grave stones

Is this the end of our existence? A grave?

If you ever lost a loved one, faced a serious operation, or flown in an airplane, chances are you have thought about dying. Some people have no fear of death, others do fear death. But, whether you fear death or not, you can’t help but wonder if there is life after death. Is this all there is, we are born, we live, and we die?

Does the adage ring true, “he who dies with the most toys wins”? If so, how very sad.

If there is life after death, there comes to mind questions about the afterlife. Think about it. If there is life after death, is there something we can do to prepare for the next life? Does our life now impact our future afterlife? What will that life be like? Where will we live? Who will be there? Is there an afterlife after the afterlife? How can we know for sure there is life after death?

Afterlife Theories

It seems questions about life after death have been around for a long time. The ancient Egyptians mummified the remains of people and put them in elaborate tombs to help them in the afterlife. There are all kinds of theories about life after death. There is the theory of reincarnation, where the spirit passes from the deceased into another earthly vessel, such as an animal or another human. There is even a theory of getting your own planet in the Universe where you become a deity.

Finding the Truth about the Afterlife

Does the simplest theory win in the marketplace of ideas? How do we separate fact from fiction, theory from truth? Is the truth about the afterlife knowable? Can it be scientifically proven? Is it a totally spiritual event or physical as well?

There has been research into “near-death experiences.” People with a near-death experience are typically diagnosed as clinically dead, with an absence of heartbeat and breathing. Many of these people talk about an experience of crossing over into the “after life.” The problem with this is they are not totally dead, but only close to being dead.

If A Dead Person Could Tell Us the Truth

The only valid testimony verifying life after death has to come from someone who died, totally. Someone who has been there and came back. Not a near-dead, not a mostly-dead, but an absolutely, verified dead person who died and came back to life again. I also would want the testimony of that person to be reliable and verified by more than just a few disillusioned friends or family members.

Jesus Christ Was Totally Dead

That Jesus Christ of Nazareth died by means of Roman crucifixion is a historical fact. The lashing and beating before the crucifixion was intolerable and left Jesus in a weakened state that would justify hospital care in our day and age. The agony of a diabolical crucifixion finished his life. Professional soldiers oversaw Jesus’ execution. The soldiers, supervised by a Centurion, verified he was dead. He was laid in a tomb. There was eyewitness testimony. Jesus was utterly, completely, and totally dead.

But … he didn’t stay dead!

Jesus Christ Appeared Alive After Dying

History tells of Jesus making multiple appearances to people after his death and burial. He appeared to a few women, a few of his followers, a large group of his followers, a couple of men walking down a road, and even a crowd of over 500 people. He appeared indoors and out, in bright daylight and in the evening. The wide mixture of accounts to a wide diversity of people and with varying degrees of conditions help solidify his appearances as not being freakish or unreliable testimony.

Jesus’ Followers No Longer Feared Death

At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, all but one of his followers scattered. Perhaps they thought they were next to be crucified, guilty by association. Some people call them cowards. We would probably have done the same thing, denied we even knew the man, “Jesus, what Jesus?” But, what happens after the disciples see Jesus after he visits death and comes alive again? The disciples are different people. They no longer are in hiding, they no longer fear death. In fact, the majority of Jesus’ disciples teach about life after death, even under the threat of being put to death for what they are teaching. In other words, they believed in life after death so much, they were willing to die for their belief. And why shouldn’t they? After all, if you really believed there was life after death, a better more fantastic life, wouldn’t you care much less about dying?

 Jesus Taught About the Afterlife

Jesus taught a great deal about life after death. He taught on it more than any other topic. Unlike life here on earth, the new life is everlasting.

Jesus taught what we do in this life does affect how we will live in the life to come. In fact, Jesus claimed to be the judge of our life, and he will make a determination about our life on earth.

Jesus said there are two eternal states of being. One state of being is a life separated from God. It will be a life of torment and misery. The other state of being will be a life in fellowship with God, a life of joy and blessing.

The determination, His judgment, is based upon whether we choose to follow Jesus’ teachings. Not only is Jesus a reliable witness concerning the afterlife, He is also the Lord (master) of eternity. This was a clear teaching of Jesus and is a teaching continued by His followers then and His followers now. Jesus is Lord.

 

 This is worthy of your deepest consideration.

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About Allen Burns

Allen serves as an elder and is the Staff Pastor-Teacher at Christ Community Church

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