Hi Bob and family,
Your prayers are always appreciated my friend and mine are always reciprocated too.
I keep thinking about the strait gate and what it means and I’ve added a paragraph to it in hope of it being a help unto others.
If I may, I’ll add it here for you in hope that you agree with it.
To simplify it further, please consider this. Our earthly bodies are primarily made up of 2 things – our material or physical body and our spiritual body. This life-form within us is our spirit, which God implanted at birth and our physical body is just the vehicle that carries it around. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit can and does communicate with us through our own spirit if we allow ourselves to be receptive to it. We know the strait gate is NOT a physical place, so our physical bodies cannot enter it, the strait gate is spiritual and it is only our spirit that enters it. The broad way is a physical place. This is the reason He says, few there be that find it.
Is there anything you would add to that?
As always dear Bob,
That is pretty much the way I understand it. However, it's important to understand that our spirits were made to live in a body, and that they always will. There is no such thing as a disembodied human spirit. They will live forever in a resurrection body which is called "spiritual" because there is a closer fit so to speak with the spiritual than the physical. But even in between we will have an interim body (as all those in heaven with the Lord today have: cf. Rev.6:9-11; 7:9-17). The body is the vehicle for the spirit's expression, and the problem at present is that the body is corrupt and unduly influences the spirit. I've written a great deal about all this at Ichthys so the above is a very brief synopsis. Here are some links which will lead to more:
The Creation of Adam and the Human spirit
Soul versus Spirit
Body, Spirit and 'Soul', Present and Future
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State
And here are some general links of biblical anthropology which touch on these and related issues:
BB 3A: Biblical Anthropology
Biblical Anthropology I
Biblical Anthropology II
Biblical Anthropology III
Biblical Anthropology IV
Biblical Anthropology V
Biblical Anthropology VI
Biblical Anthropology VII
Biblical Anthropology VIII
Life begins at birth
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I was doing my studies on the book of Mark these last 4 days it drew me over to a scripture in Jeremiah afterwards when I was done looking it over something caught my attention that I highlighted many years ago. A while back I asked about soul pertaining to a man's teaching that I don't accept but as I was pondering over these scriptures I assume this is why he believes what he is teaching that God is a soul or course he is misled. I remember doing a research for myself many years back to understand these scriptures I got the understanding back then so I'll have to do my research again I had my study notes on it but I no longer have them. I like to know if you could enlighten me on your understanding on these scriptures. I just send these 3 I believe there are 7 times in Jeremiah God mentions His soul be very thankful for you input God Bless.
9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
The essence of the problem here is what the word "soul" (Hebrew nephesh; Greek psyche) means. It doesn't mean in the Bible what it means in contemporary English. People use the word "soul" as if it meant "spirit". Human beings are dichotomous, having a spirit (the real "us" inside) and a body; the two interface in the "heart" or "mind" or "soul" – which is not a separate thing but the inner person combined, body and spirit working together. Wherever you see "soul" in the Bible, you can almost always substitute "heart" or "person" for it (depending upon whether the emphasis is on the inner or the total person in question). So in these two verses, "my soul" is an emphatic way to say "I", acting from purpose deep in my heart, e.g. Here's a couple of links:
Soul vs. spirit
Image, Likeness and Human Spirit
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.
How does the Spirit of God make us? I thought human procreation makes our bodies and then the Father breathes our pneuma/spirit into us at birth?
When in, e.g., Psalm 139:13 we read "For you created my inmost being; you knit
me together in my mother’s womb.", there are plenty who want to take this to
mean that our spirit (they usually say "soul" not understanding the difference)
is "made" by natural procreation as well; but here we might take the first "me"
in Job 33:4 as referring to the body as well as to the human spirit. In fact, in
both poetic contexts, the prophet is given to emphasize God's superintendence of
our creation from a holistic point of view rather than footnoting the details
like a term paper. God made our bodies: through physical procreation; and He
made our spirits: by an act of direct creation. The former takes nine months;
the latter is accomplished instantaneously at the point of birth. And, closely
considered, neither passage is inconsistent with this doctrinal description of
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I hope I never bother you with my questions. Here's another one...
Do you have any critique of Colossians 3:11, we, believers, have been "circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, putting off the body of sins..."
I would love your view of how this takes place practically, in reality, I guess the mechanics of what this spiritual operation looks like.
Thanks for your time, looking forward to enjoying your response.
Always happy to hear from you, my friend!
This is referring to our "positional status" as believers in Christ, i.e., where we are "at" from the heavenly point of view, where we shall be at the resurrection, and, therefore, how we SHOULD be operating now even while in the world. "Positionally" we are holy and sanctified; but experientially we are still in the body and we still have to make choices NOT to sin all the time. We do have the Holy Spirit who guides us away from sin and towards holiness all the time – and the closer we get to Jesus Christ through spiritual growth, the better we can discern what the Spirit is telling us (although when it comes to much of what is sin, this is obvious in any case). No one is perfect, however, here in the world. That is why confession of sin is so important (1Jn.1:9), even for those who are diligently pursuing spiritual growth. It's in the Lord's prayer too, after all, "forgive us our debts/trespasses as we forgive . . .".
That's the "nutshell". Best place to get the details is BB 3B: Hamartiology (at the link).
Do feel free to write me back!
In Jesus our dear Savior.
Thank you for allowing me the freedom to write you back. Let me share my present understanding and then I want your opinion for clarification. I really value your views and want you to share them with me.
