Afterlife in the OT

Author: keithprosser ,

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  • keithprosser
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    Most references to death in the OT suggest it man's final state:

    2 Sam 14:14 Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.
    Job 7:7-9 Remember that my life is a breath My eye will not again see good…A cloud dissolves and it is gone;
    So is one who descends to Sheol. He will not ascend.

    However YHWH can restore life if he chooses to: Deut 32:39 "I kill, and I make alive;".  Elijh revives a dead child (1 kings 17:17-24) and Eisha does the same (2 kings 4:18-37).   But those are revivifications, not indictions that immortal souls are judged and go to heaven or hell.   It is worth noting other Middle eastern gods had the power of revivifiction:

    And all quarters extolled [his] greatness:.
    Who but Marduk restores his dead to life?
    Apart from Ṣarpanitum which goddess grants life?
    Marduk can restore to life from the grave,
    Ṣarpanitum knows how to save from destruction, (trans. by W.G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature 1960)

    The writer of Ecclesistes has this to say of death: "1Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return."

    The psalmist writes: "The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence." (Ps 115:17) and "For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness." (Ps 38:18). 

    We get the first hint of judgement of the dead in Daniel (2nd century BCE)

    And many of those who sleep in the dusty earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting reproach and contempt. Then the knowledgeable shall shine like the brightness of the sky; those who justified the many, like the stars, forever and ever. Dan 12:2-3.

    Matthew tells resurrection was not accepted by Jewish Sadducces upto Jesus time.  "On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him," (Matt 22:23)

    Given the weight of evidence that judaism rejected ressurrection, an ambiguous passage such as isaiah 26:19 cannot be taken as proof that a belief in Christianity-like afterlife is ancient.  It almost certainly arose in Judea no later than a century or two BC.

    "Your dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise – awake and sing you who dwell in the earth! – for your dew is as the dew of light, and the earth shall bring to life the shades."   (Isaiah 26:19)



     

  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    "19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return."
    Dust in the wind, [KANSAS]
  • ludofl3x
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    But isn't the answer to this problem "The OT is invalidated because Jesus showed up and fulfilled the prohpecy" or through some other allegorical / metaphorical word play where word X didn't exist and meant word Y?

  • disgusted
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    --> @ludofl3x
    Now you just stop that "makin; sense" shite, the godists don't like it and that's all there is to it. If you can't include their fairy tales in a positive light then they no you are satan. We have quite a few satans on these boards.
    Don't we bubba and cletus an' sly dawg?
  • Mopac
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    The Christian discipline is all about abiding in The Truth.
    The Truth is eternal.

    It is a hard connection to make I guess.


    Mysteries for a reason I suppose.


  • RationalMadman
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    OT God is the real God. Not exactly the real holy book but the character is the real God despite being wrongly deemed masculine.

    OT God is the individual known as Shai'tan and Satan. 

  • rosends
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    Just putting 1 Sam 28 out there -- indication that there is a soul that is still around, resting, after death.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @rosends
    Just putting 1 Sam 28 out there -- indication that there is a soul that is still around, resting, after death.
    Good example!   I'd say it implies an ancient belief that death was a 'nothing' sort of state - one did not suffer in a hell nor was one blissful in a heaven; it was believed to be like being a permanent coma.  

  • WisdomofAges
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    --> @rosends
    PROOF !   no one in this Forum has a clue about "GOD" ......

    "GOD" is a word invented by a Roman Catholic lunatic 400 years after the Jesus invention.....
    some time around 400 AD....then came the "ALLAH" invented by angry Arabs wanting 
    revenge against the JEWS and idiotic CHRISTIANS.......for their Comic Book "GOD" 
    invented characters......

    The Middle East is reduced to a Circus of FOOLS all vying for some kind of absurd 
    confirmation that their idiotic "GOD" invention is the only true  "GOD" and all must
    accept this or face PUNISHMENT and SUFFERING..

    What about all the other "GODS" ?  ....NO...they do not matter...all are FAKES !

    All fall to the floor and shake like an imbecile for your "GOD" ....surrender your
    mind and life to serve....the Clown in the halloween Glory Gown that plays "GOD"

    Accept "ALLAH" or DIE.....fall now to the floor and pray.....condemn all who do not...
    accept "ALLAH"   forget Batman and Wonder Woman...........they are Comic Book
    Heroes !   

    Accept "JESUS" or go to HELL..the Roman Catholic Church Clowns declare ....
    only they are the TRUE CHURCH.....all OBEY and SUFFER ;; 

    and what of the JEWS ? only 15 million +- remain on EARTH...they do not run 
    around and threaten others to convert and oby !   they have a WALL to protect
    them from the DISEASE between the ears of the palestinians who want them 
    exterminated...

