BULLETIN

THE WORD OF TRUTH MINISTRY

228 NORTH EL MOLINO AVENUE, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91101-1675

Otis Q. Sellers, Founder David R. Hettema, Director

______________________________________________________

Volume 2, No. 38      Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor     July 2006

Thoughts from the Editor
Jane S. Hancock

A Review of The Rich Man and Lazarus
(Luke 16:19-31)

When I was a child my dad, Otis Q. Sellers, was just beginning his studies on man’s nature and destiny, on what is “a soul” and what is “death.” In the summer when school was out, my mother and I would travel with him on his weekly trips, resulting in repeatedly hearing his studies on Monday night in Evanston, Illinois; on Tuesday in Rockford; on Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and on Thursday back home again in Grand Rapids at our evening Bible class. Repetition is good. I learned that man IS a soul and I knew from the 859 passages cited the Biblical evidence that backed up that teaching. I also learned that the dead are dead, that death is an enemy.

One of my favorite pieces of my dad’s writing is The Rich Man and Lazarus, a study he wrote in 1941 and rewrote and republished in 1962. Because the study of literature and writing is my field, I think it is a fabulous work because it deals not only with the doctrine, but also with the literature of the Bible.

He said, “This Book is God’s thoughts reduced to writing. When thought is reduced to writing it becomes literature. Therefore, the Bible is literature—literature in its highest and best form” (p. 15).

In literature we find literary forms—everything from historical narrative to poetry—and these forms all exist in the Bible: fable, parable, allegory, humor, proverb, irony, and satire. Yes, satire. And that is what the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus is. Satire.

However, instead of looking at the story as satire, most Biblical students use it to prove that man has a soul, that the soul is immortal, that death is another form of life, that death is simply life in another place, that death is the continuation of life, and that at the moment of death a man is ushered into ineffable bliss or frightful woe, that punishment is by means of literal fire, that the lost are tormented by fire eternally, that the dead are not dead at all but alive and fully conscious (p. 4).

Satire is a literary technique, which exposes the follies of its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) to ridicule, often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. Most satire has specific, readily identifiable targets; in the case of The Rich Man and Lazarus these targets are the Pharisees and their ridiculous practices.

What were some of these practices? They assumed “the position and rights that God had ordained for the king in Israel.” They took over the chief work of the priests—teaching—leaving the priests to perform an empty ritual. They lived a luxurious and magnificent style while most of Israel was suffering hardship due to the Roman occupation. They neglected the poor, justifying this neglect by their teachings. They believed that at death angels carried good men to a place, which they called “Abraham’s bosom,” while others were taken to a place where punishments were meted out to them. They established and maintained a caste system. They believed God spoke to them in a special way, not in the same say He spoke to the common people. They taught that if a man received evil things in this life, he would receive good things in the life to come (p.40).

So, Jesus Christ took their beliefs and wove them into a story, a story so ridiculous, so satirical, a story that would expose their superstitions, their way of life, and their teachings.

The story suggests that if one position is to be reversed in the life to come, then all positions should be reversed. If the poor were to become rich, then the rich should become poor; if a man did evil in this life, then he should get good things in the life to come. Ridiculous? Yes. Satirical? Yes. The story denies the justice of God, yet is in harmony with Pharisaic teaching.

As you read Luke 16:19-31, try not to read anything into it that isn’t there. We know nothing about the rich man except that he was rich, dressed well, ate well. We know nothing about the poor man except that he was poor and had to beg for food, for crumbs, and that he was full of sores. We know they both died. We know nothing about the characters of either of them. We cannot judge them. We can sympathize with the poor man but we know nothing about him. Was he a man of faith? Was the rich man a man of faith? The righteous and the wicked are not in contrast here.

Explore Otis Q. Sellers’ booklet, not only for its truth about man’s nature and destiny, but for its insight into literary forms used in the Bible. And remember, man doesn’t have a soul, he IS a soul; the dead are dead—until resurrection intervenes; and the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus is a satire ridiculing the beliefs of the Pharisees.


From the Director
David R. Hettema

(Editor’s Note: Recently, at the home office on Sunday, we had a guest speaker, Louis J. Tonetti, who dealt with the subject of the situation in the Middle East and the spread of the sadistic, counterfeit “peaceful” religion of Islam—which is by NO means peaceful! He clarified details of its spreading control there, as well as within the United States. He compared the differences between Islam and the Word of God, namely that the Arabic name “Islam” means “submission,” especially to the rule of violent men (their inman’s and mullah’s interpretations) and NOT to the living God in Christ, as we recognize, whom we know is a peace-loving God. One of His Names in the Hebrew is Jehovah Shalom [Jehovah {sends} peace] [E.W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, Appendix No. 4].)

Those who put their trust in the Word of God are not the only people who are deeply concerned about world conditions brought on by Islam’s long-time hatred for Israel. The threats of destroying Israel are nothing new; it is the advanced weapon technology in the hands of those of Islam with the power to use them that makes these threats so fearful. If the powers of Islam have a plan to destroy Israel and have full control of Jerusalem, there is One in heaven Whose eyes have always been upon that city and also upon His people Israel, presently estranged from His fellowship and scattered throughout the nations of the world. But God has a sure plan for Jerusalem and for His people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His plan will not fail, and if the threats of the enemy turn into actions, it well may be the time spoken of by Isaiah, when God goes into action by His Spirit:

According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD (Isa. 59:18-20, KJV).

The day when God chooses to go into action will become the first day of Jesus Christ’s government in this earth. By God’s Spirit He will assume authority over all the nations of the earth and no will be hurt by His action; see Matthew 12:18-21 where the action concludes with And in His Name will the nations (Gentiles, KJV) trust.

I am convinced that the city of Jerusalem will be very much involved in the intervention and the blazing entrance of God’s government into this earth. God is speaking to Jerusalem when He said, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee (God in the pillar of cloud over Jerusalem). For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations (and all of Islam) shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising (Isa. 60:1-3).

Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem . . . . (Zech 1:16).


Sellers’ “The Rich Man and Lazarus”

Available On Cassette, CD Or Online

Enjoy listening in your car, home or office to audio versions of Otis Q. Sellers’ booklet “The Rich Man and Lazarus,” which are now available on two cassettes or a single MP3 compact disk (CD). If you are interested in purchasing this in-depth study, beautifully narrated by the late Harry Wells, the cost (in U.S. dollars by check or money order, including shipping and handling) is $4 for each set of two tapes and/or $5 for each MP3/CD, together with mailing instructions to The Word of Truth Ministry, 228 N. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101-1675.

For your reading pleasure, the Word of Truth Ministry still offers the original-published, soft-bound, 48-page booklet (5-7/8” x 8-7/8”) from our home office. It is only $3 (in U.S. dollars by check or money order, including shipping and handling) with mailing instructions to the above address. Or if you wish, you may download it for free as a hard copy off our Web site at www.seedandbread.org.


BIBLE STUDY AUDIO TAPES

By Otis Q. Sellers, Bible Teacher

The entire Tape Library (TL) series, consisting of numbers TL-1 to TL-570, is still available on cassettes. A complete subjects list may be obtained from the home office in Pasadena, CA, or writing/e-mailing:

The Word of Truth Ministry

Mrs. Gwen Staiger, Recorder

121 Wood Oak Dr., Joshua, TX 76058

E-mail: gsrecorder@sbcglobal.net


Bible Study Satellite Groups

Many Bible study groups formerly visited by our late teacher, Otis Q. Sellers, continue meeting throughout the United States.

Our readers know that after Sellers’ death we preferred not publicizing them, but rather respected their individual privacy. We are now modifying this approach.

As a service to those who lack a local Bible study location and would prefer to study God’s Word and fellowship with similar believers, we desire making available those Bible study groups, but only with their advance permission. (Of course, this is not limited to the United States—other Bible study group locations in other countries, utilizing Sellers’ Bible study materials, are encouraged.)

Would you like your group listed in this Bulletin? We would like to put together a listing of the various study groups that exist. One format used at the study groups is listening to one of Mr. Sellers’ audio studies (45-minute duration), and then having a discussion period afterwards. This is not a fixed format, just a suggestion.

If you happen to be one of these Word of Truth “satellite” Bible Study Groups and would like to have your group listed in future communications, please send us by “snail mail” or e-mail us basic information, such as location, meeting frequency/times, host/moderator, contact information, and any additional comments.

