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Challenging Questions For a Challenger of Our Faith

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  • #31
    [Continued from the previous thread]


    Jesus shows in these texts total CONFIRMATION of every feature of God’s law, which is divided rightly into “love to God” (the first 4 commandments, which inescapably includes the Sabbath) and “love to your neighbor” (the last 6 commandments). He recommends the keeping of ALL that was taught by their religious leaders, just reminding them that their hypocritical do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do attitude should be put aside.

    * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): what was the tenor of Christ’s several discussions with the Jewish leaders regarding the Sabbath—was it IF the Sabbath should be kept, WHEN the Sabbath should be kept, or HOW the Sabbath should be kept in its due spirit?


    8th. Surprise: Dr. Cesar misses the meaning of the “salvation rest” in both Matt. 11:28 and Hebrews 3 and 4.

    The attempt to apply the Sabbath commandment to the “salvation rest” in both Matt. 11:28 and Hebrews 3 and 4 ends up defining the Sabbath as a ceremonial commandment that ended with the proclamation of that salvation freely granted to all on the cross. But if Jesus applied the “salvation rest” in Matt. 11:28 (“Come to Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”), when did that “salvation rest” begin to put the Sabbath aside? Wasn’t the Sabbath commandment ended on the cross? If so, how about those who already experienced the “salvation rest” before Jesus’ death, like the dedicated women who served Him faithfully and were so close to Him, but after His death, while preparing ointments for embalming His body “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56)? Their experience of salvation didn’t mean that the Sabbath became meaningless to them. . .

    Then, we have Paul’s discussion on the “rest” that Israel failed to obtain due to their sin, and his illustration of the Sabbath rest that God Himself set (Heb. 4:4). Many who don’t divide rightly the Word of Truth try to convince us that this indicates the prefigurative aspect of the Sabbath. But if Israel failed in reaching that rest, there were those within the nation who indeed experienced this “salvation rest”, like the heroes listed in the “Hall of Fame” of the faithful servants of God, as Hebrews 11 is often referred to. However, they didn’t neglect keeping the Sabbath because of that. David, for one, said: “I delight to do thy will, O my God. Yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8). David’s statement should have reflected the experience of the entire nation of Israel.

    Now, the nation failed miserably as we have already covered, but had they not departed from God, but rather experienced that spiritual rest fulfilling its mission to proclaim the true God, His law and His plan of salvation to the other nations, that would not mean the end of the Sabbath, would it?

    The fact is that the promise God made to Israel was not to have them freed from any commandment of His law, but, on the contrary to have that law written in their hearts and minds (Eze. 36:26, 27; Jer. 31:31-33) if they accepted the “spiritual rest” by accepting this “new covenant” God proposed them repeatedly. By the way that same promise was later made to those who belonged to Israel by faith (Heb. 8:6-10 and 10:16).

    * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): Where is it written that in the change from the Old to the New Covenant, when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of the New Covenant [New Testament] (Heb. 8:6-10), transferring the contents of the cold tables of stone to the hearts warmed by the divine grace (2 Cor. 3:2-7), He, a) leaves out the 4th commandment of the moral law; b) includes the 4th commandment, but changing the sanctity of the 7th to the 1st day of the week, or, c) includes the 4th commandment, but leaving it as a vague, voluntary and variable principle that can be reinterpreted as any day or time which is most convenient to the believer (or his employer)? Basic texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 11:19, 20 and 36:26, 27.


    9th. Surprise: Dr. Cesar doesn’t understand Paul’s discussion on the law in Galatians, Romans and other locations.

    A key-text to understand Paul’s discussion on the law in his epistles is Romans 9:30-32:

    “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone”.

    So, the problem was not in the law, which Paul himself called “holy”, “just”, “good”, “spiritual” and a delight to him, stating that he himself fulfilled it with his mind (Rom. 7:12, 14, 22, 25). The problem was in its wrong use—to take it as a source of righteousness when that was not its function. He clarifies in 1 Timothy 1:8: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” [other translations say “properly”-NIV].

    Many who don’t divide rightly the Word of Truth discriminate against the Sabbath commandment as the ONLY that puts people “under the law”. They never refer to being under such condition by the fulfillment of any of the other nine, why?! Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians, are quoted to “prove” that the Christian is not under the obligation to fulfill the law to obtain salvation, which is not a question of dispute in the face of the clear texts that show that salvation is by grace, not by obedience to any laws.

    The “under the law” language is a favorite of these people, but it would be interesting to analyze it according to the text of Galatians. We read: “This I say then. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. . . . But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: [Then comes a list of sins, or violations of God’s law]” (Gal. 5:16, 18-21).

    Clearly in this text to be “under the law” is contrasted with being led by the Spirit. But those who ARE NOT led by the Spirit--consequently are “under the law”--are not whoever keeps the law, but, on the contrary the ones who TRANSGRESS it, practicing all those sins listed in vs. 19-21!

    Now, among the many surprises found in this study maybe one of the most insightful is Martin Luther’s commentary on this expression so distorted and misunderstood by those who don’t divide rightly the Word of Truth. Let’s see how Luther discusses the phrase “under the law” in his classic “Preface to the Epistle of Paul to the Romans”:

    “And this is what we can do, he [Paul] states, because we are in the grace, and not in the law, which he himself interprets in the following sense: ‘Being without law’ it not the same as not having any law, and that we can do whatever pleases each one, but that ‘being under the law’ is when, without the grace, we deal with the works of the law. Then, certainly sin masters through the law, since nobody by nature is fond of the law, and this is a great sin. Grace, however, makes the law agreeable to us, so that there is no more sin, and the law is not against us, but in harmony with us. This is true freedom from sin and the law, of which he speaks at the end of this chapter. It’s a freedom to do only good, willing to live correctly without the forcefulness of the law. Because of that, such freedom is a spiritual freedom, that doesn’t annul the law, rather offers that which is required by the law: willingness and love, with which the law is appeased and is no more inciting and requiring”. – Underlining added.

    * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): Since it is impossible to alter the terms of a will after the death of the testator (Heb. 9:15-17) how could the death of the divine Testator allow the change in God’s law, be it from the Sabbath to Sunday or from the Sabbath to the new theological notion of the semi-antinomian dispensationalists’ Nodayism/Anydayism/Everydayism?

    [To be concluded in the next thread]

    Comentario


    • #32
      [Conclusion from the previous thread and of the study]

      10th. Surprise: Seventh-day Adventists need no sermon regarding salvation solely by faith, inasmuch as that is part of SDA official teachings, perfectly in harmony with Galatians and other Pauline writings.

      How about just reproducing topics 9, 10 and 18 from the official “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists”?

      9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (John 3:16; Isa. 53; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Col. 2:15; Phil. 2:6-11.)

      10. The Experience of Salvation: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)

      18. The Law of God: The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14; Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:7-10; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4; Ps. 19:7-14.) –- Underlining added.

      Or how about the reproduction of this text from a Sabbath School quarterly that is the text of study for over 15 million SDA’s all over the world?:

      “The Bible makes it clear that our walk with Christ doesn’t end on the day of conversion. On the contrary when people give themselves totally to Christ, they begin a whole new life, a whole new existence (Rom. 6:4). It’s not that a new Christian has to work to reach salvation, as in other faiths; instead, because he or she already has salvation, already stands perfect and accepted in God, the Christian begins to live a life that reveals and reflects that salvation. Sure, we are saved by faith, but what kind of faith? A faith that is expressed in a life that reveals a commitment to Jesus Christ.

      “Central to our new life in Christ is spiritual growth. As Christians, we can’t remain static: We are always in the process of change as we should better reflect the image of Jesus Christ. And crucial to the whole growth process is the Word of God, which shows us how and why we must ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’”. (2 Pet. 3:18, NIV). – Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, Lesson 12, “Growing Through the Word”, p. 137.

      * Now, I have a question for Y. (and for Dr. Cesar in case she can reach him): Could you please point to me in what topics 9, 10 and 18 of the SDA’s official statement of faith, besides the quotation from the Sabbath School Quarterly conflict with the message of Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, or any other Bible passage that deals with the means of salvation?
      __________

      Note: If you have access to the Internet please check our discussion with ex-SDA pastor Dale Ratzlaff and his associates in the following address:

      Comentario


      • #33
        Immortality of the Soul—The “New Covenant Christians” Finally Show Their COLORS on the Subject
        .
        I was wondering if the Ratzlaff theology led him and his followers to get the “complete package” of false doctrines of Christendom regarding not only the “abolished/fulfilled/changed” law of God (turned into a more “user friendly” sort of “Rule of Nine Commandments and One Suggestion”) but also the condition of the dead, and, bingo, the September/October 2007 issue of Proclamation! Magazine resolves my doubt.
        .
        The doctrine of pagan origin of the immortality of the soul, that Protestant theologian Oscar Cullmann says to be against both Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Bible, which “excludes all the Greek dualism of body and soul” (Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?, pp. 29, 30) is also part of the deplorable package of false teachings that they adopted as they left Seventh-day Adventism, and proclaim it to poor disgruntled souls of mostly problematic Adventists, by what we can read in their “testimonies”. To confirm what I mean by my last statement, just see a segment of one of these testimonies of an ex-Adventist lady who now boasts having been set free to a real understanding of the gospel, as a member of an Evangelical church:
        .
        “I had been raising my daughter in a very non-Adventist way; we ate meat, watched whatever we wanted on TV during Sabbath hours, grocery shopped Saturday mornings, wore jewelry, and so on. I was determined my daughter would not grow up questioning God’s love and acceptance, as I had, feeling as if she could never measure up. I also determined she would understand His unconditional love, His mercy, and His grace so following Him would not seem to be an impossible burden. Therefore, even though I returned to the Adventist Church, I did not change anything else about the way we lived. Surprisingly, even withy my background, I felt no guilt and knew that God loved and accepted me unconditionally.”
        .

