Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Spirit of Man


The Greek word for the human “spirit” used in the Bible is “pneuma.” Spirit, or the Greek word “pneuma” primarily denotes the wind, to breath, blow, also breath; then especially, the spirit, which like the wind, is invisible and immaterial. Pneuma, or spirit, is the center of man’s being, the portion or area where God deals with humans. Before humans are regenerated, or “born again”, this space does not contain the Spirit of God, but and is either empty, or, at other times, can even be a dwelling place for demon spirits. However, the moment a person receives Christ as Savior, by faith, and is genuinely born again, God sends His Holy Spirit to take up residence in this area (1st Cor. 12:13), and from that time on, starts to communicate to the spirit of man by shaping, molding, and forming him into a new creation! Man’s spirit has a wall around it, dividing it from the soul. The only door into the spirit area, or opening, is guarded by the human “will.” The moment this will succumbs to the Will of God, the Holy Spirit enters this area where the new education of the sense faculties begin. As God has His way, this is the area where Faith, Hope, Prayer, Reverence, and Worship takes place. Therefore, we might refer to the human spirit, after regenerated by the Holy Spirit, as the location in man where all of his spiritual insight takes place!
The “Soul” of man is the part of man which is referred to by the Apostle Paul as “Natural.”, (1st Cor.2:14). The Greek word used for soul is “psuche.”According to Vine’s Dictionary, “Psuche”, the Greek word for “Soul”, “ denotes the breath, the breath of life, then the soul in various meanings such as natural life of the body, the seat of personality, the inward man, the seat of the new life, the life constituted in an individual.” “Natural men” mean the men that live animal lives, such as to satisfy the body’s need of food and sleep, gratify his passions, etc. The soul area of man has an outer dividing wall around it dividing it from the physical body, and the inner wall of the spirit. This outer wall has five openings in it which take in information fed to it by the physical body. The soul is the area where information of each individual intellect is stored to form a unique personality, different from any other. These five openings are in the outer wall to the soul, which are identified as: imagination, conscience, memory, reason, and affections. As the Holy Spirit works in the spirit area of man, there will be times of filling where the Holy Spirit will overflow from the filled spirit compartment into the compartment of the soul, transforming this area, also. Paul recognized this work of the Holy Spirit in genuine believers when he exhorted them in Romans 12:2 saying, “and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (soul compartment), that ye may prove what is good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
The Holy Spirit penetrates the “memory” openings of the wall housing the soul area, in order to go through the “will” opening of the spirit wall, into the spirit area.
The body is the physical container of man referred to by Paul as the “Carnal” (1st Cor. 3:1-3) part of man, which houses the soul and the spirit until physical death. The Greek word for body is “Soma”, and this physical house has five openings or gates, which take in information to the soul and spirit compartments, and are in contact with the physical realm. These five openings are: The eye gate takes in all the physical sights into the imagination opening of the soul. The nose gate takes in all the physical odors and smells, and corresponds to the “conscience” opening to the soul, by which the soul detects the presence of good and evil. The ear gate takes in sounds, or hears, corresponding to the memory opening to the soul which recalls what it heard. The mouth gate tastes physical foods, or body fuel, corresponding to the opening of “reason” to the soul permitting the soul to compare facts as the taste compares foods. The feel gate, or touch sense, is the hand by which the affection opening to the soul feels the person of the one it loves, and is warned of danger such as heat, cold, or pain, etc.
The Holy Spirit penetrates the body through the “ear gate”, in order to get through the “memory” gate to the soul, and the “will” gate to the spirit, because the Bible informs us in Romans 10:9 that “faith comes by HEARING, and hearing, by the Word of God.” Faith is a gift from God (1st Cor. 12:9) as well as a spiritual fruit of a regenerated spirit (Galatians 5:22), and is an absolute necessity in order to receive salvation, because we are told in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by Grace, through Faith, which is a Gift from God. Going back, for a moment, to the way this gift of God (faith) comes that brings salvation, is when faith comes through the “ear gate” by hearing the WORD of God, the Greek word for “Word” here, is “Rhema”, which actually means the spoken word, directly from God, or the direct communication from God. Another Greek word used for “word” in the New Testament, is “Logos”, meaning the written word of God, or the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 1:1), who was always with the Father. Faith does not come by “logos”, but by “Rhema.”
