation. But Paul so categorically stuck to the faith alone doctrine that if I were to follow it I would surely go to hell as millions of others who have before me.

So Henry don’t bother too much about what Paul had to say. Most Christians don’t even know that Paul was the father of Christianity. The books of the Bible are deceptively placed to give one an impression that the Gospels were the ones that were written first. Unfortunately if you place the books as per the year in which they were written you will realise that the Epistles of Paul were the first ones to be written much before the Gospel of Mark.

A lot of people simply argue without having even a basic understanding of the Bible. They would go to any extremes to quote verses that suit their line of argument but skip those that contradict them.

24. Henry - January 9, 2012

Sandy,
I will not endorse you calling the Apostle Paul a lyer. That is not my position at all. I do not find any descrepancy in Paul’s teaching against the rest of scripture. So if that is your view please do hold your peace. I would however advise you to study Paul’s teachings again against the rest of scriptures to see if what you claim is really so.

25. Sandy - January 10, 2012

Henry

If you read the epistles of Paul from Romans to Philemon you will begin to realise that Paul knew about Jesus. Infact he hardly knew anything at all. Take a look of what he did not know about Jesus.

He didn’t know about: (1) virgin birth (2) place of birth (3) time of birth (4) parents names (5) childhood (6) John the Baptist (7) Jesus’ baptism (8) the devil’s temptation (9) moral teachings (10) miracles (11) apocalyptic views (12) transfiguration (13) Judas (14) Peter’s denial (15) his arrest and trial (16) twelve disciples (17) the women who came to his tomb (18) Son of Man (19) travels (20) parables. I may have left something out, but that covers most of the gospels.

Some argue that Paul had no need to go into the details of Jesus’ life because they were commonly understood. No so! Paul positively renounced any knowledge of Jesus through human sources.

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel.
For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 1:11-12)

He felt unique in having been set apart through grace to have Christ revealed to him.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. (Gal. 1:15-17)

He was placing his bets on the unseen because, to him, they are eternal. Things that can be seen are transient. -It is fair to say that if there had been a walking talking Jesus, Paul would not have accepted him.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Rom. 8:24-25)

because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)

So when he says he saw Jesus, he means in his mind, not with his eyes.

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? (1 Cor. 9:1)

The Galatians, to whom he says they saw Christ publicly portrayed as crucified, he does not mean they witnessed an historical event. It was either a reenactment or a commonly shared vision.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? (Gal. 3:1)

He even says that they began with the Spirit.

Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? (Gal. 3:3)

This is where we get into the definition of faith as the conviction of things not seen. If he had actually seen Jesus, it would have annulled the definition of faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)

So as Paul proclaims, it is only through faith in Christ that one can become a son of God. The whole idea of faith in Christ negates actual knowledge. It means as much then as it does today.

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:26)

This brings us to the matter of the original disciples. Though Paul did not claim to know Jesus personally, he did know the people who were supposed to have known Jesus personally: James, Peter and John.

and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas [Simon Peter] and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; (Gal. 2:9)

For these reasons and because of Paul’s prominence in defining Christianity, we are forced to ask, how can he claim to know the nature of Jesus’ mission, when his letters show he knew so little?

Give the man credit for his zeal. He learned about Jesus from his job of persecuting Christians. The rest he got from revelation and Scripture, and he denies learning anything from Jesus’ apostles.

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Gal. 4:6)

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; (Col. 1:15)

26. Henry - January 16, 2012

Sandy,

I will not respond to all that you have said but I would advise you to read scriptures clearly and in context before firing off accusations against the apostle. I will however highlight some examples of where you have been misguided.

Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:13, Galatians 5:2-4 and Galatians 5:15 about the law being a curse and blah blah…
Deuteronomy 6:25 rebuffs these statements when Moses says: “Then it will be righteous for us, if we are careful to observe all commandments before the Lord our GOD, as he has commanded us.

It is indeed righteous if Israel observed the Law but the Law is both a blessing and a CURSE. It was a blessing if they observed it and a curse if they did not.

26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (Deut 11)

Paul said nothing contrary here then!

Paul told us that JESUS was the final sacrifice and with him the sacrificial system came to an end. The disciples of JESUS who the LORD personally trained for 3.5 years during his ministry never thought the same.
Acts 21:15-26(Paul participated in a Nazirite sacrifice as enumerated in Numbers 6:14).

