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Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 24:42-51 – Stay Awake!

|| Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

MT24:42 “So, continue to remain awake[1] because none of you has any idea[2] on what kind of day[3] your Master is arriving.[4] {LK21:34 But, pay attention to yourselves[5] that somehow your hearts become heavy[6] because of overeating, drunkenness, and anxieties[7] LK21:35 and suddenly that Day rise as a snare![8] For that Day will come upon everyone who lives on the surface of the whole earth.[9] LK21:36 Keep awake and all the time begging [God] so you might be strong enough to escape[10] everything about to occur and to stand before the Son of Humankind.[11]} MT24:43 But, know this that if the household had known[12] in what watch the thief arrived[13] he would have stayed awake and his house would not be ransacked. MT24:44 You also prove yourselves ready[14] because in an hour you are not expecting[15] the Son of Humankind is coming.[16] {MK13:34 It is like a man[17] leaving his own House and giving authority to his people, to each one his own duties,[18] commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. MK13:35 So, you stay awake, for when the Master of the House is coming you do not know. Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn.[19] MK13:36 Or, the Master of the House, having arrived suddenly,[20] might find you sleeping.[21] MK13:37 But, what I say to you, I say to all:[22] Stay awake!} MT24:45 Really, who is the faithful and discreet slave[23] whom his Master appointed over the Master’s own domestics[24] to give them food at an appointed time?[25] MT24:46 Happy is that slave, when his Master arrives,[26] finds him doing so. MT24:47 I tell you this truth: the Master will appoint him[27] over all his belongings. MT24:48 But, if ever that bad slave[28] says in his heart: ‘My Master is taking his time!’[29] MT24:49 and he should start beating his fellow slaves[30] and eat and drink[31] with the drunkards MT24:50 the Master will arrive[32] in that day he is not expecting and in an hour[33] he is not knowing MT24:51 and the Master will cut him asunder[34] and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!”

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[1] Continue to remain awake: Or, watch therefore [KJV], keep awake [NEB], be watching [BAS], be on the alert [WEY].

[2] Has any idea: Or, ye know not [KJV], you do not know [NEB]. Compare Matthew 24:6 and Acts 1:7.

[3] What kind of day: Or, what hour [KJV], on what day [ASV], what sort of [KIT], on what day [BAS], in what hour [DAR]. It is possible the phrase means what time of the day as well. Compare Mark 13:35.

[4] Your Master is arriving: Or, doth come [KJV], your Lord will come [BAS], is coming [KIT]. The Greek is ERKHETAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064], used both of persons arriving and of those returning, and may, according to context be rendered “returning.” The word is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA used elsewhere in Matthew 24 but never in Mark 13 and Luke 21.

[5] Pay attention to yourselves: Now the Nazarene concludes with directions to remain awake and alert. In Mark and Luke the teachings end here but in Matthew chapter 25 a series of parables are given outlining two groups: the faithful and unfaithful or the righteous and unrighteous.

[6] Heavy: Or, weighed down. RSV, NIV KJV: overcharged with surfeiting; LB: living in careless ease; PME: clouded with dissipation; TEV: occupied with; JB: coarsened; NEB: minds be dulled.

[7] Anxieties: If we parallel this phrase with the attitude before the Flood, ‘eating and drinking and marrying and building and selling,’ then the Nazarene is warning about taking on that characteristic of those “who took no note.” These anxieties, or being overly concerned about life and livelihood, could involve marriage, commerce and construction (Luke 17:28). The Nazarene has not changed his attitude about being distracted by daily pursuits as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34). What is the difference here with those who were working in the fields or mill and yet who were “taken along”? It is a matter of the heart’s focus and expectation. The man in the field and the woman at the mill have not lost their hope in the Parousia and judging from the parable of the sheep and goats, both are kind and good human beings who have never neglected even the humblest person (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

[8] Suddenly that Day rise as a snare: “That day” is no generational period as if one had a warning lasting more than 40, 80, or more years. The parousia comes suddenly and at a time not expected even by the Chosen Ones (Matthew 24:42, 44).

[9] On the surface of the whole earth: Does it not appear to be a global event?

[10] Escape: Compare the JPS Tanakh at Daniel 12:1 and the word “escape.” The Aramaic of Daniel 12:1 may be rendered “escape” or “rescued” (delivered). Compare the idea of “rescue” with the “snatching” or Rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the call “Come out!” at Revelation 18:4.

[11] Stand before the Son of Humankind: Compare 1 John 2:28 and 4:17 with 2 Corinthians 5:10. Those professing “Jesus is Lord!” will rise in the parousia-Judgment and receive their award or payment for what they did in their Christian lives, good or vile (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). They will then, before the Judgment of Christ, be “outspoken” or “ashamed.” (1 John 2:28; 4:17)

[12] If the household had known: The realm of the professing Christians (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15).

[13] In what watch the thief arrived: Christ’s sudden appearance as the Master of the House is thief-like (Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). If a Christian prophet were able to calculate some time chronology and thus the “day and hour” of the Lord’s Arrival or parousia and it would no longer be like a thief in its suddenness.

[14] Prove yourselves ready: How does a Christian do this? Expectation is a matter of the heart and thus a matter of faith. Real faith will manifest itself in some speech and action. It is not manifest in being preoccupied with the daily matters like those persons before the Flood. Since the return of Christ is unknown it follows that Christians of all periods must be ready by a) regular prayer; b) faith; c) charity to fellows; d) avoidance of over-eating, drunkenness, and anxieties over livelihood.

[15] In an hour you are not expecting: Thus no Christian can work out some prophetic time-chronology to calculate this “coming” or Arrival (Luke 21:8; Acts 1:7).

[16] The Son of Humankind is coming: This is a phrase which parallels or stands as a synonym for ‘presence of the Son of Man.’ The Greek is ERKHETAI and equals PAROUSIA.

