Whenever a loved one leaves due to death, there’s a natural grieving process that takes place. It can range from deep sadness to outright despair. Just because someone is a Christian, and the deceased loved one was a Christian also, does not take away the sadness and grief of the loss. Even when Jesus was on this earth, He experienced human grief at the death of His friend, Lazarus. Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:14-15), but the sadness that was all around Him caused Him to weep. (John 11:35). (any emphasis is mine.)
There were several accounts of people being raised from the dead in the Bible, but only one has stayed alive and is here today. All the rest had to die all over again.
A person’s eternal status at their death will determine what their soul will be experiencing immediately. For those who believe that when a person dies they are gone completely, and there is nothing further, there are numerous Bible verses to dispute this.
Consider when Jesus was on the cross, and one of the thieves that was with Him confessed (Luke 23:40-41), and asked Jesus to be his Savior (Luke 23:42-43): “And he said, Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And He said to him, truly I say to you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” The Savior is clearly pointing out that death is but a passage from one location to another, and that the passage is a “right now” thing.
A prime example of what happens when a person dies without Jesus is found in Luke 16:19-31. It’s the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Verses 22 and 23 state, “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom (peace and comfort). The rich man also died and was buried (cold and impersonal); and in hades, being in torment (punishment already started), he lifted his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”
Part of the eternal punishment will be to constantly be shown the sins committed, and how the punishment could have been avoided. The main point is, once someone has passed away, they are unable to change their eternal destiny. It’s final; and without having Jesus as Savior, there is no pardon or parole.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:6-9, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body (still alive), we are away from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body, and at Home with the Lord. So, whether we are at Home (have died) or away (still alive), we make it our aim to please Him.”
No matter how much we have loved and worshiped the Lord here, when we finally get to be with Him, our praise and glory and honor toward Jesus will have just begun. To finally be able to see Him will be literally breathtaking. I love the line in the song, “I Can Only Imagine,” that says, “Will I be able to move at all?”
Through the years that I worked in hospitals, I witnessed death many times. This was before I had come back to the Lord; but even then I could see a difference. Almost always, when the deceased and their families were In Christ, the tension was not nearly so pronounced. There were definitely sad emotions, tears and prayers asking for comfort; however, there was an anticipation that there would be some sort of a reunion someday, and without total despair.
On the other side, those without Jesus would show a different type of loss. There seemed to be the knowledge that this was a final parting. Those In Christ seemed to know they would eventually be reunited with their loved ones and be able to enjoy them for all eternity. The lost would be like the rich man in torment, totally without hope. The Lake of Fire is not meant for “partying” or “gala” affairs. It’s a place of torment and suffering that each individual will suffer forever.
False prophets today would like you to believe that God would never send anyone to hell forever. They are partly right; God doesn’t send anyone to hell (except for Satan and his demons), but allows everyone destined to be there the free-will to choose it for themselves.
God sent His Son to die in agony on a cross for all the sins of the world; and it’s only righteous and just that anyone who refuses that sacrifice be separated from those who have chosen Jesus as their Savior. He does not take joy in this, as He wishes everyone would repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). However, anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus automatically has accepted Satan as their leader, and will be with him in the Lake of Fire that was made specifically for him and his demons (Matthew 25:41). There is no third option. Your choice must be made before you take your last breath on this earth.
For believers, whether we have died before the taking up of the “Church” to meet Jesus in the air (Rapture), or are taken up alive when He calls, our anticipation is forever being with Him and with all the saints from the very beginning of creation to the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus on this earth. It will be a never-ending joyous reunion that cannot be described. By the way, the “Church” is not any organized denomination today, but all believers of every walk of life, all over this whole earth.
One song written by Michael G. Sykes and Suzanne Gaither Jennings comes close to how we should be feeling about leaving this sin-filled world. Miss Suzanne is the daughter of Bill and Gloria Gaither. The song is called, “Knowing You’ll Be There.”
(V.1) The other day I passed the place you always liked to go. And I picked up the phone because I thought you’d want to know. But I forgot you weren’t there; I miss you all these days, that I’m reminded of your smile and the funny things you’d say.
(V.2) I miss you most at Christmas; you were like a little kid. You always loved a good surprise, and now I must admit, that I long more for Heaven than I ever did before. You gave me one more reason; and each day I want it more.
(chorus) Knowing we can spend a lifetime reminiscing on the past, knowing I will see your face again where tender moments last; it makes me wanna be there knowing I won’t be alone; knowing you’ll be there makes it easy to go Home.
(V.3) You left a group of fishermen; somehow You left me too. And though I’ve felt you many times and know You saw me through, I’ve always longed to feel your arms and look into your eyes, and talk forever, me and You, somewhere in paradise.
(chorus plus) Knowing you’ll be there, makes it easy to go Home.
God does not make any promises He won’t keep (Titus 1:2); and He says more than once, all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13).
To receive this “Blessed Assurance,” one has to confess that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and cannot save ourselves. We must believe Jesus came to this earth and lived a sinless life the whole time He was here. That made His blood-sacrifice acceptable to the Father for all of our sins. We must believe that His human self really died on that cross, and have faith that God raised Him the 3rd day to finally conquer sin and death (Romans 10:9-13).
By accepting the sacrifice our Savior made, and calling on Him to be our Savior, we are telling Him we want to repent and be His forever. He knows we are human, and that we will all slip and sin. When that happens, He has given us 1 John 1:9 to turn to for help. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There is no other way to the Father and Heaven than through His Son, Jesus (John 14:6). His eternal commitment to us is that if we have the Son, we will have the Father also (John 3:18 and 1 John 5:10-12 just to name two verses)
He is always ready for your call. Jesus will prepare a place for you to be with Him in Heaven. (John 14:1-3) This is a “forever” decision you will be making, but is only valid as long as you are alive. He could be calling for His Church at any time now, so please don’t delay.
Shalom B’Yeshua (Peace with Jesus)