Do our spirits sleep in the grave until the resurrection?
Does the Bible teach soul sleep as many people believe based on a few passages which seem to indicate this. Actually Jesus used the term "sleeping" to describe only the body of a person who has died, such as Lazarus, and also the little 12-year-old girl He raised.
Think of what He said when Elijah and Moses appeared with Him on the Mt. of transfiguration. God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Mark 12:27). Clearly they were not sleeping. And Paul wrote that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). This illustrates that we are spirit-soul beings and only our flesh is mortal. (I Thess 5:23).
Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;"
Comments by Andrew Wommack on LUKE 16:19-31 follow:
Jesusclearly teaches that there is life after death. It shows that there is no "soul sleep" where our souls are awaiting the resurrection of our bodies, but we go into a conscious eternity immediately. It also shows that there are only two destinations possible after death. We either go to a place of torment for the wicked or a place of blessing for the righteous. There is no "limbo" or "purgatory" and there is no second chance, illustrating the finality of our eternal destiny once we die.
Abraham's bosom is a symbolic term designating a place of comfort for the righteous dead. It was located in the heart of the earth, in the same region as hell, where the ungodly dead go. The rich man's body was in the grave and yet this scripture speaks of him lifting up his eyes and seeing Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. Our soul mirrors our physical shape so closely that it is recognizable. It is probable that one's soulish body is an exact duplicate of their physical body.
Part of this man's torment was from the flames. However, he was also tormented by the thought of his loved ones' lives on earth and their eternal destiny. Surely his helplessness to warn them would make his misery worse.
Also, the fact that he could see Lazarus and Abraham in a place of total blessing and comfort would keep him from ever adjusting to his situation.
In the light of Jesus' words, we can see that hell will be much more than just a place of physical torment. Those who are consigned to that place will also be tormented with the thoughts of what could have been if they had trusted Jesus. The greatest witness that anyone could ever receive is the witness from God's Word. The gospel is the "power of God unto salvation".
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