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Those Who Are Asleep
The death of believers is often compared to sleep (Matt. 27:52; John 11:11–13; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor. 7:39; 15:6, 18; cf. “rest from their labors,” Rev. 14:13). The expression is based on Old Testament terminology with reference to death (Gen. 47:30; 2 Sam. 7:12). The comparison of death to sleep is particularly appropriate in implying not only rest from labor but also the glorious awakening which believers expect on the other side. This falling asleep does not indicate an intermediate state of unconscious repose (soul-sleep). Though the soul is asleep to the world which it has left (Job 7:9, 10; Is. 63:16; Eccl. 9:6), it is awake with respect to its own world (Luke 16:19–31; 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21–23; Rev. 7:15–17; 20:4). For other beautiful and comforting words and phrases describing the death of believers see below. John 11:11–13
11 After saying these things, he said to them, " Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." 12 The disciples said to him, " Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.