        Later on, she speaks of her divorce (not giving details of what caused it. . .) and married a Baptist gentleman who, according to her report, she initially attempted to convert to Adventism, but, “I didn’t know my Bible nearly as well as he did and never won any debates”, she admits.
        .
        So, we have a supposed faithful Seventh-day Adventist that wasn’t well versed in the Bible and broke purposefully basic rules of the Church’s teachings, making a point of transmitting to her child those ‘liberalizing’ notions to prove that God accepts us unconditionally. Of course He does, for those who sincerely look for justification, but would He later on leave people practicing sin? No way, for the prophecy about Jesus was that He would “save his people from their sins”, and not WITH their sins (Matt. 1:21). Now, that lady’s concept of Christian education, is veeeeery strange, indeed!
        .
        Now, why did she select Sabbath breaking to prove that point? Couldn’t she choose to teach the poor little girl lying, stealing, blaspheming, coveting as well? If not, why not?!
        .
        Besides, after she became a Baptist, under the influence of the new husband, she doesn’t tell what happens, for according to the Baptist official confessional document, to go shopping and engage in one’s interests on the “Lord’s day” is a serious misdeed . . . But we will discuss that later on. Are she and the husband aware of that fact?
        .
        Back to the immortality of the soul issue, the internal front cover of the magazine brings a brief message by editor-amateur theologian Colleen Tinker where she makes clear her rejection of our position on the condition of the dead. Later on we see more of that in other articles, like the ridiculous “Understanding Adventist Terms”, full of distortions of our beliefs and sentiments, which curiously ends with a text that I would promptly quote to their authors, “theologian” Colleen Tinker and Jeremy Graham: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mat. 12:36, 37). That applies specifically to those who distort meanings, ideas and convictions of others due to a prejudiced attitude of sheer rejection of whoever teaches “inconvenient truths”, like this thing of having to keep the Sabbath and being taught to abstain from certain foods and beverages.
        .
        But regarding the holistic view, what these people never mention is that the rejection of the traditional and popular concept of immortality of the soul is not only characteristic of Seventh-day Adventism. It has been more and more expressed by great Bible students and theologians, among whom we could mention the more recent Oscar Cullmann, John Stott, Clark Pinnock, Emil Brunner, Paul Althaus, Karl Barth, Helmut Thielecke, as well as many more in the past, men of the greatest authority and reputation as scholars like the Bible translators Tyndale, Wycliff, Moffat, Weymouth and many more.
        .
        Even Martin Luther manifested himself against the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, considering it a junk doctrine from Romanism to be thrown out. Even though he was not always consistent in his ideas, the fact is that even now the Brazilian Lutherans reject the concept of immortality of the soul. I have recently corresponded with a Lutheran pastor of the IECLB (Portuguese language acronym for Brazilian Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession), after I read an article in their website stressing the negation of the immortality of the soul idea. I sent him some of the material we have produced in our ministry, for which he much thanked me, calling it “precious studies”.
        .
        Speaking of “precious studies”, how about publicizing some of them for the benefit of our readers? That is what I will do some frames below.
        .
        We also have some thought-provoking questionnaires, which we submit to Mrs. Colleen et alii in the Proclamation! Magazine staff, not to the exclusion of their “guru”, Ratzlaff, of course. . . .
        .
        But I know they are not in the habit of answering our questions, even though on page 3, Mr. Ratzlaff invites people to write to him with Bible questions, informing a regular postal address for that end. Who knows that works better?! Yes, I will do that—I will submit to him, through regular mail, the many questions I addressed him (and editor Colleen Tinker) through the Internet, which were never answered. Let’s see if this way I am more successful. I will keep you posted about possible responses (or none of that, again. . .).
        Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:44 PM.

        Comentario


        • #34
          10 TOPICS THAT DEMONSTRATE THE SUPERIORITY OF THE HOLISTIC VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE OVER THE DUALISTIC VIEW
          .
          The dualistic view of the human nature and destiny (belief in the immortality of the soul) cannot be considered superior in any way to the holistic understanding of these themes. We would challenge the advocates of that position to present what superior aspects they could find in their understanding of the question in comparison with the enumeration that we present below of items in which one can perceive the indisputable superiority of the holistic view over the understanding of immortality of the soul.
          .
          1.) Much more Christ-centered. The holistic understanding stresses that only in Christ we have hope of obtaining immortality, at the resurrection of the just ones, not being something we already possess inherently in the form of an immortal soul. “He who has the Son has the life”(cf. John 5:28, 29; 1 John 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

          2.) Greater foundation on the basic doctrine of righteousness by faith. There is only one who is good, Jesus said (see Mat. 19:17). In an absolute sense only God is just, while we are infinitely far from possessing justice of our own. The holistic vision highlights that as we have no justice in ourselves by which to appear before the Supreme Judge to obtain approval (see Isaiah 64:6), we also don’t have inherently the gift of immortality, which only belongs to God (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16) and is granted to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:10).

          3.) Greater emphasis and valuation of the theme of Christ’s advent. For those who believe in the immortality of the soul the theme of Christ’s second coming doesn’t receive the same importance, for, in practical terms, such event becomes irrelevant, since the eternal inheritance occurs at death. This explains the emphasis on the second advent and the conclusion of the evangelization work among Seventh-day Adventists by every means possible (radio, TV, literature, personal witnessing, public lectures, health and social assistance). The fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 is the great preoccupation and motivation of the SDA Church, which has the largest number of penetrated lands and proportionally the one of the largest number of missionaries among all those who are engaged in the task of world evangelization.

          4.) Greater consistency with the theme of each one’s judgment. Those who believe in the immortality of the soul turn the theme of the final judgment into a non-sense thing. Why and what for will a final judgment be set, since people at their death go directly to their final destination—saved ones to “the glory”, lost ones to a site of tortures or, at least, a place not agreeable at all, where they will be expecting a punishment already defined?

          5.) No identification with pagan beliefs. The identification of all pagan peoples with dualistic concepts demonstrates the superiority of the holistic view. Nobody is capable of indicating at least one pagan people that has renounced to belief in souls and spirits of people (or even of animals and things such as lakes, rivers, forests, volcanoes) to believe in the final resurrection as the only means to return to existence after death, a point even highlighted in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, one of the foundations of the dualistic view (cf. Luke 16:31).

          6.) Better defense against dangerous doctrines. The holistic view is the best protection and antidote against subtle errors that exist or has come to existence in these last times, such as spiritualism, Catholic doctrines as the purgatory and intercession of the saints, Mormonism, New Age, Eastern religions, etc., especially in the face of Christ’s and Paul’s warnings regarding the growing deceits of the final times (Matthew 24:24; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

          7.) Higher estimation of the divine love and justice. The vision of God’s justice and love is harmed by the belief in an eternally burning hell, with punishments totally out of proportion with the impenitent ones’ guilt. According to the holistic view, the pay will be proportional to the guilt and it will be liquidated, not made eternal (Matthew 5:26 and 18:30).

          8.) Greater consistency with the meaning of basic Bible terms. Even though in the Bible language there are many mentions to “soul” and “spirit”, the Scriptures don’t authorize any concept of either an immortal “soul” or “spirit”. Besides informing us that only God is possessor of immortality, the Bible states that the soul can die (Ezekiel 18:4; James 5:20), not the opposite of it.

          9.) Greater valuation of bodily health. It is well known that the Christians who maintain the dualistic understanding of human nature conceptualize the present life dualistically. They tend to consider the cultivation of the soul as more important than the care of the body. The physical well being of the body is often intentionally ignored, or even suppressed. That explains the holistic preoccupation of Seventh-day Adventists with health and the emphasis on the care of the body as “temple of the Holy Spirit”, to be wholly consecrated to the Lord (1 Corinthians 3: 16, 17).

          10.) A more mature and real picture of the world to come. The popular notion of an eternal paradise, where glorified souls will spend eternity wearing white robes, playing harps, sailing on clouds and drinking the nectar of gods is alien to the Scriptures. The Bible speaks of the resurrected redeemed ones dwelling on this planet, that has been purified and transformed, turned into a perfect world at the second coming of the Lord (2 Peter 3:11-13; Romans 8:19-25; Revelation 21:1). The “new heavens and new Earth” (Isaiah 65:17) are not a remote and inconsequent spiritual retreat in some corner of the Universe. Rather, they are the present heavens and Earth renewed back to its original perfection.
          Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 11-Mar-2017, 08:45 PM.

