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What Is Man?


In a word, the theme of the entire bible is "redemption." As a result of sin, death entered as the curse. Mankind is spiritually dead and needs his spirit regenerated to have life eternal, yet he is not without a soul and spirit if not regenerated. The soul consists of one's personality, emotions, intellect and volition. The spirit of man consists of his moral conscience and intuition (his prescience of God and of His judgment; see: Rom. 1:18, 19; 2:14-16). A person can be seared from their conscience, but remain soulish (1 Tim. 4:2). I believe that the bible gives evidence to the trichotomy view of man: body, soul and spirit (Unless otherwise indicated, all verse quotes are from the NASB):

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23).

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).

"But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8).

A person is considered spiritually "dead" if he is not regenerated by God:

"But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead'" (Matt. 8:22).

Upon a persons physical death the spirit returns to God:

"Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:6, 7).

"If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust" (Job 34:14, 15).

"Thou dost hide Thy face, they are dismayed; Thou dost take away their spirit, they expire, And return to their dust. Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are created; And Thou dost renew the face of the ground" (Ps. 104:29, 30).

"His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish" (Ps. 146:4).

Yet what happens to the redeemed and the unredeemed soul upon physical death? Where does the soul go?

Jesus corrected the Sadducees in their theology (Matt. 22:23-33), concerning the resurrection, but didn't correct the Pharisees in theirs, concerning the theology of Hades and Paradise--rather He endorses it:

Luke 16:19 "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day.
20 "And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22 "Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23 "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.'
25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father's house--
28 for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'
29 "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'
30 "But he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'
31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'"

Just above we have an example of the sin of omission with the rich man well aware of Lazarus' state in life, but by doing nothing he therefore goes to Hades upon his death. Lazarus, being needy, doesn't have a burden preventing his faith and therefore goes to Paradise (cf., Matt. 19:23-26). Paradise is the "abode" for the redeemed souls, yet to be purchased by Christ's blood.

We also have the example of the thief and Jesus on the cross:

"And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise'" (Luke 23:43).

(Note above: Not Heaven, but Paradise which is yet to be set free)

We know from Ephesians, quoted from Psalms 68, that Jesus then liberated all those whom had physically died and gone to Paradise:

"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. {captivity...: or, a multitude of captives} (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?") (Eph. 4:8, 9 KJV).

"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell" [among them]. {for men: Heb. in the man} (Ps. 68:18 KJV).

We know that when it states "he led captivity captive," this is referring to liberation because in the song of liberation in Judges; it uses this same term:

"Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam" (Judg. 5:12 KJV).

So we see, with the shedding of Christ's blood given as a propitiation, that Paradise was "liberated" and has become part of the kingdom of God. All those (souls) who now die "in Christ," that is in this dispensation of grace, go directly to Heaven to be with Christ and in the presence of the Father.

There's also evidence of an "abode" for the physically dead in the biblical account of Saul's transgression in contacting the departed soul of Samuel through a medium:

1 Sam. 28:3 "Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah his own city. And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists.
4 So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa.
5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly.
6 When Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.
7 Then Saul said to his servants, 'Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.' And his servants said to him, 'Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.'
8 Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, 'Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.'
9 But the woman said to him, 'Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?'
10 And Saul vowed to her by the LORD, saying, 'As the LORD lives, there shall no punishment come upon you for this thing.'
11 Then the woman said, 'Whom shall I bring up for you?' And he said, 'Bring up Samuel for me.'
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, 'Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul.'
13 And the king said to her, 'Do not be afraid; but what do you see?' And the woman said to Saul, 'I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.'
14 And he said to her, 'What is his form?' And she said, 'An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.' And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.
15 Then Samuel said to Saul, 'Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?' And Saul answered, 'I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and answers me no more, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.'
16 And Samuel said, 'Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has departed from you and has become your adversary?
17 'And the LORD has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David.
18 'As you did not obey the LORD and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the LORD has done this thing to you this day.
19 'Moreover the LORD will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the LORD will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!'
20 Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day and all night.
21 And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was terrified, and said to him, 'Behold, your maidservant has obeyed you, and I have taken my life in my hand, and have listened to your words which you spoke to me.
22 'So now also, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you that you may eat and have strength when you go on your way.'
23 But he refused and said, 'I will not eat.' However, his servants together with the woman urged him, and he listened to them. So he arose from the ground and sat on the bed.
24 And the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly slaughtered it; and she took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it.
25 And she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night."

Also, we see the example of the young girl's spirit returning when Jesus resurrects her:

"And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat" (Luke 8:55).

And we see the spirit returned to Lazarus' body after being dead for about four days:

John 11:39 "Jesus said, 'Remove the stone.' Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, 'Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.'
40 Jesus said to her, 'Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'
41 And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, 'Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me.
42 'And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.'
43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come forth.'
44 He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'"

During the great tribulation we see disembodied souls in heaven, that have been martyred, anxiously awaiting God's judgment and the resurrection of their glorified bodies:

Rev. 6:9 "And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also."

Finally, what ultimately happens to those who die that are unredeemed? Are their souls annihilated or are they eternal? We see in Matthew that in the future Jesus will divide the sheep (saved) from the goats (unsaved):

"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41).

"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46).

We also see this "eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" and the "eternal punishment" of all the unredeemed souls that ever lived resurrected and judged, as described in Revelation:

Rev. 20:11 "And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

"Death" is the grave and "Hades" is the abode of unredeemed souls encompassing all but those who had part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:5, 6; cf., Dan. 12:2). The first resurrection is in two parts; the first part is exclusively for the church ("in Christ") as the body of Christ which takes place, along with the rapture, on the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 2 Thess. 2:1, 2; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52). The second part of the first resurrection of the redeemed (including the OT saints and Israel) takes place just prior to the millennium; "these reign with Him (Christ) for a thousand years" on earth.

So, not only is the unredeemed soul eternal and eternally consigned to hell, but we see also, in the following verse, that their sin is too:

"...But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin--" (Mark 3:29).

Finally, the unredeemed soul's judgment is eternal too:

"...Of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" (Heb. 6:2).

Even Solomon declares the futility of the unredeemed soul:

Eccl. 3:18 "I said to myself concerning the sons of men, 'God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.'
19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.
20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.
21 Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?"

To conclude, it is far better then for the "contrite and lowly of spirit:"

Is. 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 "For I will not contend forever, Neither will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, And the breath of those whom I have made."

And Jesus states:

Mark 8:35 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it.
36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
37 "For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."


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