Who and where is the “real you”?
These questions maybe weird to begin with. But, knowing the “real you” will guide us to our ultimate destiny. And here lies the key: what are we composed of and where we really are in that structure?
In the secular world, man is composed of matter. Everything in it is made of organ systems, tissues and cells, which in turn have sub-cellular components and myriad other substances. This structural design comports with the narrative in Genesis except in major details as follows:
In the Genesis account, man was described as having come, not by evolution(1), but as a “created being”. There was a Creator named YHVH-Elohim/LORD-God(Gen. 1:1; 2:4); otherwise known as Jesus the Word (John 1:2; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2. And this particular created man, was formed by God, the “potter” (Isaiah 64:8;Jeremiah 18:1-4) from “the ground”(2) and was placed in the garden of Eden.
This man traced the lineage of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38; Genesis 5:3-29). See also Reference (3) for meaning of these names and (4). Specific emphasis should be made on his “human lineage” as the “totality of him”, his spirit and flesh, actually came from above (John 6:38; Ex. 3:14; John 1:1), heavenly and not from earth(5). Please allow this brief digression that after the human Jesus, there were no more “flesh”(matter) offspring from him as he was the beginning or precursor of the “new creation”, of spirit-composed(6,7), immortal beings built into a “new kingdom of God”.
Now back to the main topic: In creating Adam, the Creator-God(Lord God/YHVH Elohim) revealed that the matter-composition came “from the ground” (earth) and was not initially alive. While it was perfectly made, it had no life in it for the cells to function. Notice the description in Gen 2:7 (NIV):
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (nshamah/spirit) of life, and the man became a living being(nephesh).”
The matter-composed man was derived from the ground, i.e., earthy. There was no life in man when it was created until the breath-of-life was breathe into his nostrils. The life-giving power came directly from the spirit-composed God-Creator and therefore “spirit and heavenly”, the “spirit-of-man”. This potential energy (like any power-energy), the breath-of-life, was activated by God to kinetic energy for the matter-composed man to be alive. It was only after this action that all the life-processes of our cells then started. That “nephesh”(breathing or living being) is composed of “flesh”+ “breath of life”/spirit-of-man. Still, are these 2 components the “real you.”?
The concept of “temporary dwelling” leads one to compartmentalize and point to the “real you”. And, this principle is based on progressive revelation(Isaiah 28:10), viz.,
1. Temples are prototypes where the specific God (the Father) makes his appearance known.
Going back to the history in the Old Testament, notice that YHVH Elohim/Lord God had shown his presence to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob in many instances and to Israel even as he took the Israelites to the promised land. And this he did in a visible way but never in a particular/specific place in a structure, sanctuary, tabernacle or Temple. And yet, the holy Bible states that this specific God manifested his presence to Israel in a tent/tabernacle/sanctuary (Exodus 25–31 and 35–40) and subsequently in the first Solomonic temple (8), which was destroyed during Nebuchadnezzar II era after the Siege of Jerusalem IN 587 BCE. After coming out of captivity, the temple was rebuilt in the 6th century BCE. and was destroyed again during the Roman era in 70 CE(9).
Notice that these dwelling places have compartments and that only in the “holy-of-holies” (10),the specific place with the highest sanctity in these structures and no other part in it, was where this particular God showed his presence. Also, all of them did not last suggesting they were all temporary structures. This specific God did not permanently dwell there at all for a reason explained later in the book of Acts and in Revelations.
But who is this particular God that appeared in the “holy-of-holies”? As YHVH Elohim(the Creator God/Word/Jesus) showed himself in a different, open and visible way, this appearance has to refer to Father God (11) and that it foretells his future in-dwelling.
2. God does not dwell in temples made by human hands.
Notice that all these tabernacle/temples were “temporary” and were made by ”human by hands” and merely a “type”. Here is what was revealed to us later:
Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands”
Acts 7:48-49 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?”
The preceding means, that he manifested himself in temporary structures but he did not “live, rest or stayed” in there.
3, The living being is the “temple of God”. and not a dead one.
The apostles Paul intimated this concept as he addressed the “living body of believers” in Corinth.
I Cor. 3:16-17
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
I Cor 6:19
What? do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
4. The kingdom of God is “in you”,i.e., “in the living body”.
As the tabernacle and temples made by “human hands” of Israel have compartments, and that God specifically manifested only in the “holy-of-holies” , where exactly is this in the living human body?
In Luke 17:21, it says “…the kingdom of God is within you. “
The English word “kingdom” comes from the Greek word “basilea” meaning realm or territory. This is the place where the Father God will dwell. Whereas, English word “within” comes from the Greek word “entos”, meaning “within or in the midst” of you(not among), the “living person”.
