Friday, June 29, 2012

Luke in Hell

Working our way through the Gospels, we just covered a very strange parable about how believers should act more like criminals, in a certain way. It was actually a lesson on how to use money. This upset the Pharisees, so Jesus rebuked them for seeking the praise of men over that of God (Luke 16:14-15). Then Luke provides a few miscellaneous teachings without context, despite their verse-parallels in Matthew having robust context: now is the time when people are forcing their way into the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16), none of the Law will disappear (Luke 16:17), and people who divorce and remarry, or those who marry divorcees, commit adultery (Luke 16:18). From there, Luke takes another abrupt turn.

Luke in Hell
It is difficult to reconcile the concept of a perfectly benevolent and loving God with the concept of eternal torture; the concept of Hell. At least it is for some people. In the middle ages, the doctrine of Hell was practically unquestioned inside the mainstream of the faith. But in our time, it seems that the ultimate fate of the unsaved is not quite as sure. Now, some denominations suggest that Hell is just a metaphor for an eternal separation from God, or instead suggest a permanent annihilation awaits the unsaved. Yet such positions require selective amnesia of one particular parable.

Luke 16:19-31 is where Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. It goes like this:
There was a rich man living in luxury who never shared anything with the beggar, Lazarus, outside his door. When Lazarus died, angels carried him to Abraham's bosom. When the rich man died, he went to Hades (a.k.a. Hell) where he was in a fiery place of agony. The rich man could see Lazarus with Abraham, and called out to Abraham for Lazarus to bring him at least a drop of water for some relief. Abraham reminds him how he had been given good things while Lazarus had been given bad things while they were alive, but now their fortunes were reversed; and that there was a chasm preventing travel between the side of comfort and the side of torment. So the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his still-living family, but Abraham answered that if his family does not believe Moses and the Prophets, then they will not even believe someone who is resurrected. (My paraphrase)
In some ways, this is a picture of Hell in the classic sense. In fact, check out Luke 16:23-24:
In Hades, where [the rich man] was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' NIV
There are several different views on what this story may represent as opposed to being truly about Hell. To some extent, the different views can seem justified, such as when we consider how odd it seems that the rich man could see Abraham from Hell. That seems to suggest that this is just a metaphorical parable.

However, do you remember Mark's version of Hell, where the saved would look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled for all eternity? Luke's version here seems to be just a small evolution beyond that Hell; and one which had its foundation established in apocryphal Scriptures before the time of Jesus, as we see by the reference to the Bosom of Abraham in Luke 16:22.

What you do not see here is Jesus explaining what is going on in Hell. The rich man is obviously in a fiery torment, but there was no need to explain that Hell was a place of fiery torment; nor a need to elaborate on the finality and enternality of Hell. That was a given. Hades was a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus did use parables and extended metaphors to illustrate points. These literary tools did not necessarily represent literal truths. However, they were based in facts; or at least based in known concepts which could actually happen. Take any other parable in Jesus' teachings and you can, at least, understand what is going on in the literal sense because they are grounded in reality; a farmer sows seeds, a shepherd looks for lost sheep, vines produces fruit... and Hell is a place of torment after death, at least according to Jesus.

It is true that there are a handful of verses which would challenge the classical take on Hell, but these verses really do nothing more than highlight the level of self-contradiction in the Bible.


  1. Your scripture exegesis is as Poor as the mainstream religions you decry.The word mistranslated "Hell" at Mark9 is "Gehenna".a referrence to the Garbage dump then located outside Jerusalem where the bodies of criminals and others thought not worthy of a resurrection were cast.To be consumed totally either by the awaiting flames or the ever present maggots.And there is nothing in Mark's Writings about the"saved"Gazing at the corpses of the unsaved for all eternity.The word "Hades"Is used throughout the new Testament to refer to Gravedom.And this is how it is used in an allegorical sense at Luke16:23-24.The allegorical Nature of the text can clearly be seen from the following text Luke16:27-29NIV"He answered,'Then I beg you,Father,Send Lazarus to my family,for I have five brothers.Let him warn them,so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'Abraham replied,'they have Moses and the Prophets;Let them LISTEN to them"Surely even you are not so prejudiced and closedminded as to believe that luke would suggest that it was possible for anyone in the first Century to literally LISTEN to Moses and the prophets.

  2. Hello again, aservantofJehovah. You are not doing any service to Jehovah when you attack my work without justification. Instead, you make yourself and your flavor of Christianity look all the poorer. Why do I say this? Well, did you take the time to follow the link I provided regarding Mark's version of Hell? Obviously not. Here it is for your convenience, in my post Cut Off Your Reason

    About halfway through that post, I discuss Mark's Hell. His version is based off of the words Jesus quotes from a particular prophesy. If you read that bit of prophesy, there you will find the bit about the "saved" gazing upon the dead bodies. Unless you would like to claim that Jesus was wrong...

    As for your closing comment, I think it is fairly obvious that to "LISTEN" to Moses and the Prophets means to believe their writings. There is more than one way to listen, you know. I hope you will listen to me, go back to the link I provided, read it, and then feel free to reply with your better-educated opinion. Because, right now, your words have exceeded your knowledge.

  3. You need to take some of your own advice TWF if the listening is allegorical then obviously so is the account.And as for Isaiah there is nothing there about eternally gazing at corpses.All that is said is that after their deliverance they will gaze at the corpses of those who attempted to kill them.The fire/maggots (or means of destruction) will not be quenched or die meaning that nothing will stop them from completing their work, the Corpses are not to last forever.This is yet another example of allegory.Isaiah66:24NASB"Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the Men who have trangressed against me.for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched.And they will be abhorrence to all mankind."

  4. Let me ask you TWF:Do you know difference between a skeptic and a cynic?

  5. Well, aservantofJehovah, I am afraid you are wrong there. Using "listening" to mean believing what someone has written is not an allegory. Words do have meanings, you know.

    The key to the Isaiah 66:24 verse interpretation is "they." Who are "they?" Who are these people who will go out to look upon the corpses? Well, that "they" is defined in the preceding two verses.

    Isaiah 66:22 mentions your descendents, as in the people of your family lineage after you.

    Isaiah 66:23 mentions all of mankind going to bow to God, in Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:20), which will be in close proximity to all of those dead bodies.

    Yes, God's going to be hanging out in Jerusalem... near to the dead bodies of those who transgressed Him (not necessarily those "who attempted to kill them" as you suggest).

    Now, if we are talking about descendents of the population which was alive at that time, traveling across the world to bow to God and see the dead bodies, we are talking about a really long time, right? And during that time, as the Bible says, the fire will not be quenched, and the worms eating them will not die... That certainly hints at eternal shaming to me.

    Besides, it is not the first time that God set fire to something yet did not consume it, right? There was that incident with the flaming talking bush... ;-)

  6. Oh, and yes, I do know the difference between a skeptic and a cynic. Why do you ask?

  7. "Listen" has one literal meaning.To use "listen" to mean "believe"Is to use the word figuratively.So how does it follow that because our offspring are gazing at the corpses or that they are outside of Jerusalem that they last forever?
    I ask because there appears to be a conflating of the two ideas on this blog.

  8. Hmmm, according to Webster, listen has three distinct literal meanings, one of which is to give thoughtful attention to what you hear, which is pretty much what I am saying when I say that they should believe what was written. If you want to get overly technical and literal, literacy was minimal in those times, so most people heard the Scriptures, not read the Scriptures. So people were listening to (the words of) Moses and the Prophets.

    Anyway, let me try to break it down this eternal picture for you further, because you are having difficulty expanding your view beyond your doctrine:

    1) Endurance (Isaiah 66:22) - God speaks of what He is building will endure, as in go on forever.

