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The Bible tells us those in heaven are alive. (Ecumenical)
Catholic Answers | 1/15/2007 | Gamera

Posted on 12/30/2012 9:28:32 AM PST by narses

"And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living," Matt 22:32.

At the Transfiguration, the souls of long-dead Moses and Elijah appeared alongside Jesus. "And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him." Matt 17:3. How could Moses and Elijah "talk" with Jesus if they were "asleep"? Their souls were alive and awake. The fact that the Bible shows Moses and Elijah "talking" with Jesus conclusively disproves your friend's idea that souls are "dead" or "asleep" until the general judgment.

Scripture shows that heaven’s inhabitants hear us, which they couldn't do if they were "dead." “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do His word, hearkening to the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His ministers that do His will!” Psalm 103:20-21. “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!” Psalm 148:1-2. These verses would make no sense if those in heaven could not hear us.

Those in heaven not only pray with us, they pray for us and can present our requests to God. “When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints,” Rev. 5:8. “Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel,” Rev. 8:3-4. These verses show (1) those in heaven have access to our prayers, and (2) those in heaven can offer our prayers to God. None of this would make any sense whatsoever if those in heaven were "dead" or "asleep."

Part of our spiritual inheritance under the New Covenant is access to the souls of the justified. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, AND TO THE SPIRITS OF THE RIGHTEOUS MADE PERFECT, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Heb. 12:22-24.

TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Mainline Protestant
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1 posted on 12/30/2012 9:28:39 AM PST by narses
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To: narses; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; ...

Religion Forum threads labeled “Ecumenical”
Ecumenical threads are closed to antagonism.
To antagonize is to incur or to provoke hostility in others.
Unlike the “caucus” threads, the article and reply posts of an “ecumenical” thread may discuss more than one belief, but antagonism is not tolerable.

More leeway is granted to what is acceptable in the text of the article than to the reply posts. For example, the term “gross error” in an article will not prevent an ecumenical discussion, but a poster should not use that term in his reply because it is antagonistic. As another example, the article might be a passage from the Bible which would be antagonistic to Jews. The passage should be considered historical information and a legitimate subject for an ecumenical discussion. The reply posts however must not be antagonistic.

Contrasting of beliefs or even criticisms can be made without provoking hostilities. But when in doubt, only post what you are “for” and not what you are “against.” Or ask questions.

Ecumenical threads will be moderated on a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” basis. When hostility has broken out on an “ecumenical” thread, I’ll be looking for the source.

Therefore “anti” posters must not try to finesse the guidelines by asking loaded questions, using inflammatory taglines, gratuitous quote mining or trying to slip in an “anti” or “ex” article under the color of the “ecumenical” tag.

2 posted on 12/30/2012 9:31:06 AM PST by narses
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To: narses

Most Christian churches agree on this, but just wait till the Adventists, Armstrongists, JWs and Church of God 7th day show up!

This could get interesting. Popcorn time.

3 posted on 12/30/2012 9:42:22 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (REOPEN THE CLOSED MENTAL INSTITUTIONS! Damn the ACLU!)
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To: narses

The link, sorry:

4 posted on 12/30/2012 9:42:59 AM PST by narses
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

“Most Christian churches agree on this,...”


xCredo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem;
Creatorem caeli et terrae.

Et in Jesum Christum,
Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum;
qui conceptus est
de Spiritu Sancto,
natus ex Maria virgine;
passus sub Pontio Pilato,
crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus;
descendit ad inferos;
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis;
ascendit ad caelos;
sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis;
inde venturus est
iudicare vivos et mortuos.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum;
sanctam ecclesiam catholicam;
sanctorum communionem;
remissionem peccatorum;
carnis resurrectionem;
vitam aeternam. Amen.

In English:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary,
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
he will come again
to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

5 posted on 12/30/2012 9:44:23 AM PST by narses
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To: narses

Great post. Actually, the physical apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima proves this. The Blessed Virgin Mary as the purest and most perfect of all of God’s creation in Heaven and Earth proves this. She appeared visibly to innocent children. Since she is the Mother of all humanity, her sons and daughters in Paradise are likewise in their physical forms.

6 posted on 12/30/2012 10:07:44 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: narses

The same family religious divisions I’ve experienced over Christmas, with paternal family not observing Christmas as a religious holy day and maternal family observing and celebrating at length from Advent through “Old Christmas” extends into this difference in belief and practice as well.

