Risen from the Dust
In the previous chapter, we looked at various Hebrew and Greek words that support the concept of human souls in the bible. Moving away from our study of these different spiritual words, there are several passages that in-and-of themselves "lock in" the existence of human souls.
One such passage is from Isaiah, where we are given a future vision of Sheol, "Hell [Sheol] from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" (Isaiah 14.9-10 KJV bible). This passage is important because it describes the disembodied souls of the dead being "stirred up", as part of a future prophecy. A similar verse is in Ezekiel, where he depicts the souls of the dead speaking out from their place, "The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell [Sheol] with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword" (Ezekiel 32.21 KJV bible).
There are also many persuasive verses in the New Testament, that acknowledge the existence of human souls. In the gospel of Mark, both Moses and Elijah are witnessed by the disciples talking with Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration, "And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus...For he [Peter] wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid" (Mark 9.2-4 KJV bible). Unless one is to argue that something absurd was going on such as a mass hallucination or hologram, the only conclusion to be drawn from this is that the disembodied souls of both Moses and Elijah were present on the mountain with Jesus. Apparently, the disciples were convinced of this as well, even to the point of being terrified.
We can draw many other examples of human souls from the New Testament. For example, in the book of Luke, we are given a vision of the hereafter in which three individuals are identified as disembodied souls, "And in hell [Hades] he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16.23-24 KJV bible). Another example is in Revelation, where the disembodied souls of people who have passed on are depicted in heaven, "And they [the elders] sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation 5.9 KJV bible), (see also Revelation 6.9-10, and 7.9-10).
In 2nd Corinthians, Paul describes being taken up to the third heaven, and speaking of himself he says, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven" (2nd Corinthians 12.2 KJV bible). Paul is saying that he was taken up to the third heaven, either in his own mind through a vision from God, or via his soul leaving his body and going there. By mentioning this second possible scenario, "or whether out of the body", he is acknowledging that his center of consciousness lies within an immaterial soul dwelling within his flesh body. Further, he is acknowledging that this soul continues on apart from the body, as would be the case if he went to the third heaven apart from his body. This is why in Philippians, Paul speaks of desiring to depart from the flesh and be with Christ, "But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you" (Philippians 1.22-24 KJV bible), (see also 2nd Corinthians 5.2-9).
Likewise, Peter implies that his spiritual soul is the center of his being, when he describes the putting off of his earthly tent or dwelling, "Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me" (2nd Peter 1.14 KJV bible). He also speaks of the gospel being declared unto the dead, "For for this cause was the gospel preached [Greek: euaggelizo - to announce good news] also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit" (1st Peter 4.6 KJV bible). This delivering of good news to the dead, indicates that they must exist in a disembodied spiritual state.
Lynda 19 Oct 2010, 11:09Does the word of God say anything about what our souls do everyday in heaven? I mean is it like the first earth age when we ate and drank and worked with our families? Or is there a great hall where eveyone is just waiting for God to finish his plan? What are they doing?
Doug Buckley 20 Oct 2010, 13:03Hi Lynda, there are some passages in Revelation, but nothing too definitive. Time might even pass by faster in heaven, since a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2nd Peter 3.8). The important thing is that the souls in heaven are waiting to return here with Christ. Revelation 6.10-11 depicts disembodied souls in heaven during the tribulation period, and they are waiting for the time when Christ will avenge them upon the earth.
David 24 Jul 2011, 20:30Brother Doug suggested that I look at this page, but I do not quite agree with most of the examples here, so I will offer an alternative interpretation. Isaiah 14:9-10 probably refers to the resurrection in which all the dead will be raised, because God will cause Hades to give up the dead in it. Ezek 32:21 is either similar or just figurative like Abel speaking in Heb 11:4. Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus because God had raised Moses out of death (Elijah did not die). The physically dead in the scriptures are never considered souls (beings) until they are raised. Luke 16 is probably partially figurative because there is no clear second witness. Rev 5:9 refers to resurrected believers. 2 Cor 12:2 and Phlp 1:22-24 and 2 Pet 1:14 are indeed clear evidence that the body was never considered a part of the person himself, and we also know that visions have always been seen in spirit. 1 Pet 4:6 does not refer to the physically dead but the ones who are dead in God's eyes because of sin (Gen 2:17, Luke 15:24, John 5:25, 6:57, 10:10, Rom 6:11-13, 8:10, Eph 2:1-9). Rev 6:10-11, like most of Revelation, is partially figurative.
