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There is this idea in the religious and non-religious community that when a person dies his or her SOUL goes to heaven. Somehow those of the Christian faith think that this teaching is in the Bible, that the SOUL is IMMORTAL and cannot die. It continues to live as a conscious, thinking individual even though the physical body has died and has been buried or cremated.

The question was asked of old in Job 14:14: "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

And the answer comes back: "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" Job 19:26


Job expected to see God in his flesh, he expected to be resurrected bodily in the future. In the meantime he was to remain dead until his change came from the dead to the living.



  1. Man is said to be "a LIVING SOUL."

  2. Believers in the immortality of the soul doctrine use (1) as evidence for it.

  3. But it is no evidence to those not brainwashed by the doctrine.

  4. It never suggested the idea to any one who had not the idea already.

  5. That man is called a living soul does not declare he is ever-living, or immortal.

  6. Fact is every animated being that breathes is called a living soul (animals included)

  7. If the term, living soul proves man immortal, then animals are immortal also.

  8. But this is proving altogether too much, and hence it proves nothing at all.

It should never be urged in proof of man's immortality by those who know the fact that the same Hebrew terms translated living soul in Genesis 2:7, are applied to all creatures to which God gave life, in other places in scripture. A person's honesty might well be suspected, who, being acquainted with this fact, still urges this expression as a proof of the immortality of the soul. { Paraphrase of article of November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.3}

  1. Those who do not know that this is the truth, may easily ascertain that it is, and this without being able to read the Hebrew; for our translators have given, in the margin of Gen. 1:20,30, the literal rendering of the original language. {November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.4}

  2. This, then, proves no distinction between man and beast. We admit that there is a wide distinction, but it is not because one has a soul, or is a living soul, and the other not. All that live are living souls, that is, living persons or beings; and if we read the Hebrew scriptures in the original, we shall read of dead souls as well as living. This simply means dead persons, not dead immortal souls. {November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.5}



  • Man was made in the image of God

  • God sculptured a physical form from the dust of the ground

  • That physical form had no life in it while it lay there

  • God then breathed into that physical form's nostrils the breadth of life





Breath and Spirit are used interchangeably in scripture.

Job said: "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;"

Job 27:3. The breath and the spirit of God is one and the same. What God breathed into that inanimate physical form of Adam was the the spirit of God which resulted in Adam becoming a living soul, a living, thinking human being able to communicate etc.


The reverse occurs.

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


In John 6:63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."


The word "quickeneth" means to be made alive. So the breath of life or the spirit of God is what made the body of Adam come alive as a living soul. 


Hence the word SOUL simply refers to a living person, one with a physical form and intellectual and moral powers. At death the reverse occurs, the body turns to dust and the spirit of God returns to Him who gave it in the first place as the scripture declares. In death, man and woman cease to exist. 


There is nothing so far to suggest that the SOUL continues to live on after death with a consciousness as many folk believe. The word SOUL actually refers to a living individual or person. There is no such thing according to scripture as a conscious immortal soul after death. 


If we allow Scripture to interpret itself then the word soul refers to a living person, then of course a soul can die as testified to in the following:

The Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).


Ezekiel 18:4 "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."


The soul that dies is referring to a person who commits sin and is unrepentant of it (1John 3:4, 1John 1:9)

Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of therighteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."


Even living creatures asides from man are referred to as a SOUL.

Revelation 16:3 "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."



The Bible teaches the following about the dead:

  • The dead know not anything. Eccl 9:5

  • Their love has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • Their hatred has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • Their envy has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • They have no remembrance Ps 6:5

  • The dead cannot give thanks. Ps 6:5

  • The dead are not conscious. Ps 146.4

  • The dead cannot hear you. Ps 146.4

  • They have nothing more to do with all that is done under the sun. Eccl 9:5

  • In the very day they die, their thoughts perish with them. Ps 146.4

  • The dead cannot praise God. Isaiah 38:18

  • The dead cannot celebrate God. Isaiah 38:18

  • They are not in heaven. Ps 89:48, 1Cor 15:55, Rev 20:13, Ps 16, cf Acts 2:27

  • They return to the earth; - dust to dust. 

  • They are in the grave. Ps 146.4

  • The dead have ceased to exist. Job14:14

  • They await the resurrection when new bodies & the spirit will breathe new life into them.


Hence, the so called dead saints cannot hear you. They await either the resurrection of life for the righteous or the resurrection of damnation for the wicked, transgressors of God's law. - John 5:29


All those prayers to dead saints, Mary and Joseph are useless and a fraud perpetrated on the Roman Catholic people by Papal Rome's doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The dead are dead!



(Luke 16:19-21)

There is probably no portion of Scripture that has been the subject of more controversy than this one, and none which has been more the subject of that grossest of all exegetical view -private interpretation; that is, interpretation according to sound, and not according to sense; interpretation according to one's previously-conceived opinions, without any regard to the context or to the testimony of other portions of Scripture, on the same point. Accordingly, the first and chief work of the commentator on this passage is to disabuse the minds of his hearers of erroneous notions, by showing what it does not mean. 


That this scripture is of the nature of a parable is evident, because to give all its terms a literal application would make nonsense of it. The characters are spoken of as individuals in the flesh, having all the organs and all the desires of men in the flesh. They have eyes, tongues, bosom, power of speech, thirst, love of brethren, etc. But how could Lazarus be in Abraham's bosom? If Lazarus was taken there, then all the saved must be there, likewise, and that is an impossibility. This, of itself, shows that this is not a literal narrative. 


More than this, the general testimony of Scriptures as to the condition of men in death, shows that it is impossible that this should be the story of an actual transaction. In Eccl. 9:5, 6 we read: "For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." And this agrees with the words of Job. 14:21. David also says: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Hezekiah also said: "For the grave cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth." Isa. 38:18.  "These are strong, positive statements. They cannot be ignored or explained away, without denying the inspiration of the Scriptures of which they form a part. We must believe that they mean just what they say; and therefore we know that the portion of Scripture that we are studying cannot mean that two persons actually carried on a conversation after death."

Since a man knows nothing in the grave; he is unconscious of the prosperity of the adversity of his sons; and his thoughts have ceased, it is evident that a man could not after death feel any solicitude for the welfare of his brethren. 


But someone will cry, "Who have we not as good right to affirm consciousness after death from this passage in Luke, as you have to affirm unconsciousness after death from the texts that you have just quoted?" For this reason: If we should affirm from one text that the dead are conscious, and from another that they are unconscious, then we make the Scripture contradict itself, and thus deny its inspiration. But the statements quoted from Solomon and David and Job and Hezekiah are positive statements of fact, and the verses in Luke are not literal statements, as we have shown. Therefore we must interpret the figurative or inferential in harmony with the positive and literal; or at least we must so interpret them as not to contradict the positive. 


Take another thought. David was a good man; beloved of the Lord, as well as Abraham was. But of David, Peter said when he was full of the Holy Spirit, "For David is not ascended into the heavens." Acts 2:34. And Paul said, "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption." Acts 13:36. 

"If David has not ascended into the heavens, then neither Abraham nor any other saint has ascended into the heavens."

Let us now note a few points to the parable itself. "And it came to pass, that the beggar died; and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died; and was buried." What was carried into Abraham's bosom? Was it the same Lazarus that laid at the rich man's gate? Was he carried there in person? It has already been seen that this could not be. Those who interpret the parable as teaching the condition of men in death, uniformly say that only the soul or spirit of Lazarus was taken to Abraham's bosom. But mark, there is no change in the subject. The same one who died was carried. "The beggar died, and was carried." Shall we say that this means, "The beggar died, and his spirit was carried"? Let us see how it would work in another instance. I am telling about a tornado, and I say, "I ran out of the house and was thrown down." Someone asks, "Did it hurt you?" I reply, "How could I be hurt by the falling down of the house, when I was not in it?" And then you say, "Why, you didn't say anything about the house being thrown down; you said that you were thrown down." And this is the fact. My statement was that I fell down; if I meant to say that the house fell down, I should have said so. Likewise, what the text says is that Lazarus died, and that he, the same that died, was carried into Abraham's bosom. If it be claimed that it was simply his body that died, then it was his body that was carried. If we say that it was the soul that was carried, then it was the soul that died. 


