Author Topic: What happens when we die?  (Read 3464 times)

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RickH

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What happens when we die?
« on: April 29, 2019, 02:10:38 AM »
Here is a great explanation and well put together understanding of this topic:

Premise

Traditionally most people believe that there is a ghost-like “spirit” inside of our bodies, and when we die, this spirit floats away somewhere, preferably heaven.

I will show that the Bible actually does not support this theory.  In fact, according to the Bible there is no spirit inside of us at all.  We exist only as mortal bodies, made from dust having been given the breath of life.  And it is this “breath of life” that is confused with, or interpreted as, a “spirit”.   
 

What Happens When We Die

Scripture says it plainly. 

Genesis 3:19

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Job 7:21

Why then do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?  For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me, but I will not be."

Job 14:10:12

But man dies and lies prostrate man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, he will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.

Psalm 115:17

The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

Psalm 146:4

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing

Over and over again the Bible says that the dead know nothing.  These are only a few examples.  The dead don’t think.  They don’t praise the Lord.  They have no consciousness.  They return to the earth, as dust.  Their plans perish and they cease to exist.  Ecclesiastes 3 even tells us that man has no advantage over the beasts.  All go to one place, which is dust.
 

Death Compared to Sleep

Psalms 13:3

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

1 Kings 2:10

Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.

When Lazarus died, Jesus said he was sleeping.   

John 11:11-14

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead


Why would Jesus compare Lazarus’ death to “sleep” if Lazarus’ spirit has ascended into heaven?  And why was there no mention of his spirit leaving his body?   

Matthew 9:24

He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

Daniel 12:2

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Daniel was told he would “rest” until the resurrection.   

Daniel 12:13

As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

If Daniel’s spirit was to go to heaven after death, then why was he told that he would rest?  Why did the angel not say instead, I’ll see you in heaven soon, or something to that effect?  It’s because Daniel wasn’t going to heaven.  He was going to the dust of the earth.  Daniel is now dead.  He is not in heaven.  He’s dead in the dust of the earth and on the day of the resurrection, he will rise, along with the rest of us.


What Happens When we are Resurrected

The resurrection, as Paul describes it, actually also proves that we have no spirit in us that goes to heaven when we die.   

Imagine if we did have a spirit.  We would fly up to heaven and we would do whatever we do in heaven.  Praise the Lord, play Frisbee, eat BBQ chicken.  No matter how you envision an existence in heaven, it would require at the very least that we have a consciousness, a thought process and a free will to continue to make decisions.  All of this would contradict the old testament verses above.


It would also contradict the new testament book of 1 Corinthians, because according to Paul this life in a spiritual body, which we imagine in heaven, does not come to us until the very last day, when we are resurrected.

1 Corinthians 15:42

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:46

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

Paul clearly states that we are created with a natural body, not a spiritual body.  We will be transformed into a spiritual body upon the resurrection.  “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”.  In other words, when God created us, we were not given spiritual bodies, only natural bodies, but we would receive spiritual bodies later, upon the resurrection.

Our bodies are sewn natural, raised spiritual.  This is the point of the resurrection, to make us spiritual so that we can be immortal.  So if you believe that we already have immortal spirits that leave our bodies when we die, you have a conundrum.

 

The Spiritual Conundrum

Imagine the traditional teaching, where we have a spirit and we go to heaven as a spirit when we die.  Then please tell me, what is the point of the resurrection?   

If we are already in heaven, as immortal spirits, then why would we need to be transformed into spirits on the last day?  If it is so, then when our bodies on earth are transformed into spirits, do we end up with two spirits?  The one in heaven and the one on earth?  Would both spirits have their own separate consciousness?  Do our spirits in heaven then join our old bodies which have been transformed?  Would we then be a spirit within a spirit?  Two spirits?  What nonsense!   

If we’re being transformed into spirits, then we can not already be spirits, otherwise what would be the point?  The point of the resurrection is to make us immortal.  To make us spirits.  This would be entirely nonsensical if we are already living as spirits in heaven, and this is how Paul’s description of the resurrection proves that we do not have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after death.


Soul (Nephesh)

To add to the confusion, in addition to the obvious body and the presumed spirit, we also supposedly possess a “soul”.  What is a soul?  You are a soul.

Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Notice in the verse above that man became a living soul.  He was not given a soul.  He became a soul.  In other words, we do not have souls, we are souls.

The word soul in this verse was originally written in Hebrew as לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ which is transliterated as nephesh.  Strong’s concordance defines nephesh as “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion”.  With this definition in mind, the last part of Genesis 2:7 can be paraphrased as, for example “man became alive” or “man became an individual”.  It is in fact the very moment when man gained his self awareness and free will.

The same word occurs 754 times in the old testament, so we can’t look at all examples but let’s look at one more.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life (Nephesh), and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here the King James Bible translates it as “creature that hath life”.  Remember, this is the same word that was translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7.  The more examples you look at the more obvious it becomes that when the word “soul” is used in scripture it refers simply to “a living creature”.

