Hi Cathy and Neasa,
It’s been a busy day at work for me, so I am just catching up.
I don’t think I’ve read any Dean Koontz books before but my brother loves the Will Wilder series it’s like a Catholic kiddy Indian Jones! Oh, can I ask, do you believe in purgatory? I’ve heard most non-Catholic Christians don’t but maybe that’s just another misconception? XD
I cannot recommend all of Dean Koontz’s books, but some of them are quite marvelous. I would recommend the Odd Thomas series, however, there are some serious dark moments in it, so I definitely would not recommend it for younger teens.
Dean states in the interview that in every one of his novels, he always wants love to prevail. He is never nihilistic and has both beautiful prose and some seriously funny moments woven into his stories, which sometimes annoy his publishers but they can’t argue with his success. Four of my favorites of his are “Watchers”, “Lightning”, “One Door Away from Heaven” and “By The Light of The Moon”. His characters are brilliant and endearing. These latter four I highly recommend.
To answer your question about purgatory, I always refer to the Scriptures for any discussion. Basically, it does not matter what my opinion is, I always want to align it with what the Scriptures tell me.
There are some important passages that I go to.
Prior to the coming of the Messiah, it was believed by Jewish rabbis (Pharisees, not Sadducees) that the soul of man descended into the lower parts of the earth into a two-part compartment separated by a great gulf barrier. Those who held faith in the promises of Abraham and the coming Messiah went into a place called “The Bosom of Abraham” and those who lived pagan lives and did not respond to the measure of faith given to them went into a place of torment called Gehenna. Collectively this place was often referred to as Sheol which simply translates to “The Grave”. These souls were awaiting the revealing of Jesus as Messiah to be born and reveal Himself as God come in the flesh.
When Jesus (Matthew 27:50) yielded His spirit’s release from His body on the cross, immediately we read of some strange occurrences in the following verses.
[Mat 27:52-53 KJV] 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
The Saviour who had given Himself up to death, was suddenly opening graves. Sheol was being ripped open and those in “The Bosom of Abraham” were released. The words of the prophet Isaiah in 26:18-21, and Hosea 13:14 were being fulfilled.
[Isa 26:19-21 KJV] 19 Thy dead [men] shall live, [together with] my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew [is as] the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
The saints of old were each given a measure of faith, prior to the fulfillment of Christ and Hebrews Chapter 11, upon that future promise, their faith was credited to them as righteousness.
Another verse refers to what happened:
Ephesians 4:7-10 refers to Christ descending into the “lower parts of the earth” to set captives free, before He ascended into Heaven.
Jesus’s crucifixion dealt with the eternal penalty for unbelief and reconciled us to Himself, by becoming our singular door to The Father. That is why Jesus refers to Himself in this way in John 10:7-8 and in John 14:6.
[Jhn 14:6 NKJV] 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus does not allow for “many paths” but is singular in His message.
[Jhn 6:37-40 NKJV] 37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Now since Jesus did in fact, as the Scriptures say, set those captives free, as prophesied, I have trouble believing that there are “new captives” after the resurrection.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, writes:
[2Co 5:4-10 KJV] 4 For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, , and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Verse 8 is why I have difficulty believing in a purgatory, post-resurrection. Death has been swallowed up in Christ’s completed victory at Golgotha. When He said, “It is finished.” I believe it was. Jesus Christ claimed the keys of death and hell.
For believers, I refer to this passage in verse 8: “To be absent from the body, [is] to be present with the Lord.”
That is why I believe, as John saw in the account of the Book of Revelations, that the “saints” are in Heaven and present with the Lord, even as Paul states it.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesies the same thing:
[Jde 1:14-16 KJV] 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
The saints are coming with Jesus when He returns not as the former Lamb, but as The Lion of the Tribe of Judah to bring the wrath against those who refused Him the first time, and choose rebellion over Mercy.
Does that answer your question?
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.