Friday, December 21, 2012

The Truth About Christmas - Origin of Xmas - Christian of Pagan

What does an Evergreen tree have to to with Jesus birth?
Is Christmas Pagan or Christian? 
 Vatican Christmas - Nativity - Xmas Tree - Obelisk - Sun Doom
 Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus)

The word "Christmas" is a combination of the words "Christ" and "Mass.
The word "Mass" means death and was coined originally by the Roman Catholic Church
A simple study of the tactics of the Roman Church reveals that in every case, the church absorbed the customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and nation in their efforts to increase the number of people under their control.
What does festival of lights have to do with the birth of Christ?

What about holly, yule log, tree deco?

What does toys, war video games, jewlery, have to do with Christ?

What about eggnog?

Christmas Present and Christmas Past: The Roots of Christmas

Vatican on Christmas Eve

St. Peter's on Christmas Eve by Anglofille.

The Evergreen Tree and the Obelisk are Symbols of Reproduction.

The obelisk is a long pointed four-sided shaft, the uppermost portion of which forms a pyramid. The word “obelisk” literally means “Baal’s Shaft” or Baal’s organ of reproduction. In front of the Vatican stands the very same obelisk that once stood in Egypt. The very same obelisk that once stood at the ancient temple which was the center of Egyptian paganism, now stands before the mother church of Romanism. The Egyptians created the obelisk, believing that the spirit of the Sun god, Ra, dwelt in there. phallic worship
Pronounced As: falik , worship of the reproductive powers of nature as symbolized by the male penis or reproductive organ. It represents Horus. “the all seeing God god and the son of the winter solstice.

In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.
There is nothing Christian about Christmas. The Roots of Christmas can be trace back to worship of the pagan Egyptians deities of Isis, Osiris and Horus.
The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.” God does not say this is acceptable to Him! Actually, He plainly commands against it! Keeping Christmas dishonors Christ! He considers everything about it to be an abomination! We will soon see why.
Christ said, “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Christmas is not a command of God—it is a tradition of men. Christ continued, “Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). Every year, throughout the world, on December 25th, hundreds of millions do just that!
Pagan Roots: Origin of Christmas
It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son.
Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.
In the 4th century, Apostate Christianity imported into the Catholic Church the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. These Popes and bishops succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians
The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits.
Christmas Lights at Dusk by A.Myers.

Origins of the Christmas Tree:

Many Pagan cultures used to cut boughs of evergreen trees in December, move them into the home or temple, and decorate them. Modern-day Pagans still do. This was to recognize the winter solstice – the time of the year that had the shortest daylight hours, and longest night of the year. This occurs annually sometime between DEC-20 to 23. They noticed that the days were gradually getting shorter; many feared that the sun would eventually disappear forever, and everyone would freeze. But, even though deciduous trees, bushes, and crops died or hibernated for the winter, the evergreen trees remained green. They seemed to have magical powers that enabled them to withstand the rigors of winter.

The ancient Pagan Romans decorated their “trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus [a fertility god]. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice.

