Have you ever wondered about what will happen after you die?
Are you curious about the concept of “spirit” or is your understanding vague or unclear?
Then you should continue reading.
In this article I will discuss the following through explanations, charts, and video…
1. The Difference between your Body, Soul, & Spirit.
2. Eternal Life & Death
3. The Importance of Living Spiritually
There are two words that are often used interchangeably but actually they are different. There is what we call the “Soul” but we also have something very different which we refer to as our, “Spirit.” So for instance, if we look at the following scripture in Hebrews 4:12 it says,
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23
By looking at this scripture we can see that the bible makes a clear distinction between soul and spirit.
To make it simple let’s take a look at a chart. This chart was originally designed more than 30 years ago by our founding pastor and teacher, deep in the mountains of Korea where he grew up. He too wondered about the spirit and what happens after you die, and after many deep prayers this is the design that Jesus gave him through inspiration.
I. The Actual Difference
A human being is made up of these 3 basic parts.
1. The Physical Body.
2. The Soul (Mind)
3. The Spirit [spiritual body]
1. The Physical Body.
In the past 100 years we have been able learn a lot more about the physical body through the advances in science and medicine. Much is known about the physical body and you will spend many hours studying it in school so we don’t need to elaborate on it here. But once we begin to study human nature and human behavior we immediately go beyond the physical level. Everything beyond this point goes outside the scope of physical science and into the sciences of psychology or sociology, and finally religion. This brings us to the level of the Soul or the Mind.
In one of the youngest sciences, psychology, scholars often begin trying to explain about this concept of “the Mind.” Of course we have a brain which is a physical entity, but when they are talking about the mind it is different than the brain. They are talking about something that is intangible. The soul is not something we can grab, touch, weigh or measure.
2. The Soul
“Soul” is a religious term but it might make more sense for you to think of it as the Mind. From here we derive our thoughts, our Will, desires, our emotions, as well as our ability to reason. This goes beyond the physical level into the mental level. So for example the physical body let’s you know when it’s hungry and craves certain tastes and addictions. These signals are sent to the brain and the mind tries to work out a solution to answer that need. A more developed mind can overcome the immediate desires of the body in favor of eating healthier foods out of concern for sustaining the long term health of the body. The body seeks only immediate satisfaction. It always avoids discomfort, doesn’t like to sit still and read, and it is not our physical body that desires to learn.
3. The Spirit
All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. – 1 Cor 15:39-40
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. – 1 Cor 15:44
Just as surely as you have a physical body that lives in the physical world you also have a spiritual body which lives in the spiritual world. Just as there is both male and female, there is also both physical and spiritual. While alive in this world they are all connected.
Your spirit resembles your physical body just like your physical body resembles your parents. The spirit can see, touch, smell, taste, and hear just as much or more than the physical body. Your spirit feels things very intensely at the spiritual level which is by far the highest level or deepest level. The health of our faith determines what kind of life the spirit lives. And according to how you are influenced spiritually determines whether your spirit will go towards either the heavenly spiritual world or suffer in deeper and deeper levels of Hell. The fate of eternity is determined by how well your spirit develops. This is why it is so vital to understand properly.
Having a spirit is what separates us from the animals. It is our spirit that lives forever and desires to know about and connect with God. It is our spirit within us that desires to be good and to see good done for others. It is our spirit that is righteous or wicked and ultimately our spirit that goes to either Heaven or Hell.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. – Mathew 18:18
What your physical body does directly affects your spirit, and things that happen to your spirit directly influence your body. The two are connected while your body is still alive on the earth. Human beings are a product of influences. We act like those we see, speak like those we hear, and share a similar fate with those we learn from. Just as you inherit the characteristics and learn from the behaviors of your parents, your spirit inherits everything that your physical body does. You can’t take money, fame, or anything physical with you after you die but your spirit inherits the attitude and mentality with which your body lived. In religious terms, your spirit will have either sins or righteousness depending on how you chose to live your life. How you live your physical life will determine your spiritual fate.
Many people ignore the spiritual world, or even if they believe in life after death people live thinking that there is no way to know what will happen after you die. But actually we can know very well and should know what to expect because the purpose of this life is to prepare us for that life.
