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When we die, are we conscious or are we sleeping?

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.  John 11:11-13

            Sometimes the Bible uses the term “sleep” to talk about death and since we aren’t conscious when we sleep we think that means we are unconscious when we die.  Even Jesus’ disciples got confused.

            Actually we are conscious when we sleep, but just in a different state of consciousness.  That is very similar to death.

            The term “sleep” seems to describe more accurately the way a body looks when it’s dead.  Unless we’re snoring at night, we can look pretty dead.  We even use the term “dead tired.”

            But we are also conscious when we die.  The story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16) involves two dead people talking about their situation and what they know and understand.  Revelation talks a lot about the dead and what they are doing (usually praising God).

            Even though we are dead, there will be a time when our body will wake up, newly resurrected.

            Jesus will be our wake up call.