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Robertus

The Good News: a Modern Christian Apology

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Given this, the only tenable translation of verse 22 is the one provided by the New International Version, namely, ‘they will be shut up in prison, but they will be released after many days.’

Here is how the English Standard Bible translates it:

 

21 On that day the Lord will punish

the host of heaven, in heaven,

and the kings of the earth, on the earth.

22 They will be gathered together

as prisoners in a pit;

they will be shut up in a prison,

and after many days they will be punished.

 

The final judgment, when the condemned are thrown into the lake of fire, will take place after the present earth is destroyed. Until then the wicked are confined to Hades. Before Christ sacrifices himself to atone for our sins all the dead, both good and evil, went to Hades at death. The story of the rich man and Lazarus, found in Luke 16:19-31, describes conditions in Hades. Since the death of Christ the righteous go to Paradise at death while the evil remain in Hades. Here is a description of the final judgment.

 

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

At this judgment those still in Hades were released to go to their final punishment, the lake of fire.

 

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Robert, you write much better than I, so it's good to read your reply.

 

I see two (though really one?) secondary issues that maybe you could address:

 

Fallen angels like Satan are spiritual beings, so hell, the Abyss and Tartarus are not geographical places, but states of being, which involve spiritual suffering and separation from God.

 

Why do you deny that spiritual beings are punished in geographical locations? That is not to say that Hades would be restricted to a single location. But why could not Hades be similar to the current punishment of felons in the US (some in prisons of different degree and different location, some released from physical prisons though still carrying the label 'felon').

 

There seems to be a geographical boundary between the location of the rich man's sufferings and Lazarus' bliss. Also, John uses what appear to be two different locations for the punishment of Satan, one location during the 1000 years, and another for his (potentially) final judgment in the lake of fire.

 

 

Then referring to Isaiah 24:21-22, you seem to ignore the possibility of reading the passage from the standpoint that there is both a Hades/prison and a hell/lake of fire. Why not read it in line with 2 Peter 2 and Revelation 20? I.e. God has souls/spirits of the dead in prison until the great white throne judgement, at which time they are thrown into the lake of fire? I would assume, although the rich man may have been tormented 'in flame' while in this 'prison', not everyone in the 'prison' is in the same level of torment, with some 'in prison' experiencing little to no torment at all. I would also assume that this 'prison' would not necessarily have geographical boundaries for all therein (and hence, for example, the demons loose on earth who cried out that they not be sent to the abyss).

 

 

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OrigenI’d firstly like to reassure you that I do read and consider, both the immediate and the wider context when examining any biblical passage, particularly the more difficult ones. A good example of this is the section of my book that covers Daniel, which also includes my interlinear translation of the Hebrew text of Daniel 9:24-27.
Looking at an interlinear is not the same thing as knowing the Greek and Hebrew languages. An understanding of the languages requires that one know the grammar, syntax, idioms, and semantic range of the words.

 

I wouldn’t claim to have any great expertise in any area, however. I secured top grades at Divinity O and A level around 40 years ago, and have studied Hebrew and Koine a fair bit since then, understanding the grammar and then undertaking some in-depth studies of specific words and phrases.
Sorry but if you need an interlinear, then you don't know the languages.

 

Like others on these discussion groups, I also spend a fair amount of time studying good lexicons and commentaries along the way.
Scholarly lexicons most often require an in depth knowledge of the languages else they are misunderstood.

 

I also cannot see anything in my last contribution that betrays a lack of a knowledge of Hebrew or Greek or of a failure to engage with the wider context.
I pointed out at least four. First your use and misapplication of the word "hell." The English word "hell" translates the Greek word "geenna" (i.e. γέενναν) in English translations. Second your misidentification of the word "hell" in Acts 231 when it is "hades" (i.e. ᾅδης). Third, your misidentification of the word "hell" with the abyss, the pit, which is Tartarus. And fourth your misidentification of "hell" as a prison when it is clearly Tartarus which is referred to as a prison.

 

"And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison..." (Rev. 20:7)

 

"And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit..." (Rev. 20:2)

 

After all the texts from Acts, Ephesians and 1 Peter that I mentioned were the key passages that persuaded our early predecessor to include Christ’s descent to hell into the Apostolic creed, as pointed out by the New Bible Commentary (p 1,244). I confess I don’t know a huge amount about the process that was involved in formulating this creed, but I assume the councils had a reasonable knowledge of Hebrew and Greek and took careful cognisance of the whole biblical context before deciding on what should be included.
Well let us see what New Bible Commentary p. 1379 states:

 

This verse raises the two most difficult questions in the letter. When did Jesus preach to the spirits in prison, and who were they? Some take the verse to refer to the chronological sequel to Jesus’ death, when his spirit passed into the realms of the departed. Then, with Acts 2:31 and Eph. 4:9, this verse establishes the clause in the Creeds about Jesus’ descent to the dead. In that case he must have preached to all the dead in one of three ways: to offer them a second chance of salvation; to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers; to proclaim release from purgatory to those who had repented just before they perished in the flood (a popular interpretation among Roman Catholic writers).
NBC cites three options as to the meaning verse 19.

 

(1) "to offer them a second chance of salvation"

 

(2) "to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers"

 

(3) "to proclaim release from purgatory to those who had repented just before they perished in the flood (a popular interpretation among Roman Catholic writers"

 

So what does the NBC conclude about these options:

 

Neither the first nor the last of these can be supported from Scripture, but the second has been held by many commentators as fitting in with the NT evidence above. E.G. Selwyn (The First Epistle of Peter [Macmillan, 1949]), and others see the spirits in prison as the fallen angels of Gn. 6:1-8 referred to in 2 Pet. 2:4-10 and Jude 6 as well as in the apocryphal 1 Enoch. Peter’s aim in this context is to demonstrate that God’s purpose is being worked out even in times of suffering. So it would seem best to understand the preaching as a declaration of Christ’s triumph, in order to assert (22) that all angels, authorities and powers [are] in submission to him. Grudem (TNTC) in an appendix summarizes the views and claims that the spirits were Noah’s contemporaries who rejected the [p. 1380] preaching of the Spirit of Christ through Noah (see 2 Pet. 2:5) and are now in the prison of the abode of the dead.
First, note the first thing it states: "neither the first nor the last of these can be supported from Scripture," which mean that your view has been rejected because there is no evidence to support it.

 

Second, that leaves only option 2 (i.e. "to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers"). In regard to Ephesian 4:8-9 I stated in post 17:

 

But let's assume that Peter does mean the abode of the dead when he refers to "hades" and not the grave in spite of the contrast he makes. That brings us to Ephesian 4:8-9. There is nothing in the text that suggest Jesus lead everyone in "hades" to heaven. At best it means that Jesus lead those O.T. believers\saints who had died before his atonement into heaven. There is nothing in that passage that suggests universalism.
Thus the NBC agrees with my view.

 

As for the Apostolic Creed, the theological context and historical meaning is what is most important, along with a knowledge of Greek to understand it. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that phrase found in the Apostolic Creed has anything to do with universalism.

 

Ah, but there is more and this is why a knowledge of Greek is so very important. Guess what? The word "hell" does not appear in the creed. Yes, that is correct. Here is the phrase in Greek:

 

κατελθόντα εἰς τὰ κατώτατα = "descending into the lower\bottem."

 

That fits with everything I have said thus far. It fits what the NBC states: "to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers" What it does not do is suggest universalism.

 

So where does that leave your view?

