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A young woman died suddenly last week. 26 years old. I didn’t know her personally but I knew her work and I saw her videos. I’m certain she was born again.

I’m even more certain God didn’t “take her.” Why? Because the Bible doesn’t say God does that.

What does the Bible say about death? It’s the devil who has the power of death according to Hebrews 2:14. For the most part, the diseases or injuries that kill people are sent to them by the devil, not by the one, true God.

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But God has a different perspective on death from most people.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
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:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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Notice it does not say the dead are “up there looking down.” Nor does it say they’ve “crossed the bar” or “passed through the veil.”

Notice it does not even say the dead are awake. It clearly says (three times in this passage) that the dead are asleep. That’s a euphemism but it’s extremely accurate.

When a believer dies, he loses consciousness and the very next moment for him is the return of Christ. That’s why it says he’s asleep. From God’s perspective, it’s just a pause in his everlasting life. That’s why Jesus could say, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

(Yes, I know about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. But it’s a parable. A parable is an extended metaphor, not necessarily true to fact but used to illustrate one (and only one) point.

You don’t think there really was a man who gave his son his inheritance while he was still alive, only to let the son waste it in hog country, do you? You don’t think a rich man actually gave his servants money to invest while he was away on a journey, only to reward two of them and cast one of them into “outer darkness,” do you?

The point of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”)

That sleep, that pause in our everlasting life, that total and complete unawareness of anything including the passage of time, is why and how we can be absent from the body and present with the lord. One instant, we’re alive; the next instant for us is the gathering together when we go to be with the lord.

Ah, but there’s more:

1 Corinthians 15:51-58:
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

This passage, also, calls the dead asleep. And it also tells us the dead will be raised.

But notice it says death will be swallowed up in victory.

That’s God’s perspective. He knows believers will live forever because He made that a certainty. Therefore He sees us that way. In other words, He’s not dwelling on the temporary and short-term havoc the devil is causing because He knows He will overcome all of that at the perfect time to give us the everlasting life He has promised us.

That’s why death will be swallowed up in victory.

A thousand years after Christ comes back, this life will be a dim memory, much like our early childhood is to us now.

Once again,

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
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:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Ever wondered what to say when someone dies? Well, here it is.

Notice verse 18 says, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

What words?

  • Christ is coming back.
  • Believers who have died will be raised from the dead to meet the Lord in the air.
  • All believers will be with Christ forever.

Don’t tell them their loved one is “up there looking down.” Don’t even tell them you’re sorry for their loss. (After all, it’s more of a loss to the person who died.)

Tell them Christ is coming back.

Death will be swallowed up in victory because Christ is coming back.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Jeffrey Moore

 

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