What does the bible say about cremation? I don't know as a Christian how to feel about it. I am a money conscious person and don't want an elaborate funeral and the costs associated with it. Please don't get me wrong I am still young and don't expect my death in the near future but it has got me thinking....What are your thoughts? Are our physical bodies to be buried whole or can it be ashes to ashes?
My question right now is about what "immediately" happens when an unbeliever and believer dies? Will judgment occur right away or will it come during the second coming of Christ? Hebrews 9:27 says, it is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment. When "all" of us are judged do we go immediately to heaven and hell? And will it be our "souls" that will be end up on either place? What happens during the second coming, will this be the judgment on our resurrected bodies? How are these two types (immediate and second coming) of judgment different for a believer and unbeliever? And what is the difference between the "Bema Seat" and the "Great White Throne?"
Can you explain 2 Cor. 5:8 that says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord? If a believer receives a new body then, how does this relate to the new body one receives at the resurrection according to 1 Thess. 4:13-18? Does the believer return to earth from heaven with the Lord at the resurrection or rapture?
I attended a funeral for a little 3 year old girl from my church who had died to cancer. Her mother, who is a very active Christian, was wailing and mourning. Personally, I found this to be a normal response. My fellow Christian friends were referring to somewhere in Scripture that tells us not to mourn and wail like the unbelievers. Are you familiar with this and do you think this would refer to continual mourning/wailing for a long time after the death or are we called to be composed right away? Thanks for your time. Bless you.
Paul explains how wonderful heaven will be saying, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Revelation 21-22 explains the New heavens and earth that will follow the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus on earth.
Jesus specifically says He prepares a place for us in John 14, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
So these passages tells the believer of heaven after our life on earth and presence with the Lord in heaven.
I have a message at https://bible-truth.org/msg148.html titled "Life After Death" that explains more one what the Bible teaches about death.
The believer who dies in Jesus Christ or a child who is under God's grace until they reach the age of accountability, will go to heaven. (See 2 Cor. 5:1f)
1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us, "But 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." Our sorrow is not without hope of the sure and promised resurrection. The unsaved do not have that hope because the Bible clearly says they will go to Hades (Luke 16:23-24) to await the final judgment of Rev. 20:15-18.
Some feel sorrow deeper than others, and some express it more openly. We should offer consolation and sympathy...not criticism.
The dead are resurrected from the grave first as 1 Thess. 4:13-18 says and at that time the dead receive their new eternal bodies which are both physical and spiritual bodies. Their souls are in heaven and at the resurrection return to earth with Jesus and receive the resurrected body. The resurrected body is like Jesus' body after His resurrection. (1 John 3:2) Jesus' resurrected body was not subject to physical limitations. He appeared in the midst of a closed and locked room, He ate food, and was seen and heard. Thus Jesus' resurrected body had both physical and spiritual characteristics. This body is our final abode through eternity.
The verse says that believers receive a new body (tabernacle or covering) that God gives us. This is not the believer's resurrected body, but a spiritual body that we have in heaven. Though the Scriptures do not explain this, I believe this body is a spiritual body that does not have physical characteristics as will the believer's resurrected body.
Dead believers are resurrected from the grave first as 1 Thess. 4:13-18 says and at that time the dead receive their new eternal bodies which are both physical and spiritual bodies. Their souls are in heaven and at the resurrection return to earth with Jesus and receive the resurrected body. The resurrected body is like Jesus' body after His resurrection. (1 John 3:2) Jesus' resurrected body was not subject to physical limitations. He appeared in the midst of a closed and locked room, He ate food, and was seen and heard. Thus Jesus' resurrected body had both physical and spiritual characteristics. This body is our final abode through eternity.
The BEMA judgment is the term used to refer to the judgment that Christian will face after the Rapture. It seems to happen after Christians are Raptured and before Christ's Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.
The main New Testament text is 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. (Also see 2 Co. 5:9-10; Rom. 14:10-12). The name BEMA is taken from the Ancient Greek Olympics where winning athletes were given their rewards. In these athletic games those who finished well were given reward based on their achievements. Those athletics were awarded a prize, first, second or third place based on their accomplishment in the game. The judgment of Christ is similar because it is the place where their accomplishments in living for the Lord and serving Him are acknowledged. The BEMA is not a judgment of condemnation, but the judgment where the Lord will reward faithful Christians. All believers will finish the race, but will not receive the same reward. Those who lived by faith and whose lives honored the Lord will be rewarded accordingly.
1 Corinthians 3:11-14 presents this judgment as a Christians works (deeds) being placed in a refining fire. The fire will burn off the dross or that which is worthless and leave that which is of value. The "wood, hay, and stubble" are associated with the works of a believer that are temporal and done in the flesh and not under the direction and filling of the Holy Spirit. These "works" will be burned up in the fire and the believer will receive no reward. The fire will consume that done in a Christian's life that was done apart from faith. (See Heb. 11:6)
The gold, silver, and precious stones denote works that are eternal and done in faith, as the believers was filled with Holy Spirit. (See Eph. 5:18). These works are those that honored the Lord and were done in His power. It is not the size or amount of a believer's labor that is rewarded, but its value before God which is important. A faithful Christian of course is not perfect and will have works that are burned in the fire, but he should be faithful to the Lord so there will be much gold, silver and precious stones, symbolizing faithful works for the Lord.
Some things which are "gold, silver, and precious stones" are faithful church attendance, (1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:25; 13:7,17); being a loving, providing husband (Eph. 5:25; 1 Tim. 5:8); being a submissive, serving wife (Eph. 5:22; Tit. 2:4); being an obedient child (Eph. 6:1); Gospel preaching and world evangelization (Mark 16:15); training children in the way of God (Prov. 22:6); being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18); seeking God (Heb. 11:6; Prov. 8:34-35); sacrificing for Christ (Mark 10:29); approving excellent things (Phil. 1:10); being pure in spirit and body (2 Cor. 7:1).
There will also be a loss of reward at this judgment for Christians. The loss will NOT be salvation (1 Cor. 3:15) or one's riches in Christ (1 Peter 1:3,4; Rom. 8:18; Col. 3:4). The loss will be crowns; reigning positions which means positions of service to the Lord throughout eternity (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:25-26; 3:21; 20:4). No one who appears at this judgment will lose their salvation for poor service; but WILL lose rewards and suffer shame as he stands before the Lord Jesus and has little or no faithful works to honor Him with. (1 Cor. 3:15; 1 John 2:28; 2 John 8).
Salvation is not gained through faithful service, but through faith in the blood of Christ (Rom. 3-4; Eph. 2:8-9). For the Christian, the judgment of God's wrath upon his sin is forever past and he stands justified by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins were poured out upon the Savior on Calvary (John 3:18,36). I have an article at https://bible-truth.org/assuran2.html which explains that a believer is eternally saved and will not lose their salvation.
It is God's nature to be gracious (Psa. 103:8-14), and His marvelous, free grace in Jesus Christ will be manifest in the believer's judgment. There will be Christians there as 1 Corinthians 3:15 says with no reward and nothing to honor the Lord with because they wasted their lives. Yet, Christ is still merciful and will save His children. Once a person becomes a child of God they are eternally a part of God's family having received everlasting life. The Judgment Seat of Christ (BEMA) is one of the greatest motivations in the Christian life. It should motivate the Christian to live spiritual lives for the Lord (1 Cor. 3:1-3), to be busy (1 Cor. 3:9,10), and to be faithful (1 Cor. 4:2-4). The greatest motivation for a Christians is being grateful to the Lord for His suffering and sacrifice for us that makes salvation possible.
The BEMA judgment is only for Christians and the unsaved will be judged later after the Millennium at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15.
Cremation has a heathen origin and purpose. Why do the Hindus and those of other heathen religions cremate? They do it in the belief that the dead are not raised again, whereas the Bible says there is a resurrection of the just and the unjust. The heathen practice cremation in the belief that the dead will be reincarnated; to destroy the body is sometimes considered a way of releasing the spirit of the deceased. Again, some practice cremation with the heathen idea that by destroying the body of the deceased the fear of that individual staying in the vicinity and haunting the loved ones is diminished. There is nothing Christian about cremation.
