A John Ankerberg Show viewer asks: “What is the best biblical counter to Witness belief in soul sleep?”
There are 3 passages which immediately come to mind. There are more but these are pretty clear in addressing the question. In , David’s child died and when he was told his response was:
“But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
That David stated he will “go to him” assumes he is consciously somewhere that David will go to. The second passage is in 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 where the Apostle Paul compares being present in the body vs. being absent from the body but present with the Lord. He writes in verse 8:
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord
Again, he assumes something survives the death of the body and is immediately “at home with the Lord.”
Perhaps the most powerful passage is in John 2:19-22 where Jesus spoke of His body as the temple and said in verse 19:
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
This is a great passage as it lets us know that something survives the death of the body for in order for Jesus to raise His body, which He clearly stated He would do, He would still need to be existing “awake” and alive somewhere outside of the body. It also tells us that He would be the one raising it and demonstrating that He is indeed God.
L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. , President
Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc.