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And the Art of
Lying is Born
John Lintz had just finished a year’s study in London, England, and was looking forward to going home to Denver. This was the first time he had been away from home for such a long duration and he was eagerly awaiting the trip to the airport for the flight home. His family had always been close-knit.
His warm thoughts of being happily reunited with his family were interrupted by the ring of the phone. At first he thought it must be one of his friends calling to wish him a bon voyage. But it was his brother long distance. Their father had just been in a fatal accident.
What had begun as a joyous day for John had turned into a traumatic one. He was overcome with grief. “How could such a thing happen?” His father was law-abiding and followed Scriptures as best he could. Why did such a thing have to happen? Agony overcame John as he realized he would never see his father alive again.
Even though the events depicted here are fictitious, they nevertheless occur regularly in everyday life. Whether death comes suddenly to someone we know or is the result of a long illness, death is always a sorrowful event.
When death of a loved one occurs, our human frailty and shortcomings seem to take over. It is a natural human characteristic to fight for self-preservation. When someone dies, that fight is lost. Those who knew the deceased are saddened at the thought of the loss.
The Breath of Life
Medical personnel say that the closest one is to death is at the time of one’s birth. How fragile a time this is. A newborn baby, with umbilical cord cut, must learn to rely solely on its own organs to function properly. If one thing goes wrong, the infant’s life is in danger.
The same situation faced Adam and Eve which tells of how they came into existence:
And Yahweh formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul, Gen. 2:7.
Before that time man was not alive. The chemical elements that make up a human body can be found in nature and man marvels at how wondrously Yahweh has made his body to function properly out of chemical mixtures.
At the very time of birth the process of dying begins to take place. When a body is young and growing its cells are produced at a rapid rate, but the cells also age and die. Our biological clock keeps ticking away.
When the doctor first slapped us, if we needed to be slapped, we gasped for that first breath of air. If we hadn’t gotten it, we would have died.
This breath of life is a vital part of our existence. Without it we would no longer be a “LIVING SOUL.” This breath of life comes from Yahweh, as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance shows. This breath of life - our breath of life – belongs to Yahweh because Scripture says it returns to Him when we die:
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [Hebrew ruach, “breath, force of life”] shall return unto Elohim Who gave it, Eccl. 12:7.
Numbers 27:16 says that Yahweh is the Elohim of the spirits [ruach] of all flesh.
A Living Soul
Bakers making a cake take certain ingredients and mix them in the proper proportion to produce a delicious product. The final product is more than the sum of its ingredients.
When man became a living soul, the two necessary and vital ingredients were a body and the breath of life. The end product is much more than a physical body because a body, by itself, is not a living soul; it needs that “magical” element, the breath of life.
A light bulb, by itself, is just glass and wire. But when a current is passed through it, it becomes a light capable of producing energy. The end product is, indeed, much more. So it is with man. When man becomes a living soul, he has thoughts, desires, and emotions. These characteristics and more are part of a living, breathing human being.
Genesis 2:7 says that after man was created, he became a living soul. The word translated soul is the Hebrew nephesh. “Strong’s Concordance” says nephesh means a breathing creature. It is used some 754 times in the Old Testament where it refers not only to man but also to the lower animals. (See Gen. 1:21 and 24, where it refers to every living creature, in the sea, on the land and in the air.)
Nothing about nephesh – soul – indicates or implies immortality. These lower animals require nourishment as man does. They can think as man can, but on a much simpler level. The difference is that man was made in the image of his Creator, Genesis 1:26-27.
The Greek word for soul, psuche, parallels the Hebrew word nephesh in meaning. It basically means breath or a living being. No Biblical Greek writers use this same word, psuche, when referring to all animals. It signifies a living creature, animal or man – not an immortal entity of man.
The First Lie Ever Told
In the first few chapters of Genesis we are told the story of the creation. In chapters 2 and 3 we read that the Garden of Eden contained two very important trees: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Both were pleasing to the eye and had good food, Genesis 2:9.
In Genesis 2:17, however, the first human beings, Adam and Eve, were told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” In Hebrew this means “dying you shall die.”
In other words, the slow process of death would take over and they would eventually die in time. Parents, have you ever instructed your children not to do something? What usually happens? The child does it anyway because it is a natural human characteristic to find out the consequences. The same thing was true of Adam and Eve.
Satan, as the great deceiver, fooled mankind from the beginning into believing lies. Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 3:4 we read of Satan’s telling Eve, “You shall not surely die.” In Hebrew, this means “dying you shall not die.” This was a complete contradiction and a perverse lie.
Removal from Eden and Life
Believing that Satan’s lie was not a lie, Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of this disobedience to Yahweh’s commandment, Adam and Eve knew that they were naked. They knew the difference between good and evil:
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons, Genesis 3:7.
Because of their defiance of Yahweh’s commandment, Yahweh had to forcibly remove them from the Garden of Eden. Why? So Adam and Eve could not partake of the tree of life and live forever,
And Yahweh Elohim said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever, Genesis 3:22.
