is a reasonable book. There is nothing contradictory about it:
everything fits together in a manner that makes its message both
dynamic and easy to understand. Its teachings make sense and it is
this simple logic that presents such a challenge that no-one of
good will can deny its impact.
This booklet has been written to
show that - in contrast to the plain and reasonable teaching of
Scripture - popular ideas about heaven and hell are unreasonable.
What are these ideas? For centuries it has been commonly believed
by most professing Christians that heaven is the abode of the
righteous dead where they experience everlasting joy and
happiness, and that hell is the eternal abiding place of the
wicked who are subject to never-ending torment in its unquenchable
In more recent times many have
abandoned the idea of hell-and with it any real desire to
investigate whether this is, in fact, a true reflection of what
the Bible teaches. This abhorrence of eternal suffering (surely a
right instinct) has caused men to cherish instead a vague hope of
universal salvation-that all will enjoy eternal happiness
irrespective of the works done during their mortal life. Yet that
has now left people with a sense of unease, because they sense an
injustice in assuming that there can be a reward for both good and
Christadelphians do not share
either the modern idea of 'heaven for everyone', or the more
traditional ideas of 'blessings in heaven' and 'punishment in
hell'. They have read the Bible themselves (as we hope the readers
of this booklet will do) and concluded that, although 'heaven' and
'hell' are mentioned many times, they are not the eternal
abiding places where people hope (or fear) to go to at death.
A grievous error has been made in
interpreting the Bible. But the error is not first of all
concerned with heaven or hell; the error really grew out of
another theory, that all men are born with what is called an
'immortal soul'. This is variously described as a 'never dying
entity', a 'divine spark'; and to it are attributed all the
characteristics of what is termed 'the real man' - personality,
conscience, reason and understanding, emotions and all the moral
qualities of which man is capable. The body is said to be
mortal and corruptible, turning to dust and ashes after death,
whereas the soul is immortal and incorruptible and lives on
in endless bliss or misery.
And, of course, once one has
accepted such a view of human nature, then a belief in some other
place or places as the abiding and continuing home(s) of the soul
after death becomes a logical necessity. But, if this view of
human nature is incorrect, then the popular conceptions of heaven
and hell may also be quite false.
We propose therefore briefly to
examine the Bible teaching concerning the soul and human nature
and then, on this foundation, to establish the reasonable and
logical teaching of the Bible concerning the ultimate destiny of
the righteous and the wicked.
It should be stated at the outset that the phrase 'immortal soul'
or 'never dying soul' or indeed any similar expressions are not to
be found in the pages of the Bible. Of God alone it is written,
"Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can
approach unto" (1 Timothy 6:16). Man has no inherent immortality
and although the word 'soul' occurs frequently in its pages, the
Bible does not teach the idea of something independent of the body
that lives on after death. The Bible account of the creation of
man defines the 'soul' quite clearly:
"And the Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul"
It is the man himself, the body
formed from the dust, energised by the breath of life, which is
described as "a living soul". The original Hebrew word nephesh
means simply 'a breathing creature' and it is used not only of man
but also of animals. For example:
(margin 'souls') (Genesis 1:20);
('souls') (Genesis 2:19);
thing" ('soul') (Genesis 1:28).
It is true that nephesh is adopted
for a variety of purposes in later Scriptures. In the Authorised
Version the original word has been translated "soul" 530 times,
"life" or "living" 190 times, "persons" 34 times, "beasts", etc.
28 times. Among its other renderings are "self", "heart", "mind",
"appetite", "body" etc. But always its use is associated with the
activity of a living, breathing creature and never does it imply
anything about the duration of life. Indeed, far from ascribing
immortality to the soul the Bible emphatically declares that it is
both capable of dying and by its very nature liable to die:
"He spareth not their
soul from death" (Psalm 78:50);
"What man . . . shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul
from the hand of the grave?" (Psalm 89:48);
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4).
We could have no more emphatic
testimony that the soul is capable of death.
The question remains, however: What does death involve? In the
early chapters of Genesis, we read not only of the creation of man
but also of his 'fall' - of the entrance of sin and death into the
world. The Lord God commanded the man:
"Of every tree of the
garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16,17).
Disobedience to God's commandment
would bring death. What death involved is made clear when God
judged Adam for his sin:
"In the sweat of thy
face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for
out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt
thou return" (Genesis 3:19).
