Archives for posts with tag: resurrection

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The Bible clearly tells us what Jehovah and his Son, Jesus Christ, will do about the suffering caused by Satan the Devil. “For this purpose the Son of God [Jesus] was made manifest,” declares the Bible, “to break up the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) The present system of things based on greed, hatred, and wicked deeds will be broken up. As for “the ruler of this world”—Satan the Devil—Jesus promises that he “will be cast out.” (John 12:31) Without Satan’s influence, a righteous new world will be established, and this earth will become a peaceful place.—2 Peter 3:13.

What about those who stubbornly refuse to change their ways and who insist on doing bad things? Reflect on this straightforward promise: “Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the blameless will remain in it. As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) Gone will be the influence of wicked humans. Under such peaceful conditions, obedient humans will gradually be set free from inherited imperfection.—Romans 6:17, 18; 8:21.

In that new world, how will God eliminate badness? Not by nullifying the gift of free will and making humans robots. Rather, he will teach obedient humans his ways, helping them to turn around from harmful thoughts and actions.

God will remove all causes of suffering

What will God do about unforeseen calamities? He has promised that his Kingdom governmentwill shortly take control of the earth. The God-appointed King of that Kingdom is Jesus Christ, who has the power to cure the sick. (Matthew 14:14) Jesus also has the power to control the forces of nature. (Mark 4:35-41) Hence, gone will be the suffering caused by “time and unexpected events.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Under Christ’s rulership, no calamity will befall mankind.—Proverbs 1:33.

What about the millions of innocent people who have suffered tragic deaths? Shortly before bringing his friend Lazarus back to life, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Yes, Jesus has the power to resurrect, or bring back to life, those who have died!

If the idea of living in a world where bad things will not happen to good people appeals to you, why not make it your aim to learn more about the true God and his purpose by studying the Bible? Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area will be happy to help you to gain that knowledge. You have our warm invitation to contact them locally or to write to the publishers of this magazine.


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Do you believe in the Bible’s promise of a resurrection? * The prospect of being reunited with our loved ones who have died is appealing, to say the least. But is it realistic to nourish such a hope? To help answer that, we do well to consider the example of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

The apostles firmly believed in the resurrection of the dead. Why? For at least two reasons. First, their hope was primarily based on this fact: Jesus himself had been raised from the dead. The apostles—and “more than 500 brothers at one time”—saw the resurrected Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:6) Additionally, Jesus’ resurrection was widely attested to and accepted, as the four Gospels show.—Matthew 27:62–28:20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1–21:25.

Second, the apostles had witnessed Jesus carry out at least three resurrections—first at Nain, then at Capernaum, and finally at Bethany. (Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56; John 11:1-44) The last of those resurrections, described earlier in this issue, involved a family especially close to Jesus. Let us look further at what happened.

“I AM THE RESURRECTION”

“Your brother will rise.” Jesus spoke those words to Martha, whose brother, Lazarus, had been dead for four days. Martha did not at first understand the meaning of Jesus’ words. “I know he will rise,” she responded, but she thought that it would be at some time in the future. Imagine her surprise when after hearing Jesus say, “I am the resurrection and the life,” she saw Jesus raise her brother from the dead!—John 11:23-25.

Where was Lazarus during the four days after his death? Lazarus said nothing to suggest that he had been alive somewhere else during those four days. No, Lazarus did not have an immortal soul that had gone to heaven. By resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus did not bring him back down to earth, dragging him away from enjoying heavenly bliss in a place near to God. So where was Lazarus during those four days? He was, in fact, asleep in the grave.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.

Remember, Jesus compared death to a sleep from which one is awakened by resurrection. The account reads: “‘Lazarus our friend has fallen asleep, but I am traveling there to awaken  him.’ The disciples then said to him: ‘Lord, if he is sleeping, he will get well.’ Jesus, however, had spoken about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly: ‘Lazarus has died.’” (John 11:11-14) By resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus gave him back his life and reunited him with his family. What a marvelous gift Jesus gave to that family!

