Monday, February 26, 2018

Is there Immortality in Sin and Suffering? Sermon 1 (Complete)

By George Storrs

"May we know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know, therefore, what these things mean." - Acts xvii.19, 20.

PAUL, the apostle, in preaching the gospel, came to Athens; he there beheld an altar inscribed "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." At the idolatry he saw, his spirit was stirred within him; hence he disputed daily with them that met him. He encountered certain philosophers - wise men, no doubt, - at least in their own estimation - and some of them said: What will this babbler say? Others said, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange Gods. Doubtless they thought he was a heretic of the blackest stamp; yet they seemed disposed to hear him, before they passed final sentence upon him. In this respect they manifested a better disposition than many of the present day, who are so wise in their own estimation, that no one can advance a thought to which they will listen, unless it has first received the approbation of some doctor of divinity.


Not so with the men of Athens; strange as the things were that the Apostle taught, they were desirous to know what the new doctrine was. Not that it was new in itself, but only new to them.

Various errors exist among men in regard to revealed truth. These errors go to show how imperfect we are in knowledge - the mistakes committed in our education - the reluctance of the mind to investigate - and a want of moral courage to step aside from the track marked out by learned men, as they are thought to be, but who, most likely, have conducted their own investigations under the influence of the fear of being denounced as heretics, if they should be led to results unlike to those who are reputed for wisdom. But "if any man will be wise, let him become a fool that he may be wise," is the language of the apostle. We honor God only so far as we have right conceptions of His character, government and purposes, and act in accordance with them. If we believe God will reward, or punish men contrary to His own word, we dishonor Him, however much sincerity we may possess. Truth and the honor of God are inseparable: and we cannot glorify our Heavenly Father by erroneous opinions. Yet, most professed Christians, if pressed on the subject, can give little better reason for what they believe, on many points, than that such has been the instruction they have received from men. It is a solemn duty to study our Bibles, and form our opinions of what they teach for ourselves, as we must answer for ourselves. But in this study the adoption of correct principles of interpretation is of the first importance. Without this, our appeal to the word of God may only serve to confirm us in error. The plainest truths of the Bible have been wrapped


in darkness by pretending that the language of the Scriptures has a mystical or secret meaning that does not appear in the words employed. Such a principle of interpretation is a libel on the Bible. That Book professes to be a revelation; and the Saviour says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." The language of the Bible, then, should be explained as the language of any other book, i.e., according to its plain and obvious meaning: unless there is a clear necessity for departing from it. A strict adherence to this principle is necessary, if we would be saved from the wildest errors, and see the children of God united in one. With these remarks I proceed to


The question is not, whether man can be immortal, nor whether the righteous will be immortal. These points are admitted and abundantly proved by the Bible; but the question is - Will the wicked who live and die in their sins, continue eternally, or without end, in a state of conscious existence? Or, once more - Is the punishment God has threatened to sinners an eternal state of suffering and sin? This involves the question of immortality. For if all men can be proved to be immortal, it seems to follow from the Bible, that the finally impenitent will be left in a state of endless suffering and sin.


These are mainly three, viz: First - The desire all men feel for it. Second - That the soul is immaterial, uncompounded, indivisible, hence indestructible, and


therefore immortal. Third - That God wills the immortality of all men. To these, perhaps, another should be added, viz: - "All nations and people have believed the soul immortal." To this last argument, I answer - There is no evidence that all nations and people have believed it. There is evidence to the contrary. In the "Dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul" - found in "PLATO'S DIALOGUES" - Socrates, having spoken of the nature of the soul, says - "Shall a soul of this nature, and created with all these advantages, be dissipated and annihilated as soon as it parts from the body, as most men believe?" Here the fact is brought out, that so far from its being a general belief that the soul is immortal, the exact reverse was true in Socrates' day. Socrates is supposed to have believed the souls of the good were immortal, and would ascend to the Gods at death. With respect to bad men, it is not so clear what his opinion was in regard to the final result with them. It seems, however, that he thought after they left the body, they wandered awhile in impure places, in suffering, "till they again enter a new body, and in all probability plunge themselves into the same manners and passions, as were the occupation of their first life. "For instance," continues Socrates, "those who made their belly their God, and loved nothing but indolence and impurity without any shame, and without any reserve, these enter into the bodies of asses, or such like creatures. And those who loved only injustice, tyranny and rapine, are employed to animate the bodies of wolves, hawks and falcons. Where else should souls of that sort go? The case of the rest is much the same. They go to animate the bodies of beasts of different species, according as they resemble


their former dispositions. The happiest of all these men are those who have made a profession of popular and civil virtues, such as temperance and justice; to which they have brought themselves only by habit and exercise, without any assistance from philosophy and the mind. It is probable, that after their death, their souls are joined to the bodies of politic and meek animals, such as bees, wasps and ants."

Surely, one would think that this is little short of annihilation itself. Socrates, after speaking of those who lived, "following reason for their guide," etc., says - "After such a life, and upon such principles, what should the soul be afraid of? Shall it fear, that upon its departure from the body, the winds will dissipate it, and run away with it, and that annihilation will be its fate?"

On this subject, Archbishop Whately, in his Lectures on "Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State," speaks thus: -

"Among the heathen philosophers, Plato has been appealed to, as having believed in a future state of reward and punishment, on the ground that the passages in his works in which he inculcates the doctrine, are much more numerous than those in which he expresses his doubt of it. I cannot undertake to say that such is not the case; for this arithmetical mode (as it may be called) of ascertaining a writer's sentiments, by counting the passages on opposite sides, is one which had never occurred to me; nor do I think it is likely to be generally adopted. If, for instance, an author were to write ten volumes in defence of Christianity, and two or three times to express his suspicion that the whole is a tissue of fables, I believe few of his readers would feel any doubt as to his real sentiments. When a writer is at variance with himself, it is usual to judge from the nature of the subject, and the circumstances


of the case, which is likely to be his real persuasion, and which, the one, he may think it decorous, or politically expedient, to profess.

"Now in the present case, if the ancient writers disbelieved a future state of reward and punishment, one can easily understand why they should nevertheless occasionally speak as if they did believe it; since the doctrine, they all agreed, was useful in keeping the multitude in awe. On the other hand, would they, if they did believe in it, ever deny its truth? or rather (which is more commonly the case in their works) would they allude to it as a fable so notoriously and completely disbelieved by all enlightened people as not to be worth denying, much less refuting, any more than tales of fairies are by modern writers?

"Even Aristotle has been appealed to as teaching (in the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics) the doctrine of a future state of enjoyment or suffering; though it is admitted by all, that, within a few pages, he speaks of death as the complete and final extinction of existence, "beyond which there is neither good nor evil to be expected." He does not even assert this as a thing to be proved, or which might be doubted; but alludes to it merely, as unquestioned and unquestionable. The other passage (in which he is supposed to speak of a state of consciousness after death) has been entirely mistaken by those who have so understood it. He expressly speaks of the dead, in that very passage, as "having no perception;" and all along proceeds on that supposition.

"But many things appear good or evil to a person who has no perception of them at the time they exist. For example, many have undergone great toils for the sake of leaving behind them an illustrious name, or of bequeathing a large fortune to their children: almost every one dislikes the idea of having his character branded with infamy after his death; or of his children coming to poverty or disgrace: many are pleased with the thought of a splendid funeral and stately monuments; or their bones reposing beside those of their forefathers, or of their beloved friends; and many


dread the idea of their bodies being disinterred and dissected, or torn by dogs. Now no one, I suppose, would maintain that all who partake of such feelings, expect that they shall be conscious, at the time, of what is befalling their bodies, their reputation, or their families after death; much less, that they expect that their happiness will, at that time, be effected by it. In fact, such feelings as I have been speaking of, seem to have always prevailed, even the more strongly, in those who expected no future state.

"It is of these posthumous occurrences that Aristotle is speaking, in the passage in question. But he expressly says, in that very passage, that "it would be absurd to speak of a man's actually enjoying happiness after he is dead;" evidently proceeding (as he always does) on the supposition that the dead have ceased to exist.