So keep in mind the true meaning of the word Nephesh, which can be translated as soul, living creature, person or individual, when you read verses such as…

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.

The living creature who sins…

The person who sins…

The individual who sins…
 

The Spirit (Ruach)

On the flip side, there are a number of verses that can be used to support the notion that we all have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after the body dies.  And at first glance, some of these verses are very convincing.   

For example

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

2 Corinthians 5:8

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

James 2:26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Obviously, the key to understanding such verses is understanding the meaning of “spirit”.  As it turns out, in these examples, the word spirit refers to the breath of God, which is life.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

This verse seems to imply that our spirit goes up to heaven when we die, but actually “spirit” here refers to the life that God breathed into man in Genesis 2:7.  It’s the life that returns to God, because the life came from God.

Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The word used through the old testament for spirit is the Hebrew word Ruach ר֫וּחַ, which can also be translated as “breath or wind”.   In fact, this is how it is translated in various other verses including Genesis 7:15 and Psalm 104:29.

Genesis 7:15

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life (ruach) in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Psalm 104:29

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to the dust.

When God gave man life, it was his breath/wind/spirit which God gave.  The spirit of God is life.  And it’s this spirit, this life, that returns to God in Ecclesiastes 12:7

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (ruach – life / breath) returns to God who gave it.

Other verses clearly explain that it is the spirit of God, or the breath of God, that has given us life.   

John 6:63 says The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Job 33:4 says The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Continuing...

RickH

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Re: What happens when we die?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 02:10:55 AM »


The many Hebrew names of God in fact include the word Ruach each time.


English Name                     |          Hebrew Name

The Spirit of God                |       Ruach Elohim
 
The Spirit of the Lord          |       Ruach Adonai
 
The Holy Spirit                   |       Ruach Hakkodesh
 
The Spirit of the Lord God   |       Ruach Adonai Elohim
 
The Spirit of God                |       Ruach-El
 

Clearly, the word Ruach does not refer to a ghostly spirit that lives inside each of us, but rather the breath of life which came from God himself, and which is a part of God himself.  Let’s look at the verse again.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (breath of life) returns to God who gave it.

And now compare that to the verse that describes man becoming a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

In other words, God gave his living spirit (Ruach) and man became a living soul (Nephesh).   
 

When Jesus Died

When this discussion of a spirit comes up people often point to references around Jesus’ death on the cross as proof that his “spirit” left him.   

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.


I used to think, as most people do, that each reference to “spirit” in these verses referred to a conscious ghostly entity that left Jesus’ body and floated up to heaven (or hell, depending on who you ask) where Jesus continued to “live”.  However, if we look at the original Greek word used we get an entirely different picture.

Remember, the Hebrew word translated as spirit in the old testament is Ruach and it means “breath” or “wind”.  In the new testament the original text is Greek and in each of these three verses above, the word translated as spirit is the Greek word “Pneuma”.  Pneuma means “wind, breath, spirit”.  It has the exact same meaning as the Hebrew Ruach.  Go figure.

Also remember that in Genesis 2:7 God created man and gave man the breath of life.  That god given breath is not just a simple breath that we take for granted; it is life.  So if we understand that the Greek meaning of the word “pneuma” is actually a reference to life itself which God breathed into us, these verses suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit life.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit life.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit life.


Of course, looking back at it now, it seems so obvious that Jesus did not continue to live in spirit form after his death, because if that were the case he wouldn’t have really died.  But he actually did die.  He really died.  The breath of life left him and he died.

There is literally no Bible verse that claims there is a ghostly spirit inside each of us that lives on after death.  In fact, quite the opposite.  All indications are that when we die, we return to the dust of the earth, without any consciousness, knowing nothing and realizing nothing.  And it’s only at the resurrection, when the breath of God returns to us, that we become spiritual creatures.


Further Evidence

Acts 2:29

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day”

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth

John 3:13

And no man has ascended up to heaven

What is everyone's thoughts?

Richard Myers

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Re: What happens when we die?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 12:37:57 PM »
Hello Rick. Do you believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: What happens when we die?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2019, 01:38:50 PM »
A very good and interesting study, thank you, Rick. I would like to sit down and go over it carefully on the weekend. Only recently I've been giving thought to this mysterious life force. Evolutionists cannot adequately explain 'spirit' and 'soul.' Indeed, these mysteries belong to God. Can only be really explained by a life-giving Spirit. One of the hardest things to comprehend is individuality. Who am I? Why am I Marelis and not you? Rejectors of the Creator prefer to talk about universal consciousness, parallel universes, reincarnation, past lives and the possibility we're in a virtual reality. It is good to consider afresh what the scriptures have revealed about the biggest questions and mysteries.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

colporteur

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Re: What happens when we die?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 04:30:15 PM »
 The Holy Spirit and the breath of life are two different things.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.