BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
The Teachings of Kenneth E. Hagin Compared with the Bible
We have sometimes been as what the similarities and differences are between the teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Messianic Evangelicals. This short article attempts to answer that question.
This is a subject altogether too large to answer in a single article like this one and so I will take the liberty of focusing on what I believe to be a key doctrine in trying to understand our differences. To begin with, I think it is fair to say that we are united on all the essential saving doctrines of the Christian emunah (faith) -- where we differ (and this is true of most charismatic groups) is in the area of some of the spiritual gifts.
I was recently given copy of one of Kenneth Hagin's booklets, How You Can Know the Will of God (1991) which I read with some interest. In my first reading I was impressed just how similar we were and began to wonder if there were any really serious differences between us. I had heard that Hagin's doctrines were New Age-influenced in many areas yet as I read his booklet all I could see was plain Bible teaching. It was not until my second reading that I began to notice some interesting discrepancies between his teachings and what we would claim to be true biblical doctrine.
What is the "Inner Man"?
The Tanakh (Old Testament) teaches that man is basically composed of two parts -- a spirit and a body, which together constitute a "living soul". From here on there are two schools of thought which I will simply call the "mortalists" and the "immortalists". Both these groups believe that the soul is mortal.
The "mortalists", however, believe that a man's spirit is no more or less than the "breath of Elohim (God)", an impersonal force that returns to Elohim (God) at death. To all intents and purposes, then, the deceased man ceases to exist -- totally -- being no more than a 'memory' in Yahweh's mind which, after the judgement (if favourable), will be recreated again, but this time as an immortal. Another name for this doctrine is 'soul-sleeping' and is espoused by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Worldwide Church of God, Christadelphians, Seventh Day Adventists, various Messianic Jewish groups, and a few others.
The "immortalists" agree that the soul is mortal but maintain that the spirit is immortal. Thus at death the body decays in the grave leaving a fully conscious being (the real 'self') which experiences a partial judgement, which is then consigned to a happy place in the spirit world (called 'Paradise' or 'Heaven'), or an unhappy one (called 'Prison' or 'Hell') pending the final judgement and resurrection.
Both these positions have problems because both can be supported from different scriptures, particularly when the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) revelation is included in the picture. The Tanakh (Old Testament) does indeed seem to support the 'immortalists' because the "spirit" (Heb.ruach, Gk. pneuma) can, and is, translated as the impersonal "breath" of Elohim (God). Various passages seem to indicate that there is no consciousness in the grave which "mortalists" interpret quite literally to mean that man has no more thought processes. "Immortalists" would maintain that this refers only to the physical body which both agree is dead.
If the "mortalists" are right then they have a major problem with several New Testament passages. We read of the dead Moses and Elijah appearing with a transfigured Yah'shua (Jesus) upon the Mount of Transfiguration. "Mortalists" are perfectly correct in pointing out that beings which have no consciousness and which are merely memories in the mind of Elohim (God) cannot possibly appear alive and converse with the Saviour. They maintain, quite rightly, that to defend the "immortalist" doctrine, extraordinary and unbelievable lengths must be gone to 'explain' this event. The only two I have heard of are (1) the apostles Peter, James and John were just 'dreaming' (the Jehovah's Witness claim), though there isn't the slightest warranty for such an interpretation in the text, or (2) Yahweh supernaturally remade these nevi'im (prophets) just for the occasion, an even more unwarranted claim without the slightest evidence from the text.
A second problem area is the fact that during His three days in the tomb, the spirit of Yah'shua (Jesus) went and preached to those spirits who had died in the days of the flood (1 Pet.3:18-20). Wriggling out of this one is even more difficult for the "mortalists" than the almost as embarrassing Transfiguration experience (Matt.17:1-7). For if these spirits were conscious, how could they hear the good news of the Besorah (Gospel) and accept it? Or was Yah'shua (Jesus) preaching to Elohim's (God's) brain? I have yet to see a remotely convincing argument from the "mortalists" to explain this one, except for a dishonest attempt by the Jehovah's Witnesses (who are adept at twisting) who have 'retranslated' (read 'mutilated') the original Greek to make the text fit their preconceived doctrine.
