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MoreiYah » The Journey of Life and Death » Breath of Life

Breath of Life

The purpose of this study is to present an understanding of what man is made of, where he came from, and what gives him life. Many have said we are a spirit, have a soul, and live in a body, others have said that we are a body and soul, and many teach our soul is immortal, existing before and after the creation and death of the body.

The way we view our soul will influence the way we interpret scripture and conduct our lives. There are many questions that we will attempt to answer during this study, such as:

  • Was Man created as an immortal living soul?
  • Are we composed of a Spirit, Soul, and Body?
  • How is our mind preserved for the resurrection?
  • Do we go to heaven, hell, or neither at death?
  • Where did the doctrine of the immortal soul originate?
  • Where is the life of a man?
  • Was Man created differently than animals?
  • What happens at death?

There are many reasons why people believe things that are not true, the most predominant is because they don’t look deep into the scriptures to understand something that might be contrary to the plan of Elohim. It’s much easier to read two or three scriptures to develop a theology than it is to properly contextualize the word by examining what the law and prophets have to say about a particular subject.

The following scriptures are just a few that are used as evidence for these different points of view.

    He will consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both SOUL AND BODY. It will be as when a standard bearer faints. (Isaiah 10:18 RNEB)

The prophet Isaiah documented both soul and body which appears to suggest two separate entities.

    Don’t be afraid of those who KILL THE BODY, but are not able to KILL THE SOUL. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehinnom. (Matthew 10:28 RNEB)
    May the Elohim of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your WHOLE SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY be preserved blameless at the coming of our Master Yahshua the Anointed. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 RNEB)

These are three scriptures that are often used to suggest that man is not composed of a single unit, but two or three distinct units. This is one of the reasons that in different theologies they believe at death a person goes into another state or realm to live. However, does this belief truly harmonize with the scripture?

    YAH Elohim formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 RNEB)

Lets break down this verse which describes the creation of man. “YAH Elohim formed Man of the dust of the ground” This is referring to man’s physical body, flesh and bones. The word man is pronounced in Hebrew as “Adam”. This word is related to the words ground or earth pronounced in Hebrew as “adamah”. “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” this is referring to the breath of life that generates motion and vitality. In this text the word “breath” is the Hebrew word “Ruach” and can be translated as wind, breath or spirit. “and man became a living soul” notice that with the combination of a body of flesh and bone, with spirit, man became a living soul. “living soul” in the Hebrew text is “nephesh khayah”. Some newer translations render this as “living being”. Man does not merely possess a soul- but in fact, man is a soul. He has a physical body, and the breath of life to generate him. These elements together make up one “living being”.

    The Spirit of Elohim has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4 RNEB)

The Spirits of Elohim are the angels of the divine order which created man, however it was the breath of the Almighty that gave him life.

    But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding. (Job 32:8 RNEB)
    “As Elohim lives, who has taken away my right, the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter. For the length of my life is still in me, and THE SPIRIT OF ELOHIM IS IN MY NOSTRILS; (Job 27:2-3 RNEB)

We will do a detailed analysis of, “and the spirit of Elohim is in my nostrils”.First lets take a closer look at what the word soul means using historical and secular references.

Soul – The Hebrew word Nephesh and Greek word Psyche, we will put more focus on Nephesh since were dealing with the Hebrew culture and Hebrew writers. The word, as used in scripture means a person or animal, it’s important we clarify if a man has a soul or a man is a soul, because many teach animals don’t have souls, however what we learn from the creation account the only thing YAH put in Man was air, and then he became a living soul.

The original-language terms (Heb., ne´phesh ; Gr., psy·khe´) as used in the scripture show “soul” to be a person, an animal, or the life that a person or an animal enjoys.

The connotations that the English “soul” commonly carries in the minds of most people are not in agreement with the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words as used by the inspired Bible writers. This fact has steadily gained wider acknowledgment. Back in 1897, in the Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. XVI, p. 30), Professor C. A. Briggs, as a result of detailed analysis of the use of ne´phesh, observed: “Soul in English usage at the present time conveys usually a very different meaning from [ne´phesh] in Hebrew, and it is easy for the incautious reader to misinterpret.”

