The question whether it even made sense to pray for dead people is certainly important and should also be answered according to biblical statements. This shows the now catastrophic condition of the Protestant churches in Germany.
Inhalt / Content
Prayers for the deceased?
Is it necessary, useful, or even advisable to pray for people who have died? A lot of people ask themselves this question and it is understandable. For the faith of the Catholic Church, the answer would quickly be: “Yes, of course!”. But what about the Christian faith? “Sola scriptura” (“only the Scripture”) was one of the Reformers’ guiding theses and meant basing one’s faith solely on the statements of the Gospel. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether one can pray a prayer of intercession to God for the dead should actually be able to be answered quickly using the Bible.
An interested party wanted to know
A questioner addressed such a question to the question-and-answer forum of the magazine “evangelisch.de” (Source), a mouthpiece for the Protestant churches in Germany. They should actually know.
The questioner asks whether her prayers for her grandfather, who died a long time ago, are being heard by God. She hopes that her grandfather will be accepted by God, regardless of whether he was a believer or not. All she knows is that he was a very nice person.
A confession of faith instead of an answer
However, as would have been expected, the answer to this is not based on knowledge, but on one’s own faith and hope. Nevertheless, the magazine’s responder (it is not known whether she is a theologian or a typist) hopes that her comments could be helpful. However, this is not a new area for her; she deals with this topic regularly.
She is therefore firmly convinced that the prayers will be answered and encourages the questioner to continue to pray for her grandfather. For God it is not important at all whether the grandfather is dead. What is important to God is the hope of eternal life after death. “That’s why we pray for the dead: to express our hope,” was the answer.
As long as people are on earth, their lives are determined by space and time. After dying, these orientation aids are no longer available. But then the person is “completely with God, the Father, in heaven” and he is the new orientation. Even if the deceased grandfather was not a devout Christian, one can hope that he “will find eternal life with God our Father.” This is supported by prayers.
Catholic-New Age influenced
This answer from the (supposedly) Protestant advisor almost couldn’t have been more Catholic. All that was missing was her “advice” to direct the prayers directly to the deceased grandfather, or better yet, to the “Queen of the Kingdom of Heaven”, Mary (Info). Then the agreement with the Catholic catechism would have been perfect. Such elements can also be found in the New Age scene.
One randomly wonders which sources she draws on when she “regularly” deals with the topic of “the state after death”. It can’t be the Bible, because the answers are not only clear and comprehensible in Scripture, but they even say the complete opposite of what the questioner received in response.
The Bible is clear
In the Bible there are some statements about the (immediate) “life after death”.
In short:That doesn’t exist!
“Exiting” the body after dying also required a corresponding (immortal) soul. But even this doesn’t exist at all. There is Genesis 2:7 provides a clear indication:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Man has no soul, but the living man is the soul.
Another unmistakable description of the state after death is described in Ecclesiastes 3:19:
“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.“
und Ecclesiastes 9:5-6:
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.“
Far from the Reformation
The great reformer Martin Luther, whose name the former Protestant churches still rely on, believed in a “sleep of the soul” after death. When Jesus Christ returns, those who have already died and who have been declared righteous will be called from their graves. What else would the “resurrection” actually be? The soul leaves the father’s womb, shoots back from the kingdom of heaven into the dead body in order to stand up again?
The Bible gives further clear indications that, firstly, the “separate soul” does not exist and, secondly, dying represents a complete extinction of consciousness (Info).
Further incomprehension revealed
God himself has no need for “hope” of eternal life. The Creator knows of Himself, even before things happen. He certainly does not care whether the prayers are for a living person or a dead person. Jesus Christ said clearly inLuke 20:38:
“For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
To a potential successor, Jesus Christ said inLuke 9:60:
“Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
The Savior meant nothing other than that unbelievers can be counted among the dead, because only those who listen to the word of Jesus and follow it have passed from death to life. This includes faith and also the actions resulting from faith. And that would refute the statement that it doesn’t matter whether you believe or disbelieve. For inJohn 14:6:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“
Personal responsibility of the questioner
It’s shocking how much concentrated disbelief, fragmented knowledge and Catholic philosophy can be packed into such a short answer. It is just as frightening that there are still so many people who, out of their trust in the “person”, still direct their questions to such institutions. Otherwise you run the risk of being addicted to spiritualism without knowing it and in “good faith”.
Here the questioner must also be held responsible. Because only self-study of the Bible can bring certainty and God’s blessing.
Bible verses from King James Version