There is scriptural support for “soul sleep” just as surely as there is for conscious, living souls with God. I’ve wrangled with it for years. All I can say is, the Word is truth and is not contradictory, therefore neither is wrong. But, to accept one at the expense of denying the other is not entirely correct, either.

I’ve encountered fairly learned individual Christians who have wrangled with this over the course of my own efforts to gain a better grasp of the matter. Some have claimed that the living souls attested Biblically are all from the Old Testament, therefore they’re the righteous dead freed from captivity.

Others have stated, fairly convincingly, that the nature of humanity being an image or likeness of God is of necessity triune in nature, and that the soul dies along with the body, being of the blood according to Leviticus, not to be heard from again until resurrection, as several passages indicate. But, the spirit returns to Him that gave it, so the truth is that both are true, not at all contradictory, but we conflate soul and spirit when in fact the two are not the same.

I’m open to further discussion and interpretation. Much of it amounts to speculation, and I would certainly not advocate the creation of any dogmatic requirement of believing one way or the other.

Praying to people physically dead from this world in addition to Jesus Christ does seem wrong to me, though, regardless of their Biblical notoriety or greatness. I need look no further than Saul and Solomon to see scriptural condemnation of it, imho.

You’re free to believe otherwise within the bounds of scriptural support. That’s how I’ve made peace with seemingly contradictory beliefs among people I’ve known to be strong in their Christian faith, who practiced differently.

7 posted on 12/30/2012 10:09:47 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: Steelfish

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.

Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.


8 posted on 12/30/2012 10:14:08 AM PST by narses
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To: RegulatorCountry

Here is what the Church teaches:





* Paragraph 5. The Communion of Saints

946 After confessing “the holy catholic Church,” the Apostles’ Creed adds “the communion of saints.” In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: “What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?”479 The communion of saints is the Church.

947 “Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others. . . . We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head. . . . Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments.”480 “As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund.”481

948 The term “communion of saints” therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)” and “among holy persons (sancti).”

Sancta sanctis! (”God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people”) is proclaimed by the celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts before the distribution of communion. The faithful (sancti) are fed by Christ’s holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.

949 In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.”482

Communion in the faith. The faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church, received from the apostles. Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by being shared.

950 Communion of the sacraments. “The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church. The communion of saints must be understood as the communion of the sacraments. . . . The name ‘communion’ can be applied to all of them, for they unite us to God. . . . But this name is better suited to the Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings this communion about.”483

951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church.484 Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”485

952 “They had everything in common.”486 “Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy . . . and of their neighbors in want.”487 A Christian is a steward of the Lord’s goods.488

953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.”489 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”490 “Charity does not insist on its own way.”491 In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.


954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”’:492

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.493
955 “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.”494

956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”495

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.496
I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.497

957 Communion with the saints. “It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself”498:

We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!499
958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.”500 Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959 In the one family of God. “For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church.”501


960 The Church is a “communion of saints”: this expression refers first to the “holy things” (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which “the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about” (LG 3).

961 The term “communion of saints” refers also to the communion of “holy persons” (sancti) in Christ who “died for all,” so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.

962 “We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers” (Paul VI, CPG § 30).

479 Nicetas, Expl. Symb., 10:PL 52:871B.
480 St. Thomas Aquinas, Symb., 10.
481 Roman Catechism I, 10,24.
482 Acts 2:42.
483 Roman Catechism I, 10,24.
484 LG 12 § 2.
485 1 Cor 12:7.
486 Acts 4:32.
487 Roman Catechism I, 10,27.
488 Cf. Lk 16:1, 3.
489 Rom 14:7.
490 1 Cor 12:26-27.
491 1 Cor 13:5; cf. 10:24.
492 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439):DS 1305.
493 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.
494 LG 49.
495 LG 49; cf. 1 Tim 2:5.
496 St. Dominic, dying, to his brothers.
497 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.
498 LG 50; cf. Eph 4:1-6.
499 Martyrium Polycarpi, 17:Apostolic Fathers II/3,396.
500 LG 50; cf. 2 Macc 12:45.
501 LG 51; cf. Heb 3:6.

