During the past year there was progress in many fields and retrogression in others. Science has made great strides during 1985. We are told that with today’s electrode implants Helen Keller could have been made to hear. Also some people who would have died of heart failure have had heart implants which saved their lives. Medical science has made great strides, but so far is unable to come up with a cure for AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases are plaguing mankind.
“A New Kind Of Terrorism Rattles Western Europe: The sounds of bomb blasts and pistol shots are grimly familiar, but changing terrorist targets and tactics are adding a dangerously different dimension to resurgent violence in Western Europe. …….
“In less than three months terrorists have struck in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and West Germany. .......
“Common aims: Public statements by key terrorist groups disclose that their common goals are to destabilize NATO, wreck Europe’s defense industries and stir up anti-American sentiment. .....
“In addition to the terrorist’s own statements, American officials say that they have physical evidence and intelligence reports confirming that leftist groups are indeed coordinating their activities. .....
“For Western Europe, the harsh reality of the mid 1980’s is that a new, more complex battle with terrorism already may be under way.” (US News & World Report, February 25, 1985)
However, the “more complex battle with terrorism” did not stop the hijacking in October when one of the citizens of the US was murdered. Crime continues to be rampant everywhere – armed robbery, murder, rape, hijacking, drugs and alcohol, together with many other evils. This is happening not only in the United States, but also in other nations.
We are reminded of Jer. 25:31: “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord.” Also our Lord tells us, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as not since there was a nation, no, nor ever shall be.” And the Prophet Daniel tells us: “There shall be a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation to that same time.” (Dan. 12:1)
We are happy to note there are many good people in the world today. Recently the Martins and their two young children came from Ohio to Florida to make a new start. They had $640 in cash with them – their life’s savings. Mrs. Martin went to a phone booth and left her purse with the $640. When she went back to get it the purse was gone. They reported it to the police. The press reported it the next day. More than 100 people offered to open up their purses. Jeff Cohen, a disc jockey with the radio, said the station raised $800 to $1,000 in two hours. The Sea World has offered to play host to the Martins once they get settled. But the police department didn’t know where to find them, as they had no address to leave them. They were found a couple of days later. Their loss had become their gain.
Our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) The giver is blessed in two ways – first in having the resources to give, then in having a generous heart. “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall also be watered himself.” (Prov. 11:25) “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (15:3)
The economy of the United States and the rest of the world is deteriorating rapidly. Economists and writers of investment news letters are confused and are giving mixed recommendations to their subscribers. Here is a sample of some of the foremost writers:
“Very critical times! US economy, world financial systems and New York Stock market are all deteriorating rapidly. We are in the final stages of a super cycle top which when complete will be followed by a devastating crash. The second great depression of the 20th Century is about to begin.
“American Banking system is in a crisis. Hope that the problems will be solved without a collapse of the system grows dimmer every day. Savings and Loan industry is in especially bad shape. Savers have recently been withdrawing funds from S & L’s in increasing amounts. Bad loans made by banks and S & L’s of all sizes over the past decade in the agricultural sector, real estate and energy are finally being admitted and written off.
“Bankers feel they are already on the grill for big loans of the past. Fifteen major debtors from Argentina to Yugoslavia alone owe some 437 billion dollars – 63% to commercial banks. Loan rescheduling, threats of default mar the scene.
“We are now in a recession and believe it will get out of control. The government will eventually respond with foreign exchange controls and controls on withdrawals, travel and import restrictions, wage and price controls and controls on withdrawals from bank accounts.
“Double digit inflation will return. It’s not a question of if, it’s only a matter of when. Build up to an international banking crisis is developing. The debt crisis is due to the fact that the banks of the world have made massive loans which cannot be repaid. Some loans made to nations, some to farmers, some to real estate men and some to oil men. Most of this money is lost.”
Politicians do not have the answers. “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together.” (Psa. 2:1,2) “Men’s hearts failing them.” (Luke 21:26) The Time of Trouble progresses steadily – from war to revolution and finally anarchy. The only solution to the world’s problems is the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom, which will be inaugurated at the end of anarchy.
What should our attitude be? “Wait upon the Lord.” (Psa. 27:14) “Commit thy way to the Lord; trust also in him; and he will bring it to pass.” (Psa. 37:5) “Seek ye the Lord, and all ye meek of the earth which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)
The following excerpts are from The Kingdom Of God And The KGB: “For decades the radicalization of the Protestant churches has been notorious: huge confederations (the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the Quakers) have become enthralled by a vision of the world in which America has come to represent evil, while the Third World and a wide variety of proteges of the Soviet government shine forth as either themselves absolutely Good or at least well on the way toward it.
“Some elements of the Roman Catholic Church, too, have long since embarked on the same course. The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, organized in America generations ago, and the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic have become celebrated, especially since the Second Vatican Council of 1962‑65, as a specifically political expression of Christian theology: at the conclusion last December of two months of meetings, the Rev. John Halbert, Vicar General of the society, summed up its current faith: ‘Maryknoll’s involvement with the poor and oppressed peoples in the Third World has indeed politicized us.’ (The New York Times, Dec. 10, 1984)
“It is evident that the Roman Church, besieged in the modern age by the rise of science, of history mindedness, of humanism’s of various kinds, has at last been eroded from within as well. It has, in effect, been ‘penetrated’ by Marxism.”
We digress here to give the understanding of some Bible students on 2 Kings 9:33: “And he [Jehu] said, Throw her [Jezebel] down. So they threw her down.” They believe Jehu is a type of conservative labor, and Jezebel the type of the Roman Catholic Church. The ‘they’ is a type of those inside the Church; and the painting of Jezebel’s face (2 Kings 9:30) is her attempt to modify the doctrines of the Church to please the people. (See also Rev. 2:20)
More from the kingdom of god and the kgb: “By the Fifties, the Soviet Executive had become a catalytic agency of focused upheaval throughout the world, especially the ‘undeveloped’ world: the Bolshevik apparatus – a monolith manipulating all media and public life – became a model for the striving of elite everywhere.
“From the end of the Second World War on, a restiveness began to permeate the Church: colloquies between Roman Catholics and Marxists became commonplace. This malaise was reflected in the Vatican II deliberations of 1962‑65 which in 1968 achieved a political concentration in the celebrated conference of Medellin, Columbia, where a gathering of luminaries (actual bishops) published a manifesto dedicated to the comprehensive reconstruction of all Latin America.
“The concept and execution of this reconstruction were predicated, explicitly or implicitly, on a Marxist view of society, often expressed in the idiom of Marxism itself or else tacitly inspired by it.
“At first sight this seems bewildering: what can be the basis of a rapprochement of any kind between Marxism – notoriously atheist, with a ‘materialist’ and in any case humanist view of history – and the Christian Church, for which the advent of Jesus Christ, Light of the World, must surely mean something, after all, beyond human striving?
“How can Christians who still believe, one way or another, in a Vale of Tears that except for the salutary action of the Savior is intrinsically irredeemable become fanaticized by a theory that the shortcomings of the civil order can be set right by political action?
“And how can Marxists take seriously the basic Christian proposition that the human condition was transformed by the Incarnation?...
“In its historical origins the Kingdom of God entailed, of course, a better world – i.e., God’s action would restore the fortunes of the Jews, undo the pagan empires and regenerate society [which God’s Kingdom will actually do].
“Yet it was the Church that was designed, as it were, to replace [a counterfeit Kingdom] the Kingdom of God: in the French scholar Alfred Loisy’s words, what Jesus preached was the Kingdom of God – but what happened was the Church. [And what evil and crime has existed during their counterfeit reign!] By guaranteeing salvation in the next world, the Church filled the vacuum created by the failure of the Kingdom of God to appear, and thus encompassed all life. [When the Kingdom of God is established no evil will be permitted: it will be good Tidings of Great Joy to all who love righteousness.]
“It is this potent, anachronistic idea that has blossomed again in the Liberation Theology that sprang up more than 15 years ago in Latin America (which together with the Philippines contains half of the Roman Catholics in the world), and took on the accouterments of Marxism.