    2) Descendants (Isaiah 66:22)- people who come after the people who are living now. Ergo, time passage. This can also mean an unlimited number of generations after that point.

    3) Descendants endure (Isaiah 66:22) - Combine #1 and #2

    4) Continual worship (Isaiah 66:23) - all New Moons and Sabbaths thereafter, all of mankind will come to God and bow down.

    5) They (Isaiah 66:24) - those people coming to bow to God will see the dead bodies when they come to bow to God.

    6) Unquenched fire/ undying worms (Isaiah 66:24) - as in forever...

    7) Loathsome bodies (Isaiah 66:24) - The bodies will be loathsome to all mankind (refer to #4 and #5).

    Perhaps the question for you to answer is this: where does it say that the bodies will not last?

    Regarding the conflation of skepticism and cynicism, you are welcome to your opinion.

  9. By the way, aservantofJehovah, there is a critical flaw in your version of the interpretation of Isaiah 66:22-24.

    When you say...

    "The fire/maggots (or means of destruction) will not be quenched or die meaning that nothing will stop them from completing their work, the Corpses are not to last forever."

    ...that interpretation is non-sequitur because it is anachronistic. If you look at the prophesy, the mention of the fire not being quenched and the worms not dying happens after the victory has already been (prophetically) achieved. It does not make sense to say "we will not stop until we are done" as an integral part of the description of what will occur after the victory has been achieved.

  10. How can Anyone give thoughtful attention to what is heard by long dead persons.They can read what they may have written,or hear others relay their words but they certainly cannot hear them thoughtfully in a literal sense.None of the dictionary meanings of "listen" would make any sense if taken literally at Luke16:22.All involve paying thoughtful attention to sound.The dead make no sound.Luke16:30NIV"no father Abraham,but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent." note the prophets ate spoken of as living and hence available for a literal audience as contrasted to Lazarus for whom a resurrection from the dead would be Necessary.
    And it is only your failure to give an unbiased consideration of the text that renders my explanation incomprehensible.The point is that rather than have a decent interment the corpses of the enemies of Jehovah God and his people are left unbewailed to be consumed in different ways after the battle.Jeremiah25:33NIV"At that time those slain by the LORD will be everywhere from one end of the earth to the other they will not be mourned or gathered up or buried,but like dung lying opn the ground."Note the battle is global in scope and not confined to literal Jerusalem.Jerusalem here is simply a reference to the church of Christ that Jehovah will act to defend.After the battle cetainly the worship of Jehovah will continue perpetually,This does not mean that the corpses do it simply does not follow.In addition to fire and worms Ezekiel39 also mentions scavengers consuming some corpses Ezekiel39:4NIV"On the mountains of Israel you will fall,You and all your troops and the Nations with you.And I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals." See also revelation19:17,18

  11. Apparently, you need remedial schooling on how the word "listen" is used. I recommend the following verses:

    Deuteronomy 23:5, Joshua 10:14 - God hears everything, whether or not He listens is another story.

    Deuteronomy 26:17 - keeping God's Law is listening to Him.

    2 Kings 19:16 - Hezekiah pleads with God to listen to Sennacherib's ridicule, after it had already been said.

    2 Kings 21:8-9 - The people did not listen to the commands given by (dead) Moses

    Nehemiah 8:3 - People listened to the Book of the Law, even though books do not talk ;-) (That is a joke, of course. I am not being overly literal. I am just showing you how listen is used.)

    Nehemiah 9:16-17 - People did not listen to the written commands

    Job 36:10 - Listening to the physical discipline which is given by God

    Isaiah 42:22-23 - Listening to the physical discipline which is given by God

    Isaiah 65:12 - Listening is obeying

    Isaiah 66:4 - Listening is obeying

    Jeremiah 6:19 - keeping God's Law is listening to Him.

    Jeremiah 12:17 - Listening is completely abstracted from hearing anything

    Jeremiah 29:8 - Listening to dreams

    Daniel 9:6 - Daniel speaks of his present-day people not listening to the prophets of old (as noted by the mention of ancestors)

    Plus the countless times that God says the Israelites refused to listen to Him, even though they never heard His voice, like Ezekiel 3:7...

    And here is a great one for you to consider personally:
    Proverbs 18:13 "To answer before listening— that is folly and shame." NIV

    As for your prophesies, well, you would be better off not ripping things out of their context. The prophesy in Jeremiah 25 in inextricably referring to a time around when the Jews were in Babylonian exile.

    You are more on track with Ezekiel 39, but that says that the dead will be buried over the course of several months, thus getting their interment. Buried by the survivors, of course. (Ezekiel 39:12-13) Not exactly my idea of salvation either... This prophesy at least could work in tandem with the Isaiah one, but it is unlikely.

    Oh, but, bummer(!), you forgot to mention my FAVORITE part of the Ezekiel 39 prophesy! That would be Ezekiel 39:9, when the Israelites are going to burn the shields, bow and arrows, clubs, and spears as fuel for seven years after the battle! Good luck with that one coming true!

  12. Firstly ALL the definitions of the word "listen" Were suppled by yourself initially you indicated that it was your opinion that "Listen" meant to believe which would be a figurative meaning.You insisted that "listen" literally means believe and attempted to press mirriam webster into service of this rather outlandish claim,Failing in that you next claimed that you actually meant that "listen" as used at Luke16:22 actually means to hear attentively(a literal meaning),realizing the bind that this leaves you in because neither reading nor hearing writings of the prophets read,would constitute a literal hearing of the prophets,you next claimed that you meant listen as in obey(which would be a figurative use of the word).Perhaps in your next post you would let us know which meaning you have finally setled on,or if there are a couple of other meanings you would like to try.At any rate the whether a literal or figurative definition of "listen" is employed at Luke16:22 is not central to my line of reasoning.The point is that the parallelism between the would be preaching of Lazarus and the preaching of the prophets in the text requires that they both be either literal or figurative.One cannot be literal while the other is figurative.And the real bummer re:your commentaries is that you think that you have made some sort of point when all you have done is continue to misinterpret what is clearly allegorical as literal.Just as you have done at Luke16.It is an error common to both mainstream conservative theologians and atheist critics of the Scriptures(albeit for different reasons)And you might want to make personal application of that proverbs18:13 scripture.

  13. You seem to be in trouble, aservantofJehovah, because you cannot even understand what I am saying in modern English, and yet you think you have the correct interpretation of ancient Scripture? I think you better re-read the comment stream in this post, because I was never feeling that I was in any bind. You claimed that "listen" was "allegorical." Listening is not an allegory, in either its literal or figurative senses. It was you who claimed that there was only one definition of "listen," as you would see if you look at your comment above. I illustrated that you were wrong by presenting one dictionary's definitions of the literal meanings, and in turn demonstrated how one of the literal definitions could be used figuratively. I never said that I had supplied "all" the ways listen could be used by providing that definition, did I?

    Seriously, look at what you have written here again. If I had made the mistakes you have made, coupled with such arrogant language, I would have run away with my tail tucked between my legs a long time ago. Yet here you are, again, proving that you have poor reading comprehension. That is why I cited the Proverbs verse to you above. Listen to me, i.e. pay attention to my words. The only way you can hold a constructive debate is if you take the time to actually understand what the other person is saying.

    The way you write is clearly with a lot of anger. You started out aggressive, and have not let up at all to the level of civil discourse. You have got some issues to deal with. I do not presume to know what they are, but they are there. I would recommend that you take a moment to reflect on why you are having these feelings.

