What You May Not Know About the Soul and Spirit

Copyright 2024 by Joan Berry

Abstract

The following essay is brief, but informative paper to discuss the difference between soul and spirit, false teachings, and the doctrine of the Trinity. To some, the subjects are unfathomable, and to others, they are at best confusing. By much study of the Bible and prayer, theologians such as Grudem, Mcgrath, and others have helped us, who are in Christ, gain a better understanding. One thing that confuses us is false teaching. Just about the time you and your spirit connect and you begin to ‘get’ it, someone who has his/her own opinion without any Bible study or commitment to the Savior, tries to plant the seed of unbelief. This paper will begin with the four most common fallacies about soul and spirit so the reader can compare them with the Word of God. The sources for this paper are Bibles, Systematic Theology, Torah, and Apologetics listed in the Bibliography.

Fallacy

Fallacy1. A human is a spirit with a body wrapped around it.

Fallacy 2, Soul sleep.

Fallacy 3. Praying for the dead. 

Fallacy 4. Spirit and soul are the same thing.

Fallacy 1

Following are verses that tell us that we are created in the image of God therefore, we are made with a spirit and a soul as well. That we are a “Spirit” is not a biblical teaching. However, we are a soul.

God created mankind in His image and we know that God is Spirit. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and truth.” (John 4.24).

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.26-27).

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5.23).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4.12).

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (I Corinthians 2.14).

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8.16).

Our lives are in the hands of God and when that time comes to be with God, our mortality is over, ”. . .and the dust returns to the ground and the Spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12.7). 

Fallacy 2: Soul Sleep

Soul sleeping is another fallacy that is not a biblical teaching. In the following biblical verses, you will learn that at death the soul goes directly to God. ‘Presence’ with God means just that–not being elsewhere. Sleep/sleeping are normally synonyms for death. However, in some portions of the Scriptures, those words are interchangeable. (Example: Ecc. 12.7. and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it). The words soul and spirit are also interchangeable in other scriptures.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. 

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (II Cor. 5.8).

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. ( Philippians 1.23).

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me paradise.” (Luke 23.29).

Fallacy 3: Praying for the dead

Praying for the dead in Christ is not a biblical teaching. At death, the soul returns to God who gave it to us. (Matt. 10.28). Those in Christ are already with God.

Fallacy 4: Spirit and soul are the same thing

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5.23). From the beginning, as recorded in Genesis 1.26-27, God created humans in His image. As we have an almighty God, it stands to reason that we, too, are composed of body, soul, and spirit. God breathed the breath of life into man and he became a living being — a soul. 

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10.28).

 “Hearing the word ‘soul’ clearly must refer to that part of the person that exists after death” (Grudem 1994). Here, we are told that the soul is eternal. Once the soul is created, it never ceases to exist. Humans have a spirit but at its core is a soul. The soul is who we are, the essence of our humanity (Grudem 1994). People are referred to as souls in the Scriptures: Exodus 31.14, Proverbs 11.30, and Psalms 16. 9-10, Ezekiel 18.4, 1 Peter 1.22 and 2.25, Acts 2.41, and Rev. 18.13.

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. (Deuteronomy 30:6). 

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you (James 1:21).

We, as humans, have a sinful nature and our souls are not without sin. We know our soul needs atonement (Lev. 17.11). It is the soul that needs to be purified and protected by the truth and the Holy Spirit. Although the soul is eternal, we can lose it, The soul has two destinations — heaven or hell forever. At death, the soul is removed. Those souls who are in Christ go to be with Him and are saved. Those souls who rejected God go to hell and are forever lost from God. Only believers in Christ, according to Scriptures, are to be spiritually active; unbelievers are said to be spiritually dead. There will come a time when our spirits will temporarily be apart from our physical bodies (Grudem 1994).

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Cor. 2.4). 

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

(Romans 8:16).

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(John 4:24).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your Matthews (22:37). 

