– Woodrow Kroll
Why can we say with assurance that someone who departs from this life is not really gone? Will we see them again?
The God of the Living
When Jesus was talking to the Sadducees about the kingdom and knowing that they were trying to trick Him, He said “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” This is Who God said He was when speaking to Moses in Exodus 3:6. He is the same God then as He is the same God now and Jesus was essentially saying that just because Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, they are not gone…in fact, they are living, just not here on earth. When someone dies in the faith, they are gone to us…but never to God.
Being Known in Heaven
Paul was writing to the church at Corinth and said that “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor 13:12). Was Paul saying that the “then” is after he dies in the body he will be known and know others in the kingdom? I am not totally sure of that but I do know that on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:27-36) where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus there was Peter, James, and John and they recognized them instantly…even though they had never seen them in the flesh. How could they know right away who they were? Jesus never introduced them. Jesus never mentioned them by name so there is some indication that we will know one another in the kingdom so when we lose a dearly departed and loved one, it’s not really goodbye but “see you later.” Since we can easily recognize our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, and co-workers today, do you think we’ll know any less in heaven? I wouldn’t think so.
He Shall Never Die
Just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Martha came running out of the house and said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21) and then “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). Then “Martha said to Him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:24-26)? Martha apparently believed in the resurrection of the dead saying “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” which is what the last Jewish feast day symbolized and was called The Last Great Day or the Last Day coming at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles. The point is that whoever believes will never die so those who die in the faith are those who we will see again someday…that is if we too are saved.
Anyone who believes in Christ will be saved (Rom 10:9-13) and will not come into condemnation (John 3:18a) and “though he die, yet shall he live” again (John 11:25b) so it’s not really goodbye but “until we meet again.”