This is the 2nd follow-up to the article Ghosts and the Paranormal. Please read over both of those (the first follow-up & rebuttal is at Ghosts and the Paranormal Part2- Answering the Rebuttals on Death) first before reading this one. The hot topic of debate, turned out to be whether or not we go directly to Heaven or Hell. This one is more exhaustive, and will point blank show the body and soul are not two separate things. There are two main verses people try to use to support going directly to either place. They will come up again, but only to point a couple more items out. Then you will see the others, followed by showing the early church fathers even spoke out against this Gnostic heresy.
First, to rehash
2nd Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
This does not support the soul separating from the body unless one subjects that in there. Paul says “willing rather” which is wishing, not saying it is going to happen. Paul knew very well such a thing would not take place. In fact, he knew when he died; he would be waiting on the Lord to return for him and the rest of us. Since you know nothing when you sleep, it would seem as if it were at the instant of death. Philippians 1:21-25 follows this same thought process. That is why he had previously expressed death as sleep to the church in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 15:51
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
Next, the story of Lazarus and the rich man found in Luke 23. Jesus spoke in parables throughout His whole ministry. In Matthew chapter 13 we are given seven different parables. No parable is literal or historical. The second we make a parable literal, it ceases to be a parable. Jesus spoke ONLY in parables (not true life or historical stories) among the masses of people who followed Him wherever He went.
But I was still told:
“It can’t be a parable because Jesus only revealed those teachings to them who would be saved as in Matthew 13:11-15.”
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Before any of us were a believer, we wouldn't have
understood those even when we read them. In similar fashion,
we are not told that a Pharisee never came to know Jesus. We
are not told that one who was there and heard that, did not
understand and come to know Jesus. We are told the exact
opposite with those such as Paul, Nicodemus, and the list
goes on that all came to know Jesus as their Savior. When
the Gospel message, the Truth hits you in between the eyes,
you can't escape it. And we all have different things that
the Lord has used to trigger that event. So that point holds
no grounds. Those Pharisees who heard it and were lead to
Christ is exactly who He was after, as well as those in the
2000 years after who understood what Jesus' point was in the
whole story. Those who still refused Him, fall directly
under what is spoken of in Mathew 13:11-15. And not every
Christian gets it right off either. The Disciples surely
didn't understand immediately all His teachings. When he
spoke of the temple being torn down and raised again in 3
days, John is quite pointed in saying that they thought he
spoke of the temple building, but after He rose from the
dead, they then understood He was talking about Himself. So,
Jesus using this parable in this way would not have been in
vain, nor would it have gone against scripture. It would not
have been any different than quotes to non-biblical texts in
the Bible. Such are when Paul quotes Epimenides in Titus,
Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch, Joshua refers to the
Book of Jasher. But they were not ordaining it, nor saying
those books were inspired, they were making a point. So just
because Jesus did the same would put no fault towards it, He
was trying to convey a message to get them thinking. It
would actually harmonize with scripture more than a theory
that the body and soul separate and then join back together,
of which there is not a single verse in the Bible that
states that. It is all tradition.
If you tell me that this is not a parable, then you are forced to take all of it literal. In doing so, then you must now believe that Heaven is Abraham's chest. You must now believe someone in Hell is sound enough of mind and body to make coherent requests. You must now believe people in heaven can see and talk to people in Hell & visa-versa. You must now believe that in Hell, which is the absence of God who is love, is a place where love still abounds because someone suffering there is concerned about others. You must now believe that scripture is wrong that in Heaven there are no more tears, because someone can look there from Heaven and see friends and loved ones. You must now believe scripture is wrong that there will be a time when there will be no more remembrance of the old Heaven and Earth, because you will be able to look down there, and they will be able to look at us. If you say it is real and it is literal, then you set yourself against scripture, which is defined as being a heretic. Jesus used Pharisees' twisted traditions against them. Jesus loved the scribes and Pharisees as much as he loved anyone else, was talking plainly to them. He was talking to men who actually knew the Scriptures, but were setting them aside for their own traditions (Mark 7:6-13, Colossians 2:8). Jesus made the significant point that love of money is going to get you into trouble. That you can't serve both God AND money. And also that rich men are not necessarily blessed of God and poor men are not necessarily cursed.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
There is another passage in Acts, where Stephen says the close to the same thing. This is the spirit of life, something God gives to man. It is NOT a man’s soul. There is a huge difference in ones spirit, and one’s soul.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
What the above verse tells us, is that breath from God, plus the body, equals a living soul! Did you notice that? They are not two separate entities at all. One does not exist without the other.
