In the Bible, Jesus performed many miracles. Perhaps, one of the most significant ones was Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead. Unlike the other people who have been raised from the dead, Lazarus had actually been dead for four days. What is death in the Bible? Death represents more than just physically dying but it often points to spiritual realities.
John 11:11-13 tells us about this. “After he said this, he told 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.”
The story of Lazarus teaches us that only Jesus should be trusted with our eternity, for He holds it in His hands. In addition, we should realize that when we think God is not doing anything, He may be doing something better for us. Jesus said that Lazarus’s sickness was for the Lord’s glory.
What Does the Bible Say About Death?
In the Bible, it is said that death is akin to sleep. In fact, this comparison is mentioned more than fifty times. So, when we die, it would be as if we are just sleeping. We will not be conscious. We will not be aware of what occurs around us. We will not even be aware of time.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells us, “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.” Likewise, Psalm 146:4 says, “When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day, their plans come to nothing.” Psalm 115:17 also says that “It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence”.
This explains why Lazarus was not able to share what he experienced or saw when he was raised from the dead. He did not have anything to say except that he was brought back to life after being dead for several days.
More On Lazarus
Lazarus neither experienced heaven nor hell. He simply “slept” in his tomb. On Pentecost, Peter said the same thing about King David. According to Acts 2:29-34, Peter said, “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.
Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. David did not ascend to heaven, yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand.”
What Happens to the Soul After Death?
When we die, our human body returns to the ground where it came from, and our soul or spirit returns to God. After all, it is God who created and breathed life into us. This is evident in Ecclesiastes 12:7. The verse says, “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
What the Bible Says About Life After Death
Although we may die, we should not worry because we will live again. John 5:24 proves this. “Very truly, I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
Likewise, John 11:25 tells us, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”. This proves that even though we no longer live here on Earth, we will still be given another life, and we will spend eternity with the Lord when Jesus comes again.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 also tells us about immortality. “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, the written saying will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
The Bible tells us that those who have died, whether wicked or righteous, will be brought back to life in one of two resurrections. During the second coming of Jesus Christ, the righteous will be brought back to life. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 proves this. “For the Lord will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
On the other hand, the wicked will be brought back to life. However, this will happen in a separate resurrection, the resurrection of condemnation. John 5:28-29 tells us about this. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
The Bible does not say that righteous people immediately go to heaven when they die or that the wicked ones go to hell. It tells us that when Jesus returns, those who are asleep in Him will be raised from the dead. It does not matter how much time has passed, they will be raised to life when Jesus calls them from their deep slumber.
What is Death in The Bible – The Opportunity for Life
Colossians 2 is the call for Christians to be alive in Christ. You can’t be alive in Christ unless you first die in the flesh.
Colossians 2:6-15 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
When you are alive in Christ, you are dead to the flesh and your old ways of living. It means that you are no longer living according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Death is a great thing in the Bible; it’s beautiful because it points to the glorious cross. Jesus died on the cross and gave his entire life up for those who were far from God because of sin. If there were no death, then we would all be on the hook for our sins. There would be no salvation.
We worship Jesus because he did not stay dead. Three days later, he completely conquered death and rose again. Meaning death could not hold Jesus down either physically or spiritually and that all who believe in him would experience life in Christ in the same way. We would be spiritually renewed, and our physical bodies would eventually be raised.