Is There Life After Death?
On the topic of life after death or any Biblical topic,
if we are to approach it from the
point of view of Jesus' teaching we would primarily use the gospels,
where His words are recorded, and Revelation, which Jesus gave to John through His messenger,
an angel (Revelation 1:1). However, since Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:2-3),
and always does what is the Father's will (Hebrews 10:5-8; John 5:30);
and the Father is the Author of all Scripture, given to us for our instruction (2 Timothy 3:16),
any consideration of this or any other topic has to be understood by looking at all Scripture.
The Old Testament is the promise of Jesus and the New Testament is the fulfillment,
the faith "once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3)
On this topic, the Bible clearly teaches there is life after we die physically.
We do not cease to exist.
It is important to realize that words in English or any language
are often inadequate (especially) when translated from another language
(in this case Hebrew or Greek).
This seems to be especially true of words describing the hereafter in the Bible.
For instance, we tend to view death primarily as our life ceasing to exist as the body dies,
is buried and decays or returns to dust (as the Bible teaches).
However, according to I Thessalonians 5:23, we consist of body, soul, and spirit.
The body may cease to exist as we know it, but the spirit and soul live on.
We tend to associate perish with rot or decay and we picture destruction as total annihilation or obliteration.
However, Jesus uses these words to describe a state of everlasting punishment.
So we should look at places which give Jesus' actual descriptions of life after death.
Luke 16:19-39 is a good place to start. This actual story tells of two people who die.
One goes immediately to Abraham's side, a place of blessing,
the other goes to Hades, a place of torment.
These are destinations referred to also in Scripture as life (heaven) or death (Hell).
We don't cease to exist.
Words such as "death" are used in more than one way.
For example, in Genesis 3 Adam and Eve died when they sinned, though physically they remained alive.
They died spiritually. Ephesians 2:1 refers to people who are dead in trespasses and sins.
Jesus uses the words translated perish and destruction, as well as life and death,
and reward and punishment to describe heaven and hell.
Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Greek Words
says of the words translated perish or destroy,
"the idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being" (page 304).
It is also translated ruin as in Matthew 7:13. We see this as someone's life
being ruined by a bad life style (see I Timothy 6:9; Philippians 3:19).
A modern analogy might be a person whose life is ruined by drugs
or a life of crime and he lands in prison, possibly for life.
Their life is ruined but does not cease to exist.
These words are used by Jesus to describe lost souls (John 3:15-17),
not to describe extinction.
The Greek word translated perish or destroy is also translated "lost" in Luke 15:4-6 as in the "lost sheep,"
which is a word picture used by Jesus to describe those "lost in sin,"
especially as separated from God in a place of punishment forever,
if we don't return to Him and are not forgiven.
Isaiah 59:2 says ,"Your sins have separated you and your God."
Another place this same Greek word is used is to describe the prodigal,
who was lost by his own bad choices, separated from his father.
It is also used of lost sinners who are separated from God and His Kingdom,
unless they come to the Father through Christ.
One thing Scripture teaches about life after death is that all people
will be raised to physically be in one of two destinations.
Daniel 12:2&3 says ,"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake,
these to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt."
Death is sometimes referred to as sleep (I Thessalonians 4:13).
Matthew 25:46 says, "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
There will be a final judgment and they will be cast out of God's presence forever
(Luke 13:27&28; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Jesus called Hell "Gehenna," which was the name given to the garbage dump
of Jerusalem which was perpetually burning.
"Gehenna" describes Hell because it never stops burning.
Revelation 20:14&15 calls hell the lake of fire that burns forever.
Here are other verses which describe Hell:
1. Torment forever: Revelation 20:10-15
Eternal destruction: Revelation 14:11; I Thessalonians 1:7-9
2. Shut out from the presence of God: I Thessalonians 1:7-9
3. Unquenchable fire, burning sulfur, fire that never goes out:
Revelation 14:10; Mark 9:43-45; Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17
4. God's wrath, tribulation, distress, perish:
Romans 2:5-12; Revelation 14:10
5. Cast out (This word is also translated perish or destruction):
6. No rest: Revelation 14:11
7. Anguish, judgment, fire and brimstone: Revelation 14:9-11
8. Outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth:
Matthew 8:12; 22:13
9. Furnace of fire: Matthew 13:40-43, 50
10. Second death: Revelation 2:11; 20:10-15
WHO WILL GO THERE
1. Hell , the lake of fire, was created for the devil and his angels
as punishment for their rebellion against God.
2. The Beast and the False Prophet of the Great Tribulation
who have deceived people, and those who take the mark of the beast,
will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 14:9-11; 19:20 and 20:10).
3. At the end of the age, everyone will be raised, (those who have died and are in hades),
together with those who remain alive, and do not believe,
and will be judged for their sins, and “their place will be in the lake of fire
(Revelation 20: 11-15 and Revelation 21:8). It also says anyone
whose name is not found written in the “Book of Life”,
and the unbelieving will go there. (See John 3:15-17)
Read also: (Revelation chapter 20; Psalm 96:13,
Psalm 9: 7-8, Hebrews 9:27, and Acts17: 31).
"So what must we do to be saved?" you ask, as did the jailer in Acts 16:30.
Let's look at the "good news." There is a way to be with God in heaven,
a way to avoid God's wrath and eternal punishment.
Early in His ministry, Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:17,
"God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might have everlasting life."
Life here does not just mean eternal existence any more than death and perish mean annihilation.
Evans, in his book, "Great Doctrines of the Bible," says (page 259)
"eternal life here does not merely mean life forever, but to live in a state of blessedness forever,"
and to live in heaven with Jesus and the Father.