My present thought is that man is spirit, soul, and body (1Thess.5:23). As an unbeliever, my entire system was dead in sin. My human spirit was born again (Jn.3:6)...washed, redeemed, made perfect, filled with the nature and Spirit of God. The "old man" or old sinful nature was circumcised, cut away from my redeemed spirit and an new nature was put into my redeemed spirit. (this is why I was asking your view on spiritual circumcision)
My soul (mind, will, emotions) was not "saved" in the sense of the spirit, as I still have wrong thoughts, wrong choices, and wrong emotions. So, the soul has the "remnants" (habit patterns, thought patterns, emotional patterns, choice patterns) of the old nature, the old man. However, my soul is going through the process of sanctification by the washing of the water by the Word and the renewing of my mind to the Word. (1Pet.1:9) speaks to Christians who have been "begat" with the Word but are in need of their "souls" being saved, and that the "end" (goal, culmination) of their faith will be the salvation of their souls. The soul is the earthly expression of my personality and in order for the world to see the nature of Jesus in my spirit, it must be lived out through my soul (my thoughts, choices, emotions). Through the sanctification process, my soul should begin to "image" the nature of Christ that is in my redeemed spirit.
I was raised in church, in the Armenian tradition, believing that a person who has been saved can lose salvation. Then in my young adult life, began to think about eternal security. However, I could never truly explain all the myriad of scriptures that point to a person leaving faith and falling from grace. Of course, my upbringing was one that taught if you did one sin, you were toast and had to get born again, again. So you can imagine (inwardly smiling now) a teenager growing up with all the hormones raging, heck, we were getting born again 100 times in one day! LOL. As a teenager, the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, the Nature of God...were all jumping in and out of me hundreds of times in a day. So in my mind, the new birth has to be more secure than that.
So I was seeking a balance between my security in Christ and the reality of a believer sinning and a just God who loves me but cannot allow me to just to keep on sinning without retribution. I do understand confessing my sins when I commit them and have asked God for a repentant and obedient heart. But what if a person is in the act of failing or sinning and he dies before he can confess/repent? Just a thought.
Good Lord, I am really dumping on you now. LOL
So please be honest, as I know you will, and share your views based on what I have told you.
I have been reading your teaching on sin and will continue to do so and maybe you have addressed all in there that I am asking. Based on my present view, what are the "mechanics" of being born again. Is there a "physical" change in the spirit of man or is all this just a theoretical change of allegiance or a moral choice?
Okay, gotta quit now.
Thanks and God Bless!
I'll give you the gist here; please see the links for the details.
First on sin (see the link BB 3B: Hamartiology), all who believe in Jesus Christ, all who are believers in Jesus Christ, all who through faith in Him have been born again, born from above, are saved; only those who do not believe, only unbelievers, are lost:
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed [i.e., exists in a state of unbelief] in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV
While it's not recommended, believers can get "out of fellowship" with the Lord, and sometimes by a great distance (as in the case of the prodigal son) and still be believers. Sin alienates us from the Lord, but apostasy is almost always a lengthy process and it ends in complete lack of belief, the absolute death of faith wherein the person who did believe reverts to being an unbeliever. While I am agnostic about whether or not such persons ever do come back, I don't know of any scriptural cases (or any cases in this life of which I am personally aware), so that apostasy ought to be avoided at all costs.
And those [whose seed of faith fell] on the rock do receive the Word with joy when they hear it. However these [types] have no root [to their faith]. They believe for a while, but in time of testing they apostatize (aphistantai).
This is apostasy above, turning away from faith; the sin unto death, on the other hand, is where believers never let go of faith, but are so rebellious in their behavior that the Lord takes them home in a most uncomfortable way (see the link). Believers sin all the time (sin is much more than the gross things that upset Baptist Sunday school teachers – like the self-righteous attitude they have towards those who are not as "righteous" as they are); that is why we all need to confess our sins regularly (as pointed out, it is in the Lord's prayer which we need to be saying at least daily). So sinning is not the death of faith; ceasing to believe is the death of faith; that is apostasy. But as to believers getting to the point of acting almost indistinguishably from unbelievers and still being saved, we do have this example from scripture:
"And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."
1st Samuel 28:19b NKJV
This is Samuel speaking to Saul – so Saul was still a believer (albeit
about as bad a believer as possible while still retaining faith) . . .
about to be taken out of life via the sin unto death. It is all about
choice, but no one "chooses not to believe" in an instant and for no
particular reason. Usually it is a question of sin alienating us farther
and farther from the Lord so that finally we are no longer able to even
think about looking Him in the face (so to speak) – and get to the point
of no longer being interested in trying. But it is also true that being
"disappointed by God" is a huge reason for much apostasy (e.g., the
death of a loved one for which God is blamed).
Second, on the composition of human beings (see BB 3A: Anthropology), God made us all to be a combination of the material (body) and spiritual (human spirit). Human beings are thus "dichotomous", with the human spirit being created within our human body by the Lord at the point of our physical birth. At that point, we are "one person" and it is a mistake to think of ourselves as "parts" – even though we do have two of them. For from that point onward we will always be a spirit clothed with a body; if we die before the resurrection, we will have an interim body; from the resurrection onward, the permanent home for our spirit will endure forever. On the other side and in eternity, there will be no more conflict between spirit and flesh – and no more choosing. But at the present, our spirit resides in a sin-infested body, and there is always a conflict going on, even for believers – who have to choose for the Spirit who indwells us and who speaks to our spirit, rather than giving in to the flesh (Gal.5:16-26). The notion that there is a "soul" which is an actual "thing" or tertium quid is an erroneous Roman Catholic invention (like so many other horrendous false doctrines, traceable to Augustine). Wherever the English Bible reads "soul", replacing it with "heart" or "self" or occasionally "person" will yield the correct result. The heart or soul is the inner us or inner person where we make our decisions, the place where spirit and flesh conflict and wrestle, the interface (but not a discrete and separate entity; see the link).
Third, on the mechanics of salvation (see BB 4B: Soteriology), apropos of the above, when a "soul" is saved, what the Bible means is that a person/life is saved – from damnation. This has everything to do with how God now views us, after we commit to Jesus Christ, not with some alteration of our spirit (far less our "soul" which is a synonym for "us", who we are inside). There is a transformation at salvation, a "new start for the heart". When we are reborn, born again, from above, all of the old "scar tissue" of our hearts, so to speak, is removed. All the prior hardening that has occurred is undone, and we see things from a godly point of view (link). This is often an emotional experience, but the emotion is neither the cause nor the point. And if we do not pursue the truth in a disciplined way, hardness can return, a little or a lot. Only the truth dissolves hardness in the heart, hearing it, believing it, living by it (see the link).
