“And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people. Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him, and kissed him.”
Jacob was dead. There is nothing here (as there is nothing anywhere in scripture) about comforting Joseph with the idea that Jacob is in bliss somewhere.
In covering this passage, teacher David Hocking points to John 11 where we see Jesus weeping over the death of his friend Lazarus. Hocking states that Jesus wept, not because Lazarus was dead, but rather because the others did not believe in him.
What sayeth the Scriptures?
Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
We’ve looked at this passage before. He wept because he loved Lazarus. The ONLY comfort and the ONLY hope given in this chapter is resurrection.
Martha shows incredible faith here. Resurrection and nothing else is what the Lord uses to comfort her. No “he’s in bliss now” paganism.
Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God...
This is how we are to comfort the bereaved.
Note the state of the dead in the following passage and the hope Paul references to comfort the living:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen ASLEEP, lest you sorrow as others who have no HOPE. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who SLEEP in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are ASLEEP. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the DEAD in Christ will RISE first.
-1 Thess 4:13-16
Since Jesus died and rose again, so will those who have died in Christ. This is our hope. The only immortality scripture knows for men is resurrection.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
-1 Cor 15:53-55
(Also note the state of the BELIEVING dead: Hades/Hell. This is the only time Paul uses the word, and it is in regard to believers. No "fiery torture chamber" paganism here.)
So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
-2 Cor 4:12-14
The hope? Resurrection.
This is the context of 2 Cor 5:1-8, possibly the most misquoted passage in scripture.
We must learn to find joy in the hope of our resurrection. In doing so, we glorify his resurrection. For he is the first fruits of those who sleep. His resurrection, the great undoing of the curse of death, makes our hope of resurrection possible. Praise Him!!