The Mortality of Man
"On the one hand, we have that which is divine, immortal, indestructible, of a simple form, accessible to thought, ever constant and abiding true to itself; and the soul is very like it. On the other hand, we have that which is human, mortal, destructible, of many forms, inaccessible to thought, never constant nor aiding true to itself and the body is very like that." From "Phaedo" by Plato.
"For to him that is joined to all the living, there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more portion forever in anything that is done under the sun." From "Ecclesiastes," by The Preacher, the Son of David.
"If a man die, shall he live again?" From the Book of Job.
Yahweh Holds Class
From the moment man first gained consciousness, he must have wondered: "Who or what am I? Will I continue to exist, and will I continue to perceive the world around me forever?" Surely the great Creator Elohim (a Hebrew title for the Supreme Being who created and sustains all things), who formed man out of the dust of the ground, must have, from the beginning, given the first man, Adam, answers to these most fundamental questions.
The Scriptures tell of Elohim playing a kind of teaching game with Adam, bringing before him creatures He had created, and having Adam name them (Genesis 2:19). In Hebrew, as in many ancient languages and cultures, a name is not just a term used to identify an object or person; names are often given to express the known (or hoped for) intrinsic nature of the person or object so named. Thus, the name of the self-existent creator being, Yahweh, means in Hebrew, "I exist [continuously]" (see Strong's Concordance Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary definition for the word 3068, misinterpreted there as "Jehovah"). The name of the redeemer He sent into the world to rescue His creation from sin--Yahshua--means "the salvation of Yahweh." (See Strong's Greek definition for 3091, misinterpreted there as "Jesus," and Strong's Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary definition for the words 3068 and 3467, there translated with the pronunciation "Yehowshua.")
By saying that Adam named the creatures that Yahweh paraded before him, the Scriptures are implying that Yahweh had also taught Adam about these creatures; that He had given Adam lessons in what we now call the science of zoology. Additionally, Adam and the first woman, Hawah (Hebrew for "Eve"), were told by Yahweh, "Of the tree in the midst of the garden you shall not eat" (Genesis 2:16-17). In order to differentiate one plant from another in the garden, Yahweh must have also taught the first man and his wife about the various characteristics that identify one plant from another. He must have given Adam and “Hawah” some sort of lesson in biology and botany. Reasonably then, we may assume that the great, loving creator, Elohim, must have also given the man and his wife some knowledge of His and their own nature--who and what He was, and who and what they were. As the name “Yahweh” expresses His intrinsic, eternal nature, so the name of the first man, Adam, expresses his intrinsic earthly nature. In Hebrew, the name Adam means "red" or "ruddy," a description of his complexion, as well as the rust-red clay from which he had been formed. (See Strong's Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary definition for 120 and 127, both from 119, "Adam"). Similarly, the name of Adam's wife, “Hawah,” defines her future role as the "mother of all living." (See Strong's Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary definition for 2332, "Eve").
So then, as it was necessary for Yahweh to personally teach the first couple about the world around them, so it was even more necessary for Him to teach them and us about our nature, about who and what we are, and what we may become.
Adam, with the guidance of Elohim, was able to discover the world around him, naming all the living creatures brought before him. But when it came to his own spiritual nature, that knowledge is entirely spiritually perceived (only understood by the inspiration of the creator, Yahweh), as the Apostle Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 when he wrote:
But we speak wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, those being brought to nothing ... For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of Yahweh except the Spirit of Yahweh. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from Yahweh, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by Yahweh, which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in [words] taught of the set-apart Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things]. But a natural man does not receive the things of [the] Spirit of Yahweh, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For "who has known [the] mind of Yahweh?" "Who will teach Him?" [Isaiah40:13] But we have [the] mind of the Messiah.
Therefore spiritual knowledge, including the knowledge of any spirit element of our intrinsic human composition must even more surely be revealed to us by the great creator Elohim who formed our progenitor, Adam, "out of the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7), and gave him the breath of life.
