The State of the Dead
By J. N. Hall
[The following speech of J. N. Hall was made in reply to a speech by Thomas Williams, a Christadelphian, in a debate at Zion, Ky., which debate continued six days, beginning August 1, 1898. Bro. Hall's lucid, clear and forcible style is clearly seen in this speech, besides it meets the doctrine of the death of the soul, as held by Christadelphians, Seventh Day Adventists and others. There is comfort in the speech, as it proves that our loved ones who have passed away are not gone forever, but are alive with God.]
J. N. Hall's First Speech of One Hour
Brethren, Moderators, Ladies and Gentlemen: We are entering upon the discussion of a subject that is fraught with profound interest to everybody present. I suppose probably no subject could claim your attention or arouse your interest so much as does the condition of the dead. The thought that comes nearest our hearts and provokes our falling tears is the recollection of our departed friends, and the anxious inquiry springs to our lips: What is the present condition of the dead? What shall be our condition when it will be said of us that we are dead?
We appreciate the very patient attention that has been given to our brother while he proceeded to outline before you his position on the subject; I bespeak for the entire discussion of the question that same degree of interest, and as fearful as is the thought that we may stand by the open sepulchre and look in on the pale face of the ones we love, with the expectation that they have fallen into utter unconsciousness, and must sleep without consciousness until the resurrection from the dead, terrible, I say, as such a truth may be, yet if it be the truth of God's word we ought to accept it, and I now assert my readiness to accept the position that has been taken by this brother, if the passages he has quoted, when placed in their right connection with what they themselves say, teach any such doctrine. I will be willing to believe it if God teaches it. But I am not going to accept it because of some sort of an interpretation my brother may make. I shall follow my brother, as he did not follow me, and will not set up an opposing line of argument until 1 have noticed his.
I shall first call attention to the fact that he does not like the proposition, and yet he volunteered to put his name to it; he accepted it, and that makes it all right so far as he is concerned. The proposition states just what he tried to prove. I do not know why he objects to it. He has been trying to impress us with the thought that all that constitutes man is totally unconscious
from death until the resurrection. If he didn't try to prove that, what did he try to prove? He wanted the proposition to read that man is unconscious from death to the resurrection. Well, my brother, "all that constitutes man" should be understood in that term "man." If there is an advantage that is sought to be taken in the use of the word "man," then you see why the brother wanted the wording changed. But the doctrine of the Christadelphians is that all that constitutes man, and everything belonging to man, from the time of death to the resurrection, is unconscious. That is their doctrine. The proposition states it, and I like it, and the brother will be obliged to stand by it. I admit that he will have trouble to defend it. It says a good deal, but it will be hardly possible to prove it. It means, when you come to consider the question, that you have got to find out what man is. The brother's proposition required him to do this. He forgot it; he overlooked it; for some reason he did not do it. Do you know what constitutes man from anything he said? He undertook to prove that man is made of dust, that at least a part of the earth is in his constitution. That part is accepted; he proved it, we admit it. He quoted a number of Scriptures, I Corinthians 15:45, "The first man is of the earth, earthy." We believe that he had earth in him. Genesis 2:7, "The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground." That proposition is admitted. He was formed of the dust. But there is another word, "formed," in that connection the brother did not happen to notice. We will see it directly. Genesis 3:19, "Out of the dust wast thou taken." Correct. Job 33:6, " Formed out of clay." That is right. Genesis 3:23. All right. Genesis 18:27, "Abraham but dust and ashes.'' That is right. Abraham was dust
and ashes; so are we, but is that "all that constitutes man?" The proposition says that all that constitutes man is unconscious. Dust constitutes man in part; the brother proves it, and we admit it, but is that all? Suppose we take a little time to inquire into that. Let us see what it does take to constitute a man. We admit dust is a part of it. Turn to II Corinthians 4:1, " For though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day." There is man, an "outward man," and that man perishes; the brother proved it. What man is that? The man taken out of the ground, made out of clay, of the earth, earthy, who goes back to dust and ashes; that is the outward man and that man perishes. Is that all that constitutes man? Let Paul answer, "But our inward man is renewed day by day." There is another man, brother, that pertains to the constitution of man, and belongs to the proposition. Here are two men, if you please; one man of the dust who perishes, and the other man rises out of his death that does not perish, and Paul declares that both are of the same man.
Ephesians 3:16, "To be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man." "The inner man." What man is that? Is that the one that came out of the dust? Is that the one that dies day by day when the body is perishing day by day? Here are two men, and they constitute but one man, and the brother says that all that constitutes man is totally unconscious from death to the resurrection. That is true of the dust man, but there is another man. Is it true of him? Did lie prove that the dust man dies? Does anybody deny it?
No, sir. He says that all he wants to prove to this audience is that when a man is dead he is dead. We all believe that, brother. The question is, which man is it that is dead? We ask this because the Word says there are two of them, one on the outside and the other on the inside. You prove that the outside man is dead and we accept it, but there happens to be a passage you have lost sight of that speaks of another man, the inner man.
