The Bible tells us that the dead have no awareness or thoughts:
The dead hear not:
“There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners REST TOGETHER; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.”
The dead are silent:
“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.”
“For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?”
“For the grave cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Thy truth.”
The dead know not anything:
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
The thoughts of the dead perish:
“While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
There are some dead who will not live again until the end of the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, so they are dead not alive:
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
Is there a judgement occurring before the judgement God describes?
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES shall hear His voice, And shall come forth;
they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life;
and they that have done evil,
unto the resurrection of damnation.”
“And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, AND that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
The Bible says that ALL the spirits of man return to God who gave it, not to Satan:
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death”
The New Testament still describes the dead as being asleep; and that they will rise up from being dead. Also this is describing the direction of arrival: Jesus is descending from heaven, but the dead are not described as also descending from heaven, but arising from the Earth.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”
Also interesting is that the apostle Paul says he was looking forward to his own resurrection from the dead, making it clear to me that he also had to wait to go to heaven in a conscience state versus the “sleep” state of someone whose spirit has returned to God after their death.
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection” “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
The Bible also teaches us that the dead are asleep until the set time when the heavens will be no more and they won’t be awoken or raised out of their sleep until then.
“But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: So man lieth down, and riseth not: TILL the heavens be no more, they shall NOT awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me A SET TIME, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.”
Also, Jesus says the righteous will receive their reward at the resurrection of the just (the first resurrection). He didn’t say they will receive their inheritance (reward) when they die.
“And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Who knoweth the spirit of man
that goeth upward,
and the spirit of the beast
that goeth downward to the earth?”