Life after Death Part I
Bible Study 06/01/05
In this series, we want to aim our focus around one specific question. What happens when people cross over (or pass away)?
Our goal is simply to answer questions for some and aide in the grieving process for others. Knowing more about this subject is considered therapeutic.
1. God knows how long we are going to be here on this earth from the time of birth. Job 14:1 – “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. This scripture points to us being of a few days of trouble, not only because we are born into sin, but also to make us aware that no matter what, you can’t go past those few days ( our designated time here on earth ).
2. Because of the tree, in the Garden of Eden, sin came into this world. With this entrance, sin entered the body as well. Death was all that awaited us, until Christ came and died for our sins. Remember the wages of sin is death. You cannot escape your deadline (your set time here).
3. Where do we go when we die? During funerals we try to preach or sing a person into heaven. The simple fact of the matter is, no matter what song is sung or what sermon is preached, it will not have any bearing on where you go. Some try to make things seem better by having the funeral at the church, as opposed to the funeral home, but this is a pointless effort. If the deceased did not go to church while they were alive, it is pointless to think this will add to where this person will spend eternity.
4. If there is no life after death, Christianity would have no purpose. 1 Corinthians 15:13-19 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. This scripture simply implies that those who are dead in Christ get to share the presence of Christ. If Christ died and was raised, then we to must be raised at death. We must be alive in him. Else our faith would be pointless.
5. It is painful when people die. If to die is to gain, why shouldn’t we want to die now?
a. There is a proper way. A life time. Psalms 90:10 – The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. A score is 20yrs. So a lifetime, according to the scripture would be 20*3+10=70. Even by reason of strength, it could only be 80yrs (fourscore). Now this is only an average span, not guaranteed. After our lifetime, the scripture says we fly away.
b. We serve our purpose.
6. What happens to a believer when they die? First of all we need to know what a believer is. A Believer is a person who is saved. This has nothing to do with a churchman or a churchgoer. There is a difference. Saved folk are sealed for the Day of Redemption. The death of a believer or saved folk is often referred to in the Bible as sleep. 54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. This scripture tells of Stephen, a saved proclaimer of the word, being stoned for spreading the word. The question from this scripture then becomes, how do we prove that Stephen was saved? For one, the scripture refers to his death as “he fell asleep”. Secondly, Stephen asked the Lord not to hold the stoning of him, against them. This is the heart of a saved person. Stephen did just as Jesus did on the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. John 11:11-1511 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz’arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz’arus is dead; 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” When a believer passes, they are sleep (dead), as we said before. Jesus specifically told the disciples that Laz’ a rus was sleep, but because they didn’t understand, he had to say he was dead.
7. Some have comp up with the doctrine of “Soul Sleep “. This simply means that that when people die, saved or not, they are not aware that they are dead, until the great trumpet sounds. There are Immediate Consequences at the death of a believer.
a. In the death of a believer, they wake up somewhere, knowing where they are. Jesus told a dying, repenting thief, that today he would be in paradise with him. Luke 23:43 – And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” This scripture demonstrates that after the thief’s life expired, he would wake up in the same place as Jesus would be, Paradise. He would wake up knowing where he was.
8. If when a believer dies, he is in immediate company of Christ, why do we call it sleep? The sleep is what our bodies are doing, while waiting for the resurrection. The body is waiting on the trumpet or the return of the Lord. Our spirit goes immediately up to be with Christ. Remember the scripture that says, Acts 1:10 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” When Jesus left this earth for the last time, after appearing to the disciples for forty days, he was taken up into the heavens. This is what our spirit does when we die.
9. When a loved one passes, they go originally where they came from. Philippians 3:20-21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Conversation means citizenship. Our citizenship is in heaven. Verse 21 says your body will be transformed (fashioned like unto his glorious body). Now to sum it up, your spirit is with Jesus and your body is asleep. Whatever killed you is not in your spirit. We have seed in previous lessons, that you are not your body, but you are your spirit. What has killed you is not in your spirit, so you are separated from what has killed you. Jesus said on the cross, “into thy hands, I commend or commit my spirit”. Jesus left that abused body behind and went to join his father. Like him, we will leave this body behind, asleep, and enjoy the company of Jesus.
10. Theologians call this state of our spirit being out of the body, the “Intermediate State “. We call it “Heaven”.
11. What is the place God set up for us in the beginning? It was paradise. The Garden of Eden. We lost it to sin. Jesus died and found paradise again. It was reestablished in heaven. Paul says in the next scripture, he didn’t know if the man was in the body or in an out of body experience, but God allowed him to see heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 1 I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows– 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. First let’s explain what 3rd heaven is. 1st heaven is where the birds fly, 2nd heaven is where the stars are, 3rd heaven is where we assume God dwells. The man discussed in the text saw the 3rd heaven and in it was Paradise. It was so beautiful; he said it was unlawful for him to explain it. He didn’t want anyone to think more of him that he sees or hears from him.
12. Paul says he was caught up in the heaven. Why would God give Paul such a revelation? We don’t know, but we know he got a thorn in his flesh right after, to keep him grounded.
13. When God comes back, he will bring those who sleep, with him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. The dead will have the encounter before us. The spirit of those, whose bodies are sleep, will come back with Jesus and their spirits will reunite with their bodies. When our spirits reunite with our bodies, we actually will have new ones. We will be spirit and body again, but without limitations.
14. What will our new bodies look like? We don’t know, but we do know it will look like God. In the garden, we were created in God’s own image. When sin entered and our eyes were open and we hide, because we were naked. We therefore, forgot what we were supposed to look like originally. We will get to see in the end, what we really were supposed to look like. We will bare the image of God. 1 Corinthians 15:49 – Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Jesus was in a new body, when he came back, after his resurrection, he was in a new body. The disciples were scared, because they did not recognize Jesus in his new body. He had to show them his crucifixion wounds, before they would believe him. Luke 24:36-39 36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Like Jesus, we will have new bodies after death. They will look like him and have no limitations as we do know.
15. There will come a day, when we will become uncomfortable in our new bodies. Then our bodies will fall asleep. 2 Corinthians 5:4 – For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Resurrection- Jesus went to the father, went to hell to give the folks in hell a chance to be saved, he took the keys of hell from Satan, then he went to the apostles, and then ascended back into heaven. This is a perfect example of the non limitations that our new bodies will have.