Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #4 Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Psy·khe′ appears by itself 102 times in the Westcott and Hort text of the Christian Greek Scriptures. We may assume that when we have so many references to the same word or subject we would have enough opportunity to make it possible to get a clear concept of the sense that these terms conveyed to the minds of the inspired Bible writers. When you compare one verse in one book with another verse from another book in the sample of Bible Books, as a reader you should be able to get some idea what they really meant by those words[1]. It should give a clear concept of the sense their writings should convey to the readers mind. An examination shows that, while the sense of these terms is broad, with different shades of meaning, among the Bible writers there was no inconsistency, confusion, or disharmony as to man’s nature, as existed among the Grecian philosophers of the so-called Classical Period.

The New Testament uses the word psyche to refer to life. Though Jesus says psyche is more than food or drink or clothing, it is clear from his words that psyche depends on these things (Matthew 6:25; Luke 12:22-23). Without food and drink the psyche would perish because the body would perish. Psyche is also subject to other frailties. The psyche of Epaphroditus was near to death due to illness (Philemon 2:30). Jesus, healing a man’s hand, asks whether it is better on the Sabbath to save psyche or to kill psyche (Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9). Psyche is something that can be harmed or even killed, and requires healing. Those “souls” with Paul on his voyage to Rome were in danger of shipwreck (Acts 27:10, 22, 37) and eight “souls” were saved from the Flood in the Ark (1 Peter 3:20). As child, Jesuspsyche was threatened by Herod (Matthew 2:20), and Elijah’s psyche was threatened by Jezebel (Romans 11:3). In all these cases it is clear that psyche means life, not some immaterial substance.

The fate of the psyche is equally clear in the NT. Far from being innately immortal, the psyche can be destroyed by capital punishment (Acts 3:23), for example. After death the psyche, rather than floating off to some other realm, resides in the grave – just as the psyche of Jesus did (Acts 2:27, 31). There is no verse in the NT that ascribes immortality to the psyche.

English: The Soul of the Rose, oil in canvas b...

The Soul of the Rose, oil in canvas by John William Waterhouse (British, 1849-1917), shows the mortal Psyche admiring the Eros’s magical garden, the Greek god of life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If psyche referred to your personhood or personality, to who you really were, then many expressions in the NT simply wouldn’t make sense. When Peter is willing to die for Jesus he says “I will lay down my psyche for you” (John 13:37); if Peter is his psyche and if that psyche survives death then what would Peter be laying down? Similarly, when Jesus gave his psyche (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 10:11, 15, 17; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16) what was it that he gave? If Jesus’ soul survived death then obviously the one thing he didn’t give was his soul. Paul says “I do not account my psyche of any value nor as precious to myself” (Acts 20:24); which is a bizarre and contradictory thing to say if he is his psyche. In all these cases, psyche would be better translated “life”. When Jesus talks about the danger that you might lose your psyche (Matt 10:39; Matt 16:25-6; Mark 8:35-7; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; John 12:25), he cannot be referring to an innately immortal, immaterial, substance that is you. Again, in these cases psyche is better translated “life”.

One potentially odd verse is Matthew 10:28:

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the psyche. Rather fear him who can destroy both psyche and body in Gehenna.

This verse is clearly incompatible with the immortality of the soul, since here Jesus says that the soul can be destroyed. However this verse might be read as saying that the body and psyche die separately, that mere men cannot kill the psyche, and that the psyche will be finally destroyed in Gehenna. The parallel in Luke 12:4-5 does not mention the psyche, saying:

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

This sounds like there is some part of you that survives the death of the body that might be cast into hell. However once it is understand that Gehenna is a metaphor for complete annihilation after the final judgement then any appearance of the immortality of the soul disappears. According to Luke’s account Jesus is effectively saying “don’t fear death, fear a negative judgement in the Last Days”. Matthew’s account presumably has the same meaning. Psyche in Matt 10:28 cannot mean “life” (in a mundane sense), as Jesus implies that human adversaries cannot kill the psyche, but nor can psyche here mean immortal soul, as Jesus implies that God can and will destroy the psyche of the wicked. The phrase “cannot kill the psyche” in Matthew 10:28 cannot be taken in an absolute sense, because it is clear from Matthew 2:20 that, in Matthew’s own terminology, the psyche can be killed. The best way to make sense of Matthew 10:28 is to remember that Jesus believed in resurrection. Jesus believed that he would give up his psyche (Matthew 20:28) but that he would get it back. In the same way, the believer should not fear those who might take their lives because God is able to give them back their lives.

