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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Look at the After-Life

I know, I know, we've been here before! So why go there again, one might ask? If we've been there, done that, why bring up that deathly subject again? Well, if there is life, of whatever sort, after biological death, the Scriptures do not tel us of it! That much should be clear if one has studied the Scriptures much in their true, covenantal context! What we mean by covenantal context, of course, is the fact that the Scriptures are a Book of Covenant concerning the History of Israel. They only concern the world outside Israel & the surrounding nations because the ministry of Israel as a nation of priests was to the world & affected/affects the world for the Glory of God!

We know that Scripture tells us that, 'the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it' ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ); other than this passage, which really is within that covenantal context as well, Scripture really has nothing to say about what life is like after this biology perishes! Job seems to speak hopefully of this after-life when he said, 'after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I shall see God' ( Job 19:26 ), yet, even here, we must understand the covenant context. Also, the fact that our English translations are fairly poor & ambiguous should not be ignored!

Scripturally speaking, as we've explored at some length in the past, we are in the afterlife! Jesus plainly said, in several places & several different ways, 'whoever hears My words and believes Him who sent me has eternal life, and will not come into [ the ] judgment, but has crossed over from death to life' ( John 5:24 )! Those of national physical Israel that believed in Jesus as the Messiah & true King of  Israel had already passed from the death of Adam to the Life of Jesus, the last Adam!

This answer doesn't satisfy those, however, who want to know what happens to us as human beings after we expire biologically! Well, we've established that Scripture doesn't really treat the subject, so it would seem that we're forced into speculation now! It's a very attractive notion, especially to those with chronic aches & pains or disabilities of whatever sort, to wildly speculate that while we will still have biology to deal with, it will be a biology without the normal hurdles we are given to deal with & to overcome! Most Christians believe that the normal aches & pains of this life are the result of the Fall of Adam & that the current situation will be remedied once Jesus returns to Reverse the Curse! However, since we have established elsewhere that Jesus returned in the first century ( AD ) & reversed the curse of Adam, this argument is rendered moot!

Now, for some more speculation! Some speak wistfully & hopefully of a spiritual realm where God dwells, a realm apart from this biological plane of existence! It is to this plane, this Hidden Realm, they believe, that our spirits will retire to after our biological bodies expire. Besides the fact that this denies the plain teaching of Jesus, that 'if anyone keeps my word, My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him' ( John 14:23 ), it also gives us no real comfort in this world!

Personally, I speculate that when our biological clock runs down, we become pure spirit, like our Heavenly Father & thus may enjoy a deeper sort of Communion with Him! We have Communion with Him & the saints who have already become pure spirit currently, but it bears speculating I believe, that this biology somehow & in some way hinders that fellowship. At this time, though, as the apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with ever spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, in Christ ( Ephesians 1:3 ) & seated us with Him in those same heavenly realms ( Ephesians 2:8 )! We are there, but yes, I believe sometimes our biology keeps us from seeing clearly!

So, after all that, many will likely still ask, 'what happens to us when we die?' 'What can we look forward to after this biology is separated from our spirit?' Well, my pat answer is, 'WE will never die!' Though our spirits are currently housed in this most useful biology, we are not our biology, though this in a way, defines us, to the naked eye at least! once people really get to know us, though, it is by our spirit that we are known! We are, as you may have heard, 'spirits having a bodily ( human ) experience'!

Hopefully this will put to rest some concerns about the so-called 'afterlife', but chances are, it will not! Though this belief can be somewhat of a comfort to those who cling to it, it can be detrimental as well! The human tendency is to throw so much of a focus on this hope of physical life after physical death, that we forget to live in the here & now, or as my momma always said, 'he's so heavenly-minded that he's of no earthly good'!

Once the realization comes home to roost that we are in the afterlife, that we NOW dwell in the Presence of God, in the Heavenly Realm & in His Kingdom, then maybe we can throw all our energies into living our lives right now, rather than worrying about preparing for some sort of life after death! To this End & with that prayer, as much as for me as anyone else, I write these words!

Charles Haddon Shank






2 comments:

bill said...

Another scripture that give people hope of heaven is when Jesus said they were going to sit at the tables with the o.t. saints in His father kingdom and we know that, that happen in a.d. 70

Charles Shank said...

Amen, brother; the hope of Heaven was a first century one!