The Norse pagans and Celtic Druids revered evergreens as manifestations of deity because they did not “die” from year to year but stayed green and alive when other plants appeared dead and bare. The trees represented everlasting life and hope for the return of spring.
The druids decorated their trees with symbols of prosperity — a fruitful harvest, coins for wealth and various charms such as those for love or fertility. Scandinavian Pagans are thought to be the first to bring their decorated trees indoors as this provided a warm and welcoming environment for the native fairy folk and tree elementals to join in the festivities. The Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, were the first to place lights on the their trees in the form of candles. Ancient Romans decorated their homes with greens at the Festival of Saturnalia, their New Year, and exchanged evergreen branches with friends as a sign of good luck.
But when, where, and how did this custom begin? What is the origin of the Christmas tree?
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 018 by ShamrockTattoo.
Ancient Celebrations:
Trees have played an important role from ancient times in pagan religions, and were even worshipped. In pagan mythology, the evergreen tree was a symbol of the essence of life.
Norsemen (ancient Scandinavians), Celts (early people of British Isles) and Saxons used trees to ward off witches, evil spirits, and ghosts. Yggdrasil was the Great Tree of Life in the Norse mythology. In the North European countries, many would lose family members in the severe and harsh winters. All trees would die except the fir tree. It therefore represented life. As a result many people placed the fir tree in their homes as a symbol of life, with the hope that having it inside their homes would bring their families life, health and wealth.
In Northern Europe, the winter festivities were considered to be a Feast of the Dead, focusing on the Norse god, Odin, and his night riders, with ceremonies full of spirits and devils. One particular solstice festival was “Jol” (Yule), celebrated throughout Northern Europe in honor of Jolnir, another name for Odin. Since Odin was the god of intoxicating drink and ecstasy, as well as the god of death, Yule customs varied greatly from region to region.
In the earlier pagan customs, an evergreen tree was decorated in honor of their god Adonis, who after being slain was brought to life by the serpentAesculapius[2]. The representation of the slain Adonis was a dead stump of a tree. In Babylon, the evergreen tree came to represent the rebirth or reincarnation of Nimrod as his new son (Sun), Tammuz. In Egypt this god was worshiped in a palm tree as Baal-Tamar. In Rome the fir tree was worshiped as the same new-born god, named Baal-Berith, who was restored to life by the same serpent. In Mesopotamia (area between Tigris andEuphrates), the winter solstice had been the climax of a 12 day festival (Saturnalia) for centuries. This would traditionally be the night when there was a mock battle between the mythical sun king and the forces of darkness, where good would win and trees would be decorated then burned in honor. Ancient Greeks celebrated Saturnalia, when houses were adorned with evergreen tree boughs etc.
Heathen people in the land of Canaan (vaguely the present day Palestine area) worshiped tree, calling it the Asherah – a tree with its branches cut off and carved into a phallic symbol. The same Yule Log was used for all 12 days to keep the fire lit or to re-light it. It was the shadow and type of a burning lust of a man to fuel the fires of sexual potency to reproduce fertility. The lit Yule Log was also regarded as a phallic symbol in fertility worship, representing a good omen for heightened sexuality for the coming year (fir trees being considered the very spirit of fertility since they were constantly green and undying).
The Christmas tree, however, is directly mentioned in the Bible! Turn to Jeremiah 10:2-5, “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

Fertility rites,
magico-religious ceremonies to insure an abundance of food and the birth of children. The rites, expressed through dances, prayers, incantations, and sacred dramas, seek to control the otherwise unpredictable forces of nature. In primitive agricultural societies natural phenomena, such as rainfall, the fecundity of the earth, and the regeneration of nature were frequently personified. One of the most important pagan myths was the search of the earth goddess for her lost (or dead) child or lover (e.g., Isis and Osiris, Ishtar and Tammuz, Demeter and Persephone). This myth, symbolizing the birth, death, and reappearance of vegetation, when acted out in a sacred drama, was the fertility rite par excellence. Other rites concerned with productivity include acts of sympathetic magic, such as kindling of fires (symbolizing the sun) and scattering the reproductive organs of animals on the fields, displays of phallic symbols, and ritual prostitution. In India it was once believed that a fertile marriage would result if virgins were first deflowered by means of the lingam, a stone phallus symbolizing the god Shiva. Sacrifices of both humans and animals were believed to release the powers embodied within them and so make the fields or forests productive where the sacrifices had taken place. Many ancient fertility rites have persisted in modified forms into modern times. The Maypole dance derives from spring rituals glorifying the phallus.
Even the very Scriptures of the Almighty speaks out against the phallic symbol of Babylon. “…Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.” -2 Kings 10:25-26 The Amplified Bible translates it… … King Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, ‘Go in and slay them; let none escape’. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards before the king threw their bodies out, and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal. They brought out the obelisks [pillars] of the house of Baal and burned them.” [2 Kings 10:26, Amplified Bible]

Was Christ Born on December 25th?