“In the words of a Sandinista Minister of Culture, Father Ernesto Cardenal: ‘For me the Four Gospels are all equally Communistic. I’m a Marxist who believes in God, follows Christ, and is a revolutionary for the sake of His Kingdom.’ (Quoted by Michael Novak, The New York Times, October 21, 1984)
“At the end of the Fifties, accordingly, the concrete situation had created a framework for action: Liberation Theology soared aloft. ......
“Throughout Latin America, as indeed throughout the world, Communist Parties present themselves as the natural exponents of mass discontent: all revolts, all civil wars, all upheavals are taken to be an upsurge of the Oppressed Masses, and for that very reason are not only justified but invincible. .....
“These churchmen have swallowed the Marxist Kingdom of God – but they are gullible enough to hope for its realization in the Here and Now. And for that they need agencies – and that alone, in Latin America, lands them squarely in the arms of KGB...
“It is undeniable that the Pope, while distancing himself from specific activist rhetoric, has consistently been attacking ‘capitalism’ – and with increasing passion. An indispensable element in the Pope’s espousal of implicit Marxism is obviously the need for camouflage. His conservative profile as a Catholic theologian requires the elimination of any suspicion of complicity with the Soviet Executive.
“It is the need for camouflage that may help explain the apparent attempt on his life by a 23‑year‑old Turk in May, 1981, well‑nigh universally attributed to the KGB and its (Bulgarian) puppets. .....
“From that point of view, the KGB professionally arranged an unprofessional‑looking assassination, designed to establish in the minds of multitudes a primordial, would‑be fact – the ‘natural’ hostility between the Kremlin and the Vatican. ....
“It is curious, after so many centuries of bitter hostility between Protestants and Catholics, to observe a practical merger on the basis of this intellectual confusion: a merger signalized last September by the new Secretary General of the already marxified World Council of (Protestant) Churches, the Rev. Emilio Castro of Uruguay who said that the ‘struggle of Liberation Theology is my struggle.’ (The New York Times, September 6, 1984)
“Fidel Castro himself, an ex officio member of the Soviet Politburo whose control of the small island of Cuba has made him a premier world statesman, has summed up, perhaps sardonically, the whole process: ‘theologians are becoming Communists, Communist are becoming theologians,’ according to Jose Bonino, the Methodist Liberation Theologian... In the United States this erosion was given a dramatic form last November when a committee of five American Catholic Bishops published a Letter on the Economy proclaiming the ‘moral unacceptability’ of the world economic order and especially that of the United States. .....
“The booklet, which was issued on November 11, 1984 – to avoid influencing the Presidential election – and which gave rise at once to a long‑lasting commotion – had taken the five‑member committee more than four years to produce. Yet it had no substance: the suggestions, which sound specific, are in fact vague: .....
“They admitted, to be sure, some achievements that America could be ‘proud of’: but the ‘massive and ugly failures’ – hunger, homelessness, racial discrimination are indigestible. ....
“The very phrase ‘morally unacceptable’ is a study in silliness: for the Church, the world was never ‘acceptable,’ otherwise why the Church? For Marxism, the phrase is merely stupid, unless it is a euphemism for a revolutionary overturn, since for Marxism, ‘capitalism’ is irredeemable, that is, incorrigible, just as the world is for the Church.
“The edifice of the Roman Catholic Church….. is so vast that in the minds of its believers its movements are imperceptible… The Church can sustain its hundreds of millions of believers like the Rock they think it. .....
