Messages from Coworkers
|DEATH DOES NOT END IT ALL FOR THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT
|PHILIP GENESIS BOADU
[email] ( Ghana )
: 49 Touched : 10
DEATH DOES NOT END IT ALL FOR THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT
Bethany was a small village that lay two miles (3 km) from Jerusalem. (John 11:18 ) A tragedy unfolded there
a few weeks before Jesus’ death. Lazarus, one of Jesus’ close friends, unexpectedly became seriously ill and
When Jesus first heard the news, he told his disciples that Lazarus was asleep and that he intended to
awaken him. (John 11:11 ) But Jesus’ disciples did not grasp his meaning, so Jesus told them plainly:
“Lazarus has died.”— John 11:14 .
Four days after the burial, Jesus arrived at Bethany and sought to comfort Martha, a sister of the deceased.
“If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha said. (John 11:17, 21 ) “I am the resurrection
and the life,” Jesus replied. “The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”—
John 11:25 .
To demonstrate that those words were not an empty promise, Jesus then
approached the tomb and cried out: “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43 ) And to the
astonishment of the onlookers, the dead man emerged.
Jesus had performed at least two resurrections previously. On one occasion he
raised a young girl from the dead—the daughter of Jairus. Right before Jesus
resurrected her, he also described her as being asleep.— Luke 8:52 .
Notice that regarding the death of both Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter, Jesus compared death to sleep. That is
a fitting comparison. Why? Sleep is an unconscious state and suitably conveys the idea of rest from pain and
suffering. (Ecclesiastes 9:5 ; see the accompanying box, “Death Is Like a Deep Sleep.” ) Jesus’ early disciples
clearly understood the true condition of the dead. “To the followers of Jesus death was a sleep, and the grave
a resting-place . . . for those who had died in the faith,” * states the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.
It comforts us to know that the dead are asleep in the grave and are not suffering. Death thereby loses its
mystery and no longer needs to cause us dread.
“IF A MAN DIES, CAN HE LIVE AGAIN?”
But while we appreciate a good night’s rest, who wants to go to sleep forever? What hope do we have that the
dead who lie asleep in the grave will return to life—as Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter did?
The patriarch Job raised that very question when he felt near to death. “If a man dies, can he live again?” he
asked.— Job 14:14 .
Addressing Almighty God, Job answered his own question, saying: “You will call, and I will answer you. You
will long for the work of your hands.” (Job 14:15 ) Job felt sure that Jehovah longed for the day when He
would resurrect His faithful servant. Was that mere wishful thinking on Job’s part? Not at all.
The resurrections performed by Jesus offered clear proof that God gave Jesus power over death. In fact, the
Bible says that Jesus now possesses “the keys of death.” (Revelation 1:18 ) So Jesus will unlock the gates of
the grave, just as he ordered that the stone of Lazarus’ tomb be rolled away.
The Bible repeats this resurrection promise time and again. An angel assured the prophet Daniel: “You will
rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13 ) Jesus told the Sadducees,
Jewish leaders who denied the resurrection promise: “You are mistaken, because you know neither the
Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:23, 29 ) The apostle Paul said: “I have hope toward God . . .
that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”— Acts 24:15 .
WHEN WILL THE DEAD ARISE?
When will this resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous occur? The angel told righteous Daniel that he would rise up “at the end of the days.” Martha likewise believed that her brother, Lazarus, would “rise in the resurrection on the last day.”— John 11:24 .
The Bible connects this “last day” with Christ’s Kingdom rule. Paul wrote: “For he [Christ] must rule as king
until God has put all enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to
nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26 ) This is a powerful reason why we should pray for God’s Kingdom to come
and for God’s will to be done on the earth. *
As Job well knew, God’s will is to resurrect the dead. When that day arrives, death will truly be brought to
nothing. And never again will anyone wonder, ‘Does death end it all?’
DEATH IS LIKE A DEEP SLEEP
“Give light to my eyes, so that I may not fall asleep in death.”— Psalm 13:3 .
“‘Lazarus our friend has fallen asleep, but I am traveling there to awaken him.’ The disciples then
said to him: ‘Lord, if he is sleeping, he will get well.’ Jesus, however, had spoken about his
death.”— John 11:11-13 .
“David, on the one hand, rendered service to God in his own generation [and] fell asleep in death.”
— Acts 13:36 .
“Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death.”—
1 Corinthians 15:20 .
“We do not want you to be ignorant about those who are sleeping in death, so that you may not
sorrow as the rest do who have no hope.”— 1 Thessalonians 4:13 .
THE DEAD WILL RISE
“Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully!”— Isaiah 26:19 .
“Many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up.”— Daniel 12:2 .
“The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—
John 5:28, 29 .