Paul, in `1 Thes. 5:23`, prays God..."Your whole spirit
and soul and body be preserved blameless," etc. If not,
kindly enlighten fully (J.W.C.)
<ANSWER>--In his prayer, St. Paul evidently distinguishes
between spirit, soul, and body. We should bear in mind that
his letter was addressed to the Church collectively, and not
so much to individuals. We can be quite sure that the Apostle
did not refer to individuals, for whatever interpretation we
may put upon "soul and spirit," we are in the singular,
not the plural number. St. Paul expresses his earnest desire
that until the Lord's return the Church might be preserved entire,
without schism, in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.
In `Acts 4:32`, we read that "The multitude of them that
believed were of one heart and one soul," and in `Eph.
4:4`, the Apostle points out that there is one BODY AND ONE
SPIRIT. As in the creation of Adam, with the entrance of the
breath of life, man became a living soul, an intelligent, sentient
being, so with the New Creation. Inspired with the Spirit of
the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church, which
is His Body, should work in unity and harmony in doing the will
of the Lord and witnessing to the truth of the Gospel.
you mean to say that the spirit of the Thief, who died upon
the cross when the Lord Jesus was crucified, remained in the
grave with his body? If so, do the spirits of our dear friends,
who turned to Christ in this life, remain with their bodies
in the grave until the Lord's return? (D.D.)
<ANSWER>--The inspired writers of the Bible tell us just
what became of the spirit of the thief who died upon the cross.
And they also tell us what becomes of the spirits of those who
were devoted followers of Christ and were faithful even unto
death. It would not do for us to say what became of these spirits.
Too many so-called leaders of religious thought have theorized
and speculated as to what became of the spirits of the departed
dead and have set forth the results of their vain imaginings.
Let us not add to the awful confusion by presenting ideas of
our own, but let us hear what the Scriptures declare, recognizing
that the Lord God is surely able to guide us into the knowledge
of the Truth. We read, "Then shall the dust return to the
earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave
it." (`Eccl. 12:7`.) This text reminds us of the original
sentence of death pronounced upon Adam for disobedience. He
had been formed of the dust and therefore he should forfeit
his life and return unto dust. He died. The breath of life (the
spirit), the energizing of life principle, was removed from
the body and returned to God, who is the source or fountain
of all life. The living soul, the intelligent being, died. As
the Bible says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die."
(`Eze. 18:4`.) From these scriptures it is evident that the
spirit of the thief and of all who die returns to God. This
animating principle (spirit), called life, is to be given to
all of the faithful and obedient in the resurrection.
is meant by these words, "The Spirit and the Bride say
come?" (`Rev. 22:17`.)
<ANSWER>--The Spirit clearly refers to Jesus Christ, the
Bridegroom. His Bride is to be the Church glorified. (See `Rev.
21:9`; `Rev.19:7-9`.) The marriage, or union, referred to in
the last Scripture, takes place at the second coming of Christ
(`John 14:3`). The reign of Christ (Bride and Bridegroom) follows,
and then the message will go forth to the world, inviting all
to come and obey Christ and receive eternal life; and the obedient
shall live. And the obedient will be privileged to repeat the
invitation to others, that "whosoever will may come and
take of the water of life freely." The Church of Christ
in its present condition of development is referred to by the
Apostle as "the chaste virgin, espoused to one Husband"
(`2 Cor. 11:2`). She will not become the Bride of Christ until
at the time of the Bridegroom's presence, when the marriage
of the Lamb shall take place and the marriage supper shall follow
(`Rev. 19:9`). Evidently, from the fore-going, it is manifest
that the expression "whosoever will does," not apply
to all at this time, and will not be true until the wedding
is a spirit being?
<ANSWER>--According to the Scriptures, it is a creature,
or personality, inhabiting the spiritual plane of existence,
a higher plane than that of the human or earthly creatures.
Just as the Divine nature, the nature of God, is the highest
order of the spiritual realm, so man is of the highest order
of the animal or earthly existence. Angels are spirit beings
(`Psa. 104:4`) and we read that man was created "a little
lower than the angels." (`Psa. 8:5`.) A change of nature
is promised to all of those who will be of the Church of Christ;
those who "make their calling and election sure" and
who eventually will be associated with their Lord and Savior
in the glories of the Kingdom as His "joint-heirs."
This "change" of nature is wonderfully described by
the Apostle in the fifteenth chapter of `1 Cor. 15:42-52`. Those
who will experience this transformation of nature are said to
be "born of the spirit" and this will take place in
the resurrection. These then will be powerful, and invisible
to mortal eye, just as the angels are all around and Jehovah's
messengers in past ages, yet unseen. Jesus described this matter
of the "wind" to picture the condition of those who
shall be born of the spirit in the resurrection morning, `John