What Are the Benefits of Knowing the Truth About Death?

This isn’t a talk about the truth about death but about the benefits of knowing the truth. But one benefit we don’t get is highlighted in Genesis.

“So Sarah died in Kir′i‧ath-ar′ba, that is to say, He′bron, in the land of Ca′naan, and Abraham came in to bewail Sarah and to weep over her.” – Genesis 23:2 (also Luke 11:35. “Jesus gave way to tears.”)

Abraham knew the truth about death. He knew about the resurrection and almost certainly knew of the events in the Garden of Eden. Nevertheless, when his wife died, the event still affected him deeply. Knowing the truth about death doesn’t mitigate grief. We will be traumatically, perhaps uncontrollably, upset when someone we love dies.

So, if that is the case how are we to understand this verse?

“Moreover, brothers, we do not want YOU to be ignorant concerning those who are sleeping [in death]; that YOU may not sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Well, we still experience sorrow so what do you think is the key word here? Isn’t it ‘hope?’ What difference does it make?

Consider this experience from Nigeria related in a 2007 Watchtower:

Kehinde and Bintu, a Nigerian couple who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, lost two of their children in a car accident. Ever since, they have suffered pain because of this terrible loss. Even so, their trust in Jehovah sustains them, and they continue sharing the Bible’s message of hope with their neighbors.

Others noticed the serenity and strength displayed by Kehinde and Bintu. One day a woman named Mrs. Ukoli said to one of Bintu’s friends: “Bring the woman who lost two children at the same time and is still preaching the Bible’s message. I want to know what gives her the power to endure.” When Bintu arrived at the woman’s house, Mrs. Ukoli told her: “I want to know why you are still preaching about the God who killed your children. God took my only girl. Since then, I have nothing to do with God.” Bintu used the Bible to explain the reason why people die and why we can have the sure hope that dead loved ones will be resurrected.—Acts 24:15; Romans 5:12.

Afterward, Mrs. Ukoli said: “I used to think that God takes people in death. Now I know the truth.” She decided to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to learn more about God’s promises.[1]

Mrs Ukoli did not know the truth about death and what effect did it have? She attributed the tragedy to Jehovah and lost her relationship with God. Learning the truth helped her to see that Jehovah wasn’t responsible for her girl’s death; he did not ‘take her’. She would have been reassured that her daughter was not all alone waiting in heaven. Learning about the hope God gives made it possible for her to appreciate the resurrection hope and the provision he has made to remove death forever.

And that’s the difference, isn’t it? Without the truth, without hope, grief can cause us to lose faith. It can cause us to lose our relationship with God. With the truth, with hope, we can gain genuine comfort from Jehovah’s promises.

“He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.” – Isaiah 25:8.

Isn’t that a lovely thought? Not just that Jehovah has a plan to “swallow up death forever” but that he will also “wipe the tears from all faces.” *Mime wiping tears from someone else’s face* ‘Here you go, it’ll be alright.’ And you know, even though you’re sad, it will be.

Because we know the truth about death, because we have the hope of the resurrection and that Jehovah will “swallow up death forever,”[2] we can be genuinely comforted during grief. When we weep, we can allow Jehovah to wipe the tears from our eyes and our relationship with him will become even closer.

We are truly benefited from knowing the truth about death.

[1] The Watchtower 2007 5/1 p.5 box, 6 Help From “the God Who Supplies Endurance and Comfort”

[2] Awake! 1980 3/22 p. 10 What Is Death?