There was, in effect, to be a
reversal of the process of creation. Then God formed man from the
dust and breathed into his lifeless body the breath of life, so
that he became a living, breathing creature. So, in death, God
withdraws that life-giving energy of which He alone is the source
(see Job 34:14,15; Psalm 36:9); and the body corrupts and
disperses into dust (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
It may seem self-evident to say it, but before he was brought into
being by the creative power of God, Adam did not exist. If death
is the reversal of the creative process then the result must be a
cessation of being and the disintegration of the living, breathing
creature, whether he be man or animal, for so far as their natural
constitution is concerned there is no difference between them:
"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even
one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence
over a beast . . . All go to one place; all are of the dust, and
all turn to dust again" (Ecclesiastes 3:19,20).
The Psalmist writes:
"Lord, make me to
know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may
know how frail I am. Behold thou hast made my days as an
handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every
man at his best is altogether vanity O spare me, that I may
recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more" (Psalm
So there is no conscious existence
in death: no part of man lives on, either in heaven or hell. There
is no extension of being-not even for the righteous. King
Hezekiah, a faithful servant of God, wrote:
"For the grave cannot
praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee . . . the living, he
shall praise thee, as I do this day" (Isaiah 38:18,19).
And the wise man summarises the
"For the living know
that they shall die; but the dead know not anything . . .
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished
. . . Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for
there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the
grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10).
In the face of such clear teaching
about death, so easy to understand, what need is there for further
explanation? There can be no continuing existence after death
either in heaven or hell. The Bible speaks to us simply and
logically and leads us inevitably to this conclusion.
This does not mean of course that
there is no reward for the righteous or indeed no punishment
reserved for the wicked. But whatever these might be, because of
the harmony that exists throughout the Bible, such reward or
punishment must be consistent with the facts that we have already
established. A consideration of what the Scriptures say concerning
heaven leads us smoothly onwards in our developing understanding
of what the Bible teaches about these vital questions of life and
Heaven-God's Dwelling Place
Heaven is God's abiding place. Of course, in making such a
statement we must not limit the power and transcendence of God,
whom Scripture teaches to be everywhere present by his spirit. The
Psalmist, meditating upon this omnipresence of God, wrote:
"Whither shall I go
from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I
ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell,
behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand
lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the
darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as
the day" (Psalm 139:7-12).
When Solomon built his temple - a
house for God to dwell in - he too recognised this truth:
"Behold, the heaven
and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this
house that I have builded" (1 Kings 8:27).
But though God's spirit fills all
space, this truth is compatible with the fact that the Scriptures
speak of a "dwelling place". On that same occasion, Solomon
besought God for Israel:
"When they shall pray
towards this place . . . then hear thou in heaven thy
dwelling place: and when thou hearest forgive" (1 Kings
father which art in heaven"
The wise man wrote:
"God is in heaven,
and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few" (Ecclesiastes
and Jesus taught his disciples to
"Our father which art
in heaven" (Matthew 6:9).
This concept of God's heavenly
habitation is summed up in the following passages:
". . . who only hath
immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;
whom no man hath seen, nor can see" (1 Timothy 6:16);
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath
he given to the children of men" (Psalm 115:16).
Man has no access into God's
presence in heaven; but the Lord Jesus, God's only begotten Son,
after his resurrection "was received up into heaven and sat on the
right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).
This again is the logical
conclusion to which the Scriptures have led us:
"No man hath ascended
up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of
man" (John 3:13).
is Man's Inheritance
Heaven is not for man: his habitation both now and any future
existence is the earth:
"The meek shall
inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the
abundance of peace . . . For such as be blessed of him shall
inherit the earth . . . The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell therein for ever" (Psalm 37:11,22,29).
The Lord Jesus was referring to
this Psalm when he said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall
inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). He taught his disciples to pray,
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in
heaven" (6:10) And John had a vision of the redeemed (those
delivered from sin and death), who sing:
"Thou wast slain, and
hast redeemed us to God by thy blood . . . and hast made us unto
our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth"
The earth, then, is man's
habitation and also his promised eternal abiding place. We shall
leave for a moment the question of how this inheritance on earth
is granted, because first of all we must clear up some common
misunderstandings about "hell".
There are three main words in the Authorised Version which have
been rendered "hell". In the Old Testament it is the Hebrew word
sheol; in the Greek of the New Testament there are two
words, hades and gehenna. The word sheol was
commonly used to indicate the abode of the dead below the earth.
It is better rendered by "the grave" or "the pit". In the
Authorised Version sheol has been translated "grave" and
"hell" on 31 occasions each, and "pit" on three occasions.
Sheol is therefore the grave, the common place of the dead
where men's bodies are subject to decay. The grave is the place
where the dead "know not anything . . . their love, and their
hatred, and their envy, is now perished . . there is no knowledge,
nor wisdom, in the grave" (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10).
"Like sheep they are
laid in the grave (sheol); death shall feed on them . and
their beauty shall consume in the grave (sheol)" (Psalm
There are no exceptions: death and
the grave give to men an equality they can never find in life,
"There the wicked
cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the
prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
The small and the great are there; and the servant is free from
his master" (Job 3:17-19).
In the New Testament the word
hades is the equivalent of the Hebrew sheol. In the
Septuagint - a translation of the Old Testament into Greek,
compiled approximately two hundred and fifty years before the
birth of Jesus - this word is used almost without exception to
represent sheol. In Peter's speech on the Day of Pentecost
he quotes from Psalm 16 to prove the resurrection of Jesus and the
Greek text of Acts uses the word hades:
"Thou wilt not leave
my soul in hell, neither suffer thine Holy One to see corruption"
The third word translated "hell" is gehenna, a term always
associated with fire and with one exception only found in the
Gospels. The relevant passages in Matthew's record of the Gospel
are as follows: 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33. It is worth
observing that there are thus only about half a dozen different
references to "hell fire" in the Bible. Of course, even if there
were only one, it would still need to be given careful
consideration to determine its meaning.
For the purpose of our enquiry we
shall take just one passage: the explanation given in this
instance applies equally to all the others. We have selected the
words from Mark 9 (parallel to Matthew 18:8,9) because this is
undoubtedly the most explicit and comprehensive example of the
Lord's teaching about Gehenna:
"And if thy hand
offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life
maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that
never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire
is not quenched" (verses 43,44, see also 45-49).
From a superficial reading one
might feel a certain repugnance about eternal fires and
never-dying worms. Happily neither of these ideas is involved in a
true understanding of the passage.
The word Gehenna comes from the
Hebrew Ge-Hinnom, which was in fact a geographical
location. It means the Valley of Hinnom, sometimes referred to as
Tophet. It was a valley on the edge of the (then) city of
Jerusalem and from the earliest times it was a place of ill repute
- associated with idolatrous worship and abhorred by the Jews
because of horrific practices associated with false worship: see,
for example, Jeremiah 7:31-33. In the days of Josiah the valley
was cleansed and its evil practices forbidden (2 Kings 23:10). Its
infamy, however, lived on and it became a place for Jews to burn
the refuse of the city; later they used it to dispose of the
carcases of animals and unburied criminals after execution. For
this purpose and to avoid the stench of putrefaction, fires were
kept burning there continually and it became synonymous with death
The reference to fires that are
never quenched now begins to be seen more clearly: they are used
to express the nature of divine judgement. The judgements of God
are certain and inexorable. This indeed is what is suggested by,
"Their worm dieth not" - nothing can prevent or interfere with the
declared judgement of God upon those who turn their backs on Him.
Before leaving the subject of "hell", a brief word is appropriate
about one instance of the word tartarus in the New
"God spared not the
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartarus)"
(2 Peter 2:4).
In Greek mythology the word
referred to a subterranean cavern, a nether-world into which the
wicked were cast.
The use of this word can in no way
confuse the clear teaching of Scripture as already stated. Its use
arises out of the peculiar circumstances connected with the event
to which Peter refers. There is some uncertainty as to the precise
reference to "the angels that sinned": some have seen in these
words a references to Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who, when they
spoke against Moses and rebelled against God, suffered a unique
punishment when 'the ground clave asunder . . . the earth opened
her mouth, and swallowed them up . . . They went down alive into
the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished"
This event would certainly provide
an adequate explanation for the use of the word tartarus by
Peter on this one occasion.
Destiny of the Wicked
So far as the wicked are concerned, we have already established
that they cannot possibly exist after death, suffering eternal
torment and misery. The following passages are a selection from
"The wicked shall
perish . . . they shall consume away" (Psalm 37:20).
"He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never
see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like
the beasts that perish" (Psalm 49:19,20).
