Answer: We want the people we love to be happy. We want the best for them. So, what does it mean when we mourn someone’s death?
Some mourn because they believe a loved one has “gone to Hell.” Yet the Bible says that NO ONE has gone to Hell yet. There is a future judgment—and there is hope for those who did not reject the truth in this lifetime but simply were never converted and never had a true opportunity to accept salvation. You can read about that future judgment in Revelation 20.
Some mourn because… well, maybe deep down they realize that their loved one is JUST GONE, and they won’t be able to contact that person until the resurrection from the dead. Some desperate people turn to séances or spiritualism to “communicate with the dead”—King Saul tried this, to no avail, and was tricked by the Witch of Endor into falsely believing he was communicating with the dead (1 Samuel 28).
Yes, the truth is that even ancient King David, righteous and beloved by God, is not in Heaven. Acts 2:29;34 (KJV) states, "'Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.' … 'For David is not ascended into the heavens.'"
If King David is not in heaven, isn’t it it a stretch to take it for granted that our loved ones are there? On the other hand, mourning the loss of a loved one is appropriate and biblical. One of the wisest men, King Solomon said that everything has a time and a season. Ecclesiastes 3:4 (KJV) "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Yes, even Jesus Christ Himself wept at the death of a close friend. Yet Jesus was able to turn the loss of Lazarus from an occasion of mourning to one of celebration by resurrecting him to physical life. But it gets even better! Christ raised Lazarus back to physical life, but at His Second Coming He will resurrect faithful Christians not as flesh and blood, but as incorruptible Spirit-beings!
As Jesus assures us in John 5:28-29 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." And there is also even a plan for those who never truly had a chance – who never truly knew and followed Jesus. Read about that here.
It is appropriate to mourn when we lose a loved one. But it is also appropriate to understand that the dead are neither rejoicing now nor suffering, and that—except for those very few who knew the Truth and overtly and consciously rejected what they had received—there is a brighter future ahead for them when they wake from the “sleep” of death.