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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Is his kingdom among the dead?

He told the Pharisees it was among the living.

"Oh, but," says one, "he descended into hell".

"True" says another, "and while he was there he preached the gospel to the dead, and prociaimed repentance to the spirits in prison.

He and the thief, that is to say, their souls, were there together as soon as death released them.

This was Paradise".

"Not exactly so," adds a third.

"That savours too much of purgatory.

They were in an intermediate state of blessedness before the throne of God, in the kingdoms beyond the skies".

"How can that be," says a fourth; "is the blessedness in God's presence only intermediate?

They went straight to the fulness of joy for evermore".

Why, then, was Jesus raised that he might go to the Father, if he were with the Father before; and, where did he leave the thief, for he was not raised; and if not raised, but left behind, how can he be with the Lord in Paradise?

When this question is answered, it will be time enough to glance at the traditions extant upon this subject -- dogmatisms, however, which none who understand the gospel of the kingdom can possibly entertain.