Why should there be so much confusion about what man IS? What happens to a human at death? Does death merely separate an immortal soul from the body? Read the startling PROOF, answering these questions that have perplexed millions!
THE ONLY sure thing about life, they say, is death and taxes! That's a common American saying. To the average man on the street, death is a vague, far-off, unreal something that always happens to someone else a hazy, cloudy, and distant possibility he feels he can worry about when it happens. When the average citizen reads of the predictions of the National Safety Council concerning some four hundred persons who are to die on our congested highways, he cannot bring himself to believe one of those 400 persons could be he! And yet, true to the stark and tragic toll of lives that are lost every "holiday" in our nation, about the number predicted to die lose their lives in automobile accidents. While most of us like to shove it out of our minds, to escape having to think about it, death is real. It's an integral part of life. Every living organism follows the pattern of birth, growth, senility and finally, death. Every day, thousands are dying of automobile accidents, of sickness and disease, of starvation and famine, and being killed in murders and wars! At the same time, many thousands of new lives are coming into being with the many babies being born each day all over the world. What is this thing called life, and (what seems more important to most) DEATH?
A Common Conception
There are literally dozens of differing ideas about what happens at death. To many people, it is a fearsome departure into some "other world," from which there can be no return. Most professing Christians believe death to be merely separation of the soul from the body with the conscious individual living on! Death, they reason, is not really death at all but continuation of LIFE under different circumstances, and in a different "body." Amid all this confusion surrounding one of the most important questions of our lives, you hear various churches argue that human beings have only two places to go after death heaven or hell. One great church teaches there are three places: heaven, purgatory and hell. Others understand there is only one place the grave and that a resurrection is needed to impart eternal life to human beings. But what about all these differing ideas? Why is there such confusion even among all the churches? Have they ever seen a "soul" go flitting off to heaven or hell? Has anyone ever BEEN there, and returned to tell us humans of his experiences?
Are the Dead Conscious?
Take for an example the modern innovation in medicine of "heart massage" as a last-minute emergency measure to preserve human life. The patient has died! The doctor, bending over the still corpse to examine it with his stethoscope, pronounces the body DEAD! Hurriedly, last-minute preparations are made, and the body is opened. The doctor begins to massage the heart of the dead person forcing the blood to begin to flow once more. After several minutes, a weak, pulsating "fluttering" of the heart muscles is felt. Gradually, a regular, steady pulse develops, and the heart of the dead person begins to beat! The corpse is not a "dead" person any longer the heart is functioning once more! This is not some far-fetched idea but a general description of some actual cases that have occurred. But, during the time such persons were "dead," because their heart had stopped beating, where were they? Did they go to heaven or hell, and then come BACK into the frail human body they had left immediately at death? And if the conscious "you" leaves the body immediately at death, why is it that NOT ONE of the persons can remember ONE SINGLE THING during the time they were "dead"? Have you never realized that if you are an immortal soul which can think and know after you leave the body, you would be able to think and know while you are unconscious, or in such a condition already described?
How Can You KNOW?
Since the "soul" is NOT something that can be found by laboratory testing, or by the methods of science, and since even the religionists have mixed-up, DIFFERENT ideas about the "soul," and since no soul has ever returned to tell us where it had been then where is the only source of knowledge? How can we ever find the answer to this perplexing problem? There is only ONE SOURCE! That source is the revelation of the Almighty Creator who MADE us, and therefore, He should be the One who KNOWS the answer, shouldn't He? But that revelation does NOT reveal what most of us have assumed, or have been taught to believe! Where did all these differing, confused ideas come from? Why do the churches teach you have an immortal soul? Does the Bible teach it? Did Christ indicate it? Did the early apostles or the New Testament Church believe it? Why does the Bible continually emphasize the resurrection of the dead? Would a resurrection be NECESSARY if you continue to live apart from your body?
