From Mark Copeland... "LIFE AFTER DEATH" What Is The Nature of Man?

                           "LIFE AFTER DEATH"

                        What Is The Nature of Man?


1. Our previous lessons have simply served as an introduction to our
   a. We have seen that such a study can be of value
   b. We have also seen that death for the righteous is spoken of as a
      blessed thing in the sight of God, and something even desired, not
      feared, by some early Christians
   -- Hopefully, this will have peaked our interest in what the Bible 
      actually teaches concerning "Life After Death"

2. A study like this must necessarily include a discussion of the 
   "nature" of man...
   a. For our view of man's "nature" will have a bearing upon our views 
      concerning what happens when man dies
   b. I.e., those who believe that man's nature is wholly MATERIAL (like
      those who call themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses") have completely 
      different views than those who hold that man possesses a soul or 
      spirit which survives death

3. This is a difficult subject, and in this lesson I hope to...
   a. Illustrate the difficulty, so that we may ever be cautious and 
      humble in dealing with the subject
   b. Look at those passages which I believe clearly teach that man 
      possesses a "soul" (or "spirit") which continues to exist after 

[With these goals in mind, consider first, then...]


      1. Many try to make it sound simpler that it is
         a. By suggesting there is one definition for each word which 
            applies every time that word is found
         b. "JW's" are notorious for doing this, but it is a mistake we 
            all make at times
      2. We might wish it was that simple, but we must bear in mind that
         one word often has many different meanings
         a. E.g., consider the word "RUN"
            1) As an intransitive verb, it has at least FIFTEEN (15) 
               different meanings!
            2) As a transitive verb, FIFTEEN (15) more!
            3) As a noun, ELEVEN (11) more
            4) As an adjective, THREE (3) more
            5) In all, "RUN" can have at least FORTY-FOUR (44) different
         b. Such varied use of a single word is quite common in all 
            languages, including Hebrew and Greek
      3. The words translated "soul" and "spirit" likewise have many 
         different meanings

      1. The HEBREW word is "nephesh", and at times it may refer to:
         a. Animal life - Gen 1:20-21 ("living")
         b. The person - Num 31:19 ("killed any person")
         c. The body - Num 6:6 ("a dead body")
         d. Something distinguished from the body - Is 10:18 ("soul and
         e. Breath - Job 41:21 (referring to Leviathan)
      2. The GREEK word is "psuche", and at times it may refer to:
         a. The person - 1Pe 3:20 ("eight souls saved by water")
         b. Life itself - Jn 13:38 ("lay down your life")
         c. Something distinguished from the spirit - He 4:12 ("soul 
            and spirit")
         d. Something distinguished from the body - 1Th 5:23 ("spirit
            and soul and body")
         e. That which exists after the body is dissolved - Mt 10:28
            ("kill the body but not the soul")

      1. The HEBREW word is "ruach", and at times it may refer to:
         a. Storms and wind - Gen 8:1 ("wind")
         b. The life principle - Gen 6:17 ("breath of life")
         c. Breath itself - Job 9:18 ("catch my breath")
         d. Something distinct from breath - Job 34:15 ("spirit and
         e. A disposition or attitude - Ec 7:8-9 ("patient in spirit 
            better than proud in spirit")
         f. Non-fleshly beings with intelligence - 1Ki 22:21-22 ("a 
            spirit came forward...")
         g. That which is interchangeable with "nephesh" - Isa 26:9
         h. That which is distinct from the flesh
            1) Num 16:22 ("spirits of all flesh")
            2) Isa 31:3 ("are flesh, and not spirit")
         i. The inner man
            1) Isa 26:9 ("by my spirit within me I will seek You")
            2) Zech 12:1 ("forms the spirit of man within him")
      2. The GREEK word is "pneuma", and at times it may refer to:
         a. The wind - Jn 3:8 ("the wind blows...")
         b. Breath - 2Th 2:8 ("will consume with the breath of His 
         c. The Holy Spirit - Jn 1:32 ("I saw the Spirit descending 
            from heaven like a dove")
         d. Unclean spirits or demons
            1) Mt 8:16 ("He cast out the spirits with a word")
            2) Lk 4:33 ("a spirit of an unclean demon")
         e. Angels - He 1:13-14 ("ministering spirits sent forth")
         f. Character and moral qualities - 1Pe 3:4 ("a gentle and 
            quiet spirit")
         g. Purpose, or aim
            1) 2Co 12:18 ("Did we not walk in the same spirit?")
            2) Php 1:27 ("stand fast in one spirit")
         h. Perception, desires, feelings, etc. - 1Co 5:3 ("absent in
            body but present in spirit")
         i. Part of man distinct from the flesh
            1) 1Co 5:5 ("for the destruction of his flesh, that his 
               spirit may be saved")
            2) He 12:23 ("to the spirits of just men made perfect")

      1. Simply that "soul" and "spirit" have many different meanings and
         a. Therefore we cannot just take one definition which may be 
            true in one context and apply it to all others!
         b. Yet many do this very thing
      2. We must be cautious, and humbly consider the CONTEXT of each 
         passage to determine HOW the words are being used

[With that thought in mind, we are ready to consider the "nature" of 
man:  Does man possess a spirit or soul that continues to exist after 

Consider those...]


