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If it is to be truly profitable, all true ministry must be "a word in season", and it is not possible nor expedient to at1 to teach all the truth, or witness to every doctrine, time.

The fact that within a week we have received more inquiry concerning the teaching of Scripture regarding t as a sleep, leads us to see that it would be a word in seas devote some of our limited space to a consideration a1 subject. In the first place let us turn to John 11:14, "Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" (Lazaros apethanen).  Greek verb here translated "is dead" is from apothnesko. John 11:21 and 41 well show, the word thnesko means "to "The addition of the prefix apo intensifies the cone representing the actions of the simple verb as consummates finished, to die out, to expire, to become quite dead" (Dr. E.W. Bullinger's Lexicon). In John 8:52 we read: "Abraham is dead." (Abraham apethanen). Here, therefore, is fact one. Lazarus was literally and completely dead as was Abraham.

In the second place let us turn to Luke 8:52. There we read, "She is not dead" (Greek ouk apethanen). Here we had negative "not", which sets before us the exact opposite of the proposition made in John eleven. Here, therefore, is fact two. "She is not dead".

Now we find that many use the words of Luke 8:52 to deny or belittle the language of John 11:14, but by so doing they are making Christ contradict Christ, which is impossible. The third fact, therefore, which emerges, and which demands acceptance, is, that Lazarus was dead and the little maid was not; both statements must be, accepted, and neither contradicts the other.

In the fourth place, we are reminded that in both passages the word "sleep" occurs, and this is brought forward as a proof that Lazarus was not really dead. But when we "open the Book" and "search and see" we discover that this "proof" is based on the supposition that the Greek word for "sleep" in both passages is identical. This, however, is not the case:

"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth", Greek koimaomai (John 11:11).
"She is not dead, but sleepeth", Greek katheudo (Luke 8:52).

These two words represent two distinct thoughts; they are used with purpose, and recorded by inspiration of God. Those who desire the truth will adhere to the words that the Lord chose; those who wish otherwise will probably pay little or no attention to the essential difference between them. The word in John 11:11 is used in the passive and means "to fall asleep involuntarily", consequently it is used of death. The word in Luke 8:52 is active, and means "to compose oneself to sleep". A good illustration of the essential difference between the two words occurs in the first epistle to the Thessalonians. In 4:13-15 we read of them which "sleep", and these believers are spoken of as "them which sleep in Jesus" (verse fourteen) and "the dead in Christ" (verse sixteen). Moreover these are contrasted with those who are "alive and remain". In these passages the word consistently used is koimaomai, for this "sleep" means death.

In 1 Thessalonians five, however, katheudo is used, and not koimaomai:

"Let us not sleep as do others" (verse six).

"They that sleep, sleep in the night" (verse seven).

"Whether we wake or sleep" (verse ten).

Were the word "sleep" here synonymous with death, we should be able to restate verse six as follows: "Therefore let us not die as do others"! but, alas, we have no such option. The word "sleep" finds its synonym, not in death, but in "drunkenness", its contrast in being "sober".

The reader of the A.V. should remember that the words "watch" in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and "wake" in verse ten are the same. The original word is gregoreo, and is translated "be vigilant" once, "wake" once, "watch" twenty times, and "watchful" once; consequently 1 Thessalonians 5:10 should read, "Who died for us, that whether we be watchful or drowsy, we should live together with Him", although, of course, other Scriptures make it plain that the unwatchful believer may not be granted to "reign with Him", a doctrine not in view in the chapter before us.

Here, therefore, is fact number four; that two essentially different ideas are presented by the two different words translated "sleep" in Luke eight and John eleven, and must therefore not be confounded.

There is, however, one further statement in Luke's Gospel that demands attention. It is, "And her spirit came again" (Luke 8:55). It is to Mark's account of the raising of Jairus' daughter that we are indebted for the fact that on that occasion (Mark 5:41) the Saviour spoke Aramaic, not Greek, from which it is clear that her parents and those concerned were acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures, and familiar with its idiom. Having that in mind, let us refer to 1 Samuel 30:11,12 where we read:

"And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, HIS SPIRIT CAME AGAIN to him".

