June 2005 Newsletter and Article Are Online
Commentary for June 1, 2005 —The Pope in Hell
The state of the dead is the subject of this month’s “June 2005 Newsletter,” and the Article for June “Pope John Paul II Is in Hell!” that can be accessed from the Newsletter.
Pope John Paul II recently died, and he is presently in hell. However, he is there like all others who have died: your loved ones, my loved ones, the righteous and the unrighteous dead. God remembers them. Of this we can be certain from Scripture.
In Jesus’ extended discourse with the people about Himself being the bread of life, Jesus states directly that the fathers of the Exodus from Egypt are dead.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting [age-lasting] life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever [for the age].”
Note that Jesus specifically says that the forefathers (of the Pharisees He was speaking to) who went through the 40 years in the wilderness, they all are dead. At the moment Jesus spoke they were still dead. This would include Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Miriam, Caleb, and all other righteous dead of that time. They are dead. They are not alive. The bread eaten in the wilderness sustained them alive but did not give them the “living bread” which comes down from heaven.
The dead cannot speak, have feelings, or give praise to God or to anyone else. They neither have nor express emotions. The Psalmist asks rhetorically with a strong negative:
“Will you show wonders to the dead? [No!]
shall the dead arise and praise thee? [No!]
Shall your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? [No!] or
[shall] your faithfulness [be declared] in destruction? [No!]
Shall your wonders be known in the dark? [No!] and
[shall] your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? [No!]”
“The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.”
Then notice how the grave and death are inactive compared to the living. Death cannot praise or celebrate, or know truth; but those living shall give praise and make truth to be known:
“For the grave cannot praise you, death can not celebrate you: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth. The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known your truth.”
Several other verses clearly show the same thing, that the dead are not conscious, aware, nor existent, except in God’s memory. See Psalm 30:9, 118:17; and Jeremiah 22:10.
In fact, God is explicitly not the God of the dead but He is the God of the living. Only the living can worship God, and God can only communicate with the living. This is what Christ said to the multitude, and they were stunned by His statement:
“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.”
Matthew 22:31–33 (Mark 12:27)
How is it then that the dead patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are stated to “live unto Him” in Luke 20:38? Well, let us look at the context of that verse, which is a restatement of the Matthew 22:31–33 and the Mark 12:27 passages:
“Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, you have well said.”
Jesus is answering a question about the dead. The Pharisees who asked the question did not believe in the resurrection. He explains that Moses showed “that the dead are raised” and not alive in another state of being as spirits by virtue of designating the Lord of the Old Testament as the God of the three patriarchs of Israel. Those righteous dead and all the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and at that very moment they will be raised from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and not before. The phrase “for all live unto Him” is in the present tense. However, understand that “to Him” they all live. They live in His memory and will live in reality when the dead are raised.
Colossians 1:18 states that Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead.” This shows that no other dead were yet “born” to immortality even in Paul’s time (and they still are not). God remembers the dead, just as he knows the names of the stars (Psalm 147:4) and the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7):
“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.”
He will not forget His own children in death (Job 14:13; Psalm 8:4, “mindful” is the common Hebrew term for “remember”). The issue of the dead is no mystery if we learn and understand what the Scripture says.
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