Category Archives: God?

Annihilation? Hell? which is it?

I want to apologize for the long wait; I have been busy with other studies. I Hope you continue to visit my blog and I hope you enjoy my posts. For this post I had put much studying into it, however, there is still much to say concerning this topic. I will probably end this topic with this post and move on to other beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and comparing it to the Word of God. Well let us begin.

The Lake of Fire, what is it? In the Watchtower literature with the question “Should you fear hell?” on the cover has a short article about the lake of fire. They have entitled the article “What is “the Lake of Fire”? In that, they said

“If the Devil were to be tortured for all eternity, God would have to preserve him alive, but the Bible says that Jesus will “destroy him.”(Hebrews 2:14, KJ)”[1]

In the New World’s Translation[2] on page 1651 under the title Hell (Hades, Sheol), it says, “Fire is a symbol of annihilation.” Annihilation means to no longer-exist or to reduce to nothing.

Now, back on the Watchtower literature, they continue to say:

 “…Because the Bible does not say that “the lake of fire” would release those in it, “the second death” must mean another kind of death, an irreversible one. In what sense are those in “the lake of fire” tormented eternally? At times, “to torment” can mean, “to restrain” someone. Once when Jesus confronted the demons, they cried out: “Art thou come hither to torment us [restrain us in the abyss] before the time?” (Matthew 8:29; Luke 8:30, 31; KJ) so all of those in “the lake” will suffer the “torment” of everlasting restraint, or “the second death.”[3]

 I agree with them on the first sentence, this second death that is described in Revelation 20:14 is one that is different and irreversible. It is clear on what the Jehovah’s witnesses are talking about when they say “everlasting restraint”. The word restraint means to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; or to repress.[4] Restraint is not a word that implies a ceasing of existence it is, the opposite. In fact, the short article that the Watchtower produced almost seems to be saying there is a place where one would go and suffer being restrained forever.

 This article is strange, because in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, “What Does the Bible Really Teach” on page 58, it says this:

 What happens at death is no mystery to Jehovah, the creator of the brain. He knows the truth, and in his word, the Bible, he explains the condition of the dead. Its clear teaching is this: when a person dies, he ceases to exist; death is the opposite of life. The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body. We do not possess an immortal soul or spirit.

So according to the Watchtower when death comes, you no longer exist, this is what they teach, yet, they say that there will be people in “the lake of fire” suffering everlasting restraint. People who cease to exist cannot suffer, the JW’s say it themselves “the dead do not see or hear or think”. If this is true then there cannot be an everlasting restraint, remember “to restrain” does not imply a ceasing to exist it is the opposite. Eternal Hell is a scary thought, no one wants to go there, some try hard to refute it, but it still exists. Almighty God is loving, merciful, and forgiving, He is forgiving on His terms not ours. We also need to remember that He is righteous, holy, and just. Moreover, Almighty God must punish sin to the fullest penalty “Eternal Hell”. The Lake of fire is a real place of torment and the wicked will go there. The Devil, the beast, and the false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire and anyone whose name is not written in the Lambs book of life will be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:10, 15), the second death a second separation from God. The first separation occurred in Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned against God. They were spiritually dead and so therefore separated in the communion they had with the awesome Creator of the universe.

 Torment or restraint?

“At times, “to torment” can mean, “to restrain” someone. Once when Jesus confronted the demons, they cried out: “Art thou come hither to torment us [restrain us in the abyss] before the time?” (Matthew 8:29; Luke 8:30, 31; KJ)” The Jehovah’s Witnesses are saying that the word to torment can mean to restrain. Can the word torment mean restrain like the Watchtower says? The Greek word that is used in Matthew 8:29 is Basanizo, which means “torment”. This word does not imply “restrain” but the idea that conjures up in the mind is torment, to inflict pain. This word is also used in Matt. 8:6, 29; Mark. 5:7; Rev. 9:5; 11:10; 14:10, 11; 18:7, 10, 15. In 2 Macc. 7:13 and in 4 Macc. 6:5 this word is used of torture in judicial examination; also in Wisdom of Solomon 3:1, 4 and 4 Maccabees 13:15[5] it is used of the tortures of hell.

A quick word from the Early Church: In the form of a letter from the church of Smyrna to the Christian community of Philmelium in greater Phrygia: the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp (A.D. 155/ 157). Basanizo meaning torment is used in this letter rendered as torture. In talking about martyrs, it says:

“Fixing their minds on the grace of Christ, [the martyrs] despised worldly tortures, and purchased eternal life with but a single hour. To them, the fire of their cruel torturers was cold. They kept before their eyes their escape from the eternal and unquenchable fire. With the eyes of their heart they looked up to the good things which are reserved for those who persevere, things which neither has ear heard nor eye seen nor has the heart of man conceived.”[6]

Basanizo is also used in Revelation 20:10 “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” There is no indication of restraint in the word torment/ Basanizo, the lake of fire is a place of torment, it is also where those whose name is not found in the lake of fire will suffer there(Rev. 20:14, 15) all the wicked will go to the lake of fire and will be tormented forever (Rev. 21:8).

However, God did provide a way for man to be washed clean from sin. He sent Jesus the Christ to be crucified for the sins of the world (John 1:29) and He rose from the dead giving life to those who put their trust in Him and who love Him with their hearts. His gift of eternal life is free we do not deserve it and we cannot work for it, He gives it free to those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Jesus cleanses us from our sins and gives us His righteousness and His peace, God gives us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us (1st Corinthians 3:16). Jesus also stands and knocks at the door of our hearts and desires to come in (Rev. 3:20). When we put our trust in Jesus Christ we can be confident that our salvation is assured (Eph. 1:13, 14) and that He (Almighty God) will never leave us nor for sake us (Hebrews 13:5) His Grace is sufficient His mercy is awesome His forgiveness is everlasting (Hebrews 10). There truly is nothing greater than to know that the Awesome Creator of the universe forgives your sins and to know we have a personal relationship with God. Hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂  

 

 


[1] The Watchtower, Should You Fear Hell? Nov. 1, 2008. p.7

[2] The Jehovah’s Witnesses consider the New World’s Translation to be far more superior to the other translations of the Holy Bible.

[3] Same as number one Should You Fear Hell?

[4] Restrain- also contains “to deprive or liberty, as by arrest or the like. Also limit or hamper the activity, growth, or the effect of.”

[5] Though I reference the Apocrypha (e.g. Wisdom of Solomon, 2nd, and 4th Maccabees) I do not believe them to be the Word of God for various reasons. However, I do believe they are very useful.  

[6] Translated by William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Volume one p. 30

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Matthew 7:13-23 by -Angelo Europe-

     Chapter seven is a continuance of what is known as the greatest sermon ever “the Sermon on the Mount,” that began in Matthew chapter five and ends in chapter eight. What I am specifically looking at is chapter 7:13-23 which is near the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount.

     Now in verse thirteen and fourteen of chapter seven, it says “Enter in through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus is telling his listeners to enter through a narrow gate and urging his listeners to avoid the wide and broad gate. To go through the narrow gate would cause people to go in one at a time as though he was saying you come in alone, and with no one else but you. Then he warns his listeners about the wide gate, through this gate everyone can come in at once for it is wide and broad, there is enough room to make you feel comfortable, but there is a problem with the wide gate, it leads to destruction. The word destruction is important, in Greek it is Apwleia(apoleia) which in the New Testament refers to the state after death wherein exclusion from salvation is a realized fact, wherein man, instead of becoming what he might have been, is lost and ruined. And then he says “there are many who enter through it.” Here the Lord is saying that the majority of the people will be lost, the many seem to be those who like the comfort of the world and its pleasures, and they just go along with the crowd.

     In verse fourteen Jesus adds “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus says that the only way to life is through the narrow way and the small gate, we know from the Holy Scriptures that it says Jesus is the way (John 14:6) he is the gate or the door to eternal life. Jesus says that there are few who find it, meaning that in order to go through the narrow gate you must find it, go in search of it, this is saying it’s not easy to find the gate you can’t just stumble upon the gate, it is as when GOD told the Hebrews who were in exile in Jeremiah 29:13,14 that if they seek Him He will be found, and he him self is seeking for us. The many in verse 13 are not even willing to look for it they want a quick fix or easy religion what ever they think makes them happy.

     Now in verse fifteen Jesus gives us a warning he says “watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Here Jesus is saying be aware, or on alert, of false prophets, here the words false prophet in Greek yeudoprofhths (pseudoprophetes) a pretend foreteller or religious imposter, comes in unnoticed looking like a believer and even acting like one but on the inside he is a wolf and his heart is full of hate, worldliness, and sin.

     From verses sixteen through nineteen Jesus uses an analogy of good fruit and bad fruit, in other words a true convert and a false convert, and it ends with the bad tree that produces bad fruit being cut down and thrown into the fire or the false convert being thrown into the lake of fire, and in verse 20 he concludes the analogy that they can be recognized by there fruit, but we must be on the watch.