This passage proves that the expression in Luke 8:55 does not necessitate death.

We learn, therefore, that Lazarus was actually dead, whereas, while the family and friends of the little maid thought she was dead, they were mistaken. The word used of Lazarus meant "to fall asleep involuntarily", whereas the word used of the little maid meant "to sleep", not as the dead, but as those who were in a coma or heavy sleep.

Untrammelled by these subsidiary considerations we can now face the Scriptural fact that the dead are said to be "asleep". Even the heathen poets, of necessity well acquainted with their mother tongue, realized that the figure of sleep, as used of death, implied a subsequent awakening, and so we find them continually adding the epithets "perpetual", "eternal", "unawakened", "brazen", to the word "sleep", in order to exclude the idea of awakening natural to it. Estius says "sleeping is thus applied to men that are dead, and this because of the hope of resurrection; for we read no such thing of brutes". The early Christians rightly called their burying places koimeterion, "sleeping places", from which comes the English "cemetery" ".

To the believer who is prepared to accept whatever may be the teaching of the inspired Word, these passages are of themselves sufficient proof that in the Scriptures death is likened to sleep, and because the Scriptures are true, and no figure employed by them can be misleading, the two words "sleep and awaken", used to indicate "death and resurrection", leave no room for a conscious interval, where, it is taught, the disembodied dead are more alive than they were in life.

In order that no unexplained difficulty shall be permitted to becloud the issue, we can now return to John eleven.

"He whom Thou lovest is sick" (11:3).

"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified" (11:4).

We have already seen that Lazarus died, and the record of his burial follows. The words "not unto death" cannot therefore mean that our Saviour was mistaken. We may learn the intent behind these words by comparing them with another comment found in John:

"Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (9:2,3).

In this passage the Lord is not teaching that the man or his parents were the exceptions to the universal rule, and were sinless. He was indicating that this special calamity of blindness was allowed, or even planned, in order that, by the miracle of his healing, the works of God that set Him forth to be the Messiah, should be made manifest. So, also, the sickness of Lazarus, though it ended in actual death, had a greater purpose in it, namely the glorifying of God and of His Son. In verse fourteen of John eleven we read, "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead".

"Plainly" (parrhesia)-Four times this word occurs in John's Gospel as the translation of the Greek parrhesia, and in each case it is used in the explanation of a parable or proverb.

"If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly" (John 10:24).

"Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazar-us is dead" (11:14).

"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (16:25).

"His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb" (16:29).

In John 10:6, in allusion to the previous verses regarding the fold, the shepherd and the robber, this word paroimia, "proverb", is translated "parable". This "proverb" is then "plainly" stated in John 10:7-18. When, therefore, the Lord said "plainly", "Lazarus is dead", He was but explaining the meaning of the figure, the parable or proverb of "sleep".

The reader will probably be alive to the fact that death, conceived of as sleep from which there is no awakening until the resurrection, is so contrary to the teaching of many who have embraced the unscriptural teaching known as "the immortality of the soul", and its consequent sequel "the intermediate state" (with, incidentally, all the encouragement that such false teaching gives to "Spiritism" and other false doctrines), that so-called orthodoxy is obliged to stoop to the use of questionable methods in order to prevent the seeker after truth from finding it. Here, for instance, is a review of The Companion Bible, published in 1946:

COMPANION BIBLE, bearing no author's name, but well known to be the work of Dr. Bullinger, gives the A.V, very much that is helpful and of literary value. Had it contained only orthodox matter it would have been a valuable book of reference. We must add that only students or those grounded in the faith should handle, as references and notes abound with Dr. Bullinger's views of "soul sleep", "hell, the grave", "Prison Epistles" and other dangerous theories, especially in the appendices. Do not invest in this book" (the italics are the reviewer's) ....

The reader will observe the term "soul sleep". Dr. Bullinger repudiated the term, saying that he did not know what it meant. Anyone who knew the meaning of the word "soul" as taught by Scripture, would never use such an expression, but it is good enough to frighten the timid seeker.

