Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Genesis 2:7 “And 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.”
This is the first scripture in the Bible to use the word “soul”. This word appears some 754 times in the Old Testament. It appears many times in the New Testament.
Chances are that if you were to walk up to a person and ask what the word “soul” meant that he/she would tell you that it was the invisible, spiritual part of man that never dies. If the person were a Christian they would probably add that upon death the soul departs the body and goes back to Heaven where it now lives with Jesus, forever and ever, in full awareness. In fact, most non-Biblical dictionaries define soul in this manner.
Truth is, the word itself has a very different meaning. The word “soul” in Hebrew is nephesh and means, a breathing creature (man or animal). It comes from the Hebrew root word, naphash, meaning to take breath, to be breathed upon.
When Elohim (God) made man, He first formed him out of dust then he breathed life into this lifeless lump of body, then man became a “living nephesh”, he became a “living, breathing creature”.
So, it took two things to make man. First, a lifeless body formed by God, and second, God's breath of life. Without the breath of God man is nothing, completely lifeless and serves no purpose. This is death! There is no life after death. The “ruach”, breath, of God returns to God after death and the lifeless lump of dust returns to dirt. This lifeless lump of dust will never return to life unless God breathes His breath back into it.
Man DOES NOT have a soul. He IS A SOUL. He is a living, breathing creature. That is what soul, nephesh, means. Animals are also a soul because they are living, breathing creatures.
In Numbers 6:6 it speaks about a dead body and the Hebrew used is nephesh mooth, which means a “dead soul”.
The concept of soul or spirit in the New Testament is the exact same.
When Yeshua hung on the cross He stated, “into Thy hands I commend my Spirit”. Spirit is breath. The breath of life from God left His body and He died, just like every other mortal man.
There are many, many Scriptures that are traditionally thrown at me to combat what I am saying, but believe me, when the Word of God is rightly divided, there is no contradiction.
Hence, when we read about the second death it means that God never breathes His life giving breath back into those bits of dust that were once a human being. They remain dead (not knowing anything) forever (Revelation 21:8). These wicked people will be burned up and cease to forever exist. It is not that they will be burning in hell forever or eternal punishment but it is a punishment that is eternal. The punishment is eternal death.
Now, I know this hurts some people's feelings, but you cannot make a word out to be more than it is. What we have been taught is man's traditions.
As always, don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s. Dig the Word out for yourself.