Throughout history there have been countless accounts of people going to the spiritual world and telling first hand what they experienced. Some people are very spiritual and able to tell us what their spirits see in the spiritual world.
In 1758 there was a famous scientist named Emmanuel Swedenborg who wrote several books explaining in great detail about the spiritual world and what the spirit experiences after death. He was a prolific scientist and inventor until the age of 56 when suddenly he began to experience the spiritual world. He claimed that the Lord had opened his eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, have conversations with angels, he even spoke to many of the ghosts or spirits of people he had known before they died.
For the remaining 28 years of his life, he wrote and published 18 books explaining in scientific detail and analysis of the experiences that we will all go through after we die. So if you thought it was impossible to know about what takes place after you die, you’ll be happy to know that actually many have already experienced it and given first hand accounts of what actually takes place after the physical part of your life comes to an end.
War of the Wills
The soul is the mediator between the body and the spirit and it constantly get’s pulled in either direction. The body has it’s own wants and needs, and the spiritual body too has it’s own will and desire. The body wants to eat and sleep, but the spirit wants learn and grow. The spirit wants to go to church, but your body wants to sleep in. I’m sure you have all experienced this. This is the battle for your soul where ultimately your mind must decide whether to take the physical path or the more spiritual path.
II. Eternal Life & Death
They say that death is the ultimate statistic – 1 out of 1 people WILL die. And death goes beyond physical death. There is the spiritual death or what the bible also refers to as the second death. To understand the concept of spiritual death let’s first take a closer look at physical death.
The way the bible defines death is slightly different than the way this world defines death. Because this physical world is bound within time and space we often make the mistake of thinking that death is the ultimate end or the moment when something ceases to exist. But even physical science explains that energy and matter cannot cease to exist. So let’s understand correctly.
Even physical death itself can be difficult to define. In the medical field there is still some debate as to what exactly is the definitive time of death. Is it when a person’s heart stops beating or is it when the brain activity comes to a stop? Due to the advances in medicine we can even keep a person’s body from going into the stages of decay simply by plugging it into machines. But can we really say that the person is alive or actively living? When Joshua Cheong, the author of this bible study, was a teenager there was a period of time in his life when he served elderly people up until the end of their lives. Because he was very spiritual he could see both what happened to their physical body as well as what their spirit was doing at the moment they died. He said their physical body died the very moment their spirits began to leave their body. In this way death is a sort of separation.
It is far more accurate to define death as the decay, corruption, or the inability of something to no longer fulfill its purpose. As something moves into further and further states of decay or corruption it is dying. It is dead when it is finally discarded, removed, or rendered useless. Spiritual death then is when your spirit separates from God and can no longer fulfill its purpose for which it was designed. It does not cease to exist but goes to the domain of death in Hell where it suffers separation for eternity. It was separation that God was referring in the Garden of Eden. Before Adam and Eve sinned they were able to speak freely with God, but after they ate the fruit their spirits died and they went on to live extremely physical lives outside the heavenly domain of the garden.
Ultimately our purpose is to fulfill the Heaven of Love eternally in Heaven with our creator. But if in the course of our life we lose that connection with God then our relationship dies. Like a marriage that ends in divorce once we sever that communication our spirits immediately begin to die.
Even if we look at the parables Jesus told in the bible like the story of the prodigal son, when he returned to his father his father said, “Let’s celebrate because my son was dead, but now he lives.” His son had not physically died, but what the father was referring to is their relationship. It was their relationship as father and son that had died.
Even Jesus, when a young follower asked Jesus to wait for him to fulfill his family responsibility and burry his father Jesus said, “Let the dead burry their dead” meaning let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead. It sounded harsh but Jesus knew that the family’s only chance at spiritual life was for this young man to follow him without delay. Jesus also said, “My words are life. They are spirit and they are truth.” So always Jesus was teaching about the spirit and eternal life. This is what the bible most often refers to when it says “life” or “death.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” – Matthew 8:22
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:24
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world – Ephesians 2:1
When the bible refers to physical death it is very specific saying how the person died or by what cause. The bible is a spiritual book that gives us direction on how to live well both physically and spiritually. The reason the bible is so valuable is because it is one of the few books in this world that clearly explains to us about life from this most critical spiritual point of view. It is absolutely critical that we learn about the spirit while we live here in the body.
