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Biblical Anthropology II:

'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy

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Question #1:  

God bless you Brother Bob,

It's been a while my friend. But you are in my prayers often. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to reach out to you just to say I'm praying for you and I hope all is well and there also has been times when I wanted to reach out to you about certain struggles I have faced. But I often remember or go back to your emails I've saved from you and read them for encouragement and strength. Words can't express how grateful I am to have been able to meet you through the internet. I say this to you, because I want you to know that your labor is greatly appreciated and your ministry is helping many people around the world. So please continue to stay encourage.

If possible, could you please email (in order) the links teaching on what happens to those that die before the 2nd coming of Lord.

I've been reading about the soul sleep and I must say it's been great. You have so much information in regards to this and so many links attach to each link, I find myself confused and all over the place. But with your help, I can take my time section by section in order and learn all of it. I plan on spending quality time studying this topic for as long as it take. But with you helping me get organize, this would be a tremendous help to me. Thanks my friend!

To God be the Glory and Praise!

Response #1: 

Thank you so much for your email and your encouragement. It comes at a needful time.

You are right that I have information on this topic all over the website. Eventually it will be consolidated under "personal eschatology" in Basics 2B: Eschatology. I have delayed on completing that installment since the Satanic Rebellion series and the Coming Tribulation series contain between them almost everything that this part will eventually hold. In the meantime, here is the link I generally point people to when they ask about this subject: "Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State". It is Q and A, but it either contains everything you are asking about or links to it.

The main two pieces on the resurrection and the resurrection body (not your question but closely related) are "Resurrection" in Peter #20 and in CT 5 "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride".

As always, I happy to answer any specific question you might have about any of this.

Your continued ministering to the Body of Christ is the greatest encouragement of all.

Keep fighting the fight.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Dear Bob,

I just finished reading the email transaction between you and the fellow below mine, from this Sunday's posted emails. Not only did you fill me with a sense of pride and happiness, but this conversation, if you can call it that, helped me to understand even more, the subject of soul sleep. I cannot tell you how proud I am of you and I just know the Lord is too. You always keep your composure and glorify His Name. You also help me to understand how to 'apologize' with love when needed and how to be like our Lord in the temple, direct and to the point. I can still always find a reason to thank our Lord for allowing me to know you. Thank you for posting this and may you continue to be led and blessed by our Lord.

In Christ,

Response #2: 

You are certainly welcome – and thank you for your questions, for your encouragement, and also for your own important work for our Lord.

Keeping you in prayer day by day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Just want you to know that I read your emails every week. This weeks about soul sleep you sure got hammered! It reminded me of the old timex commercial "keeps a lickin', but keeps on tickin' ". I always learn something from you and on occasion go back and read some of your studies. You have truly been a blessing for my spiritual growth.

I recently read two very good and interesting books, Petrus Romanus and The Harbinger. If you have the time to read outside the classroom and preparing Ichthys you may find them of interest. The first book goes inside the Vatican and the role it will play during the tribulation. I did not realize that the Pope has been trying to make a deal with Israel since 1992 to take over Jerusalem and be the keeper of that city, that would play right into the hand of the false prophet and the anti-christ. The Harbinger, written by a messianic rabbi looks at the scripture Isaiah 9:10 and 9/11. In light of the fact that on June 14 President Obama made a trip to ground zero and hand wrote on the steel girder that will be placed on top of the new world trade center is quite scary. Our leaders have done just what the Hebrew people did and turned their backs on God and He no longer protected them and they were destroyed by the Assyrians. Now here American has done the same thing and turned our back on Him and say that we can rebuild, not that with God's help and provision but We can rebuild. How very sad!! We have been given so many opportunities to repent and turn back to Him but we have not. Alas, we to shall fall just like they did. A most interest read if you get a chance.

Blessings in His name,

Response #3: 

Always great to hear from you. Thanks for your encouraging words as always! I'm pretty busy! "Personal stuff" is keeping me busy this summer and I also am struggling to finish a couple of articles it behooves me to have done before fall classes start (mid-August). Also, in addition to a large volume of emails, I am straining to finish the CT series (I hope to have part 7, the final part, finished sometime this summer). I am also anxious to get back the Basics series and part 5, Pneumatology (ideally, I would get that done this year too, or at least, I hope, early in the winter). But I do promise at least to "investigate" these books. Thanks for cluing me in. It is certainly true that our country is in sad spiritual shape. All the more reason for those of us who do put the Lord first in all things to push forward more aggressively in hopes of being "salt" for the preservation of those who are not picking up their end of the load.

My best to you and your family.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:   

Hi Bob,

I am a "Blood-Bought Born-Again Saint of the Most High GOD", and I'm still growing. One conclusion I've come to is "how little I know and how much more there is to learn". My mother and my siblings have fallen into a cult called The Way International. I have read 2nd John 1:10 so many times, and have resolved to obey what is written. My mother and siblings still are able to talk so many of my relatives into falling for the teachings of this cult and do not give ear to what I say. It seems other believers don't support me or encourage me. Getting back to 2nd John 1:10, after all these years, and as hard as it is, I have chosen not to associate with them...is this the right thing to do? Anything you would have to share with me, I would so appreciate it. Thanks so much, brother! God bless you real good!

Response #4: 

Good to make your acquaintance. The way I understand it, this group, if it is not a cult, is a very good imitation. In terms of doctrine, they reject the Trinity and the deity of Christ, and it is hard for me to see how someone who rejects who Jesus really is can appreciate what He has done in taking on true humanity and dying for the sins of the world. In terms of practices, it is classic cult procedure to have adherents separate from everyone and everything not under the cult's direct supervision. This is a control mechanism designed not only to reduce non-cult "input", but also to make the person progressively more dependent upon the cult, having nowhere else to turn once all bridges have been burned.

Cults often use 2nd John 1:10, but this verse, when correctly understood, really applies against them rather than for them. This verse commands believers not to accept the aggressive evangelizing of false teaching, but it certainly does not tell them to have nothing further to do with family members or friends or colleagues or the world in general, just because these may not agree 100% with true Christian doctrine! 2nd John 1:10 tells us not to participate in the spreading of lies and not to aid those who are involved in so doing. Cults, on the other hand, often tell their members to have converse only with other cult members (or with outsiders only in company with other cult members so as to avoid any further independent contact). It seems to me nearly impossible that a genuine Christian church or truly godly group would ever seek to dictate this sort of behavior. Given that this particular organization you ask about also believes in "soul sleep" and any number of other false doctrines, I would certainly steer clear of having anything to do with it. The appeal that this sort of organization has is the absolutism and "all or nothingness" of the big lie: "we are the only ones with "the truth". And the "truth" is always to be found somewhere else rather than in the Bible – mind you, they claim it's biblical, but the teachings of the organization are the real "Bible" and personal investigation of scripture is usually discouraged.

