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Key passages:

1 Corinthians 15:1
Thessalonians 4:13-18
John 11:25, 26

Most Christians believe that when a person dies (s)he goes directly to heaven or hell. Others, including Seventh-day Adventists, believe that there is an unconscious period of time, a “sleep” when the believer is unaware of anything going on until the second coming of Christ.

Key questions:

  1. Why is it important to consider this topic? Either way the first face one sees after death is Godís. So why is this matter of the condition in death important?
  2. Why might God choose to let those who die “sleep in Jesus,” awaiting the second coming, rather than bring them one by one into his presence?
  3. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told the story of a rich man who died and immediately went to Hades where he suffered torment. How does this story mesh with the belief that the Bible teaches that the wicked who die know not anything nor suffer punishment until they receive their sentence at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10)?
  4. How shall we understand Paulís longings in Philippians 1:23 to leave and be with Christ when he senses the call of God to stay alive in his body and continue his ministry? See also 2 Corinthians 5:6-10. How do we mesh these remarks of Paul with his magisterial presentation on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15?
  5. How can one possess eternal life, yet die (John 5:24; 8:51; 11:25, 26)?
  6. What does it mean to “sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17)?

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