Fourth, on the Christian life (see BB 6A: Peripateology), when you say "Through the sanctification process, my soul should begin to "image" the nature of Christ that is in my redeemed spirit", I will agree that YOU (that is what the soul is in biblical terms as opposed to popular theology) ought to be becoming more Christ-like as YOU grow up in Jesus. But sanctification – turning away from sin – is only half the battle. That is defense ("denying yourself"). And no one can win anything (a war, a football game, whatever) with defense alone. You still also need offense ("picking up your cross") – which in spiritual terms is the daily commitment to learn the truth, believe the truth, and live by the truth. That is the only way to "follow" Jesus Christ, and that takes giving your "spiritual allegiance" so to speak to a good Bible teaching ministry. Ichthys is one such place. I also recommend "Bible Academy" and "BibleDocs".
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself (defense), and take up his cross (offense), and follow Me (requires both)."
Matthew 16:24 NKJV
So your "question" involves close to half of the realm of Bible
doctrine! I've done my best to give you a "nutshell" overview here; the
details, as mentioned, will be found at the links.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Here is a clip from your teaching on Hamartiology:
It will not resist our spirit's leadership like our present "weak flesh", and is therefore described here as "suited to spiritual life" (gk. pneumatikos), that is, attuned to our human spirit, in contrast to our present sinful flesh which is "soul-ish" (gk. psychikos), that is, dominated in the soul or interface between spirit and flesh by the flesh.
In another teaching, you state that man is a dichotomy, but in the above
teaching, you specify that seems to be another entity called soul. I
know there is another answer to this statement?
I know you have the answer to my question and I appreciate your help always.
This teaching on Hamartiology is fantastic and I am thoroughly enjoying it as I can use it in my own life, and teach it to others. There are many, as you have said that don't have a real knowledge of sin. My purpose is to get as much as I can from your teachings so that I can teach others and help them in their walk with the LORD.
I am as the saying goes "chomping at the bit" to know more and more and more. I have lot's of time, so I want to make sure that I use it for the LORD.
Blessings to you always,
In Jesus Name,
Elsewhere I do explain – as I say here – that the "soul" is the
interface, not a "thing" or entity with a separate existence in and of
itself. The word "soul" can be translated "heart", and I would perhaps
have been better off using that word here since we all understand that
the emotional/rational "heart" or mind (or "soul") is not a separate
thing but is "us" on the inside, namely, where our spirit and body think
and emote and plan, etc.
Thanks for all your good words, my friend!
Keeping you and yours in my daily prayers.
Hello Mr Luginbill,
I have some questions on the human spirit.
1. I have read your site about how the Soul is a combining of spirit and body would it be fair to say that the spirit is the mind?
It seems as though we have a thinking part and a material part.
2. Is the spirit in the brain?
3. You say on your website that the spirit will always have a body (either material or spiritual) does that mean that the spirit has no size, shape or form itself?
4. Buddhist monks talk about how they meditate upon the very subtle mind and very subtle wind body that they describe to be their immortal spiritual part of themselves.
Are they deluding themselves?
5. There are videos on YouTube of people in their last moments whereby a ball of light is hovering upon death. People come to the conclusion that this must be the spirit leaving the body.
I have asked you questions in the past and I like your website.
I hope you can help me with these questions.
Good to hear from you, my friend.
As to your questions, first, here are some links to where I discuss these subjects:
The nature of the human spirit (n.b., keep going past the first referenced Q/A)
The Creation of Adam (in BB 3A)
Biblical Anthropology III
Biblical Anthropology V
To answer your specific questions:
1) The word "soul" in the English Bible refers to "the person", but often with an internal focus, and thus is often translated (or should be) as "heart". As to the "mind", it depends on what you have in mind (no pun intended) when you use the word. Anything and everything in the thought realm that goes on inside of us takes place at the body-spirit interface, whatever you want to call it. "Mind" is OK, as long as the word is not being used in a way that excludes emotions and everything else that is rattling around "in there". Thinking cannot be done without the spirit or without the body since the spirit was made for the body and was never meant to exist without it. At present, the body through which our spirits have to express themselves and operate is limited and also sinful, and that influences the way we think and feel and plan and emote considerably; but with the help of the Spirit and through learning and believing and applying the truth, we can do these things in a godly way. Controlling one's body is difficult. Controlling one's tongue is harder still. Controlling ones thoughts and emotions is the hardest hill to take, and so it is in many ways the "high ground" of the spiritual battle we are engaged in at present.
2) In Revelation 6:11 the martyrs are each given a "white robe" and this represents the interim bodies we all receive on passing from this earth before the resurrection (cf. Rev.7:9-17). Since these individuals are recognizable as such, the spirit would seem to be a parallel image to the body (cf. the shapes of angels) and as such would mesh perfectly with the entire body not just one part.
3) See previous answer.
4) All religions are part of Satan's system of deception (see SR 4: Satan's World System).
5) There are all manner of stories out there, and I have heard others in my time, many of which are amazing, encouraging, etc. However, that is not the way the Lord has set things up for us to be given the truth, that is, through the experiences of others – or even through the experiences of ourselves. I always tell people to beware of "third party reports" (see this link which will lead to others). There are all manner of reasons why some report we'd like to believe might not be entirely true or might be quite different from the way we are receiving it – and plenty of them are NOT true. Obviously. If you put all these sorts of reports together you will easily see that many of them necessarily contradict each other – so they cannot all be true. Indeed, none of them have to be true. But the Bible is true. That is where we need to look for the truth.
As I often say, if a report or if even one of our own experiences jibes with the truth of scripture, well then we can accept it as legitimate – because we have the Bible which is our standard of belief. But if one of these things contradicts the Bible, then we know it is not true. If it is a question of a gray area where something doesn't necessarily contradict scripture but is not taught affirmatively therein, then the best policy is not to put any particular weight on the experience, even if we choose not to reject it entirely, but to lean instead on the truth we do know to be true because it is in the Bible.
