header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Questions and Answers-Part 8
Questions and Answers-Part 8 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   

 

Heaven

Q. Will ye know each other in heaven?
A. We will know as we are known (I Cor. 13:12), that is, clearly and perfectly, and without any fleshly or sinful feelings, "God, Christ, angels, and glorified saints, and all truth, even as we are known of God, allowing for the difference between the Creator and the creature; that is, we will have as full and complete knowledge of persons and things as we are capable of, like, though not equal to the knowledge which God has of us, and attended with the strongest love and affection to the objects known, even as we are known and loved of God." This is John Gill's explanation of this text, and it seems to me to be correct. When Peter, James, and John saw Christ and Moses and Elijah in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, they recognized not only Christ, but also Moses and Elijah, though they had never seen Moses or Elijah before (Matt. 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). These glorified saints retained their personal identity; Moses was Moses, and Elijah was Elijah. The bodies of the. saints that are living on earth at the last day, as well as, the bodies of those who have died, will not be exchanged for other bodies, but will be the same bodies from a natural, mortal, and corruptible to a spiritual, and incorruptible condition (I Cor. 15:12-58; Philip 3:21; Thess. 4:13-18). In the pure and perfect light of heaven, and in the immediate presence and holy likeness of God, we shall be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; I John 3:2; Rev. 21 and 22).

Q. Will the Saviour change the bodies of His people and make them like His glorious body?
A. The Apostle Paul says, in Philip. 3:20,21: "Our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven; from whence we look for the Saviour (or Vivifier or Life-Giver, as rendered in the Old Syriac Version of the second century), the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change the body of our humiliation (the body in which we are humbled or abased by sin and suffering, decay and death), that it may be fashioned (or conformed) unto the body of His glory, according to the working (or efficiency) whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." Christ, by His Holy Spirit, gives life to the dead souls of His people now, and He will give life to their dead bodies in the resurrection, when He comes again in bodily presence to this world (John 5:25-29).

Q. What is the meaning of Jesus when He says to His disciples. "In My Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3)?
A. That in the heaven of immortal glory, where Jesus visibly dwells and reigns, there are many abiding homes for His people; and that, after His death and resurrection and ascension, He would personally and bodily go to that Holy City, that blessed, heavenly country, and prepare these homes for their everlasting abode, and at last take all His people there to live forever with Him. He could have made the heavens and the earth and all things therein instantly; but He chose to take six days in which to make them. While He prepares Heaven for His people, He prepares them for heaven; and He sovereignly chooses to take time for both of these works of His.

Q. Will our flesh, blood, and bones enter heaven?
A. Not as they are now, but when our bodies are changed, spiritualized, immortalized, and glorified, and made like the body of our risen Redeemer, they will be reoccupied by our purified spirits which He will bring with Him, and enter into the immediate, manifest, holy, and blessed presence of God.

Q. Will the wicked be annihilated at death, or will they suffer everlasting conscious punishment?
A. All science and Scripture disprove the annihilation of anything. That the wicked - that is, the unredeemed and unregenerate, the finally impenitent, will suffer everlasting conscious punishment is demonstrated, to all informed and believing minds, by such Scriptures as Matt. 10:28; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-48; John 3:3,36; Luke 16:19-31; II Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8; 22:11. The same Hebrew and Greek words used to describe the duration of God and of the happiness of the righteous are also used to describe the duration of the punishment of the wicked. Annihilation (the doctrine of heathen Buddhism) is not punishment, but the cessation of all punishment; a thing without consciousness (like a stone) can not be punished. The infinite agonies of Christ in Gethsemane and on Calvary prove that He suffered to save His people from everlasting conscious punishment. The delusion of the Devil that the wicked are annihilated at death is a cause and a sign of the most corrupt times. The infidel leaders of the French Revolution inscribed above the gates of cemeteries "Death is an Eternal Sleep." When the majority of the human race really believes that diabolical lie, scenes of far greater horror than those of the French Revolution will turn this world into a pandemonium. Infidelity rejects not only the scriptural doctrine of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, but many other teachings of the Scriptures, such as the total depravity of man, salvation by grace alone, the perfect inspiration of the Scriptures, the Divinity of Christ, the atonement, the resurrection, and the eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence of God. No church should retain infidels in her membership; and, if she does, all sound and orderly churches should not retain her in their fellowship. The tides of materialism and rationalism are deluding the world, showing that the last evil, perilous times are upon us.