Before the diversion from man’s spirit becomes too confusing, the reason I am expounding saving faith is that so many times, it is hard to understand why a person will spend a life time reading the Bible and other Holy Writings, and takes this information in through the “eye gate” and never comes to a saving knowledge of Christ! Now, does this mean that the only way a person can get saved is by haring the bible preached, receiving it through the “ear gate?” The answer to that question is NO! A person can read the bible, taking this knowledge through the “eye gate”, and when it pleases God to reveal the saving knowledge of this information to the spirit, He will do so by transforming the “Logos” fed to the “eye gate” into “Rhema”, revealing it directly to the spirit, at which time, it becomes “Revelation Knowledge,” or quite simply, “Saving Faith” which is His Gift to His Elect, or “Marked.” This truth was revealed to Paul by Christ, because he passed it on to us in 1st Thess. 2:13; “For this cause also thank our God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you HEARD of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word (Rhema) of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
To complete this spiritual nature of man, when he is totally filled with the holy Spirit, the Spirit will fill both the spirit and soul compartments, overflowing into the body compartment. The physical manifestations of this occurrence in a believer filled with the spirit, can be utterances in foreign languages, healings, miracles, as listed in 1st Cor. 12. To be filled with the spirit is the greatest enemy to Satan, because sin will be replaced by the Spirit!
In order to complete the subject of the spirit of man, we must examine what happens to the spirit at the physical death of the body when the human spirit looses its home in the physical realm.
In Luke’s gospel, the story of the “rich man and Lazarus” is told, revealing a glimpse of the “underworld.” It describes two compartments; Hell and Paradise, separated by an impassable gulf. At the bottom of this gulf is “the bottomless pit” or “abyss.” Evil spirits, or demons are confined temporarily in this pit, which has a king called “Apollon”, and is kept locked by God who commissions an angel to open it any time he wants to (Revelations 9:1-11; 17:8; 20:1-3).
Before Christ was resurrected, the spirit and soul of the Elect who died physically went to the “Paradise” compartment of this underworld. This was the place where Christ met the penitent thief. after His death on the Cross. When Christ Note that in Luke 23:43, Jesus said to the penitent thief “Verily I say to you, Today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Now if Paradise at that time was in Heaven, where did He go at death, and where did He spend the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection? After He was resurrected first appeared to Mary Magdalene, and she recognized Him calling Him “master” (John 20:16), Jesus said to her, “touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17). So, obviously, Jesus met the penitent thief the day of their physical deaths in Paradise which was in the depths of the earth at that time! When Christ was resurrected, His soul and spirit returned from the underworld, of which He brought back all the occupants of Paradise and locked it up. He now has the “Keys of Death and Hades”, (Revelation 1:18). Death refers to the grave, and Hades to the underworld. Some of those who came back from Paradise with Christ received their bodies rising and ascending with Him as the “First Fruits” of the resurrection from among the dead. (Matt.27:52,53.) The rest were moved to the “Third Heaven”, where Paul was caught up, )2nd Cor. 12:1-4). Paul referred to it as Paradise. Therefore, since the resurrection of Christ, Paradise moved from the underworld to the third Heaven, and now contains the spirits and souls of all the righteous dead, from Adam to the present. They, and all the future believers who die “in Christ”, and go there, will remain until the time when Christ comes back to meet His church in the air (1st Thess. 4:14), bringing them from Paradise to re-unite with their bodies from the grave, and they (these with their new glorified bodies like the body of Jesus), shall ever be with Him. (This subject needs to be discussed more in detain in another thesis under “Eschatology.”)
As for the wicked dead in the Hell compartment of the underworld, as far as we know, they are still there and will remain there until the second resurrection, when they will return to the earth and get their bodies, and proceed to the “Great White Throne” judgment. After judgment, they will be sentenced to the “Second Death” meaning that they will die again, loosing their bodies, and as “disembodied spirits”, they will be cast into the “lake of fire”, (Gr. Gehenna, the “Final Hell”). The last verse of Isaiah describes a place in the earth where they will be as an example for others to look at! “And they shall go forth and look upon the carcass of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. This will be the final eternal prison of all the reprobate, and evil spirits of all ages after the earth is “renovated by fire” and cleansed of all evil and rebellious spirits.
Eternal Flame