Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I personally am thankful that while I have family in Armstrongism, none is caught up with Ron.
————– The third installment of Ron’s third book ——————–
PROPHESY AGAINST THE NATIONS
Chapter 1: Who Will Listen? – Part 3 (of 3)
The False Doctrine of an Immortal Soul
Before addressing this doctrine of the immortality of the soul, it should already be quite obvious that such a doctrine is not true. We have already covered verses in Revelation that speak of “the rest of the dead,” which consists of billions of people who had lived during some period within that previous 6,000 years.
It was stated, “But the rest of the dead did not live again [because they had remained dead] until the thousand years were finished” (Rev. 20:5). It really cannot get any clearer than that. These people who had died were not only going to remain dead for another 1,000 years, many had already been dead for several thousand years before this. Should one question God and not listen to Him as to whether or not mankind was given an immortal soul?
Clearly, mankind was not given any such thing. Although this has already been adequately covered, it is important to grasp more fully how such beliefs have come about, and then to see even more clearly what is actually true.
The word that is translated into scripture as “soul” is from the Hebrew word “nephesh.” It simply has the meaning of a “breathing body, being, or creature.” This term is even used of animals in Genesis as being a “nephesh.” If it had been translated consistently the same, as it was consistently with mankind, it would have said of animals that they were living souls as well. Even when being used of human life, the context is one of being a living soul and not one of having a living soul.
An example of this word “nephesh” being used when referring to animals is when Adam gave them names. “Out of the ground the Eternal God formed every animal of the field and every fowl of the air, and He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living ‘creature’ [nephesh], that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19).
Not only is a soul not immortal, it is shown that it can die. All physical life ends in death. But there is more to this than just a physical death of a living, breathing being.
It states in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” This is in reference to judgment for sin when one will not repent of committing it. This is not about the fact that all human life simply ends in the death of a physical living being, for all die, but it is about a punishment that is a sentence lasting for eternity. It is death from which there will not be life again—no resurrection from the dead. Truly, the soul is not immortal.
There are several verses in the New Testament that speak of God raising Jesus Christ from the dead. Many scriptures make it a very specific point to establish that Christ was resurrected from the dead after a prophetic period of being in the grave for exactly three days and three nights. A good example of this states, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise the third day from the dead” (Luke 24:46). Other verses speak of those who came to the sepulcher on Sunday morning and who made comment themselves or were told by others that he had risen from the dead.
These clear statements about Jesus Christ being dead in the grave for exactly three days and three nights are problematic for a lot of people. It contradicts their long held beliefs concerning Jesus Christ, which involves yet another doctrine that will be covered more in-depth in another chapter. That doctrine is about the Trinity. Some believe Jesus Christ has eternally existed just like Yahweh Elohim, who describes Himself as the only One Eternal God. Yet in many verses it states that Jesus Christ was dead for three days in the grave within the sepulcher. Those who believe in this doctrine are challenged deeply, because if Jesus Christ were eternal and had the same self-sustaining inherent life as God Almighty, then how could he have been dead for three days and three nights? Furthermore, why would he then have the need for God to raise him from the dead? The truth of all this is a most fascinating and awesome story that is yet to be covered.
Again, the teaching of the Trinity includes the belief that Jesus Christ has eternally existed. However, God makes it clear who has always existed and who alone is God.
“I am the Eternal, and there is no one else, there is no God beside [Heb.- except] me.” (Isaiah 45:5). “For thus says the Eternal who created the heavens, God Himself who formed the earth and made it; He has established it. He did not create it in vain [Heb.- without purpose, to be desolate, or in a state of confusion], but formed it to be inhabited. ‘I am the Eternal, and there is no one else’” (Is. 45:18).
If mankind had an immortal soul, then surely Jesus Christ would have gone directly to heaven after death. However, not even Jesus Christ went to heaven upon his death. It is actually made clear by Christ himself that he did not ascend to be received by God until after three days in the grave. It was only after he had revealed himself to a few after he had been resurrected by God that he went to heaven to be received by Him, and then he returned later that same day.
Indeed, the teaching of an immortal soul is false. It is simply a lie and God states that no lie is of the truth. We should already grasp that, but even in this, people will not listen to God. Not only is this doctrine false, but it is actually blasphemous against God. That is because immortality, self-sustaining eternal life is only inherent in one, and that is the One Eternal Self-Existing God—Yahweh Elohim. He is the Creator and the only one “true giver” of all life that exists, which is either physical or spiritual. Only the Eternal God has the power to give age-lasting life to anyone, and He is the only one who sustains it.
