A Saturday Morning Letter On the Dead

Dear Jordan:

I wanted to write this letter to you to thank you for meeting with me on Saturday and I am much obliged at the time you took to speak with me. I really enjoyed our conversation. You probably noticed that I raised very little points but listened attentively to your presentation. You certainly brought up many interesting issues and had a very fluent way of presenting what you referred to as “the truth”[1] I appreciate that we were able to swap contact information and as promised here is my letter to you! After thinking back on our discussion, I decided to look into what you said so I could perhaps grasp a better understanding of your presentation of the Gospel. There are things that I would agree with you on and unfortunately others I would disagree. I would like to touch basis on these points.

Let me review our conversation a bit. During our discussion, you went through many topics but I’d like to focus this letter on the issues of post-mortem. Please correct me if I’m misrepresenting what you said in any way because I know how it feels to be misrepresented and I want to be as correct as possible.[2] In essence I hope the following is a fair understanding of what we discussed. You began by correcting the common belief that the soul is separate from man. You mentioned several passages that showed how man is a soul thus you are a soul and not you have a soul. You also mentioned how the belief that the soul lives on after death and that the spirit goes to heaven is false and that Satan was behind the whole concept in the earliest times in the Garden of Eden when he lied to Eve saying you surely will not die (Gen 3:4). From this point you also mentioned that when the soul or person dies that they actually sleeps (I believe you called it Soul-Sleep) and is non-existent since they are not conscious after death of anything at all. You then mentioned that at the resurrection, all will be raised and those who are a part of the 144,000 in Rev. 7:4 will rule in Heaven with Christ Jesus over the “other sheep” (John 10:16) which will be on earth. I think you also called them the great crowd of Rev 7:9. You then mentioned that some who had not heard of or shunned away from Christ (due to the pressures of the world) would get a second chance to repent because their sins would be paid for by their death (Rom 6:23). This was largely the case because Jehovah would be understanding concerning their situation in life. You also said that when these were presented with the paradise, some would accept it and some would still reject it. You then mentioned that those who had rejected it would be destroyed or annihilated by Jehovah. When I asked about Hell, you were quite clear that Hell was just a state and it was nothing more than the grave. Since Jehovah is love, He would never send someone, no matter how much of a sinner he is, to a never ending hell to be tormented forever.

Salvation was another issue we discussed in which you said that my belief that I can know now that I’m saved was dangerous since no one can know the mind of God and that I should be humble. You said that we must “work out our Salvation” and that “those who resist till the end shall be saved” and that “faith without works is dead”. These were the key takeaways from our discussion and I must admit, I admire your zeal for God as well as your sincerity towards me. I would like to perhaps give my own rendering of what was discussed and I hope you will follow my example and take into consideration what I’m going to write down here. I think you would agree with Paul when he commended the Bereans for examining the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11) and also to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

I would like to begin with your definition of Soul (which I had mentioned above and according to my recollection) is that you are a soul and not that you possess a soul.[3] You quoted the following scriptures from the New & Old Testament as your proof to this assertion:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

…While the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:20 NKJV)

I would agree with you wholeheartedly that the soul in these passages does refer to a living person. I must ask, however, if this is the only definition for the word soul in scripture? You see Jordan I believe that a word is defined by the context in which it’s used. If we read the whole of scripture, and let the context define what a word says, we can see that the word soul does refer only to a living person but also as to being separate from the body as well.

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

In the Matthew passage we can see that it is possible to kill a man (body) without killing his soul hence we have a clear separation of the two. How can the body die and the soul remain if they were the same? Paul, in his letter to the church in Thessalonica, refers to 3 separate parts of man that must be preserved without blame. He clearly separates the body from the soul and the spirit. I will pursue this point further in my next answer to the soul being unconscious at death.

I would like to now address some of your proof texts you gave with respects to the soul being unconscious and non-existent after death.  You began with Ecclesiastes 9:5 which reads:

For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

I must admit, at first, I did find this persuasive but when I looked at the context, I realized that you were quoting this verse out of context. Your argument was that the dead know nothing at all, have no conscious thoughts and hence cease to exist after death. If we read it together with v.6, we can come to a better understanding of what’s being said.