More recently, when The Jewish Publication Society of America issued a new translation of the Torah, or first five books of the Bible, the editor-in-chief, H. M. Orlinsky of Hebrew Union College, stated that the word “soul” had been virtually eliminated from this translation because, “the Hebrew word in question here is ‘Nefesh.’” He added: “Other translators have interpreted it to mean ‘soul,’ which is completely inaccurate. The Bible does not say we have a soul. ‘Nefesh’ is the person himself, his need for food, the very blood in his veins, his being.”— (The New York Times, October 12, 1962.)


    YAH Elohim formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 RNEB)

In the original Hebrew, the word translated soul is the Hebrew word nephesh, which we now know represents the persons entire being, so this would be better translated “and man became a living being”.

Living soul,” (Hebrew, nephesh chay) may be translated properly as “living creature” for the same phrase appears in Genesis 1:21-24 where it is applied to animals. Here the reference stands for the entire person and is not used in just the metaphysical theological sense in which we tend to use the term soul today. (Commentary from nelson Study Bible)

Nephesh evidently comes from a root meaning “breathe” and in a literal sense nephesh could be rendered as “a breather”. Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (Leiden, 1958, p. 627) defines it as: “the breathing substance, making man and animal living beings Gn 1, 20, the soul (strictly distinct from the greek notion of soul) the seat of which is the blood Gn 9, 4f Lv 17, 11 Dt 12, 23: soul = living being, individual, person.”

There are a Hebrew and Greek rendering to the word soul, sadly rather than using the ideas presented in the Hebrew, the original language of scripture, the nations have chosen a more metaphysical Greek representation in deriving there understanding causing the many erroneous views.

    “’Any man of the house of Yisra’el, or of the strangers who live as foreigners among them, who eats any kind of blood, I WILL SET MY FACE AGAINST THAT SOUL WHO EATS BLOOD, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I have said to the children of Yisra’el, “No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who lives as a foreigner among you eat blood.” “’Whatever man there is of the children of Yisra’el, or of the strangers who live as foreigners among them, who takes in hunting any animal or bird that may be eaten; he shall pour out its blood, and cover it with dust. For as to the life of all flesh, its blood is with its life: therefore I said to the children of Yisra’el, “YOU SHALL NOT EAT THE BLOOD OF ANY KIND OF FLESH; FOR THE LIFE OF ALL FLESH IS ITS BLOOD. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.” (Leviticus 17:10-14 RNEB)

We have already seen in the scholarly references that the seat of a persons “being” is in the blood, and now were looking at scripture which is saying the same thing, the life is in the blood. This is because it’s the blood that carries and infuses all the organs of the body with oxygen, the breath of life.

    Only be sure that you don’t eat the blood: for the blood is the life; and YOU SHALL NOT EAT THE LIFE WITH THE FLESH. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the earth as water. You shall not eat it; that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, when you shall do that which is right in the eyes of YAH. (Deuteronomy 12:23-25 RNEB)
    Elohim said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living CREATURES, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky.” (Genesis 1:20 RNEB)

The word creatures in this verse is nephesh, referring to a breathing creature, the same term used when referring to man, it’s also the same word translated soul in many bible translations when referring to man.

    Elohim said, “Let the earth bring forth living CREATURES after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;” and it was so. (Genesis 1:24 RNEB)

Creature is again the word nephesh, meaning breather, or breathing creature. The term is used to represent all creatures, animal and man alike.

    To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is LIFE, I have given every green herb for food;” and it was so. (Genesis 1:30 RNEB)

Life in this verse is nephesh, a breather. Many would say soul, but this is only valid if you use it as a term that represents the whole being of man and animal alike.

    Elohim said, “Let the earth bring forth living CREATURES after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;” and it was so. (Genesis 1:24 RNEB)

As we have already pointed out creatures in this verse is nephesh, however lets look at it’s biblical meaning to provide further clarity.

