Let the Dead Bury the Dead Meaning [Burying the Dead Kingdom Within]

What Jesus Meant Series

When it comes to Death and Life, the Bible has a lot to say. Jesus said to one of His disciples "Let the dead bury the dead but you go and preach the kingdom of God". 

This He said after the disciple had requested to first go and bury his father.

The understanding of this verse comes when we acknowledge the fact that Jesus had a habit of taking what people would say and turn it into a spiritual conversation, and by doing so reveal mysteries of the kingdom of God

Hebrews 1 says that in the past God spoke to the 'fathers' through the 'prophets'. Jesus told Pharisees that they, just like the fathers kill the prophets.

Pharisees were the religious people of the day, under the Law, with no understanding of the prophecies. 

They were the dead, lifeless, and they were keeping the prophecies buried for centuries.

When Christ came, it was no longer about the prophecies, but the fulfillment, which is the Kingdom of God.

Those who don't leave the Law and the Prophets, can not enter this kingdom, just as revealed by Jesus.

He encouraged his disciple to see it was the time for him to experience resurrection of that which was dead.

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[The following is the full transcript of this teaching from our new YouTube series ‘What Jesus Meant‘.  Please note that this video, features Rose and Masoud speaking unrehearsed – they are unscripted and unedited, filmed in one take.]

Jesus Answers with Spiritual understanding 

Masoud: Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us with another session from What Jesus Meant series. Today we are going to look at Luke chapter nine and one of the sayings of Jesus in this chapter. I'm going to read the verse and then Rose is going to help us to understand this portion of the scripture. In verse 59:

He said to another follow me, but he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, let the dead bury the dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.

So now the question here is, what is this conversation between Jesus and one of His disciples? And what is this saying that let the dead bury the dead?

Rose: So yeah, that's great. Every time that someone came and talked to Jesus, Jesus always took that conversation to another level. People came to Him and they talk about ordinary matters, but Jesus used that to bring a spiritual message with a deeper insight and we can see that throughout the gospels.

For example, when He was talking about destroying the temple and people were thinking that He's talking about the natural temple, but Jesus was talking about His own body.

And what we see here in this scripture is exactly the same. There is this man, as we can see him in the same story in Matthew chapter eight, who is one of Jesus’ disciples came to Him and told Him, okay Lord, I'm going to follow you but let me first go and bury my father. And Jesus answered something totally different!

He said: Let the dead bury the dead!

How can a dead bury another dead?

For me when I remember reading the Bible long time ago for the first time, so many things that He answered, didn't make sense at first, but later on when I started gradually learning the scripture and understanding the scripture, I realized that, He sees things totally in a complete different level.

Masoud: And I think sometimes even this verse has been interpreted as if your father has passed away and you don't go after preaching of the gospel, but you go to bury your own father, You're doing something against what Jesus!

Rose: That's right. And that's why today we want to look at this from another point of view, to understand better why Jesus said such a thing.

transition from the 'dead bury the dead' to the 'kingdom'. 

So the poor guy, his father passed away and you know, of course he wants to bury the father. But what Jesus says to this person, "let the dead bury the dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God".

This 'but' brings the connection between the two things that Jesus said here. First He's talking about dead burying their own dead. And right after that He talks about the kingdom of God. What He is trying to emphasize in this verse is the kingdom of God. The message is not about the father being dead, nor is about the guy who needs to go and bury his father. The message is about the kingdom of God.

Masoud: So it's a transition from the fathers to the kingdom. 

Rose: That's right. It's a transition of "the dead bury the dead" to the kingdom. So 'dead bury the dead' must be related to the kingdom of God.

So now we are trying to see this from a different point of view to understand it better. And I think sometimes the disciples were amazed and confused at the same time, because Jesus always looked at everything through the eyes of the Spirit and through the eyes of the kingdom of God.

Today we want to understand whom Jesus was referring to as the 'dead' when He said "let the dead bury the dead".

And also we want to see who the 'father' is and how is it related to the kingdom of God.

let the dead bury the dead

The Kingdom raises the dead, not buries the dead

But before we move on, I really like to bring this up very briefly because we had uploaded videos about the kingdom of God, even in this series Masoud talked about it, and I don't want to really put so much time about the kingdom of God, but understanding the kingdom of God will open up the first part of the scripture which talks about the "dead bury the dead".

 If you remember, in the book of Mark, when Jesus began preaching, He went around and preached the kingdom of God in this manner (Mark 1:15):

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.

And then in John 3 He sees Nicodemus and He says, Hey Nicodemus, you need to be born again to see the kingdom of God. And when we go a little further, Jesus went around healing people, raising the dead, casting out demons, saying the kingdom of God has come upon you. That's how He preached the kingdom of God. 

So every time we see the kingdom of God comes into scene, we see the healing of the sick, we see the resurrection of the dead. We see life flowing.

And then we go a little even further, we see Him at the last supper, where He is about to be crucified. He takes the bread and the wine and He says (Luke 22:18):

For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.

This is to say that the kingdom of God came after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Why?

Because the Holy spirit was given after resurrection.

And Romans chapter 14 tells us that the kingdom of God is in the Holy spirit.

So the kingdom of God really came upon us when the Holy Spirit came upon us.

I'm bringing up these kingdom related verses so we can later dig down with more details.

Why did Jesus say "let the dead bury the dead, but you go preach the kingdom of God".

Because when you preach the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God will come upon someone. And the kingdom of God is about the resurrection of the dead

The kingdom of God is not about burying the dead.

So that's why He tells His disciple, you go preach the kingdom. He doesn't just talk to anyone who's not a follower of Jesus. He talks to a disciple. As a disciples of Jesus, we preach the kingdom.

And by preaching the kingdom, we heal the sick, we raise the dead. We don't bury the dead, we raise the dead. 

The Fathers that bury the fathers

But I just want to go a little deeper. We can look at the dead as someone who's physically dead. But also we can look at the dead as a spiritually dead.

We also need to know who the dead 'father' is and how it's related to the kingdom of God.

Let's go to Hebrews chapter one, verse one. It says:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in the time past to the fathers by the prophets.

God in the past spoke to the 'fathers' by the 'prophets'.

So in past prophets were prophesying something from God to the fathers.

Masoud: So the fathers were the ones that had a message from God, and that the message was given to them through prophets.

Rose: Exactly. And as we said before, it's not the messenger who is important, it is the message of the messenger that is important.

The message that the prophet has is more important than the prophet himself. So when we talk about the prophets, we don't necessarily talk about one particular person. We talk about the Word of God that this prophet carries.

Now let's go to Acts chapter seven where Steven is preaching to the Jews (verse 51):

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. You always resist the Holy spirit as your fathers did. So do you. 

So God spoke to the fathers through the prophets, but they resisted. Which means they didn't believe. They didn't believe the message that the prophets brought.

And of course, when you don't believe the message, what do you do? You kill. You murder that message. So that's why the next verse says that your fathers killed the prophets or persecuted them. Look at verse 52:

Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute and they killed those who foretold the coming of The Just One of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers. 

So it says, the fathers resisted the Holy spirit. That's why they couldn't understand and receive the Word and the message that came to them through another father, which was a prophet.

So can we see two fathers here?

We see a father who is receiving a message and we see another who is giving a message. And if you go back to the book of Hebrews and continue reading, it says, God doesn't talk to us through the fathers or prophets anymore, but He talks to us through His Son.

Because they resisted the Holy spirit, they didn't understand the message of the prophets and that's why they persecuted them. So after they persecuted the prophets, what did they do? They killed the prophets.

So we see that in Luke. If you go back to Luke chapter 11  verse 47, it says:

Woe to you for you build the tombs of the prophets and your fathers killed them. 

Jesus is talking to scribes and Pharisees and then lawyers, people that are under the law. They were the leaders of the law. So He's talking to the leaders of the law. What does He say?

