The Doctrine of Soul-Sleeping
Is It Scriptural? An Internet Discussion
What happens to the dead after death? Do they pass into another dimension as conscious spirits as the bulk of Christendom teaches? Do they fall asleep and remain asleep until the resurrection? Or do these cease to exist, execept in the mind of God, to be re-created by Him in immortal bodies when Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) returns as Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, Armstronite Church of God adherents, Seventh-Day Adventists and many Messianics teach? What does the Bible actually say on the matter?
Is the truth about the afterlife important? We believe it is and very much so. All false doctrines impacts other doctrinal areas, and vice versa, as an examination of the denominations who teach soul-sleeping reveals.
The following is an in-depth internet discussion between Messianics. Those supporting the soul-sleeping doctrine are represented in red text and those against it are in the default text colour which you see here.
Charleen - What happens to the dead after death? I do believe that when you die you rest until the end when the books will be opened and only then we will be with Yah'shua FOREVER and receive a new body. There are verse in The Scripture I don't understand and need answers for urgently please! What is 1 Peter 3:19-20 stating and also 1 Peter 4:6? Please explain by scripture.
Obviously the dead are conscious as you don't preach to those who cannot hear. This proved by the fact that Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with Yah'shua on the Mount of Transfiguration, which even was witnessed by the three leading apostles, Peter, James and John.
"For Messiah also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Elohim, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Ruach, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water" (1 Peter 3:18-20, NKJV).
"For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to Elohim in the spirit" (1 Peter 4:6, NKJV).
If you posit - like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Christadelphians, Armstrongites and some Messianics - that the dead have no consciousness (based on literally interpreting some poetic passages in the Tanakh/Old Testament) - that the dead have no consciousness, then you have to invent all sorts of convolutions to 'explain' why Yah'shua preached to the millions who died during the flood. What did YHWH do? Wake them all up and put them to sleep again? Why then? Why not at the resurrection? Doesn't add up. You have to explain what Peter, James and John saw. The JW's say it was just a 'dream' but then they also deny a physical resurrection, saying Yah'shua put on a (deceptive) show of physicality so as not to frighten the disciples.
The simplest explanation and the only one that makes any sense is that the dead are indeed conscious after death.
I think they key to understanding here is knowing what a 'soul' is and to that end I recommend you read The Bible Teaching on "Soul"
Charleen - I am totally confused as Yes! I do believe the dead rest until He returns ... but that they know nothing. Am I wrong to believe they know nothing? I have many verses in the Word that states this? No come on brothers and sisters ... now I am really confused! Do you mean to tell me the people that die are in a place? No, they are in the grave. They know nothing and can't worship Yah .... this is what the Word taught me .... I need to know ... with Scripture ... not what each one thinks ... but what the Word teaches .... HELP ... I too will study...
Remember that the description of the dead being in the grave is from the perspective of those who are living. When someone you love dies, they are absent, silent, gone. So what the writers of the Tanakh wrote was accurate - from their perspective. But from the perspective of YHWH and from their own perspective, they are still conscious and gathered where Yah'shua could preach to them. We must take the whole counsel of Scripture and taken together they do not contradict one another.
I have personal experiences of these things, as I know many others do too, though this is personal.
Someone else in another discussion pointed out that the dead are not literally in the graves anyway. Chemically their molecules are now totally decomposed and dispersed. So what rises from the graves at the resurrection are not the original bodies but fresh matter assembled to make new bodies. So the dead are clearly not literally in the grave either - only in a poetic sense because that is where we last remember seeing them when we laid them to rest. And others are in the bellies of beasts or were consumed in fire. So this is a metaphor only.
The B'rit Chadashah scriptures (New Testament) are a filling up or completion of the Tanakh (Old Testament), giving us a greater revelation. They tell us the dead are alive in ruach/spirit. This is nothing to be afraid of. It's good news!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A MESSIANIC BELIEVER DIES?
by Rabbi/Brother Moshe Yoseph Koniuchowsky*
Your Arms To Israel President/Founder
A Special teaching To A Movement At The Forked Road Of Crisis!
The Increasing Danger
This short overview is being written in response to many within the messianic community. In particular to those who have just about stolen all joy and hope from the child of Yahweh regarding eternal and immediate ongoing life after his or her physical death. Fortunately we have the scriptures to straighten us out and get us back on track.
Many of us came to Messiah Yahshua for many different reasons. One of the primary reasons was the gift of eternal life and its accompanying escape from eternal death. Today with the growth of the modern messianic movement, both in Messianic Jewish and Messianic Nazarene Yisrael, doctrines have crept in unawares (Matt13:39) that steal not only our liberty from eternal death, but also our PROMISED life in heaven. Heresies such as: “the believer does not go to heaven”, “the believer will not see or go to heaven”, “the believer will never experience heaven” or the believer has no right or biblical promise of heaven since it is Yahweh’s home”, are all fiery darts of s.a.tan, designed to steal our hope, joy, anticipation and our great reward.
This study is by no means comprehensive but enough detail is being provided to make HaAdon Yahshua’s case.
In our attempts to issue a “get” or a divorce from all kirch/church or kirch practices, we in the messianic movement have succumbed to traditional Jewish error, which is the denial of the afterlife in heaven with Messiah Yahshua our only Savior.
Remember what happened when the early kirch fathers, ran from anything Jewish, just because a doctrine was considered too Jewish, even when the practice was based on scripture! Look where it got them! We cannot reject eternal life IN HEAVEN, just because this particular view is also held by most of apostate Christendom. In this case they happen to be right!
Where We Went Wrong
The blame lies at the very foot of the door not of the kirch system but at the door of apostate Babylonian Rabbinical Judaism, that has seduced our messianic rabbis and pastors. In our rush to embrace everything Jewish as righteous and divine, (including some types and shadows as portrayed in the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony) and toss out everything kirchy, we have seemingly tossed away our reward. And unless right here and right now we decide to walk circumspectly by reclaiming our inheritance, the very survival of the Messianic Movement is at stake. Why? Because Yahshua bled like a common thief in the greatest individual loving sacrifice this world has ever known, to take us to our wonderful reward WITH HIM in heaven.
And yet you and I have allowed ourselves to be seduced by false teachings, that have overturned and in effect negated the finished work of Mt. Golgotha by rewriting the promised heavenly reward right out of our Master’s vary own will! This may sound overdramatic but it is not.
This prophetic word is a sobering call from Yahweh to get our house in order, lest we experience judgment (First Keefa 4:16) instead of peace and assurance. How can we reclaim this assurance of a pre-millennial/post physical death home in heaven, just as scripture promises, and just as Yahshua came to give us by His unconditional love? Simply by retracing the biblical steps that awaits all born again Messianic believers in Yahshua our Moshiach.
“No Life In Heaven” Teachings
Should Yahshua tarry, and should we taste physical death, what follows surely awaits all who trust in Him.
The following events are straight from scripture, and are listed chronologically, so as to end all speculation, current confusion, and anachronistic recantations of varied false unscriptural life after death scenarios.
Much of the problem with those who deny heaven as the believer’s pre millennial home is that they have rearranged the promised events promised to every man and woman who died in the faith. Primary among these doctrines of doom is the teaching of soul sleep, as the believer is said to go 6 feet under as he or she awaits the last day premillineal post Tribulation physical resurrection. “The loss of heaven” or “no heaven for the believer teaching”, is not a salvation issue and thus is not a reason to divide or break fellowship or anything else of that drastic nature.
However if we do not reintroduce and reinstate this truth, I fear much of our promised joy (Nehemiah 8:10) will be forfeited and life will become even more difficult then it already is. Yahweh didn’t give us His promises to make life mediocre or survivable but abundant. How do we who have been pounded by “no heavenly home” teachings, newsletters and e-mails, recover before it’s too late? We must as in all cases do 180 degree, teshuvah/repentance and turn towards to scripture.