Strongs# 5315 – Nephesh
soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

  1. That which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man.
  2. Living being.
  3. Living being (with life in the blood).
  4. The man himself, self, person or individual.
  5. Seat of the appetites.
  6. Seat of emotions and passions.
  7. Activity of mind.

There are 753 occurrences of Nephesh throughout the bible and the words used as a translation are as follows:

  • soul 475
  • life 117
  • person 29
  • mind 15
  • heart 15
  • creature 9
  • body 8
  • himself 8
  • yourselves 6
  • dead 5
  • will 4
  • desire 4
  • man 3
  • themselves 3
  • any 3
  • appetite 2
  • miscellaneously 47 times

We find over seventeen different renderings used for the same word.

    Neither shall he go in to any dead BODY, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; (Leviticus 21:11 RNEB)

The high priest was not allowed to be defiled by a dead body, so he would have to find someone else to bury his loved ones. The term body in this verse is nephesh which refers to a living being, the entire person, a body. Man is not a body and soul, or body, soul and spirit, he is just soul, soul meaning the entire being.

    He who touches the dead BODY of any man shall be unclean seven days: (Numbers 19:11 RNEB)

The term body in this verse is again nephesh.

Nephesh is derived from the Hebrew naphash strong’s #05314, which means to take breath, refresh oneself, lets look at an example of it in scripture.

    “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the alien may be REFRESHED. (Exodus 23:12 RNEB)

The term refreshed in this verse is naphash, so this verse would be more literal if it read, “the son of your handmaid, and the alien may take a breath.”

    It is a sign between me and the children of Yisra’el forever; for in six days YAH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was REFRESHED.’” (Exodus 31:17 RNEB)

Refreshed in this verse is again naphash, so he rested and took a breath. Literally, we are breathers (Nephesh) that take a breath (Naphash).

    It may be that YAH will look on the wrong done to me, and that YAH will requite me good for [his] cursing of me this day. So David and his men went by the way; and Shim`i went along on the hillside over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. The king, and all the people who were with him, came weary; and he REFRESHED himself there. (2 Samuel 16:12-14 RNEB)

Refreshed in this verse is also naphash, which means to take a breath, to refresh oneself. This is not limited to just man, it applies to all living things that breath. The term translated soul (Hebrew: nephesh) carries many metaphysical overtones in western society, but refers to anything that breaths, the entire entity or being, man or animal.

Christian Confessions

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says Nephesh is a term of far greater extension than our soul signifying life and its various vital manifestations: breathing, blood, desire. The soul in the Old Testament means not a part of man, but the whole man — man as a living being.” Similarly, in the NT [New Testament] it signifies human life; the life of an individual, conscious subject.

The Roman Catholic translation, The New American Bible, in its “Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 2Cool, says: “In the New Testament, to ‘save one’s soul’ (Mk 8:35) does not mean to save some ‘spiritual’ part of man, as opposed to his ‘body’ (in the Platonic sense) but the whole person with emphasis on the fact that the person is living, desiring, loving and willing, etc., in addition to being concrete and physical.”— (Edition published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1970.)

This doctrine is obviously to be looked for in all Catholic theology. The origin of man by creation (as opposed to emanative and evolutionistic Pantheism) is asserted in the Church’s dogmas and definitions. In the earliest symbols (see the Alexandrian: di ou ta panta egeneto, ta en ouranois kai epi ges, horata te kai aorata, and the Nicene), in the councils (see especially IV Lateran, 1215; “Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporeal, who by this omnipotent power brought forth out of nothing the spiritual and corporeal creation, that, is the angelic world and the universe, and AFTERWORDS MAN, FORMING AS IT WERE ONE COMPOSITE OUT OF SPIRIT AND BODY”), in the writings of the Fathers and theologians the same account is given. The early controversies and apologetics of St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen defend the theory of creation against Stoics and neo- Platonists. St. Augustine strenuously combats the pagan schools on this point as on that of the nature and immortality of man’s soul. A masterly synthetic exposition of the theological and philosophical doctrine as to man is given in the “Summa Theologica” of St. Thomas Aquinas. So again the “Contra Gentiles”, II (on creatures), especially from xlvi onwards, deals with the subject from a philosophical standpoint — the distinction between the theological and the philosophical treatment having been carefully drawn in chapter iv.