So where are we left? I could cite further scriptures in support of the "immortalists" such as Yah'shua's (Jesus') parable of Lazarus and Dives where we are led to understand that both were fully conscious after the death of their physical bodies. Or I could cite the late Samuel's spooky appearance before King Saul having been summonsed by the Witch of Endor. (The latter is usually dismissed by the "mortalists" as a demonic deception because of the ban on witchcraft, and yet Samuel behaves exactly as one would have expected him to, and not as we might expect of an impostor).
If we are completely honest with ourselves it appears at face value that both doctrines are correct. But how can this be so? Do we conclude that the Bible is false because it is contradictory? Do we claim that knowledge of the spirit was limited in Tanakh (Old Testament) times and that the New Testament was a fuller revelation? Or do we posit a third explanation? And if the latter, what might that be?
Body, Soul & Spirit?
It is at this juncture that I want to introduce some of the ideas of Kenneth Hagin who, like many others, often cites Paul because the apostle seems to indicate that man consists of three parts and not two -- a body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess.5:23). Paul actually writes:
Elsewhere the writer of Hebrews states:
"I pray Elohim (God) your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". (KJV)
If the soul = spirit + body, as the Tanakh (Old Testament) seems to teach, how can the soul be separated from the spirit? Indeed, have we the right to treat Scriptural passages as part of a large doctrinal jigsaw puzzle where every part is of equal worth? I do not believe so.
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit" (Heb.4:12, KJV).
I justify this position in many ways. Firstly, if the Tanakh (Old Testament) told us everything we needed to know, then clearly there would have been no need for a New Testament. The latter consistently testifies that it is illuminating the Tanakh (Old Testament) in such a way as to bring the emet (truth) into sharper focus.
I find other clues in a rather interesting passage where Yah'shua (Jesus) confers the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) on His talmidim (disciples) by breathing on them (John 20:22). Why did He do this? Why not lay on hands (as in the traditional rite of confirmation) or send flickering tongues of fire (as on the Day of Pentecost)? Indeed, it is well to ask why Yah'shua (Jesus) used many unusual physical methods as, for example, when he restored the sight of the blind man by mixing saliva with mud and then rubbing it on his eyes? (John 9:6) He never healed that way more than once that we know of.
The literalistic Western mind, steeped in atheistic science and sceptical enquiry, often misses the poetry and spiritual metaphors that pervade the Scriptures. For the ancient Hebrew a human's 'breath' was very much a metaphor for life, just as 'blood' was. And indeed the Bible uses both metaphors. Adam was brought to life by Elohim (God) "breathing" into his physical form -- do we conclude that Elohim (God) has lungs? I think not, for breathing is one of the characteristics of mortal beings. That Yah'shua (Jesus) physically breathed on His talmidim (disciples) to confer the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) cannot be disputed, since He was, after all, mortal in His humanity. But if we then assume that we must receive the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) by some sort of breathing mechanism we are sorely mistaken because we know from experience that this is not so. I think what is important to understand here is that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (and perhaps our own too) has certain qualities that remind us of breath, most importantly that it is invisible to our mortal eyes. Indeed did not Yah'shua (Jesus) liken the Ruach (Spirit), on another occasion, to the wind, whose point of origin can never be known (John 3:8)? It can be heard but not seen. Similarly, our own spirits are invisible but can be perceived in other ways.
The impartial mind is forced to conclude (unless it is trying to defend a preconceived doctrine) that the Scriptures do not precisely define the invisible and visible components of human beings. This imprecision is further indicated by the fact that words like 'spirit' and 'soul' are used interchangeably both in the Bible and indeed our English language. In one place in the Tanakh (Old Testament) Yahweh is Himself called a "soul" (Isaiah 1:14), which makes Jehovah's Witnesses shudder in their boots, for how can the immortal Elohim (God) be a 'mortal soul' if their doctrine is right?? (see the article, What the Bible Teaches about 'Soul').
When Paul threw off the words "spirit, soul and body" to the assembly (church) at Thessalonica, what was he, in fact, doing? The answer is astonishingly simply if one bothers to look at the apostle's word construction carefully:
Notice the key words here are WHOLLY and WHOLE. Paul wants his readers to understand that he wants every part of them preserved blameless, and so as not to be misunderstood (for there were heretics everywhere who advocated that sinning with the body was inconsequential because of the grace of Messiah) he named every part of the human material-spiritual constitution that he could think of. This is not a doctrinal discourse on the composition of the soul.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless..."
I have tried the scriptural algebra approach many times and discovered that it is invalid at least in this area. The best we can say is that the visible (to physical eyes) is mortal but that the invisible (spirit) is not.
Now you may be wondering why I have devoted so much time to this particular issue (I could say more). The reason is that whole theological systems have evolved from a misreading of passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 (which to my knowledge are the only passages in the whole Bible which supposedly differentiate between 'soul' and 'spirit'). Kenneth Hagin and the whole body of Rhema Schools and various modern charismatic offshoots (Benny Hinn, Ulf Eckman, Katie Souza, etc.) base their doctrines and practices on misunderstood and misapplied texts such as these.
Of 'Souls' and 'Tongues'
For Kenneth Hagin 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is a chemical formula on the spiritual plane depicting the spirit (spirit), mind/understanding (soul), and flesh (body). He claims that "praying in an [unknown] tongue" involves praying in the spirit only, apart from the mind/understanding (soul) (1 Cor.14:14). He is actually very naughty because he only quotes the first part of this passage. He writes:
Kenneth, the Jehovah's Witnesses would be proud of you! Hagin is trying to make us believe that speaking in tongues without any understanding of what we are saying is OK because of his faulty understanding of 1 Thessalonians 5:23. But if you read the whole passage you will see that Paul is saying exactly the opposite. For he writes:
"Paul said, 'For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful' (1 Cor.14:14). Our understanding is part of our soul. Paul said, 'My understanding is unfruitful. I don't pray out of my soul (intellect or mind). That isn't my soul praying.' He said, 'If I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth.'"
I will also pray with my mind. I will not just pray with my spirit. Therefore I shall not jabber away in gibberish as the charismatics do!
"For this reason the man who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue [as you Corinthians seem to want me to do, as you do], my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful [which is useless]. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind" (1 Cor.14:13-15, NIV).
It should not be necessary to labour the point but in case I am accused of just plucking one scripture out of context I should mention that consistently through the Bible Yahweh expects us to use our minds. It is the New Agers and Hindus who want you to blank out your minds so that you can become a channel for (demonic) spirits. Nowhere does Yahweh say we should 'empty' our minds in order to hear Him but that we should meditate on His Davar (Word) -- His thought processes -- which he has given first and foremost in the Bible and then by the whisperings of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (and both are, naturally, supposed to agree). Elohim (God) intends us to be rational beings. He is logical and consistent. Everything He says is internally harmonious, without flaw or fault. And because it is this, He can invite us, saying, "Come now, let us reason together..." (Isa.1:1, NIV). And Paul admonishes us to "Test everything. Hold on to the good" (1 Thes.5:21, NIV) or, as the KJV puts it, "Prove all things..". We are to use our mental faculties, not abrogate them. You cannot "prove" gibberish, whether in public or in private. We are not to follow the cults of unreason but confess that Elohim (God) is the Master Thinker, the Great Logician, the Universal Mathematician.
But He is, as we well know, more than this. He is also feelings, and these feelings are pure and qodesh (holy, set-apart). They are not, however, irrational. Elohim (God) is not a dreamy irrationalist in His feelings as so many of us (alas) are. His mind and His heart are perfectly echad (one). That means in practice that whatever feeling comes from Elohim (God) will always be in harmony with His Mind, and therefore His Davar (Word). When the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) stimulates our heart, the feelings evoked will not run contrary to the divine mathematics of the mind. Thus if a man has lustful feelings towards another married woman who is not his wife then those feelings are not of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) but of his fallen flesh, however 'wonderful' or 'beautiful' they may seem. Elohim's (God's) world is a world of order, not of chaos.
In moments when we apply rational common sense we all basically agree with these thoughts. But it is astonishing how quickly man is prepared to set aside his Yahweh-given gift to rationalise because of the deceptive leadings of his heart. Solomon knew this emet (truth) when he said: "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers; but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil" (Prov.15:28, NIV), or as the KJV nicely puts it, "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer..".
