Analysing Ecclesiastes 9:5 by Jefferson Vann
I quote " Nichols listed the verse among eight Old Testament texts which uphold “the conclusion that death is a condition best described as sleep.”
Here are those eight texts in modern versions:
“If (the dead person’s) sons are honored, he does not know it; if they are brought low, he does not see it” (Job 14:21 NET).
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV).
“For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave?” (Psalm 6:5 NLT).
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead do not know anything. They no longer have a reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 LEB).
“For Sheol cannot thank you; Death cannot praise you. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:18 HCSB).
“The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave” (Psalm 115:17 NLT).
“His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4 NASB).
“Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? … Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?” (Psalm 88:10-12 NLT).
The point of all these Old Testament saints is that they are seeking a resurrection because death is not the answer to their problems. It may not be the end of all existence, but it is not the eternal life which we all seek. There is hope beyond death, but not in it.
But many modern Christians stare that evidence in the face and then choose to walk away from it. They choose the doctrine of humanity that some in the early church borrowed from their teachers of Greek philosophy. That doctrine taught that death really is the answer to our problems – that we don’t need a resurrection because some part of us will continue to think and praise God in the intermediate state. Popular theology seems content with a combination of the resurrection to eternal life that the Bible teaches, and the continued conscious life that Plato taught.
Fudge has pointed out that this marriage of doctrines has not produced an altogether unified Christianity. He states that “some orthodox writers have continued to affirm the immortality of the soul, though often with a look over their shoulder, (because) many others have charged that the doctrine has serious deficiencies.” He argues that this “uneasiness within the orthodox ranks” cannot be solved by affirming or denying a doctrine. In the end, “the issue really becomes a matter of exegesis.”
Such will be the case only if theologians on both sides of the divide are willing to carefully examine the texts of Scripture about which we disagree. Ecclesiastes 9:5 can serve as an example. Rather than simply offering this text as a proof of our view, conditionalists need to present a careful analysis of the text, offering evidence that it does support the concept of an unconscious intermediate state for all prior to a resurrection."
This is so well-written, in my opinion. Not one extraneous word. Are you expecting to see (or promote) this new movie in NZ?
Originally Posted by Mumof8
There are multiple passages that show the dead are conscious after death.
Matthew 12:40 (Jonah 2) – Jonah spoke as one from hell who was dead.
Matthew 17:2-3 – Moses and Elias were talking with Jesus after their death.
Matthew 22:31-32 – Abraham was dead, but still living.
Luke 16:19-31 – Jesus tells the story of dead people speaking in hell. (Some wrongly think this is a parable. It is not. If soul sleep were true then the story is not only false, but the Lord is misleading his hearers as to what is real. This is significant evidence that the dead are not only conscious but can speak and feel.)
Luke 23:43 – Jesus says the malefactor will be in paradise with him “today”.
1 Thessalonians 5:10 – Whether they wake or sleep they live with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 – Paul explains that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 – Paul describes someone who heard things possibly out of his body.
Philippians 1:23 – Paul says that he would depart to be with Christ, not unconscious.
Revelation 6:9-11 – The soul is dead and is crying out to God.
Many of the concepts below are misunderstood, denied, or ignored by those who teach the unconscious dead.
Death does not mean unconsciousness, but rather separation. The only time it means cessation of activity is when it applies to the body.
Body is not the soul; soul is not the body; spirit is not the soul.
Sleep never refers to the soul or spirit. It only applies to the body.
Man does not exist only in his body.
To arrive at a belief in the unconscious state of the dead the wrong methods below must be used. Doctrines that rely on spiritualization and other languages do not provide a strong defense.
Spiritualization is used to deny the literal meaning of many passages. Luke 16 is the most abused in this way.
Language games are used to remove the English words (which do not provide evidence) and replace them with more ambiguous Greek and Hebrew.
There are serious practical consequences of the doctrine of the unconscious dead.
It removes the comfort from the verses which speak to those facing death.
The manipulated definitions used to support soul sleep have been used as a defense of annihilationism, no-hell, or universalism.
The methods used to teach it can establish a negative pattern for spiritualizing other significant doctrinal passages.
It engenders a doubtful approach to our Bible translations, perpetuating the idea that “the Greek word says” carries more weight than “the word of God says”.