I assumed I was done with soul sleep when I finished my article on the SDA.
Incidentally, Nobody who was SDA ever challenged the first point of my articles. As a matter of fact, they recieved zero challenges.
Until a gentleman who is SDA tried emailing me, and made his first point, and doggeldly refused to give ground despite my citing several passages of Scripture, and asking him point blank 3 times if he was SDA. He simply kept repeating point one. I should put his email exchange online, with his name and email address redacted, because they’re such a classic case of someone in a cult repeating their pet doctrine ad nauseum when you defeat their argument right out of the gate.
I kind of feel like that now. I’ve met TWO Christians who believe in soul sleep. I gave the first one 2 Cor 5 as I described it yesterday. That christian simply repeated herself. Okay, I can see that you chose your doctrines, and you’re not going to let inconvenient things like, I don’t know, Scripture change your mind.
The second one actually had scriptural reasons why she believed in soul sleep – except it was 2 Cor. 5! She moved the “Rather” into the second half of the verse, and triumphantly pointed out Paul was saying “I would RATHER be with the Lord, but I can’t, because we sleep!”
I immediately asked, “you checked this against Luke 16?”
Two weeks later she simply repeated the argument, and said she hadn’t read anything in the Bible to change her mind.
So, the answer to that would be – no, she never checked it against Luke 16.
This is the problem we run into while contending for the faith. Sometimes, we have to answer other Christians who’ve fallen for the doctrines of devils. You can’t answer a Christian the same way you’d answer a Mormon or Roman Catholic apologist. A fellow Christian is someone who you answer more gently. I was listening to a sermon yesterday in which a missiionary to cults was explaining how to answer mormons (because I’m still not happy with my exchanges with the Mormons!), in which it was pointed out there are two kinds of Mormons – those who fon’t know they’re in a cult, and those who do know and continue anyway.
It’s like Messianics – those who don’t know they’re in a cult, and those that do, but continue anyway.
So, let’s look at other verses that answer soul sleep.
SDA and other soul sleep believers will sometimes break one of the cardinal rules of bible interpretation by citing Ecclesiastes.
5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)
We have to be wary when citing Ecclesiastes, which is a book of fleshly wisdom. It’s like quoting from Job, where 3/4’s of the doctrines espoused there are in error, and God finally answers with His wisdom.
The answer to that is the very next verse!
5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. 7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Ecclesiastes 9:5-7 (KJV)
The understanding of Ecclesiastes, as in a couple of the psalms, contrasts living, where one has your only chances to earn rewards for heaven, and the state of the physical body after death.
AS for the soul… let’s look at Ecclesiastes!
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV)
Oh! So, the soul goes back to… God!
One pf the points that was raised was that none have ascended save the Son of Man – Jesus. None have seen the Father except Jesus.
So the soul sleep in the grave. That’s why we have the Rapture, so the Lord can wake the dead!
That’s a completely erroneous conclusion based upon – I have to say it – tunnel vision and isogesis. Does the speaker forget that Paul arose and went to heaven – whether in the body or not he could not say???
18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. 20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death. Psalm 68:18-20 (KJV)
This one was forgotten about.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:8-10 (KJV)
This teaches the understanding that before the death of Christ, the dead were in two places – Paradise (Abraham’s bosom) and Hell. Both were deep in the earth, and both were apparently right next to each other. The dead could see one another, talk to one another. But Luke 16 reveals there was a great gulf fixed between the dead, and Abraham and Lazarus were unable to cross and rescue the rich man, who was in torments.
Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68 teach us that Jesus Christ, after He died, went into Abraham’s Bosom, and took those awaiting, and “Ascended on high”, bringing them to heaven. No man HAD seen the Father but the son, and no man had ascended save the Son – but that ended in AD 30. Now, instead of journeying DOWN when a believer dies, we ascend into Heaven.
And Ephesians also speaks of the rewards. That’s great if you get gifts and rewards while you’re unaware of them and sleeping in the grave! Clearly, we are to be awake and aware to receive them.
Paul said, “to be absent from the body is to be Present with THE LORD”. This means you are in the Lord’s presence!
20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 1 Kings 17:20-22 (KJV)
29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, Genesis 49:29 (KJV) 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10 (KJV) 20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again. 2 Kings 22:20 (KJV) 28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again. 2 Chronicles 34:28 (KJV)
If death is a sleep, then this creates problems. Lazarus came forth, the child;s soul came into him again, the righteous are gathered unto their fathers.
Sounds like a journey. You have to be aware to be in a journey. Otherwise – you’re aware of nothing. you know nothing. The Bible would refer to this as “thou shalt sleep and awaken on the last day.”
If the Bible describes death as a journey, we should as well. Jacob and the other Old Testament saints describe being “gathered unto their fathers”. This means their fathers will be aware – and they will be as well! – that they are together. A journey, unto my fathers, willl be with me, I will go to him…. The Bible uses this language. “Bury me next to my wife” means one thing, but “was gathered unto his fathers” says something completely different! They are together, meaning they are aware of each other.
5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 1:5-7 (KJV)
The final point is, there is a great number of people present in heaven throughout Revelation. A great number. And they are all aware.
the very presence of them in Heaven contradicts soul sleep. the very fact they cast their crowns on the glassy sea, and cry out praises to God, and even beseech God for vengeance on those who killed them! – all speak to the dead being aware.
We derive our doctrines from the Bible. We read them, compare them diligently against each other. WE derive no doctrine from unclear verses, but rather, from clear verses first, and unlcear verses then shed additional light. But when we read many, many verses describing the dead being aware, and four or five unclear verses – we go by the more clear and obvious verses first.
So why the unclear verses?
They shed additional light. The very verses that the cults misunderstand help us to differentiate between breathing and soul, between the state of the flesh and the state of the soul.
Read your Bible. Study your Bible. Take it literally. Compare scripture with scripture. Clear verses are taken first, and unclear second.
A good warning sign is this – if al of Christianity reads their Bible and says “a” and you read it and it says “B” – be careful. Start studying. Compare. Let the Bible choose your doctrine, and not the other way around.