Spirit, Soul and Body
Written by Charles Bedwell
Of all topics in scripture, the subject of the Spirit, soul and afterlife is one of the most intriguing ones. It is also one of the most heavily misunderstood topics as well, and one that Satan will use to his advantage in the end times. But like most doctrines in the Bible, so many today view the subject of Biblical life and what happens after death as "something not really all that important to understand. After all, all you have to do is "believe". God will work out all of the other minor things." Have you heard that line of thinking before? I know I sure have.
The truth is that God's chosen people (that is, God's people of ALL nations, multitudes, and languages who serve and obey Him) should have a yearning to fully understand ALL of God's messages. With everything, there is a definite Biblical truth. If we pray to earnestly understand it and have an open, humble heart - then God will lead us in the right direction.
I'm not going to spend the time in this article to explain thoroughly what happens at judgment, though that will be briefly touched on. This article is meant to discuss the Biblical differences between the spirit, the soul, and the body. Trust me, this is extremely important to understand. Having or not having a firm understanding of this will determine if you understand exactly what Jesus did on the cross, what He did afterward, and what He promises for YOU if you die as one of God's elect. Also, having a true understanding of this issue will put you in good stead during the last days when Satan unleashes his final deceptions.
There is much confusion about God's creation - man. But the following information will (hopefully) give you a clearer understanding of God's creation and the future.
The Modern Christian Theory
What is mostly taught today is that God created man and placed a spirit "being" inside of him. Additionally, it is taught that man also has a "soul" floating around inside of him, which will eventually "float" off to heaven or "hell".
Whoa, let's make an immediate STOP right there!
There is already a major problem with this theory. If most believe that we have a "spirit" inside of us, then why is it believed that we also have a "soul" too? Are we to believe the spirit and soul are the same thing? Are there TWO beings trapped inside of us?
Before we go further, we must biblically identify what these things are so that we can clear this all up.
What is Man Exactly? How Was he Created by God?
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV)...'And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.'
Genesis 2:7 (KJV) ...'And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.'
As we can see here, a "living being" and a "living soul" are the same exact thing. Also, in this very verse is the entire equation of life. And did you notice the word "became", instead of "was given"? VERY important point! So let's look at the equation of life:
Dust of the ground (Body) + The breath of life (Spirit) = A living being (Soul/Man)
Now doesn't that make a lot of sense? The problem is that this Bible truth already conflicts with the modern theory that a person has a SEPARATE, IMMORTAL spirit/or soul/or both inside of him. We see that man before coming to life was merely dust of the ground - a breathless, lifeless body. It was the breath of life from God that brought Adam to life, making him a living soul. That's the important point to gain from this. Adam wasn't "GIVEN" a soul. Adam BECAME a living soul with the breath (Spirit) of God inside of him.
Breath of Life
To understand this truth more, let's cover some more scripture to show what happens when a person dies in this life.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 ...'Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.'
An amazing connection is made here. Before we saw that the breath of life was added to dust of the ground to create man. Now we see that when a person dies, the dust returns to the ground and "the spirit" returns to God.
The scripture says that the spirit and the breath of life are the same thing!
This may sound abstract or different to you, but the scriptural meaning is clear, and we'll check out a few more scriptures just to re-emphasize this truth.
James 2:26 ...'For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.'
We already know that it is the breath of life from God that keeps our bodies alive, and yet again we see that the spirit and the breath of life are the same thing.
Pay close attention to the amazing truth uncovered in this following scripture from the King James Version and the New King James Version:
Job 27:3,4,8 (NKJV) ...'As long as my breath is in me, And the breath of God in my nostrils, My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?'
Job 27:3,4,8 (KJV) ...'All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?'
Yet again, the scriptures are profoundly consistent. We can see the clear connection from the NKJV and the KJV that "the breath of God" = spirit of God; and "life" = soul. Without a doubt, we know that Job isn't literally saying that "a spirit" (in the context believed today, ie, a separate human spirit) resided in Job's nostrils. But that the breath of God was in his nostrils. And THAT is what gives man life and makes him a "living soul".
Question: What spirit is it that we see returning to God when a person dies? Answer: The Breath of God!
What about a soul? Well, we showed above more than once that a soul simply means a LIVING being. This brings us to another obvious question: Can a soul die?
Revelation 16:3 ...'And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.' ... The NKJV says "living creature".
Ezekiel 18:20 ...'The soul who sins shall die.'
Matthew 10:28 ...'And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.'
Jesus tells us that man is only able to destroy your body. That matters little for eternity because Jesus is able to resurrect a dead body by giving you the breath of life again and transform that body into an incorruptible body. However, Jesus says that God is able to FULLY extinguish your life by destroying both body and soul, blotting a person out for all of eternity.
Giving up the Ghost
When many brush past the scriptures that deal with the words "spirit" and "ghost" being used, it is naturally assumed that the context is the same. Look at a few examples of "giving up the ghost".
Genesis 25:8,17 ...'Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people ... And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.'
