By Mathew G. Daniel Nedumkandathil
The Bible says: The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the lord from this time forth and Evermore. Psalms: 115: 17 - 18
Yes, the dead ones do not praise the Lord. No question about that. But who are the dead ones according to the Bible?
Before that, let's see what is death? In the literal meaning, it is the "ending of all vital functions or processes in an organism."
This is otherwise known as clinical death.
But death has another meaning. It means separation. To our forefather Adam the Creator said,
Genesis: 2: 16-17: "And the lord god commanded the man saying every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die."
Man and his wife disobeyed the commandment and ate the forbidden fruit. So, as per the scripture they died at the very same moment. This type of death is considered a spiritual death.
There are some people who remain clinically alive but spiritually dead. In other words, they got separated from the Creator.
Clinical death end our life upon the planet Earth. It is inevitable. However, clinical death is the beginning of another life. Earthly life is short-spanned. But it is very significant for us because, the deeds we have performed while we were in this earth is the criterion used to determine our eternity.
What Happens to Those Who Pleases God While in Earth after Death?
It is very evident that those who please the Almighty while they are in the terrestrial life, shall never die. They will surely leave the mortal flesh here, and will enter into a peaceful rest till the time of judgment. But those who remained just and got purged out of all earthly evils shall straight away reach the throne of the God, to praise him in his presence along with the 4 creatures and 24 Patriarchs.
The book of Revelation describes it:
Rev. 7: 14 to 15 "And I said unto him, sir, thou Knowest, and he said unto me, these are they which came out of great Tribulation and have washed their robe, and made them white in the blood of lamb. "
Therefore, are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he shall sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Clinical death is not the end of all. Let us examine some deaths in the Holy Book to illustrate this point.
It is undoubtedly clear that all three of them died and got buried in specific places. But where are they now? Are they in connection with God or are they in Silence as the Psalmist says? I don't know. But let's see what the scripture says:
Luke 16: 19-31 gives the proof of the existence and whereabouts of Abraham. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. - Luke 16: 23
Abraham is not lying dead in the Machpelah cave, but he is in the paradise. He is not in Silence. The few verses following this one give the dialogue between the rich man and Abraham.
We saw Moses was buried by the God in the Valley of Moab. Where is he now? What does the scripture say?
And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias! - Luke 9:30
So, Moses is still alive and is in the service of the Lord even after thousands of years after his death.
Now about Prophet Samuel. We have seen that his body has been buried in his home in Ramah. What happened to him after that? King Saul, whom he ordained as the King of Israelites, had an encounter.
1 Samuel 28: 13-15: ... woman Said unto Saul I saw gods ascending out of the Earth. As he said unto her, what form is he of? And she said an old man cometh up; he is covered with a mantle and Saul perceived that it was Samuel, he stooped with his face to the ground. And Samuel said unto Saul, why hast though, disquieted me ... ...
In the following few verses Samuel prophecies the death and destruction of Saul and his family.
So, the Bible says that godly men move from the earth but remain alive. God uses them in His service even after their death. From these incidents, it is clear that death is not the end; it's only the beginning of a new life with the God.
Who are those dead about whom the Psalmist says, They are the men and women who lived a life in sin and died. Saint Paul says that the wages of sin is death. As Adam died for his sin all others also die for their sins if they never get a chance to repent and cleanse off the sin in the Blood of the Lamb.
Is there any Hope for Sinners?
By virtue of Jesus birth as man, crucifixion, death and resurrection, we are guaranteed everlasting salvation from sin and death by the grace of God. Jesus offered us his body and blood in the form of bread and wine which we use in our holy Mass. Whosoever eat His body and drinks His blood shall never perish. This is the offer of Eternal Life in the Paradise along with the God.
Being human, with human weaknesses, if we commit a sin, what shall happen to us? God promised us salvation through repentance.
In Mathew 16:19 we see the authority is given to the apostles to purge us from the canker of sin. .... Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in the heaven; whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again in John 20:23: Jesus after his resurrection assures them that they have the power to pardon sins. Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them. And whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.
A sinner shall be saved by his proper repentance in the mediation of an ordained priest. Those who die in sin shall not praise the Lord; but they go down into silence. The main proof here in this regard is Judas who betrayed Jesus; he didn't repent and is dead without praising the Lord.
I hope that it is clear that those who died in Christ are not dead. We do not bury them for ever. We let them wait to hear the Trumpet to get up to stand before the Almighty to receive rewards according to their activities when they were in the body upon the earth.
Saints and Martyrs
If this is the case of a layman, what happens to the high priest and Martyrs? They are already counted as just and are taken to the throne of the lamb to serve him as he wishes. They are the ones whom we see in Revelation 7.
Proverb 10: 7 also justifies my claim: the memory of the Just is blessed. and
Psalms 16: 3: But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
This is the reason why Jesus, in his public address, symbolizes his disciples as the light of the world and the town on the hill top that shall not be camouflaged Mathew 5: 14: You are the light of world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
A Living God - God of the Living
What can a tomb provide you?, is another question we need to answer.
Let us take a look at one verse from 2 kings 13: 21: As the corpse touched the bone of Elisha; he revived and stood up on his feet.
Yes my brothers and sisters, the bone of a prophet is capable of giving life to a dead body. Why? The reason is simple.
Luke 20: 37-38 Jesus said, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am not the God of the dead but of the Living.
When we commemorate the saints in the presence of the Lord, we are richly rewarded with heavenly blessings.
Mathew 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophets reward; and that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous mans reward.
Resurrection of Jesus Gives us the Way
Now we come to the core of the Christian belief:
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall be live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?
See the interrogation mark by Jesus !!!!
Believe in the resurrection of Jesus, which enables us to live also after death. Though it is free, it is not for all !!!
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Church was preparing us during the past 50 days of the Great Lent to cleanse us out of our sins and to take us into eternal Life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The Bible is infallible and the dead will never praise the Lord as we have seen in the beginning of the lesson. Since we do believe in God and follow his commandments and his will, we are alive and we will never die. Our forefathers lived in God so they are not dead; they are in eternal rest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
What is the state of those who died in Jesus Christ?
Does the New Testament teach us to pray for the dead?
Why should we pray for the dead?
What are the objective of prayers during burial of the dead?
Let us assume that a person lived a sinful life openly. when he dies should we pray for him too?
The Sacrament of Repentance
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