Why Must the Righteous Also Die?

I have often wondered why the innocent have to suffer for the guilty.

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For instance, in the Northern Kingdom of Shomron, God told Elijah that despite Elijah thinking he was the only righteous man left, there were still 7,000 who hadn’t bowed the knee to Ba’al (1 Kings 19:18.) Yet, all the people in the Northern Kingdom were attacked, many slaughtered, and the rest dispersed throughout the known world.

We also read how later, in the Southern Kingdom of Judea, the same thing eventually happened to them, except they weren’t dispersed but taken into slavery, while some of the people remained in the land. And Isaiah prophecized that the young men who were a prince or of nobility were taken into slavery, made into eunuchs and forced to serve the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:16-18), one of them (most likely) being the prophet Daniel.

I know that we can’t always understand why God does what he does, and he even told us (through Moses) that the secret things belong to him.

In Judaism we believe that the laws God gave fall into one of three categories:

Mitzvot– laws that are self-explanatory;

Mishpatim– laws that are logical and expected to exist in any society; and

Chukkim– laws that seem arbitrary and are without explanation, and no one knows why they exist.

So, I figure the reason the righteous must die is like a Chukkim law, which has a reason but God only knows why they exist. And just because we can’t understand the “why” for them, we still have to accept that God knows what he is doing and we don’t always have the need to know.

I have come to the conclusion that maybe the righteous have to die with the unrighteous because when God judges, we all will be judged, together. If that is correct, then it makes sense that everyone dies when God is ready to judge.
Yeshua gave a drash regarding the tares and the wheat (Matthew 13:24) and it ends with both the wheat (righteous) and the tares (unrighteous) being harvested together, then separated. If this is God’s plan, then the righteous have to die with the unrighteous.

I think the bottom line is that the answer to why the righteous have to die with the unrighteous is not really important because of the answer to the question: “Why are we here?” My answer to that is we are here for as long as we are here for one purpose only, which is to decide where we will spend eternity. What we do in this life determines where we spend eternity, so this current existence, which is mortal and limited, should be less important to us than our eternal existence.

As such, when we die isn’t that important, or even if we die, or who we die with so long as when it happens we are set to go to the right place.

Here is what the angel told Daniel:

Daniel 12:13But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”

There are a number of places in the Bible where we read about the dying of the righteous, and I believe that this excerpt from the Psalms says it all:

Psalm 49:15:

But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. 

That is what it really comes down to, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter when we die, so long as we are in a state of righteousness when we die we will eventually be in God’s presence for all eternity.

And how do we become righteous? By accepting Yeshua as our Messiah so that we can, by reason of his sacrifice, find atonement for our sins and to be repentant, do T’shuvah (turn from sin) and live our lives trying to be as obedient to the instructions God gave us as we can be.

As for me, I live my life always repenting and seeking forgiveness for when I sin, asking for strength to be less sinful, and trying my darndest to live my life as a living testament to God.

So don’t be sad when the good die and the evil survive, because the righteous will be taken into the bosom of Adonai and the unrepentant evil, although they may be having a really good time now, will have only eternal suffering and torment when their life comes to an end.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

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