Christ was born in the fall of the year. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter—December 25th! They are wrong! Notice the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 370, New York edition: “It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.” The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. Continuing with this same quote: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of March-esvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”
Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.
Numerous encyclopedias plainly state that Christ was not born on December 25th! The Catholic Encyclopedia directly confirms this. In all likelihood, Christ was born in the fall! A lengthy technical explanation would prove this point.
December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain, and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edit. Vol. II, p. 903).
Who Was Saturn?
The Saturnalia, of course, celebrated Saturn—the fire god. Saturn was the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. He was also worshipped in this dead-of-winter festival so that he would come back (he was the “sun”) and warm the earth again so that spring planting could occur. The planet Saturn was later named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire!
Virtually every civilization has a fire/sun god. The Egyptians (and sometimes Romans) called him Vulcan. The Greeks named him Kronos, as did the Phoenicians—but they also called him Saturn. The Babylonians called him Tammuz (as Nimrod, resurrected in the person of his son), Molech or Baal (as did the Druids). These were all simply the various names for Nimrod. Nimrod was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods.
“The early Romans were not celebrating Christmas but rather a pagan feast called the Saturnalia. It occurred each year around the beginning of winter, or the winter solstice. This was the time when the sun had taken its lowest path across the sky and the days were beginning to lengthen, thus assuring another season of growth.
“The Roman festival of Saturnalia, Dec. 17-24, moved citizens to decorate their homes with greens and lights and give gifts to children and the poor. The Dec. 25 festival of natalis solis invicti, the birth of the unconquered sun, was decreed by the emperor Aurelian in A.D. 274 as a Winter Solstice celebration, and sometime (later)…was Christianized as a date to celebrate the birth of the Son of Light.”
Throughout history, Isis and various forms of goddess worship has played a significant role in our world’s religious and cultural makeup. Today, goddess veneration is still very much alive and well, and images of the goddess–in various forms–can be identified in every state and province.
Inscribed in the temple of Isis; “I, Isis, am all that has been, that is or shall be; No mortal man hath ever me unveiled. The fruit which I have brought forth is the ‘SUN’.”
Isis is the “divine mother” of ancient Egypt. She was known as the great goddess of magic and “universal nature,” and used her powers to raise her dead (and dismembered) husband Osiris back to life (Osiris was represented as the Sun, he also ruled the underworld). As “Virgin of the World,” Isis birthed Horus, the Egyptian god of the sun and moon, day and night. Metaphorically speaking, Isis is the celestial mother of the Sun (son) of god. It was her son, Horus, who eventually killed Typhon, the Egyptian devil. And, according to legend, Isis–mother of all–remains eternally virgin. She is often portrayed “as the virgin with child,” and is regularly depicted as one crowned with a lunar orb and the horns of a bull.
Goddess veneration of the “virgin with child” has been a central belief for various societies throughout history, including some aspects of Christianity. Indeed, many leading occultists see striking parallels between the Roman Catholic “Virgin Mary”–the “Queen of Heaven”–and the goddess Isis. And the comparison is startling. Presently, Roman Catholicism holds Mary to be eternally virgin, just as Isis was. Catholicism also contends that Mary was without sin, making her into a type of “god.” In fact, there are some who claim that Mary is the “fourth person” within the Trinity. This belief is linked to Catholicism’s claim that Mary now has a direct say in mankind’s salvation through her (Catholic) role of co-redemption and mediation. Hence, the elevated Mary becomes a “goddess” in the Catholic faith, just as Isis was a goddess in the pantheon of Egyptian deities. And just as Isis was (and still is) called “Mother of the World” and “Queen of Heaven,” so too Mary is now exalted with these same titles.
While the Roman Catholic/Isis comparison shows a tangible link between Catholicism and the mystery religions, Mary as Biblically understood shows little connection. Yes, Mary was the virgin mother of Jesus, Son of God, but she didn’t remain a virgin. Mark 6:3 actually lists four of Jesus’ brothers and mentions sisters as well. Nor was the Biblical Mary sinless. Romans 3:23 makes it clear that “all have sinned”–which would include Mary. The only exception to this rule is found in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15 is one example among many that attests to Jesus’ sinless character).
The Bible makes it clear that Christ’s death and resurrection was a completed act. The Biblical Mary plays no direct role in His work of salvation. As Jesus Himself said, “It is finished.” He didn’t say, “It’s finished, subject to the continuing work of Mother Mary.”
The pagan festival of Saturnalia is usually celebrated along with the festival of lights.


 Who was Jesus?
Why is there no historic archaeological evidence of his existence?

Who wrote the Gospels?
Why were they written in Greek, rather than Hebrew or Aramaic?

How did the Christian religion come to be centered in Rome? Why were the
first Christian pope and earliest saints all members of the Flavius Caesar
ruling family?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Victims List - Obama Newtown Speech - What Happens After Death?



WHO THEY WERE: Victims' Stories 


Dawn Hochsprung: Sandy Hook Elementary’s Heroic Principal .

Connecticut Shooting Victims' Stories Begin To Emerge

Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless of age. Others found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. After the gunfire ended Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the trail of loss was more than many could bear: 20 students and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.
A glimpse of some of those who died:


Obama Speaks At Vigil For Connecticut Shooting Victims... 'We're Not Doing Enough... And We Will Have To Change'... 'Surely We Can Do Better Than This'... 'We Can't Accept Events Like This As Routine'... Biographer: 'His Gettysburg Address'... FULL TEXT
ABC News

One Newtown, Conn., family's story of survival

Officials released a full list of the names of the 27 victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. All victims died of multiple gunshot wounds, medical examiners said.

