Part 3—What Do the Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”?
In two parts (previously published) of this three-part serial, readers saw how in our day Christendom’s clergy, as well as certain of her high civic and military strong men, have resorted to occultism just as such human leaders regularly did in ancient times for gaining advance information, guidance and comfort. Although today’s foremost scientists have carefully investigated, with aid of special instruments, they admit being still baffled by and unable to measure occult or spiritistic phenomena. Spiritualism, the rapidly spreading modern religion, keeps on insisting that unseen spirit persons, who now talk and otherwise communicate with willing humans, really are ‘immortal souls’ of men, women and children who once lived on earth and have died. Flatly contradicting that claim of spiritualists, the Bible uniformly and consistently teaches that the human soul dies. Destructibility of the human soul is repeatedly declared in the Bible’s record of powerful sermons by Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul, as well as in writings by Moses and other ancient Hebrew witnesses of Jesus’ Father, the living God, JEHOVAH. Also, the Bible’s detailed account of the behavior of unholy, rebellious persons, both human and angelic (who thousands of years ago lived on earth), now throws a tremendous flood of light on today’s deeply deceptive activity of some of those same still-living and now-invisible angelic persons who keep on actually talking with and otherwise trying to influence living humans to believe in “survival after death.” Perils of such corrupting intercourse with rebel angels, and how to defend oneself against their deadly encroachments, are freely and fully discussed in this concluding article.
1. (a) How and when were originally holy spirit “sons of God” turned by themselves into wicked demons? (b) When those angels deliberately chose to forsake their God-assigned place of service, from then until now what written definitions of judicial decision by Jehovah came to apply to them?
LEADING such an improper, unspiritual life in materialized flesh over an extended period of time, with one or more wives each, those self-debasing “sons of God” who absented themselves from their God-appointed realm certainly were not keeping their original position but were making their dwelling place with sinful women outside the paradise of Eden. By taking this selfish, lustful, untheocratic course these spirit “sons of God” turned themselves into demons and put themselves on the side of Satan and they too deserve God’s pronouncement of sentence against them the same as did Satan the Devil. It is unquestionably to these self-demonized angels that the disciple Jude refers in the following argument in his letter: “Jehovah, although he saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those not showing faith. And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling-place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. So, too, Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.”—Jude 5-7, NW.
2. In what respects is the conduct of those deflecting spirit “sons of God” comparable with the way of life chosen on earth by the first woman and her man?
2 The original position of those “sons of God” was up in heaven in the spirit realm, where they were before the foundations of the earth were laid to provide a home, not for heavenly angels, but for mankind and lower animals. Their proper dwelling place was in the loftier invisible realm of the heavens in companionship with the other spirit angels of God and with direct access to God’s face rather than down here on earth in fleshly companionship with sinful women as wives and as mothers of unnatural children. Adam followed Eve into sin and rebellion against God; these “sons of God” followed the “daughters of men” into sin and demonic rebellion against God. They are the angels whom Jude meant, for Jude compared Sodom and Gomorrah to them, in that these cities committed fornication excessively and went out after flesh for unnatural use, trying even to commit sodomy with the two angels that had materialized as men in order to visit Lot at his home in Sodom. (Gen. 19:1-11) The Israelites, too, committed fornication idolatrously with the flesh of heathen women outside their holy nation. (Num. 25:1-9; 31:15, 16) The sin of the “sons of God” was similar.
3, 4. (a) What immediate and future punishment for the disobedient angelic “sons of God” is reported in the Bible? (b) Under what symbolic Bible term is that immediate punishment for the unholy angels distinguishable from the Bible terms that identify the permanent and temporary places of punishment of unholy humans?
3 For their sinful disobedience these “sons of God” who forsook God’s heavenly service have been sentenced to death with Satan the Devil, as his “seed” or offspring. Jude’s letter shows this, for he locates his reference to these fallen angels in between his mention of those Israelites who were once saved from Egypt but who were afterward destroyed for not showing faith in Jehovah and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that underwent the judicial punishment of everlasting fire for their filthy immorality. (Gen. 19:12-29) Jesus Christ, in his prophecy on the “time of the end” of this world, classed the anti-Christian goats in with these fallen angels, saying: “Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41, NW) However, the sentence of everlasting destruction was not executed upon those disobedient angels even at the time of the flood. Their unnatural offspring, the Nephilim, were indeed destroyed at the flood, for they were merely human and were not admitted into the ark that Noah built for saving his family and specimens of the lower animals. The wives of the “sons of God,” the mothers of the Nephilim, were drowned in the flood for they, too, were human and the “sons of God” could not take them with them when they dematerialized to escape the flood and return to the spirit realm.
4 What punishment, then, was inflicted upon those disobedient “sons of God” in this meantime before their coming destruction? Jude says that God “has reserved [them] with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” The apostle Peter also describes their immediate punishment, saying: “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tarʹta·rus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment; and he did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people, and by reducing the cities Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come, and he delivered righteous Lot, who was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct.” (2 Pet. 2:4-7, NW) Particularly from the Flood and to the judgment of the great day of Jehovah when he establishes his kingdom by Jesus Christ, the “angels that sinned” have been penalized with having to dwell in Tartarus, unable to return to their lofty “original position.” Tartarus (generally mistranslated “hell”) is not the same as Gehenna and Haʹdes (likewise mistranslated “hell”). Whereas Gehenna pictures God’s arrangement for destroying wicked human souls forever and Haʹdes is the common grave of mankind from which there will be a resurrection of the dead, Tartarus is where the “angels that sinned” are confined.
