DO CHRISTIANS GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE?


EDITED


DO CHRISTIANS GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE?



Or more specifically, “Do Christians go DIRECTLY to Heaven when the die?” Or “Do the SOULS of Christians SLEEP in the GRAVE until the first resurrection?

Well, we need to look at what the WHOLE Bible ITSELF teaches us on this subject. For you see, every church doctrine, whether it is true or false, uses verses from the Bible to support what that particular doctrine teaches. But we all know that just because a church doctrine quotes verses from the Bible does not always mean that it is a SOUND Biblical teaching.

The Christians who teach that the SOUL SLEEPS in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the coming of Jesus START their search for the truth by going to the creation of the first man Adam. And they quote Genesis 2:7 as their first proof text.


Here is Genesis 2:7.


And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the BREATH OF LIFE; and man BECAME a LIVING SOUL.”


And then they INTERPRET this verse to mean that the BODY PLUS the BREATH of LIFE EQUALS a LIVING SOUL. Or in other words, the BODY + SPIRIT = LIVING SOUL. And then they CONCLUDE that when the BREATH of LIFE leaves the BODY when a person dies, then the SOUL ceases to exist or that there is NO MORE SOUL. To say this another way, to Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep, the living soul is ALWAYS synonymous with the phrase “a living being. For example, they quote 2 Peter 3:20 where there were 8 SOULS saved in the flood of Noah. Thus they conclude that a soul ALWAYS means the same thing in every verse as being a person, as in, every person IS a SOUL. And they quote Ecclesiastes 12:7 as their second proof text.


Here is Ecclesiastes 12:7.


“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the SPIRIT (Or the BREATH of LIFE) shall RETURN unto God who GAVE IT.”



Now, while this is a true statement of FACT, it is also misleading. For you see, the Christians that teach the soul sleep doctrine, INTERPRET this verse to mean that the spirit returns to God at the very moment that a person dies physically. They then conclude that when a person dies their body goes to the grave to decay and to turn back to the dust or back into the dirt of the earth. And at that precise moment when a person dies the spirit IMMEDIATELY goes back to God at the very moment of death. And thus to them the living SOUL is NO MORE.

Some Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim that the SOUL ceases to exist. Other Christians claim that God records all the memories of the soul right before it ceases to exist and then God creates a new soul at the resurrection and downloads all the memory from the old soul into the new soul. And yet other Christians say that the soul SLEEPS in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS state UNTIL the resurrection.

But most of the soul sleep believing Christians START with the soul being NO MORE at the very moment that the breath of life leaves the physical body. And then they CHANGE from saying that the soul is NO MORE to saying that the soul DIES or is no longer a LIVING soul.


But what does the Bible ITSELF teach us?


For you see, there are many more verses in the Bible besides Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes 12:7. Remember that those who teach the soul sleep doctrine try to prove that the living soul is made up of just TWO parts. They say that a living soul is a human being. In other word, they argue that the BODY + the SPIRIT = a HUMAN BEING or a LIVING SOUL.

Let us see if their INTERPRETATION of Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes 12:7 agree with what the Bible ITSELF teaches.


Please read 1 Thessalonians 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.”


So then, the Bible itself, without any need of being interpreted, states as a FACT that we are made up of THREE PARTS. That means that the Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep have ERRED in their INTERPRETATION of the Scripture by their CLAIMING that we are made up of just TWO parts and that the word soul ALWAYS means a person. This is just ERROR #1.

The TRUTH of the matter is that the soul and the spirit are connected to make up what the Bible calls the INNER man. And the inner man which is the REAL PERSON dwells IN the BODY. And when the body dies that spirit and the soul continues to live. We will look at the verses which teach us that the SOUL continues to live after the physical body dies in section two of this study. But first we will read a few more so-called proof texts from those who teach that the soul ceases to exist or that the soul DIES and then SLEEPS in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the resurrection. Keep in mind that just because the soul continues to live after the body dies does NOT mean that the soul is IMMORTAL. The Bible does NOT teach that the soul is immortal.


SECTION TWO


Another verse that Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep use is James 2:26. And they use this verse to try and prove that without the spirit the SOUL is DEAD. In other words, they CHANGE what they teach about the soul being NO MORE to the living soul now becoming a DEAD SOUL when the body dies.


James 2:26.


“For as the BODY without the SPIRIT is DEAD, so faith without works is dead also.”


But this verse does NOT say that the SOUL dies when the spirit leaves the body. Rather it says that the BODY is DEAD without the spirit. Their argument is that the Greek word translated as “spirit” means BREATH and the BODY means the WHOLE person. So they conclude that breath PLUS body EQUALS a SOUL. And, therefore, to THEM, when the breath leaves the body then there is NO MORE SOUL. In other words, to THEM, there can only be a LIVING soul or a living PERSON when there is the breath of LIFE in the BODY. And thus, they conclude that when the breath of life leaves the body then the soul DIES. It becomes a DEAD SOUL. Because to THEM the soul IS the PERSON. Remember that they use 2 Peter 3:20 to conclude that the word “soul” ALWAYS means the WHOLE person.

Then they quote their third proof text to show that the soul is NOT IMMORTAL by showing that the soul of a SINNER shall DIE.


Please read Ezekiel 18:20.


The soul that sins, it shall DIE. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”


And I totally agree. The souls of all SINNERS will indeed be destroyed by Almighty God in the lake of fire on the final Day of JUDGMENT, if so be, that a person dies while living in SIN. But that does NOT mean that the soul itself DIES at the very moment that the physical body dies.

Please understand that the word “soul” does NOT ALWAYS mean the whole person in every single verse. In this particular verse in Ezekiel 18:20, the word “soul” could be interpreted as the whole person as well as being interpreted as the soul OF a person. Also, this verse says NOTHING about the soul of a Christian. It says the soul that SINS shall DIE. In other words, all of the souls of SINNERS will die the SECOND DEATH if they do not repent of their sins before they die PHYSICALLY. For you see, if you read the CONTEXT in the very next verse you can see that God also says that the soul that TURNS from his wicked ways shall LIVE.


Please read Ezekiel 18:21.


“But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely LIVE, he shall NOT die.”


So you can see how those that teach soul sleep take verses OUT of their context to try and support that the soul DIES at the very moment when the body dies. Remember that they use James 2:26 to equate that the BODY IS the SOUL. And to them, when the breath of life leaves the BODY the SOUL dies because to them the soul IS the BODY.

Then they quote their fourth proof text to prove that God DESTROYS BOTH the BODY and the SOUL in hell that proves that the soul of man is NOT an IMMORTAL soul. Now, to me, this one verse alone should be more than enough to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the SOUL is NOT the BODY or is not always the whole person in every verse of the Bible. For you see, this verse says that God is able to destroy BOTH the body AND the soul. Now to me, this verse refutes their INTERPRETATION that the soul IS the BODY as they do in James 2:26. They fail to see that the word soul can mean the whole person is some verses but in other verses the word soul means the soul OF a person.


Please read Matthew 10:28.


“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in HELL.”


