Will We Ever See Them Again?
“You have left us forever. It was so unexpected. But despite the deep wounds that your death has left behind, in our hearts you will always be with us. We will never forget the wonderful years we have enjoyed with you nor give up hoping to see you again one day.”
IN THE Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, surviving families and friends repeatedly express sentiments such as these in newspaper memorial notices published after the death of a loved one. Similar thoughts are in the minds of others worldwide, warm thoughts of remembrance, together with chilling despair over their loss—hope mixed with uncertainty. You may have had such reactions or heard of them from a friend after the death of a loved one.
For most people, the hope of seeing their dead loved ones again is confused and unclear. The reasons are plain. To begin with, hardly anyone these days really takes the time to inform himself on the matter. And when someone tries to, the information offered by most religions on the question is either too vague or too bizarre to be convincing.
As you may know, for many the only “future life” for the dead is the continuation of their family lines. You may have heard the view that people ‘live on in their children.’ But does such a “life” bring any conscious benefit to the dead or any prospect for their survivors to see them again? Not at all! So there is really little comfort in such a view!
Out of interest in our own loved ones, both those who have died and those who are yet living, we need answers to the questions: If someone we love dies, will we ever see that one again? If the answer is yes, when and where will that be? In heaven? Or even here on the earth? Really, what hope is there for dead loved ones and for us in the future?
To be very frank, there is good news regarding these questions. It is good in the sense that there is a sure, exhilarating hope. It is news because it is a message different from what most people have heard, even from religious sources.
In the first century of our Common Era, when the Christian missionary Paul was in Athens, Greece, he spoke about the Scriptural hope for the dead. Some listeners were inquisitive, but others heard with disdain. Certain philosophers wanted to carry on controversial conversation with him, and they said: “What is it this chatterer would like to tell?” Others claimed that he was “‘a publisher of foreign deities.’ This was because he was declaring the good news of Jesus and the resurrection.” (Acts 17:18) Yes, the good news that Paul had to tell involved the resurrection!
How would you view talk about a future resurrection—of seeing the dead alive again? Would it seem to be useless chatter? Or, because of your religious education and your personal views, does the message of the Holy Scriptures about hope for the dead appear new and strange to you, as if it was coming from a ‘foreign deity’?
To Paul, the Athenians said: “You are introducing some things that are strange to our ears. Therefore we desire to get to know what these things purport to be.” (Acts 17:20) Do you too desire to learn more about the Bible hope for our dead ones, and for us who are living? If so, the following article will interest you.