In Yochanan 14:2 Yahshua the Moshiach tells us that He is returning to the Father’s House to prepare a place for us. The Father’s House cannot be on earth since whatever house on earth existed in Israel's past WAS A REPLICA OR PATTERN of the one where Abba Yahweh really dwells.
Since when has the Father ever left heaven or moved elsewhere? In order for Yahshua to sit at Abba's right hand, He (Yahshua) must also be in heaven. He said that it was that house (Abba’s) that He was preparing for us. In John 14:3 He promised to return for us, so as to put us in the house that He and Abba live in, so that “where I am, you might be also.” Where is He now? According to Hebrews 8:1 and Hebrews 9:24, Yahshua has passed into the heavens itself. So if in fact Yahshua is in heaven, and if that is where He is doing His preparations for us, that is where you and I will be after keeping our ordained appointment with physical death (Hebrews 9:27). So 2,000 years ago the preparation began and by now of course it has been finished (John 19:30). Second Corinthians 5:1 confirms this great reward for the believer by stating that when, not if but “when”, our earthly house (body) is destroyed by death, we have a building from Elohim A HOUSE (OR TABERNACLE) NOT MADE WITH HANDS EVERLASTING IN THE HEAVENS. A gift of eternal life in our new heavenly home will be an everlasting house located in the heavens (all three). In Philippians 1:21 Rav Shaul can only speak of physical death as something to “gain” or a promotion “upwards”, only if he is fully convinced that immediate and ongoing glorious life awaits him in heaven with Moshiach Yahshua.
And this is exactly what he expects. He calls death a gain. What is he gaining? Philippians 1:23 cannot make things clearer. The gain he midrashes/discusses here is the gain of a departure unto Messiah or a departure that finds him with His Messiah immediately upon death. There is no gap for soul sleep or any other delayed or postponed reward. This truth is reaffirmed in Second Corinthians 5:8, where Rav Shaul is not worried about death because his confidence is full in Yahshua’s promise of John 14, that "to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Master”. Where you find the Master you will find the believer after death! Titus 1:2 confirms this definition of eternal life. First John 3:2 reminds us that we are already His children thus sharing a place in His house in heaven, but later at some point we receive a fuller aspect of our (physical) glorification at His return. Yahshua cannot be any firmer than He is in John 11:26. “AND EVERYONE THAT IS LIVING AND BELIEVING IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE AT ALL. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Apparently many don’t! No believer dies spiritually or goes to sleep which is by definition a cessation of conscious life. Do you really think you reward is unconscious sleep? Is that the kind of eternal Zoe (eternal-ongoing-abundant) life Messiah gives? Does he not reward us His children with His own kind of life? Moshiach stated that all believers would never die or would never cease to exist. If the increasingly popular “no heaven theology” in Messianic circles is true, and the “lets hangout in the grave for a prolonged nap theory” is true, then Messiah Yahshua lied. For He said a true believer would always exist and never taste death and cessation of life. Hebrews 2:14 agrees and instructs us that since Yahshua defeated death, He delivered us from any kind of spiritual death introduced to the sons of men by s.a.tan. Those in deliverance ministry understand the eternal nature of true and complete biblical deliverance! It is total and complete lacking no remnant of the prior existing bondage.
A soul that supposedly sleeps does not have eternal life but interrupted life. His or her eternal life is put on hold or frozen and later supposedly received by being revived or awakened. Again this false understanding is actually spiritual sleep apnea, a cessation of life until it is later continued at Yahshua’s return. There are those who teach this and by very definition are rendering eternal life temporal and seasonal. Eternal life is not contingent upon Yahshua’s return to earth, as many in Messianism have falsely taught. Rather it is an accomplishment based fully upon His death at His first advent and begun at Golgotha and sealed by the Ruach HaKodesh on Shavout 33CE. If a believer can ever be suspended in spiritual animation or soul sleep to await the resurrection, then Yahshua lied in His promise of eternal life in heaven. Eternal life begins when you and I accept Him and thankfully it never ever ends. Now the location of the place where we will enjoy eternal life, can and will change. But not the very gift itself. This is the cardinal error of the “no heaven for the believer teachings”. They have bought into apostate Judaism’s teaching that there is no heaven for the believer but just a resurrection from the grave when Moshiach comes.
The Key To Understanding Daniel 12:1-2
The key to understanding Daniel 12:1-2 and other passages that appear to support soul sleep is this: the word sleep and physical bodily death are always almost use synonymously as seen in John 11:12-14, where Yahshua clearly corrects the error of His talmidim regarding soul sleep. They felt Lazarus was sleeping and resting, BUT Yahshua said no not at all! What he meant as Yahweh's mouth on the subject of the sleep of the dead is that Lazarus is physically dead as He explains to them in John 11:14. So sleep and bodily death are the same ACCORDING TO MESSIAH YAHSHUA, WHO IS THE WORD AND THE FINAL WORD ON ALL SUBJECTS. These interchangeable terms are used even as the bible uses "to know" and "to have sex" as synonymous terms. These words I just gave you come from Yahshua's own mouth. It's His definition not mine.
With that background then the ones who are dead or sleep do so in the DUST OF THE EARTH. That's where the physical body goes. From dust thou art and to dust thou shall return. Thus the word DUST is a clear signal that what lies dormant is the dust, which has no memory or knows nothing. We know that dust is the result of decomposition of the body. These verses confirm that our banana peals turns to dust. Certainly in light of Yahshua's words this cannot be soul sleep. After the Great Tribulation the righteous will rise to physical resurrected life (Daniel 12:2) and the damned will rise physically to be condemned (Daniel 12:2) at the Great White Throne, then cast into the lake of fire. That's what these verses teach and they do not contradict any other bible teachings on life after death.
What Will Happen to You!
In order to settle this escalating error in all it’s various forms, let’s put a chronology on the chain of events that await all true children of Yahweh.
When a believer dies physically, his or her physical body AND SOUL goes to the grave or Sheoul. It deteriorates. The banana peel goes to the dust (Genesis 3:19). Period. The spirit of man, the life-giving gift of Yahweh, returns to Yahweh, since He is the Father of all spirits, especially or specifically of just men made right (Hebrews 12:23). Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth 12:3. His spirit that was on loan to you in your earthly sojourn is His and thus returns to Him. THAT IS WHAT LIVES AND THRIVES IN ETERNALLY IN HEAVEN. HIS RUACH LOANED TO YOU AS A HUMAN SPIRIT FOR THIS EARTHLY SOUJOURN.
Since He gave it and since He redeemed it, He takes it back. That spirit is what all the writers of Brit Chadashah meant when they taught that to be absent from the physical body is to be with Yahweh. Your/HIS REDEEMED human spirit will live forever. Your body and the accompanying emotionl soulish realm directly attached to the body, like that of the lost goes, to the grave. No difference. The lost unredeemed human spirit/soul/AND BODY however will be cast into the lake of fire and cease to exist (Ezekiel 18:4) because Yahweh will not allow that unclean spark of life back into his presence in a still defiled and unclean and earthly rebellious state.
The spirit not soul of a redeemed person takes part in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and (Rev 19:7) is marked as the official kala/bride of Yahshua and returns with Messiah to earth AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION (Zech 14:4-5). All the set apart-married folks leave heaven and the cheder (consummation room) and return to earth. But what do they return to?
At the end of the Great Tribulation where living saints are supernaturally protected, the departed in the faith saints and those surviving the Great Tribulation, will all receive their new glorified PHYSICAL resurrected bodies.