The Supreme Being, the True God that made the world and all things therein, being Lord of heaven and earth. He is the only Immortal Being (1 Tim 1:17). All the other beings have a beginning and an end to their existence or ‘being’. Their psyche came from nothingness or dust and shall again become nothingness or dust, not able to think or do anything. This will be so for plants, animals and mammals like human beings exactly the same; none of them shall be able to take anything with them in death or could do anything in death. We are all, believers and non-believers, doomed to pass away, just perishing and not going to continue to live in another form, but all coming to nought.

 

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[1] Studying the Bible demands such a comparison of verses to get a right insight of what the text really may mean.

 

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Preceding:

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Next:

Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit

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Additional reading:

  1. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  2. Is there an Immortal soul
  3. Bible sayings on the situation and place for the dead
  4. Jesus three days in hell
  5. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  6. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  7. What date was the Flood?
  8. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  9. God’s wrath and sanctification
  10. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  11. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  12. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  13. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  14. To be prepared and very well oiled
  15. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings

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Further reading

  1. The Journey of Self-Realization, is to Realize the Truth, Each Day.
  2. Von Belastbarkeitsgrenzen und der Sache mit dem Lernen
  3. A Return to Self
  4. Out of the Way (Mark 8:35)
  5. Emotional body’s set flexibility?
  6. Taking Care Of Your Psyche > Taking Care Of Your Psyche
  7. Mentality: Psyche, Slumps and the Perils of Hope

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Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go

“Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go”

 

These words should be familiar to all Bible readers: they are the words of the “two men … in white robes” (a common way of describing angels) – it is what they said to the disciples as their astonished eyes watched their Lord ascend upwards “and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9-11). We suspect it was no ordinary cloud, but like the cloud that Moses climbed up into on the mountain (Exodus 24:16).

“9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 ASV)

“And the glory of Jehovah abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.” (Exodus 24:16 ASV)

English: Israel location Judea and Samaria.

Israel location Judea and Samaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Countless generations of Bible believers have looked for their Lord to descend from heaven in their lifetime. The disciples had asked,

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (verse 6)

and were told by their Lord they were to be “my witnesses in Jerusalem” – but ultimately that the witnessing was to be “to the end of the earth” (verse 8). He had said this earlier, also on the mount of Olives,

“this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The other sign which Jesus gave, which Luke also recorded, was that

“Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (21:24).

 

Today, Jerusalem is constantly a centre of world attention – and the returned Jews have made it the capital of their resurrected country. The evidence is plain that the climax of the ages is near. But we know, and must emphasize that it was not for his disciples, then or now, to know exactly when. Notice again the answer of Jesus when the disciples asked him,

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (verse 6).

They were commissioned to be “my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria” (verse 8). It is for true believers today to complete that commission “… and to the end of the earth”.

Are you his disciple? Are you helping this commission to be carried out? If you are, you will be really looking for his return “in the same way (as the disciples) saw him go into heaven”.

As his disciple you will be following the examples given in the book of Acts, which we have now started reading. Notice the way in which the Old Testament is often quoted as an essential part of that message. It tells us many details of the Kingdom Jesus will set up, also giving us examples of faithful service (and failures) as we are reading in the book of Deuteronomy.

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Additional reads:

  1. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  2. Angels (“Our world” article)
  3. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  5. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  6. Jeruzalem Gods city
  7. Jerusalem God’s City for ever
  8. Presentation: Crisis in the Middle East – Bible Expectations
  9. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  10. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  11. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  12. Armageddon, har and megiddo, an action or a place
  13. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  14. The Song of The Lamb #8 Revelation 15 Lessons for us today
  15. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  16. Certainty in a troubled world
  17. The day is near studyweekend
  18. End Times
  19. The Conclusion of the System of Things
  20. Signs of the Last Days
  21. 14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus
  22. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v14-20 Pentecostal Sermon
  23. Because men choose to go their own way
  24. The famine of the word
  25. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  26. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  27. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  28. Zion, Flames, Terror, Signs and Games of Peace
  29. Babylon is fallen
  30. Gaza in Bible Prophecy
  31. Hamas the modern Philistines
  32. Turkey and Pictures for the times coming
  33. Syrian capital facing total destruction in the coming months
  34. Crimea votes overwhelmingly to join Russia
  35. Swallowing up Crimea, who is next
  36. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  37. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  38. Breathing to teach
  39. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  40. Together tasting a great promise
  41. Witnessing Glad Tidings
  42. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  43. Will Jesus ever return to the earth?
  44. Articles on the Belgian Biblestudents about the Return of Christ
  45. The Return of Christ seen through the eyes of the Brethren of Christ
  46. The Ecclesia of the Belgian Christadelphians looking at the Return of Christ
  47. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?
  48. Looking forward to the return of Jesus
  49. Secret or public return of Jesus

 

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  • Friday (April 25): “It is the Lord.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus. The Gospels, however, give us a vivid picture of the reality of the resurrection. Jesus went out of his way to offer his disciples various proofs of his resurrection – that he is real and true flesh, not just a spirit or ghost. In his third appearance to the apostles, after Jesus performed the miraculous catch of fish, he prepared a breakfast and ate with them. Peter’s prompt recognition of the Master – It is the Lord! – stands in sharp contrast to his previous denial of his Master during the night of Jesus’ arrest. The Lord Jesus reveals himself to each of  us as we open our hearts to hear his word. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you receive his word with faith?
  • The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven (viviansielaff.wordpress.com)
    After Jesus resurrection He was with the disciples for forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:2-3). And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which they Father has put in His own authority. “But you shall receive power when they Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8
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    This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
  • Luke 9:28-36 (arietta18.wordpress.com)
    at the transfiguration, Peter, John, and James would, in a sense, get to see the kingdom of God.
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    This appearance was the same or similar to the appearance that Jesus would have after his resurrection when hewas exalted to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.Later, in Acts, when Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr, was being stoned to death, he “looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55b NIV).  A few chapters later, the Apostle Paul saw Jesus appear to him
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    In the transfiguration, we get a glimpse of heaven, where all the dead in Christ will rise and be glorified with him.
  • Mystery – What causes a Christian to be set apart part 2? (lhwm1.wordpress.com)
    There is a mystery that surrounds the cross of Christ. Jesus the Son of God, Savior of mankind, Lord of Lords and King of Kings beaten until He no longer looks like a human being. Unbelievers see Jesus as weak and unable to stop His horrible death. (Luke 23:35, 39)
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    The death of the coming Messiah was told to the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah 53) and was planned before the beginning of time. The mystery was not death itself; it was the method and purpose of His death on the cross.  How could the Messiah die and reign forever. There was certainly no seeing the cross for the unity of Gentiles and Jews (Ephesians 3:3-6). All this was kept hidden until Jesus Christ came to the earth. He would tell his disciples in detail of His death and resurrection.
  • Lift Up Your Heads – a take on the ‘Olivet Discourse’ (Luke 21:5-38) (newjerusalem.net.au)
    Jesus says that they will see the Son of Man ‘from now on’ – ie. from that moment. It seems that on these two occasions Jesus is not speaking of an event, as much as a position of power and authority. In fact, He is making an unveiled reference here (and every time he calls himself ‘the Son of Man’) to Daniel 7
  • The True Easter Story (findingmywayinfo.wordpress.com)
  • Happy Resurrection Day! Christ IS Risen! (wrightlexi83.wordpress.com)
  • FFOZ TV Review: The Restoring the Kingdom (mymorningmeditations.com)
  • Jesus Is in Every Book of the Bible! (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
  • Morning Prayer 4.23.14, Wednesday in Easter Week (dailyoffice.org)
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