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                           "LIFE AFTER DEATH"

                        What Is The Nature of Man?


1. Our previous lessons have simply served as an introduction to our
   a. We have seen that such a study can be of value
   b. We have also seen that death for the righteous is spoken of as a
      blessed thing in the sight of God, and something even desired, not
      feared, by some early Christians
   -- Hopefully, this will have peaked our interest in what the Bible 
      actually teaches concerning "Life After Death"

2. A study like this must necessarily include a discussion of the 
   "nature" of man...
   a. For our view of man's "nature" will have a bearing upon our views 
      concerning what happens when man dies
   b. I.e., those who believe that man's nature is wholly MATERIAL (like
      those who call themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses") have completely 
      different views than those who hold that man possesses a soul or 
      spirit which survives death

3. This is a difficult subject, and in this lesson I hope to...
   a. Illustrate the difficulty, so that we may ever be cautious and 
      humble in dealing with the subject
   b. Look at those passages which I believe clearly teach that man 
      possesses a "soul" (or "spirit") which continues to exist after 

[With these goals in mind, consider first, then...]


      1. Many try to make it sound simpler that it is
         a. By suggesting there is one definition for each word which 
            applies every time that word is found
         b. "JW's" are notorious for doing this, but it is a mistake we 
            all make at times
      2. We might wish it was that simple, but we must bear in mind that
         one word often has many different meanings
         a. E.g., consider the word "RUN"
            1) As an intransitive verb, it has at least FIFTEEN (15) 
               different meanings!
            2) As a transitive verb, FIFTEEN (15) more!
            3) As a noun, ELEVEN (11) more
            4) As an adjective, THREE (3) more
            5) In all, "RUN" can have at least FORTY-FOUR (44) different
         b. Such varied use of a single word is quite common in all 
            languages, including Hebrew and Greek
      3. The words translated "soul" and "spirit" likewise have many 
         different meanings

      1. The HEBREW word is "nephesh", and at times it may refer to:
         a. Animal life - Gen 1:20-21 ("living")
         b. The person - Num 31:19 ("killed any person")
         c. The body - Num 6:6 ("a dead body")
         d. Something distinguished from the body - Is 10:18 ("soul and
         e. Breath - Job 41:21 (referring to Leviathan)
      2. The GREEK word is "psuche", and at times it may refer to:
         a. The person - 1 Pe 3:20 ("eight souls saved by water")
         b. Life itself - Jn 13:38 ("lay down your life")
         c. Something distinguished from the spirit - He 4:12 ("soul 
            and spirit")
         d. Something distinguished from the body - 1 Th 5:23 ("spirit
            and soul and body")
         e. That which exists after the body is dissolved - Mt 10:28
            ("kill the body but not the soul")

      1. The HEBREW word is "ruach", and at times it may refer to:
         a. Storms and wind - Gen 8:1 ("wind")
         b. The life principle - Gen 6:17 ("breath of life")
         c. Breath itself - Job 9:18 ("catch my breath")
         d. Something distinct from breath - Job 34:15 ("spirit and
         e. A disposition or attitude - Ecc 7:8-9 ("patient in spirit 
            better than proud in spirit")
         f. Non-fleshly beings with intelligence - 1 Kin 22:21-22 ("a 
            spirit came forward...")
         g. That which is interchangeable with "nephesh" - Isa 26:9
         h. That which is distinct from the flesh
            1) Num 16:22 ("spirits of all flesh")
            2) Isa 31:3 ("are flesh, and not spirit")
         i. The inner man
            1) Isa 26:9 ("by my spirit within me I will seek You")
            2) Zech 12:1 ("forms the spirit of man within him")
      2. The GREEK word is "pneuma", and at times it may refer to:
         a. The wind - Jn 3:8 ("the wind blows...")
         b. Breath - 2 Th 2:8 ("will consume with the breath of His 
         c. The Holy Spirit - Jn 1:32 ("I saw the Spirit descending 
            from heaven like a dove")
         d. Unclean spirits or demons
            1) Mt 8:16 ("He cast out the spirits with a word")
            2) Lk 4:33 ("a spirit of an unclean demon")
         e. Angels - He 1:13-14 ("ministering spirits sent forth")
         f. Character and moral qualities - 1 Pe 3:4 ("a gentle and 
            quiet spirit")
         g. Purpose, or aim
            1) 2 Co 12:18 ("Did we not walk in the same spirit?")
            2) Ph 1:27 ("stand fast in one spirit")
         h. Perception, desires, feelings, etc. - 1 Co 5:3 ("absent in
            body but present in spirit")
         i. Part of man distinct from the flesh
            1) 1 Co 5:5 ("for the destruction of his flesh, that his 
               spirit may be saved")
            2) He 12:23 ("to the spirits of just men made perfect")