What Man IS
Most people do not realize what a man really is, believe it or not! Yet God plainly tells us the answer. "Then the Eternal God formed MAN of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and MAN became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7). There is the answer! Man became a living SOUL; that is what man Is a soul. Notice there is no mention that man has a soul, but that man is a soul! When God placed Adam and Eve, who were two living sow, in the garden, He issued a command, "And the Eternal God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die' (Genesis 2:16-17). Notice, God was talking to the conscious man, and He said, "THOU shalt surely die," speaking to the man, who was a SOUL! When God said Adam would surely die for taking of the wrong fruit, He was directly informing man of the penalty for sin. The inspired Apostle Paul wrote, "For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Ezekiel was directed by the Holy Spirit to write, "The soul that sinneth, IT [the soul] shall die"! (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Death is the absence of life, the cessation of life not the continuation of life under different circumstances. Notice the two opposite states given in Romans 6:23. God tells us the wages of sin is DEATH, but, on the other hand, the GIFT OF GOD (not something you were born with) is eternal life through Jesus Christ! If eternal life is the GIFT of God, and comes only through Christ, how is it that humans have assumed they already possess eternal life in the form of an "immortal soul"? Ezekiel said the "soul" that sinneth shall DIE! Since man is a soul, and since man can die, and a soul can die, it is obvious that man and soul are one and the same thing!
The Hebrew Proves It!
When God breathed the breath that imparted life into the first man, he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew word in this scripture for soul is nephesh. Nephesh means "a breathing creature, i.e. animal or vitality" and is also rendered in the English as "any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature... man, me, mind, mortally." (See No. 5315, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance) Nephesh cannot mean, under any circumstances, ANYTHING immortal, eternal, extra-physical or possessing life other than temporary and mortal! Open your Bible to Genesis the first chapter and the 24th verse! "And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature [NEPHESH] after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so." Here the word creature is the IDENTICAL Hebrew word that is used THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT for soul! Read verses 20, and 21. Here, the identical word, nephesh, is again translated "creature" in the English! Insufficient space does not permit the reproduction of every single verse where this word nephesh is used, but for a few other references, see Genesis 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15 and 16. Here the word nephesh is used in every case, and always translated creature! Nephesh is used in many places where the revisers have supplied our English word "body." Turn next to Leviticus 21:11. "Neither shall he go in to any dead body [NEPHESH], nor defile himself...." A nephesh is called a dead body in this scripture! In Numbers 6:6; 9:6, 7 and 10; 19:11, 13 and 16 you can find identical renderings, where the Hebrew word nephesh is translated into English as "DEAD BODY." The prophet Haggai used the same word when he said, "If one that is unclean by a dead body [nephesh] touch any of these, shall it be unclean?" (Hag. 2:13) These scriptures are plain, clear and absolutely conclusive evidence that the same word rendered "soul" wherever it appears in your Old Testament is also rendered as "dead body"! Why have not men been willing to look into the inspired Word of God and find its true meaning? It is with a gasp of surprise that many people turn to their Bibles and find that most of the traditions and the assumptions of MEN just are not there! How about YOU? Are you willing to CHANGE your ideas when you can see it PROVED, NOT from the vain "ideas" of men, but from the plain, clear, inspired Word of God? You have already read as quoted from YOUR BIBLE the PROOF that a soul is an ANIMAL, a BODY, and CAN DIE!
What About the LIFE?
When God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life, He started the process of the combining of oxygen with the blood, which then carried the oxygen to all parts of the body, thereby imparting physical, animal life. The life of a human being is in his bloodstream! A wounded soldier on the battlefield fights to stop the flow of blood from his wounds knowing that the loss of BLOOD means the LOSS OF LIFE! The same is true in every case of wounds causing bleeding. You already know, and have known most of your life that the loss of blood causes death just as the Bible says. Then why have you blindly ASSUMED differently about the vague, hazy, nebulous ideas on the "immortality" of the soul? God told Noah the life of any animal, or nephesh was in the BLOOD! "But flesh with the life [Heb. nephesh] thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (Gen. 9:4). Here, the word "life" comes from the same Hebrew word nephesh which is elsewhere rendered "soul," or "body." Read on, in verse 5, where the same word is used for our English word "life," this time in reference to NOAH and every man! The life of man and the life of animals is the same! MORTAL life! "For the life of the flesh is in the blood... he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life [nephesh] of ALL flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of ALL flesh is the blood thereof." (See Lev. 17:11-14, where every word translated "life" comes from the Hebrew word nephesh, and is said to be the life [blood] of ALL flesh, including all animal life as well as humans) Moses gave the Israelites God's warning about eating flesh with the blood still in it, "for the blood is the life [nephesh] and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh" (Deut. 12:23). The soul of man, therefore, is kept alive by the coursing of the blood through his veins, taking life-giving oxygen to the body cells. There are many other Biblical references where the word "life" is directly connected with the blood, and is rendered from nephesh in each case! See Genesis 19:17, 19; 32:30; 44:30 with Exodus 4:19; 21:23 and 21:30.
