Yes. You are no longer among the living. Why is it that you assume death is the end?


The light at the end of our life.

““Am I really dead?” Mirror Grant almost smiled. “You keep asking this, but the answer has not changed. Yes. You are most decidedly no longer among the living.” “But I can’t be dead . . . I’m not finished! I have to … —” Grant’s rising feelings of desperation had just reached a new peak when the other man held up a hand to cut him off, a curious expression on his face. “Why is it, Grant Borrows, that you assume death is the end?””

          from “Merciless (Dominion Trilogy Book #3)” by Robin Parrish

No – this is not about Zombie Apocalypse.
But if that’s what you were looking for, stick around.  
Learn that “real” life is even better.

details on the quote and the book are at amazon.com - http://amzn.to/2aMZBvy

When we die –

  • some of us may very well expect a zombie kind of life.
  • others will be shocked when they see the light at the end of their life.
    They expect nothing – oblivion.  
    Actually – they don’t expect to see or feel anything,
    because this group is the poster child for the “death is the end” crowd.
  • others may expect that the light at the end of their life is the fires of Hell.
    Sorry to disappoint, but that’s not Biblical.
    No one will see the fires of Hell at the end of this life.
    At least – not right away.
  • the rest of us – we expect to see God at the end of our life.
    So we see the light in that image as being the Light of God.

Surprise!

You may be surprised at something I said above –
about those expecting that light to be the fires of Hell.

That light at the end of the tunnel – at the end of our life –
for all of us –
will be the Light of God.

Some will look at what I just wrote and think –

  • No way!  Not me.
    or
  • Yes! I knew everyone was going to Heaven!
    or
  • I knew I would be in Heaven, but everyone?  Even (fill in the name of the person you least expect to be there)?
    or
  • Huh?

Sorry again – all of those responses are wrong.

I’m going to do something here that I wouldn’t normally do.  I’m going to take verses out of context – because I think that’s the best way to address what many of us think about God and Heaven.  I’ll go back afterwards and put them in context – as well as explain the problems with what many of us think.

Since many people only go to church on Christmas (or Easter), these verses are pretty well known –

Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

good news of great joy that will be for all the people

Yeah – of course we remember that one.
And if we’ve ever heard it and aren’t totally turned off towards God already, we may be relying on it to get us to Heaven.
We even remember that one for our family, loved ones, and friends that don’t believe in God – thinking it will save them, no matter what.

And then there’s this one – with no context at all –

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me; ‘ “

Every knee will bow.

This puts to rest the thought that maybe someone might be going straight to Hell.
Without commenting further about final destinations (at this time) this verse means there is – at a minimum – a side trip to kneel before God.
Some may look at this as an opportunity to believe in Him and be saved – after having already died.
We’ll see about that later.

Let’s not forget about what is probably the most misused word we have in our vocabulary – love.

1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. …  9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

All you need is love!

 No – “all you need is love” isn’t part of those verses.  But how many people think of those words when they read those verses?
So – if God is love – love comes from God – and we love – then, wow, God loves us and we’re saved!!  (more on that thought later).
If you aren’t convinced yet, here are the lyrics for the chorus of “all you need is love” –

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.

In case you’re too young to remember, these aren’t words from a Christian worship song.
No – they’re from the Beatles – a rock group from the 60’s who were much lore likely, at the time, to be popping pills that going to church.
If you’re a fan of theirs – please don’t send emails about what I just said.  
I like their music too – at least much of it.
It’s just their lifestyle choices that I take exception to.
Their God given talent – was very good.

The bottom line though – “love” is actually all we need.

the question is – what is “love”?

I could bring up many more things – but this should make my point.

Having read all of these – minus my disclaimers that we’d come back to them – one could very easily believe that God is going to save everyone.

  • Jesus coming to earth was – good news of great joy that will be for all the people – so we must all be going to Heaven.
  • Every knee will bow before God – so we are all going to Heaven
  • All we need is love! – and we certainly love some people – so we really are going to Heaven!

Hold on just a second

But wait!

Those verses above – they were all taken out of context.!
I warned you about that.

So let’s look at them.

good news of great joy that will be for all the people

That certainly sounds like a good thing – for literally everyone.  How could it possibly not be exactly that?

Well –

By the time The Last Supper happened, Jesus said this –

Mk 14:22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
Mk 14:23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
Mk 14:24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

How did we get from “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” to “which is poured out for many”?

It’s not that hard, really.