Because of this disobedience to Yahweh’s commandment, Yahweh also placed a heavy burden on the first humans, and on us, as we read in Genesis 3.
We read in Genesis 3:23-24 of what Yahweh did to prevent man from eating from the tree of life:
Therefore Yahweh Elohim sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
We now see the consequences of the first sin. Man was sent from the Garden of Eden so he could not eat of the tree of life and live forever.
The phrase, “to keep the way of the tree of life” means to preserve it for a future time. That future time can be found in Rev. 22:2 and 14:
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations... Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Because of man’s original sin, we are all destined to die a physical death unless we are alive when Yahshua returns to claim His own,
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Yahweh; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, 1 Cor. 15:50-53.
In Ecclesiastes 3:2 we are told that there is a time to be born and a time to die. Each of us must consider dying. We have no options concerning death. Death is inevitable. Paul wrote in Hebrew 9:27,
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
We are all destined to die a physical death.
What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? (Ps. 89:48.)
Innate Immortality a Superstition
Life begins at conception. This life causes our heart to beat and to circulate blood throughout our system, providing nourishment to cells and removing impurities. But when we die, this life is removed and the flow of blood ceases.
Because blood is so essential to sustaining life, we are forbidden to eat or drink of it. In Lev. 17: 11 and 14, we read that the “life of the flesh is in the blood.” And when a man dies, he must relinquish the breath of life given at birth:
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the spirit [breath of life], and where is he? (Job 14:10.)
So, the big question now, as Job 14:10 reads, is: Where is man when he dies? Man has misunderstood and misconstrued the answer to this question, as is seen in many mythological deities and modern-day religious beliefs. The Greeks and the Scandinavians, as well as the American Indians, all have their own pagan notions as to what happens to a person upon death and beyond.
Some modern-day religions teach of a place the dead go to where they remain so those that are alive may, through prayers, supplication, and good deeds, cause the dead to become more perfect and, as the result, be allowed to enter heaven.
Scriptures will bear out that this is the result of Satan’s lie, “You shall not surely die,” Genesis 3:4.
Mankind shares one thing with all members of the animal kingdom – the breath of life:
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again, Eccl. 3:19-20.What happens to the “breath of life” of a man at death?
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto Elohim Who gave it, Eccl. 12:7.
In Luke 8:49-56, Yahshua overheard someone saying that a woman was dead. After He went into the house where this dead woman was and said, “Maid arise,” we read that this woman’s spirit [pneuma] returned again and she arose. Without the spirit she was dead, but with it she was alive. Her “soul” was not hovering above, watching what was happening.
As we have seen, when the body and the breath were combined, man became a living soul. When one dies, that breath is removed and it returns unto Elohim. The body and the spirit (breath) are separate entities and the body without the spirit is dead.
Dust We Are
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, James 2:26.
This spirit (breath) is that force which allows us to become and remain living beings. Without it we are dead. What happens when this spirit is removed? Psalm 104:29 says it well:
Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled. Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
The Hebrew word sheol means grave, but translators translated it “hell” in many places. All living things, when they die, go to the grave:
They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them, Job 21:26.
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust, Job 34:15.
How Dead Is Dead?
That spirit of life – the breath of life – given to us when we are born, causes the body to become a separate, living soul, as Genesis 2:7 says. When the spirit is removed at death, all of the body functions cease to work.
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun, Eccl. 9:5-6.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest, Eccl. 9:10.
Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again, 2 Kings 22:20.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish, Ps. 146:4.
There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest, Job 3:17.
In these verses we read that the dead know nothing, have no thoughts, cannot love, hate or show envy. They also cannot work, have no wisdom, nor can they see. Death is also described as a place where the wicked cease from troubling or worrying. Also Hebrews 9:27 states that nothing occurs between death and the judgment:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Therefore, the Scriptures plainly tell us that death must be a state of total unconsciousness, of being completely unaware of what is going on and not being able to do anything about it. All we can expect when we die is to be awakened to be judged. If we were immortal and continued living in some state after death, there would be no need of a resurrection,
And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day, John 6:40.
But, you might ask, what about Lazarus and the rich man or the instance in which the Scriptures indicate that dead people talk?
Lazarus and the Rich Man
The account of Lazarus and the rich man given in Luke 16 is a parable used solely to convey the meaning expressed in verse 31,
And He said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
What is really being said here is that unless we accept the truth, there is no hope.
The accounts in the Scriptures indicating that the dead speak are as symbolic in nature as is the account in Judges 9 where different forms of vegetation speak:
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, “Reign thou over us.” But the olive tree said unto them, “Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour Elohim and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?” And the trees said to the fig tree, “Come thou, and reign over us.” But the fig tree said unto them, “Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?” Then said the trees unto the vine, “Come thou, and reign over us.” And the vine said unto them, “Should I leave my wine, which cheereth Elohim and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?” Then said all the trees unto the bramble, “Come thou, and reign over us,” Judges 9:8-14.
