What Should I Tell My Kids When a Loved One Dies?

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What Should I Tell My Kids When a Loved One Dies?

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With a firm understanding of what the Bible has to say about death, parents can provide children with a foundation of peace and hope regarding the state of a loved one who has died.

Turn to the Scriptures and find out about the glorious future hope for all who have died—you may be surprised and encouraged by what the Bible has to say!

5 Teachings From the Bible About Death

1. God promises that the dead will be brought back to life in a future resurrection.

This is how mankind can receive God's gift of eternal life. Paul shows that a resurrection will occur when Jesus Christ returns to the earth: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 [13] But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Why comfort one another with these words.
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).

In this passage, Paul distinguishes between two groups of Christ’s followers—those who have died and those who are still alive when Jesus returns. Both groups get miraculously and instantaneously changed to incorruptible spirit, inheriting the gift of eternal life.

2. Not all of the dead will be resurrected at the same time.

The resurrection at Jesus’ return will include only “those who are Christ’s” (1 Corinthians 15:23 1 Corinthians 15:23But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
American King James Version×
), also called “the dead in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×
). What happens to those who never had an opportunity to hear of Jesus Christ and God's Word? Or those who never had their eyes fully opened to understand the Word of God? Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
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says those not revived in the first resurrection will live again after the end of the Millennium (the first 1,000 years of Jesus’ reign on earth). People of all nations from past ages will be raised to life in this second resurrection. They will be restored to physical life at this time to be instructed in God's way.

Everyone who has ever lived since the creation of the first humans Adam and Eve will eventually understand the Bible and have the opportunity to repent, change and accept God's gift of eternal life as part of His family!

3. Jesus never promised that His followers would go immediately to heaven at death!

Notice what He stated in John 3:13 John 3:13And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
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(emphasis added throughout): “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven.” The only one who has come down from heaven is Jesus Christ.

4. Great men and women of faith throughout the ages are still awaiting their future reward of being made perfect in God's Kingdom.

“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise . . . that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40 Hebrews 11:39-40 [39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
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).

5. God created us in hopes that we would one day become part of His spiritual family and live forever with Him and Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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). We have the “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
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). Again, this is part of the very reason for human life—that we may ultimately choose God's way and receive eternal life.

As parents, we can uplift and comfort our children with this wonderful truth! We do not need to sorrow as others who have no hope. Because death is merely a type of sleep where there is no consciousness at all, no suffering or pain. Their loved one will awake to a wonderful opportunity to be with God forever. Through a resurrection to life God will reunite us with loved ones and will offer a real opportunity for eternal life to all who have ever lived.