[17] Like a man: The parable illustrates the departure of the “man” Christ who charges his disciples to remain at work.

[18] To each one his own duties: These vary with the ‘talent’ or responsibility of each one as other parables teach: 5, 3, or 1. Paul outlines these varied “gifts” in 1 Corinthians ch 12; Romans ch 12 (Note Ephesians 4:16).

[19] Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn: If the parousia were a generational period then it would be absurd to pinpoint these moments in a day or night. The Return of Christ or Arrival of the Lord is within a moment occupied by the brief period of a day’s various watches.

[20] Having arrived suddenly: “Arrived” is a synonym for PAROUSIA or “presence” in the Gospels. “Come” can also be a synonym (Revelation 2:25; 3:3).

[21] Sleeping: Note 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:1, 2, 6-8.

[22] I say to all: The Nazarene not only speaks to the four disciples before him but “all” those who will become disciples in future generations (John 17:20).

[23] Who is the faithful and discreet slave: This is a rhetorical question the Nazarene raises for the second time in his ministry. It is best understood by comparing the earlier account in a more expanded version at Luke 12:40-42. Judging from the context of Luke ch 12 it may be limited to the Apostles but at the same time have some personal application to any individual Christian “slave.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

[24] Domestics: Or, household (KJV, LB, PME, RSV, JB); other servants (TEV, NIV); household staff (NEB). That is, the live in help. The Slave is charged with feeding the “domestics” or fellow Saints in the Household of God. In Luke 12:42 this is THERAPEIAS or “therapists.” The Apostles, as the Faithful Slave, were found literally caring for food distribution in Acts chapters 2 to 6. Matthew 24:46 says, ‘Happy that slave if his Lord finds him doing so when he arrives.’

[25] To give them food at an appointed time: This is often given a spiritual application without the context indicating this. The facts are, the Faithful Slave, the Apostles, are found caring for “food distribution” in Acts chs 2 to 6.

[26] Arrives: The Parousia of Christ or the Master’s “coming.”

[27] The Master will appoint him: make him ruler. The final appointment as king, judge, and priest (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4, 6).

[28] Bad slave: In the four parables concluding the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question there are: 1) a faithful and bad slave; 2) five wise and five foolish virgins; 3) slaves with five, three, and one talent; and, 4) the sheep and goats. All deal with the “arrival” (presence) of a master, bridegroom, a nobleman (Luke 19:13-26), and, a judge.

[29] My Master is taking his time: Unfortunately the phrase “the delay of the parousia” has become a catch phrase among theological scholars when discussing what they perceive as Jesus’ failed prophecy regarding an imminent parousia.

[30] Beating his fellow slaves: Among the “oppressive wolves” who do not treat the flock with “tenderness.” (Acts 20:29-30)

[31] Eat and drink: Back to the parallel with Noah’s day.

[32] The Master will arrive: The parousia. The word group “arrive” in the context of the “coming” of Christ is used several times as a synonym for PAROUSIA (Matthew 10:23; 25:10, 31; Mark 8:38; 13:36; Luke 9:26; 12:38; 18:8; 22:18).

[33] In an hour: This is no generational period of time but the “hour” of the parousia within a certain “day.” The Nazarene uses the word “hour” over a half dozen times in the context of his parousia (Matthew 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:39, 40, 46).

[34] The Master will cut him asunder: Or, to bisect; cut in two. A severe treatment similar to Luke 12:46 and Matthew 25:46.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment

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Additional reading

  1. You know neither the day nor the hour
  2. Only once and with consequences
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  4. To be prepared and very well oiled

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:36-41 – About That Day and Hour

|| Mark 13:32, 33

MT24:36 “But, about that day and hour[1] no one knows[2] neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son[3] but only the Father. {MK13:33 Keep looking and remain awake[4] for you do not know when the appointed time is.[5]} MT24:37 For even as the days of Noah[6] so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[7] [Daniel 7:13, 22] MT24:38 For as in those days before the Cataclysm[8] [Genesis 7:17 LXX] they were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the Ark.[9] [Genesis 7:13] MT24:39 And they knew not until the Cataclysm came and swept them away, so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[10] MT24:40 Then two will be in the field,[11] one will be taken along[12] and the other left behind.[13] MT24:41 Two women will be grinding in the mill,[14] one will be taken along and one will be left behind.

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[1] That day and hour: An appointed time for what? Is it not the Arrival or parousia of Christ? It would seem so. The following context compares and contrasts the Parousia or Arrival with the Master’s return to judge his Household. The fact that the Nazarene uses “day and hour” would argue that he does not have some generational period in mind, but something which occurs in a single day.

[2] No one knows: The ignorance is absolute with the exception of the Father. This point is repeated to the disciples at Acts 1:7, ‘It is not yours to know times or appointed times which the Father put within His own authority.’ If the disciples’ original question inferred a “day and hour” then they asked a question Jesus could not answer. The Nazarene does answer within his own limitations and according to what is already written in the Prophets. With Luke 21:8 in mind how could some Bible student or evangelical prophet claim to know more than Christ, by having worked out some time chronology, which Jesus would have known had it really existed?

[3] Nor the Son: The Son’s ignorance here indicates his inferiority contrasted with his Father, God.

[4] Remain awake: There is a tension here between ignorance and expectation. Perhaps the expectation or hope is heightened by the ignorance. All the Saints hope the Parousia will occur in their lifetimes but they cannot go about predicting this would actually take place (Luke 21:8; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 16:15).

[5] You do not know when the appointed time is: No professed disciple of Jesus Christ can claim to know “The Appointed Time is near!” as the Nazarene warns of it in Luke 21:8. It would be the height of arrogance and presumptuousness to assert one knew more than Christ! (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) No doubt because of human egocentricity, and a degree of self-importance, various persons have always assumed Christ must return because they are alive!