 

The evidence for your use and meaning of Greek is, to say the least, flawed.

 

The source you cited (i.e. NBC) does not agree with you but me.

 

The Apostolic Creed does not support your claim as I have shown and supports both mine and the NBC view.

Edited by Origen

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Then referring to Isaiah 24:21-22, you seem to ignore the possibility of reading the passage from the standpoint that there is both a Hades/prison and a hell/lake of fire. Why not read it in line with 2 Peter 2 and Revelation 20? I.e. God has souls/spirits of the dead in prison until the great white throne judgement, at which time they are thrown into the lake of fire? I would assume, although the rich man may have been tormented 'in flame' while in this 'prison', not everyone in the 'prison' is in the same level of torment, with some 'in prison' experiencing little to no torment at all. I would also assume that this 'prison' would not necessarily have geographical boundaries for all therein (and hence, for example, the demons loose on earth who cried out that they not be sent to the abyss).
I am glad you brought up Isaiah 24:21-22. When Robertus referenced this passage he did not include verse 21, which really provides the fuller context.

 

On that day the LORD will punish

the host of heaven, in heaven,

and the kings of the earth, on the earth.

 

They will be gathered together

as prisoners in a pit;

they will be shut up in a prison,

and after many days they will be punished.

 

(1) Note that the LORD will punish the host of heaven. There is no doubt this is a reference to angels.

 

(2) They were gathered into a pit.

 

(3) They are referred to as prisoners.

 

(4) They are shut up in a prison.

 

The elements in this passage match those in 1 Pet. 3:19, 2 Peter, and Rev. 20:2 and 7.

 

"he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey..."

 

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment..."

 

"And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit..."

 

"And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison..."

 

Also note the parallels.

 

prison (Isa., 1 Pet., and Rev.) - chains of gloomy darkness (2 Pet.)

 

spirits in prison (1 Pet.) - angels in Tartarus (2 Pet.) - host of heaven in a pit (Isa.)

 

Also note the links I have point out between these words in other posts.

 

No doubt that some are thinking about "the kings of the earth." That points to human beings. Sorry no, but let us assume the kings are human rulers. First, there is nothing in the text that supports universalism. Second, the text does not point to everyone being in the pit but only the kings of the Earth and the host of heaven.

 

The host of heaven and the kings of the earth are equivalent\counterparts. Since the two phrases\groups are parallel with each other this point to these kings as not being human rulers. This is nothing new. In the ancient word will was normal thinking. As The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament points out (p. 617):

 

The apocalyptic character of this passage makes it more likely that the author is describing the imprisonment of other powers (angels) who have attempted to rival God’s power, rather than earthly kings.
This is well within the cultural and theological thinking the era and fit the context better Robertus's view. Edited by Origen

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Acts 2:27, 31

It is important to note here that Psalm 16:10 makes two predictions regarding Christ, namely that -

 

(a) his soul would not be abandoned in hell; and,

(b) his flesh would not see corruption.

 

Peter emphases the separateness of these two predictions, by adding the word ‘neither’ to the word ‘nor’ in Psalm 16:10. He then uses the latter to demonstrate that David could not have been speaking of himself, as his body clearly had seen corruption. It must therefore refer to Christ and hence (a) bears eloquent testimony to Christ’s resurrection.

It is at times like this I almost feel like quitting. To think you would base your argument upon an English word from a translation from 1611 is shocking.

 

Your problem is that you don't know Greek. The word that the KJV translates "neither" is οὐδέ, and you have misunderstood how it is used. Again I will make this as simple as I can. First,

 

Regardless of how 3761 (oudé) is translated, it means: If "A" (the preceding statement) isn't true (valid) – then "B" (which extends from it) is also not valid.

http://biblehub.com/greek/3761.htm

That is all it does. It does not mean there are two predictions.

 

Second, you have assumed that the word "neither" is the only possible translation. It is not. The majority of modern translations use either "or" or "nor."

 

"or let your Holy One see corruption." ESV

 

"or let your Holy One experience corruption." NRS

 

"nor permit your Holy One to expression decay." NET Bible

 

"nor allow your Holy One to under go decay." NAS

 

"nor let thy Holy One see corruption." RSV

 

"or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave." NLT

 

"nor will you permit your Holy One to experience decay." LEB

 

Moreover, according to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (3rd ed.) the first and main usage of οὐδέ is "and not, nor" (p.734) and it gives Acts 2:27 as an example.

 

Thus your point that "Peter emphases the separateness of these two predictions by adding the word ‘neither’ to the word ‘nor’ in Psalm 16:10" is just flat out wrong. He did add the word "neither." He was following the Septuagint (as is the case of most quote from the O.T. in the N.T.). And guess what the Septuagint has? That is right, οὐδὲ.

 

That brings us to Hebrew poetry. Poetry in the Bible is built around parallelism. There is more than one type of parallelism but the one we are concerned with synonymous. Synonymous parallelism is built upon to lines of poetry. The first line states something, then the second line says much the same thing as the first one with variations.

 

A good example of this is Genesis 5:23.

 

1. Adah and Zillah,

 

2. Listen to my voice.

 

3. You wives of Lamech,

 

4. Give heed to my speech

 

Note that the 1st and 3rd lines are synonymous. Adah and Zillah are the wives of Lamech and the two lines express the same thought, reference.

 

Note that lines 2 and 4 repeat the same idea but with different words.

 

Listen to = Give heed to

 

my voice = my speech

 

There is no difference in the meaning and that is why this is important. When one understands what synonymous parallelism is and how it works then mistakes in interpretation are less likely.

 

This bring us to our text.

 

"For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,

or let your Holy One see corruption."

 

Here we have the same kind of thing. To not allow his soul to be abandon in hades is saying the same thing as not let your Holy One see corruption. The two lines are synonymous. As I have already pointed out in post 17 Strong lists "grave" as a meaning for the word "hades" and so does Mounce's Greek dictionary. It is well within the semantic range of meaning to translate it as "grave." Then add that to Peter's comment in verse 31:

 

"he was not abandoned to Hades

nor did his flesh see corruption."

 

He adds the word "flesh" which is clearly a reference to the body of Christ not decaying in his grave and Peters contrast between David and Jesus make perfect sense. David died, was buried, and is still in his grave. Jesus died, was buried, but is not in His grave. The evidence for Peter's claim concerning David and Jesus were their tombs. There is nothing in the text must be understood as indicating Jesus went to the netherworld.

 

The Hebrew text also does not support your claim. The Hebrew noun translated as "corruption" or "decay" is שַׁחַת. Under the heading for this noun The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament list "pit, trap grave" (p. 1473). The Hebrew word can mean "grave." The same can be said of the word "sheol." Both Strong and the scholarly tome The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament list "grave" as a possible meaning (p. 891).

 

As you know, in both Hebrew and Greek, the word for ‘soul’ can also mean ‘life’. However, reading it as ‘life’ here makes no sense. If you are dead, you have no ‘life’, so this is not something that can be ‘abandoned’ anywhere.
First of all your understanding of the Hebrew word for "soul" is very, very limited at best. The word "nephesh" has a much winder array of meaning and connotations. The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (p. 724) list several.

