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Featured Afterlife in the Old Testament?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by thomas t, Apr 8, 2021 at 3:32 AM.

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  1. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    I recently read a stance by a debater here on RF that the afterlife and the notion of heaven was smuggled in into the Jewish religion during the Persion and Greek invasion which is much later than the time covered by the OT in general.
    He said that concepts of an immortal soul were likely to have been taken from those cultures.

    Actually, this is not what I read in the OT.

    Henoch was said to be uplifted into some sort of heaven.
    So, this must have meant some afterlife other than Sheol.

    Genesis 5:24. This passage says that God somehow took him "with him". So this must have been some special place, even in the minds of people of back then who read this ancient verse.

    So I conclude that afterlife was an old Jewish concept, what would you say?

    (this idea was inspired by Hebrews 11:5)
    Thomas
     
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  2. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Not sure what translation you are quoting Genesis 5:24 as "with him", but agree that according to Hebrews 11:5 Enoch did not experience death.

    Although according to my understanding Hebrews is part of the NT.
     
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  3. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    I would say that Jewish tradition does not contemplate a spiritual (e.g. body-less) form of after life. In other words, the spirit, if any, requires a physical vessel in the form of a body, which is also reconstructed, somehow.

    Later, I believe, Paul introduced the concept of spiritual resurrection. Ergo, an after life without a physical body, and a clear dualistic separation between the physical and the spiritual.

    And the merging of the two is the source of the great confusion and different opinions Christians have til today.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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  4. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    in the Christian tradition, they say that Jews must have believed in some sort of afterlife absolved from earthly bodies, too. Since God says in the OT "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"...

    A God of people trapped in some sort of Sheol doesn't sound very great to me, I think.

    I think this wasn't the source of confusion but the matter of some questions that people asked themselves. Not knowing certain things does not necessarily lead to confusion, I think. People simply have to be honest concerning the knowledge they have or don't have, I think.
     
  5. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 5:24 doesn't say that Enoch went to the afterlife. It doesn't specify what God took him means and it doesn't say where it took him. Even if it was with him it doesn't necessarily mean that he died in order to be there.

    Ecclesiastes implies that the dead are not conscious, so either that author is saying that there is no after life or he isn't concerned with the afterlife and only focusing on earthly life.

    It seems to me that the OT didn't much care about a concept of an afterlife and didn't bother with it. Maybe they didn't believe in one. What we do know is that they concerned themselves with a resurrection on earth, being brought to life after death. Resurrection serves no purpose if there is an afterlife on earth, such as the versus in Daniel and Psalms saying that the righteous will possess the earth and the future Kingdom being ruled by the Messiah. It seems that The OT and NT (besides a few scriptures) focus on resurrection and not an afterlife. Hence why their focus is on earth and the Kingdom being brought to earth with a few people being raised to heaven as Kings.
     
  6. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Believers with contradicting views lead to confusion.
     
  7. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    A resurrection *is* an afterlife
     
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  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't afterlife specifically mean your spirit surviving death? Like the OP is referring to an afterlife in heaven or Sheol. Being resurrected means that you are brought back to life as opposed to your spirit surviving after you die.
     
  9. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Nope, that is one type of after life. An afterlife is simply a life after this one, which is precisely what a resurrection is in my opinion
     
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  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Cool. Then let me rephrase my point.

    So the OP is talking about a heavenly afterlife, as in your spirit being raised to heaven after death which the Jews didn't have the concept of.

    The Jews did have a concept of an earthly resurrection, that a faithful person would die and get revived back to life in their body on earth.

    This is the context in which I am using the terms afterlife and resurrection.
     
  11. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    I doubt this since for Jews there seems to be some sort of consciousness after death: it says "rest" in 1 Samuel 28:15. Resting people remain conscious, I think. They could dream and so on....
    went to some form of life after his earthly presence, though. This is what I would call afterlife.
     
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  12. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    I don't see rest written there from the translations I have read. But more important to your case is the narrative of this verse. I think that Samuel being summoned by the medium is a strong case in your favour, a better one than Enoch, since Samuel is already said to be dead prior to this event and Saul actually communicates with his spirit. The medium is in shock so she wasn't expecting this to happen.

    But then we have :

    Deuteronomy 18:10-13 ESV / 36 helpful votes
    There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God,

    Why then, if there is an afterlife as per your definition, would God condemn the practice if people did exist as spirits?

    OK. So death isn't required in your understanding of afterlife?
     
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  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  14. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    Sounds pretty logical to me! I think the Persians and Greeks snatched the possibility from the oral tradition that was eventually written by Moses.
     
  15. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    The book of Daniel supports the concept of an immortal soul. Here's the verse from the JPS Chapter 12 at the end of days:

    13 "But you, go on to the end; you shall rest, and arise to your destiny at the end of the days.”
    Potentially the author was influenced by babylonian beliefs? IDK.
     
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  16. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Jesus rose with a body and Paul taught the same thing from what I understand.
     
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  17. cOLTER

    cOLTER Well-Known Member

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    Zechariah 14
    New International Version

    The Lord Comes and Reigns
    14 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

    2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.


    Graves on the mount of Olives point towards the Golden Gate which was sealed. It is believed that when the Jewish Messiah comes to resurrect the flower of Israel he will come through the Golden Gate.

    IMG_8254.JPG 2020-11-09 (2).jpg
     
  18. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you are stuck in your JW understanding of what happens.
     
  19. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    Thank you for asking.
    that's a good question, I don't know.
    If I were to guess something it's this: God did not want for his prophets to have some competing people around. He wanted to have a monopoly for his prophets.
    But this is really guesswork from my side.
    no it isn't in my understanding.
    It's like in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, some won't die when Jesus comes back. In my opinion, this verse is about (the transition) to the afterlife.
     
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  20. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Shockingly not. It is the result of reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation the first time I read the Bible.

    The OT focuses on the earth and people being brought back to the earth. Such as Ecclesiastes, Daniel and Elijah bringing the woman's child back to life.

    The NT starts to bring in the concept of people going to heaven. It starts off the same in the gospels where Jesus resurrects people like Lazarus on the earth but then starting with Jesus, people get raised to heaven or are said to have a place in heaven.

    In fact in a few cases it seemed to me that the NT had a different idea to the OT. Such as with the concept of the spirit. In the OT the spirit is just called the spirit and seems to be Gods spirit, as in wind or some kind of power he uses to interact with the world. Then in the OT comes the idea of the Holy Spirit which is said to be a person, which confused me. It seems to me that the NT is an evolution of the idea that appear in the OT rather than these ideas being in the OT in the first place.
     
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