Q: Do you think our souls go to God when we die, or do they sleep with our body until the Day of Judgment?
Asked by: Trish
A: Trish, thank you so much for your question. You know, I receive a lot of literature and questions from people, God bless them, who believe that the soul sleeps until the resurrection.
They believe that all of those who have died in Christ now are all unconscious—they are all dead, so to speak, not just physically, but also spiritually, until the Day of Judgment or resurrection.
Well, as you might know, I disagree with that. For example, the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1 says, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better; nevertheless, to live in the flesh is more needful for you.”
Now Trish, think about that. How could Paul say that?
How could he say that he has a desire to depart and be with Christ if he expected to slip into unconsciousness, or that his soul would sleep, when he died?
The thing that excited him is that if he left this life, he would be with Christ, consciously and immediately.
And then I think, for example, of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “Today I shall be with you in paradise.” And there are some folks who say, “Well, the comma is in the wrong place” or “Jesus really meant, ‘I say to you today, I shall be with you in paradise.’” But that’s contrary to the context of the statement and the grammar: “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
Jesus didn’t have His physical body yet in paradise—that awaited the resurrection three days later—but His Spirit would be with the thief in paradise.
So the answer to your question is no, I don’t believe in soul sleep. I believe to be absent from the body is to be present, instantly, with the Lord.
- Philippians 1:23-24