5, 6. (a) How are Tartarus of the Bible and the mythological Tartarus comparable? (b) How is abasing (or abyssing) of unholy spirit creatures Biblically defined?
5 The Biblical Tartarus is not the Tartarus of the heathen mythologies, namely, the lowest of the lower regions, as far below Haʹdes as the earth is below heaven. There the lesser gods, Cronus and the other spirit Titans, were imprisoned by the victorious god Zeus or Jupiter. It was a place of darkness and it enveloped all the lower regions the same as the heavens enveloped all that was higher than the earth. Comparable with the mythological meaning, Tartarus pictures a condition of deepest abasement and dense darkness, not for human souls, but for wicked spirits, rebels against God. In harmony with this, the Syriac version of 2 Peter 2:4 uses the expression “the lowest places” instead of Tartarus. These rebel spirits, including Satan the Devil, have been abased as if cast down to a literal Tartarus, by being cast out of God’s service and sentenced to destruction, to being crushed at the head like so many serpents by the Seed of God’s woman, the glorified Jesus Christ.
6 That did not mean they were at once excluded from heaven, kept away from contact with the faithful, holy angels. The book about Job, who lived over seven hundred years after the Flood, pictures how Satan had access into heaven, to enter the meeting of the “sons of God” and to challenge Jehovah to let him put Job’s integrity to the test. (Job 1:6 to 2:10) And Revelation 12:1-7 reveals that when Jehovah’s kingdom by Jesus Christ was born in the heavens in 1914 (A.D.), Satan and his angels had been tolerated up in heaven till then. Moreover, Satan and his demons constitute the symbolic heavens of this world, the heavens that have dominated earthly human society and that are to be destroyed as by fire at the battle of Armageddon. (2 Pet. 3:10-12) Hence, in the Bible, Tartarus means an abased condition, deprived of privileges of service within God’s universal organization rather than a position or place.
7. What enlarged understanding of the present position and activity of the rebel angels should we now recognize and make known (or sow)?
7 In this abased state or condition Satan and the other angels that sinned are held under dense darkness or are in pits of dense darkness, held there by eternal bonds. The dense darkness is a spiritual one, rather than a literal one, with no light of truth and revelation and favor from God. “Light is sown for the righteous,” not for demonized spirits. (Ps. 97:11) That is why the messages of the spirits through mediums give no explanation of the Bible and throw no light on Bible prophecies. So, being in pits of dense darkness does not mean that their operations in connection with humankind are restricted to seances in the dark with spirit mediums. They can perform through human agents also in the daylight.
8. How may we now accurately understand manifestations and communications that spiritualism falsely defines as an activity of human souls that have died?
8 Their being “reserved with eternal bonds” evidently means also that they are no more permitted to materialize in the flesh as before the Flood. This power of materialization was exercised by God’s faithful angels, including Jesus Christ, for thousands of years after the Flood, down into the day of Christ’s faithful apostles, according to God’s will and to serve his holy purposes. But the sinner angels were not allowed to use this power longer, for they would misuse it. The materializations that are reported by spiritualists as taking place at mediumistic séances are not materializations such as the “sons of God” performed before the Flood. Their materializations were instantaneous and out in the open daylight without a medium and in independent bodies. The spiritualist materializations today are merely the taking of the protoplasm or material of the medium’s body and extruding it from such body as “ectoplasm” and then shaping it into human appearances. At the end of the apparition the ectoplasm, rather than being dissolved, uncreated and dematerialized, returns to the medium’s body and the medium becomes normal and conscious again. Since the disobedient spirits can no longer materialize, they are obliged to operate through mediums. They also try to obsess human victims or take possession of them, fully controlling them. Such were the demon-possessed whom Jesus and his apostles encountered in their day, and many a demon Jesus and his apostles expelled to free their victims. (Matt. 4:24; 10:1, 8; 12:28, NW; Luke 9:1; 10:17; Acts 16:16-18) This they did by the spirit of God to uphold the truth and universal sovereignty of Jehovah God, and not by the power of the Devil the way the spirit mediums and religious exorcists do in order to bolster up the doctrines, beliefs and practices of false religious cults and systems. Operating through mediums at séances or table tippings or spirit knockings or other spiritualistic manifestations, these demons pretend to be “departed souls” of the human dead and thus keep up the lie that the dead are not dead but more alive and know more than ever before.
PREACHING TO SPIRITS IN PRISON
9-12. (a) Whom does Jesus’ apostle Peter identify as “spirits in prison”? (b) When and how did Jesus preach to those imprisoned spirits? (c) What is the difference between that preaching by Jesus and our foretold present-day earth-wide announcing of Jehovah’s kingdom?
9 The apostle Peter further identifies the “sons of God” that married the “daughters of men” prior to the Flood as being spirit creatures who acted disobediently, thus making themselves demons. Note how Peter makes this identification: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit. In this state also he went his way and preached to the spirits in prison, which had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water. That which corresponds to this is also now saving you, namely, baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh [by following the law of Moses to the Jews], but the request made to God for a good conscience,) through the resurrection [in the spirit] of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Pet. 3:18-22, NW.
