Where Are The Dead?Written by Stephen Kingery
Death is a subject that most people seem to avoid discussing. It would seem that people fear death because of mystery that surrounds it. On other hand, whenever someone claims to have had an out-of- body experience, people will listen intently about story. Television shows about people who have supposedly died and come back to life with these out-of-body stories are very popular. People are looking for something to comfort them concerning here-after. We know that comfort lies in Christ. So, lets take a look at what Scriptures have to say about dead and where they are. Our comfort lies in resurrection of Jesus Christ, for He said, "I am resurrection and life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25,26) This Scripture is not referring to eternal life in physical state that we now exist. It is talking about eternal life in spiritual since, in that our spirit shall live on for eternity with Christ if we obey gospel. However, we shall receive a new body (See John 14:1-4 & II Corinthians 5:1-5).
We must recognize that "death" does not mean cessation of life, but separation. Death in physical since is separation of soul and spirit from physical body. Life, in real since, is contained in soul. The capacity to experience love, joy, understanding, loneliness, excitement, and so forth is expression of life. Our physical body is merely a place of residence (a house if you will) for our soul to stay while we are here on earth.
Where does our soul go upon death of body? To fully understand answer to that question, we must first know where we are before death. Where we go after death depends upon where we are before death.
Those of us living on earth that are of age of accountability are in one of two places: church, or world. The church was founded by Christ, "...on this rock I will build My church, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18b) The church is made up of all those who have obeyed gospel and are repentant baptized believers. These that remain faithful to end shall live for eternity with Christ as is indicated in John 11:25,26.
Those who have reached age of accountability and choose not to obey gospel are of world. They are subjects of Satan and reside in his kingdom (the world). They are sinners who enjoy and lust after things of this world. They refuse to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Baptism is dividing line between world and church. By being baptized (immersion) repentant believer comes into contact with saving blood of Christ. Salvation is thus realized through forgiveness of our sins and we are in Christ.
Where did souls go before death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ? To understand this we must realize that three different words are translated as "hell" in King James Version. These three words are Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus. Hades means abode of dead, not a place of eternal punishment. We can see this by reading Acts 2:27-31 where it is reported that Jesus went to Hades at death. We also see that Hades will be eventually cast into lake of fire -- Hell if you will -- at last day. (See Revelation 20:14) Gehenna means place of eternal punishment as seen in Mark 9:43-47. The word translated as hell in these verses is word Gehenna. Tartarus is an intermediate state of punishment. "For God did not spare angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgement;" (II Peter 2:4) The word translated as hell in this passage is Tartarus.
Remember that we said that Hades was abode of dead. Paradise was a part of Hades. This is indicated by fact that Jesus went to Hades after He died on cross. He told thief that he would be with Him in paradise. Therefore, paradise must have been a part of abode of dead at that time.
So, we see that at time Jesus was crucified, Hades consisted of Paradise and Tartarus. This fact is supported by story of rich man and Lazarus told by Jesus. This account shows that dead were either in a place of bliss or paradise (Abraham's Bosom) or a place of torment with a gulf separating two. Tartarus will eventually be cast into lake of fire -- Gehenna.
When Jesus ascended into heaven He took paradise and all Old Testament faithful with Him.
Why I Don't Speak In Tongues - Part IIWritten by Stephen Kingery
In part 1 of "Why I Don't Speak In Tongues" I discussed purposes of tongues given in New Testament. Speaking in tongues (or being able to speak a language in which one has not been trained) was given to apostles and certain others in New Testament to do two things: (1) to establish authority of person working sign, and (2) to confirm Word of Lord. Signs were credentials from God showing that person was speaking with His authority, and wonders were effects on those hearing or being witnesses of signs. (For a full explanation, see "Why I Don't Speak In Tongues, Part I.")
I have several friends who practice "speaking in tongues" as it is taught today by Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. As a result of discussing this with many of them, being "taught" by them in doctrine of "speaking in tongues," and in attending church services of Charismatics, I have decided on some personal reasons and observations why I don't want to participate in this kind of conduct. In part 2, I would like to share some of my thoughts concerning this.
(For purposes of this article, when it is given as - speaking in tongues -, I am referring to Biblical meaning; and - "speaking in tongues" -I am referring to Pentecostal/Charismatic meaning.)
Charismatics will tell you that if you "speak in tongues," it is evidence that you have received baptism of Holy Spirit. It is evidence (or proof) then, that one who "speaks in tongues" is a true Christian. The logical conclusion is that anyone who does not "speak in tongues" is not a true Christian. This is of course a misinterpretation of Scriptures concerning baptism of Holy Spirit, however I will save that discussion for a future article. So, let's examine what is really being taught here.
God is not a respecter of persons. In other words, we are equal (if we are children of God) in His eyes. What He has promised to one, He has promised to all. If God has intended for sign of speaking in tongues to extend beyond time of apostles, then all Christians would be able to perform this sign.
"Speaking in tongues" has no practical value. I said in part 1 of this article that speaking in tongues as was practiced by apostles was to show with what authority they (the apostles) spoke, and to confirm that Word of Lord was true. What practical value or for what purpose does "speaking in tongues" have for us today? We have Holy Bible which has been preserved by God and passed down from generation to generation to us today. Is it impossible for us to accept Bible as Word of God? Do we need it to be confirmed again by sign of speaking in tongues? I had a Charismatic friend tell me that reason I could not "speak in tongues" was because I did not have enough faith. Believe me when I tell you that I can fully accept Holy Bible as Word of God and Jesus Christ as His only Son without "speaking in tongues." Jesus said, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) So who has stronger faith, one who needs a "sign," or one who hears Word of God and believes?
Is "speaking in tongues" a sign for unbelievers? "Speaking in tongues" is practiced by many conflicting doctrines, even some pagan religions practice a form of "speaking in tongues." There are many Scriptures which tell us in no uncertain terms that there is one doctrine which is true, not many. Paul tells us, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6) If "speaking in tongues" is a sign for unbelievers, how is one to know which doctrine is "one faith" that Paul speaks of?
The Charismatics claim that gift of speaking in tongues is still in existence today. However, speaking in tongues as practiced by apostles and other New Testament people was being able to speak a language, a known language, which was foreign to one doing speaking, and one doing speaking having NOT been trained in that language. (See Acts Chapter 2) The "speaking in tongues" as practiced by Charismatics (and others) is a supposed heavenly or spiritual language used only by angels and others in spirit realm. The Charismatics also claim that there are some who have gift of being able to interpret "tongues."