2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (KJV)
The shortest verse of the Bible is John 11:35 and it simply states "Jesus wept". Why did Jesus shed tears? It was because he too had lost a beloved friend, named Lazarus, and because Jesus was so deeply moved when he saw the suffering of the family of Lazarus grieving over their loss. John 11:33 "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled". His words of comfort to the sister of Lazarus are in John 11:23-24 "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." There was no mistaking what Martha had learned directly from Jesus, her brother Lazarus was in the tomb, resting in the sleep of death, awaiting the promised resurrection.
The awakening out of the sleep of death is why we have the saying "rest in peace" and why Jesus and many Bible writers spoke so often of death as being like “sleep”, for in the resurrection the dead shall be awakened! (Jn.11:11-14, 1Thes.4:14, 5:9-10)
But if when one dies they are sleeping in death, how comes the statement of Paul, “to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”? Doesn’t this imply that when Paul died at that moment he would be present with the Lord? Well, in a manner of speaking, because when Paul died he fell asleep in death metaphorically speaking, that is because he would be awakened from the sleep of death in the resurrection, at the last day. Using this metaphor we can realize that Paul was saying, when I die I won’t know anything about what is going on anywhere. It will be just like when I’m asleep. When we sleep deeply we lay our head on the pillow and drift off into deep sleep, and if it is a good night’s sleep, the next thing we know it’s morning, 8 hours has passed without us being aware of anything. So it was with Paul, he wouldn’t know anything in the interim time, so from that standpoint, the next thing he would have any awareness of, he would be in the presence of the Lord, awakened from the sleep of death.
See Ecclesiates 9:5-10
Verse 10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (KJV)
See also Daniel 12:1-3,