Death is one of those subjects that many people reframe from talking about and it is no different in religious circles. The thought of dying is a difficult pill to swallow for many people and as such people have created doctrines to make people feel better about the idea of dying. Religion has created a monopoly on death because of these doctrines that teach that death is not really death. Now we have doctrines about this so called “after life” when there is absolutely zero biblical evidence to support it but Christians have embraced it because of the natural inclination to want to win. Well, there’s no glory in winning unless there are losers so that is where the whole heaven vs. hell idea originated from. In this video by Mr. Allen Parr, he attempts to back up the heresy of believers dying and going to heaven there are many scriptures that contradict that belief. Mr. Parr is adamant that he doesn’t support the teaching of soul sleep but let’s explore the scriptures and see if we can reconcile this matter.
What is soul sleep? Soul sleep is a biblical ideology that suggests that the soul is sleep in the grave at death and is no longer conscious in any way. Many people disagree with this idea because it contradicts the belief in dying and going directly to heaven to be with the Lord. That’s not what the bible teaches. Death is likened as sleep in the bible because of it’s parallel to the resurrection. When we go to sleep at night, we are at rest until we wake up in the morning and then rise up out of our beds. When we die, we are rest in our graves until we rise in the resurrection. Read John 11:1-27 as Jesus clearly links sleep to death and death to the resurrection.
He stated in reference to death that the body is sleeping but the soul is not but human beings do not have a soul, humans ARE SOULS!
Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Was man given a living soul or did he become a living soul? When did man become a living soul? It was after God formed his body then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The word “soul” comes from the Hebrew word “nep̄eš” and it can also be translated as creature, life, or person. There are scriptures where “nep̄eš” is translated as each of these words and I will show you.
Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living (creatures) – the same Hebrew word translated as soul – “nep̄eš”) , and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
Deuteronomy 27:25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent (person) – the same Hebrew word translated as soul – “nep̄eš”).’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
Leviticus 17:11 For the (life) – the same Hebrew word translated as soul – “nep̄eš”) of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your (souls – “nep̄eš”); for it is the blood that makes atonement for the (soul.- “nep̄eš”’).
This proves that in biblical usage the Hebrew word “nep̄eš” is used interchangeably as the word soul, life, creature and person. We do not possess a life we are a life. If someone takes your life YOU will be dead. We do not possess a creature we are creatures, living creatures to be exact. We do not possess a person we are persons. And lastly, we do not possess a soul, we are souls.
The usage of Genesis 15:15 to justify a separation between soul and body was just disgraceful.
Genesis 15:15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
Notice in the video on how he changes the “YOU” to soul when trying to explain this scripture. Then he also changes the last “YOU” to just the body. This is adding to and changing the Word of God. There was only one Abram and it was the same Abram that went to he grave with his ancestors AND was also buried at a good old age (live a good long life). This is all the same Abram. His soul didn’t go somewhere else while just his body was just buried. This man is clearly looking for scriptures that he thinks justifies the doctrines he believes.
Mr. Parr seems to believe that Abram’s fathers (or ancestors) are alive somewhere and that his soul would join them while only his body is buried. This is not what happens at death. Where are Abram’s ancestors? They are dead and in the grave. Are the alive in the grave? The Old Testament uses the word “sheol” to describe the place of the dead and this is what the bible says about sheol.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work (action or activity) or device (reasoning) or knowledge (awareness or to know; perception) or wisdom (skill or shrewdness) in the grave (SHEOL) where YOU are going.
Is sheol a real place? Does it have a literal location? Yes there are literal graves but sheol is describing the state of one’s condition which at death means to be non-existent. Where were you before you was born? You weren’t anywhere because you didn’t exist yet. You wasn’t born yet and the name that the bible gives to identify the state of being non-existent is SHEOL. We all go to sheol at death but we don’t literally go there because it’s not a literal place. If someone builds a house and it then burns down, the house no longer exists.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Abram did not go to God. He died and went to the same place his ancestors went to which was sheol but notice the beginning of Genesis 15:15… “Now as for you”. Why did God say that? He said that because He had just declared to Abram that his descendants would suffer affliction for 400 years but God spared Abram from the judgment to come because He accounted his belief as righteousness.
Mr. Parr then goes to Genesis 25:8 with a more absurd interpretation that he thinks justifies his position;
Genesis 25:8 and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death.