“There is, to be sure, a Catholic Opposition to Liberation Theology. Grouped loosely under the American Catholic Commission in Washington, D.C., some able Catholics – ex‑Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, Michael Novak, resident scholar in religion, philosophy, and public policy at the American Enterprise Institute of Washington, Alexander Haig, Jr., Claire Booth Luce, AT&T President William Ellinghause are aware of the ‘liberal’ innovations that were rife at Vatican II; they perceive the dangers of Liberal Theology. ….. This opposition is no doubt sincere, though its quantitative assessment is elusive. ……
“It is superfluous to point out the danger to Israel of this rapprochement between the Kremlin – Israel’s most intractable major opponent – and the great Churches, which while fitfully softening their public attitude toward Jews in general are now, in their hostility to the State of Israel, more united than ever
“How strange an irony that the great Churches, on returning to the world, on reviving the ancient Jewish vision of the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now, should have been mesmerized by Marxist ideology into collaboration with a murderous dictatorship – and that Israel is bound to become a prime target of that collaboration!” (By Joel Carmichael)
The names of the true Church are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) – not the names of the various denominations. There are many good people members of these sects, but very few “footstep followers” of our Lord. During the Dark Ages quite a few of these faithful Christians were persecuted, some burned at the stake because they couldn’t accept the false doctrines of Papacy’s kingdom. Today such things are prohibited, but those who forsook these churches to testify to the truth were persecuted in various ways in the past. But the “powers that be” – both ecclesiastical and political – are in so much trouble among themselves that they have very little time for persecution of faithful Christians as they did in the past. “Yet once more I shake not the earth [society] only, but also the heaven [the ecclesiastical powers].” (Heb. 12:26) Also see Joel 3:2 and Hag. 2:6, 7.
“Plight Of Poor Challenges Preachers To Open Wallets: Outside of government, the most galling under performers are some of the telegenic preachers who are so gung‑ho about America’s holy war in Nicaragua and an amendment to balance the budget. I would like to see them better live up to the fifth book of Moses – Deuteronomy – which says, ‘You shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him enough for his need, whatever it may be.’
“To the degree that government can’t help all citizens meet their basic needs, I want to hear more about how those who preach against big government will help fill that pain‑riddled gap. If by chance, adequate clothing for the poor meant fewer suits for TV preachers, if adequate housing for the poor meant less‑opulent houses of worship, so be it.” (By Douglas Pike)
“Coming Up Short ‑ The Rev. Billy Graham may have raised the spirits of thousands who attended his week long Southern New England Crusade at Hartford, Conn., but he failed to raise enough money to cover the expenses of the event. Graham: ‘The expenses were higher here per capita than any place I’ve been.’ Total bill: $739,000. Shortfall: $40,000. Graham said a $5 donation per person would help cover expenses for the eight day event at the Hartford Civic Center.”
Billy Graham also made the statement that he had never begged for money – ‘that if he had to beg it would be time for him to quit.’ At the same time he said if the donations didn’t come that they wouldn’t be able to carry on the TV programs.
The Catholic and Protestant churches are having their problems trying to unite. They are wealthy, with opulent places of worship and well paid clergy, but despite that they are having their troubles. The cults boast of their large followings, which have made inroads into the churches. The cults become rich in a short time. The Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, is an example with a 64,000 acre commune in Oregon and many Rolls‑Royces which they had while in the U.S. But we don’t know of any such cults doing a charitable work toward the poor and downtrodden. However, the various denominations are noted for their charities to the poor and needy, with many good members zealous workers in this good cause. Prophets and Profits are the order of the day. Religion is a profitable business, so the TV Evangelists have found.
“Bible Supply Can’t Keep Up With Demand In Africa, Asia: Bible translators printed 25 million copies of Scripture in African and Asian languages last year but said that was not enough to keep up with the explosive growth of Christianity in the developing world. .....
“The United Bible Societies donated millions of Bibles last year in six African countries. Each Bible costs $3 to $4 to print and distribute. ......
“Research by Wycliffe Bible Translators in Huntington Beach, California, shows 5,445 languages in use around the world. So far, translators have prepared Bibles in 235 of the world’s languages. Work is proceeding on versions in 750 more languages, spokesman said.”
Atheism is now called a religion in some sections. The Bible calls atheists fools: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa. 53:1)
“Anti‑Religion – The Freedom from Religion Foundation says that since it filed a lawsuit about the matter, the University of Wisconsin has added agnosticism and atheism to the list of religious preferences from which students check their choices on registration forms. The foundation also says that after its intervention, the Wisconsin Senate substituted a ‘moment of silence’ for prayers by paid clergy at the opening of daily sessions.”
“Catholic Theologian’s Plea For Unity Is Gaining Attention: A groundswell of attention is focusing on a final, dramatic conclusion of Karl Rahner, the late Roman Catholic theologian – that unification of Christian churches is now possible and also is essential to their survival. .......