 

1. palate, throat, gullet

2. neck

3. appetite, hunger, desire, wish

4. soul, heart, mind

5. breath, last breath, soul

6. life, lives; soul; eternal life

7. being, creature(s)

8a. person, individual

8b. collectively, persons, people

8c. perh. deceased person, (dead) body

8d. perh. specif. slave

9a. נֶפֶשׁ with pronominal suffix, as personal pronoun

9b. as reflexive pronoun, oneself

9c. as possessive pronoun

10. sustenance

11. perfume

12. sepulchre, (funerary) monument

 

Second, the definition 9b is just what the Hebrew text has. The noun has a pronominal suffix and thus functions as a personal pronoun, and since "nephesh" can simply refer to a "person, individual" that make perfect sense.

 

Third, in his excellent commentary Goldingay makes the same point when he says "here my nepeš (“me”) appears as yet another term for the human person or self as a whole (Psalms, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, p. 233).

 

So the word must mean ‘soul’ and as the ‘soul’ is spiritual, it is not something than can be abandoned in a physical ‘grave’, unlike ‘flesh’ (see verse 31). The word ‘Hades’ must therefore refer to a spiritual place not a physical one, i.e. hell" (Luke 16:23-24).
You are wrong on all points as I have shown. You do not know the languages and your comments prove what you think you know is often just flat out wrong or woefully inadequate.

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Both,

 

My Knowledge

I didn’t say that I had read an interlinear version of the Bible. I said I’d written an interlinear translation of Daniel’s prophecy of the ‘seventy sevens’.

 

Spiritual Beings

I don’t believe spiritual entities occupy space for the reasons given in Chapter 1 of my book, The Good News. In view of this, I don’t believe the chasm mentioned is a three-dimensional object any more than I think heaven is literally, ‘Abraham’s Bosom’.

 

Different Words

It is not uncommon for the Bible to use different words to describe different facets of the same thing or person. There are many different names for God, for example. I believe that the various words that describe punishment in the after-life refer to the same thing. I don’t believe they can refer to different things or places, for the simple reasons that they are not things or places to begin with. They are metaphors for a state of being that is characterised by spiritual suffering and separation from God. That may vary in intensity, but it is the same thing: hell.

 

1 Peter 3:19-4:6

However, the debate about whether word like the Abyss and Hades are separate things is academic here, as is whether or not the spirits are those of people or fallen angels. Those who don’t believe in universalism maintain that no-one can be saved from these ‘places’. That is why I mentioned this passage from 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6, in particular. This shows that the gospel was preached to spirits in precisely this predicament, with the sole purpose of securing their salvation (1 Peter 4:6).

 

Isaiah 24

In the material world, it is perfectly reasonable to say, ‘you will be put in prison and then punished after many days’. However, it makes absolutely no sense when that prison is the punishment. How could one meaningfully say to the rich man in the Lazarus parable that he would be punished after many days I can imagine his response! I don’t therefore accept your view of a purgatorial Hades.Moreover, the very text at verse 21 clearly tells us that the ‘prison’ is the punishment that is meted out to both men and angels ‘on that day’. And what days is it? It’s the Day of Judgement, and all that awaits us after that are heaven or hell.

 

However, once again, I would remind you that the principle reason for my quoting this passage was simply to provide another instance of where the word ‘prison’ was used as a metaphor for hell. The above demonstrates that is the case. It also shows how wide a context I have considered in formulating this view.

 

Ephesians 4:9

I have never advanced this as a proof of universalism. I said it provided an echo of 1 Peter 3:19, as it alluded to Christ’s descent to hell.

 

Acts 2:27-31

When negative alternatives are used, ‘neither...nor’ is the correct English construction. In whatever way you translate the conjunctions, however, the fact is that two things are referred to here:

 

(a) Christ’s soul being abandoned in hell; and,

(b) his flesh seeing corruption.

 

In his quotation, Peter does not use ‘neither’ in verse 27, but he uses it at verse 31 to emphasise the fact that there were two things here.

 

I totally agree that ‘me’ and ‘my soul’ are synonymous, because 'I' like Christ am a spiritual being. I will therefore carry on after my flesh has been completely destroyed. You say, however, that statements (a) and (b) are also synonymous. That I cannot accept, however, because that would mean that Christ and his flesh were one and the same thing.

 

Apostles’ Creed

I am not seeking support from this Creed. I was simply making the point that you argued my reference to Acts 2, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 3 to support Christ's descent to hell proved I didn’t read the context and that I had no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. I just made the point that if that were true, then you would have to lay the same charge the door of the authors of the Apostles’ Creed. Are you doing that?

 

As regards the Creeds themselves, the NBC says at page 1,244 (3rd Edition), in relation to 1 Peter 3:19:

 

This verse is taken with Acts 2:31 and Ephesians 4:9 to establish the clause in the Creeds referring to the descent into hell.

 

It uses the word ‘hell’ in the Book of Common Prayer version of the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds. However, I see that you are now taking issue with this translation and NBC’s analysis of it. You contend that it does not refer to ‘hell’, but to Christ’s descent to the ‘lower/bottom’ . But what does this mean exactly? Christ’s body did not leave the sepulchre. Where do you believe the creeds are saying that Christ went to exactly, if not to where the wicked are punished in the after-life? It seems completely tautological to say that it means, ‘he went down to the grave’. The previous sentence tells us that, ‘He was crucified, dead, and buried’. Are you saying, that the following phrase, ‘he descended into hell’ is just a another example of parallelism?

 

Way Forward

I’m extremely busy at work at the moment and I don’t want to think I’m ignoring you, so could we perhaps just focus on one thing at a time. That way, we can explore things in the kind of lexical detail that I'm sure Origen would appreciate. We won’t all agree, I suspect, but we may be able to narrow some apparent differences by clarifying misunderstandings. We will also be able to pinpoint precisely what it is we disagree about and why.

 

How about this then as my opening question: what is 1 Peter 4:6 referring to when it speaks of the good news being preached to the dead?

 

 

God bless,

 

 

 

Robert

 

 

 

 

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Both,

 

My Knowledge

I didn’t say that I had read an interlinear version of the Bible. I said that I’d written an interlinear translation of Daniel’s prophecy of the ‘seventy sevens’.

 

Spiritual Beings

I don’t believe spiritual entities occupy space for the reasons given in Chapter 1 of my book, The Good News. I don’t therefore believe that the chasm mentioned in Like 168 is a three-dimensional object any more than heaven is literally, ‘Abraham’s Bosom’.

 

Different Words

It is not uncommon for the Bible to use different words to describe different facets of the same thing or person. There are many different names for God, for example.

I believe that the various words that describe punishment in the after-life also refer to the same thing. In fact, I don’t believe they could refer to different things or places, any way, for the simple reason that they are not things or places to begin with. They are metaphors for a state of being that is characterised by spiritual suffering and separation from God.

 

1 Peter 3:19-4:6

However, the debate about whether words like the Abyss and Hades are separate things is academic here, as is whether or not the spirits are those of people or fallen angels. Those who don’t believe in universalism maintain that no-one can be saved from these ‘places’. That is why I mentioned this passage in 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6. This shows that the gospel was preached to spirits in precisely this predicament, with the sole purpose of securing their salvation (1 Peter 4:6).

 

Isaiah 24

In the material world, it is perfectly reasonable to say, ‘you will be put in prison and then punished after many days’. However, it makes absolutely no sense when that prison is the punishment. How could one meaningfully say to the rich man in the Lazarus parable that he would be punished after many days? I can imagine his response! Moreover, the text at verse 21 here clearly tells us that the ‘prison’ is the punishment that is meted out to both men and angels ‘on that day’. And what days is it? It’s the Day of Judgement, and all that awaits us after that, are heaven or hell.

 

However, once again, I would remind you that the principle reason for my quoting this passage was simply to provide another instance of where the word ‘prison’ is used as a metaphor for hell. The above demonstrates that is the case.

 

Ephesians 4:9

I have never advanced this as a proof of universalism. I said that it provided an echo of 1 Peter 3:19, as it alluded to Christ’s descent to hell.

 

Acts 2:27-31

When negative alternatives are used, ‘neither...nor’ is the correct English construction. I whatever way you translate the particles, however, it remains clear that two things are mentioned, namely:

 

(a) Christ’s soul being abandoned in hell; and,

(b) his body (‘flesh’) seeing corruption.

 

In his quotation, Peter does not use ‘neither’ in verse 27, but for emphasis he uses it at verse 31, to emphasise the fact that the Psalmist referred to two things, Christ’s soul and His body.

I totally agree that ‘me’ and ‘my soul’ are synonymous, because I, like Christ, am a spiritual being. I will therefore carry on after my body has been completely destroyed.

You say, however, that statements (a) and (b) are also synonymous. That I cannot accept, because this would mean that Christ and his flesh were one and the same thing.

 

Apostles’ Creed

I am not seeking support from this creed. I was simply making the point that you argued that my reference to Acts 2, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 3 in support of Christ’s descent to hell proved that I didn’t read the context and had no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. I just made the point that if they were not, however, then you would have to lay the same charge at the door of the authors of the Apostles’ Creed. Are you saying that?

 

As regards the Creeds themselves, the NBC says at page 1,244 (3rd Edition), regarding 1 Peter 3:19:

 

This verse is taken with Acts 2:31 and Ephesians 4:9 to establish the clause in the Creeds referring to the descent into hell.

 

It uses the word ‘hell’ in the Book of Common Prayer version of the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds. However, I see that you now take issue with this translation and NBC’s analysis of it. You contend that it does not refer to ‘hell’, but to Christ’s descent to the ‘lower/bottom’ .

 

But what does this mean? Christ’s body did not leave the sepulchre. Where do you believe the creeds are saying that Christ went to exactly, if not to where the wicked are punished in the after-life? It also seems completely tautological to say that it means, ‘he went down to the grave’. The previous sentence tells us that, ‘He was crucified, dead, and buried’. Are you saying, that the following phrase, ‘he descended into hell’ is just a another example of parallelism?

 

Way Forward

I’m extremely busy at work at the moment and don’t want you to think that I’m ignoring you, so could we perhaps just focus on one thing at a time. That way, we could explore things in the kind of lexical details that Origen would no doubt appreciate.

 

We won’t all agree, but we may be able to narrow the apparent differences by clarifying misunderstandings. We will also have a clearer understanding of what we disagree about and why.

How about this then as my opening question: what is 1 Peter 4:6 referring to when it speaks of the good news being preached to the dead?

 

 

God bless

 

 

Robert

 

 

 

 

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Both,

 

My Knowledge

I didn’t say that I had read an interlinear version of the Bible. I said I’d written an interlinear translation of Daniel’s prophecy of the ‘seventy sevens’.

Since you clearly don't know Hebrew that does not mean anything.

 

Spiritual Beings

I don’t believe spiritual entities occupy space for the reasons given in Chapter 1 of my book, The Good News. In view of this, I don’t believe the chasm mentioned is a three-dimensional object any more than I think heaven is literally, ‘Abraham’s Bosom’.

I only care about the text and what the text says or in your case what it does not says. Your metaphysical musings are irrelevant to that.

 

Different Words

It is not uncommon for the Bible to use different words to describe different facets of the same thing or person. I believe that the various words that describe punishment in the after-life refer to the same thing. I don’t believe they can refer to different things or places, for the simple reasons that they are not things or places to begin with. They are metaphors for a state of being that is characterised by spiritual suffering and separation from God. That may vary in intensity, but it is the same thing: hell.

You may believe anything you wish but that is not evidence. Since the text does not support your claim, and no scholarly lexicons agree with your view, it is up to you to prove your case. The fact that you lump them all together means that you do not understand the cultural and theological settings. The different words are used contextually for a reason. They do not all refer to the same thing and the ancient reader\listener knew that.

 

1 Peter 3:19-4:6However, the debate about whether word like the Abyss and Hades are separate things is academic here as is whether or not the spirits are those of people or fallen angels.
That is not correct. There are good reasons why a writer would choose one word over another, context. As I said above, the different words used are used contextually for a reason. They do not all refer to the same thing and the ancient reader\listener knew that.

 

Those who don’t believe in universalism maintain that no-one can be saved from these ‘places’. That is why I mentioned this passage from 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6, in particular. This shows that the gospel was preached to spirits in precisely this predicament, with the sole purpose of securing their salvation (1 Peter 4:6).
They don't. As I have shown in post 20, 1 Peter 3:19 has nothing to do with human beings. You have not addressed that post or the evidence therein.

 

Isaiah 24

In the material world, it is perfectly reasonable to say, ‘you will be put in prison and then punished after many days’. However, it makes absolutely no sense when that prison is the punishment. How could one meaningfully say to the rich man in the Lazarus parable that he would be punished after many days I can imagine his response! I don’t therefore accept your view of a purgatorial Hades.Moreover, the very text at verse 21 clearly tells us that the ‘prison’ is the punishment that is meted out to both men and angels ‘on that day’. And what days is it? It’s the Day of Judgement, and all that awaits us after that are heaven or hell.

I have already addressed this passage in post 29 (and there is more to come). But you have not addressed the counter arguments and evidence.

 

However, once again, I would remind you that the principle reason for my quoting this passage was simply to provide another instance of where the word ‘prison’ was used as a metaphor for hell. The above demonstrates that is the case. It also shows how wide a context I have considered in formulating this view.
I understand. The problem is they don't.

 

Ephesians 4:9

I have never advanced this as a proof of universalism.

I never said you did.

 

Acts 2:27-31

When negative alternatives are used, ‘neither...nor’ is the correct English construction. In whatever way you translate the conjunctions, however, the fact is that two things are referred to here:

 

(a) Christ’s soul being abandoned in hell; and,

(b) his flesh seeing corruption.

 

In his quotation, Peter does not use ‘neither’ in verse 27, but he uses it at verse 31 to emphasise the fact that there were two things here.

This is not correct.

 

(1) While the word οὐδέ may at times be translated as "neither" that does not prove it ought to be translated that way here nor is it the only possibility. You need to prove it grammatically from the Greek text. Even if something is at least possible that does not mean it is the best choice.

 

(2) Greek has a construction for the "neither\nor" correlation, a double οὐδέ ... οὐδέ. That construction is not used in this passage. What you don't know is that Greek syntax is important for the use and meaning of words within the text. While anyone can look up the meaning of Greek word in a dictionary, that by itself cannot help you understand how it is being used according to syntax. That requires a knowledge of Greek grammar.

 

You say, however, that statements (a) and (b) are also synonymous. That I cannot accept, however, because that would mean that Christ and his flesh were one and the same thing.
That is because you have not understood my point. In synonymous parallelism the two line are synonymous in meaning. The variations have to do with how it is expressed.

 

I have already shown that the word hades can refer to the grave.

 

I have already shown the the sheol can refer to the grave.

 

I have already shown that when Peter's refers to Christ flesh he is speaking of Christ's body (i.e. not decaying).