The story of Lazarus and the rich man does bring out one important fact. Some religions believe in baptism for the dead or in performing righteous acts for the dead so that the dead person’s heart can be made pure. Yet, in Luke 16:26 we read that nothing can be done for a dead person to change his final judgment:
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Thus, when one dies, no one can do anything more for him and the dead cannot do anything more for himself. The dead person’s future status cannot be changed by anyone through any means.
Death – Asleep in the Grave
To show further that death brings on a state of complete unconsciousness, look at what Paul says in 1 Thess. 4:13-14:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Yahshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahshua will Yahweh bring with Him.
Job 14:11-12 tells us the same thing:
As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
The Scriptures say that when death occurs the dead go to the grave and not to heaven or to hell or to a place where their hearts can be made pure. Death brings on a state that parallels unconscious sleep. And the dead remain asleep until they are resurrected – that time when we shall all receive what we deserve:
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works, Matt. 16:27.
The fact that Yahshua has not yet returned to reward His people is bourne out by Hebrews 11:39,
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.
This Scripture indicates that some of our illustrous forefathers, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have yet to receive these promises. This Scripture also validates that they are not now in heaven and never were.
Our Future Dead Soul
The lie which Satan presented to Eve, “dying you shall not die,” has led to much confusion as to what the Scriptures mean when they speak of the “soul.” We have already seen that when the breath of life was put into the body, man became a living soul. We have also seen that when this breath of life is removed from the living soul the soul no longer exists as it did.
Numerous Bible scholars agree that modern-day usage of the word “soul” comes from Greek philosophy – pagan religious thought. The Greek philosopher Plato quoted Socrates as saying:
“The soul (at death)... departs to the invisible world – to the divine and immortal and rational: thither arriving, she lives in bliss and is released from the error and folly of men ... and forever dwells ... in company of the gods.” Plato, vol. 2, pp.73, 103.
These ideas conveyed through Socrates are quite opposite to what the Scriptures indicate. In Ezekiel 18:4 we read,
Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Moreover, Yahshua told the disciples in Matthew 10:28,
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Man became a living soul, thus he does not have a soul. Both body and soul can be destroyed in the lake of fire, if we believe the Scriptures.
Death – the Penalty of Sin
More proof that death is like being asleep is found in Hebrews 9:27,
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Yahweh has given Yahshua the task of judging all mankind:
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
When we die, time will seem to stand still for us until we are awakened to stand before the judgment seat of Yahshua.
But why dost thou judge [Greek, condemns] thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of the Messiah, Romans 14:10.
At that time we shall receive our reward, everlasting life or everlasting death – spiritual death, forever separated from Yahweh. This we read of in Revelation 20:12-15:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Yahweh; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Immortality Is a Gift
The two words, soul and immortal, do not appear together in the same verse anywhere in the Scriptures. Further, the words immortal and immortality appear only in the New Testament, even though the thought is conveyed by some Old Testament Scriptures. In Luke 12:5 Yahshua reaffirms Yahweh’s power concerning the body and soul:
But I will forewarn you Whom ye shall fear: fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell [gehenna]; yea, I say unto you, fear Him.
If the soul be cast into the lake of fire for destruction, how can it be immortal?
All of the Scriptures agree that Yahweh, as the source of life, is not subject to death; hence, He is immortal. Man lost his chance for immortality in the Garden of Eden when he believed Satan’s lie and sinned. Because of this the death sentence was passed down unto all mankind. However, Yahweh still wants us to obtain that status. Yahweh therefore sent us His Son.
For the Messiah also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Yahweh, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, 1 Peter 3:18.
Just as it was in the beginning for Adam and Eve, to receive immortality requires obedience to His way of life.
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, life everlasting, Rom. 2:7.
Scriptures show that man does not have an immortal soul; he must seek immortality as immortality is a gift from Yahweh. At this time we do have the hope of receiving this gift because of Yahshua’s death and resurrection, and look forward to Yahshua’s return:
For Yahshua Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Yahweh: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet Yahshua in the air: and so shall we ever be with Him, 1 Thess. 4:16-17.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Mighty One our Saviour Yahshua Messiah, Titus 2:13.
Immortality is given only to those who are, and who remain, faithful to the end.
Prepare Now, in This Life
Self-preservation is one of man’s strongest urges. Humans want to hold onto life as long as possible. And because of man’s gullibility, he wants to believe the lie propagated by the father of all liars, Satan, that we have an immortal soul. But if we truly study and believe in the Scriptures, we will know this is not true.
We know that we shall die, but not when. It could happen at any time, even in our sleep. And when we do die, we lose everything. That includes our soul. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:7,
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
What we must do at this time is set our lives aright, be in tune with our Heavenly Family and with the words given to us in the Bible. If we do this, and have faith and assurance in the Scriptures, then Mathew 25:21 can be our comfort:
His master said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of your Master.”
If we are one of His, Yahweh will resurrect us to everlasting life.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer
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