"The ancient heathens did but conjecture, without proof, respecting a future state. And there is this remarkable circumstance to be noticed in addition; that those who taught the doctrine (as the ancient heathen lawgivers themselves did, from a persuasion of its importance for men's conduct,) do not seem themselves to have believed what they taught, but to have thought merely of the expediency of inculcating this belief on the vulgar.

"It does not appear, however, that they had much success in impressing their doctrine on the mass of the people: for though a state of future rewards and punishments was commonly talked of among them, it seems to have been regarded as little more than an amusing fable. It does not appear, from the account of their own writers, that men's lives were ever influenced by any such belief. On the contrary, we find them, in speeches publicly delivered and now extant, ridiculing the very notion of any one's seriously believing the doctrine. And when they found death seemingly unavoidable and near at hand, as in the case of a very destructive pestilence, we are told, that those of them who had been the most devout worshippers of their gods, and had applied to them with various superstitious


ceremonies for deliverance from the plague, finding that the disease still raged, and that they had little chance of escaping it, at once cast off all thoughts of religion; and, resolving to enjoy life while it lasted, gave a loose to all their vicious inclinations. This shows, that even those who had the firmest faith in the power of their gods, looked to them for temporal deliverance only, and for their preservation in this life, and had not only no belief, but no suspicion even, that these Beings had any power to reward and punish beyond the grave; - that there was any truth in the popular tales respecting a future state.

"It may be thought, however, by some, that the wisest of the heathen philosophers, though they did not hold the notions of the vulgar as to the particulars of a future state of rewards and punishments, yet had convinced themselves (as in their writings they profess) of the immortality of the soul. And it is true that they had, in a certain sense; but in such a sense as in fact makes the doctrine amount to nothing at all. They imagined that the souls of men, and of all other animals, were not created by God, but were themselves parts of the divine mind, from which they were separated, when united with bodies; and to which they would return and be reunited, on quitting those bodies; so that the soul, according to this notion, was immortal both ways; that is, not only was to have no end, but had no beginning; and was to return after death into the same condition in which it was before our birth; a state without any distinct personal existence, or consciousness. It was the substance of which the soul is composed, that (according to this doctrine) was eternal, rather than the soul itself; which, as a distinct Being, was swallowed up and put an end to. Now it would be ridiculous to speak of any consolation, or any moral restraint, or any other effect whatever, springing from the belief of such a future state as this, which consists in becoming, after death, the same as we were before birth. To all practical purposes, it is the same thing as annihilation.

"Accordingly the Apostle Paul, when speaking to


the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv.) of some persons who denied the "Resurrection of the dead," (teaching, perhaps, some such doctrine as that I have just been speaking of) declares, that in that case his "preaching would have been vain." To deny the "resurrection" is, according to him, to represent Christians as "having hope in this life only," and those "who have fallen asleep in Christ, as having perished." (v. 18, 19.) As for any such future existence as the ancient philosophers described, he does not consider it worth a thought.

"Such was the boasted discovery of the heathen sages! which has misled many inattentive readers of their works; who, finding them often profess the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and not being aware what sort of immortality it was that they meant, have hastily concluded that they had discovered something approaching to the truth; or, at least, that their doctrine was one which might have some practical effect on the feelings and conduct, which it is plain it never could. And such, very nearly, is said to be the belief entertained now by the learned among the East Indian Brahmins, though they teach a different doctrine to the vulgar."

Thus, then, it appears there is no truth in the oft repeated assertion that all nations and people have believed in man's immortality, or an endless conscious survivance of a fancied entity called the soul. It was not true of the ancient heathen philosophers themselves, much less of the mass of the people. So far from all nations and people believing the soul immortal, there were a large class among the Jews who did not believe it, viz.: the Sadducees, who said, "There is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit."

It may be replied - "The Sadducees were infidels, but the nation at large believed in the immortality of man; for the Pharisees taught it." I reply – These


two sects were both extremes: the first denying any future life, and the other making a future life dependent on what we now call transmigration of souls, rather than a real resurrection: and that idea probably arose from their notion of the soul's immortality. - These two sects are alike condemned by our Lord; and his followers are warned to beware of their doctrine: see Matt.16:6-12. Both sects were corrupt in doctrine and in practice. Enough has now been said to show that all nations and people did not believe in the immortality of man.

I proceed to take up the three main arguments in support of man's immortality.

1. The desire all men feel for it.

This argument can avail nothing, unless it can be proved, that what men desire they will possess. But men desire many things they never obtain. All men desire happiness; but does it, therefore, follow that all men will be happy? Certainly not. So, neither does it follow, because all men desire immortality, that therefore, they are immortal, or will all attain it. We might as well argue that because all men desire to be rich, therefore they are rich, or will certainly be so. The desire for immortality is, without doubt, a strong principle implanted in us by the author of our being, to excite us to a course of living that shall secure that invaluable blessing, which He designed to bestow upon man, if he would walk in obedience to the law of his God. - Hence, the dread of the loss of it was to influence men in enduring whatever of trial might be their lot, during their sojourn in this state of probation; and, properly considered, will be a mighty stimulus to enable us to suffer even unto death, if need be, that we may gain ETERNAL LIFE.


2. It is said - "The soul is a simple essence, immaterial, uncompounded, indivisible, indestructible, and hence immortal."

Here is surely an array of words that might deter a timid man from investigation; but, following the apostolical injunction, I proceed to prove, or examine, these assumptions.

1.) How do those who take this position know the soul is a simple essence? Again, what is a simple essence? can they tell us? Or, is it merely a phrase to blind the mind and hinder investigation? Surely the phrase communicates no idea to the mind of man - it is too vague to give any instruction - it is too subtle to admit of being the subject of thought, and therefore it must pass for an unfounded assumption.

2.) What is immateriality? Strictly speaking it is, not material - not matter. In other words - it is not substance. What is that which has no substance? - What kind of creation is it? If the Creator formed "all things out of nothing," it would seem that man's soul has taken the form of its original, and is nothing still; for it is not matter, we are told. If it is said - "It is a spiritual substance" - I ask, What kind of substance is that, if it is not matter? I cannot conceive, and I do not see how it is possible to conceive, of substance without matter, in some form: it may be exceedingly refined. I regard the phrase, immaterial, as one which properly belongs to the things which are not: a sound without sense or meaning: a mere cloak to hide the nakedness of the theory of an immortal soul in man; a phrase of which its authors are as profoundly ignorant as the most unlearned of their pupils.

3.) It is said - "The soul is uncompounded." If that is true, then it follows that it is uncreated. I can form


no idea of a creation without compounding. If not compounded it is only what it was: no new idea is produced. Then, if the soul exists at all, as an entity, it must be a part of the uncreated: that is, it must be a part of God. If a part of God, how can it sin? Can God be divided against himself? But how is that God who is "without body or parts" to be separated into the millions of souls that have inhabited, and do inhabit this earth? And then these parts of God often meet in the battle field, slaying each other! Horrid work, truly, for parts of God to be engaged in! But we cannot stop here. Millions of these parts of God sin against other parts of God, and are sent to hell to be tormented eternally, and eternally to curse and blaspheme the other parts of God! Such is the inevitable result of the theory I oppose, disguise it as its advocates may.

4.) "The soul is indivisible," it is affirmed. Then, if a part of God, it is an undivided part of God; and there is not, and cannot be, in the nature of the case, but one soul to the whole human family. If the soul is indivisible, how could Abraham give or communicate a soul to Isaac? It could not be an offshoot from his own, for that would make his soul divisible, and our opposers say it is "indivisible." I cannot see, if Abraham communicated Isaac's soul to him, but what it must still have been Abraham's soul in Isaac, if the soul is not divisible; and then I do not see how there can be more than one soul for the whole family; and as that is "indivisible," it is a family soul; hence it follows that the action of any one man must be the action of the family soul; so if one man sins, it is a family sin, or if one man acts virtuously it is a family virtue. Again, as the soul is "indivisible," all men


must have the same common destiny: say, for example, if Abraham should be lost, Isaac must be lost, for the soul can't be divided! and so whatever is the fate of the first man, Adam, must be the fate of all his race, or else the soul must be divisible; and then, what would become of the theory of its indivisibility? - Happy for man, however, we have the assurance that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are saved, and that proves Adam and Eve were, and that all their posterity must inevitably be so too - for "the soul is indivisible!" Thus our opposers take a short and certain rout to universal salvation. Can they get out of that dilemma without abandoning their theory?