For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)

If you take a good look at this Jordan, three very important words give a more direct context of the message being given. You see the dead will not share in all that is done “under the sun” which refers to here on earth. This term “under the sun” is used 31 times in the book of Ecclesiastes[4] and it always refers to thing “on this earth”. The dead will not know what is happening here on earth, they have no rewards here, everything that they are is gone from this earth but this does not mean that they have no consciousness.[5] You then proceeded to Psalm 146:3,4:

Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish (Psalm 146:3,4)

Reading, not just verses 3 and 4, but all ten verses of Psalm 146 together makes clear that the Psalmist is not speaking about the condition of the dead at all. Rather, he is contrasting the hope enjoyed by those who trust in God with the false hope of those who trust in human leaders. While “the LORD shall reign for ever” (vs. 10) to accomplish His will, the human prince dies and with him dies all that he had thought or intended to do.[6]

You then went on to quote Ezekiel 18:4

Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine the soul who sins will die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

This was a very important passage to your argument and if I remember correctly, you spoke quite a bit on it. Your focus was on the idea that since the soul that sins dies, then a person must be non-existent after death. First of all I completely agree with your definition of the word “death” since in scripture, death is referred to as a “separation”[7] rather than what you had argued, which was non-existence. Once again Jordan, this is a good example of reading the whole context instead of just a portion of the passage.

“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine the soul who sins will die. “But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, …–if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 18:4,5,9)

Yahweh here contrasting the sinful man and the righteous man and states clearly that this righteous man “will surely live”. This passage has nothing to do with the dead being non-existent at all.[8]

Now, please let me present why I believe you are in error in your belief of the state of the dead. From what I can gather, the scriptures do speak of death as sleep but not in the way you mentioned. In Luke 8:52, the Lord said that Jairus’ daughter was “sleeping” but those with her knew she had died. Yet, the very same passage, in v. 55, says that “her spirit returned”, I must ask, where did it return from? I would also like to point out that when Paul was speaking of the return of the Lord, he said, “God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus”, (1 Thessalonians 4:14).  Where will they be coming from? In both these cases, we can clearly see that the body was asleep until the Lord resurrects the body but the soul had ‘departed” (see Gen 35:18). I would also like to point out to you that there is consciousness after death since we can see that Moses had died (Deut. 34:5) yet he was quite conscious when speaking to the Lord at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:3). We also read of the Lamb breaking the 5th seal and the souls of those slain for the word of God cried out.[9] (Rev 6:9-10).  How could they have “cried out” if they’re unconscious? I would also like to say that yes, the spirit (of those saved) does go to be with his Lord after death. You see the dust returns to the earth but the spirit returns to God (Eccl. 12:7) and Paul was quite clear that to be away from the body, was to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-8) and that to depart was to be with Christ (Philippians 1:21-24).[10] There is no room for a departure, sleep and then going home. We know that the thief on the cross received the promise that Today, he would be in the Lord’s paradise (Luke 23:40-43)[11] and the promise to the believer is that he has passed out of death into life (John 5:24).[12] I hope these passages explain my belief in the Soul or Spirit being a separate thing from the body and that there is consciousness after death and for those who are His, they do depart to go to be with Him. Now, I will address the issue of the separation between the 144,000 and the “other sheep” and I will show that God’s people, regardless of which category, will be in Heaven.

I must apologize that my letter is getting a tad long but you must admit, we did discussed several subjects and you did go into great detail about your belief. Most of the previous subjects we discussed (soul, soul-sleep ect…) are also held by the Seventh-Day Adventist churches[13] but the issue of what I believe you called “the anointed class” (144,000) being separate from the “other sheep” (Great multitude) is, to my knowledge, a doctrine that is unique to the Watchtower Society. Perhaps once again, I can address some of the passages you presented as proof to your assertion and I can present why I feel this doctrine contradicts the scriptures. Firstly, you presented the 144,000 by stating that the Lord Jesus gave to “the little flock” in Luke 12:32 the Kingdom of Heaven, which you contrasted with the “other sheep” in John10:16:

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32)

