27 Jan 2007

Death and Hades

Submitted by theshovel
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I've been told that people NEED the teaching of hell to keep them on their toes. It is commonly taught that folks wouldn't reach for heaven if hell wasn't ready to swallow them up. It is also said that believers wouldn't preach the gospel of Christ if hell wasn't waiting for its victims.

Perhaps we might ought to consider the different kinds of "gospels" that have been preached under the influence and fear of hell before we fall for the rationale given to believe it. It was for freedom that Christ freed us, not the fear and intimidation of the law.

To continue, here are a few more "hell" verses based upon the Greek word "Hades" to consider.

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Acts 2:27-31 (KJV)

The two references Peter made to hell in the above passage are translated from the Greek hades. In his speech, Peter quoted David (Psalm 16) who did not use the word hell nor did he use hades, but instead he used the Hebrew Sheol. Now, some Christian tradition would have us believe that Jesus spent some time in hell. I remember believing that. Apparently, the "it is finished" wasn't enough, since Jesus needed to do some more suffering in the flames of hell on our behalf. Once again, man's reasoning endeavors to understand what it means for Christ to have paid for sin.

The question remains: did Jesus have an out of body experience so that his soul could go into a place called hades or did the core of his being lie in stasis until life returned to him? Did Jesus need to go and do something while his body lay in the grave or did he accomplish everything necessary simply by his death? I suspect some have concocted elaborate explanations because his death just doesn't seem sufficient. In dying, Christ removed the offense. As a seed that falls to the ground and dies, new life sprang forth. Peter indicates that Christ's resurrection from the dead removed him from the grave so that his body did not rot in the ground. We sure make things complicated, don't we?

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV)

Notice that the KJV conveniently translated the Greek Hades in this verse as grave. Are we to believe that God inspired them to translate it differently here or was their choice a little more practical? In other words, did they opt for an alternative simply because hell seemed too out of place, both here and in the OT verse Paul had quoted? It seems quite clear that neither Sheol nor Hades must mean Hell if they are better translated otherwise in certain places, don't you think?

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. Hosea 13:14 (KJV)

Death and Hades appears to be the same as Death and Sheol. So, what's the real message here? In Christ, death has no power, and the unknown that lays waiting for man beyond the grave has no victory. Also consider that the theme of Paul's message to the Corinthians was not about one's final resting place but this:

For I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2

We are the ones who keep forcing final destiny into the context, and in doing so miss out on the living connection to the two verses that follow:

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

Paul's meaning is obviously not regarding a place of final destination, but of the true freedom brought about in Christ. Somehow, modern Christianity uses verses like the above to scripturally prove that after we physically die we won't have to be cast into the burning pit to exist forever and ever in torment; and at the same time it scoffs at the very reality of God's true freedom in Christ in having released us from the power of sin through law. How do we keep proving stuff like that using words that say something else?

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Comments

“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” Jim, Do you happen to know if God ever actually swore with an oath in the Old Testament to DAVID that He would raise up Christ? Also do you really think David actually KNEW that his desperate cry or plea for help[and the comfort he was known for in his thinking on God’s righteousness/avenging] in the psalm had anything to do with the resurrection of Christ? Or is that the point Peter is even making? When I read: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” I guess all I see is David saying and acknowledging that HE himself is Gods anointed king and that God simply is known to rescue the righteous. That was always the common theme in the Old Covenant as I read it.I think elsewhere David was saying that God had shown him the path of life through the lamp of his law..and that he meditated on it it day and night so that he knew God’s ways were holy and lead to good stuff. It was a “lamp unto his feet”. And is it my misunderstanding but, was David ever called a prophet in his day? It just doesn’t seem to show in the passage if his above as him #1 being aware of Christ’s resurrection and #2 him prophesying anything? To me it is just a written poem of despair[which David was known for] and the corresponding praise and or comfort.[again which is in line with his other psalms] I have always been skeptical of this reference..geez since I can remember? I remember seeing this as a turning point in my faith when I had suddenly realized the people around me were reading things into the passages that were not there and then refusing to believe otherwise.Yikes! That really stunned me! Of course I have never had anyone give me a logical explanation for this. In response to that lack of an answer I guess I learned to assume that even Peter himself was projecting his own reasoning on the passage in question..well then it is down hill from there of course…because once you doubt a significant writing or testimony in one place, it becomes very easy to begin to doubt the whole thing.. yet God has somehow remained with His desire in me. Adam
theshovel's picture

Hello Adam,

There are two mentions of the oath God swore to David in the Psalms.

