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Soul Sleep

God uses the words "sleep", "slept" and "sleepeth" in reference to death on several occasions. For example, Jesus said in John 11:11, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth" and yet verses 13-14 tell us He was speaking of death. 1 Cor. 15:51 states, "...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." 1 Thess. 4:14 states, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Again, in the text "sleep" means dead or died. However notice, Jesus will "bring with Him." the dead in Christ.

The teaching that the soul sleeps until the resurrection is not supported by the Word of God. When Jesus was crucified, there were two thieves crucified by Him. One repented and believed; the other died lost. Look at Luke 23:39-43. Notice verse 42, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom." Now watch. It is important to know that some promoters of soul-sleep place the comma between "Today" and "shalt" in verse 43 rather than between "thee" and "Today". Jesus was saying that the repentant thief would be with him "today". Teachers of soul-sleep place the comma after "today" changing the meaning of what Jesus said.

When Jesus was crucified, He gave up the ghost. That means, He left the body in the grave and according to the Bible, "descended first into the lower parts of the earth." (Eph. 4:9) What happened between the death and resurrection of Jesus? He went into (Hades) paradise and removed the Old Testament saints whose sins had been atoned but not removed. Hades was the place of the departed dead. It had two compartments: Hell (place of torment) and Paradise. See Luke 16:19-31 for the Biblical description of Hades. This is not a parable. Notice "a certain rich man" and "a certain beggar named Lazarus". Paradise is referred to as "Abraham's bosom." Conversation is taking place between Father Abraham and the dead rich man. Not only that, but Lazarus is "now comforted" and the rich man is tormented.

The dead rich man asked Abraham to "send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue:" Lazarus is dead, yet he is not soul-sleeping. When Jesus was resurrected, He "led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8) taking the saved Old Testament saints out of Paradise to heaven. Every saved person who has died since then has gone straight to heaven. Phil 1:21-23 tells us Paul had "a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." Why would he want to depart if he was only going to soul-sleep until the resurrection? What is the point? He knew that the moment he died he would be in the presence of the Lord which is far better. It is only far better for the saved! Are you sure without a doubt that you are born again? See John 11:24-27 and 1 John 5:11-13 to be sure.

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