The resurrections Jesus performed when on earth were a foregleam of what he will do in the future as King of God’s Kingdom. * During his rule over the earth, the heavenly Jesus will bring back to life those humans who are asleep in mankind’s common grave. That is why he said: “I am the resurrection.” Think of the happiness you will feel when you see your loved ones again! Think, too, of the joy that resurrected ones will experience!—Luke 8:56.

Think of the happiness you will feel when you see your loved ones again!

FAITH FOR EVERLASTING LIFE

Jesus said to Martha: “The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” (John 11:25, 26) Those whom Jesus resurrects during his thousand-year reign will have the prospect of living forever—as long as they truly put faith in him.

“The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”—John 11:25

After making those remarkable statements about the resurrection, Jesus asked Martha a soul-searching question: “‘Do you believe this?’ She said to him: ‘Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God.’” (John 11:26, 27) What about you—would you like to develop the kind of faith in the resurrection hope that Martha had? A first step is to take in knowledge of God’s purpose for humankind. (John 17:3; 1 Timothy 2:4) Such knowledge can lead to faith. Why not ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to show you what the Bible teaches about this subject? They will be happy to discuss with you the marvelous hope of the resurrection.


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Bethany was a small village that lay two miles (3 km) from Jerusalem. (John 11:18) A tragedy unfolded there a few weeks before Jesus’ death. Lazarus, one of Jesus’ close friends, unexpectedly became seriously ill and died.

When Jesus first heard the news, he told his disciples that Lazarus was asleep and that he intended to awaken him. (John 11:11) But Jesus’ disciples did not grasp his meaning, so Jesus told them plainly: “Lazarus has died.”—John 11:14.

Four days after the burial, Jesus arrived at Bethany and sought to comfort Martha, a sister of the deceased. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha said. (John 11:17, 21) “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus replied. “The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”—John 11:25.

“Lazarus, come out!”

To demonstrate that those words were not an empty promise, Jesus then approached the tomb and cried out: “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43) And to the astonishment of the onlookers, the dead man emerged.

Jesus had performed at least two resurrections previously. On one occasion he raised a young girl from the dead—the daughter of Jairus. Right before Jesus resurrected her, he also described her as being asleep.—Luke 8:52.

Notice that regarding the death of both Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter, Jesus compared death to sleep. That is a fitting comparison. Why? Sleep is an unconscious state and suitably conveys the idea of rest from pain and suffering. (Ecclesiastes 9:5; see the accompanying box,  “Death Is Like a Deep Sleep.”) Jesus’ early disciples clearly understood the true condition of the dead. “To the followers of Jesus death was a sleep, and the grave a resting-place . . . for those who had died in the faith,” * states theEncyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

It comforts us to know that the dead are asleep in the grave and are not suffering. Death thereby loses its mystery and no longer needs to cause us dread.

“IF A MAN DIES, CAN HE LIVE AGAIN?”

But while we appreciate a good night’s rest, who wants to go to sleep forever? What hope do we have that the dead who lie asleep in the grave will return to life—as Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter did?

The patriarch Job raised that very question when he felt near to death. “If a man dies, can he live again?” he asked.—Job 14:14.

Addressing Almighty God, Job answered his own question, saying: “You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands.” (Job 14:15) Job felt sure that Jehovah longed for the day when He would resurrect His faithful servant. Was that mere wishful thinking on Job’s part? Not at all.

The resurrections performed by Jesus offered clear proof that God gave Jesus power over death. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus now possesses “the keys of death.” (Revelation 1:18) So Jesus will unlock the gates of the grave, just as he ordered that the stone of Lazarus’ tomb be rolled away.

The Bible repeats this resurrection promise time and again. An angel assured the prophet Daniel: “You will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13) Jesus told the Sadducees, Jewish leaders who denied the resurrection promise: “You are mistaken, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:23, 29) The apostle Paul said: “I have hope toward God . . . that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15.

WHEN WILL THE DEAD ARISE?