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

When I look at your form of argumentation here Jordan, I can’t help but assume you are reading the text in an eisegetical way over an exegetical.[14] You see, John 10:16 is speaking of the Jewish believers that were with Him, He often called the apostles His sheep (Matt 16:12; 26:31) and the “other sheep” would be the Gentile believers who would know Christ from the apostles (John 17:20). Also, if you’ll notice, they are said to be one flock. The flock of sheep always stayed together within the fold and hence was never far apart from each other since the Shepherd always kept them together. If the “little flock” is in heaven then the other sheep must be with them. There is no separation in scripture with those who are in Christ. (Galatians 3:28, Rom 3:21-22) You also quoted Revelation 7:4, 7:9 and 14:1-3 to prove your position yet while reading theses passages, I really don’t see any mention of the great multitude being on earth. If anything, I see them being in Heaven. If you wonder where I see this, let me present two different places in Revelation that shows this.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; (Revelation 7:9)

Notice that the Great Multitude is before the throne of God. May I ask, where the throne of God is Jordan? We see that it’s in the same place where the angels, the elders and the four beasts are standing “before”, which is in Heaven. I also would like you to take a look at Revelation 7:15 which reads:

For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. (Revelation 7:15)

Did you notice how these “serve Him day and night in His temple”? Where is the temple of God? Notice what John says:

And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (Revelation 11:19)

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. (Revelation 14:17)

You see Jordan, they serve Him day and night (which refers to always, wouldn’t you say?) in His temple, since the temple of God is in Heaven, where are the great multitude situated in eternity? (Also see Revelation 19:1)

As for your view that there are those who will get a “second chance” at death (in which you quoted Rom 6:23 as your source) I have to admit, I’m having a lot of difficulty finding any real scripture to back up that teaching. You also mentioned that there is a difference between the wicked and the unrighteous in which, once again, you didn’t provide any scriptural backing. Romans 6:23 says that the Wages of sin is death, not the payment for sin is death. I think you had confused these two together. You said that some did not even know that there is a Christ. Others were so hindered by worldly pressures and cares that the “seed” of the good news did not take permanent root in their hearts. (Matt.13:18-22).[15] You felt that since Jehovah is a God of Mercy and love, He would be understanding and grant them a second chance. I think if you would take a moment to look at Hebrews 9:27, you’ll read that And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,[16] There’s no room here for any second chance because when man dies, after this comes the judgment not death, second chance and then judgment. If you were also to look in Matt 25:31-46 where we read of the judgment of the sheep and the goats you’ll see that there is no mention of another class of people or even a different between the wicked and the unrighteous. 

The next issue I would like to address is how you viewed what “Hell” is in scripture. You mentioned that Hell was simply a state after death and God would destroy His enemies. You mentioned that God is love hence he wouldn’t let someone suffer for eternity simply for a lifetime of sins on earth. You then quoted 2 Thessalonians 1:9 as well as Matt 25:46 to prove that the wicked would be cut-off and they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction. You then said that my quoting of Revelation 14:9-11 and 20:10 was based on my misunderstanding of the word torment. You said that it was simply a humiliation (Rev11:10) You quoted once again Eccl 9:5 as your basis for the un-literal stand of the Revelation passage since they would not be conscious of anything at all hence they couldn’t be ‘tormented”. You then further argued that the penalty for sin is death ( Rom 6:23) and that no one is subject to further punishment after death (Rom 6:7).

I really don’t know where to start on this one but let me begin by saying that you are right that God is love but you forget that God is also justice (Isaiah 30:18) and Holy (1 Samuel 6:20). How Yahweh sees sin and punishes that sin is very different than you and I could imagine (Isaiah 55:8). Yahweh does punish the sins of those against Him as seen is the Old Testament when he punished the wicked (Genesis 6), Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:20-19:29), the Pharaoh and Egypt (Exodus chaps. 12-14) and Israel (2 Kings chaps. 17-18). God will not be mocked and will address the sins of the people at the judgment.  I will continue by addressing some of your proof texts. I found it interesting that in your bible Matt 25:46 & 2 Thess 1:9 read a little different that my bible.

