PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD

 

This topic is the bane of fundamentalist and many others of the Protestant ilk. The assertions against prayers for the dead are usually based on an interpretation of Hebrews 9:27

And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

The usual fundamentalist interpretation is that if the dead are judged upon their death, then any prayer for them is futile and vain, and thus should not be taught or practiced. I will assert that this verse does disprove reincarnation but does not disprove prayers for the dead. I would ask you this. Does God foreknow all who are to be saved? If you answer no, then I would say you and I do not have the same God, for scripture does teach that God does foreknow:

 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8:29

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1 Pet 1:2

and that if he did not foreknow he would not be almighty and thus not God. If you answer yes then I would ask, why pray for the living? For God knows their judgment already and I might be praying for something against his will. Scripture also teaches that I am to pray for my enemies (Matthew 5:44). But what if my enemies are dead? If an old enemy who resides in my memory persecutes me should he be excluded from my prayers and forgiveness because he has already been judged? Would I not be disobeying God if I do this? Those who had an anti-Roman zeal who let their zeal blind them to the truth developed the doctrine against prayers for the dead. Pray often. Pray constantly. And pray for those yet to be born, those who are living, and those who are dead.