Q. Will the everlasting punishment of the wicked be annihilation or endless conscious torment?
A. Annihilation, or the utter extinction of conscious existence, is the doctrine of the heathen atheistic Buddhists; it is contrary to all science and all Scripture; it is a sign and a cause of the most corrupt times. As proved by the context and by other Scriptures, destruction in the Scriptures never means annihilation. The Almighty never made anything for nothing; such an idea impeaches His omniscience and His unchangeability. Nonexistence, instead of being everlasting punishment, is an end of all punishment. The Son of God never endured the infinite horrors of Gethsemane, Gabatha and Calvary to save sinners from unconscious nothingness. To every reverent, intelligent and candid believer in the Scriptures the following passages demonstrate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the conscious, everlasting suffering of the wicked: Dan.12:2; Matt. 10:28; 13:49,50; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43,44; Luke 16:23,24,28; John 3:36; John 5:28,29; Rom.2:6-16; II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10, 15; 21:8; 22:11. Satan, transforming himself into an angel of light, perverts these and other plain Scriptures into fables and nothingness (Gen. 4:4,5; II Cor. 11:3,14,15; II Tim. 4:3,4; Rev. 12:9). The false doctrine of annihilationism was first broached, among professed Christians, in the fourth century, by Arnobius, of Africa, a superficial rhetorician; but it has found many followers, in the last two or three deteriorating centuries, among materialists, pantheists, universalists, infidels and Arminians. Life is not existence (for things without life exist); but life is a condition of existence; and so death (the opposite of life) is not nonexistence, but an opposite or different condition of existence. Adam died (in trespasses and sins) in the day when he ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17), but he still existed as a natural though sinful man. And so the Ephesians, who were "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), had a natural sinful existence, in which they walked in worldliness and disobedience (Eph. 2:2), until God quickened them, or gave them spiritual and divine life. The cutting off, or consuming, or perishing, or destruction of the wicked on earth (Psalm 37:20,34, 36,38; Mal. 4:1,3) is their judicial, righteous, violent consignment to death, from which they "will come forth unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29; Matt. 25:41,46). Punishment is pain, physical or mental, and consciousness is essential to pain; therefore everlasting punishment is everlasting conscious pain - everlasting "contempt" (Dan. 12:2), "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" (Rom. 2:8,9) "everlasting fire" (Matt. 25:41), where there will be"wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 13:41,42). It seems enmity to God and cruelty to sinners to endeavor to soften these awful truths into annihilation or nothingness. Our English word, punishment, is derived from a Latin and Greek word meaning pain or suffering; and the Greek word rendered, punishment, in Matt. 25:46 ("these shall go away into everlasting punishment") means chastisement, and is in I John 4:18 rendered torment. Christ saves His people from the everlasting torment deserved by their sins.

 

Holy Ghost

Q. Is there any difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit?
A. There is not; the same original word rendered "Ghost" is sometimes rendered "Spirit" by our translators. He is also called "the Spirit of Truth" and "the Comforter" (John 14:16,17), and the Third Person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19). And by the "gift of the Holy Ghost" is meant in the apostolic age His miracle-working power (Acts 2:38; 5:32; 8:15-25; 10:44-48; 19:5,6); and, if this phrase may be used of persons since the apostolic age, I understand it to mean the refreshing, comforting, sanctifying and establishing influence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of His people (I Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 2:22).

Q. What does Christ mean when He says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven "either in this world or the world to come" (Matt. 12:32)?
A. As shown by the 32nd verse of this chapter, and by Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10, He simply means that this sin would not or never could be forgiven. The Greek word translated "world" in Matt. 12:32 is in the King James version, often rendered "age," and the expression may be rendered either in the legal or in the gospel age (or age of the Messiah).
 