Read what the scripture is actually saying… Abraham DIED and before he DIED, he LIVED a long and satisfying life. He took his last breath and then joined his ancestors IN DEATH! Does the bible liken death as sleep ever?
Psalm 13:3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the SLEEP OF DEATH;
It is clear from the scripture that Abraham joined his ancestors in DEATH and death is likened as sleep. The dead are in the grave (sleep) awaiting the resurrection.
Daniel 12:2 And many of those who SLEEP in the dust of the earth SHALL AWAKE, Some to
everlasting (age-abiding) life, Some to shame and everlasting (age-lasting) contempt.
How can you awake if you are already alive in some other location having a reunion with your ancestors? Ecclesiastes 9:5 says the dead know nothing… These scriptures are in the bible too and it seems to often the Christianity ignores the scriptures that contradict their doctrines. It makes total sense that Abraham would join his ancestors in death because that’s what happens to all of us. We all die and go to the grave but Mr. Parr seems to think that Abraham has been reunited with his ancestors in a place of bliss. Is that scriptural or traditional?
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, NOT having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Who are the “these” that all died in faith? Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the other prophets. Read the whole chapter of Hebrews 11 and tell me that any of “these” received a reward in some way or “bliss” as Mr. Parr describes it? This is not what the scriptures tell us. It is repeated again in verse 39;
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, DID NOT receive the promise,
Why did they not receive the promise? Because being dead really means being dead and there is no reward after death prior to the resurrection of the dead.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Can the scriptures be anymore clearer than this? This notion that the “soul” of a man is separated from his body that can exist without a body is totally unscriptural. These so called Christian teachers should be ashamed of themselves for distorting the Word of God to fit the church’s agenda. Mr. Parr seemingly has not the slightest clue how scripture uses poetic language and metaphorical statements to convey it’s message. He then quotes Genesis 35:29 that states that Isaac was “gathered unto his people” when he died. The interesting point here is that Mr. Parr along with many other Christians and Christians teachers ignore the dozens of other scriptures that contradict what the church teachers. He doesn’t understand that “gathered unto his people” is just a figurative poetic way of saying that he joined ancestors in death. If death really means death then there is no reason to believe or suggest that Abraham, Isaac or any of the other prophets are really alive somewhere else. Consider the words of Christ regarding this matter;
Matthew 22:31-32 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
God is the not the God of the dead but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead. How can God be the God of someone that’s dead? Do you see now that there is no possible way that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were really alive somewhere else? They were dead and even the Pharisees knew that…
John 8:52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’
If the Jews understood that being dead really means the opposite of being alive and that their “father” was in fact dead, why does Mr. Parr continue to purport that the Old Testament saints didn’t cosign to the belief that the dead are “asleep” in the grave? Let me make one point here because Mr. Parr made a statement comparing soul sleep to being unconscious. A person can be unconscious and still be alive but a dead person has no consciousness at all. Soul sleep is just a metaphor and a picture pointing to the resurrection of the dead.
Mr. Parr then continues to defend his heresy by quoting Isaiah 8:19 to justify God’s command for his people not to communicate with the dead. Mr. Parr is not wrong here because God does command his people not to communicate with the dead but that is not what Isaiah 8:19 is saying;
Isaiah 8:19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
I think it’s interesting initially that he only quotes half of a verse but the rest of the scripture helps with understanding. The point is that people should seek help or guidance from their God and not from the dead. What can the dead tell the living or what can the dead do for the living? This is absurd. Remember that Mr. Parr believes that the soul is still alive at death and that communication with the dead is possible. He believes the same thing as the people do as it discussed in Isaiah 8 but what does God say in verse 11?
Isaiah 8:11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:
What is God warning? Not to walk (live, believe) in the way of the people of that land which included believing that one can communicate with the dead. This is an abomination!
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.
Mr. Parr doesn’t even realize that he is following in the ways (communication with the dead) of those heathen nations (nations that knew not God) which God calls and abomination. Why anyone would look to the behavior from heathen nations to justify a doctrine is just beyond me but this is what Christian teachers are teaching. It is an abomination!
The next passage of scripture that Mr. Parr quotes comes from the text in the book of Matthew regarding transfiguration of Jesus;
Matthew 17:1-4 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials — one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
The one thing that I find to be extremely troubling is that Mr. Parr in a paradoxical way believes that scripture can somehow contradict scripture. The scripture doesn’t exist for us to use to justify our beliefs and traditions. Scripture must reconcile with itself and that is what Mr. Parr has failed to do. According to this passage of scripture, it does appear that Peter, James, and John physically saw Moses and Elijah with Christ in His glory but has Christ been glorified yet? No, of course He wasn’t glorified yet but Jesus then goes on to clearly explain to the disciples what they had experienced in verse 9;
Matthew 17:9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the “VISION” to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”
This was a vision from God and in no way does this illustrate that Moses and Elijah were alive or had already experienced a resurrection.
The next verse that Mr. Parr quotes comes from Luke 23:43;
Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Mr. Parr’s first assumption is that what is traditionally accepted within all of Christianity and it is that thief died on that day and was with Jesus in paradise on that day. Now, I have already talked about grammar and punctuation errors before because the original Greek manuscripts did not have punctuation such as commas and quotation marks. The insertion of the comma does change the interpretation and Mr. Parr touches on this for a little but but he once again fails to be scripturally consistent choosing to cling to his own traditional beliefs instead of letting the Word of God speak for itself. Let’s take out the comma in Luke 23:43;
Luke 23:43 And he said to him, Truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that Jesus could’ve just been telling the truth to the thief on the cross on that day? It might seem to be an unnecessary way to communicate with someone but that doesn’t make it untrue. Revelation 12:9 tells us the the devil deceives the whole world but how would he be able to do that if there wasn’t a lot of room for deception? Remember that God creates evil (Isaiah 45:7) and He also uses lying spirits to accomplish His will (1 Kings 22:23). It’s not a far cry to believe that Jesus already knew that His words would be twisted and distorted by modern day Christians. Let’s consider all of the implications here…
Did Jesus go to paradise on that day? No, Jesus died on that day and where do dead people go? In the Old Testament the place of the dead was called Sheol but in the New Testament, the Greek word for grave is Hades… Jesus went to Hades on that day!
Acts 2:27 For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
This scripture was written by King David concerning himself but this was a spiritual picture pointing to Christ;
Acts 2:30-32 So because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses.
If Jesus went to paradise on that day how could God raise Him up (from the dead – Hades)? You have to be really dead to suffer decay and God rose him up before decay sets in. This clearly establishes the fact that Jesus was simply telling the thief on that day the promise that he would be with Him in paradise whenever that day should arrive. If Jesus went to paradise on the day of His death, would that not imply that He was in paradise with God? Wouldn’t that imply that He would have ascended to His Father in “paradise”? That is what Mr. Parr seems to be suggesting but look at what Christ says in John 20:17;
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Jesus said this AFTER He was had been resurrected from the dead so this is just another indication that Jesus didn’t go to paradise nor had he been glorified yet. Mr. Parr fails once again and he continues to do so in his video by quoting the story of the rich man and Lazarus. He admits that he doesn’t believe that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable but that’s only because it doesn’t support his beliefs. He uses a very common lie to justify his position and that is the lie that Jesus never used someone’s name in a parable but that simply isn’t true. Jesus spoke only in parables when speaking to the multitudes, the sinners, publicans, and Pharisees;
Matthew 13:10-11 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Matthew 13:34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.
In Luke 16, who was Jesus talking to? We have to go all the way back to Luke 15 to see that Jesus actually began a 5 part parable that He spoke to the tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and scribes;
Luke 15:1-3 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable:
The Jesus proceeds to share the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, the parable of the prodigal son, the parable of the dishonest manager, and then the parable of the rich and Lazarus. In consideration of this parable, do you not see the irony that Jesus literally raised someone from the dead named Lazarus? Read John 11. Luke 16-19-31 is most certainly a parable and it matters significantly. I explain this parable here for anyone that would like to understand it – https://therealgospelofchrist.com/the-parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus-explained/.