Christ Shed His SOUL for Us!
Remember, you have already seen amply proved that the life or the soul of any animal or human consists in the life-giving blood in the body. For another amazing proof, turn to Isaiah the 53rd chapter. In this prophecy concerning the coming of the promised Messiah to die for the world, God shows it was the soul of Christ that was given for us. "Yet it pleased the Eternal to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul (nephesh) an offering for sin..." (Isaiah 53:10). How did Christ die? Any extremely casual student of the Bible knows it was His shed BLOOD that caused His death, not the sentimental "idea" of humans that Jesus died of a broken heart! Isaiah 52:14 describes the horrible BEATING Christ took when He was scourged before being forced to drag His own cross to the place of the skull. (See Matt. 27:26 and I Peter 1:19) Jesus died because of the loss of His life BLOOD! It was His blood that was "shed" (Matt. 26:28), and "poured out," "... because he hath poured out his soul (nephesh) unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12). Did you notice it? Jesus Christ died because He BLED to death yet your Bible expressly states it was His soul that was poured out! Of course! The "soul" is the physical, temporary LIFE of the human body, which can die (Ezek. 18:4, 20), be cut off (Exodus 31:14), and sent to the grave (Psalm 30:3)! Nephesh is the word used for "soul" in your Old Testament; nephesh CANNOT mean, EVER, anything whatsoever to do with immortal life, or spiritual essence! Nephesh is always speaking of the temporary, physical, animal life, which is supplied by the oxidation of oxygen with the blood!
The Amazing Origin
Since the idea of the immortality of the soul didn't come from the Old Testament, which comprised the only inspired Scripture existing until long after the time of Christ, then where did the idea come from? It came from the pagan GREEKS, and was introduced into an apostate, paganized "Christianity" nearly TWO CENTURIES after Christ! The Greeks obtained it from the Egyptians, who taught it soon after the apostasy at the tower of Babel. Herodotus, who was a famous Greek historian, living in the fifth century before Christ, wrote: "The Egyptians were also the FIRST that asserted that the soul of man is immortal.... This opinion some among the Greeks have at different periods of time adopted as their own" (Euterpe, chap. 123). Socrates, the pervert, who was also a famous Greek philosopher, travelled into Egypt and consulted the Egyptians on this very teaching. After his return, he taught the pagan error to Plato, his most famous student. Compare the present-day teachings of the churches with what Plato wrote in his book, the Phaedo: "The soul whose inseparable attribute is life will never admit of life's opposite, death. Thus the soul is shown to be immortal, and since immortal, indestructible.... Do we believe there is such a thing as death? To be sure. And is this anything but the separation, of the soul and body? And being dead is the attainment of this separation, when the soul exists in herself and separate from the body, and the body is parted from the soul. That is death.... Death is merely the separation of soul and body." Plato, the student and intimate acquaintance of Socrates, the sex pervert, did not believe death was really death! Rather, he conceived it as a separation of the "soul" from the body. But have you wondered why some of these erroneous ideas were taught?