The Holy Land

Q. Is Palestine, or the Holy Land, peculiar above all other countries in the world?
A. It is in four respects: First, in being center of the old world, the great continent of Asia, Europe, and Africa, so that from it the great, fundamental, momentous, and eternal truths of the Scriptures might readily be proclaimed in all the world; second, in being, although only about 12,000 square miles in extent, a world in miniature, containing all the climates and yielding all the productions of the world; third, in being separated from all the world by mountain and desert and sea; and fourth, in embracing all altitudes, from the deepest depression on the surface of the earth to the highest inhabited elevation, thus representing all the changes of Christian experience.

Q. Is the original Mount Sinai yet known?
A. It is believed to be the mountain now called by the Arabs Jebel Musa (Mountain of Moses), 6,540 feet high, between the Gulf of Suez on the west and the Gulf of Akabah on the east, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

Q. Is it known where was Mount Ararat, and also the other mountains mentioned in the Bible, and do they bear the same names?
A. Yes; and some of them have other names given them by the Turks or Arabs or Persians or Armenians who live near those mountains. Ararat, for instance, is called by the Persians the "Mountain of the Ark," and by the Turks "Steep Mountain." There are two peaks of Mount Ararat, one about 17,000 and the other about 14,000 feet high. They are of volcanic origin, and the highest peak is covered with perpetual snow. They are on the boundary between Persia, Asiatic Turkey, and the Russian possessions. The mountains are emblems of the infinite greatness, righteousness, and unchangeableness of God; and, like themselves, so many of their ancient names are unchanged.

Q. Do vessels occupy the Dead Sea?
A. They do not, nor can fish live in its waters, which are seven times saltier than the waters of the ocean, one-fourth of its water being composed of solid matter, so that a human body easily floats upon its surface. Only a few microbes (microscopic vegetable organisms) are found in the waters of the Dead Sea. Other names of this body of water are the Salt Sea, Sea of the Plain, East Sea, Sea of Lot, Sea of Sodom. It is nearly fifty miles long and nearly ten miles wide. From the top of the tableland around this sea to the bottom of the sea the distance is about a mile. It is the lowest, hottest, and most desolate region on the face of the earth. The Jordan and several smaller streams flow into it, but it has no outlet, the seven millions of tons of water that it receives every day being carried off by evaporation. It is believed that Sodom and Gomorrah stood near the southern end of this sea; a pillar of salt there is still called Lot's Wife. The Dead Sea seems to be a most appropriate emblem of the second or eternal death.

Q. Is the temple typical of the believer's house of worship, or of the believer himself?
A. Of the believer himself (John 2:19,21; Col. 2:9; I Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:21,22).

Q. "By grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8); how through faith?
A. The Pharisaic and heathen doctrine of salvation by works is false; we are saved entirely by the free grace or unmerited favor of God; and true faith, the fruit of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22; John 16:13, 14; I Cor. 12:3), is the channel or medium through which we realize our interest in His salvation. Even John Wesley, one of the wisest of Arminians, in expounding Eph. 2:8-10, says that not only grace but also faith and salvation are all the gifts of God. "It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," says the Apostle Paul in Rom. 4:16.

Q. If we are saved by grace and not by our works (Rom. 11:5-7; Eph. 2:8, 9; II Tim. 1:9; Tit. 3: 4-7), how is it that we are to be judged according to our works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:13; 22:12)?
A. Our works show our hearts and our characters. If God's grace is in our hearts and characters, it will shine in our lives; if His grace is not in our hearts and characters, our lives will be dark, selfish, worldly, and devilish. The good fruit shows the good tree; and the bad fruit shows the evil tree (Matt. 7:16-20; 5:16; 12:35; 25: 31-46; Isa. 61:3,11; 55:10-13; 43:21; 44: 1-5; Rom. 6; 13:10; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:10; Philip 2:12,13; I Thess. 2-5; James 2).

Q. If we are saved entirely by grace, as the Scriptures teach, how is it that Christ, our Divine Judge, will reward every one according to his works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 13; 22:12, 13)?
A. A man's deeds show the spirit by which he is actuated, as the fruit shows the nature of the tree. If a man loves the Lord and His people, he will delight to serve Him and them, and take no credit to himself for such service; but if he has no such love, his conduct will plainly enough prove it (Matt. 25:31-46; Philip 2:12,13; Gal. 5:6, 16-25; Heb. 8:8-12; James 2).