Doug Buckley 25 Jul 2011, 14:38David, here are my reasons for believing in disembodied souls,
David 26 Jul 2011, 05:06Dear Doug,
Doug Buckley 26 Jul 2011, 14:33Hi David, a couple points, 1st Corinthians 15.44 was to point out that the resurrection is into spiritual bodies, which you agree with anyways.
Robert 04 Sep 2011, 15:49Part of my confusion and Iam sure lots of christians, but I can only speak for myself, get a little confused when the bible says that the dead know nothing, which sounds like lights out completly could you please elaborate on this passage are you conscience after death or not.
Doug Buckley 05 Sep 2011, 04:58Yeah, there's plenty of verses that seem to support the dead being unconscious or not having souls. The people who believe this aren't pulling it out of thin air, but alot of these verses can be explained easier than the ones that support human souls.
David Lim 05 Sep 2011, 06:32Dear Robert,
Lynda 19 Sep 2011, 12:01Lynda Sept.19, 2011
Robert 07 Oct 2011, 21:21Dear, Bro.Doug and Bro.David, thanks for your response to my question, are the dead conscience or not. I have another question, I have had spiritual encounters from those that have passed on, which was a little creepy, but was a beautiful encounter that I feel priviledged to have expierienced. When I mention this to some christians, their first respons is, what I expierenced were demons pretending to be a friend or loved one. If thats the case then satan screwed up because it drew me closer than ever to the Lord and let me know that this is not all there is. Can the dead visit the living, can some souls become trapped earth bound spirits and how can you tell when they are demons which the bible warns us about.
Doug Buckley 08 Oct 2011, 02:06Hi Robert, its hard to say what exactly you experienced. Demons are disembodied souls of some kind. They are disembodied souls that have come out of the Abyss which is related to Hades (Luke 8.31 and Romans 10.7) (see bible question on demons). Unless a spirit is from God you really don't want anything to do with it, and even then it says Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
David Lim 08 Oct 2011, 04:53Dear brother Robert,
Doug Buckley 09 Oct 2011, 14:16David makes some good points, and it all boils down to only God and Christ being our light in the darkness.
Lea 22 Oct 2011, 13:50I don't see how there can be a debate as to whether humans have souls or not. It's clear in scripture that we have them. Understanding the difference between spirit and soul is another matter. The Word can divide the spirit from the soul (Heb 4:12). The question I have is, where in scripture does it say that the soul can live eternally if it does not have a body? The spirit is the only eternal part of our being (for those who have accepted Christ). If people are suffering in hell (whichever place of hell you choose, there are four in the scriptures), how can they be if they are not eternal beings? Scripture says that the souls dies or is destroyed but I don't know where it says that it lives on. I can only think of few places where we would get the concept of eternal torment, the story of Lazarus and the rich man (which is a story that we are not certain really happened), and maybe the transfiguration on the mount might indicate disembodied souls. any others
Doug Buckley 23 Oct 2011, 06:23Hi Lea, I agree that the bible teaches that people have souls or spirits that continue on after they die. There is another school of thought that says people don't have souls and only exist in the flesh. We have to be careful because the words that are often translated as soul in the bible don't mean soul like we think of it.
Dianne 29 Dec 2011, 03:43Hi, I am trying to learn all I can about Death and Heaven. There is some contreversy on whether we go to Heaven as believers when we die or if we just sleep in the ground until the 2nd coming. My Mom just passed away recently and she was 100% believer in God. She raised me to be a believer, but I cannot say that I am, as I can't seem to believe what I can't see. Lately, I've had some things happening around the house that are unexplained. My question is this...If when we die we are just asleep, is it possible for the dead to dream in this state and can they visit the people they loved here? If there are 3 heavens, which one would my Mom be in if she's not just napping? Can she visit me from Heaven? She died suddenly and unexpectedly. She believed she would survive the surgery, which she did only to suffer a freak complication the next morning which ultimately over the corse of 5 days caused brain death. I need answers to where she is and whether or not I'm losing it when I feel her presence or things are distinctively moved in my house without explaination. I believe that there is a God, and I believe that there are things that can't be explained but my Aunt says that if I'm thinking that my Mom is still around me, it's of the devil and that it's impossible. Please help me. I'm trying to find the truth.
Doug Buckley 29 Dec 2011, 04:00Hi Dianne, I moved your question over here because Robert asked a very similar question already, so please read the previous posts. The souls of the dead go to either Hades or heaven. The dead do have souls and so its possible they could contact or communicate with the living, if God allows it. The problem is that there isn't alot of precedent for this in the bible. In Luke 16 the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers, and Abraham says that they have the prophets and Moses. That is the best advice that someone who is dead could give to someone who is living; read the scriptures and put your trust in them, because they are the answer. The souls of the dead can't help beyond this.
Dianne 29 Dec 2011, 09:04Hi Doug, Thank you for your response. I did read the other posts and have to say I think I may be even more confused. As I said before there is so much disagreement on what really happens after death, that it's really hard to determine what to believe. Some believe as you do, that we go straight to Heaven, others believe we are in a peaceful sleep state awaiting God's return. I am not familiar with books and verses, I only know the statements my Mom made. One verse that makes me believe that we go straight to Heaven is one that states something like because we are saved we are void of Judgement. To me that means that the souls that are in Hades will face judgement day but the ones who served God while they were here don't have to wait for judgement because they won't be judged. Am I right about this and if so what is the book and chapter? As far as my last post, I have had beautiful experiences, one of which I truly believe was my Mom being allowed by God to comfort me. My Mom was all I had in this world. She was my everything. She lived with me for the last 11 1/2 years. She was my best friend, my teacher, my preacher, my coffee in the morning, Phone calls on break at work, the one who greated me when I came home and my hug and "I love you" at night. I was completely devistated when I lost her, even thought of suicide more than once. It ultimately put me on this journey searching for God and the truth. I've always had a hard time with faith and believing in things I can't see, but this loving experience I had made me realize that there is more. I was standing in my kitchen doing a task that my Mom and I did together everyday. I had been begging God to just let me know she is okay. I was crying that morning because her absence was so profound at that moment. All of a sudden I felt this warm, static like feeling focused in the middle of my back and seemed to slowly go through my whole body. I wasn't scared or "freaked out" because I just knew my Mom was giving me a "Heavenly Hug" I didn't want to move and I stood there until it subsided because I didn't want her to leave or think that I was scared. Afterward, I felt a sadness but a peace. Some other things have happened that did kind of "freak me out" such as coming home to find my front door wide open when it was dead bolted, getting locked in the bathroom from the outside Hook and Eye lock. Finding my pantry doors (spring loaded) wide open and a tote taken out and placed on the floor between the doors. But the Freak out was momentary, because I knew somehow it was my Mom. I believe that God does allow her to give me signs that she is okay because I am so distraught and actively seeking the truth. He allows her to comfort me because I am broken and it's part of his love for me to give me a sense of peace. I don't know much, only what my Mom tried to teach me (that I of course never really accepted) but I know that she always said that the desire of her heart was for her family to be reunited with her in Heaven. Like Robert, these experiences have only defeated the Devil as it is pulling me closer to faith and to all of the things that I could never believe before. My Mom is working for God now and I believe she is still teaching me and Preaching to me from her Heavenly place, because she wants me to join her there when God's plan for me has run it's course. Am I anywhere near the right path here? Thank you for all your insight, it is appreciated.
David Lim 29 Dec 2011, 10:32Dear Dianne,
David Lim 29 Dec 2011, 10:34Hmm the link was broken somehow (there should be no spaces):
Doug Buckley 29 Dec 2011, 14:40Hi Dianne, I can tell that you are distraught over losing your mother, and I am sorry for your loss. You will absolutely be reunited with her at the end. It's not uncommon for people who going through something like this to desperately want to make contact with, or hear from, or continue to have a relationship with the deceased person. Nothing good comes of it. The bible says that angels can be ministering spirits, but not deceased loved ones. In 1st Samuel 28 Saul contacts a dead prophet, because the Lord isn't answering him. Around verses 15-16 Samuel is angry and tells Saul that he should have listened and obeyed God.
