Death and the Afterlife
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Did you know that many cultures and religions teach that death is not the end?
In the ancient past, Egyptians built pyramids to help guide the Spirits of their leaders into a new life beyond the grave. But did they go? Today we find their treasuries and bodies 2000 years later.
In more recent times, tribes in Papua New Guinea have mummified their dead relatives and perched them on a ledge for their spirits to watch over the village. Buddhists and Hindu’s teach that after death you reincarnate as an animal, human or spiritual being that continues to interact with this world.
Many people with a Christian world view believe that when you die, your soul lives on in an eternal Heaven or Hell. Other Christians say death is like a sleep, where the person knows nothing until the resurrection at the second coming of Christ.
How do we know what’s true? Do spirits come back to this world? Do people live on as an immortal soul after death? What REALLY happens when a person dies?
The best place to go for answers is back to our origins
In the Genesis Creation story, we discover the elements that make up a living being, which will provide insights into the mystery of death.
In the first book of the Bible, we read about the Creation of mankind:
“The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV).
DUST + BREATH = A LIVING SOUL in the same way that a light globe + electricity = light!
Take away the electricity, and light ceases to exist, in the same way the soul no longer exists when the breath is taken. Psalm 104:29 describes death as the reverse of the Creation process.
“You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth your Spirit (breath), they are created” (Psalm 104:29).
“Then (when they die), the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NKJV).
What is the spirit that returns to heaven when we die? The Hebrew word for spirit is “rauch”, which means breath. In Greek, the word used for spirit is “pneuma,” meaning breath or air. Only your BREATH goes to God, not your spirit or soul!
So, if we are not immortal beings, and the Spirit does not live on after death, what actually happens to people when they die?
The Bible refers to death as a sleep.
One of Jesus good friends Lazarus, died, and Jesus said he was “sleeping.” He then clearly identified that Lazarus was dead (John 11:11,14). There are many other verses in the Bible that use the word sleep when describing death (Matthew 27:52, 2 Samuel 7:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:14). When you sleep, do you know anything or remember things that took place around you while you were sleeping? Not at all. We go to sleep and wake up many hours later with no recollection of life’s events that took place while we were sleeping. No stress, no worries! Death is exactly the same.
“The living know that they will die, but the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
Many people like to imagine their relatives who have passed away as being one of God’s Angels in Heaven, or as a spirit that gives guidance and watches over them.
Others are told that they will reincarnate at death into a higher (or lower) being depending on the good deeds of the former life.
However, the Bible says that the dead are not praising God as an angel in Heaven (Psalm 115:17) or standing beside their living relatives as a spirit being (Ecclesiastes 9:5), nor is the soul or essence of your loved one reincarnating into another form (Ecclesiastes 9:6). According to abundant evidence in the Bible, your loved one is sleeping peacefully in the ground until the resurrection, which takes place at the second coming of Christ. That is the day when earthlings will become immortal souls according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-53! In the meantime, the only One who has immortality is God Himself (1 Timothy 6:15,16)
You can find beautiful hope for the future in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, where the Bible graphically describes the day when you will see your dead loved one again!
“But I do not want you to be ignorant brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope…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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
After our loved ones rise from the dead at the second coming of Christ, we will go TOGETHER to meet Jesus, and spend eternity with Him!
If wizards, witches and psychics say they are communicating with our dead relatives, who are they actually contacting?
Revelation 16:14 says “They are the spirits of devils, working miracles.” The person that is being contacted is not your loved one, but one of Satan’s evil angels deceiving you! (2 Cor 11:14). They may pretend to give you comfort and peace right now, but in the end, Satan only wants to bring more sorrow and misery into your life (John 10:10). Not only will knowing the truth about the state of the dead bring you peace, comfort and HOPE for the future (John 10:10), you will also be protected from Satan’s deceptive miracles that Revelation predicts will “deceive the whole world” (Rev 16:14) before the soon return of Jesus Christ.
If you would like to be there on that spectacular resurrection morning when “all those who are in the grave will hear His voice, and come forth….” (John 5:28) — not to this old world of pain and suffering, but to spend eternity with Jesus and your loved ones in a life of eternal happiness together — then I invite you to give your heart to Jesus today, and dig deeper in your search for Truth!
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