The reader will, moreover, notice the appropriation of the title "orthodox" by those who thus criticize and condemn The Companion Bible. If we set out to discover what this "orthodoxy" is, and where its seat of authority is to be found, we shall be driven to the Bible and the Bible only.

Shall we say that orthodoxy is found only in that Church "by law established"? If so, then those whose criticisms have just been quoted will be found very unorthodox. Are Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists and Brethren orthodox? What would happen to such a company if one should follow the lead of Paul when he observed that one part of the Sanhedrin were Pharisees and one part Sadducees? What an exhibition of "orthodoxy" would follow a few questions directed to such an assembly! This appeal to so-called orthodoxy is a confession of weakness. Let all such come out plainly and appeal only and solely to the teaching of the Scriptures and the field will be cleared of cant.

We can well understand the fear of "orthodoxy" if an enquirer should turn to Appendix 13 of The Companion Bible. There the 754 occurrences of the Hebrew word nephesh are tabulated and analysed. In an introduction to this list Dr. Bullinger says:

"This Appendix will establish all the varieties of translation; and while it is not intended to teach either Theology or Psychology, it will give such information as will enable every Bible reader to form his own views and come to his own conclusions on an important subject, about which there is such great controversy".

It is such an exhibition of the facts that "orthodoxy" would smother with pious warnings. It is such Berean-like spirit that orthodoxy fears.

Orthodoxy has put many a saint of God to death, and those whose opinions we have cited would necessarily be obliged to class Tyndale among the heretics, for he says:

"I marvel that Paul did not comfort the Thessalonians with that doctrine if he had wist it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven in as great glory as the angels, show me what cause should be of the resurrection" (Tyndale).

Inasmuch as both the A.V. and the R.V., together with all translations and versions since the days of Tyndale, bear the impress of that man of God, the "orthodox" would be well advised to warn any but those who are "grounded in the faith" against reading the English Bible at all!

May the Lord ever keep us free from the blinding power of tradition, and ever lead us in our intentions to base all our doctrine squarely upon what is "written", leaving "orthodoxy" to its inglorious emulation of the Scribes and Pharisees who made void the Word of God that they might keep the tradition of the elders. The question arises upon examination of some of the occurrences of this figure of sleep, as to whether death in its widest sense is thus denominated, or whether "sleep" is reserved for those who die in the faith. If such a question be mooted, the rejoinder usually includes the many references in the O.T. to men, ostensibly unbelievers, and some very wicked indeed, who nevertheless at death are said to "sleep with their fathers". Let us, therefore, in a truly Berean spirit consider this matter, for there are serious consequences to any conclusion to which we may come.

Moses is the first concerning whom it is written "Thou shall sleep with thy fathers" (Deut. 31:16). Moses was a believer, and consequently this one reference is evidence that the term can be used of the redeemed. That it does not mean actual sepulchre is evident by the testimony of Deuteronomy, for the last chapter reveals that the Lord buried Moses in the land of Moab, "but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day", so the term "fathers" must not be unduly pressed.

The next who was told that he would sleep with his fathers, was David (2 Sam. 7:12), and in 1 Kings 2:10 we have the record, "And David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David". We find, however, that this same term is used of such evil men as Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Abijam, Baasha and other similar characters; these also are said to sleep with their fathers upon their decease, just in the same way and expressed in the same language as of Moses, David, Solomon and Hezekiah. Consider Baasha for example. He, like Moses, slept with his fathers, but it is written:

"Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat: and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat" (1 Kings 16:4), because this man followed in the evil ways of Jeroboam. It is time, therefore, to consult the original and to discover what Hebrew word is translated "sleep". That word is shakab, the primary meaning of which is "to lie down", by which it is translated over100 times. In common usage it may be preparatory to sleep, but the actual act and fact of sleep is not inherent in the word chosen. The Hebrew word shenah which does mean "sleep", is NEVER used in the phrase, "He slept with his fathers" which is strange if the conception that death can be likened to sleep is true of all men. Job uses this word when he says:

"Till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep" (Job 14:12),

but when the appointed time arrived he knew that he would awake:

"Thou shaft call, and I will answer thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands" (Job 14:15).

