- Christogenea Internet Radio
I'm going to begin tonight's program with a short parable. You walk a certain route to work every day, and every day you encounter the same poor widow and you always give her $5 or $10, of which she is certainly in need. The good man praises Yahweh God that he can help the widow, and that God has chosen him through which to do so. The only reward which that man seeks for his charity is heavenly. But the man with bitter feelings in his heart is eventually vexed by his having to help the widow, and one day he chooses to take a different route, so that he no longer encounters her. So after a couple of days or weeks he falls in with robbers and loses his wallet and all of his money. That man should remember why he was traveling down that alternate road, and he should regret having changed his route, repenting because Yahweh has put him on notice. When you stop doing what it is that God wants you to do because you think better of your own agenda, you are going to run into troubles. God will not be denied what is His. We should all live every day contemplating the route which best serves our God, and not ourselves. End of message.
The Epistles of Paul - 2 Corinthians Part 4: Treasure in Earthen Vessels
In 1 Corinthians chapters 3 and 4 Paul had made an analogy of the Old Testament “service of death in letters” in comparison to the New Testament “service of the Spirit” which he called the “service of righteousness in honor”. Doing so, he explained that the judgments of the Mosaic Law were left unemployed in Christ, and for that reason Christians should seek to keep the spirit of the Law written on their hearts. Paul then spoke of the “treasure in earthen vessels” and the unseen hope of eternal life in the face of physical death which Christians have in Christ. Paul then explained that “having the same Spirit of the faith” Christians should live to serve Yahweh their God in the knowledge of hope in that eternal life because “if our outer man is being destroyed, then our inner is being restored day by day”, ostensibly referring to that same “treasure in earthen vessels” as he had called it, which is the Adamic Spirit that exists within the children of Yahweh.
Paul of Tarsus had clearly taught that there is an eternal spirit within the Adamic man, and that through that spirit there would eventually be a resurrection to life in the physical world, which he had illustrated in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. But this possibility was a topic of literature for two thousand years before the Christian era. In the Greek myths of Orpheus and Eurydice or Heracles and Alcestis or in the much older Sumerian legends of Inanna or Gilgamesh we see exhibited the belief in a continued existence of the spirit after the death of the body. Many other ancient legends of those same cultures reflected the belief of the continuation of the spirit after death, such as in the Iliad where Odysseus visits the netherworld and converses with the spirits of the departed, or in Virgil's Aeneid where Aeneas converses with his own deceased father.
Yet in the sophistry of the philosophies of later Classical Greece, many of the Greeks and Romans had to a great degree come to scoff at the notion of life after death. We see this attitude expressed in Acts chapter 17 where after Paul had spoken at the Areopagus, as Luke had recorded, it is said: “32 And hearing of a resurrection of the dead some then mocked him, but others said 'We shall hear you concerning this also again.'” So at least some of the Greeks of Paul's time mocked the possibility of the resurrection, even though it had been a recurring topic in their own literature.
Some may scoff that this idea of life after death is the wishful thinking of man and is inevitable in every culture, but that is not true. It is only true of every Adamic culture, and it has since been transmitted to certain others to whom it does not necessarily belong. Every ancient White Adamic culture reflected some belief in a continued existence of the spirit of man after death. Some may claim that this belief was pagan, yet all of these diverse pagan religions had common ground in the basic elements of their legends. In these basic elements they also agree in large part with Scripture. If our remote ancestors, once having had the truth of God and then diverging into paganism, did not maintain at least some core cultural beliefs in common with Scripture, then we may doubt the commonality of our origins with that of the authors of our Scripture. Rather, in the commonality of certain fundamental beliefs we may see that there is indeed truth in the histories which trace us to a common origin with that of the authors of our Scripture. So in the end we shall see that the God of the Bible is true, and every so-called pagan who mocks God actually disgraces himself.