    To your point though, you err. Read Luke 16:29:

    "Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." KJV

    They "have" Moses and the Prophets? What could that mean? Perhaps figuratively that they have the writings of Moses and the Prophets?

    In Luke 16:30, the rich man says that if someone is sent from the dead, then they will repent. (Not listen! Repent!)

    In Luke 16:31, it says:
    "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." KJV

    So you see, there is the second mention to (figuratively) hear Moses and the prophets, but noticeably lacking is the word "listen" regarding the person risen from the dead. It is instead persuaded.

    In other words, there is no parallelism! "Listen" is not used in both cases.

    By the way, the Luke 16:22 you mentioned does not even employ "listen."

    Next time, make sure that you remove the log from your own eye before you try removing the splinter from mine.

  14. I said that There was one LITERAL/DEFAULT definition for "listen" there is a distinction between that and claiming that it would only have a figurative/literal meaning,other definitions would be secondary or figurative/by implication and I said at LUKE16:22 "listen" would be figurative.And the purpose of Lazarus' going to the rich Man's brothers would be to preach.In other words for for them to hear him.Abraham suggest that the Moses and the prophets were already fulfilling that role making Lazarus rising from the dead unecessary so there is a clear parallelism here between the preaching that is being requested of Lazarus and that being done Moses and the prophets.I agree that the preaching of the prophets is figurative.That would Suggest that the would be preaching of Lazarus is also figurative.If "listen" is being used in a figurative sense at Luke16 then that would render the entire account allegorical.And I am not surprised that you don't recognize the inconsistency of simultaneously endorsing both literal and figurative meanings for the same word in the same sentence to prove the same point.And I did not say that Listen is an Allegory,I said that the "listening" being done at Luke16:22 is "allegorical" So again I am not the one in need of remedial reading and comprehension classes.

  15. I apologize, but I do not understand what you mean when you say "I said at LUKE16:22 "listen" would be figurative" given that there is no "listen" in that verse. Could you help me out there?

    "And the purpose of Lazarus' going to the rich Man's brothers would be to preach.In other words for for them to hear him."
    I concur there. My suggestion is that if the author was truly aiming at the parallelism to be a significant factor to the interpretation, then it would be expected for the emphasis to be on "hearing" Lazarus, using similar language. Instead, you have language which is just about as far away as you can get from an obvious parallel, because while "hear" or "listen" is used twice for Moses and the Prophets, only the would-be fruits of hearing Lazarus are named; repentance and persuasion. Similarly, by contrast, no repentance or persuasion is explicitly associated with Moses and the Prophets. So there is no linguistic parallel present. At best, it is a situational, implicit parallelism which could be claimed.

    "Abraham suggest[sic] that the Moses and the prophets were already fulfilling that role making Lazarus rising from the dead unecessary[sic] so there is a clear parallelism here between the preaching that is being requested of Lazarus and that being done Moses and the prophets."
    This is the heart of the difference in our interpretations: you seem to place Moses and the Prophets on equal footing with a resurrected Lazarus, whereas I do not. I will explain tying in the next sentence.

    "I agree that the preaching of the prophets is figurative."
    If you have the same figurative understanding which I do, that by "Moses and the Prophets" that Jesus (via Abraham) means the Torah and the writings of the Prophets, then you should be able to see that Moses and the Prophets are much, much greater than a resurrected Lazarus could ever be.

    As you know, Moses (via the Torah) provides the Jews with the fundamental story of their people, their Law, and prophesies of the future. Likewise, you know that the writings of the Prophets contained prophesies fulfilled in their relatively recent history, such as the Babylonian captivity, as well as prophesies regarding the time and coming of Jesus. [Alleged prophesies, I might add. ;-)]

    A resurrected Lazarus would have just been one guy, talking about the horrors he had seen awaiting the unsaved.

    By that interpretation, this is not the parallelism you say. Instead, to mix in a secular reference, this is like Jesus saying "what is the use of sending a resurrected Magellan to convince your family that the world is round when they have a boat-load of scientific data and pictures of the earth from outer space and are still not convinced that the earth is round?"

  16. The point I am making is that if the "preaching" of the prophets is figurative.Ergo the would be "preaching" of Lazarus must also be figurative.speculation as to whether the witness of a resurrected man would be greater or lesser that that of literal prophets or ancient writings is purely subjective.The entire account is an illustration/parable.Jesus is in effect predicting that if the clear signs presented in the writings of Moses and the prophets could not move them to faith in him as messiah.Neither would his resurrection from the dead.

  17. If I understand you correctly, I disagree in this manner:

    Of course, this is a parable, so we are not speaking of anything literally happening at all. Refer to the second to last paragraph of this post for relevant information to expound that position.

    However, in story-world, or the world of pseudo-reality described in the parable, your thought that Lazarus' preaching "must also be figurative" does not logically follow, because, as I have explained above, we are speaking about writings versus a particular person. The example I Magellan closed with on the last comment speaks to this, as in "if they will not (figuratively) listen to the overabundance of data, they are not going to listen to a real person, Magellan, who has circumnavigated the globe." There is no reason to believe that the sending of Lazarus back from the dead could not be a literal possibility within that story. (Perhaps it is your doctrine which is against such a thing? I don't know.)

    I suspect that this is a minor point in our discussion, and it may be best to cast it aside.

    Regarding this being a prediction about Jesus, I can see how that is tempting to do so, but it the details to not match well enough for that to be accurate. In fact, it seems that the only point you could make a connection on is the aspect of a possible resurrection. Nearly every other facet of the story is profoundly different from Jesus, including the facts that Lazarus was at Abraham's bosom (making Abraham the superior) and that Lazarus did not get resurrected in the parable.

    If you want to make this parable a prophesy, I think that a better fit may be as a prediction of John's account of the literal resurrection of the dead Lazarus, as the Jews were still not convinced after that happened.

    That still leaves the setting of the parable to discuss. It does not seem that you believe it to be in "Hell," as in a place of eternal, fiery torture for the unsaved. Is that correct? If so, what is Jesus describing here in your opinion.

  18. "Abraham" did not say if they will not listen to the "ancient writings" they will not listen to Lazarus He said if they will not listen to "Moses and the prophets"So if Lazarus is literal then the prophets must also be literal.And again you need to forget traditional theology.Abraham would picture God Jehovah himself in the anology,So yes Abraham is superior.And as far as the pharisees who would have been portrayed by the rich man were concerned Jesus was never resurrected.The point is Jehovah is not going to go to any extraordinary lengths to demonstrate the fact of Jesus resurrection to them.

  19. Your opinion is not consistent with how the Moses and the Prophets are used elsewhere in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. There "Moses" is sometimes used as a figurative synonym meaning the Torah, and the "Prophets" are used as a figurative synonym meaning the writings of the Prophets. In the majority of the cases where these figurative synonyms are used, there is a pairing of the Law (Moses) and the writings of the Prophets (Prophets). Please review the following verses:

    Matthew 5:17
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." NIV

    Matthew 7:12
    "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." NIV

    Matthew 11:13
    "For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John." NIV

    Matthew 22:40
    "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” NIV

    Luke 16:16
    The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it." NIV

    Luke 16:29
    “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    Luke 16:31
    “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” NIV

    Luke 24:27
    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. NIV

    Luke 24:44
    He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” NIV

    Furthermore, Jesus makes reference to what the Prophets have spoken, even though it would have been in writing by the time of Jesus instead of verbally communicated.

