Do we go to sleep when we die?


     Some people, even Christians, believe that upon the last breath and into death is basically a nap until Judgment. The Bible never teaches that a Christian’s soul goes to sleep upon death. It otherwise sounds to me like a Jehovah’s Witness or Catholic theology instead of a Christian one, but let’s examine the nap-time theory anyway.

Alleged supporting verses:

Revelation 20:13, The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.
Meaning of Revelation 20:13:   First of all, no where in this verse is any admission that sleeping took place. If that’s the case, I’d like to see how much one gets when they’re in the bottom of the ocean. Secondly, these folks that have died had not given an account, or a reason of what they had done yet in their lives. So I’ll put it this way: when they died, they went straight to where they were supposed to, which, in this case, was Hell instead of Heaven. So why would they be sent to Hell without giving a reason of the actions that put them there? Doesn’t everyone deserve a fair trial? Well, God knows everyone’s heart, according to 1 Samuel 16:7, which holds wicked intents and desires, all of which are unforgiven. You must be forgiven in order to avoid death and Hell. Also, the final judgment was going to be held at a different time with everyone all together, not just a few at a time every day. Final judgment is one event.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “Brothers and sister, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
Meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “Sleep” explains what happens to a Christian’s body at death, NOT his spirit or soul. Stephen’s spirit went to be with the Lord, but his body fell asleep (Acts 7:60). In Luke, the spirit of the thief on the cross went to be with Jesus after the thief’s death. Point is, the body, not the soul, sleeps in death. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 tells us that when Christians die, we are “…absent from the body, present with the Lord.” Not, “…absent from the body, get a quick bed time story and some sleep, then present with the Lord.” Christians do not taste death for even a quick half second. The same happens for sinners who are not redeemed by Christ — upon death, they will enter Hell.

1 Corinthians 15:20, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:20: This verse is referring to the saints that have died prior to the resurrection of Christ. Again, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.


     When a person dies, they can be raised to life or continue into the second death (Revelation 21:8), but there is not an occurrence of sleep during either of those points. Sleep was created by God for man as a reminder to rest in Him rather than be anxious or nervous. Death is a reality for every human being who has not experienced the redeeming power Christ has offered.

5 thoughts on “Do we go to sleep when we die?

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