What’s brought back at the resurrection?

    YAH Elohim formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 RNEB)
    To Adam [man] he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ’You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, FOR OUT OF IT YOU WERE TAKEN. FOR YOU ARE DUST, AND TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN.” (Genesis 3:17-19 RNEB)

Elohim said from dust you are and to dust you shall return, at the judgment we will be recreated from the same dust of the ground that man was created from in the beginning.

    “’Your hands have framed me and fashioned me altogether, yet you destroy me. Remember, I beg you, that you have fashioned me as clay. WILL YOU BRING ME INTO DUST AGAIN? (Job 10:8-9 RNEB)
    so man lies down and doesn’t rise. Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be roused out of their sleep. “Oh that you would hide me in grave, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath is past, THAT YOU WOULD APPOINT ME A SET TIME, AND REMEMBER ME! (Job 14:12-13 RNEB)

We shouldn’t be concerned if there is a body for us to come back to at the resurrection, but whether YAH has remembered us for the purpose of recreating our bodies. We need to stop looking for something tangible because it is actually an intangible in the mind of the Father, YAH.

    “Oh that you would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare would I wait, until my release should come. (Job 14:13-14 RNEB)

Job is saying kill me now, put me in the ground and let me sleep until you resurrect me to that incorruptible body. The substance that will be there at his resurrection is the very same thing that was there at creation, dirt. However, it’s the memory YAH has of us that all the prophets talked about, YAH remembering to raise us from the dead and recreating us.

    But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth. After my skin is destroyed, then in my flesh shall I see Elohim, (Job 19:25-26 RNEB)

Job said his flesh would be destroyed, but he would still see Elohim being composed of flesh. We know from Job 14 that he knew of the resurrection, and that he would wait for his appointed time.

    Whom I, even I, shall see on my side. My eyes shall see, and not as a stranger. “My heart is consumed within me. If you say, ’How we will persecute him!’ because the root of the matter is found in me, be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishments of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:27-29 RNEB)
    All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can’t keep his soul alive. (Psalms 22:29 RNEB)

The soul can’t live forever, if it does why did the prophet say none can keep it alive?

    You hide your face: they are troubled; you take away their breath: they die, and return to the dust. You send forth your Spirit: they are created. You renew the face of the ground. (Psalms 104:29-30 RNEB)

This is the process of death and resurrection clearly explained, first they die, return to the dust, then Elohim sends forth his spirit, and they are recreated.

    But flesh with the life of it, the blood of it, you shall not eat. I will surely require your blood of your lives. At the hand of every animal I will require it. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, I will require the life of man. (Genesis 9:4-5 RNEB)

In other words, Elohim is saying for us to live with a sinful nature, a creature of iniquity which comes with a penalty of death. He needed to provide something that would cover our iniquity. This is where we find the stated ordinance for sacrifice, right in the beginning.

    It happened, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Benoni, but his father named him Binyamin. (Genesis 35:18 RNEB)

This should be understood as her breath was departing, not some type of metaphysical spirit. The term soul here is nephesh, meaning breather. If our breath leaves, were dead.

    The uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17:14 RNEB)

Cut off is a term used for death, the soul shall be killed is actually what’s being said, which means the person or breather will be killed. The term soul is just referring to the person as a whole, the breather.

    Now these are the names of the sons of Yisra’el, who came into Egypt (every man and his household came with Jacob): Re’uven, Simon, Levi, and Judah, Yissakhar, Zevulun, and Binyamin, Dan and Naftali, Gad and Asher. ALL THE SOULS WHO CAME OUT OF JACOB’S BODY WERE SEVENTY SOULS, AND YOSEF WAS IN EGYPT ALREADY. (Exodus 1:1-5 RNEB)

A soul is anyone who breaths, the breath is the key. We are all breathers.