This is yet another example of those in medieval times concocting a means by which they could begin to distort and change scripture to fit their false doctrines, and that was enhanced by the opportunity of mistranslating a good amount of scripture from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
As translators worked to insert false doctrine into scripture by camouflaging the true meaning with certain words, such as the few examples like “soul” and “hell” that have been covered, followers were being led further and further away from the truths of God. The proliferation of such teachings over the past 100 years has become so great that it just adds mightily to another important reason why God’s judgment is now beginning to be executed upon those who promote and those who embrace such false beliefs.
The greater the acceptance and stubborn insistence to continue in belief of so many false doctrines, the greater the lengths some will go to keep the truths of God out of their lives. The refusal to listen to God is exceedingly strong in today’s world. Again, this is exactly why judgment has now come at this time.
God is now bringing the world to a time of great judgment where people will have to begin to truly decide once and for all whether or not they are going to begin to “listen” to Him or if they are going to continue to insist upon and hold onto their own ways.
The False Doctrine of Heaven
The belief of those who hold to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul has already been partially covered. This doctrine teaches that upon death a person will then immediately go to heaven or to hell. As with the false doctrine of a hell that constantly gives great torment to those who are in it, the notion of going to heaven immediately after death is yet another false doctrine. Although there is no actual place where a hell of continual torment exists, there is a place called heaven which consists of a spirit realm where angels exist and where God is, however, it has never been God’s teaching, or His purpose, that anyone at death should go there, except one—Jesus Christ.
In the following example, Peter’s discussion of scriptures concerning David and Jesus Christ make it clear that only Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven.
David was not only a king, but was also called a prophet through whom God inspired much prophecy to be written in the Psalms. God even said of David, “He is a man after my own heart.” As it has already been stated, David is one of those who will be in the first resurrection, who died several hundred years before Christ.
When the Church of God began on Pentecost in 31 A.D., Peter revealed insight that he was given regarding what David had prophesied concerning the Messiah. Again, it is important to note that David had died several hundred years prior to this, and he was still highly esteemed among the Jews. Peter was inspired through the power of God’s spirit to tell those Jews the true meaning of some of those prophetic verses in the Psalms. While Peter was explaining to them what God had just fulfilled in prophecy concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, part of what he said also plainly reveals what is true about life after death, whether mankind goes to heaven after death, and the fact that mankind does not have an immortal soul.
Breaking into the story flow, Peter is telling the crowd that God had now raised to life again the one whom the Jews had just killed, Jesus Christ. Then he went on to tell what David as a prophet had written in the Psalms concerning Jesus’ death and what God had promised concerning his death and resurrection.
“Because you [speaking of God] will not leave my soul [Gk.- a body, with the purpose of breathing life] in hell [Gk.- hades—the grave], neither will you allow your Holy One to see corruption [Gk.- decay]” (Acts 2:27). This is a quote from the Psalms (Ps. 16:8-10), which David wrote. It is written in prophetic terms as though Jesus Christ is speaking about what God had foretold about him. God said that He not only would not leave Christ (His holy one) in the grave, but He would not allow his body (a body that had breathed life before death) to see decay in the grave, which normally begins to happen not long after death.
Peter went on to say, “Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you about the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher [tomb] is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29).
Peter was making a point to the Jews that this Psalm, written by David, was not about David, as most thought it was, but was prophetic about the promise of the Messiah and what would be fulfilled in him. At the same time, it is evidence that David is not in heaven, but that he is dead and buried. Of all people, one would think David, who was a man after God’s heart, would be in heaven (if this was where faithful individuals went after death).
“Therefore being a prophet [speaking of David], and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him [to David], that out of his loins [of David’s lineage], according to the flesh [that the Messiah would be born in physical life], He [God] would raise up Christ [the Messiah] to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30).
That which Peter quoted from the Psalms revealed that the Messiah was prophesied to come first as a physical human being, as a result of being born of the lineage of King David. Further, the Messiah would die, his body put in a grave, and then God would raise him up—resurrect him from the dead. Then in time, which will be at the start of the Millennium, Christ would then be established as not only the King over Israel, but over the whole world.
“He [David] seeing this before [God revealing it to him as a prophet] spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul [body] was not left in hell [Gk.- hades—the grave], neither did it see corruption. This Jesus has God raised up [resurrected after those three days in the grave], whereof you are all witnesses” (Acts 2:31-32).
When speaking with Nicodemus, even Jesus Christ spoke in prophetic terms concerning himself. He told him that he, Christ, must die and be resurrected. He told these things in terms of what could only happen to him and could not pertain to any other man.
Jesus Christ said, “No man has ascended up to heaven, but he who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).
Christ spoke in these and other verses of those things that were prophetic about himself that could apply to no other man. These things could only be fulfilled in him because as it states, he came down from heaven. No other man has, and the reason is that only Jesus Christ would have a Father who was God, as God placed within the womb of Mary of His own being to form the embryo that would lead to the life of the only Son of God to be born of mankind, who would become the Messiah, the Christ. He would die and then be raised up from the dead to then ascend into heaven, where no other man has or will ever ascend, and he would sit in power and authority at the right hand of God Almighty—His Father.
Rather than anyone going to heaven upon death, people are simply meant to return to the dust of the earth. Then, in God’s time, within His plan of salvation, people will then be resurrected to life once again. That is according to God’s set time in the future. The story of that life to follow, for all who are resurrected, is most incredible, inspiring, and filled with peace.
It was never God’s purpose that mankind should be given eternal life in order to dwell in heaven. It was God’s purpose that only one, the Messiah, should die and be resurrected as a spirit being to then ascend into heaven and dwell there for nearly 2,000 years before returning to meet the 144,000 whom God will resurrect as spirit beings at Christ’s coming—the first resurrection. Those resurrected at the first resurrection are not going to heaven, but they are coming to this earth to rule and reign with Christ over the earth in the Millennium. For nearly 2,000 years now, Christ and God the Father have been working within God’s Church to prepare a larger body of people for the first resurrection (the majority of the 144,000), more than all who had been prepared in the previous 4,000 years.
There is much more concerning the false doctrines that have been addressed to this point, such as the immortality of the soul, a hell of fire and torment, and mankind going to heaven after death, but by now it should be clear how false such doctrines are.
Why haven’t you known about these false doctrines? Or better, why haven’t you been taught the truth of these things? Although scholars know the definition of these words, they would still have you to believe in these doctrines that have been passed down through traditional Christianity for centuries. When considering the twisted and perverted doctrine of an ever-burning place of fire and torment as being a place of judgment and punishment upon the unfaithful, what kind of a loving God would have people tormented in such a fashion for the rest of eternity? He wouldn’t! This simply comes from the mindset of those from medieval times who were so perverted in thinking, since they themselves tortured people, supposedly in the name of God, to force them to confess. That was not of God, and these false doctrines are not either.
Now is the time in which God is bringing mankind to have to address these false things that have been promoted in His name. The time has come that God is beginning to execute His judgment on this earth.
Returning to Noah
In Noah’s day, the corruption of mankind had become so great that God had to intervene to stop it, just as it is happening once again. Society has become deeply corrupted. To see this corruption, one only has to look at the news, television programming, movies, music, economic and business practice, judicial practice, advertising, clothing and styles, common conversation with cursing and foul language, crime, and the government over it all.
However, there is one area that many would not likely think of or admit as having become deeply corrupt, yet it is the worst and most evil of all, for it has helped foster the very mindset of all the rest of this corruption just mentioned. It is the practice of religion. Religion has become the most corrupted of all, especially that which claims to be of God.
The true history of mankind is that by its very nature, it does not want God and His ways of life; instead, it wants its own way.
Earlier in this chapter, it was mentioned that this story of Noah helps to illustrate mankind’s true attitude and deep spirit toward God and His great power and might. The point was made, that if people have such a difficult time believing this story of what God did concerning Noah’s life, the ark, and the flood, then how much more difficult is it for the human mind to grasp all the other truths, feats, and prophecies recorded by Him? To believe that He is the Creator of the entire universe is then all-together another matter that is even more difficult to believe.
Who believes that when God told Noah to build an ark, “Noah was five hundred years old” (Genesis 5:32)? What about the verse that follows later? “Behold, I, even I [the Eternal God] will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh from under the heaven, where in is the breath of life, and everything in the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant. You shall come into the ark, you and your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. Everything of all flesh, with two of every kind shall you bring into the ark to keep alive with you, and they shall be male and female” (Gen. 6:17-19).
Then there is the covenant that God made with Noah and all mankind to follow, and He gave a sign to confirm that covenant. The vast majority of people have never even heard of this, let alone have believed it when they did hear.
“I will establish my covenant with you, and never again will all flesh be cut-off by waters from a flood and neither shall there be another flood to destroy the earth. This is a token [sign of that covenant], which I will make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I will set my bow [rainbow] in the cloud, and it shall be for a token between me and the earth. It shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow [rainbow] shall be in the cloud” (Gen. 9:11-14).
No one fully knows what God changed on the earth, but before the flood the rainbow did not exist. There are things within the atmosphere itself that changed, including the way God had originally created the earth to be watered. But who can simply just believe what God said?
This story also records, “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters were upon the earth” (Gen. 7:6). This means that it took just over 100 years to build the ark. Further it says, “And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died” (Gen. 9:29). So Noah lived 350 years beyond the flood. This means that ten generations later, Abram (Abraham) was born and lived to know his very-great grandfather. It wasn’t until Abram was in his mid-fifties that Noah died.
Who truly and genuinely believes these things? Very few! If these things are so difficult for mankind to accept, how much less will prophecy be believed? Then to compound matters further, who would believe it if one were to come along in these end-times and say they were sent by God—that they were God’s prophet for this end-time?
