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After You Die

After You Die

           This is an area in which there are no experts around to advise you, nor to explain what you will experience. This is because none are “here” who have crossed into that realm, present claims notwithstanding.   It is also a fallacy to believe that one can “contact” you from beyond this life.   We are made certain of a few things regarding death from God’s Word. You will not know what happens here after you die. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 makes this perfectly clear. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun

       Neither does one “go directly” to their final abode immediately upon his or her death, contrary to what is taught in many places. Luke chapter 16 gives us a bit of a glimpse into the “intermediate” after-life.   In this telling narrative from the Lord Himself, we see two possible destinations for the soul after it leaves the body.   Luke 16:22-26 shows the two, and why each goes to their respective places.   And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell (Hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  This is not “just a story” as many have claimed. This is Jesus, helping His people, the Jews, see the need to prepare for eternity.  

       The beggar was given a name in vs 20, and was repeated in vss 24 & 25. Abraham was real. The rich man’s brethren were real. Moses is also named in this narrative and he was real.   Abraham, Moses, Lazarus and the rich man had all died, and we all know death is real.   This has been true since the slaying of Abel.   Adam, the created son of God, “ushered” death into the world per Romans 5:12.   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 

       We also see in the Luke 16 accounts of death, and the impermanent abodes of the soul, that there is a division (great gulf), vs 26, between those that rest, and the ones that are tormented.   We are also told that the rich man “fared sumptuously” every day and was clothed in “purple, and fine linen”, while Lazarus the beggar was “full of sores” and desired the crumbs, or leftovers of the more fortunate.   Let’s not be deceived into thinking that all who have “good fortune” will “go to Hell”.   This simply shows that the rich man lived according to his own selfish desires and lusts, and not as God would have him live.   It is worth noting that once one has passed from this life, they can make no changes to the outcome.   This is why in Luke 16: 23 the rich man wanted someone to “go back” and testify to his five brethren.

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 

     We are made aware of the temporary nature of these places as we read

1Thessalonians 4:16-18. Why would the “righteous dead” be raised if they were already in Heaven?   Why would they not remain there to await the rest who will spend eternity with God?   For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

       Hebrews 9:27 makes it abundantly clear that after death, comes the judgment.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment We also understand from 1Corinthians 15:24-26 when “the end” is. It is when death is “destroyed”. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. This is when the judgment happens.

       But, what to do in the meantime, while we are “alive and remain”? We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. It is in this life, in which we have the privilege to choose where we what to go “after we die”. Make sure you prepare NOW for the “eternal future”. Obey the gospel today.  

      Know that we will account for this life. 2Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.   What do you have to lose?   Just your eternal soul!                  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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