Romans 7:22, "For I delight in the law of God after the inner man. * * * So then with the mind (the inner man) I myself serve the law of God, but with flesh (the outer man) the law of sin." There are two parts to man, one an outer man, the other an inner man.
I. Pet. 3:1-4, listen, " Likewise, ye wives * * whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold and putting on of apparel." That is done on the outer man, the body. Do not give your special attention to that. Peter says, " But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit." Let it be what? The adorning of the inner man. What is that? A meek and quiet spirit. Have you got a spirit? These wives had. Is that their inner man? Yes, Peter says that is the inner man, and they are adorning that which is not corruptible. What is it that is not corruptible ? This meek and quiet spirit is not corruptible. That word " not corruptible'' is the word which, in Romans 2:7, is translated "immortal," "incorruptible" — the very word in original Greek that is translated "immortal" is
there translated incorruptible and is applied to the spirit of the godly women. Didn't you say something about finding a place which said something about an " immortal soul " or an "immortal spirit?" Here it is. Look after it a little, if you please.
All that constitutes man is totally unconscious before the resurrection. What constitutes man? An outer man and an inner man; a dust body and a spirit; one a dying, perishing body, and the other being renewed day by day at the same time. These are declarations of God's word. It says this is what constitutes a man.
Let us turn and examine the Scriptures given by the brother. He went over a long list of Scriptures in a hurry. I took them down as fast as he read, I Corinthians 15:45, "The first man is of the earth, earthy." Correct. Did God form man from the dust of the earth? He did. What part of the man? His body. What of the spirit? Did he form the spirit out of dust ? If he did not, where did the spirit come from?
Job 4:17, "Shall mortal man be more just than God?" There it is, "mortal.'' The body is mortal. Is the spirit mortal? I challenge the brother to say so. The brother challenged me to find a solitary passage where it said "immortal soul." You find a passage containing the words "mortal soul," and I will find right next to it the passage containing "immortal soul."
Psalm 103:14, "He knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust." What is it that is dust? Our mortal body. It goes back to dust. But is our spirit dust?
Job 30:25, "For I know that thou wilt bring me to death and to the house appointed to all the living." Correct. This is spoken of the body, not of the spirit.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 makes the statement that "the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten." The brother takes the position that this involves the entire man. "The living know that they must die; but the dead know not any thing." That is going to be admitted, but the question arises, What is it that is dead? What is it that is involved in the matter of death? Suppose we read just a little further from that same author. Listen: "Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they a portion any more in anything that is done under the sun." You see now he is speaking of death, and the relationship of the dead to things which are under the sun. This serves as a key. What element is it that is being considered as dead? Let us look a little further into that. Does the death include the spirit? The body is dead; that is admitted; and the death mentioned there includes the spirit or it does not. Is there something that survives? Let us ask this same man that used this language in this same book whether the spirit goes down into death or not. Listen: Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was.'' Does the spirit return to dust? "But the spirit goes to God who gave it." What is it then that is dead? The part that pertains to the knowledge that is under the sun. Let us see a little further what is meant by the expression,
"The dead know not any thing." The declaration is, "For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto him." That is the statement of Jesus Christ. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. But didn't all of them die? Yes. Is not all that constitutes a man wholly dead? The brother so affirms. If so, God is no longer their God. But He is their God! He is, therefore, the God of the dead because they all live unto him. Then they are not dead. There is an element in them that is not dead. The expression must be taken either in a limited or an unlimited sense — please look at another part of the sentence — "neither have they any more a reward.'' If the application is of unlimited application to all, then this will deny my brother his reward. He is now alive; he is going to die; the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward. His own passage has cut him off from the resurrection and from the reward. Listen to Job vii. 9, 10: ''He that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house; neither shall his place know him any more.'' This declaration is to he taken in an unlimited or in a limited sense. The statement is that those that go to the grave shall come up no more. It is a declaration of the total annihilation of the dead and a denial of the resurrection from the dead, if taken in an unlimited sense. We must determine the sense of our Scriptures. So the passage is to be taken in a limited sense, and the reference is to those under the sun who shall have no more knowledge of anything that takes place. But the spirit, which is a part of
the essential being as God gave it, still lives. The inner man returns to God, who gave it. It follows, then, that the proposition is untrue so far as that passage is concerned.
But he also called attention to another passage; let me turn and read, Job xiv. 10: "But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? "Giveth up what? The ghost, "and where is he?" "As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up; so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. * * * If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait." What is it that dies? The body. What is it of which Job is speaking? The body, that which goes down to the grave. The spirit does not go to the grave. Solomon says the spirit returns at death to God who gave it; the body returns to dust. If the phrase body does not include the spirit, the proof is not to be found in this passage for the support of his proposition. That it does not include it in this passage is found in the fact that Solomon says the spirit returns to God who gave it.
