Soul Sleeping Doctrine

The doctrine of the soul in an unconscious state until the resurrection is confusing because it is not consistent with many experiences registered in the Bible. It focuses primarily on passages where the word sleeping instead of death is used. However, when we read in the Bible the term sleep in death, it refers to the physical body- the material part, not the immaterial as the spirit of man. When the psalmists said, In death there is no remembrance of You; in Sheol who will give You thanks? (Ps. 6:5), he is referring to the dead ceasing to exist here on earth. The body will be decayed, but not the spirit. Absent from the body, Paul said, present with the Lord. Present with the Lord conscientiously with the soul’s faculties working while the material is buried and decayed. Paul also said, But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Phil. 1:23). Notice what Paul said, “To depart and be with Christ.” He did not say, and be in the state of unconsciousness until the resurrection. Again, he said, We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8). So the reality of the matter stands that when the spirit of a believer leaves the body the destination is “The presence of the Lord,” and not left sleeping somewhere. But for the unbeliever, sadly, his destination will be hell, as it is stated in the parable concerning a rich and a poor men, told by YAHSHUA:  In time both died. The rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to heaven, carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. And in hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame… (Luke 16:19-31). This parable clearly refutes the doctrine of soul sleeping in death for both men: one in hell and the other in heaven. The first was in anguish in the flame of hell, for His soul was awake, feeling pain and torment, while his body was in the grave. His soul was not taking a nap while waiting for judgment. He was feeling the pains of hell right then. Abraham, while listening to the rich man had this to say: Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us … The dialogue continued. If their souls were sleeping, there would not have been a dialogue between them. There would not have been recognition of Abraham. Another example we find is when YAHSHUA went up on the mountain to pray; He took Peter, John and James with Him. And as He was praying, the appearance of His countenance became altered, and His raiment became dazzling white and behold, two men were conversing with Him- Moses and Elijah, who appeared in splendor and majesty and brightness and were speaking of is exit, which He was about to bring to realization at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31). If Moses’s soul were sleeping he would not have had that experience with YAHSHUA. It would have been impossible for a sleeping soul to be talking, and to be aware of YAHSHUA. Another example we find at Calvary when one of the repentant criminals asked YAHSHUA to remember him when He came into His kingdom. YAHSHUA right then affirmed him: Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 3:43). He did not say, after the resurrection, you will be with in Paradise, but “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Author: Jacinta da Cruz Rodgers

I have been committed to teaching the truth of the Word of God beginning with Trans World Radio on Bonaire, N.A and Swaziland, Africa (1969-1980), then through churches in the United States in both English and Portuguese and then through ministry in Israel (2005-2006). This ministry continues through local Bible studies and outreach to the world via the internet. I have written a book about my life from that of an orphan in Brazil to missionary in 5 countries. You can find out more on the "Book" page of our blog site.

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