You can find out more about all this and related subjects at the following links:

Cult Characteristics

Recovery from Cult Exposure

Cults and Christianity I

Cults and Christianity II

Cults and Christianity III

Cults and Christianity IV

The decision about associating or not associating with previous acquaintance and especially with family members is a difficult one. I can certainly understand how it might be necessary and would certainly not want to second-guess a brother or sister in a situation like this. People who are caught up in the devil's toils are not easily extricated, and scripture commands us to be careful in such situations:

[Such false teachers are] having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
2nd Timothy 3:5-7 NIV

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Jude 1:22-23 NIV

The scripture seems to me to indicate merciful and loving, albeit very careful intervention on behalf of those who may be capable of change, but absolute separation from those who are determined to lead others into the same error. Whatever the case with your family, there is of course one thing you can always do and always should do consistently: prayer for their deliverance. In terms of "spiritual warfare", that is the proper "artillery support" which is always needful before any serious "counterattack":

The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
2nd Timothy 2:24-26 NASB

To the end of extrication from the snare of the evil one, I do promise to say a prayer for you and your family, both for your guidance and their spiritual rescue. And please do not be discouraged. Separated or not, you are clearly an example to your family. The person who keeps his/her head when everyone else is losing theirs is a beacon of light in a sea of darkness. By staying true to the Lord, indeed, by growing in Him and advancing with Him in spite of these spiritual pressures, you are a witness to them of the power of the real truth of scripture and the actual ministry of the Spirit. In time, they may sour on this clearly rotten teaching. When and if they do, by your example you may be the haven to which they return.

In Jesus our one and only Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5: 

Hi again Brother Bob., We sound like a couple of monks, don't we ? Just to refresh your memory, I'm the one who told you about my mother and siblings being involved in The Way International. Thanks so much for your response. I appreciated greatly what you wrote to me. Nobody has been able to make it as simply clear as you did. I felt a burden lift and was encouraged in this area in my life. Most assuredly, the Lord guided your words. I also appreciate your prayers. Probably, our paths will not cross down here, but I shall see you in "glory". You'll be able to spot me, I'll be the one dancing before the LORD...or sitting on His Lap. There's room up there for you too! Now unto the "King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, The Only Wise God...Be Honor and Glory ..... Amen! ". I'm so thankful, so thankful, I said "yes" to Him. May God bless you abundantly in your ministry.

Response #5: 

Sorry for the long delay in response. I was out of town for Christmas visiting family.

You are most welcome, and thank you so much for your encouraging and enthusiastic words! I am very happy to hear that this email was helpful to you, and I do hope to hear a report from you in the near future about the deliverance of your family.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

I read the page above and I have a question: This thing about what happens when we die has been kicked around to the point of abuse and I have yet to find an answer that covers the full context of what is stated in the Bible. 1Th 5:22 states that we have a "body", "soul" and "spirit. This is amplified in Heb 4:12 "dividing of soul and spirit" and we live in our flesh body. To further compound the situation John 3:13 says "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.". Acts 2:9 says David is buried. Eccl. 12:7 says the "spirit returns to God". And there are many more references that pertain to this issue.

The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep"

I also read the above article and it does not cover what is stated in the verses mentioned above concerning who is in Heaven. Even though Elias and Moses appeared with Jesus in Mark 9:4, it does not give any further information.

What "I" see is that there are 3 parts to "us" and they are totally separate - the body returns to dust, the spirit returns to God, but as you stated, there is no reference to the state of the soul. In Rev 16:3 has "living soul died". Mat 10:28 has "destroy both soul and body". In all circumstances it is stated that our physical death is falling asleep (John 11:11 Lazarus sleepeth) and that our spiritual death will be in the "everlasting fire" if not in the Lamb's Book of Life. It appears that the body and soul are connected in some way and the spirit is separate and our body and our soul does not leave and go anywhere as our spirit does.

The question: Why is there a resurrection if we return to God when we die?

Response #6: 

Good to make your acquaintance. I am happy to answer your questions, and you have raised quite a lot of them here. Please note first that all of these matters are indeed very closely interconnected. As is often the case, every Bible truth helps to illuminate every other; conversely, every misunderstanding tends to obfuscate something else.

Please also be aware that the two pages you cite are both email response postings rather than detailed, systematic treatments of every aspect of the topics in question. I always try to respond to everything readers ask, but for the sake of readability and time often also do refer them to appropriate links on particular sub-points. That is to say, all of the questions you ask here and all of the issues about which you are specifically seeking answers are indeed addressed at various places on the site, and while I will give you an overview of the issues here, please do consult the links provided for more pertinent information.

One question which is interlaced throughout your letter has to do with the "soul". The word "soul" is an English word of Germanic extraction (cf. Seele) which happens to be a somewhat unfortunate choice for use in Bible translations. It is systematically used in most of the major English versions to translate the Hebrew word nephesh and the Greek word psyche. In their biblical usage at least, both words really mean "person" or "inner person", and a quick survey of their occurrences with a good concordance will verify that there are really very few instances where these words cannot be rendered better by use of the words "person" (when the "inner" aspect of an individual or individuals is not the main focus) or "heart" (where the "inner" perspective is at the fore). By using the word "soul" (based upon the Latin Vulgate's use of animus versus anima for "soul" and "spirit" respectively), the English versions repeat a confusion that goes back to the early days of the Latin Catholicism, namely, they predispose the reader to think of "soul" as some discrete organ or separate entity independent of body and spirit. In fact, the Bible does not actually describe any such "soul" in this way, and if versions said "heart" we would understand it to be a non-independent inner part, or if they said "person" we would understand that the combination of the whole individual was in view. To the extent that the "soul" is its own "thing", it is the "heart", namely, the place where body and spirit interface, that interior place where we think and emote and discern and decide – it is the inner "us", the spirit interacting with the body. To the extent that the "soul" represents who we are in toto, it is the "person", namely, the totality of body and spirit operating as a unity based upon what goes on inside – it is the "us" with reference to our inner choices.

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground (BODY) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (SPIRIT), and the man became a living being (nephesh-SOUL).
Genesis 2:7 NIV

The verse above gives the pattern. God creates a spirit for everyone at birth (cf. Ps.102:18). The breathing in of the spirit quickens the body, spiritually speaking, and the result is a person (or "soul") possessing the birthright of all human beings, the image of God, the ability to choose from free will (in our "heart" or "soul"). This is a very important set of distinctions to understand, especially in regard to the other questions you ask. Therefore, if any of the above is unclear from this quick synopsis, I would ask you to have a look at the following links:

The Creation of Man (in BB 3A: Biblical Anthropology)

Biblical Anthropology I

Is the Soul a Tertium Quid?