Bible Study Satellite

Group Locations

In California (Los Angeles Area):

The Word of Truth Ministry, 228 N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Sundays from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mr. David Hettema and Dr. Milton Hammond take turns at presiding. David Hettema may be reached at (626) 794-0819.

In New York (New York City Area):

The YMCA, 125 W. 14th St. (between 6th & 7th Avenues), New York City, the last Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. Mr. Luis Casillas, moderator, notes, “We use O.Q. Sellers’ Seed & Bread leaflets (found on www.seedandbread.org) as a guide for our discussions.”

In New Jersey:

430 Boulevard Ave., Pitman, Mondays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Mr. Sam Marrone presides as host and may be reached at (856) 589-6256. Marrone notes, “Bring your Bible and a hunger for the Word.”


News Briefs

Expanded Word of Truth Website Online

After almost five years in development, the improved and expanded Word of Truth Ministry website, www.seedandbread.org, a long-range goal of our ministry, was released in February 2006.

On this enhanced site you can now obtain many of the published, written materials in three ways: 1) free downloads of all Seed & Bread leaflets and select Otis Q. Sellers’ booklets; 2) at reasonable costs (using your secure credit card) as a “download” directly to your computer; and 3) as mailings (such as compact disks or booklets) to your “snail mail” address. Also available are many audio materials and examples of Sellers’ “TL-series” Bible studies.

We are receiving “hits” from all over the world. Our founder, the late Otis Q. Sellers, would have been thrilled to see this electronic spread of God’s truth!

Next 200 TL-Series Audio Messages Available On MP3/CDs

Our volunteers in this effort, Louis Tonetti, Mark and Milt Hammond, have now completed the next 20 disks from Sellers’ TL-series audio Bible studies library. These consist of 10 messages per MP3/CD, and range from TL-201 through TL-400. They are in final reproduction as of this writing, so you may order your copies in advance, and we will send them out as soon as they’re reproduced.

An objective, also, has been to get the MP3/CD prices down to the same level as the cassette tapes with an order of 20 disks or more. We feel that objective has now been achieved.

Those of you familiar with this Ministry know that we are NOT here for monetary profit. Our primary purpose is to spread God’s Truth and only cover our very basic costs. We, also, are deeply thankful for recent and past contributions, as we appreciate your kind and continued support. On your behalf, we express our gratitude with “Thank you!”

The Word of Truth Group E-Mail List

Word-of-Truth volunteer, Bob Hammond, began an “e-mail list” of Word of Truth Ministry friends over a year ago. He sends out short memorandums of what’s transpiring at the Ministry. Occasionally, he includes a Bible-study booklet for downloading. He will add you to the e-mail list only by written request. Please write him at roberthammond@earthlink.net, if you desire to be added. You may also easily remove your e-mail address with an e-mail stating: “Please remove me.”

Hammond also notes that, at his last mailing, he received 10 messages returned as “undeliverable.” If you change your e-mail address, please inform him so we don’t lose our “electronic connection” with you!

Audio Ministry Distribution Relocated


We have now completed the physical transfer of distribution of The Word of Truth Audio Ministry (cassettes and compact disks) to Mrs. Gwen Staiger in Texas. Prior to this, Mrs. Staiger, with the help of her husband, Jim, has been in charge of solely distributing the “TL-Series” cassette tapes. Now she will distribute both the tapes and the MP3/CDs, upon receipt of your orders. Please send either your TL-Series cassette or your TL-Series compact disk orders to The Word of Truth Ministry, Mrs. Gwen Staiger, Recorder, 121 Wood Oak Drive, Joshua, TX 76058. (Please see our accompanying announcement and new TL-Series CD price list in this mailing.)

In the near future, she will be filling orders for our “LA Tapes Ministry” (recordings of our Sunday studies in Pasadena, California) as well. However, for now, please continue sending your “LA Tapes” orders to the home office in Pasadena, California.


We Get Letters

E-mail from the United Kingdom:

“I recently received the following note from one of my correspondents:

‘Incidentally, the last two-mentioned studies of Sellers [The Challenge Stands and The Earth, Not Heaven Is the Home of the Redeemed (1955)] are, I think, quite brilliant. So too is his Interpretation of Philippians 3:20. Sellers has left for us a matchless pattern in his approach: deep and meticulous research, citing of others (something which W. . . refused to do), willingness to progress, ability to correct himself, take on contradictor’s views, numerous examples to develop his point. Where else do we find such a pattern of thoroughness?’