And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life. (Matthew 25:46, NWT)

These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of the strength. (2 Thessalonians 1:9 NWT)

I must admit Jordan, I couldn’t find another bible translation that read like this so I dug a little and found out that the “cutting-off” or the Greek word Kolasis is better translated as “punishment”[17] so the better reading of that passage would be:

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 NASB)

This punishment is eternal hence for one to be punished there must be consciousness besides how do we account for the different levels of punishment at the day of judgment if there is just simply a “cutting-off”?[18] As for the Thessalonians passage, the word used for destruction[19] here is elethros and would refer to a person receiving ruin not being destroyed.[20] I would also have to disagree with your rendition of the Revelation passages I presented and your understanding of the word “torment”. You see Jordan, the word torment (Basanizo) is used in many areas and refers to “pain” (Rev 12:2, Matt 8:6; Luke 16:23)[21] and that torment will last “forever and ever”. I will not answer the Ecclesiastes passage since I already did so previously in this letter. As for the Romans 6 passages (which I see you like quoting) I would have to say that you must look at the context of what is being said in v.7 since it is speaking of one dying with Christ is freed from sin. You see the chapter is speaking of the symbolic nature of the baptism of the believer (Romans 6:1-10) that in effect shows how the believer is dead to sin and alive to God.[22] There is no mention of the unbeliever being freed from sin through his death. Now to address your assertion that the Luke 16 passage about Lazarus and the rich man is a parable. O.k. Jordan, let me explain something about this to you, first of all, the Lord Jesus always presented real-life situations to teach a truth. May I ask what real life situation is presented here?[23] My point of view on the fate of the wicked is simple, they will go into eternal punishment (Matt 25:46) where they will be tormented (Rev 14:9-11), there will be a non-ending fate for the wicked (Mark 9:42-48; Matt 13:40-43; 49-50) just like the demons who feared the torment (Mark 5:7), and this will be the same fate as the devil himself (Rev 20:10). This is why the gospel is so important to understand and embrace! Christ’s saves us from this fate!

Once again Jordan, I apologize for my letter being so long. The final disagreement I have with you was on the works of the believer to gain eternal life. You did agree with me that Grace saves us but you insisted that works are our response to this grace as well as they will decide whether we inherit eternal life. I would like to begin by addressing some passages. You quoted:

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself…26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (James 2:17,26)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; (Philippians 2:12) 

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

The first time I read the passage is James I was a bit confused. I thought He and Paul were at odds but after looking deeper into the passage, I realized that there was a lot more to it than what is shown. You see Jordan, James is answering a question found in v. 14.

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14)

The passage is comparing a true faith that produces good works and a false faith that doesn’t.[24] The scriptures are clear when they say “we shall know them by their fruits”. If we want to truly do the works of God, we must believe on His Son (John 6:28-29). The Philippians passage is often misunderstood and used to show a continuing effort for salvation when we are told to “work out you salvation”. You see Jordan, Paul is not saying that the Philippians needed to add works to their salvation to realize it in the end but if you read the 2nd chapter as a whole, you realize that the churches salvation is being spoken of since there was much rivalries, false teachings ect…[25] Paul couldn’t be there hence he told them to work out their salvation. It had nothing to do with their works but God working in them (V.13). Now as for the Matthew passage, in which you showed great enthusiasm, I think we will know the true believer as compared to the mere professor by their endurance in hard-times. John said it quite clear that for whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (1 John 5:4). This is in contrast with those like the Dog returns to its own vomit (2 Peter 2:20-22). The bible, I feel, is quite clear that our righteous deeds are not worth anything (Isaiah 64:6) because Grace has saved us through faith, not of ourselves, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9) or any deed that we have done (Titus 3:5) but eternal life is given to the one that believes (Romans 4:1-5). We can know now we possess it (John 3:36, Hebrews 10:14, 1 John 5:10-14) and that we shall never lose it (John 6:37; 10:27-29;  Romans 8:29-30)

I hope this written presentation will at least make you consider my view on these important truths of scripture and that you might at least open your bible to give what I’ve said a chance. You are a very honest person Jordan and I appreciate that you came to speak to me. I hope to be hearing from you in the near future.

