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. 


  1. In Luke 23:43 where Jesus told the thief "verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise." it seems that Jesus was telling him that it would be that very day. However, there was no punctuation in the Greek. The translators put the punctuation where they thought it should go. You get a completely different meaning this way; "Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise."
    Is this simply speculation?
    Look at John 20:17 where after Jesus' resurrection, Jesus was speaking to Mary and said "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my father:"
    If Jesus said this three days after His promise to the thief on the cross, then how did He meet the thief in heaven the day of the crucifixion?
    Further, if you look at John 20:27, Jesus told Thomas to touch Him. (after He had ascended to His Father and returned)
    We must be careful to not make the scriptures say what we want them to say and not what they actually say.

    Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish.

    see also Ecclesiastes 9:5,6

  2. John 20:17, KJV, Jesus said to Mary, “touch me not.”
    17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for 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.

    However, Jesus simply meant, stop clinging to Me.
    See other English translations.
    For example:

    17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

    17 “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.”

    And it is interesting that when Thomas touched the resurrected Jesus Christ, he said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
    David R. Brumbelow

    1. The portion of interest is that Jesus said "I have not yet ascended to My Father".
      Jesus had not yet ascended because He was in the grave for 3 days.
      Therefore Jesus did not meet the thief in paradise the day that He died, but was promising to raise him up on the last day.
      If you look at the case of Lazarus in John chapter 11.
      After Jesus plainly told them that Lazarus was dead after He called it a sleep.
      Jesus told Martha "Thy brother shall rise again"
      Martha did not think that her brother was already in heaven, she said "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day"
      If it is true that our conscious being goes immediately to be with God when we die, why didn't Jesus tell Martha that Lazarus was already in heaven?
      Would that not be of more comfort than to say that he would rise again?
      Jesus then emphasized the point that if we believe in Him, though we may die (sleep), we will live again.

      Jesus paid our penalty so that we may have eternal life.
      If our conscious being continues after death then we already have eternal life and Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf means nothing.
      Jesus would have died to give us something that we already have.
      This was Satan's first lie "You shall not surely die"

  3. Psalm 146:4

    4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

    His thoughts perish in the sense that his plans, ideas, come to an end.
    But not in the sense of soul sleep, or soul annihilation.
    Again, see modern English translations such as:

    4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
    In that very day his plans perish.

    When his breath[a] leaves him,
    he returns to the ground;
    on that day his plans die.
    Psalm 146:4 Or spirit

    4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.

    I might add, one of the basic methods of Bible study is to simply have more than one good English translation of the Bible. Often what is not clear in one translation, is clear and easy to understand in another.
    Study of the original biblical languages such as Hebrew and Greek, of course, is also another great way to study God’s Word.
    But the Bible translators have done a great amount of study for you. Ultimately, always trust the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

    David R. Brumbelow


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