“This [is] from a man who has studied the Scriptures in depth for many, many years. Anyone who knows the developing direction of recovered TRUTH would fully endorse this.”

E-mail from the USA:

[Referring to our improved Web site.] “I have not e-mailed but I have certainly been using and enjoying the resources! Thanks again!”

“Received the CD today! Thank you for, and it would have been worth it if it had taken twice as long (not that it really took that to get it here).

“I also want to say ‘thank you’ for the study on Daniel’s 70 heptads; we are in full agreement that the entirety of those 70 ‘weeks’ are yet future and comprise at least the majority of that pre-millennial era that Mr. Sellers was privileged to bring to our attention.”

“I do feel you were blessed to be under his [Sellers’] ministry. I heard about him from a dear friend in Texas . . . SO I finally asked him whose teaching, other than the obvious Holy Spirit, had the greatest impact upon you and he mentioned Sellers. Since then I have read every one of Sellers’ studies online (all 200), many of them several times. . . . Thank you for sending me your newsletters. There are so few out there that seem to understand the difference between Israel and the present-day church.”

[Referring to finding Sellers’ cassettes on studies in Ephesians.] “This is wonderful. Thank you for your letting me know [this]. I teach a Bible study [class] each Sunday morning in our home and am hoping to start Ephesians next month. I always like to hear Mr. Sellers first because he has such marvelous insight. Far, far different from Welsh, Allen, and the others.”


Mortality And Immortality

By Peter Baxter

“(Christ) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:16).

Lazarus was not immortal but dead (John 11:11-14). Jesus called him from the grave (John 11:43-44) and not from heaven or a burning fire. The popular myth that people go to heaven or burn in a fire at death comes from Satan: “And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). This contradicts God’s Word, “. . . Thou shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Why should we think we go to heaven when we die, when Jesus did not go to heaven the day He died, instead telling Mary Magdalene after He was resurrected at the sepulcher, “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father . . .” (John 20:17). So if we do not believe He was dead for three days and three nights before He ascended to heaven, then we have no hope at all (I Cor. 15:12-19). However, the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die (are dying), even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

The only way we can become immortal is when we as corruptible and mortal beings are changed. And this can only happen in God’s future time of resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:53-57, Paul reminds us over and over that we are mortal. The mortal soul (person) dies. Another verse in Ezekiel 18:4 says, “. . . The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” David knew that he, as a mortal soul, would return to the ground and await resurrection (Psalm 49:14-15). Genesis 3:19 tells us, “. . . For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.”

A good rule of thumb as to knowing who is mortal and who is immortal is to go back where we began. Only Christ has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16).


OUR HONORARY AGENT IN

GREAT BRITAIN

Look up the interesting web site from “across the pond”! Our honorary agent, George T. Morris, provides a supply of Word of Truth materials. A list of materials and prices will be sent. Please write/e-mail:

Mr. George T. Morris

67 Wood Lane, Sutton Coldfield,

West Midlands, B74 3LS,

United Kingdom

E-mail: geo.morris@virgin.net

Web Site: christianindividualism.info


 

What Is Man? Is He A Soul? What Is His Destiny?

Joanne L.H. Johnson

Curiosity evokes inquiry. We all have many questions: What is man? What is his nature and destiny? Where was the first man, Adam, from? How did he come into being? Was he “a soul”? What do you believe? Does man “have a soul” or is man “a soul?” What IS the soul?

