For convenience sake I call those that believe that when
we die we lie in the grave; body, soul and spirit until the second coming of Christ, Soul Sleepers.
Down below are some scriptures that disprove the error of
I also present some arguments that I have heard over the
years on this subject.
Anyone who has done a legitimate study of scripture concerning
death will clearly see that death is a separation of some kind and life is a union of some kind.
I will expound on this but the following link presents
an easy to understand chart that explains this.
This is crucial in understanding what happens at death.
6 Therefore we are always
confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not
by sight:) 8 We are CONFIDENT, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body,
and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted
of him. (2 Corinthians 5)
Notice here that Paul the apostle, the same guy that wrote
1) while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the
2) We are willing RATHER to be absent from the body
and to be present with the Lord
Notice the word RATHER. He prefers this, which is a
separation of the body from the pneuma/psuche of Paul.
Here is my first example of the separation that occurs at
There is such a thing as being absent from the body, which
is separation of body and soul/spirit.
Should be pretty clear to those that want the truth on this
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. ...26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also. (James 2)
Notice that when faith is alone it is dead. When it is separated from
works it is dead.
Also note that verse 26 says that the body without the spirit is dead.
The body separated from the spirit is dead.
Notice is does not say that the spirit dissipates.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the
spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12)
Which speaks of the spirit/soul/self consciousness' separation
from the body at death.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with
a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then
we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall
we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4)
Which obviously would be the reunification of the body with
the soul and spirit at the second coming of Christ.
Also our Resurrection will be like Christ's, who first went
IN SPIRIT to the 'lower parts of the earth' during the three days his body was in the grave to preach and lead captivity captive.
5 For if we have become united
with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection; (Romans 6)
18 Because Christ also suffered
for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made
alive in the spirit; 19 in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 20 that aforetime
were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that
is, eight souls, were saved through water: (1 Peter 3)
(Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended
into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4)
Notice the separation of Christ's spirit from his body during
the three days He was in the grave.
There was a consciousness and a separation of His spirit from
body here in Christ.
The same is true of us.
His spirit was alive and ministering in the lower parts of
the earth while his body was dead.
This again proves the biblical teaching that death equals separation and this is preferred by Paul. 'To die is gain.'
3) He says that 'We are confident' of these things. This goes
along with the things Paul was persuaded and confident of.
Paul says he prefers this separation which results in him
(Personal Pronoun) being present with the Lord. He doesn't cease to exist or become unconscious during this separation, he
is present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5)
Soul Sleepers assume that the whole man is resurrected from
the grave at the coming of Christ.
How one views the nature of God and man often influences
their view of salvation.
Understanding the Triunity of God and the trichotomy of man helps explain the scriptures regarding
salvation and sanctification.
Concerning salvation the scriptures say:
We were saved before the world, according to the Father: 'For
whom HE did foreknow, he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among
many brethren.' (Romans 8)
We were saved when WE believed: 'He that believeth on him
is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten
Son of God.' (John 3:18)
Our SOULS are saved/sanctified when we receive the word and
walk with him: 'Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted
word, which is able to save your SOULS.'
Now if you don't understand or are apathetic toward the Triunity
of God and the Trichotomy of man, these scriptures will confuse you.
So understanding the Triunity of God and the trichotomy of
man clarifies the Who, When, What person of God and part of man these scriptures are referring to in relation to the salvation
If you were to take a poll of those that denied the Triunity
of God you would find that the majority also have a warped view of salvation, never spiritually secure in their faith.
If one doesn't FIRST understand the Three Persons in God,
The Three parts of Man, the Two Programs in place, they cannot understand the other things.
There are other examples of how ones view of God affects their
view of everything else, but that will do for now.
In my earlier days my soul sleeping Uncle used Genesis 2:7
against me to defend his view of the makeup of man.
It says, 'And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a LIVING SOUL.' (Genesis 2:7)
He pointed out that before the 'breath of life' man was a
At the time he stumped me.
Since then I have found the answer. The word soul in the Hebrew
is Nephesh and is speaking of the whole of man. (Genesis 1:26)
In the NT soul in Greek is psuche and means a part of man.
So one has to see what happens to mans parts upon death to
understand the nature of the afterlife.