New Connecticut Shooting Details Revealed

  Obama in Newtown to offer love, prayers of nationObama in Newtown to offer love, prayers of nation



Newtown School Shooting Motive Puzzles Investigators
1 day ago – NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Investigators tried to figure out what led a bright but painfully awkward 20-year-old to slaughter 26 children and ..

 Sandy Hook Shooting Victims' Names Released


On Saturday, the Connecticut State Police released a list of the names of the 26 victims who were shot and killed at a Connecticut elementary school.
The victims are 12 girls, eight boys and six adult women. The victims, police said, were shot up close, multiple times.
The following is a list (as released by police) of the victims in Friday's shooting spree on the campus of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female
Police knew the names of the victims Friday, but officials said they were pending positive identification by the state medical examiner's office.

Ana Marquez-greene 04/04/06

Noah Pozner 11/20/06

Anne Marie Murphy ...

 James Mattioli  03/22/07

Grace McDonnell:

Jessica Rekos 05/10/06

Catherine Hubbard 06/08/06


Josephine Gay  12/11/05

Chase Kowalski Guest Book:


Olivia Engel, 6,







Jack Pinto, 6,  



Benjamin Wheeler's family moved to Newtown 

Allison N. Wyatt 7/03/06

Avielle Richman,

 Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male

Victoria Soto: 'She was a hero'

Lauren Rousseau, 30


Rachel Davino 29

The images of Olivia Engel will live far beyond her short lifetime. There she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday cake. There's the one of her swinging a pink baseball bat, and another posing on a boat. In some, she models a pretty white dress; in others, she makes a silly face.
Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to say when he thinks of her.
"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader."
On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house.
"Her only crime," he said, "is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old."
DAWN HOCHSPRUNG, 47, principal
Dawn Hochsprung's pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert; days before that, the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010 that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.
"She had an extremely likable style about her," said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. "She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here."
Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.
Velsmid said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance but there were no injuries to treat.
"We were waiting for casualties to come out, and there was nothing. There was no need, unfortunately," he said. "This is the darkest thing I've ever walked into, by far."
Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.
A family friend turned reporters away from the house, but Catherine's parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community.
"We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy," Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."
Chase Kowalski was always outside, playing in the backyard, riding his bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing – and winning – his first mini-triathlon.
"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said.
Grimes' own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. Cars lined up outside the Kowalskis' ranch home Saturday, and a state trooper's car idled in the driveway. Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.
NANCY LANZA, 52, gunman's mother
She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son's first victim.
Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.
Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-respected, Briggs said.
Court records show Lanza and her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, filed for divorce in 2008. He lives in Stamford and is a tax director at General Electric. A neighbor, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbor had enjoyed gardening.
"She was a very nice lady," Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person."
Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich – sausage, egg and cheese – at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning.
Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.
"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.
Jesse's family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.
Family friend Barbara McSperrin told the Journal that Jesse was "a typical 6-year-old little boy, full of life."
A year ago, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different.
The girl's grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's sterling reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child's 9-year-old brother also was at the school but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and is perplexed by what happened. "What happened does not match up with the place where they live," she said.
A video spreading across the Internet shows a confident Ana hitting every note as she sings "Come, Thou Almighty King." She flashes a big grin and waves to the camera when she's done.
Jorge Marquez confirmed the girl's father is saxophonist Jimmy Greene, who wrote on Facebook that he was trying to "work through this nightmare."
"As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise," he wrote. "I love you sweetie girl."
The upstate New York town of Sherrill is thinking of Cindy Mattioli, who grew up there and lost her son James in the school shooting in Connecticut.
"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "Everybody will be there for them, and our thoughts and prayers are there for them."
James' grandparents, Jack and Kathy Radley, still live in the city, the newspaper reported.
ANNE MARIE MURPHY, 52, teacher
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.
Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then it came.
Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield some of her students from the rain of bullets. As the grim news arrived, the victim's mother reached for her rosary.
"You don't expect your daughter to be murdered," her father told the newspaper. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."
Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, Emilie Parker never missed a chance to draw a picture or make a card.
Her father, Robbie Parker, fought back tears as he described the beautiful, blond, always-smiling girl who loved to try new things, except foods.
Parker, one of the first parents to publicly talk about his loss, expressed no animosity for the gunman, even as he struggled to explain the death to his other two children, ages 3 and 4. He's sustained by the fact that the world is better for having had Emilie in it.
"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.
Noah was "smart as a whip," gentle but with a rambunctious streak, said his uncle, Alexis Haller of Woodinville, Wash. Noah's twin sister Arielle, assigned to a different classroom, survived the shooting. He called her his best friend, and with their 8-year-old sister, Sophia, they were inseparable.
"They were always playing together, they loved to do things together," Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."
Haller said Noah loved to read and liked to figure out how things worked mechanically. For his birthday two weeks ago, he got a new Wii.
"He was just a really lively, smart kid," Haller said. "He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad."
Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, a copy editor at the Danbury News-Times, released a statement Saturday that said state police told them just after midnight that she was among the victims.
"Lauren wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten," she said. "We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream."
Her mother said she was thrilled to get the job.
"It was the best year of her life," she told the newspaper.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see "The Hobbit" with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were to attend afterward. She was born in Danbury, and attended Danbury High, college at the University of Connecticut and graduate school at the University of Bridgeport.
She was a lover of music, dance and theater.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen."
MARY SHERLACH, 56, school psychologist
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."
VICTORIA SOTO, 27, teacher
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.
Though details of the 27-year-old teacher's death remained fuzzy, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil. Those who knew her said they weren't surprised by reports she shielded her first-graders from danger.
"She put those children first. That's all she ever talked about," said a friend, Andrea Crowell. "She wanted to do her best for them, to teach them something new every day."
Photos of Soto show her always with a wide smile, in pictures of her at her college graduation and in mundane daily life. She looks so young, barely an adult herself. Her goal was simply to be a teacher.
"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said Mayor John Harkins of Stratford, the town Soto hailed from and where more than 300 people gathered for a memorial service Saturday night. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."