I have a question for you since you say the scripture supports life at
birth, then a child that dies in the womb would be that they never
existed? My spirit has a serious problem with this.
I guess more importantly, the children I miscarried I will not see when I go to be with my Lord?
Luke 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. She doesn't say that she caused the baby to leap for joy but says the "baby" leaped for joy.
This posting link is all about that issue, with lots of discussion and
with lots of links, including everything you've asked about and
references in this email (Biblical
1) The question is what the Bible has to say about this. Job 3:16 does suggest that stillborn children are saved (I have opined as much before).
2) In Luke 1:44 brephos means fetus, and the "leaping" is the sort of motility all mothers experience in pregnancy – but the joy was Elizabeth's, not the fetus'.
God gives life, not human procreation, so this is an important issue, but God is infinitely merciful, so I think you have nothing to be anxious about on this score (as I say, please read the link).
Every time I do something demonic, and I mean that by very nasty sin, I feel like my soul dies, like my spirit is smashed into dust instantly, no matter how crushed and broken it already is. Is this what grieving the Spirit feels like?
Any time we sin deliberately, it does push us farther away from the Lord – and brings on divine discipline. This is indeed grieving or resisting the Spirit instead of responding to Him. None of that "feels good". For more on grieving the Spirit, see the link.
Happy 4th of July Doc!...but...should we really be celebrating the
birthday of the nation that will end up being the Babylon of Revelation?
[omitted] That begs the question, is idolizing something, especially a character or thing in a game or TV show, as bad as explicit worship of false gods like the pagans do?
Also I agree it'll take time and effort to recover, no matter how dedicated I am. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. But...I just can't bring myself to dedicate myself to spiritual growth no matter how bad it gets. Why am i like this? Am i truly so choked by the weeds of this world?
Happy 4th to you too, my friend! I don't see anything wrong with that.
There is no mystery Babylon . . . yet. And scripture is pretty clear
about a Christian's responsibility to "honor the king", after all. We
just need to refuse doing things that are wrong and not be intimidated
from doing things which are right – when and if it comes to that.
On dedication, it's not an all or nothing one shot one day thing: try to do something right today; try not to do anything wrong today. Eventually, you'll get better at it – if you stick with it in the power of the Spirit and if you are growing spiritually at the same time.
As to all "disputable matters" which are not specifically addressed in scripture. When told "it hurts when I do this", a wise doctor once said, "well, then don't do that!" If you are distressing yourself by doing something you could easily not do, consider not doing it. If the Spirit is whispering in your ear (i.e., your conscience), that you'd be better off not doing "this" and instead should be getting around to doing "that", consider responding to the Spirit instead of grieving Him.
This is something we ALL struggle with since no one's application is perfect. We can all afford to improve – and so we can take some comfort in our common human frailty. But, since we can all afford to improve, we all ought to be striving to do so daily, and thus we all ought to be prodding ourselves to respond better to the truth day by day and give ourselves no comfort until we are on a path of doing so.
Thank you for the reminder. And for the update on BB7. Much encouragement all around.
For right now, I don't remember if I have discussed this with you before, but I do feel like I have seen something you wrote about it before (I've searched on the site and still not quite found it): how do you take Hebrews 12:23 especially the bit about the "spirits of just men made perfect?"
In my thinking, it isn't that their spirits are made perfect in the sense of sanctification from sin, as if all the corruption in it were washed away. I seem to remember you teaching that the corruption of sin is in our bodies and not our spirits. That is what I think to be the case. It seems to me that Romans 7:18,24; 2 Corinthians 5:10 and other Scriptures teach that it is our bodies that are corrupt. So, I have been thinking for some time now that the "made perfect" qualifies the "just men" rather than the "spirits" in that statement. That works out to the understanding that these men have been made perfect in the sense of having completed their course in this world.
Is this the wrong way to understand this? That is,
1. Is there some sense in which our spirits are made perfect? That is, what is the difference between the spirit of the unbeliever and the spirit of the believer at death?
2. Also, what does this understanding that the corruption is in our bodies do to the teaching that Satan and the other rebel angels are unclean spirits?
Your student in Jesus Christ
I basically agree: teleioo and related words is a key group of
terms in the New Testament referring to completion from the godly point
of view – cf. our Lord's final statement "tetelestai" at Jn.19.30
which is His affirmation of having fully accomplished the victory of the
cross in having just died spiritually for all of our sins – and
therefore for spiritual fulfillment (such as spiritual growth;
see the link). So "perfect" could be better translated "who have
finished their course successfully", that is, with their faith intact,
and in some cases – in all of OUR cases I would hope – having completed
our assignments successfully as well.
So I don't think this has any import for angelic / demonic issues.
Keeping you and your families in my daily prayers, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I have a question for you that has bothered me for some time. I've done a study on it and it mostly confirms my worries though certainly not to the point of being distressed about it. I know where I belong when I die so if the Lord desires me to "sleep" until that great Day of the Lord I know when I wake I will be with Him.
This first became a concern when studying the book of Daniel. I say concern because it seems to be another false teaching that the church has been spreading at least since I became a believer at the age of 18.
The scripture that caused concern is Daniel 12:13: "But you, go your way til the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of days." My first thoughts were that if Daniel had to wait til the end of days to rise for his inheritance..why would it be any difference for us?
Then, in the same scriptures that so many incorrectly teach as proof of the rapture: I Thessalonians 5:9 "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." (this scripture I guess could be an argument either way, however the next seems to confirm that Christians who died will be asleep til His coming.)
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of our Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Mathew 24:31 And he will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the others."
Now some of the concerns I had with the revealing of this doctrine are with the saying of Jesus when dying on the cross and His words to the criminal who died with Him...Luke 23:43 "And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." When googling this I found an argument that the comma was misplaced, "And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise."
