Soul Sleep -- Is there such a thing?
"Soul sleep" is not a Scriptural expression.
The idea is based on the assumption that when a person dies, then their spirit falls asleep and knows nothing until the day of the resurrection.
But sleep is not a property of the spiritual higher dimensions. The body needs sleep, not the spirit.
Sick people are encouraged to sleep so that their subconscious spirit can repair their bodies and fight disease.
Jacob fell asleep and dreamed of a ladder up to Heaven.
Genesis 28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.The body is under control of the conscious mind, which we can control, as well as being under control of the subconscious mind which we cannot control. The conscious mind switches off when we sleep. But Jacob’s subconscious mind was still active and could see a dream. In addition, his memory was still functioning as he could recall the dream when he awoke.
Over the years people have found it wise to sleep on an issue before making a decision. This allows the subconscious mind to process the data and come up with an alternative solution, if necessary. How many times do we try to recall a name and then after a night or two of sleeping, the name pops up from our subconscious mind into our conscious mind. During sleep the subconscious mind operates freely without the interference of our conscious thoughts.
Nightmares tend to happen when people are too worried about something so that their conscious mind does not completely get out of the way when falling asleep, and thus it clashes with the subconscious mind that takes over during sleep.
Psalm 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
God never sleeps. God is a Spirit. So sleep is not something that happens in the higher spiritual dimensions.
We live in a three dimensional universe of space which we can see, and which is somehow enclosed in the higher fourth dimension of time that cannot be seen.
The highest spiritual dimension is Heaven which is outside the fourth dimension of time, and is thus not affected by time. Nothing in Heaven grows old and dies.
There is also a spiritual dimension of good and evil where demons dwell, and where the spirits of lost souls go to when people die. This is called hell or the regions of the lost. This whole sinful dimension will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end. Being bound up in time, these spiritual regions of the lost are also part of the invisible fourth dimension.
Spirits do not die.
Death is the separation of the spirit from the body.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The body goes into the grave and knows nothing.
Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
The life or spirit of a dead animal is poured out into the dust. The life or spirit of a human has to ascend up to God to answer for the soul that is wrapped up in the human life or spirit.
1 Samuel 25:29 : but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life.
The first death is the separation of the spirit (which contains the human soul) from the body. Then the unsaved spirit goes to the regions of the lost and awaits the day of Judgement. The saved spirit enters Heaven.
The second death is the lake of fire. When the unsaved person’s torment ends after paying for their sins and unbelief, then their soul is separated from their spirit and they simply cease to exist.
Jesus preached a parable of what happens to the unsaved after death.
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;
:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.Hell is the regions of the lost, which is a higher spiritual dimension. Here the lost souls await the day of Judgement. Flame (singular) is not a description of a fire. A fire burns with many flames. The singular flame represents the mental or spiritual torments of a person's thoughts when they realize how stupid they have been to focus on the material benefits of this world. Then they die and they realize they have nothing. They have basically thrown away their lives. All that lies ahead of them is judgement and punishment in the lake of fire. The realization that they have thrown everything away will be an intense mental torment.
Lazarus, the beggar, was with Abraham. Abraham was wide awake in the Old Testament Paradise and could talk to the rich man, even though he had died about 1 800 years previously.
What is worse for the unsaved people after death, is that the believers who they scorned and mocked are now living in comfort in Paradise. The rich man was not asleep (so-called "soul sleep") as he was in deep torment. He could think and beg for help. But there was none to help him. The demons who occupied hell as his companions would only torment him further. They had stopped him from believing, and now they tormented him as a fool for listening to them. There was no escape for him. A spirit on its own does not sleep. It is filled with dread about the inevitable future and regret about the heavenly life that it rejected.
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The unsaved spirits have no rest, day nor night. There is no sleep for them whereby they can escape their torment and pain.
When you fall asleep your subconscious mind still controls your heart beat and still makes your blood circulate by means of contracting muscular rings around your veins that squeeze the blood back into your heart. Your lungs continue to breathe. The cells in your body continue to burn up food so as to generate warmth and energy. Your kidneys and liver continue to purify your blood. If you are sick then your body’s defense mechanisms destroy the invading germs or viruses. That is why the brain makes sick people feel tired and sleepy. When asleep more energy can be used to combat the illness.