III. The Spiritual Life
Lastly, let’s look at the life span of a physical body compared to the spiritual body. This is another chart our teacher created to explain the connection between physical life and spiritual life.
Here he is comparing our physical life to a baby which forms in the womb for 9 months. If taken care of properly in the course of that 9 months that baby can leave the womb and live for maybe even 90 years. This life we live in the earth is also a sort of womb for our spirit to grow. If we develop our spirits well then it can go on to live a healthy spiritual life for all of eternity. Our eternal fate all depends on how well we live this life. So even if it is short, how we choose to live this life is critical.
The purpose of this life is to develop and mature our spirit. But unfortunately most people live in complete ignorance about their spirits and live only physical lives. If you live only physically then you will lose both your physical body and your spiritual body will go to eternal destruction. Even in this life we can tell whether we are living lives that will lead to Heaven or if we are leading lives only to please our physical body. The phrase, “Hell on Earth” has bcome quite common because many of us can feel Hell in our hearts and minds if we do not live everyday connecting with God and fulfilling our purpose.
Physical things are meaningless because they don’t last. What is the point of momentary happiness if it ends in misery? We don’t want our lives to become meaningless. That is why we must live for the spirit which will last forever. The physical body won’t last, but the spirit will. That’s why money, fame, and relationships ultimately don’t make us happy. Think about it – the most famous, richest people in this world often live the most miserable lives and even go so far as to kill themselves. And after you die you can’t take any of those things with you. But if you live a life of faith then you will gain everything and achieve happiness in both this life AND the next.
Even people, when disappointed by something or when any thing in our life no longer satisfies our expectations we immediately get rid of it. If we find any items or containers that no longer fulfill a purpose we discard them as trash. We all seek to live in a world without trash where everything serves it’s purpose. God is no different and does not welcome people who cannot live peacably with others to Heaven. People who act purely out of selfishness and hate their brothers cannot go to heaven. People who do not truly love God cannot live with God. Just like people, God treasures those who fulfill the purpose He designed them for.
What this world defines as love is not the same as what God considers love. Take marriage for example — who wants marriage knowing it will end in divorce? We want and desire things that are eternal. That’s why Jesus begs you live for your spirit. The purpose of this life is to first establish your spiritual love and ultimately to live an eternally meaningful life of true love.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Mathew 22:36-39 – Deut. 6:5
Live for the Spirit
Ultimately everything depends on how we live this physical life. It will lead to an eternity of love and happiness or it will lead to an eternity of suffering. Jesus wanted us to live well both physically and spiritually as he said in John 10:10,
“I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10
To live without God is not true life. Even if people are enjoying their life at that moment that happiness is only temporary and will ultimately lead to suffering. Even if people live with fame, glory, and money they will not live happy lives if they fail to live for the spirit. This is why the richest and most famous people in the world still cannot find happiness in those things. Think if your marriage ends in divorce – can we really call that love? Or if your life get’s cut short and you end up in Hell, can we realy call that life? That is no life at all. It is suffering which could lead to an eternity of suffering.
The key to solving these problems is you have to learn about how to live properly. You have to study about it. Learn from the bible how to be more spiritual. Go to church, listen to bible study, implement the word of God in your life, this is absolutely necessary for you to live a happy successful life. Develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and then when you die you can go to live with him in the eternal world. Jesus does not want you to go down that terrible path of suffering and he has already prepared the way for you to live a much better life. We’re here to shed light on that path, and help you start a new life. So continue to learn, and begin the path that leads to eternity.
This is the first of an entire bible study series where we explain about Heaven, Hell, Salvation, the Resurrection, and the Second Coming. Be sure to let us know if you are interested in learning the next lesson…
Life After Death Part 2: How to Develop Your Spirit
[Update] This article has become quite popular. We are getting about 5,000 visits a month these days, and we have been getting a great number of requests for further lessons. We would like to begin experimenting with online bible study groups, but we are still in the early planning stages. If you are interested in learning the entire bible study be sure to apply online!