If you do not grasp this concept then you have understood nothing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not the final sacrifice then it means the New Testament Christians are still required to offer up blood sacrifices and burnt offerings. John declares in John 1:29 that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (see also 1 Peter 1:19-20). This is more clearly explained in Hebrews 9:
11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Again I see nothing contrary here in what Paul said to what the rest of the Bible teaches. God spoke to Jeremiah about the new covenant in Jeremiah 31, reiterated in Hebrews 8 and the new covenant in Christ blood obviously replaced the previous covenant (which includes the Law and it’s ordinances).

Paul claimed that he was an apostle of JESUS in Ephesians 1:1(Interesting because none of the original Apostles ever claimed that they were apostles). He was closely associated with the Ephesians and the Ephesians had trouble accepting his doctrines (Acts 19:8-9).

How can you say that none of the other Apostles claimed they were apostles? Did Peter not call himself an Apostles here in 1 Peter 1:1?
I do not believe Paul taught that it was through faith alone that we received salvation – you have not cited any scripture to support that point. Paul stated in Eph 2:8 that it is by Grace we are saved through faith and not by ourselves. But did Paul mean to say here that it is by faith alone and that we are not required to do works? Perhaps that is what men have taught by misrepresenting Paul but that is not what Paul taught. Here is what Paul said:
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 8)
Certainly Paul never said here faith alone but that we are created unto GOOD WORKS that God had ordained for us to walk in them. Paul was making the point here that salvation doesn’t come by works that we do in ourselves but that it is through faith in Jesus Christ. Having that faith in Christ therefore we are created unto good works (compare James 2 where he says faith without works is dead).
You need to study scriptures carefully rather than rely on information from websites which only serves to deny the truth of the Gospel of Christ and who’s purpose it is to attempt to destroy Christian credibility. There is numerous individuals out there who doesn’t serve Jesus Christ but who attempts to decry Paul, some even call him the anti-christ, with their goal being to deny the truthfulness of Scripture. I always work on the basis that scripture does not contradict itself otherwise we are in trouble. For how would we know which scriptures to keep and which to discard? If we study scriptures though we will soon find that everything is substantiated by other scriptures.

27. Henry - February 7, 2012

Sandy,

After reading your last two posts I have decided to unapprove them. I do not endorse your view that Paul preaches a different doctrine from Christ or indeed the other disciples. Having read your posts I have to question if you are a Christian or your purpose is just to create a schism in Christian doctrine thus undermining the whole of the Gospel and bring its veracity into doubt. My position has always been to approach scripture with the view that it does NOT contradict itself. If any part contradicts itself then the whole basis of the Christian faith would be brought into doubt and we would find ourselves at a crossroads where we would be struggling to believe whether there is indeed a God.

Our approach should instead be to examine scriptures carefully and where we lack understanding on points which appears contradictory to seek understanding so that we can reconcile them. Without responding to all you have said I will briefly touch on a couple of points. In one fell swoop you have in effect cast doubt on Jesus’ authenticity in that He died for the sins of the world. Christ came to fulfill the Law whilst at the same time to establish the New Covenant in His blood. He did not become a priest after the fashion of the Levites but He became a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4). The Levitical priesthood was merely a shadow of the things that were to come. Christ did not violate the Law in being made a – He is an High Priest in the Heavenly Temple and not in the earthly temple. Again you seem to want to suggest that Christ isn’t the end of the Law again here you speak of things that you do not understand. Who established the Law? God! In the Law God established the first covenant but in Christ He established a New Covenant so whereby the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in everyone who believes in Christ. Therefore the letter of the law is not required to be followed anymore. This is what Paul was explaining in the verses of Romans and Galations which you failed to grasp. The Galations were trying to return to the works of the Law such a circumcission in which Paul explained that these are not important because since the New Covenant we are now justified by faith (with its works) in Christ Jesus.

In any event this discussion is not for this post and I may yet start a post on some of the issues you have discussed. Let me reiterate the point though that Paul in no way contradicts the rest of Holy Writ but he in fact complements it.

In all thy getting get understanding!

28. Sandy - March 8, 2012

The fact that you disapproved posts that were scripturally supported speaks for itself. That’s the problem with Christianity to begin with. Interpreting things that suit the theology and rejecting things that are hard to digest by pushing them under the carpet. So I will leave it at that because there is no point in debating issues that people are scared of debating.

Thank you.

29. Sandy - March 9, 2012

Henry I quote the few lines from your post…..