In like manner we say of the rich man that the same thing that died was buried. But if it be claimed that the statement that "the beggar died and was carried," etc., means that he died and that his soul was carried, then it must also be claimed that the statement that "the rich man also died, and was buried," means that the rich man died and his soul was buried. All this serves simply to show that the passage is not a literal narrative of an actual occurrence, and that therefore it has no bearing whatever on the condition of man in death. 

"The fact that dead men are represented as talking, no more proves that it is natural for dead men to talk, than the fact that in Judges 9:8-15 the trees, the vine, and the bramble-bush are represented as talking, proves that it is natural for trees and vines to use spoken language."

It should also be remembered that the angels do not carry the saints to their reward at death. Jesus said that they who served him by doing deeds of kindness to those too poor to recompense them, should be recompensed "at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14:14. The resurrection of the just is when the Lord himself descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. 1 Thess. 4:16. The voice of the archangel calls them from their graves. John 5:28, 29. It is at this time that "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matt. 24:31. It is then that they see the cutting off of the wicked, and not till then. Although probation ceases at death, the judgment does not decide the destiny of men till after that (Heb. 9:28), even till the coming of Christ. 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10. Therefore we know that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus was not given for the purpose of showing the condition of men in death. The things which it relates could take place only after the coming of Christ, and the resurrection. 


What, then, is taught by this portion of Scripture? That is a more difficult thing to tell. Nobody is justified in telling positively what a parable means, when that parable is not explained in the Scripture. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation;" which means that no scripture is an explanation of its own text. If commentators and Bible students had spent as much time studying this scripture as they have in trying to fit it to their own opinions, no doubt there would have been more knowledge of its meaning. We may be sure, however, that incidentally it proves that death ends probation. It also proves that earthly prosperity is not a sign of the favor of God. This was a very necessary lesson for the Jews to learn. They despised the poor, and thought that to be rich was an evidence that God was pleased with them. Of course those who held that idea would very easily get into the habit of employing questionable means to increase their wealth, persuading themselves that the end would justify the means. 


Another thing that should not be overlooked is the proof that the Bible is the highest authority. No phenomena can take the place of plain Scripture statements. "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." This is true in a general sense. If one will not be convinced by the Bible, nothing will convince him; and when one comes to believe a thing because of certain phenomena that he has witnessed, as, for instance, of a future life because of the supposed appearance of departed friends, his form of belief is always that which the Bible does not sanction. This was especially applicable to the Jews, however, for since they refused to be convinced of the genuineness of Christ's claims by Moses and the prophets, who testified of him, his wonderful resurrection only hardened them. E. J. W. {August 4, 1890 EJW, SITI 436.4} by E. J. Waggoner

Hence the word "SOUL" refers to a living being whether it be man or animal. It does not refer to an immortal dead person! 


The words immortal and immortality in scripture are found in the following instances:


1 Tim 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.


1 Tim 6:16 "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."


2 Tim 1:10 "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"


Rom 2:7 "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:"


1 Cor 15:53 "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."


1 Cor 15:54 "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."


  • God alone is immortal

  • God alone has immortality

  • Jesus, our saviour has brought life and immortality to us through the gospel

  • We are to seek for immortality, eternal life.

  • Our corrupt mortal bodies will become an immortal one at the resurrection.

  • When this happens DEATH is said to be swallowed up in VICTORY.


The first sermon on the immortality of the soul was preached in the Garden of Eden by the great deceiver himself (Rev 12:9) :

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" Genesis 3:4

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