God's people have always practiced burial. Abraham (Ge. 25:8-10), Sarah (Ge. 23:1-4), Rachel (Ge. 35:19-20), Isaac (Ge. 35:29), Jacob (Ge. 49:33; 50:1-13), Joseph (Ge. 50:26), Joshua (Jos. 24:29-30), Eleazar (Jos. 24:33), Samuel (1 Sa. 25:1), David (1 Ki. 2:10), John the Baptist (Ma. 14:10-12), Ananias and Sapphira (Ac. 5:5-10), Stephen (Ac. 8:2). In Ro. 15:4 and 1 Co. 10:11 God tells us that we are to follow the Bible's examples as well as its direct instructions. Even in difficult circumstances God's people in olden days practiced burial. For example, Joseph's body was kept for over 400 years in Egypt and then carried through the 40 years of wilderness wanderings before being buried in the Promised Land. We read of this in Ge. 50:24-25; Ex. 13:19 and Jos. 24:32. How much simpler it would have been for the Israelites to have cremated Joseph, then carried his ashes with them in a tiny container! This they refused to do. Joseph, a follower of the one true God, a man who looked forward to the bodily resurrection, was given an honorable burial. From this important example, we learn that even if cremation is less expensive or easier than burial, it is still to be rejected, as the Israelites rejected the economical and simpler way to transport Joseph's body.
Burial looks forward to resurrection. The reason God's people have always been careful to practice burial is not difficult to understand. We believe in a bodily resurrection (Ro. 8:22-23; 1 Co. 15:20-23; 2 Co. 5:1; 1 Co. 15:51-57). Yes, the buried body will decompose in time. Yes, there are occasions in which Christians die in ways which render burial impossible--in the sinking of ships, in fires, etc. But when at all possible we bury. Why the trouble? Because it is our certain hope that the same individual will be raised in the same body, only changed. The physical body is called the seed for the resurrection body. When planted, a seed decomposes, and the new plant comes forth. The Bible uses this to illustrate resurrection. In 1 Co. 15:35-44 the Apostle answers those who would ask how it is possible for God to raise again a decomposed body. The terminology used by the Holy Spirit in this passage is that of husbandry--planting seed. The farmer does not destroy his seed; he plants it, then from the decaying seed comes forth the new life. Such is burial and the resurrection. When we bury a Christian loved one, we are planting the seed for the resurrection body! It is a powerful testimony of our unwavering faith in God's Word regarding the promise of bodily resurrection. Contrast heathenism. They have no such knowledge or hope. The Hindus and Buddhists, for example, believe in reincarnation. Though they believe in a human soul which is distinct from the body, they do not believe that soul, once departed from the body at death, will be resurrected in any relation whatsoever to the first body. Rather they believe the soul will be reincarnated in another entirely unrelated body, or into a non-physical sphere of existence.
God's people have always buried their dead with this magnificent hope burning in their hearts. "We will see that brother or sister again in that same body, only changed, glorified!" Hallelujah! Only through the death and shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can we have this certain hope. He has taken upon Himself on the cross the punishment for our sins, carried our sins into the grave, and risen again in eternal triumph three days later. When an individual thoroughly acknowledges his sinfulness before God, repents of his sin, and receives Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, the sin debt is paid, and eternal life and glory is promised from God the Father. Part of this heritage in Christ is the glorified resurrection body.
God practices burial (De. 34:5,6). Cremation is a sign of God's curse. Throughout the Bible the destruction of a human body or of an object by fire is used as a sign of divine wrath (Ex. 32:20; Le. 10:1-2; De. 7:25; Nu. 16:35; 2 Ki. 10:26; 1 Ch. 14:12; Ac. 19:18-19; Re. 20:15). For a person not to have a proper burial was considered a dishonor (1 Ki. 21:23-24; Ps. 83:9-10). The Christian's body belongs to God. The body is not ours to destroy by fire or by any other means (Ro. 14:8; 1 Co. 6:19-20). God has plainly called cremation wickedness (Am. 2:1).
The Lord Jesus Christ was buried, and He is our great example (Jn. 19:38-42). Just as the Lord Jesus Christ was buried in certainty that He would rise again on the third day according to the Scriptures, even so is the Christian said to rest at death. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, as the Apostle Paul testified (2 Co. 5:9 and Ph. 1:21-23). The body without the spirit is dead (Jam. 2:26). The dead body sleeps in the grave while the redeemed soul waits in glory for the great resurrection day. Of course we cannot force people either to bury or not to bury. We know that the manner of one's burial does not affect one's salvation or resurrection, but we do believe these things are important, and we are convinced that Christians should take their stand upon the examples of the Word of God. (Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible and Christianity, David Cloud)