[6] Days of Noah: Is the point here to calculate some length to the “generation” before the Return of Christ, or is it merely to warn about the attitudes of persons before the Flood? At Luke 17:26-31, in discussing ‘the revealing of the Son of Man,’ the emphasis is on “that day” not a generational period preceding the Return of Christ.

[7] The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the Nazarene’s second of three uses of the word PAROUSIA which means the arrival or visit of a royal or important person. Thayer’s, page 490 (Strong’s #3952): “… the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah.” It can be translated “presence” but synonyms such as “came, coming, arrive, arrived, arrival” are used most often in Matthew ch 24, 25; Mark ch 13; Luke ch 21. “Parousia became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank… of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory.” (Bauer, Ardnt, and Gingrich A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 635)

[8] Cataclysm: This is exactly the Greek word normally translated “flood.” The Greek means to “wash (down) much” or a big deluge. The Nazarene points to those contemporaries of Noah who were preoccupied with everyday matters without any concern for Noah’s prediction of a Flood. Jesus clearly believes in the Flood account otherwise it would be absurd to use it as a parallel to his own Arrival. Interestingly, the Greek word CATACLYSM is used in Daniel 9:26 (LXX) in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold destruction or desolation.

[9] The day Noah entered the Ark: The “day” of the Flood parallels the parousia of Christ, that is that “day and hour” when the Master arrives or returns for his judgment on his own Household. Note the next phrase specifically likens the day of the flood to the Return of Christ. Luke 17:29 adds, ‘on the day Lot left Sodom.’

[10] The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the last of three uses of PAROUSIA where it is compared to the day of the Flood, not that whole generational period before.

[11] In the field: In Luke 17:27-31 this is “on that day” of the “revealing of the Son of Man.” In these cases, approved persons in the field and at the mill are engaged in normal labors. This would have been a fine opportunity for the Nazarene to mention how these persons were zealously involved in some missionary activity, but he does not. This is a “day” and a limited period of time for workers, are in the field or at the mill only during the working “day” of twelve hours (Matthew 20:6).

[12] Taken along: In Greek this is PARALAUBANETAI and may be compared to the related word used at John 14:3, PARALEMPSOMAI, where Jesus seems to refer to the gathering of his Chosen. This word in John 14:3 is the same word at Luke 17:34. DDNT, Vol 3, page 747ff: “LAMBANO, originally grasp, seize [compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and HARPAGESOMETHA]… PARALAMBANO means to draw someone to oneself… Forms of the word (ANALAMBANO) are used of the ascension of Christ in Acts 1:11… ANALEMPSIS, lifting up high, being taken up in Luke 9:51 is generally interpreted of Christ’s ascension. PARALAMBANO to take someone with oneself, to choose out from a large number (John 14:3; Matthew 24:40).” The use of these words is so similar in thought to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to imply being “taken along” in the Rapture.

[13] Left behind: There will be those who do not participate in the Rapture who are “left behind” or abandoned to the events to occur on earth (Note Revelation 11:12). As we shall see all is not necessarily lost by this abandonment but it does rule out any thought of heaven.

[14] Two women will be grinding in the mill: If one is “taken along” (grabbed or seized or received home to Christ) and the other is “left” it is obvious that the woman “left” is left at the mill as her fellow worker is “taken along.” In Luke 17:37 this is where the disciples ask, “Where, Lord?” and he answers with the cryptic similar to Matthew 24:28. Why does Jesus not give an example of two good women praying at the church or otherwise in the service of God?

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Preceding

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Read also: Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?

Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,

‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)

Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)

Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)

Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:

“29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)

Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.

For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)

We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.

When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).

When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,

“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)

Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.

The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,

“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)

The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.

People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was

“coming at an hour you do not expect.”

With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.

This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.

Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.

Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that

“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)

From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.

In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.

In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.

Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.

The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:

“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)

The apostle John wrote,

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)

This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.

In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.

“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)

From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.

Let us make sure we are prepared!

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

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Find also to read

  1. Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
  2. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  3. Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
  4. Looking into the Future
  5. Looking forward for what is to come
  6. The resurrected Lord
  7. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  8. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  9. You know neither the day nor the hour
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  11. The New Testament and Judgement
  12. Prophecies over coming days
  13. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  14. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  15. Signs of the Last Days
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  18. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  19. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  20. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  21. To be prepared and very well oiled
  22. Preparing for his coming
  23. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  24. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  25. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  26. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  27. As you see the Day approaching
  28. The Rapture Wars
  29. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  30. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  31. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
  32. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
  33. Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
  34. Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Today we start with a chapter where Jesus, after he has been discoursing all day in the courts of the temple, went out from the temple, going on his way to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples coming to him to show him the buildings of the temple. (Matthew 21:23; 24:3)

The apostle Mark let us know that the disciples particularly pointed out the stones of the temple, as well as the buildings.

“In that temple,”

says Josephus, the Jewish historian,

“were several stones which were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and sixth in breadth”;

that is, more than seventy feet long, ten wide, and eight high. These stones, of such enormous size, were principally used in building the high wall on the east side, from the base to the top of the mountain. They were also, it is said, beautifully painted with variegated colours.

The Temple was renowned for its beauty and was considered to be one of the wonders of the world. It is written in the Talmud,

‘Whoever has not seen Herod’s Temple has never yet seen a beautiful building.’ (SB I,944).

We find the disciples on the Mount of Olives where they question the Nazarene in particular about his own future coming, the time of the desolation of God’s temple and its destruction and the sign of its advent and the end of the world (verses 1-3). They do not understand Jesus his predictions and cannot believe that the temple should be destroyed in their time. – The one by Herod I in 20 BCE. The new construction of the temple that was started was only really completed seven years before it was destroyed.

