By Oscar M. Baker
This period of time, referred to as the naked state by Paul, is quite often spoke of as a sleep in the Bible. However, in the original languages, the word sleep is used only of those who are believers and hope to awake. You can check this with the lexicon in the back of Strong's Concordance. Let us see what Job has to say about this period of time. See Job 14:12-15:
12. Man lies down. That is death. It is unfortunate that this is translated sleep in many places spoiling the difference maintained as mentioned above. Man does not rise up or awake until a certain time. That time, in the Hebrew is described as when the heavens become unstitched. There is no statement that all will rise, awake, or be raised out of sleep. See Daniel 12:2 and compare. Here is pretty good evidence that Job was a Gentile and did not have the hope of Israel, the resurrection at the last day which Martha knew about (John 11:24). This resurrection in Job is after the millennium is over. Compare with the time of the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11).
13. Job asks to be hidden in hell (sheol). He does not want to be here when God's wrath is poured out. He does not want to see the great fire that will consume everything that will burn in the earth, melting the very elements so things (the works of man) will no more be remembered. But Job wants God to give him a set time for resurrection after all this is past, and remember him. Note that in John 5:28 graves are sepulchers or remembrance places.
14. So Job asks the question about man and the result of death. He does not ask if a man is really dead. Satan said that men do not really die (Gen. 3:4). Job has no question about the reality of death, but he asks if he will live again. The heathen believe that a man still goes on living, even in death. Then Job gives his own testimony. He is confident. He says that he will wait till all the days of his appointed time in the grave (hell) are over, till the time of his change should come (I Cor. 15:52).
15. Job is confident that after the naked state is over, God will call and that he will answer. This is his awakening. This is the time of his change. David refers to this when he says that he will be satisfied to awake in the likeness of the Lord (Ps. 17:15). This is when this corruptible puts on immortality.
Since Job's time, other resurrections have been revealed as other families have been chosen for a work to do. But the same principle remains all through. There is a period between death, or going to hell, and resurrection, whatever one it may be. Only those believers who are living when the Lord comes will escape the naked state. There is no promise that any of the dispensation of the mystery will escape the naked state. It is not mentioned. At one time Paul had hoped to be among those that would pass right from this life to the next, but when the program was changed at Acts 28:28, Paul was resigned to death and resurrection (2 Tim. 4:6).
(Reprinted from Truth For Today Vol. 18, No. 3)