ch.1 announced the same thing "He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David and He shall rule over the house of Israel and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
We now look at a few other points Mr. M has made. When the Lord told Mary He had not yet ascended to His Father, we seek for no excuses to disbelieve this. With regards to the rich man and Lazurus, we refer you to our booklet which can be found on our website loversofthetruth.co.uk under ‘literature’.
On page 21 Mr M. mentions Acts 2:34, 'For David is not ascended into the heavens', we have no interest in what the JWs say about this passage but we are extremely intrested in what scripture has to say. Peter quotes Psalm 16, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades/sheol'. To prove these words could not refer to David he tells us in verse 29 that David is dead and buried and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore David had saw corruption so these words could not refer to him. He then proceeds to tell the Jewish company that God had raised Christ from the dead and quotes words from another Psalm of David, Psalm 110:1, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right until I make thy foes thy footstool.' Seeing this is a Psalm of David and to avoid any confusion to his hearers that these words could have been spoken by God to David, he tells them clearly, 'For David is not ascended into the heavens.' Nor could he have as we have shown from John 3:13. He was not in heaven in any shape or form for if he had been then these words could have been addressed to him, nullifying Peter's argument.
Why not just believe what the Bible says:
'The living know that they will die but the dead (dead ones) know not anything.' Eccl 9:5
'The dead praise not the Lord.' Psalm 115:17
'In death there is no remembrance of thee, in the grave (sheol) who shall give thee thanks.' Psalm 6:5
In all of his booklet Mr M. furnishes no proof whatsoever from either Old or New Testament that the dead are actually alive. Nor does he prove that the wicked are in conscious torment in hell. The verses he quotes to try to verify this view only succeed in underlining the fact that the Bible says nothing about a place where the unrighteous are in constant torment.
We need to make it clear that we believe the unrighteous will be raised and judged at the Great White Throne, the books will be opened as will the Book of Life and those whose names will not appear will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death not eternal conscious punishment.
Hebrews ch.9v27 reminds us "it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgement". There is nothing according to this verse which lies between death and judgement. No intermediate state which Mr. M alludes to. He refers to hell as a place of incarceration for sinners, and likens it to someone remanded in custody to await trial. What if that person in custody were beaten senseless every day before the trial took place, would he still think this was just? Luke 16 does not simply picture a person in custody but someone in torment calling out for a drop of water to cool his tongue. Are we to truly believe this is what is happening to the wicked dead before they are judged? Of course not, this is one of the most misunderstood passages of scripture in the bible. If only the advise given through Abraham was obeyed how much error could be avoided. The word says "let them hear Moses and the prophets". So let men do just that and they will search from Genesis to Malachi in vain to find any mention of a place with 2 compartments, where the unrighteous are in constant torment and where their cries can be heard by the righteous who are seemingly unmoved. No such narrative or verse will be found and we will be left with the unsatisfactory conclusion that God had allowed sinners to drop into this awful place and hadn't even bothered to warn them. Can people who teach these things not realise the irreparable damage they are doing to the righteous holy character of God.
As to the so called appearance of Samuel in 1 Samuel 28 we are amazed to think that anyone would suggest that God would use a witch, all of whom God said should be put to death. God's Spirit had departed from Saul He was not communicating with him anymore and if He had wanted to speak He certainly would not have used a witch. All this is easily explained, "Samuel" supposedly told Saul that tomorrow he and his sons would be with him. we do not believe that Saul was going to glory the next day to be united with Samuel, for we know from 1Samuel ch.30 v1 that it was at least 3 days later Saul and his sons died. Are we to believe Samuel told Saul a lie? Definitely not, what the witch brought up was a familiar spirit who impersonated Samuel and deceived Saul.
As to Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration the narrative in Matthew ch.17 makes it clear, what the disciples saw was "a vision" see verse 9 Jesus told them "See thou tell the vision to no man". Many years later when Peter would recall the event in his second epistle in ch.1 he speaks of the holy mountain of the majesty of Christ of the voice from the excellent glory but no mention of either Moses or Elijah. The vision was no doubt to impress upon them that in their midst stood a greater than both of these remarkable and famous men.
Mr. M is badly mistaken in thinking Gehenna is hell or the Lake of fire. Sheol/Hades is the state of death, Gehenna a rubbish tip outside Jereusalem's wall where all refuse was thrown, all dead animals were dumped and there even criminals were abandoned after execution having been refused burial. The fire burned in it continually and the worms ate every thing the fire didn't reach. We find it mentioned in Isaiah ch.66v24 when, during the 1000 year reign of Christ the nations of earth will come up to worship the Lord we are told that "they shall look on the CARCASES of those men that have transgressed against me, for their worm dieth not neither shall their fire be quenched". Christ shall rule with a rod of iron and all those who transgress will be dealt with swiftly in judgement and their carcases will be thrown on the relit fires of Gehenna as a warning to others and they will be "an abhorring unto all flesh".