The Ancients ADMITTED They Lied
A primary reason for the invention of the doctrines of a terrible and never-ending Hades, and its supporting doctrine of inherent immortality, was clearly that of state expediency. The common people were told falsehoods to keep them subject to the state. This was especially true among the Greeks and preeminently among the Romans. We have these judicious remarks by one of the most stable historians of the old world: Polybius. This Greek writer lived in the first century B.C., and wrote a history of the Roman Republic. In his section on Roman government he writes: "But, as the people universally are fickle and inconstant, filled with irregular desires, precipitate in their passions and prone to violence; there is no way to restrain them, BUT BY THE DREAD OF THINGS UNSEEN [i.e. the compartments of Hades], and by the pageantry of terrifying fiction. The ancients therefore acted not absurdly, nor without good reason, when they invented the notion concerning the gods AND THE BELIEF OF infernal punishments" (Bk. VI. 55, 56. The quote is from Hampton's translation, vol. II, pp. 405, 406). This is pretty plain, isn't it? Polybius was wise enough to know that the pagan doctrines of Hell and the heathen gods were plain fiction. However, he thought that such teaching was a good thing so that the passions of the masses could be bridled and that the state could function properly. But, as he states, the educated leaders knew the whole teaching was a LIE! We have the records of many learned men of ancient Greece and Rome who plainly knew that the doctrines about the immortality of the soul, the compartments of Hades, etc. were ALL falsehoods. They were invented to deceive the common people into a type of obedience to the state. "Cicero, Seneca, Panaetius, Polybius, Quintus Scaevola (The Pontifex Maximus), and Varro regarded religion as a device of statesmen to control the masses by mystery and terror" (Dictionary of Religion & Ethics, vol. 7, p. 61). Pagan religion and all its ramifications was simply manufactured to control the masses. The doctrines of a hell immediately after death which signified that people had inherent immortality were meant to scare the common people into being faithful citizens. Philosophers, theologians and statesmen developed what became known by the first century B.C. as the "double doctrine" or the "double truth" teaching. This "double truth" doctrine was manifested principally through the Mystery religions. Those few who were initiated into the highest degree of the Mysteries were told the truths regarding the immortality of the soul, Hades, etc. They were TOLD that the common doctrines were LIES, but beneficently given to control the people! This "double truth" doctrine is mentioned in the Dictionary of Religion & Ethics (p. 63) as "one truth for the intellectual classes and one for the common people, the climax reached is the phrase, 'It is expedient for the state [the people] to be deceived in religion.'" The populace were told one thing a pack of lies and the intellectuals (actually those initiated into the Mysteries as we will see) were told the naked truth. It is no wonder Paul said that the leaders were WITHOUT EXCUSE they knew better! "They hold [back] the truth" (Rom. 1:18). The leaders would not tell the people the facts which they were very much aware of. The Dictionary of Religion & Ethics shows how these men made jests about the credulity of the common people in accepting their teachings. "Cicero was an augur [a Roman religious official] yet he quotes with approval Cato's saying that he wondered how one augur could meet another without laughing" (ibid., p. 63). Even these two were Pagan theologians sponsored by the state, yet they were well aware of the nonsense they were so sincerely and reverently teaching the common people. The Dictionary of Religion & Ethics continues: "The latter-day philosophies of Greece proved to the Roman that the foundations of his religion were baseless, yet its existence was indispensable for the preservation of the State. This conflict between private belief and Public conduct can be seen, for example in Ennius. He wrote treatises, embodying advanced sceptical doctrines, and he also wrote patriotic poems in which the whole cycle of Roman gods was exhibited and most reverently treated" (ibid., p. 63). Ennius used the familiar double doctrine method of teaching.
Double Doctrine Manifested in All Philosophical Schemes
One of the most important observations to be made regarding the teachings of the pagan philosophers and/or theologians is that they ALL adhered to the "double doctrine" method of teaching. Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C., Plato, Aristotle, and even those of the first century always had two doctrines! Invariably, their disciples were told the truth (as much at the philosophers understood), and, the common people were told as many bold-faced LIES as was necessary to control them and render them governable. Notice the teachings of one of the first of the heathen philosophers: Pythagoras. Origen says of him and his system: "He divided his disciples into two classes, the one he called ESOTERIC, the other, the EXOTERIC. For to those [the first] he trusted the more perfect and sublime doctrines, to these [the latter] the more popular and vulgar" (On Philosophy, see fragments). Dr. Warburton, who quotes this section about Pythagoras, says: "This, we may be sure, would incline him to a more than ordinary cultivation of the DOUBLE DOCTRINE" (Divine Legation, vol. 1, p. 434). It is Warburton who proves that ALL the philosophers used the DOUBLE DOCTRINE teaching it was simply the common thing to do (ibid., p. 444). One of Pythagoras' intimate disciples, Timaeus Locrus said, speaking about the immortality of the soul and punishments immediately after death: "As we sometimes cure the body with unwholesome remedies, when such as are most wholesome have no effect; so we restrain those minds [of the common people] by false relations, which will not be persuaded by the truth. There is a necessity therefore of instilling the dread of those foreign torments" (World Life, near the end). In other words, it was perfectly