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Author Topic: What is soul sleep?  (Read 3890 times)

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What is soul sleep?
« on: May 24, 2014, 07:20:31 PM »

Soul sleep is the teaching that when a person dies, his soul "sleeps" or the denial of man's conscious existence between when he dies and the resurrection day. It's what is called the intermediate state of the believer, in which both the body and the soul lay rest in the ground and the phrase 'soul sleep' appears to have been popularized by John Calvin. In this condition, the person is not aware or conscious and Seventh-day Adventists hold to this doctrine. When we look at the belief of soul-sleep we find this view has been held throughout church history.

The early church held to this at the time of the apostles as it was the original Christian teaching and later theological arguments based on this belief were also used to contest the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory and masses for the dead. The Ana-Baptists believed in this in the 1500's. Martin Luther has many quotes that point to his belief in it and was among one of the more notable advocates of conditional immortality. On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his famous Theses on the church door in Wittenberg. In his 1520 published Defence of 41 of his propositions, Luther cited the pope's immortality declaration, as among "those monstrous opinions to be found in the Roman dunghill of decretals" (proposition 27). In the twenty-seventh proposition of his Defence Luther said: " However, I permit the Pope to establish articles of faith for himself and for his own faithful—such are: That the bread and wine are transubstantiated in the sacrament; that the essence of God neither generates nor is generated; that the soul is the substantial form of the human body that he [the pope] is emperor of the world and king of heaven, and earthly god; that the soul is immortal; and all these endless monstrosities in the Roman dunghill of decretals—in order that such as his faith is, such may be his gospel, such also his faithful, and such his church, and that the lips may have suitable lettuce and the lid may be worthy of the dish.—Martin Luther, Assertio Omnium Articulorum M. Lutheri per Bullam Leonis X. Novissimam Damnatorum (Assertion of all the articles of M. Luther condemned by the latest Bull of Leo X), article 27, Weimar edition of Luther's Works, vol. 7, pp. 131, 132 (a point-by-point exposition of his position, written Dec. 1, 1520, in response to requests for a fuller treatment than that given in his Adversus execrabilem Antichristi Bullam, and Wider die Bulle des Endchrists).

Archdeacon Francis Blackburne states in his Short Historical View of the Controversy Concerning an Intermediate State, of 1765: "Luther espoused the doctrine of the sleep of the soul, upon a Scripture foundation, and then he made use of it as a confutation of purgatory and saint worship, and continued in that belief to the last moment of his life.—Page 14.

King Edward VI stated in his fortieth article out of forty-two, that "The souls that do depart hence do sleep, being without all sense, feeling, or perceiving until the day of judgment, do utterly decent from the right that is closed to us in Holy Scriptures." Christadelphian's also believe in soul sleep and hold to conditional immortality, as do the Seventh Day Adventists. which is the belief the Bible teaches that the gift of immortality is attached to (conditional upon) belief in Jesus Christ. This doctrine is based in part upon another theological belief from scripture, that if the human soul is naturally mortal, immortality ("eternal life") is therefore granted by God as a gift. In contrast he idea of the immortality of the soul (that is, within humans is an immaterial aspect not subject to death, dissolution, or decay) is not biblical; rather, it comes from Hellenistic philosophy originating with Plato. Seventh-day Adventists believe that scripture shows the soul is simply inert and resides in the memory of God waiting for resurrection when Christ returns at the Second Coming.

We begin with how the word is used in the Bible:

In Jer 31:26 After this I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was sweet to me. Also in Daniel 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
The word used here is shenah corresponding to 8142, now compare:

Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.

The word for sleep here is not the same as one sleeping in everyday use. yashen ( from 3462; sleepy: KJV-- asleep, (one out of) sleep slept.

What does sleep mean in this context? The Bible uses this term when speaking of death. The primary verses we find showing the dead have no thoughts or consciousness are:
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, "For the living know they shall die: but the dead know not any thing," and Ecclesiastes 12:7, "then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." Also Psalm 146:4, "His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish". Or Psalm 115:17, "The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence" or Psalm 6:5 "For in death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave who shall give Thee thanks? And of course, there is Ezek. 18:4, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

But in the Old Testament we also find:

Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?"

1 Samuel 3:3 Samuel was laid down to SLEEP;

1 Samuel 28:3 Now SAMUEL was DEAD, and all Israel had lamented him, and BURIED HIM in RAMAH,

Psalm 104:29
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

In the book of Job it is stated: "But man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he?... So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep... If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:10,12,14a NKJV)

and also what is happening when we are dead:

Deuteronomy 31:16 - And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

2 Samuel 7:12 - And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

Job 7:21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

1 Kings 1:21 - Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

Job 7:21 - And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

Psalms 13:3 - Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Psalms 30:9 "What will you gain from my death? What profit from my going to the grave? Are dead people able to praise you? Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?

Psalms 76:6 - At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.

Isaiah 57:2 Those who live good lives find peace and rest in death.

Jeremiah 51:39 - In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 51:57 - And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

Daniel 12:2 - And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

In the New Testament we see
Matthew 9:24 - He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

Matthew 27:52-53 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Mark 5:39 - And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

Luke 8:52 - And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

John 11:11-14 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

Act 2:31-32 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Act 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

Acts 7:59 -60 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 13:36 - For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

Ephesians 5:14 - Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:51 - Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Thessalonians 4:13 - But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 - For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 - For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

2 Peter 3:4 - And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

And when we will come out of the grave.

John 11:24
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Acts 4:2
Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

And what Christ himself tells us will happen to those who have died, the resurrection of the just, and the resurrection of damnation for the wicked.

Luke 14:14
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

John 5:29
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

These text clearly show the soul does not continue on after death or the dead float in spirit bodies and dwell Gods presence. The focus in this belief for Seventh-day Adventists is on resurrection at the Second Coming— to eternal life for the believer and to destruction for the unbeliever. Whatever immortality the believer may enjoy in the future is the result of the redemption provided in Jesus (Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:53,54; 2 Timothy 1:10). The resurrection of the wicked dead will result in the righteous saints judging them and God consigning them to destruction. Support for this if found in Jesus warning His hearers to fear “the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

The soul, is not immortal so hell means the destruction of the wicked, annihilation at the Lake of Fire.
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