     In verses twenty one through twenty three, the Lord goes on to say “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Jesus is saying just because you claim to be this or that does not mean you will enter heaven, he says only those who are obedient who does the will of the Father will enter heaven. He says ….many will say in that day, Lord, Lord …..here we have the many who were on the broad road back in verse thirteen, they will say Lord, Lord in that day, the day of judgment as they stand before the Bema seat of Christ and they will boast of them self’s saying “…did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles.” They think this is the will of GOD, but they are false converts who are dressed in sheep’s clothing, but are wolves on the inside. They boast about there works as though they can enter heaven by their own standards, almost as to say Christ isn’t sufficient enough. Then Jesus will say to them “Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Here Jesus clearly says to these false believers …I never knew you… the Greek word for “knew” egnwn (egnon) is the same Greek word in the Septuagint Bible where it is talking about Adam knowing his wife Eve. He is saying I never had a personal relationship with you, telling them to depart from his presence, this is the way to destruction where man is separated from GOD’s salvation, his mercy, his kingdom, and separated from Him forever. Jesus wants a relationship with those that are his, the very ones he saved. So let us therefore go in through the small narrow gate and have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, for it is a fearful thing to have GOD says to you “I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity”.

     

       The rhetorical device that I used was the pentad theory that was developed by Kenneth Burke his rhetorical theory is known as his dramatistic pentad that was presented in his work, A Grammar of Motives (1945).he divides rhetorical situations in to five constituent elements for analysis. The five elements of pentad are the act, the scene, the agent, agency, and purpose. the first two elements that I used was where the scene is taking place and the act, what was done or is being done, chapter seven is a continuance of chapter five were Jesus is giving a sermon on the mount that is located in the region of Galilee this is the scene. Jesus was giving a sermon which means he was talking to his audience that came from all around the near by regions and beyond Jordan this is the act in which he was doing. The agent is the person performing the action; here Jesus is the one who is performing the action of talking. The agency is the means by which the agent performs the act, the means by which he was performing the act was that there was a large crowd who traveled to see and hear what Jesus Christ was saying. And finally the fifth element is the purpose the reason for the action and the intended goal. His purpose was that they may hear the gospel the very message that GOD wanted them to hear that they may know the truth, and his intended goal was that when they hear they listen and respond in obedience to the message that they heard and flee from all that is sinful and turn towards him for all hope, peace, love, forgiveness, for the hope of salvation. I found Kenneth Burke’s theory of rhetoric the pentad to be very helpful in interpreting this passage of the Holy Scriptures to analyze the Word of GOD to read and see all that he is saying to them and to us, but I must not forget that interpretation comes by the Holy Spirit.

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The Idea of Rhetoric

                                  THE IDEA OF RHETORIC

__________________

                                                A Paper

                                             Presented to

                                     Dr. James L. Williams

                       Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary

                                    __________________

                                         In Partial Fulfillment

                           of the Requirements for IDE 1103-A

                                       __________________

                                                       by

                                              Angelo Europe

                                             October 7, 2008

 

 


The Idea of Rhetoric

Rhetoric the art of persuasion by eloquence of speech or writing.[1] Through out history many philosophers and learned men have practiced the art; some used it for truth while others used it to gain money and status. The art of Rhetoric can be a very powerful tool to use, it is so powerful that it can change one’s belief system for the good or for the worst and can persuade them to false or true beliefs.

Rhetoric in the mind of a philosopher

There were many great philosophers who used the art of rhetoric whether they wanted to or not, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and a group called the Sophists all practiced the art of rhetoric. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle used the art of persuasion as it is sometimes called for the greater good, but however the Sophists did not use rhetoric in a worthy manner, but it must be said that not all the sophist were bad some however really strived after the truth. In one of Plato’s recordings of a Socratic dialogue between Socrates and a sophist named Gorgias, were Socrates is waiting to hear what Gorgias has to say about the art of rhetoric or as what Gorgias calls

“an art of “speech” or “discourse” and as such it makes those who posses it skilled in “speaking,” and therefore, since speech is the expression of thought or intelligence, makes them intelligent about something”.[2]

Gorgias even believed that he can teach his students the art of speech or discourse, which is why he regards his own techne as the supreme achievement of the human intelligence.[3]

In Plato’s writing of Gorgias as the dialogue between Socrates and the famous sophists Gorgias continues Socrates asks three very important questions pertaining to rhetoric that has been around since language, “What is the nature of rhetoric? Does rhetoric by its very nature tend to mislead? What happens to a society when persuasion forms the basis of law and justice?”[4] The question about rhetoric’s subject matter should be a simple one for a great master of rhetoric like Gorgias to answer. If weaving is concerned with fabrics, and music with composing songs, with what is rhetoric concerned? Gorgias replies “with words”[5] Plato’s concern of rhetoric was based on the effects of rhetoric on political life and justice in the Athenian world.

From the group of philosophers prominent in the academy at Plato’s death there gradually emerges the tremendous figure of Aristotle.[6] It is said that around the year 350 B.C. Aristotle’s teaching on rhetoric began “while still a member of Plato’s Academy”.[7] Most of Aristotle’s teachings on rhetoric was a response to Plato’s dialogue involving the sophists in which Aristotle found insufficient. The works of Aristotle on rhetoric consists of three books the first book defines and establishes the domain of rhetoric, and describes the three types of oratory. The second book discusses rhetorical proofs derived from character and emotions, while the third book deals with matters of style and arrangement.[8] In the writings of Aristotle he gives four reasons why the art of rhetoric, in his first book he writes it is useful because:

“things that are true and things that are just have a natural tendencies to prevail over their opposites, so that if the decisions of judges [audience members] are not what they ought to be, the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be blamed accordingly”[9]

 

Aristotle’s second reason was for the utility of rhetoric comes from the nature of some audiences, he writes:

“Before some audiences”…he writes, “not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction”. Why is this? Aristotle’s answer is that “there are people whom one cannot instruct”.[10]

The third and forth reasons for rhetoric’s usefulness is reminiscent of an aspect of the sophists’ approach to rhetoric and it involves an interesting analogy to self-defense. Once again the question comes back, if rhetoric is an art then what does the study consists of? In other words what does the art teach and what does a student of rhetoric study? Aristotle puts forth his answer to the question; he gives three technical or artistic proofs that form the art of rhetoric. One of the artistic proofs is called Logos and is as defined “the study of the arguments typical of the reasoning employed in practical decision making.[11] In rhetoric Aristotle uses Logos (the logic of sound arguments) to refer to proofs available in the words, arguments, or logic of a speech.[12] The second artistic proofs is the study of human emotions, Aristotle believed this study to be essential to dealing with a systematic form of rhetoric known as Pathos (the psychology of emotions). Aristotle defines Pathos as “putting the audience in the right frame of mind”.[13] The word Pathos in the ancient world was used to the emotional appeals that gives a persuasive message its power to move the audience to perform whatever action the speaker is trying to convey. However Aristotle’s main interest in Pathos was to do with emotion’s ability to affect the judgments of the audience that is being spoken to. The third artistic proof was called Ethos (the sociology of good character) were Aristotle acknowledges the potential persuasiveness of a speakers character or the credibility of ones personality. Just as with Pathos Aristotle sought to revitalize a systematic study of Ethos from what Aristotle believed to be the abuse of earlier rhetors. Aristotle believed the art of rhetoric (art of persuasion) was a combination of the three artistic proofs; a logical study, psychological study, and a sociological study. These three artistic proofs can be employed in the three rhetorical settings in which Aristotle describes in his writings as deliberative oratory, epideictic oratory, and forensic oratory.   

Conclusion

Through out history rhetoric played a big role in society and some of the greatest thinkers used the art of rhetoric in the many dialogues they participated in. as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle used rhetoric to persuade their audience for the greater good, the sophist did the complete opposite, trying to portray themselves as good speakers and arguing for the sake of argument. Rhetoric continues to be used to this day and just as in the times of the philosophy movement where rhetoric was used for both revealing the truth and deception of the truth, it continues to be the same in this present age.

 


BIBLIOGRAPHY

H. C. Lawson-Tancred. Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004.

Ibid 83. :.

Ibid 83. :.

Ibid 77. :.

H. C. Lawson-Tancred. Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004.

Ibid 74. :.

 

James A. Herrick. The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005.

A. H. Armstrong. An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld Publishing.

Ibid.(56)

James A. Herrick. The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005.

Ibid. (107/ 108)

A. E. Taylor. Plato the man and his work. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1966.

A. H. Armstrong. An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld.


[1] A. H. Armstrong, An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld, ), 23.

[2] A. E. Taylor, Plato the man and his work (Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1966), 107.

[3] Ibid,(107/108).

[4] James A. Herrick, the History and Theory of Rhetoric (Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005), 55.

[5] Ibid (56).

[6] A. H. Armstrong, An Intoduction to Ancient Philosophy (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld Publishing, ), 66.

[7] James A. Herrick, The History and Theory of Rhetoric (Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005), 74.

[8] Ibid 74

[9] H. C. Lawson-Tancred, Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004), 68 (1355a).

[10] Ibid 77

[11]Ibid 83.

[12]Ibid 83.

[13]H. C. Lawson-Tancred, Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004), 78 (1358a).

 

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