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.”

A Book of Remembrance

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the lord and who thought on His name (Mal. 3: 16)

I remember when young while living in the orphanage in Brazil, I was given a book of remembrance where friends and acquaintances wrote beautiful thoughts of encouragement and what they thought of me. It registered sentiments that would later bring me memories of those days, although not all positive, but sifting them through in my mind, there were a few wonderful memories which I treasured. They bring me joy as I relive those days. It is to me a privilege to know that the Lord is aware and taking notice of the things we say that is pleasing to Him to the point of having them written in a special remembrance book.

In Remembrance of Him

(Matthews 26:23; I Corinthians 11)

Christmas season is the time when everyone is running to and fro, here and there, after gifts for one here and the other there, but not realizing the meaninglessness of it all when they say it is YAHSHUA’S birthday.  The Word of God tells us that YAHSHUA had no beginning and no end. We read this in the book of John chapter one verses 1-4: In the beginning there was the Word (YAHSHUA), the Word was with God and the Word was God Himself! He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him(YAHSHUA), and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. He existed before time; He was never held in the boundary of time, neither to its limits, for time exists only by Him. To fulfill the Father’s will, a body was prepared for Him, but that did not measure the time frame of His existence, neither His beginning.  It just implies the human’s time frame for men to mark the date of His coming to earth.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

(Job 19: 25-27)

I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at last He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God, whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! (Job)

These words which came from Job have indeed resounded throughout the ages, echoing hope and peace to men.  Although Job did not have the written Word in his days, he had a relationship with God in some form or another. He believed in the resurrection of the dead and the hope that sprang from it for the righteous person. His integrity, honesty and devotion for God showed in the way he lived. “I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives” overcomes all fear of death; we can confront death with the enthusiasm of hope and faith, with certainty that we will see God on the other side with our own eyes. Death is by no means the end of life, but the beginning of a new life for the believer in Christ. When we shall see Him, as He is, we shall become like Him. The Apostle John says, Beloved, we are now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is (I John 3: 2). Eternity awaits all of us. For many, eternity has brought surprise; but for the believer, it has brought the fulfillment of the hope we have in the promises of God.

Why Should You Die Before Your Time?

(Ecclesiastes 7:17)

Yes, why? Solomon puts in perspective the consequences of being foolish with a question: Why should you die before your time? He said, Be not wicked overmuch or willfully, neither be foolish- why should you die before your time? The things in question here are foolishness and wickedness.