There is no avoiding these conclusions only by affirming that a soul is created for each new-born child. But if created, is it holy or unholy? If holy, does God place holy souls in unholy bodies to pollute and defile them? If souls are a new creation at birth, how is Adam's moral depravity transmitted to his posterity? as theologians affirm it is. But if they are created unholy, is any soul of man blameworthy for his moral depravity? These are questions for the theologians to solve who maintain the indivisibility of the soul: questions which are no longer to pass by any man's mere affirmation. Give us proof - "thus saith the Lord," for these assumptions about the soul.

5.) Shall it be affirmed the soul is "indestructible?" If so, it is because God has determined it shall not be destroyed, or because he lacks power to destroy it. - If it is the first, give us Scripture testimony of such determination. I hesitate not to say, there is no "thus saith the Lord" for any such assumption. If it is said, God cannot destroy it - I ask, did he create it? If so, does it take a greater exertion of power to destroy


than to create? or, did God so exhaust his omnipotence in the act of creation that it is not now equal to the work of reducing back to its original state that which he has made? If I were to affirm God's inability to destroy anything he has created I might justly be charged with being "infidel." As it is, my opposers might more justly be charged with atheism; for they, in fact, deny Jehovah's omnipotence, which is equivalent to a denial of his being.

If to make their assumptions stronger they use the term annihilate, and say, "nothing can be annihilated - therefore man cannot be;" I answer, this position is wholly untenable, and is a deceptive play upon words. If a man dash in pieces a bottle, or burn a house to ashes, or consume a lamb in the fire, are not the bottle, the house, the lamb, annihilated? Say not, the elements of which they consisted still exist: they - the bottle, the house, the lamb - do not exist, as such: that form is annihilated. Not the elements of which he was formed: but as man he is no more. On the subject of annihilation, however, I may speak more at large in another place: I will only add now - If "God created all things out of nothing," as the theology of the age affirms, then he can, if he will, reduce all things back to nothing, or omnipotence has ceased to be omnipotent.

The attempt to prove the immortality of the soul, from its supposed indestructibility, is without force or truth; and with it falls the whole catalogue of assumptions, with which it is connected. He who created can destroy - "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" - in gehenna.

The Philosophical argument for the immortality of


man's soul, when stript of all its useless attire, stands thus: -

1. There are only two primary substances, viz: matter and spirit.
2. Matter has no power of self-motion, or self-determination, however it may be organized.

3. Therefore, wherever we see matter endowed with this power, there must have been added to it an immortal spirit or soul, that is immaterial, etc.  

This is the soul of all the philosophical arguments that have ever been put forth to prove man has an immortal soul. If the position is true it endows every animal, insect, or crawling worm upon earth with an immortal and immaterial soul just as really as man; and strips Jesus Christ of all the glory of bestowing immortality upon man by his work and meditation.

Having examined the first two arguments in favor of the natural immortality of men, and shown, as I think, that they have no foundation in truth, the ground of argument is narrowed to the one point, viz:

3. Is it the will of God that wicked men, who die in their sins, shall be immortal?

In determining this question, no man will be called master or father that now lives or ever did live. It will weigh nothing in my mind, what any of the (so-called) "fathers," have said or written; but what saith the testimony of God? * "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

* Isaiah 8:20 KJV.

First, I call attention to what man lost by the fall. In order to understand this, let us look at man prior to the fall. He was a probationer. For what? Not for life merely, as he was in the enjoyment of that. I conclude it was for eternal life, or, life uninterrupted


by death - figured and set forth before his eyes by the "tree of life" - as death , the opposite, was set forth by the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." Each of those trees, I conclude, were signs; the one of Life, the other of Death - not of man's body merely, but of the whole man; or, in other words, "Life and Death" were "set before" him. Eternal life must depend upon the development of a moral character in harmony with his Maker. If a development is made hostile and unharmonious, he is assured he shall not live, but shall "surely die." Thus permanent disorder is guarded against in God's universe, and man had before him a standing call and warning - a call to obedience and Life; a warning against disobedience, or sin and Death. He disregarded the warning, and slighted the call - he sinned. Now, "The Lord said, lest he (man) put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat, and LIVE FOR EVER, he (God) drove out the man, and placed a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." That is as clear as language can express it, the Lord God determined, or willed, that man should not be immortal in his sin; or, in other words, by sin man failed to secure a title to immortality, and was cut off from the "tree of life;" or, the sign God had given him of eternal life, was "hid from" his "eyes."

That this loss relates to the whole man, and not to the body merely, as some suppose, I prove from the fact, that if it related to the body only, then there is not a particle of evidence in the transaction, of pronouncing sentence upon man, by his Maker, * that any penalty was threatened to the soul - supposing man to possess such an entity - or inflicted upon it. There is surely none in the context; and it appears to me, that


if the exclusion from the tree of life, lest man should eat and live for ever, does not relate to the entire man, there is no evidence there that the denunciation of God against him affected any thing but his body. - It appears it was God's will that man should not be immortal in sin and misery; and this will is expressed in the text under consideration.

* Editor’s note: This paragraph could be confusing to you. The point that George Storrs is making here is that there is no evidence that the Tree of Life was just for someone’s body; the loss relates to the whole man. If the sentence of death was to the body only, it is not a strong enough penalty, because if the man could go on living as a dead soul, they would not be fully dead. But what does the Bible say? Paul under inspiration tells us that ‘the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23 KJV. There are only two options here: death or eternal life, nothing in between! Paul makes no mention here of an in between state where someone’s body is dead, but their soul is still alive. Paul states that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The death of the sinner is contrasted to the life that God gives to the believing sinner who repents. If the sinner repents and receives God’s gift, they will have eternal life, which is life in every sense of the word, not eternal life for a soul whose body has long since departed. But if the sinner fails to repent or fails to receive God’s gift that He longs to impart to man, when they die they will permanently lose their ability of gaining eternal life. We want you to get this! Because there are some religions in this world that teach that people get another chance if they totally mess up this life and die! Don’t believe it! Paul only lists two possibilities here, either death or life, he makes no mention of anything in between. We think that most people would agree on the definition of life for a human being, just look around you, look at yourself, and talk to the ones you know and love. We don’t think anyone really needs to hear some philosopher, scientist or Christian theologian explain to them what it means to be alive and living. It should be evident to all. The Bible in most cases, except for symbolic prophecy and some symbolic parables, speaks in the plain language of men, so that all may understand. You don’t need a PhD in order to understand what it says, if you can read and pray to God for His guidance, He will make it clear to you what you need to know now. Life in Heaven will be similar to life on earth here now, except there will be no sin, and peace, love and joy will be unabated throughout eternity! It most definitely will be a real, physical place, with real physical people living in it. But in the cases where the Bible uses symbolism, it can also be clearly understood if someone loves and wants to obey God, and if they will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbols in other parts of the Bible, instead of injecting their modern ideas and beliefs into the Bible! You must have the Holy Spirit working in your heart in order to be able to understand the Bible. If someone has departed from God, or is living in disobedience, you can be sure that they will get off track in some portion of the Bible or more if they even read it, because spiritual things are “Spiritually” discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14. The Bible is not for those who wish to have their own way, live their life the way they please, or for those who don’t want to obey God. Those who don’t want a better life, and don’t want to repent or get relief from their guilt and sins should move on, and not waste their time reading the Bible, until they finally see their need and turn to God for help. You can only gain new light from the Bible if you are living up to what God has already revealed to you!

Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Again - that this loss related to the whole man, I prove from the fact, that our Saviour, in his address to one of the seven churches of Asia, says, "to him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God." How clear the reference, and how obvious, that it is the whole man that is spoken of; and that none are to have access to that tree, or have immortality, but such as overcome. Will it be pretended that this relates to the body only? If so, then it proves that the body will not be immortal, unless we overcome - for the objector has admitted that the loss of the tree of life was the means of death to the body; and unless he regains access to that tree, or that which it represented, he must remain under death; and, as access to that tree is to be had only on condition of victory, the impenitent sinner will not have an immortal body, if the objector's theory is correct, whatever becomes of the fancied soul.

But I wish to call attention further to the tree of life, to show that it related to something more than the body. Revelation, 22nd chapter and 2nd verse, we read thus: - "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life," etc.; and at the 14th verse - "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the


city." The reference here is too clear to be misunderstood; no one will pretend that this relates to the body merely. By what authority, then, do they assume it, in regard to the "tree of life" in Paradise?

* Editor’s note: Why would a dead soul need the Tree of Life? The fruits on the Tree of Life give eternal life to those who are alive if they eat from it; it keeps them from dying. See Genesis 2:9. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created alive and given access to the Tree of Life until they sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. There is no mention anywhere in the scriptures that the Tree of Life can bring life back to the dead, only that it can extend the life of one who is already alive, that they may live forever if they eat it. Genesis 3:22. What did Jesus say regarding Himself? “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25 KJV. According to the Bible, the only way that someone can be raised from the dead, is if Jesus raises them from the dead, because He is the Resurrection and the Life. Even though some individuals in the Bible like Elijah, Peter and Paul were said to have raised someone from the dead, it was only by the power of God, or by the power of Jesus that they were able to do so, because it cannot invalidate Jesus’ claim that He is the Resurrection and the Life. And God honoring their request to raise someone from the dead, whom they prayed for, rested on Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world, in fact it depended on it. So Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.
Now back to George Storrs Sermon 1...

Allow me here to introduce an extract or two from Richard Watson. Few men have written better than he. His "Institutes" are well known among many in this country, as well as in Europe. In his sermon on "Paradise shut and re-opened," he has this remark

"The tree of life was a kind of sacrament. As the promise of immortality was given to Adam, every time he ate of this tree by God's appointment, he expressed his faith in God's promise; and God, as often as he ate of it sealed the promise of immortality to man. - In this view, sin excluded man from the tree of life, as he lost his title to immortality." Again, Mr. Watson says, in his sermon on "The tree of life," - "It has been suggested that it was the natural means appointed to counteract disease by medical virtue; and thus to prevent bodily decay and death." "This" he says, "is not an improbable hypothesis; but we have no authority for it; and if we had, our inquiries would not be at an end. For this hypothesis relates only to the body; whereas we find the tree of life spoken of in connection with the life of the soul - not only with immortality on earth, but with immortality in heaven. Thus wisdom, heavenly wisdom, is called 'a tree of life, with reference to the safety of the soul; and the 'fruit of the righteous' is declared to be 'a tree of life,' with reference to its issue in another world. - Thus also in the visions described by Ezekiel, of the glories of the Church on earth, and of those of St. John relating to the Church in heaven, 'the tree of life' stands as a conspicuous object in the scenes of


grandeur and beauty which each unfold; and therefore as closely connected with ideas of spiritual life here and hereafter."

"Is it not, therefore, without reason," he continues, "that many eminent divines have considered this tree as a constant pledge to Adam of a higher life; and since there was a covenant of works, the tenor of which was, 'this do, and thou shalt live,' - and as we know God has ever connected signs, seals, and sacraments with his covenants - analogy may lead us to conclude that this tree was the matter of sacrament - the eating of it a religious act; and that it was called 'the tree of life,' because it was not only a means of sustaining the immortality of the body, but the pledge of spiritual life here, and of a higher and more glorious life in a future state, to which man might pass, not, indeed, by death, but by translation."

"This will explain," continues Mr. Watson, "the reason why the fruit of that tree was prohibited after man had sinned. He had broken the covenant, and had no right now to eat of the sign, the sacrament, the pledge of immortality. 'Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever: therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. God resumed his promises, withdrew the sign of them, and now refused any token or assurance of his favor."

Mr. Watson adds, "The Judge passes sentence, but the Judge also gives a promise; and man is bidden to hope in another object, 'the seed of the woman.' That seed was henceforth to be his tree of life."

Thus much for Mr. Watson. He did not hold the doctrine for which I contend, in regard to the final destiny of the wicked; still, there are passages in his FACTS FROM GOD'S WORD FOR CONSIDERATION.


Before I proceed further, I wish to call attention to a few facts from the Scriptures of divine truth.

The word "Eternal" occurs but twice in the Old Testament. Once in Deut. 23:27, and is applied to God - "The eternal God is thy refuge" - and once in Is. 60:15, and is spoken of the city of God - "I will make thee an eternal excellency." The phrase "Eternity" occurs but once in the Bible, viz., Is.57:15, and is applied to God - "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity." How common to hear men talk about eternity - and to hear ministers tell their hearers they are going into eternity - and urge that consideration upon them, to call up attention. "Prepare for eternity," say they. To my mind, it is evident, that consideration is not made use of in the Scriptures, to lead men to God. I conceive it is false, in fact, to say a man has gone into eternity, because nothing can be clearer than that time will continue endlessly to any being that had a beginning: if he continues in life a relation will always exist to the period when life commenced, and that relation


cannot be separated from time. To say, then, that a man has gone, or is "going into eternity ," is saying that which is not true; and to urge upon a person such a consideration is to be "wise above what is written." Jesus Christ, nor his apostles ever used it. They preached that men were perishing - dying - exposed to death - in danger of losing everlasting life - traveling in the way that leadeth to destruction, etc.; and exhorted them to repent - believe - to lead a new life - to save themselves from this untoward generation - to lay hold on eternal life, etc. - but never told their hearers - "You are hastening to eternity;" for, I repeat it, that is not true, in fact.

When men die they "sleep in the dust of the earth:" Dan.12:2. They wake not till Christ returns "from heaven;" or till the last trump. See 1 Cor. 15:18,32,51,52; Phil. 3 :11,20,21; and 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

The phrase "eternal life," occurs no where in the Bible, except in the New Testament, and is always spoken of the righteous; it never has connected with it any qualifying terms, such as "happy," "blessed," or "miserable," etc., but simply denotes life in opposition to the death of the wicked. See Romans 6:21-23. "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life; for the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Here life and death are put in opposition, and no intimation is given that the death of the wicked is eternal conscious being in torments. It is very common to hear people talk about a happy


eternal life - a blessed eternal life - a glorious eternal life; as though the language of the Bible were not explicit enough. Such additions to the word of God, give evidence, if we had no other, that there is something defective in their theory. Such additions ought always to be looked upon with suspicion; and, if received at all, be received with great caution.

In interpreting the Scriptures, if we would be saved from the wild fields of conjecture, and save ourselves from an entire dependence upon others for the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, we must have some settled principles of interpretation.

The following I consider the most important: -

First - That words are to have their primary and obvious meaning, unless there is a clear necessity of departing from it. By their primary and obvious meaning, I mean the plain and direct sense of the words, such as they may be supposed to have in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country in which they lived, without any of those learned, artificial, and forced senses, such as are put on them by those who claim the right to be the "authorized expounders of the Bible." Such forced sense is, usually, nothing more than the peculiar notions they have been brought up in, and may have no better foundation than the superstition of some good old ancestor.

The next principle of interpretation I would lay down is, That it is a truth, from which we are not to depart without the clearest evidence, that words are never used to mean more than their primary signification; though they may be, and often are, used to signify something less. Not to adhere to this principle is to make revelation no revelation. Those who abandon


it may as well admit, at once, that the common people ought not to have the Bible, for it will only lead them astray. Why should Protestants boast over the Catholics in this respect? Do not both, virtually, claim that the language of Scripture is mystical, or has a meaning that does not appear in the common signification of the words? and, therefore, the Priests must interpret them to the people? Might we not as well give our Bibles altogether into the hands of these interpreters? Especially, if the plain common sense meaning of words is not to be followed, when there is no clear necessity for departing from it.