Here we shall quote a paragraph from a paper at Christogenea entitled Classical Records and German Origins, Part Three. It is relevant to this portion of Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians because it exhibits the belief in the immortality of the spirit among some of our ancient European pre-Christian ancestors:
Discussing the religion of the Getae, it certainly seems to have an Israelite origin, though Strabo repeats a tale (Geography, 7.3.5) similar to one recorded by Herodotus (The Histories, 4:94-96). Both writers gave accounts which claim that the Getae derived their religion from Pythagoras, who indeed seems to have studied and derived a good part of his own philosophy from the Hebrew scriptures. Nevertheless, such a tale may have been invented by some other writer, earlier than either Herodotus or Strabo, in order to account for similarities in the beliefs of the Getae with those of the famous Pythagoras. Herodotus states first that a certain Zalmoxis is the god of the Getae, but also gives another account, which he relates even though he rejects it, that Zalmoxis was merely a slave of Pythagoras from whom the Thracians acquired their religion, and this is close to the version of the story related by Strabo. The knowledge which this Zalmoxis (Zamolxis in Strabo) imparts to the Getae is said by Strabo to have come from Egypt. Also mentioned in these accounts are the beliefs of the Getae in the immortality of the soul, and their monotheism, along with other ideas which have parallels in the Israelite religion. In a discussion concerning lawgivers, Diodorus Siculus also mentions Zalmoxis, “among the people known as the Getae who represent themselves to be immortal” (Library of History, 1.94.2), but says nothing else of him or of the religion of the Getae. Discussing the Galatae, however, he compares their beliefs in immortality and metempsychosis to the similar philosophy of Pythagoras (5.28.6), things also related of the Kelts by both Strabo (Geography, 4.4.4) and Julius Caesar (The Gallic War, 6:14).
Speaking of the Druids among the Gauls, or Kelts, Caesar had written in that passage of The Gallic War that “The cardinal doctrine that they seek to teach is that souls do not die, but after death pass from one to another; and this belief, as the fear of death is thereby cast aside, they hold to be the greatest incentive to valour.” Diodorus Siculus, a contemporary of Caesar's, had also written of the Gauls in this respect, saying that “the belief of Pythagoras prevails among them, that the souls of men are immortal and that after a prescribed number of years they commence upon a new life, the soul entering into another body” (Library of History, 5.28.6). Pythagoras, however, lived in the 6th century, and the Greek epic poets such as Homer had already expressed beliefs in the continued existence of the spirits of men after death. So the references to him seem to relate to the manner, and not the basic substance, of his profession in life after death. Speaking of the Druids among the Gauls, Strabo had said in his Geography (4.4.4) that “not only the Druids, but others as well, say that men's souls, and also the universe, are indestructible, although both fire and water will at some time or other prevail over them.” This statement by Strabo is certainly evocative of the apostle Peter's words from chapter 3 of his second epistle: “ 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Now while Christians should not believe in either reincarnation or metempsychosis, which is apparently the manner in which Pythagoras had evidently believed in life after death, which both Caesar and Diodorus Siculus had also attributed to the Gauls, nevertheless we see a belief in the immortality of the soul which was found among both the Getae and the Gauls. The Greeks believed this profession to be the chief reason why the Getae as well as the Gauls were fearless in battle. Towards the end of this presentation, we shall see Josephus ascribe a belief in metempsychosis to the Pharisees.
So we see a few of the many examples in early literature that pagans had various beliefs of a continued existence of the spirit of an individual after the death of the body, although they imagined it in diverse forms. Here in his two epistles to the Corinthians we see Paul of Tarsus explaining the Scriptural position on the matter, which is the position that Christians should hold as an expectation. Having this expectation Christians should love and serve both one another and their God without fear, knowing that once they die in the flesh, they have “a building from Yahweh, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Thus Christians should also be fearless in battle. For this reason Paul had said in his first epistle to the Corinthians that “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). The belief in an underworld abode of the souls of the dead, and the possibility of returning from it into the land of the living, are a subject of the legends and myths of ancient literature found not only among the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, but also in the earliest literature of the Welsh and the Germanic authors of the Eddas.
