What Does The Bible Say About Death
Death is the unconquerable foe that has taken over the likes of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Postulates or theories by minds like Einstein or Stephen Hawking can never be proved upon this subject. So what does the Bible say?
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One of Jesus most significant miracles recorded in the Bible was the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead . There are other instances of people who had been raised from the dead, but unlike those mentioned before in the Bible, Lazarus had been dead for an entire period of four days. When Lazarus died, Jesus said, Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. Then His disciples said, Lord, if he sleeps he will get well. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep .
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The Formula For A Living Soul
Body + Breath of Life = Living Soul
If you have a look at the original languages the Bible was written in, terms sometimes translated as soul actually meant life or person. Two examples come to mind:
In Hebrew, the term nephesh and in Greek, psuche are both translated as soul in the Bible. However, they can also be translated as life or person.
Looking at the original Hebrew and Greek as well as the various uses of these terms helps us get to a more comprehensive view of who we are as humans.
It turns out soul may not even be the best-fitting modern translation of the original language because of the connotations of immortality and mysticism linked to the word soul.
In Hebrew, the way to say Let me live is Let my soul live. See how the use of soul here ties into a persons overall existence?
Now take a look at the more drawn-out phrase, that my soul may bless you before I die . It actually means that I may bless you.
The use of the word soul is speaking to someones complete identity. The Bible uses these terms as a way of closely identifying with an individualits not referring to a separate entity, life force, or energy.
Another way to look at this is that humans do not have a soul but are a soul .
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Rabbinic Understanding Of Genesis : 7 As Found In The Targum
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And the Lord God created man in two formations and took dust from the place of the house of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the world, and mixed from all the waters of the world, and created him red, black, and white and breathed into his nostrils the inspiration of life, and there was in the body of Adam the inspiration of a speaking spirit, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan
And the Lord God created Adam from dust of the ground, and breathed upon his face the breath of lives, and it became in Adam a Discoursing Spirit.Targum Onkelos
Many People Think The Bible Says We Have An Immortal Soul Destined At Death For Heaven Hell Or Purgatory What Does The Bible Say
What happens to us after we die? Where are our loved ones who have passed on? Will we ever see them again?
Everyone needs to know that life has purpose, that death isn’t the permanent end of our existence. The most common Christian belief regarding the afterlife is that people possess souls and at death their consciousness in the form of that soul departs from the body and heads for heaven or hell.
Most religions teach some form of life after death. The ancient Egyptians, for example, practiced elaborate ceremonies to prepare the pharaohs for their next life. They constructed massive pyramids and other elaborate tombs filled with luxuries the deceased were assumed to need in the hereafter.
In some civilizations when a ruler died others who had accompanied and served him in his life were put to death so they could immediately serve him in the afterlife. Wives and other relatives, servants, sometimes even household pets joined him in death and a supposed entrance into a new life on the other side.
Belief in the immortality of the soul was an important aspect of ancient thought espoused by the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Plato, in Phaedo, presents Socrates’ explanation of death: “Is it not the separation of soul and body? And to be dead is the completion of this when the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and body is released from the soul, what is this but death?” .
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Why We Need To Rest And Why God Wants It For Us
How good are you at rest? I used to feel guilty if I laid on the couch and watched TV or read a book for a couple of hours.
But resting isnt optional. God wants to give us rest. Why does he want us to rest?
God wants us to enjoy life, and this isnt possible when we never slow down.
If you think nothing will get done or resting isnt an option for you in your present situation, you may not trust God.
When we genuinely rest , we acknowledge that God controls all things. Not working for a full day releases our control over the situation. Maybe youre worried about money, so you work five days a week, then on the weekends, you work a side hustle or second job.
When you ultimately stop working for one whole day, youre giving up the chance to earn money. Yet youre also saying, God will take care of me. I dont need to hustle every single day.
You dont need to rest from work for a full day to experience Gods rest. Some of us need to rest from social media one day a week.
Another reason to rest is so you can enjoy the wonders of God. Resting from a stressful job or relationship allows you the time youd typically put into something else, time with God if you so choose.
Where Do Bodies Go After Death
The redeemed are ushered into the eternal presence of the Lord, and those without an advocate are ushered into hell to await the New Heaven and New Earth.
The Bible teaches that the human spirit, upon departing the body, goes immediately into the presence of God for either His welcoming or His disapproval. Thus, our blessed Savior taught this truth when He gave the parable of the wicked in Hell crying out to Abraham for refreshment:
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich mans table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abrahams side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish .
There is no more concise and thoroughly Biblical expression of faith about the soul going immediately to be with God until the resurrection than the 38th question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Jesus Christ Is The Redeemer According To The Covenant Of Grace
When the Gospel is proclaimed and received by faith, the terms of the Covenant are imputed to you . You pass from death and judgment to forgiveness and eternal life. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life .Not so the unrepentant. The soul remains in a fallen state, responsible for the terms of the Covenant of Works . It is for this reason that the Psalmist, speaking in the voice of the Messiah to come, declares that God will not leave his soul to perish. This truth is also picked up by Peter in his first sermon at Pentecost. The soul without God will undergo unimaginable loss that is described by Jesus with the most severe imagery .
My dear reader: your soul and mine must be redeemed from the auction block of sin and the devil lest we that is, our souls face certain loss and punishment. And the only Redeemer of Gods elect is the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent. Trust in the resurrected and living Christ while you are still reading this article. Stop what you are doing and turn to Jesus Christ by faith.