This seems to coincide with the other scriptures I've found. Again on Google (though this is the teaching of Seventh Day Adventists, however their arguments make sense.) The rich man and Lazarus, and the souls under the throne asking for justice for being martyred for Christ, and the transfiguration of Christ with Moses and Elijah are in fact visions rather than depicting what is going on NOW. I would appreciate any advice on these scriptures. It really doesn't matter much to me which doctrine is correct but if what we've been taught is untrue then the concern is "What else is a lie?"
Thank you again for your time and your diligence with studying the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be.
In the Lord,
Good to hear from you, my friend.
First, there is no "soul sleep"; when believers pass now (after Christ's ascension), they are taken to the third heaven and given an interim body and await the resurrection there in that happy state (cf. Rev.6:9-11; 7:9-17). Here are some links on that:
More on so-called "soul sleep"
Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy
Sleep as a Euphemism for Death
"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
The False Doctrine of Soul Sleep II
The false doctrine of "soul sleep".
Second, on Daniel 12:13, "rest" is not sleep in that context. Compare what
Samuel tells Saul in 1st Samuel 28:15: "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me
up?" And we know for certain that this "disturbance" was not from any sleep when
we compare this passage with Abraham and Lazarus' situation in Luke 16:19-31,
since they are clearly awake. There are also the pictures of the saints in
heaven – quite awake – in the Revelation passages cited above (see the links for
So while it is true that we do not receive any part of our inheritance until the resurrection (Heb.11:39-40), and not our full inheritance until the coming down of New Jerusalem at the end of history (Rev.21:1ff.), after death, rather than being "asleep", we will be immediately in bliss to a degree unimaginable as soon as we exit this vile place. Being with Jesus will be "better by far" (Phil.1:23), as Paul puts it, better, but the best is yet to come – at the resurrection and beyond. So it's good now walking with Jesus Christ, better in His presence should the Lord take us home before He returns, and best once we've been resurrected and rewarded – and New Jerusalem with our inheritance therein will be better than the best. Glories to come!
As to "sleep" in 1st Thessalonians 5:9, I have explained at length in the links above how that the "sleep" is the "sleep" of the first, physical body, which, to the eyes of those left behind, appears as sleeping (immediately after death, at any rate), but does NOT apply to the spirit whose departure cannot be seen directly and which after death is given an interim body and taken to the third heaven to await resurrection in the presence of Christ (please have a look at those links and feel free to write me back if you have questions).
1st Thessalonians 4:13-17 and Matthew 24:31 clearly are describing the second advent. That is indeed when the resurrection takes place, namely, at Christ's return.
As to Luke 23:43, all manner of unbelievers and cult adherents have gone to great lengths to twist the obvious truth of scriptures which refute their lies. Luke 23:43 is clearly our Lord telling the man that he will be in paradise "TODAY". That is what the Greek says. And what else would it mean? If not today, when? "Paradise" was the garden of Eden and also the place below the earth (where Abraham and Lazarus were) whither Christ did descend before His resurrection (as we know from, e.g., 1Pet.3:19). As to "This seems to coincide with the other scriptures I've found", I'm sure I have no idea what verses you are referring too since all the scriptures I know of present the very clear picture of no soul sleep.
As to "are in fact visions rather than depicting what is going on NOW" – I'm not sure what that means. If we take the position that the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says, then people would be free to make up whatever they want and call it the truth – which is precisely what these deceivers are in fact doing.
Please do not be misled. You can see, I hope, that instead of giving you spiritual confidence and bringing you closer to the Lord, this "teaching" is causing you spiritual trauma and distracting you from spiritual growth. That is the method that Christ gives us to tell the difference: bad fruit produces spiritual indigestion instead of growth – and thus testifies to its "badness" (see the link).
Keeping you in my prayers daily,
Thank you, I will certainly study these
s..I have to say one thing, if I am one chosen to be martyred I would like to believe that I would go directly to the Lord, it's a comfort knowing that I would go from what could be a horrible death straight into the arms of the Lord. Studying Daniel brought up some concerns, thank you for your time as always.
I quite agree! The false doctrine of soul sleep is insidiously demoralizing – as all false doctrines are. Blessedly, it is not true. If we are martyred during the Tribulation, we have this to look forward to:
(9) After this I looked and, behold, [there was] a huge multitude which no one was able to number from every nation and tribe and people and tongue standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. (10) And they were shouting in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God, the One who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!" (11) And all the angels had taken their stand around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. And they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, (12) saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!" (13) And one of the elders who was speaking with me replied, "These people dressed in white robes – who are they and where have they come from?" (14) And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who are about to come forth from the Great Tribulation. And they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (15) For this reason they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. And the One who sits upon the throne will pitch His tabernacle over them. (16) They will neither hunger nor thirst again, nor will the sun beat down upon them nor any burning [heat], (17) because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and will lead them to fountains of living water (lit., "fountains of waters of life"), and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes".
1 Cor 15 goes on and on about the resurrection of the dead. But, in reading your article titled the Satanic Rebellion, many verses seem to have captions that claim the immediate destination for a believer is not the grave and asleep awaiting the resurrection. Item E and “The present third heaven” heading says dead believers who died after Jesus ascension instantly go to the 3rd heaven. Also, the day that Jesus died on the cross, and the repentant thief confessed his belief that Jesus was innocent, seemed to warrant the statement about how that thief had by his public confession that day had a new destination promised. Several of your chosen texts teach this final destination, but the overwhelming weight of scripture in the old and New Testaments suspend a dead person in a state of sleep. Are you preferring your own view and skipping over all the doctrines of the resurrection of the dead and the glorious judgement day? We will be clothed with the righteous acts that we do. Yes, Paul would rather be at home with the Lord , but 1 Cor 15:23 clearly lays out the order of things. It may be that you awake to the resurrection as if no time had passed, but Samuel said to Saul, “why have you disturbed me?” Yes Bill, I think your brilliant but I may have found you’ve zoomed by a previous preferred false view of death. I only want you and your readers( me included) to be accurate. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that will come the judgement Heb9:27, the context is about the perfect order of the Hebrew temple and perfection of our saviors sacrifice . I’m sure you can gather the drift of the Holy scripture as intended to convey quite a different subject than to skip the resurrection . This verse often is used to teach the pre- trib rapture also as I’m sure you’re well aware. Bill, if you prefer to include the resurrection scriptures, then the scriptures your using to support an immediate trip to the 3rd heaven can be more relaxed and teach their rightful place in the puzzle of scripture. Not being forced into proving a different concept out of their context. John 12:26 isn’t saying we’re going to be with Jesus sharing his throne. The context is a promise of eventual destinations. If anyone serves me he must continue to follow me[to Cleve steadfastly to me, if need be dying], (with Jesus promise to be with Jesus ). The verse doesn’t intend to convey an idea that there is no death, falling asleep in Jesus, resting in the grave until ….the dead shall rise first. I hope this reaches you. I’ve newer sent a response successfully to anybody, and I don’t know how I’ll even read your response if you receive it.