Whether you "weigh" a matter or "study" it out the same process is involved: someone studying seriously for an examination or test does not rush over the material in a few seconds but reads, rereads, memorises and repeats. When a good judge is examining a case he does not make a snap decision -- he examines, and re-examines the evidence, weighing it carefully in his mind. Both take time, because the thought processes require time. Similarly, when you are weighing yourself on the bathroom scales, you do not leap on and off in two seconds, glancing quickly at the needle to see what you weigh. You must stand still and wait for the needle to settle so that you can know your true weight.
My point in this long explanation is that when Elohim (God) speaks to man he does not switch off one part of us and speak to the other. I think that's why Paul lumped the three concepts together -- "spirit and soul and body" -- he didn't wish them to be dissected or partitioned off. He wished Christians to be preserved in their whole person (1 Thes.5:23).
Now Hagin wishes us to believe that when we receive Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as our Saviour, our spirit is instantaneously transformed but not the other two parts (the soul/mind and body/feelings). The latter, he claims, are subject to gradual change or sanctification. He says:
But if you pause to think about this logically for just a moment, common sense tells us that this cannot be so. In literally thousands of places the Bible speaks of "souls" as whole human beings. For instance (and I suppose I ought to cite at least one scripture just in case you think I'm making it up), "And they smote all the souls ...with the edge of the sword" (Josh.11:11, KJV). Now, if the Hagin theory is correct, the Israelites were smiting (killing) only the minds of their enemies. "He who wins souls is wise" (Prov.11:20, NIV). If Hagin is right, then we need only convert peoples' minds. But everyone knows that conversion is of the whole person. Can someone who has a pure mind but evil feelings be saved (is such a condition even possible??). Let us be sensible. A soul is a whole person, not just his mind.
"With our spirit we contact the spiritual world; with our soul we contact the mental world; and with our body we contact the physical world" (Op.cit., pp.3-4).
I have a spirit within me and that spirit thinks. How do I know that? Because I, like many others, have had 'out of body' experiences, and whilst I was out of my body I continued to think. It is possible, I suppose, that our spirit has a 'mind' and our body has a 'mind' too, though I doubt it. We would be schizophrenics if that were true. Nowhere in the scriptures are we told that a single individual has more than one mind. Can you imagine all the strange doctrines that people could evolve if such were true? And how could we know which mind was which? We would (typically) end up blaming one mind for all our sins and maintain that the 'real mind' would never conceive of such things. The responsibility cop-out would be a huge temptation. No, the Bible teaches that we are essentially whole persons with one mind, one heart, and one body. To be precise, the Bible does not actually distinguish between mind and heart. It views the two as being one -- the LEV or HEART.
I think too many Bible readers mix metaphor with realism. Though we do have more than one 'part' -- the spirit (which survives death) and the physical body (which does not) -- we are to view them as being echad (one). So what happens when we are born again? Is all of us changed, or just one part? Is the spirit completely regenerated (as Hagin teaches) or (as I firmly believe) is every part of us gradually changed?
To resolve the matter, I turn to Yah'shua (Jesus). The Saviour never taught that we are instantly regenerated upon confession of emunah (faith). The whole thrust of His teaching is that we are gradually changed. Even Paul admits that though his physical body was wasting away (slowly disintegrating with age, sickness, oppression, etc.), his inner man (all that is invisible) was being renewed: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Cor.4:16).
What, then, did Yah'shua (Jesus) teach? He likened the spiritual transformation of a man to a lump of yeast in dough which gradually disperses throughout the dough to make bread (Matt.13:33). Bread, as we know, is not made instantly, but must be baked over time. The yeast, which is living, is a picture of the Ruach haMashiach (Spirit of Christ) which gives us chayim (life), for Yah'shua (Jesus) is chayim (life) (Jn.14:6). We, by contrast, are dead (Eph.2:1; Col.2:13).
At birth, a portion of this spiritual yeast -- the Light of Messiah -- accompanies the incarnation of our spirit into a physical body: "In Him was chayim (life), and that chayim (life) was the light of men...the true light that gives light to every man who comes into the world" (Jn.1:4, 9, NIV variant, cp. KJV). Everybody has this light when he is born into the world. If we didn't, not only could we not remain alive but we would have no goodness in us. There is some goodness in everyone, even the wicked, which some call our 'conscience'. When a soul (whole person) receives Yah'shua (Jesus) as his Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour), that light suddenly activates in a dramatic way, just as the yeast comes alive in the atmosphere of the damp dough and the heat of the oven. And in time, as we continue cultivating righteousness through obedience to the mitzvot (commandments), that light/yeast permeates our whole inner person/dough (spirit+mind+feelings) until we are fully sanctified/'baked'. That is the teaching of the Master.