 

I have already shown the Hebrew noun שַׁחַת refers to the grave. The noun comes from the same root and means "to decay, to rot."

 

Simply by putting all the elements together it is not hard to understand. The two lines are essentially saying the same thing, not two different things as you have claimed. That is the nature of synonymous parallelism. That is the way it is done. In order to accept your claim about it being two prediction a person would have to reject the structure of Hebrew poetry that is well known, well studied, and well defined.

 

Apostles’ Creed

I am not seeking support from this Creed. I was simply making the point that you argued my reference to Acts 2, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 3 to support Christ's descent to hell proved I didn’t read the context and that I had no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. I just made the point that if that were true, then you would have to lay the same charge the door of the authors of the Apostles’ Creed. Are you doing that?

Yes I am. I explained what the options are according to the source you cite and how it agrees with my view. Moreover the creed does not support your claim but fit with the context of what I have said and with which your source agrees.

 

As regards the Creeds themselves, the NBC says at page 1,244 (3rd Edition), in relation to 1 Peter 3:19:

 

This verse is taken with Acts 2:31 and Ephesians 4:9 to establish the clause in the Creeds referring to the descent into hell.

I know what it says I even quoted it in post 28 at length.

 

Some take the verse to refer to the chronological sequel to Jesus’ death, when his spirit passed into the realms of the departed. Then, with Acts 2:31 and Eph. 4:9, this verse establishes the clause in the Creeds about Jesus’ descent to the dead. In that case he must have preached to all the dead in one of three ways: to offer them a second chance of salvation; to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers; to proclaim release from purgatory to those who had repented just before they perished in the flood (a popular interpretation among Roman Catholic writers).

 

Neither the first nor the last of these can be supported from Scripture, but the second has been held by many commentators as fitting in with the NT evidence above. E.G. Selwyn (The First Epistle of Peter [Macmillan, 1949]), and others see the spirits in prison as the fallen angels of Gn. 6:1-8 referred to in 2 Pet. 2:4-10 and Jude 6 as well as in the apocryphal 1 Enoch. Peter’s aim in this context is to demonstrate that God’s purpose is being worked out even in times of suffering. So it would seem best to understand the preaching as a declaration of Christ’s triumph, in order to assert (22) that all angels, authorities and powers [are] in submission to him. Grudem (TNTC) in an appendix summarizes the views and claims that the spirits were Noah’s contemporaries who rejected the [p. 1380] preaching of the Spirit of Christ through Noah (see 2 Pet. 2:5) and are now in the prison of the abode of the dead.

The question is which of the three options is most probable.

 

Again, as I pointed out in post 28 note the NBC states: "neither the first nor the last of these can be supported from Scripture," which mean that your view has been rejected because there is no evidence to support it.

 

And that leaves only option 2 (i.e. "to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers").

 

Then I go on to mention in that post what I had all already said in post 17:

 

But let's assume that Peter does mean the abode of the dead when he refers to "hades" and not the grave in spite of the contrast he makes. That brings us to Ephesian 4:8-9. There is nothing in the text that suggest Jesus lead everyone in "hades" to heaven. At best it means that Jesus lead those O.T. believers\saints who had died before his atonement into heaven. There is nothing in that passage that suggests universalism.
Either you are not reading my comments or you are ignoring them. Anyway you only quote one sentence from the NBC giving no context. When the whole of the contenx is examined it show the NBC does not agree with you and that your quote is misleading on that level.

 

It uses the word ‘hell’ in the Book of Common Prayer version of the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds.
I care about the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible.

 

However, I see that you are now taking issue with this translation and NBC’s analysis of it.
Far from it because it agree with me. I believe you have misrepresented the NBC on this point by quoting only one sentence out of context. As I pointed out above and in post 28, the NBC gives three options:

 

(1) "to offer them a second chance of salvation"

 

(2) "to proclaim his victory over death and triumph over the power of evil and so confirm the sentence on unbelievers and announce deliverance for believers"

 

(3) "to proclaim release from purgatory to those who had repented just before they perished in the flood (a popular interpretation among Roman Catholic writers"

 

In the first sentence of next paragraph it states: "Neither the first nor the last of these can be supported from Scripture..." Thus your claim has been rejected because there is no evidence to support it. So whatever the Creed might mean, it certainly does not support your view according to the NBC.

 

You contend that it does not refer to ‘hell’, but to Christ’s descent to the ‘lower/bottom.’ But what does this mean exactly? Christ’s body did not leave the sepulchre. Where do you believe the creeds are saying that Christ went to exactly, if not to where the wicked are punished in the after-life?
That is what the Greek states, τὰ κατώτατα. Lets take what we already know and apply it.

 

In Greek mythology, the name Τάρταρος (prob. not a native Gk. term, but found already in Homer Il. 8.13, 481) orig. denoted a deep abyss, far beneath Hades (ibid. 8.16). It was surrounded by a brazen wall and encircled by impenetrable darkness. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis p. 458.

 

Tartarus, thought of by the Greeks as a subterranean place lower than Hades where divine punishment was meted out, and so regarded in Israelite apocalyptic as well... A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian, 3rd Edition, p. 991.
Note that Tartarus is "a subterranean place lower than Hades." Note that Tartarus is a "deep abyss" and thus links to "the pit" in the N.T. Given that information and the word (i.e. ‘lower/bottom) in the Creed that would be a very likely link it to 1 Peter 3:19 and 2 Peter 2:4 and the fallen angels.

 

It seems completely tautological to say that it means, ‘he went down to the grave’. The previous sentence tells us that, ‘He was crucified, dead, and buried’. Are you saying, that the following phrase, ‘he descended into hell’ is just a another example of parallelism?
It does not matter that you think it is a tautology. Synonymous parallelism is part of the structure of Hebrew poetry. It is a fact. I know you have The New Bible Commentary. Just before the book of Job there is a section titled Poetry in the Bible. There is a brief discussing about parallelism there. The Hebrew poets wrote accounting to their style, their customs, their structure, their literary techniques.

 

Way Forward

I’m extremely busy at work at the moment and I don’t want to think I’m ignoring you, so could we perhaps just focus on one thing at a time. That way, we can explore things in the kind of lexical detail that I'm sure Origen would appreciate. We won’t all agree, I suspect, but we may be able to narrow some apparent differences by clarifying misunderstandings. We will also be able to pinpoint precisely what it is we disagree about and why.

 

How about this then as my opening question: what is 1 Peter 4:6 referring to when it speaks of the good news being preached to the dead?

Go for it. State a new thread concerning 1 Peter 4:6. Give your evidence for your view on this verse.

 

However I have already addressed this verse in posts 17, 20, 22, and 28. I have discussed the semantic range of certain words (and thus the meaning of the those key words), the links between this verse and others verses based upon the Greek text and context, and the cultural and religious background of the period. And I have cited scholarly sources to back up my points.

Edited by Origen

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Originally posted by Robertus

How about this then as my opening question: what is 1 Peter 4:6 referring to when it speaks of the good news being preached to the dead?

Peter is referring to people now dead who heard the gospel when they were alive, like this:

 

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them..." Heb.4:2

 

By "them", the writer of Hebrews means the people who lived in Moses day, who are now dead.

Edited by journeyman
typo

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Journeyman

 

Thank you. My problem with your reading is that 1 Peter 4:6 tells us that the universality of God's judgement (1 Peter 4:5) is the reason why the gospel was even preached to the dead.

