The Letter and the Envelope
We have had so much death as a community lately, and although the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:1 that we are to rejoice when someone passes, it is definitely difficult to do so. We are attached to our friends and family members and rightly so! Jesus understands that hurt and void that we feel when our loved ones depart from this life. In fact, Jesus stood outside the tomb of Lazarus and wept along with Mary and Martha. Death is ever easy on those that are left behind! God brought something to my attention that I feel can help us all understand death and deal with it in a more positive light.
Jeremiah 1:5 states, “5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Before our parents knew us, the Lord knew us and had a purpose and a plan for our lives. When God first created humanity, he made the flesh of humankind from the dust of the earth and then he breathed into the nostrils and man became a living soul. The breath of God is the soul of humanity! Our souls are letters that are addressed to the world, and these letters are then wrapped in an envelope of flesh. It is the envelope that we get attached to because it is what we can physically see. We form a deep attachment to the flesh.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Paul is trying to help us realize that the envelope is not of importance but it is the breath of God, the soul, that is the real treasure. Our envelope begins to age and deteriorate the moment we enter this world and it experiences pain and suffering, but the letter inside is renewed every day of life. 2 Corinthians 4:16 states, “16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. When we get mail, it is never the envelope that is of importance, but rather its contents. The envelope at some point is discarded. Death is when the Lord opens our envelope and removes the letter. The letter then is in the presence of God and the fleshly envelope goes back to the dust of the earth. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” and 2 Corinthians 5:4b says, “to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
For a child of God, the soul (letter) is removed from the body (envelope) in death, and that soul is in the presence of the Lord and then falls asleep in rest unto the second coming of the Lord. That body is planted like a seed in the ground waiting upon the resurrection. The Bible explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, “51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The old envelope that was riddled with health problems, cancer, and aging is now changed in a moment to a body like Jesus Christ. It is resurrected in power and perfection. It impresses me that the Lord understands our attachment to the flesh enough to give us a new body in heaven that will never grow old.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says, “13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye 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 unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto 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 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
What a comfort in knowing that one day my letter (soul) will be removed from my body (envelope) and my soul will rest in the presence of the Lord until the moment that Jesus returns in the clouds of heaven. Then my soul will be enveloped in a new perfect body and I will be known as I was known upon the earth. I would like to encourage you to go on our church YouTube channel and watch the sermon entitled, “The Letter and the Envelope.” Soon the last enemy which is death will be destroyed, and those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior, and friend will be together forever in Heaven. What a day that will be!