We are all born with a very basic knowledge of a Superior Being (see More Seed & Bread No. 251, God’s Gift of Conscience). Our God in Christ has given us many choices in this world. One is not to believe in Him or His existence. Another is to believe in Him and the record He has left, or given us to discover Who He is and what He is all about through the pages of His written Word, the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The English King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is translated mostly from Hebrew (the Old Testament) and Greek texts (the New Testament). Our late founder, Otis Q. Sellers, expressed in his in-depth booklet, What Is The Soul, a very fundamental fact: “First and foremost among all things that I believe is that the sacred Scriptures are fully and verbally inspired.” He later explains in the next paragraph: “By the term ‘verbal inspiration’ it is meant that the Bible is, even to its very words, an inspired book, so that not only the thoughts are God’s thoughts, but the very words used to express those thoughts are God’s words. I believe the Bible to be a revelation from God given through men chosen by Himself, and watched over by the Holy Spirit in such a way as to exclude all human error.” He further says: “Man deals out words at random on the principle of hit or miss, but God deals out His words by weight and measure on the principle of intentional selection. No word He has used will ever be found to be too heavy or too light; none are too strong or too weak. When God uses a word, it is because it is the only word that would express His thoughts.” He continues: “With unshakeable conviction I believe that all Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation—is God breathed. This is the truth expressed in 2 Timothy 3:16 where the word theopneustos is rendered by five English words—“given by inspiration of God.”

Sellers’ found the KJV included several inconsistent translations of the Hebrew word nephesh and the Greek word psuche. The majority of words in each language were used for the KJV English word soul. These same Hebrew and Greek words were also translated life, even though the appropriate Hebrew word for this word life is chaiyah. In another set of words, the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma were translated into the KJV English word spirit (see also Seed & Bread No. 77, What Is The Soul?).

This familiar verse in Genesis 2:7 is used to explain where Adam, the first man, originated: “The Lord God formed man (Heb.-adam) of the dust (Heb.–aphar) of the ground (earth), and breathed into his nostrils ‘the breath of life’ (Heb.-neshamah chaiyim; see also Seed & Bread No. 78, The Breath of Life); and man became a living soul (Heb.-nephesh).” Simply stated, God took from man from the earth’s soil and breathed life into him—he became soul. This is differentiated from NOT being “a soul,” because a soul is not something that a man has, it is essentially what he IS (consisting of his attributes and senses). This is his nature—this is what man is made of. Men sometimes describe dead people as “dead souls.” This is an appropriate usage of this word soul. The Greek philosopher, Plato, basically made men’s souls “immortal spirits,” disconnected from the body at death, that couldn’t die. This, however, is NOT in accord with what is found in God’s Word. 1 Timothy 6:15-16 (NASB) substantiates: “. . . He Who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; Who alone possesses immortality (Gk.-athanasia; deathlessness; see Seed & Bread No. 132, Concerning Immortality) . . . .”

Contrast this with another verse in Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust (Heb.-aphar; ashes, clay) return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (Heb.-ruach) shall return unto God who gave it.” This again shows man’s nature and what becomes of it. NOWHERE does it say that we are spirits “floating around the atmosphere” after death! All living souls have life until they die; then they become dead—they no longer have “the breath of life.” Psalm 104:29 reconfirms this: “. . . Thou (God) takest away their breath (Heb.-ruach; spirit), they die (Heb.–gava; expire) and return to their dust (Heb.-aphar).” Dead souls are dead until God resurrects them from the state of death in His future time periods, including the Kingdom of God. Now we have established man’s nature AND destiny—man dies and is resurrected from the dead (see Seed & Bread No. 80, Concerning Resurrection) in God/Christ’s own time and order (I Cor. 15:22-26).

1 Corinthians 15:45 also states (see also verse before this): “And so it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, was made a living soul (Gk.-psuche); the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit (Gk.-pneuma).’” The word “made” in the KJV is not found in the Greek. However, in its first occurrence, it is, as is found in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the word “became” (Gk.-genomai; to cause to be or generate). The second occurrence of the word “made” or “became” is NOT found in the Greek. This verse might be better translated, “. . . ‘The first man Adam became [a] living soul (by God’s breath of life). The last Adam [a] made-alive spirit [being].”

Another verse confirms the usage of the word soul, where Our great God and Savior emphasizes, “Behold, all souls (Heb.-nephesh) are Mine . . . .” (Ezek. 18:4).

Our “soulish” bodies with our familiar “animal feelings” depend on sustenance from the earth (herbs, grain, meat, vegetables, fruit, water) to survive. When we are resurrected, Sellers contrasts in his booklet that “. . . we will have bodies which are dominated by spiritual perception rather than physical sensations” (see also Seed & Bread No. 89, “Spiritual”—A Word Study). In the future Kingdom of God, we will have the wonderful ability to constantly please our great God and Savior, even our Lord Jesus Christ without this world’s troublesome sins competing! As it says in Romans 6:11: “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (NASB).