I’m 65 years old now and planning for my funeral arrangements. And because my finances are small & cremation it’s less expensive; but I’m struggling in my spirit about cremation. if you can please enlighten me on the subject of cremation. I really appreciate you’re insight on the subject. May Yahweh continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.
Cremation in Scripture was employed in cases of serious offenses. Yahweh revealed that the punishment of Satan will be his total destruction by fire, resulting in ashes (Ezekiel 28:18, Revelation 20:10). The destruction of the wicked of the world is described as ashes under Yahshua’s feet, Malachi 4:3.
The righteous patriarchs were buried and their bones were later taken and buried in bone boxes or ossuaries. See Abraham (Gen. 23:8); Joseph (Ex. 13:19); Jonathan (2Samuel 21:13-14)
The wicked, the accursed, were burned (Joshua 7:15; Lev. 20:14; 21:9); also Achan (Joshua 7:25). Josiah deliberately burned the bones of the wayward high priests on the altar at Bethel to pollute it because of their false worship. But the bones of the prophet he let alone and would not burn them.
The pagans employed cremation regularly. The Hindus in India cremated and spread the ashes over the sacred Ganges River. They believed the flames facilitated the soul’s release to paradise. The pagan Greeks also customarily cremated, as did the American Indians.
Q. Do you believe that mankind has an immortal soul? Many churches teach as their doctrine that when a person dies they instantly go to heaven or hell, but the Bible does not support that. Doesn’t the Bible show that the “elect” will be resurrected at the Messiah’s Second Coming and the remainder of mankind at the second resurrection?
A. We do not believe that man has an immortal soul. This belief likely originated with the Egyptians, which was then adopted by the Greeks and eventually by Judaism and Christianity.
According to Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived during the fifth century BCE, immortal soul beliefs trace directly back to the mystery religion of the Egyptians: “The Egyptians were the first that asserted that the soul of man is immortal…This opinion some among the Greeks have at different periods of time adopted as their own” (Euterpe, chapter 123).
The Jewish Encyclopedia, in the article, “Immortality of the Soul,” says, “The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere taught in the Holy Scripture….The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended.”
The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature corroborates, “Perhaps we may say that the idea of immortality assumed a more definite shape among the Egyptians, for they clearly recognized not only a dwelling-place of the dead, but also a future judgment. ‘Osiris, the beneficent god, judges the dead,’ and, ‘having weighed their heart in the scales of justice, he sends the wicked to regions of darkness, while the just are sent to dwell with the god of light.’ The latter, we read on an inscription, ‘found favor before the great God; they dwell in glory, where they live a heavenly life; the bodies they have quitted will forever repose in their tombs, while they rejoice in the life of the supreme God.’ Immortality was thus plainly taught, although bound up with it was the idea of the preservation of the body, to which they attached great importance, as a condition of the soul’s continued life; and hence they built vast tombs, and embalmed their bodies, as if to last forever,” Immorality, p. 514, Vol. IV. This same exhaustive source also explains the connection between immortality and the ancient eastern religions of Hinduism and Confucianism:
According to the Bible, The day that a person dies their thoughts perish, their spirit or breath returns to Yahweh, and they wait in an unconsciousness state in the grave for the resurrection, Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Daniel 12:2. If the person is found worthy of the first resurrection, they will be resurrected when Yahshua the Messiah returns at His Second Coming, 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. If not, they will be resurrected at the second resurrection, also known as the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:4, 11-15. At this time, they will be judged based on their works, Revelation 20:12.
Q. The order given in 1 Corinthians 15 is 1) Messiah, 2) firstfruits, and 3) those at the Messiah’s Coming. Most just read right over this and assume the next group to be taken is “the firstfruits.” They even assume the “firstfruits” are the 144,000. If the “firstfruits” have not been taken already, then we have to assume they will be taken before the Messiah returns. If you believe this is so, I must ask, who then was resurrected in Matthew 27:52? It becomes clear that the next resurrection is #3, those at His Coming. What are your thoughts and beliefs on these Scriptures?
A. Before addressing Matthew 27:52, it’s important to realize that Paul in 1Corinthians 15:23 connects the “firstfruits” to Yahshua’s resurrection. It reads, “But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at his coming.” We see here two resurrections, Yahshua’s resurrection, which was the firstfruits, and those at His coming.
Regarding Matthew 27:52, while the Bible records that many of the saints were resurrected after Yahshua’s resurrection, there is no evidence to confirm that this was a resurrection from flesh to spirit, as we find with Yahshua’s resurrection and promised to those at His Second Coming. Paul in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17 states, “For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master.”
The saints who were resurrected immediately after Yahshua’s own resurrection served as a sign of Yahshua’s messiahship. Similar to the darkness and the curtain of the temple being torn, these things were done as a witness to confirm that Yahshua was indeed the promised Messiah and the Son of Yahweh. Since the Scripture does not provide any additional information and does not speak about a resurrection at this time, we assume these saints later died and are waiting for Yahshua’s Second Coming to be resurrected from flesh to Spirit.
Q. I read your article, Final Judgement of the Last Great Day. Are you suggesting that all the evil people who have died will be given the chance to repent during the Last Great Day or final judgment of mankind?
A. We are not suggesting that all people will be given a chance in the Second Resurrection or judgment, as mentioned in Revelation 22:11-15. The Bible states there that we’ll be judged based on our works, i.e., whether we lived a life of righteousness based on Yahweh’s Word.
In addition to works, we also believe that knowledge plays a role in judgment. Yahshua the Messiah in John 9:41 told the Pharisees, “…If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, does not judge us when we are genuinely ignorant. However, once we know, we have an obligation to obey and if we openly rebel, we will be judged for it. James 4:17 states, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Regarding the evil people who have died, depending on their infraction, repentance may not be possible. For example, we do not see much hope for people like Adolph Hitler who ruthlessly slaughtered millions of people. Second Peter 2:12 states, “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.”
In short, the Bible confirms that all of mankind will be judged based on their works with consideration of what they understood. For those who may not have misunderstood key biblical truths, but who stilled lived a life of honesty and virtue, we believe they will be given the chance to learn and grow in the Word. However, for the person who lived a deplorable or wicked life in full knowledge, they will be judged accordingly.
Is hell a real place or just a pagan notion adopted by early Christianity? Also, does the Bible show that the fallen angels go to hell?
We believe that hell is a real place, but not as most believe. To understand this concept, it’s crucial to understand a few Hebrew and Greek words found in the Old and New testaments.
The Old Testament contains the word “sheol.” It appears 66 times and is rendered in the KJV as, “grave, hell and pit.” It does not refer to a place of ever-burning torment. The Greek equivalent to sheol is “hades.” Even though both words originally referred to the grave or to the place where the righteous and wicked go at death, hades took on a new meaning through Hellenistic influence to include concepts of a place of torture or imprisonment.
Authors Alan F. Johnson and Robert E. Webber explain this transformation in their book, What Christians Believe–A Biblical and Historical Summary: “In the intertestamental period there were significant developments in eschatological themes. The first relates to the development of a compartmental view of sheol. When the righteous and the wicked die, they go to different places. This is to be contrasted with the Old Testament view that sheol is the place where both the righteous and wicked go. Under the growing influence of Greek concepts of a distinct body and soul, some Jews taught that after death ‘the immortal and perishable soul, once detached from the ties of the flesh and thus freed from bondage, flies happily upwards’ [quote from Flavius Josephus, The Jewish Wars, II, VII.2]…On the other hand the wicked go to sheol, which is now identified with the Greek hades. This region of damnation is also called gehenna, a place of eternal fire (originally the old rubbish heap and a place of child sacrifice south of Mount Zion in Jerusalem). It was known as the Valley of Hinnom,” pp. 423-424.
As this source confirms, sheol and hades originally both referred to the grave. However, as Greek influence spread within the early church, these terms took on new meanings, including separate places for the righteous and wicked. In addition, the concept of an immortal soul was introduced, which is also foreign to Scripture. In fact, the term “immortal soul” never appears in the Bible. Many scholars believe this notion of an immortal soul arose through ancient Egypt, which was later adopted by the Greeks and eventually introduced to the Church.
A third word associated with the concept of “hell” is the Greek “gehenna.” This term refers to the Valley of Hinnom, a large valley positioned on the south side of the city of Jerusalem. It was in this valley where Israel would throw their trash. For this reason, this valley was perpetually burning. As a side note, this is also where Israel sacrificed their children to Molech. It is from this valley and practice where the concept of an ever-burning hell-fire arose.
So while the Bible does confirm a place of fiery judgment, it is not a place of perpetual burning or torment. When the Bible speaks about someone suffering hell-fire or gehenna, it’s referring to their complete destruction.
There are a few key passages confirming that hell-fire does not refer to an ever-burning or perpetual place of torment. For instance, Judah 7 states that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the example of “eternal fire.” Interestingly, Sodom and Gomorrah are no longer burning. In 2016 when we toured the ancient site of Gomorrah, we found only ash and scattered sulfur balls. Nothing else of the ancient city remained.
A similar example in found in Jeremiah 7:20. It states there, “Therefore thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.” This passage is referring to Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians. As with Gomorrah, there is no perpetual fire burning today in Jerusalem.
The phrases “eternal fire” and “shall not be quenched” do not refer to a perpetual or ever-burning hell-fire, but to the totality of Yahweh’s destruction. Sodom and Gomorrah suffered complete annihilation by fire from heaven. In like manner, Judah suffered complete destruction by Babylon.
The concept of ever-burning fire is not biblical, but one that crept in through Greek teachings. It’s important to realize that many of today’s church teachings originated through Hellenistic influence within the early church, including other doctrines such as Sunday worship and many of today’s popular holidays.
