FEEDBACK: QUESTIONS ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE UNSAVED
We appreciate feedback on the studies posted on this website. It helps us to see if there is anything on this website that does not agree with the Bible.
Below ARE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE JUDGMENT OF THE UNSAVED
THE READER’S QUESTIONS ARE IN ITALICS WITH NUMBERS. OUR RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
1. Genesis 3:19 might be used by some as 'proof' for annihilation. I thought I'd bring it to your attention.
If we search the Bible a little, we learn that Genesis 3:19 is not a proof of annihilation. We read in Genesis 3:19:
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 3:19 says that man's body returns to the dust. Later on in the Bible, God gives more information about that. God says that man's body sleeps in the dust. We see this language applied to the bodies of believers:
1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
1 Kings 11:21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
It is also applied to unbelievers:
1 Kings 16:6 So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead.
1 Kings 16:28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.
1 Kings 22:40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
Baasha, Omri and Ahab were all very evil kings. This same language is applied to other evil kings of Israel.
However, God indicates that those bodies of both the believers and unbelievers will finally "awake". We read this in Daniel 12:2:
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
God defines this Hebrew word translated "awake" to mean that an unconscious corpse is not awake according to what we read in 2 Kings 4:31:
And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
In this verse, the child’s body was still an unconscious corpse and God is guiding Gehazi to say that this unconscious corpse is not “awaked” using the same Hebrew word. That is, the bodies of both the saved and unsaved will awake to consciousness at the end. They will not remain as unconscious corpses, like that child’s corpse that was not yet “awaked”. This is explained more in the study at this link:
The explanation is near the beginning of the study.
So, yes, man's body does return to the dust, but that is not the end of the story.
2. You state that 'death' means separation from God, but this is not always the case in the Bible. For example, I Corinthians 15:12, 13, 15, 16, 52, etc.
"Death" in those verses that you sited in 1 Corinthians 15 does mean separation from God. The problem is that mankind by nature focuses a lot on what he can see with his eyes, which is the corpse. Whereas God focuses on what is important, which is man's relationship to God, who is life.
Let’s look at those verses:
12 ¶ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Except for verse 52, those verses focus upon the death of the Lord Jesus. During the atonement the Lord Jesus became separated from God (dead) in two ways. The first way was while He was hanging on the cross on Friday afternoon. This is the most important way because the Bible emphasizes that the payment for sins was completed Friday afternoon while Jesus was still conscious in His body on the cross as we read in John 19:30:
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
John 19:30 focuses upon the payment for sin being accomplished (It is finished) while Jesus was still conscious in His body on the cross. The subsequent events were the proofs of the successful payment for sin. There was only one point in the atonement where Jesus said “It is finished”, so God is drawing attention to it. We don’t want to disregard the focus that God has put on the fact that the payment for sins was finished while Christ was still in His body on the cross on Friday afternoon. This is important.
While Jesus was on the cross, He was forsaken by God as we read in Matthew 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Jesus, who is God, was forsaken by God, a divine mystery, but nevertheless, true because the Bible says so.
To be forsaken includes separation. Matthew 27:46 teaches that Jesus, who is God, was separated (forsaken) from God. That is the important "death of Christ". Jesus became separated (forsaken) from God on the cross. Matthew 27:46 teaches the important truth that the atonement for sins included Christ being cut off from God, which is death, the punishment for sins.
In the studies, I have given quite a few verses that show that the Biblical definition of death is separation, especially separation from God, who is life. Some of these verses can be found in the links below:
This applies to the death of the Lord Jesus that He experienced on the cross. He was forsaken (separated) from God who is life, a divine mystery, but nevertheless true. So, the experience of Jesus on the cross agrees with the Biblical definition that death is separation.
There is a second way the "death" of the Lord Jesus on the cross was separation. This has to do with the corpse of Jesus and it also applies to the mankind and explains the death of 1 Corinthians 15:52.
While we are in this world, we are "in God" and we "move" in God and have our being in God, as we read about in Acts 17:28:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
This verse also applies to the body of the Lord Jesus. During His earthly sojourn, His body, like the bodies of men, was "in God" and "moved" in God and had his "being" in God as we read about in Acts 17:28. His body was like the bodies of men. While we are in this world, we are in God and in all of His blessings. This applies to all mankind, both the saved and the unsaved.