    Luke 24:25
    He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" NIV

  20. You arguing with yourself here.I have already said that "the prophets" are a figurative reference to the writings of the prophets.Likewise "Lazarus" must also be figurative.Like must be compared with Like.Figurative with Figurative.And of course what was written about Christ in the bible was first literally "spoken"(past tense) by the prophets.(Note though that at Luke16:31 the text is in the present tense.)

  21. No, I am not arguing with myself. As I have been saying, in the parable, Lazarus is presented as a person, but "Moses and the Prophets" is a reference to Scripture. This is how it is presented in the parable, and this is how I interpret it. This view is consistent with the text of the parable.

    It appears that you are judging it with an assumption from the beginning, that Lazarus and "Moses and the Prophets" must be the same, but that is not how the situation is presented in the text. At least, it does not appear that way to me. If you can point out what in the parable tells you that they must be the same, please do.

  22. In this allegory(Luke16:20-31) Moses and the prophets are presented as preaching currently(as distinct from your examples ALL of which refer to what the prophets had spoken or Written in the past) and their preaching is paralleled with the preaching of Lazarus.Suggesting that Lazarus and his preaching are also allegorical.But in the interest of moving the discussion along.If you acknowledge that this account is in fact allegorical why do you nevertheless put it forth as evidence that Jesus and the bible writers believed in an afterlife(and one in which rich men are tormented simply for being rich and beggars are rewarded simply for being beggars at that)

  23. I disagree. As I have been saying, and is quite clear when you consider the usages of Moses/the Law and the Prophets mentioned above, within the allegory Lazarus is a real person and "Moses and the Prophets" are literally the Scriptures, not literally people who are preaching. Obviously, you are not convinced of that.

    One more point to consider, as you may recall, is that the rest of the Prophets came after Moses' death, making a literal contemporaneous preaching of Moses and the Prophets impossible, making Luke's reference within the allegory obviously a figurative reference to the literal Scriptures.

    It is the same language practice we still use today when we might say "Einstein" when we mean his published work on the general or specific theories of relativity, or "Darwin" when we refer to his published work on the "On the Origin of Species," or "Machiavellian" when referring to the major theme in Niccolò Machiavelli's work "The Prince."

    The allegory follows the pattern of the Magellan example I provided above.

    But, yes, in order to move the discussion along...
    "If you acknowledge that this account is in fact allegorical why do you nevertheless put it forth as evidence that Jesus and the bible writers believed in an afterlife...
    You will find the answer to this in the second-to-last paragraph in the original post above.

    ...(and one in which rich men are tormented simply for being rich and beggars are rewarded simply for being beggars at that)"
    That is not an accurate interpretation. If you apply that to your own interpretation, I think that you can see its fallacy quite easily. For as I understand your interpretation, where the rich men are the Pharisees, then the Pharisees are being tormented simply for living in luxury. Lazarus never begs the rich men to believe in him.

    You have missed Luke 16:21, where Lazarus "longed" to eat the crumbs from the rich man's table... longed as in desired to but never was able to, essentially meaning that the rich man never gave any charity to Lazarus. In contrast, the rich man had abundant luxury, clearly with the means to provide some help to Lazarus, but he chose not to do so. This is in direct opposition to several of God's commands regarding charity to the poor, such as
    Deuteronomy 15:7:

    "If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them." NIV

    Therefore, the rich man is in torment for his sins, not for his wealth.

  24. it is quite obvious to me that the use of"HEAR" in the present tense in the allegory applied to the response the preaching of "Moses and the prophets" puts them on a par with Lazarus in the allegory(one can literally beieve writings or hear readings of them,one cannot literally "hear"their long dead authors).None of the examples you presented parallel the account,And I suppose there was a failing on the part of the rich man to show due hospitality to the beggar.But does the harm done warrant an eternity of suffering,and there is no record of the beggar being any more devout than the rich man was.You are obviously second guessing me here there would be no need for Lazarus to ask the rich man to believe in him to fit the anology.As for your claim that Jesus must believe in some literal underworld where the miserly are tormented eternally before he can use this allegory,Jesus also employed hyperbole that have no correspondence to real life Matthew23:24KJV"ye blind guides,which strain at a nat,and swallow a camel"Matthew24:35"Heaven and earth shall pass away,but my words shall not pass away"Mark10:25KJV"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God"So no,it is not necessary for Jesus to believe anything other than what the scriptures teach about the condition of the dead,see ecclesiastes9:5,10,prior to employing this allegory.

  25. aservantofJehovah, I hope you will reconsider my points about the "listening/hearing" reference and the "Moses and the Prophets" reference the next time when you hear (literally) someone mentions (figuratively) listening or hearing someone else when their words are read. I think that my position is more than adequately defended here.

    "But does the harm done warrant an eternity of suffering, ..."
    Well, I guess that depends on which Christian you talk to. ;-)

    "... there is no record of the beggar being any more devout than the rich man was."
    Well, that is not exactly true. There is scant little information about either Lazarus or the rich man. However, sins which would be especially pertinent to their conditions, we do know about.

    Lazarus was a poor beggar. By that portrayal, despite his poverty, he was not a thief.

    The rich man lived in luxury daily, but did not use any of his money to help Lazarus. By that portrayal, the rich man sinned (as I mentioned).

    Actually, if your position is that there is no obvious difference in the righteousness between these two men, then, again, it weakens your claim that Lazarus should be considered to be Jesus in the parable.

    Regarding Jesus and His use of hyperbole, it does not appear that you are considering how these are based in reality. Swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat are only meaningful if we consider the realistic size of those animals. Having a camel pass through the eye of a needle is only meaningful if we consider the realistic size of the camel and the needle. Likewise, this parable has meaning because it is based in an understanding of the afterlife which was common (but not unanimous) at the time, specifically a place for torment of the unworthy and for reward of the righteous.

    Now if you want to try to use the Old Testament, such as Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 9:10, to prove that there was no afterlife, you are not going to find much argument here. However, that is not necessarily the viewpoint of Jesus, or the other authors of the New Testament, as can be seen in multiple cases. While there is some room for interpretation, it appears that the New Testament bias leans more towards an afterlife. That is probably a larger topic than can be reasonably addressed here.

  26. Why could Lazarus not be both a beggar and a thief and Just because the rich man did not give Lazarus the scraps from his table did not mean that he received no help at all.He could have received alms in some showy display as Jesus said was the custom with the Pharisees Matthew6:2.If we consistently apply your logic then Jesus apparently also believed that the Pharisees literally swallowed camels and that it was indeed possible for Camels to get through the eyes of needles.Acts2:29KJV"Men and brethren,let me speak freely unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried,and his sepulchre is with us unto this day."Acts2:34KJV"For David is not ascended into the Heavens.."John11:11NASB"This he said,and after that he said to them,"our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,but I go that I may awaken him out of sleep."John11:13NASB"Now Jesus had spoken of his death,but they thouht he was speaking of literal sleep." No the "new testament does not differ from the "old testament" in any doctrinal way,and certainly not with regard to the condition of the dead.Jesus illustrative use of death is meaningful as it represents a profound Change over which we have no control,And I never claimed that Jesus was anologous to Lazarus in the allegory.As my elementary schoolteacher use to say,when we want to get answers we ask questions.

  27. "Why could Lazarus not be both a beggar and a thief..."
    That is possible. He could be both a beggar and a thief. But I guess that if he was a thief, he probably was not a good one if he was still begging. If I was a thief, I would not waste my time begging, that is for sure. So I think your suggestion, while possible, is unlikely.

    "...that [Lazarus] received no help at all..."
    I am not entirely sure what you are suggesting here. Are you saying that the rich man could have given Lazarus alms, or someone else? Regardless, given that alms were typically in coinage, if Lazarus had been given alms, he probably would have bought some food. So your suggestion seems unlikely.