 

This clearly pre-supposes there has been a previous reference to the gospel being preached to the dead, the need for which is now being explained. The only candidate here is 1 Peter 3:19, which refers to spirits who were 'pent in prison' following Noah's Flood, and whom Christ visited and 'proclaimed' after His own death, whilst He was also 'in the spirit'.

 

Secondly, there is the word translated as 'even' in the NIV and other versions. If this is correct, as many scholars clearly believe it is, then it implies there is something remarkable in the gospel being preached 'even' to the dead. However, it would only be remarkable if they were actually dead at the time; preaching to people who are now dead, but who were alive at the time is not noteworthy at all.

 

 

God bless

 

 

Robert

 

 

 

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Journeyman

 

Thank you. My problem with your reading is that 1 Peter 4:6 tells us that the universality of God's judgement (1 Peter 4:5) is the reason why the gospel was even preached to the dead.

The universality of Gods' judgment is why the gospel is preached to the living (people physically alive.)

 

This clearly pre-supposes there has been a previous reference to the gospel being preached to the dead, the need for which is now being explained. The only candidate here is 1 Peter 3:19, which refers to spirits who were 'pent in prison' following Noah's Flood, and whom Christ visited and 'proclaimed' after His own death, whilst He was also 'in the spirit'.[/Quote]

Peter means Christ as the Holy Spirit preached through Noah to the disobedient while the ark was being built. They didn't listen and are now imprisoned by death awaiting judgment.

 

Secondly, there is the word translated as 'even' in the NIV and other versions. If this is correct, as many scholars clearly believe it is, then it implies there is something remarkable in the gospel being preached 'even' to the dead. However, it would only be remarkable if they were actually dead at the time; preaching to people who are now dead, but who were alive at the time is not noteworthy at all.

 

God bless

 

Robert[/Quote]

It's noteworthy the gospel has been preached throughout history, beginning with our first human parents. Robert, listen to this:

 

"But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." Mk.3:29

 

I'm not a proponent of never ending torture, but eternal damnation is irrevocable. Eternal judgment is the complete destruction of body, soul and spirit.

Edited by journeyman
as for through

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Dear Journeyman,

 

I’ll come back to your other points later if I may. I’d just like to stay with 1 Peter 3 for the time being, if that’s OK.

 

My first problem with your reading is that the visit of Christ to those in prison follows on from His death, as indicated by the interlinear text below:

[TABLE=border: 0, cellpadding: 0, cellspacing: 0, width: 661]

[TR]

[TD]θανατωθεὶς[/TD]

[TD]μὲν[/TD]

[TD]σαρκὶ ,[/TD]

[TD]ζωοποιηθεὶς[/TD]

[TD]δὲ[/TD]

[TD]πνεύματι ;[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]having been put to death[/TD]

[TD]indeed[/TD]

[TD]in [the] flesh[/TD]

[TD]having been made alive[/TD]

[TD]however[/TD]

[TD]in [the] spirit[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]ἐν ᾧ[/TD]

[TD]καὶ[/TD]

[TD]τοῖς[/TD]

[TD]ἐν φυλακῇ[/TD]

[TD]πνεύμασιν [/TD]

[TD]πορευθεὶς ,[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]in which[/TD]

[TD]also[/TD]

[TD]to the[/TD]

[TD]in prison[/TD]

[TD]spirits[/TD]

[TD] going[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

 

 

There is also no reference elsewhere in the scriptures to Christ preaching through Noah. So as well as involving ‘a harsh transference of thought and subject’ (New Bible Commentary, p 1,244), this interpretation is also only achieved by adding to God’s words (Proverbs 30:6) and going beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).

 

The same must also be said of your reading of 1 Peter 4:6, which requires the insertion of ‘now’ into the sentence to make it:

 

The gospel was even preached to the (now) dead.

 

 

Finally, 1 Peter 3 does not say that the gospel was preached to 'people'. Instead it refers to them as ‘in-prison spirits’. They are clearly not human beings any more, but the spirits of the departed who died in the Flood.

 

 

Robert

 

 

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Dear Journeyman,

 

I’ll come back to your other points later if I may. I’d just like to stay with 1 Peter 3 for the time being, if that’s OK.

That's fine brother.

 

My first problem with your reading is that the visit of Christ to those in prison follows on from His death, as indicated by the interlinear text below: [TABLE=border: 0, cellpadding: 0, cellspacing: 0, width: 661]

[TR]

[TD]θανατωθεὶς[/TD]

[TD]μὲν[/TD]

[TD]σαρκὶ ,[/TD]

[TD]ζωοποιηθεὶς[/TD]

[TD]δὲ[/TD]

[TD]πνεύματι ;[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]having been put to death[/TD]

[TD]indeed[/TD]

[TD]in [the] flesh[/TD]

[TD]having been made alive[/TD]

[TD]however[/TD]

[TD]in [the] spirit[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]ἐν ᾧ[/TD]

[TD]καὶ[/TD]

[TD]τοῖς[/TD]

[TD]ἐν φυλακῇ[/TD]

[TD]πνεύμασιν[/TD]

[TD]πορευθεὶς ,[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]in which[/TD]

[TD]also[/TD]

[TD]to the[/TD]

[TD]in prison[/TD]

[TD]spirits[/TD]

[TD]going[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

[/Quote]

It's clear from Peter's teaching the imprisoned spirits were not saved because of disobedience when they lived on earth. Peter says elsewhere:

 

"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." 2 Pe.2:5

 

You know what was written in the OT was for our learning. There is no way to interpret Peter meaning the gospel was preached to people after they died.

 

 

There is also no reference elsewhere in the scriptures to Christ preaching through Noah. So as well as involving ‘a harsh transference of thought and subject’ (New Bible Commentary, p 1,244), this interpretation is also only achieved by adding to God’s words (Proverbs 30:6) and going beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).[/Quote]

I just cited Peter calling Noah a preacher of righteousness. All the prophets were. That's how God communicates with mankind. There's no doubt Noah was speaking (not his own message, but by the Spirit') warning the sinners of his day of Gods' impending judgment.

 

 

The same must also be said of your reading of 1 Peter 4:6, which requires the insertion of ‘now’ into the sentence to make it:

 

The gospel was even preached to the (now) dead. [/Quote]

The verse is plain to me without adding the word "now." I only used it to clarify the context for you. Look at the verse:

 

"For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." 1 Pe.4:6

 

That's how we're perceived. He's saying the gospel was preached to them when they were physically alive, so they would live by the spirit, because Jesus is going to judge the living and the dead (vs.5.)

 

 

Finally, 1 Peter 3 does not say that the gospel was preached to 'people'. Instead it refers to them as ‘in-prison spirits’. They are clearly not human beings any more, but the spirits of the departed who died in the Flood.

Robert

[/Quote]

Those who die rejecting the gospel are spirits trapped by death:

 

"So I sware in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest" Heb.3:11

 

Those people who died in the wilderness will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Edited by journeyman
we're for were

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Dear Journeyman,

 

2 Peter 2:5 only tells us that the ungodly were punished, not that they could never be saved.

 

As regards Noah, I’m not clear why you believe that because his preaching was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it must also have come directly from Christ. I believe orthodoxy still teaches that the members of the Trinity do not always act in concert, the obvious example being the Son’s suffering on the Cross.

 

Going back to 1 Peter 4:6, the Greek does not say, ‘preached to them that are dead’, perhaps implying 'those that are dead now'. It simply says, ‘preached to the dead’, indicating that they were dead at the time.

