Are The Dead, Really Dead? (Part Two of Three)
Jesus used one physical thing after another to explain heavenly truths. And I chose the butterfly because most everyone understands the woolly worm goes through a transformation process when changing from a woolly worm to a butterfly. But between the woolly worm stage, and the butterfly stage, there is a period of time in which the woolly worm disappears before re-emerging as something quite different. We see the woolly worms through the fall months, then they disappear during the winter months only to reappear again during the spring and summer. Is it possible the woolly worm dies during the winter months? Is that why we don’t see them? If so, how do they re-emerge from death in another life form?
Remember when Jesus was told that Lazarus had died; He said to His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” (John 11:11) In this short scripture, Jesus gives us an example of what I described in the life cycle of the woolly worm. We see the worm, then we don’t, then we see the butterfly. The woolly worm’s life cycle is very similiar to the life cycle of man. We live, we disappear below ground for awhile, then we will reappear a brand new creature more beautiful than before. During the time we are out of sight; Jesus said, “The body we call dead is not really dead, but in a state of sleep.” And we understand naturally that anything that is merely asleep can be awakened because we go through these two events each evening and every morning. Are you with me this far? The idea of sleeping and awakening is not a foreign idea to us because we do it all the time. But what is foreign to us is the idea that when a person dies, their body is not really dead as we suppose, but only sleeping from which they can be awakened at a future time. In this story, when Jesus heard the news, Lazarus had been dead for two days, and when He arrived at the tomb, Martha, the sister of Lazarus, said to Jesus in John 11:39, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he (Lazarus) has been dead for four days.” Martha believed in the resurrection of the dead, but that was at some future time, not the present, and she believed Jesus was the Son of God; but she did not understand that at the resurrection Jesus will be the one who awakens the believers from their sleep; and at which time they will emerge from their graves a new creature more beautiful than the butterfly that emerges with the warm weather of spring.
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, (Jesus used the word die in this sentence because it was a term Martha was familiar with and understood with her limited understanding of heavenly truths) he will live. (Or, be awakened from his sleep.) “And he who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Did you catch the statement, “He who lives and believes in me shall never die?” Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Meaning the resurrection or the ‘awakening of Lazarus’ was not time dependent, it didn’t matter if Lazarus had been asleep for a day or ten years because Jesus was just as much the resurrectionist at that moment as He will be when all believers will be awakened on the day when the graves are open and believers arise, awakened, and refreshed in a new body. And Jesus proved it to Martha by waking Lazarus (a believer) from his sleep and called him forth from the tomb even though he had been dead for four days and was already stinking. Jesus told Martha, “Believers will never die,” so it doesn’t matter what a persons body may look like a year after they fall asleep because the human body is nothing more than the house the real person lives in. So the physical deterioration of Lazarus’ body that Martha was concerned about did not determine whether his body was dead or just asleep. It’s our lack of understanding that tells us this was a miracle, but in reality what Jesus did for Lazarus wasn’t any different than a parent waking up their child for school. The child sleeps soundly for a number of hours, but when the time comes for the child to rise from their sleep, the parents do what they have to do to wake them up. This is precisely what Jesus did for Lazarus. Lazarus had been asleep in the tomb for four days, and Jesus woke him up because Lazarus still had work to do before he fell asleep again and was put back into his tomb. (End of Part Two of Three. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of Are the dead, really dead? Dthrash
- Posted in: Christianity