Genesis 35:29 ...'And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.'
You will see from all of those examples that giving up the ghost simply means "breathing the last breath". The Hebrew word used is H1478 - gava, which means "to expire, to breath the last breath, to die".
Luke 23:46 ...'And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.'
But what about that scripture? It seems to say that Jesus dies and commends His spirit at the same time. Is Jesus denoting two different things? Remember, when Job said that "the spirit of God is in my nostrils", Job meant that the breath of God was in him. The Hebrew word Job used was ruwach, which means breath of life or wind.
The word "spirit" Jesus used above in Luke 23 is pneuma. Now, pneuma is also a word that can represent the Holy Spirit as well. However, you have to read this verse in context to see what Jesus is saying. Pneuma can also mean breath of life, other spirits such as demons, or the Holy Spirit. It depends on the context of the specific scripture used. So, when Jesus said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:", was Jesus saying that He was going instantly to Heaven when He died? Not a chance. We know that Jesus did not go to Heaven right after dying, but actually rested in the grave for three days and three nights.
John 20:17 ...'Jesus said to her, Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'
When you read the context, as well as the other scriptures, you will see that Jesus was actually saying, "Father, into thy hands I give my last breath."
Matthew 27:50 ...'Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.'
That verse sounds very similar to Luke 23:46, doesn't it. Just like the examples in Genesis and in Luke, it says "yielded up the ghost". So surely ghost here is gava like the others, right? No it's not. Ghost in this context is the same word for spirit from Luke, the word pneuma. Connecting the context between Luke 23 and Matthew 27, we see that they are saying the same exact thing: Jesus was telling God that He was about to breath His last breath. Spirit and ghost in these scriptures are interchangeable.
The Immortal Soul Doctrine
Already we see the scriptures greatly contradicting what is taught today. What is typically preached today is that when a person dies, they immediately go straight to their everlasting dwelling - Heaven or "hell" (misinterpreted from the lake of fire). Based on what we've already learned here, that theory doesn't add up very well with scripture, now does it?
For quite some time, professing Christians have been instructed to believe that all people are judged when they die, and immediately go "up" or "down". Is this Biblically sound though?
Question: What would be the point of the Great White Throne Judgment at the very end if all people have already been judged?
Do the scriptures actually say that all righteous people instantly "go to Heaven" when they die?
John 5:28,29 ...'Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.'
Acts 2:29,34 ...'Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day ... For David did not ascend into the heavens.'
Job 14:10-12 ...'But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, So man lies down and DOES NOT rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep.'
1 Corinthians 15:51,52 ...'Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.'
Again, the KJV uses "man giveth up the ghost" in Job 14:10 instead of "he breathes his last", showing they always mean the same thing. These above scriptures are very plain and clear, my friends. There is no instant resurrection or floating away to heaven at death. Man sleeps at death, awaiting his resurrection at the very end - some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt (death). Every single scripture in the Holy Bible resonates this truth in one accord.
But what about the scripture that says "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord"?? Well, let's look into that highly discussed scripture and see if it ACTUALLY even says that at all.
Also remember, if all of the other scriptures in the Bible portray one unified message on a topic, then we need not stumble upon one scripture but should study that scripture with prayer and diligence.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ...'So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.'
Something MUCH different is said here than is commonly believed. Paul does NOT say that when a person dies, they immediately go to be with the Lord. Look closely - he says that while we are at home (on this earth) in the body, we are absent from the Lord. Is Paul contradicting his MANY other scriptures that proclaim the resurrection at the end? Of course not. When we die, our bodies go into the ground. Are our bodies still on the earth after we die? YES! Paul is merely saying that he would much RATHER be away from this earthly body and have his NEW incorruptible body at the resurrection! Notice what he says just verses earlier:
verses 2-4 ...'For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.'
Do you see this amazing truth?! Paul says we groan, not because of wishing to die, but because we desire to have our heavenly bodies and not these earthly bodies any longer. When do we receive our heavenly bodies?? At the resurrection when Jesus returns to gather the elect!
How Dangerous is the Immortal Soul Doctrine?
Friends, please think heavily upon this question. I promise you that this doctrine is not just a "minor" issue. Believe it or not - this very false doctrine of Rome will be one of the greatest deceptions Satan uses during the time of the mark of the beast. Think about this: What major lie did Satan (the serpent) tell Eve in the Garden of Eden in the beginning?
Genesis 3:4 ...'Then the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.'
The very lie that Eve believed of Satan is now heavily accepted in the professing Christian world. This is the way Satan operates - with lying signs, wonders, miracles, and other various ungodly deceptions. In God's Holy Word, we are actually warned that Satan is preparing something HIGHLY deceptive to encourage the world's accepting of the mark of the beast.
Revelation 18:23 ...'The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.'
Revelation 16:14 ...'For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.'
Matthew 24:23,24 ...'Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' DO NOT believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.'
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ...'The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.'
