Post-Death Consciousness

4th issue in series (find the other parts here.)

Post-Death Consciousness (Leg 2)

 

At this time, according to the principals of “disclosure,” I frankly admit to you that I believe that “death” is the post-mortem jail for every refractory[1] person preliminary to judgment and sentencing. Death—including by any other name (Hell, Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, the pit, the unseen, behemoth, leviathan, etc.) —will be the unhappy lodging place of the unredeemed prior to post-judgment prison—the lake of fire.[2] Whoever dies in rebellion, supposing himself (his own) god—having imagined “in the land of the living” that God may indeed be mocked—will have his first wakeup call in this jailhouse.

By saying “a wakeup call,” I mean a sudden, clear epiphany as in the television commercial of old where the man walking crookedly out of his house rethinks his breakfast choice before slapping his forehead and saying, “Wow; I could have had a V-8!”

Concerning this place called Hell: In the above biblical text, I have placed the word consoled in bold red letters to stand out. I did so because I want to bring that word up for discussion. First, however, this little housekeeping moment is in order:

Please understand that true Bible scholars are neither pseudo-intellectual nor anti-intellectual. As such, believing in “inerrancy/infallibility” of the Scriptures is NOT belief in a perfect translation from a perfect copy of that perfect, but non-extant, autograph (original document[3]). The complication factor increases when you realize translation necessarily occurs between two languages sharing only roughly equivalent words.[4] All the more so again when the translating from language is dead,[5] and you can consult no expert who spoke/wrote it when it was alive.[6] A few things, therefore, can be quibbled over. All this to say that the Bible you hold in your hand reaches the height of excellence, not perfection.

I take exception to the word “sigh,” being translated in a happy way in Ezekiel 32:31, whereas—in keeping with the (lamentation) theme of the text— “suffer regret” may more likely maintain the proper sentiment. This is a small matter, and my being right or wrong does not greatly change the passage’s thrust, nor whether the episode ought to be perceived as actual or parabolic.

So, I believe that Pharaoh and his defeated Egyptian army, who supposed that other than YHWH was God and Ultimate Authority, get some reflective time in conscious death to mull over what’s what. Somewhere, perhaps a physical location that could be pointed to, perhaps not, these inmates are/were not saying, “Wow, I could have had a V-8,” but rather, “Wow, if only I had acknowledged that God was God! Instead, I am considered a mocker, along with every other arrogant one (man or nation) who found God’s sword in his hand[7] before or after me. Ahhhhg!

What I believe for them is what I believe for all lost men: If Jesus “descended” to preach (Eph 4:9),[8] He wasn’t preaching a sermon of condemnation or harangue for these reasons:

1) The condemned population didn’t lack any realization of their condemned state;

2) The Resurrection and Life[9] is not about condemnation, but (repentance unto) Life.

And so, we land squarely upon the horns of the real question: What is the character of God?[10] Unbelievers often cite passages recalling God’s directive to totally annihilate a people as the rationality to withhold respect or allegiance from the God of the Bible. Truly God did call for the eradication of some peoples. Why is His own business. He is not a murderer, as some like to say, but owns all creation outright. It is His; He can do as He likes with it.[11] What always goes un-discussed by uninformed Christians, perhaps embarrassed by the inconvenient truth of this undeniably stark reality, is the actual language God used when instructing such an act. The actual language called not for the mere slaughter of People X,[12] but to “devote People X to YHWH” (Himself). For what purpose is a people thus devoted to God unless they are taken from one location to emerge in another—a specialized environment more intensely conducive to learning, for instance?

Do not most Christians[13] suppose liberals wish they could put us into “reeducation camps”? Considering that all their “educational” institutions are really indoctrination stations, we understand what ascendant control they would wish to wield over even our thought lives. We thereby assign stigmatism to the word reeducate. The term-couplet (reeducation camp) also brings stigmatism to the word camp, forcing a mental association with “concentration camp.” So the phrase is double poisoned.

Yet, what if God is placing the men of Noah’s generation, Culture X,[14] Nineveh, and Pharaoh with his army into what might be accurately termed reeducation camp/s so that they might come to acknowledge truth, and learn not to blaspheme.[15] (Call it Earth 2-point-0, if you like.)

But someone will ask,[16] “If this is remedial education, when is commencement?”[17] But, alas, “It is not for you to know times and seasons your Heavenly Father has set by His own authority.”[18] Perhaps their bodies were destroyed that their spirits/souls might be redeemed.[19] If so, how much more fit are they rendered to “rise up and condemn [the] generation”[20] of God’s very people who despised[21] God when He walked in their very midst?

