Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where does a person go when he dies?

Surely everyone goes to heaven at death? Once I saw a bright light at the end of a tunnel, but it wasn't a near death experience! I was very much alive, and the light proved to be a train, and it was a good thing I was not in the tunnel. Some people claim to have seen a light at the end of the tunnel, and to them it was very real and they called it death, but it was actually a near-death experience. So where do you go when you die?

That is probably a good question, and who do you suppose would know the answer to this question? Has anybody ever died and then come back to life again to tell us where he went when he died? We have heard of countless stories of people who say they had died but an angel at the end of the bright tunnel told them they had to come back to earth again for a while. So what about these stories?

Contrary to popular religious opinion, scientists tell us that a person is fully dead when the heart stops beating and there is no more brain activity. If these persons "in their death" heard an angel or saw a light at the end of a tunnel, brain activity was still there! So they were not actually dead. Maybe they were at the point of dying, but didn't, and in such a state, the mind can imagine things that really aren't so. That is not to say that God is not speaking to the person. Many people when facing death are going over in their mind the hundred things they could have done right which they didn't. Now they have to meet up with their conscience, and for some it is a little too late to make things right for they ran out of time to confess their sins to Jesus and ask forgiveness. We can be thankful if He gives them a little more "time" to do so.

So where does the person go when he dies? The Bible tells us of one Person who died and came back to tell us all about it. He is Jesus Christ. This is what He says after His experience in death: "Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father; and to My God, and your God." John 20:17.

From this statement, we have to admit, Christ did not go to the Father in His death, but only after He raised Himself to life, and His body was functioning again. At death, Christ could go no where except to the grave (often termed "hell") where people put Him after He died. Only when He raised Himself to life, could He go anywhere at all! So are we better than Christ in our death, do we go to heaven and not just the grave?

I read an obituary recently that reveals the confusion people have about where a person goes at death. This dear lady had died, and the obituary read that she went to be with her husband and brothers and sisters where she they are all enjoying the glory land of heaven, etc., but at the end of the article, it said that she was laid to rest in the grave beside her husband. Now that seems rather hard, that Christ couldn't go anywhere but to the grave, yet this lady could enjoy not just the grave, but heaven also while dead!

What does the Bible say about death and where you go at death? We can trust what the Bible says as it is the word of truth...

Ecc 9:5, 6, 10 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."
Ecc 9:10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

Joh 5:28, 29 "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

1Co 15:22, 23 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

No one who has died can do anything at all until Jesus comes and raises him back to Life, at the end of the world at His second coming.

So what will it be like for those who die? They will sleep in their graves until the resurrection at the second coming of Jesus. When a person dies, it is like going into a dreamless sleep. The dead know nothing. When they wake up immediately they will see Jesus who is the Resurrection and the Life. When they wake up they will not be able to tell you what death was like for there is no memory except the thought before death. There was no pain, fear, love, nothing at all. That is a comforting thought that the dead are no longer suffering, no matter how sinful a life they lived. All the righteous and the wicked go to the same place at death, the grave. Rewards are given at the resurrection. That is what we need to prepare for. Which resurrection will you be in (read John 5:28, 29 again)? (For more information on death, read John 11 in the Bible.)

If you loved God with all your heart, mind, body and spirit, at death, the next thing you will know is seeing Jesus who raised you to eternal life. If you didn't love God and Jesus Christ as your Saviour, but rejected all the opportunities to follow the truth, you will raise in the resurrection of the wicked who will receive their condemnation. That is a little scarey, I am sure, but that is true. Are you ready to meet Jesus your Maker? Is He your Lord and Saviour now? Do you love Him, and love the Bible truths? God help us to be ready to face death at any moment so that we can face Christ with real joy at the next moment after death!

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