Those redeemed spirits in heaven returning to earth will be introduced to their new physical/soulish/spiritual body like unto His glorious physical/spiritual/soulish/ body (Phil 3: 21). Those who survive the Great Tribulation (left behind) as the wicked are taken away will be caught up in the air to get changed into their new glorified physical/ spiritual body. After all, have you ever gotten changed lying down? Did you ever put your pants on lying on your back? Or have you put your shoes on while lying face down on your stomach? Of course not! Then those alive will need to BE CAUGHT UP TO GET CLOTHED WITH IMMORTALITY, since they will not be clothed with immortality while remaining in any kind of standing or prone position. This is the so-called catching away. Yahweh catches up living believers at the end of the Greet Tribulation, so they can get changed in to the same clothing of immortality that Yahshua now carries. The apostate kirch system calls this atmospheric (not heavenly) dressing room “a rapture to heaven.” As they say in New York. Poppycock & Horseradish!
Before the millenium He calls the bodies of the departed trusting redeemed kedoshim/saints out of the grave, then changes living believers instantly into immortal glorified beings. He gives those departed saved and righteouss spirits that had supped with and married in heaven and who have returned with Him, a new physical glorified body and soul like He has, and like those who had been caught up for the instant change into immortality have received. The change takes place in two parts. This is the first and ONLY blessed pre-millennial resurrection, taking place in two parts, not two comings 7 years apart! All this takes place before the millennial commences. So as we enter the millennial reign, all believers will have been resurrected or changed, so as to put on Messiah, (His glorified physical/spiritual body) as all believers enter the millennial with their King. So while the righteous dead will be resurrected, the spirits are with Yahweh in heaven and will accompany Yahshua for the pre-millennial reunification of their righteous spirit with a new millennial physical body. Of course those killed during the Great Tribulation will be part of those who marry the Lamb in heaven and return to earth as well.
Following the completion of the millennium, (1,000 years of Moshiach’s reign ON EARTH) where all believers rule and reign with Moshiach on earth as Melkezedekian priests, the Heavenly Jerusalem descends and hovers over the earth. She is said to be the heavenly city, the mother of all believers. She will rest on top of the earthly re-cleansed Jerusalem, as Yahweh takes the two Jerusalems and makes them one single entity, (like Israel) as an enlarged physical/spiritual city! He will do to the two Jerusalems, (His bride’s permanent home) what He has done to both houses of Israel, as well as what he will do to the saved righteous, where He will combine the spirit and the body and soul into one. He will make her one, and she will once again be the faithful central city, (geographically and spiritually) full of justice and mercy (Isaiah 1:21). The eternal Jerusalem is both heavenly and earthly as they are connected physically and spiritually and will house all born again believers, (physical/spiritual members of Israel’s Commonwealth) who have had their righteous eternal spirits reunited with new physical glorified bodies. In this Jerusalem, the order of the day is the biblical principal of “combining” or “oneness renewal”. He will take the earthly sun and combine it with the eternal Son, and there will be no need of the earthly SUN (Rev 22:5) and the physical moon, as He combines it with the Lamb's blood, as the moon has been tuned dark by the Lamb’s blood (Acts 2:20), as the moon is no more. Yahshua then becomes kingdom light in both the day and night. Then Yahweh combines day and night until they also are no more and all that is left is the Father Yahweh and His blessed Son ruling in their kingdom with their children. That’s how Yahweh winds down the atid lavoh/millenium and commence with eternity in the olam habah, world to come! This key principle of "combining or oneness renewal” helps to understand what awaits the child of Yahweh after death. The goals are to take the spirit and reunite it with a new physical body. That glorified physical/spiritual body will live forever in the New Jerusalem, as all things are restored. (Ephesians 2:7).
Then at the end of the millennium, the Son hands the kingdom to His Father, who remains greater and like us His brethren, becomes subjected afresh to His Father for all ages (First Cor. 15:27-28). The unsaved cease to exist and the saved live on and on and on and on, worlds without ends. Therefore the key to understanding the believer’s true reward is that while we all await the coming of Messiah, and the promised premillenial post Tribulation first blessed set apart resurrection, our human spirits NOT SOULS return to Abba Yahweh for consummation in the cheder or heavenly consummation chamber. Those same spirits are brought back to earth, to be placed in our eternal bodies at the first pre millennial resurrection of the righteous blood washed and redeemed remnant dead.
By following these plain but exciting truths, you and I will have restored all things in these last days (Acts3: 21), by putting off the yoke of a doctrine emanating from Rabbinical Judaism, and by embracing the true hope that is a sure foundation and anchor to all of Yahweh’s children. As of this day, let us do as Yahshua, did and put hope, the hope of heaven, back into the messianic equation. For while life in heaven after death may not be inherently an accepted modern Jewish concept, it is Yahwistic at the core dating back to Israel’s biblical days.
With the full hope of our reward fully restored, we can then enjoy life and that more abundantly for all ages/eons to come. Nothing should continue to shake us or disturb us, in His entire entire set apart mountain (Isaiah 26:3-4).
Say, Brother Lev, didn't you have a sermon awhile back that did a study of what exactly an aeon is? Would that tie into this somehow?
Charleen - I have checked out 2 Corinthians 5 that was mentioned and found it reassuring but then when I noticed this verse (v10) - I then again must understand that first we must all stand before the judgement seat of Messiah before we each receive what we should receive and then I mean the new spiritual body too. Or what is been spoken of here? I would like to say that OF COURSE I do believe that Yahusua is on the right hand side of our Father in heaven. The word says this. I am not wondering if there is a heaven. I know there is as the written Word states this clearly and multiple times. I am not questioning that He is preparing a place for us as He said He would. I know we will be with Him forever but I think it may be after He comes to fetch us. Rev 19:7 does talk about a wedding feast and I do agree with that. My point is WHEN DOES THIS FEAST TAKE PLACE? Now? Does not make sense to me that it is now. Why then is it neccessary to have a day where the books are opened and each person is judged and when the Sheep and the Goats are seperated? Why be judged if we receive eternal life immediately? Why would He bother to open the books and read the names of those who are to received Eternal Life if they already have it at that stage? Please please I need to know these things. It feels as if I am lost again! And I know this is all part of finding the truth WHICH I MUST HAVE. Even then I refer to the verse you gave in Daniel. But I read the full passage and found (Dan 12:1-13) that it made me even more confused! v2 seams to be talking about the end of time when the books are opened and when each receives that promised eternal life or not. v3 makes me feel that the righteous then will shines like the stars in the heaven - after judgement day. v13 Daniel is told to go forth and rest and that his destination would be at the end. He would arise at the end of time! Am I misunderstanding this then? Further I understand 6:40 states that the believer in Messiah will be resurrected ON THE LAST DAY WHEN THE WORDS HE SPOKE WILL JUDGE THOSE WHO WOULD NOT BELIEVE ON HIM. John 5:29 also says after judgement. I really can understand that when Job speaks of the body in the grave or ground it is poetic. Yes, as he says that the same lot is for man and beast and I know he is not looking further therefore he speaks of it as from a man's point of view on earth. I accept this. But can't throw away the fact that it is stated man can't praise Yah when dead (Psalm 115:17) or even the verse that states that man is born (sown) in a natural body but is raised a spirtitual body (1 Cor 15:46). He is born and raised with a spiritual body which we receive on judgement day. No mention of rising and then living like that and then only getting that new body then. Also 1 Corinth 15:51 makes me understand that there is a body change but mentions no first arising and then getting it - rather telling me I receive it at end as you have stated too. I too know from previous studies I did that David is not in heaven (Acts 2:34 and he rests in the ground yet (Psalm 17:15). Yesterday I read a verse (just can't find it now) where it says that NOBODY HAS SEEN YAHUWE. Oh please explain. Perhaps this is just one of those things man will never fully understand?
