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Is There Hope for the Dead?

Is There Hope for the Dead?

Can the dead live again?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus’] voice and come out.”​John 5:28, 29.

Jesus thus foretold the future time when, under the rule of his Kingdom, the Grave would be emptied. “I was astounded the first time I read John 5:28, 29,” recalls Fernando, mentioned in the preceding article. “It gave me real hope, and I started thinking about the future with optimism.”

In ancient times, the faithful man Job expected that after his death God would eventually restore him to life. Job asked: “If a man dies, can he live again?” Then he confidently answered: “I will wait all the days of my compulsory service [time in the Grave] until my relief comes. You will call, and I will answer you.”​—Job 14:14, 15.

The resurrection of Lazarus gives us hope for the future

The resurrection was not a new thought to Lazarus’ sister Martha. After Lazarus died, Jesus said to her: “Your brother will rise.” Martha responded: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus then said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” (John 11:23-25) Then Jesus promptly raised Lazarus back to life! That thrilling account gives us a preview of grander events in the future. Imagine such resurrections taking place on a global scale!

Will some be raised to heaven?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: God’s Word shows that Jesus’ resurrection differed from the other eight in the Bible record. Those eight people returned to life here on earth. But of Jesus’ resurrection, we read: “Jesus Christ . . . is at God’s right hand, for he went to heaven.” (1 Peter 3:21, 22) Would Jesus remain the only one to be resurrected to heaven? Jesus had earlier told his apostles: “If I go my way and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you home to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”​—John 14:3.

Christ went to heaven and prepared for the arrival of some of his disciples. Those resurrected to heaven will eventually number 144,000. (Revelation 14:1, 3) But what will those close followers of Jesus do there?

They will be very busy! The Scriptures tell us: “Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years.” (Revelation 20:6) Those resurrected to heaven will rule as king-priests with Christ over the earth.

Who will be resurrected later?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: The inspired Scriptures record this speech given by the apostle Paul: “I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”​Acts 24:15.

God’s Word assures us that billions who have died will live again

Who will be included in the group that Paul referred to as “the righteous”? Consider an example. The faithful man Daniel was told toward the end of his life: “You will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13) Where will Daniel awake from the sleep of death? “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Psalm 37:29) And Jesus foretold: “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Daniel and other faithful men and women will be raised to live on the earth once again, even eternally.

Who will be included in the group that Paul called “the unrighteous”? They are the billions of humans who have lived and died, many without ever having an opportunity to understand and apply Bible truth. After their resurrection, they will be able to come to know and appreciate Jehovah * and Jesus. (John 17:3) All those who choose to serve God will have the prospect of living as long as Jehovah himself lives​—forever.

All who choose to serve God will have the prospect of living forever in complete health and happiness

What will earthly conditions be like?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:4) “They will build houses and live in them, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage.”​—Isaiah 65:21.

Imagine living under such conditions with your resurrected loved ones! But the question remains, How can you know for sure that the resurrection will take place?

^ par. 15 Jehovah is the name of God as revealed in the Bible.