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It is not death to die?

  

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57 NASB)

Recently the pastor of a church in Alberta, Canada* suffered the tragedy of the murder of his 14 year old daughter.  It is hard for me to imagine the sense of loss and sadness that he and his wife and family must be going through.  My heart truly goes out to this family for the tragedy that they have suffered.  Like most Evangelical Christians, this pastor believes and teaches that when Christians die, they immediately go to heaven in a disembodied form to be with Jesus; so even though I have great sympathy for this family, I am equally dismayed at this erroneous teaching.  I believe that the Scriptures teach that when someone dies, they remain dead until the resurrection and this is a much greater comfort than the idea that a deceased loved-one is up somewhere having a good time with Jesus, while those who remain down here suffer the anguish of their loss. The following song was high-lighted in the story I read about this family as a source of comfort for the Mom and it expresses this idea that when someone dies, they don’t really die.

It Is Not Death To Die
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God

It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just

It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

(Original Words by Henri Malan (1787-1864). Translated by George Bethune (1847).Music, Chorus and Alternate Words by Bob Kauflin. © 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries.)

I believe that the hope, when properly understood, would be a far greater comfort for this family as well as all who profess the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
*The Pastors name is Terry Stauffer and more info can be found on-line.

  

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