I found this is the Word in John 14:1-4 and here I broke these verses up piece by piece and bit by bit using other scripture I remembered. Yahusua tells his people that He is going to leave earth. Right, then He tells them He is going to prepare a place for them (and us of course). and then ........ says THAT HE IS COMING AGAIN ........ Why? So that we can be brought to Him SO THAT WE CAN BE WITH HIM WHERE HE IS. Has He returned to fetch His people yet? No. Thus I must decipher from this that they are not yet WHERE HE IS. May the Word speak into our hearts and give us understanding. May His Set-Apart Spirit lead and guide me and you into all truth. And prayfully I received the whole of 1 Corinthians 15. Messiah Yahushua is handing the truth of what He received from His Father to his disiples and thus to us. v20 states the Yahushua is the first of those who was risen from the sleep to have Eternal Life. v22 says that as we died in Adam we shall be made alive in Messiah but then goes on to tell us in the next verse that it will be AT HIS RETURN. and v 32 tells us that this is our hope as if it is not our hope we are worse than the unbelievers really. Through verses 37 to 44 is written about the flesh body and the spiritual. ONLY TWO KINDS (no other inbetween kind), and verse 44 clearly states that we die (fleshly) and will stand up as a spiritual being. and believers will carry on us (v49) the image of the heavenly. And then he goes on to tell us about how this will happen V51-58. This is clear to me. 1 Thess 4:14 says that He will bring those who have died in Messiah with Him when he comes back to earth. When makes it sound like they are living in a spiritual way already but then in v16 he tells us exactly how it takes place, and THEN WE WILL BE WITH HIM FOREVER. (V17). Did I understand this right? 2 Timothy 4:8 also states that Paul will receive the crown of righteousness ON THE DAY OF YAH. v18 says that Paul will go into His heavenly kingdom but not when but if I look at Scripture I would believe IN THE LAST DAY. Titus 3:7 also tells us that Paul will become a heir and has the Hope of eternal life. When will he become heirs? We know from the written Word that Yahushua sits on the right hand side of Yahuwe UNTIL ALL HIS ENEMIES ARE DEFEATED. (Heb 1:3). Thus The Father and Son are in one place right now and we know it is a place called heaven as Yahushua told us that He is going there to prepare a place for us. Also Hebrews 9:24 tells us that Yahushua is in Heaven by Yahuwe. And v28 says He will return to those who await him for deliverence. Heb 10:13 says that Messiah is waiting on Yah's right hand side until his enemies are put under his foot. But I dont understand Heb 3:20? or Hebrews 4:6? Hebrews 4:12 NOBODY has seen Yahuwe (1 Joh4:12) thus the "dead" cant be by Him or Yahushua who is with Yah.
Lev - The sermons you asked about, Brother Yaacov, may be found here:
The Fire of Yahweh - Part 1: Refinement, Hellfire and the Jubilee
The Fire of Yahweh - Part 2: Olam, Aeons and Eternity
Charleen - Now this is what I call a teaching! Have saved it and will check more thoroughly but it fed my being! I loved it....the hell fire has always been something I wondered about and my children have been asking questions that I need to answer correctly. Please explain the first resurrection and the second resurrection in full with scripture.
Joe - The phrase, "The Dead know not anything". Is this not speaking in the sense of the physical connections of the physical world? Like a man "knowing his wife" i.e. having physical relations with her? The dead cannot do this contrary to popular mythology and movies. The Ruach that is our life, does this not return to our All Residing King following our decease?(Eccl) Awaiting the union with our own Glorified body at the resurection? How about the crying out souls of those who were martyred residing under the Alter of YAHUSHAH? (Rev) Where is the place that is "under" HIS Alter? Are we not to fear the ONE who has the power to destroy both body and soul? The body dies and decays and the soul rests awaiting the union with a functional body. The souls of mankind do not cease to exist except the un-repentent souls at the end. The souls may well rest in the Earth as it is YAH's Footstool and still be "with" HIM. Where can you go to escape HIS presence? The body is Sacred as it is created in the Image of Yahuah and should be treated as such. The soul is connected to the body and stays near it even in decease. If we really knew the whole truth of the matter we would treat funerals and the care for the deceased with much more respect than is common in this current age. I have been to too many funerals and heard the"He/she is in a better place now" theology. "He/she is up there looking down on us and helping us mentality." It is sad.
Randy - Charleen said: "perhaps you too should look for yourself and not take one scripture (that Brother Lev brought up) and make a statement on that. All things come with a witness of two or three and there are a whole lot more witnesses from His Word....check it out yourself."
I wasn't going to say anything else but since you are implying that I'm basing my conclusion on only one small part of scripture I wish to correct that false assumption.
I've read through all the posts on this subject and there are many scriptures that were brought up by Lev that proves the "dead know nothing" theory is wrong.
Not to mention that if you understand the Hebrew idioms in an ancient Hebrew culture you'll know that when someone was speaking of someone being asleep they were actually speaking of them being dead not actually sleeping. Just as in the term he went to be with his fathers.
Whether or not it is in "love" or not is irrelevant, what is relevant is, is it the truth?
That's my two cents worth on the whole matter. I have nothing else to say.
Lev - Well, for one thing, I am not watching and I would certainly take no pleasure in it. (I've heard it so I have some idea what it's like). Why would Yah'shua go to the trouble of giving us such a graphic dedcription of the afterlife if it wasn't to wake us up to the seriousness of sin! And who am I to challenge the justice of YHWH? If Yah'shua had wished to communicate a soul-sleeping doctrine, He would not have used this illustration.
It's those nagging scriptures that do not fit into our preconceived ideas and interpretations that we should most precisely pay attention to. I have had to let got of a lot of personal scriptural interpretations because of Scriptures that didn't "fit". The Aramaic originals fixed a lot of problems for me along with coming to an understaning of Hebraic idioms and metaphors. "Sleeping", "cooling tongues" are all examples of Hebrew idiomatic speech. When we try to interpret them literally (imagine someone in 2,000 years time interpreting someone who is "cool" to be at a low temperature instead of being impressive ... using American idioms) we end up in all sorts of difficulties.
Sometimes it is hard to bend our minds around YHWH's justice because we do not think as He does. There have been many parts of the Tanakh that have troubled me in the past because I have viewed YHWH through a Western lens and assumed that humanistic "justice" was somehow superior to the "primitive" mindframe of the OT. Yet these "primitives" conversed with YHWH as to a personal friend and heard Him in the same way. They presumably understood Him better than we do at times.
I am sorry that hell disturbs you so much. It's supposed to. But it in no way detracts from the love of Elohim - it merely emphasises His justice. Besides (in case you think I believe in an eternal hell), I believe that hell lasts only as long as the Cosmic Jubilee ... but that is a subject in itself. (I posted something on that earlier). So YHWH is not some sadistic torturer - He gives us what we ask for but in His loving kindness and mercy does bring all punishment to an end.
Charleen - Brother, the word states: Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
The rich man is in pain and wants just a pinch of water? Not a drop! Not a glass! And he speaks of his tongue that needs cooling! Only his tongue? Logic alone tells me that if I was burning (or tormented in flames) - I would not ask for somebody to just cool my tongue! And is is not amazing that those who WANT TO SO DESPERATELY CLING TO THE DEAD LIVING FOREVER IMMEDIATELY always use this scripture. Then we have to throw away all the other scriptures if we say this was literal i.e: 1 Cor 15:20; John 6:40; James 2:26; Acts 2:34; Psalm 17:15; Psalm 115:15; Psalm 146:3 and 4; 2 Peter 2:9; Psalm 88:11 to 13; Isaiah 38: 18 and 19; John 14:1 to 3 and so forth and so forth. We then have to throw all these scriptures out of the Word so that one Scripture can fit in as you see it. I say again ...it makes no sense...to die and go to a place of flames or a wonderful garden of rest and then to be judged! No, judgement first! All works to be tested first! Why is so disturbing to believe that we rest? Is it really so bad? It is just as a long sleep. Nothing good or bad. And how disturbing it must be to be in this wonderful place after death and see your loved ones suffering! How can you then be happy and content WATCHING others suffer! No Yah is not so cruel!
