Death Comes, What Next?
After Death, What Comes After, Life?
Is there Life Death?
Death comes what next? The burial of course! But it certainly is not as simple as that. If there is a reason for mans existence, according to the Bible, certainly there a purpose that not even the cold icy hands of death cannot diminish. Though the gospels give a definitive answer, that in Christ there is hope, many dismiss that truth. So is there life after death, and if there is what does it look like?, Job answer is in the affirmative, he certainly think there is. So does many others as recorded in the Scriptures! Of course anyone reading the Scriptures would be assured by the multiple men and women of faith who died with that firm hope. In the best of times we all want something to hope for and have confidence in achieving. But many falter and fail, their faith left them at the most inopportune moment, and when the evil days pay us a visit. A quick glance at the New Testament letter to the Hebrews 11, labelled the faith chapter, the author reveals what he considered "great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12: 1) that there were men and women, who face death with courage. But the enduring question for man is.what happens when we die. It’s a question that has crossed every human mind, and rightly so, because at some point in our lives it will happens in our families. Because death happens to everyone, regardless of anyone's age, race, gender, religion, or even our status. Great men of our time, men who have conquered worlds had to face it,. Yet death is the unconquerable foe that has taken over the likes of Persian, and Roman Emperors, Julius Caesar, Alexander the great, and many more. Various discussions or theories has been debated by minds such as Socrates, Plato, Archimedes, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking but they can never be proved upon the subject. But what does great men in the Bible believe and say about it?
Meaning of death,
Death is simply the cessation of life, a curse inflicted upon humanity, therefore no one can escape it. It is also called a separation, because death not only separates us from our nearest and dearest, it separates us from our creator. The Scripture teaches that God formed man from the dust of the earth, thus 'Adam' and breathe life into him. "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Gen. 2 7). So when death comes, this life as we know it stops, our activities ceased and the spirit that keeps us alive, in the land of the living departs and our bodies are placed in the grave. However King David informs us, "They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself" (Psa. 49: 14-15).
Abraham, known as the father of faith, faced death, he had to bury his wife Sarah. He set examples, by believing that God is in charge of both life and death and led the way by acting on the promises of God. He firstly acted by faith leaving the place where he lived, not knowing where he was going, but living by Gods words. Since then many believe and follow and like Abraham, 'look for a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God". Bible students considered these faithful heroes and heroines of the faith, who did not fear death. Because though faced with adversity, brutal beatings and punishments held on to their faith not even when threatened with death. book of Job would want to wonder why such a good and God fearing man would be left to suffer for so long. Considering the shear scale of his suffering you are tempted to wonder how he did it? Why he held on to his integrity, when so many before and falter and fall, grounded by the shear weight of personal tragedy. Being close, his wife saw firsthand the impact of his suffering, certainly think he should let go. With the accusing voice and pointy fingers of his friends, this would seem the final straw that breaks the camels back
Like many notable biblical characters before and after him, Job understands mans origins, his make up, his enduring legacy and his destiny. He declared, "“Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure" (Job 14: 1); As beautiful and powerful as we think that we are, we do not last, we will come to an end,our days on earth are numbered,. Humanity's life, our sojourn on earth is brief and is coupled with troubles and trials. Death comes and take us away and we are no more. King Solomon, in the Songs of Songs declares it, "all is vanity and vexation of spirit". More significantly we are labelled, and targeted for destruction, and death. The chief enemy of humankind is death, but it would seem then that Job among others had something or someone special. Some unseen force,a fourth man in the fire (the three Hebrew boys in Daniel), standing by, helping, encouraging that death is not the end. For Job a calming voice in the midst of his personal storm that gave him the strength to endure the suffering. A reassuring presence he could fallback and relied on, that was bigger than the sum total of his problems, He is God. Job held on to Gods word, he had faith in what God promised, something unique, the faith that we all need to find. His hope was yet future, to a time when all his present trials of his human earthly sojourn and experience would seem as nothing.
In spite of centuries of research, science cannot affirmatively tell us how the universe began and when, where or how life began. Each day and months is followed by years of speculations about the big bang, when it happened, and how things evolved into where we are today. Each years speculation is knocked down by other scientist and there are no conclusive final proof hammer that knocked the nail in and seal it. The one source that gives us an affirmative is the bible. It tells us with no doubt, who created the world and how life began. It doesn't just stop there it tells us for what purpose, God created man, 'to shout His praises. So why are humanity plagued with questions about his identity and purpose? Abortion - the silent holocaust, suicide, gun and knife crimes increases the murder rate. Then there is war and conflict, pestilence, major ailments and accidents plaguing our towns and cities. Should mankind not turn to that source, the Holy Scriptures that have all the answers so that he has understanding of the mystery of life and of death?
David & Job wait on the Lord
So that with that kind of assurance from the famous king of Israel, one can easily understand why the power that death that Satan held over man is neutralised, as there is hope of life after this sting. Likewise, the prevailing difficulties Job faced, one would sympathise, even forgive him if he lost his early assurance in God. If at a certain juncture his hopefulness abandons him, but it didn’t, he asked: “If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14: 14a)
This is one of the great some say most puzzling questions of our lives. Is death the end of human existence and consciousness, or do we continue in some other place or state of being? Do we go to a place of everlasting reward or eternal torment? Are we destined to be reincarnated, coming to life again in a different body in a seemingly endless cycle of living and dying? Will we ever see deceased loved ones again? Oh how I would love to see, to touch, to speak to my mother and father again. So is there somewhere that we can go to find answer to this difficult question?
Death is a destroyer of life, the ultimate fear of man no doubt, but so much in life that paints a gloomy picture of the future, we easily ask what next. We become hardened by our circumstances it becomes hard to believe death is temporary. Job left us without a shadow of a doubt, he affirmed, “all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14: 14b). Its as if Job is welcoming death, not as though he is eager to vacate this life, but that he has confidence that when he departs this life there is another, and he looks forward to it with confidence. Job realised that death is a tool Satan uses with great effect to scare and control man. He also realised that God can restore life, as He controls the universe and what happens in it. God created the universe and all things in it, He gave life and He can take it away. But He 'restores our souls!' (Psa. 23).
Biblical message - Satan brought death - Christ brought Liberation from death
The Scriptures declared that all than mankind suffers on earth happens because of Satan. He was banished from heaven and so he is taking out his anger on mankind. He brought death to us, but Christ came to restore life, and the world to what it was in the garden of Eden before Satan brought sin and death. And the messages of the Bible clearly and without doubt what really happens after the moment of our death. It explains what happens to those who have done right and wrong and revealed the fate of the billions of people who have never known God or His son Jesus and the righteous way of life. Most churches claim to teach what the Bible says—but what does it really reveal? You need to discover the answers yourself. You'll be shocked when you find out what the Bible really teaches about what happens after death.
Satan brought death and destruction to the earth though was limited by God. There would be more caos and eath if Satan was completely out of control, but God’s justice and fairness allows even Hitler and the most dangerous despot that the world has ever know an opportunity to change course. So Satan desire as always to destroy everything God has created, but Christ was manifested to bring about restoration. Satan, wants to rule the world with evil, death and destruction, but we can see his rule is to be as a dictator of death, a despot of misery and suffering, and a destroyer of life.
Hence, if Satan rule, humankind is condemned to a life of servitude, misery and even more death if the world follow Satan’s way. Equally, humankind is liberated to life or abundant living. Eternal life is the reward for Abraham, Job, David, and those in the faith chapter, including us who believe Gods promises. It means for us, no end of life or fear of dying. For when the physical body dies, the faithful hopeful will come back to life
What is Humankind way around Death?
God’s mercy manifested in Christ death, offers humankind life, salvation or liberation from the penalty of sin and death. Through God’s grace and forgiveness, the penalty for sin, death has been paid. Christ sinless life, death and subsequent resurrection has sealed our fate. We have an assurance, and hope that in Christ if we die, we have hope of life after our death. God sent His Holy Spirit on the day of penticost to seal the deal, our future is assured.
