Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Is There Life After Death?

It seems like every time I open my Facebook page or another social media site, I am hit with the notifications that someone I knew is facing the death of someone they knew or loved. Oh how my heart truly goes out to them. It is hard to allow such grief consume me, because for me, it isn't personal in the regards that it hasn't happened to me directly. I can only pray that the God I know and love, will reveal Himself to them, so they know He is with them through it all, and will bring them through it no matter how difficult it is. We can rest in His strength and His peace that He will provide to those of us that call upon Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

But for Christians, while we know the presence of our fiends and loved ones will be deeply missed here, we know that this is simply a "See you later!" not a goodbye, especially if they were a believer in Jesus Christ. It is only a temporary separation that won't last forever.

So I thought I would share what the Bible says will happen when those we love who are believers in Jesus Christ, die according to the Bible in hopes it may bring them comfort in the knowledge that we will see them again very soon!

The statistics for death are pretty impressive, in fact 1 out of every 1 person will die.

There is a story of a man who was walking through the cemetery one day and came upon a tombstone that said, "Pause now stranger as you pass by; as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be, so prepare for death and follow me."

The man read it, thought about it for a moment, and then he said, "To follow you is not my intent, until I know which way you went."

The Bible is pretty clear that one day we will die.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 ~ "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die." (NIV).

Hebrews 9:27 ~ "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"(NIV).

Psalm 90:3-6, 12 ~ "You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men." For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by or like watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning - though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. Teach us to number our dies aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NIV).

Only those who are prepared to die, are really ready to live.

Statistics show that those of a religious faith who believe in life after death, are healthier, suffer less stress and depression, are less likely to attempt suicide and are likely to live longer. 84% of people believe in life after death, 82% believe in Heaven and 73% believe in Hell. .

For a believer of Jesus Christ, death is not the end, it's a continuation in Heaven.

John 5:25-29 ~ "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will lie. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted to Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Don't 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 good will rise to live, ad those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." (NIV).

There are 4 profound truths found in those scripture verses.

1. Death is NOT the end of existence.

2. There is a final judgment.

3. There are 2 forms of existence beyond the grave and 2 destinations in which you choose.

4. The kind of existence or destination that we go to depends on our relationship with Jesus.

Let's take a look at those truths from John 5:25-29.

1. Death Is Not The End of Existence. 

We are eternal creatures and our soul lives on forever.

2. There is A Final Judgment.

Acts 17:31 ~ "For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (NIV).

2 Peter 2:8-10 ~ "for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard. If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings" (NIV).

Matthew 12:36 ~ "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (NIV).

One thing we know for certain is that God is fair! Justice is coming and everyone will be held accountable because God is in control!!!

People who forgive live longer.

Romans 12:17-21 ~ "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written, "It is mine to avenge, I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him' if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (NIV).

Every wrong committed in the world will be paid for either through repentance and forgiveness in Jesus or in the final judgment with God for non believers. God will hold them accountable. They won't escape it.

3. There Are 2 Forms of Existence Beyond The Grave. 

A resurrection for the just and unjust is coming.

Revelation 20:4-6 ~ "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." (NIV).

What is the "first resurrection"?

True believers in Jesus Christ who die, go immediately into the presence of God. They go straight to Heaven.

2 Corinthians 5: 6-9 ~ "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." (NIV).

Jesus told the thief on the cross who asked Him to remember him when Jesus came into His kingdom and Jesus replied to him, "Today, you will be with me in paradise!" (NIV) (Bold emphasis is mine.)

Death died when Christ rose!

1 Corinthians 15:55 ~ "Where, O death is your victory? Where O death, is your sting?" (NIV).

God gives us victory over sin through putting our belief in Jesus Christ and Him alone.

What Kind of Body Will We Have in Heaven?

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 ~ "So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it will be raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is an natural body, there is also a spiritual body." (NIV).

At the point we arrive in Heaven, we will never die again. We will be full of glory and power. You won't be disabled in Heaven or in any pain. Not sure of how old we will be because the Bible isn't clear on that. Heavenly bodies are the earthly life of a believer perfected. Our minds and memories will be clearer than ever before.

We will get the ultimate upgrade!

We know that our resurrected bodies will be like that of Jesus' resurrected body.

1 John 3:2 ~ "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be had not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (NIV).

When Jesus rose from the dead, He wasn't in Spirit, but in a physical body that His followers could recognize. He allowed people to touch Him, He ate fish. He didn't float, but it was different how He moved because He could appear without using a door and He ascended to Heaven. Not sure if we will fly, but it would be amazing if we could!

Will We Know One Another In Heaven?

Absolutely YES!!! Our knowledge will be perfected.

1 Corinithians 13:12 ~ "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (NIV). 

We are the same person in Heaven as we were in earth, but perfected in all aspects and without the effects of sin any longer. Jesus even told His disciples, "It is I!"

So rest in the comfort, that if you know someone who have moved on to their permanent home in Heaven as a believer in Jesus Christ, this absence we feel right now, is only temporary, and we will see them again, never again to be separated by death!

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