OUR TRUE ESSENCE
According to the Bible, our true essence is not our body, but our soul.
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” John 6:63
As our body is given life through our parents, our spirit receives life from God. This is why we call God our Father and we are known as the children of God. And since God is from heaven, our spirit too must be from heaven.
Before our body existed, our spirit already had life. That is why even after our body ceases to exist, our spirit continues to live. To fully grasp the future and destiny of our soul, it’s important to understand how the soul came to be in the body.
The Origin of the Soul
The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
In the book of Genesis, God made human beings with dust from the ground and the breath of life. These are figurative terms for two elements: the body and the spirit. So, a living being is the combination of the body and the spirit.
Some people suppose that when a person dies, he ceases to exist. But this is not the case. Instead, the Bible tells us that the spirit, or the soul, returns to God. In other words, death is the separation of the spirit from the body, not the extinction of them both. The spirit continues to live.
And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
We can see the destinations of the body and the soul respectively. The body returns to the earth, but the spirit returns to God. The key word here is “returns.” By definition, “return” means to go back to a former place. God’s dwelling place is the kingdom of heaven (Psalms 102:19). This is the former place our spirit goes back to. It means before being on this earth, our spirit already existed in heaven.
The Difference Between the Body and the Soul
Apostles Paul and Peter both referred to the human body as a tent. Our body is just a home in which our spirit lives temporarily.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. …For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened…
2 Corinthians 5:1, 4
I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
2 Peter 1:13-14
Jesus too demonstrated the difference between the body and the spirit.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus said that people can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Even though a man’s body decays and disappears, his soul continues to exist. Through the words Jesus Himself taught, we can clearly see the body is simply a temporary housing for the soul.
The Present State of the Soul
Although our spirit previously existed in Heaven, it is now living inside the human body. Only through the teachings of Christ can we understand the reason.
“For the Son of Man [Jesus] came to seek and to save the lost.”
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…
1 Timothy 1:15
Through these verses, Jesus let us know He came to seek and save lost sinners.
Tell them the LORD looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die.
Psalm 102:19 (NLT)
It’s common Christian knowledge that we are born sinners. We are born sinners not because our bodies committed sin, but because our spirit sinned in the kingdom of Heaven prior to our lives on earth. Since we committed sin in Heaven, we were expelled to the earth (Ezekiel 28:12-17), and are now lost without knowing how to return to Heaven.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:4
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Every country has a criminal justice system—a set of laws and consequential punishments for those who break them. It is the same in Heaven. Just as criminals are sentenced to prison, we were sent to earth, the spiritual prison, and are serving our given penalty—death.
How the Soul Can Return to Heaven
Even though we sinned in Heaven and were expelled to the earth, as the Bible explains, Jesus Christ came to grant us the forgiveness of sins so we may return to Heaven.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…
Before we are able to go back to Heaven, we need to be forgiven. Forgiveness of sins is given through the blood of Christ. It’s crucial to know how to receive His blood because our return to the kingdom of Heaven depends on it.
So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. …While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:19, 26-28
Jesus instructed us to receive His blood through the New Covenant Passover. Through the Passover bread and wine, Christ’s flesh and blood, we can be forgiven of our sins and return to our spiritual home. Keeping God’s grace in mind, mankind should earnestly partake in the New Covenant Passover, just as Jesus eagerly partook in it before His crucifixion.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” …And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Luke 22:14-15, 19-20
The life we live on this earth is an opportunity from God for our souls to return to Heaven after receiving forgiveness of sins. This teaching of God meets its fulfillment in the New Covenant Passover established by Jesus 2,000 years ago. The World Mission Society Church of God celebrates the New Covenant Passover in order to receive Christ’s promise of eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven.