One must avoid reading a particular theology into a given word. Throughout scripture, the word “sleep” is used as a metaphor (or euphemism) for physical death (cf. Jn 12:11-14). However, the extent to which this metaphor describes the experience of death remains a matter of personal interpretation. Some thnetophsychists [including Adventists] exploit the metaphor as evidence that death is an unconscious state, excluding any thought or experience; but sleep is endowed a certain dimension of thought and experience in dreaming. Accordingly, the interpreter risks a selective interpretation of the metaphor—arbitrarily relating some elements of the sleep experience to death, but not others. This caution is especially pertinent considering the fact that many surrounding cultures (Egyptian, Greek, Roman; etc.) used the same metaphor for death as a phenomenological comparison. Sleep seemed an apt image of death, given the resemblance of a motionless sleeper to a corpse (cf. Ovid, Amores 2.9.41; Cicero, De Senectute 22.80; Homer, Odyssey 13.79-81; Hesiod, Works and Days 116). Of note, the popular use of the metaphor within these cultures did not exclude prevailing afterlife cosmologies. In fact, a connection was often made between the afterlife and dreaming in these cultures (cf. the "free soul" in proto-hellenic thought that left the body both in sleep and death). Accordingly, an exegete cannot assume that the use of the metaphor in Biblical literature excludes the possible existence of an intermediate state (as is sometimes suggested). The evidence is not substantive.