    “When you take a census of the children of Yisra’el, according to those who are numbered among them, then each man shall give A RANSOM FOR HIS SOUL to YAH, when you number them; that there be no plague among them when you number them. (Exodus 30:12 RNEB)

Soul here is nephesh and would be more accurately translated life.

Remember the meaning of Nephesh: Soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion.

    Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: THE SOUL WHO SINS, HE SHALL DIE. But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right, and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra’el, neither has defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity, and has not wronged any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; he who has not given forth on interest, neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from lawlessness, has executed true justice between man and man, has walked in my statutes, and has kept my ordinances, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says YAH Elohim. If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things, and who does not any of those [duties], but even has eaten on the mountains, and defiled his neighbor’s wife, has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge, and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination, has given forth on interest, and has taken increase; shall he then live? he shall not live: he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be on him. Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father’s sins, which he has done, and fears, and does not such like; who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra’el, has not defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; who has withdrawn his hand from the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has executed my ordinances, has walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the lawlessness of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die in his lawlessness. Yet say you, Why does not the son bear the lawlessness of the father? when the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live. THE SOUL WHO SINS, HE SHALL DIE: the son shall not bear the lawlessness of the father, neither shall the father bear the lawlessness of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. (Ezekiel 18:4-20 RNEB)
    Yahoshua took Makkedah on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and the king of it: he utterly destroyed them and all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining; and he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Yericho. Yahoshua passed from Makkedah, and all Yisra’el with him, to Livna, and fought against Livna: and YAH delivered it also, and the king of it, into the hand of Yisra’el; and he struck it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining in it; and he did to the king of it as he had done to the king of Yericho. Yahoshua passed from Livna, and all Yisra’el with him, to Lakhish, and encamped against it, and fought against it: and YAH delivered Lakhish into the hand of Yisra’el; and he took it on the second day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls who were therein, according to all that he had done to Livna. Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lakhish; and Yahoshua struck him and his people, until he had left him none remaining. Yahoshua passed from Lakhish, and all Yisra’el with him, to `Eglon; and they encamped against it, and fought against it; and they took it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword; and all the souls who were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lakhish. Yahoshua went up from `Eglon, and all Yisra’el with him, to Chevron; and they fought against it: and they took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and the king of it, and all the cities of it, and all the souls who were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to `Eglon; but he utterly destroyed it, and all the souls who were therein. Yahoshua returned, and all Yisra’el with him, to Devir, and fought against it: and he took it, and the king of it, and all the cities of it; and they struck them with the edge of the sword, AND UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THE SOULS who were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Chevron, so he did to Devir, and to the king of it; as he had done also to Livna, and to the king of it. (Joshua 10:28-39 RNEB)
    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he POURED OUT HIS SOUL TO DEATH, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12 RNEB)
    Yes surely, Elohim will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert justice. Who gave him a charge over the earth? or who has appointed him over the whole world? If he set his heart on himself, IF HE GATHERED TO HIMSELF HIS SPIRIT AND HIS BREATH, ALL FLESH WOULD PERISH TOGETHER, AND MAN WOULD TURN AGAIN TO DUST. (Job 34:12-15 RNEB)
    You hide your face: they are troubled; YOU TAKE AWAY THEIR BREATH: THEY DIE, and return to the dust. You send forth your Spirit: they are created. You renew the face of the ground. (Psalms 104:29-30 RNEB)
    The flood was forty days on the earth. The waters increased, and lifted up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth. The waters prevailed, and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the surface of the waters. The waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. All flesh died that moved on the earth, including birds, livestock, animals, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. ALL IN WHOSE NOSTRILS WAS THE BREATH OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE, of all that was on the dry land, died. Every living thing was destroyed that was on the surface of the ground, including man, livestock, creeping things, and birds of the sky. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:17-23 RNEB)