Speaking of the want of fear which all Christians should have towards death Paul says in the opening of 2 Corinthians chapter 5:
1 Therefore we know that if perhaps our earthly house of the tabernacle would be destroyed, we have a building from Yahweh, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
We read in the Gospel of John, in chapter 2 where it is recorded that Christ had driven the money-changers out of the temple, that “19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:44, explaining the resurrection of the dead through the Adamic spirit, “if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.” The resurrection of the dead is the return of all members of the Adamic race to life in the flesh, as Job (chapter 19) is credited with having said “26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”. The eternal “house not made with hands” is a reference to the true temple of God: the spirit of Yahweh bestowed upon each member of the Adamic race as a component of its natural fabric. However the flesh of the resurrection is not necessarily the same as the flesh of this current world, as we also see in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 where Paul had written that “51 ... We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
2 And we bemoan in this, yearning to be clothed with our dwelling which is from of heaven. 3 If indeed even being stripped, we shall not be found naked.
The 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B) Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Majority Text all have verse 3 to read “If indeed even being clothed, we shall not be found naked.” That reading seems nonsensical in the context of the statements at verses 2 and 4, and appears to be an error in the difference of a single letter: ἐνδυσάμενοι (clothed in) rather than ἐκδυσάμενοι (stripped). Paul is surely making an allegorical allusion to the text at Genesis 3:6-7, and therefore the text of the Christogenea New Testament agrees with the Codex Claromontanus (D) in this instance (as the NA27 and NA28 also do). In Genesis chapter 3 we read: “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked”.
4 And indeed we who are being burdened in the tabernacle bemoan, since we wish not to be stripped, but to be clothed in order that the mortal would be consumed by life.
From the Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 9: “ 14 For the thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our devices are but uncertain. 15 For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthy tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things.” [The two clauses of verse 15 are a Hebrew parallelism. The corruptible body is the earthly tabernacle, and the mind is a part of the soul.]
As he informs his readers here, Paul likewise had said in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that “53 This decay wants to be clothed in incorruptibility, and this mortal to be clothed in immortality. 54 And when this decay shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then the word that has been written shall come to pass: 'Death has been swallowed in victory.'” While we do not know anything of the intervening letter which Paul must have received from the Corinthians, it seems that the things which he writes here were meant to clarify questions they may have asked about statements concerning these things in his earlier epistle.
The epistle to the Romans was written only a few short months following this second epistle to the Corinthians. In chapter 8 of Romans Paul had taught much the same things which he teaches here concerning fear and hope in Christ, where he says: “15 Therefore you have not taken on a spirit of bondage anew to fear, but you have taken on a spirit of the position of sons, in which we cry: Father, Father. 16 That same Spirit bears witness with our Spirit, that we are children of Yahweh. 17 And if children, then heirs: heirs indeed of Yahweh, and joint heirs of Christ; if indeed we suffer together, that also we will be honored together. 18 Therefore I consider that the happenstances of the present time are not of value, looking to the future honor to be revealed to us. 19 Indeed in earnest anticipation the creation awaits the revelation of the sons of Yahweh. 20 To transientness the creation was subjected not willingly, but on account of He who subjected it in expectation 21 that also the creation itself shall be liberated from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the honor of the children of Yahweh. 22 For we know that the whole creation laments together and travails together until then. 23 And not alone, but also they having the first fruit of the Spirit, and we ourselves with them lament, awaiting the placement of sons, the redemption of our body.” Later in that same chapter of Romans Paul clarifies what he means by the words “whole creation”, limiting the scope of the term to mean the entire Adamic creation, all of Adamic man.
5 Now He who has been cultivating us for this same thing is Yahweh, who has been giving to us the deposits of the Spirit.
The verb rendered as cultivating here is κατεργάζομαι (Strong's # 2716), a verb which means primarily to effect by labor, to achieve or accomplish through work. While the King James Version has wrought, it may have been rendered as fashioning. The language which Paul uses relates directly to the children of Israel of the Old Testament, since this is exactly what Yahweh said he would do to the children of Israel in the Old Testament. This language cannot possibly be applied to anyone other than the children of Israel, as Paul's statement is in accordance with the stated intentions of Yahweh in the Old Testament concerning the children of Israel. Any other interpretation defrauds Paul, and also God Himself.
For instance, from Jeremiah chapter 18, written after Israel was taken into captivity, we read thus: “1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” The children of Israel, marred in the hands of the potter in the Old Covenant service of death in letters, would be fashioned anew by the potter in the New Covenant service of the Spirit in Christ.