It is said that God formed man from the dust of the ground? Did God form man's spirit from the dust of the ground? "God formeth the spirit of man within him" — Zechariah xii. 1. Here is the same word "formed " that is used in Genesis ii. 7. That body that the brother says was made out of the dust of the ground was unconscious until the time that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. That body was nothing but a magnificent
corpse until God gave unto it the breath of life. But did God make the breath of life of the dust? Was it just breath, or breath having life in it? Zechariah declares that God "formeth the spirit of man within him." That is made a direct part of the matter of his creation.
The brother referred also to Ecclesiastes iii. 18: "I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth the beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust and all turn to dust again.'' The brother presumes to say as a conclusion of this statement that there is no distinction between man and beast. They both go to one place; they all are of dust and all turn to dust again. Now the very next sentence, which the brother neglected to quote, gives us the key to the situation and makes a statement of the true nature of the case: "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" It is true that the body of the beast and the body of the man are alike, but is it true of their spirits, of their inner man? The very next sentence declares that when you come to their spirits you strike the difference. The spirit of the man goeth upward at death, and the spirit of the beast goeth downward at death. God made the beasts and gave them their breath, but he did not breathe into their nostrils
of the breath of life. The beast hath breath and flesh, and it comes from the dust. In these respects man's body is like them, but when man comes to die the spirit returns to God who gave it and goeth upward. But this is not so of the beast.
Psalm cxlvi. 3: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth; he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." What is the psalmist David talking of in this connection? It is well enough to look at the connection, and by doing it we are able to escape false conclusions we otherwise would fall into. The psalmist is talking about men who put their trust in the princes of this world. He says, "Put not your trust in princes that cannot carry out their purposes." They have no perpetuity of life in this world; when they die their purposes perish. That word is also translated "purposes," "intentions," "designs." They fail; they are unable to carry out their plans; they die. It has no reference whatever to their condition after death. These princes may still live — do live, because God is the God of the living.
Then we have the statement that Hezekiah prayed that God would spare his life yet for fifteen years. The brother says, "Did God spare his life?" Yes. Would he have lived if God had not spared his life? No. Would he have died? Yes. In what sense? Total, unconsciousness? That is the very point the brother undertakes to prove. He would have been dead as to his body; would he have been dead as to his inner man? All men have an inner man. When God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living
soul, did he give the first man what he expected every other man to have? Did he give what those wives had, a spirit? Did he give what the Corinthians had, a spirit? If he did, did that die? If it did the brother has not yet proved it. The brother says, suppose he had died and gone to heaven, would it have been just to Hezekiah to let him stay out of heaven fifteen years? Yes. Why? Because God has so constituted life in its natural relations as to make us love life. So long as we look at life from this side of the grave, life is desirable; our relationships here have by nature and association become sweet; so if, like Paul, we could have a glimpse of paradise, we still would have a desire for the things of this world, unless we, like Paul, had been crucified to the world and the world unto us. There is not any inconsistency in this.
But the brother asks what is the need of the resurrection if the dead are now alive. He thinks it would be cruel to bring them back to their earthly bodies. Why bring back the dead from heaven? For instance: Abel has been in heaven ever since the time he passed away. Why call the spirits back and put them in mortal bodies? We do not come back and enter into mortal bodies. In the resurrection from the dead they get immortal bodies; their bodies become immortal, like their spirits in that glorious operation.
Then the brother came to the New Testament. He said: "Lazarus is dead." Jesus Christ said it. Was he dead? He was; but in what sense was he dead? Was he dead in the sense of being totally uncouscious? Was everything that constituted Lazarus dead? Was his inner man dead?
His spirit dead? The declaration is, "The spirit returns to God who gave it.'' If that was true of anybody in Solomon's time, wasn't it just as true in Lazarus' time? If Solomon's spirit went to God at death, and everybody in his time went to God in spirit at death, so did Lazarus. Then the spirit of Lazarus was not dead. The body died. There is no doubt about that. Where did he come from? If he was dead in spirit he would have come down from heaven; whereas the dead Lazarus came forth from the grave. Was he in the grave ? He was. He had died and been buried. Whenever resurrection comes, the spirit comes to the body and the body is obliged to come out of the grave. The dead body is revived and the man lives.
Then the brother came to I Corinthians xv. I will turn and read that statement: " If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ, whom he raised not up if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not then is not Christ raised; and if Christ be not raised your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." The argument the brother makes is drawn from the expression, "They which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished," if the dead rise not. The point in the argument is this: "If there be a conscious condition of the spirit between death and the resurrection, then there could not be any perishing even if their bodies did not rise, since there is an element of their being
which is already saved. Paul's entire argument is hypothetical; he bases the argument on a supposition. He says, "Ye are yet in your sins if Christ be not raised from the dead," yet the Corinthians had already received the forgiveness of sins. He bases the assurance that there was remission of sins on the resurrection from the dead, and yet whether there was a resurrection from the dead or not, they had had remission of sins. He says, "Your faith is vain, yet they had faith." In the very same hypothesis Paul argues that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then you have got no spirit and they that have departed have no existence at all. Resurrection from the dead is based on the idea that man is potentially immortal and resurrection from the dead is a necessity for the development of immortality. If there is no resurrection from the dead, then there is no immortality; on the same ground you have no faith, and no remission of sins; yet you did have faith, and remission of sins, resurrection or no resurrection. To show that his argument is purely hypothetical he proceeds to say in the twentieth verse: "Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept." Therefore they that sleep in Christ are not perished; therefore your faith is not vain, our preaching is not vain, your sins are pardoned. Therefore the hypothetical argument Paul makes, instead of supporting my brother's position, is directly opposed to it.
