Gain the Biblical Perspective on Death and Beyond-S13Ep8
This podcast covers Lesson 7 of Perspective Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
Trying to understand prophecy about the end times in both the Old and New Testaments is like having a bunch of puzzle pieces that look similar but without the picture on the box top to tell you how to arrange them. All we know for sure are the border pieces. We can put the 4 sides of the puzzle together. Those are events we know will definitely happen, but we don’t know when or how the rest of the pieces fit inside the border.
Our lesson covered the first side: Christ appearing as Savior to gather all Christians, dead and alive, together with Him in the clouds. At the beginning of John chapter 14, Jesus declared that He was definitely, positively, you-can-count-on-it-with-certainty coming back to earth to gather all of His followers and bring them to live in heaven with Him. There’s no mistake about it. If Jesus said that was going to happen, it will! After all, He promised to His followers that He would be raised from the dead after being crucified. That happened. God keeps His promises.
Through His Spirit, the Lord inspired Paul to write about this glorious event in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
The biblical perspective on death
Death was not part of God’s original design for us. Adam and Eve were created to live forever in a perfect environment with total freedom and everything they needed.
God gave them only one prohibition (Genesis 2:17). Satan tempted them, they ate, and they experienced death. Immediately, they experienced spiritual death or separation from God. Their bodies began to physically die that day as well. Since then, every human is born separated from God. And, physical death has been the destiny of both humans and animals.
There was no death anywhere before Adam sinned. Death is not nature's way of ridding itself of the unfit, as evolution teaches. Death is the penalty for sin. It has no other reason to exist. Romans 5:12
Jesus Christ paid the death penalty for sin and destroyed death’s power over us. John 1:29; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Hebrews 2:14-15
Therefore, we are no longer in bondage to death. Death for the believer should hold no terror because death for us is a doorway into glory. Death is the way that we just go home.
At death, we go to be with the Lord.
For simplicity’s sake, we use the term “soul” to represent our personhood apart from the body (our intellect, emotions, will, and spirit).
At death, the body decays and reunites with the earth. The soul leaves this "earthly tent” and is immediately perfected by God so that we enter heaven without any sin at all.
The Bible teaches that the soul of a believer goes directly to the presence of the Lord. Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8
- The soul is not annihilated. That’s the atheistic view.
- The soul doesn’t just go to sleep and do nothing while waiting to join a future resurrected body. We will be aware of being in heaven and in God’s presence.
- There is no reincarnation as the eastern religions teach.
- We don’t float on clouds playing harps as the cartoons depict.
- And, there is no such place called purgatory where you must do penance for your sin until you are purged enough for heaven. Everything that needs to be done to get us ready for immediate entrance into heaven has been done by Jesus Christ.
Those who have fallen asleep in Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
Those who have fallen asleep in Him are Christians who have died. Their souls are with Jesus in heaven.
Jesus brings their souls with Him when He comes to gather His own. Every Christian who has died since Pentecost will be coming with Jesus to be reunited with a newly fashioned resurrected body.
Those who are still alive at His appearing (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
The phrase “caught up” in Latin is rapturo. So, this event has been called “the Rapture” for many years. Rapture is “the state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy.” Yes, we believers will be in ecstasy to be with our Lord, to see Him with our eyes and hear His voice with our ears. We will truly be with Him. What a time of true rapture!
We will also be instantly given new immortal bodies like Christ’s resurrected body but without having to experience death first. We will join together in the clouds with those who had died and received new bodies. This may only be visible to believers—living and dead. Later, Jesus Christ will return to earth and stay on earth.
Those left behind
Sadly, many won’t experience such rapture—the ones who are left behind. But, anyone who has ever heard the gospel or heard about Jesus can join the ecstasy simply by trusting in Christ now with their lives. How do we get this message out to them so they will take it seriously?
The hope of heaven transforms our perspective on death. We grieve, but we grieve not as those who have no hope, rather as those who are certain of our reunion with loved ones who have gone before, of receiving a glorious body that will never weaken or decay, of entering a wonderful new life beyond our fondest dreams, and of forever being with the Lord!
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His perspective on life in the present and in the future. Then, live securely in Him during this time of waiting.