He says your fathers killed the prophets. This is more or less like what Steven said in Acts 7. Why? Because they resisted the Holy spirit.

let the dead bury the dead

The Fathers who buried the Word of God

Masoud:  Which means the fathers who were under the law, when the Word came from God through the prophets, they resisted the Spirit that was bringing the message. And by doing so, they themselves didn't receive the Spirit. They didn't have the inspiration, didn't have life in the message. And we can say in some way they were the 'dead'. And then because of that, they are now part of the story that Jesus was talking about. Let the dead bury the dead.

Rose: Yes. Because He says, you build a tomb of the prophets and you kill them. And as we discussed last teaching, we concluded that they became the tomb of the message.

When they resist the Holy Spirit they resist the message of God given to the prophets, because the message is revealed only through the spirit of God.

And once they resist that, that means they didn't believe it and the message of the prophets fell in them and died and was buried. So they became the tomb.

They killed the message, and they buried the message and they became the tomb for the message.

But here Jesus is talking to leaders of the law and not to ordinary people, to reveal the message to us. And these people are the Pharisees and Sadducees and the scribes and the lawyers, who are representing the law without the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

They brought the letter, but as we read in 2 Corinthians 3, the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. So the reason that they killed the prophets, which they had the message was that, they only had the letter, they heard letter without the inspiration and the revelation of the Holy spirit. Pharisees and Sadducees represent the law which is not revealed by the Spirit. It's only a letter.

Let's now put all these together:

Steven and Jesus both said the same thing but with different terms. Steven said the father killed the prophets. He said you scribes and Pharisees, you killed the prophets, but we don't want to see people here. The prophets had the message. And the message was about the coming of the just one, about the Christ, the Word of God that comes and becomes flesh. And the law that is not inspired by the spirit, doesn't show the Christ.

Masoud: That's right. That's what we read in the gospel of John that in the beginning was the word, but then we see the Word became flesh.

The word of God was now completely manifesting itself in a Person. So the word was basically resurrected in human flesh, but it says that those who were of the law, being under the law, because they didn't have the understanding of the Spirit when the word came to them, they resisted Him, instead of allowing Him to manifest Himself through them and become their flesh.

They actually resisted that. And that Word was murdered, fell to the ground, and was buried inside.

And Jesus said, this is not the way to be, because now you have to preach the kingdom.

And in the kingdom, which comes after the law and the prophets, there is a change.

Everything that was dead all of a sudden comes to life.

Rose: Exactly. And so now this disciple comes to Jesus and says, my father is dead. Jesus turns that into a deeper understanding of the kingdom.

He says, let the dead bury the dead, but you follow me and you preach the kingdom. Why? Because you are the one who believes the message.

You are not under the law to hear and kill the message and bury the message. You are no longer a dead who buries the dead. You are not a dead that kills the message of God and buries it.

But you are the one who comes and enter the kingdom. But previously the message of God that was supposed to lead them into the kingdom was resisted and murdered. But there was one who died, but he was raised from the dead and, and that's Jesus Himself.

The resurrection of the Word of God in you

Rose: Now let's understand something about 'prophets'. In Luke 7:28 Jesus talks about John the Baptist and says:

For I say to you, among those born of woman there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.

First of all, Jesus says John the Baptist was a prophet. So, John the Baptist had a message. What was his message? John himself said I've come to testify, to reveal the One who is greater than me, the Christ. He's the Lamb of God. And He's the One. 

All these years until the John the Baptist, the prophets always said "He is coming". But then John's message was changed to "He is here". John, as a prophet, had a message, and that was "He is here, in flesh".

The message had become flesh.

The Word had become flesh.

But even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John. Because the message of the one in the kingdom is different than the message of all prophets including John, who stand outside of the kingdom.

Now we don't have to wait for a day in future. We don't have to carry dead-message around. He is 'in us'!

John the Baptist was a prophet, the greatest among all. The reason he was the greatest is because he didn't say Christ is coming. He said, "Behold the Lamb of God", I found the Christ.

