In the first chapter of Philippians Paul expresses his desire to “depart.” Since he’s in prison and faced possible martyrdom, we can assume that referred to dying. He writes, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” He knew that he had a purpose in life, and if God desired to keep him here on earth, God’s had more for him to do. Yet, he’d rather go be with the Lord. When a believer dies, he or she will immediately be in the presence of Christ. The soul does not go to sleep until the physical resurrection. There is no such thing as “soul sleep.”

The body sleeps. As a matter of fact the early church coined the term “cemetery” from the Greek word for “Inn.” It describes the place where strangers would stop for a temporary rest before continuing on their way to their ultimate destination. The body is put to rest in a cemetery until the final resurrection when the soul and body will be reunited as a unit once again. Moller rightly adds, “Thus this resurrection does not only imply the soul’s continuation after death. Man in his totality, spirit, soul and body, rises from the dead. Other religions have a teaching of life after death, but not of a resurrection as taught by the Bible. In most cases, the body is seen as a prison from which the soul must be delivered after death. “This is a unique Christian doctrine.

in 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul also said that he’d much rather be absent from the body and present with the Lord.” I don’t think this is a death wish, or an exclamation of on how Paul was fed up with life and wanted to get out of it. Paul did not struggle with suicidal tendencies. He was absolutely certain that death was not the end of all things. He was convinced that there was life after life. As a matter of fact, I believe Paul was convinced that death brings the believer into a much fuller, richer and more abundant life. It’s a life that’s lived in the very presence of the Lord. If you are a believer, the Bible promises you that the instant you leave this body, you will enter paradise to begin eternity with Jesus. Just as Jesus said to the thief on the cross, so too he speaks to us. “This day you will be with me in Paradise!” At the resurrection your body and soul will be reunited to live forever with the Lord.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55