Again, I agree that God will destroy BOTH the body and the soul of every WICKED person in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment that takes place AFTER the 1000 year reign of Jesus. But this verse has NOTHING whatsoever to do with proving that the soul DIES or SLEEPS at the very moment that a person dies physically. And I agree that the soul is NOT IMMORTAL. That is an invention of the Roman Catholic Church in order to teach the eternal torture in the flames of hell doctrine. Please read the studies “IS THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BIBLICAL?” and “DOES REVELATION 20:10 TEACH ETERNAL TORMENT?” But again, none of these verses have anything to do with the SOUL dying when the breath of life leaves the body. Then they sum things up by saying that the Bible teaches that the soul is BORN and then the soul DIES.

But that is NOT what the Bible itself  teaches. The Bible teaches us that the soul of a SINNER shall die, as in, the soul of a sinner shall be destroyed by God in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment after the 1000 year reign of Jesus. God does NOT destroy the soul of any person at the very moment that a person dies. Also, God will ONLY destroy the souls of the wicked. And the destruction of the souls of the wicked sinners will not take place UNTIL the final Day of Judgment which is when the souls of the WICKED only will be cast ALIVE into the lake of fire.

Anyway, after they have deceived Christians that are not rooted and grounded in the word of truth to wrongly believe that the soul DIES when the body dies, then they quote many verses to show that the Bible LIKENS death to being ASLEEP.

Now, I am not going to quote any of those verses that liken death to being asleep because they are 100% correct in their interpretation of those particular verses. I totally agree that the Bible does indeed liken death with being asleep. But that does NOT prove that the SOUL SLEEPS in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the resurrection because there are no verses in the Bible that teach us that the soul actually DIES when the body dies.

However, there are verses that teach us that we, as Christians, will pass from death unto live and that we shall NOT taste death.


Please read John 5:25.


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”


Also, read James 5:20.


Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall SAVE a SOUL from DEATH, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”


Now read 1 Thessalonians 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.”


So how can a BLAMELESS SOUL DIE when the Bible teaches us that ONLY the souls of SINNERS will DIE? The wages of SIN is DEATH. So to ME, there is absolutely no sound Biblical proof that the SOUL DIES when the physical body dies.

Now those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep do quote several verses that may SEEM as if the souls of the DEAD are in an unconscious state. But as I say many times that any verse when viewed apart from the rest of God’s word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying when it is correctly interpreted in the light of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Also, remember that being asleep does NOT equate to being is an unconscious state. For you see, we DREAM when we sleep. So to me, death being LIKENED to sleep speaks more of death being likened to RESTING.

So in the next section we will take a CLOSER look at John 3:13 and Acts 2:34 which they use to try and prove that Christians do NOT go the Heaven at the moment they die.


SECTION THREE


And then they quote two verses to try and prove that no man has ascended to Heaven to try and also to prove that the SOUL of man REMAINS WITH the body IN the GRAVE until the Day Of Judgment. And then they conclude that NO ONE goes DIRECTLY to Heaven at the moment that a Christian DIES.


Here is John 3:13.


And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”


First of all, this verse says nothing about any SOULS going to Heaven. And secondly, this verse means that no man has ascended to Heaven UNTIL the Son of man ascended into Heaven on the SAME DAY that God raised Jesus from the dead. In other words, all that John 3:13 means is that, BEFORE the time that Jesus ascended into heaven ON the VERY DAY that God raised him from the dead, that no man had ever ascended into Heaven before THAT TIME. This verse does NOT mean that no man will NEVER EVER ascend into Heaven.

Do you remember Jesus telling Mary Magdalene on the day that God raised him from the dead for her to NOT TOUCH him?


Please read John 20:17.


“Jesus said unto her, Touch me NOT; FOR (Or BECAUSE) I am NOT YET ASCENDED to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God”


Then later that SAME DAY in the EVENING Jesus appeared to his disciples and told them to HANDLE him or to TOUCH him. Now the REASON that Jesus told Mary Magdalene to NOT touch him was BECAUSE he had NOT YET ASCENDED up into Heaven to his God and Father. So to me, Jesus must have ascended up into Heaven right after he spoke to Mary Magdalene early in the morning on the very day that God raised him from the dead. And WHILE the Son of MAN, Jesus, was in Heaven, Almighty God the Father gave him his new glorified IMMORTAL body of flesh and bones. We know this because after Jesus descended back down to the earth he showed himself to be alive forevermore by many infallible proofs for forty days before the now glorified highly exalted Son of MAN ascended back up into Heaven to be in the bosom of the Father.

Now let us read in John 20:18-20 where Jesus appeared to his disciple that SAME EVENING that God raised him from the dead.


John 20:18-20.


“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

19. Then the SAME DAY at EVENING, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.

20. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”


Then in Luke chapter 24 we read that Jesus told his disciples to HANDLE him so that they would know that he was alive forever more.


Please read Luke 24:33-40.


“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

36. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

38. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: HANDLE ME (Or TOUCH ME), and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have.

40. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.”


So to me, God raised Jesus is his OLD body that was still a MORTAL body. And then, when Jesus ascended into heaven, God CHANGED his mortal body to his new glorified IMMORTAL body of flesh and bones having no BLOOD. Some Christians believe that Jesus took his blood up to Heaven and presented it to God. But all we know for sure is that the Son of MAN ascended into heaven and descended back down to the earth to show himself alive for forty days. And BEFORE he ascended to heaven the same day that God raised him from the dead, Jesus did NOT allow Mary Magdalene to TOUCH him. But AFTER the Son of MAN descended back down to the earth that SAME resurrection day that evening, he specifically TOLD his disciples to HANDLE him.

So John 3:13 simply teaches us that the Son of MAN ascended to Heaven and then the Son of MAN DESCENDED from Heaven back down to the earth. And then the Son of MAN ascended back up to where he was before. ALSO, God GAVE him all authority and power to give eternal life to his faithful believers in him when he returns.

So then, BEFORE that TIME no MAN had ever ascended into Heaven. That is all that John 3:13 means. And to me, it does NOT prove that the SOULS of Christians remain in the GRAVE with their decaying body until the FIRST resurrection AT the coming of Jesus.


Let us now read Acts 2:34.


“For David is NOT ascended into the heavens: but he says himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit you on my right hand,”


Peter is simply interpreting the Psalm that king David wrote to say that king David was NOT speaking of HIMSELF in that Psalm. But rather king David was prophesying of the Messiah who would be ascending into Heaven.

Now while it is true that the BODY of king David in still in the grave, I personally believe that his SOUL and SPIRIT was raised from the holding place of the dead of the RIGHTEOUS that was called PARADISE in the Old Testament times to now be up in Heaven under the altar awaiting the first resurrection. Please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?” But for now let us read where many bodies of the SAINTS arose along with Jesus.


Matthew 27:52,53.


“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”


Now some Christians argue that the resurrection of Jesus was so powerful that all the dead that were buried near his tomb arose with him. But the Bible itself specifically says that many of the SAINTS arose. So to me, it was NOT a random resurrection that spilled over to raise everyone near the tomb that Jesus was buried in. But rather it was a specific resurrection of ONLY the SAINTS of the Old Testament that was PROPHESIED to take place. There are many Christians that agree that it was ONLY the Old Testament saints that arose with Jesus. Let us read where this resurrection of the SOULS of the Old Testament SAINTS was PROPHESIED to take place.

Please read Psalm 68:18.