Yahweh's Facts vs. Satan's Opinions
So what does Yahweh tell us about man's intrinsic nature after the sin of our first parents? (See Genesis, chapter 3) He told them that in the day they eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would "surelydie" (Genesis 2:17). He told them that they were taken out of the dust, the mud, the dirt, and that because of their sin they were now destined to return to that very same dirt (Genesis 3:19). The contrary claim, however, was expressed by the serpent, Satan (See Revelation 12:9 and 20:2), who Scriptures describe as a "liar, and the father of it [lying]" (John 8:44). This spirit being, who is also described in Scriptures as the one who "deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9) told Hawah (Eve) that if she disobeyed Yahweh, if she sinned by disobeying her creator, she would "notsurely die" (Genesis 3:4). Thus the two contradictory concepts about the nature of man were first expressed:
- That they were a mortal part of the natural creation, as stated by the creator of man, the origin and source of all life, and
- That they were not subject to death, that they were of the same spirit substance as their creator ("but you shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil," Genesis 3:5), able to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false.
Since that time these two contradictory descriptions of man's intrinsic nature have battled each other in man's philosophy, theology, and religions. The first fact, man's natural mortality, points immediately to the creator Elohim who is greater than man, who is alone to be worshipped (Exodus 34:14; Matthew 4:10), and "who alone has immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16). It is a humbling fact that requires man to rely in faith on his creator for truth, and for the continuance of his existence. The opinion of the liar, however, appeals to man's pride--it suggests that man has no need of an external sustainer of his life, and by implication, has no need of a creator or a savior. What continues forever, what does not die, surely always was, as the great pagan Greek philosophers clearly rationalized.
Read in Plato's dialogue, "Phaedo" (written before 347 BC!), where Plato records the discussions of his mentor, Socrates, on the day of his execution. In it, Socrates is shown by Plato to express his belief in the continuance of life after death and in reincarnation, based on his philosophical arguments "proving" the pre-existence of human "souls". Socrates (S) is quoted as reasoning the following with his student, Cebes (C) while in his prison cell:
S: "Then suppose that you analyze life and death to me in the same manner. Is not death opposed to life?
S: And they are generated one from the other?
S: What is generated from the living?
C: The dead.
S: And what from the dead?
C: I can only say in answer--the living.
S: Then the living, whether things or persons, Cebes, are generated from the dead?
C: That is clear, he replied.
S: Then the inference is that our souls exist in the world below?
C: That is true.
S: And one of the two processes or generations is visible--for surely the act of dying is visible?
C: Surely, he said.
S: What then is to be the result? Shall we exclude the opposite process? And shall we suppose nature to walk on one leg only? Must we not rather assign to death some corresponding process of generation?
C: Certainly, he replied.
S: And what is that process?
C: Return to life.
S: And return to life, if there be such a thing, is the birth of the dead into the world of the living?
C: Quite true." -From Phaedo, The Dialogues of Plato, Washington Square Press edition.
It was from these Greek philosophers that much of what is understood about the nature of man and the "immortal soul" has infused itself into our western culture and its religions. The Scriptures say that Satan, the "elohim of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), is filled with pride (Ezekiel 28:4, 17), and that his pride was his downfall (Proverbs 16:18; Luke 10:18). Man, the Scriptures tell us, follows after his mighty one, "the elohim of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), with "no good thing" (Psalms 14:3, Romans 3:10-12) in him, a follower in the pride of the counterfeit "father" he has chosen (John 8:44). Is it any wonder which of the two concepts about the intrinsic nature of man has been the most popular down through history?
Since we have our creator's word that when it comes to spiritual knowledge our reasoning processes are by nature seriously flawed, it seems clear that if we are to get to the truth of the matter, if we are to understand the true nature of man, we must go to the source of that knowledge, our creator Yahweh. We should not attempt to rely on our own reasoning power, which is naturally guided by the "elohim of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), "the father of lies" (John 8:44), the one who was a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44), the one who seeks "only to kill and destroy" (John 10:10; Matthew 10:28). The questions we need answered from the Scriptures are:
- What is the intrinsic nature of man: mortal flesh, immortal spirit, or some combination of the two?