My "spirit" is the real 'me' -- the invisible part of me that contains my thoughts and feelings. True, these thoughts and feelings have an intimate and complex interface with my physical brain, but the brain is but a relaying device connecting my outer body to my inner one. My thoughts are not actually in my 'brain' but have an effect on my brain. They are translated into a different (physical) dimension so as to effectively link with the physical plane and my body.
So when the Tanakh (Old Testament) says that the dead have no thoughts it is quite right -- the dead body's brain and physical thinking processes have ceased. But that does not mean that source of my thoughts -- my spirit -- has ceased activity. I continue to think even after I have 'died', but in the original sphere of the spirit and no longer on the physical plane.
Hagin says: "If you are a born-again Christian, the Holy Spirit is living and abiding in your spirit. He does not communicate directly with your mind, because He is not in your mind; He is in your spirit..." (Op.cit., p.5). This is only half true. Yes, Elohim (God) is talking to my spirit, but that spirit has an interface with my physical mind. I know it does because my brain is functioning as He talks to me. Imperfectly, perhaps, but enough for me to be partially cogniscent of it.
I have had visions and revelations "in the Ruach (Spirit)". I have also spoken in tongues but my mind understood what was being said conceptually. When I became fully conscious afterwards I knew the substance of the message even if I was not aware of the meaning of the particular words I said (I spoke in Spanish). The spirit does not communicate with words -- words belong to the physical plane and to the physical mind. The spirit communicates holistically in large pictures, processing information much faster than the physical brain. Is it an accident that Yah'shua (Jesus) is referred to as "the Davar (Word)", and not 'the devarim (words)'? (Jn.1:1) [This is a huge subject and I will not get into it here -- it is discussed elsewhere in my writings].
Having said this (and I suspect Hagin is 90% would agree with me so far) I also believe that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) works on our physical minds. It must do, otherwise we wouldn't have any scriptures. When the Bible writers wrote the Davar Elohim (Word of God), they were not in a trance or in ecstasy -- they were fully conscious. I suppose you could argue that the Ruach (Spirit) was working on their spirits which then worked on their minds -- that is possible -- but fundamentalist Christians take grave risks (for their particular brand of theology) if they maintain this position. For if the mind is unredeemed (being fallen) then surely a sanctified spirit talking to an unsanctified mind is going to result in the unsanctified mind corrupting the pure message which the spirit is attempting to communicate? (...enter the doctrine of conceptual revelation). If the physical mind, however, is acted directly upon by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (as many evangelical Christians would probably wish to maintain) then we may claim an infallible word-for-word text. Hagin's doctrine does not allow for this, however, despite the fact that he treats the Bible as verbally infallible in his writings. There is a disjunction in his teachings.
So what is my teaching on the matter? For those of you who have read my writings you will know that I teach both positions, viz. that Elohim (God) acts on the spirit of man which then attempts to render the given concepts into words using a finite, fallen human vessel (the mind) which may be in various states of sanctification. But the spirit of man may also be impure too. I believe that when Elohim (God) communicates to man that He does so passing through the human filter but that He can, and does, override that filter by acting not only as conveyer of spiritual holograms but of the exact words He wishes to be communicated. And on at least one occasion he even wrote them down Himself on stone.
Are there 'perfect words'? To the degree that perfection may be found in words, because I do not believe that words are a perfect medium of communication, however gifted we may be in the use of our language (because all language is fallen and imperfect). What of the original Biblical receptor tongue, Hebrew? And what of the Greek translations?
Many, like us, maintain that the original Adamic tongue was as perfect as perfect could be, and evolved into Hebrew and (later) Phoenician, Greek, etc.. New Testament koine Greek was not, however, 'pure Greek', but a kind of 'street-speak', much as American English is today. There are therefore degrees of perfection, but the most perfect is the spirit.