His next point was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He asks whether Christ was dead. There is a sense in which Christ's death involves a separation
from God. That is the meaning of the word death, separation. In that dying hour Christ looked up and said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Does God forsake him? Does he die? Yes. Therefore the Son of God separated from the Father goes down in the grave and he speaks of it as "death." And I wish to call attention to a thought just here. My brother intimates that Christ became as totally unconscious in his death as we are in ours. According to his conception, Jesus Christ was wholly without knowledge from the day of his death to the time of his resurrection. His divinity as well as his humanity both alike slept. Listen to what Jesus said in his departing hour. He looks up into the face of the Father and says, "Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit." "Where did his spirit go? Into the hands of God. Unless his solemn declaration in the dying hour was false, his spirit did not go down into the sleep of death. Did he have a spirit? He says he did, and he commended it to God. Spirits do not go into the grave; spirits do not return to dust for they are not taken from the dust.
I believe I have noticed every point taken by the brother except the last one. He says the primary meaning of the word soul is "breathing creature;" it is used very frequently of soul and of spirit in the Bible; it is applied to beasts and various other things; it is also applicable to man and God. We have got to determine by the context what the meaning of the word is. That is granted. Nearly any word you may think of in connection with the Scriptures has various applications, and you have to determine its meaning by the context. Therefore there is very little to be drawn from the statement of the original word rendered soul and spirit and sometimes applied
to beasts and to man and sometimes to God. If it always meant a mortal being, then God is mortal; if it sometimes means an immortal being, then it may be so applied to man. I have called your attention to the line of argument drawn by the brother. There is one point further. "The grave cannot praise thee; neither any that go down into silence." Who goes to the grave, to this pit of corruption? The outer or the inner man? The key to the whole situation is found in this simple definition of what constitutes man. If the fleshly body is all there is of him, then the fleshly body in death is unconscious. If there is an element in man separate from the dust body which at death goes to God, then it does not go to the grave. All these passages the brother stated of going to the grave, of having no knowledge under the sun, our purposes perishing — all that pertains to the grave. It involves the body and does not involve the spirit. The brother has to prove that the spirit man also goes down to the grave, as does the dust man, and when he has established that proposition he will make some start to prove his doctrine.
If I have overlooked a passage that you quoted and you will now call my attention to it, I will look at it before I proceed. Name it and I will now turn and look after it, or name it later on. Then let us proceed to inquire a little into the nature of this subject.
Genesis 1:26, Man was made in the image of God. "And God said, let us make man in our image and after our likeness." What is God's image or likeness as it is expressed in man? Man was to have dominion over all earthly creation.
It may be well to find something further about the construction of man who was made in God's image, and given this dominion over nature. Man's body could not have that ascendency necessary for this dominion. There are ten thousand things in nature that have decided advantages over our bodies, but there is nothing in nature that has an ascendency over our spirits. When it comes to his conceptions, his thoughts, his imaginations, his discoveries, his inventions, man rises in the scale of his being until he ascends above everything else that has earthly being. Whatever it is in man that is in God's image it was to have dominion. Flesh cannot do it; therefore flesh is not the part of man made in the image of God. Man's body could not be made in the image of God. Turn to Isaiah xl. ii., "To whom will you liken God? To what image will ye compare him? "You can make an image of man; you can make it out of clay, out of brass, out of gold, out of silver, and it is the declaration of Isaiah that nobody can make a likeness of God. That man and God are not in the same image; if they were you could make an image of God as easily as you can make an image of man.
In Acts 17:29, "Forasmuch, then, as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art of man's device." Any sculptor can make an image of man, but no one can make an image of God, and this shows us that our bodies are not in God's image.
It is dishonoring to God to attempt to make a likeness of him. In Romans 1:23, "They changed
the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man." That was a disgrace to God to make an attempt at it, but it would not be a disgrace if man's corruptible body was in God's image.
Philippians 2:6-8, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man." Here is a change on the part of Christ from the likeness of God to the likeness of man. He took on himself our flesh and was made like we are in body. That shows that our bodies are not like God's image. Who took on the likeness of the flesh? Christ. But have you found that the outer man, or dust man, that constitutes man as to his flesh, and his inner man, are both distinct things, and that this outer man is not in the image of God? It is merely of the earth, and goes back at death to dust. If there is, therefore, any likeness of God in man, it must be his inner man. He has a dual nature; his dust or material body is not in God's image.
