Do Our Souls Sleep Until Christ’s Return?

apr04This month, I’d like to move on to the subject of the resurrection. It’s the most important factor in our lives and our eternal destination. But I first want to clear up the matter of what happens before we believers rise from the dead.

I read a blog post recently which claimed that Christians don’t go to heaven when they die. This sounds like the doctrine of soul sleep to me.

One scripture passage which the post claimed to prove soul sleep is 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (KJV). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

It’s obvious from the passage that this is speaking of resurrection at the last day. Even so, some people think that the word “sleep” in the previous verses means that the souls of Christians remain in the ground.

But what about John 11:11 to 14? The King James Version renders the words of Christ this way. “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.'”
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And what of Revelation 6:9 to 11? The Bible in Basic English reads, “And when the fifth stamp was undone, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for the word of God, and for the witness which they kept. And they gave a great cry, saying, ‘How long will it be, O Ruler, holy and true, before you take your place as judge and give punishment for our blood to those on the earth?’ And there was given to every one a white robe, and they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been.”

Any clear-thinking person can understand from the contexts of those verses that sleep is a euphemism for death. It’s also obvious that the souls of departed believers are in the presence of God. As Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV), “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” He never said he or we would rest in the ground.
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Because I was grossly misled by wicked phoney’s, claiming to be advanced teachers of spiritual revelation, I wrote How I Was Razed. This glorious testimony shows how the Lord led me out of a toxic church and into his awesome truth.

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Should We Celebrate Spiritual Birthdays?

aug2John MacArthur spoke on Grace to You recently regarding the proofs of salvation. In one sermon, he asked the congregation to raise their hands if they could remember the exact time and date when they gave control of their lives over to Christ.

John pointed out that this isn’t a guarantee that a person is saved. It merely tells people that you committed yourself at a certain stage in your life to the lordship of Jesus and that you follow him.

But what of those folks who don’t remember the transition from believing about God and believing, a.k.a. trusting, in Christ? Are these people not Christians because they can’t pinpoint their exact time of conversion?
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Look at what Christ himself had to say about the matter. During his Sermon on the Mount, he said in Matthew 7:16 (KJV) “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Jesus spoke of those who seemed like believers in the Father outwardly but were unchanged inwardly.

As Christ concluded in Matthew 7:20, (KJV) “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” This means that their lifestyles will reveal which sort of persons they are. If people have a genuine desire to obey God and crave more knowledge about him from the Bible, that indicates their salvation is genuine. If, on the other hand, those people live the same way they did before, it’s certain that their profession of faith wasn’t from the heart.

So it is today that our lives reveal if we really were changed by our commitment to Christ or not.
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Yesterday was the forty-sixth anniversary of my surrender to the Lord. I can see by what I wrote in my How I Was Razed memoir that I truly was changed. Even in the face of taunting from schoolmates regarding my love for Jesus, I still stayed true to him. Check out my wonderful testimony at Amazon.