“You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive: you have received gifts for men (Speaking of the Holy Spirit and the authority to build his church); yea, for the rebellious also (Speaking of the REMNANT of the children of Israel and those left alive of the nation when God turns to Israel the second time at the coming of Jesus), that the LORD God might dwell among them.”


Now let us read the FULFILLMENT of the first part of this prophecy.


Please read Ephesians 4:8-12.


“Wherefore he said (Or wherefore it was prophesied), When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended FIRST into the LOWER PARTS of the earth?

10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11. And he gave (GIFTS to his church) some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”


Some Christians have been given the gift to go out and START new congregations like the apostles of Jesus. Some Christians have been given the gift of prophecy. Other Christians have been given the gift to pastor a congregation. Some Christians have the gift to evangelize or to preach the gospel to bring people to Jesus. Some have been given the gift to teach. Other Christians have been given all sorts of different talents. Some are blessed financially to help the poor. My main point is that Jesus took the souls of the Old Testament SAINTS to heaven with him. And now the souls of the SAINTS are IN Heaven under the altar awaiting their CHANGE or to be clothed upon with their new glorified immortal body like Jesus has now.

But some Christians argue that those who rose with Jesus simply went to their earthly homes and later died. I myself disagree with that theory because the Bible teaches us that it is appointed ONCE for man to die and then comes the Day of Judgment.


Please read Hebrews 9:26.


“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”


Some may say, what about Lazarus? Certainly he died twice. Every person that I have ever heard of being resurrected were brought back to life within a few minutes to a few hours after they died. Lazarus was an exception for he was dead for four days. Nonetheless, his body had not decayed and turned to dust. I raised my wife from the dead. And when she returned to her body she told me of here experience in Heaven and how she was told that she was being called back to her body.

Now another thing that Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep argue is that the soul and spirit REMAIN WITH the body IN the GRAVE when a person dies. In other words, they claim that the soul does NOT leave the body when a person dies.


But what does the Bible itself teach us?


Please read Luke 8:52-55.


“And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is NOT DEAD, but sleeps.

53. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was DEAD.

54. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

55. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”


Now some may argue that this verse says that the SPIRIT came back into her body. But please notice that it says that HER spirit came again or came back into her body to WAKE the body up from sleeping or to give life back to the body.

The Bible teaches us that Yahweh is the God of the LIVING and NOT the God of the DEAD. That means that the SOUL and the Spirit of the SAINTS are NOT DEAD SOULS. But rather they are LIVING SOULS even after the body has died and even decayed back to the dust of the earth.


Please read Mark 12:26,27.


“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

27. He is NOT the God of the DEAD, but the God of the LIVING: you therefore do greatly err.”


So Jesus himself speaks of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still being ALIVE. And I personally believe that their LIVING SOULS are up IN Heaven under the altar RESTING and awaiting their new glorified immortal bodies of flesh and bones like Jesus has now.


Please read Revelation 6:9-11.


“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw UNDER the ALTAR the SOULS of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10. And they CRIED with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Clearly the SOULS of the saints are NOT DEAD and they are NOT SLEEPING in an UNCONSCIOUS state with their bodies in the GRAVE. But rather the SOULS of the SAINTS are up IN Heaven under the altar awaiting the second coming of Jesus)

11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”


Now those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep may still yet argue and say what about all the verses that teach us that the souls are sleeping in the GRAVE?

We will cover those verses in the next section. We will take a closer look at Job 14:12, Psalm 17:15, Psalm 49:15, Daniel 12:2, and John 5:28,29.




SECTION FOUR


In this section we will cover all the verses used by those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep that refer to the DEAD being IN the GRAVE until the RESURRECTION. Now only one of the five verses has the word “soul” in it so we will cover that verse first.


Please read Psalm 49:15.


But God will redeem my SOUL from the power of the GRAVE: for he shall receive me. Selah.”


Now, on the surface it may appear that this verse is saying that the SOULS of the righteous are in the GRAVE. Especially when the words, SOUL and GRAVE are emphasized and you are taught over and over by your church denomination that the soul sleeps in the GRAVE until the resurrection.

But when we keep this verse in its CONTEXT we can see that the emphasis should be placed upon the words, REDEEM MY soul FROM the POWER OF the grave. For God shall RECEIVE me.


Let us read Psalm 49:14,15.


“Like sheep THEY are laid in the grave; death shall feed on THEM; and the UPRIGHT shall have dominion over THEM in the morning; and THEIR beauty shall consume in the grave from THEIR dwelling.

15. BUT God will REDEEM MY soul FROM the POWER OF the grave: for he shall RECEIVE me. Selah.”


Now, this verse could be INTERPRETED as the soul remaining in the grave until the resurrection, but it does NOT PROVE that the soul remains IN the GRAVE until the resurrection. For you see, 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches us that when a Christians dies then their soul goes immediately to be present with the Lord. So to me, it is NOT a CORRECT interpretation of Psalm 49:15 to dogmatically demand that is means that the soul remains in the grave with the decaying body until the resurrection.


Please read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.



“For we know that if our EARTHLY HOUSE of this tabernacle were dissolved, (Or if our earthly physical mortal body were to die and decay in the grave) we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (Or more specifically we have a PROMISE of a new glorified immortal body of flesh and bones like Jesus has now that God has promised to give to us at the coming of Jesus. Please notice that we live IN an earthly or MORTAL body. In other words, the real you, the INNER man, lives IN a BODY. To say this another way, our spirit and SOUL lives IN our body)

2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (Or this is our heart’s desire to be like Jesus. And we know that when Jesus returns we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is right now. Please notice that the BODY is something we WEAR as our HOUSE. In other words, we still exist and continue to LIVE even WITHOUT a BODY)

3. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (Meaning that IF SO BE we are found to be that good and faithful servant to be accounted worthy to receive a new glorified immortal body to rule and reign with Jesus in the world to come for one thousand years. For you see, to be found naked means to be found living in sin. And to be found living in sin when a person dies means that he or she is found to be unworthy to receive eternal life. And, therefore, the SOUL of the sinner will NOT receive an IMMORTAL body on the Day of Judgment.)

4. For WE that are IN this tabernacle (Speaking of DWELLING IN or WEARING this MORTAL body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (In other words, we do not desire to die physically, but rather we long for the day when we actually receive the manifestation of the promise of eternal life in the world to come. Again, please notice that we are IN this tabernacle or IN this dwelling place which means that there is something that is ALIVE that is living IN this mortal BODY. And that something is our spirit and soul. We will cover the scripture proving this shortly)

5. Now he that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (Or God has given us an earnest or a small down payment so to speak of his Holy Spirit so that we can KNOW that his PROMISE of eternal life is SURE)

6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while WE are at HOME IN the BODY, we are absent from the Lord: (Or while we are living IN our mortal BODY we are absent from the Lord, Here again, it is made blatantly clear that the real us is LIVING IN a HOME which is called our BODY. And when this MORTAL BODY dies, we, as Christians, are absolutely sure that God will give us a NEW BODY. And not just a new body, but an IMMORTAL body that will never feel pain or never be oppressed with sickness)

7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ABSENT FROM the BODY, and to be PRESENT WITH the Lord.(But we have a CONFIDENT faith to know that whether we live or die we shall be with the Lord. And for this reason we are WILLING to lay down our life for the sake of the gospel to be present with the Lord)

9. Wherefore (And for that reason) we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (Or we also know that sin separates us from God. And if we should die while living in sin then we would not be accounted worthy to be present with the Lord. So for that reason we labor to be found that good and faithful servant of HIS righteousness and NOT our OWN righteousness)

10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done IN his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.”


Now to be ABSENT FROM the BODY means that the soul is no longer PRESENT WITH the BODY. So when the body DIES the spirit and soul LEAVE the BODY to go somewhere else. This does NOT mean that the dead in Jesus Christ RECEIVE the new immortal body just because their SOUL is IN Heaven. We who are Christians receive our new immortal bodies at the judgment seat of Christ in the FIRST judgment. And this first judgment takes place AT the coming or at the RETURN of Jesus right before the 1000 year reign of Jesus. And at this judgment seat of Christ ONLY those of us who are found to be those good and faithful servants of God who are IN Jesus Christ will receive the manifestation of the promise of eternal life. And all those who are NOT IN Jesus Christ AT his coming will NOT receive eternal life. In other words, to be found IN Jesus Christ means that a Christian must be found FAITHFUL when they die physically. And those Christians are described as those who SLEEP in Jesus which God will BRING WITH him at the second coming of Jesus.


Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

 

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (Speaking of those who have died physically IN Jesus Christ), that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (Meaning that those who die while being UNSAVED have NO HOPE of ever receiving eternal life)

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which SLEEP IN Jesus will God BRING WITH HIM. (Well, God and his Son Jesus are both up in Heaven. And AT the second coming of Jesus they will both be coming down FROM Heaven. So that means that the SOULS of the saints are IN Heaven right now. Please read Revelation 6:9-11 which proves that the SOULS of the saints are under the altar up in Heaven right now. And that they have been there from the time that Jesus rose from the grave with above five hundred saints who rose from the dead with him. Revelation 6:9-11. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Please notice that not only are the SOULS of the saints up IN Heaven right now, they are also CONSCIOUS and AWAKE. They are talking to God asking him how much longer it will be for their shed blood to be avenged. So the sleeping analogy is just another way of saying that they are resting and that they are not dead)

15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (This means that we who are alive unto the coming of Jesus will NOT receive our glorified immortal bodies BEFORE those saints who have died IN Jesus Christ; Remember Hebrews 11:39,40 where God has a better plan. And God’s plan is that all the saints IN Jesus be glorified TOGETHER all at the same moment in time AT the LAST trumpet right before the WRATH of God is executed by Jesus.)

16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (Speaking of the FIRST resurrection spoken of in Revelation chapter 20)

17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the AIR: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (There is nothing in this verse that speaks of us being taken to Heaven. But when we compare this verse with Revelation 16:15,16 then we can see that the angels of Jesus will GATHER us all together to MEET Jesus in the AIR over the place called Armageddon where we will help Jesus execute to WRATH of God upon the wicked)

18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

So then, from 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14, and Revelation 6:9-11 we can clearly see that there are indeed SOULS up IN Heaven under the altar who are awaiting their new glorified immortal bodies. Therefore, I personally believe that the soul sleep believing Christians have INCORRECTLY interpreted 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 to say that Paul was just DESIRING to be present will the Lord. For you see, they need to EXPLAIN away this verse because it completely destroys the false teaching of soul sleeping in the GRAVE until the resurrection.

Even the souls of the WICKED are NOT IN the GRAVE with the body. The souls of the wicked leave the body upon death and go DOWN into the holding place of the wicked dead in the heart of the earth. Please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?”

Now, in the King James version of the Bible the English word “resurrection” is not found anywhere in the Old Testament. The word AWAKE is used instead of the word resurrection.

 

Please read Psalm 17:15.


As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I AWAKE, with your likeness.”


In other words, this verse could just as easily read as follows.


As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I ARISE in the RESURRECTION, with your likeness.”


The SOULS of the saints under the altar up in Heaven will not be SATISFIED in RIGHTEOUSNESS until they receive their reward of their new glorified immortal body like Jesus has now. The souls of the saint up in Heaven will not be SATISFIED until their shed blood is avenged.

The Bible LIKENS death with SLEEPING. For you see, every person can understand the RESURRECTION when it is likened to being AWAKEN from a SLEEP. And the prophets in the Old Testament understood that everyone would be resurrected to face the Day of Judgment. They understood that the wicked would be punished and that the righteous would be rewarded with eternal life when they were resurrected. But they did NOT see that there would be TWO SEPARATE resurrections.

So when we read the verses in the Old Testament like Daniel 12:2 and Job 14:10-12 then we need to INTERPRET them in the LIGHT of the New Testament. That is why I personally believe that Jesus RECEIVES our soul and spirit IMMEDIATELY when a Christian dies.

When Stephen was being stoned to death he was given a vision of heaven seeing Jesus standing on the right hand of God and cried out to Jesus to RECEIVE his spirit. Now I personally choose to believe that Jesus answered Stephen’s prayer and received the soul and spirit of Stephen the moment he died.


See Acts 7:59,60.


“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, RECEIVE my spirit.

60. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep (Or he gave up the ghost. Or he died. Or his spirit and soul LEFT his body and went to Heaven to be PRESENT with the Lord).”


Now let us read Job 14:12.


“So man lies down, and RISES not (Or a man is not RESURRECTED): till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be RAISED out of their sleep.”


In other words, they shall not be RESURRECTED out of the DEATH. For you see, the word “SLEEP” is used as an ANALOGY for DEATH. And the word AWAKE is used in the same way to explain that the soul is NOT actually DEAD but rather the soul is RESTING or WAITING until the resurrection.

This verse is used to try and prove that the soul sleeps in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the resurrection. But when we read the CONTEXT it becomes clear to us that Job did NOT have a FULL understanding of what happens when a person dies. Even in verse 12 we see that Job only sees ONE resurrection of the dead that will not take place until the heavens be NO MORE, which is speaking of the final resurrection after the 1000 year reign of Jesus. Job did not see or understand about the FIRST resurrection that will take place BEFORE the 1000 year reign of Jesus. And that is WHY we must interpret the Old Testament verses in the LIGHT of the New Testament verses.


Let us read the context of verse 12 and read Job 14:10-14.


“But man dies, and wastes away: yea, man gives UP the GHOST, and WHERE IS HE? (In other words, the soul and spirit LEAVE the body and go somewhere else. The soul does NOT REMAIN in the GRAVE. But WHERE does the INNER MAN go when a person dies? That is what this verse means)

11.  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up:  (So does the body of man decays and dries up but WHERE does the ghost, the soul and spirit of man go when man dies and GIVES UP his inner man? This was not revealed to Job but it is revealed to us in the NEW Testament in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 and in Revelation 6:9-11.)

12.  So man lies down, and RISES not (Or is not RESURRECTED): till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be RAISED (Or RESURRECTED) out of their sleep.  (All this verse is teaching us is about the RESURRECTION of the BODY and not where the soul and spirit of man goes when a person dies.)

13.  O that you would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret (Or you keep me concealed, covered in DEATH), until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! (The Hebrew word translated as grave is the Hebrew word sheol, which was the holding place for ALL the dead in the OLD Testament, but is now the holding place of the souls of the wicked only. Please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?”)