Yours in Christ


[1]  The Watchtower members that I know will refer to the organization as “the truth”. I’ve always found this hard to swallow since I, personally, have always seen it a blasphemy (John 14:6)

[2] The information in this letter concerning the beliefs of the Watchtower society was taken from their own book “reasoning from the scriptures, as well as a tract entitled “What Hope for dead loved ones”

[3] Hebrew “Nephesh” and Greek “Psuche”

[4] Vs. 1:14; 2:11,17,18,19,20,22; 3:1,16; 4:1,3,7,15; 5:13,18; 6:1,5,12; 7:6,11; 8:9,15,17; 9:3,6,9,11,13; 10:5; 11:7; 12:2

[5] N. Geisler Comments—…The passages, which say there is no knowledge or remembrance after death are speaking of no memory in this world, not of no memory of this world. Solomon clearly qualified his comment by saying it was “in the grave” (Eccl 9:10) that there was “no remembrance”. He affirmed also that the dead do not know what is going on “under the sun”; they certainly do know what is going on in heaven (cf. Rev. 6:9)… (When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler, Baker Books, 1992, Page 259)

[6] (http://www.cftf.com/death/index.html#Psalm)

[7] Vines Comments– “death,” is used in Scripture of: (a) the separation of the soul (the spiritual part of man) from the body (the material part), the latter ceasing to function and turning to dust, e.g., John 11:13; Heb. 2:15; 5:7; 7:23. In Heb. 9:15, the AV, “by means of death” is inadequate; the RV, “a death having taken place” is in keeping with the subject. In Rev. 13:3,12, the RV, “death-stroke” (AV, “deadly wound”) is, lit., “the stroke of death:” (b) the separation of man from God; Adam died on the day he disobeyed God, Gen. 2:17, and hence all mankind are born in the same spiritual condition, Rom. 5:12,14,17,21, from which, however, those who believe in Christ are delivered, John 5:24; 1 John 3:14. “Death” is the opposite of life; it never denotes nonexistence. As spiritual life is “conscious existence in communion with God,” so spiritual “death” is “conscious existence in separation from God.” (Vines Concise Dictionary of Bible Words, W.E. Vines, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1968, Page 83)

qanatoV-…1. prop. The death of the body i.e. that separation (whether natural or violent) of the soul from the body by which the life on earth is ended: Jn xi.4,[13]; Acts ii.24…Phil ii.27,30; Heb. vii 23… (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph H. Thayer, Hendrickson Publishers, 6th ed., 2003, page 282)


[8] Ron Rhodes comments—“…All Ezekiel was intending to do was to combat a false teaching that had arisen in his day—a teaching related to the doctrine of inherited guilt. Some people were arguing that children were suffering and dying because of the sins of their fathers…He wasn’t attempting to teach anything about man’s possession or lack of an immaterial nature. (Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Dr. Ron Rhodes, Harvest House Publishers, 1993, Page 324)

[9] Greek Krazo (krazw)—“a primary verb; prop. To “croak” (as a raven) or scream. i.e  (gen) to call aloud (shriek, exclaim, intreat:–cry (out) (New Strong’s concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament, James Strong, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990, Page 50)

[10] The Corinthians & Philippians passages read differently in the New World Translation. I would recommend purchasing a Greek Interlinear bible to help decipher the way it should be translated.

[11] V.43 in the New World Translation, published by the Watchtower bible and tract society reads: And he said to him: “truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise”.  Ron Rhodes comments:

“It is helpful to observe how the phrase, “truly I say to you” is used elsewhere in Scripture…In 73 out of the 74 times the phrase occurs in the Gospels, the New World Translation places a break—such as a comma—immediately after the phrase, “Truly I tell you”. Luke 23:43 is the only occurrence of this phrase in which the New World Translation does not place a break after it. (Reasoning from the scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ron Rhodes, Harvest House Publishers, 1992, Page 328)

[12] F.F. Bruce comments—“The believer does not need to wait for the last day to hear the Judge’s favourable verdict; it has been pronounced already. Nor do believers need to wait for the last day to experience the essence of resurrection; here and now they have “passed out of death into life”. (The Gospel of John, F.F. Bruce, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1983, Page 131)

[13] http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html

[14] Eisegesis means that one tries to understand the text of scripture with a pre-conceived thought while Exegesis means to let the text say what it wants to say.