Mr. Montgomery's book has produced no proof whatsoever of the "souls" immortality and we have heard these well worn arguments over and over again. The poverty of the argument is clearly seen when symbolic passages like Revelation 6 are grasped at to convince us that the dead are alive or possess immortality. These souls/persons are met again in Rev ch.20 where we are told plainly "they lived and reigned with Christ 1000 years" It is at the first resurrection they are said to live so we can be sure they were not alive in ch.6 but they were seen in vision form crying out for vengeance, just in the same way that Abel's blood was said to cry out from the ground.
There are many other errors we could point out but we feel enough has been said to prove our point. What Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Andrews fail to understand is that we have been where they are, believed what they believe, produced the same arguments, and better than they have put up, but these two men have never been where we are now and will never be until they learn to bow and humbly accept the clear, explicit teaching of Holy Scripture.
REPLY TO MR. ANDREWS’ APPENDIX
There are only 3 areas we wish to comment on in Mr. Andrews appendix as most of the issues he raises are contained in Mr. Montgomery's book and have been dealt with already.
The interpretation of Christ's words in John 11V25 "I am the resurrection and the life he that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die". Unless we were trying to propagate some strange doctrine these majestic words of Christ are self explanatory. Lazarus was asleep he told them at the first. Sleep of course being the metaphor which is used in scripture of all who are dead, righteous and unrighteous. Then plainly He said "Lazarus is dead". Not his body but Lazarus himself. When Jesus eventually comes to Bethany and after some discussion with the dead man's sisters He is brought to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid. Our Lord does not try to comfort the sorrowing sisters as many do today by telling them their brother was safe in glory, happier than he had ever been before and would not want to swap places with anyone alive. No words like these escaped His divine lips. He just wept. Why? If Lazarus was in heaven why should the Saviour of the world weep and why indeed would He want to bring him back to earth again? He was looking down the aeons of time in His omniscient mind and could see the havoc the last enemy, death would cause. The many broken hearts and empty chairs which would be left and He Himself not physically present to do what He was about to do for Martha and Mary. Jesus told them that their "brother Lazarus would rise again", again please note He was speaking of Lazarus the person not his body. Martha replied "I know.......in the resurrection of the last day". They were discussing physical resurrection not a spiritual resurrection like we have in Ephesians ch. 2. Christ now reveals to them a great and important truth, it centres around His return at the end of this age, how majestic are His words "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall He live". What hope was now instilled into the despairing sisters hearts. One stood before them who had the authority and the power to actually raise the dead. The words reach down through the vista of time to that moment of His return when all DEAD believers will be summoned back to life, but to them at that moment they were especially precious. Then the Saviour added these words "and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die", pointing of course to the fact that when He returns living believers will never have to die. So our Lord speaks of those who are dead physically, and those who will be alive at his return. There are only and always will be these two types of believers either ALIVE or DEAD. Lazarus fell into the latter category he was one of the dead ones. Jesus cried "Lazarus come forth". Now please listen to what the narrative says, "and he that was DEAD came forth". How much easier to believe what the book says that to twist verses to wrench out a meaning that will suit our little agenda.
Mr. Andrews explanation of the resurrections of Dorcas and others is mysterious to say the least. He is obviously very confused as to what did depart at death. He is not sure whether it is the soul or the spirit. As we have explained previously the 2 words are never confused in Holy Scripture and are not interchangeable as Mr. Montgomery suggests. It is quite amusing to watch the term soul/spirit appearing repeatedly in this short appendix, maybe we will be able to cast some scriptural light on the subject. Both Mr. M and Mr. A are agreed that the "immortal soul/spirit" of all believers go immediately to heaven at death yet the minute Mr. A is asked about some who were resurrected he recoils in horror. Now all sorts of problems appear. May we say first of all that the 3 purposes which he gives for miracles taking place have been sent to us a number of times before, almost word for word as we have it here, this seems to be a sort of standard answer to the dilemma. Obviously all these replies come from the same source so we assume Mr. A and the others we mentioned are reading the same book. However we diversify, let’s get back and see what the inspired book says. Mr. A in his appendix on this subject says and I quote, "quite simply we cannot say from scripture dogmatically what happened to those soul/spirits", end of quote. So there we have it he can't say dogmatically, yet he has no problem telling us dogmatically where all other "immortal soul/spirits" went. Do I need to remind Mr A. that he has repeatedly stated that all human beings have this so called "immortal soul/spirit" which will survive death and land in 1 of 2 destinations. We take it therefore that Lazarus, Eutychus, Widow of Nain's son, Jairus's daughter, Those no doubt the disciples raised at the direct command of Christ and the Many that were raised after Christ's resurrection were no different. So what exactly did happen? Was there some sort of soul sleep experienced by them? Perhaps there is another intermediate state created especially for cases like these, some sort of Limbo where they float around until they are called. Or maybe the Roman Catholics are not as wrong as we think, could it be Purgatory in which they were held. We are jesting of course, the whole thing is laughable if it were not so serious. Mr. A needs at least to be consistent It's no good hiding behind "the secret things belong unto the Lord" on this issue. Take Lazarus for instance dead 4 days, so where was he? Mr. Andrews feeble answer shows the poverty of his argument. He realises if he admits Lazarus came back out of heaven all sorts of issues arise. What about those many saints which arose after Christ's resurrection, we don’t even know how long they were dead it may have been years, where were their "soul/spirits" hanging around all that time? Let us answer this question once and for all for God has indeed given us the answer. They were all in Sheol, not a grave for that is not what the word means. Jacob is the first to mention this place, and according to the law of first mention this will give us an idea as to the true meaning of the word. Genesis ch.37 v 35 is the text, Jacob said "I will go down into the grave (sheol) unto my son mourning" There we have it sheol is THE GRAVE ie the STATE OF DEATH. Those who were resurrected did not come back from heaven, how unfair and cruel that would have been, but from THE GRAVE the STATE OF DEATH itself, and all were glad to be back. Death is not the Christians friend, some wonderful portal through which believers pass directly into glory, certainly not. 1 COR. ch.15 v 26 tells that death is our enemy and that it will hold us fast until the One who has conquered death returns and then will be brought to pass the saying and not before then "O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory", 1 Cor. 15 v 55. Those we have talked about were simply raised from the dead and we trust Mr. A can get his head around that.
Mr. A mistakenly suggests that hell (hades) and the Lake of fire are one and the same. That could not possibly be correct as a simple reading of Rev. ch. 20 will reveal. We read in verse 14 "And death and hell(hades) were cast into the Lake of fire". How can one cast hell into hell I would ask? These two words death (thanatos) and hell (hades) are used together a number of times in scripture and especially here in Revelation. They signify that both the article (death/thanatos) and the state of death (hades/sheol/hell) will at that point be completely finished with. This word hades is the greek equivelent of the hebrew sheol. The greek hades carries a lot of pagan luggage with it, for example Hades was the greek god of the underworld and it was believed by pagan Greeks to be the place departed souls were detained. One has only to read the extract from ‘Josephus to the greeks concerning Hades’ to find that out. The Jews who were influenced like so many with greek philosophy adopted this idea into their own theology, and indeed it was this blatant error Christ was confronting in Luke ch.16. The idea of a place with 2 compartments, the great gulf, tormented souls and even Abrahams bosom find no basis in Old Testament scripture but was a figment of jewish imagination mixed up with greek philosophy. Our Lord would never have used the word HADES but the word SHEOL its hebrew equivelent. So what do we find, the Lord Jesus mentions hades/sheol only 4 times in the gospels and one of the mentions is a repetition mentioned in 2 gospels but spoken on the same occassion, so really only 3 times. Gehenna is a completely different matter and we have covered that previously but let me repeat Gehenna is not the HELL of the traditionalist nor is it the Lake of fire. In Matthew ch. 5 which Mr. A mentions the words from verse 22 "whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell(gehenna) fire". It is clear Christ was speaking to his disciples for the last verse of the chapter tells us that He said to them "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". Are we to believe these disciples were in danger of going to hell, would Mr A subscribe to being saved and lost. These chapters in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 are dealing with the laws of the kingdom which was at that time being offered to Israel and the punishment mentioned was the most severe that would be handed out during that kingdom reign. The disciples as did all Jews, knew exactly what gehenna was but they certainly didn't link it with sheol/hades. These same disciples heard Christ speak in Luke 16 they heard of that rich man in torments and his awful fate yet in all of their writings they never even think it worth their while to mention the word hades/hell even once. The apostle Paul who could honestly say to those Ephesian elders in Acts ch.20 v 27 he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God and in verse 25 could announce he was pure from the blood of all men, yet how could this be true if in all of his 14 epistles never mentions hell/hades . Nor in his 12 sermons in the Acts is there one word of it. In fact on Mars hill Acts ch.17 the only thing Paul told that heathen idolatrous company was that God "has appointed a day in the which He will judge this world in righteousness", looking forward of course to the judgement of the Great White Throne.
We believe Paul, We believe John. We believe Peter. We believe Jude. We believe James. We believe the Son of God. What about you Mr Andrews?
This correspondence has been forced upon us by the carnal nasty and hurtful way Mr. Andrews has attacked our website. We can assure him that it has in no way enhanced his Christianity but has in fact revealed the bigot and bully he truly is.
Much of his appendix is the work and words of others including, Louis Berkhof, AA Hoekema(deceased), Pastor John Mc Arthur, W Hall Harris III, W E Vines dictionary,John Montgomery, and a website called http://www.founders.org/
We here at "lovers of the truth" feel that we have expended enough time on him and believe his comments deserve no further response. We will leave the option of a public debate open to him at all times for we realise from what we have read his complete ignorance to the things of God.
We also have difficulty holding court with a man of such double standards. A man claiming to be a Christian who could on the one hand be a candidate for a political party that encourages drinking, gambling and smoking, and on the other hand would tell people not to attend Gospel meetings, such a man as this is to be avoided at all costs.
We want to assure him that we will use every opportunity that becomes available to us to warn people of his double dealing and to make it clear to those who would ask him to speak of his worldly associations.
We trust and pray that God will awaken him, even at this late stage to the error of his ways and that he may repent and seek the forgiveness he needs.
May he learn the truth of God's word which states in Matthew ch7v3 "Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brothers eye, but considerest not the beam in thine own eye?"