Luke 23:43 Revisited + 14 Proofs of Consciousness After Death Part 1

False doctrine abounds and needs to be refuted. Jude tells us to “contend for the faith once given to the saints.”

The Bible pointedly and clearly teaches that there is immediate consciousness after the death of our body. That is to say, our consciousness continues unbroken, uninterrupted.

(1). The case of the penitent thief on the cross and the promise Jesus made that the thief would be that day with Jesus in Paradise constitutes proof One for consciousness after death.

Luke 23:43 contains the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Thief on the Cross:

Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

For those few readers here who might be able to read the Greek text, here it is:

Luk 23:43 και ειπεν αυτω ο ιησους αμην λεγω σοι σημερον μετ εμου εση εν τω παραδεισω

Now, don’t faint, run away scared, or mad. I intend to explain this in a way that everyone can understand.

A very literal word-for-word English translation of the above Greek text would correctly read:

And said to-him [the] Jesus, Verily I-say to-thee, Today with me thou-shalt-be in Paradise.

I used square brackets “[…]” to indicate the presence of a Greek word which I translated which is not required in English, in this case involving the word “the.”

I joined English words with a hyphen when more than one word is used in English to translate a single Greek word.

The grammatical and idiomatic issue involves the placement of the word “Today.” For the text to properly mean “I say to thee today” the Greek word for “today” would have been placed before the verb I say, which then in a word-for-word literal English translation would in that case have read “Verily today I-say to-thee,” but no manuscript evidence for the Gospel of Luke in the sources I have here suggests any question about the placement or order of the word “Today” (Greek, σημερον). Just now, I am looking at the Greek text edited by Tregelles, page 366, the right hand lower column, which gives all the significant manuscript variations for this text.

Alford’s Greek text, volume 1, page 661, in its Greek apparatus immediately below the Greek text furnishes no readings which affect the word order under discussion.

Alford has this to say in his exegetical comments below, right hand column:

It is remarkable how, in three following sayings, the Lord appears as Prophet, Priest, and King: as Prophet, to the daughters of Jerusalem; –as Priest, interceding for forgiveness; –as King, acknowledged by the penitent thief, and answering his prayer.

43. αμην λεγω σοι…. The Lord surpasses his prayer in the answer; the αμην λεγω σοι σημερον, is the reply to the uncertain οταν [“when,” Luke 23:42] of the thief.

σημερον this day: before the close of this natural day. The attempt to join it with λεγω σοι, considering that it not only violates common sense, but destroys the force of our Lord’s promise, is surely something worse than silly: see below.

μετ εμου εση can bear no other meaning than thou shalt be with Me, in the ordinary sense of the words, ‘I shall be in Paradise, and thou with Me.’

Checking Wordsworth’s Greek Testament, on page 251, Wordsworth states: “The penitent thief prayed to be remembered at that future time, however distant, when Christ should come in His kingdom. Christ rewarded his faith and good confession by a promise of immediate happiness. “To-day thou shalt be (i.e. thy human soul shall be with My human soul) in Paradise” (page 251, left column, top paragraph).

Tischendorf’s great eighth edition of his Novum Testamentum Graece, volume 1, pages 714, 715 contains a textual apparatus for this verse which occupies nearly a full page of fine print, but I see no reference to New Testament manuscript evidence to support a change in the word order involving “Today” that could support the view that it properly means “I say to you today, ….”

As Alford remarked, such a rendering is silly, and I would add, a trifling with the Word of God. Obviously Jesus was speaking to the thief on the cross that very day in which he spoke to him. It is clearly not the intention of the expression “today” to affirm when Jesus was speaking, but when the thief would be with Jesus himself in Paradise.

No further textual evidence beyond what I’ve already given is furnished by the Roman Catholic Joseph M. Bover S. J.’s Novi Testamenti Biblia Graeca et Latina on page 263, or the eighth edition of Augustinus Merk S. J.’s Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, page 298; both sources give no variant readings from the Greek that pertain to the question under discussion pertaining to the meaning or placement of “Today.”

F. W. Grant comments on this passage that “…the Lord is answering a prayer in which a time wherein the thief sought to be remembered was expressed. He had said, ‘Lord, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.’ The Lord says virtually, ‘You shall not wait for that: today you shall be with Me.’ This is the simple, intelligible reason for the specification of time: ‘Today,’ not when I come merely, ‘shalt thou be with me in Paradise'” (F. W. Grant, Facts and Theories as to a Future State, page 148).

As for Paradise, A. T. Robertson, the great American Greek scholar, states “This Persian word was used for an enclosed park or pleasure ground (so Xenophon). The word occurs in two other passages in the N.T. (2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7), in both of which the reference is plainly to heaven” (Robertson, Word Pictures, vol. 2, page 287).

I trust the scholarship I have cited and the plain statement of the text in Greek and English will put to rest once and for all the mistaken notion that there is a mistake in the punctuation of our standard English translations, the argument I’ve recently read in Seventh Day Adventist literature which discusses this verse. Those who argue for “I say to thee today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise” clearly do so for doctrinal reasons that are not supportable from the original Greek text’s meaning, idiom, and grammar.

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21 Responses to Luke 23:43 Revisited + 14 Proofs of Consciousness After Death Part 1

  1. ken sagely says:

    jerry i have always enjoyed lk 23.43″ today thou shalt be with me in paradise”. what a great promise that he is still offering today to those who believe on him! jn 3.16 god so loved the world that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. thank for your diligence in sharing the scriptures its real encouraging.

  2. a. way says:

    Luke 23:43: Today. Gr. sēmeron. As originally written, the Greek was without punctuation, and the adverb sēmeron, “today,” stands between two clauses which read, literally, “truly to you I say” and “with me you will be in the paradise.” Greek usage permitted an adverb to appear anywhere in a sentence the speaker or writer desired to place it. Merely from the Greek construction of the sentence in question it is impossible to determine whether the adverb “today” modifies “I say” or “you will be.” Either is possible. The question is, Did Jesus mean to say, literally, “Truly to you I say today,” or “Today with me you will be in paradise”? The only way of knowing which Christ meant is to discover scriptural answers to some other questions: (1) What is paradise? (2) Did Jesus go to paradise on the day of His crucifixion? (3) What did Jesus teach about the time when men would enter upon their reward in paradise? Be with me. On the eve of the betrayal-less than 24 hours before making this promise to the thief-Jesus had told the Twelve, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you. … I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). Yet, three days later Jesus informed Mary, “I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17). Obviously, therefore, Jesus did not go to paradise, and was not in paradise, on the day of His crucifixion. Accordingly, the thief could not have been with Jesus in paradise.Paradise. Gr. paradeisos, a transliteration of the Persian pairidaêza, meaning an “enclosure,” “park,” or “preserve” containing trees, in which animals were often kept for the hunt. It was enclosed by walls and sometimes furnished with towers for the hunters. The equivalent Hebrew word, pardes, is translated “forest,” or “orchard” (Nehemiah 2:8; Ecclesiastes 2:5). In the LXX the “garden” of Eden is spoken of as the “paradise” of Eden (Genesis 2:8). In fact, paradeisos is common in the LXX where the word “garden” (Heb. gan) appears in the English translation (see Genesis 3:1; Isaiah 51:3; Joel 2:3; etc.).In the NT paradeisos occurs only in Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 “paradise” is obviously synonymous with “heaven.” The fact that Paul refers to no earthly “paradise” is doubly clear from the fact he equates being “caught up” to “heaven” with being “caught up” to “paradise.” According to Revelation 2:7 the “tree of life” is said to be “in the midst of the paradise of God,” whereas in Revelation 21:1-3; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:1-5 the tree of life is associated with the new earth, the New Jerusalem, the river of life, and the throne of God. There can be no doubt whatever that NT usage of paradeisos consistently makes it synonymous with “heaven.”Therefore, when Jesus assured the thief of a place with Him in “paradise,” He referred to the “many mansions” of His “Father’s house” and to the time when He would “receive” unto Himself His own (John 14:1-3). Throughout His ministry Jesus had specifically stated that He would “reward every man according to his works” when He returned in triumph “in the glory of his Father with his angels” (Matthew 16:27). Not until that time will He invite the saved of earth to “inherit the kingdom prepared for” them “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:31; Matthew 25:34; cf. Revelation 22:21). Paul taught that those who fall asleep in Jesus will come forth from their graves at Christ’s second coming (see 1 Corinthians 15:20-23) to receive immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). The resurrected righteous and righteous living will “be caught up together … to meet the Lord in the air,” and thus “ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The thief will, accordingly, be “with” Jesus in “paradise” following the resurrection of the just, at His second coming.It should be noted that the comma between the words “thee” and “today” was inserted by the translators. The original Greek text, which had neither punctuation nor word division reads: amēn soi legō sēmeron met emou esē en tō paradeisō, literally, “truly to-you I-say today with-me you-will-be in the paradise.” The adverb sēmeron, “today,” stands between the two verbs legō, “I-say,” and esē, “you-will-be,” and might properly apply to either. Its position immediately following the verb legō, “I-say,” may imply a closer grammatical relationship to it than to the verb esē, “you will be.”Obviously, in placing the comma before the word “today,” the translators were guided by the unscriptural concept that the dead enter into their rewards at death. But, as set forth above, it is manifest that neither Jesus nor the writers of the NT believed or taught such a doctrine. To place the comma before the word “today” thus makes Christ contradict what He and the various NT writers have plainly stated elsewhere. Accordingly, the Scriptures themselves require that the comma be placed after the word “to day,” not before it. (John 4:35-36)Thus what Christ actually said to the thief on the cross was: “Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The great question the thief was pondering at the moment was not when he would reach paradise, but whether he would get there at all. Jesus’ simple statement assures him that, however undeserving he may be and however impossible it may appear for Jesus-dying the death of a condemned criminal-to make good such a promise, the thief will most assuredly be there. In fact, it was Jesus’ presence on the cross that made such a hope possible.

  3. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    It is good to hear from you again.

    Your presentation of contrary evidence and argument is most welcome.

    Your position is the contrary of mine, and I believe my evidence overrides what you have presented.

    Your source says:

    Greek usage permitted an adverb to appear anywhere in a sentence the speaker or writer desired to place it.

    This statement is probably over-simplified to accommodate the general reader. Word placement in Greek is indeed more flexible than what we have in English grammar, for Greek is an inflected language and has less dependency upon word order. But word order is governed by the emphasis desired, and is often related to numerous figures of speech employed for emphasis. Nevertheless word order is not arbitrary, and here the word order required to produce the meaning Adventists and materialists in theology desire is not present in any Greek text or manuscript.

    I said:

    The grammatical and idiomatic issue involves the placement of the word “Today.” For the text to properly mean “I say to thee today” the Greek word for “today” would have been placed before the verb I say, which then in a word-for-word literal English translation would in that case have read “Verily today I-say to-thee,” but no manuscript evidence for the Gospel of Luke in the sources I have here suggests any question about the placement or order of the word “Today” (Greek, σημερον). Just now, I am looking at the Greek text edited by Tregelles, page 366, the right hand lower column, which gives all the significant manuscript variations for this text.

    I have further said in my conclusion to Part 3 of this three-part series:

    The promise to the thief on the cross becomes totally meaningless if one must believe he was that very day with Christ in an unconscious state! The poor penitent thief would never know even yet whether Jesus proffered a false promise or a true one, because he would not be alive or sensible to experience it! Such a position is obviously a monstrous lie, and a dishonoring denial of the promise Jesus gave.

    Contrary to the Adventist interpretation, Jesus promised more than what the repentant thief on the cross had asked. Jesus promised not only salvation, but immediate salvation evidenced by conscious fellowship with Christ in heaven that very same day.

  4. a. way says:

    You are right – I’m not a dualist as you are. Did Jesus go to paradise the day of His death? No. John 20:17. What about us? John 14:1-4.

    Your argument fails to sway. The Greek can give the interpretation given with you move the comma, which of course is not in the Greek.

    As for the thief, his next moment of consciousness, he WILL be with the LORD. Your argument again fails to sway. In fact, in your interpretation, resurrection is meaningless. Just think of poor old Lazarus. He died and went to paradise, then Jesus dragged him right back to the dark world. How cruel!!!

  5. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I must agree that we do have our differences in understanding what the Bible teaches.

    You comment that you are not a dualist as I am. In more recognizable terms, I believe the Bible teaches man is a dichotomous creation. Man is composed of the strictly physical material body (which I understand is all you acknowledge), and the immaterial conscious spirit or soul (which I understand you do not acknowledge).

    Which view does the Bible teach? Mine!

    How do I know? Because I got my view from studying the Bible, not the literature of any denomination or religious organization. Yes, in studying the Bible I obtained much help by using cross reference Bible study. I also took a minor in Greek in college and have been studying it ever since then, from 1958 until now, and am still learning more.

    Now, how does one go about learning Greek? One uses multiple resources which explain the grammar. One learns the vocabulary used in the New Testament from lexicons. Those are not denominational resources, but linguistic resources. And yes, there can be bias in lexicons and grammars. That is why I specified using multiple resources in each category. I have whole shelves full of such resources, and I use them. I have additional resources in my Logos 5 software on this computer, Gold edition, combined with the Scholars edition, and additional resources purchased separately in addition to those, including many volumes by my Greek professor, Dr. Stuart Custer.

    Working on my project to expand the cross references available to study the Bible I make use of Greek every day. I am currently working on 1 Thessalonians 4, that great chapter which gives us the clearest discussion about the Pre-tribulation Rapture.

    But back to this issue of proving man is not a unitary being composed only of a physical body, but according to the Bible man is dichotomous, possessing both a material body and an immaterial eternal conscious spirit or soul.

    This is clearly evident from Zechariah 12:1,

    Zec 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

    Laying the foundations of the earth, stretching forth the heavens, and forming the spirit of man within him are all equally creative acts of God Himself. The spirit, therefore, is not merely breath or wind, which if so would demean the comparison, but the spirit is a conscious entity in man which survives the dissolution of the body.

    This is unanswerable proof of my view that man is a composite being, being material and immaterial.

    Further proof is abundant in Old Testament and New for those who have the requisite eyes that see and ears that hear.

    Take this bit of unanswerable evidence constituting full proof from Moses,

    Numbers 27:15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
    Numbers 27:16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

    Consider carefully the following comment taken directly from the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge as it appears in my e-Sword Bible program:

    Numbers 27:16
    the Lord: Yehowah elohey haroochoth lechol basar, “Jehovah, the God of the spirits of all flesh.” This address sufficiently proves, that this holy man believed man to be compounded of flesh and spirit, and that these principles are perfectly distinct. Either the materiality of the soul is a human fable, or, if it be a true doctrine, Moses did not pray under the influence of the Divine Spirit. There is a similar form of expression in Num_16:22 : “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh;” and in Job_12:10, “In whose hand is the soul (nephesh) of all living; and the spirit (rooach) of all flesh of man.” These seem decisive proofs, among many others, that the Old Testament teaches that there is an immortal spirit in man; for though rooach sometimes denotes breath or wind, yet it certainly has not that signification here, nor in the other passages cited.

    Thus, both Moses and the Prophets assert the dichotomy of man and affirm man is compounded of both flesh and spirit and that spirit is not merely breath or wind, but an eternal conscious entity in man that consciously survives the death of the physical body.

    That is what the Bible itself teaches.

  6. a. way says:

    How do I know? Because I got my view from studying the Bible, not the literature of any denomination or religious organization.

    Jerry, this is not exactly true. As I recall your beliefs on baptism did not come from simple Bible study, you admitted so. Your reliance in these threads on external sources also speaks volumes.

    I do go to scholars to understand words that are not in my language. Nephesh – A Jewish rabbi gives the definition which says that the Nephesh, often translated soul, is the whole being, even the blood in his veins. It is not a separate thing, but a complete living being. Look that up in your e-Sword Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary.

    You claim to understand science well. Good! Can you give me an example of ANYTHING information that is immaterial. There is none. Someone might say, software is not a real thing, that it is immaterial. But they would be wrong, it is a thing, and even software has a real and physical representation. It might be represented as magnetic orientation on a hard disk platter, or as voltage shifts as current flows down a wire, or as tiny little pits on a metal disk which can be read by laser light which we would call a CD-ROM, but all information has a real, and physical representation. We are God’s creation. Did the immaterial “soul” as you claim exist before the body was created? Why create a body, there is no need for one? Why have a resurrection if we life in bliss immediately at death? The Platonic view of a dualism has pervaded the majority of Christianity. The body really is dispensable.

    To quote on commentator, “The resurrection is absolutely essential to the existence of the human self. There is continuity of the self in the life to come, not because the self is preserved as an ontologically distinct, immaterial entity in death but because the person is remembered and will be reconstituted materially by God. ” And this makes the resurrection a thrilling thought.

    Your readers, might be interested in the following movie:

  7. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Science has not yet caught up to the truths revealed in the Bible. While science cannot truly teach macro-evolution as a scientific explanation of the origin of life on earth, or its supposed subsequent development, many scientists today believe in evolution. I do not. The Bible clearly states things reproduce “after their kind.” It also says everything got here by supernatural Divine creation by the direct act of God. I suspect you agree with me on these things because you believe the Bible, as I do.

    As for things that are not material containing information, Satan is a spirit being, and surely possesses intelligence and information. Angels likewise. God himself is spirit according to what Jesus said in John 4:24.

    Paul spoke of himself being “in the body” and “out of the body.” He said he visited the third heaven, which he also called Paradise. He said he could not tell at the time whether he was “in the body” or “out of the body.” This surely teaches us that Paul believed, and therefore taught by his statement recorded in 2 Corinthians 12, that there is consciousness of the spirit when the spirit has left the body.

    The dear Rabbi’s remark you cite regarding the meaning of the Hebrew word nephesh is of course not the whole story regarding the lexical meanings given in the Hebrew Bible to that word. In some contexts, what he claims holds good. In other contexts, where the word is used in a different sense and application, the meaning he supports would not be correct at all. I have given a complete analysis of the many meanings of this Hebrew word, frequently translated by the English word “soul,” in both The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible starting at Genesis 2:7.

    The immaterial spirit which each person individually possesses as unique to himself or herself came about by creation by God, as Zechariah 12:1 which I cited above directly states. Therefore, it did not exist before the person did. That spirit, therefore, had a beginning in time, but it will exist thereafter for all eternity as that person. At the future resurrection it will be reunited to its then newly resurrected body it formerly inhabited.

    Your cited commentator who declares “There is continuity of the self in the life to come, not because the self is preserved as an ontologically distinct, immaterial entity in death but because the person is remembered and will be reconstituted materially by God” is of course most mistaken. He fails to see that by his explanation, he requires the re-creation not the continued preservation of the original person, so indeed his position is the most palpable denial possible of resurrection of the same person. The Jehovah Witnesses teach this doctrine, declaring that God keeps each person who has died in His memory until the resurrection. That is a misapplication of the Scripture passages they cite regarding being kept in God’s memory.

    Now, as for Mr. Fudge, he has failed to carefully study the Bible in the manner advocated here. An examination of the subject could well start from Psalm 9:17, where God’s Word states “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” If hell is simply the grave, as some suppose, and not the place of eternal punishment and torment Jesus warned us about, that would make the statement meaningless. Everyone who dies physically ultimately in some sense goes to the grave, so where is the threat or punishment in that?

    If we read the words of our Lord Jesus Christ about Hell, surely He seemed to be very concerned that none of his hearers should go there. What is the basis of His concern, if there is no consciousness after death, and hell is not a place of eternal punishment?

    My changed beliefs about baptism came about by my careful reading of the book loaned to me by Uncle Frank. The book contains chapters devoted to examining the Biblical evidence on the issue of the Scriptural mode of Christian baptism. The Bible issues brought up in that book had never been spoken of at Highland Park Baptist where I was raised, at least not in my hearing. Since I had been active in debate both in high school and in college, I recognized a fair and valid argument when I saw one. In debate, I as a member of a debate team had to be prepared to effectively present either side of a case, affirmative or negative. Even yet I could surely argue the case for immersion as effectively as any Baptist. I have given the Baptist position in its strongest form in my note at Romans 6:4. That would be my Affirmative Case. I gave the non-baptistic case, the Negative Case, at Colossians 2:12 and related notes in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. I believe I was very fair in carefully presenting the best evidence each side of the question had to offer. So for the issues pertaining to the Sabbath, the tithe, and other matters in Scripture.

    But just because it is possible to make a good case either way, as one must do on a debate team, this does not make either position equally correct. Further study unearths convincing evidence that one side is correct, and the other side is mistaken, in its arguments and the evidence used to support them.

    The forum is open here for further discussion. No one has ever presented here to me a single unequivocal instance from anywhere in the Bible that demonstrates that a person was baptized by the mode of immersion for any religious purpose whatsoever in either the Old Testament or the New.

    I have no problem with individuals or churches or denominations choosing immersion as the mode of baptism they prefer. They make that choice because of what they believe it symbolizes. But that choice is not made based upon a careful study of the Biblical evidence. It is wrong for those who accept immersion as their mode of choice to teach all other chosen modes of baptism are incorrect or unscriptural.

    But since you brought that subject up, you might see if you can supply any examples of immersion of persons for some religious purpose where you have found such in the Bible.

  8. a. way says:

    By: Greg Boyd

    Annihilationism is the view that whoever and whatever cannot be redeemed by God is ultimately put out of existence. Sentient beings do not suffer eternally, as the traditional view of hell teaches.I’m strongly inclined toward the annihilationist position. The reason is that it strikes me as the view that has the best biblical support. I’ll group the Scriptural data into 16 points. (For a fuller exposition of this, see the essay “The Case for Annihilationism”)

    1) The Bible teaches that immortality belongs to God alone (1 Timothy 6:16). God graciously offers immortality as a gift to people who align themselves with his will (e.g. John 3:15-16; 10:28; 17:2; Romans 2:7; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:42f; 50, 54; Galatians 6:8; 1 John 5:11). Those who choose to reject God’s will are denied this gift, following the pattern of Adam and Eve when God denied them access to “the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). This implies that all who reject the gift of eternal life perish. The traditional view of hell, however, assumes that people are inherently immortality, which is a Greek, not a biblical, view.

    2) Scripture teaches that the wicked suffer “eternal punishment”(Matthew 25:46), “eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2) and “eternal destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), but this doesn’t mean the wick endure “eternal destruction.” They rather experience “eternal destruction” the same way the elect experience “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 5:9, 9:12). The elect do not undergo an eternal process of redemption. Their redemption is “eternal” in the sense that once the elect are redeemed, it is forever. So too, the damned do not undergo an eternal process of destruction (is that even a coherent concept?). The wicked are “destroyed forever” (Psalms 92:7), but they are not forever being destroyed.

    3) If read in context, its clear that Scripture’s references to an “unquenchable fire” and “undying worm” refer to the finality of judgment, not its duration (Isaiah 66:24, cf. 2 Kings 22:17; Isaiah 1:31; 51:8; Jeremiah 4:4; 7:20; 21:12; Ezekiel 20:47-48). The fire is unquenchable in the sense that it cannot be put it out before it consumes those thrown into it. And the worm is undying in the sense that there is no hope for the condemned that it will be prevented from devouring their corpse.

    4) Peter specifically cites the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as a pattern of how God judges the wicked. The Lord turned the inhabitants of these cities “to ashes” and “condemned them to extinction” thus making “them an example of what is coming to the ungodly…” (2 Peter 2:6). Conversely, the Lord’s rescue of Lot sets a pattern for how the Lord will “rescue the godly from trial” (2 Peter 2:9).

    5) Throughout the Old Testament the Lord threatens the wicked with annihilation. About the wicked Moses says God will “blot out their names from under heaven” (Deuteronomy 29:20). God will destroy them “like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah…which the Lord destroyed in his fierce anger…'” (Deuteronomy 29:23).

    6) All the metaphors about God’s judgment in the Old Testament imply total annihilation. For example, in Isaiah the Lord warns that “rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together”: they “shall be consumed”; they will “…be like an oak whose leaf withers”; they will be like “tinder” and they and their work “shall burn together” (Isaiah 1:28, 30-31). Elsewhere Isaiah says the wicked will be like stubble and dry grass burned up in fire ( Isaiah 5:24).

    7) In Pslams we read that the wicked shall be “like chaff that the wind drives away… the wicked will perish” (Psalms 1:4, 6). They shall be “blotted out of the book of the living…” (Psalms 69:28, cf. Deuteronomy 29:20). God will “cut off the remembrance of them from the earth…(Psalms 34:16, 21). In the powerful words of Obediah, the wicked “shall be as though they had never been” (Obed. 16, emphasis added).

    8 ) Along the same lines the Psalmist says the wicked “will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb” (Psalms 37:2). They “shall be cut off…and…will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there” (Psalms 37:9-10). While the righteous “abide forever” (37:27), “the wicked perish…like smoke they vanish away” (Psalms 37:20); they “vanish like water that runs away; like grass [they shall] be trodden down and wither”; “like the snail that dissolves into slime; like the untimely birth that never sees the sun” (Psalms 58:7-8). And again, “…transgressors shall be altogether destroyed” (Psalms 37:38, cf. vs. 34, emphasis added). In short, the fate of the wicked is disintegration into nothingness.

    9) Other Old Testament authors use similar annihilationist language to describe God’s judgment of the wicked. Daniel says rebells will be “like the chaff of the summer threshing floor” blown away by the wind “so that not a trace of them [can] be found” (Daniel 2:35). Nahum says that in the judgment the wicked “are consumed like dry straw” (Nahum 1:10). Malachi tells us that the judgment day shall come “burning like an oven” and “all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble.” The judgment thus “shall burn them up” (Malachi 4:1).

    10) So too, Proverbs tells us that after God’s judgment “the wicked are no more…” (10:25, emphasis added). When God’s fury rises, “[t]he wicked are overthrown and are no more…” (12:7, emphasis added). And finally, “[t]he evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will go out” (24:20). How can passages like this be reconciled with the traditional view that says the wicked will forever exist in conscious suffering?

    11) Throughout the Old Testament we’re taught that while God’s anger endures for a moment, his love endures forever (Psalms 30:5; e.g. 2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3, 6; 20:21; Psalms 100:5; 103:9; 106:1; 107:1; Psalms 118;1-4, 29; 136:10-26). How is this consistent with the traditional teaching that God’s love and anger are equally eternal?

    12) Just as with the Old Testament, all the main metaphors used to describe God’s judgment in the New Testament imply annihilation. For example, John the Baptist proclaimed that “every tree…that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire” (Matthew 3:10). He announced that the Messiah “will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the grainary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12). Jesus himself describes hell as a consuming fire several times (Matthew 7:19; 13:40; John 15:6) as do a number of other passages (Hebrews 6:8, 10:7; Jude 7, cf. Isaiah 33:11).

    13) The New Testament describes the fate of rebells as destruction. Jesus contrasts the wide gate that “leads to destruction” with the narrow gate that “leads to life” (Matthew 7:13). So too, he tells his disciples not to fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The implication is that God will do to the soul of the wicked what humans do to the body when they kill it. And this implies that the soul of the wicked will not go on existing in a conscious state after it has been destroyed.Along the same lines, James teaches that God alone is able to both “save and destroy” (James 4:12). Peter teaches that “destruction” awaits false, greedy teachers (2 Peter 2:3). And Paul teaches that the quest for riches can plunge people into “ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Moreover, all who are “enemies of the cross” have “destruction” as their final end (Philippians 3:18-19, cf 1:28). So too, if anyone “destroys the temple of God, God will destroy that person” (1 Corinthians 3:17). With the same force the apostle teaches that “[s]udden destruction” will come upon the wicked in the last days (1 Thessalonians 5:3). This day is elsewhere described as a day for “the destruction of the godless” (2 Peter 3:7). These passages seem to contradict the traditional view that damned souls are in fact never destroyed but rather endure endless torment.

    14) The New Testament also frequently expresses the destiny of the wicked by depicting them as dying or perishing. John says Jesus came so that “everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Paul utilizes this same contrast when he states that while those who proclaim the gospel are a “fragrance from life to life” to those “who are being saved,” it is “a fragrance from death to death” to those “who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). So too, Paul teaches that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23, cf. Romans 6:21, 1:32). This is consistent with Jesus teaching when he says that those who try to find life apart from God end up losing it (Matthew 10:39). Many other passages depict the fate of the wicked as death as well (James 1:15; 5:19; 1 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14. The repeated contrast in all these passages between “death,” losing life, and “perishing,” on the one hand, with “life,” on the other, seems quite incompatible with the contrast of eternal bliss with eternal pain which the traditional teaching on hell presupposes.

    15) The most powerful scriptural passages that can be cited against annihilationism is Revelations 14:10-11 and 20:10. These speak of the wicked being tormented “day and night forever and ever.” Yet, these passages are not all that hard to explain. We must keep in mind that Revelation is a highly symbolic book. Its apocalyptic images should not be interpreted literally. This is particularly true of the phrase “for ever and ever” since similar phrases are used elsewhere in Scripture in contexts where they clearly cannot literally mean “unending” (e.g. Genesis 49:26; Exodus 40:15; Numbers 25:13; Psalms 24:7).The most significant example of this is Isaiah 34:9-10, for it closely parallels the two passages in Revelation. In this passage Isaiah says that the fire that shall consume Edom shall burn “[n]ight and day” and “shall not be quenched.” Its smoke “shall go up forever” and no one shall pass through this land again “forever and ever.” Obviously, this is symbolic, for the fire and smoke of Edom’s judgment isn’t still ascending today. If we know the phrase isn’t literal in Isaiah, how much less inclined should we be to interpret a nearly identical expression literally in Revelation?

    16) Finally, I find it impossible to reconcile the all important New Testament message that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16) with the traditional teaching that hell involves hopeless, conscious suffering. In the traditional view, the damned don’t suffer in order to learn anything. There’s nothing remedial about their pain. There’s literally no point to their suffering, other than the pain itself. And this pain is without hope of ever being terminated or relieved. How is this view at all compatible with a God whose heart was expressed on Calvary — when Jesus gave his life for these very people? Would we call a human being good or merciful – or anything other than cruel — who retaliated on his foes with this sort of unmitigated, insatiable, unending vengeance? Isn’t it more reasonable, and more biblical, to suppose that the God who gave his life for those who are damned would simply put them out of their misery if and when they became hopelessly irredeemable?From the annihilationist perspective, God’s justice and mercy unite in condemning the wicked to extinction. He justly punishes their sin and forbids them a place within the Kingdom. And he eventually mercifully annihilates them precisely so they will not endlessly endure what the traditional view says they endure.

  9. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Thank you for sharing the sixteen points from Greg Boyd defending the Annihilationist view.

    I hope readers here will get their Bibles out and check on what Mr. Boyd has written.

    I believe in our discussions here that I have provided answers to all Mr. Boyd brings forward in defense of his position. But my answers are not concisely presented in a sixteen point outline in one place.

    I look forward to returning to this discussion thread to answer these points soon.

  10. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Mr. Boyd in his first point states:

    1) The Bible teaches that immortality belongs to God alone (1 Timothy 6:16).

    This, of course, is simply a mistaken reading of the evidence, and a wrong reading of 1 Timothy 6:16.

    1Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

    Paul states God is the only Being in the universe who inherently possesses immortality. Paul does not state here, nor does Scripture teach elsewhere, that God has not created other beings in this universe who possess immortality.

    Any being which will exist forever after its original creation is immortal in that sense.

    Bodies as we have them now are susceptible to death. Bodies in this life, therefore, are not immortal. But upon resurrection, bodies will be immortal in the sense that they will no longer be subject to physical death.

    Since souls or spirits are not subject to physical death (only the bodies they each inhabit are subject to physical death), souls or spirits are undying conscious entities which continue forever. The fact that the Bible teaches continuing consciousness after the death of the physical body has been verified by 14 independent lines of proof which I have given in the three parts of this series.

    In that sense, souls or spirits can be said to be immortal in our common language of expression of the idea they are not subject to death. That is not precise Biblical and theological language, but it is close enough to represent the general truth taught all through the Bible generally.

    No one on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island, reading a plain text Bible, even should he have access to lexicons and grammars and sources of extensive cross references, would ever read into or derive from reading the Bible any notion of the doctrine of annihilation or theological materialism.

  11. a. way says:

    Is a slave greater that the master? Nope.

    I think Boyd addresses your patronizing attitude by showing that many people today are realizing that the dogma that they have heard all their lives is not true. You yourself have shown that you have not lived on Crusoe’s island in your view of baptism.

    Hm – I wonder what the soul does when they have surgery and experiences “anesthesia”. Surely you can tell me. Drugs must not have no effect on an immaterial “thing” for what do they work on? Nothing! The soul must be “awake” the whole time. But is there any “thing” that is immaterial?

  12. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Mr. Boyd has come to his conclusion, as he himself states in what you cited from him, as a result of his difficulty in harmonizing what the Bible says about “God is love” and what the Bible says God will do–punish the wicked for all eternity.

    All the authors I have read who support the doctrine of annihilation have opted for this position because they said they could not harmonize what the Bible declares about God’s love and what the Bible says about the eternal punishment of the wicked according to the so-called “traditional view.” The error in making this mistaken choice is that it is based upon the emotions of the interpreter, not the direct teaching of the Bible. Annihilationists have attempted to re-write the script, as it were, to suit their sensibilities. Of course that makes for very bad Biblical interpretation, and violates the Rules of Interpretation I have given in the October 2010 archives here.

    Mr. Boyd supposes he has arrived at a better answer to the problem by adopting his new view and abandoning the traditional view. Of course, his new view is not new chronologically except for him and those who have lately joined him in adopting this view. I have in my collection a work by Byers and another work by F. W. Grant from the mid and late 1800’s which thoroughly address the arguments purporting to support annihilation from the Bible.

    We all must come to the Bible with an open mind (though someone quipped years ago that “most people who have open minds need them closed for repair”). If we approach God’s Word with as clean a slate as possible, we place ourselves in a position to see additional truth we may not have known before.

    But that does not license us to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” That may be what Mr. Boyd has done on this issue.

    One thing for sure–Mr. Boyd shows no evidence of ever having studied the Bible carefully using The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. If he had used the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, surely he would have read my better explanation of 1 Timothy 6:16 and not thought to use that passage as his opening proof-text for the doctrine of annihilation, to which mistaken doctrine 1 Timothy 6:16 most certainly does not apply.

    Now about my view of baptism that you enjoy bringing up. I suggest that if you believe I am wrong in my claim about the Scriptural mode of Christian baptism not being immersion, just furnish even one example from anywhere in the Bible of the immersion of any person or persons for a religious reason.

    If you can do that, you have destroyed my case, because I have based my case upon a universal claim that immersion is nowhere to be found in the Bible in reference to persons for a religious reason. Find just one exception, and my universal negative is destroyed.

    So far, you have never ventured to do so. Is it because you can’t?

    As for annihilation, you will kindly note I did address the first argument in my response above. There is much more that could be said to address 1 Timothy 6:16. I plan to address much more of Mr. Boyd’s interesting production in future comments to be posted here.

  13. a. way says:

    No – it is not based on the emotions of the reader. It is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ. I think Dr. Boyd has put in a lot of study of the Bible. You equate anyone that thinks differently than you with ignorance, perhaps ineptness. You have shown that you do not practice what you preach. You have not come to your conclusions starting with a blank slate.

    Baptism – again, you dodge the fact that you did not get your ideas on baptism from your island view of the Bible. You try to divert from that fact you got it from an outside source. Right? 🙂

  14. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I have hardly “dodged the fact” that I did not get my ideas on baptism from my studies of the Bible alone on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island.

    I admitted my outside source, and named the source, and as I recall, you stated you obtained a copy of that source for yourself. You indicated at the time that you had read at least portions of Hughey’s work, The Scriptural Mode of Christian Baptism.

    When Uncle Frank (who first loaned me that book) passed away, I inherited a good portion of his personal library, particularly his collection of out of print works devoted to the subject of the mode of Christian baptism. I have had the chance since then to read many of those works, and have learned much about what the Bible actually teaches on the subject. I was instrumental in having the set of works written by James W. Dale (which I first learned of from Uncle Frank) on the word “Baptism” in five volumes bound as four. Dale spent a lifetime tracking down every known occurrence of the word “baptism” in ancient literature. He determined that the Greek words for “baptism” do not in themselves specify mode, but rather the change in character brought about by the influence of the baptizing element.

    But on this subject of baptism, all I am asking you to do is find just one example that is provable in the Bible from the Bible where a person was immersed in water for any religious purpose whatsoever.

    If there is such an example, it ought to be easy to find.

    I look forward to you presenting the example.

    I too believe Dr. Boyd has put much time into the study of the Bible. On other topics he writes about he may be more correct than what he writes about the Biblical case for annihilation. But even on that issue what he has written is most helpful because his arguments are well stated in a short space.

    But I do stand behind my criticism that those who opt for annihilation do so for what is an emotional reason, not for what the Bible actually teaches on the subject. No independent reader of the Bible on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island is likely to arrive at that position. The texts used in support of the doctrine of annihilation are more readily and honestly seen to express truth that does not harmonize with materialist theology.

    I hope to demonstrate that as we move forward in discussing Dr. Boyd’s points. Remember, I’m still on Point One. I have more to say about 1 Timothy 6:16.

    I have not yet reached 1 Timothy in my work on expanding cross references available for Bible study, but I’m getting closer. I just completed 1 Thessalonians last night, and have begun 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 today.

    Thank you for your continuing challenging input on these subjects.

  15. a. way says:

    Baptize – Bible dictionary:
    – Original: βαπτίζω
    – Transliteration: Baptizo
    – Phonetic: bap-tid’-zo
    – Definition:
    1. to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
    2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
    3. to overwhelm Not to be confused with 911, bapto. The clearest example that showsthe meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physicianNicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making picklesand is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that inorder to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped'(bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in thevinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in asolution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act ofbaptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to ourunion and identification with christ than to our water baptism. e.g.Mar_16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’.christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. Theremust be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to thepickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.
    – Origin: from a derivative of G911
    – TDNT entry: 09:49,9
    – Part(s) of speech:

    – Strong’s: From a derivative of G911; to make whelmed (that is fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: – baptist baptize wash.

    Hm – does not fit your definition.

    Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him:

    Hm – out of the water. Why would the writer say that is it were just sprinkling?

    Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

    Yeah – we want to a little sprinkling of the Holy Spirit.

    John 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

    It takes a lot of water to dip your fingers into it for baptism.

    Acts 8:36-38 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    I’ll bet the Ethiopian had water in chariot. No need to find another source of water.

    On a desert island, without any corrupting outside source, I conclude that the only method of baptism taught in the Holy Scriptures is by immersion. There is no support for sprinkling.

    What does baptism represent? Baptism by immersion is a representation of Christ’s burial and resurrection, also of our death to sin and life to holiness. It is to be a total change, not a little drop here or there. Does baptism give you a guarantee into the kingdom? Nope. It is an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:21)

  16. a. way says:

    From an article published in 1858 in the “Bible Students Assistant”

    BAPTIZE. (Gr., Baptizo): “To immerse, immerge, submerge, sink.” – GREENFIELD’S Greek Lexicon.

    ROBINSON’S Lexicon to the New Testament says: “To dip in, to sink, to immerse.”

    DR. JOHN JONES’ Greek and English Lexicon says: “I plunge; I plunge in water; dip, baptize; bury, overwhelm.”

    GROVE’S Greek and English Dictionary says: “To dip, immerse, immerge, plunge.”

    Other authorities might be cited, but in citing one we cite the whole; for about the primary signification of the word baptize all learned men are agreed.

    1. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Matthew28:19. By this we express our belief in the existence of the one true God, the mediation of his
    Son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

    2. The mode is immersion. This is proved (1) by the above definitions, and (2) by the manner and circumstances of New Testament baptisms. Matthew3:6,13,16; Mark 1:5,9,10; John 1:28; 3:23; Acts 8:36,38,39; Romans6:3-5.

    3. Baptism follows faith and repentance. Mark 16:16; Matthew3:6; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12,13,37; 9:17,18; 10:43-48; 16:14,15; 18:8.

    4. Administered to both men and women. This is proved by all the preceding propositions; but see Acts 8:12; 16:14,15,etc.

    5. ITS DESIGN. This sacred rite is intended to signify the believer’s entire abandonment of a life of impiety, and his entrance upon a new life of holiness and dedication to God.

    See Rome.6:3-5. The metaphors of death and burial express the former, and a resurrection the latter. It also demonstrates our belief in the death and resurrection of Christ, for “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Romans6:5. We become dead to sin by perfect obedience to the Law of God, and this death is signified by being buried in baptism.

    6. Baptism for the dead. By this most critics understand. “immersion in the faith of a resurrection from the dead.” 1 Corinthians15:29.

