What Does The Bible Say About Visiting Graves?

While grieving a loss is not something we can deny, is it okay to visit the gravesite of a loved one? What does the Bible say about it? Read on to find out.

People visit gravesites for many reasons. They may be gravesites of loved ones, or just people we regard. With all people, culture, and religion all over the world, apart from the many reasons that might carry a person to a gravesite, grieving is the generally accepted.

Yet, as God’s children, it’s important we know what God says about grieving this way, if we have been doing it wrong, and how we can walk according to His standards in this regard.

What Does The Bible Say About Visiting Graves?

The Bible does not keep us in the dark concerning this topic, and we can be sure to find light to guide us there.

According to the word of God, we see that God allowed His people to grieve when they lost loved ones. He allowed them to have gravesites where they could bury them. Also, we can find instances in the scripture where people went to the grave to mourn for their loved ones.

(Note: All scripture citations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

“They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also.”2Samuel 3:32

What Does The Bible Say About Visiting Graves KJV?

The King James Version of the Bible is a very important translation of the Holy Scripture, and as much as we gaining clarity by using more translations, it is necessary to always stay as close to the original as possible.

Just like our previous citation from 2Samuel 3:32, we also see another instance in the KJV.

For instance, we see that the Jews who came to visit Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus, presumed that when she ran out of the house, she was going to his grave to weep. Meaning that to this holy people of God, it was common practice for people to go grieve at the burial sites of their loved ones.

“The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. (KJV)”John 11:31

Another citation would be the Lord Himself. After Jesus death and burial, the beloved women in His ministry took it upon themselves to visit His grave and anoint His body.

“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. (KJV)”Luke 16:1-2

This act of visiting the Lord’s grave with anointing spices which were used on dead bodies to counteract the smell or odor of decay was symbolic of their loving devotion to their Lord and Savior.

Focus on the fact that they visited His gravesite, not thinking about the resurrection but just to go grieve and offer their continual devotion Him in love.

The Meaning Of The Grave In The Bible

Here are some meanings of the grave in the Bible:

  • A place where physically deceased persons are laid
“I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.”Job 30:23
  • A symbol of respect for loved ones and people we hold in high regard
“Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.”Genesis 35:20
  • A place of uncleanliness
“Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days.”Numbers 19:16
  • A symbol of captivity, death and destruction
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion”Hosea 13:14
  • Hell and hopelessness
“before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.”Job 10:21-22
  • Symbol of great evil, pride and human depravity
“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”Romans 3:13
  • A symbol of hope and resurrection
“Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.”Ezekiel 37:12

Is It Biblical To Visit Graves?

By now, we have seen that the word of God has much to say about gravesites in themselves. However, we have also seen from instances that it is Biblical to visit a gravesite if we are within the standards set by God in holy reverence to Him.

We have seen that David wept at the grave of Abner. We have also seen that Mary was presumed to be going to weep at her brother’s tomb, meaning it was common for people to do this. We also saw that the women in Jesus’ team of followers made their way to His tomb with the intention to go show reverence to Him by anointing His body only to discover He has risen (as He promised He would).

What Happens When You Visit Someone’s Grave?

What happens when you visit a grave depends on what you go to do there. For example, God forbids us from trying to make contact with the dead in every way possible.

“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?”Isa. 8:19

When a person goes to a gravesite, for the sole purpose of trying to make contact with the dead person, they are opening themselves to demonic spirits. Such a person may begin to experience demonic attacks in their own life because he or she has opened a door for them.

However, if you visit someone’s grave with the right intentions, either to grieve, to remember them, for pilgrimage, or just respect for them, you may open yourself up to the following:

  • Have the opportunity to express your emotions by grieving or pour your heart out through words
  • Meditate on life, resurrection hope, and be inspired live for something
  • Express respect for the deceased
  • Give thanks to God for the gift of life

Power Of The Grave In The Bible

There are places that employ the use of these two words in the Bible, namely, Psalms 49:15 and Hosea 13:14.

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”Psalms 49:15
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion,”Hosea 13:14

In these two occasions, the grave is associated with death. In the Psalms, it talking more about the death that keeps a man entirely separated from God forever, which was beyond the natural grave but of death in hell forever.

In Hosea, it was referring to the enslavement of the people of God by their enemies who seek to both enslave and slay them.

The power of the grave is the complete control of life by the devil that takes away freedom to be who God wants you to be while keeping you as far away from God as possible.

When a person dies, their bodies are subject to the power of the grave where it experiences decay. This also has spiritual significance for a living person. A life without Christ is under the power of the grave. This is the reason for the decay to which their lives are subject.

However, there is a promise in God’s word, both for those who physically die, and those who are spiritual enslaved by this power – Jesus sets free.

In addition to Hosea 13:14, we also see

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”John 5:28-29

Therefore, just as the dead cannot do anything about what’s going on around them, even so, those who are under the power of the grave or death cannot do anything about themselves without the help of God. Only the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus can deliver a man from the power of the grave.

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