The corresponding chart pictures the three stages of existence as approximately equal in length. How do the three compare in length in actuality?
body on earth, a dead and decaying body, and an eternal resurrected body. The only persons who will not experience an intermediate state of soul and death of the body will be those who will be living on earth when Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven, and the resurrection takes place. Of such Paul writes, "Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump"
(I Corinthians 15:51-52a).
Souls in their intermediate state are alive and conscious. They are not dormant or "asleep" as some cults and churches teach. When Scripture speaks of death as "sleep," it does not refer to soul sleep but to death as "sleep" in the following ways:
1. Sleep refers to resting from one's work. In this sense, all the dead rest from their labors (e.g. Revelation 14:13 and Deuteronomy 31:16).