But read again John 4:24, "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'' There is God's character, God's nature. It is spirit. Let us see if we do not find an endowment of that element in man which is called spirit, and that the real man made in the image of God will turn out to be the spirit which does not die. Romans 8:16, "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." God is spirit, and the relationship
between us and God is of a spiritual character.
Can this dust body of man be like a spirit? Luke 24:36-40, "When Jesus stood in their midst they were terrified and affrighted, supposing they had seen a spirit, but Jesus said, 'A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.'" Dust bodies do have flesh and bones, and spirits do not. Spirits cannot, therefore, be in the form of dust bodies. Now, then, whence came this spirit that does not have flesh and bones and that was not made of dust? Zechariah xii. 1, "He formeth the spirit of man within him." Notice, he is speaking of the creation. Where did the spirit come from? God. How? God formed it in man. When God stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth that is the creation period, what else did he do? He formed the spirit of man within him. When? At the beginning. How? When God made man out of the dust of the ground, he was a corpse; it takes another act, a creative act, for that man to have life. God formed the spirit within him, that is what Zechariah says. Moses says that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Whence, then, came the spirit? From God. At death what becomes of the spirit? The body goes back to dust, but the spirit that came from God was formed in man at the time of the creation, that spirit thus formed at death goes back to God who gave it, and you have the same lifeless corpse you had at the beginning. What is the distinction between man now at death and Adam at the creation? He is a corpse; he was then, he is now.
There was a period in which he lived. Now he is dead. Where is his spirit gone? To God who gave it. As to his spirit, he is not dead; as to the outer man, he is dead.
Acts 7:59, "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Who said it? Stephen. When? At death, when he was dying, he looked up to God and said, I am now going, I am taking my departure; I know where my body is going, down under these stones in death. Is that all that constitutes a man? Listen to his statement: "Lord, receive my spirit." When Jesus was on the cross he cried with a loud voice, saying, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." Does all that constitutes a man become unconscious at death?
But the question may arise, Can spirits have conscious being without material bodies? The declaration is made that God is a spirit; God's body is not made of dust; it does not have material organization; he is nothing but spirit. Jesus Christ was spirit before he became incarnate. Then he had a body, and continued in the body until death, and from the time of death until the resurrection he was without a material body; at the resurrection the spirit and body came together. Angels are said to be the spirits sent forth to administer to them that shall be heirs of salvation, and yet they have no material bodies; they are not made of dust. It is, therefore, possible for the spirit of man to exist separate from his material body and still have conscious being' in the presence of God after death.
Now a few words about immortal soul; the
brother did not find it, and nobody else finds the expression, "immortal soul," yet I showed you that there is an incorruptible spirit; the same word translated immortal in other places, a spirit undying, that abides and will continue. The word "mortal" is always applied to the flesh and never applied to the spirit, and there is not any statement that at death the spirit dies. James says that the body without the spirit is dead, but the spirit is not dead. It is that inner man that we claim is still conscious after the death of the body.
I have called attention to the fact that the flesh body is not in the image of God; let us see if the spiritual man is in the image of God. Romans 8:29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.'' In the transaction in the garden of Eden there was a twofold nature in man. Who was it stretched forth his hand and took the fruit? Adam. What part of Adam? His hand. What was it ate of the fruit? His mouth; his material body. What was it transgressed the law? His material body, the only man present. Was there no other man present except that? Where was the spirit that Zechariah said God formed within him? Did not that have a part in it? Had man's will, his conscience, his mind, no part in the act of disobedience? The man spirit was involved as well as his body, and he lost the image of God in that transaction. The declaration was. "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In some sense or other man died that day; he did not die as to his body; he died in the sense of a moral death, in the sense of a separation from
God. In Colossians iii. 10, we read, "And have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." It becomes like a new creation. The man dead in trespasses and sins has been brought to life. What man is that? The inner man. Where does he go at death? To God. Stephen's spirit returned to God; Jesus' spirit returned to God. The thief's spirit went with Christ. What died? The body? No, the spirit, the inner man, that God said should die in the day that he ate of the fruit, not in the sense of being totally extinct, but in the sense of separation from God. The body is the outer man, the mortal; that dies in the sense of becoming unconscious and going back to dust. The word mortal means subject to death; the word immortal means exemption from death. Death as to the body means that state of being in which there is a total and permanent cessation of the vital functions and sensations of life, an extinction of bodily life. That is Webster. What of the soul, Mr. Webster? Spiritual death, a perversion of the soul by sin, loss of the favor of God.
