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                            Revelation 14:13


1. In describing the Revelation that was shown to him, John heard words
   of comfort...
   a. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed
      are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" - Rev 14:13a
   b. "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and
      their works follow them." - Rev 14:13b

2. What else does the Bible say about the state of the righteous
   a. In regards to the intermediate state?
   b. That period from the moment of one's death until the resurrection
      of the last day?

[The answer depends upon what covenant was in force.  But in both
testaments we find words and imagery that suggests a condition of
blessedness for the righteous dead.  Consider what we find...]


      1. The death of God's saints was precious in His sight - Psa
      2. The death of the righteous was rest and peace, confronting evil
         no longer - Isa 57:1-2
      -- Such words hinted of a blessed condition of the righteous dead
         in OT times

      1. The beggar Lazarus was consoled and comforted - Lk 16:19-22,25
      2. The reference to Moses places this during the Old Covenant - Lk
      3. Jesus' account accords somewhat with Greek concepts of Hades
      4. The Greek conception of Hades was that of a locality receiving
         into itself all the dead, but divided into two regions, one a
         place of torment, the other of blessedness. - ISBE
      5. Greeks referred to the place of torment as Tartarus; Peter also
         - cf. 2Pe 2:4
      6. Jews viewed the place of blessedness where Abraham was as
         Paradise - Barnes
      7. Jesus later promised the thief that he would be in Paradise
         - Lk 23:43
      8. Which between His death and ascension must have still been in
         a. For after His death Jesus descended to Hades - cf. Ac 2:27
         b. Yet after His resurrection He had still not ascended to
            Heaven - cf. Jn 20:17
      -- The story of Lazarus and the promise to the thief on the cross
         illustrates the blessed state of the righteous at that time

[While the Old Covenant was still in effect, little was revealed about
the state of the righteous dead.  We now live under the New Covenant,
where more is revealed and the blessedness is even greater...]


      1. Paul viewed his impending death as a departure, using "a
         metaphor drawn from loosing from moorings preparatory to
         setting sail" (Thayer) - 2Ti 4:6
      2. Peter used the Greek word exodos (translated "decease"),
         meaning "exit", the same word used to describe the Exodus of
         Israel from Egyptian bondage - 2Pe 1:15
      3. Paul wrote of death as a gain, something far better than living
         - Php 1:21,23
      4. He looked forward to being with Christ, at home with the Lord
         - Php 1:23; 2Co 5:6-8
      5. He described the righteous dead as asleep in Jesus, yet living
         with Him, and coming with Him - 1Th 4:13-14; 5:9-11
      6. He described Paradise as now in the third heaven (the presence
         of God!) - 2Co 12:1-4
         a. Could the location of Paradise have changed from Hades to
         b. Many believe that such occurred at the ascension of Christ,
            as suggested in Ep 4:8-10
      -- Death for the righteous now promised something far greater!

      1. Jesus made promises that clearly refer to the eternal state,
         after the Judgment
         a. The right to the tree of life - Re 2:7; cf. 22:2,14
         b. Not hurt by the second death - Re 2:11; cf. 21:8
         c. Names not blotted out of the Book of Life - Re 3:5; cf.
      2. Yet also those that refer to the intermediate state, between
         death and the resurrection
         a. To reign over the nations with Christ - Re 2:26-27; 3:21;
            cf. 20:4-6
         b. To walk with Him in white, clothed in white garments - Re 3:
            4-5; cf. 7:9-17
      -- Jesus describes blessings for the righteous dead prior to
         eternal state!


1. The condition of the righteous in the intermediate state has always
   been one of bliss...
   a. As depicted by the story of the rich man and Lazarus
   b. Yet that only describes the condition while the Law of Moses was
      still in effect

2. The New Testament indicates that the condition of the righteous dead
   changed after Jesus ascended to heaven, so that...
   a. Paradise is now in the presence of God in heaven
   b. Faithful Christians can look forward to being with Christ upon
      their death
   c. The righteous dead are now in the presence of Jesus, comforted by
      Him and serving God in His temple, even reigning with Him!

3. "But if righteous dead are in heaven now, what happens after the
   resurrection and judgment...?"
   a. God and Jesus will dwell with them in heavenly city, the New
      Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven into a new heaven and
      new earth - cf. Re 21:1-22:5
   b. A promise Peter and the early Christians looked forward to - cf.
      2Pe 3:13

Wonderful are the words John heard from heaven...!

        "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
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