Newtown gunman had 'altercation' with school staff day before ...
1 day ago – EXCLUSIVE UPDATED 12:30 p.m. ET: The gunman in the Newtown massacre had an "altercation" with four staff members at Sandy Hook

What Happens When We Die?


I Thess.4: 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Why comfort one another with these words.

By Steve Wohlberg

Are you ready for the truth about death? We have seen that the Bible forbids all attempts to communicate with the dead (see Deuteronomy 18:11). There are two reasons: 1) Demons can easily impersonate those who have died, thereby tricking the living into communicating with them; and 2) It is impossible for the dead to talk with the living anyway. I hope to prove this below.
Honestly, I have wrestled over the contents of this article. After prayer and thought, I have decided to present my views, based on the Bible, even though some may disagree. I urge you to read each Scripture presented, and then come to your own conclusions. David prayed, “Open my eyes” (Psalms 119:18). May this be our prayer.

Based on years of research, I have concluded that there are essentially two different views about the nature of man that affect one’s beliefs about what happens after death.
  • The Immortal Soul view
  • The Non-Immortal Soul view

The Immortal Soul view is believed by most of the world’s religions. The idea is that every human body houses an immortal soul that continues after death. When we die, only our body disintegrates back to dust, but the soul goes on, much like a snake shedding its skin. Of course different religions disagree with each other about where souls go after death, but the basic idea of the soul surviving physical decease is shared by most in our society. And like it or not, the Immortal Soul doctrine is the basis of the belief that we can talk to the dead. The reason is simple: the dead supposedly aren’t really dead.
The Non-Immortal Soul view is different and contends that – biblically speaking – the word “soul” applies to the entire person. When God first created Adam in Paradise, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Thus man doesn’t have a separate soul, but rather he is a soul (see also Joshua 10:35, 37, 39; Lev. 23:30; Acts 27:37, KJV). After man sinned, his entire person, or soul, became mortal, or subject to death. When a sinner dies, he or she returns to the dust, and “the breath of life” returns to God. This “breath” is not a conscious entity, but is the spark of life that exists in everything alive. At death, the sinner is truly dead – unconscious, asleep, waiting for the resurrection. This view is sometimes called “soul sleep.”

