Mt. Vernon Church of Christ Services Sunday A. M. Bible Study - 9:30 Sunday A. M. Worship - 10:30 Sunday P. M. Worship - 5:00 Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:00 Address 700 Mill Street Mt. Vernon, Indiana  47620 Contact (812) 838-2635 email Gospel Plan of Salvation Hear - Rom. 10:17 Believe - Mark 16:15,16 Repent - Luke 17:3 Confess - Rom. 10:10 Be baptized - Acts 2:38 Live faithfully - Titus 2:12 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...” (I Peter 4:11) Mt. Vernon Church of Christ

The precious old song expresses our hope correctly– "This is a sweet and glorious tho't that comes to me, I'll live on, yes, I'll live on."  Marvelously profound is the thought that this life is not all there is; death is no ‘dead-end street."  But, what about the term "sleep?"  Does that indicate a cessation of existence?


The word sleep (koimomenon) is from the root koimao, meaning "to put to sleep" (I Thessalonians 4:13).  "Cemetery" (koimeterion) means a "place of sleep."  This gentile figure for death was used by the Lord regarding Lazarus (John 11:11-14), just as it had been used in the Old Testament (Job 3:13; Daniel 12:2; Genesis 47:30; II Samuel 7:12; Job 14:12,14; et al.)


Those who sleep in Jesus are not extinct, annihilated. Was the "dead" prodigal son annihilated while he fed hogs (Luke 15:24)? Just as a sleeper continues to exist while his body sleeps, the dead continues; he is simply in a place separate from his body, which is resting in the grave, sleeping as at the end of a hard day of toil (Ecclesiastes 12:7).


The immortal nature of slain saints (souls) cried out to the Lord (Revelation 6:6-11), just as conscious as were the rich man, Lazarus, and Abraham in the intermediate state (Luke 16:19-31), as Paul when in the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:1), as the dead who are "at home with the Lord" though "absent from the body" (II Corinthians 5:8). Though asleep to things on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6; Isaiah 63:16), the spirit is very much aware and conscious of its own realm of existence (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:21-23; Revelation 7:15-17; 26:4).


One generally does not sleep for an extended length of time; it is but a brief suspension of the work and struggles of life. Further, one awakens from sleep; likewise, the body will be awakened by the resurrection, with great glory (I Corinthians 15:55-57).  Still further, the body will awake with rejuvenation and strength; in fact, it will be changed into a glorified, immortal body.


Since we believe Christ arose, based on the inspired, solid testimony of competent witnesses (Romans 18:17), we know that Christ is coming back to raise the dead, accompanied by their very spirits (John 5:28,29; 14:1-6; I Thessalonians 2:19,26; John 8:32; 17:17; I John 2:21; I Corinthians 15:5-8).  When Christ comes "with all his saints" (I Thessalonians 3:13), the souls will be reunited with their bodies (I Corinthians 15:35-57), life will be given "to your mortal bodies" (Romans 8:11), and "then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory" (Colossians 3:4).  "God both raised the Lord, and will raise up us through his power" (I Corinthians 6:14; I Thessalonians 4:14-17). "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thessalonians 4:18).  You do not have to mourn uncontrollably as do the heathen.

Curtis A. Cates,  former Director of the Memphis School of Preaching, now deceased.

Death Is Not Annihilation