Soul Sleep? Not a Chance
A certain cult claims that the soul of a person who dies goes into a state of sleep, and remains that way until the day of the Resurrection.
IF this is true, then your loved ones who died in Christ are not with the Lord right now. Rather, they are sleeping in the grave, awaiting the resurrection.
|Praise God, this cultic heresy is not true. NOT TRUE!
I will now *string beads of verses* so that God's own Bible can fully convince you that "absent from the body is PRESENT with the Lord."
|In the verse alongside, notice that when Rachel died, her soul departed. It didn't hang around to go into the tomb with her body. Neither did her soul "fall asleep."||And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Gen 35.18|
|The body without the spirit is dead -- Period! Thus says the word
Therefore, the spirit or soul cannot stay with the body and sleep. It has to depart in order for the body to die.
|For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Jam 2.26|
|How in the world can Moses and Elijah be talking with Jesus if they are supposed to be asleep?||After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves ...and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Mt 17.1, 3|
|Jesus asserted that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the
The fact that Jesus used the term “living” clearly means *alive* in every sense of the word.
For this passage to make sense, it must mean that God's departed children are joyously awake and aware of being WITH their Heavenly Father.
Their souls most definitely are NOT snoozing away in a grave somewhere, having no knowledge or awareness of God. That would not be *living*. That would be mere existence.
|[Jesus said...] Concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Mt 22.31-32|
|If souls do sleep, then the passage alongside would offer little by
way of warning to pagans, and even less by way of exhortation to believers.
But souls do NOT sleep. If they are cast into hell, they shall be fully awake & aware of that terrible fact. Be warned!
|[Jesus said...] Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Lk 12.4-5|
|Some people regard the passage alongside as being a parable. I do
NOT. Why? Because, in all of Christ's parables, not ONCE did He ever use a person’s name. In this passage, on the
other hand, Lord Jesus explicitly identifies two people by name: Abraham and Lazarus.
I conclude that, in these verses, Jesus was describing actual events.
Notice that, whereas Lazarus and the rich man have both died, their souls are NOT asleep. Rather, their souls are very much awake and aware. The same is true of Abraham.
| [Jesus said...]
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was
buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Then 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 said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented." Lk 16.22-25
On the cross, Jesus promised the believing thief that he would be WITH Him in Paradise.
Together with Jesus forever! So it was for that thief. So shall it be for you and me.
|Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Lk 23.43|
|Even while in the grave for three days and nights, Jesus was fully
active and conscious. And busy! For it was during that time that our Lord preached to the spirits in prison.
Consider - If the spirits in prison were fast asleep,
then why would Jesus have preached to them? The answer is clear. They were NOT asleep!
NOTE. 1 Peter 3.19 is one of the *deep verses* of the Bible, and deserves further explanation. Rather than detouring from our study of soul sleep, I have appended my additional comments about 1 Peter 3.19 at the bottom of this page.
|...Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison
1 Pet 3.19b
|The Lord's statement that a believer in Him would “never die” is meaningless if it means that, even though your soul is alive, you will have ZERO awareness of your Lord and Savior.||Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11.25-25|
|How is it possible to be “absent from the body and present with the
Lord" if our souls merely sleep?
Is Heaven right now nothing more than a huge dormitory of sleeping souls?
Also, why would anyone be "well pleased" to be
present ASLEEP with the Lord?
|So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. ...We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Cor 5.6, 8|
|The passage alongside tells you about believers who will be martyred
during the Tribulation. Notice that they are very much awake, and crying out for justice.
Moreover, the martyrs, despite being "dead,” have their own memories, and fully recollect what happened to them in their earthly state. Such things would be impossible if they were merely asleep.
|When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Rev 6.9|
|As you read the verse alongside, note that the writer [apostle John] not only saw the souls of the martyrs, but also recorded that they "lived and reigned."||And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Rev 20.4|
|Read Psalm 116.15. Ask yourself WHY the death of believers would be precious in God's sight if their souls were only moving into a state of slumber and unconsciousness?||Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints. Ps 116.15|
|In the passage alongside, Stephen is about to be
executed. He sees Jesus "standing" at the right hand of God.
Usually the Bible describes the resurrected Jesus as being seated at the right hand of God [Hebrews 1.3, for example]. But Stephen is about to die for his testimony, and so Lord Jesus stands in preparedness to welcome him home.
In verse 59, Stephen calls to Jesus to receive his spirit. Jesus stands, with His arms stretched out, to do just that.
Now ask yourself -- Did Stephen enter Heaven that day as merely an unconscious sleeper? Or did he rush, joyously awake and aware, to worship at the feet of His Savior?
|But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven
and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens
opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Ac 7.55-56, 59
Appendix: Further Comments About 1 Peter 3.19 & Related Matters
Christ suffered once for sins, the
just for the unjust,
|In 1 Pet 3.19 [quoted above] the word “preached” [Greek kerusso] merely means
to function as a herald, and make an announcement.
Therefore, Jesus made an announcement to
the spirits in prison that something wonderful had just occurred.
In my view, that "something" could have been nothing less than the Good News of His atoning death, and soon-to-be resurrection.
|Strong's 2784 kerusso
to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth
|Who were those “spirits” in 1 Pet 3.19? I believe they were the Old
Testament saints -- Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and the like.
Why were they NOT in Heaven? Because their sins had not yet been atoned for.
Remember -- the Old Testament's sacrificial system could not “take away” sins [Heb. 10.4].
|For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins Heb 10.4|
|In Leviticus 17.11, the word “atonement” [Hebrew kaphar] means to “cover” sin --
NOT cleanse it.
You might say that the Old Testament saints were "saved on credit." That is, they were saved in anticipation of the day when Messiah Jesus would "pay the bill" by dying on their behalf -- the ultimate price to which all the Old Testament sacrifices pointed.
|For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement [kaphar] for your souls Lev 17.11a|
|Strong's 3722 kaphar
a primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel
|Where did the souls of those Old Testament saints go, if not directly
to heaven? The passage alongside tells you that they were carried by the angels to a compartment in Hades known
as Abraham’s bosom.
Thus, after His crucifixion, Jesus went to them in Hades to announce that He had just paid the full price of their sin debt. After His resurrection, Jesus took those Old Testament saints with Him to Heaven.
|The beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Lk 16.22-23|
|Thus, the compartment of Hades known as Abraham’s bosom is now empty.
The OTHER compartment of Hades, where the rich man was, is still very much occupied. Indeed, it is the place where the souls of unsaved people go, pending their final Judgment.
|Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it... and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Rev 20.11a, 20.13b|
There's more to be said, but I hope this serves to fortify you against the day when one of Satan's people might seek to attack you, or someone you love, on this issue.
Blessings from Rich