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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

Life or Death not Heaven or Hell

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(When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew words
Yahoshua (yeh-ho-shoo’- ah) for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and ruah for pneuma (spirit).)

If I type the words life and death into a Bible software search engine, many verses come up but if I type in heaven and hell, nothing comes up (except in the KJV & NKJV). This fact should speak volumes to our understanding. Yahweh, through his Word, speaks of life or death, be saved or perish or be saved or be destroyed. From my experience, most of the Bible teachers I hear, speak of heaven or hell rather than life or death. I have never read of the Tree of Heaven or the Tree of Hell but I have read of the Tree of Life. Likewise I do not recall reading about people being written into the Book of Heaven or the Book of Hell but I have read of people being written into the Book of Life! I do recall reading the Lake of Fire being called the Second Death but I do not recall it being called Hell. We must read what is written in our Father's Word, rather than reading into it what we desire or the traditions of men. Many Bible teachers teach John 3:16 as, "For God, so unconditionally loved, the world, that, he gave himself,—that, whosoever believeth on him, might not go to Hell, but go to Heaven," but this is not what is written. If the above statement makes sense to you, you have been deceived. Our vocabulary needs to mimic our Father's vocabulary and not the Church Fathers. We must be proclaiming Life or Death, as our Ab (Father) has done and not Heaven or Hell, as man has done. (See Appendix A)

(This subject can be studied in more in-depth detail by reading the following articles: Teleios Books Vol. 1; The Rich Man & Lazarus by E W Bullinger; Life Age-Abiding; Vol. 2: Does Hell Exist in the Word of Yahweh; Spirit and Soul; Mortality and Immortality of Man.)

When Hell is typed into the Roman Catholic website, New Advent, the following statement appears, "There is a hell, i.e. all those who die in personal mortal sin, as enemies of God, and unworthy of eternal life, will be severely punished by God after death...The existence of hell is, of course, denied by all those who deny the existence of God or the immortality of the soul." The Word of Yahweh does not deny the existence of Yahweh but the Word of Yahweh does deny the man-made doctrine of the immortality of the soul. When someone says, 'soul,' we must ask them, 'What Hebrew word are you referring to?' They have to say, 'nephesh,' which was used 753 times by Yahweh. The first seven usages of nephesh are located in the footnotes. Nowhere are the usages of nephesh, by Yahweh, even vaguely connected to the concept of the immortality of man. The first usage of a word from Yahweh is a strong indictor of it's meaning. This being the case, nephesh's first usage is Genesis 1:20, which  has nothing to do with man, let alone immortality, which is why the majority of the Bible translators do not translate it soul, in it's first usage. The NIV Bible, does not translate nephesh, 'soul,' (Deu. 4:29) until it has been used over one-hundred and seventy times.

The Greek substitute for nephesh is psuche, which is used 105 times in the New Testament. The translators will translate it soul when it aligns with the Church's teaching but when it does not, they will translate it life. For example, 1 John 3:16 states, "Hereby, have we come to understand love: in that, He, for us, his soul [psuche] laid down; and, we, ought, for the brethren, our souls [psuche] to lay down." How about John 10:11, "I, am the good shepherd: The good shepherd, his soul [psuche], layeth down, for the sheep."  John 12:25 states, "He that loveth his soul [psuche], loseth it; but, he that hateth his soul [psuche], in this world, unto life age-abiding, shall guard it." According to the usages in the Word of Yahweh, neither nephesh or psuche have anything to do with immortality. Also, man does not have a nephesh but he is a living nephesh, as also are animals. According to worldly religions, man has an immortal soul but the Word of Yahweh makes no such case. It states  that man is a living soul, who will die and perish unless he follows the ways of Yahweh. If he follows the Word of Yahweh, he receives life age-abiding upon the coming New Earth.  

Let us examine the Tree of Life, as presented in Genesis. As we stated before, it is not called the Tree of Heaven or the Tree of Hell. Genesis chapter two and three present a-dam (Adam & Eve) as being neither mortal or immortal, but as ones who will chose mortality (death) or immortality (life) by what tree they partake of; the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were not asked to chose between living in Heaven or living in Hell. The doctrine of Hell demands that people never die but rather after death they live on either in a good place or in a very bad place; emphasis being living on. The foundation of the teaching of Hell is predicated on men being immortal from birth, in some metaphysical form. Death is never part of the equation, which leads men into the many mazes of their created hereafters. This teaching requires all men to have life age-abiding, also known as eternal or everlasting life. This doctrine uproots the Tree of Life and replaces it with the Tree of Heaven or the Tree of Hell. There are Bible tracts that proclaim, "Heaven or Hell: Which Will You Choose?"  Yahweh never makes such statements but rather he proclaims, "Life or Death: Which Will You Choose?"