[15] w74 5/1 p. 279 A Judgment That Balances Justice with Mercy


[17] kolasiV–, Correction, punishment, penalty: Mt.xxv.46; kolasin ecei, brings with it or has connected with it the thought of punishment… (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph H. Thayer, Hendrickson Publishers, 6th ed., 2003, Page 353)

kolasis> akin to kolazo (PUNISH, No. 1), “punishment,” is used in Matt. 25:46, “(eternal) punishment,” and 1 John 4:18, “(fear hath) punishment,” RV (AV, “torment”), which there describes a process, not merely an effect;… the “punishment” referred to is the immediate consequence of the sense of sin, not a holy awe but a slavish fear, the negation of the enjoyment of love (Vines Concise Dictionary of Bible Words, W.E. Vines, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1968, Page 296)

[18] Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24; 16:27; Luke 12:47-48; John 15:22; Hebrews 10:29; Revelation 20:11-15 ECT…


[19] Peterson comments—“Consequently, annihilationists err when they claim that the words “destruction” and “perish” and their synonyms signify the final extinction of the wicked. This claim cannot be established from all of the judgment passages that use these words…The Bible uses five main pictures to speak of hell: darkness and separation, fire, “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” punishment, and death and destruction. Only the last fits with annihilationism, and not even passages in that category fits…(Hell on Trial: the case for Eternal Punishment, Robert A. Peterson, P & R Publishers, 1995, Page 164)

[20] Olethros—from a primary ollumi {to destroy; a prol. Form}: ruin, i.e. death, punishment:– destruction  (New Strong’s concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament, James Strong, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990, page 62)

olethros> “ruin, destruction,” akin to A, No. 6, always translated “destruction,” is used in 1 Cor. 5:5, of the effect upon the physical condition of an erring believer for the purpose of his spiritual profit; in 1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Thess. 1:9, of the effect of the Divine judgments upon men at the ushering in of the Day of the Lord and the revelation of the Lord Jesus; in 1 Tim. 6:9, of the consequences of the indulgence of the flesh, referring to physical “ruin” and possibly that of the whole being,…( Vines Concise Dictionary of Bible Words, W.E. Vines, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1968, Page 92)

[21] basanismoV— A testing by touchstone or by torture. 2. torment, torture; a. act of tormenting: Rev ix.5…( Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph H. Thayer, Hendrickson Publishers, 6th ed., 2003, Page 96)

[22] MacDonald comments—“Now we have died with Christ on the cross of Calvary. Not only has our penalty been paid, but also sin’s stranglehold on our lives has been broken. We are no longer the helpless captives of sin. (Believer’s Bible Commentary, William MacDonald, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, Page 1702)

[23] David Reed Comments—“a prodigal son returned home after squandering his money; a man found a buried treasure in a field, hid it again, and sold everything he had in order to buy that field; a kind put on a wedding feast for his son; a slave-owner traveled abroad and then returned home to his slaves; a man constructed a vineyard, leased it out to others, but had difficulty collecting what they owed him; and so on”  (Jehovah’s Witnesses answered verse by verse, David Reed, Baker Book House, 1992, Page 63-64) Note: all of these were normal occurrences in biblical times.

[24] Rhodes Comments—“Keep in mind that James is writing to Jewish Christians (“to the twelve tribes”—James 1:1) who were in danger of giving nothing but lip service to Jesus. James’s intent, therefore, is to distinguish true faith from false faith. He shows tat true faith results in works, which become visible evidences of faith’s invisible presence. In other words, good works are the “vital signs” indicating that faith is alive…the fact is, apart from the spirit, the body is dead; it is a lifeless corpse. By analogy, apart from the evidence of good works, faith is dead. It is lifeless and nonproductive. (Reasoning from the scriptures with the Catholics, Ron Rhodes, Harvest House Publishers, 2000, Page 146-147)

[25] Philippi was plagued with rivalries and ambitious people (2:3,4), the teaching of the Judaizers (3:1-3), Perfectionism (3:12-14) and those who lived loosely (3:18-19). The problem was based on the church as a whole since the church was in need of salvation and not the individual (1:6)


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