Caller: Basically my question I’m inquiring about regards people that are deceased and you bury them – what the Bible has to say about how many times you should visit them and if you move or something, whether you should bear the cost to move them and, so forth, to a different gravesite.
Pastor Doug: Good question. I don’t remember ever having that question, so I’ll take a stab at it.
Pastor Doug: From my knowledge of the Bible, and I’ve read the Bible many times but I don’t claim to have it memorized, there’s nothing in the Bible that requires us to visit the resting place of loved ones.
Now Jesus talks about, and He ridicules those who embellished the tombs of the prophets, which were beautiful and whitewashed on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones. I mean, Jesus told it as it is.
There’s nothing wrong with somebody wanting to go to the cemetery out of respect and to update a Flag at the grave of a veteran who gave his life or to visit a family member and to just bask in the memories. It’s maybe a thing to do to respect their memory. They obviously are not communicating with you. The Bible is clear the dead don’t communicate with the living.
And I don’t believe that there’s anything in the Bible that would require us to relocate their remains. I don’t see any example of that in the Bible except, when Saul and Jonathan were burnt, they finally did move their bodies and they buried them. But uh…
Co-Host: …and Joseph was taken…
Pastor Doug: …that’s right, that’s right – good point! Joseph’s body was – he never was buried though. They kept him embalmed, then they brought him from Egypt back to the Promised Land and buried him there. Good point.
So, there’s no requirement to move the remains if you move.
Caller: And, as far as like, you know, upgrading the headstone and so forth – and I know you know it could get pretty expensive – like basically, it’s probably better to put your money to better use through other ways.
Pastor Doug: Well out of respect for loved ones, it is good to have a legible headstone that will last a few generations. We just bought a headstone for my father, who passed away about a year ago. It took a long time to get the family to agree on what to put there.
Pastor Doug: But, even though my dad was a multi-millionaire, we bought a comparatively modest headstone because we wanted it to represent the kind of life he lived.
Caller: Basically in the Bible, they more or less buried people and not cremated them right?
Pastor Doug: Typically, with one or two exceptions, everybody was buried in the Bible. A couple of individuals were embalmed as mummies were – that was Jacob and Joseph but the remainders of them were buried – some in the ground, and some in a tomb, like Jesus. One or two were cremated – and that’s pretty rare. Jonathan was cremated and Saul.
Caller: So in the Bible it was probably customary where they came to the gravesite after someone was buried after a few days or something?
Pastor Doug: You know, I don’t find an example in the Bible, and I could be wrong, where they went to the tombs to pay their respects. I’m sure they did, but I can’t think of a story in the Bible that articulates that.
Caller: Other than Mary going to Jesus’ tomb?
Pastor Doug: Yeah but that wasn’t really to pay respects. They were going to finish embalming Him.
Pastor Doug: They had not finished. The Sabbath began before they could complete the embalming process, and they came with their spices.
Caller: Ok. Basically, it’s more or less just for respect.
Pastor Doug: Yes. There’s nothing wrong with that – especially Memorial/Veterans’ Day – you want to honor the memory. Ok?
Caller: Ok great. Thanks for your time.
Pastor Doug: Hope that helps a little bit Mike. God bless.
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