          Comentario


          • #35
            10 QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL


            1st. – Why does Jesus say to His followers that He would go to “prepare a place for you”, but the emphasis on the occupation of said abodes is not when they died and their souls went to heaven to occupy them, but the moment of their reunion with Him when He returns (John 14:1-3)?

            Note: The popular opinion is that at death the deceased’s souls head to heaven, when they will meet Christ and all the others who went there before. However, it seems strange that Jesus says nothing regarding these abodes being available before the time of His return, implying that only then He will take His ones with Him to occupy said abodes.

            2nd. – Why, when comforting the sisters of Lazarus, besides having used the sleep metaphor before—“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep . . .”—He did not tell them that the deceased was in the heavenly glory, but pointed to them the resurrection hope (John 11:17-27)?

            Note: Among the religious people it is so common to comfort the bereaved ones telling them how the deceased is well, happily enjoying the bliss of a better world far from the suffering and pain of this life. However, that is not the picture in the dialogue during Lazarus’ death, both on the part of Christ and that of his bereaved sisters. The theme of their conversation is not the supposed heavenly destination of the faithful follower of Christ, but the FUTURE resurrection of the dead ones.

            3rd. – When Christ resurrected Lazarus, after His friend had been dead for four days, did Hebring him from heaven, hell or purgatory? If it was from heaven, then He did a bad thing to him for He brought him back to this Earth’s suffering. If it was from hell (improbable, for he was a follower of the Master), He granted him a second salvation opportunity, which is unbiblical.

            Note: The logic of this question is very clear: Lazarus rose from the tomb and brought no information about the afterlife. If he had something to tell, undoubtedly John evangelist would have the greatest interest and would be pleased to reproduce his words and testimony in his gospel.

            4th. – Why both Christ and Paul stress that the dead ones will rise as they hear the voice of the archangel and the divine trumpet, being “awakened” from death’s sleep (Matthew 24:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:16), when their souls supposedly come from heaven, hell, purgatory, well awakened, in order to reincorporate?

            Note: The sleep metaphor is constant both in the Old and New Testament, representing death. In the face of the clear texts that deal with the unconsciousness of the dead ones (who “don’t praise the Lord”—Psalm 115:17) it can be noticed why such metaphor is used, as in Psalm 13:3—“sleep in death”; in Daniel 12:2, many “who sleep in the dust of the earth”; John 11:11, “Lazarus has fallen asleep”; 1 Thes. 4:13, “those who fall asleep”; 1 Cor. 15:18, “those who have fallen asleep in Christ. . .”: it’s because during death a condition of UNCONSCIOUSNESS prevails for those who died. Some more clear texts about that are: Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Isaiah 38:18,19; 1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 11:43; Job 14:10-12; Jeremiah 51:39.

            5th. – Why does Paul, as he discusses specifically and in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15 how the final encounter of all saved ones with the Savior will be, nowhere describes souls coming from heaven, or from wherever, to reincorporate?

            Note: As at the beginning of human’s history there is no “immortal soul” introduced in the original man, nothing is also said on souls coming from heaven, hell or purgatory to reincorporate when those who are gone appear during the resurrection.

            6th – Paul also says to the Thessalonians that they should not regret for their dear ones who are “asleep”, concluding with the recommendation: “Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (vs. 18). He never says that they already enjoyed the heavenly bliss, but that were “asleep” and would be awakened. Why does the encouragement stem from the promised resurrection, not from the souls of their dear ones being already in heaven?

            Note: This question is also of indisputable clarity. The consolation would proceed from the resurrection hope, not from the fact that those who “slept” would be already enjoying the heavenly glories.

            7th. – Paul says clearly that without the resurrection of the dead—confirmed and guaranteed by that of Christ Himself—“those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost” (1 Cor. 15:16-18). Why would they be lost, since they should rather be guaranteed with their souls in heaven?

            Note: The dominant theme of the chapter is the resurrection of the dead—“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either” (1 Cor. 15:16)—thus the logic of the question is inescapable. In 1 Thessalonians 4:14 it is said that Christ will bring with Him “those who have fallen asleep”, but the entire tenor of the passage and the global Bible teaching is that He will bring them, not from heaven, but from their graves (see John 5:28, 29; Daniel 12:2).

            8th. – Later on in the same chapter, Paul confirms what he had said in vs. 16 a 18, stressing that he risked to die fighting beasts in Ephesus, implying that if he died he would also having be lost (vs. 32). In his commentary, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” isn’t he clearly indicating that without the resurrection there is no hope of eternal life?

            Note: On the light of the previous question, this reveals an irrefutable evidence that Paul didn’t think of an “immortal soul” going to heaven when he died, for he didn’t harbor such a hope. His expectation is expressed in 2 Tim. 4:6-8 where he speaks that “on that day” he expected to receive his eternal reward. For Paul, were not for the resurrection, it wouldn’t even be worthwhile to live, since death would be the end of everything. It's interesting to see what vs. 30 and 31 say: “As for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day. . .” The idea of death/resurrection without anything in-between is very clear.

            [To be concluded in the next frame]
            Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 02-Nov-2007, 12:03 PM.

            Comentario


            • #36
              [Conclusion of previous frame]

              9th. – Why does Job speak of his hope of seeing his Redeemer “in my flesh”, when He finally “will stand upon the Earth”, not that he would see Him when his soul went to heaven (Job 19:25-27)?

              Note: In chapter 14 patriarch Job applies a mortal blow on the belief in the immortality of the soul, comparing death with water from the sea that disappears and a riverbed that dries up. Now he stressed that he expected to see his Redeemer only when He stood upon the Earth (the 2nd advent of Christ), and when he had his body back, covered with his skin, not when his soul went to heaven.

              10th. – Why do the words “soul” and “spirit” appear so many times in the Bible, in different meanings and contexts, but are never accompanied by the adjectives “immortal”, “eternal”, “perpetual”, besides the fact that instead of declaring that the soul will never die, what we read is about death of the soul, both in the Old and New Testaments (Eze. 18:4 and Jas. 5:20)?

              Note: An embarrassing fact to the dualist Christians is that no pagan people, either of the present or the past, is known as having renounced to their belief in souls and spirits (even attributing these to such things as volcanoes, rivers, forests, and animals) to believe that “the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28, 29). The belief in the final resurrection of all dead ones is a characteristic of genuine Christianity, which doesn’t accept notions of clear pagan origin. It is the result of the first lie uttered on this planet: “You will not die” (Gen. 3:4).



              The questionnaire below goes to the foundation of the whole matter—the Bible report on God’s creation of man. Is there any hints of an “immortal soul” tucked inside man like a “friendly ghost” who never dies ? Even though not answered, the questions themselves, and their “Notes” are illuminating.


              10 SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE BIBLE TEACHING ON MAN’S NATURE


              1 – Why didn’t Moses, in his detailed report of man’s creation, leave any hint of an “immortal soul” as an essential component of human’s life, exclusive of his existence at Creation?

              Note.: That would be the right moment to deal with the subject, since Moses offers so many details of the divine acts in the Creation work in general, and of man’s formation, in particular.

              2 – Why does Moses employ the same language (exact words) for “living soul”, both regarding man and the animals (compare Gen.2:7 with 1:20 and Lev. 11:46)?

              Note.: Translators of some Bible versions translated the Hebrew words nephesh hayyah as “living creature” when referring to the animals, however, there isn’t the least difference. It is exactly the language Moses used to deal with “living soul” referring to man.

              3 – Why doesn’t Moses make a difference between man’s breath of life and that of the animals, treating them on the same basis, even utilizing the same words (Gen. 2:7; 1:30, 6:17)?

              Note.: The breath of life cannot represent something immaterial, immortal, that survives matter because that is not the Bible definition for “soul”, and never such a word comes modified by the adjectives “immortal” or “eternal” throughout the Bible.

              4 – How can one prove that the fact that God blew particularly the life breath into man turns it into an “immortal soul”, when there isn’t the least information about that by the author, which would be of very much importance to define human nature?

              Note.: The detail of a “separate”, “private” creation of man, compared to that of the animals, is a very weak “evidence” in favor of the dualistic view because the detailing of man’s creation involves the main character of God’s work, besides that of the woman. The animals are mere co-stars in the scenery, which pictures the divine preoccupation with the being created in His image and likeness, something that doesn’t characterize the animals.

              5 – How can one prove that the fact that God blew the breath of life particularly in man makes that an “immortal soul”, when there is clear information, both in the creation report and millennia later, in the words of wise man Solomon, that the same breath of life is attributed to the animals (see Ecl. 3:19-21)?

              Note.: Solomon engages himself in a profound reflection on the human life and shows that “everything is vanity”, since not even in death man takes an advantage over the animals. If he believed in the immortality of the soul, he would not have employed such language to avoid ambiguity and to not convey materialistic notions. But even his description of man in death, with the removal of the breath of life, is similar to the way the psalmist refers to the death of the animals (compare Ecl. 13:7 with Psalm 104:25-29).
              6 – Why would man need an immortal soul, since he was not planned to die, according to the original project of God’s creation, rather would live eternally as a physical being, in a physical paradise (as would also be the case of the animals, by the way. . .)?