The primary meaning of the term death is, "the extinction of life." To say that when God threatens men with death, he does not mean they shall die, but be kept alive in eternal torments is not warranted by any ordinary use of language. What should we think of a law that says, "For murder thou shalt die," if we were told the meaning is not, that the transgressor shall actually die, but be kept alive in indescribable torments, protracted to the greatest possible extent? Would any man think he was fairly dealt with by such an administration? And would he not have just cause of complaint at the want of definiteness in the terms used to denote the punishment threatened!

The term "Immortal" occurs but once in the Bible, viz.: 1 Tim. 1:17; and is applied to God, "The king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God." If we were to judge by the frequency that we hear the phrase "immortal soul," we should suppose it was the most common expression in the Scriptures. You will hardly hear a sermon without the preacher often telling, with great emphasis, about "the immortal


soul," as though he thought that qualifying term was all important to impress his hearers with a sense of the soul's value; not content, with the Saviour to ask - "What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" No, that would be quite too weak, in his estimation, and he must strengthen it by adding, "immortal." To show the absurdity of such a course, I have only to say - That which is immortal cannot be lost. Hence, the persons who use this qualifying term, have to add another, and say - lose all "happiness." Now, the loss of the soul, and the loss of happiness, are two very different things, and each capable of being expressed in appropriate language.  *To say, when our Saviour said, a man may "lose his own soul," he did not mean that he will come short of immortality, perish, or cease all sense and life, but only that he shall lose the happiness of his soul, is, in my mind, corrupting the word of God.

* Editor’s Note: This belief is clearly at variance with the word of God, for it contradicts Jesus, as George Storrs’ notes.

As in sermons, so it is in prayers. Men seem to think prayers have but little power, unless they spice them often with "immortal soul:" and they would probably regard you as an infidel, if you were to tell them the Bible no where speaks of an immortal soul. How often, too, do we hear men talk about "the undying soul," in direct contradiction of the testimony of God, which expressly declares, "the soul that sinneth, IT SHALL DIE." A hymn, often sung begins as follows:

"A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify, A never dying soul to save And fit it for the sky."

The same hymn ends thus: -
"Help me to watch and pray, And on thyself rely, Assured if I my trust betray, I shall forever die."


How a never dying soul can forever die, it will take a poet to tell; or a very learned divine. Common people are not skilled in such palpable contradictions. The hymn under consideration is one of great beauty and excellence, with the exception of this defect.

The term "immortality," occurs only five times in the Bible, and is never spoken of the wicked; but is either applied to God and His Christ, or brought to view as something to be sought after, and to be found alone in Christ. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for honor, glory, immortality, - eternal life," Rom.2:7. Why, I pray, are men to seek for it, if it is the inheritance of all?

"Shall mortal man be more just than God?" Job 4:17. Man's body is neither just nor unjust in itself; this text, therefore, speaks of the man, as such; or the whole man, who is said to be mortal. Paul, in Rom.8:10, says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead" (i.e. mortal, doomed to die,) "because of sin; but the spirit is life" (why? because the soul is immortal? No; but) "because of righteousness;" clearly implying that it is being righteous, or having Christ in them, and possessing the Spirit of God, that is to make them immortal. This is further evident from the next verse, where he assures them that their mortal bodies should be quickened, i.e. be made immortal by the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead.

Man is said to be "corruptible," in opposition to the "incorruptible God." See Rom.1:23. Again; "They that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption," not immortality. See Gal.6:8. The wicked shall "utterly perish" in their own "corruption." 2 Peter 2:12.

If the view I take of this subject be correct, then many portions of Scripture, which have been obscure on the common theory, become clear, beautiful and full of meaning and force. If men are really dying, according to the strict and literal meaning of that term, that is, the whole man, then the language in which they are addressed is strictly calculated to awaken attention, and move their hearts. For example: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Men are represented as sitting "in darkness, and in the shadow of death;" i.e. death is so near them that his dark shadow is over them; but Christ is "the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world;" thus showing them how to escape death. "The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world - I am the bread of life. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and NOT DIE."

How natural and forcible these and similar texts are, on the supposition that man is actually dying. It takes not a doctor of divinity to see how appropriate the remedy to the disease. Men by sin have been cut off from the tree of life - they were starving, dying. Christ cometh: the bread of life - the feast is spread; hungry, dying souls are invited, without money and without price. Come, eat and LIVE. If you stay away, you DIE. O come to Christ and live - yea, live forever, and not die. Amen.

This Sermon 1 Taken From:
Six Sermons on the Inquiry Is There Immortality in Sin and Suffering?

Blog Edited by John Foll.

From the Editor:
Greetings! Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summary of Sermon 1:

* The question is not whether the righteous will be immortal, but whether the wicked will be immortal. What does the Bible say regarding this?
* The Bible does not have mystical meanings that only those schooled in Philosophy can understand, nor just the men of “the cloth”, but it is written in language that all should be able to understand who can read it.
* “If any man wants to do God’s will He will understand he shall know of the doctrine.” I.e. he will know the truth.
* The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless there is a clear necessity for departing from it. A strict adherence to this will save us from the wildest of errors.
* Not all nations in the past believed in the immortality of the soul on death. In the days of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates the common people seemed to doubt this theory, and even the philosophers themselves in their own writings. Many of them seemed to believe in the total annihilation of man at death, even though some of them tried to persuade people otherwise.
* The desire that all men have to live forever does not mean that they are immortal. This desire was implanted in us by our creator [as an inducement to obey Him – the editor].
* The belief that the soul of man is immortal, puts him on par with God or a part of God. This is clearly a lie. No created being is God! [This is what all or most of the pagan religions of the world taught, that man is part of God, instead of just a created being. – from the Editor]
* The soul is not a simple essence.
* The soul is not immaterial.
* The soul is not uncompounded, indivisible or indestructible and hence not immortal.
* The attempt to prove the immortality of the soul, or that the soul is indestructible is without force or truth, it is an assumption.
* Is it the will of God that wicked men, who die in their sins shall be immortal? No!
* We should consult the Bible for the truth, not church Fathers.
* Eternal life must depend upon the development of a moral character in harmony with the Creator, God.
* God determined or willed that man should not be immortal in his sin, and shut him out from the Tree of Life after he sinned.
* Man needs to eat from the Tree of Life in order to live forever.
* If man is shut out from the Tree of Life because he failed to overcome, he cannot have eternal life.
* Death was promised to man if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, it was death to the whole man that was promised, not a death to part of man.
* In Revelation Jesus promises eternal life to him that overcomes, not to the unrepentant sinner.

* Eternal life has never been promised to the unrepentant sinner, only for the one who repents.
* God is the only one who has immortality. 
* God is the only one who is eternal or inhabits eternity.
* Mankind, who starts their life at their birth, can have an endless life in Heaven if they are saved, but they are not eternal or infinite – only God is.
* You should understand the plain meaning of the words of the Bible, and not try to “philosophize” or seek mystical meanings of its terms, that only the  learned or those trained in ‘the Mysteries’ can understand.
* You should not depart from the truth, without the clearest evidence that what you perceive the Bible is teaching as the truth is wrong.
* The plain meaning of the word “perish” or “die” is cease to exist (in all forms); i.e. the total extinction of life.
* You must get the bread of Heaven, Jesus, that you may never die.
* If you don’t’ feed from the bread of Heaven, you will die and cease to exist.
* People talk about the undying soul in contradiction to God, who declared through His prophet Ezekiel that the soul who sins will die.
* The term “mortal man” from Job refers to the whole man, not just the body.
* You don’t need a Doctor of Divinity or to be schooled in philosophy to be able to understand the Bible.
* You need to understand that the word of God uses the plain meaning of words. [Unless it can be clearly shown as symbolic, as in prophecy. But even then the Bible explains itself, if you will take the time to study out how the Bible defines these symbolic terms. -From the editor.]
* Eternal life can only be given to the believer by Jesus. If they fail to get it from Him they must die.
* No one is born possessing eternal life, Jesus is the only one who can give it to you!
* Those who fail to secure their eternal life in this lifetime, by believing in Jesus and becoming His son or daughter, will utterly fail at gaining eternal life.
* But all who fail to gain eternal life will not go on in endless ages of torment. God forbid!
* Death is a sleep.
* Eternal Death is eternal extinction. (Referred to by the Bible as the 2nd Death.)
* Life or Death – they are contrasted with each other. Eternal life or eternal death. Each person may have one or the other.