 

This interpretation is reinforced by 1 Peter 3:19, which tells us that the persons in question were the ‘spirits’ of those who had disobeyed at the time of Noah. So they were the disembodied spirits of people who perished in the Flood.

 

I didn't understand your response to this point. You say that, ‘those who die rejecting the gospel are spirits trapped by death’. I agree and that’s my point. The people to whom Jesus was preaching were the 'spirits' of the disobedient dead. And 1 Peter 4:6 says that the purpose of this preaching was their redemption.

 

Robert

 

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Dear Journeyman,

 

2 Peter 2:5 only tells us that the ungodly were punished, not that they could never be saved.

Peter is only using them as examples of complete destruction as far as humans can see.

 

As regards Noah, I’m not clear why you believe that because his preaching was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it must also have come directly from Christ. I believe orthodoxy still teaches that the members of the Trinity do not always act in concert, the obvious example being the Son’s suffering on the Cross.

Jesus is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. They didn't recognize Him because He was veiled in flesh:

 

"...He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;" Heb.10:20

 

The writer of Hebrews is speaking of the Tabernacle in Heaven, which Moses made a copy of. Behind the veil was the Holiest place, where God was (is.)

 

Going back to 1 Peter 4:6, the Greek does not say, ‘preached to them that are dead’, perhaps implying 'those that are dead now'. It simply says, ‘preached to the dead’, indicating that they were dead at the time.

 

This interpretation is reinforced by 1 Peter 3:19, which tells us that the persons in question were the ‘spirits’ of those who had disobeyed at the time of Noah. So they were the disembodied spirits of people who perished in the Flood.

It's clear Peter means they were preached to before they died:

 

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." 2 Pe.2:9

 

 

I didn't understand your response to this point. You say that, ‘those who die rejecting the gospel are spirits trapped by death’. I agree and that’s my point. The people to whom Jesus was preaching were the 'spirits' of the disobedient dead. And 1 Peter 4:6 says that the purpose of this preaching was their redemption.

Robert

It's really a matter of sowing and reaping. The dead aren't sowing anything anymore. They're just waiting for the harvest.

Edited by journeyman
double word

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As regards Noah, I’m not clear why you believe that because his preaching was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it must also have come directly from Christ. I believe orthodoxy still teaches that the members of the Trinity do not always act in concert, the obvious example being the Son’s suffering on the Cross.

How does this show that the members of the Trinity do not act in concert?

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Dear Journeyman

 

Your statement that ‘Jesus is the Holy Spirit’ goes against the doctrine of the Trinity. According to this, the Son is not the Father and neither of them is the Holy Spirit, even though all three are God. The Athanasian Creed warns against ‘confounding the Persons’ of the Trinity and asserts that, ‘there is One Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost’.

 

The Persons of the Trinity can therefore act and experience independently, rather than always acting ‘in concert’, as I put. So only the Father knows ‘the hour’ (Matthew 24:36), only the Son experiences being crucified (Luke 23:46) and the Holy Spirit is ‘another Comforter’ apart from the Son and the Father (John 14:16).

 

So I don’t accept there is any evidence at all that Jesus spoke through Noah. It is nowhere stated in Scripture and it cannot be inferred from anything that the Bible says.

 

You say it is clear that what Peter meant in 1 Peter 4:6 was that the people in question were preached to before they died. What is this assertion based upon? Peter says that the ‘the gospel was preach to the dead’, not that it was ‘preached to the living who are now dead’. How can you exclude the possibility they were dead at the time, particularly when we are told they were ‘spirits’ at the time?

 

In response to this last point, you say, ‘it’s really a matter of sowing and reaping. The dead aren't sowing anything anymore. They're just waiting’. I don’t understand this at all or how it answers my point. Whilst He was ‘in the spirit’, Jesus ‘proclaimed’ to imprisoned spirits. So they must have both been dead at the time, mustn’t they. How can you avoid this obvious conclusion?

 

Robert

 

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Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
I am going to need some clarification on this. What do you mean that Jesus is the Holy Spirit?

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Dear Journeyman

Your statement that ‘Jesus is the Holy Spirit’ goes against the doctrine of the Trinity. According to this, the Son is not the Father and neither of them is the Holy Spirit, even though all three are God. The Athanasian Creed warns against ‘confounding the Persons’ of the Trinity and asserts that, ‘there is One Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost’.

 

The Persons of the Trinity can therefore act and experience independently, rather than always acting ‘in concert’, as I put. So only the Father knows ‘the hour’ (Matthew 24:36), only the Son experiences being crucified (Luke 23:46) and the Holy Spirit is ‘another Comforter’ apart from the Son and the Father (John 14:16).

 

So I don’t accept there is any evidence at all that Jesus spoke through Noah. It is nowhere stated in Scripture and it cannot be inferred from anything that the Bible says.

I see the Persons of the Trinity being the same Person, only in different forms, or using Himself in different ways. Ad far as Noah, the word of God came to all His prophets.

 

You say it is clear that what Peter meant in 1 Peter 4:6 was that the people in question were preached to before they died. What is this assertion based upon?

It's based on everything I've shown you, which you've ignored.

 

Peter says that the ‘the gospel was preach to the dead’, not that it was ‘preached to the living who are now dead’. How can you exclude the possibility they were dead at the time, particularly when we are told they were ‘spirits’ at the time?

I've shown you why the gospel is preached and believed before people die.

 

 

In response to this last point, you say, ‘it’s really a matter of sowing and reaping. The dead aren't sowing anything anymore. They're just waiting’. I don’t understand this at all or how it answers my point. Whilst He was ‘in the spirit’, Jesus ‘proclaimed’ to imprisoned spirits. So they must have both been dead at the time, mustn’t they. How can you avoid this obvious conclusion?

Robert

I've been showing you by the context of Peters' words along with other passages of scripture, As far the sowing and reaping goes, we reap at judgment day what we sowed in this world, not the grave.

 

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I am going to need some clarification on this. What do you mean that Jesus is the Holy Spirit?

I mean God redeemed us to Himself by Himself as Spirit wrapped in flesh.

 

"But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing." Heb.97-8

 

Of course, Jesus didn't need to offer for Himself, only for us. The confusion over the identity of Jesus is partly due to misunderstanding the "body of Christ." In one sense, we being anointed by the High Priest (by the Spirit) are the body of Christ. His body is also the body He appeared in, which flesh is also called the veil of the Temple. God was behind that veil.

 

How do you read it?

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I see the Persons of the Trinity being the same Person, only in different forms, or using Himself in different ways.
That is not Trinitarianism. What you are advocating is Sabellianism\modalism which is distinctly nontrinitarian.

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That is not Trinitarianism. What you are advocating is Sabellianism\modalism which is distinctly nontrinitarian.

Ok.

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Journeyman

 

You raised the issue of ‘eternal punishment’ earlier in our exchange and I promised to pick this up later. The simple answer to your challenge is that my answer would depend on what ‘eternal’ meant in the particular context. And we know that it frequently does not mean literally ‘for ever’

 

Firstly, both the Hebrew and the corresponding Greek words can simply denote a long or indeterminate period of time*. For example, various Old Testament ordinances are described using this word (e.g., Exodus 27:21 and Leviticus 3:17), but these regulations clearly do not last for ever, as they were abolished with the creation of the New Covenant (Galatians 3:24,25; Colossians 2:14).