The Spirit and Soul are two important immortal facets of humanity and work together with the Spirit of God in ways that we cannot understand yet (John 4.13), Romans, 8.16), and then we are led by God’s Spirit instead of our own to obtain eternal life in Heaven (GotQuestions Ministries). It is our Spirit that gives us self consciousness, emotions, ability to understand, and the ability to connect and have a relationship with God (Hebrews 4.12, John 4.24). 

Doctrine of the Trinity

 As yet, there is no exact explanation to explain our triune God. We do know that God is co-existent and co-eternal. The diagram below, courtesy of GotQuestions Ministries, is one explanation.

Or The Lord our God is one Lord; or The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; or The Lord is our God, the Lord alone Deuteronomy (6:4). 

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.”(1 Corinthians 8:4).

 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one (Galatians 3:20).

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2.5).

Below is the best symbol for the Trinity we are aware of (GotQuestions.org),

In Conclusion

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping (2 Peter 2

Bibliography

All Bible Verses used are from Life Application Study Bible NIV(2005) and BibleGateway.org

 BibleGateway.org ( 2008). HarperCollins Christian Publisher,  https:/www.biblegateway.com/login/

Got Questions Ministries. (2002-2024). https://www.gotquestions.org/.

Grudem, Wayne. (1994). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine: Grand Rapids  MI. Zondervan Publisher.

Life Application Study Bible NIV(2005) New International Version: Grand Rapids MI

Tyndale House Publisher and Zondervan.

New King James Version Study Bible (2nd Edition). Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R.  H., Hause, H. W., Editors: Nashville TN. Thomas Nelson.

The Torah: A Modern Commentary. (2005, 2006). W. Gunther Plaut, General Editor: New York NY. Union for Reform Judaism.

The Apologetics study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (2017). Ted Cabol, General Editor.             Nashville TN: Harmon Bible

 The Women of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Copyright 2024 Joan Berry

Abstract

The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ seems mysterious on the surface. However, the Bible

interprets its self. Remember, the symbols reflect the era in which the Apostle John lived. Many of the symbolic features are found in the Old Testament. The people of John’s lifetime would have understood much of the meanings in John’s visions. In this paper, the focus is on the three women who appear in the book: Jezebel; the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of stars on her head; and the Harlot of Babylon. To make for easier reading, Scriptures used are listed in Bibliography B for each section. All scriptures are primarily from The Apologetics Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible NIV, and New King James Version Study Bible. Blessing to all in the name of Jesus.

Jezebel

Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab of Israel and the daughter of Sidon (sinful city), and it was she who brought the worship of Baal to Israel. She killed the prophets and threatened to kill Elijah. Military Captain Jehu, on the orders of Elijah, killed Jezebel by throwing her off a balcony. Her name is widely used as a label for unholy, evil, sinful people. Miltary Captain Jehu later became king of Israel. We learn in the Letter to the Laodician church that it was active in love, faith, and service until Jezebel co-opted it. Jesus tells the church that He is against it for its false prophets misleading the members into sexual immorality, and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Apologetics 2017).

Jesus further reminds the church that He gave them a chance to repent but, it did not. Here, Jesus reveals that Jezebel is an apostate church and that the offspring of Jezebel will suffer the same second death and will be cast into the lake of fire. He further states that He will cast her on a bed of suffering and that He would make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent. Jesus continues, “I will strike her children dead. Then all churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”(Rev. 2.23). To the others who did not follow Jezbel’s teachings, Jesus promised to not put any other burden on them. “Hold on,” He says, “to what you have until I come.” (Rev.2:24). “To him that overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations and he will rule over them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my father. I will also give him the Morning Star.” (Rev 2:26-28). [Jesus is the Morning Star. He is giving Himself.]

