Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

the parable, our Saviour merely used this crude pagan conception of
the nether world as a means of rebuking both the covetousness of the
Pharisees and their neglect of the writings of Moses and the prophets,
which should have been to them the source of all appeal, the court of
last resort, the infallible instructor in
doctrine.

PARABLES NOT PROOF.
It is generally agreed that Moses The text regarding the rich maa

and Lazarus is without question a wrote the book of Job. But however that

parable. A parable is not given to may be, that book is universally regarded teach a doctrine, but to illustrate a by believers in the Bible as the work of truth. Upon this point we quote from

Dr. Clarke :inspiration. It was unquestionably writ

"Let it be remembered that by the ten not later than the time of Solomon, consent of all (except the basely inand before the paganism of Egypt and terested), no metaphor is ever to be Babylon had corrupted the minds and produced in proof of a doctrine. In

the things that concern our eternal manners of the Israelites as at a later

salvation, we need the most pointed period.

and express evidence on which to es

tablish the faith of our souls."- Note Job's friends argued that the amic

on Matt. 5:26. tions that had come upon him were an The following rule regarding paraevidence of God's displeasure against bles is laid down by Trench in his him for his wickedness. They said, “The

treatise on that suɔject :

The parables niay not be made triumphing of the wicked is short, and first sources of doctrine. Doctrines the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment.” otherwise and already grounded, may

be illustrated, or indeed further conSurely he shall not feel quietness in his

firmed by them, but it is not allowbelly, he shall not save that which he

able to constitute doctrine first by desired. The increase of his house shall their aid. They may be the outer ordepart, and his goods shall flow away in

namental fringe, but not the main

texture of the proof, For from the the day of His wrath.” Job 20:5, 20, 28. literal to the figurative, from the In the following chapter Job replies to

clearer to the more obscure, has ever

been recognized as the law of Scripthis, and shows that sometimes the wicked

ture interpretation. This rule, howprosper, that in death all are alike, and ever, has been often forgotten; and that the judgment of the wicked is in

controversialists, looking round for

arguments with which to sustain another world. He says :

some weak position, one for which “Wherefore do the wicked live, be

they can find no other support in

Scripture, often invent for themselves come old, yea, are mighty in power? supports in these." Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes." “ One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. His breasts are full of milk, and ais bones are moistened with marrow. Another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.”

• Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction ? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” “Yet shall he be brought to the grave and shall remain in the tomb.” Job 21:7, 8, 23-26, 29, 30.

This is certainly plain enough. The import of these texts most unquestionably is that punishment for sin does not come to men in this life, neither in the state of death, but that they shall be brought forth from the grave to receive for the deeds done in the body.

But lest there be in any mind a lingering doubt upon this subject, let us read the words of our Saviour upon this very point:

“ The hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29.

[ocr errors]

The Bible knows nothing of a place of detention where conscious souls await their final reward. The patriarch Job says, “If I wait, the grave is mine house." Job 17:13. And with this agree numerous scriptures. Indeed, in the Bible, the dead are always spoken of as being in their graves; and all future life is made dependent upon a resurrection from the grave. “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and will cause you to come up out of your graves. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.” Eze. 37:12, 13.

The New Testament is equally explicit. “If the dead rise not,” says the apostle Paul, “then is not Christ raised : and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” And then, as though to emphasize the thought, the apostle adds: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." I Cor. 15:16-19.

But there was in the apostle's mind no shadow of doubt upon this subject, for immediately he exclaims : “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order : Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." 1 Cor. 15:20, 23.

And from rock-ribbed Patmos there come to us as a pæan of victory the words: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Fatlier in His throne.” Rev. 1:18; 3:21.

The glad day draws on apace. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.” And let every believing heart gladly respond, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Hell and the Grave.

The following brief but comprehensive treatment of this subject is from the tract, "Scripture References.”'

“The word Hell in the New Testament is translated from three words, each of them having a different meaning. These words are hades, gehenna, and tartaro-o. "Hades' means the grave, or state of the dead ; 'gehenna,' the place of future punishment, or lake of fire; and tartarus,' the abode or condition of the fallen angels. As these three words, which have different meanings, are all translated by the word hell, which now has only one meaning, and so gives the general reader a wrong idea, we will give the remarks of some good critics, and every instance in which these words occur.