Which view is right? What does the Bible really say? For the moment I am going to build a case for the non-immortality of the soul. Later on in this article on the truth about death I will examine the passages about being “absent from the body” (2 Corinthians 5:8), the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43), the appearance of Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3), the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Paul’s desire to depart and be with Christ (Philippians 1:23) and the martyred souls under the altar (Rev. 6:9-11). These verses are often quoted to support the Immortal Soul teaching. Do they really? We hope to find out. After this, we will closely examine another big topic – the doctrine of Hell.
First, let’s see what the Bible says about “immortality.” As we discovered earlier in this article on the truth about death, after Adam and Eve sinned they were barred from the tree of life, lest they should “eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22 -24). The message here is that sinners do not naturally “live forever.” Paul wrote that we “seek for glory and honor and immortality” (Romans 2:7) and that Christians will “put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54) on Resurrection Day. Presently, God “only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach” (1 Timothy 6:16). To me, these verses are clear. Fallen man is not immortal.
Next, what does the Bible say happens at death? Notice carefully: “The living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing…there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). “For in death there is no remembrance of You, in the grave who shall give You thanks?” (Psalms 6:5). “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17). “His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalms 146:4). These Bible verses say that after death a person knows nothing, has no thoughts, doesn’t remember God, and lies silent in the grave. This is God’s Word, not man’s opinion.
Next, death is sleep. David spoke of “the sleep of death” (Psalms 13:3). All throughout the Old Testament, when kings died, they “slept with their fathers” (1 Kings 2:10). The same is true in the New Testament. When Lazarus died, Jesus Christ said, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping… Jesus spoke of his death” (John 11:11 -13). After Stephen was martyred, “he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60). Dead Christians “sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Daniel wrote that at the end of time, “many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). Thus the dead are sleeping in the dust of the earth. Someday, they will wake up.
Finally, the Christians’ hope is the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection. When our Lord returns, “the dead in Christ shall rise…so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Look closely. Paul said Christians will “be with the Lord” when He returns. Jesus taught the same thing when He promised His disciples, “I will come again, and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3). Again, look closely. Jesus did not say, “I’ll meet you in Heaven when you die,” but that He would receive us when He returns.
Ultimately, Bible truth about death is comforting. Our beloved dead are sleeping quietly, awaiting the resurrection when Jesus returns. Truth also protects us from being deceived by heartless, tricky demons who can easily impersonate the dead. I encourage my readers to continue studying this topic prayerfully. I’ll conclude with the words of Jesus Christ Himself:
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28, 29, NKJV).

Grave Errors about Death

In the first two topics we covered here on the truth about death we discovered that:
  • The Bible forbids all attempts to communicate with dead people (see Deuteronomy 18:11)
  • Demonic spirits are deceptively at work around the world (see Revelation 16:14) that can easily impersonate those who have died.
  • Communication with dead people is impossible because those who have died are dead. They lie unconscious, asleep in their graves, awaiting the resurrection (see Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Psalm 6:5; 13:3; 115:17; 146:4; John 5:28, 29; 6:39, 40, 44, 54: 11:11-14; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
Twenty-six years ago I learned this Bible truth: Jesus Christ died for my sins, was buried in Joseph’s tomb, and rose from the grave (see 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). To Christians, these facts should be non-negotiable. As I have continued studying my Bible, I have also come to believe that when human beings die, they are dead, asleep in their graves, waiting for “the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). Death, burial and resurrection,this is what God’s Book says.
I realize that many other God-fearing Christians don’t quite view everything as I do. Most believe that when we die, only our bodies disintegrate to dust, whereas our souls instantly enter the presence of Jesus. Personally, I don’t believe this. If we disagree, can we do it respectfully? I hope so. Later on this article on the truth about death, I will closely examine some well-known Bible texts normally used to support the “we go to Heaven immediately at death” doctrine. Much is at stake here. Please consider my arguments, and then come to your own conclusions.

Absent from the body, present with the Lord? (2 Corinthians 5:8)