“Lutheran Bishop James R. Crumley, Jr., president of the Lutheran Church in America, in referring to a recent meeting with Pope John Paul II said: ‘I feel that there is now a kairos (Greek for the ‘right time’) that we must in the best way possible take advantage of.’
“Some participants said that this special time may be running out for some kind of decisive action on the accumulated agreements – a view also advanced by Rahner and another German Catholic theologian, Heinrich Fries, in their book, ‘Unity of the Churches – an Actual Possibility.’
“In the book they say: ‘This unity is a matter of life or death for Christendom at a time when faith in God and his Christ are seriously threatened by a worldwide militant atheism, and by a relativistic skepticism.’
“They say that in once colonial regions, ‘Christianity can no longer afford to encounter peoples and cultures to whom it wishes to convey its message – so far almost in vain – in its splintered and ruptured state.’
“Among Christians in the West, ‘there are no longer any countries where what is Christian could be socially and culturally obvious’ and among Christians, the lack of unity shows in ‘a constant weakening of their faith and of their confidence,’ the book says. ‘On the whole, all churches and Christian communities today exist in a situation in which the ecumenical task has become an urgent matter for the survival of Christianity and the churches.’
“The authors lay out eight thesis for uniting the churches as partners in ‘reconciled diversity.’ It would involve accepting the ancient Nicene and Apostles’ creeds leaving the different churches structurally independent, recognizing the pope’s leadership but without binding authority, making church‑wide decisions in inclusive councils and sharing pulpits and Holy Communion.” (By Associated Press – WS Journal, May 11, 1985)
The Bible puts quite a different construction on the “uniting.” “They shall gather together, but not by me.” (Isa. 54:15) Further from Isa. 34:1‑4: The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations... the mountains [powerful monarchies, such as Russia, etc.] shall be melted [overcome by the radical elements]... the heavens [the present religious systems] shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine.” This is accentuated in Rev. 6:14: “The heaven [present religious systems] departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.” The two ends of the scroll are Protestantism and Catholicism; and these two ends have been making tedious effort to “roll together,” although the intimacy is definitely a vexatious accomplishment.
So we witness what our Lord predicted for this Time of Trouble: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of the heaven [present religious systems] shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26) ‑
“Catholicism Is No Longer Official Religion Of Italy – The Vatican and Italy exchanged documents ratifying a revised church‑state accord that officially ended the roll of the Roman Catholic Church as the state religion and Rome’s status as a ‘sacred city.’ Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, exchanged the documents on the new concordat at a ceremony in the Vatican.
“Craxi [Socialist], making his first official visit to the Vatican since he assumed the office nearly two years ago, met Pope John Paul II later in the pontiff’s private study. The pontiff told Craxi that a new era had begun. He said the church would respect the state’s autonomy, but continue its efforts to help deal with such social problems as drug abuse, threats to the family and unemployment.
“The ceremony formally put into effect two pacts on the revision signed last year and later ratified by parliament. The concordat is a revision of part of the Lateran Pacts signed between the Vatican and the government of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1929.
“The new accord officially guarantees religious freedom for non‑Catholics, and Craxi [Socialist] has described it as the formal realization of an article on religious liberty in Italy’s 1948 constitution. [This is a long way from the Dark Ages when those who didn’t join and accept the Papal system as infallible were burned at the stake, or other tortures. Jezebel (type of the Catholic Church) is indeed painting her face! 2 Kings 9:30]
“Cardinal Casaroli said that the accord should not be seen as a break with the past, but as the product of a continuous maturation process. He noted that although Roman Catholicism no longer is the state religion, the pact acknowledges that Catholic principles are an important part of Italy’s patrimony.
“Rome loses its status as a ‘sacred city,’ a title that in the past had led to the banning of plays or books considered offensive to Roman Catholics or the papacy.
“The concordat establishes stricter criteria for state recognition of church institutions eligible for tax benefits and gradually will phase out state subsidies of salaries for clerics.