In Ezekiel chapter 36, which was also written after Israel was taken into captivity, we read: “ 8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded.” The word in verse 9 for tilled in the Septuagint is the same word which Paul used here, κατεργάζομαι.
Similar language in reference to Yahweh's plan for Israel is expressed in Isaiah. For instance, in chapter 5 as the prophet is prophesying against Judah: “ 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” Later, in Isaiah chapter 43, the prophet addresses the children of Israel in their dispersion, whom Yahweh would continue to cultivate in spite of the other nations, where it says “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. [These were Adamic Genesis 10 nations which Yahweh gave up, ostensibly to His enemies.] 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
The children of Israel are again portrayed in the manner of clay in the hands of the potter in Isaiah chapter 64: “8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.” Where in verse 5 the King James Version has wrought, the verb which Paul used here is a Participle of the Aorist tense (κατεργασάμενος) and therefore indicates that the action had been begun at some point in the past, but is not necessarily finished. That usage therefore fits the Biblical context and the relationship between Yahweh and Israel very well. Here we chose to render that verb, κατεργάζομαι, as cultivating, as Israel is the vineyard of Yahweh God. “He who has been cultivating us...” We may have rendered the word as fashioning, as Israel is also the clay in the hands of God the Potter. In any event, Paul's language relates to these same prophecies of God concerning Israel, and in 1 Corinthians Paul explicitly reveals that these Corinthians to whom he speaks are of the dispersions of Israel.
As the New Covenant was a matter of prophecy for the children of Israel, as Yahweh the Potter was fashioning Israel the clay after His Own design, the deposit of the Spirit of God was also a matter of prophecy for the same children of Israel. From Isaiah chapter 44: “1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun (“upright one”), whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. 5 One shall say, I am the LORD'S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.”
The language which Paul uses, when compared to the Word of Yahweh God in His prophets, makes it very clear why Paul would call his ministry a ministry of reconciliation later in this same chapter.
6 Therefore always having courage, and knowing that residing in the body, we sojourn away from the Prince; 7 indeed we walk by faith, not by that which is seen; 8 now we have courage, and we are still more pleased to travel out of the body and to reside with the Prince. 9 On which account we also strive eagerly, either residing at home or sojourning, to be pleasing to Him.
Here Paul clarifies exactly what he intended to relate with the references which he had made earlier in this chapter, where he mentioned things such as “a building from Yahweh, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” and the concept of being “clothed with our dwelling which is from of heaven” as well as to the remark in chapter 4 that our “inner [man] is being restored day by day”, as the outer man faces the trials of this life. These statements were all made in the context of life as opposed to death, for instance if “our outer man is being destroyed”, as he says in 4:16, or “if perhaps our earthly house of the tabernacle would be destroyed” as he says here in 5:1, meaning that if we suffer the death of our fleshly body we nevertheless live in the spiritual body which we can expect to possess as children of Yahweh, the “treasure in earthen vessels” which Paul had also called it earlier in chapter 4 of this epistle. For that, we should have courage to face the trials of life even if they result in the death of the flesh, which we may even expect. When Christians walk in fear of death and cling to the cares of the material world, the enemies of God prevail.
Paul asserts the existence of this spiritual body in 1 Corinthians 15:44 where he speaks of the nature of the Adamic man of the resurrection and he says: “44, It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.” The Adamic man has an eternal spirit bestowed upon him by Yahweh his God as an integral part of his creation. While the Adamic man is in the flesh of this world, Paul describes that spirit as sojourning away from God. We therefore walk by faith knowing that if we die in the flesh, we are alive in the spirit and we are then reunited with our God. Knowing that this hope is real, we should seek to please our God for as long as we walk in the flesh. Of course, Paul himself says in 1 Timothy chapter 6 that Yahweh God alone has immortality, and that is of course true. However as it says in chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon, the Adamic man was created by God to be an image of that same eternity. Therefore while God alone is immortal of Himself, the immortality of the spirit of Adamic man is by the grace of God's good will.