    All 3 of these idiotic human fabricated Comic Book "GOD" characters are at WAR
    with each other....why doesn't their "God" just show up and settle the issue ?

    HE DOES ! on TV and in the movies....in the form of Jimmy swaggart, Jim Bakker,
    Benny hinn +++ countless other "i wanna play "GOD" lunatics.........

    Ok run to the closet and pray for your salvation....you are a pathetic "Born Sinner"
    A criminal for even existing....YES...YOU !  are a CRIMINAL...GUILTY....GUILTY
    of LYING-CHEATING-ABUSING others who do not accept your idiotic fabrication.....

    So sad...these adults ? (more like hypnotized children who fall for the Santa Claus
    invention) OK keep acting like YOU actually believe this comic book garbage....

    Pray-repent-surrender-fall on the floor and shake-then go walk on water.....memorize
    as many Bible verse VOMIT  lines as possible so you can throw u on all who do not
    OBEY your commands....

    Do like Emperor Caligula did.....declare yourself to be a "GOD"   why not...you certainly
    act like one........                                                





                                                                              
  • Mopac
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    --> @WisdomofAges
    You sure do have a lot to say about the heretics.

    If you were a so called "fundamentalist", you'd probably be raging about how Jesus spoke in King James English, so it is good enough for you and everyone!

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @keithprosser
    Hi Keith, 

    thanks for the post. I would add Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:24 to the list. Death obviously existed prior to the fall of man or its threat would have had little impact.  I take the view that in some ways, Adam and Eve died and were resurrected when they left the garden.  What kind of death will naturally be debated? But in biblical terms, physical death was not the only kind of death understood and hence it is fair to add that the afterlife was not always talking about a physical afterlife. This might be related to the kind of language utilised at times regarding a new heaven and a new earth. The OT writers don't talk about AD and BC, they talk about ages or perhaps dynasties. The end of one age and the start of a new one referred to a new heaven and a new earth. Certainly the prophets often used apocalyptic language of blood red suns and moons darkening and the de creationist when a nation or a kingdom or a dynasty was destroyed or wiped out. 

    I would also add Enoch from Genesis 6:24 and Elijah as two in the OT who simply did not die but went elsewhere - one to walk with God and one who went by a fiery chariot into heaven. What occurred in either case is difficult to know, but clearly both were anomalies so far as the traditional view might allude.  Although it is not necessarily resurrection, it is also not death and sleep without reviving. It is also true that when the patriarchs died, the language though poetical talks of the deceased as going to join their ancestors. 

    It is true that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection - but the Pharisees did. Jesus clearly believed in the resurrection. Daniel's reference is a difficult one. David talked about seeing his child one day - this is well before Daniel. I assume you mean Judgment after death as opposed to judgment in a temporal sense. Much of the early books of the OT discuss judgement for nations and individuals.  This was most likely temporal judgment - yet there is an implication that a temporal death brings one into the immediate presence of God's throne room - who is the judge of all. I would not rule out that eternal judgment was part of this understanding. 

    I like the verses you quoted above. I would note that the context of each is important. Some of those verses are not presenting a theology of afterlife from a judgment point of view - but presenting death from the position of us who are still alive.  I don't think the writers were necessarily adding a particular view about the resurrection or judgment. Some were noting - the appearance of death - as it is from our point of view - silence. That was their point - not about the afterlife per se.  Ecclesiastes for instance is talking about the meaningless of life from a human perspective under the sun. It is not talking about what happens after life. "under the sun" refers to our life here on earth.  Still, thanks for bringing this topic to our attention. It is good to see various opinions. 
  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Death obviously existed prior to the fall of man
    Then one man bringing death into the world is a lie, the word of your god is a lie. Well done.

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @disgusted
    Sorry, it is not a lie.

    Romans talks about human death into the world through sin. 

    And the kind of death is covenantal death. 

    since Adam - covenantal death has reigned - and this is the kind of death that Adam experienced by being thrown out of the garden. 

    It was separation from the tree of life - of excommunication. not able to eat at the table of the Lord. 

    You interpret in your own way if you like. I will use the Bible to interpret the Bible. 

  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Describe death.
    Your god via the bible claims that death entered the world through one man, ergo death did not exist before that man. You and your god have nothing but lies.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @disgusted
    Describe death.
    Your god via the bible claims that death entered the world through one man, ergo death did not exist before that man. You and your god have nothing but lies.
    You really do live in a dream world don't you? 

    Genesis tells us that God told Adam in the day that eat of the fruit you will surely die. Did Adam die physically on that day? No. So either God was a liar or he was telling the truth. If it was physical death then God was a liar. This makes no sense in the context of the Bible itself and nor does it make sense from a theological or soteriological sense. 

    So the question is: if Adam did die, how did he die? Some of my charismatic and evangelical friends would suggest that Adam died spiritually. I think this is foolish because it we spiritualise death, then why don't we spiritualise the rest of Genesis? They don't generally have an answer to that question. 

    I think it is quite true to say that Israel was involved covenantally with God over many centuries. Many of which are written down. Covenantal death is a real thing in the nation of Israel and in the church. Covenantal death is also something practiced in middle eastern countries - even you I am sure have heard fathers say to their sons when they betrayed the family "You are no longer my son, from now on you are dead to me". This obviously is not a physical death or a spiritual death. I suggest it is a covenantal death. Dead to the family and to the family inheritance. When Adam sinned, God cut him off from the family tree - literally, he could not eat from the tree of life which would give him immortality. 

    Romans tells us that from Adam death reigned. Now I don't have an issue with this including physical death - but it is not primarily physical death. Because the corollary statement says that from Christ - life reigned. Now I am sure you don't think this means that Christians teach that when people become Christians they don't die physically anymore. Because I certainly don't take that view and I don't know any Christians who would take that view. We do talk about sleeping. But we don't take the view that people don't die. We talk about being covenantally restored to the tree of life - becoming part of the family of God again - ingrafted back into the family tree.  

    Hence, when Adam died, he died covenantally and was put out of the family - along with all of his descendants. When people return back to Christ, they are received back into the family with life - through Jesus. 

    I think it is very likely that physical death of animals, tree life, insects occurred before Adam fell. I don't know about human life - I am not sure it really matters because I don't need to hold to a physical 6 day creation. Not that I reject it out of hand. But death I think must have happened otherwise when God said - you will die - would have not been a stick. Adam must have known what death was in order to be fearful about it. 

    I also am of the view that Adam was not created immortal.  I think he was created mortal. If he was immortal and could not die - then there would be no point to a tree of life. If he had not eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I think he would have eventually died unless he had access to the tree of life. This is not contradictory to anything I have read in either the OT or the NT. Perhaps you could enlighten me otherwise? 
  • keithprosser
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    --> @Tradesecret
    I think the story has a root in a day-dream that the world began as a pardise and camp-fire stories about what went wrong. 
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @keithprosser
    I think the story has a root in a day-dream that the world began as a pardise and camp-fire stories about what went wrong. 
    Perhaps.  but where there is smoke, there is often fire. Stories and myths arise generally from events and incidents that have happened. Sure at times there are lots of embellishments.  But this does not mean that the story themselves was not true.

    disgusted's day dream is not the one based in the paradise story - but in his assumptions that brings from his own Western world - and tries to put back into the ancient worlds of Paul and of Genesis. All I have tried to do is ask him to consider what these same stories might have looked like for those from that part of the world. 

    Death is part of our world. But not all death is the same. That is my point. 

  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Death is part of our world. But not all death is the same. That is my point. 
    OK then describe five types of death. LOL

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @disgusted
    I never said there was five types of death but in order to make you feel better:

    physical death

    Spiritual death

    covenantal death

    the death of a reputation. 

    the death of a civilisation 

    the death of a species - extinction

    The death of a theory. 
  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    I never said there was five types of death but in order to make you feel better:

    physical death
    You mean death, putting physical in there is redundant.
    Spiritual death
    Prove that spirits exist and that they can die.
    covenantal death
    The expiration of an agreement is not death in any sense of the word death. Ooh my phone contract died, yeah of course it did stupid.
    the death of a reputation. 
    Getting desperate now. You always have a reputation, it doesn't die.
    the death of a civilisation 
    The cessation of a civilization is not death in any sense of the word death.
    the death of a species - extinction
    Yes extinction is the word just as the death of a tree is a valid term because it uses the word death accurately.
    The death of a theory. 
    You've gone too far, you're under the barrel.

    Death is the cessation of life. If you are living you will die regardless of whatever fantasies you tell yourself.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @disgusted
    Whatever! 

    the other things are death - 
  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    the other things are death - 
    Only to the indoctrinated and frightened fools. Still waiting on spirits. hahahahahahah
  • disgusted
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Genesis tells us
    Superman came from Krypton.

  • Mopac
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    --> @keithprosser
    "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
    Some to everlasting life,
    Some to shame and everlasting contempt."

    This is in the book of Daniel.
    There are other examples, but i read this one today and it is pretty unambiguous.



  • Stephen
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    --> @disgusted
    Superman came from Krypton.

    And then got crapton.