I'm teaching this Bible study on the Book of Revelation on Sundays to anyone in the church who wants to come. We just began actually reading through Revelation; the first several weeks we covered apocalyptic literature, symbols, etc. This week we read through the Seven Letters (Ch.2-3) to the churches. And then it happened...
Someone asked about John's distinction between Hell and Hades. I was not planning on getting into any of this until the end of our study, when we have the creation of Heaven and Hell. But since it was brought up, I ran with it. Now, I've discussed all of this on the Cruz-Control before so I expect most of you've heard of this before... at least here on the blog.
But most of the people in the room had never heard about The Interim State (that is, the time between now and the final resurrection of the dead). According to the Apostolic Tradition, when we die, we will go either to Paradise or Hades. After the resurrection, at the time of the End, we (Christians) wil be given our new resurrection bodies and enter into Heaven, which will be created at that time. Likewise is the case with Hell. The modern notion that we go either to Heaven or Hell immediately wheen we die stems from a Papal Bull in 1336. And Protestants have kinda kept it in our theology.
But it doesn't agree with Apostolic Tradition of personal eschatology. So, I explained all of this, and more. The thing about it is, it'll put a burr under your saddle if you haven't heard anything of the sort before. But it is important to understand John's eschatology if we're to understand Revelation.
I was actually surprised; this was all received rather well. After several questions and such, I think that we all could agree on accepting this Interim State as Biblical doctrine.
The only thing is... teaching such "radical" doctrines has always been made me uneasy, even if they're Biblical. But I feel obligated to teach all these doctrines if that is my job and my calling. Just pray that I don't get myself excommunicated in the process.