"The wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors
shall be rooted out of it" (Proverbs 2:22).
"They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall
not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made
all their memory to perish" (Isaiah 26:14).
"They shall be punished with everlasting destruction" (2
The final punishment of the wicked
is therefore annihilation, perpetual death, cut off from the land
of the living for ever. This is fitting and appropriate in the
light of our understanding of Bible teaching concerning life and
death, "for the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
of the Righteous
But what of the reward of the righteous? We have seen that their
eternal inheritance is the earth - an earth perfected and purged
of all evil. We have, however, also learned that all men by nature
are subject to death and that in death they have no conscious
being. If Scriptural teaching is to be consistent, then there is
only one possible way for the righteous to receive their reward:
they must be made to live again by resurrection from the dead. The
last Old Testament passage quoted in connection with the destiny
of the wicked (Isaiah 26:1 4) spoke of their death as eternal:
"They shall not rise." In the same chapter, however, the prophet
contrasts the fate of these with the reward of the righteous:
"Thy dead men shall
live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing,
ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the
earth shall cast out the dead" (v. 19).
How is this to be achieved? The
salvation that God offers necessitated Jesus' resurrection from
the dead; and this has made it possible for all faithful men to be
raised from the dead as he was. So Jesus could say, "I am the
resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25); and on another
occasion, "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in
the graves shall hear his (the Son of man's, i.e. Jesus') voice,
and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the
resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the
resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28,29).
In his first Letter to the
Corinthians, the apostle Paul deals at length with the
resurrection of the dead, showing that it is at the very heart of
the Christian hope. His challenge to some who doubted this
"Now if Christ be
preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that
there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no
resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ
be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also
vain . . . Ye are yet in your sins . . . they also which are
fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (15:12-18).
If there is no resurrection of the dead, there is no hope. But the
triumphant conclusion of the apostle is:
"In fact Christ has
been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have
fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come
also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also
in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order:
Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to
Christ" (verses 20-23, R.S.V.).
How could the apostle be more
specific? Only through resurrection will life after death be
achieved, and the Lord Jesus Christ is but the first of a great
multitude, the first fruits of a great harvest of dead believers
who will live again when Jesus returns to the earth.
There we have the key to the whole
situation. While the world continues as it is now, dominated by
evil men pursuing their ambition for power, it is difficult for us
to envisage how the meek will ever inherit the earth, but central
to the purpose of God is the second coming of Jesus to overthrow
the kingdom of men; to destroy all that oppose Him and to
establish the kingdom of God, a divine society founded on
principles of righteousness and equity over which he will reign
for ever (see Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:1 5; 2 Thessalonians
1:7-10; Daniel 2:44; Micah 4:1-5).
Scripture teaching is not
complicated and difficult to comprehend, but rational and logical.
The Scriptures speak of
two classes of people raised from the sleep of death at the last
day: those who are given everlasting life, and others raised to
shame and condemnation (Daniel 12:2). In fact mankind can be
divided into three classes. First there are those who will not be
raised from the dead, who have lived their lives in ignorance of
God and His purpose and who consequently have no responsibility to
Him: "Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the
beasts that perish" (Psalm 49:20). Consistent with this, Daniel
wrote that not all but "many of them that sleep
For the second category - those who
through their knowledge and understanding of God have become
responsible to Him yet have not been faithful in their lives -
there is an inevitable judgement at the great tribunal when God,
through Jesus, shall judge "every man according as his work shall
be" (Revelation 22:12). And then there is the third category: for
the faithful it will be the fulfilment of all their hopes-a
resurrection to eternal life, lived in a glorious incorruptible
body, reigning as kings and priests upon the earth with the Lord
It would be wrong not to acknowledge that there are some passages
of Scripture which many people sincerely believe establish the
orthodox teaching of the immortality of the soul and the popular
conception of heaven as the abode of the righteous. Here are the
chief examples of passages which might seem to teach a view
contradicting what we have put forward so far:
"The Kingdom of
This is a phrase used only in Matthew's record of the Gospel. It
is assumed by some that because it refers to heaven, the actual
location of the kingdom is in heaven. Thus, "Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
5:3) and, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (18:3) are taken to
prove that the righteous enjoy their inheritance in heaven. If we
are serious about Bible study, however, we should not jump to
conclusions too easily and we should examine more carefully the
phrase "kingdom of heaven" as used in Matthew and establish
precisely what it means. We select just two passages which, we
suggest, illustrate clearly that the kingdom of heaven is not
actually located in heaven, but - in harmony with general Bible
teaching - here on earth.