Yahweh Elohim warned Adam "...saying,—Of every tree of the garden, thou mayest, eat;  but, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it,—for, in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt, die [dying thou dost die]" (Gen. 2:16-17). In this verse and many other verses, the Hebrew word, 'muth,' is used twice, which is why Robert Young, in his Bible, translates this phrase as, "dying thou dost die."

The serpent made a profound declaration, in Genesis 3:4, when he promised Eve, "Dying, ye do not die." Is not this declaration taught today in many of the Churches? Have we not all heard someone teach, after someone has died, that, 'They are not dead, they have just changed addresses?' The lie of the serpent is being proclaimed by the Church! Dying you do not die is the serpent teaching Eve that she was immortal but Yahweh Elohim taught them of their mortality, if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, declaring, 'Dying thou dost die.' They returned unto dust, as promised, as do we all, if Christ Parousia is delayed. Yahweh does not say, 'Your bodies will return unto dust,' but rather, "...For, dust, thou art, And, unto dust, shalt thou return."  The hope is then unveiled in verse twenty-two when Yahweh Elohim mentions again the Tree of Life; "...Now, therefore, lest he thrust forth his hand, and take even of the tree of life, and eat, and live to times age-abiding." According to man-made doctrines, everyone lives to times age-abiding, either in Heaven or Hell.

Isn't it strange that living forever in Heaven or Hell is never mentioned in Genesis? Would not the book of Genesis have been an excellent place to bring to Adam and Eve's attention, these two permanent dwellings for the immortal souls of all of mankind? Ask yourself, was Cain ever warned of Hell, before he murdered Abel? Were all the nations of the earth, who were wiped off of the face of the earth, in the time of Noah, ever warned of the place they were all going; the torture chamber, called Hell? Would it be just and righteous for Yahweh to place a person into a everlasting torture chamber, without warning them first of it's existence?

The only Hebrew word that people can translate Hell is Sheol. Sheol's first usage is Genesis 37:35, which is spoken of by Jacob, the Father of the Israelites, which states, "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to console him, but he refused to be consoled, and said—Surely I will go down unto my son [Joseph], mourning, to Sheol! And his father wept for him [Joseph]." We must remember, the first usage of a Hebrew word is significant in the understanding of it's meaning. Sheol is not a torture chamber where people live everlastingly, which is why the NASB, NIV etc. to not translate Sheol as Hell, which means, there is no Hell in their Old Testament, which is exactly correct! Sheol is associated with Death and not a place called Hell, which can be seen in Appendix A.   

Psalm thirty-seven deals with the future state of mankind, where the righteous shall inherit the earth while the lawless shall  be cut-off, vanished or be destroyed. There is no mention of Hell or Heaven in this Psalm but it does promise that the, "...evil doers, shall be cut off, but, as for them who wait for Yahweh, they, shall inherit the earth. Yet a little, therefore, and the lawless one shall not be, Yea thou shalt look about, over his place—and he shall have vanished! But, the patient oppressed-ones, shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves over the abundance of prosperity." Now let us transform these verses to fit with man's doctrine by stating, " For, evil doers, shall go to Hell, but, as for them who wait for Yahweh, they, shall go to Heaven. Yet a little, therefore, and the lawless one shall be tortured forever in Hell, Yea thou shalt look about, over his place—and he shall be smoking in Hell! But, the patient oppressed-ones, shall be sitting on a cloud in Heaven, and shall delight themselves over the abundance of prosperity."

The rich young ruler did not ask Yahoshua, "Good Teacher! by doing what, shall I inherit Heaven?, as people do today, but rather, "...Good Teacher! by doing what, shall I inherit life age-abiding?" If people have immortal souls, as is taught, this question would have been foolish because everyone has life age-abiding. John 3:16 is so clear but never-the-less, people read into it the doctrines of men. As stated, above, they see, "For God, so loved, the world, that, his Only Begotten Son, he gave,—that, whosoever believeth on him, might not go to Hell, but go to Heaven." If everyone has an immortal soul then everyone has life age-abiding; some in a good place and some in a very bad place. Perish is the Greek word, apollumi, which is derived from olethros, to destroy, which completely agrees with what is going to happen to the lawless, as recorded in Psalm thirty-seven. (Appendix B)

The wages of sin are not eternal punishment but rather death and the gift of Yahweh is not Heaven but life age-abiding, as stated in Romans 6:23; "For, the wages of sin, is death; but, Yahweh’s gift of favour, is life age-abiding, in Christ Yahoshua our Lord." How blind can we be to read into all of the above clearly stated verses, which are throughout the Word of Yahweh, the doctrine of Hell or Heaven.  The End of the Book, Revelation chapters 20 to 22 does not speak of the Book of Heaven or the Book of Hell but rather the Book of Life; it does not speak of the 'Water of Heaven,' but the 'Water of Life;' it does not speak of the 'Tree of Heaven,' but rather, the 'Tree of Life;' it does not speak of Hell but rather the 'Second Death!'

