Soul Series: Part 4 (Holy Place)
Isn’t “soul” just another word for only the mental/emotional part of our unique selves?
No. Nephesh and psuche, Hebrew and Greek words translated “soul,” convey considerably more than that. If this question is answered with a “yes,” then one must also conclude that the part of us that is relegated to eternal torment is limited only to the mental/emotional.
Therefore, the, as yet undefined, “rest” of us, would go somewhere else.
Based on Ecclesiastes 12:7, if that “somewhere else” is thought to be the “personal spirit,” then everything except the mental/emotional self, would go to Heaven, thus not requiring Christ’s redemption.
Since the soul is not confined to just the mental-emotional part, then what is the soul?
The soul is a complete, self-determining, sentient, agent or vessel. At the instant of conception the soul is formed within. It is the singular, complete, and unique you.
The Law of Freedom of Choice acts only upon the soul. The unique individual, you, is eternally alive. Nowhere, anywhere, is there a duplicate. It will always self-exist and will always be. Therefore, while the full capability of the soul depends upon the body and personal spirit, its authentic existence, its place in eternity, does not.
One of the passages which proves this is found in the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 Samuel 28. You are welcome to read the whole chapter and we want to encourage you to do so. Space here limits us to the essential verses.
In the referenced passage, the Philistines, always a threat to Israel, gather an army together to fight against Israel, near the end of King Saul’s reign. By this time, the Prophet Samuel is dead. David, the shepherd boy, has been anointed the next king. We learn from the text that Saul has cut off sorcerers, witches and wizards, and those having familiar spirits.
Here, we are not studying familiar spirits and occult matters. Space doesn’t allow us to become side-tracked, but this account does raise some very interesting questions. We are only highlighting certain facets of the back story. Our goal is to follow these passages as they teach about our personal spirit and soul.
The witch or medium of Endor undoubtedly was accustomed to seeing evil spirits, familiar spirits, and other demonic presences. It was how she made her living. We also can correctly assume that she was accomplished at it, because Saul’s attendants knew of her, her reputation, and where she could be found.
We take up the account at the point where Saul goes to the witch (the emphasis and all edited and redacted portions are our own and are not in the original version).
“And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
“Then said the woman, whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, bring me up Samuel.” KJV*
These verses allow us to safely assume that Saul is familiar with how these occult practices work. The context says “divine unto me by the familiar spirit.” The account continues…
“And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
“And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” KJV*
The narrative tells us that the woman becomes afraid. Why? It is because what comes up is not what she expects. It is different from that to which she is accustomed. It isn’t a ghostly apparition. The narrative also tells us her eyes are opened, so she now can see who it really is who has asked her to do her thing.
“And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
“Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
“And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
“Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.
“Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
“Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.” I Samuel 28: 1-25 KJV*
The final segment of the account we are examining is rich in nuance about our subject.
Although Saul is expecting something else, the real Samuel comes up from the depths of the Earth. Saul recognizes him.
Samuel comes up from below and does not descend from Heaven. Saul does not call him a “spirit.” The Samuel, Saul sees, can see, speak audibly, and hear Saul clearly.
So what part of Samuel appears to Saul? It isn’t the body. The body is in the grave, where Israel had buried it, and we don’t know how long it has been between the time of Samuel’s death and his appearance before Saul.
We know from what we have been studying that Samuel’s personal spirit went back to God who gave it. So it wasn’t his personal spirit that they see. That leaves us with the soul. It is the soul of Samuel that appears unto Saul and frightens the pants off both of them.
Furthermore, that which did appear is endowed with the same faculties that are common to living individuals and is sentient. It doesn’t need the personal spirit to exist, nor is the body necessary for Samuel to be recognized. Yet his soul, alone, renders him recognizable as Samuel.
We, therefore, conclude that the soul can be visible and recognizable. It has a form similar to that of the body and has some kind of mass. It isn’t simply a thought, or an emotion, although Samuel wasn’t happy about being brought back and he shows that emotion. Samuel has a personality, character and ego. Samuel’s soul has the capacity to reason, remember, express emotion, and is anointed, by God, to prophesy. Samuel’s soul is conscious of self.
We will continue our study in the next article called, “Soul Series, Part 5 (Holy Place)”