Q. What is the difference between faith and grace?
A. Faith is belief, and grace is favor or gift; it is of God's free favor or gracious gift that we, in our hearts, believe in His Son as our Saviour (Rom. 4:16; I Cor. 12:3; II Cor. 4:6; Gal.5: 22; Eph. 1:19,20; 2:8,9; Philip 1:29; Heb. 12:2).

Q. What is the meaning of Peter's exhortation to his penitent hearers on the day of Pentecost, "Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked, perverse, wicked) generation" (Acts 2:40)?
A. The verb here rendered "save yourselves" is not in the middle voice with the reflexive sense, as this translation implies, but it is the passive voice, and literally means "be ye saved," that is, "be willing for God to save you from the character and doom of this wicked generation," which was soon to perish in the unparalleled suffering of the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus. And being divinely wrought upon, his penitent hearers gladly received his word, and were baptized, and were thus added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:41,47).

Q. Do such Scriptures as I Cor. 1:21; 9:22; Philip. 2:12; I Tim. 4:16; James 5:19,20, refer to a temporal or eternal salvation?
A. A temporal salvation, a salvation here in time, which God works in us by His Holy Spirit (Isa. 26:12; Ezek. 36:26,27; I Cor. 15:10; Ephes. 2:8-10, 18-22; Philip 2:13; 4:13), and which we are to manifest in our outward lives, and we will be more comforted in obedience than in disobedience, and we will gladly and justly give all the glory of both our temporal and eternal salvation to God alone. If the texts mentioned in the first sentence of this question mean our eternal salvation, then Arminianism is true, and the Bible doctrine of salvation by grace is fundamentally wrong.

Q. Does the Bible teach that there is a conditional time salvation?
A. The Bible does not use this phrase, and, as its truth is controverted by some of our brethren, it would probably be best to avoid it. But it is certain that the Bible does teach that there is a salvation or deliverance here in time, which we ourselves are to work out (Philip 2:12; Acts 2:40; I Tim. 4:16); yet we can only do this as God works in us by His grace (Philip 2:12,13; 4:13; John 15:4,5; I Cor. 15:10). The cause of the most controversies is the affirmative of one part and the denial of another part of the truth.

Q. Can any of the elect people of God commit the sin against the Holy Ghost either before or after regeneration?
A. No; for all the elect were redeemed by Christ and will be forgiven and saved eternally (Eph. 1; Pet. 1; Isa. 35; 53; 45:17; John 6:37-40; 10:15, 27-30; 17:1-24). As proved by the Scriptures in Matt. 12, Mark 3, and Luke 12, only the wilful, malicious, persistent enemies of Christ, children of the Devil, given up to hardness and impenitence of heart, ever commit this unpardonable sin.

Q. What does Paul mean when he says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14)?
A. That the church, the children of God should arouse from their state of carnal security, slothfulness, worldliness, and indifference, which seems like spiritual death, and live more reverently, soberly, righteously, and affectionately, toward one another, more self-denyingly, like Christ, and the Lord would increase their heavenly light and comfort (Rom. 13:7-14).

Q. Do we get rest IN or FOR coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28-30)?
A. It is more scriptural to say that we obtain rest in and not for obedience (Psalm 19:11; James 1:25; Heb. 4:3). If we do not come to or believe in Christ, we do not obtain rest; but God's especial electing grace is the cause why we come to Christ (John 6:37-45; Psalm 65:4; Isa. 27:13; 34:10; 55:1-13; Isa. 61:11; Jer. 31:3, 7-9, 31-37; Ezek. 36:25-27).

Q. Do the Scriptures set forth both a time and eternal salvation?
A. No one except those who are willfully or unintentionally ignorant of the Scriptures deny this fact. Salvation is deliverance, and human beings are delivered from distress both in time and in eternity. Our eternal salvation is alone by the free grace of God through His atoning Son and renewing Spirit; and if we are here in time delivered from trouble in our obedience unto God, that very obedience comes from the grace of God (Isa. 26:12; Philip 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).

Q. What is it "to break one of the least commandments" (Matt. 5:19)?
A. All the commandments of God are of divine authority, and the transgression of any of them is sin (I John 3:4); but Christ Himself speaks of a "greater sin," and a "greater damnation" (John 19: 11; Matt. 23:14; see also Matt. 11:20-24); and He speaks of "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, faith, and the love of God" (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). The moral law of ten commandments alone was written by the finger of God upon two tables of stone, and was called the covenant of God with national Israel (Exod. 34:28); and its observance was repeatedly declared by the prophets to be of far more importance than the observance of the ceremonial law. And the commandments of the first table of the moral law, showing our duty to God, are more important than the commandments of the second table, showing our duty to our fellow men. And in each table the greatest and most important commandments are put first, just as, after we are quickened from the death of sin, the light of the Holy Spirit shows us first our greatest and then our lesser sins - the heavenly light of the early morning shining more and more unto the perfect day.

Q. Does the olive tree, differently from other trees, affect the character or quality of the fruit borne by the branch grafted in it, as intimated by the Apostle Paul in Rom. 11:17-24?
A. It does, because of its extraordinary vitality and longevity; the olive tree sometimes lives a thousand years. Spiritually speaking, it is Divine grace, and not human nature, that grafts the wild olive branch into the good olive tree; the root is Christ; the sap is the Holy Spirit; the tree is the true Church, and the branches are His regenerated people, who derive all their heavenly beauty, vigor, and fruitfulness from the Divine Root through His indwelling Spirit.

Q. In II Cor. 6:1 the Apostle Paul, in the King James Version, says, "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech You also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain;" what does he mean?
A. The words "with Him" and "You" are in italics, which shows that Paul did not write them. The exact language of Paul is: "But we also, working together, exhort that you receive not the grace of God in vain." By "we" he means himself and Timothy (II Cor. 1:1), and of course all other gospel ministers. And by exhorting the Corinthians (and of course all other) Christians not to receive the grace of God in vain, he means to exhort them to manifest the grace of God in their conduct and conversation, not to hide the light which God had given them, but to let it shine, to abound in good works in which God had before ordained them to walk, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to prove that Christianity is not an empty profession, but a Divine reality (I Cor. 15:10; Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:11-15).

Q. What is meant by "resisting the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51)?
A. Resisting or opposing the Spirit of God in His ministers, and persecuting those servants of God (Acts 7:51-53; Neh. 7:30). No human being can withstand the almighty power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (John 3:8).

Q. What does Jesus mean by saying, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 7:19)?
A. That all the finally unregenerate and impenitent and unbelieving and wicked will be cast into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 21:8).

Q. Please explain in the Advocate the second and third verses of I John.
A. The apostle here gives a rule whereby we may know whether one professing to have the Spirit of God really has it. Jesus is God's Son, born of Mary - God manifest in the flesh - human and divine, and came to destroy the works of the devil and will ultimately do so and save from sin every one God gave Him. Those who confess not that Christ came in the flesh to do the work He came to do, is not of God, but are led by the spirit of anti-Christ. And when John wrote he said, "... and even now already it is in the world." At that early age of the church the spirit of anti-Christ was being manifest. And Paul, a little later said, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (II Tim. 3:12). And Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:24). P.

Q. Are regeneration and obedience produced by the same kind of process?
A. According to the Scriptures, they are not. Regeneration is declared by John to be "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13; 3:3,5,6,8; I John 2:29). While in obedience to the commandments of God, the will of man is always represented to be involved, God commanding and commending for obedience, and forbidding and condemning for disobedience (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:16-19; 4:7-12; Exod. 20, 35; Deut. 22, 23; Josh. 24:15-24; I Kings 28:21; I Chron. 38:9: Eccles. 12:13,14; Isa. 1, 19, 20; Ezek. 18, 30; Matt. 16:24,25; John 5:40; II Cor. 8:12; Rev. 22:17); but the will to obey the Lord comes from the inworking and powerful grace of God (Psalm 110:1-3; Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 October 2006 )
< Previous   Next >

Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.