The dead are the asleep in the grave awaiting one special occasion their
resurrection. R.I.P. on tombstones means rest in peace, this fits. Check out
old gravestone and you'll find inscriptions speaking of sleep.
Death is called "sleep" at least 50 times in the Bible. We are to regard it
as a sound, dreamless, painless, unaware sleep. A person may have been in the
tomb 1,000 years, but when raised in the resurrection it will seem to him that
he only dozed off for a moment.
Jesus told us where the dead are -- read John 5:28-29. They all wait in
their graves for the resurrection.
Death is not life in heaven, hell, limbo, or purgatory. It is not life of
any kind. IN death the soul does not live, the spirit does not live, the body
does not live. The words "soul" and "spirit" are used over 1,600 timesin the
Bible, but not one time are either given any life or personality or wisdom or
knowledge when separted from the body. Body plus Breath equals "soul" --
Breath is not referring to one's common breathing, but breath as the "divine
spark of life," and when someone dies, the spirit (or breath) returns to God,
not the disembodied soul.
When a man dies, "his breath goeth forth, he returneth to earth; in that very
day his thoughts perish." [ PSA 146:4 ]
And Ecclesiastes 9:5-6,10 tells it very clearly: "the living know that they
shall die, but the dead know not anything." Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nothing.
So, if a man's thoughts perish at the moment he dies, how could he be "alive
and well in heaven?" And if it's true that "the dead know not any thing," how
is it that the dead can be in heaven in the presence of God? No, death is a
sleep, and there are many proof texts in the Bible that support this view.