- When and how is our reward or punishment handed out?
- What is the "soul" spoken of in our translations of the Scriptures? Is it immortal?
- Do we need to be "saved"? If so, saved from what?
Starting, as one should at the beginning, what do the Scriptures say about the nature of man--what was he taken from (Genesis 2:27)? In describing the origin of the process of infusing life into the first human, Yahweh told Moses to write that He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). But what exactly is meant by the phrase "the breath of life", and that "man became a living soul"? Dissecting the sentence by adding Strong's numbers to this key verse, in order to aid in defining the words, we have:
And Yahweh  Elohim  formed  the man  (of) dust  of  the ground  and breathed  into his nostrils breath of  life  and man  became a living  soul  . --Taken from Green's Expanded KJV text, Genesis 2:7, bold mine.
Since spiritual things must be spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14), but we by nature are physical, fleshly beings (1 Corinthians 15:2-49, Romans 7:14), it is necessary that we let Yahweh's inspired Scriptures (not our own human reasoning) interpret this most basic, fundamental description of who and what we are. Notice these additional verses in the Hebrew Scriptures where these same key Hebrew words shown in bold above are used:
And out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed <03335> (8799) every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof (Genesis 2:19).
Thus has Yahweh Elohim shown unto me; and, behold, he formed <03335> (8802) grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth ... (Amos 7:1).
"the man" :
And Adam <0120> gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam <0120> there was not found a help fit for him (Genesis 2:20).
And the rib, which the Yahweh Elohim had taken from man <0120>, made (8799) he a woman, and brought her unto the man <0120> (Genesis 2:22).
"(of) dust" :
In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust <06083> you [are], and to dust <06083> shall you return (Genesis 3:19).
For all the wells, which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth <06083> (Genesis 26:15).
Iron is taken out of the earth <06083>, and brass [is] molten [out of] the stone (Job 28:2).
And Judah said, the strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and [there is] much rubbish <06083>; so that we are not able to build the wall (Nehemiah 4:10).
You hide your face, they are troubled: you take away their breath; they die, and return to their dust <06083> (Psalms 104:29).
All go unto one place; all are of the dust <06083>, and all turn to dust <06083> again (Ecclesiastes 3:20).
"of" or “from” :
But there went up a mist from <04480> the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground (Genesis 2:6).
And out <04480> of the ground made Yahweh Elohim to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food ... (Genesis 2:9).
And He called his name Noah, saying, this [same] shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because <04480> of the ground which Yahweh has cursed (Genesis 5:29).
"(the) ground" :
And out of the ground <0127> made Yahweh Elohim to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food ... (Genesis 2:9).
And out of the ground <0127> Yahweh Elohim formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam ... (Genesis 2:19).
In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground <0127>; for out of it were you were taken: for dust you [are], and to dust shall you return (Genesis 3:19).
Therefore Yahweh Elohim sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground <0127> from which he was taken (Genesis 3:23).
"and breathed" :
Behold, I have created the smith that blows <05301> (8802) the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the [spoiler] to destroy (Isaiah 54:16).
[As] they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow <05301> (8800) the fire upon it, to melt [it]; so will I gather [you] in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave [you there], and melt you (Ezekiel 22.20).
"into his nostrils" :
All in whose nostrils <0639> [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died (Genesis 7:22).
And Joseph [was] the governor over the land, [and] he [it was] that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him [with] their faces <0639> to the earth (Genesis 42:6).
"the breath" :
All in whose nostrils [was] the breath <05397> <07307> of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died (Genesis 7:22).
But of the cities of these people, which Yahweh your Elohim does give you [for] an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes <05397> (Deuteronomy 20:16).
