“Blessed are the Dead - Part 1”

Blessed are the Dead - Part 1

Wade Webster

The book of Revelation contains several beatitudes. One of the most well-known beatitudes is found in the fourteenth chapter.  We read,  “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (Revelation 14:13).  As we examine this beatitude, we will see four things.

The Paradox - Blessed are the Dead

Beatitudes are sometimes puzzling or paradoxical.  For example, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat. 5:10-12). We don’t generally associate being blessed with being persecuted.  In like manner, we don’t usually associate being blessed with being dead.  Yet, the Spirit did and guided John to write, “Blessed are the dead.” That seems paradoxical to us.  We likely think, Blessed are the living. For sure, the living are blessed.  However, the dead are also blessed.  In fact, the greater blessing, seems to belong to them.  You may recall the words of Paul to the Philippians: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24).  Paul said that departing (dying) and being with Christ was far better.  Of course, we are not speaking generically of all of  the dead.  Certainly, the wicked dead are not blessed.  Only the righteous dead are blessed.  God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  To Ezekiel, God said, “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11).  In contrast, God has great pleasure in the death of the righteous.  The psalmist declared, “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints” (Psalms 116:15).

The Place - Who Die in the Lord

Blessed are those who die in the Lord.  As you know, all spiritual blessings are in the Lord.  To the saints at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).  A few verses later, Paul would identify some of these blessings - acceptance, redemption, and forgiveness.  He wrote, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:6-7).  In his letter to the saints at Rome, he would declare that there is no condemnation to those in Christ.  We read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).  Those in Christ will be invited to enter into the joys of their Lord.  Jesus declared, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:21).