9 posted on 12/30/2012 10:18:19 AM PST by narses
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To: narses

That is what your church teaches. Others teach differently, and not without scriptural support. The Word is truth, therefore not contradictory, and so there is at least partial truth to both positions, imho.

10 posted on 12/30/2012 10:23:43 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

“... and so there is at least partial truth to both positions, imho.”

That leads to cognitive dissonance. The teachings of the Church are well researched and articulated. Feel free to see for yourself, they are right here.

11 posted on 12/30/2012 10:27:43 AM PST by narses
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To: narses

Would you like to review and discuss Biblical passages in support of beliefs that are on some level in disagreement with the dogmatic positions of your church? I can certainly deal with it without rancor.

12 posted on 12/30/2012 10:35:00 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

Of course. You will find that the Church has dealt with every objection many times over the centuries. Heresies start with the Truth and then they add to that or subtract from that to confuse the faithful. It is the work of the Father of Lies after all that tries to divide the Mystical Body of Christ.

13 posted on 12/30/2012 10:38:19 AM PST by narses
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To: narses
Heresies start with the Truth and then they add to that or subtract from that to confuse the faithful. It is the work of the Father of Lies after all that tries to divide the Mystical Body of Christ.

Upon this statement we can agree, although I doubt at this point you and I will find agreement as to just which additions might be the work of the father of lies.

I'm on a tablet, pulling things together isn't as simple or as easy as on a laptop or desktop. So, bear with me while I round up a cogent set of passages and associated beliefs regarding "soul sleep."

14 posted on 12/30/2012 11:10:53 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: Steelfish

“...physical apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima...”

Also the Tilma of Our Lady who appeared to Juan Diego. The Blessed Mother is alive, well, assumed into heaven and visits us in extreme circumstances. This does not cause her to be a Goddess.

Mexico - the circumstance was to stop the Aztec human sacrifices.

15 posted on 12/30/2012 11:12:10 AM PST by stonehouse01 (Equal rights for unborn women)
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To: RegulatorCountry

“...praying to people physically dead from this world in addition to Jesus Christ does seem wrong to me ...”

People who are dead in the body yet who believed are Alive in Christ - those who believe and ran the race -

If they are alive in Christ - why are they dead to us?? They are not!

16 posted on 12/30/2012 11:35:15 AM PST by stonehouse01 (Equal rights for unborn women)
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To: narses; DouglasKC

The best scriptural starting point I am able to quickly locate in defense of a belief in “soul sleep” comes from a Free Republic thread begun in 2003. The FReeper responsible for the reply below remains active on FR, and so I’ve pinged him to this ecumenical thread discussing the matter once again.


While I don’t agree with the term “soul sleep”, I do agree that what makes us “us” exists in an unconscious state until the resurrection.

I’ll address the use of the term sleep in the bible for starters. The author implies that the verses he mentioned is the extent of the sleep=death in scripture, but he leaves out several verses:

Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

This seems to be a definitive statement.

Daniel 12:2 corroberates this view:

Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Death is compared to sleep by the Lord:

Jer 51:39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.

And again:

Jer 51:57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

Speaking of Moses death, God says again:

Deu 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers...

God once again says:

2Sa 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

In fact, the term “slept with the fathers” is used to denote death in the old testament close to 40 times. Again:

Psa 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Jesus tries to teach people that death is comparable to sleep in the story of the dead maiden in three of the gospels:

Mat 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

Mar 5:39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

Luk 8:52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

And John in the tale of Lazarus:

Joh 11:11 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.

The resurrection of the saints upon the death of Christ:

Mat 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

Stephen is stoned, his death is called sleep:

Act 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Again in Acts, King David is described as sleeping:

Act 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

Paul describes death as sleep 5 times in 1 corinthians in describing the resurrection :

1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

And again in Ephesians:

Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

1Th 4:13 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.


1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Peter also compares death to sleep:

2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

These are just the 60 or 70 something verses I found that used the terms “sleep”, “slept” or “asleep” for death. There are many others that denote a state of consciousness like sleep but doesn’t use the words.

In short, instead of “sleep” being used in isolated verses instead it’s clearly and consistently used to describe the state of death.

What’s astounding is that the both the old testament and new testament agree that death is sleep. God himself, who presumably would know, clearly likens death to sleep. Jesus Christ likens death to sleep. Mark, John, Luke, Paul, and Peter all agree...death is like sleeping.

