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Page 160

 

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

- Luke 16:22-23

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

- Revelation 14:13

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.

- II Corinthians 5:1-2

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

- Philippians 1:23

The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

- Proverbs 14:32

 

While we are commanded to pray for all people, Scripture specifies the following two exceptions:

    1. Those who have died
    2. Matters in which the Lord forbids further prayer

We are not to pray for those who have died because their state is fixed and irreversible. When a person dies, his body shall' 'return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7b). His soul shall be judged by God and sent directly to heaven or hell forever. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). That this takes place immediately can be seen from Jesus' words to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43b), and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22-23). We read in Luke 16:26, "And beside all this, between us (those in heaven) and you (those in hell) there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." "If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be" (Ecclesiastes 11 :3b). Therefore, to pray for the dead is to pray against God's Word which teaches us that the state of the soul is forever fixed after its separation from the body.


    How is the biblical truth of "praying for the living, but not for the dead" exemplified by David in the case of his infant child that died?

      And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

      David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

      And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

      And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

      But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

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