What happens when we die? Finish the 2-part series.

ROBERT >> Thank you for joining us today on The Truth In Love as we continue to discover how the Bible answers an often asked and a very interesting question: What happens when we die?

This question presupposes that we will die, as the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment. Unless we live until the Lord comes again, we will all die. This is an obvious and undeniable fact of life; and thus, this is a question that ought to be of concern to us all. So let’s see what the Bible says about what happens when we die. Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

Singing>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Before we continue in our lesson today, I want to review some of the things that we’ve already learned about what happens when we die.

First of all, we have noticed that our body is separated from our spirit. At death, there is a separation. In fact, the word death means separation. Physical death is separation of the body from the spirit.

James 2:26, the Bible says, For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. So the body without the spirit is dead. That’s physical death.

Spiritual death is separation of man from God, as we read of in Isaiah 59:1-2. But in this lesson, we’re concerned about physical death. What happens when we die? Our body is separated from our spirit.

But secondly, we also learned that our body returns to the earth, and our spirit to God. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

You remember how man was made from the dust of the earth, Genesis 2:7? When he dies, his body will return to that dust of the earth. But the spirit of man, made in the image of God, will return to God.

And then thirdly, we also noticed that we have no more involvement with life on the earth. You see, being dead, our spirit leaving our body and returning to God, we’ll know nothing more about what’s going on here on the earth. We’ll never more share in anything under the sun, as we read in Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 and in verse 10. Now, this doesn’t mean that we’re unconscious in death, but that we have no involvement with life on the earth.

Fourthly, we also learned that upon death, we are in Hades. Hades literally means unseen. It’s used of the dwelling place of the spirits of the dead. For some, Hades is a place of torment; and for some, it is a place of comfort. When the rich man died in Jesus’ parable in Luke chapter 16, we see that he was in torment in Hades, verse 23.

When Jesus died, he was in Hades; but he was not left there. He was raised from the dead according to Acts 2:27 and verse 31. Jesus was not in torment, but he was in Paradise. You remember the thief who died on the cross next to him in Luke 23:43. To him Jesus promised that they would both be in Paradise that day upon their death.

Paradise is an oriental word that speaks of a beautiful garden like the Garden of Eden we read about in Genesis the 2nd chapter. The faithful are promised the tree of life in Paradise according to Revelation 2:7. It is the third heaven according to what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.

You see, the Bible speaks of three heavens. We learned last week that there is the earth’s atmosphere, the sky where the birds fly you read about in Genesis 1:20 as well as verses 6 through 8 of that chapter; there’s also the second heaven, or outer space, where the sun and the moon and the stars reside, Genesis 1:16-17; but then there is the third heaven, God’s dwelling place that we read about in passages like 1 Kings 8:30.

You might remember how the apostle Paul said that, We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:8.

The apostle Paul desired to depart, to depart from this life, from this earth, from this world, and to be with Christ, Philippians 1:23.

Now today we want to learn some more about what happens when we die. And I want to draw your attention back to the parable of Jesus in Luke chapter 16, where we read about the death of Lazarus the beggar and also the rich man before whose gate he begged. And we notice in Luke chapter 16 that when Lazarus died, he was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom.

Here in Luke 16:22 we read, So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. Abraham’s bosom was a place of comfort. Here, Lazarus was comforted. Look in Luke 16:25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

Lazarus found himself in Abraham’s bosom, in a place of comfort. Remember, Abraham was the father of the faithful. And so you see Lazarus’s association now with the faithful. Remember that God promised blessing through Abraham and rest to all who die in the Lord, Revelation 14:13.

Those who were slain for the word of God, we read in Revelation 6:11, would find rest on the other side of death. But let’s go a little bit further with our lesson today. Let’s notice that in death, our destiny is sealed. There was a great gulf fixed between the rich man, who found himself in torment, and Lazarus, who found himself in comfort. There was a great gulf that could not be passed.

Read with me in Luke 16:26. Jesus says, And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot; nor can those from there pass to us.