Now with all this scripture detailing that death is like sleep, I don’t feel comfortable blithely dismissing it as a euphemism used by God in heaven, God incarnate, Peter, Paul, Mark, Luke, and John.

17 posted on 12/30/2012 12:15:16 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

Full Question

Some groups, such as Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists, claim that we are not conscious between the time of our death and our resurrection but that our souls either cease to exist or are asleep. They cite verses that picture death as a sleep (e.g. Dan 12:2, 1 Cor 15:51). How can we refute this?

These verses use what is known as phenomenological language, the language of appearances. Phenomenological language occurs when we describe something as it looks, irrespective of how it is. The classic example of phenomenological language is talk of the sun rising and setting. The sun appears to rise and set , but this motion is actually due to the rotation of the earth rather than to motion of the sun around the earth.

Verses that speak of the dead sleeping use phenomenological language. For example, Daniel 12:2 states, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This image is of people getting up much as a sleeper rises in the morning. The sleep being discussed is phenomenological sleep, not literal sleep (Daniel is not talking about living people who sleep on the ground). Because dead people look like they are sleeping, especially when lying on their deathbeds (and notice that people often die on beds, enhancing the sleep analogy), the Bible often uses “sleep” as a euphemism for “death.” In fact, this euphemism is common today.

There are two versions of the “soul sleep” theory.

The Jehovah’s Witness claims that the soul ceases to exist at death and then is re-created by God at the resurrection. If their theory were true and there were no soul which survives death, it is difficult to see why the re-created “you” is not just a copy of you. It may have all your memories, but it is hard to see why it is not just a copy. If God had created this copy while you still existed, the fact it is a copy rather than the real you would be obvious.

If it is a copy, that causes problems of justice. Because you ceased to exist, you—the real you—were never punished for your sins or rewarded for your good deeds; you simply ceased to exist. Similarly, the copy of you which was created on the Last Day is then punished or rewarded for things it never did.

Once one has distinguished between the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view and the view that claims that our souls simply sleep between death and resurrection, one can go on to refute these ideas by using the Bible. The following verses apply to both versions of the doctrine.

In Revelation 6:9-10, John writes, “When he [Christ] opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’”

Here John sees the disembodied souls of early Christian martyrs. The fact they are disembodied is known because they have been slain. Thus disembodied souls exist. The fact they are conscious is known because they cry out to God for vengeance. Unconscious people can’t do that. Thus conscious, disembodied souls exist.

In Revelation 20:4 John sees these souls again: “Then I saw . . . the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God and who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

Here again we have disembodied souls (they had been beheaded). John sees them coming to life to reign with Christ—hence they are in a pre-resurrection state. Some scholars argue that this is a spiritual resurrection rather than a physical one. Even if that were so, it would only strengthen the case for conscious, disembodied souls because, after having been beheaded, they would be reigning with Christ in heaven in a disembodied state.

18 posted on 12/30/2012 12:18:49 PM PST by narses
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To: narses

A belief in some form of “soul sleep” or “Conditional Mortality” is not limited to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, narses. It’s also not at all a belief of recent origin, nor is has it been limited solely to somewhat more obscure, less orthodox sources:

Present Day Sources:

Dr. Edward Fudge, an evangelical Christian theologian writes, “Indeed, death involves the separation of body and spirit but a word of caution is in order. “Spirit” (from Latin, spiritus) is ruach (Hebrew) or pneuma (Greek) — “breath” or “wind” — with which our material body is living and without which it is dead (Gen. 2:7). The spirit is not some immaterial “real person” or “immortal soul” which remains conscious when the body is dead, as in Platonic thought. The notion that “death is the separation of the soul from the body” in that sense comes from Socrates and his kin, not from the Jewish or Christian Scriptures…“According to the New Testament, the saved will be raised “immortal” — incapable of dying (Rom. 2:7). The lost, not being made immortal, will be raised to die again in the second death (Rev. 21:8). That second death is the everlasting destruction by which Jesus will punish the willfully rebellious (2 Thess. 1:9). It is the eternal punishment of which Jesus himself warned (Matt. 25:46). (Source:, see “The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of Final Punishment”)