Cease you from man, whose breath <05397> [is] in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? (Isaiah2:22)
"of life" :
And Elohim said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life <02416>, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And Elohim created great whales, and every living <02416> creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and Elohim saw that [it was] good (Genesis 1:20, 21).
And Elohim said, Let the earth bring forth the living <02416> creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast <02416> of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And Elohim made the beast <02416> of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps upon the earth after his kind: and Elohim saw that [it was] good (Genesis 1:24, 25).
And to every beast <02416> of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein [there is] life <02416> <05315>, [I have given] every green herb for food: and it was so (Genesis 1:30).
"And man" :
(See previous 0120.)
"became a living" :
(See previous 02416.)
And Elohim created great whales, and every living creature <05315> that moves <0740>, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl ... (Genesis 1:21).
And Elohim said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature <05315> after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind <0437>: and it was so (Genesis 1:24).
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein [there is] life <02416> <05315>, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so (Genesis 1:30).
And out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature <05315>, that [was] the name thereof (Genesis 2:19).
If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life <05315> whatsoever is laid upon him (Exodus 21:30).
This [is] the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature <05315> that moves in the waters, and of every creature <05315> that creeps upon the earth (Leviticus 11:46).
It [shall be] a Sabbath of rest unto you, and you shall afflict your souls <05315>, by a statute forever (Leviticus 16:31).
And whatsoever soul <05315> [it be] that does any work in that same day, the same soul <05315> will I destroy from among his people (Leviticus 23:30).
...The soul <05315> that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).
From this analysis, having let the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures, the following conclusions are inescapable:
- Man was formed from the common matter of the universe; dirt, or clay (Genesis 2:7, 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:20). [Note: This association of mankind with red dirt or clay is so strong that the Hebrew words "Adam" (Strong's 0120 and 0121), the first man, and "land", "earth", and "ground" (Strong's 0127) all derive from the same Hebrew word for red, or ruddy, a description of the first man's blood-flushed face (Strong's 0119).]
- Initially, man had no "life" in him, for it was necessary for the creator to add life to him (Genesis 2:7; Job 10:12, 12:9-10).
- Our life is continually preserved in us by only Him (Deuteronomy 30:20; Psalms 36:6, 9, 66:9; 1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 1:3).
- That life was as the result of an artificial respiration type of activity by Elohim (Genesis 2:7, 7:22).
- That exact same life-type man received was also shared with other creatures--birds, fish, and even insects (Genesis 6:17, 7:15, 22).
- As a result of sin, the man was to give up the in-breathed life-type at death, and the man himself was to return to the dirt from which he was first created (Genesis 3:19; Psalms 146:4).
Moving beyond this initial description of the intrinsic nature of man, study these additional descriptions of our natural mortality as found in the following Scriptures and the context as revealed in the surrounding verses:
Return, O Yahweh, deliver my soul [self, being] : Save me for your lovingkindness' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of you: In Sheol [Hebrew for "the grave", where we are buried--see "Young's Compact Bible Dictionary, "Dead, Abode of"] who shall give you thanks?(Psalms 6:4, 5)
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise you? Shall it declare your truth? (Psalms 30:9) [The implied answer being "No".]
Their inward thought is, [that] their houses [shall continue] forever, [And] their dwelling-places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. But man [being] in honor abides not: he is like the beasts that perish (Psalms 49:11-12). [As animals die, so man dies!]
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Yahweh shall be as the fat of lambs: They shall consume; in smoke shall they consume away. (Psalms 37:20) [Total, complete destruction!]
You, who have shown us many and sore troubles, will quicken us again, and will bring us up again from the depths of the earth (Psalms 71:20). [Revived from the grave, not heaven.]