I'll give you some links below which address this question you've asked
directly. What follows is a summary response.
". . . but the overwhelming weight of scripture in the old and New Testaments suspend a dead person in a state of sleep". I don't know of a single scripture which teaches this. "Soul sleep" is a false doctrine (again, see the links below if interested in the details).
1st Corinthians 15:23 gives the order of the resurrection. Christ was not asleep in between giving up His spirit and His resurrection (as shown by e.g., 1Pet.3:19). Lazarus and the rich man and Abraham are all awake, not asleep, in the world below. The believers who come out of the Great Tribulation are not yet resurrected at Revelation 7:9-17, but are praising God, awake. One could go on. Against these clear passages you have Samuel complaining of being disturbed? The Hebrew verb ragaz means to trouble or disturb but NOT "wake up". I've been disturbed many times without first having been asleep. Hebrews 9:27 states an obvious principle, and doesn't say what awaits after death; i.e., it doesn't say "die / SLEEP / judgment". What lies in between death and judgment is not addressed in that passage.
The fact that some passages don't seem to you to be convincing, such as John 12:26 (which I DO find convincing – I will be "with Him" and not asleep after death), is not really an argument for discounting the entire teaching which is built on many scriptures and contradicted by none (that is a debate tactic).
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
Philippians 1:21-23 NIV
Pretty clear. Better for a Christian who is living for Christ to die . . .
because then he/she will "be with Christ". That clearly is "better by far" than
being in this world. The same thing does not apply, obviously, to being
unconscious in the grave.
Here are those links:
More on so-called "soul sleep"
Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy
Sleep as a Euphemism for Death
"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
The False Doctrine of Soul Sleep II
The false doctrine of "soul sleep".
In the Lazarus Parable, you violate the rules of Biblical Parables. Are
you using this parable in the context that Jesus spoke it? It was a
sharp criticism to the Pharisees in front of all the people listening to
Jesus that the temple leaders don’t even respect the teachings of Moses
and the Prophets! Then Jesus even prophecies his own death. He was angry
that even with all the signs and wonders, the leaders didn’t respect
Gods Word. Lazarus may very well have been risen from the dead at Jesus
2nd coming, Jesus was a prophet and God, so what, the story says that
the angels carried Lazarus to Abrahams bosom. (Was he still lame up in
heaven?) Bob, this a parable and there are rules. Will we still be able
to see and communicate with people in hell Bob? I’d like an answer.
The Old Testament states hundred of times And _David,Solomon etc_____slept with his fathers. I realize you’ve determined that “sleep” is a euphemism , but, since it’s repeated thousands of times in the new and old testaments, your claim doesn’t wash. You went so far as to state that this death sleep doctrine is like “a wondering spirit without a body”. Here in this Psalm the body is spoken of as dust. Several times I see that in scripture. There’s even a rule of consistency in the study of Bible reading. Psalm 90:3-6“You turn man back into dust and say” Return O children of men”. For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passers by, or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass that sprouts anew. Bob, perhaps you’re preferring to fill in the blanks in scripture by making “plausible sounding arguments”. My Gods timing can easily have a dead person go 5,000 years in a blink of an eye as the Psalm says. There’s a pattern all thru the Old and New Testament pairing death with sleep, in the Old Testament and played out in the words of Jesus where Jesus was even mocked to make a point in scripture. God has absolutely no problem with the concept of death or sleep. Please let these examples sit as scripture without discounting them as “Euphemisms”. All scripture is profitable for doctrine , for instruction, correction. Letting scripture interpret scripture in 1Thess 14:13-18, I guess you’ll be better off reading it yourself. I’ve spent 5 hours writing and re-texting and improving and editing until I’ve reached a view that I really don’t think you want to accept such a simple view as what scripture simple states. I think you have an agenda. “If what is written makes sense, seek no other sense, otherwise….. this modern view of yours was refuted by Martin Luther and others. You have inserted some sort of heavenly accommodation for the believers. None is necessary. I believe you constructed this path yourself. I love a lot of your insights, but I’ve read the Bible over a hundred times.
There’s a rule about consistency in Bible reading. The doctrine you insist upon isn’t consistent. Over 500 saints rose from the graves and tombs when Jesus did. 9 times people who were dead were raised to life. A very dead body was thrown on his grave and the body came to life. No filling in the blanks to avoid a view of a smelly body is worth changing a biblical doctrine over. It’s far to costly for you . I suggest you reconsider. I’m an ex-charismatic, ex-Calvinist ,ex-pre tribulation believer, ex- infant baptism believer , and an ex- immediate trip to heaven heretic. But, I fear God and respect scripture which is God.
The story of Lazarus is NOT a parable (as you would have seen if you'd
read the links). Christ's parables don't involve named people. Also, you
misunderstand parables. Pronouncing something a parable, even if it is
one, does not give you the right to reject what is IN the parable. Are
you saying that Abraham doesn't really exist? If it's a parable? That
Torments doesn't really exist, since this is "a parable"? Or you're just
throwing overboard the things which directly contradict your theology?