So the subconscious human spirit, that we are not aware of as it operates at a level that is above what our conscious mind can grasp, is very busy while our conscious mind is asleep.
Look what scientists say about sleep.
"Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep, REMS) is a unique phase of sleep in mammals and birds, distinguishable by random, rapid movement of the eyes".
"Brain energy use in REM sleep, as measured by oxygen and glucose metabolism, equals or exceeds energy use in waking".
In other words, it takes as much energy to sleep as it does to be awake. So only our conscious mind switches off in sleep. The subconscious mind or spirit that rules our metabolism has to work 24 hours a day.
"Four brain areas involved in sophisticated mental activity, show equal activity in REM sleep as in wakefulness".
Our ability for deep thinking never switches off. This part of the mind searches our memory banks for forgotten information. It also thinks about our common problems which is why we often wake up with a new insight into a problem that we have been struggling with.
"The rapid eye movement is only a side effect of the brain processing the eye-related procedural memory".
Procedural memory is when the brain memorizes the steps in a process like tying a shoelace or driving a car or riding a bicycle, so that when we are awake we can do those things without consciously having to think about them. Thus when you sleep, your subconscious mind keeps revising the steps of all the procedures that you have learned to do automatically. Thus we are not likely to forget these processes thanks to our nightly revision of them.
Sleep is an essential recovery period where our subconscious spirit, that we have no control over, enables the body to be refreshed with new energy.
A baby spends most of its first year being fast asleep as it virtually doubles its size in that first year. This incredible act which is never repeated in any other year of its life requires so much attention of its subconscious mind that it cannot afford to also control long spells of its conscious mind while being awake.
So being asleep is not a time of the baby doing nothing, it is a time of incredible unseen activity of the human spirit.
Jesus came to raise a young lady from the dead. He referred to death as a sleep. Why?
Matthew 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Sleep is a state from which the physical body can be awakened. The physical body and conscious mind have no awareness of their immediate surroundings during sleep. But the human spirit can contact Heaven by means of dreams and visions in the subconscious mind while we are asleep.
The subconscious spirit is never asleep. The heart beats. Blood flows. Lungs breathe. Liver and kidneys purify blood etc.
So it is with death. The body in the grave has no awareness of what is going on. But at the resurrection, the body will be awakened and brought back to life. Meanwhile the dead person’s human spirit which is in heaven (if saved) or in hell (if unsaved) is well aware of what is happening to it in the higher spiritual dimensions.
On the mount of Transfiguration Jesus called up the spirits of Moses (who had died) and Elijah (who had not died). There was no difference between them. They were both still prophets who could speak to Jesus about His future death.
Elijah was caught up to Heaven on a chariot. Caught up to Heaven to fall asleep? Not likely. He was still wide awake and well aware of what was going to happen to Jesus at Calvary.
The same is true of Moses. He had died, but far from being asleep, he was still aware of the future events that were to be.
Luke 9:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
:31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.Elijah was caught up in a chariot. He never died. He never fell asleep.
King Saul once went to the witch of Endor to get her to raise up the spirit of the prophet Samuel from Paradise. This is what Samuel said to Saul.
1 Samuel 28:19 Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
Samuel, though dead, prophesied that the Philistines would win the battle, and that Saul and his sons would die the next day
That is exactly what happened. So Samuel, though dead from an earthly point of view with his body in a grave, was very much alert and aware in the higher spiritual dimension of Paradise as he knew what was happening, and knew what the next day held in store.
Enoch was taken up to Heaven while still alive.
The Bible has no mention of beds in Heaven.
Remember, the subconscious human mind or spirit never sleeps, even on earth. The spirit in you has to keep your blood circulating, your lungs breathing and all your body functions working.
From the new Heaven the final city, New Jerusalem, comes down to the new earth as a mighty pyramid. The capstone is Christ. A light on top of a pyramid bathes the entire pyramid’s sides in light. So the city will be in eternal light.