              Note.: Sin is an intruder in this planet, which brought physical and spiritual death to man. But the divine “contingency plan” is the final resurrection, a measure taken AFTER sin, as part of His restoring plan. Resurrection integrates the serpent’s “head crush” in view of the conflict between good and evil (Gen. 3:15). Victory on death occurs due to the resurrection of the dead, not to the fact that the individual overcomes it for possessing a spiritual element that prevails over death (see 1 Cor. 15:52-55).

              7 – When exactly that “immortal soul” is introduced into the living being? Is it when the egg is fertilized? Is it when the baby leaves the mother’s womb and breathes by the first time, since the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is established?

              Note.: The difficulty in establishing the beginning of the possession of that “immortal soul” is immense, especially when the dualists link directly “breath of life/immortal soul”. For the fetus DOESN’T BREATHE in the uterus, being immersed in fluids until the mother brings it out in birth.

              8 – Since Moses is considered by many scholars and by the Jewish tradition as the author of the very ancient book of Job, doesn’t it seem strange that in such book he doesn’t leave the least clue of a dualistic notion, instead he pictures the patriarch expressing a holistic view, not a dualistic one (see following note)?

              Note.: The book of Job offers a mortal blow on the dualistic notion. The patriarch likens death to a river that gets dry and a lake that has its waters drained, and when he refers directly to being with God, he speaks of the time when the Redeemer “will stand upon the Earth”, without leaving the least idea of a soul going to encounter Him (see 14:7-14 and 19:25-27).

              [To be concluded in the next frame]
              Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 31-Oct-2007, 09:19 PM.

              Comentario


              • #37
                [Continued from previous frame]

                9Where exactly is that “immortal soul” located? Since the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is established, and Job declares at a certain point “as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils” (Job 27:3), is each one’s nose the location of that “immortal soul”?

                Note.: If the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is valid, this soul really leaves and gets back into the system, at least in large measure, all the time, leaving as “contaminated” (carbonic gas) and entering new breath of another substance (oxygen to “purify” the blood). That seems a very strange thing to be something fluidic that has conscience, thus remaining forever after death.

                10 – Isn’t it a tremendous coincidence that all pagan peoples always had as their ideological characteristic the belief in the immortality of the soul, even attributing souls and spirits to animals or even inanimate things, such as forests, lakes, volcanoes?

                Note.: There are no news of any pagan people, from this time or the past, that renounced to their belief in “souls” and “spirits”, to adopt the belief that “a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29).



                Still on the subject of immortality of the soul, let’s see some of the texts usually used by the advocates of that false doctrine, but that backfire, since they prove exactly the opposite of what they imagine them to mean:


                Bible Texts That “Backfire”

                Some Bible texts used to prove certain opinions often mean exactly the opposite of what is taught using them


                * Matthew 22:32: “'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."

                Luke presents the same episode of Jesus’ dialogue with the Sadducees in a more complete fashion. He ends it saying: “But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive". Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Luke 20:37-40).

                The emphasis is not on immortality of the soul, but on RESSURRECTION! The words are very clear —“that the dead rise. . .” (vs. 37). Now, the advocates of the immortality of the soul theory would be absolutely right if Jesus had said: “And that the dead ones go to heaven with their souls. . .”. But that was not what He said!

                Moreover, the discussion itself begins like that: “Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection. . .” (vs. 27). In the sequence of the Sadducees talk, the same emphasis can be seen: “Now then, at the resurrection whose wife [of the seven dead brothers] will she be. . .?" (vs. 33).

                And the words of Christ at certain point are noteworthy: “. . . but those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead. . .” (vs. 35).

                It’s very much clear that along the entire discussion there isn’t the least hint for any notion of immortality of the soul. The Sadducees didn’t ask: “And when these seven brothers were passing away and their immortal souls get into heaven. . .” One can realize that the focus lies totally on the resurrection of the dead?

                And a relevant detail should be noticed, that has to do with the global understanding of the discussion carried out: Jesus refers to those who will be worthy of “taking part in that age [the end of the centuries] AND IN THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD”.

                This passage, then, considered globally, instead of favoring the notion of immortality of the soul is exactly a confirmation of the life eternal expectation, the coming age, occurring through the resurrection of the dead! In this context Christ concludes the dialogue referring to Moses, as He says: “even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'”, then He adds, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive".

                And why for Him all are alive? For having an “immortal soul”, or for resurrecting from the dead? What is the context? What is the emphasis? What is the logical meaning, reading the entire record of the debates and their wrap up?

                Conclusion: The episode of Christ with the Sadducees respecting the resurrection of the seven brothers and the woman who supposedly becomes widow of one after another, far from proving the immortality of the soul idea, focuses on the resurrection of the dead, associated with reaching the “coming age”. That was so clear that the Sadducees, who intended to trap Jesus in a contradiction, ended up complimenting Him (“Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions”). It’s interesting that it was not the first time that this came to pass—those who wanted to create a pretext to catch Jesus in error end up complimenting Him (see Mark 12:34).

                Thus, to resort to Christ’s dialogue with the Jewish leader with the expression, “He [God] is not God of the dead, but of the living” to prove the immortality of the soul is, in reality, an interpretative “shot” that backfires.


                * Philippians 1:23: “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far”.
                * 2 Corinthians 5: 6, 8: “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. . . . We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”.

                The Greek word soma (body), in its original meaning, denotes the human being as a whole, a formed organism, a unity, the human being as a person in its entirety. The biblical view is that—holistic, the complete man, body, soul, spirit, perfectly integrated and operating jointly, harmonically. That is how Solomon speaks of the intimate psychosomatic relationship: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”.—Proverbs 17:22.

                In I Thessalonians 5:23, when the apostle Paul speaks about his desire that “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”, he is expressing himself contrarily to the thought that the soul, the body and the spirit are entities that act interdependently among them. It is noteworthy that the Apostle stress the necessity of the spiritual preparedness for the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”, not for the moment of death, when the person were “to depart and be with Christ” (Phi. 1:23), implying the dualistic view. It’s also important to examine vs. 6 and 10 of Philippians 1 (context to vs. 23) where the emphasis is given to the spiritual preparation for the “day of Christ”, besides Philippians 3:20, 21, where Paul highlights once more his expectation regarding the “citizenship in heaven” he would inherit when in His return Christ “bring(s) everything under His control”.

                [To be continued in the next frame]

                Comentario


                • #38
                  [Continued from the previous frame]

                  With that, the clear emphasis is on the resurrection, at the Second Advent of Christ, not on when the soul goes to heaven, immediately after death.

                  There isn’t in the Bible any conception of “souls” or “spirits” acting independently in a conscious manner, except if one takes Bible texts in isolation while its context is ignored, or forcing the meaning according to baseless presuppositions, as saying that when Jesus declared, “for I have not yet returned to the Father” in John 20:17 He meant—“my ‘soul’ went up; now I will go in a complete fashion, body and soul . . .” That would be an absurd conclusion, to say the least. After all, would the divine Word also have received a human “immortal soul” at His Incarnation? The prophecy dealing with Him just says: “a body you prepared for me” (Heb. 10:5); it says nothing about “soul”.

                  In the time before Christianity such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle, promoted the notion that the body was inherently bad, and the mind was good. When Christ came to this world covered with a human body, He transmitted to the body a new dignity. Even before Christ we see how the Hebrew had important laws highlighting due attention to the physical and mental health. Modern science has confirmed the validity of the food laws of the Israelite legislation, for our body is, as the apostle Paul remarks, “the temple of the Holy Ghost”.

                  The Greek philosophy and that of other pagan peoples didn’t value the body. That explains the appearance of so many forms of mystical religions and such attitudes as body flagellations and other forms of its despising, in favor of valuing and perfecting the “soul” or “spirit”.

                  It is important for a good understanding, to establish a relationship between these two texts—Philippians 1:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:8). After all, it is the same Bible author, dealing with exactly the same theme—the reunion with the Lord, which will occur, not immediately after death and the departing of an “immortal soul” to heaven, but with this body “clothed with our heavenly dwelling”. Linking them together we would have:

                  “Yes, we are full of confidence and we prefer to leave the mansion of this body, i.e, to depart and be living with the Lord, in no way to be found ‘naked’, but put on our heavenly abode, for that is much better”.

                  Moreover, the comparison between the clause of vs. 4, is inevitable--“so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life”--with the text corresponding language of 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54: “For the perishable must clothe itself with the incorruptible, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory'” (see Isaiah 25:8 e 9).

                  On the other hand, when he says that he didn’t want to be found naked and, at the same time, wished to be with the Lord, he expresses his desire of seeing the Lord’s return without going through death, to leave the body and go directly to be with the Lord. It’s so much so that the Apostle himself declared in I Thessalonians 4:14-17 that when the Lord come, the dead in Christ will be resurrected first, than, he, jointly with the other who are alive, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet their Lord in the air. So, he also believed that, in the company of those who were alive at that time, he wouldn’t precede the ones who are asleep.

                  It is very important to coordinate the various texts where the author deals with the same theme to see what is the focus of his though—his emphasis. And clearly there is no foundation in the thesis that Paul’s expectation was to depart immediately after death as an “immortal soul”, a conclusion one can only reach if isolating a text from is natural meaning, as seen by parallel ones.

