"It is finished." (John 19:30)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

What does Jesus mean by 'it is finished'?

The word “finished” is being translated* from the Greek word, τελέω (teleō), which can mean, “to bring to a close, to finish, to end.” But it can also mean, according to Thayer's lexicon, “to perform, execute, complete, fulfill, (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said, the order, command, etc.) with special reference to the subject matter, to carry out the contents of a command.”

Thus we find a deeper meaning in Jesus’ statement, rather than just that his physical body was finished. He is speaking of his service to the Supreme Being being completed as instructed by the Supreme Being:
“I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

What does 'gave up his spirit' mean?

The Greek word translated to 'spirit' is πνεῦμα (pneuma). According to the lexicon, this means, "the vital principal by which the body is animated." The lexicon goes further, stating:

"a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting... a life-giving spirit... a human soul that has left the body."

This is describing the essential person - the person who occupies the physical body for some time and then leaves it at the time of death.

Yes, this is what happens when each of us dies:

Do we all 'give up our spirit' at the time of death?

Death separates the spirit from the body. And upon the separation of the spirit-person from the body, the body no longer functions.

Then the body begins to decompose. Because there is no spirit-person animating the body.

This is confirmed clearly in the lexicon's definition of spirit above, "the vital principal by which the body is animated."

When the person - who is spirit in essence - is occupying the physical body, the body is animated. When that person leaves the body, the body dies.

This separation of the person with the body has been proven in over 100,000 case studies of clinical death. Clinical death occurs when a person's body clinically dies (i.e., their heart, breathing and brain waves stop) and then is resuscitated. After they are resuscitated they describe separating from the body and looking down upon it, looking at their unconscious body laying on the hospital bed or operating table.

Thousands of these cases have been authenticated by the patient accurately describing what took place in the room - and sometimes elsewhere in the hospital - while they were unconscious.

What about the rapture?

Today we find so many laughable interpretations of the rapture - the apocalypse - even though none of these words are actually used in the scriptures.

Some of these fictitious interpretations describe how beams of light will capture people's bodies and pull them up to heaven, while beasts devour the bodies of those who are not believers at some point in the future.

When is this supposed to happen? Despite continual warnings from fanatical sectarian teachers, we find that over and over they have lied to their followers. Consider, for example, the following list of predictions for the end of the world, or rapture, over the centuries:

Hilary of Poitiers: 365 AD (the date the end of the world was predicted)
Saint Martin of Tours: 375 to 400 AD
Sextus Julius Africanus: 500 AD
Gerard of Poehlde: 1147 AD
John of Toledo: 1179 AD
Joachim of Fiore: 1205 AD
Pope Innocent III: 1284 AD
Melchior Hoffman: 1533 AD
Benjamin Keach (Baptist): 1689 AD
William Whitson: 1736 AD
The Shakers (Ann Lee): 1792 AD
Charles Wesley (Methodist): 1794 AD
Margaret McDonald: 1830 AD
Joseph Smith (Mormon): 1832 and 1891 AD
William Miller (Millerites): 1843 and 1844 AD
Ellen White (Seven Day Adventists): 1850, 1856 and "early 1900s" AD
Mother Shipton: 1881 AD
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses): 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994 and other dates more recent.

Why were they all wrong? They have misinterpreted the scriptures because they decided to use the Scriptures to further their ambitions. They manipulated texts and interpretations to make believe that Jesus was predicting the end of the world. They decided they would attract followers by predicting that date.

Today we refer to this as a cult. A cult is typically formed by a power-hungry leader who manipulates the truth in order to take advantage of others.

Because most people are afraid of dying, it is fairly standard to reign control over a large number of people by threatening that they will die if they don't follow the cult leader.

There are of course variations in this. In this case of predicting the end of the world, most of these cult leaders add in the threat that those who don't follow them and their institution will go to hell.

So not only are the followers threatened with death (end of the world), but also with going to hell after death.

That's a scenario that most simply will not want to chance. So the cult gains many followers based upon these lies.

This is what has happened with many of the sects that are mentioned above, founded upon threats that the world will end - combined with threats that we will go to hell unless we join their institution.

That's what cult leaders do: They threaten people with false claims about the future in order to gain followers and control those followers' beliefs.

*Here is the translation of this verse from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Then when Jesus had received the vinegar he said, “It has been accomplished!” And he bowed his head and released his spirit. (John 19:30)