My position has always been to approach scripture with the view that it does NOT contradict itself. If any part contradicts itself then the whole basis of the Christian faith would be brought into doubt and we would find ourselves at a crossroads where we would be struggling to believe whether there is indeed a God.

Anyone who has read the bible in its entirety will understand that the bible contradicts itself at some of the most crucial places like birth of christ, death of christ, resurrection, post resurrection appearances, second coming etc etc. Here I quote scripture to prove my point. You can disapprove it or do whatever you want with the post but that is the truth and fact.

MATHEW(Matt 27:3-7)
Judas repented
Judas returned the money to the temple
Chief Priests bought the potters field to bury strangers in
Judas hanged himself

Matt 27:8-9
Cemetery was called “Field of Blood” after Judas was buried

ACTS(Acts 1:15-18)
Judas did not repent.
Judas did not return the money
Judas bought a field with the money
Judas bowels gushed out from a fall

Acts 1:19-20
Cemetery was called “Field of Blood” before Judas was buried(because it is written in the book of Psalms)

30. Henry - March 9, 2012

Sandy,

If the Bible contradicts itself as you suppose, so what then? Should we abondon the Christian faith then? I personally do not share your view and would encourage you to read this article: http://www.scripturessay.com/article.php?cat=&id=741

Sometimes what appears to be contradictions are not contradictions at all and therefore a detailed study of the word is required to understand what the verses were saying. When I get a chance I will look at the verses you highlight in more detailed.

31. Do Christians go Straight to Heaven When they Die? A Second Look | Spirit of Discernment - March 9, 2012

[…] previously highlighted this question in a previous post here. It turned out that I caused upset to a number of people who have now decided to dissociate […]

32. Sandy - March 12, 2012

Henry,

Just look at what Paul & the various Gospel writers had to say about the post resurrection appearances. Look how they don’t even agree as to when the holy spirit descended on the apostles. Paul claims six post resurrection appearances while others have their own say. It is not only the number but the place of appearances and also the people who saw them vary depending on who wrote.

PAUL MATHEW MARK LUKE JOHN

Six Times Two Times Three Times Two Times Four Times

1 Corinthians
15:5-8 1)28:9-10 1)16:9 1)24:13-311 1)20:14-17
2)28:17-20 2)16:12* 2)24:36-51 2)20:19-23**
3)16:14-12 3)20:26-29
4)21:1-23

Contradictions (Mark & Luke)
Mark 16:13*
Mark insists that when the two reported their encounter, the disciples did not believe.

Luke 24:34*
Luke maintains that when the two followers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and informed the eleven about their encounter, the disciples declared “It is true!”

Contradictions (John & Luke)
John 20:22**
John has the apostles receive the Holy Spirit on the first Easter Sunday.

[Acts 1:5, 8 & 2:1- 4] Luke insists that the Holy Spirit was bestowed on the apostles on Pentecost, fifty days later.

This is the truth and just like the gospel writers different people will spin different jargons and claim that the others have not read and understood the bible fully. The revealed word of GOD is for all to understand it not for a few to spin a web with it.

33. Sandy - March 12, 2012

Henry,

Just look at what Paul & the various Gospel writers had to say about the post resurrection appearances. Look how they don’t even agree as to when the holy spirit descended on the apostles. Paul claims six post resurrection appearances while others have their own say. It is not only the number but the place of appearances and also the people who saw them vary depending on who wrote.

Paul
six times
1 Corinthians 15:5-8

MATHEW
Two Times
1)28:9-10
2)28:17-20

MARK
Three Times
1)16:9
2)16:12*
3)16:14-12

LUKE
Two Times
1)24:13-31
2)24:36-51

JOHN
Four Times
1)20:14-17
2)20:19-23**
3)20:26-29
4)21:1-23

Contradictions (Mark & Luke)
Mark 16:13*
Mark insists that when the two reported their encounter, the disciples did not believe.

Luke 24:34*
Luke maintains that when the two followers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and informed the eleven about their encounter, the disciples declared “It is true!”

Contradictions (John & Luke)
John 20:22**
John has the apostles receive the Holy Spirit on the first Easter Sunday.

[Acts 1:5, 8 & 2:1- 4] Luke insists that the Holy Spirit was bestowed on the apostles on Pentecost, fifty days later.

This is the truth and just like the gospel writers different people will spin different jargons and claim that the others have not read and understood the bible fully. The revealed word of GOD is for all to understand it not for a few to spin a web with it.

