Soul Sleep

II Corinthians 5, beginning with verse 6, explains about the body and the soul of the Christian.  These verses state that while we are home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, in the sense that we are not present in the actual abiding place of God.  Paul goes on to say that he is willing rather to be absent from the body, physical death, and to be present with the Lord.  Your soul is the actual life that you are given and departs from the body at death.  The spirit of man is that part of man that responds to God and has a personal relationship with Him.  Therefore, both the soul and the spirit depart from the body at death and are immediately ushered into the presence of God.  At the time of the Rapture these souls and spirits are reunited with their bodies which are transformed into glorified ones.

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.