This is probably the main Scripture used to support the common view. The exact text reads, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Paul is clearly talking about a transition from this sinful “body” to being “present with the Lord.” There is no question about this. But notice carefully that in this verse Paul doesn’t specifically say when this transition occurs. Most assume he meant at death. Did he? Could he have meant on Resurrection Day when Jesus Christ returns? Amazingly, we don’t have to guess, for the following verses make Paul’s meaning plain.
Four verses earlier Paul said this transition occurs when “mortality” is “swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). When is that? If we back up a few chapters to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the answer is obvious. Notice carefully:
Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)
Here Paul is writing about the climactic return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of God’s saints. Paul called death “sleep” (verse 51). He also said we are currently “mortal” (verse 53). Finally, he clarified that when “the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised… then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (verses 52-54). Add 2 + 2. In 2 Corinthians 5:4 and 5:8, Paul said the transition from this sinful “body” to being “present with the Lord” occurs when “mortality is swallowed up by life.” In 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, he clarified that this “mortal” will “put on immortality” and that death will be “swallowed up in victory” at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Beyond this, did Paul clarify anywhere else at what point believers will be “present with the Lord”? Yes indeed. Once again, notice carefully:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
These verses parallel 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, which explain 2 Corinthians 5:4-8. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, when will believers get to be “present with the Lord”? Answer: When Jesus Christ comes crashing into our polluted atmosphere with a shout, a voice, and the ear splitting trumpet of God! That trumpet will be so loud it will pierce the slumbering ears of those who have died trusting the Crucified and Resurrected One. They will burst out of their clammy graves. How awesome! Then those of us who are still living (I hope to be among this group) will be “caught up” into the greatest space ride humans have ever experienced. And then? Don’t miss it: “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This is the Word of God. Alleluia!
There lies Uncle Manuel. He’s dead. My seven-year-old brain tried to comprehend what was happening as I attended my uncle Manuel’s funeral, beheld his casket, stared into his pale face, held my dad’s hand while surrounded by mourners dressed in black, and witnessed my mother’s tears. It was all very strange. At such a young age, I could hardly understand what death meant, much less what happens next to those whose short life on this earth has ended.
Uncle Manuel’s funeral was almost 40 years ago. Since then, I’ve done a lot of research into what the Bible says in regards the truth about death, burial, and the resurrection. After years of study, I’ve come to the conclusion that when a person dies – whether saint or sinner – they are dead, that is, they lie unconscious in their graves awaiting the “resurrection of the dead” (Acts 24:15). I realize this is a bit different from what most people believe. Nevertheless, I am not accountable to man, but to God alone. To my readers I make this plea: Read my arguments, study the Bible for yourself, pray, and come to your own conclusions. Sound fair enough?
Solomon said that “there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) and that “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Both the Old and New Testaments plainly teach that the dead “sleep in the dust of the earth” (Daniel 12:2) as they await the resurrection (see Psalms 13:3; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 51-55). Jesus Christ said concerning the man who dies believing in Him, “I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). I have found this to be the consistent teaching of Scripture.
Yet as I mentioned earlier, there are a few Bible passages that seem to support a different view – that of immediate entrance into heaven, or of instant descent into hell-fire. Earlier we looked at 2 Corinthians 5:8 where Paul wrote about being “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” It’s time to look at another well-known passage.

The thief on the cross (Luke 23:42,43)

On history’s darkest day, as the Son of God hung suspended between heaven and earth bearing the sins of the world, a dying criminal crucified beside Jesus breathed hopefully, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). The King responded, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise ” (verse 43). Many interpret Christ’s response as conclusive evidence that the dying thief’s soul was instantly ushered into the presence of Jesus on that very day. I disagree. Here’s why:
First, the dying thief pleaded, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Thus the thief hoped to be remembered at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, not before. Second, Jesus Himself did not go to Paradise that day, but into Joseph’s tomb. Three days later, after rising from the dead, Jesus candidly told Mary, “I have not yet ascended to My Father” (John 20:17). Thus our Lord did not ascend to glory on the day of His death. Thirdly, Jesus clarified that His followers will be with Him when He returns. “I will come again”, He promised, “and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3, italics added). Paul taught the same thing when he wrote that true believers will get to “be with the Lord” when He descends from heaven and resurrects the dead (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).So what did Jesus mean when He spoke to the dying thief?
Believe it or not, the confusion stems from one tiny piece of punctuation called a ‘comma.’ Before we look again at Christ’s exact words to the thief, let me clarify that the Bible calls itself “the Word of God”, not “the Comma of God”. The fact is that punctuation and commas were added to the inspired text many years after the New Testament was written. It is the same with the numbering of verses. Whatever translation you are reading from, your Bible says “43” before Christ’s response the dying thief. “42” comes before that, then “41”, etcetera. Guess what? Luke didn’t write “41” or “42” or “43” or “44.” He just wrote one book of Luke. It wasn’t until many years later that mennumbered the verses to make it easier for us to find them. I’m glad they did. It helps. But they also added commas where they assumed they should go. So let’s remove the comma and look at what Jesus Christ literally said to the thief. His exact words were:
Assuredly I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Now, if you place the comma before the word “today,” which is where most Bibles place it, then Jesus told the thief, “today you will be with Me in Paradise.” But if you place the comma after the word “today,” Christ’s meaning is switched entirely. Then Jesus would have said, “I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” In other words, Christ would be telling the thief, “I tell you today” (right then two thousand years ago) that he would be with Him in the future when He returns.
So which is it? Where should the comma go? Fortunately, we don’t have to guess. Other verses make Christ’s answer clear. First, Jesus didn’t go to Paradise that day. Second, on Sunday morning He had not yet ascended to His Father (see John 20:17). Thirdly, and most importantly, Jesus never contradicted Himself. He plainly promised His followers, “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3). Martin Luther once said, “Here I stand. So help me God. Amen.” This is where I stand. My hope is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
My uncle Manuel was Jewish. As far as I know, he was not a believer in the Crucified and Risen One. Where did Uncle Manuel go? And if he is lost (I hope this is not the case!), what will finally happen to him? As we continue reading this article on the truth about death, we’ll find out.
Elvis Presley. Marilyn Monroe. Princess Diana. Ronald Reagan. Pope John Paul II – what do they have in common? They’re all famous, and they’re all dead. No matter how large a person’s bank account, or how attractive their physical appearance, or even how close to God they may become in this life, “All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good, the clean, and the unclean…after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:2, 3, italics added). “ But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” penned Benjamin Franklin. He was correct.
So far I have built my case that when a human being dies – whether saint or sinner – they are truly dead, that is, they lie unconscious in their graves awaiting the resurrection. To briefly summarize, Solomon said “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and that “there is no work, or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). David wrote about “the sleep of death” (Psalms 13:3), Daniel said the dead “sleep in the dust of the earth” (Daniel 12:2), and Jesus Christ emphatically declared that someday “all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29). These passages describe man’s condition at death, his sleeping in the grave, and finally – a bodily resurrection back to life.
To repeat what I have written previously, I realize that majority opinion thinks differently. Shortly after Pope John Paul II died at the ripe age of 84, Vatican officials declared that their departed leader was now “looking down from heaven” after being “welcomed into the presence of Jesus.” With all due respect, I don’t think so. If you are Catholic, please don’t take offense. I would say the same thing about my own mother whom I love dearly. Based on my study of the Bible, I believe Pope John Paul II and countless others are not in heaven at this exact moment. Rather, they are silently sleeping in their graves waiting for Resurrection Day.
Earlier in this article on the truth about death, I examined two biblical passages often quoted to support the common view of ‘instant heaven at death’: 1) Paul’s expression about longing to be “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8) and 2) Jesus Christ’s promise to a dying thief about being with Him in Paradise (Luke 23:42, 43). I think these arguments are pretty convincing. It’s time to examine a few more verses that I believe are often misinterpreted to teach ‘instant heaven’ rather than the doctrine of literal death, unconscious sleep, and future bodily resurrection.

