Unfortunately, for most of us, we’ve had to attend at least one funeral in our lives. As for myself, I’ve been to several in the last few years. All them Christian burials. It was at the last funeral, however, that ‘it’ dawned on me, during the service, when the Minister said, “We can take comfort from her faith in Jesus Christ as her savior that she is now reunited in heaven with her husband, Bob, who had passed away 20 years prior.” This, of course, was not the first time I had heard these words of comfort from those of the cloth, and no doubt you’d hear identical at any of the thousands of Christian funerals taking place everyday.
Notwithstanding the well meaning intentions of the respective clergy, that preside over funerals, my question is why do they lie to us? Is it their intention to deceive, or have they failed to read or understand the Bible?
After all, the Bible is very clear on the terms and conditions in respect to the afterlife:
1. There is no afterlife in the Old Testament. While there is Heaven, the celestial realm is reserved for God, his angels, and his prophets. “The heavens are the LORD’S, but the earth He has given to men“ -Psalm 115:16
2. Like many Jewish priests, rabbis, or teachers of the first century – Jesus was an apocalyptic Jew. He saw the world in terms of good and evil, an Old Testament worldview of sorts, whereby God presses the ‘NUKE’ button whenever the sin barometer climbs too high vis-a-vis the Flood, and Sodom & Gomorrah. Jesus saw evidence of sin and the Jewish people turning away from God, “adulterous generation”, and therefore he firmly believed that the end times were coming, and soon. (“Before the current generation would taste death.” (Matt 24:34)
3. From Jesus’ unique perspective, in terms of biblical narrative, Judgment Day will occur after the end of times i.e. when Jesus returns to earth. In other words, Jesus must return to determine who, among the Jews, exclusively, shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
He reassures his followers, however, that he has reserved some rooms at the Marriott Heaven for the days AFTER his return to earth:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
4. Notwithstanding the fact that Jesus is more than 1900 years late on his promise to return, this means, according to Jesus, all that are dead are still taking the eternal dirt nap. No one has entered, and no person will enter heaven until Jesus descends from heaven riding a white fluffy cloud. Ask yourself honestly, do you really believe such an event will ever happen? Of course, the primary fuel for my cynicism is Jesus’ false promise. He has already proved himself, in regards to his second coming, to be a false prophet.
My question being, why can’t our church leaders find words of solace and comfort for the bereaved without the theological dishonesty?
Author ‘God Hates You. Hate Him Back’ (Making Sense of the Bible)