Mr. Parr then goes on to try to explain this parable and he fails miserably. I’m not going to explain it again here because I already have but I’m going to touch on a few of the things Mr. Parr says and then point out how he errs. The first mistake that he makes is that he says the rich man is not a believer… A believer in what? There was no Christianity at that time because Jesus was still alive. Was the rich man a Jew? In Luke 19:24, the rich man refers to Abraham as “father” so that would indicate that he was at the least a descendent of Abraham. Any attempt to try to interpret this parable literally immediately confirms that it is in fact a parable. Mr. Parr thinks that Lazarus literally died and was then immediately carried off by angels to sit beside Abraham in the heavenly banquet but if we remember correctly, according to Hebrews 11:13, Abraham died not having received the promises so how would he literally be participating in a heavenly banquet? This is what happens when someone tries to interpret parables literally. Mr. Parr clearly doesn’t have eyes to see or ears to hear. His literal interpretation of Luke 16:19-31 is cringeworthy. He then quotes verse 23 and speaks on the fact that the rich man is able to see…
The rich man does go to the place of the dead but this place is called “hades” and that is what is written in the original Greek. Hades is a conjunction which includes the Greek word “eidō” which means to know, to perceive, TO SEE and the Greek alpha or “a” which is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. What happens to a word when we add and a in front of it? A “theist” is a person that believes in “God” but if I add and “a” to theist, we then have “atheist” which is a person that doesn’t believe in “God”. So the addition of an “a” which is a negative particle indicates negation. So the proper defining of “hades” is to NOT KNOW, to PERCEIVE, and to NOT SEE! This is where the rich man went (so did Lazarus) but that’s besides the point. Mr. Parr thinks that the rich man can see simply because Luke 16:23 does indicate that the rich man SAW Abraham far away but remember that this is a parable so the interpretation is spiritual and requires understanding.
Luke 16:22-23 Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to [u]Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms.
The rich man died and he was buried. IN HADES – the place of the dead where we do NOT KNOW, PERCEIVE, OR SEE, the rich man raises up his eyes… Is there any time period where people will lift up their eyes from hades/sheol?
I’ve quoted this before and I’m going to quote it again because the Word of God is consistent and it compliments itself;
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth SHALL AWAKE, some to
everlasting (age-abiding) life, and some to shame and everlasting (age-lasting) contempt.
What happens when you wake up? Do you not raise up or lift up your eyes? That is literally the first conscious thing that people do when they wake up is to open their eyes. When do people lift up their eyes and rise up from their sleep in the dust of the earth or the grave?
John 5:28-29 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and THEY WILL RISE AGAIN. Those who have done good will rise in the resurrection of life, and those who have continued in evil will rise in the resurrection of judgment.
Mr. Parr’s teaching fails horribly here and he has not properly divided the Word of Truth. The fact that he is using a parable which he clearly doesn’t understand to support his doctrines is actually only a refutation of his own beliefs. There a numerous scriptures that liken death to sleep as a picture of the resurrection and I think I have made a strong case to prove that however, I welcome anyone with rebuttals or criticisms to comment but they must be sound and scriptural.
The next passage of scripture that Mr. Parr quotes is from the book of Philippians and he quotes Christ in chapter 1 verses 21-24;
Philippians 1:21-24 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Judges 16:16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; (According to Mr. Parr the soul is immortal but we see here that a soul can be vexed to death. That’s true because a soul is just another word for person or creature).
Job 7:15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
Psalm 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? (All souls go to the grave at death and are unconscious until the resurrection).
Matthew 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. (Souls do in fact die; the soul that sins it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). Do bodies just sin or do people sin? I think you know the answer…
At the end of Mr. Parr’s video, he gives his opinion about what he thinks happens to people when they die but known of his opinions are scriptural… not even close. His beliefs are engulfed in Christian tradition. Believers and unbelievers go to the same place and that place is hades where there is no life or consciousness (Ecclesiastes 9:2;5). The irony is the he actually quotes Ecclesiastes 9:5 at the end of his video acknowledging that some bible verses allude to the idea of soul sleep but then he goes on to say that he believes that there is way more biblical support for the idea that whenever you or I pass away, we’re going to be absent from this body and be present with the Lord forever. Unbelievers however will be sent to the lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever according to Mr. Parr. He has no idea how far off he is but the worst thing about this man is that he actually admitted that he believes that scripture can contradict itself. We can agree that Ecclesiastes 9:5 is scripture and the Word of God so we must adhere to it. We can’t pick and choose the scriptures we like or the ones we think justify our own doctrines. Mr. Parr is accountable to try to reconcile scripture with scripture. If you cannot reconcile scripture with scripture, then there is something faulty about the understanding and/or interpretation. Mr. Parr’s understanding and interpretation is faulty but he is a false teacher and as such he will be held accountable to much higher standard.