14.  If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”


And this AGREES with Revelation 6:9-11 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 where the soul of the righteous in Jesus Christ go to be PRESENT with our Lord in Heaven to WAIT until their CHANGE comes at the first resurrection that takes place at the second coming of Jesus right BEFORE the WRATH of God is poured out upon the wicked.


Now let us read Daniel 12:2.


“And many of them that sleep IN the DUST of the earth shall awake (Or shall be RESURRECTED from the DEAD), some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”


Those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep INTERPRET this verse to mean that the SOUL and the SPIRIT of many are sleeping IN the dust of the earth WITH their decayed body shall awake. But this verse says nothing about the soul and spirit of man sleeping in the grave WITH their decayed body until the resurrection.

So we must interpret these unclear Old Testament verses in the light of the clear NEW Testament verses. And 1 Thessalonians 4:13 clearly teaches us that God will BRING WITH him those who sleep in Jesus.


1 Thessalonians 4:13,14.


“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (Or which are DEAD IN Jesus Christ), that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God BRING WITH HIM.”


Think this through for yourself. It makes no sense to say that Jesus is returning to come get the souls OUT of the GRAVE then go back to Heaven and then turn around and come back down so that God can BRING WITH him the souls of the saints. The phrase Will God BRING WITH him can only mean that the souls of the saints are up IN Heaven right NOW.

Again, there are no CLEAR verses in the Old Testament that teach us of TWO resurrections separated by one thousand years. That truth had to be REVEALED to the disciples of Jesus by the Holy Spirit who wrote the NEW Testament. So again, ALWAYS interpret the OLD Testament verses in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament.

This brings us to the last verse that the soul sleep Christian use to try and prove that the SOUL of every person REMAINS IN the GRAVE along WITH the body until the resurrection.


Here is John 5:28,29.


“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are IN the GRAVES shall HEAR his voice, (To me, this simply means that all who are DEAD shall hear his voice)

29.  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.”


Those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep dogmatically demand that the soul REMAINS WITH the decaying body IN the GRAVE. And they claim that these two verses prove that the soul MUST be IN the GRAVE in order to HEAR the voice of Jesus calling out to them.

We who are alive hear God’s voice and he hears our voice no matter where we are. So the souls and spirits of the dead do NOT have to be IN the grave in order to hear the voice of Jesus on the Day of Judgment. Their INTERPRETATION of these verses that the soul REMAINS IN the GRAVE with the decaying body CONTRADICTS what the WHOLE word of God teaches on this subject of the SOUL.


Let us read Genesis 35:18.


“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.”


This verse teaches us that the SOUL DEPARTS the BODY when a person dies. Also, when Jesus raised the young maiden the Bible says that her spirit came again which means that her soul and spirit RETURNED to her dead body.


Please read Luke 8:52-55.


“And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleeps. (Jesus was simply saying that God is the God of the LIVING and that NO SOUL dies when the body dies)

53.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. (They did NOT understand what happens at death)

54.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

55.  And her spirit CAME AGAIN, (Or he soul and spirit RETURNED to the BODY) and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”


Please notice that it was HER spirit. Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that the SOUL is CONNECTED to God’s spirit. So it is OUR OWN spirit UNTIL the Day of Judgment. And if we are found to be that good and faithful servant then God does NOT separate his spirit from our soul. God will only separate his spirit from the soul of the WICKED while they are burning ALIVE in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment.

Now even after all this sound Biblical evidence there still may be some Christians among those that teach the doctrine of soul sleep who may yet argue and say what about all the verses that teach us that the souls are sleeping in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE until the resurrection?

We will cover those verses in the next section. We will take a closer look at Ecclesiastes 3:21, Ecclesiastes 9:5, Psalm 6:5, Psalm 115:17 and Psalm 149:4.



SECTION FIVE


One of the biggest arguments for the soul sleeping in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE is just found in five verses in the Bible. And all five verses are found in the Old Testament.

Some may argue, what does it matter if they are found in the Old Testament or the New Testament? They are still in the Bible!

Yes, it is true that these verses are in the Bible, but it is also true that the verses in the New Testament REVEAL the TRUE meaning of the verses in the Old Testament. So to me, church doctrine should not be built upon verses from the Old Testament WHEN the verses in the New Testament reveal that the INTERPRETATION of those Old Testament verses are in ERROR.

For example, the seventh day of the week Sabbath-keeping Christians INTERPRET verses from the Old Testament to wrongly teach that Christians must keep the Law of Moses in order to receive eternal life in the world to come. And then they TWIST the true meaning of the verses in the New Testament to fit THEIR INTERPRETATION of the verse from the OLD Testament. And the Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep do the very SAME thing. They try and explain away all the verses in the NEW Testament to try and fit their own personal INTERPRETATION of these five verses in the Old Testament.


Let us begin with Psalm 115:7.


“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down INTO SILENCE.”


Again this is yet another case of taking a verse OUT of it CONTEXT. When we read the next verse we can clearly see that the dead who do not praise the Lord are the dead of the WICKED and not the dead of the righteous.

Please read Psalm 115:17,18.


“The DEAD praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

18.  BUT WE WILL BLESS (Or WE WILL PRAISE) the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.”


In other words, we who believe in Yahweh and his Son Jesus will bless the Lord now while we are alive, after we die and our soul is awaiting our new immortal body of flesh and bone, and in all eternity future.

So then, the dead that go DOWN INTO SILENCE are the WICKED ONLY. And THEY will be silenced once and for all time in the lake of fire which is the second death where the wicked shall never rise again. Also, those who are dead “spiritually” do not praise the Lord. And if the “spiritual” dead do not repent and praise the Lord in this present world, then THEY shall die in their sins and GO DOWN INTO SILENCE.

I personally believe that going DOWN INTO SILENCE does NOT mean to go down into the GRAVE. But rather it means that the WICKED dead go DOWN and the RIGHTEOUS dead IN Jesus go UP into Heaven. We will cover the verses that lead me to believe this when we get to the next verse that is used to try and teach that the soul sleeps in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the resurrection.

My point right now is that we do indeed see the souls of the dead SAINTS who are in heaven praising God in Revelation 19:5-14 before they are brought back to the earth to receive their new glorified body along with the saints who will have remained alive unto the coming of Jesus.


Revelation 9:5-14.


“And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great.

6.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters (Or the voices of many people), and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. (In other words, they are PRAISING Almighty God and his Son Jesus)

7.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Please notice that the marriage of the Lamb is just about ready to take place. In other words, Jesus has NOT yet returned to the earth WITH the SOULS of the saints who have died IN Jesus Christ. Our marriage to Jesus is symbolic. And it means that we become like him to bear his IMAGE when we see him as he is. We become ONE with Jesus who became ONE with Almighty God the Father)

8.  And to HER (The BODY of Jesus Christ, the church) was granted that she SHOULD BE arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of SAINTS.

9.  And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are CALLED UNTO the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

10.  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11.  And I saw heaven opened, (To get ready for Jesus and the SOULS of the saints and his army of angels to leave Heaven and go down to the earth to RAPTURE the rest of his SAINTS in him) and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.

