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Death and the Afterlife Paperback – October, 2001
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About the Author
Dr. Robert Morey is the Executive Director of the Research and Education Foundation and the author of over 20 books, some of which have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, and Chinese. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of comparative religion, the cults, and the occult. He received a B.A. in philosophy and his M. Div. and D.Min. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is presently Pastor of New Life Bible Church and Professor of Apologetics and Hermeneutics at Perry Bible Institute. He and his wife have two children.
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Top customer reviews
Some may scoff. But I choose to believe in more than the physical. Uncertain? This book will validate those so predesposed ,and give the
"is that all there is" crowd pause. Learn it "here" You may wish you had "there".....
You mentioned your reservations about Phil 1:"21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better" I don't think you have to do much research to understand what he was saying here. To die is Gain?? Why gain? Having a desire to depart and be with Christ? Look also at 2 Cor 5 1-8 Paul CLEARLY states that being out of the body is to be present with the Lord. I believe He knew that he would be with Christ immediately. Your position that he knew this would be after the resurrection thousands of years later doesn't seem to explain the almost excitement Paul has at the anticipation of the immediacy of his expression. This line of thinking also dovetails in with the thief on the cross account. The thief would have taken very little comfort in the fact that Christ was telling him that today you will be in paradise with me actually meant thousands of years later! Your whole JW position on this one subject does have some good points and it makes understanding just what happens at death somewhat contradicting at times. But your position is only one sided.
You appeared to try to throw the whole book under the bus regarding the mistake in the beginning of the book. It's unfortunate that the book starts out with the wrong quote being attributed to Solomon but that doesn't void its contents. But you organizations endless failed prophecies/dates like 1914,1925, 1975. Your Governing Bodies unwillingness to admit that they have in fact stated in their literature that they are a prophet of God Wt,1/15/59,pg40,41 or Wt,4/1/72,pg197. Your position on allowing products made from blood to be consumed. Example gamma globulin shots or hemophiliac preparations made from over 200 plus quarts of stored blood for one preparation and at the same time children dying in car accidents by refusal to accept blood. P.S. blood isn't a feeding it's a liquid tissue transplant. Your position that there is 2 classes of Christians are examples of your own willingness to commit to ideas which are unbiblical as well. Actually you may not given this much thought but your mere acceptance that the supposed "anointed " are going immediately in the presence of God when they die to rule with Christ actually is a belief in life after death. Unfortunately somehow along the way you allowed someone to tell you that your not part of the covenant. John 10:16 says 1flock not 2. Rev 7 which is a major stretch of the imagination to somehow tie into 1935 and ole Judge Rutherford's royal confusion actually shows the great crowd is in heaven. Look how many times it says before the thrown. Friend the other sheep were the gentiles! I would study Ephesians 2:11-22 and Ephesians 3:1-10. Then ask yourself if you haven't fallen victim to what is stated at2 Corinthians 4:4
Consider the following partial list of quotes and notes that I have compiled from the book: [Brackets are my words.]
Page 57: “They [the annihilationists] downgrade the importance of church history and emphasize that it is the Bible, and the Bible alone, which should influence our beliefs.” The author here admits that those whom he calls “annihilationists” base their case on the Bible, and his anti-annihilationist view requires extra-biblical thinking. It is not surprising that the author continually appeals to rabbinical literature (pages 30, 38, 50, 56, 74, 81, 84, 85, 88-91, 97) and other literature of pagan sources.
Several key quotes reveal that the author’s claim rests on ideas that entered into rabbinical thinking during the intertestamental time period, when God gave no new revelation. Instead, the Jews began switching from Hebrew to Greek during this time, and imported volumes of Greek thought which influenced the views of liberal elements of the leaders.
Pages 83-84: “During the intertestamental period, the Jewish concept of Sheol had progressed to the stage where it was believed that Sheol had two distinct compartments…the New Testament refers to a concept of an afterlife which had evolved beyond the Old Testament concept of Sheol and reflected the progress of understanding which had been accomplished during the period between Malachi and Matthew…Given the principle of progressive revelation [during this time when no new revelation was given!] , that Hades would evolve…” (Genuine revelation from God does not evolve!)
Page 90: “…When Christ spoke of Gehenna…He was clearly using rabbinic phraseology. Thus, it is more crucial to discover how these words were used in rabbinic literature…” “The intertestamental literature is clear…when the worms start gnawing on the body, “the worms are as painful to the dead as a needle in the flesh of the living””. Other similar quotes could be given, indicating that the author rests his case far more on non-inspired literature of man than the Bible. Of course, this does not make his belief to not be true, but it does reveal that his claim to be basing the immortality doctrine on the Bible is very weak.
