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.