When will this resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous occur? The angel told righteous Daniel that he would rise up “at the end of the days.” Martha likewise believed that her brother, Lazarus, would “rise in the resurrection on the last day.”—John 11:24.

The Bible connects this “last day” with Christ’s Kingdom rule. Paul wrote: “For he [Christ] must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26) This is a powerful reason why we should pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on the earth. *

As Job well knew, God’s will is to resurrect the dead. When that day arrives, death will truly be brought to nothing. And never again will anyone wonder, ‘Does death end it all?’


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COVER SUBJECT | DOES DEATH END IT ALL?

Death is a fearsome enemy. We fight it with all our might. We may try to deny it when it strikes someone dear to us. Or, in the exuberance of youth, we may imagine that the enemy will never come to claim us—a delusion we cling to as long as we can.

Few thought more about immortality than the ancient Pharaohs. They spent much of their own lives—as well as the lives of thousands of workers—in an attempt to conquer death. The pyramids they built testify to their quest—and to their failure.

Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang and Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León
EMPEROR QIN SHI HUANG

EXPLORER PONCE DE LEÓN

Chinese emperors followed a similar dream of immortality, albeit through a different route—that of the mythical elixir of life. Emperor Qin Shi Huang demanded that his alchemists find a magic potion that could keep death at bay. But many of their concoctions contained toxic mercury, and one of their mixtures likely killed him.

In the 16th century C.E., the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León sailed the Caribbean reportedly in search of a fountain of youth. He discovered Florida, U.S.A., in the process but died a few years later after a skirmish with Native Americans. And no fountain of youth has ever been found.

The Pharaohs, emperors, and explorers all sought to conquer death. And who of us would have belittled their goal, even if we disliked their methods? Deep down, practically all of us want to keep living.

CAN DEATH BE CONQUERED?

Why do we rebel against death? The Bible explains the reason. Regarding our Creator, Jehovah God, * it says: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their [mankind’s] heart.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We  would like to enjoy earth’s beauty forever, not for a mere 80 years or so. (Psalm 90:10) That is our heart’s desire.

Why did God put “eternity” in our hearts? Merely to frustrate us? That is unthinkable. On the contrary, God promises us that there will come a victory over death. The Bible repeatedly speaks about the elimination of death and God’s promise of everlasting life.—See the accompanying box,  “Victory Over Death.”

Jesus Christ himself clearly stated: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) So the battle against death is not a hopeless one. Jesus confirms, however, that only God can win that battle for us.


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COVER SUBJECT | DOES DEATH END IT ALL?

The Sting of Death

Death is an uncomfortable subject. Many people prefer not to talk about it. But sooner or later, we must confront it. And the sting of death is sharp and painful.

Nothing can fully prepare us for the loss of a parent, a spouse, or a child. A tragedy may strike unexpectedly or unfold relentlessly. Whatever the case, the pain of death cannot be eluded, and its finality can be devastating.

Antonio, who lost his father in a road accident, explains: “It is like somebody sealing up your house and taking away the keys. You cannot return home, even for a moment. You are left with only your memories. This is the new reality. Although you try to deny it—since it seems so unfair—there is nothing you can do.”

When faced with a similar loss, Dorothy, who became a widow at the age of 47, resolved to find some answers. As a Sunday-school teacher, she never felt that death ended it all. But she had no clear answers. “What happens to us when we die?” she asked her Anglican minister. “No one really knows,” he replied. “We will just have to wait and see.”

Are we condemned merely to “wait and see”? Is there any way we can know for sure whether death ends it all?


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THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT

Jesus

Is Jesus God?

    “No man has seen God at any time.”—John 1:1

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

 Many people believe that Jesus is not God. Still, others point to Bible verses that supposedly indicate that Jesus is equal to God.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 The Bible does not portray Jesus as being Almighty God or equal to God. On the contrary, it clearly teaches that Jesus is inferior to God. For example, the Bible records Jesus’ own words: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) The Bible also says: “No man has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Jesus cannot be God because many people didin fact see Jesus.