10 The “spirits in prison” are the spirit “sons of God” who took the “daughters of men” as wives and fathered the Nephilim and who after the Flood, on their dematerializing back into the spirit realm, were cast down into Tartarus and reserved in this abased condition “with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Concerning this judgment the apostle Paul said to the Christian congregation: “If the world is to be judged by you, are you unfit to try very trivial matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:2, 3, NW) These “spirits in prison” are not in the so-called “hell” or Sheʹol or Haʹdes. When Jesus Christ was in Sheʹol or Haʹdes he could not preach to anybody, for Sheʹol or Haʹdes is mankind’s common grave and Jesus was dead there for parts of three days. (Acts 2:27, 31, 32; Ps. 16:10) “Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly: for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge, shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening” (Dy); “in Sheol, to which you are going.”—Eccl. 9:10, RS; AS.
11 Not when Jesus was dead in Sheʹol, Haʹdes or the common grave after he had been “put to death in the flesh,” but some time after he had been “made alive in the spirit” by being resurrected from the dead, Jesus Christ preached to the “spirits in prison.” It was “in this state,” as a spirit now divine, immortal, incorruptible, that Jesus could preach to those spirits. Just when did he do this? During the forty days after his resurrection while he remained at the earth with his disciples? Hardly during the forty days after his resurrection, for then “by many positive proofs he showed himself alive after he had suffered, being seen by them throughout forty days and telling the things about the kingdom of God.” Thus he gave proof of his resurrection to his disciples, who were to be his witnesses, and not to his enemies such as the demons or “spirits in prison” were. (Acts 1:3-11; 2:32; 3:15; 10:40-42, NW) Well, then, did he preach to the spirits during the ten days between his ascending to heaven from the Mount of Olives and the day of Pentecost? No, for during those ten days Jesus was ascending to his heavenly Father, how many billions of light-years distant from the earth we do not know, that he might appear as a High Priest with the value of his human sacrifice in the presence of the Most Holy One, Jehovah God. (Heb. 9:24-26; 10:12, 13) He would hardly detour to preach to condemned “spirits in prison,” for whom there is no sin-removing sacrifice, while he was on such an errand of first importance.
12 Consequently it must have been since arriving in Jehovah God’s presence and sitting down at His right hand with angels, authorities and powers “made subject to him” that Jesus Christ in the spirit “preached to the spirits in prison,” the spirits in Tartarus. What he preached to them was not the Gospel, the Evangel or the Good News of the Kingdom. The word “preached” is different from the word “evangelized,” even in the original Greek in which the apostle Peter wrote. To “evangelize” means to bring a good message. To “preach” (ke·rysʹso, LXX) means merely to proclaim, announce or herald whatever is to be made public. The proclamation, announcement or heralding may be of something bad, as when Jonah was sent to “cry against” Nineveh, and he cried: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” thus preaching a message of adverse judgment. (Jonah 1:2; 3:2, 4, 5, 7, the LXX using the Greek word ke·rysʹso here) Also as when Joel 3:9 (RS) commands: “Proclaim [ke·rysʹso, LXX] this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.” Also at Hosea 5:8 (RS): “Sound the alarm [ke·rysʹso, LXX] at Beth-aven.”
13, 14. How, prior to his resurrection from the dead, and in what Biblically reported instances, did Jesus, as Jehovah’s archangel, preach in the spirit realm, and to whom?
13 Since these “spirits in prison” were reserved with eternal bonds for the judgment of the great day of Jehovah, Jesus Christ resurrected in the spirit realm could preach to them only a message of judgment. Even before he emptied himself of his spiritual power and glory and was made flesh by human birth as the man Jesus Christ, he as a spirit son of God had done this. (Phil. 2:5-8) On what occasions?
14 First on the occasion when the prophet Moses died on top of Mount Nebo. Then, when the Son of God “had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: ‘May Jehovah rebuke you.’” The spirit Son of God, as the archangel Michael, kept control of Moses’ body and buried it for Jehovah God at a place in a valley in Moab that no man has discovered and no spirit medium is able to reveal. (Jude 9, NW; Deut. 34:1-6) The other occasion is disclosed to us by the prophecy of Zechariah 3:1, 2 (AS), concerning the high priest Joshua after he and other Jews returned from Babylon to the desolated city of Jerusalem and began to rebuild the temple of Jehovah God there. We read: “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. And Jehovah [Syriac Version: And the angel of Jehovah] said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee.” (See also AT; Mo.) Jehovah’s rebuking of Satan means the divine execution of judgment against him on Jehovah’s great judgment day when he brings the end of this wicked world or system of things under Satan and ushers in the righteous world under Jesus Christ the King of kings. In view of that, in the centuries before Jesus was put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit by the resurrection from the dead it was not the time for Jehovah by his angelic Son to “rebuke” Satan.
15-17. (a) Why and how are Noah’s preflood preaching and Jesus’ preaching to the imprisoned spirits comparable? (b) Why were certain prominent contemporaries of Noah among those who knew of or heard his preflood sermons?
15 Now have you ever wondered why the apostle, at 1 Peter 3:18-22, when speaking of Jesus Christ’s suffering unjustly even to the death and his being raised to life in the spirit realm, suddenly speaks of spirits that were disobedient thousands of years before in Noah’s day? Well, Peter surprisingly tells that the resurrected Christ preached to those imprisoned spirits because there is a likeness between what happened in Noah’s day and the things Peter now discusses. According to Jesus’ own words at Matthew 24:37-39, Noah was a prophetic figure of Jesus Christ. So Noah’s wife was a typical picture of the “bride, the Lamb’s wife,” that is, the true church or congregation of Jesus’ spirit-begotten followers. The three sons of Noah and their three wives pictured the “great crowd” of believers in Christ, to whom he will become the Everlasting Father during his thousand-year reign over the coming new world. They will not be glorified with Christ in heaven and reign with him on his throne the way the faithful congregation of his spiritual followers will. They will inherit the earthly paradise that Christ’s kingdom will restore to this globe after the battle of Armageddon. Since A.D. 1914 we have been in the “time of the end” of this wicked world, and already a “great crowd” of these earthly believers have been gathered out from the nations and brought into the New World society together with the last members on earth of the “bride, the Lamb’s wife.”—Rev. 21:9.
16 Just as Noah built the ark for his family to survive the flood, so Jesus Christ as the Greater Noah builds the new system of things. Inside it the members of his “bride” class and the “great crowd” of his future sons and daughters may survive the great execution of Jehovah’s judgment at the coming battle of Armageddon. Inside this ark of the new system of things they must be baptized into the Greater Noah as their Savior, Leader and Example in order to avoid being baptized with the world in the fiery flood of destruction at Armageddon.—1 Pet. 3:21, NW.
17 The apostle Peter reminds us that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” at the time of the end of the ancient world. (2 Pet. 2:5) Since only the seven others of his family were to be saved in the ark, what he preached to the people of that ancient world must have been about Jehovah’s coming judgment upon them at the flood. Those to whom he preached must have included the Nephilim and their fathers, the materialized, married “sons of God.” Thus Noah preached to the spirits that were imprisoned in Tartarus after the flood, but he could do it in the flesh because they were in the flesh, materialized.
18, 19. (a) Where, in the Bible’s parts written by John, do we find some principal points of Jesus’ preaching to the imprisoned spirits? (b) How and when was the predicted rebuke of the chief spirit rebel and his unseen-by-men allies executed, and with what foretold result?
18 Likewise the Greater Noah, the resurrected Jesus, preached to those same spirits in prison since the flood. Shortly before he was put to death in the flesh he said to his followers: “Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world [Satan] will be cast out.” (John 12:31, NW) But after being “made alive in the spirit,” Jesus up in heaven on the day of Pentecost poured out the holy spirit upon the first members of his “bride” class and began building the ark of the new system of things. In harmony with the prophetic type furnished by ancient Noah it was also proper that the Greater Noah in heaven should preach to the spirits in prison. About the year 96 (A.D.) God gave to the glorified Jesus Christ the marvelous Revelation to give to the aged apostle John, and this Revelation has much to say about Satan the Devil and the demons, his angels. Certainly this delivering of this Revelation to John was a preaching to the spirits in prison, for from chapter twelve on it has much to say about their activities in our day and their defeat, their abyssing and their final everlasting destruction.
19 In 1914, the opening year of World War I, Jehovah God began delivering a stinging rebuke to Satan and his demons who still had entry to heaven and freedom of movement there. In the autumn of that year the “appointed times of the nations” ran out and the time came for Jehovah God to establish his kingdom in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ. (Luke 21:24, NW) As symbolically pictured in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, God brought his kingdom to birth, to rule in the midst of these worldly nations and finally to dash them to pieces at the coming battle of Armageddon. Immediately after the Kingdom’s birth Jehovah’s Chief Angel or Archangel, his enthroned King known in heaven as Michael, “battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled.” Satan the Dragon and his demon angels were defeated and hurled down from the heavens to the vicinity of our earth to be restrained here until the approaching battle of Armageddon. (Rev. 12:7-9, NW) This was indeed an abasement, in a bodily sense, in addition to their being already in their Tartarus condition of abasement. This was an imprisonment of them in a bodily way in addition to their being “in prison,” in Tartarus, since the Flood, they being forever debarred from heaven and permitted now no higher than the earth where Satan’s rebellion started. Little wonder, then, that the Dragon the original Serpent writhed at this rebuke and now spits out venom at Jehovah God’s organization.
20-22. (a) How now do we unmistakably identify the complete and final fulfillment of the God-given prediction at Zechariah 3:1, 2? (b) Why and how is preaching by Jesus to the imprisoned spirits still progressing, and when will that preaching end?
20 As to Satan’s being cast out of heaven we read, at Revelation 12:10: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!” (NW) Hence there is now a complete and final fulfillment of the above-quoted prophecy of Zechariah 3:1, 2 (page 597, ¶14). In Zechariah’s prophecy the “angel of Jehovah” is the same as the “Angel of the covenant” concerning whom Malachi 3:1 (Da; Dy) prophesied that he would come with the Lord Jehovah to the temple for judgment work, namely, the glorified Jesus Christ. Not only is he Jehovah’s Chief Angel or Archangel but he is Jehovah’s High Priest. On earth he is represented by his brother priests, the underpriests who follow in his footsteps and who are to be a “royal priesthood” with him. (1 Pet. 2:9) It is these that the Dragon, Satan the Devil, accuses. When he accuses them he in effect accuses their Head, the High Priest Jesus Christ, for what is done to them is the same as if done to him. (Matt. 10:40; 25:40, 45) Just as Zechariah’s prophecy shows that Satan tried to be an adversary to Joshua the Jewish high priest after the Jews returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, so Satan has fought and accused the remnant of priestly followers of Jesus Christ the High Priest after they got free from modern-day Babylon in 1919 (A.D.).
21 The facts in fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 3:1 prove that Jehovah and his “Angel of the covenant” came to the spiritual temple in the spring of 1918. So now the “angel of Jehovah” is at the temple since then, engaged in judgment work, and his judgments extend to Satan the Devil also. When, therefore, Satan acts as an adversary to Jehovah’s High Priest Jesus Christ by resisting the remnant of his priestly followers on earth, Jesus Christ the “angel of Jehovah” at the temple says to Satan: “Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan! Yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee!” (Zech. 3:2, Da) After Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Chief Angel or Archangel, hurled Satan out of heaven, down to earth he did not at once proceed to fight the battle of Armageddon and put Satan completely out of action. He has allowed Satan a “short period of time” before again joining battle with him at Armageddon. Thus the days of tribulation upon Satan’s organization have been cut that much shorter, and this has worked for the benefit of Jehovah’s chosen “royal priesthood.” For this reason, since coming to the temple, Jesus Christ the “angel of Jehovah” could not do more than say to Satan: “Jehovah rebuke thee.” In this way the glorified Jesus Christ now ‘preaches to Satan and the other spirits in prison’ in the spirit realm. Asking for Jehovah to rebuke them is a preaching of judgment against them. At the coming battle of Armageddon Jehovah will rebuke Satan and his spirit demons by executing judgment upon them.
22 Thus the ‘preaching to the spirits in prison’ by the resurrected Jesus Christ continues till the battle of Armageddon. Satan and these other imprisoned spirits are still in the Biblical Tartarus and its dense darkness regarding God’s favor and his purposes. Their abased condition at this earth Ezekiel’s prophecy foretells under the name of the “land of Magog,” its ruler Gog being a prophetic symbol of Satan the Devil.—Ezek. 38:1 to 39:11.
23. (a) What further abasing (or abyssing) is due for the already twice-abased angelic rebels? (b) After that, how will those spirit rebels finally share the foretold reward reserved by Jehovah for cowards, liars and every one practicing spiritism?
23 Shortly, when Jehovah deals out his rebuke to Satan at Armageddon, Jehovah by his Chief Angel will bind Satan and his demons and hurl them into the abyss and seal it up over them for a thousand years while Jesus Christ reigns with his glorified royal priesthood. (Rev. 16:14-16; 20:1-6) The Biblical Tartarus will then go out of existence. The wicked heavens of this world will cease and the new heavens of Christ and his glorious “bride” will rule the righteous new world. (2 Pet. 3:13) Nineteen centuries ago when Jesus was in the abyss, he was not in Tartarus but was in the death state for parts of three days, till he was brought out by a resurrection from the dead. (Rom. 10:6-8, NW; Deut. 30:12-14) Likewise, in the abyss Satan and his demon spirits will be in a deathlike state, completely out of action, unable to have contact with men, unable to pretend to be the immortal spirits of dead human creatures. Spiritualism or spiritism with its mediums will thus be destroyed at Armageddon, and those who practice it will be destroyed with it, in the “second death,” which symbolizes total destruction, annihilation. Says Revelation 21:8 (NW) regarding God’s coming new world: “As for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.”
RESURRECTION, NOT COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS
24, 25. (a) What act of the ever-living God, Jehovah do genuine believers of the Bible now await for enabling them to see and talk with many men, women and children who once lived on earth and died? (b) How are the many wonderful prospects, for millions who lived on earth and have died, wrapped up with the death and resurrection of Jesus?
24 Those destroyed at Armageddon will have no “survival after death.” Those humans, however, who keep free from spiritism and all false religion and who worship Jehovah as God and follow in Christ’s footsteps will survive the battle of Armageddon and enter, without dying, into God’s righteous new world. (2 Pet. 3:10-15) Then those survivors will not try to communicate with those destroyed at Armageddon. They will know that the dead are dead and there is no survival after death. There will be no mediums left alive to act as agents for the lying spirits, for these spirits will be powerless, in a deathlike state in the abyss and unable to deceive the peoples for the thousand years of Christ’s reign. Instead of seeking to do the impossible, to communicate with the dead, the Armageddon survivors will rather await the resurrection and joyfully get ready for the dead to return. They will lovingly prepare to receive back from the common grave, Haʹdes or Sheʹol, all those that are in God’s memory. (John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:12, 13) They will receive them back from the common grave, not by a materialization through spirit mediums whose bodies supply the ectoplasm for the shaping of the bodies, but by the resurrection power of Jehovah God who will give to each individual an independent human body as it pleases Him. (1 Cor. 15:36-38) This will be a true, solid, enduring consolation to the living.
25 The dead will return, not to tell how in a spirit world and on etheric planes of existence they felt freer without their human bodies and knew more than before they died, but to tell how true the Bible is, that the dead are dead in the grave, that the human soul is mortal, that the dead know, do and feel nothing, but their last thought before they died connects up with their first mental impression on awakening from the sleep of death. (Ps. 6:5; 115:17; Eccl. 9:5, 10; Isa. 38:10, 18, 19) They will have the same personalities that they had when they died and so will be recognizable by acquaintances. None of the dead, babies, children, young people, old people, will have grown any older or learned anything more while in the death state. Restored to life on earth, they will have the opportunity to learn about Jehovah God and his kingdom by Christ and the provision that He has made for them to gain everlasting life in a paradise earth, all the obedient ones among men to be lifted up to perfection as human souls in God’s image and likeness. All this will be because his Son Jesus died for mankind and was raised from the dead, being “made alive in the spirit,” that he might ascend back to heaven and appear in God’s presence to offer the value of his human sacrifice for mankind.
26, 27. (a) At the end of Christ’s millennial reign how will earth’s inhabitants demonstrate their worthiness to continue living on earth? (b) Who of earth’s then living billions will then be hurled into the “lake of fire,” and what is that “lake”?