We are coming closer to the imprisonment of Christ. The writing here can well be talking about the last private school before their final gathering at the upper room. Jesus comes to talk once more about a future time, namely of the last things, and extends to the end of the world, modelled on the impending end of the Jewish Republic. But this private school is still somewhat linked to the previous lesson. – Jesus went out, as he said, and away from the temple,
in which he made the previous speech, of which the last words were that their house should be left deserted to them. Thus, these words refer back to chapter 23:38, where is mentioned that the House shall be left abandoned.

We shall find a discourse that foretells in the outset the destruction of Jerusalem (e. g., v. 15-21, v. 34); and in the conclusion certainly foretells the final coming of the son of man, with the gathering of all nations, the general judgment of mankind and the resulting permanent state of the good and the bad, (Matthew 25:31-46) in a way substantially equivalent to the predictive descriptions afterwards given by the apostles.

The question of the disciples in verse 3 was obviously misguided, because it attracts the response from Jesus

“Take heed that no man deceive you”.

which echoes the words of God to Zedekiah (Jeremiah 37:9) where he was anticipating a deliverance from the Chaldeans. – When the Romans were surrounding Jerusalem there would have been Jews who encouraged the people, falsely, saying that the Romans would not over throw the city.

Did the disciples think that the coming of Jesus, and the end of the world was to be very soon? Jesus goes to great lengths to let them in gently on the fact that the “time of the gentiles” was to come in the intervening period. (v. 6, 8, 14).

Today still many may wonder what an unfolding end with beginnings of birth pains and those rumors of wars may imply. They should remember it shall only be when the Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

In this last of the five major sermons, Jesus focuses on prophetic and apocalyptic themes of judgment and the end times. The disciples have been listening to the prophetic judgment Jesus has issued on the religious leaders. They have images of collapsing temple buildings, of prophets pursued from town to town, of floggings, and of blood-soaked garments. They can imagine themselves blood-soaked. They wonder when this all will happen, and what it means.

Their master teacher Jeshua answers them to be careful that no one leads them astray, which we should take at heart also! We too must be be aware of it for many will come in Jesus name, doing as if they are the Messiah or the one who can bring people to salvation. Jesus warns for all those people, preachers and so called prophets who, by their talking and frigtening people will lead many astray. (Matthew 24:4-5,11)

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but should not directly be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. In Scriptures many signs of times to come are notated. In the Book of books is written that nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains, it is to say the start of a generation which shall come to see more. (Matthew 24:4-8)

In Scriptures is told that God provides time for man to listen to His Words, and as such, first all over the world, shall the Good News being preached, before the worst battle commences. And we should know that those who preach the Good News and worship the Only One True God, Who is One (and not two or three), shall be mocked and laughed at, and even worse being hand over to persecution and being killed. They that pronounce the Name of the Only One True God  and the true name of the Messiah, Christ (Jeshua the Messiah) will be hated by all the nations because of Jesus and his Father’s name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9-14)

We shall have to face it that many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. All that leading astray might happen because of people prefering to listen to false prophets and human dogma‘s instead of listening to the the Word of God and the believe in the Biblical dogma‘s. It shall all happen also because lawlessness will multiply and the love of many will grow cold, by their selfishness.
Though we might have hope, because those who endures to the end will be saved. They that take time to listen to this Good News of the kingdom which shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, shall recognise the signs when there will be great trouble such as has not happened since the beginning of the world, the end will come. We must hear and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, know and believe that for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short.(Matthew 24:10-14, 21-22)

Even when false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen, we should be alert and keep tot he writings of Scripture and the call of God and His master teacher, because that last one told us beforehand. (Matthew 24:24-25)

We should know that it shall be with the coming of the Son of Man, being as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, that we should come to see the signs clearly. Because immediately after the trouble of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
That is when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. (Matthew 24:26-28, 29-30)
At that time all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He will send out his angels with a great shofar, and those heavenly messengers will gather his beloved faithful elect from the four corners of creation, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)

This 24th chapter concludes with a parable of a fig tree. We too should learn from that parable from the fig tree. (Matthew 24:32-33)
Jesus tells them that story because he wants to warn that generation which will not pass away until all these things happen. Though it will pass away, Jeshua’s words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:34-35) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone, because only Jehovah God is the Only God above all gods Who knows everything. (Matthew 24:36)

Afterwards Jesus also reminds his disciples of those days before the flood, when people enjoyed all the best things of life and were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. We may not forget that at that time they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away, but then it was too late. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37-39) Then many shal be at work as well, but also find some one taken and the other one left. (Matthew 24:40-41) Therefore we all have to stay alert; for like Jesus and his disciples did not know the time of the end, we do not know what day our Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42) But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:43-44)

The chapter ends by talking about the “Faithful Servant“, a subject that can also confuse or despair many, or use some to present their leaders as that only reliable servant.
Jesus questions

“ “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Mt 24:45 NIV)

and then continues with telling that the faithful and wise servant, has to be some one who takes good care of that household to give them the necessary things at the proper time (Matthew 24:45-46)

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Preceding

Matthew 11:20-24 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 5 Reproached Cities a Lesson for Judgment Day

Matthew 12:33-37 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment Day

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Signs of the last days when difficult times will come

Matthew 23:37-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jerusalem, Jerusalem – Your House Is Abandoned!

Next:

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Photo from the blog of Aaron Richert, pastor of The Church at North Pole in North Pole, Alaska. From the article: Is Matthew 24 about the Rapture?