 

Secondly, the word ‘eternal’ is frequently used, particularly by John, in a completely non-temporal sense. We learn that a believer ‘has eternal life’ in them now (John 3:36; 5:24). By contrast, we are told that ‘no murderer has eternal life abiding in him’ (1 John 3:15). ‘Eternal life’, therefore, is something that dwells within someone here and now; it is not something that will only exist at some stage in the future.

 

In the context of our discussion, we also learn what Jesus meant when He used the phrase ‘eternal life’. In John 17:3, He said: ‘And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God, and He whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.’ A similar definition of ‘eternal life’ is provided by 1 John 5:20, which says that communion with God is ‘eternal life’.

 

In each of these passages, the word ‘eternal’ refers to the quality not the quantity of the ‘life’. This life is ‘eternal’, not because it goes on for ever and ever, but because it involves a knowledge of the ‘eternal’ God. Unlike biological life, it exists in ‘eternity’, the realm that God inhabits (Isaiah 57:15), as opposed to the ephemeral, material world. By contrast, therefore, eternal punishment involves the opposite of this, that is, ‘exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might’ (2 Thessalonians1:9).

 

Do I believe God is going to torment most of mankind for ever and ever with no chance of redemption? No: an infinite punishment would be pointless, cruel and disproportionate to their crimes. And how could we or God be happy knowing that sin and suffering, both of which we should hate, would be going on for ever and ever, an indelible part of the universe. How does that gives us any good news to impart? No, God is much kinder than we are (Matthew 7:9, Luke 11:11), and we know what that kindness means in terms of punishment: God will not punish or be angry for ever (Psalm 103:9). Hallelujah!

 

 

God bless

 

 

Robert

 

* The Analytical Greek Lexicon, 1977, H. Moulton, p11; Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 1951, F Brown pp 761, 762

 

 

 

 

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Do I believe God is going to torment most of mankind for ever and ever with no chance of redemption? No: an infinite punishment would be pointless, cruel and disproportionate to their crimes. And how could we or God be happy knowing that sin and suffering, both of which we should hate, would be going on for ever and ever, an indelible part of the universe. How does that gives us any good news to impart? No, God is much kinder than we are (Matthew 7:9, Luke 11:11), and we know what that kindness means in terms of punishment: God will not punish or be angry for ever (Psalm 103:9).
These comments are the crux of the matter. You have allowed your emotions, your sentimentality to dictate your theological stance. Look at your points:

 

(1) "Do I believe God is going to torment..." No God is not going to torment anyone but notice that is how you phrase it. In other words, it would be God's fault. If human beings reject God, his love, his mercy, then they have only themselves to blame. Man's rejection of God has real consequences. Universalism removes those consequences in favor of a so-called sense of justice based on human feelings not Scripture.

 

(2) "infinite punishment would be pointless" A human judgement based solely on emotions that cannot be applied to the infinite and holy God. What you think is pointless is indeed pointless but that does not mean what God wants is pointless even if you cannot understand it. Everything you say is nothing more than a man made pseudo theology.

 

(3) "cruel" Same point as number (2). You have used a loaded term for obvious reasons. It is cruel to you and since you find it cruel you must force that understanding upon God. Thus if it is cruel to you it must be cruel to God as well.

 

(5) "disproportionate to their crimes" I find this one really pitiful and pathetic. A human being telling the righteous, holy and just God, creator of the universe what he thinks is fair. Anyone who would think that the rejection of the only source of salvation, namely God Himself, is disproportionate to their crimes has completely failed to understand the Bible's teaching on sin. Your theology makes light of sin and therefore cannot truly understand God's holiness.

 

(5) "how could we or God be happy" Hypothetical nonsense! Agains your views are based upon human emotions (i.e. what you think God ought to like and want according to your own likes and wants).

 

(6) "God is much kinder than we" True, but you have imposed your human ideas of what is fair, kind and just upon God. Thus you are simply begging the question. In other words you assume what you say is correct and then impose that upon God so that he conforms to your very human ideas of what is fair, kind and just.

 

As I said above this is the crux of the matter. Yours is not a Biblical theology but a human understanding of what you think God ought to be or do or want. With that understanding you then force your personal desire for God to be more human, more like you, upon the text of the Bible. You say "this is better because I know better" rather than allowing the text to speak for itself. The text, however, does not support your views and the fact you have submitted your false theology based upon human emotions and sentimentality shows you could never come to terms with Scriptural teaching on the subject. You have placed your personal wants and desires above the sovereignty of God.

 

The fact is if universalism were true it does not matter what you do or don't do. That means a person could be a serial killer, mass murder, serial rapist, pedophile, or rejected God all of their life till the very moment they die never regretting that choice, and yet ALL WILL BE SAVED. Therefore it really does not matter what anyone does in this life because in the end they will be saved. That belief is so utterly irrational it is difficult to accept anyone could hold such a view.

Edited by Origen
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Journeyman

 

You raised the issue of ‘eternal punishment’ earlier in our exchange and I promised to pick this up later. The simple answer to your challenge is that my answer would depend on what ‘eternal’ meant in the particular context. And we know that it frequently does not mean literally ‘for ever’

 

Firstly, both the Hebrew and the corresponding Greek words can simply denote a long or indeterminate period of time*. For example, various Old Testament ordinances are described using this word (e.g., Exodus 27:21 and Leviticus 3:17), but these regulations clearly do not last for ever, as they were abolished with the creation of the New Covenant (Galatians 3:24,25; Colossians 2:14).

 

Secondly, the word ‘eternal’ is frequently used, particularly by John, in a completely non-temporal sense. We learn that a believer ‘has eternal life’ in them now (John 3:36; 5:24). By contrast, we are told that ‘no murderer has eternal life abiding in him’ (1 John 3:15). ‘Eternal life’, therefore, is something that dwells within someone here and now; it is not something that will only exist at some stage in the future.

 

In the context of our discussion, we also learn what Jesus meant when He used the phrase ‘eternal life’. In John 17:3, He said: ‘And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God, and He whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.’ A similar definition of ‘eternal life’ is provided by 1 John 5:20, which says that communion with God is ‘eternal life’.

 

In each of these passages, the word ‘eternal’ refers to the quality not the quantity of the ‘life’. This life is ‘eternal’, not because it goes on for ever and ever, but because it involves a knowledge of the ‘eternal’ God. Unlike biological life, it exists in ‘eternity’, the realm that God inhabits (Isaiah 57:15), as opposed to the ephemeral, material world. By contrast, therefore, eternal punishment involves the opposite of this, that is, ‘exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might’ (2 Thessalonians1:9).

 

Do I believe God is going to torment most of mankind for ever and ever with no chance of redemption? No: an infinite punishment would be pointless, cruel and disproportionate to their crimes. And how could we or God be happy knowing that sin and suffering, both of which we should hate, would be going on for ever and ever, an indelible part of the universe. How does that gives us any good news to impart? No, God is much kinder than we are (Matthew 7:9, Luke 11:11), and we know what that kindness means in terms of punishment: God will not punish or be angry for ever (Psalm 103:9). Hallelujah!

 

God bless

 

Robert

 

* The Analytical Greek Lexicon, 1977, H. Moulton, p11; Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 1951, F Brown pp 761, 762

Brother, you bring up good points, but after the dead are raised bodily, some go away into everlasting punishment.

 

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Mt.25:46

 

I do believe that eternal punishment is the complete destruction of body, soul and spirit:

 

"But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, whichafter he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him."

Lk.12:5

 

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

Gal.6:8

 

 

 

 

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