26 When the common grave, or Sheʹol or Haʹdes, has given up the last of its occupants, then there will be no more dead, that is, no more persons who were dead due to inheriting sin and its penalty death from our first parents Adam and Eve. This enemy, Death, and its companion, mankind’s common grave, will thus be wiped out, this doing away with any suggestion of communicating with the dead, for there will be no such dead. “For he [Christ] must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be destroyed.” (1 Cor. 15:25, 26, NW) The question then is, Will they prove worthy to live forever, not in the spirit realm in heaven, but as perfect human souls in the flesh on the paradise earth? Each one will determine that question for himself at the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign. How?
27 By the loosing then of Satan and his demons. For the thousand years of Christ’s reign these have been restrained in the abyss, out of touch with mankind and thus unable to mislead them or interfere with Christ’s uplift work toward them. “Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four quarters of the earth.” (Rev. 20:7, 8, NW) He and his demons will not be in position to mislead any of mankind on the lie of “survival after death” that enables the living to communicate with the dead. But he will mislead many perfect humans by some form of selfishness that will induce them to join forces with Satan against the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God, just as he did in the case of the perfect Adam in the original paradise of Eden. (Jas. 1:12-15) Those who yield to selfishness and who war with Satan against the theocratic new world will fail in this final test of mankind’s integrity toward Jehovah God. Their names will not be written in his “book of life.” They will therefore be executed as willful rebels and be hurled, not back into Sheʹol or Haʹdes to die for sin inherited from Adam, but into the “second death,” symbolized by the “lake of fire,” to die for their own willful sin.
28, 29. (a) According to what scriptures, and for whom, was the “lake of fire” specially prepared by Jehovah? (b) What results to human creatures who do not fail under Jehovah’s test of them at the millennium’s end?
28 In this symbolic “lake of fire” they will be joined by Satan and his demon angels, for these also will be punished with the “second death,” which is everlasting destruction, a complete and never-ending blotting out of all existence. There will be no survival after this “second death” any more than there was after the former Adamic death. There will be no resurrection from the fiery lake, Gehenna, as there was from the common grave, Sheʹol or Haʹdes. Thus Satan the original Serpent together with all his “seed,” human and spirit, will be irremediably bruised at the head in a thorough way, as foretold in the paradise of Eden.—Gen. 3:15.
29 The loyal, obedient ones of perfected mankind will survive on earth. They will be rewarded for successfully passing this heart-penetrating test, not with the gift of immortality, but with being justified or declared righteous for everlasting life in the new world, with having their names written in Jehovah’s “book of life,” to enjoy happiness unendingly amid His perfect provisions for them in their earthly paradise. “And death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 20:9 to 21:4, NW.
DEFENSE AGAINST FATAL DECEPTION
30, 31. Why is accurate Bible knowledge about the human soul and spiritism vitally necessary now?
30 The position of the Holy Scriptures against the false teaching of “survival after death” has been clearly established. However, very few persons know what the Scriptures have to say against soul survival after death. This accounts for it that more and more people grieved by losing friends and loved ones or distressed by world fears and perplexity are falling victim to spiritism, which is demonism. The prophecies of Scripture foretold that, in spite of the plaguelike declaration of God’s judgments against this wicked world, selfish men would “not repent of the works of their hands, so that they should not worship the demons and the idols of gold and silver and copper and stone and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their spiritistic practices nor of their fornication nor of their thefts.” (Rev. 9:20, 21, NW) In spite of the progress in human knowledge, man would “fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons,” thus to become the prey of the demons to their eternal injury. In fact, all the people of all nations, under the leadership of their rulers, whether in the White House or in the royal palace or in the Communist Kremlin, would be led to their destruction at the battle of Armageddon. The Revelation, by which the glorified Jesus Christ has ‘preached to the spirits in prison,’ foresaw that out from the Dragon ruler of the demons and out through his visible beastly organization there would go “expressions inspired by demons . . . and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. . . . And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Ma·gedʹon.” (Rev. 16:14-16 and; 1 Tim. 4:1, NW) None of such demon-led ones will survive Armageddon.
31 All peoples, so-called Christian as well as heathen, stand in the greatest peril of assault by demons to their own destruction. You dare not trust in Christendom. She has proved to be no protection against spiritism, but in her realm spiritism spreads the same as in heathendom. Why? Because Christendom, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic as well as Protestant, teaches the unchristian doctrine of the “immortality of the human soul,” the doctrine that is the basis for spiritism and that lays its believers wide open to the appeals and deceptions of spiritism. Roman Catholicism may say it is the most powerful bulwark against spiritism, yet its teaching exposes Catholics to the evil power of the demons. For example:
32. How does the Roman Catholic Church answer questions about (a) spiritualism’s claims (b) spiritistic phenomena, and (c) messages ‘from humans who have died’?
32 In answer to the question (318), “Is there any truth in the claims of Spiritualism?” over the Roman Catholic broadcasting station 2SM, Sydney, Australia, Doctor Rumble, Missionary of the Sacred Heart, said:
“There is truth in the claim that the soul is distinct from, and can survive the body. All men instinctively know this, and as they lose faith in Protestantism, this fundamental truth of reason remains. Many of them therefore turn to Spiritualism. Thus this new phase gains ground among non-Catholics. As a religious system Spiritualism is the outcome of human effort, and is in vogue among certain men for a time. . . . ”
In answer to the question (319), “Why precisely does your Church condemn Spiritualism?” he answers:
“The Catholic Church certainly believes in the existence of the spiritual world, of God, of good and evil created spirits, and in the continued existence of the souls of men. But the phenomena of Spiritualism are due at best to natural causes; at times to imposture; very often to evil spirits. Certainly any effects due to the influence of spirits are not due to the intervention of good spirits. The medium acts under uncanny and feverish excitement; the effects are evil only too often; and messages received, as well as the methods adopted, are openly blasphemous and immoral, and quite unworthy of God.”