12.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14.  And the armies (PLURAL) which were IN heaven FOLLOWED him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”


There are TWO armies who will follow Jesus when he comes again. One army is the army of SAINTS which God will BRING WITH him at the coming of Jesus. And the other army is the army of angels. So for me, the SOULS of the dead IN Jesus Christ are NOT IN the GRAVE. And neither are they sleeping in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE as some Christians CLAIM. Let us move on to their next verse which they use to try and prove that ALL of the souls of the dead go to the SAME PLACE when a person dies. And that they stay in the GRAVE in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE until the resurrection and THEN the righteous go UP and the wicked go DOWN.


Please read Ecclesiastes 3:20,21.


“All go unto ONE PLACE; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21. Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?”


Verse 20 simply means that when we DIE the BODY turns back to dust. The Bible does not teach us that the SOUL turns to dust. Some Christians may INTERPRET Genesis 2:7 to mean to THEM that the soul CEASES to EXISTS and turns to dust along with the BODY. But that interpretation contradicts so many other verses in the Bible which I have already covered in the first four studies in this series of studies on the errors of interpretation made by those who teach the soul sleep doctrine. The Bible clearly teaches us in the NEW Testament that we are made up of THREE parts and NOT just TWO parts as some Christians INTERPRET Genesis 2:7 to mean.


So AGAIN, please read 1 Thessalonians 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.”


And AGAIN read Hebrews 4:12 where we can see that the SPIRIT and the SOUL are CONNECTED together.


Hebrews 4:14.


“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the DIVIDING ASUNDER of SOUL and SPIRIT, (Dividing asunder the soul and the spirit means to SEPARATE the soul and the spirit from each other) and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


And God will only separate his life giving spirit from the soul of the WICKED on the final Day of Judgment when the wicked are cast alive into the lake of fire to be DESTROYED. And once the BODIES and the SOULS of the wicked are CONSUMED in the lake of fire THEN the spirit RETURNS to God just as Ecclesiastes 12:7 is INTENDED to mean when it is correctly interpreted in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.

So then to me, Ecclesiastes 3:21 means that at the moment a person dies their SOUL either goes UP or their SOUL goes DOWN. And thus to me, verse 21 is saying that the souls of the righteous IN Jesus Christ go UP to Heaven to await their new glorified immortal body at the FIRST resurrection when Jesus returns WITH the souls of the SAINTS who have died and will yet die IN Jesus Christ. And the souls of the BEASTS go DOWN to await their judgment at the END of the 1000 year reign of Jesus.

Another verse used by those who teach that the soul sleeps in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE until the resurrection is Ecclesiastes 9:5.


Please read Ecclesiastes 9:5.


“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”


Again this is yet another case where a verse is taken OUT of its CONTEXT.

Let us read the context to see that the dead here are the WICKED who have no reward and all memory of them will be forgotten.


Please read Ecclesiastes 9:2-6.


“All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; (Simply meaning that all die physically or that all will be JUDGED) to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrifices, and to him that sacrifices not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

3. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil (NOT the NEW heart given to believers in Jesus, but rather the heart of the WICKED), and madness is in their heart while they live, and after THAT THEY go to the dead.

4. For to him that is joined to all the living there is HOPE (Hope that the wicked may change by turning to God and believing on his Son Jesus to be saved and made a NEW creature in Jesus Christ): for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5. For the living know that they shall DIE (And also the living know that once they die there is NO MORE HOPE): but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. (This simply means that there is nothing LEFT for the dead to known because the destiny of a person is chosen BY WHAT a person DOES WHILE they are LIVING. And thus for the DEAD there is NO HOPE of changing the destiny that THEY have CHOSEN)

6. Also, their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun.”


Just briefly, this passage of scripture is teaching us that once a person dies physically then they will be judged BY what they did while they were ALIVE. There is NO WORK to be done after a person dies. And ONLY the MEMORY of what a person does WHILE they are LIVING shall be remembered.

So it is ONLY the dead of the wicked who have NO HOPE, NO REWARD. And thus they will be forgotten and never missed by the righteous that do indeed have a reward awaiting us. To me, this verse does NOT prove that the soul sleeps in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE until the resurrection. Now let us take a closer look at the fourth verse that is used to try and prove that the soul sleeps in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE until the resurrection.


Please read Psalm 146:4.


“His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; IN THAT VERY DAY his THOUGHTS perish.”


Now, to those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep dogmatically demand that this verse MEANS without a doubt that there is absolutely NO CONSCIOUSNESS after a person draws their last breath and dies. This verse to THEM is their IRONCLAD verse. For you see, they INTERPRET this verse to CLAIM that it plainly says that the THOUGHTS or every person PERISH or their THOUGHTS cease to exist the VERY DAY that a person dies.

But does this verse truly mean that the THINKING process ceases to exist so that there is absolutely no consciousness after a person dies. Let us examine this scripture when it is LEFT in its CONTEXT to discern the TRUE meaning of this verse. Please read Psalm 146:3-6 where we will learn that the subject under discussion is TRUSTING in God rather than putting trust in MAN who will DIE.


Psalm 146:3-6.


Put NOT your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is NO HELP. (WHY? Why is there no help guaranteed by putting our trust in man rather than in God? BECAUSE...)

4. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his THOUGHTS perish. (Or because man DIES and his THOUGHTS perish or come to an END is the REASON of why we should NOT place our TRUST in the plans and THOUGHTS of MAN)

5. Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:”

     So what do the THOUGHTS of man have anything to do with why man is NOT a sure help for us? You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Hebrew word that is TRANSLATED as thoughts here in the King James version also means PLANS or that which has been THOUGHT to do or one is THINKING to do while he or she is still living.

PLANS are the THOUGHTS of man that are yet future and have not yet been done. Plans are THOUGHTS of what man PURPOSES to do. Please read verse 4 from a couple of other translations to properly understand that it is the PLANS of man that he has purposed to do which is what come to an end when a man dies, because the physical body of a man lies stiff and cannot move to do anything once the real you leaves the body.

 

Here is Psalm 146:4 from the New Living translation.

 

“When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their PLANS come to an end.”

 

Here is Psalm 146:4 from the New International Version.

 

“When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their PLANS come to nothing.”

 

Here is Psalm 146:4 from the Bible in Basic English version.

 

“Man's breath goes out, he is turned back again to dust; in that day all his PURPOSES (Or those things which man has THOUGHT to do while he was living) come to an end.”

 

Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that this verse in Psalm 146:4 does NOT mean that there is absolutely NO CONSCIOUSNESS in the grave when man dies, but rather the true sound Biblical meaning is that the PLANS and PURPOSES or what man has THOUGHT to do come to an END when a person dies.

Please consider the words of Jesus in Luke 12:16-21 where a rich man's THOUGHTS perish and come to an end when this rich man's SOUL is required of him BEFORE he could do that which he was THINKING to do.In other words, all his PLANS perished when he died. You cannot WORK on earth anymore when you DIE. You no longer live IN your BODY when you die.

 

Luke 12:16-21.

 

“And he (Jesus) spoke a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17. And he THOUGHT within himself, (Or he made PLANS or he had THOUGHTS of what he purposed to do) saying, What shall I DO, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18. And he said, This will I do: (What follows in the very next verse are the THOUGHTS of this rich man that will PERISH when he DIES)   I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19. And I will say to MY soul (Or I will say to MYSELF), SOUL, you have much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (The real you is your SOUL or your spirit, your INNER man)

20. But God said unto him, You fool, this night your SOUL shall be required of you (Meaning that this man was to DIE that very night right after he had many THOUGHTS and PLANS to get richer and store up his wealth to consume it upon his own fleshly desires. In other words, the THOUGHTS of man, as in, the PLANS of man come to an end when a man dies physically. And that is exactly what Psalms 146:4 means when it is CORRECTLY interpreted in its CONTEXT and in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of Almighty God): then whose shall those things be, which you have provided ?