Pages 56, 63, 211: While author rejects the claim that the immortality ideas entered Jewish thought from the Greeks, he then resorts to referencing the “soul” beliefs of Plato, Socrates, and Greek literature on pages 56, 63, and 211 as if they add credibility to his claim. In my view, they weaken his claim. It is fabricated by philosophers instead of being revealed by the God who created us. It can only be drawn out from the Bible based on presuppositions and inferences, never by any direct statement from God.
Pages 90, 102, 109: The author also defines annihilation, not as complete cessation of life, but of complete elimination of the body, as if a dead body is still somehow living. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), which is to no longer be alive. Death is the destruction or cessation of life, regardless of the condition of the once-living body. Consider these excerpts from pages 90, 102, 109: “Do people become nonexistent when they are killed…do wineskins pass into nonexistence when they are destroyed by bursting? Is food annihilated when it spoils? In every instance something other than annihilation is being described….in the strict meaning of the word.” “If the annihilationists were right, then Christ should have disintegrated on the cross and would have ceased to exist in body and soul. However Christ’s body was not annihilated but intact…” Given this absurd definition, evidently even the dust of a cremated body is somehow evidence that the once living body is still alive!
Pages 23, 24, 31, 215: The author repeatedly claims that the Old Testament is “vague”, “blurred”, and “unclear” (pages 23, 24, 215). Thus, “figurative language will be extremely important in our study of death” (page 29). The author then uses the terms such as “hellfire”, “worms”, “fire”, “darkness” and even “death” metaphorically, instead of considering what the Bible would actually be stating if it were taken literally (pages 30, 117). The author does this…“by locating hell in a black hole in space. Neither the darkness nor fire are literal…None [of these terms] are to be taken in a literal sense” (Page 31).
Pages 37-40, 47: Careful analysis indicates to me that the author’s primary basis is actually philosophical, for it certainly isn’t primarily biblical. He states, “In terms of our self-image, we must view ourselves as uniquely wonderful, intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning…In light of the dignity and worth of man as the unique image-bearer of God, we cannot accept, therefore, the idea of the conditional mortalists…A conscious afterlife is exactly what we would expect of such a wonderful creation of man” (Pages 37-38). [Therefore,] “We must point out that the concept of death as a state of nonexistence is patently absurd” (Page 40). “…Man is not only viewed as redeemable but worth redeeming…Man’s intrinsic worth…[makes him] worth redeeming” (Page 41). “The infinite value of man’s soul…” (page 47). (The concept of infinite worth is not found in the Bible - it is a philosophy of men.)
There are so many other distortions in the book that it would be embarrassing to use it to convince anyone of immortality. A good number of the Bible passages referenced, when examined, state nothing like the author’s claim. Do not be fooled by his many Bible references, especially if you check the original Greek or Hebrew. Look them up like I did.
Equally disturbing is the fact that the author makes no effort to consider what the biblical scenario would be if the passages regarding death are taken literally. The best verses that refute his claims are not even seriously examined, such as the following:
“…in the day that you eat thereof, dying you will die” (A literal Hebrew translation, showing that death would be an unstoppable process, beginning the very day he sinned. Nowhere does the Bible state that death was some mystical departure or death of Adam’s spirit or soul that happened the day he sinned.)
Genesis 3:22 (God’s statement after Adam had sinned.)
“…lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and live forever…” (Removal of access to the tree of life was the mechanism God used to bring about Adam’s death, showing that death is physical, not spiritual! Access to the tree of live would have enabled Adam to live indefinitely, even after sinning, which is why God sent angels with flaming swords to prevent his eating from this tree.)
Genesis 3:19 “…out of [the ground] was thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Not spirit thou art, and to spirit shalt thou return!)
Ezek. 18:4, 20 “Behold, all souls are mine. As the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine. The soul that sins shall die.” “The soul that sins shall die.”
Job 14:10-15 “But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake nor be roused from their sleep."Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands.”
Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
(Job will see God at the resurrection, not before!)
Psalm 6:5 “For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?”
Psalm 30:9 “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?”
Psalm 115:17 “The dead do not praise the LORD, nor any who go down into silence.”
Psalm 146:4 “His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.”
Isaiah 38:18-19 “For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day;”
Other similar passages: Psalm 88:9-12, Eccl. 3:17-21,9:5-6, Dan. 12:2, Luke 12:46-48
While I have no personal objection to life continuing in some fashion between death and the resurrection, if that truly is the case, I do take issue with deliberately distorting what the Bible does say, or claiming that it states something that is not really there. That is deception. The Bible plainly states from beginning to end that death is like sleep, and the resurrection is like being awakened from sleep. The resurrection is also portrayed as literal, physical bodies returning to life, not some mystical soul or spirit being freed from a tomb. Reading the Bible with the original Hebraic understanding of literal life and literal death, and a literal resurrection of our bodies creates harmony between what the Old Testament prophets taught as well as the New Testament apostles, and Jesus Himself.