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Additional reading

  1. Looking into the Future
  2. Prophecies over coming days
  3. Signs of the Last Days
  4. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  5. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  6. Signs of the times – “An object of scorn and ridicule”
  7. The Rapture Wars
  8. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  9. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  10. Be not afraid of those trials which God may see fit to send upon thee
  11. From pain to purpose

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The ice in the photo above reminded Tekoa Manning of judgment that often is described using hail. Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara, has an Arabic name meaning ‘valley of stones and also, a valley of streams.’ – Photo from Obadiah’s Cave article Comfortably Numb

Related

  1. Give Your Precious Time To God
  2. The Events of 70 AD do not Fulfill End Times Prophecies Jesus prophesied that the Great Tribulation will be the most severe time in world history. It will surpass all other times of crisis. Some seek to minimize this prophecy by reducing it to symbolism or by seeing it as being totally fulfilled in 70 AD.
    The Great Tribulation will be so severe that God shortens it to three and a half years to keep the entire human race from being physically killed (Matthew 24:21-22). One million people died in 70 AD and in World War II, 50 million died.
  3. This is Not the Way It’s Supposed To Be
  4. Abundant Fruit (Matthew 24: 6, 11)
  5. Famine
  6. Storm Clouds
  7. Stars Falling From the Sky: Figurative Language
  8. Day 159: There will be wars
  9. A Rising Called For!
  10. Fear Not!
  11. Be alert
  12. Comfortably Numb
  13. Trouble Such as Never Was before
  14. “This Generation” Shall Not Pass Away “Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”
  15. What Did Jesus Mean When He Said “This Generation Won’t Pass Away”?
  16. The darker it gets
  17. The Olivet Discourse: For Israelis Only?
  18. The Olivet Discourse: 02 – The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
  19. The Last Days Acceleration of Time
  20. Study Guide for Matthew 24: (Matthew 24:1-2) Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple. (Mat 24:3) Jesus’ prediction brings up two questions. (Matthew 24:4-8) Jesus describes general world conditions during the period between His Ascension and the time immediately preceding His second coming. (Matthew 24:9-14) Jesus describes what His disciples must expect during the time between His Ascension and Second Coming. (Matthew 24:15) The sign: the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel.
    1. Yet when we understand the importance and what is said about this event – the abomination of desolation – we must give priority to this event, even more than the easiest interpretation of Matthew 24:34.

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  1. Explaining Matthew 24
  2. Matthew 24:1 // Reboot – The end of times
  3. Matthew 24:3 And Olivet’s Structure
  4. AND when you SEE these THINGS BEGIN
  5. Apocalypse Talks: Temporary Temples – Matthew 24:1-8
  6. Apocalypse Talks: The Fall Is Approaching – Matthew 24:9-14
  7. Apocalypse Talks: Mitigating Disaster – Matthew 24:15-22
  8. Apocalypse Talks: The Bigger Picture
  9. Apocalypse Talks: The Mean Time
  10. Armageddon, Part 3: Are there ‘signs’ that the end is coming?
  11. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part I
  12. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part III
  13. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part V
  14. Matthew 24:12,13
  15. Matthew 24:14
  16. Matthew 24:23,24
  17. Matthew 24:36-44 Sunday School Lessons and Activities
  18. Matthew 24 and the Fig Tree Matthew 24:32-33
  19. Three things that must happen before Jesus returns – Matthew 23:37-39; Matthew 24:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  20. End Times Q&A
  21. Christ’s Coming Again to Judge
  22. Timing of Christ’s second coming
  23. Don’t Be Deceived (about the Coming of Christ)
  24. The Parable of the Fig Tree
  25. Mark 11 – Fig Tree
  26. Being a good servant – talk-notes for 27th Oct 2019
  27. Called or Chosen?
  28. Paul Explains the Second Coming
  29. Hope in the Second-Coming
  30. Faith That Is Fruitful For God

Ezekiel 18:4 – What the Bible teaches about Soul and Spirit

This brief text expresses a simple truth. Souls die. Against the speculations of some that there is something within a man, a “soul,” which remains alive after death, lingering as a disembodied spirit, the scriptures affirm to the contrary. Death is what it seems to be — death.

When a dog dies, what happens to the dog? It stops breathing, its body decays and returns to the elements. Thought and consciousness immediately terminate. There is no more dog. It does not go to some place prepared for old dogs, to chew bones in bliss, for there simply is no more dog. It is dead, it is gone, it is no more.

Death is the same for human beings. Death is the cessation of life. Psalm 146:4 describes what happens when a man dies.

“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

“That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other … they have all one breath … all go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20).

The Resurrection

However, unlike the animals, man has the hope of a resurrection from the dead. Animals were made to live for a limited period of time, procreate, age, and pass away as part of the cycle of nature. But man, the height of God’s physical creation, was created with the capacity to live forever. They appreciate life, plan for the future, and cherish the hope for continued life. Accordingly, the prospect of living forever was offered to Adam in the Garden of Eden, by God who created him.

This offer was contingent upon obedience, a test which Adam and Eve failed. But even after being expelled from the Garden, so robust was the human frame that Adam lived 930 years before death claimed his life (Genesis 5:5). Almost 4000 years after Adam sinned, Jesus died as a ransom for father Adam (1 Timothy 2:6), which allows Adam and his posterity a release from the death penalty — in other words, a resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:22). For the world, this will come during the Millennium so near at hand.

In the meantime, where are all the dead of past ages? They are simply dead. They silently await the resurrection, when they will be reconstituted as the persons they were before they died, to learn the lessons God has for them during the Kingdom on earth.

What is a Soul?

From our opening text, it is apparent that souls do die. The expression immortal soul,sometimes used among Christians, is not found in the Bible.

A soul is a living being, whether animal or human, and neither animals nor humans are immortal.

The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, word number 5315 in Strong’s Concordance, which gives this definition: “A breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense.”

Genesis 2:7 uses the word “soul” for Adam.