“Beginning in 1990, Italian bishops will pay the salaries of clerics from funds to which Italians can contribute and claim income tax deductions. Catholic schools maintain their freedom, but religious education in public schools becomes optional. Italy and the church will jointly maintain religious art and buildings in Italy.” (The Washington Post – June 8, 1985)
“Is The Devil Dead? Is Hell Necessary? Hell – For most people the word evoked thoughts of eternal fire and damnation, of darkness and desolation. Writers and theologians, poets and clergy through the ages have offered various visions of hell.
“The early‑American preacher Cotton Mather spoke of children roasting in hell, and the medieval poet Dante wrote gleefully of the seven ring‑like realms where he found the lustful torn apart by winds, hypocrites weighed down by the lead of their own pretenses and traitors frozen in blocks of ice because they could no longer feel loyalty or affection. ...
“But today, fear of hell no longer seems to grip the public imagination. ‘Hellish’ images may continue to show up in books, movies and records, but as religion commentator Martin Marty observed in a recent lecture at Harvard Divinity School, the idea of eternal punishment has practically disappeared from the American cultural scene.
“Not only is it hardly ever talked of, he said, but few people think of hell as a possibility for themselves: Only one percent of ‘Catholic Digest’ readers in 1983 thought there was a chance they might go to hell, compared with 12 percent of the readers in 1952.
“Have people stopped fearing hell because they believe everyone is going to heaven anyway? Or have they simply become indifferent, maybe not even believing in an afterlife.
“The Rev. George H. Webb, pastor of a Methodist church, said he believes the clergy is partly to blame for not preaching sermons on hell. But another factor, he said, is the widely reported stories of near‑death and after‑death experiences. Invariably, he says, such stories have tended to emphasize the peaceful, joyful experiences, with people talking about seeing a great light. Yet, he says, many of the dying see quite different, painful and distressing visions that go unreported.
“‘What happens is that the researchers filter these out,’ Webb said. ‘I’m not saying they do it on purpose. I think it’s unconscious. They are frightened by negative testimony, so they put it out of their minds! Listen, I’ve talked to people near death who have told me, You can’t imagine the beauty and peace I’m feeling right now. But I have been with other people who have screamed and cried and begged not to die because they could see evil demons around the room. So what do we say? That one’s a true spiritual experience and the other a hallucination? I think we clergymen have to state both sides of the case, even though it may be painful.’
“‘Is hell really necessary?’ Most clergymen contend that it is. A Lutheran Church minister says hell is important to Christian theology because it is ‘man’s last guarantee that he won’t be saved against his wishes.’
“‘To assert that all people will be saved,’ Stacy said, ‘is in effect a denial of human freedom, the freedom to choose against God’s will.”’
THE HELL OF THE BIBLE
The Hebrew word sheol occurs sixty‑five times in the Old Testament – three times translated pit, thirty‑one times translated grave, and thirty‑one times hell. The meaning of the Hebrew word sheol (hades is its Greek equivalent) is hard to describe in one English word. It signifies hidden, extinguished or obscure, the condition or state of death. The one word oblivion would more accurately describe the word sheol of the Hebrew and hades of the Greek.
We have been taught the wages of sin is eternal torment, but God’s word tells us that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:20) We have been taught that we have a soul that never dies; that our soul is immortal. In that case, God could not take back the life – i.e., his immortal soul – He gave to Adam. When God created man out of the dust of the ground, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7) So man is a soul. He can say “My soul,” just as he can say “My being.” When Adam ate the forbidden fruit God had said, “for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) So when Adam died he was no longer a living soul. However, Adam lived 930 years. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet. 3:8) Again, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psa. 90:4) No one has lived over a 1,000 years, nor lived a 1,000 years.
David said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We were all born in sin and inherited Adam’s death sentence. “The dead know not anything.” (Ec. 9:5) There would be no need for a resurrection if we were not dead. We are assured of a resurrection – the just and the unjust, the good and the bad. (Acts 24:15 and John 5:28,29) “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Christ Jesus] whom He hath ordained.” (Acts 17:31) In that day “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” (Isa. 11:9) Today, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4)
Do the clergy know that hell is not eternal torment? Perhaps some of the better educated do know, but they think it wiser to tell the people to “be saved now” and join the church of your choice. The more members they can get, the more prosperous they will be.