      1. An interesting phrase is "gathered to thy people", implying 
         existence after death, and is made in regards to the death of...
         a. Abraham - Gen 25:8
         b. Isaac - Gen 35:29
         c. Jacob - Gen 49:29,33
         d. Aaron - Num 20:24
         e. Moses - Num 27:13; Deut 32:50
         f. Josiah - 2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28
      2. There is the case of Samuel, who was brought back after his 
         death - 1Sa 28:7-19
      3. David could look forward to one day joining his infant son - 
         2Sa 12:22-23
      4. The spirit will return to God at death - Ec 12:6-7
      5. The lament against the king of Babylon speaks of life after 
         death - Isa 14:9-11
      6. Likewise the lament against Egypt, Assyria, Elam, etc., who are
         all consigned to the "Pit" - Ezek 32:17-32

      1. In the teaching of Jesus
         a. Man is both body and soul, and the soul can survive murder 
            by a fellow man - cf. Mt 10:28
         b. The story of Lazarus and the rich man - cf. Lk 16:22-23
            1) Some say this is only a parable
            2) Even if it was (which is highly unlikely), parables were 
               "true to life" stories, not fantasy!
         c. His promise to the thief on the cross - Lk 23:42-43
      2. In the teaching of Paul
         a. There is "the inner man" that can be ever renewed, even while
            "the outer man" decays - 2Co 4:16-18
         b. One can be with the Lord, while absent from the body 
            - 2 Co 5:6-8
         c. There is a part of man that can be "out of the body" 
            - 2 Co 12:3
         d. One can be dead, yet still be with Christ - Php 1:23
         e. Reference is made to the "spirits of just men" - He 12:22-23
      3. The teaching of Peter
         a. He spoke of the "spirits in prison" - 1Pe 3:18-20
         b. He wrote of those  who are "dead, but live in the spirit" - 
            1Pe 4:6
         c. He described the body as a tabernacle to be put off...if the
            body is a tabernacle (dwelling place), what dwells in it? 
            - 2Pe 1:13-14
         d. The unjust are under punishment, just like some angels - 
            2Pe 2:4,9-10
      4. John, in the Revelation given to him, saw "souls of those 
         slain", and they were capable of crying out with loud voices, 
         and being comforted - Re 6:9-11

1. Passages such these certainly lead me to believe that man is of a 
   "two-fold" nature...
   a. There is the OUTWARD man; the body of flesh which grows old and 
      eventually dies
   b. There is the INWARD man; called at times the "soul" or "spirit", 
      which can be renewed daily and continues to exist past death

2. Bearing in mind that "soul" and "spirit" can have many different 
   a. I suggest that in passages like 1Th 5:23 and He 4:12...
      1) Either "soul" or "spirit" is being used in one of the many 
         senses other than what we commonly think of it
      2) I.e., man is still basically "two-fold" and not "three-fold" in
         nature (as these two passages seem to imply)
   b. Whenever MATERIALISTS use passages which might indicate that man's
      "soul" or "spirit" does not continue after death...
      1) They are using a passage which utilizes one of the many
         different meanings of the words
      2) And these passages should not cause us to completely throw out 
         other passages which clearly teach there is something to man 
         that does continue on after death!

In our next study, we will consider more closely where the spirits of 
believers go at death...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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The Saga of Shebna by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


The Saga of Shebna

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

In the days of Hezekiah, King of Judah, prior to Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem, there was an ambitious official in the king’s service whose name was Shebna. Out of an inflated sense of prominence, and perhaps fueled by ambition, Shebna had carved for himself a magnificent tomb from solid rock (a custom usually reserved for royalty). How he must have relished the day of his death!
When Isaiah learned of the deed, he approached the corrupt treasurer and rebuked him. [“The oracle against Shebna (Isa. 22:15-23) is the only instance in Isaiah of an oracle against a named individual”—Cundall, 1975, 5:380.] The prophet informed Shebna that Jehovah would cast him into a far country, and there he would die; accordingly, the dignitary would have no use for his elaborate mausoleum. The record of this exchange is found in Isaiah 22:15ff.
In 1953, an archaeologist by the name of N. Avigad translated an inscription taken from the lintel of a rock tomb in Jerusalem. Written in archaic Hebrew, and dating to the time of Hezekiah, the inscription (with some restoration) said, “This is the sepulcher of [Shebna]yahu [a more complete form of the name], who is over the house [cf. Isa. 22:15]. There is no silver or gold here but only his bones, and the bones of his slave-wife with him. Cursed be the man who breaks this open.”
Some scholars believe this stone lintel is from the tomb of the Shebna rebuked by Isaiah (Blaiklock, 1983; Cundall, 1975, 5:380). Apparently, though Shebna had this inscription made for his tomb, he was never to inhabit his rock-hewn home, since God’s prophet declared that he would be exiled and die in an alien land. Where men propose, God can dispose.
Though we do not deprecate making plans for one’s burial (in fact, such is a wise procedure that will assist one’s children), in the final analysis it is best to focus attention upon eternity!


Blaiklock, E.M. (1983), “Shebna,” New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, ed. E.M. Blaiklock and R.K. Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), p. 410.
Cundall, A.E. (1975), “Shebna,” Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 5:380-381.

Taking Cues from Nature’s Designer by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Taking Cues from Nature’s Designer

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The field of biomimicry (copying biological systems) is beginning to see an influx in funds and research as scientists across the globe recognize its potential. In a recent article titled “Scientists Taking Cues From Nature,” Associated Press writer, Greg Bluestein, noted that many scientists are beginning to look to biomimicry to help them solve perplexing technological problems, such as helping bipedal robots to walk more fluidly and less robotically.
In the course of the article, Bluestein interviewed Marc Weissburg, the co-director of the new Georgia Tech’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design. In his comments, Weissburg suggested that evolution is responsible for the amazing abilities we find in the natural world. He stated: “If you think of organisms as products, all the bad ones have been recalled. Those that have survived evolved over millions of years” (Bluestein, 2006).
Weissburg also commented on the superior abilities that biological systems maintain compared to many of the ones humans have made. He said: “It really captures the imagination to show how much better organisms are at doing things. The natural world doesn’t waste energy, accumulate a large amount of toxins or produce more materials than it uses” (Bluestein, 2006).
But is seems that Weissburg, like many of his evolutionary colleagues, has missed the implication that follows from his line of work. If brilliant scientists spend decades of their lives attempting to identify and mimic superior design found in the natural world, then a conscious intellect—the Designer of nature—must maintain a superior intellect than the scientists who are attempting to mimic His systems.
Ironically, the very last sentence of Bluestein’s article is a quote from Weissburg saying: “Every organism is designed to solve a problem.” How can a person make such a statement and miss the fact that if every organism is “designed,” then that design demands a Designer? Weissburg is exactly right, every organism was designed to solve a problem. One of the main purposes for the intricate, complex organisms Weissburg and his fellow scientists are studying is to prove to such men that a superior Intellect does exist. All those who fail to make the proper connection between the magnificent world of nature and the Designer’s hand in the process will ultimately be “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).


Bluestein, Greg (2006), “Scientists Taking Cues From Nature,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060619/ap_on_hi_te/nurturing_nature;_ylt= AtCpSxfCdFaFLwCMytY1XoGs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg-.

Evolution, Civilization, and Man's Intelligence by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Evolution, Civilization, and Man's Intelligence

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


I’ve heard a lot about “cave men.” Were there really people like this who made their way up through a stone age, bronze age, iron age, etc.?
A storm of controversy has raged in the field of anthropology over the last few years. It concerns the Tasaday—a small group of people living in tree-shrouded caves of the Philippines. The tribe came to the world’s attention in the early 1970s. Their discoverers hailed them as an isolated remnant of the “Stone Age,” with few tools and a simple way of life. Some anthropologists seized the opportunity to test their theories of cultural evolution. Others, however, were skeptical of the media hype. They dismissed the Tasaday as a fraud perpetrated on a gullible public (see Bower, 1989).
The debate continues, but it gives outsiders a view of some deep-seated problems in evolutionary anthropology. Let us say, for a moment, that the Tasaday are not an outright fraud. Were they totally isolated? Are they really a vestige of man’s alleged primitive past, or did they simply retreat from the advances made by kindred Filipinos?
These questions are hard to answer because anthropology rests on the very shaky assumption: that we can learn about our ancient past by studying so-called primitive groups living today (cf. Lewin, 1988). People like the Tasaday, or the !Kung of southern Africa, are supposed to represent the state of humankind in its infancy. It then is up to the anthropologist to invent evolutionary theories explaining why and how we started farming, building, and otherwise carrying on the business of what we call “civilization.” But why are some still in the Stone Age while others are in the Space Age?
Perhaps these people are not in the Stone Age because there never was a Stone Age. From Genesis we learn that people always have farmed and kept animals (4:2), established settlements (4:17), played music (4:21), and forged metal (4:22). The mistake we make is to equate intelligence with technology. Yes, technology is evolving, if we use that word in the strict sense of change. What is more remarkable is the way humans have used their brains to wield available technology. Stonehenge was a remarkable engineering feat, but its possible use as an astronomical observatory and center of pagan worship gives us a picture of a very complex society.
Further, it is narrow-minded to imagine that evolution has driven man from stone, to bronze, to iron as reflected in the names of archaeological ages. Numerous cases show that the simple-to-complex view of cultural evolution simply is not true. Several mound-building cultures once populated North America, but most of the Indian societies and technologies encountered by early European settlers were simple by comparison. Similarly, early Tasmanians used bone tools, yet their descendants abandoned them and came to rely almost solely on wood and other plant materials (Diamond, 1993).
So how is it that Genesis 4 can describe metalworking and agriculture, while portions of mankind apparently never used these skills? The most likely answer lies in the incident at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Once again, people had rebelled against God, defying His command to inhabit the whole Earth (Genesis 9:1). Jehovah decided to break the revolt by confusing their language. The listing of Noah’s descendants by families, tongues, and nations in Genesis 10 suggests that the resulting division occurred within small groups. Some may have carried specific skills as they migrated to different parts of the world.
However, not every group was adept at farming, building, or metalworking. And as each group moved into a new area, its members would have to find edible plants and suitable game, and seek out new sources of stone and metal. Inevitably, owing to differing skills and resources, groups would attain different levels of sophistication and technology.
The real issue is not whether we think a society is simple or complex. If we look beyond physical appearance and the trappings of our materialistic culture, we will see that the image of God is reflected equally in all men. With that comes individual responsibility to our Creator, so that “in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:35).


Bower, Bruce (1989), “The Strange Case of the Tasaday,” Science News, 135:280-281,283, May 6.
Diamond, Jared (1993), “Ten Thousand Years of Solitude,” Discover, 14[3]:48-57, March.
Lewin, Roger (1988), “New Views Emerge on Hunters and Gatherers,” Science, 240:1146-1148, May 27.

Oregon and Gay Marriages by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Oregon and Gay Marriages

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One year ago, Massachusetts became the first state in U.S. history to issue same-sex marriage licenses, having been given the nod earlier by the highest court in the state (Miller, 2004). The inevitable domino effect commenced almost immediately, as state after state has been shuffling to brace for the ensuing clamor for emulation. Oregon recently weighed in on the issue.
In March 2004, some 3,000 same-sex couples in Multnomah county (which includes Portland) participated in individual marriage ceremonies conducted by various officials empowered under Oregon law to perform marriages. Those officials forwarded the documentation generated by each ceremony to the State Registrar, who maintains a central record of marriages performed in Oregon. At the Governor’s direction, the State Registrar refused to file or register any same-sex marriage records on the ground that same-sex marriages do not comport with the provisions of ORS chapter 106, which regulates marriages performed in Oregon. As a result, nine same-sex couples, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, sued the State on the grounds that statutes prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying on the same terms as opposite-sex couples violated Article I, section 20, of the Oregon Constitution (Mary Li..., 2005).
In the meantime, while the appeals were pending, in November 2004 Oregon voters adopted Ballot Measure 36 (2004), a voter-initiated amendment to the Oregon Constitution aimed at defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. That amendment, which became effective on December 2, 2004, declares: “It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, thatonly a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage” (Mary Li..., emp. added).
In their April 14, 2005 ruling, the Oregon State Supreme Court has affirmed, in accordance with state statutes, that marriage in Oregon is a contract between a husband and wife, and that a “husband” is a male and a “wife” is a female. Manifesting a respectful regard for the will of the people, the Court commented on the constitutional amendment that had been passed recently by the people of Oregon: “Today, marriage in Oregon—an institution once limited to opposite-sex couples only by statute—now is so limited by the state constitution as well” (Mary Li...). Consequently, the Court declared that Multnomah County did not have the authority to issue marriage licenses to the 3,000 same-sex couples, making such licenses null and void.
The High Court of Oregon is to be commended for their wise and accurate assessment of longstanding traditional American values—values that originated from the Bible. The Creator, Himself, declared marriage to be between one man (a male) and one woman (a female)—Genesis 2:24. Any adjustment in this divine formula is destructive to the moral foundations of society. Rather than ignoring prior legal history (as so many activist judges have done in the last fifty years in order to foist their leftist agenda on the American public), the Oregon Supreme Court properly appealed to Oregon’s own historical stance regarding the critical significance of marriage to the fabric of society. The Court cited the 1877 case of Rugh v. Ottenheimer, which stated: “The marriage relation, affecting the whole public, and being an institution of society, affecting more deeply than any other the foundations of social order and public morals, has always been under the control of the legislature” (Mary Li...).
Score one for the good guys—a rarity these days. Though sexual anarchy characterizes the American moral landscape, maybe more and more Americans are becoming fed up and ready to resist the sinister forces that would undermine civilization itself.


Miller, Dave (2004), “Massachusetts and Gay Marriages,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2384.
Mary Li v. State of Oregon, CC 0403-03057; CA A124877; SC S51612, [On-line], URL: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/S51612.htm.

Peleg, Pangaea, and Genesis 10:25 by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Peleg, Pangaea, and Genesis 10:25

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Contrary to the opinion of many people, the Bible and science are in complete harmony with each other. When an apparent conflict presents itself, one can be assured that no genuine contradiction actually exists. Once all relevant evidence has been gathered, and that evidence has been handled correctly (i.e., subjected to accurate logical reasoning), the surface tension will disappear. Unfortunately, possessing an over-zealous desire to establish the Bible’s credibility, believers sometimes allow their exegetical analyses to be colored by the pressure of scientific consensus.
One example of this prejudicial influence is found in Genesis 10:25, which states that Peleg (meaning “division”) derived his name from the fact that “in his days the earth was divided.” Geologists largely believe that, at some time in the ancient past, the continents formed a single land mass called Pangaea. The “continental drift” theory (now better known as the theory of plate tectonics) postulates how this land mass subsequently fractured into several separate units and proceeded to “drift” to the positions that they presently occupy. Accordingly, some Bible commentators claim that Genesis 10:25 refers to this very phenomenon (e.g., Garton, 1991; Sewell, 1990).
It is true that the Bible does not preclude the postulation of a single land mass and a single ocean when God created land and sea at the Creation (Genesis 1:9-10). If, indeed, land was originally a single unit, one biblical explanation for the present multiple continents is the Flood of Noah’s day. The geological impact of a global deluge would have been catastrophic, dramatically reshaping and altering the surface of the Earth. Likewise, the fact that “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11) could have been responsible for tectonic movement. However, Genesis 10:25 most likely does not refer to the Earth’s continental divisions (see, for example: Leupold, 1950, 1:378; Whitelaw, 1950, 1:161; Clarke, n.d., 1:87; Keil and Delitzsch, 1976, 1:171). Rather, it is more likely referring to the human population of the Earth. Contextual indicators point to this latter conclusion.
First, the Hebrew term for “Earth” (‘erets) may be used figuratively to refer to the Earth’s inhabitants. In fact, two separate figures of speech employ this use: “synecdoche of the whole” and “metonymy of the subject” (Bullinger, 1968, pp. 578,638). A sampling of Old Testament verses where the figure of speech occurs just within Genesis include Genesis 6:11; 9:19; 11:1; 18:25; 19:31; 41:30,57 (Gesenius, 1979, p. 81; Bullinger, p. 578).
Second, verses both before and after Genesis 10:25 provide furtherindication that Moses was referring to alinguistic/political/human division rather than a physical division of the land mass. Earlier in the same chapter, he alluded to a separation of the peoples— “everyone according to his own language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10:5, emp. added). Later in the same chapter, Moses referred to the generational divisions of Noah’s descendants “in theirnations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood” (Genesis 10:32, emp. added).     
Third, it is evident, contextually, that Moses provided a chapter of genealogical explanation (chapter nine) in order to set the stage for the Babel incident that follows immediately (chapter 11). Chapter nine functions as the link needed to bridge the account of the Flood with the next significant event of world history—the origin of humanity’s linguistic diversity (see Miller, Harrub, and Thompson, 2002). With no chapter break in the original autograph of Genesis, it is clear that “Earth” in the first verse of chapter eleven was used by Moses with the same meaning that it has in verse twenty- five of chapter ten. This conclusion is supported further by the allusions to national and linguistic separation in verses five and thirty- two of the same chapter.
Certainly, the Bible has been demonstrated repeatedly to be scientificallyadvanced, avoiding the blunders and inaccuracies of its literary contemporaries. This kind of accuracy stands as an eloquent witness to its divine origin. However, Christians must guard against imposing on the Bible the uncertainties and unproven assumptions of the latest scientific theories. The premature claims that often come forth from the scientific community constitute neither suitable nor unqualified controls for biblical interpretation.


Bullinger, E.W. (1968 reprint), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (GrandRapids, MI: Baker).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Garton, Michael (1991), “Rocks and Scripture: From the Flood to Babel,”Origins, 4[11]:8-13.
Gesenius, William (1979 reprint), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Leupold, H.C. (1950 reprint), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Miller, Dave, Brad Harrub, and Bert Thompson (2002), “The Origin of Language and Communication,” Reason and Revelation, 22(8): 57-63, August.
Sewell, Curt (1990), “What Did Peleg See?,” Bible-Science Newsletter, 28[10]:1-2,4-5, October.
Whitelaw, Thomas (1950 reprint), “Genesis,” The Pulpit Commentary, ed. H.D.M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

From Jim McGuiggan... A little something extra

A little something extra

Sammy Law and his wife Jean lived out in the sticks not far from Coleraine here in Northern Ireland. He had seen combat close up in Korea and if it hadn’t been for some mates he would have got more than a bullet in his ankle. Jean was a hospitable soul and like so many other country women she could bake delicious bread. Smother it with butter as it came straight from the griddle or the hob and a king couldn’t eat better. It was Sammy who took me fishing for the very first time in my life.
I spent the night with them talking (as usual) late into the night. I had barely shut my eyes when Sammy shook me awake to go fishing. It was 4.30 in the morning. I didn’t know such an ungodly hour existed until that moment. It was bitter cold, wet, windy and dark as we headed to the river. As I shivered I wondered if I was right in the head but it was too late to debate the wisdom of the venture.
He put a worm on my hook, threw the line into the dark river and moved off into the shadows farther down. In the early morning quietness I could hear him humming to himself now and then and I could hear the swish of the line as he repeatedly cast it. He was loving it and I was miserable; and the worm on my line wasn’t even trying.
If I ever knew I don’t remember how long I stood there wishing that I were back in my bed or at least somewhere comfortable--then I felt it. A fish was nibbling on my worm and I felt it coming up through the line, into the rod, into my hands and from there down somewhere behind my bellybutton. Down there in the dark, beyond my vision, there was life tugging on my line. He ate up all my worm and then took off. The safest meal he ever had, no doubt. But he had made contact with me and that magic moment has stuck with me now for probably more than forty years. I reeled in the line just to make sure he had got away with it, hurried down to Sammy and had him put another worm on the hook and went back in search of more adventure.
I don’t remember anything more about that trip but with startling clarity I can recall how I felt before that fish mugged me for my worm and how I felt after he made his hit. Out of the darkness, when I least expected it, when I might have been tempted to think there was nothing out there, a gentle tugging on my line told me I was in touch with life—and misery became excitement. For those who’ve fished all their lives and have caught about eleven and a half million this story may be old hat but the experience was pure magic for me.
Now I know this doesn’t rank as an "argument" (theological or philosophical). And I know it will make no sense to those who can’t share faith in Christ with me but I think God watches us and knows that sometimes our poor little minds wander, our faith falters and the pressures of life weigh so heavily on us that we need something more.My sister Margaret put it like this and I know she’s right. "Sometimes we’re in special need of him. He knows this and he gives us ‘a little something extra’."
He gives a little tug on our line to let us know that we’re dealing with life when we’re dealing with him—that we aren’t just shivering alone in the dark. It might be a remarkable answer to prayer, an incredible "coincidence," a cheque in the post, a whispered apology that we were in crying need of or an experience so uplifting that we can’t do anything but look up and say thank you.
And for you that are burdened long, with pain you haven’t sought and who haven’t yet experienced that "little something extra"—continue to be brave and strong and live without it. Trust him still. And maybe when the ultimate day arrives, you who were gallant enough to live without the tug will receive a little something extra for being so brave. I believe that and I like to believe it.
[Extracted by permission from my little book Jesus, Hero of thy Soul, published by Howard Publishing Company, West Monroe, Louisiana, 1998]

From Wayne Jackson... Will There Be Personal Recognition in Heaven?


Will There Be Personal Recognition in Heaven?

Does individual personality survive the death of the body? Does recognition of friends and loved ones exist beyond this present life?
The question is of more than passing emotional interest; it involves the very essence of the human spirit. The biblical evidence firmly supports the position of personal identity after death.
Contrary to the misguided theories of philosophical and religious materialists (i. e., those who contend that man is wholly mortal), the human being is more than simply “body.” There is an element of mankind that is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), and yet, clearly, God is not a physical Being (John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Matthew 16:17).
Logic demands, therefore, that there is something within man that transcends the fleshly level. Daniel once declared that his “spirit” was grieved in the midst of his body (7:15). Grief is an emotion of mind, not flesh. Paul affirmed that the “spirit of man, which is in him,” possesses knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:11).
Without question, there is a conscious entity within man known as the spirit (cf. John 13:21; Luke 1:47; 1 Corinthians 16:18; Ephesians 3:16; etc.). Here is a very important point. There is absolutely no evidence that the spirit of a human being is altered by death. At the death of the body, the spirit simply passes from one mode of existence into another.
That spirit, however, is just as conscious, just as capable of recognition, as before the transition. If anything, the awareness of the spirit after death will be enhanced due to its release from the limitations of the flesh. There is certainly nothing in the Bible to suggest that God’s rational creatures would be unable to recognize one another after the demise of the body. The evidence is quite to the contrary.
The question is most appropriate: “Is there recognition in heaven?” Let us consider the evidence.

Affirmative Evidence for Personal Recognition After Death

Let us reflect upon several lines of evidence — from both Testaments — regarding this important issue.

Abraham Gathered to His People

Concerning the father of the Hebrew nation, Moses wrote: “And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people”(Genesis 25:8).
This cannot refer to the interment of the patriarch’s body, for he was buried near Mamre in Canaan. Yet his ancestors had been entombed hundreds of miles away in distant lands.
The expressions “gathered to his people,” “going to the fathers” (Genesis 15:15), and “gathered to his fathers” (Judges 2:10), are constantly distinguished from being buried. They denote reunion with faithful loved ones in Sheol, the state of departed spirits (cf. Keil & Delitzsch, 1980, I.263).

Jacob’s Mourning of Joseph

When Jacob was deceived by his sons into believing that his beloved Joseph had been devoured by wild beasts, he lamented — “I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning” (Genesis 37:35).
He certainly was not anticipating joining Joseph in some common grave, for Joseph had no grave (from the grieving Jacob’s viewpoint). He expected to be reunited with his son in Sheol, hence, recognition is implied.
Similarly, centuries later, when David lost his infant son, he cried: “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23). R. Payne Smith comments: “the words indicate a belief in the continued existence of the child, and even that David would recognize and know him in the future world” (1962, 4.290).

Isaiah’s Parable of the King of Babylon

The prophet Isaiah gave a parable concerning the king of Babylon. The ruler is pictured as descending into Sheol where he is tauntingly greeted by former associates of the earth in the following fashion: “How you are fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you that laid low the nations” (14:12).
“This passage demonstrates the fact of the conscious state of the souls of the dead in Hades, their power to exchange thoughts, and their vivid recollection of their past circumstances” (Vine, 1971, 55).

Jesus Prophecy of the Heavenly Gathering

In prophesying the Gentile response to the gospel, Jesus declared: “many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).
Here is an intriguing question: will the recipients of this great promise realize its fulfillment, i.e., will they actually have association with those patriarchs in heaven? And will they know those Old Testament worthies as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Surely, for a promise that is incapable of being recognized as such is no promise at all! If we shall know Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, does it not inevitably follow that those venerable men (grandfather, father, and son) also will know each other? The question hardly requires a response.

The Transfiguration

There is a form of argument, used frequently in the New Testament, known as a fortiori reasoning. It suggests that where there are two similar propositions to be proved, one more difficult than the other, if the harder is demonstrated first, the easier is assumed to be established.
For instance, if God cares for the birds (lesser creatures), surely he will care for his people (the greater) (Matthew 6:26). If our Father has already given his Son, will he not supply us with other gifts as well (Romans 8:32)?
With this principle in mind, recall the transfiguration scene (Matthew 17:1ff). Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and with them ascended a high mountain, where he was transfigured (changed in form) before them. In connection with this glorious event, there appeared Moses and Elijah, who talked with the Lord.
In spite of the fact that these Old Testament saints had been dead for centuries, the apostles clearly recognized them, for Peter proposed the building of three tabernacles—one for Christ, one for Moses, and one for Elijah (17:4).
The point is this: if this context teaches that those whom we have not personally known on earth can be recognized after death, then surely it must imply that those whom we haveknown in time will be familiar to us in the future state.

The Great Judgement Scene

In Matthew 25:31ff, Christ spoke of the great day of judgment. He describes a conversation that might occur at that time. To the righteous he says: “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came unto me.”
Those disciples are then represented as reflecting back upon their earthly sojourn, but they cannot remember personally ministering to the Savior. He then informs them that in caring for his brethren, they were serving him.
A careful consideration of the Lord’s illustration plainly implies that after death there is memory of both earthly events and persons (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10).

The Unrighteous Steward

In one of his famous parables, Jesus told of a certain “unrighteous steward” who was dismissed from his position. In anticipation of his pending unemployment, the steward reduced the debts of certain men who owed his Lord. Though the business ethics of this servant were reprehensible, nevertheless, the man’s master recognized a certain shrewdness in his action, in that he had used his present resources to make preparation for the future.
The application that Christ makes of the matter is this: “Make to yourselves friends by means the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles” (Luke 16:9).
The principle being taught is this: use your financial means to do good now [i.e., work for the saving of souls], so that when it [your money] fails [by reason of your death, or the end of time] they [your converts] will welcome you into the eternal abiding place.
This certainly indicates future recognition of present associates. As one scholar has noted:
“It is well to mark the hint we have here that we shall meet and know in heaven the friends whom we have known on earth. If those whom we have benefited on earth shall meet and welcome us in heaven, surely also will beloved friends and relatives do the same” (How, 1881, in loco).

The Rich Man and Lazarus

In the narrative concerning the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), a very important truth is emphasized. Death does not abolish earth’s memories.
First, the rich man saw and recognized Lazarus (16:23). There is personal cognizance after death!
Second, he was challenged to remember his own past.
Finally, he recalled his unprepared brothers back on earth.
R. C. Foster has observed:
“Remember indicates the survival of personality, for it required the retention of memory. If we could not remember or recognize ourselves, there would no longer be personality. Heaven and hell would no longer have significance” (1971, 959).

Our Hope, Our Joy, Our Crown

The Scriptures confidently affirm that one of the great joys of heaven will be in seeing the fruits of our earthly labors in the Lord, i.e., being with those whom we have led to Christ.
For example, reflect upon Paul’s exclamation to the brethren of Thessalonica. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying? Are not even you, before our Lord Jesus at his coming? For you are our glory and our joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).
Surely there is future recognition here. James Macknight commented:
“The manner in which the apostle speaks of the Thessalonians in this passage, shows that he expected to know his converts at the day of judgment. If so, we may hope to know our relations and friends then” (1954, 408).

The Case of Onesimus

Onesimus was a slave who had fled from his master, Philemon, who lived in Colossae. The fugitive found his way to Rome where he came in contact with Paul. The apostle led him to the Lord and presently dispatched him back to his master, bearing the epistle called “Philemon.”
Paul commends both master and servant, but he seeks to persuade Philemon to receive Onesimus as a “brother in the Lord.” The apostle raises the possibility that “providence” was involved in this situation. “Perhaps” this slave had “been separated” (the passive voice is significant) from his master temporarily so that he might “have him forever” (v. 15).
This statement clearly implies future recognition and association. It is a thrilling affirmation! Lightfoot described it as an “eternal interchange of friendship” (1892, 340).

Objections Considered

Some, however, feel that there are objections to the possibility of recognition after death. We will consider a few of these.

No Flesh and Blood in Heaven?

It is occasionally suggested that we recognize one another only on the basis of physical features, and since we will not be flesh and blood in the future state (1 Corinthians 15:50), there could be no future recognition.
This argument is flawed in several particulars. First, it contradicts numerous other passages, such as those presented above.
Second, it would suggest that we would not even be able to know God in the future since he is spirit (John 4:24), and not physical (Luke 24:39)—a conclusion hardly warranted.
Third, it is not true that we only recognize others because of physical traits. A loved one may suffer a horrible tragedy and have their physical features completely reconstructed by means of plastic surgery. He or she may appear totally different, yet we have no difficulty in knowing the person!

No Friends in Heaven?

