For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 KJV

It’s a sad day when a loved one dies. Will you meet again? Is there life after life? What really happens when you die? Most adults have experienced the awful trauma of losing a loved one. An accident, a prolonged disease, or sudden illness blights the lives of the loved one’s family and a wider circle of friends and colleagues. Tears well up in private and public grief. An awesome and unfillable gap breaches the orderliness of humdrum life. There’s the gnawing pain of loss. Silence shrouds life’s business. Why? is often our first question. Why has this beloved person been taken? Death was so undeserved!  It’s easier when a dear one has led a godly life; easier when you can’t find anyone who can in all honesty say a contrary word; when the life has glowed with joy and helpfulness and faithfulness and sound wisdom and encouragement; when life’s winter follows a productive harvest of good deeds and love and generosity. Then you can rejoice when the minister says that the loved one is “with the Lord” and is happier than conceivably possible. Then you feel you can say Amen when he assures you that the loved one is even now beholding the face of Jesus in heavenly splendor. In today’s world, most people do not have a problem believing in the spirit is eternal. Even those who do not consider themselves “religious” often believe in some form of life after the grave. They just aren’t sure what it is, and many do not want to know. Hell is an unfashionable topic. New Age teachings have settled in almost every facet of our society with vague, cozy feelings of the “afterlife.” Daniel talks of the end of the age where it says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2 KJV  This “sleep” is referring to the physical body sleeping, not the soul or spirit. Our spirit is the “real us.” We are a spirit and have a soul, mind, will and emotions that lives in a body. There is a cultic teaching that talks about “soul sleep” which is not scriptural. When people die, they do not enter into a state of eternal sleep, neither do they cease to exist. When we die, our body will go into the ground to decay and return to dust, but our body is not who we really are. The Bible says, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19 KJV  Our spirit, when we die, goes either to hell or to be with the Father in heaven. There is no in-between place, heavenly sleep or state of non-existence. Yet the troublesome question still remains, why must we die in the first place? The truth is, God never made us to die. Death of the body was not God’s original plan. It is the result of sin. When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, disobedience to God, sin entered into this world; as a result of it, each one of us will face death at sometime. When we die, we will also face judgment before God. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27 KJV  The Bible speaks of death as an enemy, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 KJV  In this world we are seeing death all around us: death by old age, disease, murder, suicide, accidents, disasters, famine and war. All of these have been brought on mankind because of sin and a fallen race. Death is an evil that produces torment, fear, hatred, suffering, agony, pain, grief and heartache. There is only one way that we can overcome both death and the fear of it; that is through the One who conquered death and the grave. The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has now made a way for us to also conquer death. In the Bible it says, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37 KJV  The Bible also says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV  And it also says, “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:” Romans 5:12 KJV  In this verse, the one man God is talking about is Adam. We all have the curse of sin in our lives because all of us are descendants of Adam. In the Bible it says, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 KJV  This verse tells us how Adam and Eve hid from God when they realized they had disobeyed His instruction. From that point on, every human born has the curse of both physical and spiritual death. We all have one appointment with physical death, but our fate with spiritual death depends on what we do with Jesus. Either the person accepted Jesus Christ as his or her savior and will be “judged” as righteous, or rejected Jesus Christ and will be eternally separated from God in eternity. Physical death is considered to be only a change of disposition for the believer. In many instances, physical death is preferred by believers because, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV  The Apostle Paul tells us in the Bible, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” Philippians 1:23 KJV  The Bible reveals very few concrete details about heaven, the afterlife and what happens when we die. God must have a good reason for keeping us wondering about the mysteries of heaven. Perhaps our finite minds could never comprehend the realities of eternity. For now, we can only imagine. I would like to tell you about my experience with death. Last year on July 11, 2010, my Father-in-Law passed away. He had a terrible disease called Parkinson. He had this for several years, but the last two was the worst. I started helping out being a caregiver in his last years of his life. It was just after I