Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2

Body Without The Spirit Is Dead
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. -James 2:26 (see also Ecclesiastes 12:7).  The body is buried in the grave, the spirit goes to Heaven to be with the Lord. As 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

Eternal Life / Everlasting Life
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. -Jesus; John 5:24
Everlasting life is not a picture of unconscious existence, but of conscious, abundant life with God that lasts forever. 

In referring to 1 John 5:11-13 and eternal life, Walter Martin says,

“In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life is the present possession of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if the term eternal life does not include conscious fellowship then the whole New Testament meaning is destroyed.” -Walter R. Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany Fellowship; 1977.

Shall Never Die
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26
Eternal life and “shall never die” speak of the believer never being separated from God. 

Spiritual death is when a person is separated from God. How can you call it eternal life, if you are separated from God in the grave until the resurrection? Soul sleep sounds more like spiritual death than spiritual life and eternal life.

Today In Paradise
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:43
Jesus’ promise to the thief on the cross sounds a little hollow if it only meant an unconscious 2,000 year sleep. Implied is you will consciously be with Me today in Paradise. 

I Commend My Spirit
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. -Luke 23:46
This picture does not seem to align with Jesus being unconscious for the next three days. 

Jesus Standing At The Right Hand Of God
55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” -Acts 7:55-56, 59 
The picture is Jesus standing to receive the first martyr of the Christian faith. This glorious scene seems disappointing if only Stephen’s unconscious soul made it to Heaven; or, as some believe, his soul was destroyed to only be recreated in the far, distant future. 

Whether We Wake Or Sleep
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
Whether we are alive or dead, we will live with Jesus Christ. Living with Christ does not seem to match up with sleeping for centuries. 

Death Cannot Separate Us
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39 
Would 2,000 years of unconscious existence count as being separated from God? 

I Saw The Souls
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been 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, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. -Revelation 6:9-11
Apostle John saw the souls of those martyred. What were they doing at this particular time? Speaking to the Lord about judgment. And they were spoken to. Not a picture of unconscious existence. 

Elijah Goes Straight To Heaven
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. -2 Kings 2:11
Strongly implied is that Elijah consciously went straight to heaven. 

The time of my departure is at hand. -2 Timothy 4:6
Paul was facing death. He is about to depart, leave his body behind to be with the Lord. His spirit was not going to sleep with his lifeless body, but depart to Heaven. 

If Our Earthly Body Is Destroyed
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
-2 Corinthians 5:1 
The picture is of the Christian’s conscious life continuing uninterrupted after death. 

These are some of the reasons most Baptists, and Christians in general, reject the concept of soul sleep and believe that upon the death of a Christian, the body sleeps and returns to dust, the spirit goes immediately and consciously to Heaven to be with the Lord.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 12, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2
Our First Great Sorrow
Basic Baptist Doctrines / Beliefs
The Roman Road of Salvation
More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 1 of 2

Soul Sleep is the belief when a Christian dies, the soul sleeps until the resurrection. The soul is in an unconscious state until the resurrection. 
Some have said the soul sleeps with the body; others have said the soul goes to Heaven, but is unconscious. Or even that the soul is destroyed at death and later recreated by God.

There are verses that may seem to indicate Soul Sleep. For example:

5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.
-Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes “under the sun.” In other words, without God in the picture and as though this life was all there was to life. In that sense, this passage is true. But Solomon concludes this book acknowledging God, and that life has no real meaning and satisfaction apart from God (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:1, 13-14).

Another way to put it is that a dead body doesn’t know anything because, when a person dies, the body sleeps in the grave, the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The New Testament uses the word “sleep” as a symbol of death. A doctrine should not be developed from a figure of speech. The body sleeps, but the spirit goes to be with the Lord.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 4:14

Notice those who are departed believers are with the Lord now, and at the Rapture / Return of Christ, God will bring with Him those whose bodies are asleep. At that time they will be reunited with their resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Scripture gives strong evidence against Soul Sleep:

Absent From The Body, Present With The Lord
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. -2 Corinthians 5:8 
Notice there is no hint of an unconscious state, but we will immediately be present with the Lord.

Death Is Gain

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. -Philippians 1:21, 23
Why would death be gain for the Apostle Paul if he has now been in an unconscious state for 2,000 years? How can death be far better, if it only means unconsciousness for centuries? Rather, when a Christian dies they are immediately and consciously in the presence of the Lord, and that is great gain. 

Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. 

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. -Luke 16:22-23
I am among those who do not believe the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable. It does not have characteristics of a parable, and does not say it is a parable. Unlike parables, it names one of the individuals. Scripture presents it as a real, literal story. 
The Rich Man died, was buried, and was in torment in Hell. Lazarus was immediately in Abraham’s bosom, Paradise. In this story both the Rich Man and Lazarus are presented as being conscious immediately after death.

Mount of Transfiguration

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. -Matthew 17:3

And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. -Mark 9:4

30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. -Luke 9:30-31
Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) had long since departed this earth - yet here in New Testament times they were not sleeping or unconscious. They were alive and well, and speaking with Jesus about his coming sacrificial death.

Not God of the Dead, But of the Living

31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” -Matthew 22:31-32

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” -Mark 12:27

For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. -Luke 20:38
The body may be dead, the soul, spirit is alive.

Definition of Death

According to the Bible, death is not ceasing to exist. It is not annihilation. According to the Bible, death is separation.

To be spiritually dead, simply means to be separated from God.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they immediately died, spiritually.
They did not cease to exist. They still walked, talked, breathed. They still could hear the voice of God.
But they were spiritually separated from God.

To be physically dead, does not mean you cease to exist. It does not mean you are annihilated. It does not mean you know nothing or are unconscious.
To be physically dead simply means you, your soul, spirit, are separated from your body. The spirit, the real you, is separated from the physical body.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 11, AD 2015. 

Soul Sleep Is Unbiblical; Part 2 of 2
More articles in lower right margin.