In answer to the question (320), “Has the Catholic Church ever been in communication with spirit beings from the next world?” he says:
“In the history of the Catholic Church there are many accounts of messages received from the souls of the departed. The truth of these accounts is subject to the ordinary laws of historical criticism, and some accounts have certainly been proved doubtful. Others leave no room for prudent doubt. As a rule, God permits a soul only occasionally to communicate momentarily a warning, or a request for prayers, but nothing fantastical. Likewise, the messages are spontaneous, and not due to the curious efforts of people seeking the truth from the dead. The Church tests the messages received, or claimed as received, in order to discern whether good or evil spirits are responsible for the communication. (1) The message must in no way conflict with Catholic teaching or moral principles. Gal. I.,9. . . .”—Pages 73, 74 of the book Radio Replies, by Rumble and Carty, with the Imprimatur of Archbishop J. G. Murray, of St. Paul, Minnesota, February 11, 1938, and with a Preface by Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen, D.D. (9th printing of 1939)
33-36. (a) Can one sensibly rely on Roman Catholicism as a shield against the perils of spiritism’s advance? (b) What published testimony confirms the soundness of your answer?
33 Is such official Catholic teaching as the above an impenetrable defense against the invasion of spiritism? No! It is an invitation to spiritism, and the conditions in Roman Catholic lands, such as Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti, show Roman Catholicism to be no bulwark against this spreading peril. In such lands the Catholic people, even up to 90 per cent, mix spiritism or voodooism right in with Roman Catholicism, practicing both at the same time with no objection or penalty by the priests. It comes as no surprise that one Johannes Greber, a former Catholic clergyman, has become a spiritualist and has published the book entitled “Communication with the Spirit World, Its laws and Its Purpose.” (1932, Macoy Publishing Company, New York) In its Foreword he makes the typical misstatement: “The most significant spiritualistic book is the Bible; for its principal contents hinge upon the messages of the beyond to those existing in the present.”
34 Said Jean Brierre, a Haitian undersecretary of state, concerning visitors to his land of Haiti: “Most of them cannot realize that Voodoo, or Vodun as we also call it, isn’t black magic at all but a benign religion practiced by more than ninety per cent of our people—a religion which in their view does not prevent their being also good Catholics. A Haitian who goes to a Voodoo houmfort, or temple, on a Saturday evening participates in the rites all night, then goes to a Catholic church and attends Mass early the following morning. . . . If you’ll look into it, you’ll find that many of the Voodoo gods and goddesses, or loas, as we call them, have their counterpart in Catholic saints.” (True (The Man’s Magazine), of October, 1949) That includes the “Virgin Mary,” and everywhere the cross is used, especially to try to ward off evil spirits.
35 Said M. G. Consuegra in articles in the September 1 and 15, 1934, issues of the magazine Rosenda, of Matanzas, Cuba: “In Cuba there exists an enormous percentage of spiritists. In few countries has spiritism conquered as many proselytes as in Cuba, naturally in accordance with the density of its population. And as a proof of this we affirm the undeniable fact that to speak of spiritism is not now something that provokes ridicule or censureship by others and that every one, including the Catholic priests (their natural enemy), respects it more with the passing of each day, and that it is safe to say that within a few years spiritism will be a predominating belief in the ‘Pearl of the Antilles.’”
36 Many more examples could be given to show the widespreadness of spiritualism or demonism mingled with the predominant religion in Roman Catholic lands, but space does not allow here.
37. In these “critical times” why should sensible, God-fearing persons avoid looking to any part of Christendom for help against demon aggression?
37 No, Christendom, as led and dominated by the Roman Catholic religious system, has failed as a protection against demonism in this crucial “time of the end,” when Satan and his demons have been hurled down from heaven to the earth and are filled with wrath and are leading Christendom and heathendom with them to total destruction at the battle of Armageddon. For good reason, then, the cry has rung out from heaven: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:12, NW.
38-40. (a) What written testimony alone is our safeguard against the practice of spiritism? (b) How, in figurative description, does Paul counsel us for triumphing against the enraged hordes of unseen wicked ones?
38 Where, then, is our protection against the schemes of the demons to cause God to execute all mankind at Armageddon for lack of integrity toward Him and his kingdom? Our protection is in the antispiritualist Book, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Bible. In it alone we find God’s teaching and testimony and of it Jesus said to God: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NW) To us it comes in this critical day with the words of the prophet Isaiah, who is a prophetic figure of Jesus Christ: “Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. And when they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn. They will . . . be thrust into thick darkness.” (Isa. 8:16, 19-22, RS) Consulting the living God by consulting his teaching and testimony in His written Word—this is our source of light and our unfailing protection against the death-dealing operations of the malicious demons.
39 Now that utter destruction at Armageddon is impending over both Christendom and heathendom and the unseen demons are slyly leading worldly rulers and their peoples to this destruction there, we are indeed living in a wicked day. Everywhere the “works of the flesh” abound and these works include the “practice of spiritism,” concerning which the apostle Paul warns “that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (Gal. 5:19-21, NW) Neither will the practicers of spiritism be allowed to exist in the “new earth” under God’s kingdom by Christ. (Rev. 21:8; 22:14, 15, NW) If we put the greatest value upon life in the new world, then we need to fight constantly against the unseen enemies of our gaining it. The apostle Paul exposes those real enemies and at the same time he encourages us to use the only effective means to beat back these foes and come off victorious as winners of everlasting life in God’s righteous new world. He says:
40 “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places. On this account take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and with your feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace. Above all things, take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles. Also accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of this spirit, that is, God’s word, while with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit.”—Eph. 6:11-18, NW.
