Did Lazarus die again? If so, when?


Yes, Lazarus (cf. John 11) died again, but we don't have a record of when. One reason we know he died again is that he was not resurrected with a glorified body, and only those raised with glorified bodies are not subject to death and corruption. In 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Paul indicated that Jesus was the "first fruits" of those to be raised from the dead, that Jesus was the first one to be raised with a glorified body. Since Lazarus was raised before Jesus, he could not have had a glorified body. Moreover, Paul also indicated in this passage that no one except Jesus will have such a body before Jesus returns.

Another reason is that John gives us no indication that Lazarus was raised without sin. Rather, the picture we get is of a man who has been restored to his former manner of life. As Paul teaches, death results from sin (Rom. 5:12). Lazarus, therefore, would have been subject to death again as a result of his sin. Moreover, the only way to avoid condemnation in hell is through Jesus -- one's own death is not sufficient to pay the penalty in full. If one dies and is resurrected after a few days, he still bears the condemnation of the sins he committed prior to his death. A few days of death is not equivalent to the eternal hell that sinners deserve.

Also, John seems to imply that Lazarus is still subject to death by mentioning that the chief priests sought to put the resurrected Lazarus to death (John 12:10). John gives no indication that they chief priests were foolish for thinking that Lazarus could die again, and no indication that it would not have been possible for them to do this.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.