Friday, May 26, 2024

After We Die

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT)

According to the Bible, there are two forms of existence beyond the grave. There are two resurrections. First, there is the resurrection of the just and the unjust. We want to be a part of the first resurrection. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, the first resurrection is the one that we’ll experience. It means that when we die, we immediately will go to Heaven.

When Christians die, they go directly into God’s presence. They don’t go to a fictitious place called Purgatory. We don’t find that word or concept in the pages of the Bible.

The moment believers die, they go into the presence of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT).

Paul was saying the moment Christians leave their bodies, they go to be with the Lord. In fact, on one occasion Paul spoke about a personal dilemma. He said, “I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live” (Philippians 1:23-24 NLT).

Notice that Paul didn’t say that he wanted to depart for a few thousand years in a state of suspended animation. Rather, he said that he wanted to depart and “be with Christ.”

The moment believers die, they go to Heaven. And then at the rapture of the church, the remaining believers join them in Heaven.

But what about those who become Christians after the Rapture? A great revival will break out during that time, and millions of people will believe. They won’t take the mark of the Beast, because God has told them not to. As a result, many of them will die the death of martyrs during the Tribulation (see Revelation 20:4).

On the other hand, when nonbelievers die, they go to a place of torment called Hades. There is no escape. And ultimately, Hades will empty itself of its occupants at the Great White Throne Judgment, where they’ll go from misery to greater misery. For those who wait until this time, it will be too late.

The nail-scarred hand will scroll down the Book of Life, but their names won’t be found. They might say, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name! We did this or that in Your name!” (see Matthew 7:22).

And Jesus will sadly but firmly say, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws” (Matthew 7:23 NLT).

Some people have a hard time with this. They think it’s unfair. But it isn’t. God gives us so many chances to believe. And those who end up in Hell will have no one to blame on that final day but themselves.

Death is coming. Everyone will face it. There’s no getting around it. The question is whether you will face it as a believer or as a nonbeliever.

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