Lesson 23

Some people correctly point out that most Jews during the time of Jesus and today, believed they will live on as a spirit after their bodies have died. Although this belief does exist, Bereans and Christians might ask how, and when did that belief come to enter Judaism and where did it come from. The Hebrew Bible does not contain this belief so it must have come after God inspired it to be written. Wikipedia asserts that it entered during the second temple period, approximately 500 B.C. – 70 A.D. Along with other prophets, Daniel was inspired by God to write about an afterlife but did not supply a lot of detail. Daniel’s account dates around the second century B.C. Between then and the time of Jesus, the immortal soul belief became common amongst Jewish scholars. Jewish mystics of the middle ages expanded the belief’s scope by teaching soul transmigration and reincarnation. The Jews were exposed to the pagan ideas while captive in Babylon and the other conquering nations of Greece and Rome. This text from the First Edition of Immanuel ben Solomon’s “Meḥabberot,” Brescia, 1491.(In the Columbia University Library, New York.) explains where the ideas came from and how those beliefs became accepted during the second temple period. “The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended,”  Despite what many Christians and Jews believe to be true, the immortal soul belief does not derive its origins in the Hebrew Bible of the Old Testament. Man was created mortal when Adam became a living nephesh. The original Jewish scholars explain how God barred Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden so they would not eat from the tree of life and gain immortality. God himself has told us that man is mortal, Plato did not teach him anything. God’s words are unchanging. God loves us and gave Jesus as our saviour, only those who believe in Jesus will not die. If humans already possessed an immortal soul, we would have no need for Jesus to give us life. When accepting doctrines we need to choose wisely. What belief products are you choosing to buy into?

Hebrews 13:7-9 The Message
7-8 Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. 9 Don’t be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them.

Genesis 6:3 International Standard Version
3 So the Lord said, “My Spirit won’t remain with human beings forever, because they’re truly mortal. Their lifespan will be 120 years.”