I realise in discussing linguistics that I have potentially opened a Pandora's Box and entered the nightmare of the philosophers where verbal fencing substitutes for getting to the spiritual heart of matters. Words are an important form of communication but they are limited. We have the gift of language but it is not the only one. We have also been given the "gift of discernment" which means, in other words, having an inner sense of right and wrong, of emet (truth) and falsehood. But aren't we in danger of getting into a 'subjective' area of the Besorah (Gospel) again -- the thing we tried to avoid when we started this discussion? Weren't we appealing to logic? Yes, and we still are.
If there is anything that has come out of this examination of the theme, 'Body, Soul, and Spirit' it is that matters of spiritual anatomy are not simple , and that the Bible is not a biological textbook on these things. As in so many other areas of potential controversy, we must not go further than the Bible clearly teaches. Finally, we must construct any models of spiritual anatomy on the basis of what all the Bible says and not just on those scriptures which seem to support a preconceived doctrine.
To conclude, we may say that we consist of an inner and an outer man -- spirit and body, if you like, which together constitute what the Bible calls a "living soul". There appear to be at least two spirits -- our own spirit -- our 'real self', and that Ruach (Spirit) which Elohim (God) breathed into Adam upon his formation, somehow quickening him (bringing him to life), much as Yah'shua (Jesus) breathed His Ruach (Spirit) on His talmidim (disciples) giving them renewed chayim (life). We are born into this world -- every living human being -- with a portion of the Light of Messiah which, when we accept Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as our personal Deliverer (Saviour), is somehow activated further setting off a wonderful process of sanctification. Like the yeast spreading itself through the dough, the Ruach haMashiach (Spirit of Christ) begins to permeate our whole souls, renewing our minds and hearts, and, when needed, putting "marrow in our bones" -- that is, strengthening our physical bodies (Prov.3:8). We have also seen that when the Ruach haQodfesh (Holy Spirit) endows us with the gift of languages ('tongues') that the mind is cogniscent of what is being said, even if it is only conceptually -- it is not mindless, as the New Agers, Hindus, Yogis, and others teach.
We run grave risks of ending up with a false theology and a false system of Christian living if we are not well grounded in what the Bible actually teaches on a theme like 'spirit and soul'. Many of the extremist groups that have plagued Christendom in the recent half century might never have arisen had a more careful exegesis been followed.
The issue is one of gradual versus instant sanctification, of jurisdictional (legal) righteousness and acquired righteousness. The instant sanctification doctrine, whether it is of the 'spirit' or some other part of our being, leads to many pernicious errors, included amongst which are a lazy view of the Besorah (Gospel) and a presumption nowhere warranted by scripture that a person 'born again' has an instant access to Elohim's (God's) mind and will.
Knowledge, whether intellectual or spiritual, is gradually acquired through the persistent application of divine principles. Though personal righteousness is not merited by our own works, it is added on to us through the grace and power of Messiah through emunah (faith) and obedience.
The Christian life is a walk, not a comic book-type instant zapping of superman-like powers and knowledge. The first Christians were known as followers of the DERECH (WAY) (Acts 9:2) because they understood that discipleship involved a lifelong training course of spirituality. They were under no illusions, though heretics constantly popped up claiming shortcuts to salvation.
Salvation -- the key word so much thrown about these days -- like knowledge, is a three-dimensional reality -- past, present and future. We were all saved by Messiah two thousand years ago when He died on the cross at Calvary -- that salvation is available to all. We are saved today by virtue of our walking in Him, so that if we are living a life of repentance and daily renewal, we have the assurance of heaven should be suddenly be taken home. And we are yet to be saved, because we have more lessons to learn, more cleansing to experience, more road to walk -- and we could fall if we are not careful.
May you the reader walk patiently and faithfully along that Way, not presuming too much. May your whole being -- "spirit, soul and body" -- remain in union with Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) through emunah (faith) and obedience, is my prayer, in Yah'shua's (Jesus's) Name. Amen.
 I have tried to keep this complex subject as simple as possible. A careful study of the Tanakh (Old Testament) actually reveals five different yet etymologically overlapping words pertaining to man's make-up which are called neshamah (intellect), ruach (the principle of life/living), nephesh (soul) and belem (physical body). To this we may even add lev (heart).
 Christopher C. Warren, What the Bible Teaches about 'Soul' (New Covenant Press, 1987, Oxford, England, Second edition 2002).
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Last updated on 5 November 2014
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