This book contains and explains much prophecy, and it gives additional prophecy never recorded in scripture. You are now living in the midst of times where you are able to begin to witness these things come to pass. The fulfillment of prophecy will increase and accelerate in fulfillment, and end-time events will grow far more catastrophic. You and the rest of mankind will increasingly be challenged to address whether you will begin to truly listen to God and turn to Him and begin to change your life.
Christ’s Own Words
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, he personally taught several thousand people, and he performed many miracles of healing, and even raising the dead. Yet the vast populace did not turn to him, although many had their hopes that he might be the promised prophesied Messiah who would come to free them from being under Roman rule. Yet once he died, many fled from following him and wanted nothing to do with his teachings or that of the apostles that followed. Only a few hundred actually continued with the disciples after Christ’s death of those who had been holding on to Jesus Christ’s teaching.
The vast populace did not like what he taught. Most everyone who saw themselves religious and faithful followers of God not only rejected Jesus Christ’s teaching, but also hated it. Worse, they came to hate him and preferred that he be dead than to continue his teaching.
It is no different today. People do not like to be told that what they believe about God and Christ is in grave error and that most of all the doctrines they have believed are false. The examples that have been covered already concerning simple doctrines are challenging enough, but there is so much more to come that is far more serious than those basic, but important beliefs.
Why address all this? Why is it so important? Because it is important to God! It is also important for our welfare, peace, and happiness if we can only grasp that. God’s desire for us is that we choose His ways because then our lives can be blessed. If we refuse, we will only suffer, and others around us will suffer. No parent wants to see their own children suffer for living a wrong way of life, and God has far greater love for us than any physical parent.
Living contrary to God’s ways and in disobedience to His laws only brings great sorrow, suffering, and curses in life. However, when a person chooses to live in such a manner, it doesn’t just hurt oneself, it has a rippling effect that hurts those close to them in family, job, and society. The world is at the point where that ripple has turned into a tsunami of destruction, corruption, extreme suffering, and evil that simply permeates this world, and to the point that mankind is about to annihilate itself. Either mankind will be destroyed or God will intervene. Which do you choose? It is as God told the Israelites when He stated that He had placed before them life and death, and He said to them to choose life. They did not!
Mankind is now living in a period of time where God is giving them the ability to “see” His truth, and now people must begin to choose whether or not they want to live by it. He is now intervening in the affairs of this world to bring 6,000 years of the oppressive self-rule of mankind to an end. It has grown beyond the evil and corruption that existed in the days of Noah. Mankind now has the power to destroy itself and all life on earth.
Indeed, it is just as Christ said about this end-time. The disciples had come to Christ and asked him when all these things should be and what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the world (Mat 24:3). This word “world” is speaking of an “age,” the end of this “age” of mankind’s self-rule and the time of his coming to establish his rule. It is not about the end of the world, but the end of one age, as mankind moves into another, the Millennium.
Christ told them, “But as in the days of Noah, so shall the coming of the Son of man be [the Messiah’s coming]. For until the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they did not know until the flood came, and took them all away. So shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).
This is not saying that eating, drinking, and getting married is wrong. It is simply saying that life was going on as it always had for them and that they had no concern or belief that their world was about to change—to be destroyed. However, there are reasons why they were like this because they could have responded differently, just as people could have been for more than 50 years now, but have not.
In other words, just like people’s response over this past half-century as the warning of this end-time has gone throughout the world, those of Noah’s day ignored, ridiculed, and mocked Noah and his 100-year project of building the ark. That ark was being built on dry land. No one had remotely seen anything of such an undertaking as this. The news of this spread throughout the known world at that time. It was a massive undertaking and people all around knew what he was building and why, and they did not believe him in the slightest. They did not believe him that God would destroy them by a flood. That was ludicrous to them. They would not listen to him, just like today.
Due to the warning becoming stronger in 2008 about what is coming in this catastrophic end-time, some few were sobered for a time, but as time went on they began to mock, ridicule, twist and distort, hate, and even threaten that which was true. However, now things will begin to change as during the time of the flood. But for those in that time period it was too late when they realized that Noah was right. When the waters came and continued to build, growing deeper over the many days that followed, people began to drown and die. By that time, it was too late, and it only became worse until there was no more life.
The flood continued to rise for 40 days and the ark was lifted and began to move upon the waters of the flood. Many tried to survive the waters, but by this time, all life had died. During this end-time, as catastrophic events become worse and worse, people will be given time within a period of 3 ½ years to begin to change their course of life from “their own way” to God’s ways.
Yes, these days are very much like the days of Noah when the mind of mankind had become so very corrupted. However, it is now much worse, and God is intervening to bring in a new age for mankind. It will be an age of rest, prosperity, family, and great peace that this world has never come remotely close to ever experiencing.