Making Up Definitions: Death

by EverAStudent 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • EverAStudent

    One of the things that has frustrated and bothered me greatly is how the WTS has invented their own definitions for Koine Greek words that already have meanings. The word death is one of those.

    Throughout the past 2000 years the word “death” has been widely known and accepted to mean not only that the corporeal body has died, but with regard to spirituality, it has meant that one exists forever knowing they are separated from Christ and the Father.

    For centuries eternal death has been understood to mean that one has an ongoing existence of punishment. Eternal life has been understood to mean that one has an ongoing existence living with Christ.

    While not all Christians accept those definitions, they are the ones found in standardized dictionaries like Thayer’s and Strong’s. But the WTS has utterly redefined death to only mean “non-existence.” That is certainly neat and convenient, but it contradicts the Bible again and again.

    When the Bible is allowed to speak for itself, the passages make it fairly obvious that the second death, the Lake of Fire , is not a onetime quickie burn, but a punishment and a condition that goes on and on.

    And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire . (Jude 1:6-7)

    "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. ' "These will go away into eternal punishment , but the righteous into eternal life."

    (Matthew 25:45-46)

    "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth . (Matthew 13:41-42)

    And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever . (Revelation 20:10)

    Passages that call the second death a more severe punishment than corporeal death, or rather, a punishment of vengeance even after the first death:

    Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    (Hebrews 10:28-31)

    "If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE , AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED .

    (Mark 9:47-48)

    "In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. (Luke 13:28)

    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire . And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15)

    If the second death were nothing more than non-existence, it means non-awareness. No punishment, no pain, no lamenting, no grief. Live like a murderous raging wolf all your life, go to sleep, and never awaken to face your crimes. Thus, no vengeance is ever taken against you.

    Maybe I am all alone in this, but I just cannot accept the WTS’s definition of “death” as meaning non-existence and non-punishment.

  • Mall Cop
    Mall Cop

    I understand not accepting the WTS's definition of "Death". Explain why you accept the Bible's definition, when it too is man's interpretation, depending on what belief system you accept as truth.


  • EverAStudent

    When a word, like death, is used only in a secular and spiritually-neutral way, I will generally accept the prevailing definition of the broader society that used the word at the time the word was used. But for spiritually charged words, it seems more prudent for me to rely on a spiritual authority. Which authority? Jesus said "salvation is from the Jews," so I rely on the sacred writings that originated from a Judeo-Christian source.

    If, like the WTS, someone is inclined to reject the Judeo-Christian Bible as an authoritative source of spiritual meaning, then I guess you get to make up for yourself whatever feels good.

    But the WTS should not make up its own definitions and then claim that their new definition was the one that was always in use by the spiritual community. That is dishonest and misleading. Their new definition for death is not the same one found in the Judeo-Christian Bible.

  • FuzzyPaul

    I fairly well agree with everastudent. Believe in hellfire is not "pagan". If Jesus knew that hellfire type doctrine was false and pagan, he would have said so. It was a prevailing doctrine on the street. Instead he used the doctrine as a teaching tool in the Story of the Rich Man in Hades. He would not deceive us. The preventive for not being cast into Hades is to obey Moses and the Prophets.

    When the Hebrew scholars needed to translate "sheol" into Greek for The Septuagint they chose "Hades" as the best fit, the closet equivalent and that included the mythological baggage. A review of the Greek belief about Hades during the 3 rd century BC is appropriate.

    An essay on Hades is attributed to Josephus and identifies belief in Hades as being current Jewish thought. That essay corrects aspect of current Greek thought but maintains the fact of Hades. There is a part of Hades where there is no torment and is where the righteous are taken and treated well.

    Hades, the God, NEVER released the dead persons there. That is why the Greek philosophers left off hearing Apostle Paul on Mars Hill during his “Unknown God” speech. Paul claimed that a judgment for all men was guaranteed because those in Hades would be released.

    Also, in the Pseudo-Clementia (at doctrines can be ascertained from his account of being taught by Apostle Peter. He speaks of Enoch and the Book of Enoch is known to have been in use by First Century Jews and Christians.

    Jude refers to Prophets more ancient than his day then quotes The Book of Enoch. Prophecy is One of the Signs proving Inspiration.

    The Book of Enoch was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Book of Enoch details Hell.

    It is common for scholars to reject Enoch but their logic is faulty.

    Grace to you,


  • EverAStudent

    fuzzypaul, that is an interesting insight into what Paul was teaching on Mars Hill. Thanks.

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