We cannot expect to look into the Old Testament alone and understand everything which Paul relates here. There is a bigger picture which transcends the Old Testament portrayal of life and death, and therefore the paradigm of life in the spirit after the death of the body which is described by Paul of Tarsus is different from that which may be found in any particular portion of the Scriptures of the Old Testament. There is a reason for this which Paul explains in diverse other ways and places in his epistles. For instance, in Hebrews chapter 10 he compares life in the spirit to the ancient temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem in an analogy where he says “19 Therefore brethren, having liberty into the entrance of the holy places in the blood of Yahshua 20 by a new and living way through the veil which He has consecrated for us, that is, of His flesh”. Paul also spoke in this manner in chapter 6 of that same epistle where he said “ 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Likewise, speaking in different terms to the dispersed of ancient Israel in the assembly of Christ in Ephesus, Paul had written in chapter 2 of his epistle to the Ephesians: “14 For He is our peace, Who has made both one, and having broke down the middle wall of the enclosure: the hostility in His flesh, 15 having annulled the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that He would establish the two with Himself into one new man, making peace, 16 and again reconcile both in one body to Yahweh through the cross, having slain that hostility by it. 17 And having come He announced the good message, peace to you who were far away, and peace to those near. 18 Because of Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So therefore you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints and of the household of Yahweh, 20 being built upon the foundation of the ambassadors and the prophets, Yahshua Christ being the cornerstone Himself.” Paul refers to Christ again in chapter 3 of the epistle where he said that it is Him “12 With whom we have freespokenness and access in confidence through His faith.” That freespokenness and access which he describes is that which the children of Israel in Christ shall have before Yahweh their God. The foundation upon the prophets can only be realized in the words of the prophets concerning the children of Israel in their dispersions, whom the apostles were reconciling to God: those far away as well as those near.
Before the cross of Christ, the children of Adam, and later again the children of Israel, were alienated from God. The alienation of the children of Adam is described in Genesis chapter 3: “ 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. [Being stripped, they were found to be naked, and for good reason Paul uses this very thing as an analogy earlier in this chapter.] 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: [the Tree of Life is Yahweh God, and later manifested to Israel in Yahshua Christ, who is the True Vine.] 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The Cherubim were not to keep the man from accessing the Tree of Life, but are rather symbolic of the fact that Yahweh would make certain that the man could be able to access it once again, since the path to it was being preserved by the Cherubim.
Later, the Cherubim were placed atop the Ark of the Covenant, where it is evident that the path to the Tree of Life is the keeping of the Law inside the Ark as well as the mercy of God symbolized in the mercy seat placed between the Cherubim atop the Ark, and Paul explained in his epistle to the Galatians that the Law is the schoolmaster of those same children of Israel to bring them to Christ. It is Christ who shall ultimately sit upon the mercy seat, which symbolizes His judgment. In Genesis 3 the Cherubim were symbolically placed on the east end of the Garden of Eden, because that is where the sun rises. We read in Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings...”, and Christ is the Light of the World. While the children of Israel kept the Law they had access to Yahweh their God through the parameters that He had laid down, such as the inner area of the temple set behind the veil, and the Urim and Thummim of the priests. But as Paul explained in Colossians of the appointed feasts and Sabbaths, those things were also “a shadow of things to come”.
In Christ, the Adamic race, and especially the children of Israel in the flesh, are reconciled to Yahweh their God. Paul informs us in Hebrews and in Ephesians that He passed through the veil for us so that we may also pass through the veil and have communion with God. He is the Tree of Life offered to the Adamic man for the purpose of their restoration and eternal life in Genesis 3:22.
In the Old Testament we see admonishments in the Law for the children of Israel to keep away from those who have familiar spirits, from wizards and necromancers, from those who can communicate with the dead. The spirits of departed men are portrayed as inhabiting Sheol, or to the Greeks Hades, which was the underworld abode of the dead. The deceased, and namely those who died before the flood, are described by Peter in his first epistle as souls in prison. From 1 Peter chapter 3: “18 Because Christ also suffered once for all errors, the just on behalf of the unjust, in order that He may lead you to Yahweh, indeed dying in the flesh but being made to live by the Spirit. 19 At which also going He proclaimed to those spirits in prison, 20 who at one time had been disobedient - when the forbearance of Yahweh awaited in the days of Noah's preparing the vessel in which a few, that is eight souls, had been preserved through the water.” Then Peter explains what he had meant further on in 1 Peter chapter 4 where he says that “6 Indeed for this also to the dead [to those who died before Christ] the good message has been announced, that they may indeed be judged like men in the flesh, but live like God in the Spirit.”
We see similar language in Isaiah chapter 24 where it says of the world of ancient Israel “21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Evidently the use of the term prison in these passages is an analogy for alienation from God in the spirit, to whom the Adamic race now once again has access by the reconciliation which is in Christ. Perhaps the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah chapter 42 is multidimensional in its scope, where it says in part that the purpose of the Christ is “7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” In Christ, the eternal spirits of each and every Adamic man are no longer in prison, whatever one wants to imagine that prison to be. [It seems to me that those spirits were indeed kept in an earthly realm until Christ, which was represented to us as Sheol or Hades.] Now with Christ we have access to God as Paul explains that traveling out of the body we reside with Christ.
10 For we all must appear in front of the judgment seat of the Christ, in order that each should be provided for the things after the body [P46 has “the things of his own body”], from that which he has practiced, whether good or bad. [P46, B, D, and the MT have κακός (2556), “evil”, rather than φαῡλος (5337), “bad”; the text follows א, C, and 048.]
But as Paul inferred in 1 Timothy chapter 5, where he is ostensibly comparing the repentant with those who are not: “24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. 25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” In respect of Christ and the dead, Paul is teaching the same thing which Christ had taught as it is recorded in the Gospel, here from John chapter 5: “21 For just as the Father raises and makes the dead to live, thusly also the Son makes live whom He wishes. 22 For neither does the Father judge anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He not honoring the Son would not honor the Father who has sent Him. 24 Truly, truly I say to you that he hearing My Word and believing in He who has sent Me has eternal life and does not come to judgment, but has passed from death into life! 25 Truly, truly I say to you that the hour comes and is now, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Yahweh and those hearing shall live! [The dead can hear before they are resurrected, as Peter described in his first epistle.] 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, thusly also He has given the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has given authority to Him to make judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be astonished at this, because the hour comes in which all those in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and they shall go forth: those having done good things to a resurrection of life, but those having practiced wicked things to a resurrection of judgment. [See Daniel 12:2.] 30 I am not able to do anything by Myself. Just as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of He who has sent Me. 31 If I should give testimony concerning Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 It is another who is testifying concerning Me, and I know that the testimony is true which he testifies concerning Me. 33 You sent to Iohannes, and he testified to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I speak these things in order that you may be preserved.”
11 Then knowing the awe [or “fear”, φόβος (5401)] of the Prince, we persuade men [P46 has “we should persuade”].
The awe, or fear, of the Prince is the reverence that we should have for Yahshua Christ, who alone holds in His hands the future of our race, and also that of each one of us as individuals. We as individuals, however, must know that we have no choice in the matter, that no matter what we do we cannot control our future or our destiny for ourselves. This is evident in the words of Christ in John chapter 10: “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.” All Israel shall be saved, as the Scripture says, although for many that salvation may come in spite of their own selves.
Now to Yahweh we have been made known, but I also hope to have been made known in your consciences.
Paul had told the Corinthians in his chapter 9 of first epistle to them that “2 If to others I am not an ambassador, yet at any rate to you I am; indeed the assurance of my message is you in the Prince.” The assembly at Corinth had suffered much internal strife, as we have already seen earlier in this epistle, and here in this epistle at the beginning of chapter 3 Paul asks “1 Do we begin anew to introduce ourselves? Or do we, as some, need letters of introduction to you, or from you?” Therefore his statement here is only expressed as a hope that such things are not truly necessary, as we shall see that this is the context when we present verse 12 of this chapter.
For the time being, and in relation to what we have presented here concerning the things of the spirit of the Adamic man and its reconciliation to Yahweh in Christ, we thought we should present Flavius Josephus' explanations of the beliefs concerning these things which were prevalent among the Judaeans in Paul's own time, from Josephus' Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2 and Antiquities of the Judaeans, Book 18. Here Josephus describes the basic beliefs of the three sects among the Judaeans, the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Essenes. We do this so that we may see what the apostles themselves were taught in the assemblies prior to Christ, which also reflects the general perceptions of the people of that time.