Matthew 13 contains a number of
parables that Jesus used to illustrate his message. Most are
prefaced with the words "the kingdom of heaven is like unto" yet
some of the things that Jesus said are extremely difficult to
reconcile with the thought of the soul transported to heaven at
death. For instance, in the parable of the tares, "The field is
the world . . . the harvest is the end of the world . . . As
therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall
it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth
his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things
that offend . . . Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun
in the kingdom of their Father" (verses 24-30,36-43). Can there
really be "things that offend" in a kingdom in heaven?
After a meeting with a rich young
man, who could not bring himself to sell his possessions and
follow him, Jesus said, "that a rich man can hardly (i.e. with
difficulty) enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a
rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew
19:23-24). 'Kingdom of heaven' and 'kingdom of God' are parallel
Why then does Matthew employ the
phrase 'kingdom of heaven'? Some verses from the Book of Daniel in
the Old Testament illustrate its meaning: "In the days of these
kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall
never be destroyed" (2:44). In another chapter, Daniel writes:
"The heavens do rule" (4:26). Even the great Nebuchadnezzar, King
of Babylon, was forced to acknowledge that "God doeth according to
his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the
earth" and was led to "praise and extol and honour the King of
heaven" (4:35-37). The kingdom of heaven is therefore descriptive
of the rule of heaven and the phrase could reasonably be
applied to any area where God's sovereignty is acknowledged. Thus
Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be
done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
The Parable of
the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16)
We are now considering a parable It is not fact, but Jesus
is using a commonly believed fallacy--that the righteous were
carried to 'Abraham's bosom' to be comforted, whereas the wicked
suffer in hell. One of the points he is making is that God's
standards are different from man's and may be the complete
opposite of human assessments. Another is that the faith that
pleases God is such that it will be prepared to believe what is
written in the Scriptures. If God's Word cannot convince them,
nothing can: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither
will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (verse 31).
Notice how the detail of the
parable is completely irreconcilable with commonly held views of
immortal souls in heaven and hell. The rich man and Lazarus were
able to observe one another and speak to one another from their
respective abodes. They were not immaterial spirits, but they
possessed bodies with fingers, tongues etc. (verse 24).
The parable was, then, a terrible
warning to wealthy and powerful Jews, who believed that merely
being born a Jew would guarantee them God's blessing.
The Thief on the
Cross (Luke 23:39-43)
Here we have one of the most remarkable examples in the Bible of
faith. This man, dying on a cross with the Lord Jesus Christ when
all others had forsaken him, manifested a belief in the Gospel of
the kingdom of God, accepting the resurrection of Jesus and
anticipating his own resurrection in the day of Christ's coming in
glory. The assurance that Jesus gave him was, "Verily I say unto
thee today thou shalt be with me in paradise" (verse 43). Observe
that we have not punctuated this promise. This is important, for
in the original Greek text there was no punctuation as we
understand it. Commas etc. are inserted in the English translation
according to the sense of the language, and the placing of the
comma before the word "today" in the Authorised Version is
debatable. It could with equal validity be placed after the
word "today", thus changing the emphasis and sense of the words:
"Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise."
In other words, "I am telling you now that your request will be
In any case, to read the words as
an assurance that they should both that very day be united in
heaven is inconsistent with other Bible teaching. We have already
referred to Psalm 16 (quoted in Acts 2), which tells us clearly
that the soul of Jesus was not in heaven but in hell, from where
he was raised on the third day: "Because thou wilt not leave my
soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see
There are more Scriptures that we
could examine in this way. The instances we have considered,
however, should help us to appreciate that apparently
contradictory passages have adequate explanations consistent with
Bible teaching as a whole.
What then is our reaction to these Bible truths? They are not just
intended as facts to be assimilated by the mind; they should
affect our whole outlook on life. Appreciating the true nature of
death, we should realise that life is our time of opportunity. As
"The grave cannot
praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into
the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he
shall praise thee, as I do this day" (Isaiah 38:18,19).
The issue is one of life and death.
Upon our decision depends our eternal future: the oblivion of
perpetual death or the glorious awakening to life everlasting at
the return of Jesus! How urgent it is therefore that we embrace
the hope of the Gospel while time remains, lest we die "having no
hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).