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am reckoned with them that go down into the pit; I am as a man that has no help. Cast off among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, who you remember no more, And they are cut off from your hand. ... Will you show wonders to the dead? Shall they that are deceased arise and praise you? [Selah] ... Shall your wonders be known in the dark? And your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? (Psalms 88:4-12) [Again, the implied answer to these questions is "No".]
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten (Ecclesiastes 9:5). [Without consciousness!]
Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do [it] with your might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go (Ecclesiastes 9:10). [The dead have no activity.]
For Sheol cannot praise you, death cannot celebrate you: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth (Isaiah 38:18).
For, behold, the day comes, it burns as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that comes shall burn them up, says Yahweh of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch (Malachi 4:1). [Total, complete destruction!]
And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do this, says Yahweh of Hosts (Malachi 4:3). [Total, complete destruction!]
The clear impression left by these and many other old covenant writings is that both the righteous and the unrighteous are lost and forgotten in the grave after death, with only a glimmer of hope for a future re-consciousness through a resurrection from the dead (Psalms 71:20). Besides that hope of a future (see Job chapter 14) resurrection, the Scriptures repeatedly declare that the dead are unable to praise Yahweh (Psalms 6:5, 30:9, 88:10, Is 38:18), are forgotten (Psalms 88:5, Ecclesiastes 9:5), are unable to perform any conscience task (Ecclesiastes 9:5 & 10), and, if wicked, can look forward only to being completely burnt up and destroyed by fire at some future date (Psalms 37:20, Ez 18:4, 20, Mal 4:1, 3).
We must fully believe in and partake in the very life and existence of the One through whom Elohim created all things.
The New Covenant and Conditional Immortality
But are the old covenant writings the only witnesses to our natural mortality? What did our savior Yahshua have to say about our nature, and is there a consensus on this question in the writings of the Apostles, those who personally knew Him, who walked this earth and talked with Him? In John 3:15 what did our savior say we must do in order to have (obtain) eternal life? Notice also John 10:28 and 17:2, where Yahshua states that He has the power to give eternal life to His sheep, and to His disciples. If the human "soul" was already immortal, it would have no need of a gift of eternal life. Eternal life (of any sort!) is therefore a conditional gift given by Yahshua to those chosen by the Father, not a natural component of our "immortal soul"! Notice also Yahshua's response to the men who asked Him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16, Mark 10:17, Luke 10:25, 18:18). In each case the response assumes conditional immortality--if you keep the commandments, you shall have life.
The clear assumption is that without the keeping of the commandments, humans do not by nature possess eternal life. In Mark 10:29-30, in answer to Peter's question of what reward would they have for giving up their way of life and following Him, Yahshua said, "...there is no man who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, or mother, ...for My sake and the evangel's sake, ...who shall not receive...in the world to come, eternal life". In John 3:15 and 16, in speaking to Nicodemus, Yahshua states that "who ever believes in Him [the son of man] should not perish but have eternal life". In John 6:54, Yahshua emphatically declares, "who ever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day." In each of these cases, "eternal life" is a conditional gift, given as the result of doing and believing something--we must leave our former way of life, we must keep the commandments, and we must fully believe in and partake in the very life and existence of the One through whom Elohim created all things. Without fulfilling these conditions, eternal life is not a promised gift to any man by our savior.
Study further John 3:15 and 16. In it Yahshua provides the two alternatives: "perish" or have "everlasting life." "Perish" is from the Greek "apollumi" (Strong's 622). In addition to being translated "perish" 33 times by the King James translators, it was in other verses translated "destroy" 26 times, and has the sense in English terms, "to put out of the way entirely, abolish, to put an end to, ruin" (Strong's 622 from Green's Literal Translation Greek dictionary).
The meaning is clear: You either have life as a conditional free gift given by Yahweh through the life of His son, Yahshua, or you, the whole you, that which comprises all of what you are, will go the way of all the rest of the physical creation at death--total, complete destruction.