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
These are just three verses of a multitude that show the spirit is the spirit of life that God gives every person, and when it is your time to go, that spirit of life returns to Him. When that happens, there is no living soul as described in Genesis 2:7, there is no possibility for it lest you set yourself against scripture. That being the case. FIRMLY the scriptures above, nor any other verse in the Bible, speaks of the SOUL and BODY separating. Never!
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Some choose to use the above to support the soul and spirit separating, but that’s just not the case. Common sense tells one reading the passage of John, Lazarus, Mary’s brother, was already dead and in the grave. Jesus would never speak something to cause confusion. When Lazarus was raised in that passage, it was THEN that those believed He was living. Christ raised Him to show what would soon become known as the Blessed Hope of all believers. Those involved were not of comfort of some separated soul. We will not die a permanent death, we will be raised again. The point driven home here, as well as the following verse in Matthew, was pointed towards the Sadducees. This sect of the Sanhedrin did not believe in a resurrection. They believed when you died, that was it. Jesus plainly showed them even Moses testified to a resurrection, because the verse above is a quote from the Old Testament. Jesus made a point that God would not have His saints sleep forever. No, there will most certainly be a resurrection, and they were astonished at what He said. God is not a God of the dead, but of the living, because He will raise us back up.
“When Jesus comes back, He brings the saints with Him. If they are in an unconscious state in spirit they could not, so they must be alive.”
This is a correct statement in regards to what happens after the marriage supper of the Lamb; however, it is an incorrect assumption that it supports the soul separated from the body. Whether you believe in a pre, mid, or post tribulation rapture, we do not follow Christ until after the marriage supper of the Lamb. So, what has already happened at this point is described by Paul.
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1st Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Jesus has already come and got us, and changed us. So we are with Him when He returns in chapter 19 of Revelation. But what the passage in Corinthians does also, is flies in the face again, of anyone who wants to say the soul separates. Not only does it not say our souls are recombined with our bodies, it is another instance where that heresy is disproven. For the soul to separate and go to Heaven, it would have to be immortal. Paul is quite to the point, that we are ever so mortal, and are changed to immortal when Christ returns for us. It’s not just those living, notice, he says in verse 51, not all are SLEEPING, but all will be changed regardless.
Scripture declares that we know nothing when we die. If a soul separated and lived forever, scripture would be wrong, and that’s just not the case. Besides the over 60 verses that describe death as sleep, notice these:
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish
The thought that the soul is a separate and immortal thing outside of the body, is a Gnostic heresy that crept in over time that not only Paul blatantly denied as in 1st Corinthians 15:51-53, but the early church fathers did too. Here are some examples:
Justin Martyr (100AD-160AD) blasted what later became orthodoxy, and remains so to this day, (Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 80):
"They who maintain the wrong opinion say that there is no resurrection of the flesh. . . As in the case of a yoke of oxen, if one or other is loosed from the yoke, neither of them can plough alone; so neither can soul or body alone effect anything, if they be unyoked from their communion . . ." [i.e. the soul can have no separate, active existence]. For what is man but the reasonable animal composed of body and soul? Is the soul by itself man? No; but the soul of man. Would the body be called man? No; but it is called the body of man. If then neither of these is by itself man, but that which is made up of the two together is called man, and God has called man to life and resurrection, He has called not a part, but the whole, which is the soul and body. . . Well, they say, the soul is incorruptible, being a part of God and inspired by Him. . . . Then what thanks are due to Him, and what manifestation of His power and goodness is it, if He purposed to save what is by nature saved. . . . but no thanks are due to one who saves what is his own; for this is to save himself. . . . How then did Christ raise the dead? Their souls or their bodies? Manifestly both. If the resurrection were only spiritual, it was requisite that He, in raising the dead, should show the body lying apart by itself, and the soul living apart by itself. But now He did not do so, but raised the body. . . . Why do we any longer endure those unbelieving arguments and fail to see that we are retrograding when we listen to such an argument as this: That the soul is immortal, but the body mortal, and incapable of being revived. For this we used to hear from Plato, even before we learned the truth. If then the Saviour said this and proclaimed salvation to the soul alone, what new thing beyond what we heard from Plato, did He bring us?"
