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 Vol. 9, No. 2 

February 2007

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

The State of the Dead

By Louis Rushmore

Our Bible study group got into the discussion of what will Heaven be like and we have ended up discussing for several classes what happens to us after death. Some say we are sent to a waiting place divided by a great gulf in which the Christian is in paradise and the sinner in Hades the question arose as to if we are already separated are we already judged and some say we are asleep after death and will sleep until the coming of Christ. I would really like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Sharon Smith

Christians generally concur that the dead this side of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are in a realm in the Bible called Hades (Matthew 16:18; Luke 16:23, "hell" from the Greek haides). An article by brother Hugo McCord aptly addresses this (http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2003/jan/page12.htm). Though the righteous dead and the unrighteous dead are separated from each other in "Paradise" (Luke 23:43) or "Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:22-23) and "Tartaros" (2 Peter 2:4, "hell" from the Greek tartaros) respectively in Hades, the official Final Judgment has not occurred and will not take place until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There will be a General Resurrection (John 5:28-29) at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31-46), though some passages are only interested in their respective contexts of addressing the resurrection of the righteous dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52-57), at which time Final Judgment will occur (2 Corinthians 5:10). The best illustration I have heard distinguishing the separate compartments for the righteous dead and the unrighteous dead in Hades preceding Final Judgment is the difference between being convicted of a crime and the subsequent sentencing. One's eternal disposition is sealed at death, but the assignment to one's eternal disposition does not occur until Final Judgment. Consequently, "Paradise" is a foretaste of heaven, and "Tartaros" is a foretaste of hell, but neither is "Paradise" heaven nor is "Tartaros" hell.

The dead are conscious and not literally sleeping, as is evident from the account of the rich man and the beggar of Luke 16:19-31. "Sleep" is used figuratively and as an accommodation sometimes in Scripture to represent death (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).

These events follow consecutively: life, death, hadean "Paradise" or "Tartaros," Second Coming of Jesus Christ and Judgment, followed by eternal reward or eternal punishment. Souls are aware in each of these circumstances.Image

Give Strong Drink

By Louis Rushmore

Dear bro Rushmore, Please explain Pro 31:6,7. Pro 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Pro 31:7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Thank you and God bless, Jimmy Lau

Clearly, honest persons readily recognize that the Bible uniformly condemns the consumption of alcohol as a beverage (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; 31:4; Habakkuk 2:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:10; Galatians 5:21). The various Hebrew and Greek words translated "wine" derive their meaning and consequently their disapproval or approval based upon the respective contexts in which they appear; sometimes "wine" in the Bible refers to alcohol and sometimes it does not refer to alcohol, depending upon the context in which the word appears. Contexts in which "wine" and similar words refer to alcohol God through the Bible condemns those who partake.

Nave's Topical Bible correctly lists Proverbs 31:6-7 under a heading of "Wine, Medicinal use of." For instance, where penicillin (or some other drug) has an appropriate medicinal application, that fact neither warrants nor justifies social indulgence in the same. Anciently, especially in the absence of modern medicine and its accompanying pharmaceuticals, alcohol was a drug sometimes used externally for disinfections and internally as a poor anesthesia, etc. Compare 1 Timothy 5:23 where it is uncertain whether the reference to "wine" means alcoholic or non-alcoholic (grape juice), but irrespectively, the "wine" under consideration was for medicinal purposes. Medicinal purposes hardly justify social drinking or override biblical prohibition respecting the consumption of alcohol.Image

Works Cited

Nave's Topical Bible. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft and TriStar, 1990.

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