You can quibble over these points if you will, but this is what the Bible teaches regarding the un-immortality of the soul.


Why are the points that George Storrs is making so important? Because you need to understand and follow ‘the plain’ meaning of words, so that you can understand the Bible. Each fallacy that is accepted and believed makes it easier and easier to get confused over more and more of what the Bible really teaches. If this goes on long enough, the person holding these fallacies may make a total shipwreck of their faith. Or they may be overcome by evil, and not think there is anything that they can or should do about it, if they believe what some “preachers” say. Or they may get so hardened against the truth, and become selfish and an abuser of others, racking up a heavy debt of sin that will never go away, unless they confess these sins and repent from them. But if they become completely hardened against the truth, they will never repent and be lost! Some of the lies that are taught and believed by many can cause someone to be overcome by sin and suffering. Some are told that they have a ticket to paradise, and that all they have to do is to wait until they receive it, because they can’t lose it once they have been “saved.” But this is a lie! That is why the truth is so important! The truth protects you from harm and losing your eternal life, if you believe it and receive it! Some people discard Christianity all together, thinking that it is no good; probably because of the mass of contradictions they were taught and have believed. But the more of the truth you learn, the easier it is to understand and believe what the Bible is really teaching and not be confused. When it starts to make sense, the devil’s lies lose their hold over you, and your way becomes clear and full of the light of God, lightening your path more and more until the perfect dawn.But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 KJV.  See also 2 Peter 1:19.

Oh that people would believe what God says in His Holy Bible! And put away all humanism, human philosophy, modernism, priest-craft, lies, and all deceptions, and would see the truth in its beauty! Then life would make sense, be sweet, and their eternal life could be secured by them! Then they would be free to be happy, full of God’s peace, love, joy, faith and hope! Is that what you want dear reader?

Dear reader, don’t let the devil take away the peace, love and joy that God wants to give you! Don’t let him steal away your crown of eternal life that Jesus wants to give you!Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 KJV. Don’t let the devil steal your crown of righteousness: Be like Paul who said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV.

Dear reader, do you long for Jesus’ appearing at His Second Coming, to take you back to Heaven with Him? Are you tired of the sin and suffering on this earth? Do you long for the crown of life and the crown of righteousness that Jesus wants to give you? Do you long to see your loved ones again who have already died who will be saved? Then ask God to help you understand His revealed will for you in the Bible, and not get confused over any of the truth contained in it, and to help you to obey Him in all that He has commanded you, and have the power to obey Him. Then your peace will flow like a river from the River of Life, which flows endlessly from the throne of God! Message from God: “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:” Isaiah 48:18 KJV. So harken to God’s commandments that your peace be like a river and that your righteousness will be as the waves of the sea!

May the grace of God be with you dear reader! Amen!

Editor’s Comments:

We want to conclude George Storrs’ Sermon 1 with some of our own observations:

Now get this point: Many believe that when good people die their soul goes straight to Heaven at death. So now they are faced with a conundrum: If the soul is a bodiless spirit when it goes to Heaven, how then does it get to eat from the Tree of Life? Jesus says that only those who have overcome have a right to the tree of life. This is how one gains eternal life, according to what Jesus stated here in Revelation 2:7, after they are resurrected by Jesus. John 5:25-30. So how can a soul be immortal (at birth or from eternity as some believe) if it has to gain it by becoming and overcomer as Jesus stated here? (Which is at the end of their life’s probation.) Either what Jesus has said here is true, that the soul must become an overcomer to be able to eat from the tree of life and live forever, or what is taught and believed by many, that the soul is immortal (at birth or from eternity before), but they both can’t be right. Who are you going to believe? Jesus or those who are contradicting Him? What does Paul say regarding those contradicting Jesus or God?May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." Romans 3:4 NASB.

The author George Storrs also indicates that unless a person who dies gains access to the tree of life again, they will remain dead. Remember Jesus promised Eternal Life to the overcomer, so in order for what Jesus promised to be true, the souls who died must be given eternal life and made alive again in every sense of the word, or they do not have Eternal Life! A dead spirit entering Heaven who has not been fully resurrected just doesn’t cut it! It doesn’t fulfill Jesus promise in any way! Some may try to say that souls get resurrected at a later date and think that this fixes the problem. But there are problems with this view too. Jesus indicated that the resurrection of the righteous, and the resurrection of judgement take place on or after His second coming. (Jesus declared that the righteous dead are raised at His Second Coming, but didn’t state in John 5:25-30 when the wicked dead would be raised – to know when this happens we must study other Bible texts, which are outside of the scope of this article.) Many sermons have been preached claiming that the soul appears before the judgement seat of God at death, to be judged and to receive either their sentence or their reward, but this is in direct contradiction to what Jesus declared! How can it be that the soul is judged at death and enters Heaven (and presumably given Eternal Life then) before the Resurrection at the Second Coming, since Jesus plainly declared that the resurrection takes place at the Second Coming, and the Second Coming hasn’t happened yet? But many preachers preach that the soul is in Heaven after their death. Surely none of those who teach that the soul is immortal are ready to suggest that Jesus’ Second Coming has taken place already, are they? Jesus’ Second Coming precedes the judgement when the wicked receive their sentence. At His second coming He raises the dead and takes His people home with Him to Heaven. Jesus declared: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [the Son of Man - Jesus], and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:25-30 NASB. This agrees perfectly of course with what Jesus said in Revelation 22:14 that George stores was quoting from above.

Does anybody really believe that this statement by Jesus here in John 5 is not referring to His Second Coming? Paul declares: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [This is an indication that souls only go to Heaven after Jesus’ 2nd coming.] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 KJV. It is clear here that Paul is talking about the same thing that Jesus was talking about, the Resurrection. And after the Resurrection of the good or the just, Jesus takes them with Him and so they shall ever be with the Lord! Therefore comfort one another with these words.

We think that this is unmistakably clear, that no one goes to Heaven before the Resurrection or before Jesus’ Second Coming. (With the exception of a very few people that the Bible said already went to Heaven: Enoch, Elijah, Moses and possibly the 24 Elders in Heaven. Genesis 5:22; Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:9-12; Matthew 17:1-4; Jude 1:9; Matthew 27:53; Revelation 4:4,10; 5:8; 7:13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4.) And that the wicked do not receive their punishment at death, but at some point after Jesus’ Second Coming, at the Resurrection of Judgement. And that the Judgement of the wicked (where they receive their sentence for their crimes against God and humanity) does not happen at their death, contrary to popular belief. And we think that it is crystal clear to all or most people, that the Second Coming of Christ hasn’t taken place yet. Don’t believe it? Have you ever heard of massive resurrections all across this world and massive numbers of people being raised from the dead and ascending to Heaven? No? John 5:25-30. Have you seen the heavens (the sky) roll up as a scroll? Have you seen the wicked praying for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them to cover them from the face of the Lamb of God?The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:14-17 NASB.

Have you seen Jesus the Son of Man coming in the bright clouds with great glory, sitting at the right hand of God’s power with the angels? Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27. No. Then there are no souls of the dead in Heaven yet, and there are no souls of the dead burning in hell yet, it’s that simple! Clearly none of these end of the world events we cited above have happened yet, so there are no souls of the dead in Heaven now awaiting their resurrection.

Why is all of this so important? Listen now to Jesus’ answer regarding this when He was asked by His disciples to know what the signs were for the end of the world: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you.’” Matthew 24:4 KJV. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13 NASB. We don’t want you to be deceived, dear reader! We want you to endure to the end and be saved.

