Revelation 6:9-11 – Are the Dead Ones’ Souls Sleeping?
There is much Bible evidence to demonstrate that the soul is entirely conscious in the after-death state. One of the biblical contexts which sheds light on this subject is Revelation 6:9-11. Read this narrative very carefully
“And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And there was given them to each one a white robe; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, who should be killed even as they were, should have fulfilled their course.”
Note the following facts:
John sees the “souls” of those killed for the cause of Christ under the altar of God. These persons are martyrs, hence their slain bodies
-which have been buried, burned, fed to animals, thrown into the sea, etc. - remain upon the earth. And yet they, as souls, are existing in the presence of God. There is a soul that exists independent of the human body!
Regarding these souls, scripture and logic indicate:
(1) They are vocal — they cry out to God.
(2) They are intellectually curious — they desire to know how long persecution will continue.
(3) These souls have memory — they recall earth’s bloody circumstances.
(4) They are morally sensitive — they believe that the wicked who persecute God’s righteous cause on earth should be punished.
(5) They are capable of receiving blessings —each is given a white robe.
(6) They are able to comprehend admonition — they are told to be patient and rest until the divine plan is fulfilled.
This context is a death blow to the doctrine of materialism, and its kindred dogma of soul-sleeping.
Make notes in the margin of your Bible reflecting these observations.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.