But, when the spirit of Christ left His Body and His body fell on sleep, becoming a corpse, then Acts 17:28 no longer applied to His body. That is because corpses do not "move". Acts 17:28 does not apply to a corpse because it cannot move. So, the body is no longer "in God" in the sense of Acts 17:28 when it becomes a corpse. It becomes further separated from God which is the Biblical definition of death. There is more information on this subject in the study at this link:
The explanation is in various parts of the study, so it helps to be able to read the whole study, or at least search for "Acts 17" and read those sections.
3. What does I Corinthians 15:26 mean? Does this mean that all those who are 'dead' (separated from God) will be destroyed forevermore in Hell? I assume that this another verse which people might use as a basis for annihilation.
We read in 1 Corinthians 15:26:
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
This verse could be understood in different ways. The "death" there could be referring to the unsaved who abide in death as we read in 1 John 3:14:
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
So, the word "death" could be referring collective to the unsaved, who abide in "death". This would agree with Revelation 20:14 that says:
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
The unsaved are referred to as "death and hell" and they are cast into the lake of fire. So, the "death" in 1 Corinthians 15:26 could refer to the unsaved and that they are destroyed.
When people read the word "destroy" they think of a child destroying a toy or something like that, which makes them think of annihilation. However, as with every word, we have to search the Bible to understand what God means by the word. In Deuteronomy 28:15-68 God describes the punishment that comes upon anyone that sins, which includes all of the unsaved throughout time. God uses a common Hebrew word translated "destroy" 7 times in that passage. In Deuteronomy 28:15-68 God is describing an on-going destroying of conscious affliction. This passage is examined in the study at this link:
Please search for the phrase "Deuteronomy 28".
This subject is also discussed in the study at this link:
This Greek word translated "destroy" in 1 Corinthians 15:26 is used in different ways in the New Testament. For example, in 2 Corinthians 3:11 it is translated "done away" and refers to parts of the Bible. The point is not that Christ annihilated parts of the Bible, or that parts of the Bible ceased to exist. Rather, when Christ saves us, the condemnation of the law (which is written about in the Bible) is “done away” because Christ has made the payment for our sins.
So, this Greek word translated "destroy" in 1 Corinthians 15:26 is used in different ways. It could be understood that on Judgment Day that God "does away" with any relationship to the unsaved by casting them away from Him into the Lake of Fire.
This Greek word is the number <2673> below:
We read in 2 Corinthians 3:7-13:
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away <2673>:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away <2673> was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
12 ¶ Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished <2673>:
Verse 11 says that parts of the Bible were “done away”. God is not saying that parts of the Bible were annihilated or ceased to exist. Rather, the Lord Jesus has “done away” with the condemnation that the law brings upon a person when He saves him.
Or, another way 1 Corinthians 15:26 could be understood is to think of "death" as an enemy of the believers. When the believer's body fails and sleeps in the dust, it dies, that is, it is separated from God and His goodness. That is an enemy for the true believer. But, that enemy will be "destroyed" or "done away" with in the new heavens and new earth.
So, 1 Corinthians 15:26 is not a proof of annihilation.
4. Why does God use 'grave' in conjunction with 'death' in I Corinthians 15:55? I assume this means that 'death' and the 'grave' cannot hold the saved person; but this implies that the grave does have power over the unsaved. This is true in a sense, but it suggests that the unsaved go to the grave and don't move.
We read in 1 Corinthians 15:55:
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
In 1 Corinthians 15:55 the Greek word "hades" should have been translated "hell" and not "grave". In every other verse with this Greek word, it is translated “hell”. Hades is not used in a verse that specifically points to the grave. It is used in Luke 16:23 to refer to the conscious affliction that the rich man experiences in “hell”. We read there:
And in hell <86> he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
It is also used in Acts 2:27 & 31 to refer to the conscious affliction that the Lord Jesus experienced on the cross in 33AD. We read in those verses:
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell <86>, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell <86>, neither his flesh did see corruption.
