Lesson 61

Awakening

"All were weeping and bewailing her; but He said, Do not weep,
for she is not dead but sleeping. And they laughed Him
to scorn, knowing well that she was dead."
Luke 8:52, 53 (Amplified Bible)

Jairus’ only daughter, a girl of about twelve, had died. Jesus assured Jairus and the people gathered around that the child was only "asleep." He took her hand and she awakened!

When the brother of Mary and Martha died, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep." Yet Jesus waited four days before awakening him—his body had already started to decay! (John 11:11-14 New International Version).

It is interesting to note that Lazarus (and the others) said nothing about where they were or what they felt during the time that they were dead. Surely they could have described a beautiful heavenly home if they had been there, or tried to warn others if they had been in a fiery hell.

David is said to have slept with his fathers (1 Kings 2:10). In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 Paul speaks of those who have "fallen asleep" in death. The word sleep has long been used to describe the death condition. Abraham "slept" with his fathers who were heathen.

While death and sleep are not exactly alike, yet they are much the same. When you are asleep you know nothing of what is happening around you. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 and Psalm 146:4 describe death in just that way.

When a man or beast loses the breath of life he is dead. It is a condition of quietness or unconsciousness—it is the absence of life. Mankind was promised an awakening from the sleep of death in the resurrection. Life on the human plane was lost in Eden but will be restored in the next age (Luke 19:10).

Jesus awakened only a very few of those who died. This was to illustrate the resurrection in the Millennial Age which will last forever, if man is obedient to God’s laws.

We see then that when people die they are not alive anywhere—they are "asleep in Jesus" in the sense that he is their promised Savior and Redeemer whose sacrifice (the ransom) provided a way for their future awakening (Daniel 12:2). What a wonderful promise!

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