Dear Natan: Is the soul immortal?

Here is an email letter I recently received from M—. Perhaps my response will help answer some of your questions some as you’re trying to understand the Bible from a more Hebraic perspective, and separate out the truth from the error that the mainstream church teaches. If you already understand the truths presented below, perhaps this information will help you to answer those who come to you with the same questions.

Hello Natan,
I have read with a great interest your article “How the Church Divorced Itself From Its Jewish Roots” on your blog but I am a but puzzled by the following passage:

“Here is a partial list (along with the approximate dates) of several major unbiblical and anti-Torah and non-biblical doctrines crept into the post-apostolic church.

The Human Soul Is Immortal”

Is the immortality of the soul unbiblical and anti-Torah? If it is, do you have any scriptural proof to support that? What is the point of the coming of Yeshua if once the person dies, their souls also vanishes?

Hello M—,
Thank you for your inquiry about my thoughts pertaining to what happens to humans after they die. There are a plethora of opinions on this subject. Even though the Bible talks about this subject, understanding exactly what happens to us when we die is not a salvation issue. Having faith in and obeying Yeshua the Messiah and his word is a salvation issue however. Knowing exactly what happens to us after we die will not guarantee anyone eternal life; on the other hand, knowing Yeshua will. It must be said, though, that an improper understanding about what happens to us after we die can affect our understanding of some basic and important biblical truths. But we’ll save this for another discussion.
Now to answer your questions.
I have not written and published exhaustively on the subject of the state of the dead, since many have gone before me and competently addressed these issues already. Life is short and time is valuable, and so why reinvent the wheel? I have, however, written and published a brief article on this subject, which will answer some of your questions, and which is available on our ministry website at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/state_of_dead.pdf. Perhaps you’ll find this helpful.
I will now answer your questions below in the briefest manner possible interlinearly and in bold type. 

“Here is a partial list (along with the approximate dates) of several major unbiblical and anti-Torah and non-biblical doctrines crept into the post-apostolic church.

The Human Soul Is Immortal”

Is the immortality of the soul unbiblical and anti-Torah? If it is, do you have any scriptural proof to support that? What is the point of the coming of Yeshua if once the person dies, their souls also vanishes?

What about verses like Matt. 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” ???

The Bible teaches that humans have a spirit, soul and body (1 Thes 5:23). There are many other Scriptures that talk about the spirit in man. They are too numerous to mention here. (I have teachings elsewhere on this subject.) Do a word search in your favorite Bible search program and you’ll find them. The Bible also teaches that the soul is mortal and dies with the body (e.g. Ezek 18:3). Briefly, the soul is who you are: your mind, your will and your emotions. It defines you. It’s what makes you unique from every other human. It is housed in your body and cannot exist without a body. It is not immortal. The immortality of the soul is a pagan concept as I document in my referenced article above. It is also promoted by those who don’t know the difference between the soul and spirit of a man. The Bible in a number of places makes this differentiation, even though, admittedly, in the Tanakh (OT) some ancient biblical writers used the terms soul (nephesh) and spirit (ruach) interchangeably. However, a more refined view of the soul and spirit as taught in the Bible by other biblical authors shows us that our spirit was given to us at conception; it comes from Elohim. The Bible also states that it returns to Elohim when we die, as I note in my article. The Bible is silent, however, on whether the spirit is conscious or not after the cessation of physical life. So it’s not wise to speculate on this. 

Matt.22:32 “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”???

The Bible defines the word life in a couple of different ways. There is physical life and there is spiritual life. Which life is Yeshua talking about here: physical or spiritual life? If physical life, then he contradicts what Scripture says elsewhere about the soul dying, about no man having ascending to heaven yet, about no man seeing the Father yet , about men’s thoughts ceasing when they die and so on. If however Yeshua meant spiritual life, then this is statement makes perfect sense, since Abraham had salvation because of his faith in Elohim, and even though he is dead and awaits the resurrection, his next waking moment will be in the presence of YHVH Yeshua. Moreover, in the mind of Elohim who inhabits eternity and who exists outside of time and space, Abraham is still alive spiritually (after all his spirit is in heaven), even though his body and soul are dead physically and await the resurrection of his body. Moreover, anyone whose name is written in the Book of Life, though he may be dead physically awaiting the resurrection and glorification of his body, again, in the mind of Elohim and in the scope of eternity, it’s as if he is alive. Death is but a split second in the mind of one who inhabits eternity.


Luke 23:43 “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””???