“The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Here the word nephesh, or soul, is defined as a living being, a body combined with the breathe of life. Thus we learn, that man does not possess a soul, but that he IS a soul, which means simply that man, when alive, is a living being.” Adam subsequently died, and he with all the others silently awaits the resurrection.

Animals as Souls

The “breath of life” which animates the human organism is no different than the breath of life given to the lower animals. In reference to the “beasts and every creeping thing” which perished in the Flood, we read,

“All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Genesis 7:21,22).

Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 informs us that both man and beast

“have all one breath, so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast.”

As Strong’s Concordance notes, animals are also souls — living beings. However, in the common English version this is hidden by the translation, which confuses the subject to many readers. When the word nephesh, soul, refers to an animal, the translators rendered it with some other word, such as creature or beast.

For example, Genesis 1:20 says

“let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature [nephesh, soul]…”

Verse 21, God created great whales, and every living creature [nephesh, soul] that moveth…”

Verse 24, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nephesh, soul] after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Here are other texts of the same sort: Genesis 1:30, 2:14, 9:3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 18. And Isaiah 19:10,

“… all that make sluices and ponds for fish [nephesh, souls].

This method of translating hides the fact that animals are souls. Were this fact more open and apparent, it would assist people to recognize that souls are not immortal, for no one supposes that animals are in any sense immortal.

Only once in the Old Testament did the translators render the word nephesh “soul” when it applied to animals, namely Numbers 31:28, where the word applies at one time both to people and animals: “one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep.”

The Difference Between the Human Soul and the Animal Soul

The difference between the soul of a human and an animal is in the construction of the organism, particularly in the formation of the brain. Although some organisms of some of the lower animals may seem to be superior to man’s (such as a dog’s keen sense of smell and hearing and an eagle’s eyesight), God in his great wisdom created man in his own image, thus giving man the ability to reason, and to have a moral sense of right and wrong — possessing a conscience (1 John 3:20-22). Man has the ability to love and obey Jehovah-God as well as to love (agape) his enemies or those who do or wish him wrong through, striving to see all things through the eyes of their Bridegroom — Christ Jesus. He died as a “ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6) because of his great love of the Heavenly Father — stemming from a love for righteousness which comes from a knowledge, understanding and experience of the results of obeying the Heavenly Father, which permits the highest and purest form of joy to be felt, that joy that is felt through the eyes of faith, that joy that our Lord Jesus had in bringing the Heavenly Father joy, as reflected in his words:

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34, ESV).

Other Hidden References

There are other important places where the translators also obscured the use of nephesh.

“There were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body [nephesh, soul] of a man … those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body [nephesh, soul] of a man … If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body [nephesh, soul] …” (Numbers 9:6, 7, 10).

If the translation use “soul” in these places, it would be apparent to the reader that souls simply die. When Samson toppled the house of Dagon, he prayed to God:

“Let me [my nephesh, soul] die with the Philistines” (Judges 16:30).

Expanded Use

The texts above give us the proper meaning of the word soul, namely any living being. However, Strong’s Concordance shows that nephesh is sometimes used figuratively for one’s life, being, or vitality. Here are two examples of this.

(1) When Rachel was dying at the birth of Benjamin, Genesis 35:18 says

“As her soul was in departing (for she died) … she called his name Benomi: but his father called him Benjamin.”

(2) 1 Kings 17:21, speaking of the raisin of a young boy by Elijah, says he cried to God

“let this child’s soul come into him again.”

In both of these cases the word “life” or “being” is the meaning intended.

Sometimes the word is used of one’s deepest thoughts or feelings, distinguished from the mere body. Thus 2 Kings 4:27 says of a troubled woman,

“her soul is vexed in her.”

Language is flexible, and the word nephesh is used flexibly. But none of these cases are any predicate for believing some conscious force called “soul” mysteriously lingers after death. Death is death. It is the cessation of life.

Soul in the New Testament

The New Testament Greek word for soul is psuche. Whenever the word “soul” appears in the common English version of the New Testament, it is from this word (Strong’s number 5590).

1 Corinthians 15:45 uses psuche as the counterpart of the Hebrew nephesh, which serves to equate the two words.

“The first man Adam was made a living soul [psuche].”

This expression clearly draws from Genesis 2:7, where nephesh is used. This word is frequently rendered life.

“Whosoever will save his life shall lose it” (Mark 8:35).

“I lay down my life (John 10:17).

“They seek my life (Romans 11:3),

and many other examples. In these cases “life” refers to the being, the person. The same meaning attaches when the word is rendered “soul,” as in Acts 2:43,

“fear came upon every soul” — every person, or being.

Revelation 8:9 and 16:3 apply the word to sea creatures. Revelation 6:9 and 20:4 use the term metaphorically of the spent life of the saints, awaiting the resurrection. John 12:27 says of Jesus

“now is my soul troubled.”

Thus there is a breadth in this Greek word that matches the breadth of its Hebrew counterpart.

In the Old Testament the condition of death is expressed by the Hebrew sheol, and its Greek counterpart in the New Testament is hades. This was the condition into which Jesus’ “soul,” psuche, passed for three days until his resurrection, for a soul, psuche, dies and is later raised from the dead.

The Soul Is Not Immortal

If the soul were truly immortal, the soul would be indestructible, yet it is not, because each human born under the curse of Adamic condemnation, dies until the curse shall be lifted up from humanity once Christ’s ransom price has been applied to all mankind. By then the Bride of Christ will have completed their share in the sin offering — and the antityical “atonement day” sin offering thus completed. The High Priest in Leviticus 16 made atonement for  himself, his sons, and then, finally, for the sins of the people (the world of mankind). God warned Adam that if he disobeyed God’s rule, then as a living soul Adam would cease to exist. We read about this in Genesis 2:17,

“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

In Ezekiel 18:4 God said,

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth it shall die.”

