By the Blood of Jesus Community
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1126464 tn?1300799701

What does the Bible say about soul sleep?

“Soul sleep” is a belief that after a person dies, his/her soul “sleeps” until the resurrection and final judgment. The concept of “soul sleep” is not biblical. When the Bible describes a person “sleeping” in relation to death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), it does not mean literal sleep. Sleeping is just a way to describe death because a dead body appears to be asleep. The moment we die, we face the judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27). For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in hell (Luke 16:22-23).

7 Responses
908392 tn?1316522899
Really? I see the opposite. The Bible teaches that humans sleep in death until they are resurrected at the end of time. The resurrection of Lazarus illustrates this Biblical truth. Read the full story in John 11..

While speaking to His disciples about Lazarus, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleep he shall do well." The disciples were confused and thought Christ meant natural sleep, but He meant the sleep of death. "Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" (John 11:11-14).

"On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days" (John 11:17 NIV). Jesus said to Lazarus' sister Martha, "Thy brother shall rise again."

Martha responded, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day" (John 11:23-24). Martha knew the truth about death. She expected that, like everyone, Lazarus would remain in the sleep of death until the resurrection at the last day.

When Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, "he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43). That voice raised dead Lazarus to life, and Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:44). If Lazarus had indeed been somewhere in the afterlife during those four days, wouldn't he have said something?

Others might have asked him about the afterlife. Or, if Lazarus had been to heaven, then he would have likely been upset that he was back on Earth, surrounded by pain and brokenness again. But in reality, Lazarus gives us no account whatsoever of heaven or anywhere else.

The fact, of course, is that there was nothing to report about what happened after he died, or about the realm of the dead, simply because he had experienced the sleep of death which is a state of absolute silence and oblivion. Plus Jesus cried, hearing that he had died. So if Lazarus was in heaven, why would he cry and bring him back? Why would Lazarus be in hell, if he was a sincere follower of Christ and Christ loved him?

Both the Old and New Testaments are very clear on the issue of resurrection. Life will be restored to the dead in the resurrection on the last day. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Job 14:10-15 and 19:25-26, Psalm 17:15, and Daniel 12:13 discuss this issue. There will be separate resurrections for the righteous and for the wicked:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV).

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5-6 NKJV).

The same voice that raised Lazarus from the grave will be heard on that last day, calling forth those who have slept in the graves of the earth. Christ will recreate the righteous dead, or "dead in Christ." He will breathe eternal life into them, and they shall enter heaven. The rebellious dead remain as dust, to be raised after the millennium in the resurrection of those who have rejected God. :)

YAY!! Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Avatar universal
I think we here do not know what God does for each person for some have been translated straight to heaven without seeing death.
Avatar universal
I agree with Tbabi, I have studied this for the past 2 years and see it through out scripture.
908392 tn?1316522899
Good for you lovemykids465. Blessed is he who readeth :) Revelation 1:3.
Avatar universal
To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  THAT is pretty clear that as soon as you die you are with Jesus.  Soul Sleep is unbiblical.
908392 tn?1316522899
You have to read the whole chapter to understand it's context. People love to pick and choose half a verse of scripture to back up what they believe when the whole chapter says something different.

What is being away from the body and at home with the Lord? It's a spiritual experience. We come close to the Lord in prayer and Bible study.

Paul wrote of being "absent in body" to mean he was present with the Corinthian believers in spirit although physically absent. Thus, following Paul's terminology, we may be present with the Lord without being in heaven. If you read all of what the bible is saying it's saying that we must be Christians to gain eternal life. You don't just go to heaven when you die because you believe in God only and don't live like a christian. We should desire to walk by faith with God as a stranger in this world then when Christ returns he will awaken the righteous from the grave and we will live with him forever.
908392 tn?1316522899
The idea that you go to heaven when you die are based upon the assumption that death does not mean death -- that to die is to become more alive than before death. In Eden it was God who declared to our first parents, "Thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). It was Satan who declared, "Ye shall not surely die (Gen 3:4). Satan's lie has been very much accepted and God's truth rejected. Do they not all agree with the serpent's statement, "Ye shall not surely die"? Do they not all claim that the dead are alive -- much more alive than before they died? This has been our common point of mistake. We have followed the wrong teacher, the one of whom our Lord said, "He abode not in the Truth," and that he is the father of lies. -- John 8:44.

These false doctrines have prevailed amongst the heathen for many, many centuries, but they gained an ascendancy in the church of Christ during the "dark ages" and had much to do with producing the darkness thereof. If our forefathers had believed God's testimony, "Thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17), there would have been no room for the introduction of prayers for the dead, masses for their sins, frightful thoughts respecting their torture. The scriptures agree from first to last that "the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 9:5) and that "His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them" (Job 14:21). It is the scriptures that tell us where the dead are and their condition; that they are experiencing neither joy nor sorrow, pleasure nor suffering; that they will have no knowledge of anything done under the sun until their awakening in the resurrection. Remember the wise man's words, "Do with thy might what thy hand findeth to do, for there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in (sheol) the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecc. 9:10) Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament it is written of both the good and the bad that they fell asleep in death. The apostle speaks of those who "sleep in Jesus," (1 Thes. 4:14) and of those who have "fallen asleep in Christ" (1 Cor. 15:18) who, he declares, are perished, if there be no resurrection of the dead. Could they perish in heaven or in purgatory or in a hell of torment? Assuredly no one so teaches. They are already in a perished condition in the tomb; and the perishing would be absolute, complete, unless a resurrection be provided for their deliverance from the power of death. Hence we read, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
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