John 14:2&3 says, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you also will be."
Contrast the eternal punishment of God's judgment with what He promises the righteous.
John 5:24&25 says we will not come into condemnation.
Contrast that with facing judgment. Instead of being separated
from God we will eat at his table and live in His presence forever
(I Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 21:3 and Luke 22:30).
Instead of darkness, light; and instead of weeping,
God will wipe all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4; 7:17).
We will have an indestructible and eternal body in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1).
There will be no pain there (Revelation 21:4).
Instead of "outer darkness," heaven will be shining with the "light of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:23-25).
There will be no night there (Revelation 21:25).
Compare Revelation 21:8 where the ungodly are cast into the lake of fire
with 2 Peter 3:13 where (referring to heaven),
righteousness dwells, in a new heaven and earth.
From Luke 16 we learned that from the moment of physical death
we are either in a place of blessing or a place of punishment.
2 Corinthians 5:8 says, "when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord."
Paul said in Philippians 1:23 that he wished "to depart and be with the Lord."
I Thessalonians 4:16-18 says that we will "always be with the Lord."
Colossians 1:5 and I Peter 1:3-5 describe this life as a "living hope,
a life imperishable, that will not fade away."
God also says that at the end of the age, Jesus will return.
Then, He will raise believers' bodies from the grave and believers
who are still alive will be gathered together with Him (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Later He will raise the bodies of unbelievers and they will be judged (Revelation 20:5-15).
Read Revelation chapters 20-22 to learn about both heaven and hell.
Jesus sent this message to us so that whosoever will may come to Him (Revelation 22:17).
John 5:39 says, "You search the scriptures and think you have eternal life,
but they are they who testify of Me" (Jesus is speaking.).
Since all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and Scripture says that only the righteous
will enter into eternal life (Matthew 25:46),
then who can be saved?
Romans 6:23 gives us the answer, "The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
How did Jesus do this? How can we as sinners become righteous?
How can we avoid God's wrath?
Read John chapter three.
It says, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes on Him, should NOT perish, but have everlasting life."
John 17:2 says that God has given or granted for Jesus to give us eternal life.
Remember Romans 6:23 says it is "the gift of God,"
and John chapter 3 (not to mention other verses) states four times that Jesus
gives eternal life to those who believe in Him.
It also says that those who do not believe are
"condemned already because they do not believe in the only begotten Son of God."
Verse 36 says, "the wrath of God abides on him." The choice is whether or not we believe on Him.
This is God's plan, God's way.
Jesus is the way to heaven (John 14:6).
If we try to make it ourselves by our own good deeds, we will fail.
Romans 3:23 says "we all fall short of God's glory."
When the rich young ruler tried to be perfect and failed,
Jesus' disciples asked, "who then can be saved?"
Jesus said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
John 6:29 says, "This is the work that God requires, that you believe on Him whom He has sent."
He even told Nicodemus how He would make salvation possible.
In John 3:14 He said, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up."
(He was talking about being lifted up on the cross.)
Scripture teaches that He ransomed and redeemed us.
I Corinthians 15:3&4 tells us that Jesus did this to take our sin away and pay the penalty of death for us.
"Christ died for our sins…that He was buried and that He was raised."
I Peter 2:24 says, "He bore our sins in His own body on the tree."
I John 2:2 and 4:10 say He was the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for our sin.
(Read Romans 3:20-28; 4:8, 24-5:1.) He gives us forgiveness and He declares us righteous
if we believe He died for us.
(Read also Hebrews 9:12&14 and Isaiah 53:1-12.)
The answer to the jailer's question is that we must, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 16:30).
John 3:16 says "whoever believes in Him will…have eternal life."
John 10:28 says, "I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish."
(See John 5:24; 6:37-41.) John 1:12 says, "As many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
We need to come to Him and believe on Him; to receive Him and His gift of eternal life.
I believe that the reason Jesus spent so much time warning us about this subject
was so that we would flee to Him and accept His free gift of eternal life through faith
in His substitutionary death for us.
John 6:37-40 says, "him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out"
and "the one who believes in Him may have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day."
Have you believed?
Even the thief on the cross believed and Jesus said to him,
"Today you shall be with Me in paradise."
Revelation 22:17 states, "And the Spirit and the bride say 'Come!'…
And whosoever desires (will), let him take the water of life freely."
Romans 10:13 says, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today,
you'll be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven?
Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life.
Those who fall asleep in Jesus
shall be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.
Those you've laid in the grave in tears,
you shall meet them again with joy!
Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch...
never to part again!
Yet, if you don't believe in the Lord, you're going to hell.
There is no pleasant way to say it.
The Scripture says,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
~ Romans 3:23
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved."
~ Romans 10:9
Don't fall asleep without Jesus
until you are assured of a place in heaven.
Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life
first you must believe in the Lord.
You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven
and put your trust in the Lord.
To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life.
There's only one way to heaven and that's through the Lord Jesus.
That's God's wonderful plan of salvation.
You can begin a personal relationship with Him
by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:
"Oh God, I'm a sinner.
I've been a sinner all of my life.
Forgive me, Lord.
I receive Jesus as my Savior.
I trust Him as my Lord.
Thank you for saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."
you have never received the
Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but
have received Him today after
reading this invitation, please let us know.
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior,
but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.
We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.
Plan of Salvation in Various Languages:
If you would like to contact us for spiritual guidance or for follow up care,
feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your prayers and look forward to meeting you in eternity!
Need to Talk?