Mark 12:27 (NASB)
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
The theology of "soul sleep" is both wrong and dangerous. Our God is both living and the God of the living. Upon our death, we give up our spirit, which does not sleep until the resurrection but ascends to God right away (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Luke 23:46). This is confirmed by both Moses and Elijah, who appeared as spirits to the Lord Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). Moses had been dead for several thousand years, and Elijah was taken up into heaven. Yet they were alive when they appeared to Christ. As much as these mortal bodies wait for the resurrection and to be clothed with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:54), the eternal soul in us is either ushered into God's Presence by the angels (Luke 16:21) or dragged down into the fires of hell (Luke 16:23). Incidentally, the fires of hell are real and not metaphorical. Even renowned evangelists can water down the word of God and call it symbolic. That's blasphemy. The rich man was in such agony in the hellfire that he begged Abraham for water to quench his thirst (Luke 16:24). If the fire were just symbolic, he wouldn't have been thirsty. No, the wrath of God is real, as is the eternal soul that lives on forever. Our calling is to preach the word so that the Holy Spirit drives home the reality of an immortal soul and a very real hellfire.