Clearly, the place where Father God will dwell is within the living person. But since the “living being”(nephesh) has 2 components, viz., the flesh body + breath of life(spirit of man), which one typifies the “holy-of-holies” in the living person? Where “in you” will God dwell?
5. God does not dwell in earthy place made by hands.
Recollecting how man was created, the flesh-part was fashioned by the hands of the “potter” from “clay or ground” and therefore “earthy”. On the other hand, the “breath of life”(spirit of man) came directly from the spirit-composed Creator himself, and therefore not “earthy” but “heavenly”. This was not made by “hands”, but instead was directly breathe out from a heavenly Creator into the lifeless body and activated it into a “living being”(nephesh).
This “spirit of man”, not the “flesh” is the dwelling place of Father God, his abode, the “holy-of-holies” in the “nephesh”/living being.
Why the need for God’s Holy Spirit in man?
Humans were created with “weak” flesh and a “helper” (John 14:26) has to strengthen the “willing spirit-of-man” (Matthew 26:41). The “spirit-of-man” is willing but has to be empowered by God’s Holy Spirit of power to overcome the “the weak flesh”. Indeed, as Paul said in Galatians 5:17 (English Standard Version):
“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
This “helper” was given by the Father to his Son after Jesus’ resurrection. (John 16:7:).In the “spirit-of-man”, God is still building us “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
1 Peter 2:5
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In the narrative found in John 3:1-8, the dilemma of Nicodemus was addressed (12). After we were “born of water” through natural birth from our mothers, we have to be “born of the spirit” to be saved from eternal death(13). And, this prophesied nd precisely-timed process starts in the “mind/spirit-of/man” to guide and nurture it in the ways of God to be “one” with him. The “promised spirit-of-God” takes abode in the “spirit-of-man”/mind empowering it to overcome the “pull of the flesh” thereby “writing the Law” in the “tablets of our heart”(2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31;33). Through voluntary spiritual growth and development, we will develop wisdom and become “overcomers”(Revelations 2:7-11;v-17; v-26; 3:5-12) of the flesh (not bear its fruits but of the spirit as in Galatians 5:19-26) to subsequently be “born again” (John 3:3-7) as “spirit-composed beings”, immortal, in a “twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52) at our resurrection.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This includes even humans before and after the Adam in Genesis(14). Because of sin, the created living beings became “enemies”(Romans 5:10) and had to be reconciled by the Creator God/Lord God/YHVH Elohim, the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) Jesus/the Word who took on the penalty of sin through his death at the cross. After his resurrection, he was given the “promised helper”/the spirit(power) of Father God that was then given at Pentecost and still being given now. And this, to take abode in our “spirit-of-man”, the “holy-of-holies” of our living body/nephesh for empowerment of the “willing spirit” towards growth/development and “overcoming “ to be “one” with the Father.
This “spirit-of-man” is the “real you” in the living person/nephesh. This is the “inner man” that Paul referred to in Romans 7:22-23; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16. Our flesh-composed body is the “clothing” that will rot in the grave as the “spirit-of-man goes back to the Father at death(Ecclesiastes 12:7), waiting to be “clothe” (1 Corinthians 15:54) on the appointed time with immortal-spirit-composed body at the “last trump”(1 Corinthians 15:52).
The Genesis account of Adam “clothed” with lamb-skin “sacrificed” for him to “cover” his “nakedness” (15) is a prototype of the future.
This reminds me of the movie Karate Kid III: Miyagi said to Daniel La Russo that while the Bonsai tree is broken, “inside you” (the root is willing) must be empowered “to grow” and will recover/heal. The “best karate” is still “in him”. In the ending scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, shortly before the Battle of Yavin and destruction of the Death Star, Obi-wan-Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker, “may the force to be with you“. He then closed his eyes and trusted “the force”.
The spirit of God given at Pentecost is the building block for the “spirit-of-man” to grow and be “one” with the Father. While the “spirit-of-man”, the “breath-of-life” is the “dwelling/abode” of the “promised spirit-of-God”, the permanent dwelling place of the Father will come in the future when all become “one” with the Father through the “builder” Christ(Zechariah 6:13; Matthew 13:55;Luke 2:49;Acts 20:28; Eph. 2:13; 1Cor. 3:9-11; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:6,7). The Father will come down from “first heaven” to dwell permanently in the “new heaven and earth” as in Revelations 21:1-3
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God (Father) himself will be with them and be their God”.
Notice that “Spirit-power of God” is “in us” while the Father himself will be “with us” in the “new heaven and earth”
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Original post; August 30, 2018