The Woman Clothed with the Sun, with the Moon Under Her Feet, and a Crown of Twelve Stars on her Head

In Genesis, this woman appears in a dream that Joseph, son of Jacob, has of a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. [This woman appears again in the Revelation 12]. Jacob interprets the dream as the sun representing himself; the moon representing Rachael, his wife; and the crown of twelve stars being the twelve tribes. He sees the dream as the foreshadowing of a nation to come (Duck 1998). According to Harper’s Dictionary of the Bible (1973), “Historians see Jacob who was renamed Israel as the personification of a national Israel.” (Gen. 32.28; 35.10).

When this woman appears in Revelation 12, she is pregnant with a male child and suffering the pain of childbirth. “The woman , then, has to symbolize Israel because Christ was born of the seed of Israel.” (Hinson nd). The Roman Empire had subjugated the country and enforced all thing Roman on its captives. That she was in travail was an apt description of the woman’s (Israel’s) condition. (Duck 1998). Satan, in the personification of a huge red dragon, is waiting to kill the child (Jesus) but fails in this first attempt. Revelation 12.5 “She gave birth to a son, to a male child, who will rule all nations with an iron scepter and her child was snatched up to God to His throne,” This is a reference to the resurrection of Jesus, (Duck 1998).

According to Duck’s interpretation (1998), midway of the Tribulation, the woman will flee to the mountains where God has prepared a place of safety for her, It is suggested that the place of safety might be the deserted ancient city of Petra where many caves exist and there is only one way in or out of the city, all the better for defense. (Duck 1998). Rev. 12.6 “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared by God where she might be taken care of for 1260 days,”

The Harlot of Babylon

The 17th through the 18h chapters of Revelation go into great detail about the Harlot of Babylon. Bear in mind that “the title was written on her forehead Mystery Babylon the Great is the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth.” (Rev 17.5). She came from Babylon as did Jezebel with the same relationship with the sinners of the Laodician church. The source of Babylon began with Nimrod, world dictator in the Old Testament era, It was he who wanted to build the tower that would reach heaven. While the tower could not reach heaven, it was used for the observance of the stars and heavenly bodies that led to modern times including the killing of thousands of Christians: “Babylon is a place of demons and unclean spirits.” (Rev 18.2-3).

Babylon is a person and a city at the same time and who has daughters (false religions) to carry on her unholy work. Duck (1998) lists some of her daughters as New Age, Satan Worship, Mother Earth Worship, Globalism, Hinduism, and Islamism. In John’s vision, the angel who had the seven bowls invited him to view the punishment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters (masses of people) that include many nations, people, and organizations. To have authority over so many suggests that she has their approval. “The political roots of ecumenism, the united world church, are in Rome; the spiritual roots go back to Babylon.” (Frescoes 1996).

The concept of a global new world religion of peace and cooperation is not new because the effort was proposed and acted upon since 1948 when the World Council of Churches was formed. Current information states that there are 2022 members, 352 churches, in 120 countries. Some church endorsements have come from church leaders such as Pope Paul II, the Dali Lama, and of course the World Council of Churches. The council is organized much like the United Nations. Pope Paul II also called for nations to stop opposition to a world government. (Jeffery 2001). This is also known as the New World Order. In 1998, Hal Lindsey said that he expected to see more mergers between denominations and more emphasis on ecumenism. Hinson (nd) places Babylon’s New World Order to take place in the final phases of the Tribulation.

Returning now to John’s vision, an angel carries him in spirit to a desert where he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast (Antichrist) covered with blasphemous names and has seven heads (kings) and ten horns (kingdoms). (Rel 17.3). She is dressed in the royal colors of purple and scarlet and wearing accessories of gold, precious stones, and pearls. In showing off her wealth, indicates she is seeking attention and appeal. In addition, she is holding a golden cup full of abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. John also sees . . . “that the woman was drunk with the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus . . . ” (Rev 17.6). The Harlot of Babylon and the Great Ecumenical System will persecute and kill Christians during the Tribulation. However, John tells us that the beast (Antichrist) and the ten horns (puppet kings) will turn on Babylon and kill her and her deceived followers. Hal Lindsey (nd) comments: “I have found this about religion, the more a false religion is the more wealth it has. And a true religion usually has less material and does not care about it.”

