Anyone who purports that the dead experience no intermediate conscious state prior to physical resurrection must deal with the declaration of Jesus that the dead hear, speak, and can experience comfort or misery. Jesus referred to death as sleeping. The correlation is deeper than mere idiom. God created the natural order to teach us about Himself and the spiritual order.
The Lord doesn’t use language haphazardly. As odd or bizarre as His statements may seem, they are true statements. When He says that a dead person is sleeping, He is not denying the reality of the corpse. He is simply defining the state of its dormancy. And He is using a very profound analogy. But before we look at that, we need to discuss the concept of soul sleep.