all right to use as many LIES as was necessary in order to teach the people! How perverse the natural human mind is (Jer. 17:9). Pythagoras, in his teaching about the immortality of the soul, was followed by another of his disciples, the renowned Plato. We have the clearest testimony of Galen on Plato's DOUBLE DOCTRINES. Notice it: "Plato declares that animals have constantly a soul [i.e. all animal beings, including man, have an immortal soul], which serves to animate and inform their bodies, but as for stones, wood, and what we commonly call inanimate parts of the creation, all these, he says, are quite destitute of soul. And let in his Timaeus, where he explains his principles to his disciples and select friends, he there gives up the common notion, declares that there is a soul diffused through the universe, which is to actuate and pervade every part of it. Now we are NOT to imagine that in this case be is inconsistent with himself, or maintains contrary doctrines, any more than Aristotle and Theophrastus are to be charged with contradiction, when they declared to their disciples their real doctrines and to the common people, principles of another nature" (On the Natural Faculties, fragments). All these philosophers told FABLES outright LIES to the general population, but they told the truth (the truth that they lied to the people) to their own disciples. Notice how Galen says that Plato told the masses about the immortality of the soul, but to his real friends he rightly said that one universal spirit pervaded the universe to give life to all. There was nothing about the immortality of the soul to the latter group! It is as clear as it can be that Plato, himself, did not really believe such nonsense, even though he taught it to the laymen. Listen to Strabo, who knew what Plato really taught. He is speaking about the religious doctrines of the Indians. "They INVENT FABLES also, after the manner of Plato, on the immortality of the soul, and on the punishments in Hades, and other things of this kind" (Bk. XV, Ch. 1, 57, Bohn translation). Plato plainly lied, to the common people and he knew that he was lying. Read Plato's bold admission: "As for the symbol on the private note, you desire to know my serious letters and which contain MY REAL SENTIMENTS from THOSE LETTERS that do not, know and remember that (the word) God [i.e. God singular] begins a serious letter, and (the word) gods [i.e. gods plural] begins one that is otherwise" (Epistle 13).
It is well known that Plato's teachings on the immortality of the soul and about the punishments in Hades were his EXOTERIC teaching meant for public consumption. It was clearly FABLE. Did you assume the doctrine of the immortality of the soul came straight from the Bible? Did you believe that such a doctrine most of us have been reared to believe was the true doctrine of God's own Revelation? No! It is NOT! But, ancient professing Christians taught that this doctrine of the immortality of the soul did come from the Bible! Instead of following the revelation of Jesus Christ, the early apostate churches followed the teachings of the Pagans.
Christian Doctrine Changed
Toward the close of the second century, a school of professing Christians in Alexandria, Egypt, adopted Platonism plus the Bible as their creed. One of their chief teachers, Origen, wrote: "Souls are immortal." He continues to speak of "The Platonist, who believes in the immortality of the soul" (Vol. IV, pp. 314, 402). Notice, this teaching came from Plato, NOT the Bible! Tertullian, another important teacher at the close of the second century, wrote: "For some things are known, even by nature: the immortality of the soul, for instance, is held by many... I may use, therefore, THE OPINION OF A PLATO, when he declares: 'Every soul is immortal'" (Vol. III, p. 547). However, even as late as the FOURTH century, some Catholic writers and teachers, such as Arnobias, said of those who were "carried away with an extravagant opinion of themselves that souls are immortal.... Will you lay aside your habitual ignorance, O men, who claim God as your Father, and maintain that you are immortal just as He is?" (Vol. IV, p. 440) The truth was gradually submerged under the flood-tide of paganism, however, until by 1513 A.D. the Catholic Church even issued a decree against the faithful few who "dared to assert concerning the nature of the reasonable soul that it is mortal" and said that they must be "punished as heretics." During the Reformation, instead of returning to the "faith once delivered," the churches continued in the same pagan errors that had been perpetuated by the ideas of men.
What Did Christ Actually Teach?
Many are firmly convinced Jesus MUST have taught the immortality of the soul, because they have heard that He actually taught this doctrine! But did He? Let's find out what the Bible says! When Jesus sent out His disciples on a training mission during His ministry, He gave them instructions for their journey. He knew they would come in contact with men who hated the truth, who would even try to KILL some of them. Because of this, He said, "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 Gehenna" (Matt. 10:28). The word "hell" is improperly rendered in the English, from the Greek word Gehenna, which meant the "lake of fire" God will use to destroy the wicked! Christ said very plainly the "soul" (Greek psuche) can be DESTROYED by a fire! When a young man came to Jesus and asked what good thing he should do to OBTAIN eternal life, Christ didn't inform him that he already possessed it, in the form of an "immortal" soul. Rather, He said, "... but if you will enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!" (Matt. 19:17) The "golden text" of the Bible is another proof, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not PERISH, but [on the other hand] have everlasting life." Even this most-often-quoted scripture of the Bible shows that Jesus Christ came that humans would not PERISH, and that they might, on the other hand, enter into everlasting life. Christ told the Jews, when they told Him of the dead Galileans, "I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise PERISH" (Luke 13:3-5).