We see here from this passage that once we die, there is nothing that can be done to alter our destiny. If you’re in comfort, you will continue in comfort. If you’re in torment, it will do no good for anyone to be baptized for you or to try to pray you out of torment. No one will be able to beg or to borrow their way out of torment. We’ll be judged by what we’ve done in the body.

Let me read this passage to you from 2 Corinthians 5:10. The apostle Paul reminds us that a judgment day is coming. And I want you to notice the basis of judgment here. 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul writes, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

You see, one day we’ll be judged by Christ. We won’t be judged by what happens to us after we die; we’ll be judged by the life that we lived while in this body upon this earth.

Still there’s another point that we need to notice today, and that’s simply this: That in death, we maintain our personal identity. That is, we’re able to recognize one another, even those that we’ve never met. Robert is always going to be Robert. When Robert dies, he’ll still be Robert. And that’s true with each and every one of you. You’ll never lose that personal identity that you now have. Let’s notice this again in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus here in Luke chapter 16. Lazarus, you remember, was carried to Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man, you remember, was in Hades in torment. But look at verse 22 and verse 23 of Luke 16.

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

You see here even after death, now he was in the torments of Hades. Still he could see Abraham. He recognized Abraham. He knew who Abraham was. And the same thing was true about that beggar that he’d known for a long time upon the earth. On the other side of death, Lazarus was still Lazarus, Abraham was still Abraham, and the rich man was still the rich man.

The Bible tells us in another place, in Genesis 25:8, that when Abraham died, he was gathered to his people. Now, think about that for just a moment. What meaning would that have if they didn’t know each other? That would be meaningless if they could not know each other on the other side of death. But the fact that Abraham could go on and be with his people, he would recognize them, he would know them, they would know him, makes all the sense in the world.

Another passage, in 2 Samuel 12:23. You might remember King David and his adultery with Bathsheba and how that out of that union came a son; but that son became very ill until he died. And upon his death, David made this statement: I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. Again, this would be meaningless if David could not know him. David looked forward to that day when he would be able to go on the other side of death and he could join there this child who he never got to know on this earth. He would know that child, the child would know him on the other side of death.

Still there’s another point that we need to consider concerning what happens when we die. Not only will we be able to recognize and to know one another, will we keep our personal identity, but we can communicate with one another on the other side of death.

Let’s go again to Luke the 16th chapter, and let’s read verses 24 through 31. Then he cried and said, Father Abraham, how 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. Here you see the rich man calling out to Abraham. And they were carrying on a conversation with each other. Abraham responded. Look in verse 25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us. And then he said, I beg you, therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent. But he said to him, If they did not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.

You see how this conversation continued on between the rich man and Abraham, the rich man being in torment, Abraham on the other side of that great gulf that had been fixed between them? And still they were able to communicate with one another.

Now, here we see them using words, we see them talking to one another. I don’t know how spirits communicate on the other side of death, but this is how God relayed that to us, to help us to know that we will be able to in fact communicate with one another. That’s what happens when we die.

Something else we need to notice here, and that is that we’re going to have feeling, or sensibility, when we die. Just because you die doesn’t mean that you have no more feeling. You remember the rich man was where? In torment. In fact, he was hurting so much, he desired his tongue to be cooled because he was tormented by the flame, verse 24. On the other hand, here’s Lazarus on the other side of the great gulf that’s fixed, and he was in comfort in Abraham’s bosom. And so we speak here about the feeling of pain and the feeling of comfort, that sensitivity is there on the other side of death. Again, he speaks to us in physical terms that we understand, that we relate to. How a spirit feels torment and feels comfort, we don’t understand all about that; but it’s clear that some are going to feel pain, that they will hurt, that it will be a tormenting type of existence. On the other hand, there will be those that will be comforted, they’ll be at peace, at rest like Lazarus.

There is a final thing that I want to bring to your attention today. You probably already noticed it in our reading here in Luke 16. And that is when we die, we possess memory of our past life on earth.