We shall begin with the Sadducees, from Josephus' Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2, lines 164-167:
164 But the Sadducees are those who compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good, or what is evil, 165 is at men's own choice, and that the one or the other belongs so to everyone, that they may act as they please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades. 166 Moreover, the Pharisees are friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord, and regard for the public; but the behaviour of the Sadducees one toward another is in some degree wild; and their conduct with those who are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them.
As it is described also in the Book of Acts, in chapter 21, “8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” The high priests at the time of Christ, and throughout most of the period from 4 AD to 70 AD, were indeed Sadducees (i.e. Acts 5:17). Ostensibly, the Sadducees denied the existence of any spirit outside of God, and their religion for that reason was purely materialistic. Josephus writes of them further in Antiquities Book 18, from lines 16-17:
16 But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this:--That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of anything besides what the law enjoins them, for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent; 17 but this doctrine is received but by a few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity; but they are able to do almost nothing by themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.
Now, for Josephus' description of the beliefs of the sect of the Pharisees regarding these things, first we shall read from Antiquities Book 18, lines 12-15:
12 Now, for the Pharisees, they live lowly, and despise delicacies in diet; and they follow the conduct of reason, and what that prescribes to them as good for them, they do; and they think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason's dictates for practice. They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to oppose them in anything which they have introduced; 13 and, when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it has pleased God to make a temperament whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. 14 They also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again; 15 on account of which doctrines, they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch that the cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives and their discourses also.
And also from Josephus' Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2, lines 162-163:
162 ... the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explanation of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, 163 and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men, although fate does co-operate in every action. They say that all souls are incorruptible; but that the souls of good men only are moved into other bodies,--but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.
Josephus had described a fourth sect among the Judaeans, which we shall not discuss at length, except that he said that “These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty; and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relatives and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord”.
The Pharisees believed in the immortality of the spirit, but also held the notion of eternal punishments in Hades for those who have done wrong, something which is later seen in the traditional Roman Catholic and other denominational churches. However the Pharisees also seem to have believed to some degree in that same phenomenon of metempsychosis which we have seen from the classical histories that the Gauls were also said to have believed, where they imagined “that the souls of good men only are moved into other bodies”.
Now for the beliefs of the Essenes in these aspects of their religion, first from Josephus' Antiquities Book 18, line 18:
18 The doctrine of the Essenes is this:--That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for...
As a digression since it is another matter entirely, concerning what we call free will we have now run the entire circuit: the Essenes denied it entirely, the Pharisees esteemed it partially, and the Sadducees believed it to be absolute. Now also from Josephus' Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2, lines 154-158 concerning the Essenes:
154 For their doctrine is this:--That bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue for ever; and that they come out of the most subtle air, and are united to their bodies as in prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement; 155 but that when they are set free from the bonds of the flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward. And this is like the opinion of the Greeks, that good souls have their habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain, or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is such as is refreshed by the gentle breezes of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing from the ocean; while they allot to bad souls a dark and tempestuous den, full of never ceasing punishments. 156 And indeed the Greeks seem to me to have followed the same notion, when they allot the islands of the blessed to their brave men, whom they call heroes and demigods; and to the souls of the wicked, the region of the ungodly, in Hades, where their fables relate that certain persons, such as Sisyphus, and Tantalus, and Ixion, and Tityus, are punished; which is built on this first supposition, that souls are immortal; and from this are those exhortations to virtue and exhortations from wickedness collected; 157 whereby good men are bettered in the conduct of their life, by the hope they have of reward after their death, and whereby the vehement inclinations of bad men to vice are restrained, by the fear and expectation they are in, that although they should lie concealed in this life, they should suffer immortal punishment after their death. 158 These are the divine doctrines of the Essenes about the soul, which lay an unavoidable bait for such as have once had a taste of their philosophy.
So it should be evident that while the Pharisees and Essenes were somewhat closer to the truth of Scripture than the purely material Sadducees, the faith of Paul of Tarsus concerning the nature of the spirit of Adamic man was quite different from all of these in many respects. However in the end, both the Old Testament Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ shall fully vindicate Paul.