Lord Jesus, Receive my Spirit

//Lord Jesus, Receive my Spirit

Stumper Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses #38

QUESTION: If the spirit of a man has no existence apart from the body, why does Stephen just before his death in Acts 7:59, pray to Jesus to “receive my spirit”? How could Jesus receive Stephen’s spirit if a man’s spirit ceases to exist when the body dies?

If you read the surrounding context it plainly says that Stephen fell asleep in death as a result of the Jews stoning him. As everyone knows, while we are asleep we are not conscious.

Furthermore, in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul explained that the resurrection of those in union with Christ who are asleep in death will not occur until the parousia. It was, in fact, a teaching of apostates in the first century that the resurrection had already occurred.

Another thing to take into consideration is that Jesus said virtually the same thing as he was nearing death. Luke 23:46 states: “And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: ‘Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.’ After he said this, he expired.”

Now, did Christ saying he entrusted his spirit to God mean that Jesus continued on with some sort of conscious existence at the moment he expired? No. Absolutely not. Even a child in Sunday school learns that Jesus died and was sealed in a tomb for parts of three days, and then miracle of miracles – God resurrected him! If Jesus had already been alive then that would mean that all the apostles were false witnesses since their preaching and writings all testified that God raised Jesus from the dead.

The reason Jesus entrusted his spirit to God is because Jesus had been born again. His being born again meant that God had called him to be a spirit son. Because Jesus knew he would not be resurrected in the flesh, he entrusted his future life as a spirit to God when he breathed his last breath.

Stephen also had been born again. That’s why Paul said Jesus was the firstborn of many brothers. That being the case, Stephen also had the hope of being resurrected as a spirit. He knew however that he would have to sleep in the grave, just like Jesus had, until such time as the Lord returns. Hence, Stephen entrusted his spirit to Jesus, whom he knew to be the Resurrection and the Life.

image_pdfimage_print
2016-04-08T18:58:06+00:00 April 8th, 2016|Answers|14 Comments
  • great articale Robert again very insightful and enlightening thank you.

  • rajan

    When Adam was created from the dust Jehovah God breathed the breath or spirit of life into Adam and this spirit is a life force only – it had no thoughts or personality

    Is this not what was meant that the life force returns to Jehovah when one dies by entrusting it to the Creator

    • John Roberts

      How about the Lord’s word to Jeremiah (1:5): “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth from the womb I called you and ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

      And when Jesus encountered the man blind from birth, the apostles asked him, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus did not correct the implication. In Hebrew culture, men often associated their afflictions on sins they had committed. (Jesus also warned a man he had healed to sin no more lest a worse affliction come upon him.) In this case, the Lord said, neither the man or his parents sinned, but it was to glorify him. That man have a premortal spirit is an ancient Christian teaching. Every person born into mortality, in fact, consented to coming here before he/she was born.

      God respects free will and would not subject a person to mortality without his/her consent.

  • Bklyn Kevin

    Food for thought.
    Genesis 2:7.
    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.

    Job 27:3.
    As long as my breath is within me And spirit from God is in my nostrils,

    Psalm 104:29.
    When you hide your face, they are disturbed. If you take away their spirit, they die and return to the dust.

    Isaiah 42:5 .
    This is what the true God, Jehovah, says, The Creator of the heavens and the Grand One who stretched them out, The One who spread out the earth and its produce, The One who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk on it:

    Job34:14,15 .
    If he fixes his attention on them, If he gathers their spirit and breath to himself, All humans would perish together, And mankind would return to the dust.

    Ecclesiastes12:7.
    Then the dust returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it.

    Psalm 146:4.
    His spirit* goes out, he returns to the ground;+On that very day his thoughts perish.

    • rajan

      hi Kevin
      Thank you – i was aware of some of the quoted verses such as psalm 146.4

      Are you one of the anointed.

      Kind regards

      Rajan

    • iscamer

      If there is no soul without the body, how are the 144k to live in heaven without a soul?

