- Published: 17 April 2011
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There is no truth in the teaching of "Soul Sleep" ... Absent from the body, instantly present with the Lord !
God Bless your beautiful heart and thank you for your concern. We know this is a very hard subject for many Christians because of what they have been taught or failed to be taught concerning Heaven and Hell and 2 Cor. 5:6,8. We offer the following to help clarify the matter:
2 Cor. 5:6, 8, "to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord", was the inspired desire of the Apostle, which could be realized only in resurrection. Resurrection (and not death) is the subject of the whole context. These words are generally misquoted "Absent from the body, present with the Lord", as though it said that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. But no such sentence can be found. No less than nine words are deliberately omitted from the context when the quotation is thus popularly made. The omission of these words creates quite a new sense, and puts the verse out of all harmony with the context; the object of which is to show that we cannot be "present with the Lord" except by being clothed upon with our Resurrection body our "house which is from heaven".
We might with equal justice quote the words "hang all the law and the prophets", and leave out "on these two commandments" (Matt. 22:40); or say "there is no God" and leave out "The fool hath said in his heart" (Psalm 53:l), or say "Ye shall not drink wine", and leave out "Ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but (ye shall not drink wine) of them" (Amos. 5:l1); or talk about "the restitution of all things" and leave out "which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets" (Acts 3:21).
All these partial quotations are correct so far as the Text is concerned, but what about the Context? The context is, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (v. 8).
By omitting the words printed in italics the sense is entirely changed. Being "at home in the body" in both verses is explained, in verse 3 as being in "this tabernacle", which, in v. 1, is called "our earthly house of this tabernacle"; and being "present (or at home with) the Lord" is explained in verse 2 as being "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven". The Apostle distinctly says, on the one hand, that he did not wish to die (v. 4, "not that we would be unclothed"); and on the other hand, he was not merely "willing rather" but "earnestly desiring to be clothed upon" (v. 2). It is true that some years later he did say "to die is gain"; but as we have seen above, the circumstances were very different, for he was then in prison.
This brings us to the expression of Paul's desire in Phil. 1:23. The desire of the Apostle was not "to depart" himself, by dying; but his desire was for the return of Christ; the verb rendered "depart" being used elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 12:36, where it is rendered "return": "when he shall RETURN from the wedding". May we not fairly ask, Why are we not to translate it in the same way in Phil. 1:23?
The preposition (ana) again, when compounded with the verb (luo) to loosen, means to loosen back again to the place from whence the original departure was made, not to set out to a new place; hence, (analuo) means to loosen back again or to return, and it is so rendered in the only other place where it occurs in the New Testament, Luke 12:36: "when he shall RETURN from the wedding". It does NOT mean to depart, in the sense of setting off from the place where one is, but to return to the place that one has left. The noun (analusis) occurs in 2 Tim. 4:6, and has the same meaning, returning or dissolution, i.e. the body returning to dust as it was, and the spirit returning to God Who gave it. The verb does not occur in the Greek translation of the Canonical books of the Old Testament, but it does occur in the Apocryphal books which, though of no authority in the establishment of doctrine, are invaluable, as to the use and meaning of words. In these books this word always means to return, and is generally so translated.
But there is another fact with regard to Phil. 1:23. The English verb depart occurs 130 times in the New Testament; and is used as the rendering of 22 different Greek words. But this one verb (analuo) occurs only twice, and is rendered depart only once; the other occurrence being rendered return, and used by the Lord Himself of His own return from heaven. We must also further note that it is not the simple infinitive of the verb to return. It is a combination of three words: the preposition (eis) unto, and the definite article (to) the, with the aorist inference (analusai), to return; so that the verb must be translated as a noun -- "having a strong desire unto THE RETURN"; i.e. of Christ, as in Luke 12:36. These words must be interpreted by the context, and from this it is clear that the Apostle's whole argument is that the Gospel might be furthered (v. 12); and that Christ might be magnified (v. 20). To this end he cared not whether he lived or died; for, he says, "to me, living (is) Christ, and dying (would be) gain. But if living in the flesh (would be Christ), this (dying) for me, (would be) the fruit of (my) labour. Yet, what I shall choose I wot not, for I am being PRESSED OUT OF these two [i.e. living or dying (vv. 20, 21), by a third thing (v. 23), viz.], having a strong desire unto The RETURN (i.e. of Christ), and to be with Christ, which is a far, far better thing". (The word (ek) occurs 857 times, and is never once translated "betwixt" except in this place. It is translated "out of" 165 times).
Paul's imprisonment had made many brethren "more abundantly bold" (v. 12 R.V.) to preach the gospel. His death might produce still more abundant fruit of his labor; for these brethren were the fruit of his labor (v. 11; 4:17. Romans 1:13). Christ would thus be magnified in his body whether Paul lived or died. That was why he did not know what to choose of these three things: Living would be good; for he could himself preach Christ. Dying might be even better, and further the preaching of Christ more abundantly, judging by the result of his imprisonment. But there was a third thing, which was far, far better than either; and that was the return of Christ, which he so earnestly desired.
It is for the Traditionalists to show how they deal with these facts. It is not sufficient to say they do not believe in this our understanding of these passages: they must show how they dispose of our evidence, and must produce their own in support of their own conclusions. Here we have four passages which seem to be opposed to those we have quoted from the Old Testament. Both cannot be true. We must either explain away the Old Testament passages, or we must see whether these four passages admit of other renderings, which remove their apparent opposition. We have suggested these other renderings, based on ample evidence; which, not only deprive them of such opposition, but show that their teaching is in exact accordance with those other passages.
Please read the research paper that is free to download that deals completely with this subject. Please download this free eBook and then just click to open and read on screen, it can also be printed. The address to download the teaching is Lazarus.exe the file is about 2MB and only runs on Windows. We would like any feedback as to how we could improve the teaching or any Scriptures we did not handle and you think should be included. So far no one, individual or institution has found fault in our research.
GONE TO HELL
- Few people realize that everyone who has been laid to rest in the cemetery, whether good, bad, great or small, have all gone to hell. For contrary to popular opinion, the biblical concept of hell is not a place of conscious torment, but is gravedom, the state of death. And those who have departed this life have no consciousness of anything. They are not experiencing soul sleep. They are dead, and live only in the memory of God.
- A favorite portion of Scripture used by fundamentalist believers today in support of the immortal soul theory is found in 2 Corinthians 5. And the favorite off quoted phrase taken out of context is absent from the body, present with the Lord. The thinking in support of this interpretation is based on the belief that man possesses a soul, a separate spirit entity residing within the body. From this chapter also they can base the argument that man's mortality is restricted to the physical body, and does not include his so-called immortal soul. When the believer's mortal body is dissolved in death, then complete immortality is achieved when the immortal soul is joined in union with an immortal body that God will provide in heaven. But one lie leads to the necessity of another lie to support the first lie. So theologians invented the intermediate state teaching. Since the soul departs from the body at death, it needs to be clothed upon with a temporary body of some kind so it can have a conscious function. Therefore they teach that the soul that departs to be with Christ in heaven receives a temporary body to reside in until the resurrection day which takes place at the second coming of Christ. We do not wish to intimate that those who teach such things deliberately try to deceive people. No doubt it is taught in blind ignorance. Just think of the spiritual blindness it inflicts on millions of believers! And the glory of Christ and the truth of His resurrection power suffer the most!
- Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).
- For that which befalleth the sons of men be-falleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they all have one breath (spirit); so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again (Ecclesiastes 3:19,20).
- Not only do all men go to the same place when they die, but the beasts also go there. There is no way to avoid this place. No difference how good a man or a beast may be, or how bad, they all go to the same place at death.
- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave (hell), whither thou goest (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
- If any man has a desire to escape from this place where all go, he will have to get busy and make his plans now in this life, for there will be no such opportunity after death. The place where men and beasts go at death is named here. There is no doubt about it. In the Hebrew it is sheol and is translated by grave, hell, pit, and other words. But it is always the same place.
- My flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption (Psalms 16:9,10).
- This is speaking of Christ prophetically. He who took upon Himself the sin of the world, died and went to the same place all of us and also the beasts go at death. And He is the only one who has ever come out of that place never to go back again. He is the firstfruits of them that slept. Firstfruits indicate a harvest that will follow.
- As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness (Psalms 17:15).
- Every believer should solemnly repeat these words. Coming out of the grave or hell in the resurrection is an awakening from a sleep. This figure is used over and over.
- So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 0 that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and 1 will answer Thee (Job 14:12-15).
- Job realizes that death is a lying down. Being a Gentile, he hoped for a resurrection for the new earth or paradise. He prayed to be hidden in hell or the grave till God's wrath was over. But he wanted God to set a time for his awakening and remember him. Job did not believe in the heathen concept of the soul, that it lived on and on. But the real question is whether a man will live again after death, not keep on living. Job expects a change some day, just as did Paul. And Job expects to answer when the Great Shepherd calls at the great resurrection morning.
- How different this Bible truth is from the superstitions of the heathen! They say that there are 2 places the dead go to, not one. And they say that there is consciousness in Sheol, the grave, or hell. They believe all this because they have no knowledge of salvation or resurrection.
- So God says that not only do all people go to the same place when they die, but also the beast goes to the same place. Now if you would take your concordance and look up Sheol, grave, dust and hades, you will be surprised to find them so closely related. For truth, go to the Word of God.
- The heathen is much exercised as to how to keep from going to Sheol or hell. The Christian knows that he is going there, but is prepared to escape from it, i.e., by resurrection.
- The heathen have the concept that man is immortal and will live on and on forever. So he has surmised that man has an endless future of either happiness or misery. But those who know God and His Word know that man is a soul and that souls die. They also know that as for the future, they either have life or they perish (John 3:16). That is, they either live or they do not live, they stay dead or they are resurrected. God has made the terms by which they can live.
- The first occurence of hell or Sheol in the Bible is Genesis 37:35. Jacob expected to go there when he died. Job prayed that he might be hidden in that place till God's wrath was past (Job 14:13). And our Lord was there 3 days and 3 nights.
- Almost 3500 years ago Moses wrote the truth about the hope of resurrection. He made it plain that man lived (again) by believing God (Deuteronomy 8:3). This is still God's truth. It has not changed.
- It is wise to look into this subject very carefully, for the Christian should have it clear about the difference in his hope and that of the heathen around him. And he must not believe that Plato was one of the church fathers and had the truth.
- The abode of the dead in the Hebrews is known as SHEOL, translated hell, grave and pit. This is the common abode, of beth man and beast. But let us see. Here are a few passages;
- Genesis 37:35. Jacob speaking. I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. He supposed Joseph to be dead and in hell. See 42:38.
- Job 14:13. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave (hell). Read the context, vs 12-15.
- Job 18:5-18. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine... No survival of the wicked.
- Job 20:4-9. In this you find that the wicked he shall perish forever like his own dung. See perish in John 3:16.
- Job 21:17-21. Note that a candle is put out, they are as stubble. His eyes shall see his destruction. This is the fate of the wicked.
- Psalms 1:4-6. The ungodly shall not stand (rise) in the judgment. Nowhere can one find a judgment for unbelievers after death. They do not rise.
- Psalms 2:9-12. This is a millennial scene. Even then the wicked will perish.
- Psalms 9:5. Thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
- Psalms 11:6. Upon the wicked shall He rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
- Psalms 34:16. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
- Psalms 34:21. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
- Psalms 35:8. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
- Psalms 37:10. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be.
- Psalms 37:20. But the wicked shall perish.
- Psalms 37:35-38. I have seen the wicked in great power...yet he passed away, and, le, he was not...but the transgressors shall be destroyed together.
- Psalms 49:12,20. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
- Psalms 92:7,9. When the wicked spring up as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish: it is that they shall be destroyed for ever... For, Lo, Thine enemies shall perish.
- Psalms 112:9,10. The desire (hope) of the wicked shall perish.
- Proverbs 10:2430. But the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. Read the whole passage.
- Proverbs 13:13,14. Whose despiseth the word shall be destroyed...The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
- Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man...the end thereof the ways of death.
- Proverbs 15:24. The way of life is above (upward) to the wise., that he may depart from hell (the grave) beneath. He will have a resurrection. The ungodly never depart from hell.
- Proverbs 21:16. The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. In other words, the gates of hell shall prevail against him. There is no way he can rise from the dead, so he remains in the congregation (church) of the dead. No life; no resurrection.
- Ezekiel 18:4: Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Adam was made of the dust of the ground. When he began to breathe, he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). And when Adam died, he returned back to the dust from which he was made. And so it is with the sons of Adam. Note in verse 9 that he that lives righteously shall live (in resurrection). And also it must be understood that a man can live morally upright, and still not be righteous.
- Ezekiel 18:32. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. There is more implied here than just a physical death, as of a beast, but God is not pleased with the death of those who will not live again. And so exhorts men to change their ways. See verses 29-31 preceding.
- Ezekiel 18:27. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. The judges will not execute him for his sins here and now. And also there is promise of a future life upon his repentance of his evil ways.
- Malachi 4:1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. This day is still future, as far as we can see now.
- Much of the foregoing is rather gloomy. But there is a brighter side, a hope for those who will listen and believe.
- John 3:3. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Man is singular and referring to Nicodemus personally.
- John 3:7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Ye is plural, and referring to Israel of whom Nicodemus was a ruler, member of the Sanhedrin.
- John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten (resurrected, as in Ps 2:7) Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And perish means perish, not something else.
- John 3:36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life. No resurrection. Finished.=20
God Bless you,