It was not possible to comment further as the owner of the discussion thread (Charleen) closed it down. As can be seen, there is much confusion amongst Messianics (as well as non-Messianic Christians) between the literal and metaphorical. When you are blinded by false doctrine then the plain sense of Scripture makes no sense. Did Yah'shua (Jesus) speak of two places - a paradise (heaven) and hell? Most certainly:
Was Yah'shua literal? Yes. Did He cease to exist after His physical death? No. Then how is it possible to be "with" someone literal if you are not literal yourself?
"And Yah'shua (Jesus) said to [the thief on the cross], "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43, NKJV).
Can there be any doubt that Paradise is literal? The word "Paradise" translates the Greek word paradeisos which means a 'walled garden', 'park'. Therefore this is a literal 'walled garden'. The soul-sleepers are quite simply wrong and are trying to make scripture fit into a preconceived doctrine. They think 'sleeping' is literal when it is obviously metaphorical and think Heaven or Paradise is metaphorical when it is so clearly literal!
"And I know such a man -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, Elohim (God) knows-- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2 Cor.12:3-5, NKJV).
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Elohim (God)" (Rev.2:7, NKJV).
The same is true about hell. Are we given any grounds in Scripture to suppose that it is not literal? The fact that is is compared to a rubbish dump outside Jerusalam called Gehenna (Heb. ge'hinnom) where trash and dead bodies were burned does not make it exclusively symbolic. It is comparitive - "hell is like the inferno that the rubbish dump is".
What follows is an excellent article on soul-sleeping (not from this ministry).
There are those who believe when someone dies they enter a sleep stage. As the body is put in the ground, so is the soul or spirit. They interpret the word sleep in the Scripture to be a state of silence, inactivity, unconsciousness for the soul. Since the beginning of the Messianic Community those who have studied the Bible have never come to these conclusions, all have had the hope of heaven. Has everyone in New Covenant history believed in error and died with a false hope of being united with Yah'shua after death?
First thing we need to establish is that man has a spirit, and it is distinct from his body. We have a dual nature, physical (the body) and immaterial (spirit) which together in mortality constitute a soul.
Job 32:8: "But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding." The breath is not the same as mans spirit but that which teaches him, being the Ruach haQodesh from Elohim.
Isaiah 26:9 says this: "At night my soul longs for Thee, indeed my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently."
Zech.12:1: "Thus says Yahweh, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:" Here we see that the physical man is different than the spirit in him.
1 Cor. 6:20: "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are Elohim's." Paul distinguishes the body from the spirit, both existing simultaneously, yet both are united to make man.
1 Cor. 2:11: "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of Elohim except the Ruach (Spirit) of Elohim." Man's spirit is not the same as Elohim's Spirit. Our spirit has certain capabilities to understand the things of man but fall short in understanding Elohim unless he reveals them to us. The knowledge is not in our flesh but our spirit, certainly this cannot mean our breath for it knows nothing. There is a comparison here between man's spirit knowing the things of man and Elohim's spirit knowing the things of Elohim.
Job.14:22: "But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul (spirit) within him shall mourn." Job makes the distinction saying the flesh is upon him and the soul (spirit) is within him.
Now let's address the argument that some claim the soul or spirit is just another word for breath since this is what the Hebrew word Ruach means. That when someone dies their breath leaves them. Let's substitute the word breath where Spirit/Ruach is and see if it makes any sense scripturally?
Job 34:14-15: "If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself Spirit (His breath?) and His breath, All flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust." Here both breath and spirit are distinguished otherwise one would be gathering to himself spirit and his spirit or breath and his breath.
Ps. 19:7: "The Torah (law) of Yahweh is perfect, converting the Breath, the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple;" The conversion is to ones soul/spirit, their inner being so it can rule over their body.
2 Cor. 7:1: "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and Breath (spirit)," Does this mean we take breath mints?
Gal 6:8: "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the breath (Spirit ) will of the breath (Spirit) reap everlasting life."
Acts 23:8: "For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection-- and no angel or breath (spirit); but the Pharisees confess both." Is there no breath or were they speaking about a spirit that is intelligent (a type of angel). What we will see is that Spirits do exist outside the vehicle of the body as does mans. V.9 "Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees' party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against Elohim." Certainly they are speaking about a corporeal entity that communicates not just breath.
What of Yah'shua, did He use this definition? Matt. 12:43 "When an unclean Breath, (spirit) goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none." Certainly he did not mean bad breath. Just as man can have the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) live within him alongside his human Spirit so he can have a unclean spirit live in him.
Luke 4:36: "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean Breaths, (spirit) and they come out."
Acts 5:16: "Bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean Breath, (spirit), and they were all healed." I guess some peoples souls need breath freshener! Yah'shua cast out spirit entities not people's breath, and if he did they would certainly die on the spot.
Luke 12:19: "And I will say to my Breath, " Breath,"(spirit), you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." Can ones breath eat and drink?
James 5:20 "let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a Breath, (soul) from death and cover a multitude of sins." Can breath be saved or a person?
2 Pet. 2:8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous Breath, (spirit) from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)--
Ezek. 18:4: "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Can breathe die? Obviously this means something than just air in the lungs.
1 Sam 30:6 "because the soul of all the people was grieved." Num. 21:4 "and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way." Prov. 21:10 "The soul of the wicked desires evil" Can breath do any of these things, or does it communicate emotion, intelligence and personality? Gen. 34:8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, "The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife." Is Shechem's breath desiring a wife?
Pnuema means wind in Greek it also means breath and spirit. Ruach in Hebrew means wind, it too also can mean breath and spirit. Since Hebrew and Greek have only one word for wind breath and spirit one needs to discern what is meant by certain passages, the context defines the meaning. Yah'shua breathed on his disciples in John 20 saying receive the Ruach/Spirit, the rushing wind in Acts is certainly to be interpreted as the Ruach/Spirit. When Yah'shua breathed on the apostles the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit in Jn.20:22 he wasn't giving them Breath for life but the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit in some capacity.
If Ruach/Spirit is breath and Elohim is Ruach/Spirit is He breath too? We can see how ludicrous this position of interpretation is. Certainly when Yah'shua spoke to the Father "into your hands I commend my Ruach/Spirit" he was not speaking of his breath.
I think the point is clear, Ruach/Spirit does not mean breath although at times it is used metaphorically.
There is a difference between man's breath and spirit
Isaiah 42:5: "Thus says Yahweh, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it." Two things are given the breath and the spirit if they were one thing it would not be written like this.
1 Cor. 2:11-12: "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" Could we ever substitute breath for Spirit? Man's center of knowledge is not in their physical human nature, neither in the brain which is just a vehicle. It is our spirit that has a will and recalls. When one dies it is because the spirit leaves this is why one cannot hear nor see our spiritual nature has left. "Even so no one knows the things of Elohim except the Spirit of Elohim." Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Ruach/Spirit who is from Elohim, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by Elohim." Could we substitute breath and have the scripture read "No one knows the things of Elohim but the breath of Elohim?" "Now we have received, not the breath of the world, but the breath who is from Elohim!" Does Elohim need breath to live? The Bible tells us Elohim is Spirit (breath?) and that he has all knowledge, perfect knowledge of the past present and future.
James. 2:26: "the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Meaning only the body dies, as James uses the example that faith animates our works so the Spirit animates the body. The relationship between the material and immaterial when broken means we die physically. Our spirit is not dead like the body. The Spirit is just as alive outside the body as it is inside the body. The resurrection only applies to the body. When our spirit returns, our bodies come alive again. The correlation made is that real faith (which is invisible) is displayed to others by having works to show it is alive .
Abraham died and was gathered to his people. Gen.25:8 Jacob said the same thing Gen.49:29 Rachel dying said her soul was departing and she died in Gen.35:18.
The description of what occurs at death is described in both the Old Testament and the New Testament as giving up the ghost, Abraham Gen.25:8. Isaac gave up the ghost Gen.35:29.