34. Henry - March 12, 2012

Sandy,
I asked you a very serious question in my last response to you but you did not reply. What is your purpose here? If you came to tell me that you were a believer but that you are struggling with grasping what appears to be contradictions then I am happy to try and work through these issues with you or point you to others that may help. However, if it is your purpose to come here to attempt to overthrow the faith of others because you yourself don’t believe the gospel then, with all due respect, please do not waste your time by coming here.

I will look at the so-called contradictions you have recently highlighted but I promise you that I will NOT continue to go backwards and forwards with you on every little detail of scripture that you choose to pick at. That was not the point of this topic which incidentally has now gone way off course.

So to the meat of the matter:

Matt 27:3-7 says that Judas repented himself (in other words was filled with remorse) for betraying Jesus. Acts 1:15-18 did not say anything about Judas not repenting so there is no contradiction here. The fact that the author of Acts says nothing about Judas repenting does not make the accounts contradictory.

Matt 27:3-7 accounts that Judas attempted to return the money to the treasury but was prevented from doing so because the priests felt that it was now blood money so cannot be accepted into the treasury. The fact that Acts does not recount that Judas attempted to return the money again is not a contradiction. An omission in the record does not amount to a contradiction. If the priests did not want the money and they used it to buy a field, in whose name do you think they would have purchased the field? Is it in their name or would that have been in Judas’ name? So again there is no contradiction here – it is just that Acts attributes the purchasing of the field to Judas as it was his money but that Matt shows that it was the priests who took the action in order to get rid of the money.

The fact that Judas hanged himself does not preclude his stomach gushing out. Is it not possible that when he hanged himself his stomach gushed out later and the witnesses found him that way? Similarly his stomach could have gushed out and then he hanged himself. The one does not prevent the other. Again the fact that Acts omits to refer to a hanging does not make the scriptures contradictory.

The point about at what point the field was called “Field of Blood” only appears contradictory by the clever twisting of the verses. The passage of Matt 27:3-7 says nothing about the field being called “Field of Blood” after Judas was buried. His burial was not mentioned anywhere in these verses. What verses 7-8 clearly says however is that the potters field was called the field of blood because it was purchased with Judas’ blood money – NOT because Judas died there. It was called the field of blood thus attributing its purchase back to Judas who had received the blood money which therefore harmonizes with Acts where it says that he bought the field. Again Acts 1:19-20 does NOT mention Judas’ burial so that you can establish a contradiction about the timing of the renaming of the field.

With reference to the appearances of Jesus, the fact that some authors omit what others said does not make the scriptures contradictory.

With specific reference to Mark 16:13 and Luke 24:34, you claim that these verses contradict. You said and I quote:

Contradictions (Mark & Luke)
Mark 16:13*
Mark insists that when the two reported their encounter, the disciples did not believe.
Luke 24:34*
Luke maintains that when the two followers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and informed the eleven about their encounter, the disciples declared “It is true!”

Well look at the verses:

12After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. (Mark 16:13)
34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (Luk 24:34)

In Mark 16:9-11 we are told that Mary went to tell “those who had been with Jesus” that He had risen. We do not know exactly who were among this group that Mary saw first because Jesus had many fellowers beside the 12 disciples. So here we are told that this first group did not believe. Then verse 12 says that Jesus appeared to two of them (we do not know which two – whether from the 12 or the wider group of disciples) as they walked into the country (which country?) and these two went to tell the residue (who were they?) but they did not believe either.

In Luke 24:13 we see Jesus approaching to two others of His followers as they walked on the road to the village of Emmaus and this culminated in them telling the disciples what they had seen in verse 34. It is clear here that the two in Mark 16 who walked into the country and the two here in Luk 24 who walked to the village (of Emmaus) are not the same individuals. There is no basis for assuming that these two events (sightings of Jesus) are the same such that you should declare them contradictory. We do not know who the two in Mark 16 went to tell that they had seen Jesus with the result of them not believing. On the reverse the two here in Luke went to tell the 11 and those who were with them. When they arrived however they heard the disciples declaring that the Lord truly had risen and had appeared to Simon. Even if those “residue” in Mark 16 included the disciples this does not mean that they couldn’t have been in a state of disbelief at first and were thus made convinced later. Again no contradictions here but incorrect assumptions have led to a perception of a contradiction.