41. In practically applying Paul’s sound counsel, how do we effectively “stand firm against” the foes’ attacks (a) upon mind and heart?
41 It is high time to follow this advice. So gird your mental loins about with the truth of God’s Word. Then you will not weaken in the fight against all the untruthful propaganda of the wicked spirit forces in the unseen places of attack. Let your mind feed upon the truth of the resurrection of the dead. Then you will hold firm and steady against the untruth of the immortality of the human soul and “survival after death.” Also by having on the breastplate of righteousness, your heart will be protected against the sentimental appeals of spiritualism and against its rejection of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the only means for us sinners to have our sins counterbalanced and to gain everlasting righteousness that will make us worthy of eternal life in the world of new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell.
42. —(b) to trip or entrap us?
42 With your feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace, you will avoid responsibility for any of the turmoil of this world and you will not be gathered by the unseen demons to the side of the rulers of this entire inhabited earth at Armageddon for a suicidal war against God Almighty and his reigning King Jesus Christ. You will promote peace and reconciliation with God.
43. —(c) to burn up, as in a suddenly kindled, blaze our exclusive obedience to Jehovah and his reigning King?
43 Taking up the large shield of faith, you will be able to stop and extinguish all the flaming faith-destroying missiles shot out by the enemy and guard yourself against the faithless course of this world. By your faith-inspired obedience to God and his King Jesus Christ you will overcome this world and keep on pleasing God, who rewards those who hold fast their faith with life.
44. —(d) to wreck our power to reason as sensible, united and hopeful doers of the will of God?
44 Accepting the helmet of salvation, you will keep your hope of God’s kingdom from being cracked or mashed in, you will reason with God concerning his way of salvation through Jesus Christ and the theocratic government of the new world. You will sensibly work out your own salvation according to God’s provisions and his requirements, making a “public declaration of our hope” by joining in with Jehovah’s witnesses in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” in all the earth for a witness.
45. —(e) to intimidate or fatally pierce us with false philosophy or seductive appeals?
45 Accepting the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s Word, you will be able to parry the worldly sword of the word of demons, utterances inspired by the demons, religious traditions and materialistic philosophies of men. You will be able to meet the enemy swordsman in close combat and thrust him through, rendering him powerless in argument and influence and delivering yourself from him by quoting and relying upon God’s written Word, as Jesus did when tempted by the Devil in the wilderness.
46. —(f) to sever or block the line of communication between ourselves (collectively and individually) and Jehovah, the Fountain of our everlasting strength?
46 Offering every form of prayer and supplication in the thick of this theocratic fight against the wicked spirits in the invisible realm, you will be keeping God in mind and be depending upon your unfailing Protector and Helper and not upon any arm of flesh. At every suggestion to you of spiritism and against the occult spells that spiritists try to cast upon you, you will appeal to God to give you the victory over the wicked spirits, their deception and their opposition, and that God’s holy angels may serve as ministering spirits in your behalf. You will be thinking not merely of yourself but also of your fellow Christians who are engaged in the same fight against superhuman powers of wickedness. You will be obeying Jesus’ instruction and praying for God’s name Jehovah to be hallowed or sanctified and for His kingdom to come and put the wicked spirit forces completely out of operation and make manifest the universal sovereignty of Jehovah, bring peace to mankind, restore paradise to the earth, resurrect the dead from the memorial tombs and bless all faithful, obedient families of the earth with eternal life in human perfection. God’s answers to our Scriptural prayers are just as necessary to our overcoming the wicked spirit forces as are the various pieces of the complete suit of armor from God.
47, 48. What will result to Jehovah, to his enthroned King and to us through our faithfully continuing on Jehovah’s side by our diligent use of knowledge gained in this study?
47 Thus praying and thus fighting in God-given armor we shall not be found at Armageddon with the demon-controlled opposers of Jehovah God and his kingdom by Christ. We shall be found on the side of the living God, and he will do the fighting there for us and vindicate his own sovereignty and preserve us into his glorious new world. The wicked heavens composed of Satan and his wicked spirit forces will be destroyed and the wicked earth composed of the human society that these spirit forces have invisibly controlled and misled will be wiped out, and the new world with Jesus Christ and his glorified congregation as the new heavens will be ushered in.
48 With the help of this information, which is based upon God’s Word the Scriptures, you have been able to follow the apostle John’s instruction: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” (1 John 4:1, NW; AT) The testing of the inspired expressions of spiritualism has shown that they do not originate with God but with his enemies, the demons and their ruler Satan the Devil. Hence spiritualism is antichristian and its champions are antichrists. Abide now by the results of this test. For your life and to God’s glory resist spiritualism and thus resist Satan and his wicked spirit forces. No longer follow the inspired expressions of demons. Follow the written Word of God, which is the expression inspired by his holy spirit. Then, whether by survival of the battle of Armageddon or by a resurrection after it, you will be rewarded with life in God’s new world rather than be deceived into destruction by the false hope of “survival after death.”
[Picture on page 597]
PROPHETIC FIGURES REPRESENTED
NOAH & WIFE CHRIST CHRIST’ BRIDE
ARK NEW SYSTEM OF THINGS
NOAH’S 3 SONS & THEIR WIVES GREAT CROWD
[Picture on page 604]
DEVIL & DEMONS