Written by Kenneth Allan Clark, and published by Victorious Christian Ministries International.
Copyright © 2008, 2014.
I would like you for a moment, to consider the creation of man, what happens to man’s body, soul and spirit when this physical body of ours dies, and what happens at the coming resurrection. As these things touch on many basic foundational Christian beliefs it is important that we understand these things, and I don’t believe that God meant for it to be a difficult subject for I the teacher to teach, or
you the disciple of Jesus Christ to understand.
However there are two reasons why this is not always so.
• Number one reason; too many Christians have mindsets that just don’t line up with the truth. We would much rather believe the denominational teachings of our church and the doctrines of men, than believe what is written in God’s word.
The answer to this problem very is simple. Daily and prayerfully read and study God’s Word, believe God’s Word above all else. Serve the Lord Your God with all your body, soul and spirit, and seek you first the kingdom of God and His justification. Then Spirit of Christ within you will break down all those wrong mindsets and open your mind to the understanding of the Scriptures.
Although it grieves greatly to admit it;
• The second reason is, when it comes projecting to us a clear understanding of these things, both the King James Version and our Modern English versions of the Bible are not good translations. In answer to the second problem we need to consider a few of the Hebrew words used by the writers of the Old Testament, the translation of these words into Greek and then how these words were translated into English.
First we should know, although many of the Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible may have had broad meanings in the pagan and secular world, when these words were used in the Holy Scriptures they were usually used for a specific purpose. Once the Bible Scholars and Scribes under the direction of the Holy Spirit chose a Hebrew or Greek word for a specific purpose, that word would be set aside for that purpose only. Exceptions to this rule were very rear, and usually only made to emphasise a point. These exceptions do not give the translators or us permission to disregard the specific purpose that word was chosen for.
With the King James Version, these things are not too hard to check out. All you need is time, patience and a good concordance.
It is the Hebrew word ‘Sheol’, that is used to describe the world of the dead. This is translated into Greek as ‘Hades’ and then into English as ‘Hell’.
It is the Hebrew word ‘qeber’, which is translated into Greek as ‘mnemeion’ and then into English as ‘grave’.
It is the Hebrew word ‘nephesh’, which is translated into Greek as ‘psuche’ and then into English as ‘soul’.
It is the Hebrew word ‘chaiyim’, which is translated into Greek as ‘zoe’ and then into English as ‘life’.
It is the Hebrew word ‘ruach’, which is translated into Greek as ‘pneuma’ and then into English as ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost’.
In the KJV the Hebrew word ‘neshesh’, and Greek as ‘psuch’ between them are translated into English and over 500 times as ‘soul’, 120 times as ‘life’, 28 times as person, 21 times as ‘self’, and 15 times as ‘heart’.
In most of our more Modern English versions the numbers of times ‘neshesh’, and ‘psuch’ are translated as soul has been further reduced by 70 to 90%. Making it almost impossible for average Christian to do any meaningful study on this subject.
In their defence the translators tell us that ‘neshesh’ and ‘psuch’ can be rightly translated in these other ways. While this may be true, it overlooks the fact that both the writers of the Old and New Testament used specific words for specific purposes, and had other Hebrew and Greek words that they could use and did use when wanting express things like ‘life’, ‘person’, ‘self’ and ‘heart’. If God had meant for us to write in the words ‘life’ ‘person’ ‘self’ or ‘heart’ instead of ‘soul’, God would have instructed the original writers of the Scriptures to write in the appropriate Hebrew or Greek word.
In the KJV, the Hebrew word ‘Sheol’ is translated 31 times as hell and 33 times as grave. That is not good, and in the natural you would be right to ask how could they get it so wrong. But if you take the NIV as an example of a Modern English version, we find that the number of times ‘Sheol’ is translated has grave is now 59 and not once do they correctly translate ‘Sheol’ as ‘Hell or Sheol’.
In most modern English versions of the Bible the only places you will find the word Hell or Hades is
1: In the book of Revelation were it couples death and Hades together. Many Jehovah Witnesses (who I have spoken to) translate these passages as meaning death (the bodies of the dead) and Hades (the grave).
I myself in Rev 20:13-14 translate them as death (meaning the bodies of the dead) and Hades (meaning the souls who are in Hades. and that in a time yet to come both the bodies and the souls of the wicked will be raised from death and Hades and cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.