                  When due credit is given to the belief in the immortality of the soul, understanding that a man receives his reward for salvation or for perdition immediately after death, the resurrection becomes somewhat inefficacious, not required to occur. And, as it is shown in I Corinthians 15:13 e 14, were it not for the resurrection of the dead, our preaching is vain, as well as our faith becomes the same. The first devil’s lie (“You will not surely die”.—Gen. 3:4) serves to these malefic purposes—diminish the importance of the belief in the final resurrection, the final judgment (for in death each one already goes to his/her destination, making the
                  judgment dispensable.

                  It’s noteworthy that the Pauline words stress that the lack of resurrection would turn the preaching of the gospel something vain. This is highly significant, for those who believe in the immortality of the soul can do without the resurrection, for if the souls of the departed ones are already in the “heavenly bliss” enjoying their reward, the preaching to these wouldn’t certainly be vain, for, after all, aren’t they guaranteed in heaven, independently of occurring a future resurrection or not? Thus, resurrection is something that would interest those up there the least.

                  In addition to all that, it’s interesting to check the implications of vs. 16-18 that dualists don’t know how to interpret duly: were not for the resurrection of the death, confirmed and guaranteed by that of Christ Himself, “those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost”. It is very obvious—without the resurrection, not only the preaching of the gospel would be in vain, but those who heard such preaching and accepted it would be lost!—without any hope of inheriting life eternal! They would simply remain in the dust, for ever. . . And such reasoning acquires special strength in vs. 31 and 32: “I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’”.

                  Thus, the Pauline rationale is evident: if he even risked his life in Ephesus, what good that had been if he died and no resurrection occurred? Then, without any hope of a resurrection the best thing to do is to profit the most possible from this life materialistically: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”. After all, he also commented: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (vs. 19).

                  On the other hand, returning to the text of 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, the apostle Paul didn’t want to be found naked, without a mortal body, neither with the immortal body, the heavenly one—i.e, to go through death— but to be “clothed”. Paul’s illustration of putting on the heavenly house, undressing this earthly tabernacle under which he moaned, not willing, then, to be found naked, is a powerful weapon against the distortions of his writings by some who wish to force the Apostle of the gentiles to believe in pagan notions that surrounded the Christian world at his time and the he would never accept. On the contrary, he combated vigorously.

                  [To be concluded in the next frame]

                  Comentario


                  • #39
                    [Conclusion of previous frame]

                    The language of the apostle Paul is clear regarding to “put on” the heavenly house, in contrast with abandoning the earthly tabernacle, and his expression of intention to not be found “naked”. Why, what the “put on” and “not being naked” has to do with the idea of a soul leaving a dead body? The form of language is exactly the OPPOSITE of such a notion. It indicates, actually, that Paul’s hope was to go to the Lord in body, at the final resurrection or rapture (in case he were alive at Christ’s return), and not in spirit (or soul).

                    Conclusion: Paul’s language regarding to “put on” the heavenly house, in contrast with abandoning the earthly tabernacle, and his expression of intention to not be found “naked” confirms that he expected to inherit life eternal, not immediately after his death as his soul went to heaven, but when he were to receive the what was, in his words, in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).

                    Thus, the notions of “put on” and “not being naked”, far from confirming the idea of the soul leaving the body at death, imply the OPPOSITE: the Apostle’s expectation to meet the Lord at the final resurrection or rapture of the living ones, in case he were in such a condition when the Advent occurred. Only then he would “to depart and be with Christ”.

                    Thus, to utilize 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 to justify the dualistic position is a clear interpretative “shot” that backfires.
                    _______

                    [Note: The discussion of this topic on 2 Cor. 5:1-8 is made up with material from the study "Analysis of 2 Corinthians 5:8 and Its Immediate Context", authored by Pastor Théo Mario L. Rios, and our own comments. Used with permission].


                    * Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.

                    Some people think that the language of that text is sufficiently clear as a proof that Jesus taught that the soul doesn’t die, being an immortal part of man. But the text actually informs us about the possibility that the soul “perish” as it could be thrown into the gehenna!

                    The dualists try to find support in that text for the concept that the soul is an immaterial substance, maintained in safety after surviving the death of the body. However, the reference to God’s power of destroying the soul [psyche] and the body in hell denies the notion of an immortal, immaterial soul. How can a soul be immortal if God destroys it with the body, in the case of the impenitent ones? If that text is read on the light of the expanded meaning that Christ attributes to the soul, the intent of His statement will be: “don’t fear those who can bring your earthly existence (body-soma) to an end, but cannot eliminate your potential to obtain life eternal; rather fear the God who is able to destroy your integral being eternally”.

                    As a certain Evangelical author says, “Our Lord’s warning is clear. Man’s power to kill ends with the body and the horizon of the Present Age. Death inflicted by man is not final, for God will call the dead ones from the dust of the earth and will grant immortality to those who are righteous. God’s ability to kill and destroy has no limits. It reaches more deeply than the physical and goes beyond the present. God can kill the body and the soul, both now and in the hereafter”.

                    It’s also noteworthy that Luke repeats Christ’s statement omitting the reference to soul: “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” (Luke 12:4, 5). Luke omits the word “soul-psyche”, referring, instead, to the integral person that God can destroy in hell. It’s possible that the omission of the term “soul-psyche” were intentional to avoid a misunderstanding in the mind of the gentile readers, used to think in the soul as an independent and immortal component that survived death. To make clear that nothing survives the divine destruction of a person, Luke avoids to employ the term “soul-psyche” which could be confusing to his gentile readers.

                    Such interpretation is confirmed in Luke 9:25, where the term “soul-psyche” is omitted: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”. Luke presumably used the pronoun “he” instead of “soul-psyche”, as used in Mark 8:36, because he addresses Gentile readers and wished to avoid ambiguity, since they maintained dualistic concepts.

                    When we have in mind the ample meaning that Christ gives to the term “soul”, then the intent of His statement becomes very much clear. To kill the body means to take away the present life from upon the Earth. But that doesn’t kill the soul, i.e., the potential eternal life received by those who accepted the provision of salvation in Christ. To remove the present life means to put a person to sleep, but this person is not finally destroyed until the second death, which will occur in the gehenna, or lake of fire, called the “second death” (Rev. 20:14 and 21:8).

                    The preservation of the soul in Jesus Christ’s teaching is not an automatic process in the possession of the soul itself, but a gift from God received by those who are willing to sacrifice their soul (present life) for Him. This expanded meaning of soul is closely related with the character or personality of a believer. People of malignant powers could kill the body, the physical life, but not destroy the soul, the character or personality of a believer, as well as his inner convictions. God committed Himself to preserve the individuality, personality and character of each believer. At the occasion of his glorious coming in the clouds of heaven, Christ will resurrect those who died in Him, restoring the soul, that is, their distinctive character and personality.

                    Conclusion: The text under analysis, instead of proving the immortality of the soul doctrine, shows that God can eliminate this “soul” making it to perish in the gehenna, an original term translated as “hell”. The word “perish” in this text is the same that Peter used to speak both of those who died in the Flood, and those who will perish in the coming judgment (see 2 Pet. 3:6-10).

                    If he intended to illustrate the final punishment of the sinners with what happened with the sinners who were massively killed in the flood, its becomes clear that the illustration limits itself to the factor of the sudden death of all together, for those who died on that occasion didn’t remain in liquid tortures since then.

                    Thus, Matthew 10:28, utilized to defend the immortality of the soul doctrine, far from proving that doctrine, actually denies it and represents an interpretative “shot” that backfires.
                    _______

                    [Note: A good deal of what is exposed above was condensed from the book Immortality or Resurrection?, by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi].
                    Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 02-Nov-2007, 12:04 PM.

                    Comentario


                    • #40
                      More Discussions on the Law Issue:

                      A Look Back Confirms Ratzlaff’s Poor Articulation of the Covenants Theme (Again)

                      In the longest article of the 2007 September/October issue of Proclamation! Magazine, under the title “Old Covenant Law—A look back and a look away”, Mr. Ratzlaff just confirms his poor articulation of the law theme as we have already covered both in the articles “The False Premise of Dale Ratzlaff’s Theological Stand”, “Mr. Ratzlaff’s Poor Articulation of the Theme of God’s Law” and “Mr. Ratzlaff’s Disappointing Assessment of ‘THE LAW WRITTEN ON THE HEART’ Theme”, besides many other references to the false interpretations of the whole semi-antinomian/semi-dispensationalist theology that he embraced along pags. 1 and 2 of the topic, “Some Challenging Questions to a Challenger of Our Faith” of different forums (now in 5 forums in English, 2 in Spanish, with indication of link in one more in English. All the material is also promoted among Portuguese-speaking people who can read Spanish easily).

                      Basically what we have is the same get-rid-of-the-Sabbath-and-dietary-rules principles in exchange for a vague “law of Christ”, that has no “specifics” duly enumerated for a Christian to follow. It’s all based on a supposed guidance of the Spirit that somehow substitutes the Ten Commandments, which proved an inadequate rule of Christian conduct, for being “incomplete.” Now, it is paradoxical that despite this supposed inadequacy of the 10 Commandments as a rule for the Christian life, NINE out of TEN of these commandments are validated in the New Testament, inadequate and incomplete as this rule is said to be. Speak of contradiction. . .

