2518 KATHEUDO (22): kata = down + eudo = to sleep; to be down sleeping, sometimes in the sense of being sound asleep, hard to wake up. For example, Mt.8.24 (and Mk.4.38) Jesus was sleeping while a storm was raging: "And look! a great storm occurred in the sea, causing the ship to be covered by the waves, but he was sound asleep (katheudo)."
Also Lk.22.45-46 (similarly in Mt.26.40-45 and Mk.14.37-41): "And rising up from prayer [and] coming to the learners, he found them sleeping (koimaomai) from grief, and said to them, 'Why do you+ sleep (katheudo)? rise up and pray, lest you enter into testing.'" The difference in meaning between koimaomai and katheudo here seems to be that koimaomai means sleep in general, but katheudo refers to deeper sleep or a specific occasion of sleeping. These two words overlap in meaning, but their usage together in this passage shows that they are not always synonyms. See "sleep" (2837 koimaomai).
In the accounts of Jesus awakening a synagogue ruler's daughter (Mt.9.24, Mk.5.39 and Lk.8.52), Jesus said, the girl "did not die (apothnesko) but is sleeping (katheudo)." Jesus plainly stated that she did not die, so she may have been in a coma or other form of deep sleep or unconsciousness. So katheudo clearly does not mean "death" in these three passages. The physician, Luke, wrote, "And her spirit returned, and she rose up at once..." (Lk.8.55). Luke did not contradict Jesus. He may have meant that the girl's spirit returned to her body following a near-death "out of body" experience. Compare this event to "unconsciousness" (5258 hupnos).
In 1Th.5.9-10 Katheudo does refer to sleep as death: "For God did not assign us to fury, but instead to obtaining rescue through our Master Jesus the Anointed One; the one who died (apothnesko) for us, so that whether we watch or [whether we] sleep (katheudo), we may live (zao) together with him."
Eph.5.13-14: "Now all things [that are] reproved are exposed by the light, for light exposes everything. For this reason he is saying, 'Rise, sleeping (katheudo) one, and stand up out of the dead ones (nekros), and the Anointed One will shine upon you.'" The meaning here seems to be that the light of Jesus' message exposes the evil actions of those who are dead spiritually.Likewise, the admonition of 1Th.5.6 is for believers not to sleep spiritually: "So then, let us not sleep as the others, but instead let us watch and be sober."
TO LITERALLY SLEEP:
TO BE IN A DEEP SLEEP OR COMA:
TO BE ASLEEP SPIRITUALLY:
TO SLEEP IN THE SENSE OF BEING DEAD:
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