Dianne 29 Dec 2011, 17:32Thank you David for your insight as well. I don't think it's a Medium type thing. I think that my Mom and I were so very close here, we needed each other as we were all the other had except of course my Mom had God and we had other family, but it was basically her and I taking on the world and surviving together. So I think, if nothing else that it may have been an Angel who "hugged" me that Morning. It may not have been my Mom herself, but some kind of intervention letting me know that she is okay. I still smell her perfume and I can't move anything in her room. I miss her so, but I prayed to God ever since she passed to please just let me know that he's real, that heaven is real and that she is there with him and in being given that knowledge I could begin to heal. I don't want to think of my precious Mother just "taking a dirt nap" for however long it takes God to come back. I don't want to think of my Mom who was the most faithful, loving, selfless believer in God maybe not going to the Heaven she used to get excited just thinking of. I used to listen to my Mom talk about how joyful and amazing it would be when she got to see her Fathers face and how she longed to dance and sing before him and lay at his feet. She would beam with enthusiasm, like a child looking at the presents under the Christmas tree. She was by no means perfect, we all fall short of the glory of God, but my Mother loved with an innocent, pure love. she gave so much of herself to her family, friends and even animals and strangers. She always put God first and would get so angry with me when I questioned his very existance. She'd say "I know, that I know. I can't explain how I know, I just do." That was my Mom. We would frustrate each other to now end. Myself being the hard headed pessimist and she the eternal believer in God and faithful in all his works. Maybe God gave me that hug, maybe he gives me the comforting scent of her perfume. Honestly, I don't care if it wasn't really my Mom as long as I know it's an answer to my question for God. Does he exist, is there a heaven and is my Mom there with him? My Mom always said the same that paranormal experiences were forbidden and not of God, but I always told her that if something happened to her that she'd have to find a way to let me know she was okay or I didn't think I'd get through it. A month ago, I was sure that there was no God and that the bible was just some super myth written to keep us all in line and controlled. I wanted to die, because my heart hurts so bad every day. But the memory of my sweet Mom's voice saying "you can't go to heaven if you commit suicide" kept me from actually going through with it. My thing right now is, I need to find proof of God and heaven, because if everything my Mom said to me all my life is true, I need to know him. Right now I know that it is for a selfish reason, because I want to be with my Mom again. I want to know that it's possible. I know I should want to go to heaven to see him and that should be my main reason, but right now all I want is to see my Mom and hug her again. I know that if I can find proof of God that I will learn to love him like my Mother did and then my main priority will be to behold his face. I want to know him personally, but I don't know how to believe without proof. Always been my biggest problem. It drove my Mom nutts that I couldn't just take her word for it and believe. I'm trying. I want to know what she knew and go where she is. I'm looking and I think I found a good start here. I figure if all of these genius scientists can actually announce that aliens made us in their image and that the end of the world is actually an alien invasion, then why is it so hard to believe in God....Thank you David and Doug for helping me try to put it all together. I wish I had the patience to actually read and understand the bible, it just confuses me.
David Lim 29 Dec 2011, 21:04Dear Dianne,
Dianne 30 Dec 2011, 08:31Thank you David, I would be grateful for any help I can find on this quest. It is very important to me that I get to a place where all the doubt in my mind is replaced by unquestionable knowledge of God and what it all means. I appreciate the patience and understanding that you and Doug have shown me here and maybe God can't let her "visit" me but maybe he can tell her that I am seeking him, I know that would make her proud. I want her to know that I did listen to her, even though I didn't exercise it then, it is the foundation for me now, to find him and ultimately find my way back to her through him. Feel free to retrieve my email from Doug and if you would both like to help me with scripture (I need all the help I can get there) I would be grateful. Thank you
veronica 10 Feb 2012, 23:08i can see angels i see five of them everyday and i dont understand why like i seen this guy since i was a kid im 27 yrs old now im in love with him he died in 1988 i was born in 1985 i was 14yrs when i saw him he ben with me evey since he wearin a red sweater white t shirt undereath blue jeans an red boots now he corssin over hes the sixth angel i see them in smile my grand father dide before i was born i can see him my grandmother died when i was 23yrs old i can see her my body here i can see heaven my dad kiss me when i with there he said welcome home
Lea 11 Feb 2012, 09:34Hello Dianne. I think if any believer is honest they will admit that they have their times of doubt. It's normal. Our flesh/ego can be very strong and pushy and it's a daily battle making it submit to our spirit but if you have made Jesus Lord of your life, He dwells inside of you and you have Holy Spirit to help every step of the way (all you have to do is ask Him). I can assure you, if you truly give your life to Christ, you do not have to worry about being with your Mom again. You can know in your spirit this peace but the thing is, we have to hold on to our peace because we have an enemy that is working overtime to try to steal it from us by planting seeds of doubt.
Rules: (1) Posts should be on topic. Your comments and questions should be about the section you post them in. (2) Comments should be civil. No disrespectful, slanderous,
or abusive posts. (3) No repetitive, harassing, or continuous posting. (4) Avoid swearing and vulgar language. (5) No copying and posting of material from other writers and websites.
Spam filter by Akismet.