                      But what many readers of Ratzlaff’s materials ignore is that this theology of his is in the wrong way relation to the classical, historical and official teachings of the most representative and authoritative Protestant/Evangelical confessional documents and the interpretations of prominent authors in that milieu, both of the present and the past. So much so that even now there is a campaign under way in the USA, already reaching other countries, to promote a “10 Commandments Day” by a “10 Commandments Committee”, under the auspices of the Protestant leaders of the highest reputation and authority in this country, like James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, James D. Kennedy (the latter two already deceased), and many others. They are collecting signatures for setting the first Sunday of May as “10 Commandments Day”, having collected over 332,000 only through the Internet.

                      For all these important people in the command of the Evangelical/Protestant community, the 10 Commandments don’t seem so inadequate and incomplete, as “new covenant” theologian Dale Ratzlaff imagines.

                      His argument is that the new paradigm for the Christian is not “old covenant law, not even the Decalogue”, but new principles based on “love.” Now, it’s incredible how he can repeat the same type of argument that we already refuted, just reminding him that when Jesus proclaimed His “golden rule” of the two basic commandments (“love to God/love to the neighbor”) He simply reiterated what Moses had already said. There is nothing new in this double principle, which ALWAYS characterized God’s law.

                      There was NEVER a law of God that didn’t have as its foundation love to God and love to the neighbor. Can’t Mr. Ratzlaff understand something so obvious? Besides, it is just a question of applying the “small letter rule”, as I call it—utilize the small letters added by the Bible editors in the text, that lead to the footnotes, where equivalent letters point to other related texts. If Mr. Ratzlaff just do that, he will notice that Matthew 22:36-40 or Mark 12:28-34 are referenced as a quotation by Jesus of Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5.

                      Now, I once found an Evangelical “theologian” of this same semi-antinomian semi-dispensationalist line of reasoning who said something like—“the Decalogue is incomplete because it doesn’t prohibit to smoke, for example. . .” Oh yeah? But if it forbade smoking, it could be deemed incomplete because it doesn’t prohibit to sniff marihuana. If it forbade that, it could still be deemed incomplete because it doesn’t prohibit to inhale cocaine. If it did forbade that, it could still be deemed incomplete because it doesn’t prohibit to inject heroin in the veins. If it forbade that, it could still be deemed incomplete because . . .

                      Well, but how about seeing what people of the highest prestige in the Protestant/Evangelical field said and say about the role and importance of the Decalogue? Let’s start with the great champion of the Reformation:

                      * Martin Luther:

                      The Reformer and great righteousness by faith champion, in his document “A Treatise Against Antinomians” refers to these deniers of the validity of the Ten Commandments in his time as “new spirits . . . which have undertaken to thrust the law of God, or the ten commandments out of the Church.”

                      A little later he refers again to a certain opponent who has “written against the Moral Law, or Ten Commandments; and to profess that he is of the same judgment as we are here at Wittenberg, as likewise at Augsburg, according to the tenor of our confession and Apology tendered to the Emperor: And if hereafter he shall hold or teach the contrary, he willeth me to pronounce the same to be Null and condemned. I could find in my heart to commend him for stooping so low. . .”, to add some paragraphs below that: “I wonder exceedingly, how it came to be imputed to me, that I should reject the Law or Ten Commandments, there being extant so many of my own expositions (and those of several sorts) upon the Commandments, which also are daily expounded, and used in our Churches, to say nothing of the Confession and Apology, and other books of ours.”

                      Now, how about what other great giant of the Protestant Reformation said:

                      * John Calvin:

                      “We must not imagine that the coming of Christ has freed us from the authority of the law; for it is the eternal rule of a devout and holy life, and must, therefore, be as unchangeable, as the justice of God, which it embraced, is constant and uniform”—Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, (1845), vol. I, p. 277.

                      Advancing to the eighteenth century, we have the great English revivalist John Wesley also giving his contribution to this study:

                      “In the highest rank of the enemies of the gospel of Christ, are they who openly and explicitly ‘judge the law’ itself, and ‘speak evil of the law’; who teach men to break . . . all the commandments at a stroke; who teach, without any cover, in so many words,--‘What did our Lord do with the law? He abolished it. There is but one duty, which is that of believing. All commands are unfit for our times. . ..’ Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!” – John Wesley, “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount”, Discourse 5, in Works (New York: Waugh & Mason, 1833), Vol. 5, 1829 ed.), pp. 311, 317.

                      [To be continued in the next frame]

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                      • #41
                        [Continued from the previous frame]

                        Reaching more recent times, we have the fervent evangelist Dwight L. Moody adding some comments also quite embarrassing to Mr. Ratzlaff:

                        “I never met an honest man who found any flaws in the Ten Commandments. The law given at the Sinai has lost nothing of its solemnity. . . People need to be led to understand that the Ten Commandments are still in vigor, and that there is a penalty related to each violation. . . The Sermon of the Mount did not cancel the Ten Commandments.” – Weighed and Wanting, pp. 11 and 16.

                        And the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon adds to Ratzlaff’s perplexing condition in his poor articulation of the theme of God’s law:

                        “The law of God is a divine law, holy, heavenly, perfect. Those who find fault with the law, or in the least degree depreciate it, do not understand its design, and have no right idea of the law itself. . . . In all we ever say concerning justification by faith, we never intend to lower the opinion which our hearers have of the law, for the law is one of the most sublime of God’s works. There is not a commandment too many; there is not one too few; but it is so incomparable, that its perfection is a proof of its divinity.” – C. H. Spurgeon, Sermons, 2d series (1857), p. 280.

                        “No human lawgiver could have given forth such a law as that which we find in the Decalogue. It is a perfect law; for all human laws that are right are to be found in that brief compendium and epitome of all that is good and excellent toward God, or between man and man.” – Ibid.

                        In 1933 the Moody Bible Institute Monthly published a series of articles under the title “Are Christians Freed From the Law?” in which the author shows how the New Testament emphasizes, enlarges and enforces it in all its details. He shows how Christ and the apostles dealt with it:

                        “So far from annulling any of the Ten Commandments, He [Christ] amplified their scope, teaching that an angry thought or bitter word violated the sixth, and a lustful look the seventh (Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28). The teaching of the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is even more emphatic and explicit concerning the scope and obligations of the moral law.”—Op. Cit., October, 1933.

                        Christ’s act of amplifying the meaning of the law, stressing its more profound, ethical and moral aspects, doesn’t represent any establishment of new laws, but a reiteration of the SAME law that His hearers knew very well, but had lost sight of these features. After all, it was ALWAYS wrong to look at a woman with impure intentions (see Job 31:1) and it was ALWAYS wrong to hate a neighbor (Lev. 19:17).

                        I have been asking to advocates of these “new law” theories, who base themselves in this argument of Christ’s comments on the law, if when He said to the Pharisees that in their tithing practice they should take into account judgment, mercy and faith, He was creating these principles on the spot or were they there, in the tithe law, all the time, but not realized by those religious people (see Matt. 23:23)? I think that any one who knows how to answer this question will understand the whole issue of what Jesus meant in Matt. 5:21ff. That is in the context of what He said in the key-text of Matt. 5:20: “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

                        Now, how about examining some of exegetical points regarding certain distorted texts through some highly regarded Bible commentaries? Let’s start with Adam Clarke, on Rom. 7:13:

                        * Adam Clarke:

                        “. . . it was one design of the law to show the abominable and destructive nature of sin, as well as to be a rule of life. It would be almost impossible for a man to have that just notion of the demerit of sin so as to produce repentance, or to see the nature and necessity of the death of Christ, if the law were not applied to his conscience by the light of the Holy Spirit; it is then alone that he sees himself to be carnal, and sold under sin; and that the law and the commandment are holy, just, and good. And let it be observed, that the law did not answer this end merely among the Jews in the days of the apostle; it is just as necessary to the Gentiles to the present hour. Nor do we find that true repentance takes place where the moral law is not preached and enforced. Those who preach only the Gospel to sinners, at best only heal the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly. The law, therefore, is the grand instrument in the hands of a faithful minister, to alarm and awaken sinners; and he may safely show that every sinner is under the law, and consequently under the curse, who has not fled for refuge to the hope held out by the Gospel: for, in this sense also, Jesus Christ is the End of the Law for justification to them that believe.” (Source: http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=ro&chapter=007; also: www.e-sword.net)

                        Let’s see two more commentaries, on the misunderstood text of Hebrews 7:12:

                        * John Gill:

                        “. . . the moral law, that was in being before the priesthood of Aaron . . . still remains, for it is perfect, and cannot be made void by any other; nor is it set aside by Christ's priesthood: though there is a sense in which it is abolished; as it is in the hands of Moses; as it is a covenant of works; as to justification by it; and as to its curse and condemnation to them that are Christ's; yet it still remains in the hands of Christ, and as a rule of walk and conversation. . . the ceremonial law, which was but a shadow of good things to come . . . was given but for a time; and this concerned the priesthood, and was made void by the priesthood of Christ; for that putting an end to the Levitical priesthood, . . . must unavoidably cease, and become of no effect.” – John Gill’s commentary on Heb. 7:12 (Source: www.e-sword.net)

                        * Albert Barnes:

                        “The Law so far as it grew out of that, or was dependent on it. The connection requires us to understand it only of the Law ‘so far as it was connected with the Levitical priesthood.’ This could not apply to the ten commandments – for they were given before the institution of the priesthood; nor could it apply to any other part of the moral law, for that was not dependent on the appointment of the Levitical priests. But the meaning is, that since a large number of laws - constituting a code of considerable extent and importance – was given for the regulation of the priesthood, and in reference to the rites of religion, which they were to observe or superintend, it followed that when their office was superseded by ‘one of a wholly different order,’ the Law which had regulated them vanished also, or ceased to be binding.’ This was a very important point in the introduction of Christianity, and hence, it is that it is so often insisted on in the writings of Paul.” (Source: www.e-sword.net).

