Asleep Until End of World


Q. Recently, both my sister and father have died (separately). While I truly believe that Jesus died for our sins, those who accept Him as their personal Savior, I have been troubled as to where my sister and father are now. Are they asleep until the end of the world? Are their bodies asleep, but their souls with God? Or, are they in Heaven with God now?

A. What Scripture teaches concerning the death of the Christian is summarized as follows by Lutheran theologian Edward Koehler in his book, "A Summary of Christian Doctrine:

In the moment of death the souls of the believers enter the joy of heaven. Jesus said to the malefactor: "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Stephen said in the hour of death: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59). Whoever dies in the Lord is blessed "from henceforth" (Rev. 14:13). Paul desires "to be with Christ," and adds that this is "far better" for him than to continue in the flesh (Phil. 1:23. 24). For this reason we pray that finally, when our last hour has come, God would grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.

On the day of the final judgment, the redeemed souls in heaven will be reunited with their own (now glorified) bodies, and will begin to enjoy the bliss of heaven in both body and soul (John 5:28-29; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15). The Lutheran church has always rejected as unscriptural the idea that the soul "sleeps" between death and Judgment Day in such a way that it is not conscious of heavenly bliss.

  November 2020  
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