16 ¶ And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.
Jacob and his family now leave Bethel and we have a tragedy of great importance to Jacob. His beloved Rachel dies in hard labor, giving birth to Benjamin. Here we have a statement that is helpful in understanding what happens to the soul at death. It leaves the body. This is not the proverbial ‘rocket science’ although some commentators make it so.
What is the soul? First, it is one of the three parts of which a human being is composed.
1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
From all indications as you read the over four hundred verses in which the word is found it is the seat of our self-identify, our will, and desires. It was created by God.
Isaiah 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
It leaves the body upon death and can be deposited in Hell.
Psalm 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
It is God who decides when the soul and body separate, when death is to be.
Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
One difference between that of the Old Testament and that of the Covenant of Grace after Christ’s resurrection that reveals what we call ‘eternal security’ is that until Christ’s Resurrection the soul is shown to be responsible for the sins of the flesh, the body. Sacrifice, an animal substitute for Christ, is required, the innocent dying for the guilty, in order to cleanse those sins. After the Resurrection, for the Christian, God severs the flesh, the body, from the soul so that it is free from the eternal consequences the sins of the flesh bring about.
Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
You do not become a child of God by your own power.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Nor, as the verse quoted from Colossians shows, do you keep your salvation by your own strength. Telling people that if they are truly delivered from Hell and eternal suffering by their faith in Christ, which is a gift from God,….
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
…that they can, by their own will, lose their salvation is a dangerous delusion and a wicked blasphemy that renders God ineffectual in salvation. These same people usually do not believe they have an authoritative Bible because the God who cannot preserve them could not preserve His words. Beware of so-called “free will” churches. They typically are trying to control you in some way and not afraid to deceive you in the process. After all, if I can lose my salvation I would need them to keep me in the fold, right? Keep me on the straight and narrow? If the Holy Spirit is too weak to do that, what’s next, killing someone in God’s name because He is too weak to do it Himself and needs your help?
Nevertheless, Rachel’s soul left her body at the body’s death, as yours will if the Lord tarries. She gave her child a name that reflected her anguish and sorrow but Jacob gave him the name that lasts for us and gives a tribe of Israel its name.