      1. Simply that "soul" and "spirit" have many different meanings and
         a. Therefore we cannot just take one definition which may be 
            true in one context and apply it to all others!
         b. Yet many do this very thing
      2. We must be cautious, and humbly consider the CONTEXT of each 
         passage to determine HOW the words are being used

[With that thought in mind, we are ready to consider the "nature" of 
man:  Does man possess a spirit or soul that continues to exist after 

Consider those...]


      1. An interesting phrase is "gathered to thy people", implying 
         existence after death, and is made in regards to the death of...
         a. Abraham - Gen 25:8
         b. Isaac - Gen 35:29
         c. Jacob - Gen 49:29,33
         d. Aaron - Num 20:24
         e. Moses - Num 27:13; Deu 32:50
         f. Josiah - 2 Kin 22:20; 2 Chr 34:28
      2. There is the case of Samuel, who was brought back after his 
         death - 1 Sam 28:7-19
      3. David could look forward to one day joining his infant son - 
         2 Sam 12:22-23
      4. The spirit will return to God at death - Ecc 12:6-7
      5. The lament against the king of Babylon speaks of life after 
         death - Isa 14:9-11
      6. Likewise the lament against Egypt, Assyria, Elam, etc., who are
         all consigned to the "Pit" - Ezek 32:17-32

      1. In the teaching of Jesus
         a. Man is both body and soul, and the soul can survive murder 
            by a fellow man - cf. Mt 10:28
         b. The story of Lazarus and the rich man - cf. Lk 16:22-23
            1) Some say this is only a parable
            2) Even if it was (which is highly unlikely), parables were 
               "true to life" stories, not fantasy!
         c. His promise to the thief on the cross - Lk 23:42-43
      2. In the teaching of Paul
         a. There is "the inner man" that can be ever renewed, even while
            "the outer man" decays - 2 Co 4:16-18
         b. One can be with the Lord, while absent from the body - 2 Co
         c. There is a part of man that can be "out of the body" - 2 Co
         d. One can be dead, yet still be with Christ - Ph 1:23
         e. Reference is made to the "spirits of just men" - He 12:22-23
      3. The teaching of Peter
         a. He spoke of the "spirits in prison" - 1 Pe 3:18-20
         b. He wrote of those  who are "dead, but live in the spirit" - 
            1 Pe 4:6
         c. He described the body as a tabernacle to be put off...if the
            body is a tabernacle (dwelling place), what dwells in it? 
            - 2 Pe 1:13-14
         d. The unjust are under punishment, just like some angels - 
            2 Pe 2:4,9-10
      4. John, in the Revelation given to him, saw "souls of those 
         slain", and they were capable of crying out with loud voices, 
         and being comforted - Re 6:9-11

1. Passages such these certainly lead me to believe that man is of a 
   "two-fold" nature...
   a. There is the OUTWARD man; the body of flesh which grows old and 
      eventually dies
   b. There is the INWARD man; called at times the "soul" or "spirit", 
      which can be renewed daily and continues to exist past death

2. Bearing in mind that "soul" and "spirit" can have many different 
   a. I suggest that in passages like 1 Th 5:23 and He 4:12...
      1) Either "soul" or "spirit" is being used in one of the many 
         senses other than what we commonly think of it
      2) I.e., man is still basically "two-fold" and not "three-fold" in
         nature (as these two passages seem to imply)
   b. Whenever MATERIALISTS use passages which might indicate that man's
      "soul" or "spirit" does not continue after death...
      1) They are using a passage which utilizes one of the many
         different meanings of the words
      2) And these passages should not cause us to completely throw out 
         other passages which clearly teach there is something to man 
         that does continue on after death!

In our next study, we will consider more closely where the spirits of 
believers go at death...
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