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Honouring The Dead
It is fitting that in the dead churches of our society,
they hold memorial services to honour or pray for the dead.
However, Jesus never instructed you to pray for the dead,
but to intercede for the living.
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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I am writing this on 11th November, Armistice Day, the day on which all the dead from two world wars are traditionally ‘honoured’.
At 11 o’clock on 11th November 1918, an armistice was signed, and the First World War ended.
Millions had been sent to early graves, butchered by the folly of human ‘conquest’ rooted in pride, hatred, envy and arrogance.
To honour their memory, red paper poppies flutter in the breeze, reminiscent of the poppy fields of Flanders where thousands upon thousands of infantrymen fell slain in the mud, loyally obeying the senseless orders of their commanding officers. And to commemorate their deaths, and the deaths of millions of others killed in equally pointless conflicts, the populace stands silent for two minutes in Remembrance Day’s ceremony.
But why ‘honour’ the dead at all?
Why Honour The Dead?
That might sound like a caustic question, lacking feeling. But it isn’t when you take a deeper look at why society enacts these rituals.
You could ask similarly: Why have funerals? What is the point of all this ceremony to ‘honour’ the memory of the dead, especially those who died in war?
"Well, can’t you see?" you might retort. "It’s so that future generations recall the horrors and mistakes of the past, so they don’t repeat them."
The trouble is, such ceremonies do nothing to prevent further conflicts, because conflict is the outcome of unresolved disagreements that are rooted in lust, greed, envy, hatred, resentment, bitterness, pride and other vile attitudes.
The cause of war is spiritual in nature (Jas 4:1). Performing physical rituals without any spiritual change in the human condition does nothing to resolve the problem. So, it’s a lame excuse to claim that ‘remembering the dead’ helps allay further troubles.
No, it goes deeper than that; much deeper!
When you go to the East, you see cultures where people worship their ancestors. What they are actually doing, without realising it, is worshipping the demons who controlled their ancestors, and who now influence them in their customs. Through ‘honouring the dead’, you are actually blindly paying homage to the evil spirits that caused all the misery in their lives!
Think of all the demented glee these spirits are gloating in when they see all these people religiously standing to attention to honour what they achieved!
People put on a sanctimonious, religious facade, bow their heads in reverence before... whom?
Ostensibly it’s the dead, but those dead people are not there. Bodies – or what remains of them – may be in graves, but their spirit has departed into the spirit realm where God resides (Eccl 12:7). It’s the spirit that gives life and consciousness to the body and brain, so it’s the spirit that is the real ‘you’. (Explained fully in Spirit Soul? and Body, The Near Death Experience, and Life After Death.) Since the spirits of dead soldiers have gone into a different realm – not the physical realm, but one where they see the folly of what they engaged in on earth – it is not them who are really being honoured. It’s the evil spirits who fomented the destruction. They are the ones receiving worship!
Realise what is taking place at such functions. The dead are being honoured – the dead are being worshipped! It’s blasphemy. It’s idolatry. It’s worship of man, not worship of God.
But we know from truth the Bible reveals, that it’s even more than that. Demonic beings who inspired their carriers on earth to perpetrate acts of brutality and savagery, rape, gratuitous violence, torture, and every imaginable evil, are rejoicing in their rebellion against God and all the holy angels. And if you go along with all these customs and ceremonies of deception, you are paying them the homage those demons want.
Memorial Services & Funerals
A similar outrage occurs when churches hold memorial services for dead people. The dead don’t need our prayers. It’s too late for that. People need prayer when they are alive!
And then there’s the farcical funeral service. Why have it at all, except to comfort the bereaved? However, generally funerals do not comfort them; they also pay homage to – worship – the dead person. And that is worshipping their demons, because they lurk unseen at the graveside beside the body, looking for new hosts.
So, my advice to you is, don’t get dragged into the bondage of following such customs. Have a simple graveside ceremony. Get the body buried without fuss. Don’t pay homage to the person. Pay homage to God!
When a friend dies, people talk about going to pay their last respects at the funeral. But it’s too late for that. You need to show your respect to a person when he or she is alive.
When people show their faces at a conventional funeral, all they are really doing is going along with a custom they have never questioned, complying with it for social acceptability. It is considered an insult NOT to attend. Why? Because of what others would think. Most would think you were dishonouring the dead. Doesn’t that tell you where we have got such a relic from? Ancestor worship! The customs of the East!
Notice what Isaiah prophesied about this:
Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans (Is 2:5,6, NIV).
A funeral should not be an elaborate occasion. Any formalities and family social interaction need to occur BEFORE the funeral.
Jacob conferred with his sons and blessed them shortly before he died (Gen 49). Isaac prophesied to and blessed his sons before he died (Gen 27). The family came together to pay their respects to the aged father before he died, not after. In those instances above, clearly God guided them in what took place.
When I die, I don’t want much of a funeral. There’s no need. Just put the body in the box, dig the grave, and lower the box down. Thank God for being the giver and taker of life, and then get on with your own lives, serving Him. Don’t make a religious ceremony out of the occasion. Just be normal, and treat the event as one of the inevitable things of life.
What is important is not the physical, but the spiritual. The dead person is released; the ones left behind are not. So don’t make more bondage for your lives than is unavoidable, by complying with rites for the dead!
Remember that the death of the righteous is not something to grieve over for long. Helena will naturally find my departure more difficult to bear than will others. Grieving is natural and right for those with close spiritual bonds, but God helps us get over grief and trauma. He also shows us beyond the physical appearance to the spiritual reality:
The righteous perish and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death (Is 57:1,2, NIV).