Our study leads us, then, to the place of the soul between death and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Scripture Uses Soul And Spirit Interchangeably
When we look at the usage of the biblical words translated soul and spirit , it appears that they are sometimes used interchangeably.
In John 12:27, Jesus says, Now is my soul troubled, whereas in a very similar context in the next chapter John says that Jesus was troubled in spirit . Similarly, we read Marys words in Luke 1:4647: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. This seems to be an example of Hebrew parallelisma poetic device that repeats the same idea using synonymous words.
Additionally, people who have died and gone to heaven or hell are referred to as either spirits or souls .
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Your Soul Is The Source Of All Your Achievement
The body apart from the spirit is dead.
Think about everything that is important in your life, and you will say, Yes, that came from my soul. Think about this in relation to the world.
Think about music: The symphony, classic rockwhere did these things come from? They came from the soul of the composer who wrote it.
Think about art: The ability to depict beauty came through the hands of the artist, but where did it come from? It came from the soul of the artist.
Then think about sports: You may say, Surely sports depends on the body. But James says, the body without the spirit is dead . Every great sports achievement has come through relentless commitment, disciplined desire, and the determination of the athlete, which is of course in the soul.
When I meet someone who is super fit, I want to say, This has come from your soul. All the work you have put into sculpting your body came from a desire in your soul. Without that desire that was in your soul, you would be a couch potato!
All that you achieve in life, everything that is achieved in the world, will arise from the life of the soul.
Hebrew Understanding Of The Soul
The Hebrew word translated “soul” in the Old Testament is nephesh, which simply means “a breathing creature.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines nephesh as “the essence of life, the act of breathing, taking breath … The problem with the English term ‘soul’ is that no actual equivalent of the term or the idea behind it is represented in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew system of thought does not include the combination or opposition of the ‘body’ and ‘soul’ which are really Greek and Latin in origin” .
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible makes this comment on nephesh: “The word ‘soul’ in English, though it has to some extent naturalized the Hebrew idiom, frequently carries with it overtones, ultimately coming from philosophical Greek and from Orphism and Gnosticism which are absent in ‘nephesh.’ In the OT it never means the immortal soul, but it is essentially the life principle, or the living being, or the self as the subject of appetite, and emotion, occasionally of volition” .
That nephesh doesn’t refer to an immortal soul can be seen in the way the word is used in the Old Testament. It is translated “soul” or “being” in reference to man in Genesis 2:7Genesis 2:7And 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.
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Man Is Created To Endless Existence
Every human being enters the world possessed with endless existence. It is true that at death the soul is separated from the body. It is not consistent with the teaching of the Bible to say that at death the soul lapses into a state of complete unconsciousness or even into a deep sleep. If at first glance it would seem that the Bible teaches this, then we will do well to examine those passages where death is referred to as sleep. The few texts that mendacious scholars have dislodged from their context in order to prove that physical death is the cessation of all consciousness can be easily and understandingly explained when interpreted in the light of the many other passages that deal with this subject.
In Ecclesiastes we read The dead know not anything . Certainly we all agree that a dead and deteriorating body has absolutely no consciousness of anything past, present, or future. But are the advocates of soul-sleep justified in using the above text as evidence of the unconscious state of the soul after death? We believe that this method using a text to support a false theory that elsewhere is denied in Scripture, proves that those who stoop to such methods either are untruthful or deficient. Those who teach soul-sleep will find it quite difficult to harmonize their views with other statements that are made by the same writer of Ecclesiastes:
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it .
What Happens To Our Souls When We Die
The Bible teaches that people go to sleep when they die. Their consciousness ends.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished nevermore will they have a share in anything that happens under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:5,
Quite the sobering message, right?
That isnt the end of the whole story, though.
The Bible teaches that eternal life is a gift Christ offers us. Without this gift, we simply do not continue to live in any way after we die .
Our souls go to sleep when we die. And if we accept Christs sacrifice, we can have the hope that well wake up again at His Second Coming.
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Bible Verses About The Soul
My soul, wait in silence for God only,For my hope is from Him.
Who keeps us in lifeAnd does not allow our feet to slip.
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,And the breath of all mankind?
The Lord will protect you from all evil He will keep your soul.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,And forget none of His benefits
They band themselves together against the life of the righteousAnd condemn the innocent to death.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Deliver my soul from the sword,My only life from the power of the dog.
Return to your rest, O my soul,For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
To deliver their soul from deathAnd to keep them alive in famine.
For the redemption of his soul is costly,And he should cease trying forever
The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger,But He will reject the craving of the wicked.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,To the person who seeks Him.
Bring my soul out of prison,So that I may give thanks to Your name The righteous will surround me,For You will deal bountifully with me.
No man can by any means redeem his brotherOr give to God a ransom for him
Your Soul Is Breathed Into You By God
The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Grasping this is of huge importance in knowing who you are, and why your life is of such great value. Adam was created in two stages. There were two steps in the process by which God gave him life.
The first was that God, formed the man of dust from the ground. God formed a body. It was made from the dust of the ground. Now in this way, the man and the woman were similar to the animals: Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens .
There is a second stage in the creation of Adam which shows why we are different from animals:
The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
God breathes life into this corpse, and this makes Adam different from the animals. He is more than a body. Adam is a living soul. This soul is capable of knowing God and enjoying God, and it is capable of sinning against God, something the animals cannot do.
This is at the heart of what God is saying when he says, You are made in the image of God . God has breathed life into you and that life will never end.
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