Does "being asleep" indicate that departed believers are not conscious?

Does "being asleep" indicate that departed believers are not conscious?

The New Testament uses this imagery for death about 18 times. All these refer to believers or children. Its use includes "the fathers" (2 Pe 3:4), David (Acts 13:36), and Lazarus (John 11:11, 12), as well as some from the Corinthian and Thessalonian assemblies (1 Cor 11:30; 1 Th 4:13, 14, 15).

Cults teach that this is a cessation of consciousness, "soul sleep," but Paul looked forward to the possibility of departing this life and being with Christ (Phi 1:23) in a far better state than the present (see also 2 Cor 5:8). In this state, the souls of martyrs speak with deep emotion (Rev 6:10). This is not suspended consciousness. The Lord’s teaching in the story of the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) leaves no question that Abraham, the believing dead, and the unbelieving dead are all conscious. If death is "soul sleep", then the exceptional case of Moses and Elijah’s appearing with the Lord on the Mount (Mat 17:3) poses further difficulties. If the dead are unconscious, did God bring Moses and Elijah back from death to talk with the Lord? Did He then put them to death a second time?

These passages indicate that departed believers from both the Old and New Testaments share a state of full consciousness and the joys of the presence of God. They are conscious of events on earth only to the extent that those events bring joy to heaven (Luke 15:7, 10) or are crisis events in God’s program (Rev 11:16-18).

D. Oliver