Saturday, April 8, 2017

Where Do We Go After Death?

It is good when we come to a meeting to try and retain some of the things we hear so that in future days we can read over the passages of Scripture spoken of. Tonight I would like to speak a little that has been real to me the past few months. Well, I might say fresh, because it was some few years ago when I first thought of it, but just recently my mind has been refreshed on it because I have been asked many times in different places the question, “Where do we go after death?” But, first of all, I would like to say this and would like for you to  keep in mind that in this world there are many classes of people but in God's sight there are only two: Those that are “in Christ” and those that are “out of Christ”.  I would also like to bring before you the six periods of time: 1st, Life; 2nd, Death; 3rd, the period between Death and the Resurrection; 4th, the Resurrection; 5th, Judgement; 6th, Eternity. Through all these periods there are only the two classes, those in Christ and those out of Christ. 

We do not have to say much about the first period,

1Life. We are all living and know just what life is. We either live in Christ or out of Christ. There are only the two classes. Life is often referred to as "life's little day". The time when we are born into the world until the time we leave it, that is life. It is this life that decides where we will be for eternity.

2. Death. "What happens when we die?" Turn to Ecclesiastes 12: 5-6-7. The latter part of the 5th verse speaks of death…”Man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.”   Then verse 6 makes verse 7 clearer. “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” You remember back in Genesis 2:7, when God created man, it says, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. God took from the earth clay as it were, and made man just as a potter would make a vessel, then He breathed into his nostrils His spirit. Just two things coming together, one from the earth and one from God: united, they made a living soul. So we see here in Ecclesiastes 12:7 what happens at death…the dust returns to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return to God who gave it…a separation of the two things at death that were united in life. There isn't anyone who wants to die out of Christ but how can anyone die in Christ if they live out of Christ? I might say tonight I want to die in this hall, but if I don't come into the hall, how can I die in it? I might be just outside of the door of this hall yet not be willing to come into the hall, and die on the outside. Ecclesiastes 3:21, “the spirit of man goeth upward and the spirit of the beast goeth downward.” Ecclesiastes 9:10, “There is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”

3. The Period Between Death and the Resurrection. Revelation 14:13, “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, etc..." ----- "that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” This is the period following death to the resurrection for those who die in the Lord. They are resting and their works do follow them. It says of Abel, in Hebrews 11:4, that as a result of his labours, he being dead yet speaketh. By his deeds, his influence still lives. That is equally true of others as well as Abel. Do you think God would be so unjust as not to give Abel and others a little reward for their life speaking to us? So thus He gives them rest from their labours unto the judgement when they receive their reward. Revelation 6:9, “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” They were resting. Where is that altar? I am just going to tell you I don't know, but I have a good idea it couldn't be far from where Jesus is, and He is at the right hand of God. Paul said, in 2nd Corinthians 5:8, “I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Philippians 1:23, “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” I have no doubt as to where the spirit goes of those who die in the Lord at death; they are resting, waiting for the final judgement day. Do you think, in this 9th verse of Revelation 6 that it means only those that were slain? I don't think it would leave Moses, Joseph and David out of the count, and they were not slain. I like to read that verse like this: “I saw under the altar the souls of the overcomers.” The reason why I read it that way is because in this same book you read about those that overcame were clothed in white raiment. In Genesis 49 it says of Gad, “A troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last.” It is those that overcome at the last that will die in Christ. In connection with those that die out of Christ, read Jude 6. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day”. Read 2nd Peter 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgement.” Verse 9, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.” Is it worthwhile being in Christ? I should say it is!

4. Resurrection. John 5:28, In the resurrection there are two classes of people also. All shall come forth, but not all shall arise at the same time. 1st Corinthians 15:23. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, etc.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”; chapter 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 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”. Then, in Revelation 20:2 and 3, Satan will be bound and deceives the nations no more. Verse 4, See on the throne those that were resting, souls that were beheaded or overcomers reigning with Christ for 1000 years. Verse 5, “But the rest of the dead liveth not again until the 1000 years were finished.” Read in connection with verse 11, (“I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” ) Matthew 25:31 to the end of the chapter.

5. Judgement. Revelation 20:12: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” What does it mean when it says "the books were opened"? It means the 66 books that I am holding in my hand. If we did not have these books to teach us how to live in Christ, there might be some excuse, but God has left us without excuse because He has given us His Word to go by. What is the book of life? In the human kingdom when a child is born, there is someone to come around to register that child's name, birth, etc. in the State Register. If you would not have been born, your name would not be in that book; likewise in God's kingdom. When a child is born into God's family, their name is registered in the Book of life; the deeds that we do, etc. and in that day these books will be opened, and those who are in Christ will find their names registered there; but those that are out of Christ, their names will not appear because they have not been born again. Those that are in Christ will receive their reward.

6. Eternity. Matthew 25:34, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”, and to those that are out of Christ, verse 41, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. God prepared a Kingdom for everyone but for those that disobeyed, a place of punishment was prepared. He prepared a better place for them, but if they won't choose the better place then He will send them to the other. I don't know any better future for a woman, man, young boy or girl, than in God's pathway, both here and hereafter.

J. Jackson ~ Virginia 1940  

No comments:

Post a Comment