                        [To be concluded in the next frame]
                        Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 04-Nov-2007, 09:38 PM.

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                        • #42
                          [Continued from the previous frame]

                          Mr. Ratzlaff quotes out of context Romans 7:6 skipping others texts in the same chapter, as vs. 7, 8, 12, 14, 22, and especially 25, where Paul, using the present tense throughout, says that he with his mind serves the “law of God”, which is holy, good, just, spiritual and contains the precept, “ye shall not covet.” So let’s see what other authors of Bible commentaries have to say on that text:

                          * Matthew Henry:

                          “The second marriage [of Paul’s illustration in Rom. 7:6] is to Christ. By death we are freed from obligation to the law as a covenant, as the wife is from her vows to her husband. In our believing powerfully and effectually, we are dead to the law, and have no more to do with it than the dead servant, who is freed from his master, has to do with his master's yoke. The day of our believing, is the day of being united to the Lord Jesus. We enter upon a life of dependence on him, and duty to him. Good works are from union with Christ; as the fruitfulness of the vine is the product of its being united to its roots; there is no fruit to God, till we are united to Christ. The law, and the greatest efforts of one under the law, still in the flesh, under the power of corrupt principles, cannot set the heart right with regard to the love of God, overcome worldly lusts, or give truth and sincerity in the inward parts, or any thing that comes by the special sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Nothing more than a formal obedience to the outward letter of any precept, can be performed by us, without the renewing, new-creating grace of the new covenant.” (Source: www.e-sword.net).

                          Matthew Henry comments additionally on vs. 22: “For as the believer is under grace, and his will is for the way of holiness, he sincerely delights in the law of God, and in the holiness which it demands, according to his inward man; that new man in him, which after God is created in true holiness.” (Source: www.e-sword.net).

                          That is in perfect harmony with Martin Luther’s commentary, which I already quoted in one of our articles aforementioned, where he says that “our conscience under the law is attached to the old sinful man; but as he is dead by the Spirit, the conscience is free . . . so that now it can be linked so much more to Christ, the new man, and produce fruits for life.”

                          And let’s see how John Wesley comments Rom. 8:4:

                          “That the righteousness of the law – The holiness it required, described, Rom_8:11. Might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit – Who are guided in all our thoughts, words, and actions, not by corrupt nature, but by the Spirit of God. From this place St. Paul describes primarily the state of believers, and that of unbelievers only to illustrate this.” (Source: www.e-sword.net).

                          The text of Romans 8:8-11 is a mortal blow on this semi-antinomian semi-dispensationalist theological noveltymonger Ratzlaff, especially as we check the illuminating way the New English Bible translated it:

                          “What the law could not do, because human nature was weak, God did. He condemned sin in human nature by sending his own Son, who came with a nature like man’s sinful nature to do away with sin. God did this so that the righteous demands of the Law might be fully satisfied in us who live according to the Spirit, not according to human nature. . . . . . a man becomes an enemy of God when his mind is controlled by what human nature wants; for he does not obey the law, and in fact he cannot obey it. Those who obey their human nature cannot please God. But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; you live as the Spirit tells you to—if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you.”

                          We can see that the Spirit guides a man, indeed, but leading him to obedience to God’s law, not to substitute it establishing itself as a “new law”, as Ratzlaff’s theology.

                          All these statements above by these most reputed Christian pioneers and authors (and we could quote many more) is in perfect harmony with the historical Confessions of Faith of the diverse Protestant churches, of which we could cite the following ones:

                          Baptist Church: “We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, good, just and the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen man to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.” -- New Hampshire Confession of Faith, Article 12.

                          Methodist Church: “The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and man. . . . Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christians men, . . . no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called Moral”-- Article 7 of the Thirty and Nine Articles of Religion. [Note.: This same confession is adopted by the Episcopal/Anglican Church].

                          Presbyterian Church: “The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel in any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation. . . . the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.” . . . The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law. . . under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected” – Sections V, VII and XX of Chap. XIX of the “Westminster Confession of Faith.” [Note.: This is also validated for the Congregational Church].

                          CONCLUSION

                          I have an old aunt who is not very attentive to certain important “details” in life, and once she filled her car that run on gasoline with diesel oil. Of course it stopped soon after she left the gas station and wouldn’t run anymore. The mechanics had a hard time to discover where the problem was, for they were looking to the mechanical parts, when the source of the problem was somewhere else. But an even worse trouble for her was when she was traveling through a region she was not familiar with, looking for a highway that would lead her to her destination. She finally reached an intersection to get to the Interstate, and got to the access ramp happy for finally having come to that thoroughfare. Unexpectedly her car crashed head on with another vehicle that came down the same ramp. She had taken the one that exits the highway, instead of getting to that entering it.

                          Mr. Ratzlaff should get better information of what is the historical, classical and even OFFICIAL stand of the most representative Evangelical/Protestant confessional documents and instructional material by the most reputed leaders of this community of Christian believers before launching himself in this enterprise of interpreting the law/grace issue, for he could be crashing theologically for taking the WRONG WAY in his discussions of a subject he clearly shows he is not well acquainted with.
                          Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 04-Nov-2007, 09:37 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Hi folks.

                            See this:



                            The text discussing that site was transferred to the topic, "ECOmenism--a New Trend in the End Times", which can be reached through the following link:

                            Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 24-Dec-2007, 02:33 AM.

                            Comentario


                            • #44
                              Ratzlaff & Co. Play the “One-Note Anti-Sabbatarian Samba”

                              Ratzlaff & Co. Play the “One-Note Anti-Sabbatarian Samba”

                              The November/December edition of Proclamation! just brings much of the same stuff that we have already covered in the several articles in this series, nothing new—articles distorting the SDA doctrines and sentiments regarding the understanding of the Gospel message, beside twisting the meaning of the Bible, especially the writings of Paul, which is a dangerous enterprise in view of what Peter warns:

                              “. . . our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable writes, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” – 2 Pet. 3:15-17.

                              Two articles have as basis the text of Colossians 2:16 and the objective of their reasoning is clearly to get rid of the Sabbath commandment, which is the leitmotif of all this ministry of deceit, even though they deny that.

                              Besides an article by Ratzlaff on the subject, Mr. R. K. McGregor Wright contributes with an article, titled “Nailed! The Law in Col. 2:10-13”, pretending to give the correct exegesis of the text. I addressed him personally in an e-mail and stressed how he had missed the point completely. Paul in the entire epistle of Colossians not once uses the term “law”, and what he deals with in his entire epistle is not any abolition of the law, but elimination of the guilt of a sinner forgiven by Jesus. He mentions the Sabbath and other legal principles just in passing, as he refers to some extremists that were disturbing the Christian community is Colossae.

                              Clearly Paul is addressing a local problem, not establishing universal principles. He refers to individuals of ascetics attitudes there who were acting among the Colossians, trying to impose upon them certain strange customs, including a certain and not well-known worship of angels. Mr. Wright replied to me even making fun of this explanation, saying in his e-mail: “This assertion is a rhetorical trick often used by liberals who want to get the focus off the point at hand (such as ‘God sends sinners to Hell’) onto some subsidiary issue (such as ‘God is love’) so that the central point is avoided, but not responded to”. With that he just shows how he missed the point again. . .

                              However, the fact is that nowhere else Paul discusses such teachings as “worship of angels” and people who wanted to impose upon the Christian community ideas of “touch not, taste not, handle not”, which Paul labels as “commandments and doctrines of men”. He would never refer to the Sabbath or any of the other Jewish rules utilizing this kind of language, because the Sabbath was not “doctrine of man”.

                              Besides, this people who use Col. 2:16 as a kind of “One-note anti-Sabbatarian Samba”, reminding the famous Tom Jobim’s bossa nova composition, can’t resolve certain serious problems in their biased interpretation:

                              A – If Paul’s intention is to teach freedom from Sabbathkeeping, he leaves nothing in its place. He simply would be discarding the principle of a day of rest for the Christian, which would be detrimental to one’s physical and spiritual life. See that he says nothing of then adopting any other day. . .