    "If we consistently apply your logic then Jesus apparently also believed that the Pharisees literally swallowed camels..."
    I do not think that you spent enough time considering my words, as they do not lead to that conclusion. Take another look, and let me know if you still believe you have a valid argument. I do not want to argue for the sake of arguing.

    You made some Scripture quotes and then say "No the "new testament does not differ from the "old testament" in any doctrinal way,and certainly not with regard to the condition of the dead."
    I must say that I am not familiar with all of the intricacies of JW beliefs, so I am somewhat at a disadvantage to make an argument for where exactly you err in your understanding of this topic. Perhaps you can explicitly explain what you think happens when people die. Would you do that, please?

    In the mean time, consider Jesus' words from Mark 12:26-27:
    "Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!" NIV

    The question follows, if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive, where are they?

    "And I never claimed that Jesus was anologous to Lazarus in the allegory."
    True, you never explicitly said so, but implicitly you surely made the case. When you very briefly explained your view of the allegory, you said "Jesus is in effect predicting that... ...Neither would his resurrection from the dead." Of course, Lazarus is the one possibly being resurrected in the allegory, so the only direct tie-in there is with Jesus.

    When I made that assertion, and commented that Jesus, as Lazarus, was then acting as an inferior to Abraham, you did not correct me regarding Jesus being Lazarus. Instead, you said: "Abraham would picture God Jehovah himself in the anology,So yes Abraham is superior."

  28. In the allegory both Lazarus and the rich man represent composites,not literal people.Death is being employed as a hyperbole for a coming reversal for both these classes of people.See Luke6:20-22,Luke6:24-26.Now I suppose Jesus would be involved in that he was part of the formally suppressed class who are now to be favored with control of the kingdom.If Jesus is promoting magical thinking as you seem to be suggesting then.The size of a camel would not matter.The only way we can infer that these are illustrations is for us to assume that Jesus also shares the view that it would be preposterous,for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle,or be gulped down.And Abraham,Isaac and Jacob are only alive in prospect TWF that should have been clear from the way the statement starts."Now about the rising of the dead.."As far as Jehovah God is concerned their resurrection is as good as done.According to Jesus statement at John11:11 the dead are totally unconscious till awakened by the power of Jehovah God.Thus Jesus shows a continuity with the O.T re:the doctrine on the state of the dead,i.e the dead are actually dead not merely apparently dead.

  29. "The only way we can infer that these are illustrations is for us to assume that Jesus also shares the view that it would be preposterous,for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle,or be gulped down."

    Exactly, because his sayings are based on the foundation of reality, as I have been saying all along, but that you have been misunderstanding. It is preposterous for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, or for anyone to swallow a camel but strain at a gnat, based on the realistic consideration of their physical characteristics. This is not "magical thinking." This is basic linguistics.

    Every allegory and metaphor Jesus used had foundational elements based in the perceived reality. That is the only way that they can convey meaning without lengthy explanations. This includes Jesus' use of Hades in this illustration. Just like Jesus did not have to explain how big a camel was and how small the eye of a needle was, because they were based in reality, Jesus does not take the time to fully explain the concept of Hades because it was based on a common belief, which was real enough to them.

    In reviewing your argument, your case is not presented strongly. Perhaps you would like to provide one concise summary on the whole thing for a closing argument on this topic and be done with it?

    I will offer you this concession though, which you would realize if you had actually read my blog material: I do not believe that the real Jesus believed in what is represented here in Luke. It is unlikely that the real Jesus believed in Hell. This is a concept that the author of Luke was promoting. If you would do a little more research, you would probably realize this for yourself. You have got the intelligence to do so, for sure. I just hope you have the will as well. Study the Synoptic Problem, and the truth shall set you free.

  30. Therefore what is presented at Luke16:19-31 cannot be a precise description of death,Or Jesus would be promoting magical thinking.If Jesus believes that corpses are speaking to each other under the ground why would he not believe that there was some way a camel could literally be swallowed.Death is being employed as a hyperbole.
    Luke gives no editorial comment to the effect that he disagrees with any of Jesus' your assertion in this regard is unfounded.You said:"Your case is not presented strongly"and if I were to present the fact that I am not personally impressed with the case presented by scientists for Abiogenesis by random means,as an argument against it, you would doubtless berate me for arguing from personal incredulity.

  31. I am afraid you are neglecting to consider what Luke's Jesus said in verse Luke 23:43:

    Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise."

    You will remember that He said that to the thief who was also being crucified. If Jesus' words are accurate, then the thief died that day, and he was with Jesus in "paradise," which is likely just another word for Heaven, of course. But if it is not meant to be Heaven, it surely is not meant to be Sheol.

    Luke's Jesus believed in a more-immediate afterlife, and that is why the parable makes sense within that context. This is why I suggested for you to study the Synoptic Problem.

    Arguing abiogenesis is really a red-herring issue. I can put all of the science aside and assume that there was a god who made everything. You still need to prove that that god is the God of the Bible, and go a step further to prove that Jesus is really tied to God. Quite frankly, the Bible is not so convincing of either point when you begin to look at the details.

  32. That depends on whether you consider this verse accurately translated here or not.I do not.
    The comma is obviously in the wrong place doubtless to support the view of traditional theologians,There is no synoptic problem,there is only a faulty interpretive logic problem,on the part of yourself and the traditional theologians you are obviously overly dependent on.And I was not bringing up the issue of abiogenesis,I was merely pointing out that,You are guilty of the very logical fallacies of which you accuse traditional theologians.

  33. My apologies regarding the abiogenesis comment, aservantofJehovah. I did not fully consider why you had said what you said. However, nor did you fully consider the grounds for why I said that your argument is not strong. My next sentence was "Perhaps you would like to provide one concise summary on the whole thing..." The issue with your argument is that it is piecemeal in this comment string and not fully explained. It probably seems completely coherent to you, but, then, you know your perspective fully. As your argument stands in this comment string, however, it is not strong.

    I do not think that you are justified in your misplaced comma theory on Luke 23:43, for reasons stronger than just my personal feeling.

    The first is that Jesus never said "I tell you the truth today, ..." anywhere else. "I tell you the truth" is a conjunction of the words "amen" (truly), "lego" (I say), and "soi" (to you). These words you find repeated very often, but never with "semeron" (today) associated with it. So that was not Jesus' way of speaking.

    The second is that by associating the word "today" with the preceding phrase, it could suggest that Jesus did not speak the truth on other days or at other times, when obviously that is not the case.

    The third, as I mentioned, is that there is contextual support within Luke for the way that the comma is traditionally placed.

    You should know by reading my blog that I do not side with traditional theologians, but I could not render the comma to associate the "today" with the initial phrase without thinking that I had purposefully distorted the text.

    I have no doubt that I am guilty of the same types of logical fallacies shared by traditional theologians. I am only human. Yet, in this case, this seems to be another time when you have misunderstood me.

  34. Firstly,Jesus speaks uniquely here because he is in a unique situation,none of his previous utterances were made with him facing his mortality.Understandably his utternces in this instance would be given with a unique emphasis.And the point is not that he did not speak the truth at other times but that though at this point it may seem highly unlikely that what he is saying is true due to the situation,it nevertheless is reliable,See J.B.Rotherham's defense of his rendering of this verse.Are you familiar with the ancient Sahidic Coptic versions of the bible,you should check the way these render Luke23:43.See least you will then be able to appreciate that this is not simply"my theory"And I am not suggesting that you support traditional theologians.But you are depending on their evaluations of the scriptures for your critique.The effect is that you keep setting up an knocking down straw men.