Jacob breathed his last Gen.49:33. Even Yah'shua Lk.23:46, and Sapphira in Acts 5:10. This is a common phrase to signify one is dying not that their soul goes to sleep.
In I Kings 17:20-22: "When the widows son died Elijah cried out three times to Yahweh and said, "O Master my Elohim, I pray, let this child's soul (spirit) come back to him." Then Yahweh heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived." Notice that it came in him. This is not just breath as one can make air go back into someone who just died and they would not revive, this says the spirit/soul of the child, it is something he possessed that had left him.
Luke 8:54-55: "he, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, 'Child arise!' And her spirit returned , and she rose immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat." This shows without the spirit to animate the body we are dead. This does not mean the spirit is dead or sleeping. In all these instances we find the spirit entering the body again but never reviving or resurrecting because it already is alive. It is the body that is asleep and needs animation.
The Bible speaks of two different kinds of death
1 Tim 5:6: "But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." This does not mean one is a walking corpse in the physical body but they are dead in their spirit from sin and trespasses. This is remedied by a new birth, Jn.3 being born again by the Ruach/Spirit.
The term "death" which is "thanatas" in Greek, does not mean to be non-existence or unconscious, it rather means to be separated. Some examples:
Colossians 2:13: "And when you were dead (separated form Elohim--NOT "unconscious") in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh..."
Ephesians 2:1: "And he made you alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." this is addressing the spiritual state of someone who was in sin and then made alive spiritually in Messiah. (also Revelation 3:1) The unregenerate are dead but they are not unconscious or non existent.
The prodigal son in Lk.15:24 is said by the Father "This my son was dead and is alive again." Yah'shua was not talking about a bodily or soul resurrection but of one who left fellowship with the father.
Yah'shua in Matt. 26:38 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death." He was not saying his soul was going to die and go to sleep.
What of Yah'shua in Lk.23:46 said to the Father into your hands "I commit my spirit," isn't this clear he is having his spirit received into the Father's hands while his body is to be laid in the tomb. This is the very same thing Stephen states in Acts 7:59 Stephen cried unto Yahweh saying "receive my spirit."
Revelation 6:9-11: "And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of Elohim, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Master, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also." Notice the timing is at the fifth seal, Yahweh gave them white robes and they are told to wait for their brethren who will be killed. This consummates in Rev.7:9-15 where they are gathered before the throne of Yahweh serving him day and night in his temple (v.15). This would be hard to do if one is asleep or out of existence.
The Bible teaches death is not a cessation of existence, but a separation of existence. The soul/spirit is our intellect, our personality, our identity. The real person will live on.
All the Old Testament passages need to be interpreted through the New Testament revelation. Without the New Testament teaching what was unrevealed in the Old Testament would stay a mystery as Paul states in 1 Cor.15:51: "behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." Speaking of the resurrection of the body. Matthew 13:11, 35; Rom.16:25; I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:4-5 and 3:9 these Scriptures give us a definition of a mystery as something that was unrevealed in the Old Testament and now revealed for the first time in the New Testament. Heaven was not explained in the Old Testament, the immortality of man, the resurrection to eternal life, the forgiveness of sins as permanent. There is the New Testament mystery of the revelation of Elohim in Messiah, 1 Tim. 3:16 "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Elohim was manifested in the flesh," None of these were explained until we had New Testament revelation. Likewise so is the revealing of what actually transpires after death through the teaching of Messiah and the apostles.
PROBLEMATIC OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES
Ps.6:5: "In death there is no remembrance of you." Ps.146 :4: "the thoughts perish at death", the preceding words put this in context. "His spirit departs he returns to earth in that day his thoughts (plans) perish at death." Eccl.8:8 "there is no man that has power over the Spirit to retain the spirit; in the day of death." This describes the spirit departing from the body, that no one can hold it back not man nor the ground.
Ps.115:17: "The dead praise not Yahweh neither any that go down into silence." But it then says "But we will bless Yahweh from this time forth and FOR EVERMORE." Wouldn't this by necessity mean to be alive and conscious?
Eccl.3:19: "For what happens to the sons of men also happen to the animals, one thing befalls them, as one dies so dies the other, surely they all have one breath, man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity." Solomon is not describing the afterlife but that we all die, man is not eternal in the body. When we stop breathing we die like any other creature.
Eccl.9:5,10: "in Sheol there is no work or device or wisdom." These passages that seem to imply a dead soul are really describing the normal functions of the body while one lived on earth are not the same afterwards. When one dies these are no longer possible, it ceases. Memory of them is forgotten" is not referring to those who die but those still living will no longer think of them. Ecclesiastes should be kept in its context. Solomon was engulfed in human philosophy and he was backslidden, although there are times rays of truth break through. It was written from a human perspective and the theme of the book is said over and over when a person dies he has no more portion under the sun as in vs. 10 of Eccl.9 (used 29 times). This is an idiom of in this world, where ones functions on earth are no longer possible. These were put in the Bible for an example of how far one can go away from the truth they once knew so well. Just as Satan's lie was recorded to Eve in saying "you will not surely die" so are the words of Solomon in his backslidden state that are not a revelation concerning truth.
Gen.3:19 gives us the report of mans design. "Dust thou art and unto the dust shalt thou return." It was mans physical nature that was made from the dust not his spiritual nature. Elohim breathed into man the spirit, the spirit was not taken from the ground. It came from Elohim.
Likewise Solomon writes a similar narration. Eccl.12: 6-7 describes in poetry the shattering of life, that the dust returns to earth, and the spirit returns to Elohim who gave it. Yet, earlier, in verse 5, he writes a man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. So Solomon is speaking about those who turn to Elohim as he started off this chapter, stating remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before difficult days come. And then he speaks about our eternal home. If it is sleep in the grave, as people are claiming, then that means we are going to stay in the grave, the ground, forever, if our soul actually sleeps.
One will never read of a soul being resurrected from a physical death. Rather, bodies are resurrected from physical death (Matthew 27:52).Why? Because a soul does not literally die.
Many of these are languages of appearances related to the body only. (usually from mans view point. Showing the inability to function as we once did with the body.
'Soul-sleep' which pertains to the deceased, is defined as silence, inactivity and an entire unconsciousness. That once death occurs it affects the spirit of man just as it does the body. This would mean the spirit is only alive when it has a body. We know this is not true and is contrary to the Bible. In Yah'shua's (Jesus') story of the rich man and Lazarus he was was not giving disinformation or representing them falsely. The rich man was very much aware of his misfortune as he suffered in Hades he had his thoughts (that temporary abode of the departed spirits of the wicked). While Lazarus enjoyed the blessedness of Paradise (Luke 16:19-31) It is obvious that the rich man is conscious, as Lazarus is conscious, and Abraham is conscious, though they are all dead. All the stories Yah'shua told always illustrated truth not something false. These two have recently died and one has been long dead. Indeed, their physical bodies are asleep but not their souls. Obviously, the Hadean realm, where all departed spirits remain until the final judgment, is experienced by those dwelling there. (Now excluding Abraham's bosom: Paradise).
In Jn.11:11-14 Yah'shua says of Lazarus that he sleeps referring to his body. Yah'shua then says "I will wake him out of his sleep." He then raised his body from the dead.
In Mt.27:52 the Scripture tells us that at the time of of the resurrection "many bodies of the saints which slept arose." The specific mention of bodies makes the meaning clear of what actually slept. It was not the saints themselves that slept but their bodies.
The term "sleep" when it is used of death is in reference to the body. Whenever the Bible speaks of death in the sense of sleep it is always used of the physical body and not the soul, because the appearance of a sleeping body and a dead body look very much the same. The term "sleep" is never applied to the soul or the spirit , but only the body. The soul and the spirit continue to exist after death. whenever the Bible uses the term "sleep" in reference to death of the body. It is never used of the unbelievers in the New Testament. It is a term used only of believers which shows Yahweh's viewpoint of the death of a believer. From Yahweh's perspective the death of a believer is a temporary suspension of physical activity. For example, in physical sleep there is a temporary suspension of physical activity until one wakes up, but there is no suspension of the activity of the mind, the soul or spirit, and the sub-consciousness keeps operating (as in Lk.16:19-36 death is not a cessation of existence for either the rich man or Lazarus.)
