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Gathered with the Saints

January 13, 2020
By Martin Luther

Abraham breathed his last . . . and was gathered to his people.

GENESIS 25:8

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Gathered with the Saints

These words of the Holy Spirit are by no means useless. Nor are they spoken to beasts, which do not go to their fathers and their people. No, they are spoken to human beings, and they bear witness that after that even before this life another and better life remains, yes, the coming of Christ there was a people of the living which dwelt in the land of the living. To them the godly went away. Therefore from then on the fathers had an understanding of the resurrection and of eternal life, and the words of each passage are used in their proper and clear sense. "You will be gathered to the rest of the saints," they say, "who have died before you. Therefore the fathers are living and are a people." This is not said about the ungodly, but the discussion is about the righteous and the saints. . .. Accordingly this serves to comfort us, lest we, like others, who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), be frightened by or shudder at death. For in Christ death is not bitter, as it is for the ungodly, but it is a change of this wretched and unhappy life into a life that is quiet and blessed. This statement should convince us fully that we do not pass from a pleasant life into a life that is unhappy, but that we pass from afflictions into tranquility. For since the fathers had this comfort from these few it is passages long before Christ, how much more reasonable it is for us to guard and preserve the same comfort! We have it in far greater abundance.