2: In the Gospels it is also not uncommon in modern translations to find the Greek word “Gehenna” translated as Hell. There are two Greek words used by the New Testament writers which are often translated into English as Hell, ‘Hades’ and ‘Gehenna’. Hades is used to describe Sheol the world of the dead, into which the souls of all descend into upon the death of their mortal body (this is the first death). Gehenna is used to describe the lake of fire into which both the body and soul of the wicked will be cast after the resurrection (this is the second death).
Churches who do not believe in Hell or in the eternal nature of the soul, like translating Gehenna as Hell, because it places both the soul and the body of the dead in the same place. They then go on to say because the Bible puts both the soul and body of the dead in the same place, there can be no such place as Hell or no such thing as an eternal soul.
Although the translators of the KJV have not removed the words ‘soul’ and ‘Hell’ from the Biblical text as much as the more modern versions have, in some cases they have removed them from key verses that touch on basic foundational Christian doctrines.
In order to help you overcome this problem, (Unless otherwise stated) all quotes in this book will be taken from the Clark's English Translation. However if you are not happy with this translation, please, using the King James Version along with your favourite version and a good concordance, check these things out. Better still, even if you are happy with the Clark’s English Translation, check it out. Don’t choose to believe me, chose to believe the written Word of God.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
John 20:22 And when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive you the Holy Spirit.”
Job 34:14 If He set His heart upon man, if He gathered to Himself His Spirit and his breath, 15 All flesh shall breathe their last together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
When we consider:
1: The spirit that comes from God is carried by the breath of God.
2: Adam’s body had no life in it until God breathed into it.
3: Then God’s word declares that man became a living soul.
Can we then say that man is a living soul, who lives in a body made of dust, and he has a spirit within him that came from God?
Can we then consider that when God withdraws His spirit and breath from man, his body (given time) will return to dust?
The Old Testament writers Moses and Job understood that God breathed spirit into Adam the father of all mankind, and that with that spirit, life entered into the body of man. They also understood that a man’s body would not die without the expiring or breathing out of the spirit / the breath of God within them.
The word Mosses and Job used to explain the spirit / the breath of God leaving man’s mortal body was ‘gava’, meaning ‘to gasp out’ ‘to expire’. (Gen. 25:8 & 17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; & 14:10.)
The King James translates ‘gava’ as ‘to give up the ghost’. Some newer versions translate ‘gava’ as ‘to breathe one’s last’.
In the New Testament it is the Greek words ‘ekpneo’ meaning ‘to breathe out’ (Mark 15:37 & 39; Luke 23:46) and ‘ekpsucho’ meaning ‘to breathe out, to expire’ (Acts 5:5 & 10; & 12:23) that are used to describe this breathing out of the spirit. Again the KJV translates this as ‘to give up the ghost’, while some newer versions, including the NKJV, translate ‘ekpneo’ and ‘ekpsucho’ as ‘to breathe one’s last’.
After much consideration, I decided stay with the NKJV translation, ‘to breathe one’s last’. Although granted the more traditional translation of ‘to give up the ghost’ is a good interpretation, in that it explains more clearly what is going on, the newer translation ‘to breathe one’s last’ is possibly closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. To breath one’s last is not to breathe out one’s last breath of air, it is to breathe out the spirit, which then returns to God who gave it.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
The point of interest I would like you to catch hold of from this verse is that Luke connects the giving up of the spirit, to the act of breathing out. When we breathe our last, we breathe out our spirit, which returns to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return unto God who gave it.
Let us now focus on man’s eternal soul.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whosoever will save his soul will lose it, but whosoever will loses his soul for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Matthew 10:39 He who finds his soul will lose it, and he that loses his soul for My sake will find it.
As Christians we often talk about dying to self, and coming alive to the Spirit of Christ who now dwells within us. This dying to self is what Jesus Christ calls losing one’s soul. In reality because of our sin, our soul is already eternally lost and damned, and unless we die to our soul for Jesus Christ sake, we shall never find it.
The goal of our faith is the deliverance of our soul (1 Peter 1:9). It is one of the paradoxes of the faith, that if we want to find and save our soul we must first lose it for Jesus Christ sake. That is, we must first die to our soul, which is to die to self, before we can receive the goal of our faith, the deliverance of our soul.
But there is a price to be paid for the deliverance of our souls.
In Exodus chapter 30, verses 11 – 16 the Children of Israel were told that they were to pay the price of a half shekel each for the atonement of their soul. Both the rich and the poor were to pay the same price. The rich were not to pay more, and the poor were not to pay less.