As an extreme example of the fruits of disobedience and the alternative to eternal life, read 1 John 3:15, where the Apostle John states under inspiration of the spirit of Yahweh, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." If those who hate their brother are stated here to be murderers, and we are told that such a person living in a state of hatred and sin does not have eternal life, why should anyone believe that they, by their own nature, have anything eternal abiding within him? Obviously then, eternal life is a gift given by the eternal creator, Yahweh, and is a property of His spirit, and His spirit alone (See 1 Timothy 6:13-16: "...who only has immortality..."), and that spirit is only given to "those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32)! Along those same lines, read Paul's statement in praise of the obedience of Yahshua in Hebrews 5:9, where he states, "And being made perfect He became the author of eternal salvation to all them who obey Him." Once again, this "eternal salvation" is only promised to those who obey Him.
Rewards and Punishments--When?
The next most debated question relating to this subject of mortality and immortality is the question of when our reward of immortality is actually distributed to us. If we are not now immortal spirit beings, when and how will we be changed? In response to that important question, study the focus teaching of Saul--Pallous (Saul--Paul) before the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill. What surprised and shocked these learned men most in Paul's debate with them (Acts 17:32)? When Paul was on trial before the high council of his countrymen, the Sanhedrin, what did he say was the hope for which he was being judged (Acts 23:6)? And again, when on trial for his life before the Roman-appointed governor of the province of Judea, and later before King Agrippa, what did Paul say was the hope he had, a core belief of his message (Acts 24:15, 26:6-8)? Paul clearly stated in Romans 6:23 that the natural result of sin, the wages we draw by transgressing the laws of Elohim (1 John 3:4) is death, as contrasted to the gift we may be given, which is eternal life, made possible by the resurrection (Matthew 22:29-32).
In John 6:54, Yahshua expressly stated, "...except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you." Life, any sort of continued existence, therefore, is not intrinsic to us, it must be (spiritually) ingested. Paul, in Romans 5:21 through 6:5 makes clear that the mechanism by which we gain that life is through baptism, which he uses as a metaphor for the resurrection from the dead--our only hope for life!
In Philippians 3:8, Paul shockingly equates his previous life of self-righteousness with dung, in comparison to the opportunity, given through the death and resurrection of Yahshua from the dead, to take part in the resurrection of the dead: Yes doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Messiah Yahshua my Master: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win the Messiah, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Messiah, the righteousness which is of Elohim by faith: 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. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may lay hold that for which also I am laid hold of Messiah Yahshua (Philippians 3:8-12).
Finally, notice the great importance laid on the resurrection in Revelation 20:5 and 6, where the Apostle John, writing by the spirit of Yahweh states: But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were ended. This [is] the first resurrection. Blessed and holy [is] the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and will reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:5, 6).
Yahshua The First
In the renewed covenant Scriptures, Yahshua is described as the "captain [Strong's #747, arkeegos--chief leader] of our salvation" (Hebrews 2:10). In addition, Yahshua Himself said in John 13:16 and 15:20 that "the servant is not greater than his master." Yet Yahshua, having given-up His pre-mortal spiritual nature, having become subject to death for our sakes (Hebrews 2:14-17; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-17), could not of His own power raise Himself from the dead. Like all men He had to rely on the power of His father, Yahweh Elohim, to raise Him from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 33, 34, 17:31; Romans 4:24, 25, 6:4, 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1, etc.)! If Yahshua's "spirit essence" was still alive and conscious during the 3 days and 3 nights that His body lay in the tomb, and He of all men who have ever lived "could not be held by death" (Acts 2:24), why did He need to have His Father raise Him up from the dead? Why could He not just raise Himself up? Yet these dozens of Scriptures quoted earlier repeatedly show Yahshua being raised by some power outside Himself, that of Yahweh Elohim. Clearly then, if Yahshua Himself was without power in death, how foolish are those who believe that they themselves have some sort of natural immortality which, apart from the resurrection, provides for the continuation of consciousness after death!
If then, the "resurrection from the dead" was the sole hope laid out by Yahshua and by those he appointed teachers in this age, what place can there be in our doctrine for the pagan philosophy of the "immortality of the soul", any concept of man's natural immortality, or any concept of natural consciousness after death apart from a resurrection? Those who espouse the so-called "Christian" doctrine of the immortality of the soul, freely admit to the scripturally-mandated doctrine of the necessity of a resurrection from the dead as the only mechanism for the continuation of our existence. The New Compact Bible Dictionary, Special Crusade Edition, published by Zondervan for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association states in their article "Resurrection:" "To deny the resurrection is, in Biblical thought, to deny any immortality worthy of the character of our faith in [Elohim]."
Paul said, "As in Adam we all die" (1 Corinthians 15:22); and that "As in the Messiah we shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). How did Adam die? Do the Scriptures ever speak of his continuing consciousness after death? Speaking of all those who went before him, including Adam, righteous Job ("Yob ") asked the pivotal question: "If a man die, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14) Answering in faith he replied, "All the days of my appointed time I will wait until my change come" (vs. 14 to end). In that same speech to his incriminating friends, Job went on to describe the natural fate of man, who "wastes away" (vs. 10), and does not continue (vs. 12), who is "hidden in the grave" (Hebrew, sheol) then remembered (vs. 13). This then is the fate of the "natural man, Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:46) spoken of by Paul.
Driving home the point of the necessity of the resurrection for any future hope, what does Paul say is the source, the origin of us and Adam, our progenitor (1 Corinthians 15:45)? Speaking of the current immortal "life giving spirit" nature of the resurrected Yahshua, how does Paul contrast the nature of Adam, which is our nature as well (1 Corinthians 15:45)?
[Note that like the Hebrew term “nephesh” (Strong's #05315) used in the Hebrew Scriptures, the English term "soul" (Strong's #5590) used in most translations for the Greek word "psuche" often simply refers to a being, a creature. This may be ascertained by noting that Paul/Saul feels it necessary to specify that Adam "became a living soul" (as contrasted with a dead soul). Notice also that the Greek word psuche is translated into the English word "life" 40 times by the AV translators (For proof, search on Strong's #5590 under the word "life" in Strong's Concordance), including Luke 6:9 where our Master speaks of the soul (life, psuche) as being destroyed.]
Paul termed the majestic return of Yahshua to this earth as the supreme, governing legal administrator as "The blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). This hope is a key teaching of the new covenant followers of Yahshua (Titus 2:13). This same hope is strongly tied to the "salvation message" that the true followers of the Messiah from Nazareth teach, the hope and promise of a resurrection from death (unconsciousness, not a transfer of consciousness) "at his coming" (1 Corinthians 15:23). Paul said that without the assurance of a resurrected Messiah as savior, we have would have no returning savior. If we have no returning savior, we have no hope of a resurrection, or change from mortal to immortal (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). Without that hope of being rescued from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:23-24) we "have no hope" [at all!] and are without a mighty savior in this world (Ephesians 2:12).
It is significant too to recognize that in both the old and new covenants the reward spoken of for a righteous life (conformance to the edicts of Yahweh and faith (trust) in his forgiveness and saving power) is nearly always presented in the far future tense--far beyond even the grave.
Study the context of the timing of the promised reward as implied in the following Scriptures:
For the Master himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). [The resurrection occurs only at the return of the Messiah to this earth!]
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to Yahweh, who gives us the victory through our Master Yahshua Messiah (1Corinthians 15:51-57). [There can be only 1 last trump, and only then do we gain immortality.]
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because Elohim translated him: for he has had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto Elohim: ...These all died in faith [including faithful Enoch!], not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar [the distant future], and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. ...And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise: Elohim having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:5, 13, 39-40). [Many years after the resurrection of Yahshua, the righteous men and women of the old covenant still had not received their reward!]
…Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that you may be] blameless in the day of our Master Yahshua Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:8).
