Jehovah God is the Creator of life, He is the Source of Life: "With you is the source of life; By your light we can see light" (Psalm 36:9; Hebrews 3:4; Revelation 4:11).
Jehovah God created the first man and the first woman: "And Jehovah God went on to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living person" (Genesis 2:7,22 (creation of Eve, the first
The word "soul" applied to both man and animals, comes from the Hebrew word "neʹphesh [נֶפֶשׁ]", the Greek, "psy·kheʹ [ψυχή]" and from the Latin "aʹni·ma"
(Genesis 1:20,21,24 (Bible verses where the word "soul" is applied to animals)). It is easy to understand, given the biblical context, that the soul refers to the living being itself, for both man and animal. Therefore, the soul refers to bodily shape of animal
and human being.
Still in the biblical context, the word soul can be poetically applied to the "ego" (latin), that is oneself: "How long will my soul have anxious concern, With grief
in my heart each day? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (…) My soul has been sleepless from grief. Strengthen me according to your word" (Psalms 13:2; 119:28).
can allude to life itself: "Just as her soul was going out (for she was dying)" (Genesis 35:18) (This quote is according to the death of Rachel, giving birth to her son Benjamin). “Whoever finds his soul will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for
my sake will find it. (…) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Really, what good will it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for
his life?" (Matthew 10:39; 16:25,26). The New Testament was written in Greek, which means that the word "soul" is translated from the Greek word "ψυχή (psukhê)".
expression "living soul" shows in itself that the soul can die or be destroyed (the opposite would have been a pleonasm in the case of the concept of "the immortal soul"): "putting to death the souls who should not die and keeping alive the souls who should
not live (…) The soul who sins is the one who will die" (Ezekiel 13:19; 18:4,20). Many other biblical texts show that the soul can die and, of course, cannot survive (in an invisible way) its own death...
According to the Bible, the soul is different from the spirit ("ruach" in Hebrew and "pneuma" in Greek). The spirit (connected with the soul) refers to the "breath of life". Therefore, the breath, the air, the wind is an impersonal
energy which animates the human soul and that of the animal soul. In Genesis 2:7 it is written: "And Jehovah God went on to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life". The Hebrew word for "breath of life" is
"neshamah", which is synonymous with the word "ruah" or the Greek word "pneuma". Indeed, in the Septuagint (Greek biblical text, translated from Hebrew), the expression "neshamah" from Genesis 2:7 was translated as "pnoe" (spirit, breath).
The word "spirit" can refer to spirit beings like God (John 4:24), spirit creatures (1 Kings 2:21,22) and the resurrected Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45). In Genesis (6:3), the expression "my spirit" is a way of
referring to oneself.
It is important not to mix up the different meanings of the word "spirit"; the breath of life which animates the soul is an impersonal energy, while the word "spirit"
applying to God, to the risen Jesus Christ and to the angels, are beings animated by a personal energy, endowed with a conscience and intelligence.
It is God himself who defines it. Comparing Genesis 2:17 with 3:19, where it is written that if Adam disobeyed the commandment regarding to the forbidden fruit, he would surely die. At end, Adam
disobeyed. Here is what it is written in the judgment of God against Adam and Eve: "In the sweat of your face you will eat bread
until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return" (Genesis 3:19). Therefore, death is the opposite of life, and the return to nonexistence (Psalm 146:3,4; Ecclesiastes 3:19,20; 9:5,10). Jehovah God, in his judgment, evokes the return to dust which is more generally designated in the Bible by an expression of symbolic place such as Sheol (Hebrew)
or Hades (Greek), or even the "sea" where de very many humans perished (Revelation 20:13). Therefore, it is not difficult to understand and accept this simple biblical teaching point, death is absolute inexistence. The soul dies and the spirit or the vital
energy disappears: “Do not put your trust in princes Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. His spirit goes out, he returns
to the ground; On that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:3,4).
The Second Death, The Fiery Lake, The Gehenna
The expressions "second death" and "fiery lake", which have been misinterpreted, have led to frightening and unbiblical human dogmas such as fiery hell and purgatory... They are in the book of Revelation: "The one who conquers will
by no means be harmed by the second death" (Revelation 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8). In Revelation 20:14, there is the connection between the second death and the fiery lake: "And death and the Grave were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death,
the lake of fire". It should be noted that this place is just as symbolic as are (generically) the death and Hades (place of the dead). In what part of the biblical history does the "fiery lake" come from? The book of Revelation mentions both the Ten Plagues
of Egypt and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, even to the point of using a cross-referenced expression such as "Sodom and Egypt" (Revelation 11: 8). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is biblically associated with fire and everlasting judgment (Hebrews
6:2; 2 Peter 3:7).