Babu G. Ranganathan, Reformed Baptist, “I had believed in the traditional view of hell for most of my Christian life so I am very familiar with the various views about hell that evangelical Christians hold”.. “Few in society realize just how much ancient Greek philosophy influenced early Christian thought on hell. The ancient Greeks believed and taught that the human soul is immortal and indestructible. When early Christianity adopted this belief then it became only logical to believe that those who go to hell must suffer eternal torment.” (Mr. Ranganathan is a religion and science writer, and has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who’s Who In The East. He holds a B.A. with concentrations in theology and biology from Bob Jones University (the author does not endorse or support everything about the university). He also completed two years of full-time graduate study in law at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. Source:

Clark H. Pinnock, (1937-2010), Ph. D., Professor of Theology, McMaster Divinity College. He writes, “How can Christians possibly project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness whose ways include inflicting everlasting torture upon his creatures, however sinful they may have been? Surely a God who would do such a thing is more nearly like Satan than like God, at least by any ordinary moral standards, and by the gospel itself.“ (Source: Clark H. Pinnock, “The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent,” Criswell Theological Review 4 (1990-Spring), Pages 246-47).

John Stott, (1921-2011), was an English Christian leader and Anglican cleric who was noted as a leader of the worldwide Evangelical movement.

Champions of conditional immortality 20th century

John Wenham, (1913-1996) was an Anglican Bible scholar, “I believe that endless torment is a hideous and unscriptural doctrine which has been a terrible burden on the mind of the church for many centuries and a terrible blot on her presentation of the Gospel. I should indeed be happy, if before I die, I could help in sweeping it away.” (Facing Hell, An Autobiography 1913-1996).

Canon William H.M. Hay Aitken (1841-1927) was an Anglican mission organizer who stated: “The doctrine of Eternal Torment has lost its hold on the common sense and moral sensibilities of mankind. People do not and will not believe that an infinitely good and merciful God can consign His own offspring (Acts 17:28-29) to measureless aeons of torture in retribution for the sins and weaknesses of a few swiftly passing years here on earth.”

Dr. William Temple (1881-1944) was the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of Great Britain, “”Man is not immortal by nature or right; but he is capable of immortality and there is offered to him resurrection from the dead and life eternal if he will receive it from God and on God’s terms.”

Dr. Aubrey R. Vine (1900-1973) was the editor of `The Congregational Quarterly’ and professor at Yorkshire United Independent College who stated: “The natural immortality of the spirit is a Greek rather than a Christian concept.”

Dr. Martin J. Heinecken (1902-1998) was professor of systematic theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, “We are dealing with a unified being, a person, and not with something that is called a soul and which dwells in a house called the body, as though the body were just a tool for the soul to employ, but not really a part of the person.”

Basil Atkinson (1875-1970s), was the under-librarian of the University of Cambridge from 1925 to 1960, and a writer on theology. 

Eric Lewis (1864-1948) of Cambridge University was a missionary to the Sudan and India.

Champions of conditional immortality 19th century

Dr. Amos Phelps, (1805-1874), a Methodist-Congregationalist clergyman and professor of Yale University, wrote: “This doctrine [of natural immortality] can be traced through the muddy channels of a corrupted Christianity, a perverted Judaism, and pagan philosophy, and a superstitious idolatry, to the great instigator of mischief in the garden of Eden.

Herman Olshausen (1796-1839) was professor of theology at Königsberg, Ostpreussen in Germany. He wrote: “The doctrine of the immortality of the soul and the name are alike unknown in the entire Bible.”

William E. Gladstone (1809-1898) was a British Prime Minister and Theologian, “The doctrine of natural, as distinguished from Christian, immortality had not been subjected to the severer tests of wide publicity and resolute controversy, but had crept into the Church, by a back door as it were; by a silent though effective process; and was in course of obtaining a title by tacit prescription.”

H.H. Dobney (1809-1883) was a Baptist pastor in Maidstone, England.

Champions of conditional immortality 18th century

Dr. William Coward (1657-1725) was a practicing physician in London. He states, “Second thoughts concerning the human soul, demonstrating the notion of human soul, as believed to be a Spiritual and Immortal Substance, united to a Human Body, to be plain Heathenish Invention, and not Consonant to the principles of Philosophy, Reason or Religion.”