The Bible verses above are from the NIV – very popular.
Let’s look at verses 10-11 from Young’s Literal Translation – not so popular, but – as the name says – more literal –

10 And the messenger said to them, ‘Fear not, for lo, I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all the people— 11 because there was born to you to-day a Saviour—who is Christ the Lord—in the city of David,  1)Young, R. (1997). Young’s Literal Translation (Lk 2:10–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

This gives a very different impression of those two verses.

NIV says – good news “for” all the people.
Young’s says good news “to” all the people.
What happened?

The message was to all the people.
But it wasn’t necessarily going to cause great joy in all the people.

We need look no further than the famous example of the rich young ruler to see this in action –

The Rich Ruler

18:18-30 pp — Mt 19:16-29; Mk 10:17-30

Lk 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’’”
Lk 18:21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Lk 18:23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

This young ruler was happy – at first.  
But he left sad.

So yes – the message was for all – it was, initially, good news for this young ruler.  But ultimately, it wasn’t good news.
The message was for this young ruler.  
But Jesus’ blood ended up not having been poured out for him.

Not because the message wasn’t for him.
Not because Jesus wasn’t willing to have poured out His blood for him.
But because the young ruler himself rejected both the message and Jesus’ sacrifice.

Every knee will bow.

Yes – Paul clearly said that.

And yes, it does mean every knee will bow in reverence to God.

And yes – when that happens, there must be a trip to Heaven – not Hell.
Well – at least – as I implied – not a trip to Hell immediately after death.

Here’s Paul’s quote, with the full context from Isaiah –

Isa 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
Isa 45:23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
Isa 45:24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength.’ ”
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
Isa 45:25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
will be found righteous and will exult.

Did you catch verse 24?

It starts off good –

Isa 45:24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength.’ ”

But it’s not so good after that – if you’re not right with God –

All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.

Yeah – those people are going to kneel before God –
they will come to know the truth about Him –
and then they’ll start to realize that this little side trip to Heaven is just that – a side trip.

More on that in a little bit.

All you need is love!

If you were observant, you noticed I left out one verse from the section in 1Jn 4:7-12.  Here’s the entire section –

1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The missing verse was this one –

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

While we tend to think that love is love is love – this verse makes it very clear that’s not the case.

There’s love – and there’s LOVE.

All you need isn’t love.

All you need is LOVE.  God’s LOVE.

So – we’ve taken away some of the misconceptions about just who is going to Heaven.
Some of the things we cling to for ourselves – or for our family, loved ones, and friends – we’re doing it with a partial picture of the truth.

One more surprise

Before you get too down about what I wrote –
or even before you get to feeling too good about yourself –
I have one more thing –

The Sheep and the Goats

Mt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Mt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
Mt 25:44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
Mt 25:45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Mt 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Yes.

There will be surprises.  Both ways!

Some – who expect to be getting the ticket to Heaven – will be going to the other place.
Some – who expect to be getting the ticket to Hell – will be going to the other place.

Conclusion – Death is NOT the end

There’s one obvious conclusion here – death is not the end.

There’s another conclusion that should be obvious – the initial light at the end of our life’s tunnel will be Heaven,

There are one of two judgments that we’ll be going through – very much like the sheep and the goats in the parable above.

This is getting quite long – so I’ll cover those judgments another day in another article.  And hopefully remember to put a link in here.

Another conclusion – the light that we see right after our death may not be the one we spend eternity with.  Some / Many will be making that trip to Hell.

Final conclusion – we best better not get too overconfident or proud of what we think our status is as far as which light we will spend eternity with.

Maybe that light at the end of our life tunnel will be God’s light – forever.

Or – that light at the end of our life tunnel may be temporary, with the final light coming from the fires of Hell.

Either way – clearly – death is not the end.
Death is actually the beginning of eternity.
The beginning of forever – in the place that we have chosen.

To really see that, let’s look at one more famous verse – probably the most famous – but in full context –

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Yes – God loved the world.
So much that He sent His Son to pay the price for what we’ve done.
If – unlike the young ruler – we choose to accept it.

And it’s not God who is condemning us.
No – it’s us – we condemn ourselves.

So – if death isn’t the end – but it is the beginning –

where do you want to begin?

And are you doing what it takes to get there?

BTW – if you’ve learned anything at all today –
you hopefully also figure that what you think you need to do, based on what you’ve heard from people who don’t know any better – It’s not what you really need to do.
Check verse 16 again.  It’s got everything you need to do.  And then – just let Jesus take you where He leads you.

I have a series about that as well – currently in progress as I’m writing this article.  I’m expecting three articles in this series.   You can check it out on the right side of this screen, under “Article Series” – it’s called “We go where he takes us”.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Young, R. (1997). Young’s Literal Translation (Lk 2:10–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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