Jesus’ early followers did not claim that he was God. For example, the Gospel writer John said concerning the things he recorded: “These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.”John 20:31*

 When was Jesus born?

“There were . . . shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.”—Luke 2:8

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

 Some people observe Christmas on December 25—thought by some to be the date of Jesus’ birth. Others observe the birthday of Jesus in early January.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 The Bible does not state the date on which Jesus was born. However, it does say that at the time of Jesus’ birth, “there were . . . shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.” (Luke 2:8) It is very unlikely that those shepherds would have kept their flocks outside at night during December and January. Why?

The area where Jesus was born experiences some of its coldest weather during December and January. Regarding that time of year, the Bible reports that people were “shivering . . . on account of the showers of rain.” (Ezra 10:9, 13; Jeremiah 36:22) That would have been no time of year for shepherds to be “living out of doors” with their flocks.

Did Jesus really come back to life after he died?

“God raised him [Jesusup from the dead.”—Acts 3:15.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

 Some people believe that it is impossible for anyone, including Jesus, to have come back to life after death.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 Jesus taught his followers that he would “suffer many things . . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised up.” (Matthew 16:21) The Bible reports that after he was killed and resurrected, Jesus appeared to upwards of 500 people. (1 Corinthians 15:6) Those eyewitnesses were convinced beyond doubt that he had been raised from the dead. They were even willing to die for that belief!—Acts 7:51-60; 12:1, 2.

WHY IT MATTERS

 The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the way for all humans to benefit from the Bible’s promised Paradise on earth. (Psalm 37:11, 29; Revelation 21:3, 4) We have the prospect of enjoying a happy, unending life in that earthly Paradise thanks to the love shown by Jesus and his Father, the Almighty God, Jehovah.—John 3:16; Romans 6:23.


THE WATCHTOWER DECEMBER 2013

APPEARED IN

 DRAW CLOSE TO GOD

“Look! I Am Making All Things New”

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Do you desire good health and a long life for yourself and your family? Do you long to live in a world where pain, suffering, and death will be things of the past? Such a world is not a figment of the imagination. On the contrary, a righteous new world will soon be a reality, for Jehovah God has purposed it. Note how the fulfillment of his purpose is described at Revelation 21:3-5.—Read.

“[Godwill wipe out every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 21:4) What kind of tears will he wipe out? Neither tears of joy nor the tears that protect our eyes. God’s promise refers to tears caused by suffering and sorrow. God will not merely dry off such tears; he will wipe them out completely by removing the causes of unwanted tears—suffering and sorrow.

“Death will be no more.” (Revelation 21:4) What has caused more unwanted tears than the enemy death? Jehovah will release obedient humans from the grip of death. How? By eliminating the real cause of death: sin inherited from Adam. (Romans 5:12) Jehovah will lift obedient humans to perfection on the basis of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. * Then the last enemy, death, will be “brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) Faithful humans will be able to live as God purposed for them to live—forever in perfect health.

“Neither will . . . pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:4) What kind of pain will be no more? All the mental, emotional, and physical pain that has resulted from sin and imperfection and made life miserable for countless millions will be no more.

A life without tears, death, and pain will soon be a reality. ‘But where?’ you may ask. ‘Is God’s promise perhaps about life in heaven?’ No. Consider why not. First, the promise is introduced with the words “the tent of God is with mankind,” and mankind lives on earth. (Revelation 21:3) Second, the promise describes a world where “death will be no more”—a world where death once existed but will cease to exist. Death has never existed in heaven, but it has had a long existence here on earth. Clearly, then, God’s promise of a better life will be fulfilled right here on earth.

God will dry up the rivers of tears that have flowed because of suffering and sorrow

Jehovah wants us to believe his promise of a righteous new world. Right after describing the blessings to come, he guarantees his promise, saying: “Look! I am making all things new.” Then he adds: “These words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5) Why not learn more about how you and your loved ones can be among the happy worshippers who will see God’s promise become a glorious reality?