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tomb  Does scripture support the very often said prayer to departed souls: “May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace?” Jesus taught, “When ye pray, say, ‘Our Father who art in heaven …’ ” Luke 11:2. Prayer, going by this instruction, is directed to an entity. And we know that a wise person will always enquire about a one he is about to have a dealing with. This means that in order to achieve a successful contact with an entity, knowledge of the entity, coupled with the dos and don’ts that are involved is crucial.
The reason why our prayers must be scripture based is that when Jesus taught them how to pray He specified whom the prayer should be directed. Later on, He told them, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name I will do it.” Jesus is the word of God. He is the code you need to give to unlock to access the Father. Certain facts are always embedded in a code.
”And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. The word ‘appointed’, in Greek is apokeimai, meaning: to be stored up; to await; destined. Men (anthropos), means human being, person. Once (hapax): once more, once for all, one time (numerically or conclusively). Die, in the Greek: apothnesko, means to die off (lit. or fig.), to be about to die, be mortal. Judgment {krisis – (kree-sis)}, is judgment (human or divine); justice, the concept of determining the correctness of a matter; negatively, punishment, condemnation. The divine design we have in Hebrews 9:27 is for none other but earthly humans, to die just once (for all). Before the divine atonement on the cross, those who lived wicked, ungodly lives went to hades (also called hell), where they stay awaiting the white throne judgment. Those who went there are still there. Those who die after Christ’s ascension without being born again go there as well. Those whose lives were godly went to another place down the earth as well.
In the book of Luke 16:19-31, the parable was certainly an actual occurrence. Jesus made two compartments, deep under the earth, known to us. Lazarus, after death (not because he died a poor, wretched fellow), went to one of the compartments or regions, called Abraham’s bosom. Paul taught that if Jesus ascended it concludes that He also went down: to the three known compartments, to preach of impending doom’s day. That the place bears the name of a historical saint is a proof of an actual occurrence. The rich man called out from his excruciating compartment and cried, “Father Abraham!” He did not only call this historical figure by his earthly name, he titled him, ‘Father’. Whose father? The Jews of course! He knew him as the father of the Israelites. He pleaded that someone needed to be sent up to the earth from down there to warn of the judgment awaiting those who die not as God’s saints. Hear Abraham, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Not even Abraham, who saw his children in hell, could offer words of prayer, based on his account of the twenty-sixth verse. Abraham’s bosom is the second compartment Jesus revealed in this parable (which is not a fiction like the others); the third is tatarus, rendered hell in 2 Peter 2:4.
Psalm 6:5, “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Death, in the Hebrew is mawet, meaning: death, dying. This mawet is a masculine noun. The masculine gender does not bring its young i.e. produces nothing, and like angels, who once they sin, cannot be given a second chance. Remembrance is zeker: memory, memorial, remembrance (with an implication of honour, worship and celebration), fame, and reknown. Anyone in this kind of death is in a hopeless oblivion. This is the death of an unrighteous being: dead for good! This is why a man’s being born again is so crucial. The concluding part of this verse caps it well. Do confer Psalm 115:17, “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence” and the 18th, “But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.”
Isaiah 38:18 hits it harder and very well, “For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Grave, in the Hebrew, is sh’owl (sheol). It means: the realm of death, deepest deaths. This word is the same as ‘hades’ (land of the wicked dead). The word ‘praise’, yada, is: to shoot (a bow), to throw (down); to express praise, give thanks, to extol, make a public confession, make an admission (to praise is to speak of the excellence of someone or something; to give thanks has a focus on the gratitude of the speaker). The word death is mawet, as above. Pit is the rendition of bor (a fem. & masc. noun – pointing, probably, that hell takes both sexes), meaning: well, cistern, dungeon (especially one used as a prison). Hope is sabar: to examine or scrutinize by implication of (watching), to expect (with hope and patience). The scripture is telling you that those who go to sheol have been thrown into hopelessness by God Himself. Christ, to these, is never a mediator! ‘Truth’, in Hebrew, is ’emeth, meaning: faithfulness, reliability, trustworthiness, what conforms to reality in contrast to what is false; ‘the book of truth’ is a reliable book, referring to heavenly scroll detailing things. With these definitions the truth, no doubt, is Jesus, who called Himself the truth in John14:6. In whose name we pray has no connection, whatsoever, with the dead in sin. Isaiah, inevitably, had studied Psalm 88:10-12 to enhance his prophetic didacticism.
“Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. (11) Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? (12) Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” Psalm 88:10-12. How these rhetorical questions shut the mouths of prayers for the dead! Let us see, from the tenth verse, the word I want to treat first: ‘wonders’ which the Hebrew renders pele, meaning: miracle, astounding thing. The ‘grave’ in verse eleven is qeber, meaning, burial site, tomb or sepulcher. This is also a masculine noun. Interestingly we have ‘destruction’, in the eleventh verse as, abbadon (an entity of idolatry). This word means perishing, (concretely) hades – the Place of Destruction (the realm of the dead). A feminine noun, depicting the fact that more people are expected there. Why? Jesus answers this in Matthew 7:13-14. Verse eleven asks whether Jehovah’s ‘faithfulness’, (Hebrew enuma: firmness, steadiness, trustworthiness, security & fidelity), is available in the land of the dead; and do I need to analyze the twelfth verse? Prayers offered for the dead are futility of naughtiness.
Folks, this is why you just must be born again (John 3:7) before your earthly time is up! Pray the prayer of all prayers: the one that gets you born again. Are you ready? It must come from the core of your heart, and believing every word. Here we go; say: Dear heavenly Father, I come to you now, in the name of Jesus Christ. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe in my heart that Jesus died for my sins. I believe that You raised Him from the dead (for my justification). I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and I receive Him as my Lord and Saviour. I give God all the glory. Amen!

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My name is H.O. Ojewale. I was born in 17th March, 1955, in the then Gold Coast, now Ghana, Greater Accra. My parents are Nigerians. I am married with three wonderful children.


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