Is the Nature of Man Trichotomous?

God's Plan to Save You (in BB 4B: Soteriology)

As to the verses you mention,

1) 1st Thessalonians 5:22: Yes we do have a body, "soul" and spirit, or, translated a bit differently, we do have "a body, heart, and spirit". But the listing of these three together does not mean that all three are of precisely the same order, and it certainly does not mean that all three are eternal, independent parts any more than "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" in Mark 12:30 (NIV) means that the mind is a different part from the heart (or the soul or the strength). Mind you, all these things are different, but the question at issue here really is whether or not the "soul" is some entity that may exist separate from body and spirit – and the biblical answer to that question is "decidedly not". Indeed, the body and the spirit are only separable at all in the near term because original sin has rendered the first body corruptible so that we have to struggle internally in our present soul/heart when making choices: eternally, body and spirit will be inseparable and indistinguishable with no such internal conflict.

2) Hebrews 4:12: Paul's point here is that the Word of God is so sharp that it can split things that are, precisely speaking, inseparable. One cannot really split the body's joints from the marrow within them – not without killing the joint (not to mention the person in question – at least in Paul's day). By the same token, in practical, earthly terms, the "soul" really is inseparable from the spirit – because it is the inner functioning of the spirit as it interfaces with the body. It is legitimate, based upon Greek usage and especially upon biblical usage, to translate "dividing the mind from the spirit", and such a translation would make what is meant here more clear. But this passage certainly does not establish any sort of independent existence for the "soul". Rather, correctly understood, is shows just the opposite: just as bones and marrow can only exist in a living state when together, so it is with the "soul", which really only "exists" in a living person (Gen.2:7) with a body and a spirit (the soul is the whole heart, the whole person).

3) Ecclesiastes 12:7: This is another passage which really helps to explain what I have been saying here. Human beings were made from the beginning by the Lord to be dichotomous, that is, a combination of body and spirit (differing therein from the angels who have no physical bodies). It is only because of original sin that any of us are ever separated from this first body, and for all of us who do the will of God in responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will in His good time be resurrected into an eternal body where body and spirit will never be separated again. In the meantime, however, this present body is corruptible – but the spirit is eternal. That is why after death our present body goes into the grave, but our "spirit returns to God who made it" – and into an interim body to await the resurrection (see the link).

4) Mark 9:4: At the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah, who are now, along with all other deceased believers, in the interim state, are seen to appear. It is important to note that if believers were not all "alive" after death, such an appearance by these two would have been impossible, for beyond all argument they have not yet been resurrected (cf. 1Cor.15:23-24; 1Thes.4:14-17). These two appear because they are the heralds of the second advent (i.e., the two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11; see the links: The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, and The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation: Moses and Elijah), but this is approximately how any of us would/will look in interim state in the third heaven before the resurrection – and neither we nor they could appear as such if our spirit were not housed in a body (an interim body in this case).

5) Acts 2:29: David "was buried". Certainly, his body was, and since that is the only part of a person we can actually see, it is not only natural but justified according to biblical usage to say "he was buried". It would be tautological in the extreme (not to mention confusing of the issue) for Peter to have say "of course I mean his body only since his spirit is with the Lord". The verse doesn't say and certainly doesn't mean that his spirit went into the grave, and we know from, for example, Matthew 22:32 that our God is God "of the living", not the dead, and that all (believers) "live to Him" (Lk.20:38; cf. Jn.11:23-26).

6) John 11:11: As in the passage above, the body is representative of the person after the spirit departs. That is why it can be described as "being asleep", for that is the appearance it gives. When the spirit leaves, we do not see it; nor can we see the spirit when it is in the body. What we see is the spirit's manifestation, the "living person" (or "soul") which is a result of God's placing of the spirit in a human body. When the spirit departs, since all we can then see is the lifeless body, it is quite natural (and biblically not unprecedented) to describe the body as "he" or "she" and to describe the state as "sleep" as well as "death", for we cannot see where the spirit went or in what state it presently resides. This we can know only from scripture, and, blessedly, scripture tells us more than enough to be able to say that our interim state will be one which is a) not disembodied, b) happy and blissful in every way, and c) ever in the presence of the Lord from then on. As our Lord says later in this passage:

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25-26 NIV

7) John 3:13: Yes, only Jesus has ascended to heaven. So this verse is true however one wishes to take it. First, before the Lord's resurrection and ascension, believers went to the paradise below the earth (aka "Abraham's bosom"), not to the third heaven. So when Jesus said this, before His ascension, there were in fact no departed believers yet in God's presence. These only progressed to heaven with the Lord at His ascension (please see the link: "The Transfer of Believers from the Subterranean Paradise to the Third Heaven"). Secondly, only Jesus can truly be said to have "ascended" because by that term we mean the progression unto the third heaven under one's own power. In resurrection, we will apparently be able to progress to the heavens as well – but no one has yet been resurrected besides our Lord. The believers who are presently in His presence in the third heaven are apparently conveyed there by angelic agency (cf. Lk.16:22). But we will most certainly be there:

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:3 NIV

8) Matthew 10:28: In Luke's version of this statement (Lk.12:4-5), only the word "body" is used – not "soul". Clearly, the idea is that while our present physical body may be attacked or destroyed in this temporary life, the real thing we should be concerned about is our eternal life. Matthew adds "soul" to make the distinction between "just our body" and "our entire person" crystal clear. The evil one may destroy our present physical body, but God will provide another one. But what happens if our entire "self" or "person" (or soul) is destroyed along the first body? So again, this passage, especially when both versions are compared and it is seen that "soul" is not being used as a separate part but as a representative of the totality of the person, serves to show that the "soul" is not a discrete third part but rather the unity of body and spirit in one "person".

9) Revelation 16:3: Again, the fact that psyche needs to be translated "living creature" shows the truth of what I have been arguing here. Clearly, it is not just the "souls" of the sea creatures which "die" but their entire "selves". And if in modern English we must translate psyche "creature" here to make sense of the passage (as even the New KJV does), then clearly the psyche is not a separate part but a representative of the whole (psyche-human = person; psyche-animal = creature).