  35. aservantofJehovah, am I understanding you correctly that you believe the Sahidic-language manuscripts (southern Egypt), translated from the original Greeks around the 2nd century, is the one translation you place your faith in on this particular verse?

  36. @TWF:I also mentioned Rotherham and there are some others.I brought up the Sahidic to show that it is not a modern idea.

  37. Ah, yes aservantofJehovah, Rotherham, who rendered Luke 23:43 as:

    "Verily,to thee I say,this day,with me shalt be in the paradise."

    Yes, with two commas; one on each side of "this day." Of course, that really just makes the reading ambiguous, because then the "this day" can be coupled to either part of the sentence. So Rotherham really neither supports or refutes your claim, leaving the Sahidic translation, and presumably every other Jehovah's Witness, as supporters of your theory. Does that sum it up, or do you have more solid support?

    If that is about it, you are arguing a special case (given that Jesus had never before appended "today") by supporting it with a special case (just the Sahidic transcripts). Of course, that may still be the accurate representation, but statistically speaking, the odds are stacked heavily against you.

  38. @TWF:"is this it or do you intend to do some actual research" you should read rotherham's commentary on the verse.And there are other's besides Jehovah's witnesses who take a similar stance.

  39. O.K TWF,I realize this whole research business is not your cup of tea,let me give you a hand,A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament By E.W.Bullinger,DD.,P.811

  40. I wonder, aservantofJehovah, did you read all of Rotherham's commentary on the verse? Did you get to the part where he referenced the very parable which we have been debating about? Rotherham provides an exploration of both options, and the weight of the options appear to fall slightly heavier on the traditional interpretation, but he does say that it is "left for the reader to determine." So, as I said, Rotherham's reference is really a bit ambiguous, not really supporting or refuting your proposed theory. Pointing to the fact that other people have thought about it before does very little to support the veracity of your claim, even if they are not Jehovah's Witnesses. Instead, I recommend leaning on the weight of the evidence; reliable manuscripts and contextual consistency within that particular author's work.

  41. By the way, aservantofJehovah, I am not sure how familiar you are with the Septuagint, but it is practically infamous for some of its mistranslations of the Hebrew texts. So when people use it, such as Rotherham and Bullinger, to support their theories, you should probably review it with deep scrutiny.

  42. Firstly we are discussing Greek grammar so whether the Septuagint mistranslates the hebrew scriptures is totally irrelevent,Secondly while I am sure that your subjective criteria suffice as evidence for you and your minions,you are going to have to do a little better than that if you are hoping to reach out those farther afield.The point is that the verse can legitimately be read both ways and so cannot suffice as a prooftext in support of the doctrine of some paradise in the netherworld.My reason for choosing the particular rendering is that it is more in harmony with Jesus'and Luke's theology as shown from the rest of the scriptures.Luke also wrote the book of acts,the way hades is depicted thereis in harmony with the rest of the scriptures,A place of unscionciousness,nothingness see Acts13:36

  43. aservantofJehovah
    1) No, errors in the Septuagint are not irrelevant. If the translator was not careful enough to be completely accurate in translation, then that would certainly cast doubts on his expertise in the use of Greek grammar because it suggests that the translator did not know how to grammatically communicate the precise meaning.

    2) Yes, it can be read both ways, indeed. However, due to the changing of the meaning, only one way is correct. Context is the key, drawing from Jesus' speech patterns and Luke's authorship.

    3) You are not paying close enough attention to Luke's theology. For example, go back to Luke 12:4-5:
    “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” NIV

    Luke's words suggest that your "body" and "you" are two separate things. Matthew 10:28's rendering of that verse would suggest that "you" are your "soul."

    So when you come to Acts 13:36-37, you see:

    "Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay." NIV

    Did you notice the distinction between David and his body? So when Jesus told the thief "you will be with me in paradise," He was not referring to the thief's meat puppet body, but the actual being of him; his soul.

  44. "He fell asleep" in other words he is unconscious Note that "HE"(the person) was buried,if "HE" is a spirit then "HE" could not be buried,no there is no distinction between him and his body. Please get an interlinear and look at Acts13:36 and see if the greek text makes any distinction between David and his body in this verse.Note that at Matthew10:28 both soul and body meet the same end in gehenna.Soul and body are mere abstractions,they are merely diferent aspects of the one reality.And yes how the septuagint renders Hebrew is irrelevant to this discussion all that matters is how the relevant greek verses are rendered in english,you see while,The greek O.T verses that Bullinger refers to are parallels to Luke23:43,and thus the way they are rendered by English translators has a bearing on the discussion,none of the 74 examples that you cite are an exact parallel to luke 23:43,If you get an interlinear and go over all those examples and compare them to Luke23:43 you will notice that Luke23:43 is unique in not having its 'Amen saying' connected to the following clause by a conjunction such as Hoti/that.Luke23:43Rotherham's Emphasized Bible"And he said unto him-Verily,I say unto thee this day:With me,Thou shalt be in paradise." Whence the extra comma TWF?Luke20:38NIV"He is NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD,but of the living,for TO HIM(no one else)all are alive."The dead cannot worship Jehovah God.Psalm6:5,Psalm115:17.But Jehovah has the power and the will to raise up the faithful dead so it as if they are merely asleep,See Romans4:17.So there is no Paradise in Hades according to the bible including the book of Luke.Paradise is where Jehovah God is Worshiped in complete Holiness,paradise is for he living not he dead.See Revelation2:7

  45. aservantofJehovah
    RE: Acts 13:36
    Yes, I see that the pesky NIV has caused a misunderstanding on my part here. And I see that they took more liberty than should be granted for Luke 12:4-5 as well. That happens from time to time. NIV is not always the best translation, but it is the one I have most handy. I do hope you will forgive me there.

    Despite the translation issue, the point actually is still somewhat valid, but only by a step of extra interpretation, which we will get to in a moment...

    RE: Matthew 10:28
    Yes, obviously. But I think that you would have to agree that is not necessarily the case with Luke. If you study the Gospels in detail, it becomes equally obvious that these authors believed different things at times, which is why I have urged you to apply your talents to the Synoptic Problem. Then you would realize why you even suggesting this counterpoint is counterproductive to supporting your position.

    RE: Soul and Body
    I am afraid that your assertion is without grounds. The body is not inextricably tied to the soul. That is obvious from the fact that the Bible says that spiritists can actually channel the dead, just like Saul consulted a medium to contact Samuel in 1 Samuel 28. This dead Samuel did not have to crawl out of the grave in order to talk. This should indicate to you, beyond a shadow of doubt, that "you" can operate independently of your body, and this idea supports the notion that body and soul were more than just abstractions. Furthermore, taking a cue from what may align with your own beliefs, if a body is buried and completely returns to "dust", would that person then be beyond resurrection? If the body is effectively gone, what is left?

    RE: how the septuagint renders Hebrew is irrelevant to this discussion
    Wrong, because you have not paid attention to what I have said. Rotherham and Bullinger both cited passages from the Septuagint OT with a "verily I say to you today" structure in trying to bolster support for their mistaken belief. Read it more closely, and you will find this is so.

    RE: Whence the extra comma TWF?
    Which version are you looking at? I am referring to the 1878 version. In his later revision, he changed it, having satisfied himself and leaving it less open for readers to interpret on their own.

    RE: Luke 20:38
    You may be making the same mistake I had earlier with the NIV. The word interpreted as "for to" is actually "gar" used for assigning a reason. So "to" may be better interpreted as "because of." As in:
    "[God] is not the God of the dead, but of the living, because of Him all are alive."