Can man be dead and at the same time be alive? Can the spirit be dead and the body alive? Let us see if it is possible. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she yet liveth." There is life and death both in the same person. Look a little further; Colossians 2:13, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircunicision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him." These people who he here says had been dead were alive all the time and at the very time that he says they were dead. That shows that there is one element in man that can be dead, while at the same time there is another element in man that
can be alive. Here are two men, an inner and an outer man, and while the inner man is dead in trespasses and sins, the outer man is very much alive. When the outer man is dead and goes into the grave, the other man lives in the spiritual realm just the same.
Away back in the Old Testament he is finding all his proof in the use of hypothetical expressions. I am going back to the Old Testament. In Isaiah 14:4-9 you will read what the prophet said of Babylon: "How hath the oppressor ceased! * * * hell from beneath is moved to meet thee at thy coming; it stirreth up the dead for thee." That word hell is translated from the Hebrew word sheol, which represents both the grave and the state of the dead in the grave. He told us yesterday that everybody in sheol had quit thinking, quit acting, quit speaking. Listen: "It stirreth up the dead for thee.'' What! I thought if they were clean dead it could not stir them up. God's word says they are there in sheol, even all the chief ones of the earth, and all stirred up. Let us look u little further. Ezekiel 31:15, 17: "In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning. * * * I made the nation to shake at the sound of his fall when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit. * * * This is Pharaoh and all his multitude." They are dead, and in the grave, and in hell. Now compare these words on the same subject: "The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of sheol" — dead, buried, in hell, in sheol and yet talking! That is from the Old Testament, the very place where he goes to prove that everything
dead is silent, right out of those same Scriptures we read that in hell they speak.
I want to quote another passage, a declaration of the Old Testament. The Scriptures talk about being gathered to the fathers. Listen: "Genesis 25:8, "And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man and feeble of years, and was gathered to his people." You cannot have a gathering to people without considering the idea of a multitude. Abraham's body was never buried with his people; it was buried by the side of his wife in the cave of Machpelah; yet God's word declares before he was buried that he died and was gathered to his people. The idea of being gathered to people carried the idea of a multitude. You have got to have a multitude in existence to which Abraham went after his death. From the New Testament, before this debate closes, we are going to find this man Abraham alive with his people.
I want to notice another thought; I want to tell you that the ordinance of baptism is a contradiction of this man's doctrine. Romans 6:3, "As many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." In this we have a picture of the burial of a dead body. Speak to the administrator and say: What are you doing? Burying the old man. What are you doing? Raising up the new man. Here is a representation of the death and burial of the body and the resurrection of the body. What is the condition of the
man between the burial and the resurrection? Is he dead? You do not bury a man until he is dead. Were you clean good dead when you were put under the water? Is there a conscious or an unconscious condition represented by the figure between the burial and the resurrection? I come to tell you this morning that the doctrine the brother undertakes to impress upon us degrades man to the level of the brute; it is a gospel of dirt.
I propose to show you that all that constitutes man does not die at death. Turn, if you please, to Luke 20:37, 38, "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he said, I am the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto him." Remember, all three of these men were dead at the time this language was uttered. Now, if my brother is in the right, these dead men were entirely dead, clean, good dead, and they have no life of any sort. Then God is not their God.. But if there is still an element of their being that is alive, that has survived death, then God is their God, for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living. How can he be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when they are dead, according to my brother's argument? The answer is here: "For all live unto him." Every one of them had their spirits return back to God and are still alive and in his presence, in his sight. He knows of them; he is their God. That includes Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all of the dead until time shall be no more. Jesus positively says they are all alive, and I am not, therefore, going
to believe that they are all dead in the sense my brother believes they are dead.
Turn to Matthew 10:28, "Fear not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do, but rather fear him that is able to destroy both, soul and body in hell." Will you notice, man can kill our bodies, but they cannot kill our souls? That shows that the body and soul must be distinct. If my body and soul were the same thing, and if a man was to kill my body he would kill both together. If body and breath are all there is of man, man can kill him. Can any man kill him? Jesus Christ says he cannot do it. Why can't he? Can he kill the body? Yes. Can he kill the soul? No. Then the body and soul are two distinct things. This shows that the spirit or soul in the man is distinct from the body and is not killed with the body.
Look further: Luke 9:29, "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias." Both these talking with him, talking with Christ during his personal ministry, Moses and Elias! Talking? Jesus said they did. "Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." They talked to him about his death. Who was Moses? He died away back yonder. Who was Elijah? He was translated hundreds of years before and went back to God. Both gone. When have they had resurrection? How did they get back? My brother says that all that constitutes man is totally unconscious from death to the resurrection.
Was everything that constituted these men unconscious? If so, how could they get back and talk? God's word says they did and I believe it. Therefore his proposition is untrue. The presence of spirits who have come back and have been seen and heard and made themselves known is positive proof of the fact of the untruthfulness of the proposition. He could not make the proposition stand to save his life if there were only this passage. But we have only given you a start to show the absurdity of this doctrine of dirt which reduces man to the level of the brute and ignores the fact that they, having come from God, return to him again.