Dr. William Whiston (1667-1752) was a Baptist theologian and professor of mathematics at Cambridge University

Prof. Henry Dodwell (1641-1711) was a classical scholar and professor at Oxford and became known as `the learned Dodwell’. He set out to “... prove from the Scriptures and the First Fathers, that the soul is in principle naturally mortal, but immortalized actually by the pleasure of God.”

Champions of conditional immortality 17th century

John Milton (1608-1674), was a well known or even the greatest of the sacred poets, “Inasmuch as the whole man uniformly said to consist of body, and soul (whatever may be the distinct provinces of these divisions), I will show, that in death, first, the whole man, and secondly, each component part, suffers privation of life. ... The grave is the common guardian of all till the day of judgment.” 

Richard or Robert Overton (1609-1679), scholar, soldier and pamphletier

Samuel Richardson (1633-1658), pastor of the First Particular Baptist Church of London 

Champions of conditional immortality 16th century

William Tyndale, “And ye, in putting them [departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection.”

George Wishart (1500-1546), Greek scholar, friend of Latimer, tutor of John Knox.

Other champions of conditional immortality

Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, “For just as one who falls asleep and reaches morning unexpectedly when he awakes, without knowing what has happened to him, so we shall suddenly rise on the last day without knowing how we have come into death and through death.” “We shall sleep, until He comes and knocks on the little grave and says, Doctor Martin, get up! Then I shall rise in a moment and be happy with Him forever.”—Froom, Conditionalist Faith, vol. 2, pp. 74, 75.

William Tyndale, the great Bible translator, speaking of the dead: “I am not persuaded that they be already in the full glory that Christ is in, or the elect angels of God are in. Neither is it any article of my faith: for if it were so I see not but then the preaching of the resurrection of the flesh is a thing in vain”. (William Tyndale, “The New Testament diligently corrected and compacted with the Greek’ (Antwerp, 1534, sig. xxv, n). Quoted in “The Soul Sleepers”, pages 50,51.)

19 posted on 12/30/2012 12:46:19 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: narses
Part of our spiritual inheritance under the New Covenant is access to the souls of the justified.

Here we go again with the seeming obligatory incessant promotions of RC doctrine on FR. Perhaps it merits an indulgence. In any case, it results in the refutation of such.

Your proof text is that of offering prayers, which is liked to incense (Ps. 14:12; cf. Lk. 1:10) as are odors, (Rv. 5:8) and which type of offering was an OT practice, but it does not provide support for praying to the departed, for which you have zero exampleas of amongst the multitudes of prayers in Scripture, or instructions on it ("I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," "our Father who are in Heaven," etc., not "our mother").

Nor is there is no need for an intercessor btwn God in Heaven and men on earth, as Christ is wholly sufficient, and believers have direct access to God in the holy of holy by the blood of Jesus, (Heb. 10:19) with no saintly secretaries involved.

Nor did communication take place btwn beings in Heaven and beings on earth without one being in either place, except for God.

More fully,

Prayer to departed saints (PTDS)

Why is praying the saints in Heaven wrong? The Bible tells us to pray for each other.

The issues are what prayer is, and its object, and the spiritual relation that exists between God and man in the spiritual realm, and the separation of realms which God manifests as between the two.

The foundational issue regarding PTDS is that of Scriptural warrant and conflation.

The Bible teaches abundantly on prayer, and in order to warrant PTDS (praying to departed saints in heaven) one must find an approved example or teaching of it, and some insufficiency in Christ or as regards immediate directly access to Him. Yet the Bible provides just the opposite and clearly so, as in all the multitudes of prayers in the Bible, the Holy Spirit provides zero examples of any believers praying to anyone in Heaven but the Lord, and the only persons who do make offerings and supplication to the departed are pagans. (Jer. 7:17-19).

In addition, nowhere in any instructions on prayer is any believer directed to pray to anyone but the Lord (not “our mother who art in Heaven”). Nor is any other intercessor in Heaven mentioned, and rather than any insufficiency in Christ, the Holy Spirit explicitly exalts His unique position and attributes, in which He alone is uniquely able to help us because He alone was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin, and alone is exalted as Lord and High priest, and is set forth as the One believers have immediate access to in seeking grace. (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:13-16

Moreover, the holy of holies in which believers have boldness to enter through the blood of Jesus Christ, (Heb. 10:19) which the Old Testament type exampled, was never a place in which one was met with secretaries, but the high priest communed directly with God, and as Christ is our high priest, through Him believers have direct access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Heb. 10:19-22; Eph. 2:18)

In light of this the advocate of PTDS has no real support or warrant from Scripture, and is left seeking to extrapolate this out of analogy between earthly communications, supposing a complete correspondence to that between earth and heaven, and or a "God can do anything" hermeneutic, but which is a strained and problematic exegesis which cannot overcome the weight of evidence against it, and such attempts are typical of cults when faced with the same.

But Jesus Himself prayed to Lazarus (Jn. 11) when he was dead, and Abraham and the rich man in conversed after death. (Lk. 16:19-31)

While these stories are used to justify speaking to saintly “secretaries” in Heaven making intercession to God, yet Abraham was not in Heaven yet, and the communication in this account is described as being oral, like as persons converse on earth, while the Lord simply simply spoke to Lazarus in the grave. Moreover, to be able to hear and respond to potentially billions of prayers simultaneously is an attribute of Deity which the departed are never shown to have been given.

It is also of note that linguistically, the word which is uniquely used for prayer in the NT (87 times, and mostly in Luke), “proseuchomai” (Gk.) is not used not in for the communication between Christ and Lazarus or Abraham and the rich man, or for any communication between persons. The more general word used in Lk. 16:27, erōtaō, can be used for prayer, but is only used by John for prayer to the Father in Heaven, (Jn. 14:16; 16,26; 17:9,15,20) that being personal intercession by Christ in Heaven, and to the resurrected Lord Jesus in Heaven possibly twice, (Jn. 16:23; 1Jn. 5:16) for a total of 7 times out of 58.

While erōtaō is not excluded from denoting prayer, it is not as as definitive as proseuchomai, being also used for things like “desired, etc.) and its use in Lk. 16:27 does not define that as properly being the spiritual practice of prayer from earth to God in Heaven.

For related issues, such a third postmortem location, you may find to this exchange helpful between a Roman Catholic trying to argue for a Scriptural basis for purgatory and my responses.

To substantiate that PTDS is Scriptural, one needs to, from the Bible (and basically in order of importance)


Provide just one example, among the multitude of prayers in the Bible, where anyone besides heathen (Jer. 44:19) prayed to or addressed anyone else in heaven but the Lord.*

Example, descriptions, instructions. See Bible prayers here

Gen. 15:2; 17:18; 18:23; 18:23-32; 24:12-14; 32:9-12;

Ex. 25:22; 32:11-13; 33:12-19;

Num. 6:23-26; 10:35-36; 11:11-16; 12:13-14; 14:13-19; 27:15-18;

Dt. 3:23-25; 9:25; 9:26-29; 21:7-9; 26:5-10;

Josh. 7:7-9; Jdg 6:13; 6:15; 6:15-17; 6:36-37; 6:39; 13:8; 16:8;

1Sam.1:10-11; 2:1-10;

2Sam. 7:18-29; 24:17;

1Ki. 3:5-61; 17:20-21; 18:25-26; 18:27-37; 19:4;

2 Ki. 6:17-18; 19:15-19;

1Chr.4:10; 29:9-19; 14:11;

2Chr. 6:40; 14:11; 20:6-12; 30:18-19;

Ezra 8:3; 9:5-15;

Neh. 1:4,5; 1:4-11; 4:4-5; 9:5-38;

Job 22:27;

Ps. 4:1; 5:3; 6:9; 17:1; 35:13; 39:12; 42:8; 54:2; 55:1; 61:1; 64:1; 65:2; 66:19,20; 69:13; 72:15; 80:4; 84:8; 86:1,6; 86:6; 88:2,13; 90:1; 102:1,17; 109:4,7; 141:2,5; 142:1; 143:1;

Prov. 15:8,29; 28:8;

Is. 37:4; 38:2,3,5; 56:7;

Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 26:19;

Lam. 3:8,44;

Ezek. 9:8; Dan. 9:3-19;

Jonah 2:1-9;

Hab. 1:12-17; 3:2-18;

Mat. 6:9-13; 11:25-27; 17:21; 21:22; 26:39; Lk. 1:9,13; 6:12; 18:10-13; 19:46; 23:30; 23:34; 23:46; Jn.11:41-42; 17:1-22; 17:1-26;

