Bible Q&A: Are Our Deceased Loved Ones Aware of Those They’ve Left Behind?

Do our loved ones who’ve gone on rest only? Are they aware of those they’ve left behind?

Death is often referred to as “sleep” in the Bible (Matt. 27:52-53; John 11:11-13; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor. 15:6, 18, 20; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 2 Pet. 3:4).  

“Sleep” is a euphemistic metaphor for death.  It shouldn’t be taken to mean that death brings about an end to all consciousness, in which the soul or spirit is “dormant” in the sense of hibernation or unconsciousness.  Otherwise, Abraham and the rich man wouldn’t have been able to communicate after death.  Death is like sleep in that it brings about a cessation of activity, a season of rest and repose for those who are saved and in Paradise but not for those who are unsaved (2 Cor. 5:10-11a).

Those who have passed on are very much aware of those whom they’ve left behind as well as the memories of what happened in this life (cf. Luke 16:25, 27-31; 1 Sam. 28:15-18).

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