We come to the thief on the cross. Let us take a little time to look into the question about the thief. You will find a reference to it in Luke 23:42. The Saviour was on the cross dying as a malefactor; one thief reviled him and the other prayed to him, and his prayer was this: "Lord, remember me when them comest into thy kingdom." The brother intimates that prayer contemplated that the thief had an idea of the future coming kingdom, and when the Saviour came in that kingdom he wanted to be remembered. It may be this was the idea of the thief since he probably was himself a Jew, or at least had associated with the Jews, for he was put to death in Jerusalem, and, no doubt, therefore thought that there was coming a time when the Messiah's kingdom was to come in Jerusalem, and he wanted to be remembered in that kingdom. But Christ at once understood his difficulty, and he knew how to deal with it. Not away beyond the future will I hear
your prayer; I keep no poor penitent man waiting hundreds of years for the answer to his prayer; you may fix your time, but now is God's accepted time. To-day I will answer you; right now shalt thou be with me in paradise. Not away beyond in the future when you think I am coming in rny kingdom in this materialistic reign, but to-day. How is Jesus going to answer it? What is he going to give him? Into what will he take him? Jesus solves the problem and looks into his face and says: "TO-DAY shalt them be with me in paradise."
Let us see if we can find where paradise is; if we can, we can find where the thief is and where Christ is. Turn to Revelation 2:7, "To him that over-cometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." There is paradise. Jesus said to the thief, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Where is paradise? The tree of life is in the midst of paradise. Wherever you find paradise yon will find the tree of life in the middle of it; wherever you find the tree of life you will find paradise. If I could make a circle on this board and draw a tree in the middle of it, wherever you find the circle you find the tree. Let us take this tree as a pointer. Turn to Revelation xxii: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life." Who said that? John. What did he see? He saw the tree of life. Where did he see it? In the middle of the street, and on either side of the river. There is God on his throne, and the river proceeding out of the
throne. Where is the tree of life? In the middle of paradise. Where else is the tree of life? In the midst of the city. Then the city and paradise is the same place. The 14th verse: "Blessed are they that keep his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." Where is the tree of life? In the city. Who has a right to it? They that do his commandments. When do they enter? Whenever they pass out of this life and go into the holy city. Where is paradise? God's throne is in it; the tree of life stands in it, and they enter it that keep his commandments. That is where the thief went that day. That is the heaven we speak of.
Turn to II Corinthians 12:1: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago; whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell." Did you ever know a man to talk like that who was a Christadelphian? I know Paul never knew a Christadelphian. If my brother had been there he would have said: "You are the most poorly instructed Christadelphian I ever saw! Don't you know a man could not be out of his body? When a man is out of his body he is dead. Have you lost your mind? Has anybody hit you on the head with a club? What is the trouble that you cannot tell whether a man can be in the body or out? Don't you know if he gets out he goes out like a candle? I tell you, Paul wasn't a Christadelphian. "How that he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter." It is a vision, a revelation. God makes it and Paul calls it such. There was paradise
to which the thief went. The declaration is that the tree of life is in paradise, and the tree of life is in the city of God. If it is, you might reasonably expect to see marvelous things. What did he say? Listen: "And heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter." Heard what? Heard words that a man could not be allowed to utter." Who did the speaking? Those in paradise. He looked in and saw paradise. He looked in and saw paradise and heard somebody talking.
He had a vision, a revelation from God. There was no mere dream about it. He heard unspeakable words. Heard what? Words. What are words? Signs of ideas. What are ideas? Conceptions of conscious minds. Can a man who is unconscious express himself in words? Did Paul hear words? He says he did. Where? In paradise. Where is paradise? Up where the tree of life is in the city of God. What have they there? Words. What kind of words? Unspeakable words which it was not lawful that man should utter, which he could not repeat. I say, therefore, in heaven, in paradise, they have language there, people talking, and when a man is enwrapped in vision, in a revelation from God, he can hear the words of paradise that would not be lawful to repeat here. I tell you, those of you who have lost friends in this life, who have stood by the side of the open, cheerless grave, lift up the eye of faith, the heart of hope, and realize that those who have departed have entered into the paradise of God, and that they, with faithful Abraham and all the good, are now singing the songs and talking in a language
that you could not utter. Let me read you some statements:
Conscious beings only can utter words; Paul heard words nttered in paradise. Therefore paradise is a place of conscious beings. God's throne is in paradise. God's throne is where God is; therefore God is in paradise.
God is in paradise; at death the spirit goes to God; therefore departed spirits are in paradise.
Departed spirits are in paradise; they enter paradise at death and leave it at the resurrection. Therefore in paradise we have conscious spirits from death until the resurrection.
Therefore my brother's proposition from one end of it to the other is untrue.
I turn to Philippians 1:21-25. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain, * * * yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ; which is far better. * * * This is what Paul says. I am in a condition of trouble. I am in a strait; I have to choose whether to die or to remain and work for Christ. I am here in prison and possibly will be condemned to death if I do not take proper means to defend myself, and I am in a strait what I shall do about it. If I live it will be for your good; if I die it will be for my gain. If I go I will go to Christ; my body will be crucified and it will go to the ground and I will be with Christ. Where is Christ? Stephen saw him seated at the right hand of God. He is over in the next world. He has no communication with us now; physically we are cut off from him. If I depart I will be with him. There is a
man looking in the face of death and contemplating the possibility of dying and being with Christ on the other side. II Peter 2:13, "Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle" — referring to his body — "to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle even as the Lord Jesus has showed me." * * *
"For we have not followed cunningly-devised fables" — now notice, the apostle Peter is going to draw some conclusion in view of death from the revelation he saw when Moses and Elias came and talked with Christ. He is going to get consolation out of it. "But we were eye-witnesses of his majesty; for he received from the Father honor and glory, when there came to him such a voice from the excellent glory, saying, This is my son in whom I am well pleased." We have also a more sure word of prophecy. Note: We have had an assurance in prophecy of life for the dead; we have all of God's promises; now we have had a conclusive demonstration of it; a light has shone in a dark place; we never understood it, never clearly recognized it; we believed about it, and our faith was strong in God's word; now we have seen a demonstration of it. Peter and the other disciples saw men in the death state who came back, who were alive and in actual existence.
II. Corinthians 5:1-8, "For we know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked." Paul's idea is: I
do not merely want to die to get out of the body, and be done with the troubles of this life; I am not going to commit suicide; I want this mortal condition that brings me this torture of mind and body laid aside, and I want to be, not naked, but clothed with the other life, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. * * * "Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." Absence and presence are conditions of the consciousness. You cannot tell if you are absent from any place to-day unless you are conscious. Paul says that we want to die and lay down this tabernacle and be swallowed up of life, absent from the body and present with the Lord. That shows that Paul knew that when this body died then his presence with the Lord would be a fact.
Revelation 6:9-11, "And when he had opened the fifth seal I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not avenge our blood in them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them." Here is a vision. Look at it! There are people dead; he said they had been slain, but their souls were not slain, because Jesus said, Fear not him that can kill the body, but is not able to kill the soul. Their souls had not been killed. Now where were they? Under the altar. What altar? "I saw the Lord stand on the altar, and he said, smite * * * That is the millenial dawning; that is the time the Lord is coming to take vengeance, and these saints were under the
altar, and God answered their prayer for vengeance when the time for vengeance came. Now, the souls of these people who had been slain were right before God's throne where God himself is standing. They were under the altar; their bodies were dead and their spirits, souls, were talking. We want to know how long before you avenge our blood. God replied to them, You have got to be patient for a little while; put the white robes on you and rest till your brethren are killed like you. The resurrection has not come, and their bodies are slain, sleeping in the dust of the ground, and here are their souls, there on the other side of death, between death and the time of the resurrection. This then covers the very period of the time of my brother's proposition. Listen to what the proposition says: "All that constitutes man will be totally unconscious from the time of death until the resurrection." And here John saw these souls after they were dead and before they were raised from the dead; here is a passage that comes right in between my brother's proposition arid knocks it into smithereens.
Let us notice further. The declaration of God's word is, we have eternal life. That is promised to believers. I want to call attention to some passages briefly on that line. John 3:14, 16, "That whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.'' There eternal life is promised the believer. It begins in this life the moment he believes. He puts himself in the position to get that promise the hour he becomes a believer. Eternal life has no cessation in it. It is put in his hand at once, and has the assurance of
God, like the souls under the altar, who rest and are robed in white.
Further than that; John 6:54, "Whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life," hath, "and I will raise him up." Notice, will you; he hath eternal life. Is there going to be a death about it? Yes; the body has got to die and resurrection is coming to the body, but notwithstanding the dying body, he has eternal life; it belongs to that spirit made in the likeness of God. Let me submit, if there is a period of time from the death of man till the resurrection, when he is totally unconscious, then perishing is the result for that length of time. The man has gone out like the light of the candle, and would not have any existence anywhere. If all that constitutes man dies at death, then man perishes. The body perishes, the breath perishes, the soul perishes, and that statement of Jesus Christ never could be true.
John 17:2, 3, "That he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." What is eternal life? To know God. Do they know him now? Christ has revealed him to you, and you know him. This is life eternal and it never perishes.
I John 6:10, 13, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life." If he believes in Jesus Christ he has the witness in himself; he knows it. He that believeth not God hath made him a liar. And this is the record that God hath given us eternal life and that life is in his Son. Our life is in Christ and Christ is in us. We have him as a present possession, because
he is formed in you the hope of glory; because you have the witness in yourself, you have got the life that shall never die; when he comes by and by the body shall perish, but when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. We shall stand by his side, we shall hear his voice in the resurrection, and spirit and body shall glorify God together.
[W. B. Barker, Memoirs of Elder J. N. Hall, 1907, pp. 189-224. This book was provided by Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. — jrd]
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