TWO ‘DEAD’ MEN,
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Rev 14:13 (KJV)
In reality, there is no such thing as the dead in the Kingdom of Heaven to which every believer goes at the point of his departure from this life. If we believe that we immediately are in the arms of the Lord at the point of death, how blessed to know that we are in the best state of being we have ever been in our continuing life.
Following Christ means following all of the way – in life, in compassion, in sacrifice, in the death of the cross, in burial, but also in resurrection.
Let us first consider a man that died to the world – a beggar named Lazarus – Luke 16:20
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Luke 16:19-23 (KJV)
We are comforted to see the disparity in the fates of Lazarus and the rich Man. Lazarus died to thios life, but his soul and spirit were immediately given a divine escort to the bosom of Abraham. But what of the Rich man? He died, was buried, and opened his eyes in Hell. He didn’t even have a name since a name is not needed in Hell.
We see another Lazarus who was friend to Jesus at Bethany in John 11.
1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. John 11:1-7 (KJV)
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. John 11:11-15 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25-26 (KJV)
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11:43-44 (KJV)
The body, heart, mind, and ears of Lazarus were completely dead. In fact, decay had set in after four days in the tomb; yet, the voice of our Lord penetrated the stone walls of the tomb, entered the dead ears of Lazarus, penetrated into the membranes of ad cold, dead heart – and, SUDDENLY – there was warmth there. The warmth was followed by a vibrant heartbeat that began to expedite life-giving blood to all parts of the body of Lazarus. The command of Jesus to “Come Forth” was promptly obeyed by the formerly lifeless body of Lazarus.
God of the LIVING:
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matt 22:31-32 (KJV)
God is the God of the living and not the dead. If He is your Lord, you will not be subject to the bondage of death.