What About Lazarus?
Most professing Christians believe the basis for the doctrine of the "immortality" of the soul is found in Christ's parable of Lazarus and the rich man. But, most do not realize what the Bible actually says about this parable! You will see that the beggar and the rich man BOTH DIED (Luke 16:22). Space does not permit a full, detailed explanation of this parable here. If you have not yet read the amazing booklet, Lazarus and the Rich Man, then write in for it right away! Some astounding questions would be precipitated if the pagan doctrine of the immortal soul were true. WHY, if the "soul" immediately departs to go to its "heavenly reward" at death, did Jesus Christ resurrect His beloved friend, Lazarus? WHY, if the whole purpose of Jesus Christ was to SAVE OUR SOULS, did He call Lazarus BACK into the frail, human body, when He had been experiencing "heavenly bliss" for FOUR WHOLE DAYS? Does this make sense? Is it logical? The answer is obvious! Jesus did not TEACH any such doctrine of the "immortality of the soul" at all! Rather, He taught that the "soul" would perish unless it repented, and showed that God had the power to BURN IT UP in Gehenna fire, which is the second death!
What About the Early Church?
The major teaching of the early New Testament Church centered around Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the DEAD! Paul, in His inspired letter to the Corinthians, explained, "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain!" (I Cor. 15:12-14) But WHY would a resurrection of the body be needed, if the SOUL were already in heaven? The answer is SIMPLE the entire New Testament proves it THE SOUL DOES NOT GO TO HEAVEN IT DIES, AND GOES TO THE GRAVE! The only real HOPE of a Christian, as taught by the original inspired Church, was to attain to the resurrection! They knew and understood the only WAY to attain eternal life was through a resurrection from the dead. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I MIGHT ATTAIN unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. 3:10-11). Paul repeatedly explained this great mystery, and preached it unceasingly to the Gentile Christians of his day. Paul said, "Christ died for our sins" (I Cor. 15:3), and went on to explain, in the entire fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians, that the dead must be raised, or else our entire faith is vain (verses 16-17); that the physical man is earthy (verse 47); and that a change via a resurrection is necessary before we may have eternal life! (verse 52). On the Day of Pentecost, when the Church was built, God inspired the Apostle Peter to say, "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both DEAD and BURIED, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day" (Acts 2:29). Peter went on to say, "For David is not ascended into the heavens..." (verse 34). Did you notice it? David, a man after God's own heart, was NOT up in heaven! Of course! Jesus Christ also tells us, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (John 3:13).
What About "Soul" in the New Testament?
But didn't the New Testament Apostles talk of "saving human souls"? Some will ask, For example, we read in the opening days of the true Church: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). But remember, your Savior said souls can be DESTROYED. Then what is the answer? The simple truth is that the souls spoken of as having repented and come into the Church is merely an English expression which means "persons" or "lives"! The Greek proves it! What "Soul" Means Believe it or not, there is not one single expression in the entire New Testament of your Bible where the word "soul" can have anything whatsoever to do with immortality, eternal life, extra-physical life, or anything other than mortal, temporary life! Soul in the Greek, comes from psuche, which means "breath." The word comes from the root psucho which is the Greek verb, "to breathe." Thus, it corresponds exactly to the Hebrew nephesh which means the temporary life of animals!
See the Companion Bible, Appendix 110, for the usage of psuche throughout the New Testament. The word is used for the lower animals twice, exactly as the Hebrew nephesh can mean the life of lower animals. Two scriptures for reference are found in Revelation 8:9 and 16:3, where the word is rendered "life," and "soul," with reference to the life of lower animals. Psuche is used of man as an individual (just as we speak of a ship going down with every soul on board, or of so many lives being lost in a railway accident), and appears 14 times in the New Testament as soul. Psuche, used of the life of man, which can be lost, destroyed, saved, laid down and so on, occurs 58 times, and is rendered life and soul interchangeably. (See Ap. 110, Companion Bible) Having proved the usage of both the Hebrew and Greek words, we can see there is not one single place in the entire Bible where soul has anything to do with immortality!
