explain this Scripture: "Death and hell were cast into
the lake of fire, this is the second death?"
<ANSWER>--The first death came upon Adam because of sin,
and death has been reigning in the earth since, and men have
died because of inherited sin. Death is spoken of in the Scriptures
as a great enemy. Under the reign of Christ the dead shall return
from the land of the enemy, the tomb, the death condition. (`Jer.
31:15-17`; `John 5:28,29`). All those who have become Christ's
in this life receive their trial now. Those who have had no
opportunity to accept the Lord will be given a trial then, and
if obedient will be rewarded with eternal life on the earth.
The reign of Christ is for the purpose of restoring all that
was lost in Adam (`Acts 3:19-22`) and as the Scriptures declare:
"He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (`1 Cor.
15:25,26`). In the Scripture quoted in your question, "hell"
is from the Greek word <"Hades,"> meaning the
tomb. Death means the result of the curse that came upon Adam.
The words used by our Lord were figurative. The "lake of
fire" is a symbol of complete destruction, here called
the "second death," therefore the second death refers
to that death from which there will be no resurrection.
is meant by the "Second Death" mentioned in the book
<ANSWER>--The first death, the death which came upon the
human family through the disobedience of Father Adam, extended
to every member of the human race. But according to God's providence,
foreknown and fully declared, Christ died for the sins of the
whole world; and in due time every member of Adam's race is
to be recovered from that sin and from its death penalty, which
for six thousand years has been upon the race. In other words,
as Adam brought mankind under the first death penalty, so Christ
will release all mankind from that death penalty and give every
member of the race a full and fair opportunity to attain perfection
and eternal life. Whoever refuses that favor and opportunity--whoever
sins willfully and deliberately against that light, will come
under the sentence of death again; and this time it will not
be Adamic death, but Second Death. And the difference between
the two deaths is that the latter will know no revocation--there
will be no redemption from it and no resurrection.
explain `Rev. 20:10`, particularly the last clause of the verse
which reads: "and shall be tormented day and night for
ever and ever." (E.W.D.)
<ANSWER>--All Bible students recognize that the expressions
of this chapter and verse are highly figurative. Where it is
stated that a "beast and false prophet" are to be
cast into the "lake of fire and brimstone," no reasoning
mind would say that literal beast, or a literal false prophet
were meant; but that these were symbols, and represent false
and beastly systems. And if not an actual beast is meant, so
also with the "lake of fire and brimstone." This lake
would fittingly symbolize absolute destruction, for whatever
is cast into fire and brimstone, the two most destructive agencies
known to mankind, is immediately destroyed and not preserved
in any sense. As stated in the `14th verse`, it is the "second
death"--annihilation. To our understanding, the "devil"
here mentioned is not Satan himself, but is an evil system--a
devilish power. These evil systems--false civil and ecclesiastical
powers--in the end of the Age are to be "tormented day
and night," as long as they last, with financial, social,
and religious difficulties and pains. "Forever and ever"
is from the Greek <aionion> which signifies lasting. The
"torment" will last until these Satanic systems are
was the serpent? What was its form? In what way did he induce
our first parents to disobey the Lord? (W.H.M.)
<ANSWER>--The `Genesis` account of the seduction of our
first parents by Satan is very brief. There is just a sufficient
amount of detail given to show how sin entered into the world
and death by sin. The Bible is the only book in all the world
that goes back to the beginning and logically and consistently
sets forth the origin of sin and death. After concisely stating
the facts, it does not ramble all around the point by bringing
in a mass of unnecessary detail. It was not written to amuse,
charm, or satisfy curiosity. In the first three chapters of
the Bible the origin, fall and death of the race are described;
and in the last three chapters of the Bible, the elimination
of sin and death, and the uplifting and blessing of mankind
are set forth. From the brief account given of the tragedy that
occurred in the Garden of Eden, we might surmise that the serpent
was merely one of the number that were in existence at that
time and that Satan, a powerful spirit being, controlled, or
obsessed it and caused it to act and to speak in a manner such
as would deceive mother Eve. Inasmuch as the Bible does not
furnish the particulars, it would be impossible for anyone to
set forth all the facts.
was it a sin for David to number the people (`2 Sam. 24` and
`1 Chron. 21`)?
<ANSWER>--While it is not stated in the Scriptural account
that the Lord did not wish the Israelites to be numbered, yet
we are convinced from the reading of these chapters, particularly
verses one and eight of `1st Chronicles`, 21st chapter, that
such was the case and that He had given instructions to that
effect. In the third verse of this same chapter, we find Job,
David's chief officer, protesting against this action of the
King; saying that it would be "a cause of trespass to Israel."
We may reason, too, that as David sat upon "the throne
of the Lord" (`1 Chron. 29:23`) as the Lord's representative,
he was acting without instructions and due authority in taking
the census of the people and was therefore presumptuous in the
matter, and deserving of punishment as a rebuke in not first
ascertaining the Divine will of God, the true King of Israel.
There is a valuable lesson here for all who profess to be God's
people, and that is, to first seek the Lord's instruction and
guidance in life's affairs and not to lean to their own understanding
and natural preferences. The reasoning faculties of all are
more or less unbalanced; no one has a perfectly balanced mind,
and hence it would be the part of true wisdom to follow the
instructions of the Lord.
a person has led a sinful life and has been instrumental in
causing others to sin, would it be possible for such a one to
be fully forgiven and all their past sins cancelled if they
should repent and ask the Lord to forgive them?
<ANSWER>--There should be no question in the mind of any
one on this point. The Scriptures abound with expressions in
which the Divine love and compassion of God, the Heavenly Father,
are set forth. The great Creator of the Universe sacrificed
His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to redeem the world
and to reconcile it to Himself. Those, therefore, who will accept
the Lord Jesus as their Savior, believing that He by the grace
of God tasted death for every man--these are freely forgiven
all their past iniquities. The Apostle Paul, before his conversion
to Christianity, was bitterly opposed to the cause of Christ
and went about persecuting the followers of the Master--putting
them in prison and arranging that some should be put to death.
We remember that he consented to the death of Stephen, the first
martyr. Yet with all this, the Lord freely forgave him. Note
the following Scriptures as evidencing the full and complete
forgiveness of all those who are truly repentant and who desire
to draw nigh to God through Christ (`Isa. 1:18`; `Psa. 103:10-14`;
`Acts 26:18`; `Eph. 1:7`; `Col. 1:14`).
is the unpardonable sin?>
<ANSWER>--The unpardonable sin is a sin which God declines
to pardon or forgive--a sin, therefore, which must be punished,
must be expiated by the sinner. There may be said to be different
degrees of unpardonable sin, however. An unpardonable sin is
one that is committed against light and knowledge. All sins
of weakness and ignorance are pardonable, because God has made
provision for the pardon of these in the death of Christ. Since
all of our weakness and ignorance came to us through the fault
of our Father Adam, and since Jesus redeemed the world from
that transgression and all of its hereditary taint, therefore,
every sin attributed to that fall alone is a pardonable sin.
There are, however, what might be termed mixed sins in which
a measure of wilfulness, knowledge and intelligence combine
with a certain measure of ignorance and weakness. For such sins
there would be forgiveness to the extent of the weakness and
ignorance, but punishment would be required to the extent of
the knowledge and wilfulness. A wilful sin against full light
and knowledge would be a sin against the holy spirit of God.
Such, knowingly committed, would bring the sinner under the
sentence of the sin namely, the Second Death.
my mind, the following text of Scripture is one of the most
puzzling to be found in the Bible--"Some men's sins are
open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they
follow after."--`1 Tim. 5:24`. (C. M.)
<ANSWER>--The Scriptures point out two spiritual classes
among the Lord's people, one class of which will be kings and
priests unto God, and will be seated upon the throne of Divine
authority and power. This is a comparatively small class, and
is called the "Little Flock," the "very elect,"
"a chosen generation, a royal priesthood," etc. The
other class is comparatively large, and is called the "great
multitude which no man can number," and are represented
as being before the throne, as servants and messengers. (`Rev.
7:9-15`.) These two classes are referred to in the parable of
the "Wise and Foolish Virgins." The first class, "the
very elect," have all their sins up for judgment beforehand,
before the general judgment time for the world. They are on
trial in this present time and have all their sins atoned for
and expiated. The other class, "the great company,"
will have its sins up for judgment following after the judgment
of the "Little Flock," having "come up through
great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb." The Apostle's letter was addressed
to Timothy, a child of God, and his instructions relate to the
worldly ones outside of the Church of Christ. Indeed, the world's
sins, both Adamic and willful, are all fully atoned for by the
above two classes in association with the Lord Jesus Christ
as the "sin-offerings" of this great Atonement Day.