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.כוס ,מלאך המות ,Death with a subordinate agent or angel
“ The more recent Hebrews, adhering too strictly to the letter of their Scriptures, exercised their ingenuity, and put in requisition their faith, to furnish the monarch
a , , viz. the prince of bad spirits, ó Avaßonos, otherwise called Sammäel, and also Ashmedai, and known in the New Testament by the phrases, ο αρχων του κοσμου 25 09yn, o το κρατος TOU GAVATOU EXW, o meigafw, the prince of this world, the templer, who hath the power of death. The Hebrews, accordingly, in enumerating the attributes and offices of the prime minister of the terrific king of Hades, represent him as in the habit of making his appearance in the presence of God, and demanding at the hand of the Divinity the extinction, in any given instance, of human life. Having obtained permission to that effect, he does not fail of making a prompt exhibition of himself to the sick; he then gives them drops of poison, which they drink and die. Comp. John xiv. 30. Heb. ii. 14. Hence originate the phrases, to taste of death,' and to drink the cup of death,' which are found also among the Syrians, Arabians and Persians, Matth. xvi. 28. Mark ix. 1. Luke ix. 27. John viii. 52. Heb. ii. 9."
To these things it may probably be objected, that association with their friends after death, spoken about, only referred to their bodies mingling in the dust together, and had no reference to their spirits after death. Admitting this to be true, permit me to ask, can any proof be adduced, that their spirits were separated from each other after death? As I am unable to adduce any proof, I request those who say that they were so separated, to produce evidence of this from the Old Testament. I shall give it all due consideration.
At any rate, if the Old Testament is silent on the subject of such a separation it ill becomes us to assert such
was the case. Its very silence is to me an indication that no such idea was entertained in those days. If it was, it is somewhat surprising that no person ventured to express it. And if it is not expressed by any of the Old Testament writers, how is it known that such an idea was entertained by them.
One thing we think must be admitted by all who have read the Old Testament with attention. It is this : good people in those days, do not appear to have had the fears and anxieties of mind, which haunt men's minds now, about their children, their relations, their neighbours and a great part of mankind, as all going to a place of endless misery. You may read the Old Testament, until your eyes grow dim with age, before you find any thing like this there. How is this silence to be accounted for, if the doctrine of endless misery was known and believed ? If by Sheol they understood the same as men do now by the word hell, is it possible, that good people in those days could feel so easy on such a subject ? Whatever ideas they attached to this word we think it is certain, they did not mean by it a place of endless misery.
The question is likely then to be asked, seeing that Sheol or hell, does not mean a place of eternal misery, -what does it mean? What is the idea the Old Testament writers affixed to this word ? From the remarks already made, we think something has been said in answer to this question.
By Sheol, seems evidently to be meant, what Job calls, chap. XXX. 33, ihe house appointed for all the living." And it is the same to which Solomon alludes, when he says, Eccles. iii. 20,— all go to one place.” The question still returns, what place this is ? What place it is, may be learned further from the following passages. In 2 Sam. xii. 23. where David is speaking of his dead
child, he says," I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” This, it may be said, only provokes the question-where was his child ? In heaven, most people would answer, and some have quoted this text to prove the salvation of all infants. Nothing more, I conceive, is meant, nor could be rationally inferred from this text than this,—that his child was in the state of the dead or in Sheol, and David, impressed with a sense of his own mortality intimates, that he would soon follow him to the same place. So Jacob speaks of himself in a similar way in reference to his son Joseph. But further, we find in 1 Sam. xxviii. 19. Samuel thus speaks to Saul, “tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” Where was this it may be asked ?-When Saul desired the woman to bring up Samuel, was it from heaven he expected him to come? Surely not; for in this case Samuel would have been brought down, not up.
Was it then from hell, the place of eternal misery, he expected him to come? This cannot be admitted, for neither Saul, nor any one else, ever thought that Samuel was there. From what place then did Saul wish the woman to bring Samuel ? I answer, from Sheol, the same place to which Jacob said he would go down mourning to Joseph. The same place in which the Saviour's soul was not left. If Saul and his sons went to hell, a place of endless misery, it is certain Samuel was there before him. And it is equally certain, that if Samuel was in heaven, Saul and his sons were there soon after with him. But what appears simply to be meant by this account, is this,-Samuel was in Sheol, or the state of the dead, and the issue of the battle proved, that Saul and his sons were with Samuel, and with all the dead who had gone before them.
As to the woman's having power to bring Samuel from Sheol or any place else, we do not believe any such thing,
We believe that she was an impostor, but this is not the place for assigning our reasons, or entering further into this part of the history of Saul. We have merely referred to it as shewing what were the popular opinions in those days on the subject before us.
We are aware, that it may be objected to the above investigation, that future existence was as little known under the Old Testament, as the doctrine of endless misery; and therefore we might just as well deny future existence, as endless misery, from the mere silence of the Old Testament writers. To this I would answer that we do not believe that future existence was altogether unknown under the Old Testament. We cannot, here, however, give our reasons for thinking so. But admitting it true, the objector has got then to prove that endless misery in hell was brought to light by the Gospel. But is this any where declared in the New Testament ? That the ancient Jews had some knowledge of a future state of existence we refer to Jahn’s Biblical Archæology, Section 314.,
ALL THE PASSAGES IN WHICH HADES OCCURS, CONSIDERED.
WE have seen that the word Sheol in the Old Testament, rendered pit, grave and hell in the common version, was not used by the sacred writers, to express a place of endless misery. This we have attempted to establish, not only by an enumeration of all the texts where it occurs, but by a number of facts and observations, which on most subjects would be deemed conclusive. We have also adduced the testimony of Dr. Campbell, and other critics, that this is not, in a single instance, the sense of the word Sheol in the Old Testament.
It is allowed, by consent of all critics and commentators, that I have ever seen, that Hades is the corresponding word in the New Testament, to Sheol in the Old; and, that both words are used by the inspired writers to express the same thing. Indeed, the slightest attention to this subject, must convince any candid person of the correctness of this statement. In neither Testaments is a place of endless misery expressed by these words. I might then take it for granted, that Hades does not refer to such a place of punishment, any more than Sheol, and save myself the labour of the following investigation about it. But I shall proceed to examine all the places where Hades is used in the New Testament, because some texts in which it occurs, are still considered by many