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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When Lazarus Died, Why Didn't Jesus Say That He Went to Heaven?

Do all good persons go to heaven? Well, when Lazarus died, if he really went to heaven, would it make any sense for Jesus to resurrect Lazarus and essentially recall him back from heaven to his physical body on Earth? Would Jesus really be doing him a favor? (Also see: Do all good persons go to heaven? Search For Bible Truths;  If God intended for us to live in heaven and not on earth, why did He not create us there? Search For Bible Truths)

The fact is that Jesus knew full well the condition of the dead which is what the Bible consistently tells us - that the dead are “conscious of nothing at all.” (Eccl. 9:5, 10; Ps. 146:4) That is why death is like sleep and why Jesus likened Lazarus' state to sleep:

"After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "LORD, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." (John 11:11-14) - NIV

Notice other occurrences in the Bible where death is likened to sleep:

"Consider [and] answer me, O Jehovah my God: Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the [sleep of] death." (Ps. 13:3) - ASV

"And they stoned Stephen...And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" ("he died" NRS; NLT; NWT). (Acts 7:59, 60) - KJV

"A wife is married to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies ("sleep", Young's Literal Translation; "fallen asleep", Darby), she is free to marry whomever she wishes, but this must be a marriage acceptable to the Lord." (1 Cor. 7:39) - NLT

"But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die ("sleep", ASV; ESV; RSV KJV; NKJV; NIV), but we will all be transformed." (1 Cor. 15:51) - NLT

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died ("asleep", NIV; KJV; NKJV; NRV; ASV; Young's), so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope." (1 Thess. 4:13) - NRS

The Bible likens death to sleep whether it be of a man or of an animal:

The psalmist wrote: “At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep ("dead sleep"; NAS; KJV; NKJV)." (Ps. 76:6) - ASV

So when we die we are said to “sleep” because due to Christ’s ransom sacrifice there is the hope of a resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:22) Were it not for God’s purpose to awaken persons from the sleep of death, they would never wake up. (See Job 14:10-15 and Jer. 51:39, 57)

As recalled above, when Lazarus died, Jesus said: “I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Like Lazarus, the Bible talks about a promised hope in the future for us:

"The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus'] voice and come out." (John 5:28, 29)

"There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." -Acts 24:15.

For more, see:

Death - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Resurrection - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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