“[…] The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”
Was Jesus referring to a future judgment in heaven or on earth?
The Hebrew Scriptures describe the resurrection hope as taking place on earth:
“He will swallow up death forever, And the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces. The reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth […].” (Is. 25:8)
Who are those “in the memorial tombs?”
The term used here is derived from the Greek verb meaning to remember (mimneskomai), implying that the person who has died is remembered by God, regardless of where their body winds up physically.
Jesus used the verb when he offered hope of living in paradise to the felon being executed alongside him on a stake. (Luke 23:40-43)
Jesus made a covenant for a heavenly resurrection with those who stuck out his trials with him. (Luke 22:28-30)
But for most of us, faith in being in Jehovah’s memory and the promise of an earthly resurrection is our most viable longterm hope.
In the restored paradise, we will have a clean slate to chose eternal life or destruction by the choices we make then. (Ro. 6:7; Rev. 20:12,15)
“[…] Will not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, while he is patient toward them?”
When we or someone we love is undergoing an unusual amount of suffering due to illness or persecution, we may wonder how God can be so patient. (2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 6:9,10)
He promises to remove all evil, pain and even death, but as we personally face trials, that relief can seem far off in the horizon. (Ps. 37:9; Rev. 21:4)
Jesus said we should pray tirelessly, like the widow who sought justice in his illustration.
But Jehovah is a much more speedy judge than the one who initially ignored the widow.
How can we be sure Jehovah isn’t ignoring us?
Jesus made it clear that we need to pray with an extraordinary amount of faith. (Luke 18:8)
Though we may not physically see the answer to our prayers, we can be sure Jehovah has already taken the necessary steps to ensure lasting justice to us both individually and globally. (2 Pet. 3:13)
The real question is, can we endure the wait?
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.”
Are Jesus’ words to be taken literally?
The Bible teaches God made the earth to last forever. (Ps. 37:29; Is. 45:18)
In a previous similar statement, Jesus said: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to go unfulfilled.” (Luke 16:17)
Jesus was not alluding to a future destruction of the physical universe.
Rather, he was making reference to the opposite.
He was using the permanent nature of the physical world to illustrate how certain the fulfillment of his prophecies is.
In other passages, the phrase “heaven and earth” actually refers to government and mankind. (2 Pet. 3:13)
Jesus was speaking in the context of a coming judgment day, like the one that came through the deluge in the times of Noah. (Matt. 24:37)
Since his kingdom is going to thereafter rule over humans deemed righteous, the current heaven and earth will have come to pass in a symbolic sense. (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:19-21)
“[…} Many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt. […]
But as for you, go on to the end. You will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.”
What a beautiful hope God has given us in the promise of a resurrection for those who have died.
Centuries after Daniel lived, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ in spirit form, a new type of resurrection hope was eventually introduced to humanity. (Luke 12:32; 22:28-30; John 10:14-16; 1 Pet. 1:3-5)
Still, the resurrection most of us look forward to is the original one promised to take place here on a paradise earth. (Job 14:14,15; Ps. 37:29; Is. 26:19; John 11:24; Acts 24:15; Rev. 21:3-5)
Five years ago on this date, we unexpectedly lost a very kind-hearted friend who always gave everyone of his time.
Many of us looked up to him and asked him for advice, and he always followed up on it.
I knew him as a young girl, but in adulthood he became my husband’s friend.
Although I have lost friends and family to death, the date of his parting sticks with me because it was my first day at a new job.
I drove by his place of death later that morning, noticing an accident, unaware of what had happened.
Then I drove by the same spot everyday for the next four years, and every single morning I wished I could go back in time and warn him to take things easier and not overwork himself.
But he gave his all to God, and even if I could warn him, he would still work as diligently as he did to help others.
What is more, if it is impossible for us imperfect humans to forget our loved ones whom we’ve lost, how could God in his perfect love ever forget them? (Heb. 6:10)
Like Daniel, many faithful servants of God await in rest until God calls their name and blesses them with everlasting life.
Who do you want to see again?
”He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, […] And their blood will be precious in his eyes.”
In a time when gun violence and terrorist attacks are tragically commonplace, it is comforting to remember how valuable human life is to Jehovah God.
He does not see loss of life as this week’s statistics or another news headline.
Not only does God know when someone dies, he cares for those affected on an individual level (Matt. 10:29-31; 1 Pet. 5:7).
Why is human life so valuable?
Genesis chapter one verse twenty-seven explains that we are created in God’s image.
We are capable of displaying such noble qualities as selflessness, loyalty, reason and faith.
We are capable of creating new things and of caring for species other than our own.
Human life is so valuable that God redeemed us from death through the sacrifice of His son (John 3:16).
Adding to the sanctity of life is the fact that it streams directly from Jehovah Himself (Ps. 36:9).
What a comfort it is, then, to meditate on God’s plans for us to inherit “the real life” in which violence will be no more (1 Tim. 6:19; Rev. 21:4).
“Look! These are just the fringes of his ways; Only a faint whisper has been heard of him!”
Jehovah God promises eternal life to those actively learning about Him and his son (John 17:3).
When you love someone, you enjoy getting to know them even years after the relationship has been in effect.
Therefore, we can trust that to live forever will be a source of purpose, joy and satisfaction.
In a universe in which we are so young compared to our surroundings, how could we ever tire of learning about our Creator?
He has filled creation with such detail and balance as to keep us busy for time indefinite.
Let us take the time to get to know Him and his son, the “Master Worker,” through the beauty of nature (Prov. 8:30).
Doing this will remind us of our place in time and the universe, strengthening our faith so we can endure, as in Job’s case.
Meditating on God's creation is both a humbling and faith-strengthening experience.
“[…] They sinned against your regulations, by which a man will live if he observes them.”
It is important to participate with zeal in the ministry work, sharing God’s “regulations” with others, for they mean life to those who listen.
Not all will appreciate or understand God’s message, but some will respond to the “sayings of everlasting life,” (John 6:68).
Furthermore, when God’s principles guide our own choices, we can enjoy being alive in a spiritual sense (Lev. 18:5).
A healthy relationship with God can in turn bring us true happiness and is a glimmer of “the real life” Christians anticipate, a future life without pain or injustice of any sort (1 Tim. 6:19).
Jehovah God extended this opportunity to His People, giving them “righteous judgments, laws of truth, good regulations and commandments” that they could fully rely on to find peace and happiness (Neh. 9:13).
However, His people continuously rejected these by sinning, repenting and then returning to their sinful practices (Neh. 9:16-35).
Let us never show such a lack of appreciation for God’s undeserved kindness (2 Cor. 6:1).
Instead, let us live by observing His word.