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Soul Sleep - Sleep or Not to Sleep

Asleep in the Old Testament

Sheol - a place for the departed - a realm for the dead.

Sheol is divided - a section of torment and a section for the blessed.

** Paradise – prior to the fall

** Old Testament only –  Sheol is divided - A section of torment and a section for the blessed.

•Genesis 37:35 – “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.” (This is with the belief that they were both believers)

•Job 14:13 – “Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!”

•Psalm 16:9-10 – “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”

•(Took place in the Old Testament because Abraham mentions Moses and the prophets)The story of The Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16:25-26 – ““But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’”)  Abraham says to the rich man, when asked about sending Lazarus back up to warn his family, that “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

•Not a parable because the story isn’t listed as a parable and specific characters are listed.  It wouldn’t be a story people could relate to.

•Unbelievers body and Spirit goes to the torment section of Sheol – they can see each other.

•Believers body and Spirit goes to the blessing section of Sheol – they can see each other.

•These saints that were in the “blessed”  section of Sheol were taken with Christ when He died on the cross.  At His ascension, Jesus brought them to where they could not go before - paradise.

Asleep in the New Testament

Hades is the Church Age version of Sheol later called "Lake of Fire".

Believers go to paradise - a place prior to the new heaven and new earth.

The flesh and the Spirit of the Lord.

Final resurrection.

** New Testament only – Asleep in the New Testament is used as a way to explain that believers should not be afraid of what will happen to them – it is as if the bodies are comfortably sleeping – where our spirits/souls go to heaven.  Our bodies remain on earth.  The resurrection of our bodies occur at the end of the age.

** New Testament equivalent to sheol is hades which is also general reference to the place of the dead.

** Hades also called hell in Greek is Gehenna / Hebrew is ge-Hinnom which is a designated valley in south Jerusalem – a repulsive place where trash and refuse were burned.  Jesus referenced Gehenna as a symbol of the place of judgment after death.

** Later to be called the lake of fire – eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels both angelic and human. Matthew 25:41 – “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

** Believers go to “paradise” after Jesus died.  Just as He said in Luke 23:43 – “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise is prior to the New Heaven and New Earth so He had to have been speaking about the current place for us to rest.

** The flesh is corrupt - John 3:6 – “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”.  Being that the flesh is corrupt it cannot enter heaven until our glorified bodies are given.  We already have a glorified Spirit.

** The bible never mentions the Holy Spirit leaving a believer – it does say that God dwells in you.  If the Holy Spirit never leaves a believer than the believer must be delivered somewhere where they are not absent of Jesus – or it would be considered punishment.  John 14:16 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever”

** Remember that the Spirit is the Lord – 2 Corinthians 3:17 – “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

** For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord – 2 Corinthians 5:6 – “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 – “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  This means that there is a separation of body and soul. If we were to be completely asleep and not awake until He resurrects our body than this verse would not make sense because it is saying that us being away from the body is going to happen prior to both of them being together right away. 

** Romans 8:9-10 – “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.”  The Spirit is meant to give life.  In this verse, the body is already, in a way, separated from the Spirit. 

** John 11:21-24 – “Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise  (physical act – to move) again (once more).” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”” The body needs to be restored – which happens in Revelation – unlike the Spirit which has already been reborn.  I have never read anywhere where the Spirit dies to rise again.

** Philippians 1:23-24 – “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

** 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”  The body is dead – not the Spirit. 

** Until the final resurrection, there is a temporary heaven – “paradise” and therefore; a temporary hell – “Hades”.  Paradise after the resurrection becomes “new heaven and new earth” (Revelation 21:1 – “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”)

** Now Death and Hades no longer exists – the new is the “lake of fire”. (Revelation 20:11-15 – “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”)

** Regardless of where someone ends up – at the resurrection, the body is “awakened” and transformed into the everlasting body a person will possess for eternity. 

** Death nor Hades will be emptied until Revelation 20:13.

** Only the souls are here under the alter.  Bodies have not been resurrected yet.

** The Fifth Seal—Martyrs - Revelation 6:9-11 - "When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also."

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