“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
- Exodus 3:16-17
Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
- Luke 20:34-40
“We are by no means deprived of our dear ones by their death; they are, they are themselves, and they are ours still. As Abraham is not lost to Isaac, or to Jacob, or to God, or to himself, so our beloved ones are by no means lost to us. Do not let us think of them then as if they were lost. Our sorrows make an excursion to the grave, to look for the deceased ones. We want to lift that coffin lid and to unwrap the shroud. But he is not there; the real man has gone. He may be dead to us for a while, but he lives to God. Yes, the dead one lives. Our Savior’s angels will sound their golden trumpets, and at the welcome noise the grave will open its portals and resign its captives. ‘Your brother will rise again’ (Jn 11:23). So comfort one another with these words.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
My brother was dying of a brain tumor. For the last few days for he passed on, he was visited by his son, Tory. Tory had died many years before of infant crib death. My brother had two living children. His daughter is living in Texas now, at least for a while. His younger son is in ICU after a four-wheeler accident about a week ago, in a medically induced coma. You wonder whether while in this state, can he be visiting with his father and brother?
I know of a woman that, for as many years as possible, would drive to her husband’s graveside to talk to him. She held onto her grief. She could not accept the urgings of others who said that he was no longer there, as Spurgeon says in the quote above.
Our church has a prayer list. It is confidential, only available to the volunteers on the team. Only people on the team know how the rules work. If anyone in the church passes to the Lord, their families are placed on the bereavement list, without exception. If anyone that is on the prayer list passes away, not a church member, their families are placed on the bereavement list as well. They stay on the bereavement list for six months and then are removed. That is unless someone asks to remain for six more months or more.
People cannot let go. Since my brother passed away in 2011, followed by my father three weeks later, and my mother two months after that, my wife has wondered when I will ever grieve in the first place. My grief for my Dad has come out in words in blog posts, if not in tears. We each have our way of grieving and looking at life and death.
Will I see my father beckoning me when I am near death? Will I be like his father whose face shown, glowing, as he saw Jesus, and his soul went running, although his body had not even walked for years? The answer depends on our understanding of what Jesus was saying.
God instructed Moses, in Exodus 3 to say that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God says “I AM the God of Abraham.” Verb tense is very important here. God is still the God of Abraham, because Abraham still is.
I was recently asked about what happens to our new bodies after death, before Judgment Day. I told the person asking for comfort that there are two schools of thought, both good and comforting. They either remain asleep as the language says in many places in the Bible. Even Jesus claimed that Jairus’ daughter was asleep, although the people in attendance knew that the girl was dead. Is this language used as comfort for the living to use as solace, for we understand sleeping, or is it literal until that day when the dead shall rise?
But there is another school of thought, based on the words of Jesus from the cross. Luke 23:43 states, “Jesus answered [the criminal showing faith],‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”
That statement of Jesus seems to me that our loved ones are having a feast at Jesus’ table as I’m writing this.
But is there a third school of thought? Do those who pass to the Lord, go where the Lord is? Do they go outside time and space? It would be a concept that we in our human bodies, trapped by time and space cannot understand, thus ‘sleeping’ might be used to explain it. Then, our loved ones are just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They exist at any moment.
Do we still miss those who have moved to the other side of the veil? Yes, for some more often than others, but take heart, they are… For the soul never dies. Your brother, sister, parent, or whomever you grieve will rise again.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.