Justin thus implies that teaching an immediate survival of the soul in heaven or hell is Platonism not Christianity.He then makes this statement on the Intermediate State in 150 AD:
"For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit the Truth of the resurrection and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; who say that there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls when they die are taken to heaven: do not imagine that they are Christians; just as one, if he would rightly consider it would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of the Genistae, Meristae, Galilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews, but are only called Jews, worshipping God with the lips, as God declared, but the heart was far from Him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare." (Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 80, Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, Eerdmans, p. 239)
Irenaeus (120AD-202AD) (Against Heresies, Bk. 5):
"Some who are reckoned among the orthodox go beyond the prearranged plan for the exaltation of the just, and are ignorant of the methods by which they are disciplined beforehand for incorruption. They thus entertain heretical opinions. For the heretics, not admitting the salvation of their flesh, affirm that immediately upon their death they shall pass above the heavens. [Note that it is the "heretics" who teach that the soul goes immediately to heaven at death. Today, according to present orthodoxy, it is the heretics who teach that souls do not go immediately to heaven or hell. This makes Irenaeus as well as John Wesley a heretic— see quotation above!] Those persons, therefore, who reject a resurrection affecting the whole man, and do their best to remove it from the Christian scheme, know nothing as to the plan of resurrection. For they do not choose to understand that, if these things are as they say, the Lord Himself, in Whom they profess to believe, did not rise again on the third day, but immediately upon his expiring departed on high, leaving His body in the earth. But the facts are that for three days, the Lord dwelt in the place where the dead were, as Jonas remained three days and three nights in the whale’s belly (Matt. 12:40) . . . David says, when prophesying of Him: ‘Thou hast delivered my soul from the nethermost hell (grave).’ And on rising the third day, He said to Mary, ‘Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father’ (John 20:17). . . . How then must not these men be put to confusion, who allege . . . that their inner man [soul], leaving the body here, ascends into the super-celestial place? [Irenaeus thus reckons today’s teaching as shameful!] For as the Lord ‘went away in the midst of the shadow of death’ (Ps. 86: 23), where the souls of the dead were, and afterwards arose in the body, and after the resurrection was taken up into heaven, it is obvious that the souls of His disciples also . . . shall go away into the invisible place [Hades]. . . and there remain until the resurrection, awaiting that event. Then receiving their bodies, and rising in their entirety, bodily, just as the Lord rose, they shall come thus into the presence of God. As our Master did not at once take flight to heaven, but awaited the time of His resurrection . . . , so we ought also to await the time of our resurrection.
Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain orthodox persons are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the earthly KINGDOM which is the beginning of incorruption; by means of this KINGDOM those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature."
Irenaeus condemns the whole "orthodox" tradition about what happens at death, the tradition, that is, which eventually swamped the biblical teaching, from the third century onwards.
Martin Luther (1483-1546):
"I think that there is not a place in Scripture of more force for the dead who have fallen asleep, than Ecc. 9:5 ("the dead know nothing at all"), understanding nothing of our state and condition — against the invocation of saints and the fiction of Purgatory."
Gnosticism denies the resurrection of the flesh. Traditional Christianity has taken a similar, but slightly different stance by including a belief in the resurrection of the body, while also teaching an immediate salvation of the soul alone in a conscious, disembodied state. This is said to be the real person, though disembodied. It is flatly contradicted by Justin, Irenaeus, and Luther identified them as pagan. It is also BLATANTLY contradicted by Scripture.
In His Grace,
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