So death is unconquerable, it cannot be avoided, all humans will face it , an appointment we will have to meet at some point. Some face that appointment early, some mid life, some much later, but it will happen. The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Heb. 9: 27). This biblical wisdom has helped many to prepare for the inevitable. But note here, the author is preparing us for two inevitabilities, death and the judgement . The apostle Paul left us some really important information regarding the two appointments.
"For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor. 15: 53-54)
There is a very reassuring message, an offering of hope to all who fear death that Christ will raise us up again. This is a promise of resurrection from the dead, to all who sleek in the Lord. Hope for those Christian families and all others living with fear and facing death threats. This not just a hope for New Testament Christians, but for those of the Old Testament as well. Abraham, Job, David, they too will experience victory over Satan's icy cold grip, when they arise to meet the Lord. The last and final enemy, death shall be overcome and defeated, swallowed up in victory that was confirmed in Christ’s resurrection!
Lazarus raised from the dead
This enemy cannot be overcome by ourselves, we need that faith and hope in God. Of course some folks will think that it will never happen to them, and live a life of misery that fear brings. Still some others do believe that there is no life after death, we live, we die and that's the end of the matter. The promote living in the now, because there is nothing after we die. But that is the lie that Satan use to convince many and so robbed us of our incredible human potential. The truth has been hidden from us, the truth God wants us all to know, that there is life after death. That death is temporary and is only an entrance into eternity, a stepping stone to the glory Christ promised when he reigns in His kingdom, the New Jerusalem on earth with the saints.
One of Christ most significant miracles recorded in the Bible was the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Here Christ is demonstrating to His followers that He has the power over death and the grave, and at the same time offering assurance that His promises to them are sure. Yes, there are other instances of people who had been raised from the dead, but unlike those mentioned before in the Bible, Lazarus had been dead for an entire period of four days. When Lazarus died, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up". His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better". Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep" (John. 11: 11-13). Even at this juncture the disciples hasn't fully comprehend who Jesus really was and the extent of His power. But Jesus was saying, yes as humans we will die at some point, Satan brings death to you but, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (Jn. 11: 25).
Christ second coming
The Old and New Testament saints will receive immortality when Jesus comes to earth a second time. (1 Cor. 15: 51-54). The Bible informs us that all the people who have died, both righteous and unrighteous will be raised to life again in one of two resurrections. The righteous will be raised to life first at the Messiah's second coming. Here is Pauls take on the matter, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4: 16). Listen to this verse, the righteous do not go to heaven when they die according to some popular teachings. They are asleep presently in their graves, and will remain so until Jesus returns and raises them and they receive an immortal body and will live life eternally. (1 Cor. 15).
Upon Christ second coming, our loved ones who are asleep in Christ will awake from their graves. And no matter how many years has has passed since they die, be it fifty or a thousand years, it will to them seem but a moment. No grave will hold our body down, at the coming of Jesus. Christ voice will echo so loudly, that the graves will open and they will come forth from their deep sleep as Lazarus. Then they will begin to think, speak, walk talk, just as they did before they die, but awaken to new world order, a glorious new dawn and a life of immortality.
Victory over death
"For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible...So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory' (1 Cor. 15). For many the last experience they had was the pain of death, the last thought, that they were falling beneath the power of the grave, but just think about, when they shall arise from their graves, to the loud shouting of joy and happiness,
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1Cor. 15).
My friends, if you are in doubt, still pondering the question of death, it is all written in the pages of your bible. However you can seek assurance from God through prayers. When praying, ask God to shed His light into your heart and He will send the Holy Spirit will guide you along the way. God will comfort you wile revealing to you, what truly happens after death. God will help us understand the incredible truth about this great mystery. Is there life after death? There sure is, according to the Scriptures. But if you need further assurance, Ask Him today!