married his daughter and for our first year and a half, we spent most of our time apart. All of the family members took part in helping take care of him as his health gradually went down. My wife pretty much just moved back home and stayed with her mom and I went over when she was at work. During this time we barely seen each other, because it was a full-time job just to keep care of her father. It was a very trying time, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate. He was a very loving and kind man and his Faith in Jesus Christ was strong. I don’t think the family would have been able to do this task if we were not all Christians. We all put are Trust and Faith in Jesus Christ to help us get through this ordeal. I still remember the last weeks of his life here on earth, as his body got weaker, but his Faith still was strong. He began to stop talking and eating in the last two weeks. If we got him to eat or drink, it was so little I don’t think a small bird would live. But he was not going to give up. I think he was waiting to see someone before he went home to his Lord. For the life of me I could not think who he was waiting for, but when his brother came to visit I knew that was who he was waiting for. He hadn’t seen him in a long time. Now this was around the fourth of July, and we always went to my wife’s brothers house for an outing, you know ribs, chicken, corn on the cob and all the fixings. Her dad loved ribs, but he hadn’t eaten anything to amount to nothing for a week now. I went alone this year, but I made him a plate anyway and took it over to the house. I couldn’t believe it ! He ate everything and said it was good ! We were all glad that he had finally ate something, but in reality, he was just preparing himself for his last days. Giving his body the energy to last until he went to his heavenly home. As we tucked him in for the night, I still remember, he looked me right in the eyes like never before, and he said, God Bless You. For some reason I knew those were going to be his last words to me. After that he seemed to slip into a deep sleep or coma and began breathing very deep and loud. This lasted for exactly for one week. I have no idea how he lasted this long, but he had prepared his body with his last meal and he waited until everybody told him that it was okay to go home. It was hard for some of the family members, but eventually everybody let go. Now this is where I really became very close to God, almost felt His presence. Every child is appointed a Guardian Angel at birth to act as a guide and protector. In the Bible it says, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10 KJV  As his breath got more shallowed, we all gathered around his bed knowing the time was near. We all recited John 3:16 as it was his favorite verse. Then something special happened which I have never experienced. As he took his last breath, he tilted his head back, and took in a deep breath, and slowly let it out. It was as if the Angel was in our presence, and took his soul from his body and took it right up to Heaven. All we did at that moment was stood in quiet and aah. Then in amazement, within seconds, his skin on his face started to smooth out and all of what wrinkles he did have were just about gone ! Then all sin was gone from his body. We did shed tears afterward, just as Jesus wept. Being Christians, we all knew he was with his Heavenly Father and now in no pain. Just like when the beggar died in the Book of Luke, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: Luke 16:22 KJV  Also in the Bible it says, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalms 34:7 KJV  As creatures who come before the face of God, angels are powerful intercessors. We must remember that we have a guardian angel and turn to him in our thoughts and heart. When such contact with our angel is missing, he has no means of influencing us. Through out our life span, our guardian angels rejoice in our spiritual achievements and grieve over our downfalls. We must keep in mind that, whatever we do openly or in secret, we do in the presence of our guardian angel and that, on the Day of Judgement, a great multitude of the holy angels of heaven will be gathered around the throne of Christ, where the thoughts, words and deeds of every man will be laid bare before them. When a person dies, the soul recognises his guardian angel, and it is the guardian angel that takes his soul to God. That event helped me understand the significance of the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” John 11:35 KJV  God the Son wept! He knew the reality of heaven. He was the source of all hope of a future day of resurrection. And yet, Jesus cried. When someone we love dies, we struggle with a wide range of emotions. If a young person dies, we ask “Why?” When death comes after long-term suffering, we struggle to understand why the Lord waited so long to bring relief. We begin to think of God as distant, untouched by our sorrow. We may question His wisdom or His goodness. Then we read, “Jesus wept.” God is deeply touched by our anguish. When a painful situation invades your life, remember the Bible’s shortest verse. Jesus shed tears too. So if you want to go to Heaven when your time is called, why not now open your heart to Jesus Christ, because He is the one that shed His blood on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger

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