This article is a continuation of “Death, Then What?” that I had written earlier. It has been brought to my attention by two brothers in Christ; Arch Bonnema and Scott Isert that Christians aren’t receiving much information on the subjects of “dying, death, and the hereafter.”
Once we see death for what it is there is no need to be afraid, if we are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, you too can be at peace with death by placing your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God to save you and bring you home to where He is.
We need to understand first of all that we are a living soul that resides in an earthly body. C. S. Lewis said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” The Apostle Paul explains this in depth in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.
“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
So again, we are not the body, but a soul that has a body. We, as a soul, first inhabit a natural body borne in the image of the man of dust (Adam), and then we, as a Christian, inhabit a spiritual body in the image of the man of Heaven (Jesus). As an example, our earthly body is like a small acorn, totally different from what it will one day become. When the acorn is planted, it is like our body being planted in the ground (or the sea, etc.). It is planted (buried) as a natural or earthly body. Eventually, as the small acorn, it will one day sprout, and grow into the mighty oak tree. We in turn, will one day sprout from the ground (Jesus calling us, “Come up here.”) and our soul will have a different body, one that is suited for living in Heaven (Christians). Those without Christ will be given a body suited to exist in hell.
Consider the tomato plant. The seed is our earthly body. The seed (the body) is buried in the ground (a garden for the tomato and a gravesite for us) and comes forth as a tomato plant (heavenly body). The tomato seed (earthly) becomes a tomato plant (heavenly). What makes the tomato seed a tomato seed? The fact that it can only become a tomato plant that bears tomatoes makes it a tomato seed. It won’t become a turnip, only a tomato. A radish seed is not going to grow tomatoes. It will produce radishes. Whether I am in a natural (earthly) body or a Heavenly body, I am still me (soul). I will not have the likeness of a cat or dog, because I am human. I will have the likeness of the natural man or the spiritual; i.e. Adam or Jesus. When in my natural body, I reflect Adam in my likeness. When in my spiritual body, after my natural body dies, I reflect Jesus in my likeness.
Notice again the last verse, number 49, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” On earth, we have the earthly image of Adam. In Heaven we will have the Heavenly image of Jesus, not as little gods, but certainly without sin, because of His work in and for us. And yes, we will have a new body, like Jesus’ body, with His righteousness radiating through us.
So we understand that our earthly body is only a temporary structure that we inhabit. I know that’s hard to conceive because we humans place so much importance on this body. If you don’t believe it, watch television for about five minutes and you’ll be convinced.
The title of this article is, “Death Is Merely A Portal.” A portal is an entrance or a doorway. So that’s all death really is. It is an entrance into a realm that can’t be experienced by our five physical (earthly) senses. Why? We live in an “earthly” world, and it can only be experienced in an earthly manner. When we go through that portal, we will then be able to experience the Heavenly realm which is by far more real than what we know now. This is why Jesus keeps telling us to use the faith He supplies us with. In other words, “Trust Him.” He knows what is on the other side of the portal, and would never lie to us.
I know someone is dying to ask, “Since I won’t have my Heavenly body until after the Rapture, how will I experience anything in Heaven without a body?” Remember, we are a soul that currently lives in an earthly body. We are not the body. It is only a “tent” for our soul. When our earthly body dies, our soul, the real us, is still living because all humans are eternal beings, so in Heaven we are no longer confined and limited by our earthly body. In Heaven we will see and experience all that is in the Heavenly realm.
This may be a bad example, and if so I apologize, but think of it like a “dream.” Let us imagine our body going to sleep at night as being comparable to our body dying. Our body goes to sleep (literally) and then we dream. Our body goes to sleep (dies) and we are conscious of Heaven and all it entails. When we die it is not a dream. It is more real than when we were ‘awake.’ The transition from life to death is just that simple. One moment we are in our earthly bodies, and the next moment we are with the Lord, but still very much alive (our soul). Only the body, the natural body, dies.
Whether or not we receive some kind of temporary Heavenly body, we will definitely be visible and recognizable to others in Heaven, and we will know them as they know us.
I do not claim in any way to know all about dying, death and the hereafter since I haven’t been there yet, but I do believe with all my heart what the Lord says in His Word, and He has given us more than we realize about these concerns. As I continue, I will supply Scriptures and comment upon them. You take the Scriptures (and look for even more) and let the Holy Spirit guide you in YOUR understanding. The Bible is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is our (Christians) Teacher of the Word and our Comforter. (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7)
Concerning death, Charles Spurgeon and C. S. Lewis had this to say;
“When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.” Charles H. Spurgeon
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis
Maybe it would help to compare being born to dying. When a baby is being born it would rather remain in the comforting confines of the womb of its mother. Are we not the same when it comes time for us to leave the “womb” of this earthly sphere? When our “nine months” are up, it’s time for us to go live in the real world. Once we get to the other side, we’ll never want to return, just as no one would really want to return to the womb of their mother.
Next time we’ll see what the Bible says about dying.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com