Fear not them which kill the body - Των αποκτεινοντων . Those who slay with acts of cruelty, alluding probably to the cruelties which persecutors should exercise on his followers in their martyrdom. But are not able to kill the soul. Hence we find that the body and the soul are distinct principles, for the body may be slain and the soul escape; and, secondly, that the soul is immaterial, for the murderers of the body are not able, μη δυναμενων, have it not in their power, to injure it.
Fear him - It is, not hell-fire we are to fear, but it is God; without the stroke of whose justice hell itself would be no punishment, and whose frown would render heaven itself insupportable. What strange blindness is it to expose our souls to endless ruin, which should enjoy God eternally; and to save and pamper the body, by which we enjoy nothing but the creatures, and them only for a moment!
Them which kill the body - That is, people, who have no power to injure the soul, the immortal part. The body is a small matter in comparison with the soul. Temporal death is a slight thing compared with eternal death. He directs them, therefore, not to be alarmed at the prospect of temporal death, but to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body forever. This passage proves that the bodies of the wicked will be raised up to be punished forever.
In hell - See the notes at Matthew 5:22.
What was the strength of those who in the past have suffered persecution for Christ's sake? It was union with God, union with the Holy Spirit, union with Christ. Reproach and persecution have separated many from earthly friends, but never from the love of Christ. Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by his Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth's sake. “I will love him,” Christ said, “and will manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21. When for the truth's sake the believer stands at the bar of earthly tribunals, Christ stands by his side. When he is confined within prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and cheers his heart with His love. When he suffers death for Christ's sake, the Saviour says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” John 16:33; Isaiah 41:10. AA 85.1
“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever.” “He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight.” Psalm 125:1-3; 72:14. AA 86.1
“The Lord of hosts shall defend them; ... the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land.” Zechariah 9:15, 16. AA 86.2Read in context »
Jesus Himself never purchased peace by compromise. His heart overflowed with love for the whole human race, but He was never indulgent to their sins. He was too much their friend to remain silent while they were pursuing a course that would ruin their souls,—the souls He had purchased with His own blood. He labored that man should be true to himself, true to his higher and eternal interest. The servants of Christ are called to the same work, and they should beware lest, in seeking to prevent discord, they surrender the truth. They are to “follow after the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19); but real peace can never be secured by compromising principle. And no man can be true to principle without exciting opposition. A Christianity that is spiritual will be opposed by the children of disobedience. But Jesus bade His disciples, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” Those who are true to God need not fear the power of men nor the enmity of Satan. In Christ their eternal life is secure. Their only fear should be lest they surrender the truth, and thus betray the trust with which God has honored them. DA 356.1
It is Satan's work to fill men's hearts with doubt. He leads them to look upon God as a stern judge. He tempts them to sin, and then to regard themselves as too vile to approach their heavenly Father or to excite His pity. The Lord understands all this. Jesus assures His disciples of God's sympathy for them in their needs and weaknesses. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father's heart. DA 356.2
The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy intelligences, all waiting to do His will. Through channels which we cannot discern He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. But it is in this speck of a world, in the souls that He gave His only-begotten Son to save, that His interest and the interest of all heaven is centered. God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, “Here am I.” He uplifts the distressed and downtrodden. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. In every temptation and every trial the angel of His presence is near to deliver. DA 356.3Read in context »
Parents have a most solemn obligation resting upon them to conform to right habits of eating and drinking. Set before your children simple, wholesome food, avoiding everything of a stimulating nature. The effect which a meat diet has upon nervous children is not to make them sweet tempered and patient, but peevish, irritable, passionate, and impatient of restraint. Virtuous practices are lost, and corruption destroys mind, soul, and body.—Manuscript 47, 1896. 3SM 290.1Read in context »
When for the truth's sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him, and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, “They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul.” “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “They crucified Me, and if they put you to death, they crucify Me afresh in the person of My saints.” 3SM 420.5Read in context »