In the past when I used to pray with my family for the dead, it kept me thinking for the longest time, why do we still pray for our departed loved ones if we believe that they are already in heaven? What is the prayer for? Shouldn’t we pray for the living instead? At the risk of sounding arrogant and presenting myself as someone “holier-than-thou”, no, that was not my intention to be perceived as such. When I say we should pray for the living, it means that after you have received your salvation from the Lord God through His Son Jesus Christ, then you also pray for your loved ones that they too may accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (if they have not done so yet) so that they can experience eternal life even while they’re still living here on earth. (John 3:16). Because that is what the Bible says: we can experience eternal life now. You don’t have to wait to die to experience eternal life. God is asking you to come back to Him and receive the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus. I am also a sinner but by God’s grace, He has rescued me from the pit. I used to walk in “darkness” but now I can proclaim that I am a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am simply speaking of my faith based on the Bible and having come to know our Lord Jesus Christ and studying the Bible changed all that. So what I’m writing about is based on my understanding of the truth found in the Bible.
I know that this is a very sensitive issue to some and some may not agree with me but I have to speak out the truth that is based on the Bible nonetheless. If you don’t believe in what I’m writing about, we can just agree to disagree and I will respect that. After all, this is my blog so I’m entitled to write whatever I am “burdened” to write about. cool? 🙂
The Bible says:
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment – Hebrews 9:27
This means that when a person dies, he faces judgment right away (as in immediately, no more roaming on earth). Any preaching that says otherwise is contrary to the Gospel. And now based on the person’s life here on earth, the judgment is whether the person will go to heaven or to hell. It is God’s department to judge. This is the final answer, so to speak. We cannot change God’s judgment. Prayers and petitions won’t change that. Otherwise, e di lahat na lang ay pupunta sa langit kung nakukuha lang sa dasal ang Diyos pagdating sa mga patay. I mean, God is a God of love and mercy and yet He is also a God of justice.
Unlike in the world’s tradition and practices, where in some cases or situations, we can use “political” connections to get some favor, with God, it is altogether different. This is where you can apply the teaching of the apostle Paul when he said:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2a
We should get our wisdom and knowledge from the Bible because that is the truth. The Bible is God speaking to man.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16
When we visited the graveyard of my late father, I was kind of sharing to my family what the Bible has to say about the dead. We go to the cemetery to pay our respect, honor the dead, and remember them. That’s about it. We cannot pray to them (because they can’t hear us!) nor pray for them because when they left this place, it is final. It is finished. God is a merciful God. He will forgive if you ask forgiveness from Him. He will not forgive the person’s wrongdoing or sins, whether dead or alive, if someone else is doing it in the behalf of the offender. Why? What if the offender does not feel any remorse or is not even repentant of his or her sins? Ano yun? You will pray to God to forgive the person kahit hindi naman nagbabago ng buhay yung taong pinagdadasal mo? Maybe you can pray to God na sana magbago na yung taong pinagdadasal mo but make sure na ikaw din ay nagbago na din sa mata ng Diyos. 🙂
We ask forgiveness from our Father in heaven directly. We cannot make “pakiusap” (representations) in behalf of others esp the dead. Mercy is granted to the living only, between you and God alone, or to the nation as a whole, not on the basis of channeling petitions in behalf of the dead. That is not biblical. Remember the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus? (Luke 16:19-31) Even the rich man was begging Abraham to send Lazarus to his living brothers to warn them of hell but what did Abraham say instead? It’s too late and if the living won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, what will make them listen to the dead? (Luke 16:31). There is already a great chasm that divides those that were rewarded and punished in the afterlife (Luke 16:25) and that is already fixed and cannot be changed anymore. And even if Abraham suggested that even if the dead appear to them, he only said if and that’s a big if. And what does the Bible say about the dead?
Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back. They are gone forever from their home–never to be seen again. – Job 7:9-10
So be warned, Yung mga nagpapakita o nagpaparamdam ay hindi sila yun. Nagpapanggap lang na sila yun. Look at what the Bible says:
But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
Bottomline, while you still have your chance here, ask forgiveness from God, repent of your sins and shun evil and believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died to take away your sins and that He rose again, proving that His resurrection signifies that He has defeated Satan and death.
And when you are now living at peace with God, as I said, “let us remember the dead and pray for the living” because that’s the best we can do for our loved ones who are still alive. Just pray and submit to the will of God because He is a Sovereign God.
Note: If you want to know more about the Word of God, please visit Sunday services of any Victory or CCF churches or any Bible-believing church near your place. Better yet, join a small group. This is a life-changer.