    RE: The dead cannot worship Jehovah God.
    Speaking of "souls" and what the dead can and cannot do, where they can and cannot be, and when, check out Revelation 6:9-11. Disembodied souls, praising God, asking for vengeance... I think that you may need to change your opinion.

    You have got to be careful with Psalms. They are songs, after all, and so may have some inaccuracies. I mean, Psalm 78:39 would then stand out against resurrection of any sort. ;-)

  46. Re:13:36 No I certainly cannot See the validity of the point.If he is a spirit he cannot be buried and see corruption.
    The bible NEVER says that spiritists can channel the dead,.And your resorting to first samuel28 cannot help you here.This is manifestly not the prophet samuel,but a demon pretending to be the prophet samuel.Samuel(even if he was alive in some spirit world) being a servant Of Jehovah would never co-operate with a spirit medium,it is also ridiculous to believe that a spirit medium could circumvent Jehovah God's boycott of Saul 1Samuel28:6 Note that 1Chronicles10:13,14 Makes it Clear that the spirit medium did not bring him into contact with Jehovah's prophet.And it is you who are not paying attention re:the septuagint how the septuagint renders Hebrew was not the point how the septuagint verses are endered in english is,Re :Luke 20:38 you have TOTALLY avoided my point with this red herring,There is no paradise apart from the worship of Jehovah.Revelation6:9-11 speaks not of Hades but of Heaven,way to confuse the issue,And the souls spoken of there are not disembodied,there is no such thing in scripture.Note that they are given a white robe,which pictures their heavenly Revelation3:4,5.The souls being on the altar pictures the blood of the witnesses of Jehovah unjustly spilled See Leviticus17:10,Just as the blood of Jehovah's first martyr cried out for Justice Genesis4:10 so to the blood of these Christian Martyrs Cries even more loudly for such.
    Re:the psalms there is no contradiction in scripture as long as one does not insist on abandoning proper interpretive logic.Psalm78:39 speaks from a purely human standpoint Jehovah does not Owe anyone a resurrection,the resurrection is a kindness not a right,Those who are killed as a result of Jehovah's judgment may not receive a resurrection See proverbs11:7,Isaiah26:14.
    And no there is no difference whatsoever among the bible writers where doctrine is concerned.
    As Luke 20:38 demonstrates that Luke's Jesus did not believe in any paradise in hades.
    And as I pointed out Bullinger,Rotherham others who render Luke23:43 the way they do are the ones who are being consistent,Those who place the comma before today are not.

  47. PS.Citation Leviticus17:10 should read Leviticus17:11 and not as written.

  48. aservantofJehovah
    I do not understand how 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 proves that Saul did not talk to Samuel. Would you please elaborate on that point? Also, I must have missed where it says that it was a demon pretending to be Samuel. Would you please point that out?

    I do not think that you understand what I said, because I did not avoid your point, but rather hit it dead on. The souls in Revelation are in paradise, are they not? This is similar to what happened in the parable in Luke 16:19-31 and is 100% consistent with Luke 23:43 rendered properly:

    Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise."

    Because in Revelation, there are souls hanging out with Jesus, right?

    "how the septuagint renders Hebrew was not the point how the septuagint verses are endered in english is,"
    Really? Please, enlighten me.

    Just for clarification, when I said "disembodied," I was only referring to a physical body. I do not know what you believe, but most theologians today believe that Heaven is in the spiritual realm where beings use a spiritual body. This is, of course, different than the original belief which held that Heaven was a physical place located directly above the earth; a belief encapsulated by oddities such as Jesus ascending up into the sky. Where did He go then? ;-)

    "Psalm78:39 speaks from a purely human standpoint"
    Just when I was starting to give up hope for you... maybe you are starting to really understand what the Scriptures are! ;-)

    Seriously though, it appears that yours is a special case argument, because I could just as easily and accurately label Isaiah 26:14 the same way when you look at its context. It is not God speaking, but rather a man. (By the way, your Proverbs reference is seemingly irrelevant, but please feel free to explain that in more detail if you think I have missed something.)

  49. Re:1Chronicles10:13,14.the verse says he did not enquire of Jehovah,so who ever the medium put him in touch with was not Jehovah's representative.
    Yes you could say that Isaiah26:14 is also speaking of the natural order.But how would that advance your case.
    Proverbs 11:7 shows that when any who are judged by Jehovah as wicked die,they do not share in the expectation of the righteous i.e a resurrection.
    you were claiming that there is a paradise in hades,Revelation6:9,10 does not occur in Hades but in heaven.So you are confusing the issue.there are no dead souls in heaven.The souls of the resurrected are in heaven that is what the white robe is meant to picture,see Revelation20:1-3,2Corinthians5:6-10.Both Jesus and the evildoer were in hades that day NOT heaven Luke23:43,Acts13:36,37.
    When I say that Psalms78:39 speaks from a human standpoint I mean from the standpoint of what humans are able to accomplish.If for instance I Got sick there would be steps I could take to assist in my recovery.If I died it would be entirely up to the whims and fancies of Jehovah God as to whether I would live again.There is no after life that is guaranteed as a matter of course.The resurrection is entirely Jehovah God's prerogative.
    I also believe that upon being raised from the dead those priveleged with a heavenly resurrection receive a spiritual body.The dead of course are not in heaven but Hades or Gehenna.So please lets not confuse the two topics.
    Re:the septuagint,The verses that Bullinger refers to from the septuagint are parallels to Luke 23:43,therefore it is noteworthy how they are rendered translators of the king James version and other english renderings.
    Bullinger and Rotherham are therefore being consistent in their rendering of Luke23:43.Whereas the others are not.

  50. aservantofJehovah, based on your latest reply, there are some profound misunderstandings in play to clarify before we continue. I am going to pick two to attempt to resolve in this reply. When we get these cleared up, I will go back to your other points.

    RE: 1 Samuel 28:3-25 / 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
    You said "1Chronicles10:13,14the verse says he did not enquire of Jehovah,so who ever the medium put him in touch with was not Jehovah's representative." Did you go back and read the 1 Samuel 28:3-25 account? If you did, and you still have that perspective, may I recommend reading the passage in another version? To say that it was not Samuel is equivalent to saying that the Bible text lies. To propose that some demon was only acting like Samuel is not feasible when you consider what Samuel said.

    " were claiming that there is a paradise in hades..."
    Where? I never made that claim, nor ever came close to suggesting that. It is so far from my understanding and perspective of the verses that I am astounded that you think such a thing. If that is what you think I said, than I implore you to re-read this post and the subsequent discussion without the filter of your preconceived notions about the afterlife. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

  51. Re:Never claiming that paradise was in hades;Well that is the traditional view.which I assumed you were defending,If not why did you not object previously.You surely could not be claiming that luke believed that Jesus was in heaven that day,Acts(which let me remind you was written by Luke) makes it quite clear that Christ was in hades for three days,and only ascended to heaven after 40 days.
    Re:Samuel;I don't need to re:read anything,1Chronicles10:13,14 clarifies what occurred at 1Samuel28,at verse six you will note that Jehovah God had imposed a strict blockade on Saul,it is passing senseless to believe that satan could circumvent the will of Jehovah God.The spirit that the medium put Saul in contact with was a demonic spirit that misrepresented itself as the prophet Samuel.Take it or leave it.

  52. aservantofJehovah
    RE: Paradise and Hades
    I am still not convinced that you understand what my position is on this matter. If you would, please, sum up what you think my position regarding Luke's view of Hades and Paradise. I am going to try not to nit-pick what you think my view is, but I have got to be sure that you at least somewhat understand what I am suggesting. Once we square that away, then we can worry about when and where Jesus was.

