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    DIRECT TESTIMONY FOR THE SLEEP OF THE DEAD

    We have now cleared the field of all objections; and the text which we at first brought forward as a plain enunciation of the truth that “the dead know not anything,” holds its sway without a rival. It stands like an unshaken monument on which the Holy Spirit has inscribed its mind, and given us a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” This alone is sufficient for a final settlement of this controversy. But we cannot pass unnoticed the troops of texts which rapidly cluster, like a valiant body-guard, around it.MOI 68.1

    a. Genesis 3:19. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” This was God’s sentence upon Adam. The moral, responsible, intelligent Adam, is here addressed, the one that had sinned, and that Adam was remanded back to the dust, from whence he was taken. No part is here exempted for consciousness in death.MOI 68.2

    b. Deuteronomy 31:16. “Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers.” These were the words of the Lord to Moses. When the Bible speaks of a man in life, we understand that it means the whole rational, intelligent man; and we do not believe when it speaks of the same individual in death, that the language suddenly changes its meaning and refers only to the body, leaving the soul, the man proper, to fly off unnoticed to a higher state of activity and conscious being. Mark, then, that it is the Moses that lived, that was sentenced to sleep with his fathers. See, also, 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 2:10, etc.MOI 68.3

    c. Job 3:11-19. Job here testifies that could he have died in earliest infancy, he had been at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves, etc.; “as a hidden, untimely birth,” to quote his own language, “I had not been.” Such is the condition Job declares the dead to be in. We imagine that none will contend for much consciousness here, except those who believe in the pre-existence of the human soul, as well as its life after death.MOI 68.4

    d. Job 10:21, 22. Speaking of death, Job says, “Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; a land of darkness as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” This is the place to which Job was going. But Job was a righteous man, and must have gone, according to general belief, directly to Heaven. Is this a description of Heaven?MOI 69.1

    e. Job 14:10-12. Job here asks the direct question, “Man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost and where is he?” The very point we want to know, Job. Then, might the venerable patriarch reply, Mark well my answer! “As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” No plainer testimony can be needed, that, till the heavens be no more, or are “rolled together as a scroll,” and the resurrection of the dead takes place, those who have fallen in death shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep.MOI 69.2

    f. Verse 21. “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not.” What? Don’t a dead man know more than all the living? Has not his soul opened into an unbounded field of consciousness? Is he not permitted to be the guardian of his friends? Scarcely. For his sons come to honor, an event so well calculated to please him, and he knows nothing of it: they are brought low, an event calculated to grieve him, and he knows nothing of that; for he is gone to that place where, says another scripture, there is no knowledge.MOI 69.3

    g. Job 17:13-16. “If I wait the grave is mine house.” Job had told us in chap 14:14, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come.” Now he says, “If I wait the grave is mine house.” The change referred to, then, must be the resurrection; and what his condition would be till that time, he tells us in the following language: “I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister, ... when our rest together is in the dust.”MOI 69.4

    h. Psalm 6:5. “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” A positive declaration, on which comment is unnecessary.MOI 70.1

    i. Psalm 88:10. “Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee?” Certainly, if they are in Heaven. But here is a declaration put in the interrogative form, to express the strongest possible denial of any such condition in death.MOI 70.2

    j. Psalm 115:17. “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Would the theology of our day speak thus of the dead? Let its funeral sermons answer. But we say, Let God be true, though at the expense of all men-made creeds, and traditionary dogmas.MOI 70.3

    k. Psalm 146:3, 4. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” What kind of consciousness is it supposed a man could keep up without thoughts? But in the very day of his death his thoughts perish.MOI 70.4

    l. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10. “For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also, their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished, neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” 1Our friends who believe in the immortality of the soul, will not, of course, refer such testimony as this, and also some before quoted, to the body merely, for let them remember that they do not regard the body, in itself considered, as knowing anything in this life; and it is the same thing that has knowledge in this life, that knows not anything in death. Comment unnecessary.MOI 70.5

    m. Isaiah 26:19. “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Is it possible that the phraseology of this text can be misunderstood? It speaks of dead men’s again living, dead bodies’ arising, and the earth’s casting out the dead. And the life-giving command is addressed to them thus: “Awake and sing.” Who? Ye who are already conscious, basking in the bliss of Heaven, and alive with the praises of God? No; but, “Ye who dwell in dust;” ye who are in your graves; ye who sleep. If all those who are dead are conscious, this language can have no application whatever.MOI 71.1

    n. Isaiah 38:18, 19. “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” Such is the plain, unequivocal testimony of good king Hezekiah. God had in mercy added to his life fifteen years; and in his song of thanksgiving he thus tells us why he rejoiced: it was because in the grave he could not praise him, as he desired to do; for the living alone could praise him as he did that day. Contrast this with the sentiment of the hymns which enter into divine worship at the present day:MOI 71.2