The saints that came out of the graves after the resurrection of Christ were resuscitated NOT resurrected – otherwise the resurrection would have taken place already, but in fact it is awaiting Christ's return. Resurrection is permanent and eternal. See the link for the difference.
Based on your first email here, you also clearly don't understand the basics of biblical anthropology: the dichotomous nature of human beings, et al. (here's the main link on that; don't have time to teach you from ABC over email).
All these objections are addressed in the links given last time – but you didn't bother to read them.
You've spent over five hours? Wow! I've been at this for over forty years. Do I have an agenda? Indeed. Feeding the sheep of Jesus Christ. What's your agenda? Trying to keep me from doing my job? Are you interested in learning the truth? If so, you are welcome to these studies. If you're just interested in an argument, I don't have the time for that.
I have come from a belief in soul sleep and am gradually becoming convicted that such a doctrine is in error.
I would like to ask for clarification on a couple of passages though. The first one is the following:
For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens. For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven. And [even] if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., "body-less"). 2nd Corinthians 5:1-3
(copied from your article "Sleep as a Euphemism for Death")
My question is as follows: If indeed a believer will, upon his death, go
to heaven and inhabit an interim body until the time of the resurrection
(2nd Coming), how can that body that is prepared for us in the heavens,
be described as "eternal"? If it is interim it is, by definition, not
eternal. The eternal body will be the one we inherit on earth upon
Christ's 2nd coming.
The second passage is the following one:
Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in Me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. If there weren't, I would have told you. For I am going in order to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also. John 14:1-3
This passage can quite easily be interpreted as Jesus preparing a place for us in Heaven while we "sleep" until He comes back to take us to Himself after the resurrection (2nd advent). It seems to be talking about a single future coming. What raises doubts in my mind is not whether we may interpret the rooms He went to prepare as bodies but rather what it says about His coming for us in the future. It appears to be talking about a single future coming. It seems that to say he will come for our souls every time a believer dies is a bit of a stretch.
I would really appreciate it if you could shed some light on these two questions of mine.
Good to make your acquaintance.
On 2nd Corinthians 5:1-3, the passage is mainly about the resurrection body; that is the one "eternal"; but for our comfort's sake – since Paul knew that his audience was also well aware that the resurrection was a long way off – he also reassures them (and us) that even though we die before the resurrection, we will still "not be naked" because we will have a temporary covering in the interim; cf. also Rev.6:7: "Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer": n.b. - this happens BEFORE the resurrection.
On John 14:1-3, "This passage can quite easily be interpreted as Jesus preparing a place for us in Heaven while we "sleep" until He comes back to take us to Himself after the resurrection" – I don't see how that follows at all. If we have a place in heaven, why would we be sleeping? As you rightly say, this is a passage that clearly is talking about eternity: He is going to "come back" and get us, and that is the resurrection at the second advent. Our eternal inheritance is in the New Jerusalem, but we are certainly also right to draw comfort from this that our Lord will be taking care of us in the meantime too – which He certainly does (see above).
Our spirits are taken to heaven upon death in the interim through angelic agency (on "souls" please see the link).
As to "rooms", the Greek word monai means "dwelling" or "waiting places", and not "rooms" in our sense of the word (nor certainly not "mansions" in terms of what is meant in contemporary English). So again, the idea of temporary residence is in view, and in this passage too we have the division between the Church in heaven awaiting the resurrection (in "waiting") and the Church "militant" still here on earth, many of whom will be resurrected while still alive at the Lord's return ("I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" NIV).
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you for your prompt reply.
I am relatively clear on 2Cor 5. My only question being when you say that "his audience was also well aware that the resurrection was a long way off". It seems to me that, based on some passages (e.g. 1Thess 4:15,17), the disciples themselves were not so sure of this. They expected to be alive at the 2nd coming, at least in an earlier stage. As time went on and the Spirit opened their understanding, it might have dawned on them that this would not be so. Also, the passage seems to be talking about an eternal body in the heavens that we will put on once we take off the earthly tent we currently inhabit. Again, this would seem to contradict the idea that the body in Heaven is a temporary one but I admit he may just be cutting a long story short and referring to the resurrection body as an eternal heavenly body.
I do still have some doubts, however, regarding John 14:1-3. However much I read it, the idea that comes across is that He is coming back at some point in the future, to get us and take us to where He is (the Heavens). In the meantime, He's been preparing a place for us there. Read in this way, what the passage is saying is that we will only be going to Heaven when Jesus comes back and the resurrection takes place (after the Tribulation and before the wrath of God is poured out - I see those as two different things), not before. This is also quite consistent with the imagery of a Hebrew wedding where, after signing the Ketubah, the groom goes back to his father's house to prepare a place for his bride, and only comes back for her when his father is satisfied that the dwellings are ready (i.e. not even the groom knows when he's coming back).
Of course I cannot dogmatically say what the whole Corinthian
congregation of the 1st century was thinking; but they were being taught
by the greatest of the apostles, and this epistle was written towards
the end of his ministry. The tension between the imminence of the end
and the length of the wait for it are issues that abide until this very
day, after all. On the one hand, we accept that we might be called to be
with the Lord at any time; on the other, we know that His return for us
is at least seven plus years away – because the Tribulation has not yet
begun (we will know when it has, absolutely: Rev.8:5). The same was true
in that time. The 2Cor.5:1-8. passage states that we long to be
resurrected and that we have confidence in that fact; and it adds that
even if we are "unclothed" (die) before the resurrection, we don't have
to worry about being naked. If Paul had said that we would have any
consciousness of nakedness, that would be an argument for the "soul[sic]-sleep"
fallacy; instead, Paul assures us that we will be "present with the
Lord" (v.8) – and realize it as those obviously NOT asleep – if we find
ourselves absent from this body, and also assures us that we will not be
naked either (i.e., our spirits will be clothed with an interim body).
