Correspondence: Death - Present or Asleep?; John 2:17 - Zeal of Thine House

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Ques. I was taught by my parents that when we die, we go to be with the Lord. Now I am told by others, that all go to sleep in death till the resurrection. If you can, please enlighten us about this? What does Eccl. 9:55For 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. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) mean, "The dead know not anything?”
Ans. The death of the Christian is often spoken of as asleep. (See Matt. 27:5252And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (Matthew 27:52); Acts 7:6060And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60); John 11:1111These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (John 11:11); 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 5130For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:30)
6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:6)
18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (1 Corinthians 15:18)
20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (1 Corinthians 15:51)
; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14, 15; 5:1013But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13‑15)
10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:10)
), but asleep refers to the bodies, so that they know not anything under the sun,-they are away from all that is going on here on earth. Ecclesiastes is wisdom under the sun. We need to get what the Lord Jesus and His apostles tell us, to know the full truth.
We find clear evidence from them that neither saved nor unsaved are unconscious as to the spirit. Death in Scripture is NEVER, ceasing to exist. There is no death to the soul or spirit.
Man, the highest of the animal kingdom, is a responsible being, and his existence is for eternity; the body goes to decay at death, but the soul or spirit has gone either to be with Christ in paradise; or to the prison, under chains of darkness, awaiting the day when the body will be given again, to stand at the Great White Throne to receive the sentence,-the wages of the sins the person was guilty of.
The saved are seen in Luke 16:23; 20:38; 23:43, 4623And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:23)
38For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. (Luke 20:38)
43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
46And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)
; Acts 7:5959And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (Acts 7:59); 2 Cor. 5:88We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8); Phil. 1:21, 2321For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
23For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23)
; Rev. 14:1313And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13), and another picture of the martyrs in Rev. 6:9-119And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9‑11).
Ques. Please explain explicitly, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up" (John 2:1717And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (John 2:17)). S. E. W.
Ans. It means that the Lord Jesus, seen here as the Messiah in His burning zeal for God's glory in His house, rises above every other thought. "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God" (Psa. 40; Heb. 10). If anyone spoke against God, the burden of it fell on Him. "The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen on Me." Psa. 69:99For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. (Psalm 69:9). Here we have the Lord's sufferings from the hand of man (He took it all from the Father). It is not atonement here. This is seen in Psa. 22. It is some of His inward sufferings, in which other Godly men might share. It is like Psa. 102:1-111<<A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.>> Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. 2Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. 3For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. 4My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. 5By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. 6I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. 7I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. 8Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. 9For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, 10Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. 11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. (Psalm 102:1‑11).
He knew, to carry out the will of God would lead through death (John 12:2727Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (John 12:27)). This earnest desire to fulfill all the will of God, brought suffering and reproach upon Him.
There are three prophetic days: John Baptists' day (chap. 1:1-36). Jesus' day, with the godly remnant of the Jews (37-51). The marriage day, pointing to Israel's restoration (chap. 2:1-22).
Jesus comes to the house of God, but it must be cleansed (14, 15). There the disciples remember (Psa. 69:99For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. (Psalm 69:9)). Then we see in the same shadowy way, that He is to go through death, into resurrection life and glory, before all these things can be fulfilled (verse 19-22). This was the sign He gave them.
This scene foreshadows the purging of the kingdom in the latter days before the Lord as King can take possession of it.