It is argued that the psalmist asked: “Whom have I in heaven but you [God]?” (Psalm 73:25), thus suggesting no other of his acquaintances was there.
That is a woefully weak objection. The next clause affirms: “And there is none upon earth that I desire but you.”
The writer is declaring his total dependence upon Jehovah; he is not discussing recognition.

How Can I Be Happy in Heaven, If My Loved Ones Are Not Present?

The most common concern regarding recognition after death is this. If one is able to personally know his loved ones in heaven, will he not also be aware of those not there? How could one be truly happy under such circumstances?
We may not be able to fathom everything about this matter from an emotional standpoint. However, we can logically demonstrate that the problem will be resolved.
Surely no one would dare to argue that the affection of our earthly relationships can even begin to rival the benevolent love of our Creator for humanity. Need we be reminded ofRomans 5:7-8? Our love pales in contrast to divine affection.
Yet, unquestionably, God is happy! Paul speaks of the “happy” God (1 Timothy 1:11; 6:15).
If the Lord can thus be happy, even though knowing of the many that are eternally lost, we may be confident that our heartaches will be fully remedied. God will wipe away every tear (cf. Revelation 7:17; 21:4).
Moreover, no one will be in hell who does not deserve to be there. When we have passed from this life we will have a much sharper view of sin and the hideous nature of rebelling against God. Those of our loved ones who find themselves lost will not appear to us in the same sympathetic light as we saw them through the limitations of fleshly examination.
Yes, we may have perfect confidence that there will be many joyful reunions after we have passed through death’s dark valley. May we thus press toward the goal in anticipation of the glories that ultimately be revealed!
Wayne Jackson
Copyright © 2013 Christian Courier. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

From Gary... Bible Reading December 15

Bible Reading  

December 15

The World English Bible

Hosea 13, 14

Hos 13:1 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, but when he became guilty in Baal, he died.
Hos 13:2 Now they sin more and more, and have made themselves molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen. They say of them, 'They offer human sacrifice and kiss the calves.'
Hos 13:3 Therefore they will be like the morning mist, and like the dew that passes away early, like the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing floor, and like the smoke out of the chimney.
Hos 13:4 "Yet I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt; and you shall acknowledge no god but me, and besides me there is no savior.
Hos 13:5 I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
Hos 13:6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted. Therefore they have forgotten me.
Hos 13:7 Therefore I am like a lion to them. Like a leopard, I will lurk by the path.
Hos 13:8 I will meet them like a bear that is bereaved of her cubs, and will tear the covering of their heart. There I will devour them like a lioness. The wild animal will tear them.
Hos 13:9 You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your help.
Hos 13:10 Where is your king now, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges, of whom you said, 'Give me a king and princes?'
Hos 13:11 I have given you a king in my anger, and have taken him away in my wrath.
Hos 13:12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up. His sin is stored up.
Hos 13:13 The sorrows of a travailing woman will come on him. He is an unwise son; for when it is time, he doesn't come to the opening of the womb.
Hos 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death! Death, where are your plagues? Sheol, where is your destruction? "Compassion will be hidden from my eyes.
Hos 13:15 Though he is fruitful among his brothers, an east wind will come, the breath of Yahweh coming up from the wilderness; and his spring will become dry, and his fountain will be dried up. He will plunder the storehouse of treasure.
Hos 13:16 Samaria will bear her guilt; for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women will be ripped open."
Hos 14:1 Israel, return to Yahweh your God; for you have fallen because of your sin.
Hos 14:2 Take words with you, and return to Yahweh. Tell him, "Forgive all our sins, and accept that which is good: so we offer our lips like bulls.
Hos 14:3 Assyria can't save us. We won't ride on horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, 'Our gods!' for in you the fatherless finds mercy."
Hos 14:4 "I will heal their waywardness. I will love them freely; for my anger is turned away from him.
Hos 14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel. He will blossom like the lily, and send down his roots like Lebanon.
Hos 14:6 His branches will spread, and his beauty will be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon.
Hos 14:7 Men will dwell in his shade. They will revive like the grain, and blossom like the vine. Their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Hos 14:8 Ephraim, what have I to do any more with idols? I answer, and will take care of him. I am like a green fir tree; from me your fruit is found."
Hos 14:9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? Who is prudent, that he may know them? For the ways of Yahweh are right, and the righteous walk in them; But the rebellious stumble in them.

Dec. 15
1 John 5

1Jn 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Whoever loves the Father also loves the child who is born of him.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.
1Jn 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith.
1Jn 5:5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Jn 5:6 This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
1Jn 5:7 For there are three who testify:
1Jn 5:8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three agree as one.
1Jn 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is God's testimony which he has testified concerning his Son.
1Jn 5:10 He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who doesn't believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.
1Jn 5:11 The testimony is this, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn't have God's Son doesn't have the life.
1Jn 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1Jn 5:14 This is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he listens to us.
1Jn 5:15 And if we know that he listens to us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.
1Jn 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for those who sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I don't say that he should make a request concerning this.
1Jn 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
1Jn 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God doesn't sin, but he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn't touch him.
1Jn 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
1Jn 5:20 We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
1Jn 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.