Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Happens When We Die?

Yesterday we considered how the Bible defines life & death… Today—I want to build on that...

THE BIBLE'S DEFINITIONS OF "LIFE" & "DEATH" HELP US MORE CLEARLY UNDERSTAND IT'S TEACHING ON THE AFTERLIFE, A.K.A. -- What happens at the time of our physical death and afterward?

Like yesterday--in this blog I'm just sharing my preliminary study notes on this subject--but I'm super confident that you'll discover some great nuggets of insight and encouragement as you read and ponder...

So what happens when our physical bodies die?

I want to credit a very helpful article I found at:

We do not go to Heaven… 

John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.”

According to Jesus himself, no one at that point had “gone to Heaven”. Except for He (Jesus) Himself.

Peter on the Day of Pentecost said the same of King David.
Acts 2:29, 34 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…For David did not ascend into the heavens.”

Enoch was taken away by God (Gen. 5)... Elijah was carried up in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11)... Paul and John were both granted amazing visions of what they described as a Heaven, but if we take Jesus as His word, no man has gone to Heaven.

And in the end--Revelation 21--We do not go to Heaven. God comes down to earth... (the New Earth).

Revelation 21:1-4 “Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

So, if we don’t go UP THERE… what happens? 

The Bible compares death to rest or sleep  more than fifty times.

When we fall asleep, we are unconscious; we are not aware of the passing of time or of what is going on around us (All of us have drifted off... then woke up feeling like no time had passed.)

Example of Braind Tumor Surgery—Going under... then "waking up…"

That is how the Bible describes death as well.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 (NKJV) “...for the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing… their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished”,  No emotion, no stress, no frustraition... rest.

It makes sense that after Lazarus was raised from the dead, he doesn’t share what he saw or experienced. He didn’t have anything to tell, except that once he was dead, and now he is alive! He didn’t experience hell or heaven. He was simply “sleeping” in his tomb.

So, is there life after death? 
John 11:25-26 Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die."

2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV) “…we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Philippians 1:22-23 “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…”

So the Apostle Paul teaches us that to be apart from our earthly bodies results in our being WITH the Lord---and that THAT IS GOOD—FAR PREFERABLE to remaining in our mortal, earthly bodies. EXCATLY what that experience of “being with the Lord” entails—we’re not told.

Revelation 14:13 “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’"

Words the Bible uses to describe our experience of death:
Desirable, Better by far, with Christ

John & others: Blessed, Rest, Sleep,

Ecclesiastes:  Unconscious state

The Bible also describes death (this restful, with the Lord period) as TEMPORARY. 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NKJV) “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 Corinthians 15:50-57 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life (all who trust Christ have their names in this book). The dead were judged according to what they had done (based on performance, not grace) as recorded in the books.”

Thanks for reading---remember to share!