But everyone who is in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. That means if you are in the kingdom, you are a prophet, greater than John the Baptist.

Masoud: But with a different understanding. Because now all of a sudden, every word that was in the past and was just dead, comes alive through the inspiration of the Spirit that is in you. You understand it and your prophecies originate from life and not death.

Rose: Yeah, exactly. So you are not going to say Christ is coming or there He is. You become part of the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy.

Masoud: I was looking at the word 'disciple'. The word disciple simply means the one who learns from someone. So if you are my disciple simply you are learning from me.

Now, Jesus Himself went around and called all those He wanted to follow Him. And He said, even here in this beginning Luke chapter nine, "follow Me".

The 'following' was all about 'learning'.

Now imagine Jesus when He said "all the law and the prophets were until John. But since then the kingdom has been preached". So the disciple of Jesus learns from Jesus everything about the kingdom and everything from before Jesus, which is the law and the prophets, doesn't teach him anymore. It doesn't anymore relate to a disciple in the old context, but in a new contexts and the new context is what all of a sudden God comes and says, forget about the prophets and allowing them to interpret the word to you. You have to allow the Son, the Son of God to be the interpretation of what I have told you from the beginning.

So everything that was dead in the prophets is resurrected in the Son. 

Everything that was before Jesus was dead and everything that was following that path was dead. And because they never followed the Spirit, they were constantly also bearing death.

But then when it came to Jesus, all of a sudden there is a new breath. There is a new Spirit. And that brings resurrection to every word that was spoken.

Rose: Exactly. And what did the prophets do? The prophets prophesied the coming of Christ. But who is the Christ? The Son of God. Who's the Son of God? The one who is raised with power from the dead.

He's raised from the dead. With power.

So what?

That we maybe in the kingdom of God.

We are the prophets but not of old.

We have a message.

But what is our message?

Life and Resurrection!

We are not the dead that kills the message. So what is the message that we have? The message we have is that the Son of God, the Christ is raised from the dead. So that's why we go preached the kingdom. That's why we preach resurrection from the dead. That's why every word of God that was spoken and that was heard, was killed by those under the law.

Jesus is saying, now it's time to preach the kingdom. I'm raised! Those words that were dead, are now raised in human flesh! We are now in the kingdom and preach the same.

let the dead bury the dead

Resurrection of the Prophesies 

Masoud: You know, one example, a great example is Psalm  110, the prophecy about Melchizedek, which was there for hundreds of years, but it was dead. It was a dead prophecy. Now it came to the time of Jesus and the fulfillment of those prophecies:

The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make all your enemies your footstool.

Nobody understood what that meant. It was a dead word, it never had come to life. But when it came to Jesus before his crucifixion, they were looking for a false witness from Him to accuse and condemn Him. So they asked: "are you the Christ?". And He said (Mark 14:62):

Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

By this answer He was taking everybody back to the prophecy that was dead in Psalm 110. He was now saying, it's time for this prophecy to be fulfilled. And that's what He had also said previously (Matthew 5:17):

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Let me put it this way:

The word of God was, was never supposed to be dead.

The word of God was supposed to bring life.

But, It was dead for a long time. But when it came to Jesus, He brought resurrection to every word. And now it can happen to us also, the same word.

Let's see. We have heard the Bible, the word, the prophecies. We have had certain reading of the scripture, but they were kind of dead to us. No meaning, no understanding. But now Jesus is bringing everything to life. So there is a resurrection of that which was dead inside of us, which is when we don't anymore build a tomb for the prophets, meaning bury their message inside of us because of the law. But we allow the Spirit to come and breathe on dead bones as we talked about in the last session. And that gives life to that word. And that word comes out of the tomb.

Rose: And that's when we become the profits in the kingdom of God. Why? Because now we are the greater profit Dan, John the Baptist, because we don't say here is the Christ and we are not like the old prophets. That's the old crisis coming.

We are the true profit. Why? Because the word of God now is alive in us. And what, when the word is becomes alive, then we become the testimony and we become a profit for someone else or even for, for our own life.

