What Happens After We Die?

What happens after we die? This is a question that I am sure almost everyone has pondered at one time or another. Today there are many books on the subject. There are many stories of near death experiences. Many people have come close to death and have had visions of out of body experiences. Some have seen long dead relatives, or have come into a place of bright light and experienced peace. Some also have testified of going to a cold dark place full of torments and burning flames. Now to be honest with you, I don't believe that everyone who tells of a near death experience is telling the truth, and I also believe that many may have been fooled by the devil---- "......for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2Corinthians 11:14) After all, the devil is a fallen angel--visions of angels could have angelic or demonic origins. This is why the Bible warns us not to worship angels---- "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind," (Colosians 2:18) However, I don't doubt that God has given many honest folks visions of heaven and hell, as well as actual experiences of what it is like to approach death. Some of these visions and experiences are personal and some are meant to be testified about to help others understand the reality of the afterlife.

But what should we rely on and trust? How about the words of Jesus in the Holy Bible! Jesus told us exactly what happens to us after we die. He told a very clear and true story of two people who died, and there is much to learn about the truth of the afterlife from His words......

Lazarus and the Rich Man (told by Jesus)

"There was a certain rich man, which 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: the rich man also died, and was buried And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth 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 thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16:19-31, KJV).

Jesus tells us so many clear and important things about the afterlife in this story. First of all, this story is not a parable--the Bible always tells us when Jesus told a story as an illustration and always gave the meaning to the parable. These scriptures are definitely not told as a mear illustration--although there is a certain moral message to the story. If we were to believe this is simply a parable, then why would Jesus lie about so many details of the afterlife? And there are so many details in this story, let's list a few....

1. When the flesh dies, the spirit man and soul of a person are carried away immediately.

2. There is a real place called Hell.

3. Hell is full of torments (there are many other descriptions of Hell in the Bible) burning fire being one described here.

4. A person feels things in hell--fire is hot--the tongue is thirsty--etc.

5. A soul in torment can speak and think--the rich man is concerned about his family.

6. People in Hell are very aware that they were warned in this lifetime by the scriptures--the Bible tells us how to be saved from Hell.

(Now, let's not be confused. As I stated, this story is completely accurate as told by Jesus while He was alive. Of course He had not yet gone to the cross and made the way to heaven. Salvation was not yet complete while Jesus was still alive. Yet God in His mercy had prepared a place for those who were righteous--- Abraham's bosom. They were protected from the flames of Hell, held until the day when Jesus would be resurrected and set the captives free.)

So, what shall we believe about the afterlife? What happens to us after we die? Let's stick with the words of Jesus! Yes there is a Hell--but Jesus has done the work of salvation at the cross of Calvary. He has made the way to heaven for all who believe--

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

"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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17).

Ask Jesus to be your Savior.


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