21. So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”


So to me, Psalm 146:4 does NOT prove that the soul sleeps in the grave in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the resurrection. That leaves only one of the five verses left that are used by those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep.


Let us now take a closer look at Psalm 6:5.


“For in death there is NO REMEMBRANCE of you: in the GRAVE who shall give you thanks?”


Now those that teach the doctrine of soul sleep again INTERPRET this verse to mean that the DEAD do NOT remember anything. And then they conclude that since the dead cannot remember anything then that is WHY the dead do NOT praise God. And they further conclude that the dead must be in a state of complete UNCONSCIOUSNESS where they are UNABLE to SPEAK or REMEMBER anything whatsoever.


But is this INTERPRETATION a sound BIBLICAL interpretation that agrees with the WHOLE word of God?


First of all Psalm 6:5 does NOT say that there is no remembrance IN you, but rather it says that in DEATH there is no remembrance OF you. Let us read the CONTEXT from the New Living Translation, which some Christians like because it is not written in the Old English style like the King James Version. I most always use quotes from the KJV in which I change the old English words like “thee” to the modern English word “you”, because it makes it easier for my readers to understand.


Here is Psalm 6:1-5 from the New Living Translation.


“For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument. O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage.

2. Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my body is in agony.

3. I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until you restore me?

4. Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love.

5. For (Or because) IN DEATH, who remembers you? Who can praise you from the grave?”

First of all, in order to understand the true meaning of verse 5 we need to interpret it being left IN its CONTEXT and truly consider this WHOLE passage of scripture. And then you must realize that while it is true that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God this does NOT mean that each and every verse can be used to build church DOCTRINE upon. For you see, we must make absolutely sure that whatever one concludes or INTERPRETS that single verse to mean that it does NOT disagree or contradict any other passage of scripture.

For example, the Bible does in fact make the statement that Jesus has a DEVIL so why hear him. However. when you read the context and understand that it was the JEWS who were ACCUSING Jesus of having a devil, then you know without a doubt that the BIBLE as a WHOLE was NOT truly saying that Jesus has a devil. In other words, Psalm 6:5 is NOT a thus says the Lord type verse of Scripture. BUT rather King David is crying out to God in prayer. He is sick at heart. He wants God to restore his soul so that he will sing praise to God from his heart like he used to do.

Also, there are different styles of writing in different books of the Bible. Some books in the Old Testament are considered POETIC books such as many of the Psalms, of which many are PRAYERS from man to Almighty God. While other books such as Ecclesiastes are known as WISDOM books that are written from man's human earthly perspective of God and NOT written as thus says the Lord type language from Almighty God TO man. Then there are also PARABLES that teach us life lessons and the kingdom of God, but at the same time each and every single word cannot be taken literally as a thus says the Lord type statement. And then there are books like Job where those speaking are speaking from again their earthly understanding of God and not in a thus says the Lord type of way.

In addition as many of you may already know some of the RULES of interpretation, which we must follow to be sure that we arrive at the true meaning of a verse. One such rule, which is obviously not being followed by those that teach this doctrine of soul sleep, is that we are to let the NEW Testament reveal to us the meaning of the Old Testament. In other words, if there are clear, plain, simple verses in the NEW Testament that are teaching one thing, but then we find in the Old testament a verse or some verses that SEEM to be contradicting the clear teaching of the NEW Testament, then we need to tread lightly and not dogmatically demand that the BIBLE, as in, the WHOLE word of God teaches what we INTERPRET these Old Testament scriptures to mean.

It is always best to interpret the OLD Testament in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament. In other words, if an INTERPRETATION of what one THINKS or has been TAUGHT that an OLD Testament scripture MEANS seems to disagree of contradict what the NEW Testament teaches us, then the rule of interpretation says that we are NOT to try and change the meaning of the NEW Testament, but rather we are to go back to these OLD Testament verses and see what they TRULY mean in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament verses.

Having said all of that I want you to think about your walk with God and try and recall if you have ever had a great need in your life and you prayed to God in a way where you were in essence making a deal with God that if he would answer your prayer, then you would do something for him in return? Well, this is in essence what is taking place in Psalm 6:1-5, which again is a POETIC book in the collection of Psalms where David is PRAYING to God in his earthly understanding of God. You see, David is crying out in prayer to the Lord pleading with God to heal his anguished heart and during his agonizing in prayer he seems to be trying to con God into healing him by telling God, “What good am I to you dead Lord, because who remembers you when they are dead? Who can praise you from the grave?” These are QUESTIONS and assumptions made by David and are not to be taken as literal statements of fact and then INTERPRETED to MEAN that there is absolutely no remembrance or consciousness in the grave.

Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that IF the INTERPRETATION of these verses truly means that there is absolutely NO consciousness after a person dies, then how do we reconcile the passage of scripture in Revelation chapter 6 verses 9 and 10, which clearly teach that the SOULS of the righteous are indeed in heaven under the altar of God waiting for God to judge the wicked and they are very much CONSCIOUS and AWARE that God has not yet judged the wicked as he promised in his word that he would.

 

Revelation 6:9,10

 

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the SOULS of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10. And THEY cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge OUR blood on them that dwell on the earth? (I do not mean to be rude by saying that I personally do not see these souls under the altar talking in their SLEEP. To ME, they are CONSCIOUS of where they are and what is around them)

11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should REST yet for a little season, (So to ME, the analogy of DEATH being LIKENED to SLEEP is just saying that the dead are NOT dead but rather they are RESTING) until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

 

Again, please notice in verse 10 that those saints who have DIED for the testimony of God are SPEAKING to Almighty God and asking him how much longer is it going to be before you judge the wicked? Now to me, this verse is clearly teaching us that there is without a doubt REMEMBRANCE and CONSCIOUSNESS in the SOULS of those who have died and are now PRESENT IN HEAVEN with the Lord.

This does NOT mean that these saints have been RESURRECTED, nor does it mean that these saints have been given ETERNAL LIFE at this point in time and have received their new IMMORTAL bodies. But it does mean that after PHYSICAL death when the spirit and soul, which are CONNECTED leaves the body there is indeed CONSCIOUSNESS and REMEMBRANCE and that these SOULS of the righteous who have died are indeed PRESENT with the Lord in heaven being kept under the altar of Almighty God where they await their resurrection and reward of eternal life, their new immortal bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus now has.

Also, another meaning of the Hebrew word that is translated as REMEMBRANCE in this verse in question, Psalm 5:6, can also be translated as to MENTION or to MAKE MENTION, which goes better with the next part of this verse where Almighty God is not being praised by the DEAD.

 

Here is Psalm 6:3-5 with this Hebrew word translated as makes mention.

 

“I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until you RESTORE me?

4. Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love.