The principle here is that there is only one acceptable price that must be paid for the atonement of our souls. There is no other acceptable price. Of course, as Christians we know that ultimately the blood of Jesus Christ is price that was paid for the redemption of the souls of all mankind.
One may ask, what is so special about the blood of Jesus Christ? As the Old Covenant was in many ways a type picture of the New Covenant, let us find out what it has to say about the blood.
Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, who eats any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No soul among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. 13 Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourns among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the soul of all flesh; the blood of it is for the soul of it. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. 15 And every soul that eats that which died naturally or what was torn by beast, whether he is one of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening, then he shall be clean.
In this passage from Leviticus, Moses used the word nephesh seven times. When we read this passage we find that once in verse 11 Moses writes the soul of the flesh is in the blood. Then twice in verse 14 he writes the soul of all flesh is in the blood.
The correct emphasis of Biblical truth throughout the whole Bible is not that the life of all flesh is in the blood, but that the soul of all flesh is in the blood.
Jesus Christ, in pouring out His blood to death gave His soul, not his life, for the redemption of the souls of all mankind. Jesus Christ did not come to redeem the lives of all mankind He came to redeem the souls of all mankind.
Exodus 12:4 And if the household be too small for a lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; each according to the measure of his eating shall you count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male, a year old; you shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats. 6 And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole community of the assembly of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two door-posts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
Exodus 12:12 And I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am The Lord God. 13 And the blood shall be for you as a sign on the houses in which you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
The principal here is God requires the payment of a perfect soul for the redemption of a sinner’s soul. The blood on the door showed that a soul had been poured out unto death, thus the payment of a soul had been made.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bared the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your worthless behaviour received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
When Jesus poured out His blood, He poured out His soul unto death and by the pouring out of that precious soul we have been redeemed.
Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured forth for many for deliverance from sins.”
John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this; that a man lay down his soul for his friends.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his soul for the sheep.
Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his soul a ransom for many.
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my soul for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore my Father does love me, because I lay down my soul, that I might take it again. 18 No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Let us look at some of Paul’s writings before we go on.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify unto himself a special people, zealous of good works.
Although Paul in writing to Timothy and Paul writes that Jesus Christ gave Himself a ransom for all, the Old Testament and Gospel writers have already firmly established the truth, that Jesus Christ gave His soul a ransom for all. Therefore, because the law of first mention, Paul’s writings establish the truth that man’s soul and man’s self are one and the same thing.
Where does the soul of Jesus Christ go to when His body dies? According to Psalm 16, Jesus’ soul goes to Sheol.
Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
Let us now look at the death of Abraham.
Genesis 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the spirit and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite.
Abraham gave up the spirit, which is returned to God who gave it. His body is buried in a cave in the land of Canaan, while Abraham himself was gathered to his people. Given that we know the souls of the Old Testament saints did not go straight to sky above when their bodies died, and given that Abraham’s body was buried almost 1,500 km away from where his people were buried. We can say that Abraham’s soul was neither gathered to the sky above nor to the grave. Upon their death, the souls of Abraham and his people had to be gathered together somewhere else. That somewhere else, being Sheol, the world of the dead.
Jesus Christ gives us greater revelation of this world of the dead, in His account of the deaths of Lazarus and the rich man. (Luke 16:19 – 21) In brief, Lazarus dies and the angels of God carry Lazarus’ soul to Abraham’s side, who according to the Scriptures has been gathered to his people. The rich man also dies. His body is buried and his soul is not just carried to Sheol, but cast into the pit of destruction. There in torment, the rich man looking up and across a great gulf fixed, that no one can cross, sees Lazarus by Abraham’s side.
Some would say this is only a parable. I would point out all of the parables of Jesus were based on everyday events, and most were true in that they could of happened just as Jesus said they had, but some had an unusual ending. The unusual ending of this parable is that the rich man prays to Abraham, asking him to raise Lazarus from the dead and send him back to tell his brothers; a request that Abraham cannot fulfil.
But what if Jesus Christ the Son of God had prayed to God the Father asking Him to raise Lazarus from the dead and send him back to the world of the living. When Jesus told this parable, it is very possible that Lazarus who had been raised from the dead was right there by Jesus Christ side. This picture of Sheol may not be exact, but I believe it is close enough for our small minds to take in what Sheol is like.