A Deception of Satan
Satan the devil, the great deceiver, who has succeeded in blanketing the whole world in false doctrines such as this (Rev. 12:9), has not always used the same beliefs to deceive! At this present time, most men believe in his fable of the immortality of the soul. Therefore, it is easy for him to have his demons and evil spirits masquerading as the "departed souls" of human beings! Many people have actually seen or heard extra-physical and supernatural manifestations which have been responsible for perpetuating this pagan doctrine even further. During the days of Saul, however, the people did not believe in the "immortality" of the soul! Therefore, when Satan wished to deceive anyone by means of a supposed "calling back from the grave," he used the entire BODY in the form of an apparition, not just a voice or rapping which is supposed to represent the departed spirit! Read, in your own Bible, the account of Saul's visit to the witch of Endor. Saul, in his desperation, wanted to seek a woman who had a familiar spirit (demon), instead of God! Instead of masquerading as the departed soul of Samuel, the spirit masqueraded as the RESURRECTED BODY of Samuel! (Read I Sam. 28, and see our article on Spiritism Fraud... or Fact?) Solomon knew the man died exactly as did the beast: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, SO DIETH THE OTHER; yea, they all have one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity" (Eccl. 3:19). Did you read that with your own eyes, in your own Bible? Your Bible says the death of a man is just like the death of a dog or a cat! "All go unto ONE PLACE: all are of the DUST, and all turn to dust again" (Eccl. 3:20). David, under inspiration of God's Spirit, said the same thing, "Put not your trust in... the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his THOUGHTS perish" (Psalm 146:3-4). The consciousness perishes not continues to exist in a different place! "For the living KNOW that they shall DIE: but the dead know not anything!" (Eccl. 9:5)
What About Hell?
But you have assumed people in heaven can hear the shrieks of the tortured people dancing, leaping, writhing in supreme agonies in hell, haven't you? Where did you ever read any such thing in the Bible? If you have not yet written in for the article, "There Is a Real Hell Fire!" which explain this false concept thoroughly, then do so immediately. Now did Jesus ever say anything about a hell fire? To be sure! But Jesus did not describe a place where the wicked are tortured forever and ever. Let's notice what He did say. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 25:46). Notice Jesus' words. He said the wicked would receive eternal punishment, not eternal punishing, and there is a great difference. The "wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and the death, which is the absence of life, is for ALL ETERNITY. It is eternal punishment by remaining DEAD for all eternity not remaining alive and being tortured in a fictitious, burning hell-fire! Remember Jesus' warning to fear Him who has power to DESTROY the soul in Gehenna fire (Matt. 10:28). The Prophet Malachi gives us a description of this fire when he says, "For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven: and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be STUBBLE: and the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mal. 4:1). Notice! They are to be burnt UP, totally consumed in the fire not tortured by some kind of fire that never burns. "And ye [speaking to the righteous] shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ASHES under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Mal. 4:3). There! Do you see now? The wicked will be consumed, and their remains will be just the ashes and vapors left from the fire that burns them up. They will be dead, for all eternity!
Only God Is Eternal
Your Bible tells you that ONLY God has immortality. "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen" (I Tim. 6:16). The word "immortality" is used ONLY in FIVE PLACES in the Bible: Romans 2:7; I Cor. 15:53, 54; I Tim. 6:16 and II Tim. 1:10. STUDY those scriptures. In each case, immortality is something that is brought to light, that must be obtained, that God ONLY has, and in no case is something man already possesses!
Jesus Christ proclaimed the coming of the world-ruling Kingdom of God. He told Nicodemus a man must be BORN into that Kingdom, which is also a family, the family of God! (See John the 3rd chapter) The entire message of the New Testament surrounds being born into that world-ruling family by a resurrection from the DEAD. Jesus Christ was resurrected from the DEAD, and said the time is coming when ALL the dead are to be resurrected. The pagan ideas of men, perpetrated by Satan, the arch-deceiver of the world, have kept men BLINDED to the overawing GLORY that awaits every true believer! God's plan is being fulfilled with every passing day. His plan is to ultimately give as His free GIFT ETERNAL LIFE to mortal, sinning human beings after they have repented of their sins and begun to keep His laws. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the DEAD shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.... Marvel not at this for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves (not in heaven or hell) shall hear his voice, 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" (John 5:25-29). You do not have an immortal soul! You are physical, fleshly, and susceptible to DEATH! The ONLY way to live for all eternity is to REPENT, or else you will finally perish! (Luke 13:3) The decision is yours and it will be a decision for all eternity! May God grant you will make the right choice!