It is never translated “grave” in any other verse, and in the New Testament, there is another word, Strong’s 3419, "mnemeion" that is used to refer to a grave. Thus, using the word “grave” in 1 Corinthians 15:55 for the Greek word “hades” was a bad translation. The problems comes because 1 Corinthians 15:55 is related to Hosea 13:14. We read both verses:
Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
We can see that these two verses are similar. Probably the translation “grave” in Hosea 13:14 encouraged the Bible translators to select the same word in 1 Corinthians 15:55.
In Hosea 13:14, we read the word "grave". But that is the Hebrew word "sheol", which is used both to refer to hell, a place of conscious affliction for the unsaved, and is used to refer to the grave. This Hebrew word is examined in the study at this link:
In Hosea 13:14, either "grave" or "hell" are valid translations. But, in 1 Corinthians 15:55, the right translation is "hell". Perhaps the translators were influenced by the choice of "grave" in Hosea 13:14 in their translation of 1 Corinthians 15:55.
But, even if you want to think of 1 Corinthians 15:55 in terms of the "grave", the Bible is clear that the bodies of the unsaved, like the saved, will not remain in the grave. For both groups they will come forth out of the grave (John 5:28-29). There will be a resurrection of the bodies of both groups. Also, the bodies of both groups will "awake" (Daniel 12:2). So, what happens to the unsaved is not determined by the translation "grave" in 1 Corinthians 15:55. Rather it is determined by other verses that talk about what happens when their bodies come out of the grave. There is more information on this subject at the link:
That is why "hell" is a better translation in 1 Corinthians 15:55. Both the bodies of the saved and the unsaved go into the grave, and both will come out of the grave. But, hell does have victory over the unsaved.
5. Do you teach that the unsaved do experience the wrath of God after death, before the judgment of the last day? I thought I read this on your "Rich Man and Lazarus" study.
Yes. Based upon Luke 16:19-31, I believe this is what the Bible teaches. With that understanding, everything in Luke 16:19-31 fits together. I don't talk about it too much because I have not seen much else in the Bible to support this teaching. I have found nothing to refute it. In the past, I had been taught some arguments for why the unsaved could not suffer before appearing at the judgment seat of God. However, after examining those arguments in the Bible, I found that they all had weaknesses. Those arguments are examined in the study on Luke 16:19-31 at this link:
6. Is it proper to say that Jesus is coming in judgment on 5/21? Not literally, as He will on 10/21, but spiritually, in order to close the door of salvation? Jesus came in judgment when the churches were put under the wrath of God, so I was wondering if the same language could be used.
As I have studied the question of the coming of the Lord Jesus, I have found that He has come many times for many reasons throughout history. In Revelation 2:5 & 16 Jesus warns the churches that if they don't repent, He will come quickly and remove their candlestick, which is to take away the light of the Gospel, His blessing upon their gospel presentation.
That has happened throughout history as churches have fallen away. Jesus came in 1988 when He brought judgment upon all of the churches. He came in 1994 when He began the second harvest, and He will come on May 21, 2011 to close the door of salvation. I don't believe that we will see anything with the eyes in our head on that day. And, I believe He will come on October 21, 2011 with the Rapture. The Lord Jesus comes at various times for many different reasons. The various ways that the Lord Jesus comes are examined in the study at this link:
It is in the section titled "DOES THE LORD “COME” ONLY AT THE END OF THE WORLD"
7. Isaiah 13:6-9 was given as a proof text for Judgment Day, and I'm sure verse 9 was indicated as proof that the unsaved are annihilated. I don't know if this passage is on your website, though.
We read in Isaiah 13:6-9:
6 ¶ Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
In Isaiah 13:9 notice that God is destroying the unsaved "out of it". The “it” refers to the land or the earth, the place of God and His blessings upon man. This language points to the punishment for sin, which is separation from God, which is the Biblical definition of death.
As mentioned above, when we see the word "destroy" we think of annihilation. However, we have to let the Bible define terms. The Hebrew word "destroy" in Isaiah 13:9 is found 7 times in Deuteronomy 28 to describe an on-going "destroying" of conscious affliction for the unsaved.
For more information, please see the study at this link:
Please search for the phrase "Deuteronomy 28".
Thank you for the feedback.