Revelation 22:1-5 describes Heaven: John was shown the river of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God. This passage says that the tree of life yields 12 different kinds of fruit, yielding fruit every month. This implies there is a different kind of fruit for every month of the year, and it says that the leaves of it are for the healing of the nations. And it says that there will be no night there, and that the saints will reign there for ever and ever. But this passage is continuing from Revelation 21, where it was describing the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven, which is prepared for those who are saved; which are those whom Jesus is coming back for at His Second Coming. At His Second Coming they go back with Him to Heaven, to the mansions and the endless delight that He has prepared for all who love Him! John 14:1-3. There is nowhere in this account in Revelation 22 where it describes souls or disembodied Spirits wandering around having a grand joyous time, they are not even mentioned! It says that they (which are the eternally saved) will reign there forever and ever – this seems to indicate that there is no end to their stay there. It doesn’t mention that they, at a later date, leave Heaven so that they can get resurrected at the Second Coming and then come back to Heaven. But what does it say? It says that they rein there for ever and ever, with no end; apparently with no interruption.

So how is it that souls or ‘spirits of the dead’ manage to get into Heaven, and have no use of eating from the tree of life or drinking from the river of life? If the saints go there at their death before their resurrection, this is the way it would be - they would be spirits of the dead. It is assumed that the river of life and the tree of life are for living beings! Why else would it describe fruits on this wonderful tree that is apparently big enough to feed the nations of the saved – enough for everyone who makes it there, with its healing properties to it, if there were only souls or disembodied spirits of the saints occupying this wonderful place? Why would a disembodied spirit even care about these fruits? Why would disembodied spirits need to have the leaves of this tree which are for the healing of the nations? They are dead and beyond the need of such remedies. From the descriptions of Heaven throughout Revelation, particularly in chapters 21 to 22, it is obvious it is describing a physical place, which is the reward for physical beings who are alive, not dead. That is why Paul tries so hard to encourage all believers with the hope that those who died will live again, and that there is hope that we can see our loved ones again in Heaven! We are looking forward to that day, aren’t you too? Furthermore, the Bible states that life will be given back to the righteous dead at the Resurrection, which takes place at the Second Coming of Christ, which hasn’t happened yet. Heaven supplies everything that a real and an alive person would need to make them happy and sustain them with peace, love and wonderful joy and happiness throughout eternity, not for the spirits or the souls of the dead! This is because it is a physical place, meeting physical needs and supplying joy and happiness – supplying eternal life!

If you say that this passage in Revelation 22 is describing ‘spiritual fruits’ and ‘spiritual leaves’, what does that mean? A dead soul is beyond the need of anything whatsoever, much less ‘spiritual fruit’ or ‘spiritual leaves’ or ‘spiritual water’ from the River of Life. If these are ‘spiritual fruits’, and the River of Life is ‘spiritual’ and Heaven is ‘spiritual’ or metaphysical or ethereal, then where does the Resurrection fit into all of this? We think if someone takes the view that the fruit from the Tree of Life, as described here in Revelation 22, is only ‘spiritual’ or ‘ethereal’, then this does away with the need of the resurrection. This idea contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection found in the New Testament, for it makes it completely unnecessary, and causes great confusion in the scriptural interpretations in many places of the Bible. This causes people to doubt what Jesus said, which is the point of this error! But we want you to know dear reader, that Jesus and His Father can be trusted, and that everything that they said in the Bible is true! You can stake your life on it! Your eternal life!

Those who still doubt the premise of this blog article, show proof from the Bible for the idea that the souls of the saints go straight to Heaven at their death, and at the Second Coming they get resurrected. Many will try to say that such and such a text shows that the soul goes to Heaven at death (this article has debunked this idea), but we have yet to see any proof texts from the Bible regarding souls coming back to earth so that they can get resurrected. There is nowhere in the Bible where it states this. We don’t know how many people believe this, but most people probably haven’t thought about it too much, and just accept what they have been taught regarding this, without questioning whether it makes sense or not. But this is what someone is left with who believes that souls go to Heaven at their death, if they try to fit it together with Jesus’ promise of the Second Coming and the Resurrection. Why would a soul who is in Heaven need to leave Heaven to receive their reward, if they were already in Heaven and thus had it? Duh! Heaven is the reward! Once someone makes it to Heaven, they have their reward! Jesus declared, ‘My reward is with me to give to every man according as his works shall be.’ Revelation 21:12 KJV. Jesus’ reward, the promise of eternal life in Heaven through all eternity, is held out to the believer as something to be sought after, not something they already have! It is given by Jesus after the Second Coming, not at their death. In many texts in the Bible the reward to be sought after is eternal life in Heaven, which Jesus promised to those who overcome. But if the soul goes to Heaven immediately at their death, they would have already received their reward! Resurrection restores life to the dead. Eating from the Tree of Life gives eternal life to the one who eats it. If souls went to Heaven before their resurrection and were able to eat from the Tree of Life, this would give them eternal life if it were possible, and would bypass the need for the Resurrection promised by Jesus at the Second Coming. But spirits of the Dead are unable to eat physical food of any kind, because they are spirits, not physical, if they can exist at all (we think that they can’t). But we have already shown in our earlier editor’s notes in this article that the Tree of Life does not raise someone from the dead, this is something only Jesus can do, it causes the alive person who eats its fruit and eats its leaves to have eternal life! Death is the opposite of life, life is the opposite of death. There is no partial resurrection, the resurrection is for the dead only. Dead souls are not fully dead if they can exist after their body dies, because it is said that they still have their thoughts, and if they were in Heaven wouldn’t they want to praise God for their deliverance? But the Bible tells us that at death the thoughts perish and it says that the dead cannot praise God, so this notion of dead souls going to Heaven contradicts the Bible. See Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 88:10; 115:17. It would be ridiculous for them to have to come back to Earth again, just so that they can get ‘resurrected’, so that they can finally receive their reward that they already had! The foolishness of this line of thinking is beyond belief. So it comes down to who people will believe: Jesus or tradition.

Where is the proof texts in the Bible where Jesus or Paul or anyone else said that souls are brought back to the earth, so that they can get resurrected after they have been in Heaven awhile? They don’t exist! This is an assumption based on the fallacy that the righteous dead go to Heaven at death, and is an attempt to harmonize this view with Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at His Second Coming. No, the promise of eternal life and the trip to Heaven are made as a reward for the righteous who are alive when Jesus comes back, and for the righteous dead who are raised; they go to Heaven together at the same time (although the dead in Christ rise first). All go to Heaven with Jesus together, when He takes them back Home to the mansions He has prepared for those who love Him. Also note that Jesus Himself declared in John 14:1-4 that He was preparing a place for His people, and would come again to receive them that where He is, there they would be also. Read it carefully! Nowhere does it say that Jesus would receive them twice into their mansions in Heaven that He has prepared for them, once when they die and go as souls of the dead to Heaven, and once at the Second Coming at the Resurrection He promised. It only happens once according to the Scriptures! Paul’s testimony here agrees perfectly with Jesus’ testimony. Therefore the belief that righteous souls go to Heaven at their death contradicts Jesus’ promise of the Resurrection at the Second Coming. And it also contradicts the need for the Second Coming and makes it unnecessary, since all someone would have to do is to ‘die’ and they would make their way into Heaven, if they were an overcomer. And if it were true, Paul wasted his time telling believers not to sorrow as those who have no hope, because the souls would go to Heaven at their death, without the need for the Resurrection! If it were true, there would have been no need to tell them the hope of the Resurrection, but this is not true. Why is it that people cannot see these inconsistencies and fallacies? This belief contradicts Jesus, Paul and the other writers in the Bible.

