The Resurrection of Lazarus
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Jesus resurrected Lazarus after he had been dead four days. What does this mean for our understanding of what happens after we die?
 
 

The Bible teaches that humans sleep in death until they are resurrected at the end of time. The resurrection of Lazarus illustrates this Biblical truth. Read the full story in John 11

While speaking to His disciples about Lazarus, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleep he shall do well." The disciples were confused and thought Christ meant natural sleep, but He meant the sleep of death. "Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" (John 11:11-14).

"The Resurrection of Lazarus" by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Source: artexpertswebsite.com...

"On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days" (John 11:17 NIV). Jesus said to Lazarus' sister Martha, "Thy brother shall rise again."

Martha responded, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day" (John 11:23-24). Martha knew the truth about death. She expected that, like everyone, Lazarus would remain in the sleep of death until the resurrection at the last day.

When Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, "he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43). That voice raised dead Lazarus to life, and Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:44). If Lazarus had indeed been somewhere in the afterlife during those four days, wouldn't he have said something?

Others might have asked him about the afterlife. Or, if Lazarus had been to heaven, then he would have likely been upset that he was back on Earth, surrounded by pain and brokenness again. But in reality, Lazarus gives us no account whatsoever of heaven or anywhere else.

The fact, of course, is that there was nothing to report about what happened after he died, or about the realm of the dead, simply because he had experienced the sleep of death which is a state of absolute silence and oblivion.

Resurrection

Both the Old and New Testaments are very clear on the issue of resurrection. Life will be restored to the dead in the resurrection on the last day. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Job 14:10-15 and 19:25-26, Psalm 17:15, and Daniel 12:13 discuss this issue. There will be separate resurrections for the righteous and for the wicked:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV).

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5-6 NKJV).

The same voice that raised Lazarus from the grave will be heard on that last day, calling forth those who have slept in the graves of the earth. Christ will recreate the righteous dead, or "dead in Christ." He will breathe eternal life into them, and they shall enter heaven. The rebellious dead remain as dust, to be raised after the millennium in the resurrection of those who have rejected God.

What about spiritism and communication with the dead?

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article and website are not intended to accuse individuals. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their ability and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system that has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. Under the influence of its successive popes, bishops, and cardinals, this system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that clearly go against Scripture.
 
It is our sincere desire to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, so you may decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find herein anything contrary to the Word of God, you need not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality, we encourage you to make all haste to accept that Truth which is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
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