Insight on the News
Did Paul Advocate Violence?
● According to the newspaper “Saarbrückener Zeitung,” in the Federal Republic of Germany, 84-year-old clergyman “Father” Bertoni, a witness at the trial of Corsican terrorists, declared: “I am for violence of necessity.” Trying to support his stand for terrorism, the clergyman stated regarding the apostle Paul: “Paul said: ‘Without shedding of blood there can be no remission.’” But the district attorney countered: “I am astonished to hear that Paul was a giver of counsel in the matter of terrorism.”
The blood that Paul was talking about was the blood of Jesus and had nothing to do with supporting violence. (Heb. 9:22) Furthermore, Paul could not have supported violence, for he stated: “I am clean from the blood of all men.” (Acts 20:26) Also, he was a diligent follower of Jesus, who said to Peter: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52) And Paul counseled: “Return evil for evil to no one. . . . Be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.’” (Rom. 12:17-19) Thus Paul stayed strictly neutral regarding the political conflicts of his day.—John 17:16; Jas. 1:27.
Warning on Hellfire
● The Vatican recently restated the belief that unrepentant sinners will go to a burning hell at death. In a letter to bishops on behalf of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican said that the belief in hell was a key teaching of Roman Catholicism and warned against spreading doubts about it.
Yet, God’s own inspired Word says the following regarding people who at one time sacrificed their children in burning flames to false gods: “And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.” (Jer. 7:31) Indeed, God says such a thing “had not come up into [his] heart.” Should he then be accused of tormenting people forever?
God’s Word shows that death (nonexistence), not eternal torment, is the penalty for sin. “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezek. 18:4) The Bible clearly says: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [“the grave,” “Authorized Version”; “hell,” Catholic “Douay” version], the place to which you are going.” (Eccl. 9:5, 10) The Bible also encourages us to have “hope toward God . . . that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15.