Monthly Question Page
Q. What is soul sleep? Is there such a doctrine taught in the Bible?
A. Soul sleep is a false doctrine that teaches that when a person dies they are completely unconscious until the resurrection. The Bible certainly does not teach this, and in fact there are many Scriptures that would refute such a thought.
The Bible teaches that when a believer dies it is the body that sleeps, not the soul. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). From other passages we know that this can only refer to the body. For instance: “Knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord … We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8). In other words, it is one or the other. We are either in the body, or we are with the Lord. Those of our loved ones who have died in faith are in the conscious sense of the Lord’s presence now. In the same way, those who have died in their sins are now suffering torment, like the rich man in Luke 16:23.
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