Continue reading
 

False Teachings and Destructive Heresies in the Early Church

Who goes there?

Thief sneaking through door2 Peter 2:1, False teachers…destructive heresies. When did several prominent but destructive, non-biblical heresies creep into the early church, which are now major doctrines in mainstream Christianity? Here is a partial list along with the approximate times the early church fathers began teaching these doctrines.

The Human Soul Is Immortal

The immortality of the soul was not  a Hebraic concept, but originated from the ancient Greek philosophers. This pagan concept made its way into the church as Gentiles who were steeped in the thinking of the Greek philosophers gained control of the early church after the death of the last apostles.

A.D. 130— The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 6

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 18

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Two, ch. 34

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Five, chaps. 7.1; 31.1

Teachings Against the Sabbath and Biblical Feasts

There is no record in the Bible of the early New Testament believers replacing the seventh-day Sabbath with Sunday. To say so is wishful thinking, a twisting of the Scriptures and biblical revisionism. It wasn’t until the fourth century at the Council of Nicea under Roman emperor Constantine that the Sunday officially replaced the Sabbath in the early church. Until that time, many Christian churches still observed the Sabbath throughout the Roman empire. The process of transitioning from Sabbath to Sunday observance was a slow one beginning in the early second century and had its roots largely in antisemitism.

A.D. 130—The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 4. The author calls the Sabbath and biblical feasts “utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice.”

Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 2 (also ch. 14). The author says that the Sabbaths (weekly Sabbath and biblical feasts) are abolished.

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians, ch. 14

Observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) Advocated Over Sabbath Observance

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 9. The author says to keep the Sabbath on Sunday.

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, ch. 9

Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 14

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 67

Teachings Against the Torah

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, ch. 6. The author declare, “If anyone preach the Jewish law, listen not to him.”

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 10

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 47. The author states that out of “weak-mindedness,” some Christians observe the Mosaic law. Sabbath and feast days observance are optional, but not encouraged.

Anti-Semetic/Anti-Torah Theology

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, chaps. 8, 10

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Four, ch. 16.4. The author declares that the Decalogue was not cancelled by the New Covenant, but the statues and judgments of the Torah were a bondage to the Israelites and are no longer binding on Christians.

Teachings Against the Biblical Dietary Laws of Clean and Unclean Meats

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, ch. 6. The author states that one who adheres the biblical dietary laws “has the apostate dragon dwelling within him.”

Easter Celebration Established a Christian Holiday

Ca. A.D. 150—The celebration of the resurrection within the early church began in the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, pp. 207–8, by Philip Schaff). The date of Easter and its formal establishment and disconnection from Passover occurred in A.D. 325 at the council of Nicea.

Sabbath Officially Changed to Sunday

A.D. 321—Sunday officially becomes the weekly day of worship (in place of the Sabbath) by a legal enactment of Emporer Constantine (History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 378ff, by Philip Schaff; History of the Christianity, vol 1, p. 93, by Kenneth Scott Latourette)

Christmas Established as a Christian Holiday

Ca. A.D. 354—Christmas originated in the middle to the end of the fourth century as a Christian holiday as an outgrowth of a pagan festival celebrating the birth of the pagan sun god.


 

Immortal Soul Idea—Pagan, Not Biblical

Revelation 6:9, Under the altar…souls. In Hebraic biblical thought, the earth is the altar (see The ArtScroll Tehilim/Psalms Commentary on Ps 118:27), and at death, the soul is not immortal, but simply goes into the grave with the body awaiting the resurrection (Ps 49:15; Ezek 18:4).

Immortal Soul 24316181

Below is a brief discussion on the origins of the idea of the immortality of the soul.

The Idea of an Immortal Soul Comes from the Pagans, Not the Bible

In his book, Judaism, by Harvard professor, George Foot Moore, the author asserts that in ancient Israel there was no concept of the afterlife. The abode of the dead was the grave (sheol). The only hope of life after death was expressed in the notion of the resurrection of the righteous sometime in the future. (vol. 2, pp 287–292)

The Greek thinkers postulated the dual nature of man where it was believed the man’s true self was an imperishable soul, which during what we call life is the inmate of the mortal body. At death the soul leaves this tenement, while the body dissolves into its material elements and perishes. The soul then flits away to the realm of spiritual or noumenal existence to which by its essential nature it belongs. The ideas of immortal souls and of the happy lot to which the souls of the good go at death seemed to some Jews to fit in so well with their own religious conceptions as to belong to them (Ibid., pp. 292–293). Continue reading