(163) – THE ABOLITION
The Old Testament doctrine of the human life was the abolition, that is, death extinguished not only physical life, but also spiritual life. We read in the book of Job, “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up” (Job 7:9). The author of this concept was the very Job, servant of Jehovah. David agreed with Job, saying of Jehovah, “Turn Thy gaze away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more” (Ps. 39:13). And Job, going through his deep agony with the consent of Jehovah, after the loss of all his children, plagued from head to feet with leprosy, spoke, “For when a few years are past, I shall go the way of no return” (Job 16:22).
The doctrine of the abolition of man in the physical death begins to take shape in the voice of the prophets and of the psalmists. The final punishment of Jehovah for the wicked was total elimination.“THAT WHEN THE WICKED SPROUTED UP LIKE GRASS, AND ALL WHO DID INIQUITY FLOURISHED, IT WAS ONLY THAT THEY MIGHT BE DESTROYED FOREVERMORE” (Ps. 92:7). This thought was so solid in the minds of the prophets that Isaiah declares: THE DEAD WILL NOT LIVE, THE DEPARTED SPIRITS WILL NOT RISE; THEREFORE THOU HAST PUNISHED AND DESTROYED THEM, AND THOU HAST WIPED OUT ALL REMEMBRANCE OF THEM” (Is. 26:14). This prophecy is for the gentiles. Versethirteen explains it. For Israel, though, there was the hope of resurrection (Is. 26:19). The prophet Jeremiah prophesies against Babylon: “‘And I shall make her princes and her wise men drunk, her governors, her prefects and her mighty men, that they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up,’ declares the King, whose name is Jehovah of Hosts” (Jer. 51:57). These two prophecies, both those that Isaiah prophesied, and those of Jeremiah, go directly against Jesus’ words in the gospel of John: “All who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). To Jehovah, the evil ones do not rise again. And to Jesus, do the they rise again? The Old Testament does not agree with the New Testament, and the god of the Old Testament does not agree with the God of the New Testament. Solomon was a prophet of Jehovah (1 Kings 8:27; Acts 7:47-48). Solomon, as a prophet, pronounced the prophetic word of god, and this word cannot be cancelled, for Jesus says, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken) (John 10:35).
Since Solomon was a prophet, the words he spoke were not his, but Jehovah’s, the god of the law and of the prophets. He prophesied: “‘God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,’ for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. I said to myself concerning the sons of men, ‘God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beats.’ For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. AS ON DIES SO DIES THE OTHER; INDEED, THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME BREATH AND THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE FOR MAN OVER BEAST, FOR ALL IS VANITY. AND ALL GO TO THE SAME PLACE. ALL CAME FROM THE DUST AND ALL RETURN TO THE DUST. WHO KNOWS THAT THE BREATH OF MAN ASCENDS UPWARD AND THE BREATH OF THE BEAST DESCENDS DOWNWARD TO THE EARTH? AND I HAVE SEEN THAT NOTHING IS BETTER THAN THAT MAN SHOULD BE HAPPY IN HIS ACTIVITIES, FOR THAT IS HIS LOT. FOR WHO WILL BRING HIM TO SEE WHAT WILL OCCUR AFTER HIM?” (Eccl. 3:17-22).
I do not know that dogs will rise again, neither will rats, or snakes and lizards. And, if men are exactly like animals, such as Solomon, the prophet, has declared, Jehovah destined men to extinction, from the beginning. When Adam was banned from paradise, Jehovah sentenced his destiny, saying, “Then to Adam he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken FOR YOU ARE DUST, AND TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN.’” (Eccl. 3:17-22). Dust, in the Old Testament language, is total extinction, so Job, in his disgrace, declared: “If I look for Sheol as my home, I make my bead in the darkness; if I call to the pit, ‘You are my father’; to the worm, ‘my mother and my sister’; where now is my hope? And who regards my hope? Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?” (Job 17:13-16). In the Old Testament, man got to rest when he became dust, which was the end of him. In the New Testament, rest is in Jesus, who is the eternal life (Matt. 11:29).
Jesus revealed the great and measureless love of God, the Father, saying: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The word “perish” in this verse is APILOME in the Greek, which translation is “extinction.” The correct translation should be: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not be extinguished, but have eternal life.” Being so, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ set himself against Jehovah and against the extinction of men. And Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Jesus, in this passage, sets himself against this doctrine of abolition, of Jehovah, and declares that the Father, who sent him, is also against it.
The plan of Jehovah for his own people is described by Moses: “Jehovah spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven” (Deut. 9:13-14). This is very different from the plan of the Father, who sent his Only Begotten Son to die on the cross for our stubbornness.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira