Question:

I would like to ask a question regarding a statement left by many of my friends, as well as my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. The statement is “Rest in Peace” to Whitney Houston. I know according to the Bible that no one is in Heaven yet. We all go to Hades either in Abraham's bosom” Paradise”, or across the other side of the great gulf which is a place for the sinner. Both sides are waiting to be judged. I can’t understand how these people put people in Heaven when we have not been judged yet. My question: Is it wrong for a Christian to say “Rest in Peace?”


Answer:

We know from the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus that the righteous go to Abraham's bossom where there is rest and peace. "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22). But such wasn't true for the rich man. "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented"" (Luke 16:25). While Judgment Day had not yet arrived, a person's place while awaiting the final sentence of Judgment does reflect in where he awaits.

We as humans are not in the place to judge anyone. Even Michael would not make a judgment against Satan. "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"" (Jude 9). It is not that we make no judgment about right and wrong action. "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). But we do not put ourselves on the Judgment Seat of God and speak as if we are God.

Thus, we know that Whitney Houston's choice to abuse drugs violated God's law to be sober. "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:13). What she did was wrong. Where she will go for eternity is in God's hands.

Along with this, it is important to remember God's warning. "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him" (Proverbs 24:17-18). It is a time of sadness that a person did not know the joy and peace of serving the Lord.

But in answering your question, when we know a person has been violating God's law, it would not be right to say "Rest in Peace" because that is judging the destiny of such a person. It would be better to say, "If possible, may the Lord be merciful to her soul."

Thanks a bunch brother Hamilton. you're awesome!