And before we close the session, I really like to see this in the book of revelation chapter 19. So if you go to the book of revelation chapter 19, and so what we, what we already talked here that the father that was dead is the message of the old, the masters dabbles even given to the truth to the fathers, Abraham, and it was the message of Christ as the son of God. But here, I want to see two things here. Look at verse 10 in revelation chapter 19.

And I fell at his feet to worship him....

So here's the angel that has shows the message to John. And now John says, okay, I fell at his feet, worship him.

... but he said to me, see that you do not do that. 

Okay, we just wanna stop here and we don't have time to go through all the details. We will hopefully one day. But, but John is really a true disciple of Jesus. He's not a false teacher. He's not a false prophet. John is the disciple of Jesus. So he doesn't worship angels. He knows he worships only the Lord Jesus Christ. But what happened is here he falls in front of this angel. Why? Because most probably this angel was showing the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's why he tought that it is the Lord Jesus.

That's why he fell to worship. But here's what happened is so see that you do not do that. The angel says, don't do it. Basically, I am not God just worship God basically. But he says, I am your fellow servant and of your brother and who have the testimony of Jesus worship God for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. What does he say? He says, okay, the testimony, first of all, I am one of your brethren. I am fellow servant. We deal and we are going to see shortly that the servants also in the Bible, they are the prophets. The prophets of God are the servants of God because they have the message to brink. But here he says, okay eh, the, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. What happened to Jesus? The word became flesh and died, buried and was raised from the dead.

Rose: So that is the testimony of Jesus. It becomes the spirit of prophecy for us. What does it mean? That what was fulfilled in Jesus must be fulfilled in us as well. We heard the word of God. Then the word was killed because of the legalistic understanding, because we never believed the word. It actually happened to Masoud and I. In the beginning we heard the word, but didn't believe it. So what happened was it was buried inside of us. But now it is raised because the spirit came. And we have become the fellow-servants, the prophets that have a resurrected message inside of them prophesying and preaching the kingdom of God!

Revelation chapter 11 verse 18 says:

The nations were angry and Your wrath has come and the time of the dead that they should be judged.

Here again we see the dead and they need to be judged. And right after that prophets are mentioned:

That you should reward Your servants, the prophets.

So who were the dead? The prophets! The message of the prophets! The Word of God that was dead inside of us. This verse says the time has come that the judgment of God would raise them and reward His prophets. We can see the servants are the prophets.

Conclusion

Jesus showed the kingdom of God is about resurrection of the word of God inside every single one of us. And we are those people. You are, we, all of us. Once in our life, we were the tomb for the message of God.

We killed the message of God. But now when we follow Jesus, we learn that we are not the dead who buries the dead. But we are the living.

We are the life when we give life, and we resurrect the word of God inside of others as well, by preaching the kingdom of God. And everyone who who hears our voice shall raise as well!

The book of Hebrews Chapter 1 says that in the past God spoke to the 'fathers' through the 'prophets'.

However, Jesus told Pharisees that they, like the fathers, killed the prophets.

Pharisees were the religious people of the day, under the Law, with no understanding of the prophecies.

They were the dead, lifeless, and they were keeping the prophecies buried for centuries.

But when Christ came, it was no longer about the prophecies, but their fulfillment. Those who don't leave the Law and the Prophets behind, can not enter this kingdom.

Jesus encouraged his disciple to see that it was the time for him to experience the resurrection of that which was dead.

The resurrection of the dead prophesies, the dead kingdom inside of man, are at hand when you let the dead bury the dead.

About the author

Masoud & Rose Ramandi were born in Iran into Muslim families. They encountered Jesus Christ when they were reading the Bible for the first time. They experienced such a life transformation that they never new it was even existed. They realized that Jesus Christ is the Mystery of all ages that needs to be revealed through Spirit and Truth daily until humanity is transformed to the image of His Son. They now have the passion to teach the revelation of the mystery and help everyone to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ, to the Perfect Man!



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