Sleep of the dead

Did you say sleep!??!!

Sleep of the Dead

A long standing tradition within evangelical Christianity asserts that death is a move to a new level of consciousness, that those awaiting Christ’s return for reward or punishment do so in a state that looks very much like they are already being rewarded or punished. Consequently, anyone who dares to imply that the intermediate state is one of unconscious sleep runs the risk of being branded a heretic or cult member.

Nevertheless, it would do us all well to return to biblical terminology and perhaps jettison some of these traditions that keep us from using it.  The biblical authors knew what they were talking about.  The Holy Spirit inspired them to write words which expressed the way things really are.  It is not their fault that the popular church has chosen to see and say things differently.

and

Usage of the sleep metaphor

I’ve been to several funerals the last few years where I have heard the preachers often say that the deceased is now “more alive than ever” up in heaven.  Yet this runs counter to the most consistent description used in The Bible in reference to the dead. A description that isn’t something that means energized and alert, but the exact opposite with the word “sleep”.  Of course this is a metaphor (something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else) to describe the death.  This metaphor is repeatedly used throughout many of the Old Testament books.

Yes we did say sleep. The Bible calls death, sleep. 

Many sincere Christians come to me to comfort me at the loss of my husband and told me that he is now enjoying Jesus. 

 The Bible gives advice on the words to comfort the grieving:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 

{emphasis mine}

 Someone, who I appreciate very much and loves my 3 year old daughter, told  her, that her Daddy is with Jesus and is very happy there. And Jesus needed him in heaven! Which means that Jesus needed him more than her. How could Jesus need him more than his little daughter?   DD3 was greatly puzzled by these words because I had told her that he Daddy is asleep and waiting for Jesus to come back and wake him up. And only Jesus could. (My translation into 3 year language of 1 Thess 4). She had seen him lying down in his coffin, unable to be woken and she had seen the coffin lowered into the ground.  And Jesus is very powerful so how could he need Daddy. Anyway, there is no answer to these questions. 

Please note whatever words people used to bring us comfort, we understood them in the light of their intention, which was to love and comfort us. And we were comforted:-) 

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Is this a biblical position?

http://magazine.biola.edu/article/11-summer/is-hell-a-vital-doctrine/

 

“Annihilationism” seems to be increasingly accepted as a view of hell within evangelicalism. Is this a biblical position?

There have been individuals within the broad evangelical community who have subscribed to this view of annihilationism, which basically is the idea that the unbeliever will be tormented for a particular amount of time in hell but will eventually be terminated or annihilated. It’s the idea that fire destroys and brings things to an end — to ashes. It’s the idea of conscious, but not eternal torment. I’m not quite sure if there’s any biblical basis for this. From what I’ve seen and what I’ve read, the problem seems to be more existential, more emotional than scriptural and textual. Annihiliationism is held by some theologians in the church — Clark Pinnock, Edward Fudge — but to be honest, textually speaking I’m not quite sure how they can affirm this.

 

I totally agree with Ashish Naidu that “Love warns” ( I liked the pun on Bell’s book) and hell is an important doctrine.  The author wonders if there is any biblical basis for annihiationism, but fails to really investigate it. “It seems more emotional than scriptural.” (emphasis mine). We are whole persons and we have emotions, and so I freely admit that there is  emotion tied up in many of my theological positions. But I think for many annihilationists the idea that we might be embracing what many consider heresy means that our emotions pulls us away from annihilationism rather than towards it, ie the reverse direction than the author suggests. We come to this position protesting, but are convinced of it because it is what the Bible teaches. Can I challenge you to look again and you will find much scriptural and textual evidence for the position. Discuss:  http://www.afterlife.co.nz/forums/threads/8-Emotions

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Debate on the final punishment

Debate topic: “The final punishment of the risen wicked will be annihilation, the permanent end to the conscious existence of the entire person.”

http://www.theopologetics.com/2012/06/16/episode-88-death-eternal/

 

“Chris Date, host of the Theopologetics podcast and contributor to the Rethinking Hell blog and podcast, affirms. Joshua Whipps, creator of the Razor’s Kissblog and author at Choosing Hats, denies. Dee Dee Warren, friend to Chris and host of The Preterist Podcast, moderates. This episode is part 1 of the debate, including opening statements and first rebuttals. Listen to episode 89 for part 2′s first round of cross-examination and second rebuttals; listen to episode 90 for part 3′s second round of cross-examination, closing statements and listener Q&A.”

( Episode  89 and 90 coming soon, I’m looking forward to their release.)

Theopologetics


I appreciated the debate:-) On a person level, I appreciated Chris’s point of how he struggled with changing his mind on hell very powerful and one I could relate to:

It is often suggested to me that I became an annihilationist because I didn’t like the idea of the traditional view of hell. But I resisted the idea of annihilationism for quite a while because I knew it would mean there were some parachurch organisations and many churches that I could no longer join, because I could not, if I changed my mind on hell, in good conscience, sign their statements of faith. 

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Afterlife Forum

You are invited to join the new afterlife forum.

http://www.afterlife.co.nz/forums/forum.php

It is place to share and discuss conditional immorality and annihiliationism.
I hope the forum will provide an opportunity for you to share your unique perspective and be heard, as well as a place to learn from one another.

Conditionalist run the full range of  theological positions that exist in the church so we will need the love of God  to guide our discussions:-)

PS. You do not need to be a theologian to post, I’m not :-)

Afterlife-forums

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Rethinking Hell

A group on facebook called “Rethinking Hell” has recently started. I’m appreciating the discussion and  joining something wider than afterlife.co.nz. It’s a truly international group with a enthusiam and passion to call Christians to Rethink Hell. 

Rethinking_hell

About Rethinking Hell :

 A respectful discussion among Evangelical Christians, exploring Annihilationist views of Hell in light of the traditional view.

Come join in๐Ÿ™‚

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rethinkinghell/

 

 

 

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Gehenna

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Tracing the Road to Gehenna:

http://www.afterlife.co.nz/2012/featured-article/tracing-the-road-to-gehenna/

I have just published a new article on the www.afterlife.co.nz website on Gehenna.

 

It has been popularly said that the Lord Jesus borrowed the imagery of Gehenna from a perpetually lit rubbish dump outside Jerusalem that was used for consuming the cities rubbish and even to destroy the godless. It is understood that such graphic imagery would have helped Jesus to convey what the end-time judgment will be like. Apparently this idea was first written about in a commentary by a Rabbi by the name of David Kimhi who lived around A.D. 1200.  

However, this notion of Gehenna as a perpetual rubbish dump has been contested by some notable scholars. Herman Strack & Paul Billerbeck, scholars of Judaism and its related writings, state that there is neither archaeological nor literary evidence to support this claim in either the early intertestamental literature or later rabbinic sources. In 1986 Lloyd R. Bailey in his book “The Topography of Hell” came to the same conclusion…

So if the Lord Jesus did not draw his imagery from the popular concept of the “rubbish dump” where did he draw the concept from?

To answer this question we now turn to the OT account of Genesis to see if we can find any reference to its origin there.

 

I think Armand is saying  that  Jesus chose not to use Hades ( the Greek translation of sheol in the Septuagint) to his Jewish audience  because the meaning of Hades carried with it so much baggage and Gehenna did not. And he suggests that  Gehenna is an exclusive transliteration of a Jewish place which became a Jewish metaphor for Jerusalem’s judgment.

Here are some links about the Gehenna rubbish dump myth:

http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2011/04/myth-of-burning-garbage-dump-of-gehenna.html

http://bbhchurchconnection.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/was-gehenna-a-smoldering-garbage-dump/

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Gehenna

Ge-hinnom

Tracing the Road to Gehenna:

I have just published a new article on the www.afterlife.co.nz website on Gehenna.

It has been popularly said that the Lord Jesus borrowed the imagery of Gehenna from a perpetually lit rubbish dump outside Jerusalem that was used for consuming the cities rubbish and even to destroy the godless. It is understood that such graphic imagery would have helped Jesus to convey what the end-time judgment will be like. Apparently this idea was first written about in a commentary by a Rabbi by the name of David Kimhi who lived around A.D. 1200.  

However, this notion of Gehenna as a perpetual rubbish dump has been contested by some notable scholars. Herman Strack & Paul Billerbeck, scholars of Judaism and its related writings, state that there is neither archaeological nor literary evidence to support this claim in either the early intertestamental literature or later rabbinic sources. In 1986 Lloyd R. Bailey in his book “The Topography of Hell” came to the same conclusion…

So if the Lord Jesus did not draw his imagery from the popular concept of the “rubbish dump” where did he draw the concept from?

To answer this question we now turn to the OT account of Genesis to see if we can find any reference to its origin there.

I think Armand is saying  that  Jesus chose not to use Hades ( the Greek translation of sheol in the Septuagint) to his Jewish audience  because the meaning of Hades carried with it so much baggage and Gehenna did not. And he suggests that  Gehenna is an exclusive transliteration of a Jewish place which became a Jewish metaphor for Jerusalem’s judgment.

Here are some links about the Gehenna rubbish dump myth:

http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2011/04/myth-of-burning-garbage-dump-of-gehenna.html

http://bbhchurchconnection.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/was-gehenna-a-smoldering-garbage-dump/

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