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When Jesus Christ was on the cross, in pouring out His blood, He poured out His soul unto death. The angels of God carried His soul to where His people were gathered together in Sheol. But His soul did not remain in Sheol.
Jesus Christ committing His spirit to God, breathed out His spirit and it returned to God who gave it.
Jesus Christ body was laid in a tomb, but it did not see corruption.
Three days later Jesus Christ rose from Sheol, the world of the dead. His body, soul and spirit came back together and He rose from the grave to eternal life.
In the coming resurrection it shall be the same for us.
Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; together with their dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing for joy, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation has passed over. 21 For look and see, the LORD comes 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.
Jesus Christ put it this way:
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
In both the Old and the New Testaments when it talks about the resurrection, it talks about the graves being opened. Matthew records that at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross the graves of many saints were opened, their bodies were raised, and came out of the graves after the resurrection.
Matthew 27:52 the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose; 53 and came out of the graves. After His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
But how many is many? Maybe there is a clue to this question in what Matthew (in this same passage) writes about the women who followed Jesus.
Matthew 27:55 And many women were there looking from a far off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him. 56 Among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.
These women were there for the purpose of ministering to the needs of Jesus and His twelve disciples. They were the logistic support team for Jesus Christ and His disciples. For this purpose, a dozen women would have been more than enough, two dozen would be many, three dozen would be a logistic problem. So when Matthew says many women who followed Jesus, he is probably talking of no more than two dozen women.
How many saints were raised from the dead that day? The Bible does not tell us, but the book Revelation does tell us of 24 elders who somehow got up into the sky above before the resurrection. Given the Greek usage of the word many, 24 would qualify as many.
Who were they? Again the Bible does not tell us, but through the preaching of Peter, we do discover King David was not one of them.
Acts 2:22 “You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man proved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and killed: 24 Who God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David speaks concerning him,”
“I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore my heart did rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your presence.”
29 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David; that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Sheol, neither did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus, God has raised up, of which we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He has shed forth this, which you now see and hear. 34 For David has not ascended into the sky: but he said himself: ‘The LORD said unto My Lord, Sit you on my right hand. 35 Until I make your enemies your footstool.’”
In this message, given fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter is saying, that when David prophesied You will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption, David could not of been prophesying about himself. Why? Because as Peter points out, the tomb of David, with his body still in it is still with us to this day. On the other hand we know that God has raised up Jesus Christ, and has not left His soul in Sheol, nor allowed His body to see corruption, because we are witnesses.
The tomb of Jesus has no body in it, because His soul has ascended from Sheol and His body has been raised from the tomb. On the other hand, the tomb of David still has his body in it. Therefore Peter can point to the tomb of David, not only as proof that David’s body is still in the tomb, but also as proof that David’s soul is still in Sheol. That is why Peter can say, (As it is written in the KJV.) “For David is not ascended into the heavens.”
If we use the same reasoning that Peter used, because we can still travel to Israel and see the tomb of the patriarchs, we can also say beyond any doubt, that even to this day Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have also not ascended into the sky above. Their bodies are still in the tomb, their souls are still in Sheol, they are still waiting for their resurrection day.
What of the martyrs, those who have been and those who will be killed for the sake of justification? Ever since Abel was murdered for the sake of justification, it has always been the same. There is no other altar upon which the martyrs of justification or the servants of Jesus Christ are killed, other than upon the altar of this earth. Above altar of this earth is the sky, below is Sheol the world of the dead.
The day Abel was killed upon the altar of this earth, his spirit returned to God who gave it, his body was returned to the dust, and his soul was carried by the angels to paradise within Sheol the world of the dead. Abel was the first of many, and forever since, whenever a saint has been killed upon the altar of this earth, for the word of God, his soul as been gathered together with the martyrs in Sheol.
Thus it will continue to be so until Jesus Christ comes again, for it is written.
Revelation 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal; I saw under the altar the souls of them who had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. 10 They cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood upon them that dwell on the earth?” 11 Then white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both their fellow servants and also their brethren, who should be killed as they, should be fulfilled.
The general overall contents of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, is that for the justified, there is and will only be one resurrection day. On that day the souls all whose names are written in the book of life (except the 24 elders) shall be raised from the dead, the tombs shall be opened, and the justified shall be caught up to meet with Jesus Christ in the air.
MAN IS A SOUL WHO LIVES IN A BODY AND HAS A SPIRIT.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark.
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