Yah'shua's own word's teach that there is an existence of rest and reward for the faithful and certain types of punishment and torment for those who are evil. In Lk.16 the story of the rich man and Lazarus, which is not a parable. The Master would begin by saying he spoke to them in a parable, he did not use proper names as he did in this story (There was a certain man named Lazarus). However even if we were to grant this to be a parable, do we find any parable that did not tell the truth about the subject matter using illustrations for a real event? When the rich man died and was buried he spoke of being tormented in flame. It describes some type of heat that did not destroy him but made it extremely uncomfortable as he is existing in some type of form. He had his intelligence emotions and he could see, hear and speak as he asked for his family to be warned. He was still alive as he spoke, thirsted and remembered his family asking Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them so they would not end up in this PLACE of torment. (This word torment is used 5 times in the thirteen versus certainly making the point of how real it is).
So how can a spirit be able to do the same things he does in the body? Angels/Malakim (both good and bad) are spirits and they certainly can see, hear, speak. The Bible does not give us much information about man after he dies. What we do know is that communication even among those in heaven requires much like we have here on earth, so any argument refusing this capability is going against what Messiah said as a reality.
Mt. 10:28: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Also Lk.12:4-5) After he has killed the body but not the soul/spirit? How is this possible if they are the same? If the soul/spirit and the body refer to the same thing then wouldn't the soul/spirit die when the body does? Yahweh distinguishes the dual natures in man. Man's body is clearly not the same as his soul/spirit. Yah'shua himself taught in Mt. 10:28 there is a difference between the body of man and his soul/spirit by using the word both. When a person dies physically his soul lives. Yah'shua is distinguishing the material and non material and says although the body can be killed the soul/spirit cannot. "But are NOT ABLE to kill the soul/spirit." Neither is the soul/spirit the body or the body the soul/spirit, they are different components of the same person. So if the body is killed the soul/spirit is not dead, it continues in its life. So then what does he mean by "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul/spirit and body." The Greek word here is Apollumi it does not mean to bring to utter destruction or ceasing to exist. This same Greek word is used of those living in Mt.10:6 (lost), Mt.15:24 the lost); Lk.19:10 (that which is lost). So this means to be in a lost condition, in context those in Hell that are in a eternally lost state, separated from Elohim for all eternity. This also refutes any teaching of annihilationism, that we don't exist after we die. Yah'shua says we do.
Moses' appearance at the Mount of Transfiguration proved one exists after they die. Mt. 17:1-8 and Luke 9:28-36 are just a few of the passages on the transfiguration where we find Moses and Elijah appearing on the Mount with Yah'shua. Moses who died and was buried has his spirit speaking to Messiah along with Elijah who never died. Elijah was taken to heaven alive while Moses died a physical death, yet, Moses is consciously alive just like Elijah. Moses couldn't have been resurrected, because Messiah is to be the firstfruits of the resurrection and he had not risen yet. He had to die first. So this proves that Moses' spirit continued to exist after he died.
In response to those that teach the soul sleeping doctrine, the existence of angels shows that spirits can and do live and function apart from bodies. One of the reasons that people come to the conclusion that soul sleep is true is because they believe that disembodied spirits cannot function without a body. The existence of angels shows that spirit beings can and do live and exist apart from physical bodies (Hebrews 1:14). Man is both Body and Spirit.
Elohim is Spirit we are told man was created in his image and likeness. Yah'shua said we would worship the Father in Spirit and truth. We need a spiritual nature to do this, only man was created like this and has this ability. When Adam was warned of the day he ate of the tree he certainly would die. He didn't die physically but spiritually. He still existed but it meant a break, a separation in his relationship. If we read such passages as the Ezek. 18:4: "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (which is to sleep according to those who hold to the soul sleep doctrine). This means that it is spiritual death a separation- not non-existence, otherwise they would cease to exist as soon as they sin. There are many scriptures that say the soul/spirit is dead even when someone is alive. Rom. 8:10 "And if Messiah is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Ruach/Spirit is life because of righteousness." Are we really dragging a dead body around? Can we actually believe that if someone sinned their soul went to sleep or out of existence when they were alive? Were they walking around with a dead soul and an alive body. How did the soul revive?
The body "sleeps" and goes back to dust. The following verses refer to the state of the body in death as sleep: Matthew 9:24: "He began to say, "Depart; for the girl has not died, but is asleep. And they were laughing at Him."
The term sleeping is used only of believers showing a rest, a temporary cessation of physical activity. Rom. 8:23 It is the body we wait to be resurrected not our spirit or soul. Just as in 1 Cor.15 :3 15-20 speaks of Messiah as the first fruits that slept, Referring to his body vs.35-38 speaks of how the dead are raised up. What you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain
but Elohim gives it a body as he pleases and to each seed its own body. Paul goes on to explain in vs.42-54 that the natural will be transformed to a spiritual type of body ("flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven")
A promised was made to the converted dying thief by Yah'shua when he was on the cross (Lk. 23:42). "Verily I say unto you, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." Some claim this is not correct in its punctuation and the comma should be before the today as if Yah'shua is meant "today I'm saying this to you." But there are no commas found in the Greek writing to give weight to this. Besides Yah'shua is answering the thief who was asking to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. This would mean Yah'shua went into soul sleep as well. Did Yah'shua lie when he said to the thief today you will be WITH ME in paradise? For if either Yah'shua or the thief went out of existence then his statement was not true. Then the question is who was resurrected?
Then those who hold to the deity of Messiah and soul sleep at the same time have to really stretch the Scriptures. For it was Yah'shua who said in Jn.2:19 He would raise up his own body, an impossible task to do if you no longer existing after death. For the Scripture states after he died he went and proclaimed his victory to the spirits in prison who were there since the time of the flood (1Pt.3:19-20).
Yah'shua meant that very day he and the thief would be united together in paradise otherwise there is no significance to the statement if it is left to some unknown future time.
Abraham's bosom (Paradise) is no longer located in the earth as it was in the Old Testament prior to Yah'shua's ascension. We find Paul was caught up to paradise (2 Cor.12:4) the third heaven. In Scripture there are three heavens described, as in Gen.1:1 Elohim made the heavens and the Earth. Elohim is called the possessor of the heavens (plural) and the earth. 1) Acts 14:17 "Elohim gave you rain from heaven." This is our immediate atmosphere surrounding earth (Gen.1:20; Mt.5:20). 2) There is the celestial heaven, the place of the sun the moon and stars (Gen.1:14) and the place where principalities and powers are (Eph.6:12, Eph.2:2 possibly some overlapping in this with the first heaven.) 3) is called the heaven of heavens where Elohim's throne is and where He dwells (Heb.8:1). Yah'shua prayed to the Father in heaven (Mt.6:9). This is the place Paul called Paradise and where John was taken to (Rev.4:1). Lk.24:51; Acts 1:9-11, Heb.7:55-60 show us Yah'shua is in heaven, Paradise and the righteous dead are all associated with this place as well. It is the current place where believers go directly into his presence at death (Eph. 4:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:8).
We find in Eph.4 Jesus descended first into "the lower parts of the earth he then ascended on high" bringing a multitude with him (upward to be with him). So since Messiah ascended all go upward to be with HIM.
This is the Scripture that is consistently neglected by those who promote soul-sleep. As in Phil.1:23 Paul states to be with Messiah is far better and to die is gain. But I live in the flesh.
