Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:36-40 NIV
Most Believers know that Hebrews 11 defines what faith is, and records those who were faithful unto death, but how many of us have read beyond “the faith” of others to see where they are and where others may be?
Many preachers, pastors, families of the deceased comfort themselves with thinking that when people die, they immediately go to heaven or the other place. According to this passage of scripture and in other passages, we see that none are in place yet! When we die, according to God’s Word spoken to Solomon–our spirits go back to God, our bodies return to the dust and souls await judgment. However, judgment won’t occur until Jesus has returned and we are standing before The Throne to hear our fate, together with all who have gone ahead of us.
Now as harsh as that may sound–especially for those who want to believe their loved ones are already in heaven–we must all teach truth and accept truth. None of our loved ones are in heaven, yet! Telling people that loved ones have gone on to heaven is about as foolish as people going to a cemetery talking to the dead. “The dead know nothing” so they cannot hear or feel anything.
I do understand that people are ritualistic by nature and feel they must do something, but to what end? The greatest use of our time–whatever time we have left would be better used in promoting the Gospel to those who are yet breathing, for once we stop breathing, there’s no time left.
I have also come to conclusion that funerals are a waste of time as well. Now, I know there are those who believe this is a final opportunity to tell someone good-bye, but those who are dead won’t know who’s there and if we really want to be a comfort to the remaining family, we should be available to them when they need someone to listen to them or just to encourage them to keep living for The Lord.
There is an industry out there that capitalizes on grief and we spend millions of dollars a year holding onto traditions that most can’t afford. What better use could we find for that money? Have a memorial service and give the money to charities who are trying to help people live or to those who are sincerely spreading the Gospel to a dying world.
It’s time–no way past time for many of us to learn to say good-bye to people while they can hear us and to show them how much we love them, while they are alive and can enjoy our sentiments. When they’re dead–it’s too late–and we need to learn how to let it go–for we can do absolutely nothing to bring them back and all we end up doing is making ourselves feel worse.