THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED
--A. Ralph Johnson
WATCHTOWER: "Wicked will never be Remembered for Resurrection."
--Make Sure of All Things p.314 1953 edition
I. THE BIBLE:
A. John 5:28,29.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (KJV)
OBJECTION: The Greek word for "tombs" (#3419 mnemēiois) has reference to Jehovah's memory. The willfully wicked will not be "remembered" for resurrection. Those who "do evil" are not the same as those who are "wicked."
1. "Done evil" would include the wicked. Every wicked man has done evil.
2. John 3:20 tells us that those who "do evil" (same Greek word) "Hate the light." Speaking of these people, verse 19 of the Watchtower's own translation says, "their works were wicked."
3. The claim that a "tomb" has reference to God's memory is totally without foundation. Mnemēiois is always used to refer to a place where dead bodies are placed. A person's memory in itself is never called a "tomb." It is a place for remembrance rather than a place in the memory.
a. John 11:17, 31, 38. It was a "cave" into which a person could go.
b. John 19:41,42. Even without a body in it, it was called a mnemēiois.
c. John 20:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11. Living people entered the tomb. Clothing was in it.
d. Matt. 23:29; Luke 11:47,48. Tombs are built and decorated by men.
e. Luke 11:44. Tombs may be walked upon by men.
f. Mark 5:2, 3, 5. A man with a demon dwelt in the tombs (Luke. 8:27)
B. Luke 10:12; Matt. 10:15; 11:24. "It shall be more endurable for Sodom (a wicked city -Gen. 13:13) in the day of judgment"
Note that it does not say, "It shall be worse for that city than it was for Sodom." It says, "It shall be more tolerable for Sodom." Sodom will be raised.
Certainly Sodom was wicked. This is affirmed in 2Pet. 2:7. Jude 7 says they suffered the vengeance of eternal fire that permanently destroyed the city for their wicked conduct. God says He knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment (2Pet. 2:7). The Watchtower's New World Translation, in Gen. 18:23-26, plainly affirms that Sodom was "wicked." It is very significant that the Hebrew word used here is the same as the one in Prov. 10:7, which they try to use to argue that the wicked will not be raised. We may also note that the same terminology is used with regard to those wicked men who died in the flood (Gen. 6:5) as was used with regard to Sodom (Gen. 15:13).
C. In the above scripture concerning Sodom, it declares that in the day of judgment those who turned their backs on Jesus will have a worse judgment. If those who rejected in Jesus' day are going to have it worse than Sodom then the wicked must be raised again in the future.
D. Nineveh was wicked (Nah. 3:19. cf. 1:1) just as Sodom (Gen. 13:13, the same Hebrew word), and yet Nineveh will "stand up in judgment" with the wicked generation that rejected Christ. Note that even the queen of the South (Queen of Sheba) will be there (Matt. 16:4).
E. Those wicked men who crucified Christ shall be present and see Christ at his return. (Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30,31; 26:63-65).
F. Rev. 20:12-15. Death, Hades and the sea are to give up the dead in them. It is unquestionable that wicked people are in these three and thus will be given up.
G. Luke 13:28, 29. They would see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets in the kingdom of God and themselves cast out. In order to do this they would have to be raised after Abraham.
H. Mark 9:43-48. The wicked are going to be raised and their whole body is going to be cast into hell (Gehenneh). This is not the first death --it is the second. (cf. Rev. 20:14; 14:10,11; Matt. 25:31, 41, 46). In order to be cast bodily into the second death the wicked would have to be raised from the first death.
I. Acts 24:15. Both the just and the unjust shall be raised. The wicked are certainly unjust.
II. ARGUMENTS USED BY THE WATCHTOWER:
A. "Jer. 51:57 says that the men of Babylon shall not awake from perpetual sleep." (verse 39)
ANSWER: The Hebrew word for "perpetual" does not indicate that it can never end. The word (ōlam) is translated "indefinite" in the Watchtower's translation. It only indicates "to the vanishing point, concealed or out of mind" (see Strong). It is often used of an unknown period which actually does come to an end in time. (cf. Jer. 15:18; Lev. 6:20; 24:9; 25:34).
The passage is only reassuring the Jews who are being taken into captivity that in time God is going to rescue them. With regard to the scope of the situation Ezekiel had under consideration it was absolutely true that the powerful men of Babylon would not rise to ever threaten them again. But Ezekiel does not even have the Judgment day at the end of the world under consideration.
B. "Isaiah 26:14 says, They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise."
ANSWER: This passage is similar to the one above. It is only concerned with the matter of whether their enemies would return to enslave them. It concerns the age relative to their own national existence --not the final day of judgment. Such expressions are similar to a statement we might make to Jews today, --"Hitler is dead. He can't hurt you any more. He's not coming back." Since the scope of my words do not deal with the day of judgment, I would certainly not be viewed as in conflict with my belief that he will someday stand in judgment.
A good example of this is found in Ecc. 9:5-6 in which it says that the dead have no more a reward. According to verse 3, he is speaking of both the wicked and the righteous. It is obvious that he is only considering a limited scope "under the sun" and not speaking of the day of coming judgment. This is in no way in conflict with such scriptures as 2Cor. 5:10 which indicates that we will be rewarded according to our works done in the body, whether they are good or bad.
If Sodom, Nineveh, all in the tombs, the High Priest, those who pierced him, those in death, Hades and the sea --and the whole wicked generation of Jesus' time are to stand up in the judgment, then it is utterly inconceivable that the rest of the wicked dead should not be raised. In order to discount the resurrection of the wicked one must press a few statements far beyond their natural scope and normal speech.