What Happens to You When You Die?

Restoration of Truth Series: The State of the Dead

by Nathan Lawrence
Hoshana Rabbah Biblical Resources at www.HoshanaRabbah.org

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19–21, emphasis added)

It has been the common belief among nearly all Christians universally for nineteen hundred years that upon physical death a person’s soul immediately separates from their body and lives immortally either in heaven or in hellfire. In this brief study we will show incontrovertible proof that this cornerstone of Christian orthodoxy needs to be reexamined, and that the idea of the soul being immortal is of non-biblical (even Satanic) origination. Admittedly, this is not a salvational issue, but this belief is detrimental to one’s biblical understanding, since it leads to a skewed view of several other key biblical truths. This belief also hinders the advancement of YHVH’s kingdom as we will also demonstrate below. If you are a bold truth seeker, and not timid about questioning sacred cow beliefs then read on.

Does Man Possess an Immortal Soul?

This question of the immortality of the human soul should not be passed over quickly. Why? Because nearly all of the world’s false, non-biblical religions believe that each person possesses an immortal soul that lives on after death. To the questioning mind, shouldn’t the universality of this idea be suspect? Therefore, shouldn’t it behoove the assiduous truth-seeker to know the origination of this belief? Is it biblical or from some other source? These are excellent questions that we will answer below. The answers affects everyone! 

The Source Is Not Elohim!

The first place in the Bible that the immortality of the soul concept is mentioned is in Genesis chapter three—literally at the beginning of man’s existence on earth, and the source of this idea was not YHVH Elohim, the Creator of man. Rather it was from the spiritual entity Yeshua the Messiah labeled as “the father of all lies” (John 8:44), Satan the devil, the serpent (Rev 12:9). 

We pick up the story of how the immortal soul idea come into man’s initial awareness way back in the Garden of Eden at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, where the serpent (i.e., Satan the devil; Rev 12:9), in enticing the woman to eat from the forbidden tree, told her that “you shall not surely die” even though YHVH had told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of it (Gen 2:8–9; 3:1–6). Was the serpent the originator of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, According to the Bible, the answer is yes! As we shall now discover, this concept was not even an aspect of Old Testament theology.

An Analysis of the Hebrew Word Nephesh

Upon a careful analysis of all the Bible scriptures on this subject from both the Tanakh (i.e., Old Testament or OT) and Testimony of Yeshua (i.e., New Testament or NT), a truth becomes clear. Man possesses a soul, but nowhere does Scripture state that his soul is immortal. An understanding of how Scripture uses the Hebrew word nephesh (in the OT) and the Greek word psuche (in the nT)—both translated as “soul” in our Bibles—reveals that notion that the soul of man is immortal is to overlay the Word of Elohim with a concept that is foreign to biblical truth. This is because neither the OT nor the NT indicate that the soul is immortal, but rather that it is simply that part of a human that defines who one is. That is, it is merely one’s personality, character, emotional make-up, mental capabilities and the volitional or will part of a person.

Let’s now examine the actual meanings of the words nephesh and psuche. According to The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (volume 9, p. 617ff), Scripture equated nephesh with the breath of man, the blood of man and the person of man. In the latter, it is used as a term for the total nature of man, for what he is, not just what he has. The same cannot be said of the spirit, heart or flesh part of man. The classical text in Genesis 2:7 clearly expresses this truth when it calls man in his totality a nephesh hai-yah or “a living being” (NKJV) or “a living soul” (KJV). The nephesh has no existence apart from the body. Hence the best translation in many instances is “person”comprised in corporeal (relating to the physical body, as opposed to one’s spirit) reality. Nephsesh can denote what is most individual in human nature, namely, the ego (ibid. p. 620).

Nephesh as used in the OT can also be an expression of the will. The nepheshis manifest in orientation to an object, whether this be the elemental realities of hunger and thirst on the one side (Deut 12:15,20; 1 Sam 2:16, etc.) or the lofty aspiration of yearning for Elohim on the other (Ps 103:1). Nephesh can refer to the sex drive (Gen 34:3; Jer 2:24), to hatred (Ps 27:12), to pain and sorrow (1 Sam 1:10; 30:6), to the will (Gen 23:8), and the supreme striving of man for Elohim (Isa 26:9; Ps 63:1; 84:2, etc.) (ibid., pp. 621–622).