These warnings from God tell us that Satan is currently preparing the GREATEST deception of all time. Powerful language is used to describe this sorcery, lying signs and wonders, spirits of demons, false CHRISTS and false prophets, unrighteous deception, and STRONG delusion. Friends, this is no light matter. We are told that the ENTIRE world will be deceived! Do not believe Satan's Immortal Soul doctrine! It is by this cunning snare that the serpent will once again fool the entire world into falling into his trap.
2 Corinthians 11:14 ...'And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Ahh, but what about the souls crying out to God under the altar in Revelation?
Revelation 6:9,10 ...'When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
A major mistake that so many professing Christians make today is assuming that every scripture from Revelation is literal. For example, a beast is not literally a beast but is a kingdom. A whore is not literally a whore but is a false church. This scripture above is also symbolic. Those who died and are "crying out" to God under the altar symbolically shows John in prophetic vision, telling us that God WILL repay for the actions of the wicked. And notice what God says to Cain after he killed Abel:
Genesis 4:10 ...'And He said, What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground.'
Was Abel's blood literally crying out to God from the ground? Absolutely not. Using symbolism, God was illustrating to Cain that He was aware of what Cain had done. The dead saints under the altar in John's vision are also not literally crying out to God. The dead know nothing, as Ecclesiastes 9:5 confirms.
If the people of this world believe in being able to communicate with "familiar spirits" and that the dead never really die, then they are prepping themselves up for accepting Satan's great lying signs, powers, and wonders. Do not fall prey to this false doctrine. Satan, The Great Deceiver, wants the same thing for you that he wanted for Eve when he lied to her with the immortal soul belief in the beginning - Death.
How does God feel about the teaching that the dead are alive and being able to communicate with the dead?
Leviticus 20:27 ...'A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.'
When Saul, king of Israel, consulted a medium - how did God react?
1 Samuel 28:5-8,11,13 ...'When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor." And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.'
Saul didn't have faith in God, and feared the army of Philistines, so he decided to consult a medium to attempt to "speak to Samuel". However, the dead know nothing and Saul knew he was forbidden to do this. The Hebrew word for spirit used here is elohiym, which does not mean breath of life but either stands for God or angels. We know that God nor His angels in Heaven would advocate meeting with Saul in this manner, transforming themselves into the visual perception of another person. So what was this spirit/angel? A demon. It is Satan's craft to work with deceptions like this and to take away peoples' faith in God. And what was God's judgment on Saul for doing this?:
1 Samuel 31:3-6 ...'The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armorbearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me." But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day.'
Saul didn't die quickly, though. When David received the report of what happened to Saul, this is what he found out ...
2 Samuel 1:6-10 ...'Then the young man who told him said, "As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, 'Here I am.'' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' So I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' He said to me again, 'Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.' So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.'
A very tragic end this was for Saul, indeed. This should be a dire warning to us. God does NOT feel keen about people attempting to communicate with the dead in ANY way whatsoever.
Is There a Spirit Inside of us?
We've already discussed what it means when someone "gives up the spirit" or has the spirit inside of them in order to live. It simply means the breath of life from God. A living soul is a man (dust of the earth) who has received God's breath (spirit) to become alive. Without God's breath of life, our bodies would just be lifeless bodies of dust. However, there IS a Spirit who joins with the righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:5 ...'Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.'
1 Corinthians 15:45 ...'And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.'
1 Corinthians 3:16 ...'Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
The word spirit here is not the breath of life, but is G4151 - pneuma, the word we mentioned before. In all of the contexts just above, pneuma represents the Holy Spirit here. When was the Spirit of God given to us?
John 16:7-13 ...'Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.'
When Jesus died on the cross, resurrected, and went up to Heaven - He sent us His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, sent by God, convicts the world of sin and brings men to righteousness. The Holy Spirit abides with those who walk with God. If you are truly guided by the Spirit, you are naturally driven to hate all manners of sin. The carnal flesh is always warring against and is contrary to the Spirit of God, so the two cannot and will not dwell together.
The spirit you are born with is the breath of life, and that is why you are able to live. The Holy Spirit of God will change your heart completely, transforming you into a new being - a being which God will bless with a body which will never be destroyed!
1 Thessalonians 5:23 ...'And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
After doing this deep study, do you now see what Paul is saying here? He isn't praying for a spirit "being" and a soul "being" inside of you to be preserved blameless, and he surely isn't praying for the Spirit of God to remain blameless - The Spirit of God will ALWAYS be blameless! Paul is simply praying for your entire life (spirit + body = soul) to be preserved blameless unto the day of the coming of the Lord Jesus. I personally hope and pray that this truth about the spirit, soul, and body has blessed you immensely.
The devil does NOT want you to grasp this wonderful truth. The Papal Church is the very seat of Satan's power on earth - the real Antichrist. Thus, the devil will use this major doctrine from his pet church system to confuse the masses. He wants you to accept the Immortal Soul fable and be tricked into accepting the mark of the beast. But I pray with all diligence that the Spirit of Truth leads you into complete righteousness. Glory be to Jesus' name forever for His piercing truth in His Holy Word!