Finally, as to "why is there a resurrection if we return to God when we die?", I think the answer is to see the question the other way around: "why doesn't the resurrection occur immediately?" The answer to that is of course that God has His own timetable. Many have "died in the Lord" since righteous Abel was killed by Cain, but they are still awaiting their resurrection in order that, as scripture tells us, "they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb.11:40 KJV). Since the resurrection of the Bride can only come after the return of the Bridegroom (at the 2nd Advent), were there no interim state, what would become of the then disembodied spirits of the faithful? Unbelievers would at least have a place – in torments (Lk.16), but we would be left adrift in the universe. But God designed us to ever be "body and spirit" and so all human beings are from the moment of birth and forever after. For believers, this means an interim state after death, now in the presence of our Lord (as briefly described at e.g., Rev.6:11; 7:9; cf. 2Cor.5:3 in the Greek), later in resurrection and eternally in the New Jerusalem. This is genuinely encouraging news, or should be. Why so many Christians of late are bent on trying to "prove" the death of all we are as believers after physical death (a ghastly and completely un-biblical proposition) leaves me scratching my head. But for all who are willing to look into the "perfect law of freedom", that is, the Word of God (Jas.1:25), there is liberation from all such doubts and worries in the glorious truth of all the wonders soon to come.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior who died that we might be with Him forever,

Bob Luginbill

Question #7:  

Hi Bob and thanks for getting back; you have got to have you fingers in splints after all this writing.

First let me say oops to start with, it should have been 1 Th 5:23 not 5:22.

Strong 5590 states "breath" or "what animates the body" and what I see from all of this is that the "soul" is what gives life to the body and the spirit is the "attitude" of the person and God allows us to "choose" what the spirit does - choose the tree of knowledge or the tree of life; the body is just a mortal holding place for soul and spirit. I personally see the soul as the blood and all that it contains - life in the blood. Considering that a mortally dead person was considered asleep, it would be my conjecture that the body no longer had the ability to move but all the properties required to "animate" it were available and it simply had to be restarted. God created man and breathed into his nostrils - jump started Adam.

Back to the point - does the soul sleep? I guess as far as man is concerned, it depends on the condition of the body. An example would be a person on a operating table and they stop showing any signs of life so the doctor puts the paddles to them and starts their heart again. Jesus had much greater power and raised Lazarus long after any doctor could, but I believe it is similar in both cases in that the blood had to start moving - the soul had to be revived. Having said this, I believe the soul is asleep if you have the power to wake it up, otherwise the soul no longer exists.

So what does all this mean to us; absolutely nothing because we do not control it, it is a gift of God. I had a pastor at new church I went to last Sunday tell me that salvation can not be lost and that worries me much more than the soul sleeping.

May God guide you and me in our travels,

Response #7: 

You're very welcome. My edition of Strong's also says of psyche (5590) "the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from 4151 (pneuma – spirit) which [spirit] is the rational and immortal soul". Any good biblical lexicon will confirm in accordance with what I wrote earlier that psyche is often used in the Septuagint as a translation for the Hebrew lebh "heart" and also nephesh "living person". From biblical usage, there is no "soul" in the sense of an independent organ. The word "soul" found in any English translation refers to the total (often "inner") person which is a combination of spirit and body, i.e., the complete "us".

As to blood, blood represents life since it is essential to life (but, biblically speaking, it does not equal or contain life). That is the real meaning of Leviticus 17:11 and similar passages. A preferable translation of the latter would be as follows:

For the life of the flesh is connected with the blood. So I have given [blood] to you to make atonement on the altar on behalf of your lives. Therefore blood is what will make atonement on behalf of a person's life (i.e., because it represents life).
Leviticus 17:11

In other words, because spilling blood causes death, the pouring out of blood very clearly symbolizes death. And death is the only thing that can make atonement for sin. This verse is key, not to establishing any principle of vitality in the blood (that is not at all what the Hebrew says or means), but to demonstrating that blood is the symbol of atonement, the only true manifestation of which the Blood of Christ, our Lord's death for us in the darkness which washed away our sins (where literal animal blood represents His actual suffering and death for our sins absent literal blood) is the antitype.

So as to Adam, yes, he had his blood in him and everything else – everything except a spirit. That is what the Lord breathed into him, and that is what made him alive. This is always why throughout scripture it is the exhaling of the spirit which brings death. In the vast majority of cases (biblical and otherwise) a person does not bleed to death but is buried with their blood in them – but not their spirit. The spirit is the only true immaterial part of the human being – that is what "returns to God". When it is placed into a body at birth by God, that person becomes, like Adam, "a living being": i.e., a nephesh chayah: Gen.2:7, a psyche zosa: 1Cor.15:45. In both verses, the "soul" (Heb. nephesh; Gr. psyche) is the derivative result of the placing of the spirit in the body so as to create the whole, living person. The nephesh or psyche is the "person" and also the "inner person", the "who we are" as creatures who possess both body and spirit. But it is incorrect to think of the "soul" as biblically described when translating the words above as some discrete entity with an existence of its own: only living human beings have a "soul" – and better understood, they are a "soul". If this sounds at all odd, it is because that is not the way people use the word in contemporary English, but there is often a big difference between secular usage and what the Bible actually says about a matter. After all, when our "souls are saved", biblically speaking, it is we who are saved: our whole person, and it is as whole persons, body and spirit, that we shall ever afterwards exist through faith in Jesus Christ (much more on all this at the links provided last time).

Finally on the issue of "soul-sleep", if the "soul" is rightly understood, that would of course be an impossibility since there cannot be a soul in a spiritless body in any case. More to the point really is what happens to us as believers after death. Scripture is quite clear about our being in the presence of the Lord thereafter. That is the only reason Paul can say he desires to "depart and be with Christ which is better by far" (Phil.1:23 NIV): if he were dead and unconscious after departing, not only would that not be "better by far" but he would also then not in any way "be with Christ". As mentioned in the links on this subject, there are a multitude of passages which show this to be true and only some misunderstood metaphors about "sleep" which can be misconstrued out of context to place in opposition. In case you missed them, here are some other links on that topic:

Sleep as a Euphemism for Death

"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

The False Doctrine of Soul Sleep II

The false doctrine of "soul sleep".

Yes, I certainly agree that "once saved, always saved" is a very dangerous and disturbing false doctrine. We certainly are secure in the Lord – as long as we are believers, as long as we maintain our faith in Christ. Unbelievers are not saved, even if they once believed. If their faith dies as in the plant which withers in the parable of the Sower, apostasy results. Given how close we are to the Tribulation and one of its seminal events, the Great Apostasy (see the link), the prospect of believers who think on the one hand they are going to be spared from those seven years (see the link: The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory), and think on the other hand that they can't lose their salvation even if they betray Jesus, well, one cannot imagine anything more spiritually dangerous. This certainly illustrates how important all truth is, as every brick in the structure of our spiritual edification contributes to the integrity of whole. That is why I always try to fight for every principle of truth. Building one's edifice partially on the Rock is better than building it entirely on sand, I suppose, but how much better and safer to build only on the Rock!

In Jesus who is the Cornerstone of the Church and the very truth of all we believe,

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Bob,

I think you agreed with me without knowing it: "In other words, because spilling blood causes death"; without the blood there is no soul or spirit. God breathed into Adam and he became a living "soul" (Gen 2:7). If Adam was not a living soul, he could not receive a spirit - right? In other words, both have to be present at the same time.

While it is true the spirit returns to God, I have read the Bible many times and I have never read this: "Scripture is quite clear about our being in the presence of the Lord thereafter". If this was true, again, there would be no need for a resurrection. Acts 2:29 states that David is dead and in Acts 2:34 states he has not ascended into Heaven. Paul states that he would rather be dead and with Jesus but would remain because of the church's needs; but this does ot say when he would be in the presents of of Jesus if he was dead. Paul also states in 1 Th 4:15 that the living will not prevent the dead - resurrection. Many saints came out of the grave at the crucifixion of Jesus - resurrection.

What happens with all this, I do not know for sure, but there will be 2 resurrections of the dead and they will receive a new body. God is a spirit and I can only assume that he is giving us a part of Him and it must return to Him when we die. There are things in the "spirit world" that are a mystery and I am not going to go find out what they are; the residents of Heaven will take care of that.

Grace unto you,

Response #8: 

Actually, it seems you're agreeing with me. If after God formed him but before He breathed in the spirit, Adam was complete except for his spirit, complete with blood in his veins wherein would be his soul in your understanding (if the soul really were something independent), then why wasn't Adam alive? He was not. He required the spirit to become a "living person". Clearly, the putting in of the spirit is what gives life irrespective of blood (cf. Ezek.37:5-6; Lk.8:54-55a; Rev.11:11). That's why it says in Genesis 2:7 that the Lord "blew into his nostrils the life-giving breath (i.e., his spirit), and [thus] the man became a living person", that is not until the spirit was put in did Adam have life. So the "soul" (nephesh - psyche) is not the blood but the "living person" which results when God places a spirit in a body.

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
Revelation 11:11

Conversely, it is the departure of the spirit that brings death, irrespective of blood.

If [God] should so purpose in His heart, and gather His spirit and breath to Himself, then all flesh would expire together, and Man would return to the dust.
Job 34:14

Then Jesus shouted out again in a loud voice and exhaled His spirit.
Matthew 27:50

Then they began to stone Stephen while he called out and said "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Acts 7:59

As to soul sleep, well, people get different things from reading scripture. I see the principle I mentioned all the time. Acts 2 has already been "asked and answered", but I'm happy to have another go. Moses "died", but at the transfiguration he is awake and recognizable as himself, yet he has not been resurrected. All believers who have deceased are "dead", but "to Him all are alive" (Lk.20:38; cf. Jn.11:23-26). The martyrs of the Tribulation will be put to death, yet in Revelation chapters 6 and 7 they are visible in heaven and clearly awake. Death/dead/died, in biblical parlance, therefore, refers to the present physical body which can be seen, not to the state of the spirit which cannot be seen. It is impossible for the human spirit to "die". Only the first, corruptible body can "die", and that is what is "dead" (or asleep), not the spirit. Further, since after being created we will never be disembodied. As 2Cor.5:3 says in the Greek that even if we do die "we will not be found naked", i.e., "disembodied" without a "tent" for our spirit. The interim body will house the spirit until the resurrection. That is why Revelation 6:9 says that John was given to actually see the "souls" of the slain, that is, "their entire persons: [interim] body and spirit". And that must be the case since their first bodies are still on earth, since there has been no resurrection, and since spirits are otherwise invisible.

Yes, as Acts 2:34 states David did not ascend to heaven before Jesus, but David is nonetheless with Him there now just as we who believe all are after death. The verse speaks of what happened in the distant past ("For David did not ascend to heaven", i.e., when he died circa 964 B.C. nearly a millennium earlier), not what happened when the saints were transferred to the third heaven when Jesus ascended (this point was also covered in detail in the previous email – please see the link provided there).

On Paul, think about the logic of what you are saying. If Paul desires to live in order to help the Church, why would death be "better by far"? He tells us straight out that this desire comes only because he desires to depart so as to "be with Christ". There is no other reasonable way to take this verse than that Paul was under the impression that when he departed he would "be with Christ". But if he went into the grave along with his body, he certainly wouldn't "be with Christ". And it is clear that this would not be "better by far" – not for him (since he would not be with Christ), not for the Church (since he would no longer be able to minister). This is an important passage for the doctrine in question because it is a litmus test of the seriousness of those having a discussion as to whether or not they are really willing to admit the possibility of being wrong or are just going to "stick to their guns" no matter what the Bible has to say.

1st Thessalonians 4:15 says the dead will rise first. But "dead" is what we call all deceased believers because that is what we see. This passage doesn't say anything about the present status of the departed which we cannot see. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. How could they do that if they were "soul sleeping"? They have not yet been resurrected. Resurrection is forever, and we know of these two witnesses that they will be put to death by antichrist (Rev.11), something impossible if they had been resurrected. No one but Jesus has been resurrected (1Cor.15:23). The "dead" are "dead" only in terms of their first bodies (which is what we observe from our limited earthly perspective). But in terms of the present state of their spirits, these are in heaven with the Lord, and are not "naked" but clothed with an interim body in which condition they await the resurrection (2Cor.5:1-3).

The believers who came out of the grave after the crucifixion were brought back to life in the first body. They were not resurrected, technically speaking. If they had been, they would still be in their resurrection bodies. After being resurrected, there can be no more death:

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
Romans 6:9 NIV

But like Lazarus and the widow of Nain's son and the others Jesus brought back to life (and Peter and Paul etc.), these believers were returned to this physical life and temporarily so. If they were resurrected, where are they now?

The resurrection of the living takes place in three phases as 1st Corinthians 15:23-24 tells us: 1) Christ, 2) the Church (those who are "His at His coming" at the 2nd Advent), 3) "the end" when believers alive at the end of the Millennium will be resurrected. There is also a resurrection of judgment for the unrighteous. This takes place at the end of human history, some thousand plus years from now, and even in the case of that vast horde of unbelievers who are resurrected to be condemned, we see the same thing: body and spirit (as it is also with deceased unbelievers even now in torments: Lk.16:23).

There are no disembodied spirits. There is no "soul sleep". There is no such thing as a "spirit world". These are inventions which have nothing to do with scripture and, really, can only distract from its proper understanding and appreciation.

I do hope that you will consider the above. As mentioned previously, every bit of divine truth is important to the understanding of the whole, often in ways that may not be obvious at the time it is learned and believed – but it is the believing part that is critical.

In Jesus our dear Lord who is the life and the truth and the only way of salvation.

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Not what Genesis says: "He required the spirit be become a "living person". God breathed into his nostrils and he became a living "soul"; I have no idea when Adam received his spirit - unless you know the scripture, it is not stated in the Bible.

