Testimony Of Scholars

Dr. Strong says, that not only Moses, but "every Israelite who came out of Egypt, must have been fully acquainted with the universally recognized doctrine of future rewards and punishments." And yet Moses is utterly silent on the subject.

Dr. Thayer remarks: "Is it possible to imagine a more conclusive proof against the divine origin of the doctrine? If he had believed it to be of God, if he had believed in endless torments as the doom of the wicked after death, and had received this as a revelation from heaven, could he have passed it over in silence? Would he have dared to conceal it, or treat so terrible a subject with such marked contempt? And what motive could he have had for doing this? I cannot conceive of a more striking evidence of the fact that the doctrine is not of God. He knew whence the monstrous dogma came, and he had seen enough of Egypt already, and would have no more of her cruel superstitions; and so he casts this out, with her abominable idolatries, as false and unclean things."

So that while the Old Testament talks of ten thousand things of small importance, it has not a syllable nor a whisper of what ought to have been told first of all and most of all and continually. No one is said to have gone to such a place as is now denoted by the word Hell, or to be going to it, or saved from it, or exposed to it. To say that the Hell taught by partialist Christians existed before Christ, is to accuse God of having permitted his children for four thousand years to tumble into it by millions, without a word of warning from him. Earth was a flowery path, concealing pitfalls into infinite burnings, and God never told one of his children a word about it. For four thousand years then the race got on with no knowledge of a place of torment after death. When was the fact first made known? And if it was not necessary to the wickedest people the world ever knew, when did it become necessary?

The future world as revealed in the Old Testament is a conscious existence never described as a place or state of punishment. Prof. Stuart well calls it "the region of umbra or ghosts. It was considered as a vast and wide domain or region of which the grave was only a part or a kind of entrance-way. It appears to have been regarded as extending deep down into the earth, even to the lowest abysses. In this boundless region lived and moved at times the manes (or ghosts) of departed friends."

Bishop Lowth: "In the under-world of the Hebrews there is something peculiarly grand and awful. It was an immense region, a vast subterranean kingdom, involved in thick darkness filled with deep valleys, and shut up with strong gates; and from it there was no possibility of escape. Thither whole hosts of men went down at once; heroes and armies with their trophies of victory; kings and their people were found there where they had a shadowy sort of existence as manes or ghosts neither entirely spiritual nor entirely material, engaged in the employments of their earthly life though destitute of strength and physical substance." All was shadowy and unreal beyond death until Christ came and brought immortality to light through his Gospel.

Whitby on Acts 2: 27: "That Sheol throughout the Old Testament, and Hadees in the Septuagint, answering to it, signify not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death appears, first, from the root of it, Sheol, which signifies to ask, to crave and require. Second, because it is the place to which the good as well as the bad go, etc."

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