Not a lot of information about the SOUL has been previously published in these pages.
And after some searching, some research and some more searching, it was discovered that what is written on the Internet is a) not very helpful, mostly; b) in many cases is pure speculation; speculation which contradicts what is written elsewhere; and, c) worst of all, what is written sometimes contradicts what little is written in God’s Word.
So, by relying on God’s Word, here is some information about something that is talked about a LOT–but which not much is actually KNOWN FOR SURE: the soul.
1- There seems to be a LOT of confusion about the SOUL and the SPIRIT.
At least–judging by what one finds by using the search engines–what is written down often confuses the SOUL and the SPIRIT.
SOME websites plainly contradict what the Bible says, while others recommend reading books by pagan authors to better understand this concept of Christianity. So much had to be waded through in the effort to find ANYTHING useful for this piece.
At the end of the day: confusion reigned.
2- What about the SOUL? What about the SPIRIT?
Many equate the SOUL with some sort of God-given life force.
After much searching, the following was, by far, the best info on the topic we uncovered.
BUT, it still left a LOT to be desired.
The Hebrew word translated “soul” means a breathing creature, one in which life is present, whether physical life or mental life. The Greek word in the New Testament is similar. In its most basic sense, the word “soul” means “life,” either physical or eternal. Jesus asks what it profits a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, referring to his eternal life (Matthew 16:26). Both Old and New Testaments reiterate that we are to love God completely, with the whole “soul” which refers to everything that is in us that makes us alive (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Mark 12:30). Whenever the word “soul” is used, it can refer to the whole person, whether physically alive or in the afterlife.
—What is the Difference Between soul and spirit?
This can be easily checked as the Bible does refers to the living as ‘SOULS.’
It ALSO refers to those in Heaven as ‘SOULS.’
However, just when you think that ‘soul’ means ‘life,’ (whether in this life or the next)–as was claimed in the quoted passage–Revelation 6:9-10 makes one wonder what “the souls of them that were slain for the word of God” means? The verse hints that the soul is MORE than just life itself.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
3JOHN 1:2 provokes the same questions.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
And what, exactly, was the apostle Peter referring to when he wrote 1PETER 2:11?
One supposes that it is possible for ‘fleshly lusts’ to ‘war against ‘life,’ but it seems that Peter is hinting that the SOUL is something else: a separate entity; a part of man about which little is known for sure.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
Genesis also raises the same questions–although Genesis 35:18 COULD be seen as supporting both sides of the matter.
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”
At any rate, here are some verses which support the ‘soul = life’ claim.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
“Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.”
“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.”
3- There are a LOT of claims that ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ are used interchangeably in God’s Word.
Ecclesiastes gives a bit of information on this topic.
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Nothing about a man’s soul.
4- The Catholic Church teaches that the soul is a sort of godly bean-counting sin accountant, which needs cleansing (mostly using the ‘sacraments’ of the Catholic Church) from time to time. It is the soul which is “stained” by sin.
To understand the Church’s teaching on our cleansing in purgatory, it is first necessary to understand sin and its effects, since purgatory has the purpose of purifying us from our sins. Those who die with no stain of sin on their souls, such as baptized babies, go straight to heaven when they die.
—Purification of the Soul Here or Hereafter
The Catholic Church tells a great many tales, but one of the most enduring is the story they tell about “purgatory.”
To believing Catholics, purgatory is like a mini-hell which lets you loose after you burn for awhile.
As one Catholic priest put it
So Purgatory is like having a great heavenly shower and getting rid of all that stuff that’s there. So when I die, I won’t go straight to heaven first; I will go to Purgatory first and get cleansed.
Just as I would not have dreamed of allowing Sheila to see me in the state I was in when I left work in my father’s slaughterhouse, I would not dream of allowing Jesus to see me until that cleansing. When I meet Jesus face to face for the first time, I want to be purified – with a soul that is shining.
—Purging the Stain of Sin
May Catholics LIKE the story of purgatory because it gives them hope that they will EVENTUALLY go to heaven. The trade-off between some sin in this life and burning for awhile in the fire of purgatory, seems to be a fair one in their eyes.
Purgatory–like so many other of that church’s teachings–is a CLEAR contradiction of what God’s Word says on the matter.
OF COURSE, God’s Word is COMPLETELY silent on the tale of ‘purgatory.’
The Catholic Church appears to also teach that the “soul” and the “spirit” are basically the same thing.
The glossary at the back of the U.S. version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “soul” as follows:
The spiritual principle of human beings. The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom; soul and body together form one unique human nature. Each human soul is individual and immortal, immediately created by God. The soul does not die with the body, from which it is separated by death, and with which it will be reunited in the final resurrection.
In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost.aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “Soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.
—What exactly is a soul?
According to the official Catholic teaching, the ways a person can cleanse their souls of minor sins:
- The sacrament of confession
- Worthy reception of Communion
- Sincere act of contrition
5- Although it is not wrong to refer to the SOUL as ‘life,’–God’s Word does it on occasion–there appears to be more to it than that. The SOUL appears to be part of man–like the spirit–although God’s Word does not say exactly what the differences between a SOUL and SPIRIT are.
The differences between the temporal, more easily-observed BODY and the ‘harder-to-pin-down’ SOUL (and SPIRIT) are obvious. HOWEVER, there is something about the topic of SOUL which seems to unleash the poetic speculation in man.
Some have claimed that the soul is what makes a person uniquely their own.
That the SOUL is one’s personality.
BUT, so much of one’s ‘personality’ in this life is shaped by misinformation and sin.
SO, at the very least, it appears one’s personality needs a bit of cleaning–and maybe a bit of updating as well.
And so, at the end of the day, it appears that MUCH MORE study will have to go into the SOUL.
And THAT is not merely speculation.
[NOTE: For all readers who are both inquisitive and have a few minutes, this seems to be a most worthy field of study.]
HAS the reader EVER thought about exactly what the soul is?
It is not YET too late: there is still a little time to change direction (repent), place your faith (hope) for the future entirely on Jesus Christ and enter the kingdom of heaven.
DOES the reader believe he is saved?
Make Your Calling and Election Sure: End Times Survival
DOES the reader believe he is NOT saved?
Time is Running Out: Today is the Day of Salvation
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. ”
–1 Corinthians 15:1-8
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
A Reminder: The Gospel is Simple
MORE: Eternal Salvation Through Jesus Christ: Salvation Messages from End Times Prophecy Report
[Portions of this piece appeared originally in End Times Prophecy Headlines: November 2, 2021.]
MORE: The Day of the Lord: Reaping the Souls of the Wicked at Armageddon in the Valley of Decision
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- DISOBEDIENCE and REBELLION: The Wisdom of Man OR the Word of God?
- Apostate Church: Breaking Every Chain
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by Jeremiah Jameson
–with Mondo Frazier
image: Image by Geralt from Pixabay.com
© Jeremiah J. Jameson and End Times Prophecy Report, 2012-21. © Mondo Frazier and End Times Prophecy Report, DBKP 2007-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeremiah J. Jameson and End Times Prophecy Report with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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