Revelation 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Thus the city will never be in darkness. There will be no night there. Thus no one will sleep in Heaven.
Jesus, when hanging on the cross, said that the dying thief would meet Him in Paradise that day. So the thief died just before sunset and had to meet Jesus in the higher spiritual dimension of Paradise before sunset. The thief had to be conscious and awake in order to meet Jesus in Paradise after He died.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
After He died Jesus was not asleep. He had to carry our sins down to hell to dump them on the Devil. Jesus had to conquer Satan, conquer Death, and conquer hell. He had to do all this as a Man because He was a Kinsman Redeemer Who died as a Man to free us humans from sin.
Jesus was extremely active just after He died. He hit the regions of the lost like a cyclone. They have never recovered. He tore the keys of death and hell from Satan’s hands. He thrashed the devil and drove his demons into retreat. Then He emptied out the Old Testament Paradise where all the Old Testament saints had been confined. They were long dead but their spirits were waiting and ready when He came to them. The Spirit of Christ was super active over the weekend of His death.
Paul was caught up to the third Heaven. This was a dramatic out-of-body experience.
2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.He saw no-one who was asleep. He heard conversations that were far more insightful than any human wisdom or vocabulary could express. Far from being asleep, the saints in this heavenly dimension had been blessed with minds that were far, far more intelligent than any earthly Einstein could ever hope to be. They spoke of concepts that were far more advanced than what our human minds could comprehend. The dead saints actually form a super-intelligent group, far more advanced than anyone on earth. Their celestial bodies that live in the higher spiritual dimension have brains that are free from sin and are thus able to discuss ideas that are way above our earthly ability to understand.
Far from falling asleep, the spirits of dead saints are given celestial bodies which are spiritual bodies to live in the higher spiritual dimensions of Heaven, where things are far more advanced and far more fantastic than what we can even guess. A dead saint in Heaven becomes like a child in a toy store with all these fabulous realms to investigate.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:When we die we have a spiritual body (also called a celestial body) waiting for us in Heaven. Your faith on earth produces the muscles in your spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.Then finally the dead will be resurrected when your spiritual body is placed into a glorified human body.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Let us consider the Jews over the 2000 years of the church ages.
Since the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD when about 1.1 million Jews died, the Jews have been the most persistently persecuted nation on earth. Hitler and his Nazis massacred 6 million during the second world war. The Arabs and Palestinians keep attacking and killing Jews. But for the sincere Jews who die for their Old Testament faith, God has a special place for them under the martyr’s altar.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?Christians do not demand revenge for being killed. The Jews believe in an eye for an eye. When the Bride is caught up to Heaven half way through the fourth Seal, then the Jews demand to be able to go down for Armageddon and get their revenge. But they are told to wait. First the 144 000 Jews must be called out to Jesus during the Tribulation, and then killed by the antichrist. Then they can go down to destroy the armies of the antichrist at Armageddon.
Revelation 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
So the Jews who have been martyred know exactly what is going on. They are wide awake and itching to get into action. When this large group of vengeful Jews is let loose on him, the Beast or antichrist Pope will not know what hits him.
There is no sleeping in the higher spiritual dimensions. Neither angels nor demons sleep.
Sleep is needed by the conscious mind of our fallen human nature while it still operates in our corrupt human bodies. When we shed our fallen human nature at death, the Holy Spirit in us takes our redeemed souls to Heaven. God is the Holy Spirit and He never sleeps. Nor will we, once we have shed our sinful bodies and sinful human spirit.
Paul never spoke of Heaven as a place of sleeping.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:Paul, probably the greatest of Christians, had learned so much from God and yet he was happy to die as that would be even better. In his new spirit body (or celestial body) after his death he would be able to understand far deeper mysteries than the already deep mysteries that he had understood while on earth.
2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Once we die we are present with the Lord Who never slumbers or sleeps.
It is very impolite to fall asleep in company.
The excitement of being in the Presence of Jesus would make it impossible for anyone to fall asleep.