Is there any truth to soul sleep?
Luke 16:19-31 gives an accurate testimony to the fact that existence after death is a very conscious one. This fundamental truth is taught in many other places in the Word of God. II Corinthians 5, written by the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is also very helpful. Paul declares emphatically that his absence from his body means his presence with the Lord (vs. 8). There does not seem to be any indication whatsoever that he is looking forward to a cessation of consciousness or an intermediate period between death and the time of being with the Lord. In Philippians 1:23-24, the Apostle Paul again emphasized this same truth. He points out two distinct existences. There is no indication of an intermediate state or a “sleeping.”
Revelation 6:9-12 testifies to the fact that those who have died and gone before are in a conscious presence with the Lord. We must always be careful to remember the words of Jesus to the thief who was crucified with Him. John 19:31-37 makes it abundantly clear that this thief died at the same approximate time as Christ. In Luke 23:43, we have the authoritative words of Christ that give a promise of hope to a dying man that upon his death he would be taken into the conscious joy of the Lord’s presence.
In I Thessalonians 4:14 Christ brings “those who sleep” or the spirits of the dead “with him”, to recover their bodies. The spirit of the believer left the body at death to be with Christ and at the Rapture returns for one’s covering. This is necessary if the redeemed are to rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4; 22:5). In order to do so, one must have a body because a spirit alone cannot be seen.