5. For (Or because) in death, who MAKES MENTION of you? Who can praise you from the grave?”

 

So then, in the light of these other ways in which this Psalm can be interpreted that they do NOT contradict the clear teaching of the NEW Testament. Therefore, it should be clear to you that soul sleep INTERPRETATION of this verse can in no way be demanded to dogmatically teach that the soul is completely in an UNCONSCIOUS state in the grave. And in the LIGHT of all the other sound Biblical interpretations of every other verse used to teach the doctrine of soul sleep no Christian should dogmatically teach that the soul sleeps IN the GRAVE in an UNCONSCIOUS STATE. And thus the SOUL will not be awakened out of this UNCONSCIOUS state of sleep UNTIL the RESURRECTION.

Please keep in mind that the DEAD in some places in the Bible is referring to ONLY the dead of the WICKED or the SINNER and NOT the dead of the RIGHTEOUS. We will clearly see this a little further on in this study that some verses speaking of the DEAD are indeed very obvious that they are referring to the dead of the UNRIGHTEOUS sinners ONLY and NOT to the righteous who have died PHYSICALLY, but who are indeed ALIVE SPIRITUALLY.

Now in the light of Psalm 6:5 being a PRAYER where David is crying out to God to RESTORE him and RETURN to him and then goes on to say in my own words, “For if I were to DIE in this SIN being SEPARATED from you who shall make mention of you for the DEAD can they praise you from the grave?” In other words, the wicked who have died, shall they make mention of you God? WHO can praise you from the grave? Will the WICKED praise you after they are dead? WHO can praise you after they died? ONLY the RIGHTEOUS will make mention of you after they died. ONLY the righteous will praise you after they die.

For you see, there are indeed other verses in the NEW Testament do show us that the RIGHTEOUS who have died do indeed PRAISE Almighty God after they DIE and their physical BODY goes to the GRAVE. We will take a look at these verses that clearly show us that the righteous are PRAISING God in heaven before the second coming of Jesus, which is when the RESURRECTION of the righteous takes place. Therefore the WHOLE word of God does NOT teach us that the soul or the spirit is completely in an UNCONSCIOUS state.


In the next study section we will cover the BIGGEST ERROR of all.


SECTION SIX

 

Now, to me as well as to many other Christians, we believe that the soul leaves the body upon death and it is indeed conscious. We say that the soul is connected to the spirit UNTIL the day of judgment. And we teach that it will only be the souls of the wicked that will be destroyed in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment. Thus to us the soul of the wicked will not be separated from the spirit of LIFE UNTIL the final Day of Judgment. And it will be THEN that God will destroy both the resurrected body and the soul of the wicked in the lake of fire. And THEN, at that time the spirit will return to God AFTER the souls of the wicked are CONSUMED in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment at the END of the 1000 year reign of Jesus. In other words, the spirit of the breath of life does NOT return to God at the moment a person dies.

Therefore, to us, who do NOT believe in the soul sleep doctrine, teach that the soul of the righteous in Jesus Christ, which that is connected to the spirit, leaves the body upon death and goes to be present with the Lord in heaven to await the resurrection. And the souls of the wicked go down into Sheol, the holding place of the wicked dead, to await their final judgment at the END of the Millennium. And thus, to us, both the souls of the righteous dead and the souls of the wicked dead are fully conscious and aware of their reward after a person dies physically.

 

And here is the list of verses that refute the doctrine of soul sleep.

 

Genesis 35:18.

Matthew 17:1-8.

Luke 16:19-31.

Luke 20:38.

Luke 23:43.

John 5:24.

John 8:52.

John 11:25,26.

Acts 7:55-60.

Ephesians 1:9,10.

Ephesians 3:14,15.

Hebrews 12:1,23.

2 Corinthians 5:5-8.

Philippians 1:23,24.

 

The following verses clearly teach us that the soul and spirit are conscious in the heart of the earth called Paradise in the Old Testament. Jesus descended first into the belly or the heart of the earth and preached the gospel to the Old Testament saints in the bosom of Abraham to be saved by the only name given among men whereby they must be saved because Scripture cannot be broken. Also, please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?”

 

Ephesians 4:9,10.

Acts 4:12.

John 10:35.

1 Peter 3:18,19.

1 Peter 4:6.

Matthew 27:52,53.

 

When Jesus was resurrected many saints arose with or after him being led out of hades to their new temporary Paradise is heaven under the altar of God. The following verses teach us that Paradise was moved from the heart of the earth up to the third heaven, which is where the throne of God resides. And now under the New Covenant written in the New Testament, the souls of the righteous dead in Jesus Christ are in heaven under the altar awaiting their change or their new immortal bodies at the first resurrection.

 

Psalm 68:18.

Ephesians 4:8

2 Corinthians 12:1-4.

Revelation 6:9-11.

 

The follow verses teach us that the souls in heaven, which are the saints, will God bring with him from heaven to be reunited with their newly resurrected body.

 

Revelations 7:9-14.

Revelation 19:5-15.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Deuteronomy 33:2.

Jude 1:14,15.

Zechariah 14:5

Job 19:25-27.

Hebrews 4:12.

 

The following verses teach us that after Jesus preach to the souls or spirit in prison, the holding place of the dead on the Paradise side, he then descended further to the lowest part of hell where the souls of the dead chanted at him and tormented him.

Then Jesus cried out to God to deliver him and bring him out of the pit, the lowest part of hell and God heard his cry and did not leave his soul in hell.

 

Psalm 30:3.

Psalm 16:10.

Psalm 42:11.

Psalm 63:9.

Psalm 86:13.

Psalm 142:7.

Psalm 143:3

Psalm 18:5,6.

Psalm 40:1,2.

Psalm 69:13-18.

Psalm 116:3,4.

Psalm 130:1,2.

Lamentations 3:18-20,52-66.

Jonah 2:1-7.

 

Now again, with every controversial subject or church doctrine it is NOT that the Scriptures themselves contradict one another. But rather it is the way some verses are INTERPRETED that cause the contradiction and controversy among Christians as to which teaching is Biblical and to which teaching is not Biblical.

So then, in every controversial subject we have a choice to make and that choice is WHICH verses do we go back and RETHINK another way to interpret those verses so that there is NO contradiction in what we conclude and teach as Bible doctrine?

Well in this SERIES of the six studies called “SOUL SLEEP---ERROR #1 through ERROR #6. I have chosen to use the shorter list of verses to closely consider seeing if there are other ways to interpret those verses to agree with the rest of God’s word having NO contradictions.

So then, on the side used to try and support the doctrine of soul sleep I have found 13 verses. And on the other side that refutes soul sleep I have found 46 verses. So since 13 verses are far less than 46 verses I chose to use the shorter list of verses to re-think and find alternate interpretations that agree with the rest of God’s word.

Now simply choosing the SHORTER list of verses is not my only criteria as to which verses to rethink. For you see, the rules of “interpretation” teach us that we should always use the clear, plain, and simple verses that do not need any interpretation to understand what they mean. And since the New Testament REVEALS the true meaning of the Old Testament I personally choose to interpret the Old Testament verses in the LIGHT of the New Testament verses.

So then, when both the Old Testament and the New Testament verses SEEM to be equal in their simplicity, then the rules of “interpretation” teach us that we are to interpret the Old Testament verses in the light of the New Testament verses.

 

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of Almighty God.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.


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For further study on this subject errors of interpretation made by Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep please read all the studies under the heading >>>THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP<<<