Don’t Let Funerals Kill You
A pastor in Africa wrote to me several years ago requesting £500 so that he could bury his mother. (Don’t ask us for money, you will only be disappointed.) At the time, I was not familiar with the local customs, so I wondered why he would think he would need so much. (That’s a lot of money in Africa.)
Later I found out why. I saw a video of a typical African funeral. (I think it was typical; this was Nigeria.) The dead body was in the coffin, but the lid was left open and all the people were filing past, to take one last look at the cadaver. To me it was grotesque. It was like the funeral of the pope. What homage!
There were presents, expensive cloths, clothing etc. draped around the body. Here was a dead body, lying in more grandeur in death than the person had experienced in life! Not to mention all the poor people who filed past the coffin, some of whom were not dressed so well.
Yet all this expense was not for the living. It was just being buried in the ground, to benefit no one!
It reminded me of the superstitious Egyptians who incarcerated their rulers at death in a stone sarcophagus, surrounded by all that was dear to them in physical life, as if they could carry on enjoying such things. And – horrendously – they even buried their servants alongside their human masters!
Is it any wonder God had to deliver Israel from such a system controlled by demons! They were in real bondage, physically AND spiritually!
Today, you and I live in spiritual Babylon or Egypt, similarly surrounded by superstitions and empty ritual. So, don’t let the customs of the heathen society in which you live, hold you in bondage.
I hear reports of believers, especially in Africa, held bondage to the customs of their ancestors, being fleeced of huge amounts of money through society’s demands upon them when a relative dies.
The living should make arrangements while they are alive, in anticipation of their death, so that their progeny are not burdened by crippling expenses and debt when the time comes. If you are the one responsible, follow the examples of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who made such arrangements while they were alive. It is irresponsible NOT to make provision, and to let your death be a burden upon your children!
But that is just what funeral expenses have become in many societies. And it all goes back to ancestor worship.
Of course, where there are civil requirements you have to comply with under state regulations, there are some things you cannot avoid. But, if the responsibility rests with you, do what you can while you are alive to ensure that your death does not become a burden upon the living whom you will leave behind.
The Only Memorial
There is one, and only one case for honouring the death of a person. That person is Jesus. His death was prefigured by the Passover (Ex 12). We are to honour His death, because He was not a mere mortal. He was God in the flesh (1 Tim 1:17; 2:3).
The command is in all synoptic gospels, and Paul repeated Jesus’ words:
"This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this... in remembrance of Me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Cor 11:25.26, NIV).
It is right to honour and worship God, not man. Come out of the customs of Babylon (Rev 18:4). And remember, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living! (Matt 22:32.) & Malcolm B Heap
(From MM Newsletter 33, Dec 2005)
A Question About
Remembrance Day Services
Q. You say that the Remembrance Day (Nov 11) services are wrong. Why?
A. Because all that takes place is centred around man, not God. It is worship of people, not God.
They talk about "the glorious dead". That slogan sums up how misguided the commemorations are!
They say they are paying tribute to those who died in two world wars – effectively thanking them for what they did to deliver Britain from foreign aggression (which was by greater ruthlessness than the enemy). But they are not thanking God, or paying tribute to God.
You hear statements about how all the millions who died laid down their lives in sacrifice. That’s untrue. None went to war with the intention of laying down their lives in sacrifice. They had their lives taken from them!
Jesus is the only One who has willingly laid down His life in sacrifice. He didn’t have it taken from Him like so many in war. He gave it in complete sacrifice for the greatest deliverance ever made for mankind (Jn 10:18).
Yet you don’t hear about that in Remembrance Day services. Everything is about man and what man has done. It is based upon human PRIDE.
As the servicemen file past the Cenotaph, they are not parading before God, to give Him glory. They are parading in front of people, for others to see them and to give them glory!
The occasion is frankly a victory march, glossed over with the excuse that it is to remember the dead, so that such atrocities are not repeated. But do the vanquished countries have similar celebrations? Not that I know of! What about remembering their dead?
The spectacle is one in which Satan is glorified, because he caused these horrendous wars. He is gloating in what he has accomplished, and year after year, his morbid success is remembered. The pageantry does not point people to the sacrifice of Jesus, who died for the sins of the world (Jn 3:16,17; Matt 1:21).
The creeps who stand before these servicemen (who are mostly unconverted), claiming to represent Jesus, stand there in long robes, looking like effeminate twerps, going through a performance of empty ritual purely for the sake of human tradition. It doesn’t represent God. It brings the name of Jesus into utter disrepute! Jesus was nothing like they look or behave.
The whole ceremony is a huge monstrous lie that has duped millions of people to think that it is valid and worthy, when it is nothing but idolatry, worship of the dead, flagrant violation of Scripture and an affront to God!
While you can certainly find some good aspects about it, to ‘justify’ its observance, you can do that about almost anything that man does guided by Satan, because the devil is a trickster, who has duped the whole world with his mixture of truth and error.
Jesus has nothing in common with the organised church which presides over this abomination. The C of E peddles heresy, idolatry and humanistic propaganda. She commits spiritual fornication with human government which does not accept Jesus as their Saviour. They rely upon human means, human reason, human strength, and human expertise to replace what God offers that is divine, holy, supernatural and glorious.
They have exchanged the incorruptible for what is corruptible, and worshipped and served that instead of the Almighty God, who alone is to be revered! Need I say more?! The whole thing is blasphemous from start to finish! & Malcolm B Heap
(From MM Newsletter 33, Dec 2005)
Further Reading: The Church of England Is A FALSE Church! (CoE);
The Controversy Concerning Law and Grace (LG);
Our Sabbath Rest (£3.00); Why Britain Will Fall Soon (S);
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