    “I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath; And when my voice is lost in death, Praise shall employ my nobler powers.”MOI 72.1

    Hezekiah, it seems, thought differently; and now, reader, which do you prefer, the imagination of the poet, or the inspiration of Isaiah?MOI 72.2

    o. Daniel 12:2. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” etc. They are not sleeping in the dust of the earth if they are in Heaven; and if the resurrection is simply the coming back of the soul, the man proper, to resume the old body, this language is a very improper description of such an event.MOI 72.3

    p. Hosea 13:14. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death.” Where is the necessity of this, or who would wish to be thus redeemed, if death is, as we are told, “but the gate to endless joy?”MOI 72.4

    q. Matthew 27:52. “And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.” Not bodies of the saints which were in Heaven.MOI 72.5

    r. John 5:28, 29. “The hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” But there are none there, says popular theology. It will be vain to endeavor to apply this language to the body merely; for is hearing an attribute of the body when the soul has departed?MOI 72.6

    s. John 7:34. “Ye shall seek me and shall not find me; and where I am thither ye cannot come.” This was the language of Jesus when speaking of going to his Father. Should any say that this was addressed to the wicked Jews, who would not, of course, go to Heaven to be with Jesus when they died, we reply, that he said the same to his disciples, also. Chap 13:33.MOI 72.7

    t. John 11:11-14, etc. Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death.” Read the whole account: it speaks of anything but a conscious state in death. And in the account of the raising of Lazarus, verse 44, it is said, “And he that was dead, came forth,” etc.MOI 72.8

    u. Acts 2:29, 34. “Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. For David is not ascended into the heavens.” What? Do not the souls of the righteous mount up to God and glory the instant they are liberated by death from this “mortal coil?” And who more likely to do this than David, a man after God’s own heart? But no; such is not the teaching of the infallible oracle. David in the days of Peter had not ascended into Heaven. Where was he? Chap 13:36, answers: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption.”MOI 73.1

    v. Acts 7:60. “And when he [Stephen] had said thus, he (went to Heaven, to Jesus whom he had seen standing on the right hand of God? No; but) fell asleep.”MOI 73.2

    w. 1 Corinthians 15:20. “But now is Christ risen and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” See also, verse 51: “We shall not all sleep,” etc., language entirely incompatible with the idea of consciousness in death.MOI 73.3

    x. 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” We have had occasion to notice this scripture once before, and shall refer to it again. We quote it here simply to show that the dead are represented as asleep. y. 2 Peter 2:9. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” This testimony shows that the unjust do not enter into a place of punishment at death, but are reserved to the day of judgment. Where are they reserved? Answer. In the general receptacle of the dead, the grave. See Job 21:30.MOI 73.4

    z. Revelation 20:5. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” By this first resurrection a portion of the dead are restored to life, consciousness, and activity, while it is said of those whose condition is not affected by this resurrection, that they lived not for a thousand years. This proves that up to the time of this resurrection, all the dead were in a condition just the opposite of life - a condition in which it might be said of them that they “lived not.” And this, mark, is spoken of the whole conscious being, not of the body merely. No language could more positively show that in death the whole person is in a state just the opposite of life.MOI 74.1

    We have now introduced twenty-six positive scriptures for unconsciousness in death, answering text for text to those which are considered as objections to this view. We trust that those which are so considered have been shown to be no objections, while the import of these direct proof texts no sophistry can evade. The testimony on this point is well summed up by Bishop Law, as follows: “I proceed to consider what account the Scriptures give of that state to which death reduces us. And this we find represented by sleep; by a negation of all life, thought, or action; by rest, resting-place, or home, silence, oblivion, darkness, destruction, or corruption.”MOI 74.2

    Can the reader longer hesitate to which view to give his adherence? Can he longer doubt upon which side the testimony of the Bible stands? Let him also note the nature of the evidence. On one side we have plain and positive testimony, language which cannot be mistaken not turned from its literal meaning; on the other side we have figures and inferences, none of them necessary, most of them far-fetched and inapplicable. Let the reader who is disposed to give this subject a thorough examination, notice this peculiarity. And let the matter be reversed. Let the believer in the popular theory imagine for a moment the testimony on his side which we have on ours; let him imagine that he could find a few texts reading like this: “The dead know more than all the living,” - “when a man dies his thoughts do not perish,” - “his love and his hatred, etc., do not cease,” - “into the grave nothing but the body goes,” etc., and we would ask him if, candidly and sincerely, he would not feel much better with a few such texts on his side than he does at present. But there is another great doctrine of the word of God which amounts to the most positive evidence upon this point, and that is,MOI 74.3

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