Wherever the men of Noah’s generation, Culture X, Nineveh, and Pharaoh/Ancient Egypt go for remedial education, when the people known for bearing God’s name[22], [23] rebel, they (along with their unwitting offspring) go off to captivity, exile, banishment[24] and “the land of the enemy[25]” until morning. –That is, until God shows them new mercy.[26] As befits progeny, He corrects His covenant children.[27] How? He corrects them lightly,[28] and not as He would punish transgressing strangers.

 

–Martin D. Carlson

 

[1]
Seems like the best word choice for a non-Calvinist to convey reprobation or calcified rebellion.

[2]
Easy, now. Stay with me. As is a frequent Bible tenet, the bad news (e.g. darkness) is presented first, but will become eclipsed (or swallowed, if you prefer) by the good news (e.g. light) that has (then) yet To Be Announced.

[3]
That’s right. A true scholar citing “Inerrancy” and/or “infallibility” is assigning perfection ONLY to the original document—from which a high level of accuracy proceeds. Insisting otherwise can only be from ignorance or stubbornness. If we had a perfect translation, no new translational works would be necessary or desirable.

[4]
Was Jesus pierced through His hands or His wrists? The language translated from has one word that incorporates both as one object (a whole hand assembly); the modern language translated to (in our case, English) holds distinct the two body parts. Did a fish or a whale swallow Jonah? Not fair to demand which—as though the other is necessarily wrong—when the ancient Hebrew word for fish can include whales. (An even more likely fault is that Jesus didn’t call Jonah’s fish a “whale” in Matthew 12:40, as King James insists. Either way proves the point.)

[5]
Well, which is it? The Proverbs 30:28 spider of King James (and many other translations) is a lizard in many other versions. Ever looked at a text note to see the words, “The Hebrew for this term is uncertain”? Implication: We plugged in the word rabbit here because it seems to meet the case. We’re not sure.

[6]
Remarkably, Mark, Dennis and I agree that attempts to consult the dead would be . . . well, just wrong!

[7]
The most powerful nation in a given era. See Ezekiel 30:24-25. God sometimes claims to have elevated a nation to prominence for His purposes. He may, for instance, refer to putting His sword into or taking His sword out of a nations’ hand.

[8]
As regards this, see also 1 Peter 3:19-20, and 4:6—but probably go to NAS(B) on this one to avoid opinions the Calvin-fawning NIV editors were “kind enough” to insert into their “translation” here and there.

[9]
Jesus, whose very name means Salvation.

[10]
God’s character? Yes, and the intention that springs from it. Throw your Calvinism away! Over and over again, Jesus reminded His followers that He came to save, not destroy! This ain’t rocket surgery!

[11]
Job 9:12; Psalms 50:12

[12]
Not to be confused with Generation X. Wait, that may have better crossover potential than I first realized!

[13]
Not everyone uses the word Christian in the same way. In saying Christians, I refer to only and all persons whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 21:27; Luke 10:20).

[14]
And by Culture X I naturally mean People X—a random, but dead, people group. (You’d have to read the rest of this Leg.) Dr. Agonson, who is fabulously hard to get along with, said you both deserved and wanted to know.)

[15]
1 Timothy 1:20. (However, if you DO look up this reference, please don’t think I am saying Satan rules Punishment. Satan does have a kingdom of sorts currently, but he is not king within punishment, but will rather suffer greatest punishment. Envision everyone else being given pitchforks, which will then be leveled at him.)

[16]
If I can sound enough like Paul, surely you’ll believe me.

[17]
Exercise vs. exorcism?

[18]
Acts 1:7

[19]
1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20

[20]
Luke 11:32

[21]
Here, of course, I mean the despise of the older Bible translations—something akin to disdain, disesteem or contemn, not the more common idea of today that wants despise to mean hate intensely.

[22]
Israel

[23]
Isaiah 27:7-8 suggests God’s punishments come to Israel with greater constraint than to other nations.

[24]
Such as is mentioned in Deut 30:4

[25]
If you really want to know, read Leviticus 26:14-45. But read the whole chapter and beyond for (more) context.

[26]
I allude, of course, to Lamentations 3:22. (God’s mercies are new every morning.)

[27]
Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:6; cf. Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Rev 3:19

[28]
Second reference to Isaiah 27:7-8

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