  Rebuilding Babylon

 Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi ruler, undertook a significant reconstruction project at the ancient city of Babylon. During the 1980s, as Iraq was engaged in a long and drawn-out war with Iran, Saddam Hussein decided to rebuild Babylon as a tribute to himself. The reconstruction included the construction of a palace, defensive walls, and even a brick maze. Saddam saw himself as a modern reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar, the historical Babylonian ruler, and wanted every Iraqi to know that he had rebuilt Babylon. The ruins of Babylon, also known as Babel, date back over 3,000 years and hold immense historical and cultural significance. It’s fascinating how this ancient city has been shaped by different rulers throughout history! (Caldwell 2027), [The bricks have Hussein’s face on them,. Several attempts have been made to restore the Tower of Babel, but none have succeeded. There was enough left of the ruins at one time to find that it had a square base, only now all that exisrs is a big hole of water].

A Stone Tablet was found that portrays a drawing of the Tower of Bablel and the architect

This tablet, for the first time, gives us a contemporary illustration of the tower; along with an inscription giving us an account of Nebuchadnezzar II’s building plans and the restoration process.The Schøyen Collection has documented the translation of the inscription on the tablet, noting that it contains a helpful caption identifying the caption as:

ETEMENANKI: ZIKKURAT BABIBLI: THE HOUSE,

 THE FOUNDATION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH,

ZIGGURAT IN BABYLON

The inscription goes on to describe the restoration process:

“NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON AM I – IN ORDER TO COMPLETE E-TEMEN-ANKI AND E-UR-ME-IMIN-ANKI I MOBILIZED ALL COUNTRIES EVERYWHERE, EACH AND EVERY RULER WHO HAD BEEN RAISED TO PROMINENCE OVER ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD – THE BASE I FILLED IN TO MAKE A HIGH TERRACE. I BUILT THEIR STRUCTURES WITH BITUMEN AND BAKED BRICK THROUGHOUT. I COMPLETED IT RAISING ITS TOP TO THE HEAVEN, MAKING IT GLEAM BRIGHT AS THE SUN”

Courtesy of Aletia.org

Bibliography A

Caldwell, Zelda (2017). Aletia.org

Duck, Raymond R. (1998). Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblically Inept. Lancaster PA:             Starburst Publishers. Contributing authors: Jack Van Impe, Hal Linsey, John Hagee,             Grant J Jeffrey.

Dyer, Charles H. (nd). World News and Bible Prophecy. p. 90.

Froese, A, (1996). News from Israel. p. 8.

Hagee, John. (nd). Beginning of the End. p. 171.

Harper’s Bible Dictionary (1973). p. 229.

 Jeremiah, D. with Carlson, D. D. in Revelation God’s Word for the Biblically Inept. (1998).

 Hinson, Ed. (nd). Final Signs. p. 21.

 Life Application Study Bible NIV. (2005). Carol Stream IL: Tindale House and Zimmerman             Grand Rapids MI Co-Publishers.

New King James Version Study Bible. (2007). Editors: Allen,Ronald H., House, Wayne H.             Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson Publisher.

Pesha, M. (2019). Inside the Abandoned Babylon that Saddam Hussein Built. https://www.atla            sobscura.com/articles/babylon-iraq-saddam-hussein.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible. (2017). General editor Ted Cabal.             Nashville TN: Holman Bible Publisher.

Bibliography B

Jezebel

Rev. 2:20-28

I Kings 16:31-33; 18:4, 13; 19:1-2

II Kings 2:21

The Woman Clothed with the Sun, with the Moon

Under Her Feet, and a Crown on her Head

Genesis 30.22-24; 32.28; 35.10; 37.3-4; 37.9-11;

Revelation 12

The Harlot of Babylon

Revelation 17. 1, 2, 5, 15,16; 18. 2