Paul’s “desire to depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23)

Paul knew that sometime after he died he would be with Jesus, yet it as an assumption to think that in Philippians 1:23 he meant at the moment of his death. In another letter, Paul clarified that he expected to “always be with the Lord” when Jesus Christ returned to resurrect the dead (read 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). It is significant to note that the very last letter Paul penned was 2 Timothy. In that letter’s concluding chapter, notice carefully Paul’s ‘famous last words’:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8, italics added).
Here again Paul clarified – just like he did in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 – that he looked forward to being with Jesus Christ on “the Day” of “His appearing”.

Souls under the altar (Revelation 6:9-11)

In the book of Revelation, John beheld under a heavenly “altar” “the souls” of many Christian martyrs calling out for vengeance against their persecutors. “There!” some claim, “There are souls alive in heaven after they died!” But look closer. This entire passage is filled with symbolism. In the same chapter John also saw four horses with riders, the fourth rider being “Death” itself, followed by “Hell” (Revelation 6:1-8). Can “Death” literally ride a horse? Are literal souls crammed underneath a physical altar? Not a very pleasant place to hang out, do you think? Biblically speaking, the idea of martyred souls crying out for vengeance is rooted in Genesis 4 when God told Cain after he murdered Abel, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” (Genesis 4:10) Does this mean that Abel’s blood literally muttered syllables through dirt? Obviously not. Again, this is symbolic.

The appearance of Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:28 -32)

Not long before Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, “Moses and Elijah” appeared to comfort the Saviour. This supposedly proves that Moses, Elijah, and all the saints are now alive ‘on the other side’. But it doesn’t. First of all, it was not disembodied ‘souls’ that appeared before Christ and His disciples, but “two men” (Luke 9:30) in physical form. Second, Elijah himself never died, but was translated in Old Testament times without seeing death (see 2 Kings 2:11). Thirdly, Moses did die, but Jude 9 implies that “the body of Moses” was at some point raised back to life. In Luke 9:28-32, Elijah appeared representing all those who shall one day be translated at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, while Moses represented all others who shall be resurrected “at the last day” (see John 11:24). Again, the text says “two men,” not two ghosts. Why did Moses and Elijah appear? To encourage Jesus to go through with His death, burial, and resurrection, and to assure Him that millions of other believers – just like them – would someday be translated or raised from the grave.