Historical References

As for the Greek word psy·khe´, Greek-English lexicons give such definitions as “life,” and “the conscious self or personality as centre of emotions, desires, and affections,” “a living being,” and they show that even in non-Biblical Greek works the term was used “of animals.” Of course, such sources, treating as they do primarily of classical Greek writings, include all the meanings that the pagan Greek philosophers gave to the word, including that of “departed spirit,” “the immaterial and immortal soul,” “the spirit of the universe,” and “the immaterial principle of movement and life.” Evidently because some of the pagan philosophers taught that the soul emerged from the body at death, the term psy·khe´ was also applied to the “butterfly or moth,” which creatures go through a metamorphosis, changing from caterpillar to winged creature.— (Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, revised by H. Jones, 1968, pp. 2026, 2027; Donnegan’s New Greek and English Lexicon, 1836, p. 1404.)

The early Hebrews apparently had a concept of the soul but did not separate it from the body, although later Jewish writers developed the idea of the soul further. Old Testament references to the soul are related to the concept of breath and establish no distinction between the ethereal soul and the corporeal body. Christian concepts of a body-soul dichotomy originated with the ancient Greeks and were introduced into Christian theology at an early date by St. Gregory of Nyssa and by St. Augustine.

Ancient Greek concepts of the soul varied considerably according to the particular era and philosophical school. The Epicureans considered the soul to be made up of atoms like the rest of the body. For the Platonists, the soul was an immaterial and incorporeal substance, akin to the gods yet part of the world of change and becoming. Aristotle’s conception of the soul was obscure, though he did state that it was a form inseparable from the body.

In Christian theology, St. Augustine spoke of the soul as a “rider” on the body, making clear the split between the material and the immaterial, with the soul representing the “true” person. However, although body and soul were separate, it was not possible to conceive of a soul without its body. In the European Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas returned to the Greek philosophers’ concept of the soul as a motivating principle of the body, independent but requiring the substance of the body to make an individual.

From the Middle Ages onward, the existence and nature of the soul and its relationship to the body continued to be disputed in Western philosophy. To Rene Descartes, man was a union of the body and the soul, each a distinct substance acting on the other; the soul was equivalent to the mind. To Benedict de Spinoza, body and soul formed two aspects of a single reality. Immanuel Kant concluded that the soul was not demonstrable through reason, although the mind inevitably must reach the conclusion that the soul exists because such a conclusion was necessary for the development of ethics and religion. To William James at the beginning of the 20th century, the soul as such did not exist at all but was merely a collection of psychic phenomena.

Just as there have been different concepts of the relation of the soul to the body, there have been numerous ideas about when the soul comes into existence and when and if it dies. Ancient Greek beliefs were varied and evolved over time. Pythagoras held that the soul was of divine origin and existed before and after death. Plato and Socrates also accepted the immortality of the soul, while Aristotle considered only part of the soul, the nous, or intellect, to have that quality. Epicurus believed that both body and soul ended at death. The early Christian philosophers adopted the Greek concept of the soul’s immortality and thought of the soul as being created by God and infused into the body at conception. (Encyclopedia Brittanica 2006)

Since many of today’s theology is centered on some of the teachings of St Gregory, lets further review his beliefs and teachings:

St Gregory

Gregory born c. 335, , Caesarea, in Cappadocia, Asia Minor [now Kayseri, Turkey] died c. 394, ; feast day March 9

Latin Gregorius Nyssenus philosophical theologian and mystic, leader of the orthodox party in the 4th- century Christian controversies over the doctrine of the Trinity. Primarily a scholar, he wrote many theological, mystical, and monastic works in which he balanced Platonic and Christian traditions.

