Interesting Bible Quotes
Lately I keep reading things in ultra-conservative Christian sites and
pamphlets saying things like we are all unconscious until Judgment
Day, that there is no reincarnation, and so on. OK, well, since
ultra-conservative Christians base everything on the Bible, I also
looked to the Bible for what it said.
"Dead people are unconscious until Judgment Day."
The idea is that supposedly when we die, we are mentally "dead" and
unconscious until Judgment Day. There are a lot of passages that
speak against this idea....
- The parable of Lazarus and the rich man: both died, and the rich
man in torment begged that Lazarus (who was in Heaven) be sent to his
five brothers, who were still alive. (Luke 16:19-31) [Caveat: some
of the best interpretations I've seen of this parable say it is not
to be taken literally, and that it describes the state of the man's
soul, not so much what happens after death.]
- "Jesus answered him (the thief), `Truly, I tell you, this day you
will be with me in paradise.'" (Luke 23:43) [Note: some translations
change the meaning of this to: "Truly, I tell you today, you will be
with me..." I used to dismiss this but I read that it may be a very
typical Middle Eastern way of speech that would make sense even here.]
- "Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with
Jesus." (Matthew 17:3, Luke (9:30, 31)
- "`He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, (for to him
all are alive).'" (Luke 20:38, Mark 12:27)
- "Martha said to him, `I know (Lazarus) will rise again in the
resurrection at the last day.' Jesus said to her, `I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even
though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?'" (John 11:24-26)
- (preaching to the dead; see below. (1 Peter 3, 4))
"We are resurrected in the flesh."
The image conveyed is that our bodies will be ours again, physical,
male and female, husbands and wives... but the New Testament
contradicts this idea.
By the way, apparently four different Greek words are
translated to the English "resurrection" in the Bible. One means to
resuscitate the dead, one means to stand up (implied leave the body),
one means to wake up, and one means to ascend.
- "`In the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in
marriage, (and they can no longer die;) for they are like the angels.'"
(Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:35-36, Mark 12:25) ("like the angels" is
translatable as "as-angels" (isaggelos))
- (Paul writes) "But someone may ask, `How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come?' How foolish! What you sow
does not come to life unless it dies.... the splendor of the heavenly
bodies is of one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is
another.... So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body
that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable..... If there
is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.... I declare to
you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." (Corinthians
"There is no such thing as reincarnation."
The idea is that a spirit who has once lived in a body cannot return
to live in a body again. There is not a lot of material to directly
contradict this. However, I have heard several times from different
people that, hundreds of years ago, there was a massive purge of
anything relating to reincarnation from Judeo-Christian religious
texts. This could well result in the lack of material available
now. (And of course this has been disputed, but who knows?)
- "`...For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And
if you will accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come.'"
- "`But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not
recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the
same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.' Then the
disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the
Baptist." (Matthew 17:12, 13)
- Jesus has asked who people say he is, and Simon Peter replies:
"Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one
of the prophets (come back to life)." (Matthew: 16:13, Mark 8:28,
Luke 9:19). (The implication is the Jewish people of the time
believed that re-incarnation is possible).
- This is a weird one I found mentioned elsewhere. Jesus comes
across a man who was born blind, and "His disciples asked him, `Rabbi,
was it his sin or that of his parents that caused him to be born
blind?' `Neither,' Jesus answered: `It was no sin, either of this man
or of his parents....'" (John 9:2,3) Now, if it's possible in the
disciples' minds that the man's sin caused his own blindness
before birth ... where/when would he have supposedly sinned
before he was born?
- I've seen more and more references to this section of
Revelation: ""He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of
God and he shall go out no more..." (Rev. 13:12) (Emphasis mine.)
- Regarding the children of Abraham: "All these people were still
living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things
promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And
they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who
say such things show that they are looking for a country of their
own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they
would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing
for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed
to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews
11:13-16) (Emphasis mine.)
"Talking with ghosts is evil."
The idea is that talking to spirits of the dead is always evil. I
have to agree that talking with ghosts is dangerous and to be avoided
if at all possible. Certainly, one shouldn't consult with ghosts with
the intent of personal gain ("sorcery")! However, I suspect that it
is sometimes the right thing to counsel ghosts to essentially "save
their souls." The below passage implies that even the spirits of the
dead can repent and be saved.
Also, it seems to me that many people who think they are getting
messages from God are actually getting messages from ghosts. Thus,
people who are trying to be Christian prophets may well be
accidentally doing "sorcery." Testing every message for the fruits of
the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23)) is
And for those who argue that channeling for spirits is evil, consider that
the Holy Spirit is, well, a spirit.
- "(Jesus) was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the
spirit, in which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the
days of Noah.... For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed
even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as
men, they may live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 3:19, 4:6)
- "...the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the
voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live." (John 5:25)
"Do not despise prophecies, but test everything..." (1 Thessalonians
Finally, I just want to reiterate what I think is the core of the
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your strength; and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27,
(27 Deut. 6:4,5 and 27 Lev. 19:18), Mark 12:30,31, Matthew 22:37,39)