Acts 1:14,24-25; 3:1; 6:4; 9:6; 10:2,31; 12:5; 16:13,16;

Rm. 10:1; 12:12;

1Cor. 1:2; 7:5;

2Cor. 1:1; 9:14; 12:8;

Eph. 1:16-22; 3:13-21; 6:18;

Phil. 1:4,9-11,19; 4:6;

Col 1:9-13ff; 4:2;

1Thes. 3:10-13; 5:23,24;

2Thes. 1:10-12; 2:16-17;

1Tim. 4:2;

2Tim. 4:16;

Heb. 2:18; 4:15,16; 7:25; 10:19-22; 13:20-21;

James 5:16,17;

1Pt. 4:7;

Rev. 6:16-16; 22:2022:20


Provide one place where exhortations, commands or instruction or descriptions on prayer directed believers to pray to departed saints or angels. ("i.e. "After this manner pray, Our mother, who art in heaven...")..


Show where any insufficiency exists in Christ regarding immediacy, ability, or compassion that would require or advantage another intercessor in heaven between Christ and man, besides the Holy Spirit. (Ex. 25:22; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 2:18; 4:15,16; 7:25; 10:19-22; etc.)


Show where believers in Christ do not have direct access to God in heaven, that having “boldness to enter into the holiest” (Heb. 10:19) means one may choose to meet a type of secretary rather than in Christ directly having access by one Spirit unto the Father.** (Eph. 2:18)


Show where departed souls in heaven are taking prayer requests addressed to them.


Show where the departed are given the Divine attribute of omniscience, so they can hear and process an infinite amount of prayer. (Ps. 65:2; 139:4; Prov. 15:3)


Provide where any communication between believers on earth and heavenly beings besides God took place apart from a personal visitation, either by men being caught up to heaven or by angels coming to earth. (Jdg. 13; Mk. 9:2-9; Rev. 4:1ff;)


Show where anyone else is called "Queen of heaven" other than Jer 44:17 (“But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven”), who was a heavenly object of devotion and prayer.


If believers can pray to the departed saints for help in their Christian life, then show why they cannot call upon saints for salvation, and where the Bible supports that.


Show where another basic necessary practice has zero positive examples and is contrary to any actual need.***

"O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." (Psalms 65:2)

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. {15} For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, {20} By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; {21} And having an high priest over the house of God; {22} Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. " (Galatians 4:6)

*That is, the Father and the Son. It is clear that souls did call upon Jesus in prayer, (Acts 7:59; 1Cor. 1:2; 2Cor. 12:8; Rm. 10:13) as only He is the mediator between God and man, (1Tim. 2:5) that being uniquely His honor and ability, and is Lord of all, (Acts 10:36) and to pray to the Lord Jesus is to pray to the Father, as through Christ (by His blood) we have access by His Spirit to the Father. (Eph. 2:18) Praying to the Holy Spirit is not recorded, as it is He who effects prayer, and cries to the Father, (Gal. 4:6) not a “mother.” The Spirit can impress upon others to pray, but only Divinity is the direct object of spiritual intercession.

**Some try to use Rev. 5:8 and 8:3,4 to support praying to the departed, but this does not signify angelic intercession on behalf of saints awaiting to be hear by God, but in the first instance refers to prayers as a pleasing sacrifice, which Christ Himself was, “as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Eph. 5:2) In the second, incense is offered with their prayers as a memorial sense, and which testifies to the wickedness of the earth, and which prayers affirms its judgment which the text goes on to describe. (cf. Rev. 6:10)

***It is argued from silence that PTDS is not forbidden, yet necromancy is. And while (using another argument from silence) there is no express command against consensual cannibalism (whoever dies first we will have for dinner), its basic prohibition is justly derived from Gn. 9:3,5,6 which establishes the source of man's food. Although is it true that in keeping with the foundational law of love, in dire circumstance of necessity it might be allowed (and with the Andes survivors), yet there is no need to pray to anyone in Heaven but the Lord, as the Scriptures only exhort and example prayers to the Lord alone as regards a heavenly object, and clearly establish Christ as being the all-sufficient intercessor, both in terms of ability and accessibility.

20 posted on 12/30/2012 1:21:51 PM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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