SHOULD I WISH THE DEAD "RIP"? by Precious C Philip
People wish the dead "Rest in Peace". They offer this prayer to both deceased Christians and non-Christians to express their sympathy and sorrow over the death of the deceased. It might sound sympathetic and consoling to the family of the deceased, but there is nowhere we are told in the Bible that all who are dead are resting, nor given the instruction to pray for the dead to rest in peace. So why do we wish the dead "RIP" or pray thus, "may their gentle soul rest in peace"?
This prayer is quite misleading because it makes people believe or think that when they die, they are automatically going to rest. But such contradicts the teachings of the Bible. The Bible does not teach that when someone dies, they are going to rest automatically.
What the Bible teaches - which is the truth and the reality is: only those who died in Christ are resting. Revelation 14:13 clearly states "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die." The Spirit answered, "Yes, they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done."
Listen also to what Isaiah 26:19 says, "Yet we have this assurance: Those who belong to God shall live again. Their bodies shall rise again! Those who dwell in the dust shall awake and sing for joy! For God’s light of life will fall like dew upon them!". Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 reiterates, "With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life." From the above scriptures, it is absolutely clear that it is only when you die believing in Jesus Christ that you'll rest and experience resurrection when Jesus returns.
It is only those who died having faith in Jesus Christ that are resting.
Whoever then did not receive Jesus Christ into their life before taking their final breath is not resting, let alone resting in peace, no matter the kind wishes or long prayers offered to them on their burial. No prayers or warm wishes offered to the dead has any benefit to them. It is unuseful except it is a faith-filled prayer to God to bring the dead back to life.
Yes, you might be tempted to pray for the dead, especially if they're a loved one, but if you really cherish them, your prayers should be offered to those they left behind (their family), they'll appreciate that wherever they are. I understand this might not be sounding sweet, but the truth must be made known; for lies is gaining more acceptance than the truth. If they refused to accept Jesus before they died, they are not resting right now. That is the raw truth. John 3:18b says "...But everyone who doesn't have faith in Jesus has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son." Therefore, this is their judgement: "The wicked (sinners) shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).
Some Christians already aware of this truth refuse to believe it, while others choose to ignore it. So, they'll rather hypocritically wish the dead "rest in peace" to appear a "good person" to those watching. Do you know that even if the entire 7 billion people on earth should come together to wish a dead person "rest in peace" and pray to God to "accept their gentle soul", if they never received Jesus before they died, it'll not change their eternal destination from hell to heaven? That is how serious it is. Yes, God is a merciful God, but God is also a righteous God, a just and holy God. He is therefore obligated to keep His word and abide by what He has said to maintain His righteous, holy, and just nature. He never goes against His word. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His word shall never pass away.
God even magnified His word above His own Name (Psalm 138:2).
Moreover, the nature of a person's death does not determine if they'll go to heaven or hell. Ordinarily, we would want to believe that whoever dies in a painful way or in a way that shows they're not the direct cause of their death (e.g murder, accident, rape, fire outbreak, stray bullet, bomb explosion, terrorist attack, etc) would go to heaven because their death was painful, and God is merciful and too loving, so He would not allow such people still go to hell to burn eternally. This is what we would want to believe, but it is not biblical. The Bible never teaches that; so it is never the case and will never be the case.
I am not trying to come out as a "heartless" individual or to downplay the agony of losing a loved one, but I want us to understand what is more important and ruminate over this anytime someone dies: they're either resting in heaven or they're suffering and wailing in hell based on whether they accepted Jesus before death or not. This is the truth. The moment you believe this truth, it'll set you free from living an unrighteous life that will deny you entrance into heaven to rest after death. It will also encourage you to receive Jesus if you're yet to receive Him.
If you want to rest and really rest in peace after death, accept Jesus before death comes knocking. We are all aware that death comes like a thief in the night - it comes when you least expect it. Therefore, it is wise for you to accept Jesus now that you're still breathing, because death can come tomorrow or when you're not prepared. Receive Jesus and live a righteous life - which is required to enter the kingdom of heaven and spend eternity with God.
If you're ready to accept Jesus, please say this prayer from your heart and mean it: Heavenly Father, I come to You today through Your Son, Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I receive Him into my life. I surrender all to You, Jesus. I submit to You as the Owner of my life. I submit to Your lordship and authority, and ask that You sanctify me with Your precious blood and make me holy and righteous. Help me henceforth to live for You in righteousness and holiness. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer sincerely, God has forgiven you and made you His child. Begin to read the Bible, pray, fast, attend fellowship meetings in a bible-believing church, keep company with godly people, and consciously live a holy life receiving help from the Holy Spirit daily.
For further help or counseling, contact me:
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God bless you.
You might also want to read these two articles that buttress this subject: