I have several other studies on the doctrine of soul sleep but they can become extremely long. So I decided to break those studies down to cover the specific individual verses that are used to try and prove that the soul sleeps in the grave in an unconscious state until the first resurrection that takes place at the coming of Jesus.

I thought about calling this study “What does John 3:13 truly mean?” But in some cases, those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep use two or three verses to make a single argument. Their MAIN argument is that Christians do NOT go DIRECTLY STRAIGHT to Heaven when they die. But rather they teach that the SOULS of Christians SLEEP in the GRAVE in an UNCONSCIOUS state until the first resurrection at the return of Jesus.

However, they have several smaller SINGLE arguments that they build upon or connect together to try and prove their main argument. So then, their third argument is to try and prove that NO ONE goes to Heaven the very moment that a person dies. If you have read the study “SOUL SLEEP---ERROR #1” and “SOUL SLEEP---ERROR #2”, then you can see how they CHANGE what they teach from their first argument that the living soul is made up of just two parts. And if either part is taken away then the soul is NO MORE. In other words, they CHANGE from saying that the living soul is NO MORE to now saying that the living soul is DEAD. Please read “SOUL SLEEP---ERROR #1.” In that study, I show how they have incorrectly interpreted Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes 12:27 to try and prove that we are made up of just TWO parts, the body, and the spirit. But for now, let us continue with this study to expose the error of interpretation of John 3:13 and Acts 2:34.

I will be quoting from my much longer study called:



And then they quote two verses to try and prove that the no man has ascended to Heaven to try and 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 that 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 forevermore.

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 has 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 Jesus did NOT allow Mary Magdalene to TOUCH him. But after the Son of MAN descended back down to the earth 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 is 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.

But some Christians argue that they 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 a 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 was 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 her 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. Please notice that it says that HER spirit came again or came back into her body to WAKE the body up from sleeping.

The Bible teaching 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 study called SOUL SLEEP---ERROR #4.” We will take a closer look at Job 14:12, Psalm 49:15, Daniel 12:2, and John 5:28,29. And if you would like to read all six types of errors made by those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep all together in one study then please read the study DO CHRISTIANS GO TO HEAVEN WHEN THEY DIE?

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.




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<<<