So lets get back to the definite article:
"23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. " (1 Thess. 5:)
Notice that in the greek, the body soul and spirit are
separated by definite articles:
The definite articles separate the three parts of man,
though most translations don't reflect these articles but they are there.
This means that the body and the soul and the spirit are three
parts of man and not the same.
It is important to show these distinctions during life and at death.
Notice that the verse following the three parts of man is
a verse which reflects our security in Him and His faithfulness.
This directly affects what we think happens at death.
Those stuck in the OT and that have not properly graduated
to the New, have views similar to OT Jews.
If one looks only at OT scriptures regarding the nature of
God and man, they might easily be confused and though the OT doesn't contradict the NT, the New Testament clarifies the Old.
"The Old Conceals, the New Reveals."
This is why those that deny the Trinity, believe in soul sleep, observe
the sabbath, or believe in a works oriented salvation....often sound like the Jews of Old that didn't have the Rrrrrrrrrrrrrest
of the Story.
The Rich man after death 'lifted his eyes in hell' which shows
consciousness during the death of the body. (Luke 16)
And this is not a parable because Christ didn't call it that
and a real person's name (Lazarus) was used in the story. Parables don't use real names.
Jesus says, we should fear those that are able to kill the
body but not the soul but him who can destroy both. (Matthew 10:28)
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which
is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
If there is no distinction between body and soul this would be a meaningless verse.
I would also think that the soul sleepers strange belief will
also affect what he believes concerning when life begins.
Some arguments I have heard:
Those scriptures that speak of a separation of body from soul/spirit are figurative.
Declaring scripture figurative because it doesn't fit ones
cookie cutter theology is not serious nor studious.
I believe God means what he says and says what he means unless
he says that he didn't mean what he said and then I will expect him to shortly say what he meant.
If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense to replace
it, lest you end up with nonsense.
This is a modificaton of an old rule that works quite well. I added 'to replace it'.
The soul sleepers approach is that if the plain sense
makes sense, declare it figurative, because it conflicts with their preconceived notions.
This is cookie cutter theology that supposes certain things
and then forces everything else into that mold. What results is a lot of leftover dough that you cannot account for.
Scriptures quoted by Soul Sleepers:
Eccl 9:5 For the living know that they shall die:
the dead know not any thing...
The soul sleeper forgets to include the rest of the verse.
The rest says: 'neither have they any
more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. '
Do the dead have no more reward?
When we die will our memory be forgotten
So obviously this is talking about the body this side of the
They are forgotten by us and they have no more earthly reward
and they have no more earthly consciousness.
The soul sleeper is ready to quote Ecc. 9:5 but ignores other parts of Ecclesiastes.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes
It doesn't look like God forgot about our spirits which return
to him at death of the body.
Next scripture soul sleepers use:
Psalm 115:17 The dead praise not the Lord, neither
that go down into silence.
Lets look at the next verse.
18 But we will bless the LORD
from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.
'We' here are obviously believers and they will bless the
Lord from this time forth and for evermore, that means that there is no interruption in their praise of God, including death.
The dead ones in the verse are the wicked and obviously
they won't be praising God.
Context, context, context!
Psalm 115:16 The heaven, even the heavens,
are the Lord's:
but the earth hath he given
to the children of men.
Answer: If this verse meant what the soul sleeper thinks
it does the children of men would never go to heaven. This verse doesn't say 'at death'.
So unless they are willing to say that heaven is never
ours then this verse doesn't prove their case.
21 For to me to 1) live is Christ, and to 2) DIE IS GAIN. 22 But if 1) I LIVE
IN THE FLESH, this is the fruit of my
labour: yet what I shall
choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait BETWIXT TWO, having a
desire to 1) DEPART,
and to BE WITH CHRIST; which is far better: 24
Nevertheless to 2) ABIDE IN THE FLESH is more needful for you. 25 And
this confidence, I know that 2) I shall abide and continue with
you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; (Philippians
The Two Choices he gives:
1) Die is gain...'DEPART and be with Christ';
2) Live is Christ...'ABIDE IN THE FLESH...ABIDE AND CONTINUE WITH YOU ALL..is more needful for you.'
Are set in contrast to each other and this has him in a quandry.
No third choice of lying in the grave or waiting for Christ's appearance to all is offered here.
To assume that there is a third choice is reading into the text.
BJ Maxwell 10/24/2005