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Death is an ominous subject to discuss to those who have no hope in the LORD. But unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).

Death is not definied by the mere cessation of physical life; rather, it is defined as a separation to which something is attached to. The Holy Spirit through James wrote that the *body* without the *spirit* is "dead" -- as *faith* without *works* is "dead" (Jas. 2:19, 26). Both Body/Spirit and Faith/Works are complementary, and one without the other will not function in the truest sense (cf. Ezek. 37:1-14). The Spirit body which the Lord will give us will be fashioned in such a way that our Spirit will be joined together to our body and will be ONE in the most absolute definition of the biblical word in oneness and in unity; and there will NEVER be a separation between the two as the Spirit of God is inextricably linked to us in the most absolute sense of the word for all of Eternity. We have eternal life NOW even as we breath through our lungs to when we exhale our spirit at the moment we breathe our last breath (cf. Matt. 27:50).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, [he will never see death]. (John 8:51)

But he, [being FULL of the Holy Ghost], looked up steadfastly into heaven, and SAW the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 8:55)

As we can clearly see in the above passages, that Stephen NEVER, not even for a microsecond, had been left alone or forsaken by God (*death* "separation from God")  -- even at the very moment of his death. This is a PROMISE from God to us! We MAY experience some momentary pain (note: I do not believe that all *Martyrs* experience pain at the time of their death as they are comforted by God in the most absolute meaning of the word -- cf. Acts 8:59; 2 Cor. 1:3-5; Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14). A co-worker of mine had discussed with me about her mother who had seen angels waiting to escort her to the Paradise of God the seconds before she had passed on. 

A good name is better than precious ointment; and [the day of death] than the day of one's birth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

For to me to live is Christ, and [to die is gain]. For I am in a straight betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. (Philippians 1:21,23)

Our desire -- to be with Christ on the one hand but to carry out the mission we have been given on the other -- should be right on the money. We don't know what is best for us because of the same reasoning I've espoused and what Paul says above. That is why we pray to our Father in heaven every day, "Thy will be done!"

God Bless!

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I wanted to add that some may argue that you cannot defend or refute a doctrine based upon one verse alone . . . but I believe that I can. As quoted above: Jesus said, "if a man keep my saying, he will NEVER see death." The contextual meaning of "death" as mentioned by Jesus Himself is *spiritual death* -- or separation from God. Hence, the false doctrine of *soul sleep* is utterly refuted because it teaches that the soul "sleeps" (in an unconscious state) UNTIL it is reunited with the new body that the LORD gives at the resurrection of the justified. There is NEVER a separation ("death") between us and Christ as mentioned by Jesus Himself. The apostle Paul says, "to die is gain." (Phil.1:21).  Let's say hypothetically that soul-sleep is indeed a true doctrine; the soul will be united with the body in an instant even if the soul were to be in an intermediate state. An example woule be similar to surgery as we are rendered unconscious until the surgery is complete; and it will seem like an instant even if many hours were to pass. But as I stated above . . . soul sleep is a false doctrine and doesn't give the assurance of being with Christ and to never experience separation -- even between the moment we transition from this life here on Earth to the presence of God in our interim bodies awaiting our glorified bodies. So as to where bible teachers come up with soul sleep . . . it must be in the "white spaces" between the words.

God Bless!

Edited by (Omega)

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