      • John Roberts

        They will be physically resurrected when they are judged, and before that they will exist as translated beings to do the work God will require of them. We don’t yet know whether some or all of them will be resurrected, for theirs is a temporary calling. All men exist as spirits. We came to this earth with our full consent, we live our lives and when we die our spirits “return” to God. This is why Jeremiah was told, “Before you came here I knew you. And before you came forth from the womb I chose you and ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

        Jesus came from the Father before he came here. He was chosen, called and ordained before he came here and he drank from the bitter cup. Once resurrected, he came forth perfected, never to be a spirit again. Spirits with immortal tabernacles of glory are vastly superior to spirit beings. And when the righteous see him, John wrote, “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

  • John Roberts

    Are You saying that Jesus didn’t go anywhere while he was dead? That will come as a surprise to Peter, who wrote: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:19-21)

    While Jesus was put to death in the flesh, he was made alive in the spirit, by which he went and preached to the spirits in prison. In Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man lived the fine life and neglected the poor and sick Lazarus, who sat outside his court to receive crumbs from the rich man’s table, and relief from his dogs, which licked his wounds. (See Luke 16) They both died “And in hell [the rich man] lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham told the rich man there was another problem: “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

    This is significant in that this was the way it was up until the day Jesus died. Isaiah noted this prophetically when he wrote: “And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” (Isaiah 24:22)

    Before Jesus’ death, this gulf separated Paradise from Hell. But when Jesus’ spirit entered Paradise (with the thief’s spirit in tow), he did away with that gulf and the disobedient spirits were visited by the righteous spirits and began teaching them the gospel. Thus Peter went on to say: “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6) Thus, those who received the word were judged according to the living (men in the flesh), but continue to exist with those who are dead (in the spirit).

    The adventists are always saying it was the Greeks who came up with the apostate doctrines of man having a spirit, but it’s not true. The fact that Jesus used that concept in a parable shows conclusively that it wasn’t an apostate idea. He never would have told a parable about the rich man being reincarnated as a flea and Lazarus being reincarnated as a prince because it’s not based on truth.

    .

  • John Roberts

    Jesus told the thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” To say he was saying, “I’m telling you today, you will be with me in Paradise,” is absurd. Show me where that idiom is ever used anywhere else, either in the Bible or any other ancient text of its time. I’ve never seen it. Jesus told many parables, preached many things, but he never once said, “I tell you this day….” It’s completely unnecessary in speech and I don’t ever recall anyone ever using it in a conversation with me. “I’m telling you today, man, you’re gonna love this menu!” It would not make sense.

    Some people use unnecessary phrases freely. How many times have you heard someone say, “in order to”? You hear it all the time though it’s completely unnecessary. In any situation you can delete “in order” because it means nothing. Just say “to.” Yet people use “in order to” all the time. But this can be shown by a simple search of modern records. Doesn’t make it right; it just is.

    But do a search for “I tell you today” on the Internet and you’ll find nothing. It’s just not used, today or anciently. But Jesus said, when he was resurrected, that he had not ascended to heaven. So how could he have been in Paradise? Simple. Paradise and Heaven are not the same. Origen, the greatest scholar of the second/third century, wrote, “After death, I think the saints go to Paradise, a place of learning or school of the spirits, in which everything they did on Earth will be made clear to them.” This was only about two hundred years after the apostles, yet Origen knew about spirits and Paradise. And it’s consistent with the many near death experiences people report from all religious backgrounds.

    Finally, what about that verse in Ecclesiastes? Answer: I don’t know. The author of Ecclesiastes, possibly Solomon, wasn’t a prophet, but a bitter, burned out old man lamenting his life of sin and ruin. He married many wives, a number of whom raised pagan temples and drew him away from the Lord. Ecclesiastes is not an eschatological work, but a philosophical one. You take one verse from this broken man and you base your entire belief of the afterlife on his writings. So believe what you want. I’ll base my beliefs on the words of the apostles and prophets who God sent to teach us. Origen was taught by those who knew the ancient apostles, knew their teachings. I think he’s a better witness than Solomon, who wasn’t even writing about the afterlife, but about how man is nothing.

Skip to toolbar