    RE: 1 Samuel 28:3-25 / 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
    Regarding your take on 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, you are conflating asking Samuel with asking God. That is not accurate to the text. In fact, if you read 1 Samuel 28:15, Saul explicitly says that he is trying to get guidance from Samuel instead of from God, because God no longer speaks to him. Furthermore, what you are saying goes against all of these verses which explicitly label Samuel and show ownership of action belonging to Samuel:
    1 Samuel 28:11 Saul asks for Samuel
    1 Samuel 28:12 The woman sees Samuel
    1 Samuel 28:14 Saul knew it was Samuel
    1 Samuel 28:15 Samuel said to Saul...
    1 Samuel 28:16 Samuel said...
    1 Samuel 28:17 God has done what was predicted through "me," with that "me" being Samuel
    1 Samuel 28:20 Saul was frieghtened because of Samuel's words

    There are definitely ambiguous passages in the Bible, but this is not one of them. This is Samuel according to the Bible. You can choose not to believe the Bible if you want to. In fact, I would persuade you to, but not just so that you can keep an inaccurate belief structure.

    However, if you can find any single verse which says that this was not Samuel, but was instead a demonic spirit, well then, I will gladly be called an idiot in this case. So prove me an idiot, not from theological conjecture, but from the Bible itself.

  53. @TWF:28:6,Jehovah God blockades Saul that is all that matters,At 28:12 a spirit creature appears to the woman and Claims to be samuel we know that this is a false claim because of what is earlier stated at verse six and confirmed at 1Chronicles10:13,14(Saul did not enquire of Jehovah's representative),Saul depends on the woman's description to make his determination,Saul of course desperately needs this to be Samuel so his Judgment is as unreliable as the Medium's and your own.The demon continues its misrepresentations Deceiving Saul,the Medium,yourself and Modern theologians,but not those who allow the bible to interpret itself.this is not Samuel if we take into account the Context of the entire bible.
    Re:paradise,suppose you tell me your position re:paradise and hades.especially with regard to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    Like Saul you desperately need this to be Samuel,and this desperation is clouding your judgment.

  54. aservantofJehovah
    "Like Saul you desperately need this to be Samuel,and this desperation is clouding your judgment."
    Let me get this straight... I, an atheist, by definition a person who it ultimately matters not whether Saul was talking to Samuel, a demon, or a fruit bat, desperately need this to be Samuel? I, who could not care less if some verses favor one particular sect of Christianity over another? I, who have truly nothing to lose, with the exception of this minor argument, am the desperate one?

    Meanwhile, if this is Samuel, like it explicitly claims it to be, you suffer a major contradiction with one of the fundamental beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and you are the one who is not desperate and is seeing this clearly?

    You may need some help in your discernment skills.

    By the way, it is not that I cannot see the point you are trying to make. You are bending 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 to a permissible extent. However, those verses say nothing one way or another explicitly regarding Samuel. The only way that Saul could contact Samuel was through a medium. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 only mentions the medium because it is against the Law for Saul to do that (Leviticus 19:31). But you could say that it is implicitly suggesting that Saul never spoke to the dead Samuel, yet you still have to verify that against the context provided to ensure that the perceived implication is correct.

    Now, if all we had to go by was the perceptions of the medium and Saul, you may have a reasonable case. Verses 11, 12, 14, 17, and 20 could all be swept aside as mistaken identity of a demon playing the part. (Even though this would be exceedingly odd behavior for a demon, given that there was no further evil which the demon sought to enact through the charade.)

    However, verses 14 and 15 explicitly say that it is Samuel speaking. It is not that "the spirit said..." or "the figure said..." or "the apparition said..." or even "the thing which they thought was Samuel said..." No. The verse says that Samuel spoke those words, independent of anyone's perception.

    So, if you do not believe verses 14 and 15, then you say that the Bible lies. It is as plain as that.

    RE: Paradise
    "suppose you tell me your position re:paradise and hades.especially with regard to the death and resurrection of Jesus."
    No. You have proven to me multiple times that you do not understand what I have written. Me writing it out again is not going to make me any more sure that you really have understood anything I have said. The only way to prove that you know what I have already said repeatedly is for you to summarize what you think I have already said. Man up, or go home.

  55. you don't have to specify that you are an Atheist,that is obvious all Iam trying to illustrate is that your method opf interpreting the text is invalid because it ignores the qualifications the bible makes as to the text,1Chronicles10:13,14 specifically states that He did not enquire of Jehovah,so who ever he enquired of through the medium was NOT a representative of Jehovah,At 1Samuel28:6 we are told that Jehovah had blockaded Saul this is meant to qualify all that follows.your lack of faith is not to be taken into account,only the bible's innner logic.From the writings of Moses onward the bible makes it clear that the dead are actually dead,Job14:10-14,Ecclesiastes9:5-10.Your electing to interpret the text through the dark of your phlosophic preapprehensions does not invalidate the facts.
    It merely exposes the invalidity of your method and hence your conclusions.
    Re:your refusal to clearly state your position on Hades and Paradise;Convenient since you have gotten yourself into a bind from which no honorable extrication is possible.

  56. OK, aservantofJehovah. Clearly you have beaten me, and I am caught in a bind. I just do not know what to do, so I panicked, you know. I guess I just have to give up at this point in time.

    But, hey, let me recommend this: direct some of your friends here to this debate. Show them how badly you have pummeled me, and just how much of a bind I managed to get myself into. It should be entertaining.

  57. Gallows humor,huh,it becomes you.But you are right in your implications.This discussion is going nowhere best to bring it to a merciful end.

  58. TWF:

    I think it should be recalled in considering the New Testament doctrine of hell that Daniel 12 contains the idea of final rewards and punishments ("everlasting shame and contempt"). Wherever you place it, Daniel's Book would have been accepted as part of the wider "Pharisaic" canon and so the idea of a "hell" would not be totally foreign.

    Also, I believe the New Testament works off of a divide. At least according to interpretations I have read there are two stages of the eternal life for both the righteous and the wicked. Before the final judgment, the spirits of the righteous go to "hell" while those of the righteous to "Abraham's Bosom". After the final judgment, when there is a bodily resurrection, the wicked are cast into "Gehenna" (the 'Lake of Fire' or 'the Outer Darkness') while the righteous receive their reward. Spirits are regarded as conscious in the first stage in accordance with at least some Old Testament imagery of 'Sheol'.

    May all be well with you,
    Felix Zamora

  59. Hi Felix,

    I apologize if I wasn't clear in my post, but, yes, absolutely, there was a Jewish concept of Hell which parallels the Christian one. As I was trying to imply, Jesus didn't have to explain "Abraham's bosom" because it was already within a sector of belief.

    From what I've gathered, it should be noted that the Jewish belief was far from being monolithic at that time. Some (much smaller) factions believed death was the end, and nothing else would come thereafter. Some factions believed that death lead to an immediate reward/curse situation, along the lines of what is portrayed in the parable here. Some factions believed in a bodily resurrection with a final reward (which you well know was a division between Sadducees and Pharisees). I can pick verses to support all of these views! :-)

    When it comes to "everlasting" shaming, keep in mind that there are possible other interpretations. For example, you may be aware of the Jewish custom of using noise makers (I forget what they're called) while reading parts of the Torah where names were "blotted out". That is a method of "shaming" them eternally. Granted, it doesn't have much of a sting to it, huh? :-) But I just wanted to throw that out there that the "eternal" thing doesn't necessarily translate into what you think it would, based on traditional Christian interpretations.

    Best wishes,