This means that the person who sins shall die, and since all are born in sin, the entire human race has been dying for nearly 6000 years. Here are two examples of Scriptures about death being the consequence of sin:

“So death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NASV).

Every soul [person] sins and, as a consequence, every soul dies (Romans 6:16,23).

But God in his great love provided redemption from death for all sinful souls, or persons, through the gift of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus, who died as a corresponding ransom price to free mankind from the prison house of death. All of Adam’s progeny lost life through Adamic transgression and thus have inherited sin and imperfection. The Apostle Paul wrote that

“in Adam all die,”

adding to this,

“even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

And again,

“Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21,22).

The Prophet Isaiah wrote that Christ’s “soul” was made an offering for sin, and also that he

“poured out his soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:10,12).

John 3:16 says,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Adam and all past generations of his children have fallen asleep in death, but they have not “perished,” because through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, and by the exercise of divine power, they are to be awakened in the resurrection and given an opportunity to believe. Then, upon the basis of their belief and obedience, they may live forever.

Those called to discipleship in the present life are given an opportunity to inherit eternal life by accepting Jesus as their personal Redeemer and responding to the invitation to take up their cross and follow him, gladly lay down their lives with him, and be planted together in the likeness of his death (Roman 6:3-6). These are referred to in Revelation 20:4 as the “souls” which are

“beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God.”

The Apostle Paul wrote,

“If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Corinthians 15:17,18).

Thus, Paul speaks of Christians who die as merely being “asleep,” and not in any sense perishing in death.

Genesis 12:11-13 (NASB) says Abraham was afraid that his soul would not live, and thus, that he would die.

“It came about when he [Abram] came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I (“my soul,” nephesh) may live on account of you.” If the Hebrew word nephesh meant an indestructible immortal soul, Abram’s soul could not have died (Br. Peter Karavas, 2011).

Jesus emphasized this same important truth in an admonition to his disciples to meet courageously any and all opposition against them and any persecuted unto death, saying,

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]” (Matthew 10:28).

Jesus here refers to the possibility of permanent cessation of life by God for the incorrigible, which the Bible terms as “second death.”

“This does not imply that the soul can live apart from the body, for actually the body is the organism of the soul. Rather, Jesus is speaking from the standpoint of the divine plan to awaken the dead in the resurrection. It was from this standpoint that Paul could say that Christians who fell asleep in death had not ‘perished.’ If an enemy puts a Christian to death, he has not perished as a soul. The body dies, but the person, the soul, merely ‘sleeps’ until the resurrection. But if a Christian becomes a willful sinner and is not worthy of a resurrection, then death means extinction of that person, or soul, forever.

“Jesus explained this from another standpoint, as recorded in Luke 20:37,38

Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.’

Jesus did not say that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had gone to heaven to live with God. He simply explained that because there is to be a resurrection of the dead, and these faithful servants will be restored to life, God does not consider them as having gone out of existence — they ‘live unto him,’ or, to him they are alive.

“So it is with all God’s faithful servants of the past. They may have been ‘sawn asunder’ by their enemies; they may have been thrown to the lions, or beheaded, or burned at the stake, but to God they still live, they have not ‘perished,’ for he has the power and will use that power to awaken them from the sleep of death.

“The ‘souls’ which are ‘beheaded,’ as mentioned in Revelation 20:4, are brought forth in the ‘first resurrection’ to live and reign with Christ a thousand years. The ‘souls’ that died serving God during the ages preceding Jesus’ first advent will come forth to a ‘better resurrection,’ to serve as ‘princes in all the earth’ Hebrews 11:35; Psalm 45:16” (The Dawn – and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, January 1959 issue).

Lazarus – An Example that the Soul is not immortal

In John 11:11 Jesus said “Lazarus sleepeth.” Lazarus was dead for four days (John 11:39). Surely Jesus would not have retrieved Lazarus from the bliss of heaven. For those four days Lazarus did not go anywhere, nor did he see anyone, nor did he speak, eat, feel, or think. He was simply dead. When he was raised to life he began again to do all those things. In this respect the whole world sleeps in death, waiting for the resurrection — unaware of what is transpiring in the meantime, because the dead do not sense, feel or think anything.

“The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

“There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

In John 5:28,29 Jesus said that the hour is coming when all in their graves will come forth. If their souls were already in heaven, then there would be no need for Jesus to say that he would bring them forth from the grave? If physical bodies were needed in heaven, how have these presumably immortal souls survived without them? Scripture also tells us that

“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50).

Seeking After Immortality

The Bible never equates immortality with the soul of common man, only with the saints, and then only as a gift for faithfulness (Romans 2:7, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54). The sleeping, unconscious dead will one day be awakened from their graves (John 5:28,29; Job 14:11-15; Psalm 17:15; Acts 24:15,16). At that time,

‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11:9).

‘Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths’ (Micah 4:2).

In God’s kingdom on earth, mankind will be raised from the dead and have their first real opportunity to learn God’s ways of righteousness because Satan will be bound and will no longer be able to deceive the world (Revelation 20:3) (Br. Peter Karavas, 2011).

The Dead Raised To Life In the Resurrection Age

“Possibly the spirit that returns to God contains the unique ‘data’ of each individual can be compared to computer information on a removable disk. The resurrection of an individual could be a recreation after the pattern of Adam. The original body had passed to dust so a new one, either spiritual or fleshly, would be created. The individual again comes to life when the (unique?) spirit is returned to the body and he becomes a living soul again. Whatever the exact process is, we know the resurrected fleshly body will be in its intended perfected state. Job intimates that the flesh will be fresher than a child’s and will have the beauty and vitality of youth (Job 33:25)” (Robert Davis, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom article.)

