1. By what figure does the Bible represent
"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 Thess. 4:13. See also 1 Cor. 15:18,20; John 11:11-14.
NOTE.-In sound sleep one is wholly lost to consciousness; time goes
unmeasured; and the mental functions which are active during
consciousness are suspended for the time being.
2. Where do the dead sleep?
"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
Dan. 12:2. See also Eccl. 3:20; 9:10.
3. How long will they sleep there?
"So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no
shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." Job 14:12.
4. For what did Job say he would wait after death?
"If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time
will I wait, till my change come." Verse 14.
5. Where did he say he would wait?
"If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in
darkness." Job 17:13.
6. While in this condition, how much does one know about those he has
"His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they
are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them." Job 14:21.
becomes of man's thoughts at death?
"His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that
very day his thoughts perish." Ps. 146:4.
8. Do the dead know anything?
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know
not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of
them is forgotten." Eccl. 9:5.
9. Do they take any part in earthly things?
"Also their love, and their hatred, and their
envy, is now perished;
neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done
under the sun." Verse 6.
NOTE.-If one continued in consciousness after death, he would know
of the promotion or dishonor of his sons. But Job says he does not know
this. Not only so, but in death one loses all the attributes of mind,-
love, hatred, envy, etc. Thus it is plain that his thoughts have perished, and that he can have nothing more to do with the things of this
world. But if, as taught and held by some, man's powers of thought
continue after death, he lives; and if he lives, he must be somewhere.
Where is he? Is he in heaven, or in hell? If he goes to either place at
death, what then is the need of a future judgment, or of a resurrection,
or of the second coming of Christ? If the judgment does not take place
at death, but men go to their reward at death, then their rewards
precede their awards, and there would arise the possibility that some
have at death gone to the wrong place, and must needs be sent to the
other, after having been in bliss or torment for ages, perhaps.
10. What does the psalmist say about the dead praising God?
"The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence."
11. How much does one know of God when dead?
"For in death there is no
remembrance of Thee." Ps. 6:5.
NOTE.-There is not even a remembrance
of God. As already seen,
the Bible everywhere represents the dead as asleep. If they were in
heaven or in hell, would it be fitting to represent them thus? Was
Lazarus, whom Jesus loved, in heaven when the Saviour said, "Our friend
Lazarus sleepeth"? John 11:11. If so, calling him to life was
really robbing him of the bliss of heaven that rightly belonged to him.
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus, recorded in Luke 16, was given
to teach, not consciousness in death, but that in the judgment riches
will avail nothing unless rightly and beneficently used, and that
poverty will not keep one out of heaven.
12. But are not the righteous dead in
"For David is not ascended into the heavens." Acts 2:34.
13. What must
take place before the dead can praise God?
"Thy dead men shall live,
together with My dead body shall
they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the
dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Isa. 26:19.
14. When did David say he would be satisfied?
"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." Ps. 17:15.
15. Were there to be no resurrection of the dead, what would be the
condition of those fallen asleep in Christ?
"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be
not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also
which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." 1 Cor. 15:16-18.
16. When is the resurrection of the righteous to take place?
"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." 1 Thess. 4:16.
NOTES.-If, as stated in Eccl. 9:5, the dead
know not anything, then
they have no knowledge of the lapse of time. "Six thousand years in the
grave to a dead man is no more than a wink of the eye to the living." To
them, consciousness, our only means of measuring time, is gone; and it
will seem to them when they awake that absolutely no time has elapsed.
And herein lies a most comforting thought in the Bible doctrine of the
sleep of the dead, that in death there is no consciousness of the
passing of time. To those who sleep in Jesus, their sleep, whether long
or short, whether one year, one thousand years or six thousand years,
will be but as if the moment of sad parting were followed instantly by
the glad reunion in the presence of Jesus at His glorious appearing and
the resurrection of the just.
It ought also to be a comforting thought to those whose lives have been
filled with anxiety and grief for deceased loved ones who persisted in
sin, to know that they are not now suffering in torments, but, with all
the rest of the dead are quietly sleeping in their graves. Job 3:17.
Again, it would mar the felicity of one's enjoyment in heaven could he
look upon earth and see his friends and relatives suffering from persecution, want, cold, or hunger, or
sorrowing for the dead. God's way is
best,-that all sentient life, animation, activity, thought, and
consciousness should cease at death, and that all should wait till the
resurrection for their future life and eternal reward. See Heb. 11:31,40.
SLEEP on, beloved! sleep, and take thy rest;
Lay down thy head upon thy Saviour's breast.
We love thee well, but
Jesus loves thee best-
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