As to John 14:1-3, indeed, our Lord's "coming back" for us does not occur until the second advent. But that fact does not render anything said in this passage untrue or problematic. The question to have asked would have been, "What happens if we die before that?"; and the answer is that we will wait in heaven in interim state (taken there by the angels) if such is the case. This discourse took place before the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, and our Lord tells the disciples repeatedly in the course of these four chapters (Jn.14-17) that they will understand . . . once the Spirit comes. Indeed, they did not understand fully about the break in the time-line for the insertion of the mystery age of the Church even on the brink of His ascension, errantly asking Him "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6 NKJV)
(7) And He said to them, "It is not for you to decide the times and occasions which the Father has ordained on His own authority (i.e., the Second Advent et al. will happen on His time-table, not yours). (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Hello Bob, thanks once again for the links provided in your mail.
I have also been debating some of the material on the 'state' of the dead and an 'interim state' prior to Resurrection with my Seventh Day Adventist partner and she has asked me to justify why i believe an interim state where the spirit returns to God makes any sense in the context of the Resurrection that will happen at the Second Coming. She says that the interim state thinking takes away the need for the Resurrection since the spirit has according to me left the body and returned to God upon physical death. So she argues that what i am saying does not make sense because if the interim state means being in a spiritual state with God, then why is this not the same as the Resurrection. She is firmly of the view based on SDA teachings that the dead do not exist until the Second Coming when Resurrection will happen. I have shared some of the references related to the 'interim state' that i read in your materials but i am being told that i'm reading things incorrectly for the convenience of my argument. One point raised by her is that if Lazarus went to heaven then why did he not speak about being in heaven (or hell) when Jesus raised him from the dead. I argued that this was because the Resurrection of Christ did not happen as yet to allow for that but could not answer as to why he did not speak of some type of interim state.
Any guidance that you are able to offer on this matter will be appreciated.
Yours in Christ.
Obviously, you are correct. As to what Lazarus said or didn't say, we weren't there! He never speaks in the Bible, but I'm sure he had plenty to say to his friends and family. In any case, that sort of "proof" can be used to prove anything. On the other hand, we have scriptures such as this:
Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in Me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. If there weren't, I would have told you. For I am going in order to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also.
For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens. For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven. And [even] if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., "body-less").
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3
Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
Revelation 6:11 ESV
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:13-17 NKJV
I've written a good deal about this issue. Here are some of the main links:
The false doctrine of "soul sleep".
Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
-Dear Dr. Luginbill-
I’m not able to find a scriptural answer to the following question – can you give me scriptural guidance on this subject?
In the scriptures there are many references (titles) to the person of the Holy Spirit, are any of these a “formal name” i.e. God the Father is Yahweh, God the Son is Yeshua?
I’m still striving on a daily basis to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, thank you for you ministry. It is a wonderful blessing to me and others, I’m sure.
Good to hear from you, my friend. I hope you're doing well?
The name "Holy Spirit" is formal, as far as I'm concerned (if by "formal" you mean specific). The Spirit is by divine choice the member of the Trinity who works in the background unseen (link), whereas the Son is the visible face of God. The Spirit does go by other names and has other symbols (see the link in BB 5). YHVH is the name for God, the Lord, applied to all three members of the Trinity as individuals (whereas 'Elohiym is collective; cf. Gen.1:26). That is true of the Spirit as well (2Cor.3:17).
Apologies in advance if I've missed the gist of your question. Feel free to rephrase and have another try.
Thanks for the good words!
-Good Morning Dr. Luginbill-
Both my wife and I are in our seventies, we are thankful for the gift of life and God’s provision each and every single day. We do have some health issues, but do place our confidence in the Lord. I pray and trust that you and your family are well also.
In my prayer life, I feel a deep need to recognize and address the totality of God, if that were even possible in human terms. Knowing that God is triune (3 persons yet one God) I’ve struggled with the proper Biblical salutation for each person of the God. Of course “Father” and “Son” seem to be more commonly used in Christian circles than direct addresses and prayers to the Holy Spirit. I struggle with using the salutation “Holy Spirit” because it does not seem to recognize personality, but perhaps more of an entity. Maybe, I’m just getting hung up on semantics, but I want to give proper respect to each Person of the Trinity. Thank you for your explanation and guidance!
May God continue to bless and use you to help many, like me, on a daily basis to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
I think I see what you're asking now.
I don't know of any place in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is addressed in prayer, nor any scripture which suggests that we should do so. The Spirit's chosen role in the plan of God, as mentioned, is one of invisible empowerment. The Spirit does intercede for us "with anguished supplications which words cannot express" (Rom.8:26), but does so without our asking. Even in Revelation where the Father and Son appear, the Spirit is represented by the seven lamps, but not seen and not addressed. You can find what I have written about this at the link: "The Holy Spirit's Chosen Role in the Plan of God" (in BB 5).
Feel free to write me back about this.
Thank you for your good words, my friend, and for your prayers!
Hello again Bob,
I just have a small question, I listened to a preacher on youtube, Bill Johnston and he said that when John the Baptist baptised Jesus that the Holy Spirit came down as a dove to Jesus and "remained on Him" so what do you think about this, as far as I know, the scripture doesn't say what happened after the Holy Spirit spoke about Jesus.
I hope all is well with you and yours and I am enjoying reading your last work.
This is an often misunderstood passage. Here's what I write about it in BB 5: Pneumatology:
g. The Dove: The Spirit's lighting upon our Lord Jesus Christ after His water-baptism by John is compared to that of a dove in all four of the gospel accounts, e.g.:
And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
Luke 3:22 NIV
It should be noted here as well as in all of the gospel accounts scripture is very careful not to say that the Spirit is or even is like "a dove", but merely that His descent upon our Lord was reminiscent of the descent of a dove. It seems clear that the peacefulness, mildness and unpresupposing nature of the dove are meant here. This is in keeping with the Spirit's gentle yet powerful manifestation of Himself behind the scenes in His empowering of the Plan of God.
Doing well! Hope you are too, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Savior,