                              B – If Paul mentions rules which are “against us”, and the Sabbath is one of these things, that contradicts what Jesus said, that “the Sabbath was made because of man”, thus being for his physical and spiritual benefit. We saw how a physician, who happens to be also an Evangelical pastor, Dr. Michael Cesar, as a medical doctor exalts the principle of the Sabbath as a blessing provided by God for man. So, how could it be “against us”?

                              C – If Paul mentions the Sabbath commandment as a mere symbol of the salvation rest in Christ, he would be considering it a ceremonial precept. Well, we have our special study, “10 Reasons Why the Sabbath is not a Ceremonial Precept”, which nor Ratzlaff or any other anti-Sabbatarian ever refuted. So, as long as it is not refuted, our arguments there prevail. This is the link that leads to the mentioned study:


                              D – What Mr. Wright explained to me in his brief correspondence replying my e-mail, stressing that old allegation that the Sabbath is just the symbol of our rest of salvation in Christ, would be what is found in Hebrews 3 and 4. We have discussed that already and left well proven that it is a wrong reasoning, for very good reasons we listed in the 8th surprise, in the text above, “10 Surprises for Y. Regarding Dr. Michael Cesar’s Anti-Sabbatarian CD”.

                              E – If the Sabbath commandment had a mere temporary, ceremonial, meaning, since it was something so important in the Jewish life, he wouldn’t miss explaining in detail its typological character, and he would elaborate in greater detail this special meaning of that principle in chapters 7 to 10 of Hebrews, which had the objective of showing how the shadows met the reality in Christ, thus abolishing those symbolic elements of the ceremonial law.

                              F – We have seen in our last studies how Ratzlaff is in the “wrong way” of what has been taught by the most authoritative confessional documents of the Protestant community along the centuries. Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptists’ different confessions (like that of 1689 and the one revised by Charles Spurgeon in 1855) point to the Sabbath commandment as valid and in force to the Church. Among the text that back the expositions of this tenet they quote Gen. 2:2, 3 (the Edenic origins of the Sabbath), Exo. 20:8-11 (the 4th commandment of God’s moral law), Isa. 58:13, 14 (how to keep the Sabbath, without secular or recreational activities along the time sanctified to God) and even Jer. 17:21, 27 (God’s punishment for breaking the Sabbath). Of course they reinterpret the commandment to apply it now to Sunday (which is an error), but the ideological basis of it remains.

                              G – We also mentioned that even now, the most representative Evangelical/Protestant leadership in the US is engaged in promoting the 10 Commandments among the Christian community as a national basis of conduct (already attracting international attention and support). Even a campaign to establish a “10 Commandments Day”--set for the first Sunday of May--is under way, something that goes against these theories of the Decalogue not being a Christian rule anymore, as Ratzlaff and his friends allege.

                              H – Bro. Samuele Bacchiocchi’s study on the text represents a much superior and scholarly approach to this text, and we are pleased to reproduce it here for everyone’s consideration. I think it is all we need to shut up the new collection of sophistries that this last edition of the referred to magazine presents. Enjoy it.
                              Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 05-Feb-2008, 05:44 PM.

                              Comentario


                              • #45
                                Ratzlaff & Co. Play the “One-Note Anti-Sabbatarian Samba”

                                Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi's Newsletters bring a wealth of information on the Sabbath question. I recommend the following of his instructive and scholarly studies on the Law and the Sabbath/Sunday themes [skip the introductory texts and go to the main material (roll down the page until reaching the study titles)]:

                                http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/eti_12.html

                                http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/eti_77.html

                                http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/eti_78.html

                                http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/et_158.htm

                                A Final Reflection Regarding the Reasonings of Ratzlaff and His Allied

                                Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation, inspired in this theory that the Sabbath ended as a commandment for the Christian community in a time not clearly defined in history:

                                George is a dedicated carpenter, a specialist in building fine furniture units. His reputation of a good and careful professional brings him lots of orders to different works and his schedule is full, with many important people in town placing orders with him. He doesn’t want to disappoint all these good people and does everything he can to finish their orders in due time.

                                But then he becomes a Christian and thinks of attending church every Sunday, dedicating this day to physical and mental rest, besides going to church and dedicating himself to religious activities on that day. One day, the pastor in his church presents a study explaining that the Sabbath commandment is an old fashioned institution for the Jews only, the Christians having nothing to do with. Since the Sabbath was just a symbol of our rest of salvation in Christ, one who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior should not keep the Sabbath, for that would be a denial of his experience of salvation.

                                George was very impressed with that, and since he had so many orders to complete, he decided to work on Sundays also, just reserving the nights to go to church. He checked with the pastor about that, and he assured him that it was okay. The important thing was that he kept in touch, not missing the Sunday evening services. Of course there was also a subtle point there—if he made more money working this extra time that would mean greater gains, and a fatter tithe and higher offerings to the church. . .

                                Anyway, George engaged in his professional activities, not missing the Sunday night meetings. Some of his Sunday School friends missed him and even tried to convince him to not skip their regular meetings, but he explained he had a full load of work to carry out, and, besides, he had learned that keeping a day to God would be a Sabbath, which would be detrimental to his Christian witness. If he dedicated a day to God, as was the custom of Israel, he would not be confirming that he found the rest of salvation in Christ.

                                His explanation seemed to make sense to the others, and nobody insisted with him about that anymore. And George kept on working seven days a week, just having his rest at night, going to church on Sunday nights and, occasionally, a few other nights during the week.

                                But one day, he felt weak and seemed especially touchy with his relatives. His wife didn’t like to see him working so hard, seven days a week, and told him to rest on Sundays. “No, I can’t for two reasons”, he explained. “First, my work load is really big and I have all this good people to serve with their order, and the deadlines are tight. Second, I learned with the pastor that I can’t dedicate a day exclusively to religious activities, because that would be a denial of my experience of resting in Christ’s salvation”.

                                So, he kept on with his regimen, but his condition, both physically and mentally, were just getting worse. He acquired an ulcer, and tried to resolve it taking over-the-counter medicines. But his immune system also was affected, and one night, as he was in the Church, he felt very weak and collapsed to the floor.

                                It was a big scare to his relatives and friends, and soon he was on a hospital bed. He was examined, and the doctor told his folks that his ulcers had gone wild, his general health was in a very poor condition, and his system was not duly prepared to face a flu epidemics in the region. Thus, to complicate things, he had contracted pneumonia and with all the other negative things in his health condition, he would not be able to survive.

                                George was told that he had not taken good care of his health, not giving attention to what the doctor had told him. That left all his relatives and friends very disturbed, but as he approach his last moments, he said to them all: “Well, my dear ones, I know that I am going to die soon, but tell the pastor that I followed faithfully his instructions. I didn’t keep a Sabbath but, instead, worked every day, because I didn’t want to deny my experience of salvation, which the Sabbath symbolizes, as the pastor taught us”.

                                Well, so George gave away his last breath, but he was consistent with what he had learned from his pastor. If someone says he was wrong to not save one day a week for resting remember that he was being consistent, and using his “Christian freedom” to not do that, concerned with avoiding this “Jewish Sabbath” thing.

                                Does that make any sense? How about whoever hides under the name Mr. Joseph River, who writes an article with an “Appeal to Adventists”, tell us what he thinks about that little story? Was George submitting to the plumbline?

                                A List of Pertinent Studies That Help Better Understand the Subjects and the Objections

                                Some of these studies, all based on the Bible, can be accessed through the link indicated in the previous thread. Whoever wants to get information of where to find all of them please contact me through the e-mail indicated in my Profile.

                                * 10 Dilemmas of Those Who Deny The Validity of The 10 Commandments as Christian Norm

                                * 10 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is an Institution That Precedes the Sinai Event

                                * 10 Points for Reflection on the Continuity, Not Rupture, of the Decalogue as Norm of Christian Conduct

                                * 10 Anti-Sabbatarians’ Arguments and the Difficulties They Face In Their Theses

                                * 10 TOPICS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION OF LAW AND GRACE

                                * Did the law end with John the Baptist?

                                * THE SABBATH AND THE SAVIOR (By Dr. Bacchiocchi)

                                * 10 Reasons Why the Sabbath is Not a Ceremonial Precept

                                * 10 SPECIFIC QUESTIONS REGARDING ROMANS 14:5, 6

                                * 10 QUESTIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW OF GOD/LAW OF CHRIST

                                * 10 POINTS TO PONDER ON THE THEME OF GOD’S LAW AND THE SABBATH

                                * 10 REASONS WHY COLOSSIANS 2:16 DOES NOT TREAT THE WEEKLY SABBATH AS A CEREMONIAL PRECEPT

                                * 10 Questions About the Sabbath for Anti-Sabbatarians to Think Seriously About

                                * 10 Main Reasons That Discredit the Observance of Sunday

                                * 10 Questions on the Theory of “Everydayism”

                                * 10 Serious Difficulties For the Advocates of Either Sunday Keeping or the “Nodayism/Anydayism/Everydayism”

                                * 10 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is the Most Important Commandment of the Decalogue

                                * 10 Questions The Anti-Sabbatarians Seem Incapable of Answering

                                * 10 Questions on Christ’s Attitudes Regarding the Sabbath
                                Last edited by Azenilto Brito; 31-Jan-2008, 08:55 PM.

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