Spirit

The word “spirit” in the Old Testament is usually from the Hebrew ruach, and in the New Testament it is usually from the Greek pneuma. Both terms refer to breath, inhalation, or the movement of air, whether gentle or forceful. But as these are invisible forces, the words are applied by extension to the “spirit” of a person which is the invisible mental force, personality, influence, or disposition of a person.

Thus the Old Testament uses ruach when speaking of the “spirit” of Jacob, Elijah, Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Joshua, God, and others. The New Testament uses pneuma when speaking of the “spirit” of Paul, Christ, and God.

These words are also used to describe the influence of various non-personal but good “spirits” — the spirit of Truth, Holiness, Life, Faith, Wisdom, Grace and Glory and of an opposite spirit of Jealousy, Judgment, Burning, Heaviness, Infirmity, Divination, Bondage, Slumber, Fear and Error.

Ruach also refers to the “spirit of life” which we receive from God, which figuratively “returns” to him when we die.

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

This does not imply a transport of persons. It applies to the motivating force of life, of both good and bad people alike.

Both words sometimes refer to the essence of a person, that is, their identity, character, personality. In this sense Jesus commended his “spirit” to God when he died, which was restored on the third day when God raised Jesus from the dead (Luke 23:46, Psalms 31:5).

In this sense also Paul speaks of the “spirits of just men,” the faithful Ancient Worthies of the Old Testament, who were matured by the things they suffered, and await their resurrection reward in the Kingdom (Hebrews 12:23, 11:40).

None of these cases teach that any conscious entity persists after the death of a person, except metaphorically, in the memory of God. Not until the resurrection does a person who has died live again as a conscious, sentient being. The great hope for the world lies in such a Resurrection from the Dead.

“There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15).

“The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” (John 5:28,29).

This assurance was secured for us at great cost, both by God who gave His dearest treasure, his son Jesus, and by Jesus who labored in his ministry for 3 ½ years, suffered accusation from the religious leaders of his day, and died for our sins on the cross.

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust … [to] bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). “By man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21).

For the saints of the Gospel Age, this resurrection occurs during the present “Harvest” period. For the remainder of the world, the resurrection will occur during the coming Millennium.

Do Angels Have a Soul?

As with human being, angels are souls, for they are the union of the spirit of life, together with a body, in this case a spiritual body.

“The first man Adam was made a living soul…” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

It would be the same with the angelic hosts, but on a higher scale.

“There are also celestial bodies … but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (1 Corinthians 15:40).

——-

Acknowledgment & References

We are thankful for the permission of sharing content from a study titled “Soul and Spirit,” drawn from a study by Br. Gilbert Rice, featured in the “Faithbuilders Fellowship” Journal.
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2006/01_jan_06.pdf

“Immortality and the Human Soul,” The Bible versus Tradition—Article IV, April 1959 in The Dawn – A Herald of Christ’s Presence (Monthly Magazine) Rutherford, NJ, USA.
http://www.dawnbible.com/1959/5904tbs1.htm

“Immortality of the Soul” by Br. Peter Karavas. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, May-June 2011.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2011/11mj_3.htm

“The Resurrection of the Dead” by Br. Robert Davis. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_14.htm

Suggested Further Reading

Volume 5 of “Studies in the Scriptures” — “The Atonement Between God and Man” by Br. Charles Taze Russell, pages 383-404, Study 13, “Hopes For Life Everlasting and Immortality Secured by the Atonement.”

“What Is the Soul?” by Br. Robert Seklemian
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/treatises/seklemians%20discourses.htm

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part A: What Is Jesus All About?https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part B: Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 23:6 — HOPE & RESURRECTION. Part C: The Order of the Resurrection Process
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/07/14/ezekiel-184-what-the-bible-teaches-about-soul-and-spirit/

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Preceding articles

Matthew 11:20-24 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 5 Reproached Cities a Lesson for Judgment Day

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 2

 

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Additional reading

  1. Concerning Man
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 3
  3. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  4. Creation of the earth and man #10 Formation of man #2 Mortal bodies and Tartarian habitation
  5. Creation of the earth and man #12 Formation of man #4 Constitution of man
  6. Creation of the earth and man #14 Formation of man #6 The Uncreated One, neshemet ruach chayim and nephesh
  7. An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things
  8. Bereshith 3 Fall of man
  9. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #4 The Fall
  10. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  11. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  12. What is life?
  13. Death
  14. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  15. Today’s thought “Death by being taken captive” (May 15)
  16. Is there an Immortal soul
  17. The Soul not a ghost
  18. The Soul confronted with Death
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  21. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro
  22. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word
  23. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background
  24. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #4 Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures
  25. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #5 Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit
  26. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  27. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #6 Summary
  28. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  29. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  30. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  31. A Ransom for all 1 Eternal tormentAll Souls’ DayI Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

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Is it true that all Non-Christians today will go to hell

Related

  1. What is the human soul?
  2. On Plotinus and immortality
  3. The dreams of the Manichees and of Servetus, as to the origin of the soul, refuted
  4. It were vain to seek a definition of the soul from philosophers, not one of whom, with the exception of Plato, distinctly maintained its immortality
  5. Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Immortality and Separate State of the Soul: Book Eight- Chapter 1
  6. There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God’s restraints
  7. This light is such as effectually influences the inclination, and changes the nature of the soul
  8. Is the human soul mortal or immortal?
  9. Immortal Soul
  10. River myths and the soul
  11. Secret Principles of Immortality, Edition 25
  12. All Soul’s Day, All Saint’s Day, and Day of the Dead
  13. Are there degrees of punishment in hell?
  14. J. W. Hanson on Gehenna
  15. There Is No Hell, Look It Up
  16. Are Near Death Experiences or Out of Body Experiences Biblical?
  17. Fantastic Article Proving that Hell = Complete Annihilation, Not Eternal Torment

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