Gregory was primarily a scholar, whose chief contribution lay in his writings. Besides controversial replies to heretics, particularly the Arians—in which he formulated the doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that emerged as a clear and cogent answer to Arian questioning—he completed Basil’s Hexaemeron (“Six Days”), sermons on the days of the Creation, with The Creation of Man, and he produced a classic outline of orthodox theology in his Great Catechesis (or Address on Religious Instruction). The latter work is especially notable for developing systematically the place of the sacraments in the Christian view of restoration of the image of God in human nature—lost through sin in the fall of Adam. His brief treatise On Not Three Gods relates the Cappadocian Fathers’ theology of three Persons in the Godhead (i.e., the Trinity) to Plato’s teachings of the One and the Many. As a Christian Platonist, Gregory followed the great Alexandrian theologian Origen, though not slavishly; most notably, he shared Origen’s conviction that man’s material nature is a result of the fall and also Origen’s hope for ultimate universal salvation. In imitation of Plato’s Phaedo, Gregory presented his teaching on resurrection in the form of a deathbed conversation with his sister, the abbess Macrina.

Platonic and Christian inspiration combine in Gregory’s ascetic and mystical writings, which have been influential in the devotional traditions of the Eastern Orthodox church and (indirectly) of the Western church. His Life of Macrina blends biography with instruction in the monastic life. On Virginity and other treatises on the ascetic life are crowned by the mystical Life of Moses, which treats the 13th- century-BC journey of the Hebrews from Egypt to Mount Sinai as a pattern of the progress of the soul through the temptations of the world to a vision of God. A notable emphasis of Gregory’s teaching is the principle that the spiritual life is not one of static perfection but of constant progress. His greatest achievement is his remarkably balanced synthesis of Hellenic (Greek) and Christian traditions, in an age when both were represented by vigorous and acute minds. (Encyclopedia Brittanica 2006)

In this summary of some of Gregories beliefs and dissertations we find he was clearly mixing The Greek philosophy with biblical doctrine, he was also one of the key people responsible for the erroneous doctrine of the trinity that’s held as a basic tenant of faith in Christendom. We see the historical origin of many Christian beliefs are not rooted in the Anointed or the Apostles, but were incorporated a few hundred years after their death.

    Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. I said in my heart, “Elohim will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” I said in my heart, “As for the sons of men, Elohim tests them, SO THAT THEY MAY SEE THAT THEY THEMSELVES ARE LIKE ANIMALS. For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. AS THE ONE DIES, SO THE OTHER DIES. YES, THEY HAVE ALL ONE BREATH; AND MAN HAS NO ADVANTAGE OVER THE ANIMALS: for all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 3:16-19 RNEB)

Both man and animal have the same spirit, the same breath.

    All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Ecclesiastes 3:20 RNEB)

Both man and animal go to the same place, the only ones that believe in an eternal living soul apart from the body are the pagans, and it’s one of the central teachings accepted in Catholicism and most of its children the protestant churches.

    The hand of YAH was on me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of YAH, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass by them round about: and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and behold, they were very dry. He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? I answered, Master YAH, you know. Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, you dry bones, hear the word of YAH. Thus says YAH Elohim to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am YAH. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. (Ezekiel 37:1-7 RNEB)

This is describing the process of resurrection, which is starting with bones, if there were no bones then Elohim would have to make the bones. Nevertheless, we see the sinews, muscles, and skin being all brought together to recreate the body.

    I saw, and, behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. Then said he to me, PROPHESY TO THE WIND, PROPHESY, SON OF MAN, AND TELL THE WIND, Thus says YAH Elohim: Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. (Ezekiel 37:8-9 RNEB)

He’s prophesying to the wind, the Ruach, the breath that will come back into the body. Remember what Job said, he gathers the spirit and his breath, the two are synonymous, we can’t separate them.

    So I prophesied as he commanded me, AND THE BREATH [RUACH] CAME INTO THEM, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:10 RNEB)
    Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Yisra’el: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says Master YAH: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into Eretz-Yisra’el. You shall know that I am YAH, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT IN YOU, AND YOU SHALL LIVE, and I will place you in your own land: and you shall know that I, YAH, have spoken it and performed it, says YAH. (Ezekiel 37:11-14 RNEB)

YAH will open the graves and put his breath in him, and he shall live.