On the other point of your supposed contradiction you said:

Contradictions (John & Luke)
John 20:22**
John has the apostles receive the Holy Spirit on the first Easter Sunday.
[Acts 1:5, 8 & 2:1- 4] Luke insists that the Holy Spirit was bestowed on the apostles on Pentecost, fifty days later.

This supposed contradiction again is a simple one. Jesus breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit” but this does not mean that the were to receive the Holy Spirit there and then. In fact the verse does not say anywhere that after Jesus breathed on them they received the Holy Spirit. If this were so then it would be a contradiction. Jesus was preparing them, because Jesus said when He goes He will send the Comforter (Joh 14:26, 15:26) which is why we see the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended.

No one except you (or the websites you pull all this from) is spinning different jargons. The scriptures do not contradict – they only appear so with clever twisting and reading into the text what isn’t written there. I would implore you to believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved. Once you are saved ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding that you may be able to look at the scriptures with new eyes. If you will not believe that Jesus died for your sins and that the word of the Bible is true then please do not waste anymore time bringing supposed contradictions to me. What do you intend to achieve with that?

You need to remember that the authors of the books of the Bible are speaking/writing from different perspectives, which is why there are some differences in how they convey the message though they may speak of the same events. So it is the substance of what they are saying rather than the form that carries weight. If you had read the article I referred you to you would have understood this. If you go looking for contradictions in the bible then this is what you will find. However if you asked the Lord to open the eyes of your understanding and you approach the scriptures with all readiness then you would be able to recognize the harmony in the scriptures.

35. Teri - September 2, 2012

If Jesus is like God, and is one with God, then can’t he also be Omnipresent? If he is Omnipresent, isn’t he able to be in both Hades, preaching to the prisoners, and seated at God’s right hand?

Don - September 4, 2012

Hi Teri,

Forgive me for jumping in here, but Jesus is not like God, he is God. For the Lord our God is [one] God or [They] are [One] God. And yes, you are correct in that, Jesus is omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipresent (always present everywhere). First, let’s establish Jesus divinity by considering the following Scriptures:

“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In the above Scripture Thomas referred to Jesus as Lord and God. If that was not true, then Jesus would have rebuked him, but instead he said, “you believe because you have seen me.”

Here is another Scripture as being spoken by God the Father to God the Son:

But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

“He [the Father] also says about the Son,

“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

There are many, many more Scriptures that show beyond a doubt that Jesus is God. Now regarding his being his being omniscient:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

“Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”

Since he [Jesus] searches our hearts and minds, this would show that he knows our thoughts and our motives. Who could do that but God. In regards to preaching to the prisoners in Hades, I believe that he did that when he descended into the heart of the earth during those three days prior to his resurrection and then after he rose he ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father where he ever makes intercession for us.

Jesus is the “I AM” who spoke with Moses from the burning bush:

“Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”

Jesus to the Jews:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old, ” the Jews said to him, ” and you have seen Abraham!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping awy from the temple grounds.

The Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus because by saying, “before Abraham was born, I am,” the Jews knew he was referring to himself as being God by claiming the title of “I am.”

I know that this was overkill, but I just wanted to first show that Jesus is God and that there is nothing in all creation that his hidden from him.

Hope this helps.

Yours in Christ

36. Henrry - September 4, 2012

Teri,
Christ’s divinity is not in question here. But I have not come across any scriptures which implied that Jesus went into hell or Hades to preach to anyone. This whole argument would also serve to contradict scriptures in that Christ said to Mary that He had not yet ascended to His Father and this took place after the resurrection. I think 1 Pet 3:19 is a misunderstood scripture. I think if the verses are read together we can see clearly that what it is saying is that Christ by the Spirit went and preached (through Noah) to the spirits now in prison, those who were disobedient in the days of Noah. If Christ went to preach to the dead this would clearly contradict scriptures which clearly states that those who have gone down to the pit cannot hope for God’s truth and that the dead knoweth nothing.

37. Michael - December 14, 2012

Sandy, the word of God in the Bible does NOT contradict itself. The accounts Weinberg by different people (Matthew, Mark, Luke etc) are from what they observed. If you, Henry and the others who have written comments were to all observe an event and then write about it; your account of what happened would all be similar but different. That does not mean any of you lied, it simply means your recollection of the event is different.

38. Michael - December 14, 2012

Delete Weinberg from my sentence. I have no idea how that came into my typing.


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