1. HADES.- This never means the place of punishment. Its primary meaning is, “An unseen place, the grave, pit, region of the dead,' etc. See Grove's 'Greek and English Dictionary.' Dr. Clarke says of hades, “The word hell, used in common translation, conveys now an improper meaning of the original word; because hell is only used to signify the place of the damned. But the word hell comes from the Anglo Saxon helan, TO COVER.' And Dr. Campbell also says that hell at first denoted what was secret, or concealed,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“We will now give each text in which the word hades occurs, in every one of which, except i Cor. 15:55, it is rendered hell. Let the reader bear in mind that in each case it means the grave, pit, or state of the dead. Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Cor. 15:55; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14.

"This is a complete list of the use of hades, and the reader may decide whether it means a place of torment,' or as the word signifies, the pit, the sepulcher, and state of the dead in general. The Revised Version uses the word hades, and does not translate it hell.

“The word in the Old Testament which corresponds to the word hades in the New, is sheol. The complete list, in which it is translated hell, grave, and the pit, is as follows :

Hell. Deut. 32:22; 2 Sam. 22:6; Job 11:8; 26:6; Ps. 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; 116:3; 139:8; Prov.5:5; 7:27;9:18; 15:11, 24; 23:14; 27:20; Isa. 5:14; 14:9, 15; 28:15, 18; 57:9; Eze. 31:16, 17; 32:21, 27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Hab. 2:5.

Grave. Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31 ; 1 Sam. 2:6; 1 Kings 2:6, 9; Job 7:9; 14:13; 17:13; 21:13; 24:19; Ps. 6:5; 30:3; 31:17; 49:14, twice, 15; 88:3; 89:48 ; 141:7; Prov. 1:12; 30:16; Eccl. 9:10; Cant. 8:6; Isa. 14:11; 38:10, 18; Eze. 31:15; Hos. 13:14, twice.

Pit. Num. 16:30, 33; Job 17:16.

“2. GEHENNA.-Greenfield, in “The Polymycrian Greek Lexicon to the New Testament,' defines this as follows :''Properly the valley of Hinnom, 2 Kings 23 : 10, south of Jerusalem, once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterward polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors; to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning' The Saviour has used this word to denote future punishment. It is found only in the following texts, where it is uniformly rendered hell, and is usually addressed to the Jews; Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.

“We will now quote a criticism on this word, and give its use in the Old Testament. Mr. Ellis, a Hebrew and Greek scholar, says, ‘Gehenna is not a Greek word; it does not occur in any classical author; it is merely the Grecian mode of spelling the Hebrew words which are translated, “The valley of Hinnom.' It is found in the following places: Joshua 15:8; 18:16; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 32; 19:2, 6; 32:35. From history and prophecy we perceive that gehenna is not a place where the wicked are now being punished, nor will it ever be a place where they will be kept alive in perpetual torments. God surnamed the place (Jer. 7:32), the Valley of Slaughter, and to affirm that the wicked will be kept alive there forever, is to charge God with having named it inappropriately!

“ 3. TARTARO-0.—This word occurs only in 2 Peter 2:4: 'God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment.' Departing and Being with Christ.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor : yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be

)

with Christ; which is far better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” Phil. 1 : 21-24.

Upon this text Smith comments :

“The only way in which this text can be made to do service in behalf of the conscious intermediate state, is to connect the being with Christ immediately with the departing. But Paul does not so connect them. The next thing of which the person is conscious after departing is being with Christ. But this does not preclude the idea that a long space might be passed over in unconsciousness. And such a period the apostle would of necessity pass over in silence, as it is an utter blank to the individual, and the change from one state to the other seems to him to be instantaneous."

“Paul has in other places told us very definitely when we go to be with Christ. Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:51-54 ; Phil. 3:20, 21; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 11:39, 40. His testimony in Phil. 1:23 must not therefore be interpreted in such a way as to contradict these statements. Hence it cannot be used in support of the theory of the conscious intermediate state."-Synopsis of Present Truth, pp. 132, 133.

Of the coguizance of the passage of time in death Bishop Law writes :

“The Scriptures, in speaking of the connection between our present and future being, do not take into the account our intermediate stale in deaih; no more than we, in describing the course of any man's actions, take into account the time he sleeps. Therefore, the Scriptures (to be consistent with themselves) must affirm an immediate connection between death and the judgmeut. Heb.9:27; 2 Cor. 5:6,8."

Those who fall asleep in Jesus have no sense of the time which passes between their death and the morning of the resurrection. John Crellius says —

“Because the time between death and the resurrection is not to be reckoned, therefore the apostle might speak thus, though the soul has no sense of anything

Dr. Priestly says :

“The apostle, considering his own situation, would naturally connect the end of this life with the commencement of another and better, as he would have no perception of any interval between them. That the apostle had no view short of the coming of Christ to judgment, is evident from the phrase he makes use of, namely, being with Christ, which can only take place at His second coming. For Christ Hiniself has said that He would come again, and that He would take His disciples to Himself, which clearly implies that they were not to be with Him before that time." The Thief on the Cross.

Among the examples of faith recorded in the Scriptures few are more striking than the faith of the penitent thief. This man did not ask a merely temporal benefit, he did not ask for deliverance from the terrible plight into which his crimes had brought him: his petition involved the forgiveness of sin and the gift of everlasting life.

While rigidly holding himself aloof from even the appearance of seeking temporal, political power, Christ had repeatedly spoken of a kingdom and had held Himself as a king.

After His apprehension, when asked directly by Pilate concerning His kingship, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. ... Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,” John 18:36, 37.

after death."

[ocr errors]

cruel cry:

Our Lord thus affirmed before the Roman governor that which He publically taught when, as recorded in Luke 19:12, He likened Himself to “a certain nobleman” who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return."

Indeed, at every step, not only the understanding and expectation of the Jews concerning the Messiah, but the teaching of the Lord Himself, fully warranted all men in regarding the promised Saviour as a Prince who was in the future to receive a kingdom.

It is of course impossible to tell just how much the penitent thief knew of the nature of our Lord's kingdom. He assuredly knew, however, that it was not temporal, but eternal. He must therefore have understood it as applying to it such promises as that recorded in Ps. 89:35-37: “Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and His throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven."

Believing such promises, and believing, too, that they were to be literally fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, that He was at some time to take the throne of David, the thief put forth his petition, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.

The circumstances show how sublime was the faith of this peni. tent thief. Instead of being hailed as a deliverer, Jesus “came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Instead of receiving the homage of the people, the Saviour's ears were rudely greeted by the

Away with Him, away with Him!" Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Instead of wearing a royal diadem and wielding a kingiy scepter, there was pressed upon His brow a crown of thorns, and in His hand was placed a reed with which He was later smitten upon the head by His persecutors. Instead of ascending a royal throne, He was nailed to the shameful cross. Instead of being hailed as their promised Deliverer, the taunting words were jeeringly fung in His teeth, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save." Instead of gracing a kingly palace, He was in a few brief hours to sleep in a rock-hewn tomb.

And yet, seeing and knowing all this, yea more, feeling as no one at this distance in point of time can possibly feel the awful horror of it all, and knowing that his own hours were numbered, the faith of this penitent thief grasped, if not in those precise words, yet not less really, the divine promise, “Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isa. 26: 19.

Appropriating this promise of a future life by a resurrection from the dead, he cried, “ Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom."

And Jesus, recognizing the wonderful faith of this truly penitent man, gave him the fitting answer, “Verily I say unto thee to-day, Shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” That is to say, though present appearances are all against such a possibility; dying as I am upon the cross; despised as I am of men and apparently forsaken of God, nevertheless, to-day, under these forbidding circumstances, I promise that thou shalt be with Me in paradise. Truly, sublime faith was here instantly recognized and as instantly met by a most glorious promise.

a

« VorigeDoorgaan »