More Christian Confessions

The ancient Greek writers applied psy·khe´ in various ways and were not consistent, their personal and religious philosophies influencing their use of the term. Of Plato, to whose philosophy the common ideas about the English “soul” may be attributed (as is generally acknowledged), it is stated: “While he sometimes speaks of one of [the alleged] three parts of the soul, the ‘intelligible,’ as necessarily immortal, while the other two parts are mortal, he also speaks as if there were two souls in one body, one immortal and divine, the other mortal.”— (The Evangelical Quarterly, London, 1931, Vol. III, p. 121, “Thoughts on the Tripartite Theory of Human Nature,” by A. McCaig.)

The difficulty lies in the fact that the meanings popularly attached to the English word “soul” stem primarily, not from the Hebrew or Christian Greek Scriptures, but from ancient Greek philosophy, actually pagan religious thought. Greek philosopher Plato, for example, quotes Socrates as saying: “The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.”— (Phaedo, 80, D, E; 81, A.)

In 432 St Patrick bishop of Ireland was able to convert the Celtic druids by teaching that Christianity offered an identical theology to that of the native pagans. Patrick stated that god was actually three persons in one just as man is three persons in one, body, soul, and spirit, the soul continued to live after death.

    “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that Elohim had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Anointed to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Anointed, that neither was his soul left in grave, nor did his flesh see decay. (Acts 2:29-31 RNEB)

David is dead and buried and still in the tomb, his soul is not wondering around in heaven, and he was a righteous man before Elohim. Soul again is nephesh and simply means breather, referring to the entire being which cannot be separated.

    The dead don’t praise YAH, neither any who go down into silence; (Psalms 115:17 RNEB)

All Souls Day

in the Roman Catholic church, a day for commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory because they have died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls. It is celebrated on November 2. Roman Catholic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faithful on earth will help cleanse these souls in order to fit them for the vision of God in heaven.

From antiquity certain days were devoted to intercession for particular groups of the dead. The institution of a day for a general intercession on November 2 is due to Odilo, abbot of Cluny (d. 1048). The date, which became practically universal before the end of the 13th century, was chosen to follow All Saints’ Day. Having celebrated the feast of all the members of the church who are believed to be in heaven, the church on earth turns, on the next day, to commemorate those souls believed to be suffering in purgatory.

Priests celebrate mass wearing vestments of varying colour—black (for mourning), violet (symbolizing penance), or white (symbolizing the hope of resurrection). — (Encyclopedia Brittanica 2007)


Scripture completely disagrees with the pagan points of view.

    For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything, neither do they have any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy has perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun. Go your way–eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for Elohim has already accepted your works. Let your garments be always white, and don’t let your head lack oil. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your life of vanity, which he has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity: for that is your portion in life, and in your labor in which you labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 RNEB)

This is talking about the second resurrection and the final second death after the judgment of the wicked. There will be no need for Elohim to remember them anymore because they have been judged unworthy and thrown into the eternal fire, where they are burned up and destroyed once and for all.

Summing Up

We have learned that scripture teaches:

  1. The soul and person are one and the same.
  2. The life of the soul is the blood.
  3. When the blood is poured out, the result is death to the soul.
  4. A living being is a living soul; a dead person is a dead soul.
  5. When a person dies, the soul does not go to heaven.
  6. A person (a human being) IS a soul.
  7. A soul can die, give up life, cease to exist.

Death is not life, it is the opposite of life. In a moment of time, a vital, living, intelligent being can be changed to a lifeless dead body, which knows nothing at all. It’s the same for humans and animals. All die and go to the same place – we return to dust, as scripture shows.

Finally, we need to point out that Yahshua was offered as a ransom for us because we DO NOT have immortality (Ezekiel. 18:4, 20). Immortality (everlasting life) is a gift of YAH (Rom. 6:23); a reward promised to the faithful (Rev. 2:7, 11). We are to “seek for glory, honor, and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:7). We do not have immortality yet, but Yahshua has brought it to light; has made it known; has revealed it to us (2 Tim. 1:10). Therefore, we now see how to achieve eternal life.

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