Summary: As long as we are in these bodies there will be veils, but it is our responsibility to lift those veils and remove them where God has given knowledge. There is no merit in being ignorant of that which God wants us to see concerning death.
A librarian commented concerning a woman just leaving her desk that she could get more out of
a mystery novel than anyone she knew. "How is that?" asked her co-worker. She replied, "She
starts in the middle so that she not only wonders how it comes out, but also how it began." This
illustrates what a great many people are doing with life today. They have no idea how things began,
or of how things will end up. All they look at is the middle of the story. They see the contemporary
scene only, and the result is that they have too much mystery on their hands, and life is confusing.
They have what we could call spiritual amnesia, which leaves them stranded in the present with no
roots in the past, or goals in the future. Mystery in itself is not only valuable, it is essential for
making life an adventure, but to live in this much mystery is to be miserable. One has to have some
When mystery reigns fear is on the throne as well. Henry St. John said, "Plain truth will
influence half a score of men at most in a nation, or an age, while mystery will lead millions by the
nose." The unknown is always frightening and so it becomes an ideal basis for controlling people
and their money. Religion in general and cults in particular take full advantage of people's ignorance
about life after death. Since people do not know the unknown it is impossible for them to prove any
claim to be false, and so in fear they bow down to those who speak with authority. The witch doctor
had such power over whole tribes because of his claim to know something about the darkness, which
the masses do not know.
One is always at a disadvantage when he is ignorant of the enemy. Nations know this, and that is
why the intelligence forces our vital to survival. We try and find out every possible move of the
enemy. We use spies and reconnaissance planes to keep current of enemy movements. Not to do is
to give the enemy the advantage of surprise. Death is an enemy, and we ought to know all that can
be known about this enemy, and not be content with leaving it as a total mystery. In order to protect
believers from being at the mercy of mystery mongers who sell their ignorance God has given,
through Paul, some clear answers concerning the mystery of death. They are not answers reserved
for the elite and spiritually superior. They are public information for the benefit of all.
There is so much revealed in I Cor. 15 alone that it would take a whole series of messages to
expound it. This does not mean that there is no more mystery. There will always be some mystery
simply because we are finite and cannot comprehend infinite truth. Some poet has written,
Shall my gazes see with mortal eyes,
Or any searcher know by mortal mind?
Veil or after veil will lift-but there must be
Veil upon veil behind.
As long as we are in these bodies there will be veils, but it is our responsibility to lift those veils
and remove them where God has given knowledge. There is no merit in being ignorant of that which
God wants us to see concerning death. Paul begins the final paragraph of his long discourse on death
and resurrection by saying in verse 51, "Behold I show you a mystery." Henry Vaughn wrote,
Dear, beauteous death, the jewel of the just,
Shining nowhere but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond the dust,
Could man outlook that mark!
Paul is saying that is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to look beyond the dust into
the realm of ultimate destiny. Not, however, because we have any faculty capable of grasping the
unknown and reducing it to the known, but because God has revealed it. It is a mystery that Paul is
going to show us, and a mystery is a truth that cannot be known except by revelation. In other words,
if it is not revealed it will remain in the realm of the unknown beyond the powers of man to discover.
The first aspect of the mystery is that we shall not all sleep. Not all Christians will die. There
will be those who enter the realm of eternity directly from this life without going through the valley of
death, just as Enoch and Elijah did in the Old Testament. In the case of the Christians, however, it
will not be because they are such unique servants of God, but simply because they live at the end of
history. The pattern of what is normal is not followed at the beginning or the end. The first of God's