"I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations." Selah. Psalms 89:3-4

For the sake of David Thy servant, Do not turn away the face of Thine anointed. The LORD has sworn to David, A truth from which He will not turn back; "Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. If your sons will keep My covenant, And My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever." For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. "This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. Her priests also I will clothe with salvation; And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame; But upon himself his crown shall shine." Psalms 132:10-18

Granted, you and I might read these and wonder if it actually referred to the coming of the Messiah, but there was no question in the mind of Israel. Of course we know that there was a general assumption, based on the many prophecies, that the coming Christ (anointed one) would be a powerful king who would establish Israel once again as the dominant power on the earth. Then again, what else could the natural mind conclude regarding the build up of characteristics of the redeemer of Israel.

Consider how after Jesus was born and the magi came looking for the King of the Jews and Herod called the chief priests and scribes to determine his birthplace. I believe the magi had learned of this King of the Jews through Daniel, but I don't know if I would have made the connection from the Scriptures that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. But they did. Perhaps it had been mostly theoretical to them, until they had been called upon by the king to come up with an answer. Anyhow, Herod acted upon it. My point is that we cannot base how these "prophecies" may or may not have been associated by our outside viewpoints.

Now when David claimed that God would not leave his soul in Sheol nor allow his holy one to see corruption, did he understand anything beyond his own present circumstance? I don't know. However, David's statement sat almost as a mockery within their memories for generations to come. It makes no difference if David knew what he was saying or not, just like with the chief priest, Ananias, who made his off-handed remark about Jesus being sacrificed for the nation of Israel.

I actually think it's pretty cool that God would embed hints of his promise through those who had no idea what they were saying.

Jim

He he.. Yeah I am so glad you had noticed and even decided to use that idea from the quote of the High Preist Ananias. I mean, I used to run over and over that sentence trying and trying to figure out just what that was actually saying. Not to mention I wondered why John decoded it a bit with his mention. I kept saying to myself “Adam why is this significant? Why? I sense SOMETHING but, why is it significant?”. I would usually just give up and move on. Now I have only read your response once so I will need to read it again to get more of the intricacies of what you are intending to say but, I do see the main point in what you are saying. Have a look at this though: “..If your sons will keep My covenant, And My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.” Now the language throws me off with the “keeping” of the covenant. For it is clearly based on mans ability to “keep it” in this sentence as it reads. But I think the greater point is what you have been subtlety saying over the years to me in that it was often how THEY viewed something that they would release there own wording. For it was only TESTIMONY not exact prophetic wording to be adhered to a T right? Isn’t that what the Law keepers tell us we need to do? Stare at the wording and figure it out like a treasure map? I will read this more and see what other questions I may come up with? Am I on the right track though bro? THANKS AGAIN!! Adam
theshovel's picture

Very much on the right track! For in trying to establish an exact word-perfect match, the living testimony is overlooked. And isn't that the nature of man's legal mind? I mean, there is no better picture of this than when the religious leaders of Israel stared Jesus in the face and determined with their interpretations that he could not be the one they had been looking for through Israel's whole existence. It takes the Spirit of God to bring testimony to recognize that which is born of God. :)