Paul clearly stated about the Second Coming and the Resurrection: that after this ‘thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words.’ Paul also stated at the beginning of that same passage in 1 Thessalonians 4: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 NASB. Paul tells us that Jesus will come back, raise the dead, who rise first in the air, and then those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with Him, and thus ‘we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.’ We think that many people who believe that the dead go to Heaven at death do not understand or catch the importance of what Paul was teaching here in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Did you catch that? It is crucial that you understand it dear reader, so that you will have your hope built on the solid rock and not on shifting sand. Paul was trying to console his readers that when the believer dies this was not the end of their hope! Many of the ones he was writing to believed that when someone died that was it, they were forever in the grave. But Paul tells the Thessalonian church to hope for the Resurrection, which implies that nothing happens to the ones who died until Jesus comes back, at the Second Coming. The believer was to hope for the Resurrection. Paul was telling them that there was hope in the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, but he made no mention of any soul’s trip to Heaven immediately at their death, to be resurrected later at the Second Coming. If this were the case, Christians would have the reward of their hope before Jesus comes back at the Second Coming and the Resurrection, and would not need to hope after this, for they would have already received the promised reward. But Paul is clear here that the hope of the Christian is centered on the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, not death, even though many teach that the hope for Christians is centered on their death. Paul lays it out, and it has nothing to do with the way many are teaching it. We wish people would read the Bible carefully, thinking about what it is saying, using their reasoning ability to understand what it means, and reason from cause to effect. Jesus and Paul clearly taught what is important for Christians to understand: that the Resurrection to eternal life is the reward for the righteous, to be given at Jesus’ Second Coming, not their death. The way many believe, the rewards are handed out at death, not after the Resurrection, which is contrary to what Jesus, Paul and others in the Bible taught. And at funerals or memorials, many times it is said that the person who died ‘has gone on to their reward’, in direct contradiction of Jesus!

Conclusion of the Editor’s Comments:

Why are we running these articles about the afterlife, and spending so much effort to disprove the common beliefs about how one gets to Heaven? Because there is a certain wonder, beauty, peace and joy that many people are missing out on. And because it provides an opportunity for people to become deceived, if they accept these falsehoods regarding Heaven and Hell. It causes people to doubt what Jesus and other writers in the Bible taught, whether they realize it or not. And it causes them to not understand or believe some of the plainest teachings in the Bible, but to instead look for some other mysterious meaning rather than the obvious one. The acceptance of any fallacy makes it easier to accept other fallacies. But it brings us much comfort to understand the truth in its beauty, and understand God’s great love for humanity in the wonderful salvation He is providing! God is not offering some ‘cheap’ parody of life in Heaven, but the real thing. It is life eternal, eternal life! It is life in every sense of the word, but it is eternal life, not a short life of a few mortal years like we have here! It is not some abstract concept that only theologians, philosophers, or ‘gurus’ or just a few of the ‘enlightened ones’ can understand. It is the same thing as what you already have now, except there will be no more sin, suffering, pain or death, and there will only be wonderful peace, love, joy, and happiness throughout eternity!

Dear reader, Heaven is a real place, and real people with flesh and blood will dwell there throughout the countless ages of eternity! Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you there. John 14:1-3. Won’t you come and go with me to that bright and fair land? We hope and pray that you will. Will you accept the invitation? Don’t let anyone confuse you, and “don’t you let nobody turn you ‘round” as the song says. Jesus and His Father have provided for all of your needs now and forever. Yes, you can make it there if you will give your heart completely to God, and trust in His mighty power to save you! If you are not there yet, just allow His loving kindness to lead you there and shelter you in His love, then you will have all the faith you need to be saved.

Heaven is not a place inhabited by “spiritual only beings”, known by some as souls (of the dead), but Heaven is a real place inhabited by real beings who are ‘spiritual’ and fully alive, who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They have a real life in Heaven, they really eat the fruits from the Tree of Life, and they really drink from the River of Life, clear as crystal, which is flowing endlessly from the throne of God! And they have real peace, real love, and real joy forever and ever!

Heaven is not the realm of dead souls, ghosts or the like, but it is the realm where real people with new life from God live, filled with His Spirit who will be living there through endless ages.For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 KJV. Amen.

Yes, Heaven is real! Heaven is a real place, and you can really live there forever! You have been invited! Won’t you go there?

-- From the Editor. May the Grace of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you! 

Inspirational Songs for this Message :

What Will it be to See Jesus:     By Fred P Morris, pub 1909

What will it be to see Jesus?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
On the brink of that beautiful river,
Its wonderful light,
Will burst on my site,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

When in wonder I stand
With my hand in His hand
In that home of the ransomed forever,
The sorrow all passed
Triumphant at last!
Oh what will it be to see Jesus?

What will it be to see Jesus?
What will it be to see Him?
There are glories untold
In that city of gold,
But what will it be to see Jesus?

How Bright the Shore:

How bright the shore
Where waits my Jesus,
The streets of gold
Outshine the sun!
How bright the shore,
Like glistening diamonds,
A palace there for everyone!
I’m going there, yes going there,
In matchless splendor I’ll abide!
I’m going there,
Yes going there,
To spend my days at Jesus’ side!

Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Round!

We hope you have stayed here with us on this series on this sermon and on our other blog articles on the How To Please God Blog. We hope that you will keep reading our articles here and the articles on our other blogs. If you don’t agree with all of our articles, please keep reading them. We believe that you will find something that you need, to help you grow closer to God and help you with your spiritual walk with Him, to give you much peace, love, faith, joy and hope. God gives everyone the time to get to know Him and to want to love and obey Him, if only they would! Give yourself the time to get to know Him, and allow His sweet Spirit to guide you. And you may find yourself agreeing with more and more of our articles, as the Spirit leads you. This is our prayer for you dear reader. Amen. It takes a while to learn all that God wants you to know and to have the experiences that He wants you to have, and you may not always be ready and willing the first time you come across the lessons that you need to learn, but He is patiently waiting for you to follow Him. It is a journey with Him, the one we hope that you are learning to love. We are still learning too; there are always knew things to learn and new heights to climb, and new joys to experience on our way to Heaven! Amen.  

We want to write blog articles on the Second Coming here, and at least one blog article for each of the 10 Commandments. We think that many people may not fully understand God’s 10 Laws of Love, or have fully thought about what they mean. Many people may not be aware of the ramifications of God’s Law and how their life needs to change so that they can be pleasing to Him. We want to break it down to you, so you can make progress on your way to Heaven. We want to show you the sinfulness of sin; of hurting God, yourself or others, so that you can turn fully to God for help, while there is still time. We want you to know if you are going down the right path or not. There is much ignorance about the full meaning of each of the 10 commandments, and how encompassing they are, including actions, words and thoughts. Some think they are keeping God’s commandments, when their heart is far from Him, with the unkind way they are treating others. And with their inability to keep all of His commandments, which they may try to hide from others. Many see God’s commandments as merely a list of don’ts, thinking that they don’t need to concern themselves with it, instead of viewing it through the eyes of love. No one who rejects God’s Law of love, the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20, can make the claim that they are into love, not works. Because true love always treats others with kindness and respect, and loves God supremely or confesses and repents when they miss the mark. And true love is the fulfillment of the Law! Love does no wrong to their neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law as Paul says in Romans 13:10.

You will see that the 10 Commandments should encompass everything that you do in this life; it is how God wants you to treat Him and others. But many are ignorant of the full significance of how bad sin is, and how they need to let God deal with it in their life, if they want to make progress and have God’s peace, love and joy. We have presented articles and written articles in our other blogs and books talking about God’s Law of Love, the 10 Commandments, why they are important, and how God can help you keep them. But in this “How To Please God” Blog, we will expand on each of these commandments separately and break them down that all may see more of what each of them means more fully. This is important, because they should touch on every part of your life, as you will see.

As time goes on, we also want to put more articles here by George Storrs from his Sermons 2 to 6. And we want to write more articles on the problem texts in the Bible that seem to indicate something different than what we are teaching. We want to present the Bible teaching in a way that has the least contradictions, and try to figure out what the passages may mean that seem contrary to the Bible’s main teaching, instead of being like others who take 1 or 2 texts or so, and discard everything else in the Bible that goes contrary to this, against sound reasoning. But some of what is taught and believed out there goes against plain reasoning and sound teaching.

We hope to present more articles on the future judgement, crisis, day of trouble, and future events, etc. from Bible prophecy to help all grow in their understanding of what God wants them to know. You will need wisdom from God to use this truth wisely.

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