Now, we already mentioned that we have no more involvement with the life here on the earth; that is, we don’t know what’s going on, we don’t see what’s going on, we don’t communicate back and forth with those upon the earth. We have no more involvement according to Ecclesiastes; but we do have a memory of our past life here on the earth. And that’s made abundantly clear in the reading here in Luke chapter 16.

Let me look again with you in verse 25. In Luke 16:25, But Abraham said, Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

Abraham told the rich man, look, remember, remember what it was like. Remember the good things that you had in the past life? Remember Lazarus, the evil things that he had in his lifetime on earth? Do you remember those things? And of course he did. In fact, he not only remembered that, but he also remembered his father’s house and his five brothers.

Read again with me verses 27 and 28. Then he said, I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Recognize that when we die, we will remember our past life upon the earth. We see this not only here in the parable, but we also see it in the Revelation in the vision of John in Revelation chapter 6. And I want to go there with you this morning and read, because I want you to see a number of things from this passage.

In Revelation the 6th chapter, John has a vision of souls that had been slain for the word of God. These are those who have been persecuted and tortured and had died for the cause of Jesus Christ. And they’re waiting for the Lord to avenge their blood on those who dwell on the earth. And so they cry out to him here in this vision.

Revelation chapter 6, and let’s pick it up here in verse 9. When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

You see, John was able to see into the heavenly realm, see into Hades, see into that place of Paradise, Abraham’s bosom, that place of comfort. And what did he see there? He saw the souls of those who had been put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Now let’s read a little bit further and notice some more things about that. In verse 10, And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? You see, not only was John able to see these souls, they had their personal identity, he knew who they were, but they were also able to communicate. And here you see them talking out to the Lord for vengeance upon their enemies.

And then further, in verse 11, Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. Here we see that those who had died for the cause of Christ would now find themselves in rest on the other side of death. They were waiting there until God would render vengeance upon their enemies.

We see in this vision of John how they recognized each other, how they knew each other, how they kept their personal identity, how they communicated with one another on the other side of death, and how they remembered their past and what had happened to them here upon this earth.

So now having looked at all of these things about what happens when we die, surely we can see that we can better able put things in proper perspective, to realize that this life is not all there is; that when we die, we’re not dead all over like Rover, as we sometimes say, but our spirits will live on and on. We may live in torment, or we may live in comfort; but there is nothing we can do about it after we die. No, now is the time to prepare for life after death.

What about you? If you were to die today, would you go to heaven?

Well, there’s only one way that we can know that, and that’s through Jesus Christ our Lord and our savior. Jesus himself said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes unto the Father but by Me.

Peter said in Acts 4:12 that, There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Salvation from our sins and the hope of eternal life with God is totally dependent upon that one, that perfect one, our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ; because you see, it was at the cross, in his death, in the shedding of his blood that he paid for the price of our sins.

As Peter said in 1 Peter 1:18, You’re redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. And the hope, the assurance of eternal life is only found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who not only died for us, but on the third day was raised ultimately to ascend to heaven to sit at God’s right hand. If you believe that, if you trust him for your salvation today, then you’ll turn from your sins in repentance, you’ll make that decision to live for God; and upon your confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, you’ll give yourself to him in the waters of baptism, being immersed for the remission of your sins, so that you might truly be saved from your sins to live a new life.

As Peter said in Acts 2:38, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for this promise is for you and for your children, and all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Him.

Have you been obedient to the gospel of Christ, believing, repenting, confessing your faith, being baptized into Christ?

And do you continue to walk in the light of Jesus Christ, to strive to serve him, to follow him, to live for him?

Being honest about your sins and trusting him, you can today have the assurance, the certainty about your life. As John said in 1 John 5:13, These things are written that you may know that you have eternal life. That is, those who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Singing>> Will your anchor hold in the storms of life when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

It is safely moored, twill the storm withstand,
for tis well secured by the savior’s hand.
And the cables passed from his heart to mine can defy the blast through strength divine.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan;
oh, the grace that brought it down to man;
oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you. So let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv. Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.

Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.

Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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