Jim

I guess I am wondering if this applies even to the people like Peter and others? I mean I realize now that they were simply testifying to something but, did there own interpretations also play a part? For sure those in the old[the prophets] because they did not have the Spirit within, could be saying things without knowing what the heck it meant but, what about the brothers in the new life? On another note, just for the record, I only see this portion of the quote as testifying to the keeping of the Law and the promises attached to it. I hear him saying if you will obey my law, keep the covenant, I want and will dwell here with you and will establish my throne here in you as long as your sons keep it going. I will keep on providing material things so that you can exist and I can dwell with you here. If your sons will keep My covenant, And My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.” For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. Her priests also I will clothe with salvation; And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Feb-01-07 at 1:53pm by Neil
Once more a great treatise on the subject. Really getting into it, bro. Especially as it becomes so apparent that one of the most revered "translations" in all Christianity, The King James Version may have had a bit of political expediency thrown in. Well, no, not MAY have...DID! If these translators had of been working completely independently of the crown, what we ended up with might have been a lot different. Of course, things being the way they were at the time, there probably wouldn't have been any independent translation of any sort...not coming out of England, anyway.

Many blessings on you my friend,
Neil


Posted: Feb-06-07 at 8:16pm by Glenn
Jim, it is good to see you writing again. I missed you when you were taking a break. But I understand how life gets busy.

I want to send an email to say thanks for your writing. I have been on your list for a few years now. I really appreciate you perspective and insight. It has helped me gain the knowledge of my freedom in Christ. I have not been the same since.

Thanks and God bless

Glenn


Posted: Feb-07-07 at 2:12pm by Bea
Dear Jim, have had the flu and was slow in reading your latest Hell raising!:} As always you give so much "meat" to feed upon...... When Our Lord tells us in John 11: 25-26 that we who believe his word (John 8:51) will live even thought we die!! And whoever believes in me will never die!!!! Kinda makes Hell a moot point!!!:} Being seperated from the love of God and the comfort of His Spirit ,in my opinion, is Hell!!!
May He continue to bless and keep you in His Word!!!! In His Grace,Bea


Posted: Jul-18-07 at 10:49pm by Herb

Hello Jim, I am a long time reader of the shovel and the Lord has used your words to reveal many things to me and others that I have an opportunity to share with. Thanks. Your words concerning Hell have my brain thinking. Very dangerous. I have been taking a leisurely jaunt through the Kingdom parables lately and in revisiting the wheat and the tares and noticing the enemy sowed the tares among the wheat and supposing that it is very hard to distinguish between the two (as in sheep and goats). In fact the sheep being unaware that they were sheep and the goats being sure they were sheep it would seem things are not what they seem.... I could be mixing my parables...

Maybe hell has been prepared for tares, vipers, goats and such. Off spring of the enemy who look more like sheep than I do. I know, it is weird to think that we could be walking by those that are of a different spiritual species thinking they are much better than us dysfunctional sheep. Sounds a little like the Matrix... It would do away with a lot of troublesome theology. And if I were to think about it or propose it to many, they would probably have me burned at the stake by both the (cals) and the (arms). Thank goodness I don't have my living coming from the institutional church anymore, I could be in the poor house.
Your web site is incredible!
Thanks,
Herb


Posted: Mar-10-08 at 8:00pm by margie austman
Hi Jim and Sharon, I have been reading tentmaker.org material for several months now and they have so much study on this subject. Have you heard of that website? I have some friends who don't have internet but love to read union with Christ writings that I find on the internet to print out for them so I thought of yours!! Have you gone to infinite supply? They have a lot of Norman Grubbs articles and letters! I've been enjoying that! Good to be back on your webpage again!
Hello to both of you from Margie in ONTARIO!!! You're both so comfortable and enjoyable to be around! :)

*********************

Hello, sweet Margie! It is good to hear from you again. I have read a little from tentmaker, though I don't visit often. I remember some good stuff there. I'll have to check it out again. :) I'm not familiar with infinite supply. I'll have to do a search.

You are most welcome to print out anything on my site. That's what it's there for. :)

We really enjoyed our time together with you in Ontario. We hope to come back again someday!

Love, Jim

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How can you realize the freedom you have in Christ? I say that you will discover it, more times than not, in the midst of the bondage that still seems to hold you down. You see, the power of the gospel is not found merely in the words of its testimony of Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is found in the reality that has been brought about because of who he is and what he has done. That reality is that Christ is in you. He is there, and his life witnesses from within you … despite all the doubts that you think actually come from within you. source