Summary: What happens after death? Where will you end up? Can we choose our eternal destination?
Eternity; what happens next?
John 14:1-2 King James Version (KJV)
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Luke 23:33-43 New International Version (NIV)
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. “And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Today we are 1/3rd of the way through our “Believe” church experience study guide by Pastor Randy Frazee.
So far we have covered the topics of:
A Personal God
Our Identity in Christ
Stewardship of the Christian Home
And today we finish this series of ten messages with the topic of Eternity.
The late Rev. Dr. Lawrence Brice in his 2012 book “Confident Faith” devotes an entire chapter to what happens after death. He titled that chapter “The bottom line - is there eternal life?”
Today we will examine that question from a Biblical perspective and also look at how science is still unable to answer the things we believe by faith.
Things so sure to us that we stake our present and our eternal future upon them as we trust in what Jesus and others have told us about the life that follows this one.
Interesting scientific fact. The human body loses 21 grams at the time of death. They do not know why. This does not occur with any other species just humans. “In 1907, Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill in Massachusetts actually tried to weigh this soul. In his office, he had a special bed "arranged on a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales" that he claimed were accurate to two-tenths of an ounce (around 5.6 grams). Source: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2004/05/13/1105956.htm
To this day science does not know why this occurs. It is not a loss of air from the lungs or from bodily fluids all they know is we get just a little lighter at death. Many have wondered could this be the soul.
Rev. Dr. Brice says… the concept of the soul or personal identity leaving the body at the point of death is a very ancient belief. It is not only traced back to Socrates of Greek antiquity, but also to communities of Homo sapiens as far back as we have artifacts of burial. Jewish writers of the Old Testament also affirmed the personal survival of death in which the dead go to be with God in Heaven. What the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament observed when someone died was that something left the body. And that something was noticeably, breath. The Hebrew word for breath is the same word they use for spirit: “ruach”. Pg. 117 Confident Faith Dr. Lawrence Brice.
This makes sense as we understand that God breathed life into Adam. Could it be that the life force returns to God at death? Could that be the soul?
Dr. Brice says “our beliefs about immortality color all of the rest of life and determine what we live for and what we value most.
We see this especially in people who have had near death experiences, who sometimes report having seen scenes of Heaven or even Hell. These experiences can be so vivid and compelling that they change the entire course of their lives.” Pg. 116 Confident Faith – Deep River Publishers 2012.
Jesus related just such an experience about two very different men in Luke 16:19-31.
Jesus does not preface his words by saying I tell you a parable or any such caveat. For this reason many Bible scholars like Dr. J. Vernon McGee believe Jesus is in fact telling about two men whom He knew personally who died. Pg. 320 VOL.4; Thru the Bible Commentary Rev. Dr. J. Vernon McGee - Thomas Nelson Publishing 1983