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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Ninety-Second (Soulish)

I hope your week was wonderful! The Lord blessed me with a pretty good week, so I'm definitely praising and giving Him thanks for that! You know, it's easy for us to forget about the spiritual aspect of how things operate when we can only see the natural. In fact, only seeing the natural is how man has ended up with all these theories of how the universe and man came to be.

When you see the effect of wind on a tree, you know for a fact there is something happening there. When someone is blessed with an unexpected sum of money, maybe a refund they weren't expecting, or a generous tip, it takes faith to know that is from Yehovah. Believe it or not, there is actually a term for the focus on the natural vice the spiritual: soulish.

The Greek for this is psuchikos, and according to Strong's it means natural, of the soul or mind. We first see this word in Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth. In talking about the wisdom of God, he is very blunt and says the soulish person thinks it is foolish because it has to be spiritually discerned and he or she is unable to do that (1 Corinthians 2:14).

In this chapter is also a reference to one of my favorite verses of scripture, if I may take a short side road here. You know the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen? How about the most amazing waterfall? Or the best vacation someone told you about? Or the comforting sound of nature, like the birds singing, or frogs talking? Yeah, the best thing that you can even imagine after experiencing all that doesn't compare to what Yehovah has prepared for those that love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4). Doesn't that just make you smile? :)

But back to the topic at hand, if we jump to Jude we see he also makes a reference to the soulish. If you read the good old King James, you may get slightly confused about this reference, but first let's look at who he's calling soulish. He calls them empaiktes, which means mockers, or scoffers. Interestingly, this word is only used in two verses and they both talk about these types of people coming "in the last days," (1 Peter 3:3, Jude 18).

Both of these references are to soulish people. Those that can't see past the natural and have faith in the supernatural, namely Yehovah, His Word and His works. Peter even goes as far as to say they are willingly ignorant of Him, and how, by His Word, He created all things (2 Peter 3:5). In other words, they desire to believe something other than the truth. Usually we think the majority of these individuals come to these beliefs by no fault of their own, they just don't know any better. At least that's what I've thought. But Peter says they intend, or want, to believe the lies.

Another common characteristic provided by Peter and Jude is that these individuals walk after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3, Jude 18). When reading this, you may assume they are strictly speaking of non-believers. However, the full picture is given in Paul's letters to Timothy. In his first letter, he explains that these "latter times" individuals include those that depart from the faith, giving in to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1).

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul goes even further with his description of these people (2 Timothy 3:1-4). If you just read that list, you'll find those characteristics more rampant in the world, or at least more visible, now than ever. This particular description comes with something interesting, though. He describes them as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof," (2 Timothy 3:5). What exactly is he saying here?

These people are those that seem to give reverence to God, yet deny that He was, is, and will be intimately involved in all things. The word translated to godliness is eusebia, which means piety, or having reverence to a divine being. For example, the individuals being described may go to church, may pray, may praise God, but deny that He brought down the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:20). Or they may deny that He healed Namaan after he dipped in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:14). They will look for some "scientific" explanation, or some other cause of these things happening rather than the almighty power of God.

To bring it a little closer to home, these are the same people that deny Yehovah's healing in present times. They deny the spiritual influence of demons, and His power to cast them out through the authority Jesus has given us through faith. Their intent is to be blind, giving in to the blindness Satan has created for unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4), rather than see that if God created all things, He commands all things, including sickness, disease, and evil spirits. They choose to believe that Yehovah's working in this world ended at the time of the apostles and won't be seen again until Jesus returns.

Those types of people were around even with Jesus, though. After one of the more talked about miracles, the feeding of the multitude, the crowd was convinced He was the Messiah and wanted to make Him king right then and there. Jesus went off by Himself, the disciples went out in a boat, and they all ended up in Capernaum (yes, I know I skipped over the storm and Jesus walking on water!). The multitude, and other people that heard of the loaves and fishes miracle, ended up finding Him, and Jesus spoke so much truth, so much wisdom of God, that these soulish people couldn't understand and stopped following Him (John 6:14-66).

Jesus spoke very spiritually minded things there, about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The natural-minded would immediately start thinking cannibalism and pagan rituals! Jesus even said these things multiple times in this teaching, emphasizing what He was saying to make sure they all heard. I'm sure if you were in the crowd, maybe towards the back, you'd probably say to yourself, "did He just say eat His flesh and drink His blood?...nah, I must not have heard that right......nope, He just said it again. I guess I did hear that....wait, what?" I mean, I probably would have said that!

Jesus knew exactly the motivation behind their interest in Him, though. They were all about the signs and wonders, and not about the meat of His message (Hebrews 5:12-14, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). And the reason was because they could not discern it based on their soulish nature. Generally, Jesus is talking about Him becoming a part of you spiritually by the act of you accepting Him and believing in Him, but they couldn't comprehend this.

Another quick side road I found interesting is the word in John 6 translated to eat is trogo. Strong's exhaustive concordance states that this word likely comes from the root of trauma and tribos. I know you're aware of what trauma means, and tribos means a beaten track, a path. So, the secondary, underlying meaning when Jesus was talking about eating His flesh was that the trauma that He would endure by His flesh up to and on the cross was the path to our eternal life, if we only accept it!

Before I end, let me close the loop on what I wrote earlier about being confused by the KJV in Jude. When you read it, you'll wonder why these soulish people "separate themselves," and "hav[e] not the Spirit." That's because the Greek word for the first phrase really means to divide. They are the ones causing division in the world, and even the church, and you'll find that more accurate translation in other versions. For the second phrase, it's sometimes hard to discern when the proper Holy Spirit is being referred to versus an individual's spirit, and I believe in this case, based on the context, Jude is talking about an individual's spirit. The word translated to "have not" can also mean "to consider," as shown in Matthew 14:5 where it says the people considered John the Baptist a prophet (the NIV gives this phraseology). So really what Jude was talking about is people that don't consider the spirit, not necessarily that they don't have the Holy Spirit. This is supported by the fact that in the next verse, He specifies Holy Spirit vice just saying spirit (Jude 20). If he meant Holy Spirit, I believe it would have specified that.

So, in closing, I challenge you this week to take a look at what natural, or soulish, blindness is in your mind. This is not easy, let me tell you from experience. There are a lot of things you have been taught is truth and facts that are anything but. Pray for discernment to be able to identify these things and to be shown the truth. And as always, let the Holy Spirit lead!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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