    On this verse DR. JENKS remarks: [Baptized for the dead]. The phrase seems idiomatical, and there is an ellipsis of the word resurrection. the sense will be, ‘Baptized in the confidence and expectation of a resurrection from the dead.’ ” – Comp. Com. on 1 Corinthians15:29.

    DR. CLARKE says: “The sum of the apostle’s meaning appears to be this – they are baptized for the dead in perfect faith of the resurrection.” – Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:29.

    PENN translates this verse: “When will they, who are baptized, gain more than all the dead, if the dead rise not at all.”

    DR. GEO CAMPBELL: “Otherwise, what shall they do who are baptized for the resurrection of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? and why are they baptized for the resurrection of the dead?

    We might mention other authorities, but these are sufficient.

  17. Jerry says:

    Dear Mr. A. Way,

    You have provided some interesting “grist for the mill.”

    In your post above, your source said regarding the baptizing of pickles:

    The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

    That exactly verifies what I said (off the top of my head at that):

    Dale spent a lifetime tracking down every known occurrence of the word “baptism” in ancient literature. He determined that the Greek words for “baptism” do not in themselves specify mode, but rather the change in character brought about by the influence of the baptizing element.

    Note particularly, “produces a permanent change.” On that specific point your source is correct. But that does not establish immersion as the mode used for baptism in Scripture. The Greek word underlying “baptize” does not mean dip. It means to wholly cover with the intent to change the character of what it covers, as by a permeating influence. That translates by way of application to the Bible to mean that whatever is baptized stays baptized: it is not a mere momentary dipping. This is particularly important to a proper understanding of Romans 6:4, where our English versions translate “buried with him by baptism into death.” This has absolutely nothing to do with temporary, even momentary, placement below some water in a tub or pool or river or creek. No water is involved in the context of Romans 6:4. Romans 6:4 is about “real baptism” accomplished by the Holy Spirit when we are saved by believing in Christ, not ritual water baptism by the mode of immersion.

    Lexicons and dictionaries are very useful tools, but unfortunately they have their shortcomings. I studied linguistics under a then internationally known linguist, Dr. Donald J. Lloyd, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Lloyd was a lexicographer, and is so listed prominently in the front of a two-volume English dictionary which I have in my bookroom in another building here. Lexicographers write the definitions of the words in the dictionary by arriving at the meaning of the words being defined by collecting instances of their usage by educated speakers of the language. The meanings are derived by discerning how they are used in context.

    The definitions are only as good as the comprehensiveness of the body of evidence studied inductively to determine the meaning given to the word. The definitions are also only as good as the accuracy of the inferences drawn from the usage of the word in meaningful contexts.

    Most of the time we can depend upon the lexicographers to have done a proper study of the word in an unbiased manner.

    When a word pertains to a controversial matter about which large groups of people have very strong but opposing views, the definitions are sometimes modified to suit the views of the majority of the audience expected to buy and use the lexicon or dictionary.

    In particular, it can be demonstrated that Greek lexicons have been modified to suit the beliefs of Baptists and other baptistic groups. I will furnish direct evidence to document this claim in a subsequent post.

    But this being the case, citing one-sided lexicons does nothing to arrive at the truth of the matter.

    Matthew 3:16

    Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him:

    Hm – out of the water. Why would the writer say that is it were just sprinkling?

    The Greek language has a particular grammatical construction which means entrance into something, as opposed as just coming to it. There are NO instances in the Greek New Testament where for the purpose of baptism a person or persons enter into the water in the manner required for immersion.

    Our English translations, giving the expression “coming up out of the water” and “going down into the water” are utterly inaccurate. That is NOT what the Greek text states or implies.

    Furthermore, Jesus was baptized at the Jordan river. He was sprinkled with water while he stood on the bank of the Jordan river. See note at Matthew 3:13 in the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. John the Baptist may have used hyssop for this purpose, though I don’t recall this being stated in the text. But that Jesus came to and stood upon the bank to be baptized is directly stated in the Greek text.

    Additionally, the Jordan river flows dangerously fast (because of its steep descent), and being water from mountain snow and ice melt, is very cold. No one could safely stand in the Jordan and baptize the numbers of people John the Baptist did. John would have been paralyzed by the cold water, and he and those he was immersing (if it be granted he used that mode) would have been swept away by the powerful current. There are two notes about the Jordan river in The New Treasury which establish this fact, one in the Old Testament taken from the original Comprehensive Bible from which the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge was developed. The other note I have given in the New Testament from an author named Ditzler (one of Uncle Frank’s prized and well-worn books on the subject). See notes on Joshua 3:15 and Mark 1:5 in the New Treasury.

    Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

    Yeah – we want to a little sprinkling of the Holy Spirit.

    The New Testament, even in English translation, represents the mode pertaining to the reception of the Holy Spirit as pouring, never immersion. The mode is often referred to by the term “affusion.”

    In the Bible, water is applied to the person, the person does not get into the water. Acts 1:5 reports “for John baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

    John 3:23

    John 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

    It takes a lot of water to dip your fingers into it for baptism.

    The phrase “there was much water there” is better translated “there were many springs there.” There is no large body of water suited for immersion there, either then or now. The mention of many springs relates to the water supply adequate to the sanitary needs of those assembled there for John’s baptism. The word “much” refers not to the quantity of water, but to the number of springs or watercourses, a fact even reflected in the place names mentioned. See the New Treasury notes on this passage.

    Acts 8:36-38

    Acts 8:36-38 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    I’ll bet the Ethiopian had water in chariot. No need to find another source of water.

    I guess the Ethiopian was conserving his supply of drinking water if he had that in his chariot. After all, he was traveling through parched desert.

    When he says, “See, here is water,” he is most surprised at the fortuitous opportunity, and rightly figured better take advantage of it here, for there isn’t likely to be any to be found elsewhere on this road.

    The Greek grammar demonstrates that the chariot stopped in the water that was apparently running as a rivulet across the road. Both Philip and the Ethiopian stepped into the water. Nothing in the Greek grammar allows them to have walked further into deeper water, of which there was none. But for those who insist this passage depicts immersion, both Philip and the Ethiopian were immersed, for they both stepped into an equal depth of water. See much more extensive notes on this text in the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.

    So far, the evidence you presented does not seem to point convincingly to immersion as the mode of baptism practiced in the New Testament because your claims match neither the grammar nor the geography involved.

    On a desert island, without any corrupting outside source, I conclude that the only method of baptism taught in the Holy Scriptures is by immersion. There is no support for sprinkling.

    Golly, I wonder if you landed on the wrong desert island?

  18. Jerry says:

    Here is the pertinent or relevant section from Hughey’s work documenting that Liddell and Scott changed their definition for ‘baptizo’ after their first English edition:


    Baptizo: To dip repeatedly, dip under; mid., to bathe, hence to steep, wet; metaph., soaked in wine, TO POUR UPON, drench, over head and ears in debt, a boy overwhelmed with questions. II. To dip a vessel and draw water. III. To baptize (New Testament).

    We have quoted from Liddell and Scott’s first edition. We know that in their later editions they have taken out “to wet” and “to pour upon”; we know also that immersionist writers and controversialists have taken advantage of this fact to make the ignorant and uninformed believe that, as they have affirmed, the learning of the world compelled Prof. Drisler, the American editor of Liddell and Scott, to take out “to pour upon.” Let us examine this charge for a little while and see if it is true:

    1. Liddell and Scott claim, and Prof. Drisler, their American editor, claims for them, that their lexicon is based upon Passow’s great Greek-German Lexicon, and that it is largely an English translation of that great work. The Preface to the American edition begins thus: “It is with feelings of satisfaction that the editor is at length able to present Messrs. Liddell and Scott’s enlarged translation of Passow’s Greek-German Lexicon to the American public.” On page ix., in his Preface, the American editor says: “The most numerous additions, however, to this part of the Lexicon have, from the nature of the case, been drawn from other lexicons. Especially would the editor make the fullest acknowledgement of his indebtedness to the Paris edition of Stephen’s Thesaurus, Pape’s Greek-German Lexicon, Rost and Palm’s new edition of Passow,” etc. etc. In the Author’s Preface, page xviii., they state: “In the title-page, our work is said to be based on the German work of Francis Passow. We cannot too fully express our obligations to this excellent book, without which ours never would have been attempted.”

    These extracts are sufficient to show that Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon is based on Passow’s great Greek-German Lexicon. In their first edition they do not give fully Passow’s definition; but they do define it, “to WET, to POUR UPON.” They do not give his definition, “generally to BESPRINKLE.” Why did they in their subsequent editions omit “to WET, to POUR UPON”? Did Passow omit “to WET, to POUR UPON,” “generally to BESPRINKLE”? Did Rost and Palm, in their new edition of Passow, to which Liddell and Scott acknowledge their obligations, omit these definitions? Nay, verily. Did Schneider omit them? Did Pape omit them? Did Gazes and Kouma, the great modern Greek lexicographers, omit “brecho, to SPRINKLE”? No. “The learning of the world” did not “compel” any of these great scholars to take out these definitions; it centered its wrath all on the heads of Liddell and Scott and Prof. Drisler, their American editor. This was a most marvelous exhibition of the wrath of “the learning of the world”; but it so happens that “the learning of the world” is on the other side. Some other reason must be sought for Liddell and Scott’s action and that of their American editor other than the wrath of “the learning of the world.” That reason is not hard to find. With the definition ” to POUR UPON” in Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon the publishers could not sell it to the immersionists of England and America. This cut off about ten millions of English-speaking customers; this was no small loss to both authors and publishers. In Germany there are no such conditions, and consequently there is no such commercial temptation in the way of authors or publishers; and there we get the fruits of the ripest scholarship without commercial considerations getting in the way. “The learning of the world” demanded that these definitions should be retained; as they are in all the great German lexicons, where no commercial considerations demand their expur gation. Do we not here find the answer as to why these definitions were taken out of Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon? Is there any other answer to the question? If “the scholarship of the world” had compelled Liddell and Scott to take out these definitions, it would most certainly have compelled Schneider, Passow, Rost and Palm, and Pape, the greatest scholars and lexicographers in the world, to have taken them out; it would have compelled Gazes and Kouma, the greatest modern Greek lexicographers, to have taken them out; but it did not. They are only taken out of Greek-English lexicons where commercial interests, and not scholarship, demand it. Here everything is regulated by the commercial standard; in Germany everything of this character is regulated by the standard of scholarship. That makes the difference. The reader can see at a glance why these definitions were taken out of Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon.

    Let no immersionist ever claim again that “the learning of the world” compelled Liddell and Scott and their American editor to take out these definitions of baptidzo. Carson was right; all the lexicographers are against him. Let no immersionist ever again claim that the lexicons are on their side.

    [Excerpted from Rev. G. W. Hughey, The Scriptural Mode of Christian Baptism, Chapter IV, “Baptidzo”—The Lexicons, pp. 60-63]

  19. a. way says:

    People should read Hughey. They will then understand the man by what he writes. Of course, one would have a difficult time coming to his belief on an isolated island. Our host proved that! 🙂

  20. a. way says:

    Golly, I wonder if you landed on the wrong desert island?

    Do YOU remember what you found on the desert island before you read Hughey? It was not sprinkling, nor infant baptism. You did not find that until you got off the island with the rest of your catholic friends.

    What else did the reformers get wrong in your estimation?

  21. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I only go by the Reformers when the Reformers go by the Bible. On some things they did go by the Bible. On at least one thing that I know about they fell back to the tradition within which they were raised, namely, Roman Catholicism.

    But I am glad to see you generally favor going by what the Reformers did.

    But not on the mode of baptism!

    The Reformers believed in sprinkling, not immersion. As to mode, they were correct. As to some other matters pertaining to baptism they most likely were wrong, particularly when they thought, just as Romanism does, that water baptism removes original sin.

    As for infant baptism, I do not personally support that practice, because on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island I have yet to discover the purpose and meaning of infant baptism as it was practiced in the New Testament. And yes, unquestionably it was practiced by the Apostles in the New Testament when whole families were baptized. Most of the ritual water baptisms recorded in the New Testament were of adult believers, new believers to the faith.

    Hughey made an important observation about the meaning of the Greek word for baptism: standard lexicons, including Liddell and Scott’s first edition, included in the definition “to POUR.” But in subsequent American and British editions the definition was modified to eliminate reference to making wet, and to pour. Hughey believed this was to satisfy the desires of a larger audience among English speakers who favoured immersion, and objected to sprinkling. Notice that the lexicons that Liddell and Scott used as their sources did not make such a change in the definition. Hughey rightly judged that the decision to change the definition was therefore not based upon improved scholarship.

    I previously argued in this thread that you cannot establish the meaning of a controversial Biblical word merely by consulting lexicons. Sometimes lexicons are biased. James W. Dale spent a lifetime tracking down this matter, pursuing a study of the Greek words underlying our English word for baptize and baptism. He did an exhaustively complete study in five volumes published in four. These include his work on Classic Baptism (secular use of the word), Judaic Baptism (Jewish use of the word), Johannic Baptism (John the Baptist’s use and practice), Christic Baptism (how the Gospel writers used the term reflecting the ministry of Christ), and Apostolic Baptism (a study of how the term is used in the rest of the NT) and Patristic Baptism (how the word is used in the Church Fathers of the early Christian era). In pursuit of this study James W. Dale used sound linguistic principles still valid and used today, and did a superior work of lexicography in the process. His works constitute a genuinely scholarly work on this subject. I own and have read the original set, and own a set of the reprinted volumes. You will see my name in a “blurb” on the cover of some of the reprinted volumes.

    But remember what I said above:

    I have no problem with individuals or churches or denominations choosing immersion as the mode of baptism they prefer. They make that choice because of what they believe it symbolizes. But that choice is not made based upon a careful study of the Biblical evidence. It is wrong for those who accept immersion as their mode of choice to teach all other chosen modes of baptism are incorrect or unscriptural.

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