“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I do have to tell you all. I am not very religious. And I probably never was. (Although I think I was, when I was younger.) I believe in God, and not much else. But I do still follow the Bible a little, because I know the importance it has in some people’s lives. (I do also consider myself a Christian, perhaps a nominal one at least, now too, FWIW.)
But about 30 years ago, when I was still in hs, I started receiving magazines and other material from the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong. I have to tell you, I wasn’t really planning on joining. But the materials were free (so I couldn’t beat the price), and he always did have something interesting to say.
The WCG has an interesting belief system. Inspired by Biblical passages, like the one above, they do not believe in an immortal soul. They believe your very MORTAL soul, undergoes purification, and complete extermination, in the fires of hell. But is that what that passage literally says?
I have to make clear, this is original intent in the extreme, that I am looking for here. I don’t care how other churches interpreted it later. I don’t care how they interpret it now. What was the meaning of “death” in the above passage, to the person who originally wrote it?
Total extermination of the soul? Is that what he really meant? Maybe he meant capital punishment? Maybe he meant God would smite you. You can see the confusion it might cause. So I am just looking for the original intent of the above passage–and to a lesser extent, I am also looking for the original views of the afterlife, of people who wrote the New Testament, too.
As I said, I am just curious, myself. But I think there are also many people who need to know, the WCG members at the very least.