For long centuries now, Christians have been awaiting Christ’s return. It is, truly, the culmination of all our hopes — and not just ours, but the hopes of all God’s faithful throughout all history.
Read Hebrews 11:13-16. What great promise is there, not just for the people of old but for ourselves, as well?
In many ways, these verses make no sense if the common and popular version of death were true. What is the passage talking about, these people “not having received the promises”? They’re dead, supposedly now up in heaven with Jesus enjoying their great reward. When, for example, Billy Graham died, over and over we heard how he was now in heaven with Jesus.
There’s an irony, too, in this view, because often when someone dies, we hear, “May he [she] rest in peace.” But what is going on here? Are such people resting in peace, or are they up in heaven doing whatever they are supposed to be doing (such as watching all the “fun” down here)?
How does Jesus describe death? Read John 11:11.
In fact, the idea of their resting “in peace” is, of course, the truth about what happens at death, isn’t it? The dead, truly, are at rest. “To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. ‘If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death,’ ‘he shall never taste of death.’ To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and ‘when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.’ John 8.51-52; Colossians 3:4.” — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 787.
Jesus compares a person’s condition between death and resurrection morning to an unconscious sleep (John 11:11, John 11:14), but He also emphasizes that both the saved and the lost will receive their reward after the resurrection ( John 5.28-29). He highlighted the necessity of being prepared for death, whenever it comes.
|What comfort do you get from knowing that your deceased loved ones are, indeed, now at rest?|