There is one last word associated with a place of judgment and that is “Tartaros.” This word is mentioned only once in 2Peter 2:4 and is associated with the place of judgment for the angels who rebelled. Greek mythology also refers to this term and believes it resides under hades. It’s important to realize that this definition is not based on Scripture, but Greek mythology. The Bible itself does not provide a location for this term. It is also unclear from the Greek tense whether this is past or future. Even though the KJV shows this is past tense, this judgment is likely future tense.
Will there be common people (flesh and blood) living after the Millennium and White Throne Judgment of Messiah?
Based on the scriptural evidence, we believe that those found worthy of the second resurrection will likely be raised as flesh and blood beings. This is different from those in the first resurrection, who will receive heavenly bodies, 1Corinthians 15:42-49.
There are two passages that imply this conclusion. The first is Ezekiel 37, which describes a fleshly resurrection: “Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh. Thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am Yahweh,” verses 4-6.
In addition, Revelation 22:2 speaks about a tree that will be used for the healing of nations: “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
This passage describes the time after the second resurrection and during New Jerusalem. Knowing that angelic beings are not affected with human illnesses, the only reason for a tree for healing would be that flesh and blood beings remain. Since we know that this is not describing those from the first resurrection, it must be describing those from the second. It should be remembered that if not for Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit they would have lived forever as flesh and blood human beings.
Is there a difference between the soul and the spirit of man?
The word “soul” comes from the Hebrew nephesh and Greek psuche. Both words essentially carry the same meaning. Strong’s defines nephesh as, “…a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).” The Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon provides a similar definition: “a soul, self, life, a creature, a person, an appetite, a mind, a living being, a desire, an emotion, a passion.”
As confirmed by Strong’s and BDB, the word soul or nephesh generally refers to a breathing creature. Therefore, both human beings and animals would contain a soul. This is not true for plant life. In some cases, soul can also refer to emotions.
Based on the meaning of nephesh, it’s important to also note the soul does not refer to an immortal soul that leaves the body at death. The concept of an immortal soul originated with ancient Egypt and is not scriptural. The Bible confirms that when a person dies, their soul or body also dies.
Regarding “spirit,” this word comes from the Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma. As with soul, both the Hebrew and Greek words share similar meanings. Strong’s defines ruach as, “wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions).” Incidentally, the word “pneumatic” comes from the Greek pneuma.
While ruach primarily refers to wind, as it pertains to man, it denotes the breath of life that Yahweh provides at conception. Ecclesiastes 12:7 states that when a person dies their spirit or ruach returns to Yahweh, where He preserves it in anticipation of the resurrection.
It should be noted that ruach can also refer to the Holy Spirit, the power that emanates from our Father Yahweh, and to spirit or angelic beings.
In summary, soul or nephesh refers to a person or living creature, while spirit or ruach refers to the breath of life that Yahweh implants within every nephesh.
You speak a lot about the Millennial Kingdom and what takes place there, but what happens after the Millennium?
In the Book of Revelation Yahweh details events that follow the Millennium. The White Throne judgment will immediately follow the Millennium. At that time Satan, the man of sin, and death are all destroyed in the lake of fire, Revelation 20:7-15. Then Yahweh will come to earth in the New Jerusalem, characteristics of that holy city are:
There will be no more sorrow (21:4).
All things will be made new (21:5).
Overcomers will inherit all things (21:7).
The wicked will be destroyed in the lake of fire (21:8).
The 21st chapter should begin in verse 9, with the forementioned verses a continuation of chapter 20. The Greek text did not have chapter divisions, which were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury around C.E. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern.
Revelation 21:9-22:7 describes the New Jerusalem, with Yahweh dwelling on earth.
The Tree of Life shown in Genesis reappears at that time, bearing fruit each month and producing leaves that will heal (22:2). We find it significant that a majority of pharmaceuticals today are plant-based.
Yahweh’s Name will be in the foreheads of the people (22:4), just as it was on the miter of the high priest, Exodus 28:36-38.
Only those who keep Yahweh’s laws will have right to the Tree of Life and can enter the holy city (22:14).
The latter parts of Ezekiel chapters 37 and 48 also discuss post-Millennial Jerusalem.
Will there be a second chance for non-believers, like for those who are Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and atheist?
The Scriptures tell us that Yahweh desires all to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth. That is possible only if He allows them to at least hear the truth and have a chance to accept or reject it. For most it is not a second but a first chance. Yahshua said many are called now, but only few are chosen. He did not say all are called. Unless they are incorrigible, others later will have a chance to accept the truth, and a small number who will rise at the coming of Yahshua, while others at the second resurrection, which is to physical life, Rev. 20
I would really like to hear your take on hell/lake of fire, trinity, and the counting of the omer as all I want is [Yahweh’s] truth and nothing else, and I would safely assume you are on the same page as me. Am I correct?
The quick answer is that hell is sheol in the Old Testament, hades in the New, and both mean the grave. The lake of fire is what Satan and the incorrigible will be thrown into and destroyed, not live forever in torment. The divine majesty is made up of Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is ruach/pneuma, their divine power likened in Scripture to the wind. The count to the Feast of Weeks is 50 days, beginning during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.