We turn now to the N.T. and discover that there are three words translated sleep, hupnos, which gives us the word "hypnosis", and "hypnotism", katheudo, and koimaomai. Hupnos occurs but six times. Three times in the Gospels (Matt. 1:24; Luke 9:32; John 11:13), twice in the Acts (Acts 20:9), and once in the epistles, where it is used for the first and last time in a figurative sense (Rom. 13:11). This word, therefore, need not detain us further here. Katheudo occurs twenty-one times, of which seventeen references are found in the Gospels, and four in the epistles. The references in the Gospels refer to ordinary physical sleep; the references in the epistles refer to culpable unwatchfulness, rather than the involuntary falling asleep in death.

"Awake thou that steepest" (Eph. 5:14).

"Let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:6,7,10).

Two references will call for consideration after the next Greek word is considered, namely Luke 8:52 and I Thessalonians 5:10, but they will be more clearly seen when the comparison with koimaomat has been made. This Greek word occurs eighteen times. Katheudo means to compose oneself to sleep, in contrast with koimaomai which means to fall asleep out of sheer weariness or under the hand of death.

"He found them sleeping for sorrow" (Luke 22:45).

"If her husband be dead" (1 Cor. 7:39).

"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (1 Cor. 11:30).

When the Lord assured the mourning family that the little girl "was not dead, but sleepeth", they laughed Him to scorn (Luke 8:52), but we believe His word implicitly and without debate. The word chosen by the Lord in this context was katheudo. The apparently parallel passage in John 11:11 "our friend Lazarus sleepeth" uses the word koimaomai, and whereas in Luke eight, the Lord said, "She is NOT DEAD", in John eleven, He said plainly, "Lazarus IS DEAD".

In 1 Thessalonians four and five the argument of the Apostle revolves around the figure of sleep, but with this difference. In chapter four, it is the involuntary sleep of death, whereas in chapter five it is the culpable sleepiness of the unwatchful. Let us observe the process of the two arguments:

"concerning them which are asleep (i.e. dead) . . .them also which sleep in Jesus (those that die in the Lord, no unwatchful believer is `unwatchful in Jesus') . . . We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep . . . the dead in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Here the reference is to those who, though believers, have fallen asleep in Christ, i.e. who have literally died, whereas in the next chapter koimaomai is excluded, and only katheudo is employed, the closing verse of the argument reading: "Who died for us, that, whether we are watchful" (gregoreo, same word "watch" in 1 Thessalonians 5;6, and so translated twenty-one times, once "be vigilant" which amounts to the same thing, and once, herein 1 Thessalonians 5:10 by "wake" which is -misleading), "Whether we are watchful or drowsy (katheudo not koimaomai as in 1 Thessalonians four) we should (in spite of this lack of faithfulness) live together with Him". In 2 Timothy 2:11-13 the difference between "living" and "reigning" with Christ is brought out, living with Him as in 1 Thessalonians 5:10 being solely dependent upon His death on our account, not upon our watchfulness, yet watchfulness is taken into consideration when the question of reward is before us.

"Saints" are said to "sleep" (Matt. 27:52); Lazarus is said to "sleep" (John 11:11); Stephen "fell asleep" (Acts 7:60); Christ is said to be the firstfruits of them that "slept" (1 Cor. 15:20); and believers are said to have "fallen asleep" in Christ (1 Cor. 15:18), but in all the range of this usage, whether in Gospels, Acts or Epistles, "to fall asleep" is never used to speak of the death of an unbeliever.

The Lord never says "Ye shall fall asleep in your sins", buy "ye shall die in your sins", for the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, but for those who believe in the Son of God, that sting has been removed. What is plain death to the ungodly is to fall asleep in Christ to the redeemed.

"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself, For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's" (Rom. 14:7,8).

Christ is the Lord both of the dead and the living. In Adam all die, but in Christ, the believer falls asleep-blessed difference indeed! The dead which die "in the Lord" are pronounced "blessed" (Rev. 14:13).

So far as our studies have led us, we find that "sleep" is not predicated of the ungodly in their death, but is reserved only for those who die "in the Lord".

Let us, therefore, use this blessed word with discretion, and value the priceless inferences that such a distinction must necessarily lead to.