The intermediate state is the state of the human soul between death and the resurrection. Scripture represents the intermediate state as provisional, constituting neither the ultimate bliss of the saved nor the ultimate doom of the lost. It forms, in effect, a transition between life within history and the ultimate life in eternity. But this basic fact is often ignored and the intermediate state of the Christian dead is spoken of in terms Scripture reserves for the life after resurrection.

State Of Quiet Consciousness

All theories of “soul sleep” are excluded by the plain teachings of Scripture. The term “sleep,” as a description of death, is used in the case of Christians only. It refers either to the rest of the body after death, or is used metaphorically of the soul to imply a state of peaceful rest. Scripture is clear that consciousness continues after death; “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). As we are conscious of the body’s presence in this life, we shall be conscious of the Lord’s presence in the intermediate state. That the intermediate state of the redeemed is a state of quiet rest is shown by Rev. 14:13 (“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord … that they may rest from their labors.…”) The same context says of the wicked: “they have no rest day nor night …” (14:11).

It is only through the instrumentality of the body that man is in touch with the earthly environment—the realm of nature and the world of human society. In the abnormal state of not having a body, the connection cannot exist. Whatever of objective reality there may be in spiritism, it cannot involve a real communication between the dead and the living. If the debated case of Saul at Endor involved a real appearing ...

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