Based on these definitions of the word nephesh as used in the OT, we see that the Bible refers to the soul of man as the mind, the will and emotions. It refers to who one is as a person or one’s personality. It is in this Hebraic sense that the writers of the NT would be using the term soul (e.g., 1 Thess 5:23). There is no reason to assume that the apostolic writers referred to man’s soul in anything other than Hebraic terms to the exclusion of any Hellenistic (pagan Greek) concepts of the immortal soul.

Further Study of the Hebrew word Nephesh/Soul from Various Lexicons

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is not the only expert lexical source that reveals the meaning of the word soul as used in the Scriptures and debunks the notion that it is immortal. The following is a list of several other notable lexicons that contain similar information.

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Listen to your fathers, so your ashes won’t be trampled on!

Genesis 50:11, Beyond the Jordan. Beyond is the Hebrew word eber meaning “across.” This was the roundabout way of reaching Machpelah. The Jewish and Christian commentaries I have studied don’t give a good reason for Jacob’s burial entourage taking this most indirect route to the burial cave of the patriarchs. It’s possible that Jacob was, out of faith in the promises of Elohim, prophetically tracing the steps that his descendants would take several generations later in entering the Promised Land. It’s almost as if Jacob was showing the future generations of Israelites the route he wanted them to take from Egypt to the Promised Land to fulfill biblical types and shadows.

If Jacob’s intent was to show future generations of his descendants the route to enter the Promised Land, this begs a question for us. Do you have righteous parents? How about righteous spiritual fathers—the fathers of our faith such as the biblical apostles and prophets, Yeshua himself, and, of course Moses and the patriarchs? They have laid out the route for us to take to reach the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance—the kingdom of Elohim or heaven. Are we following this path, or have we chosen another path? 

Malachi was the final prophet to close out the Old Testament or Tanakh before the coming of the promised Messiah. He uttered a strong warning to all who have ears hear and a heart to understand lest the fiery judgments of YHVH Elohim come upon you and your ashes be trampled under the feet of the righteous.

Remember the Torah-law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Mal 4:4–6)

These are the final warning words and wise admonitions that close out the Tanakh. Let’s heed these wise words and turn our hearts back to the righteous fathers of our faith. Maybe they knew something that we don’t—the way to Elohim!


What happens to you when you die?

Mark 12:27, The Elohim of the living. Some people have used this passage in an attempt to prove the immortality of the soul—that when a person dies, their soul immediately leaves their body and goes to heaven. After all, if Elohim is the God of the living, not of the dead then this must mean that the patriarchs are still be alive—in heaven. What is the real truth behind this verse from a whole Bible perspective?

This verse can actually be explained in several ways without subscribing to the non-biblical, non-Hebraic, pagan concept of the immortality of the soul. 

In truth, the Bible clearly teaches that the soul that sins dies (Ezek 18:4); it doesn’t go to heaven. When we understand what the soul really is from a biblical perspective, we will see that it is a man’s soul (his mind, will and emotions) that sins, for out of the heart proceeds all sorts of evil things (Matt 15:19), and the heart of man is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). Because a man sins through his soul, this is why Yeshua’s sinless soul had to become an offering for man’s sin (Isa 53:10). 

Moreover, when Yeshua died, his body and soul went into the grave, and his spirit went to heaven (Luke 23:46). The same thing happens to a man when he dies, except that those who have died in Messiah are awaiting the resurrection of their bodies at the second coming of Yeshua (1 Thess 4:16) where their spirits will be rejoined with their resurrected souls and bodies. Therefore, when Yeshua states that YHVH isn’t the Elohim of the dead, but the living, he could have meant that in the mind of Elohim, a righteous person isn’t technically dead, since his name is written in the Book of Life and legally he has inherited eternal life, and the body and soul are merely sleeping in the grave awaiting the resurrection. 

What happens to our spirit when we die? After all, the Bible teaches that human’s are composed of spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23)?

When a person dies, their spirit goes to heaven, even as Yeshua’s spirit did (Eccl 12:7; Acts 7:59; Luke 23:46). Now whether or not one’s spirit is conscious when it is in heaven, the Scriptures don’t say. So we won’s speculate about this.

So what is Elohim’s perspective on the death of a saint? Simply this. Even though a person may be physically dead or “sleeping” in the grave (in numerous places, the Scriptures call death “sleep”) for years, in the mind of Elohim, which isn’t bound by the limitations of time, and where a thousands years is like a day and vice versa, when a righteous person dies, to Elohim that person is still alive, for his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and he will be resurrected the next day, so to speak. Moreover, a person’s spirit waits in heaven to be reunited with their physical body at the resurrection of the saints at Yeshua’s second coming.

By viewing Yeshua’s statement in Mark 12:27 from this more expanded, whole Bible, Hebraic perspective, we are able to reconcile the Bible’s various statements about what happens to a person after they die without having to interject into Scripture the unbiblical and pagan concept of the immortality of the soul. 


Down to Egypt (Hell) or Up to the Promised Land (Heaven)?

Genesis 39:1, Down to Egypt…down there. There are more than twenty references in the Bible to “going down to Egypt,” coming “up from Egypt” or words to this gist. Egypt can be taken as a biblical metaphor for the secular world and all that is in it that is in opposition to YHVH’s paths of righteousness. Egypt represents the low spiritual way of following the world, flesh and the devil that is evil that leads to death and separation from Elohim, while the Promised land, and specifically Jerusalem, is a metaphor for the spiritual high place of truth, righteousness and godliness that leads to eternal life. This is why the Bible speaks of “going down to Egypt” and “going up to Jerusalem.”

Each person has only two choices in life on how they will conduct their lives. They must make a choice—they will make a choice purposely or inadvertently. They can choose the proverbial downward path or the highway to hell or the upward path or the highway to heaven. Everyone chooses one path or another, even if they are not aware of the conscious decision to do so. To not make a choice is, by default, to choose the downward path.

Most people are somewhere in the middle, which is a vast grey area. They neither choose one path or the other. They choose just enough of the upward path to alleviate their guilt, but not enough of it to radically change their lifestyles. They still want enough of the downward path to satiate the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life.

So what did Yeshua have to say about those who choose this wide, well-traveled middle road?

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Rev 3:15–16)

To those who find themselves on this path, Yeshua is standing outside of the door of their spiritual house and saying,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:20)

To those who respond positively to his invitation, he promises them a place in the Promised Land of his everlasting kingdom.

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:21)


Halloween—Combatting the Culture of Death

We are living in a culture that is preoccupeid with death. Halloween is the devil’s high holy day that celebrates and promotes death and destruction. This culture of death is out to destroy marriages, childhood innocence, our economy, our churches, our biblical and our historical heritage, our preborn babies, our youth, God and anything else that is good and righteous. This video is not only about standing firm but also combating this culture of death with the light and hope of biblical truth.


A Chronological Analysis of Scriptures on the Resurrection of the Dead

Resurrection from Dead

A Chronological Analysis of Scriptures on the Resurrection of the Dead

 Gen 3:2–3, The question of what happens in the afterlife goes back to the very beginning of man’s tenure on this earth as we can see from Eve’s discussion with the serpent. Out of fear of death, Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the tree of knowledge, until the serpent tricked them to disobey YHVH and eat of it. The serpent lied to them by telling them that they could have immortal life and still violate Elohim’s commandments. Most men have believed this lie to this day.

Job 14:12–15,  Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, and we see that from early times until now, man has had a perennial interest in the afterlife. Job wonders what his fate will be when he dies. Will he die and that’s all there is, or is there an afterlife?

Job 19:25–27, Job came to a place in his life where he obtained a faith about his fate in the afterlife. He knew that it hinged on his faith in his Redeemer. Biblically speaking, what was the mission of the Redeemer (i.e., Yeshua the Messiah)? It was to redeem man from the sting of death brought on by sin.

Ps 16:9–10,  Though this is usually viewed as a messianic prophecy, it isn’t confined to this interpretation. Who are YHVH’s holy, kadosh or set apart ones? The Messiah fits this catergory, of course, but so also do YHVH’s saints. As the apostolic writers teach us, as Yeshua died and rose again, so the saints who are in Yeshua will die and rise again.

Ps 17:15, The term “awake” as in “awake from the sleep of death” is a Hebraism referring Continue reading