Therefore, this lake of fire mentioned in Revelation, probably alludes to the panoramic vision that Abraham had of the Dead Sea, after the destruction of all
the cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, on its seaside perimeter (the city of Zoar having been spared by God for the sake of Lot (Genesis 19:23)). Here is the account of the awe-inspiring sight of the Dead Sea shortly after the destruction: "Now Abraham got up
early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before Jehovah. When he looked down toward Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah and all the land of the district, he saw quite a sight. There was dense smoke rising from the land like the dense smoke of
a kiln! So when God destroyed the cities of the district, God kept Abraham in mind by sending Lot out from the cities he overthrew, the cities where Lot had been dwelling" (Genesis 19:27-29). Therefore, the "lake of fire" probably refers to the sight of destruction
over almost the entire seaside perimeter of the Dead Sea (an inland sea as a great lake). This destruction symbolizes death, the result of everlasting judgment, that is, without the possibility of resurrection.
The expression Gehenna of fire, used by Jesus Christ, has exactly the same meaning of everlasting destruction or death without the possibility of resurrection. Where was Gehenna? It was located in the south of Jerusalem, outside the
city walls. It was simply the dumping ground for the city of Jerusalem, which existed in the time of Jesus Christ and was called, the Valley of Hinnon (Ge Hinnom) or Gehenna. The rubbish of the city were thrown and burned there, as well as the corpses of animals
and criminals after their execution, unworthy of a burial (even, in the biblical collective imagination, unworthy of a resurrection ("With the burial of a donkey he will be buried, Dragged about and thrown away, Outside the gates of Jerusalem"(Jeremiah 22:19)).
The translation of the Bible into Latin has created confusion in the understanding of the condition of the dead. As we have seen, it is important to differentiate between the Hebrew word Sheol
and the Greek word Hades, on the one hand, with Gehenna on the other. In some translations of the Bible, these three words have been translated as the original Latin word hell (infernus). In doing so, it created confusion in the understanding of the word gehenna,
becoming an unbiblical teaching of the existence of a fiery hell.
Jesus Christ used the word "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire," as a real place known to all his contemporaries, to illustrate
the everlasting judgment and the idea of destruction without the possibility of resurrection, the second death. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ referred to this place three times, without necessarily specifying its meaning. Why ? Quite simply, even
in Galilee 100 km north of Jerusalem, this place of destruction was well known and did not require any description or explanation (Matthew 5:22,29,30). Gehenna is associated with a fire that does not put out, why? For the obvious reason that such a place,
near a city would have represented a danger to the health of most inhabitants, if it had not been fueled by a permanent or constant fire, based on sulfur, in order to decompose all the waste of the city more quickly (Mark 9:47,48).
Does the lake of fire mentioned in Revelation represent the place of Gehenna? Yes, as to its symbolism of everlasting destruction. No, as to the geographical allusion to this place; Gehenna was not a place like a lake
or an inland sea. Moreover, this expression does not appear directly, or even in an enigmatic way, in the book of Revelation.
Salvation By Coming Out Of The Great
And By The Resurrection
The Great crowd, in Revelation 7:9-17, are peoples who will come out of the Great Tribulation and will live forever in the Earthly Paradise: "After this I saw, and look!
a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep shouting with a loud voice,
saying: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, saying:
“Amen! Let the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” In response one of the elders said to me: “These who are dressed in the white robes,
who are they and where did they come from?” So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them
white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore,
neither will the sun beat down on them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes”" (Revelation 7:9-17).
There will be a heavenly resurrection. Only 144000 people will go
to heaven with Jesus Christ (Revelation 7: 3-8; 14:1-5): "Then I saw, and look! the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. I heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound
of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was like singers who accompany themselves by playing on their harps. And they are singing what seems to be a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the
elders, and no one was able to master that song except the 144,000, who have been bought from the earth. These are the ones who did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones who keep following the Lamb no matter where
he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, and no deceit was found in their mouths; they are without blemish" (Revelation 14:1-5).
There will be an earthly resurrection of the
righteous and the unrighteous after the Great Tribulation, during the 1000 years reign: "Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming
in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15). The unrighteous resurrected will
be judged on the basis of their behavior (AFTER their resurrection) during the 1000 years reign (and not on the basis of their past life) (Revelation 20:11-13).