You are going to have to show this to me; it isn't in my Bible (KJV or NKJV and several other): "but he is with Him there now just as we who believe all are after death."

The dead in Rev 6 is the first resurrection just prior to the millennium; reference chapter 20. Revelation is laid out different than any book in the Bible. Chapter 6 has the entire prophecy and the other chapters give greater knowledge of it.

Rev 6:9 Ά And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

God bless,

Response #9: 

I don't understand your issue with Genesis 2:7.

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 NASB

The sequence is right here "in the Bible": 1) formed; 2) spirit implanted ("breath of life"); 3) as a result of the breathing in of the spirit, Adam became a "living person" (nephesh - "soul"). I don't know how much more clear the Bible could be on this point. The body is made first. Then the spirit is implanted. As a result, Adam was "alive", he was a "living person/soul". It is stated right here.

As to your objection about believers being present with Christ after death: You are going to have to show this to me; it isn't in my Bible (KJV or NKJV and several other): "but he is with Him there now just as we who believe all are after death", I think you are being a bit unfair. I always make it very clear when I am quoting scripture and when I am not. The sentence in quotes contains my words – obviously it is not a biblical quote. Does that make it untrue? What if I said, "There is a Trinity, and it consists of three coequal, coeternal Persons"? You won't find those words in the Bible either, but they are certainly true. I have given you many passages which prove the truth of this statement I made. Which of them do you choose to interpret differently? One of the passages I spent some time on in my last email, Philippians 1:23, just for an example, is crystal clear. Here is another which says it about as plainly as it can be said, from our Lord's own lips:

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
John 14:3 NIV

As to Revelation chapter six, it is true that the seals give a preview of the entire Tribulation. And it is also true that these individuals are resurrected just at the Second Advent, represented by the sixth seal. But note, the description in the fifth seal must therefore precede the Second Advent. After all, these "souls" are expressing impatience with the fact that they have not yet been avenged (which they most certainly would have been if Armageddon had already occurred). Since the resurrection occurs simultaneously with the 2nd Advent, and since those resurrected do not go to heaven but instead "meet the Lord in the air" and so shall "ever be with the Lord", i.e., on earth with Him during the Millennium (1Thes.4:17), this scenario as you understand it is impossible – unless what we actually have is a description of believers in heaven before the resurrection. And so it is. In the very next chapter, John is given to see in heaven "a great multitude which no one could count" (Rev.7:9), and is told upon asking that "These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation" (Rev.7:14). These are clearly the same group as in chapter six, and also very clearly in both places awaiting the Second Advent and their resurrection, yet in interim bodies which are visible and clearly in an awake and conscious state, where they have been "day and night" serving God for some time (Rev.7:15): Q.E.D.

Finally, as to Revelation 20:5, the "operative" part for purposes of this discussion, the one which says "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished", is not a part of the Bible. It is a late gloss added by some well-meaning scribe, but is not inspired scripture (see any good critical edition of the Greek NT). It does not occur in the best and oldest manuscripts of the Bible, and most modern versions either leave it out or apprise the reader of this fact in a note.

Yours in Jesus with whom we shall most definitely be on our departure from this life – as long as we maintain our faith in Him faithfully to the end.

Bob L.

Question #10:  

The English word "soul" is in every occurrence the rendering of the Hebrew nephesh, except in Job 30:15 and Isa. 57:16.

" I think you are being a bit unfair". Not so, I am saying that what you state is not anything that I have read in the Bible.

"There is a Trinity, and it consists of three coequal, coeternal Persons"? I do not agree with this because the Bible does not state it. God is all powerful, Christ is His Son and gets His power from God and Holy Spirit is not defined anywhere. Only blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will send you to the eternal fire.

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Rev 20:5 The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years are finished: 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

You are correct that we will see Jesus and that we are saved by grace and live by faith. As long as we do this and do not cause others to sin, then we are safe; I believe this (not sated in scripture) is why Jesus and Stephen both said "lay not this sin upon them".

I have never heard anyone speak about this, but there are evidently two things that Jesus could did not know (and this is one reason I state that the trinity are not coequal); 1) Jesus does not know when He will return and 2) Jesus did not know that God would forsake Him on the cross - "my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?".

Response #10: 

I do not understand your purpose in leading off with this quote: "The English word "soul" is in every occurrence the rendering of the Hebrew nephesh, except in Job 30:15 and Isa. 57:16."

We have already established that "soul" is the standard translation not only for nephesh in Hebrew, but also for psyche in Greek. The question is, what does it mean? It is to that end that I have been laboring with you in these emails. No one really knows what a "soul" might be based upon its English usage. The only thing important for believers is "what does the Bible say?" And on that score, the evidence is really very clear as I have demonstrated. The nephesh is the "whole person", often with special attention to the inner life of the person, which results from God's implanting of the human spirit at birth. It is not a separate entity, not a "thing" really in any respect. That is why the English word "soul" is a poor translation for nephesh and psyche, at least as that word is generally understood in non-biblical circles.

As to unfairness, my complaint was based upon the characterization of a statement of my own as scripture by saying the statement itself doesn't occur in scripture. You are certainly within your rights to reject my interpretation of various passages such as Philippians 1:23 where Paul very clearly to my view equates departing this life to being with Christ, but to ignore them entirely and say "I've never seen it", well, it makes me wonder if you are reading these responses.

On the Trinity, this is a separate issue (if interested, please see the link: in BB 1, "The Persons of God: The Trinity"). However, this ministry is for believers in Jesus Christ who, by definition, accept who He is, the God-Man who died for our sins. As important as the issues we have been discussing are, they pale in comparison to salvation. This is perhaps what we should be discussing instead.

On Revelation 20:5, as I explained in the previous email, the words "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended" are a late gloss and are not part of the Bible.

On "forgive them, for they know not what they do", this is another false interpolation into scripture (please see the link). Our Lord Jesus died for all sins – but not for the sin of rejecting Him. That is the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" who testifies to Him and His work (please see the link: "The Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit").

Finally, as to Jesus "not knowing", Jesus is God, and God not only knows everything that has happened and will happen, but nothing could have happened in the first place unless God, the Trinity, had decreed history before the universe was created. When scripture expresses that Jesus "was tired" (Jn.4:6), I hope we understand that it was in His humanity only that He was tired – God cannot become tired. Jesus is both God and Man, the unique Person of the universe. This is an essential part of the gospel and must be accepted in order to understand His sacrifice, not only in becoming a human being, God that He always has been, not only in enduring all that this life and the evil one could throw at Him, not only in the gauntlet He ran in order to be crucified, but also and especially in dying for all our sins, the sins of the entire world. Everything every human being has every done by way of sin was poured out upon Him and He "bore our sins in His body on that tree" (1Pet.2:24; please see the link: "The Spiritual Death of Jesus Christ"). This is love, this is life, the is history – and all history angelic and human pivots around those three hours on the cross. Without understanding who Jesus is, how can His sacrifice be understood?

(5) You too should have this attitude which Christ Jesus had. (6) Since He already existed in the very form of God, equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for. (7) Yet in spite of this [co-equal divinity He already possessed], He deprived Himself of His status and took on the form of a slave, [and was] born in the likeness of men. (8) He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even [His] death on [the] cross [for us all].
Philippians 2:5-8

Any limitation Jesus experienced during his first advent including any "lack of knowledge" is the result of His self-imposed limitation of Himself (the doctrine of Kenosis; see the link). This was necessary for His sacrifice to be acceptable. That is to say, He did it all for us.

Finally, however, "My God, My God, Why have you Forsaken Me" is not an expression of ignorance – far from it! It is the fulfillment of a prophesy. Jesus said this for our benefit: He was forsaken that we might live eternally through faith in Him (please see the link: Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?").

He was handed over on account of our transgressions (i.e., to redeem us from sin), and was raised up on account of our justification (i.e., so that we too could be raised, having been justified by His death).
Romans 4:25

In hopes of your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God become man in order to atone for all of our sins on the cross.

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello Bob,

Why do we need an intercessor between God and God (Ro 8:34 below)?

You used the NASB for your quote from Genesis: "living being" (I agree that Strong states being and soul are the same). I do not read the NASB, if I run into something that is vague, I go to YLT and Strong's. All Bibles have, not errors, but mistranslations and I am very careful to avoid changing boats in the middle of a stream; all my Bibles are full of corrections. I do agree that some Bibles have corrections to other, but then they need correcting because they jumped to conclusions.

Phil 1:24 finishes the statement in that Paul would rather be with Christ but remained in the flesh for their sake, but this does not state anything about that he would go to be with Jesus immediately upon his death, this is an assumption. Again, I have not read anything in the Bible about going to be with Christ immediately, when we die; only the spirit of which I know nothing. The one quote that most used is "to be absent from the body is to be present with God" and I am confused why you did not. Rev 20 is extremely clear on when all things will take place by identifying both resurrections and judgment.

How about this one, was Paul contemplating suicide? I have no idea.

Re 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

As we are to be the image of Christ, Christ is the image of God. There are many more references that Christ is the image of God. Christ said that "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father" and He also said "my Father which is in Heaven". God said "this is my Son in whom I am well pleased". No matter how it is said, there has to be a starting point and that point is God. I will never deny that there is a Holy Trinity and God is the head of that Trinity. Just as Christ is the head of the Church, God is the head of Christ. As I said before, I cannot get a handle on the Holy Spirit.

Here is an excellent verse showing the separation: John 17:9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Why in the world would Christ pray to God if He is God?

And again the separation is shown: Ro 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Ro 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Ro 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Are we Christ?

Did Jesus lie when He said: Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Response #11: 

As to mediation, there must be someone to stand in the gap between God and man for man to be saved. Mediators have to be on an equal basis with both parties to be fair. Christ was always God. He became man to die for us.

For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1st Timothy 2:5-6 NIV

The doctrine of mediation is another proof of our need for a Savior who is both God and man. As to intercession, this has to with prayer. Compare Rom.8:26-27 where the Spirit is also said to be praying for us (on the Spirit's divinity, please see the link). All this has to do with God's plan and the way things are working out in human history. For there to be creatures with free will, there had to be a venue wherein choices could be made. That necessitated the Trinity taking on roles within the creation. The Father's role is that of the Sovereign authority, so naturally all prayer eventually goes to Him (although, since the incarnation, Christ told us that as the Son we could now also pray to Him: Jn.14:14).

As to translations, I use whichever translation best reflects and best "catches" the true force of the original. When none of them do, I translate the passage myself.

As to Philippians 1:23, in the context, Paul is on jail and on trial for his life. So death was a real possibility. He puts it to us that if he had to choose, he would rather be with Jesus – as all believers would be. But if we were not with Jesus when we die, then we would not choose death under any circumstances were it up to us. Paul is speaking about real alternatives. If he were not going to be with Jesus at death it makes no sense for him to say this. These verses are easily comprehensible as expressing an either or alternative: go be with Jesus or stay here with you. In fact, they are only comprehensible in this way. As a man who endured so much for the Lord and who accepted His will through thick and thin, he is certainly not contemplating suicide! That is clear enough from what he says just a little earlier in the chapter: "for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance" (Phil.1:19 NIV). Paul was confident of deliverance, yet he was not afraid to die. Why? "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil.1:21 NIV). But how could going into the grave and ceasing to exist (for all practical purposes) be considered gain? And if the spirit "goes to be with God", why would anyone assume it is unconscious?

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
Revelation 14:1-3

Here we see the 144 thousand witnesses who have been martyred for the Lord at the point in the book where we have just begun the Great Tribulation not resurrected (because the Second Advent is still chapters away and because they are clearly in the third heaven where the cherubs and elders are e.g.). They are not only awake and conscious but are given – in their interim state – to sing the praises of the Lord with a song no one else can sing.

Revelation 20:5. For the third time. The phrase "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." is not part of the Bible (see the link).

The image of God: As far as not reading into the Bible is concerned, the fact that Jesus is the exact image of the Father does not mean (and in my view does not even suggest) that He is not God in His own right. All of your objections to the deity of Christ are actually the same thing, namely, looking at His humanity, saying it is not deity, and thereby denying Him deity. But Christ is both – man and God. Further, as explained previously, He took on the "form of a slave" to die for us, and part of His voluntary humiliation wherein He went to the cross and bore our sins was accepting a self-imposed limitation on His humanity whereby He did not make full use of His deity. This is just what the devil tried to get Him to violate when he told our Lord to turn the stones into bread: Jesus was hungry after fasting 40 days. And as God He certainly had the power and one would assume the right to supply the needs of His human nature. But He was led "by the Spirit" into this testing, and using His divine attributes to mollify His human suffering was not legitimate – not, at any rate, if He were to go to the cross as an acceptable Substitute for us all. Praise the Lord that He did endure everything! As the Son who came into the world to save the world, the Lord Jesus responded to the Father's will in every way, doing and enduring all manner of things that in His divine nature He would not and indeed could not suffer. How sad that He is still enduring such ingratitude for all those who throw this sacrifice in His face.

If you do hunger for righteousness, the Spirit will lead you to all of God's truth, a key part of which is the truth of the deity of Jesus Christ. Indeed, this is an essential part of the gospel as previously explained, because without understanding what our Lord sacrificed and how, it is not really possible to understand the depth of the love of God and what it means to respond to His WILL with our will. To put that another way, "believing in Jesus" has to be more than "believing He existed" – it has to be a faith in and appreciation of who He is and what He has done, and His divinity is key to both parts of this proposition. Holding out on this point is just one of many ways people "reserve judgment" on the gospel, usually until it is too late.

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2nd Corinthians 5:20 NIV

In the love of Jesus Christ "my Lord and my God" who died to wash away all of our sins.

Bob L.

Question #12:   

Jesus is God, but we still need someone to stand in the gap, what gap?

I am sorry Bob, but I see is a "doctrine of man" not God.

Response #12: 

The gap between sinful man and holy God. We needed someone to "be made sin" for us that we might not be held to account and condemned. That required someone who was one of us to die in our place, but also someone who was God in order to be able to do all that was required in order to live a perfect life then, even more importantly, to purge away sin by being judged for us. We are not able to die for our sins and are not fit to do so even if we were; God cannot die. Jesus is the One who "stood in the gap" between the two, between sinful man (as a perfect man) and holy God (being God Himself). Without being both God and man, Jesus could not have mediated the peace of the cross through which we who believe now have eternal life.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2nd Corinthians 5:21 NIV

In the One who died that we might live, Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

One place Jesus and God are one and another they are two. You verse states "God (1 entity) made Him (1 entity) = 2 entities. Got to make your mind up.

Response #13: 

I don't understand your comment. If you are telling me that because Jesus appeared as a man, He cannot be God, I do not agree – that is biblically incorrect. Jesus is the God-man. God exists in three Persons. The oneness of God is His essence. The Trinity are "one" in essence; they are three in person. While it is true that all things are possible with God, I do not see, from a biblical point of view, how anyone who rejects the deity of Christ can have actual saving faith. I mean, what is it that you believe in?

I believe in Jesus Christ the LORD,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Hi Bob,

I am going to get blunt, so put on your best forgiveness. This discussion we are having has nothing to do with our salvation because we were asked only to believe on Jesus Christ and we would be saved.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Try this: The man is the head of the woman; Christ is the head of the Church; God is the head of Christ. Everything has its' order. Man and woman are joined together and become one; Christ and the Church are joined together and are one; Christ and God are joined together and are one with the Holy Spirit. The man and woman are of one mind; the Church and Christ are of one mind; Christ, God and the Holy Spirit are of one mind. The point here is that there has to be someone in charge and all the followers have to take on the attributes of the leader - God; while it makes us all one in mind and spirit, it does not in body (for like of a better word).

First let me say that I believe in the "literal" Word of God; if it is not stated "exactly" in the Bible, then I don't believe it. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came and died for our sins if we accept Him in faith. Like Jesus I believe in the Word of God, not the traditions of man - made up stories that the Bible does not support. Many claim there will be a pre-tribulation rapture, just as you support the 3-in-1, and are just as adamant as you are - neither is supported; they are both made up stories and have become traditions.

I don't know if you have ever noticed it, but Christ did not come to the Gentile, He came to the Jews and we have been adopted under grace. No where in the Bible did Christ address the Gentiles; He told His disciples to go unto the lost House of Israel. In Rev 2 & 3 Christ never mentions any church that Paul started. Paul said many times "unto the Jew first, then unto the Gentile".

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Response #14: 

Passing over my issues with your interpretation, I don't see the applicability of your point about the Jews and Gentiles – unless you mean to say that the gospels are not for "us", in which case I would have to strongly disagree. Here is what Paul says to a mixed Jewish and gentile church:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

As to authority, again, this proves nothing. We find ourselves "in time". The roles of the Trinity only apply here in the universe created for creatures; the roles they have taken on only have any applicability as they apply to us and our choices in time. Outside of the universe, God is "all in all" with no authority distinction between the three Persons, and all of the authority distinctions mentioned have to do with the Trinity's gracious relations towards us. God is "one" to a degree we cannot even begin to appreciate. In such a circumstance, the word "authority" really has no significance: the Trinity has never had a "disagreement" nor could they.

As to believing the Bible, I am all for that.  The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God (see the link), e.g.:

For a child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. Dominion shall rest on his shoulder, and His name will be called "He whose counsel is wondrous", "Mighty God", "the Father of Eternity", "the Prince of Prosperity".
Isaiah 9:6

"Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a Son, and they will call His Name 'Immanuel', which is translated 'God is with us'".
Matthew 1:23

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side (i.e., Jesus), has made him (i.e., the Father) known.
John 1:18 NIV

(3) For, [if I could save them thereby] I would wish myself to be accursed [and] separated from Christ on behalf my brethren according to the flesh (4) who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption and the [shekinah] glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the [temple] rite and the promises (5) who are [descendants of] the patriarchs and from whom is the Christ, as far as flesh[ly descent] is concerned, the [very] One who is God over all [things], blessed forever. Amen!
Romans 9:3-5

(5) You too should have this attitude which Christ Jesus had. (6) Since He already existed in the very form of God, equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for. (7) Yet in spite of this [co-equal divinity He already possessed], He deprived Himself of His status and took on the form of a slave, [and was] born in the likeness of men. (8) He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even [His] death on [the] cross [for us all].
Philippians 2:5-8

[W]e who are awaiting the blessed hope, namely the glorious and majestic appearance of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13

But to the Son [the Father says], "Your throne, O God, is forever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of integrity".
Hebrews 1:8

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have been allotted a faith of equal value to ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
2nd Peter 1:1

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us a mind-set for coming to know the truth. And we are in [the One who is] the Truth, even in [God's] Son Jesus Christ. This One is the true God and eternal life.
1st John 5:20

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
Revelation 22:13 (cf. Rev.22:16)

The question is, if a person does not believe that Jesus is God, what in the world are they "believing" in hopes of salvation? The gospel is the content of truth we must believe in order to be saved, the good news that God became man in Jesus Christ in order to be able to go to the cross and bear our sins. Without being divine, no one could have done that. So without accepting Jesus' deity, 1) a person is rejecting the testimony of the scripture and of the Spirit on that critical score that Jesus came into the world to save it, and 2) it is questionable if they understand or believe the cross. So what does such a person believe? Even the demons understand that God exists, they know Jesus exists too, and they know, no doubt much better than we, who He is and what He endured in atoning for sin. But this knowledge doesn't save them because they are not believers and faithful followers of Him.

Yes indeed, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven". And what is the will of the Father? To believe in Jesus, who He really is, the God-man, and what He has really done, suffered punishment and death for our sins as only one who was both God and man could do (cf. Jn.6:40).  

Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
John 6:29 NIV

Jesus was sent from heaven (Jn.6:38-58), which can only be true of God. If half of the gospel is thrown out, can a person be half-saved?

Yours in the LORD Jesus Christ,

Bob L. 


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