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Master Yahshua (1 Corinthians 5:5).
As also you have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as you also [are] ours in the day of the Master Yahshua (2 Corinthians 1:14).
Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Messiah, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain (Philippians 2:16).
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by [your] good works, which they shall behold, praise Yahweh in the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12).
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). [See also Luke 17:30, and Romans 2:16.]
From these verses, it may be clearly seen that Yahweh's promised rewards--immortality for those who obey Him and seek the kingdom ("…to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for praise and honor and immortality, eternal life," Romans 2:7), and destruction for those who follow the way of rebellion and unrighteousness ("…but to them that are contentious [rebellious], and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath..." Romans 2:8) are measured out at a future time, in the "Day of Yahweh."
You, Too, May Receive The Free Gift of Eternal Life
Every living creature desires to continue to exist. In this world system, the fight for survival and the necessities of life (food and comfort) is the driving force behind the actions of all living beings. Beyond that, human beings also crave purpose and meaning to their lives--a reason for life--goals to work towards. The natural man attempts to fulfill these intrinsic desires for meaning by striving after material goals--a better, more fulfilling job, a bigger house in a better neighborhood, a new car, and, of course, even through intimate relationships with other human beings. But each of these material and emotional desires, which our Creator has put within us, are but shadows of real, genuine, spiritual needs he uses to ultimately draw us to Him. We can and should be striving after the substance, and not just the shadow of these cravings for meaning in our lives.
Yahweh's word clearly defines the right goals (eternal goals) and the right means to attain those goals, including adoption into the spiritually-composed family of Yahweh (Romans 8:14, 15), with the goal of extending His rule of love and order throughout this entire, chaotic universe. Eternal, transcendent goals necessitate eternal life, with the indwelling of the spirit of Yahweh within us to give it meaning. That purposeful eternal life with Yahweh's spirit is promised to "those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32; Hebrews 5:9), and keep His commandments (Exodus 19:5, 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10; Psalms 103:17-18, 119:66, 98, 100; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Isaiah 56:1-8; Malachi 3:16-18; Matthew 19:17; John 14:15, 23, 15:10, 12, 17; 1John 2:3, 4, 3:22-24, 4:21, 5:2, 3; Revelation 12:17, 14:12).
The very fact that you are studying this series of Scripture study aids suggests that Yahweh is drawing you to Him, in this age, to be a part of the "little flock" (Luke 12:32) which He is now using to announce the good news of the planned restoration of His rule of the right and just law of love over all that He created. Yahshua, the Messiah, (Hebrew for "anointed one”--See Strong's OT #4886/4899 & NT 3323/5547) is that being who gave Himself up as a ransom (Matthew 20:28, 1Timothy 2:6) for all that He created (the entire physical universe--see John 1:1-3, 10-11; Ephesians 3:8-9; Colossians 1:13-19; Hebrews 1:1-2), and who has promised to return as king, the supreme ruler of that government.
By faith (trust) in the promises of forgiveness and cleansing from sin made possible by the shedding of the blood, and death of Yahshua, we now have the opportunity to gain eternal life as a gift. That life is the free gift made available to us as a result of the obedience and righteousness of Yahshua. Without Him, we are nothing (John 15:5)--just creatures made of mud and dirt, just mortal creatures. His word declares it to those He has chosen and enlightened by His spirit, the spirit He chooses to give only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32, Hebrews 5:9). Will you also obey Him so that you can understand who alone is truly immortal, and how you may share in His immortality (I Timothy 6:16)? Act now. It is the one and only reason we were put here in the first place--it is the one and only hope we ("Adams," creatures of red clay) have for consciousness beyond the grave. Halleluyah!
For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the majesty of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower of it falls away: but the word of Yahweh endures forever. And this is the word which by the evangel is preached to you (Isaiah 40:6,7; 1 Peter 1:24, 25).
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May Yahweh bless you and help you in all your learning endeavors!