Many books have been written about individuals going to Heaven and/or Hell and them coming back to give us, 'New Revelations;' new information never recorded in the Word of Yahweh; places and people described with no reference to chapter and verse; information the former prophets knew nothing about. These individuals are the 'New Prophets,' sent from Jesus, to guide us into, 'The New Revelations.' The Word of Yahweh was not completed after the book of Revelation, as I thought, no, the 'New Books' are daily coming in, such as, 'Heaven is 4 Real,' which has made millions of dollars, even being made into a movie. Books on Heaven and Hell have been written, one of which, by Rob Bell, 'Love Wins,' proclaims that all people go to Heaven but another by Francis Chan, 'Erasing Hell,' corrects Rob by reestablishing Hell. Sermons by Great Theologians, such as Jonathan Edwards, who gave the sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,' validate that there is a Heaven and there is a Hell. What are we to do with these testimonies? Yahweh through Christ through Paul spoke, in Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that, thus quickly, ye are moving away from him that called you in the favour of Christ, unto a different glad-message,—Which is not, another, only there are, some, that are troubling you, and wishing to change the glad-message of the Christ. But, even if, we, or, a messenger out of heaven, announce a glad-message aside from that which we announced unto you, accursed, let him be! As we have said before, even now, again, I say: If anyone is announcing unto you a glad-message aside from that which ye accepted, accursed, let him be!" Yahweh has told us that the above people, who have added to his Word, are accursed!  They might have become rich for their testimonies, but never-the-less, they have been accursed. Even in Paul's time, the 'New Prophets,' were ever present proclaiming, 'The New Revelations.'

People get upset with Joseph Smith (Mormons), Mohammad (Islam), the Pope (Roman Catholic) but they take in the information from Colton Burpo (Heaven is 4 Real) or the teachings of Athanasius and Basil of Caesarea (Church Fathers), who have done nothing different than the above people mentioned; all of them adding to, subtracting from or rearranging the words of Yahweh. Yahweh, through Christ, through Paul warned Timothy, by stating, "For there will be a season—when, the healthful teaching, they will not endure, but, according to their own covetings, will, unto themselves, heap up teachers, because they have an itching ear" (2 Ti. 4:3).

Let us learn the lesson of King Josiah (yo-shee-yaw’). He was reared by a wicked father and grandfather (Amon and Manasseh), who had lost the Word of Yahweh, meaning he only knew what people told him. In the eighth year of his rein, he being 16 years old, he began to seek Yahweh (2 Chr. 34:3).  In the twelfth year of his reign, he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem the best way he knew how. Six years later, he being 26 years old, the Word of Yahweh was discovered in the renovation of the temple. When the Word of Yahweh was read to him, "...he rent his clothes" (2 Chr. 34:19). Why did he do this? His religious instructors were not true conduits of the Word of Yahweh, as we will see. He then sought the counsel of the prophet of Yahweh, concerning the sins that he had been committing, unknowingly, because he did not have the Word of Yahweh to guide him. The prophet said, "...Thus, saith Yahweh Elohim of Israel,—Say ye unto the man who hath sent you unto me: Thus, saith Yahweh, Behold me bringing in calamity upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and burned incense unto other gods, so as to provoke me to anger, with all the works of their hands, therefore hath my wrath been poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. But, unto the king of Judah, who hath sent you to enquire of Yahweh, thus, shall ye say unto him,—Thus, saith Yahweh Elohim of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard: Because tender was thy heart, and thou didst humble thyself before Elohim when thou heardest his words against this place and against the inhabitants thereof, and didst humble thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes and weep before me, therefore, I also, have heard, is the declaration of Yahweh. Behold me! gathering thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered unto thy sepulchres in peace, and thine eyes shall not look upon all the calamity which, I, am bringing in upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof" (2 Chr. 34:23-28).

What is the lesson of Josiah? Good religious intentions are no substitute for Yahweh's commandments, even when they are done with a pure heart. The Word of Yahweh is our only compass and not the good religious and popular intentions of religious men. Josiah was pleasing in the eyes of his religious counselors but not pleasing in the eyes of Yahweh. We will one day be judged before Yahweh and Christ according to our obedience to Yahweh's written Word. We will not be judged by the Church Fathers, such as Athanasius or Basil of Caesarea, or by the Baptists, Assemblies of God or Roman Catholic Churches. The doctrines of Hell and the immortality of the soul are not part of the Word of Yahweh, so unless we also want to be accursed, we had better rent our garments and return to the written Word of Yahweh, by proclaiming to the world, Life or Death, be saved or perish.

(For footnotes and Appendixes, read PDF version.)

(For more information, read PDF version.)

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