Not Like Sleeping
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” ~ Luke 16:19-31
It is important to note that this “parable” of Jesus is quite different from His other parables. For one thing this one refers to specific persons by name, where other stories He told only referred to general persons with no name given, as if to use them to highlight a principle He was teaching. Lazarus is obviously the “lead” in the story but also named is Abraham, the father of the Jews, a historical figure.
Because of these two factors many believe this is not a parable but an actual story of real persons in a true incident. It seems we are allowed to see into the eternal realm and witness what happens to dead people.
Even though these persons eventually die they still act very much alive, aware of their surroundings, even with the rich man feeling things like thirst and torment or Lazarus feeling comfort.
Many people in those times equated death to sleep.
The times of today are not much different from those times when Jesus walked in Judea. Many still believe that death is like sleeping, where one is oblivious of those who are awake. Because of this erroneous attitude many have taken it upon themselves to end their lives believing they will forever sleep. I would boldly say that is a lie given to us. When we die we are simply separated from our bodies. Even though we may not have physical eyes and sense things as through flesh we will still feel things. Those who die will still be very much alert to their surroundings, regardless of what those surroundings happen to be. Death will not end any depressed state we may be feeling, therefore one cannot escape themselves through committing suicide. "Deathsleep" or "Soulsleep" is an unbiblical concept, contrary to what God had intended and is a lie straight from Satan himself.
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