For I am hard pressed between the two having a desire to depart and be with Messiah which is far better nevertheless, to be in the flesh is more needful for you." What does Paul mean by I live in the flesh if he is not referring to the body... To die is gain. This would hardly be so, it would be a loss if one ceases to be alive. How could this be far better, is non existence better than existence? How could this be better if one does not continue to live after. And notice he says he departs to be with Messiah. This would be impossible if we go to sleep in the ground with the body, unless Yah'shua is in the ground too. When a believer dies their spirit goes to be with the "Master in heaven." In Phil. 1:23-24, Paul states that he desired to depart to be with Messiah, which is far better. Messiah is in heaven, He's not in the ground, so if this was soul-sleep, he being with Messiah, Messiah would have to be in the ground.
2 Cor. 5:1-8 V.5 Paul writes when our earthly house is destroyed (our body) we have another building that is eternal in heaven built of Elohim.V.4 while we are in this tent we groan looking to be further clothed. Examining this carefully we find Paul believed our Spirit /soul existed without the body. The very point he makes about we are in this tent, we groan to be clothed which is in heaven. There is an intermediate state before we have the resurrection where we are united with our former body that is transformed to house us permanently.
He sums it all up in verse 8 saying, "we are always confident knowing that while we are home in the body we are absent from the Master". and he goes on to say to "be absent from the body is to be present with the Master." Obviously something survives that has life after the body dies. What is absent when one dies? The soul/spirit. It becomes separated. Where is the Master? In heaven. And that is exactly where Paul said all who die in Messiah are headed. When all our earthly tent is dissolved, we can be assured that we will be in the presence of the One we serve and we love here on earth. We will be further clothed. We are immediately ushered into our new home like moving from one city to the next. in 2 Peter 1:13, Peter talks about putting off his tabernacle, or tent, calling it a temporary dwelling place. The person who is the spirit (soul -personality) leaves the body. The very meaning of death means that the believer enters immediately into Yahweh's presence. That is the clear teaching of Scripture, that upon death, the believer enters where Messiah is. So to be absent from the body is to be present with the Master, death to the righteous means to be WITH Messiah. Unfortunately there are some who are not confident. Messiah is in heaven and so all believers go by his grace to be where He is.
Stephen in Acts 7 when he was stoned states he fell asleep. Does this mean his soul became unconscious? The term sleep is used only of believers not unbelievers. As death is a temporary suspending of our physical activity on earth but not of our Spirit. V.59 Stephen looked upward and cried out, Master receive my spirit. How can he receive it if its going to sleep in the ground? The Bible says this he said truthfully, being filled with the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit. The Greek is explicit in that there is an urgency as in, receive it right now. There was no temporary stop over for Stephen. Just as Yah'shua committed his Spirit to the Father, Stephen committed his Spirit to the Son.
Heb.11 has the hall of the faithful who died Heb 12:1 tells us we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses. What kind of witnesses are these? Living ones who went before us. V.23 "to the general assembly and Assembly of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to Elohim the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect." (the word for witnesses means those who are able to testify which certainly mean living ones).
Yah'shua taught that he is the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of the living, not of the dead, referring to Moses at the burning bush. The purpose was to prove life exists beyond death, that Elohim is still (not was) the Elohim of the living. That the Saints/set-apart ones of old were still alive "for all live unto Him." This silenced the Sadducee's who challenged Him on this matter because they did not believe in an afterlife and it should do the same for those Sadducees today who say that a soul/spirit cannot live after the body dies.
Acts 23:8: "For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, no angels or spirit." In other words not in body or spirit. Yah'shua refuted their teachings saying he was the Elohim of the living not the dead. Josephus wrote in antiquities b.28:4 "The doctrine held by the Sadducees is this, that the souls/spirits die with the bodies." Exactly what 7th day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and some Messianics believe. Yah'shua refuted them by saying, "Elohim is the Elohim of the living not the dead". As Josephus wrote "They take away the belief of the immortal existence of the soul/spirit and the punishment and rewards of Hades. (War b. 8:14)
In Jn.11:25-26 Yah'shua said "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whoever liveth and Believeth in me shall NEVER die." Here is the blessed assurance that one will live forever, that one possesses a present life that will continue forever, never die.
The early believers upheld the teaching of scripture many of those who were the apologists spoke out on this issue as they did on others.
Justin Martyr 150 AD "We have been taught that only they may aim at immortality who have lived a holy and virtuous life near to Elohim. We believe that they who live wickedly and do not repent will be punished in everlasting fire" (First Apology, 21).
Second Clement 150 AD "If we do the will of Messiah, we shall obtain rest; but if not, if we neglect his commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment" (Second Clement 5:5).
Athenagoras 177 AD "[W]e [Christians] are persuaded that when we are removed from this present life we shall live another life, better than the present one ... Then we shall abide near Elohim and with Elohim, changeless and free from suffering in the soul ... or if we fall with the rest [of mankind], a worse one and in fire; for Elohim has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere incidental work, that we should perish and be annihilated" (Plea for the Christians 31).
Hippolytus 212 AD "Standing before [Messiah's] judgment, all of them, men, angels, and demons, crying out in one voice, shall say: 'Just if your judgment!' And the righteousness of that cry will be apparent in the recompense made to each. To those who have done well, everlasting enjoyment shall be given; while to the lovers of evil shall be given eternal punishment. The unquenchable and unending fire awaits these latter, and a certain fiery worm which does not die and which does not waste the body but continually bursts forth from the body with unceasing pain. No sleep will give them rest; no night will soothe them; no death will deliver them from punishment; no appeal of interceding friends will profit them" (Against the Greeks 3).
To the martyr's that died they had immediate glory in Elohim's presence in heaven. To teach otherwise is to go against the whole body of scripture and almost 1500 years of teaching (until of course the reformation where purgatory was ratified). Did they all die with a false teaching of being in heaven?
In the catacombs of Rome are found inscriptions on tombs such as "In Messiah, Alexander is not dead, but lives-his body rests in the tomb." "Gone to dwell with Messiah." "One who is lives with Elohim." I cannot find any instance of soul sleep among the writers (both good or bad) in the first three centuries of the messianic community.)
In agreement Heb. 9:27 states after death, the judgment. In other words the judgment is that one goes either to heaven or to hell, and it is determined at death, not afterwards in a resurrection. So we go to rest and fellowship with the Master, eventually to receive our rewards or to punishment and eternal separation, not to sleep.
In Mt.27:52 The scripture writes that at the time of the resurrection of Yah'shua many Bodies of the saints which slept arose. Notice what slept, the bodies. And the bodies arose, not their souls/spirits. The spirit that continues to exists is put back in the body animating it to life. As Paul states in his teaching on the resurrection of the body (1 Cor.15:15-20) Messiah is the firstfruits of those that slept.
1 Thess. 4:14-18 "For if we believe that Yah'shua died and rose again, even so Elohim will bring with Him those who sleep in Yah'shua." Whether one believes this is the 2nd coming or the rapture (I do not believe in the rapture), the point is made that there are those who come with Yah'shua to be united with their bodies. Since the dead rise first and those who are alive don't receive a resurrection but a transformation. Vs.15 "For this we say to you by the word of the Master, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Master will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Elohim. And the dead in Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Master." Where is Yah'shua coming from? Heaven. If Yah'shua is bringing some people with him and they don't have resurrected bodies yet, doesn't this mean they are immaterial spirit?. What dead are rising? Certainly this are not those who are alive and remain. The dead are those who bodies are put to sleep. This is exactly what Paul explains in 1 Cor.15:52-54 "the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed"(those who are still alive) previously Paul explains the body in vs.35-49 vs.42 "so is the resurrection of the dead. The BODY is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption." So resurrection refers to the human body not the soul or spirit, it is the body that sleeps and will be resurrected. As we have seen our hope is to be immediately with the Master, not wait for some undetermined future time.
In conclusion it is the doctrine of soul sleep that needs to be put to death and out of existence.