Pastor Steven Birnie – This is a brief article in our End Times series of messages, as we continue to build our blog page. Also, we’re populating our social media with images and videos, so if you’d like to see our family images, motorbike vlogging or our music videos, just click on the image at the bottom of this article!
The Truth of the Biblical Heaven, Hell and Death
What happens after death and the subject of heaven and hell can be the most important questions any could consider, as there’s that stark reality, it’s going to come to us all. Many believe that when you ‘die you die’ and others have different ideas, but for most Christians, the question of what happens to us, is very clear indeed with most having no fear of the future. This belief doesn’t come from a ‘blind faith’ mindset, rather it comes from having a savior, who does exactly what He says, in an actual experience in our daily lives. It’s this perfect harmony between His Word and actual experience, which confirms our faith, believing that if He’s dependable and right about the things we see, then He’s no doubt right about the things we can’t.
The Scriptures tell us much about what happens when a person dies and since death is a major aspect of the Tribulation Period, it’s hugely important that we define it correctly. So, the below is the brief account, of what the Scriptures explain about what happens when we die.
Firstly, the word death in the Scriptures never means the end of life, rather a separation of something, from which it belongs. In the case of a human being, that means the physical body going to the ground and the soul departing to that ‘afterlife.’ There are no ‘lights out’ and when you’re dead you’re dead when a person is first conceived, they’re conceived as an eternal being. We will never die in the sense most believe, rather our soul will depart from our fleshly body. These truths are vital when it comes to understanding the Word of God and the seriousness of this event, which we’ll all face. When we die, there are only two places we can go; we can die and go to Heaven, or die and go to Hell. There are no grey areas or other possibilities and when this event occurs, there will never be any going back. If we had put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will go to Heaven, but if we die in unbelief, we will go straight to Hell and there we will stay.
Again, when a human being is conceived, they are an eternal being and their souls can never die. They’ll be a conscious being for all eternity, with no second chances. This aspect of the Christian Faith is the sharp end of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a huge factor of the Tribulation Period. One of the best examples, if not the best example, found in the Scriptures, of that physical death and of the two places a person will go, is found in the Gospel of Luke. This is where Jesus gives the revelation of these two distinct realms, showing us exactly what happens and where we go when we die….
(Jesus Christ – Luke 16:19-26) “…There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table, moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom (Heaven) the rich man also died, and was buried. And in Hell, he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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.
But Abraham said, son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted, and you are in torments. And beside all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from here to you cannot, neither can they pass to us, that would come from there. Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house. For I have five brethren, that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham, then said to him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent. And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead…”
It’s quite an account and much can be learned from this passage alone, but it stands as one of the most straight to the point examples of the afterlife we could hope for, giving us much to consider. When we look at the way these verses are worded, they talk about the body going to the ground and both the souls of the rich man and Lazarus, being in a fully conscious state. It shows us that both places can be seen by the other, yet those two departed souls experienced two very different environments. But, the most chilling aspects of these verses, are in the great facts, that once your physical body dies, there will be no turning back and no second chances, neither can a person return.
Defining these two places is a very important aspect of understanding death and again, many think that this ‘Heaven and Hell’ are the final destination for departed souls. Yet, we find in the Scriptures, that these two places are like temporary ‘waiting rooms’ until the days of judgement come. The first place we see is described by Jesus Christ on the Cross, as Paradise and in the Original Texts, Paradise is translated ‘Edenic Garden.’ It gives the impression of a garden, not unlike the gardens of great mansions, where guests are entertained until the ball or function begins in the main house. Like these gardens, Paradise is that place where every righteous soul who ever lived, will wait for the time when they will be resurrected to the Judgement Seat of Christ (the Bema) to receive the judgements and rewards for their earthly life.
Hell, on the other hand, is described as a place of severe torments, yet this is a temporary holding place, until the judgement at The Great White Throne, of all the individuals, contained take place. After that day of judgement, all these persons will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and not only them but Hell itself, to be separated or all time.
This page has barely scratched the surface of the full teachings of Death, Heaven and Hell, but it’s been a hugely important subject to cover. The late End Times and the Tribulation Period will be filled with death and the seriousness of dying in unbelief, so too will the Tribulation Soldier Series.
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