Life After Death? Or Death Before Life?

 

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death.  Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”

In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man and his companion riding a boat – supposedly to transport them to a “better place.”

People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death?  However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.

Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life.  There are several facets to this matter.

The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it.  The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See:  The True Christ, Forgiveness in the Bible, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]

The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death.  Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].

The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way:  “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin.  Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.  For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).

Paul admonished:  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13).  We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19).  Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Verse 22).

It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).

Jesus spoke of this same event:  “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).

Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.

Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone.  Paul declared:  “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  That judgment comes when Christ, the Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).

Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5).  [See:  This Is not the Only Day of Salvation.]  This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in The Book of Life (Verse 15), assured of receiving everlasting life.

Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross.  This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9.  The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.

May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
19032022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life After Death? Or Death Before Life?

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”
In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”
People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death? However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.
Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life. There are several facets to this matter.
The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it. The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See: The True Christ, Forgiveness in the New Testament, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]
The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death. Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].
The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way: “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? Threfore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin. Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).
Paul admonished: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13). We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19). Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Vewrse 22).
It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).
Jesus spoke of this same event: “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).
Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, b Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.
Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone. Paul declared: “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27|). That judgment comes when Christ, he Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).
Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is not the Only Day of Salvation.] This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in God’s Book of Life (Verse 15), assured og receiving everlasting life.
Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross. This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9. The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.
May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032022

Life After Death? Or Death Before Life?

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”
In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”
People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death? However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.
Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life. There are several facets to this matter.
The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it. The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See: The True Christ, Forgiveness in the New Testament, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]
The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death. Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].
The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way: “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? Threfore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin. Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).
Paul admonished: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13). We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19). Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Vewrse 22).
It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).
Jesus spoke of this same event: “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).
Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, b Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.
Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone. Paul declared: “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27|). That judgment comes when Christ, he Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).
Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is not the Only Day of Salvation.] This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in God’s Book of Life (Verse 15), assured og receiving everlasting life.
Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross. This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9. The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.
May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032022

Life After Death? Or Death Before Life?

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”
In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”
People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death? However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.
Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life. There are several facets to this matter.
The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it. The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See: The True Christ, Forgiveness in the New Testament, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]
The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death. Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].
The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way: “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? Threfore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin. Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).
Paul admonished: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13). We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19). Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Vewrse 22).
It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).
Jesus spoke of this same event: “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).
Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, b Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.
Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone. Paul declared: “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27|). That judgment comes when Christ, he Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).
Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is not the Only Day of Salvation.] This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in God’s Book of Life (Verse 15), assured og receiving everlasting life.
Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross. This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9. The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.
May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032022

Life After Death? Or Death Before Life?

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”
In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”
People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death? However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.
Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life. There are several facets to this matter.
The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it. The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See: The True Christ, Forgiveness in the New Testament, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]
The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death. Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].
The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way: “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? Threfore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin. Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).
Paul admonished: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13). We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19). Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Vewrse 22).
It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).
Jesus spoke of this same event: “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).
Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, b Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.
Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone. Paul declared: “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27|). That judgment comes when Christ, he Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).
Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is not the Only Day of Salvation.] This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in God’s Book of Life (Verse 15), assured og receiving everlasting life.
Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross. This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9. The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.
May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

 

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”

In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”

People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After

Many people are obsessed with the “after life” –life after death. Cultural practices of many countries include the placing of worldly goods and riches in the tomb of their departed ones, in the hope that the dead will be amply provided for in the “next life.” It’s a vain practice that ignores the old saying, “No, you can’t take it with you to your grave.”

In the Philippines among the archeological finds in Tabon Cave on Palawan Island is a clay piece believed to be a burial jar, the cover of which has an image of a man riding a boat – supposedly to transport him to a “better place.”

People have many mistaken ideas about What Happens to Man After Death? However, God’s word – the Holy Bible – has a definite and unequivocal say on this matter, among others.

Another matter that the Bible is concerned with, but which only a few people think about is death before life. There are several facets to this matter.

The most crucial facet is the death of Jesus Christ before we human beings can have life – not just physical life in this present world — but everlasting life, or immortality, as we may call it. The second Person in the Godhead – called the Logos [Greek for “Word” or “Spokesman”] had to empty Himself of His divinity in order to become a mortal human being, so He could die to pay the penalty [“wages,” Romans 6:23] of mankind’s sin: the penalty of death. Thus man would not die or “perish” but instead have everlasting life (Philippians 2:5-8; John 3:16). Jesus offered His life on Calvary’s cross as a “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6). [See: The True Christ, Forgiveness in the Bible, and The Ransomed of the LORD.]

The next facet of death before life is embodied in Christ’s saying in Luke 9:23-24 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by following one’s own ways contrary to God’s] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

The cross was the cruel Roman device to execute criminals through slow but sure death. Christ commands that anyone who will follow Him needs to take up his own cross daily – to die to his old, sinful self every day, in order to find everlasting life [be saved].

The apostle Paul, whom Jesus especially ordained to preach His gospel, put it this way: “Shall we continue in sin [so] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death, [so] that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Paul explained that “our old man [our previous sinful life] was crucified with Him, [so] that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died [to sin] has been freed from sin. Now if we died in Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that /Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 8-11).

Paul admonished: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your [bodily] members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Verses 12-13). We are to become “slaves of righteousness” instead of slaves of sin or unrighteousness – uncleanness or lawlessness [Verses 17-19). Thus we will have [the] “fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Verse 22).

It is such people – true Christians – who, though now physically dead [who “sleep in the dust”] will “awake… to everlasting life” and “will shine like the brightness of the firmament…like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).

Jesus spoke of this same event: “…all who are in the graves will hear His [Christ’s] voice and come forth [arise] – those who have done good [the righteous], to the resurrection of life [everlasting]” (John 5:28-29).

Paul confirmed these words when he wrote about the “coming of the Lord,” when “He will descend from heaven with a cloud, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we [Christians] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord [in His kingdom on earth]” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Paul also wrote about this in his famous “resurrection chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15, especially Verses 51-55.

Another facet of the matter of death before life concerns everyone. Paul declared: “…it is appointed [by God] for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27|). That judgment comes when Christ, he Judge of both the living and the dead” returns to judge the earth (Psalm 98:9; Acts 10:42).

Those who have died without Christ in their lives will be resurrected to mortal life at the end of Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:5). [See: This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation.] This will be their opportunity to have God’s book [Greek biblia] – the Holy Bible – opened to their understanding (Verse 12), so that, as they would, their names would be written in The Book of Life (Verse 15), assured of receiving everlasting life.

Death before life will be celebrated by faithful Christians this year as they observe God’s commanded festival of the Passover, picturing Jesus’ supreme sacrifice at Calvary’s cross. This ceremony will be observed in the evening of April 9. The rest of God’s “spring festivals” – the Days of Unleavened Bread – pictures the Christians’ need to put away sin in their lives, to be observed on April 11-16.

May all of you who read this article become true participants in this arduous journey from death to glorious life!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
19032022

 

 

Pleasures Forevermore

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. — Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

In today’s society people seem bent on getting as much pleasure as they can, while they can. From the most exotic gourmet foods, to the latest computer games, to the most avant-garde of fashion, people seem to be on an endless quest for more. But, after the momentary thrill or fun is over, most feel a sense of emptiness.

Why is this?

It’s fine as long as the pleasure comes from doing what is right and good in God’s sight. As it has been said, fun that’s good is fun today and still fun tomorrow. But in more cases than not, people get pleasure from doing what is wrong or sinful in God’s view.

Hebrews 11:24-25 [NKJV, throughout] speaks about the Israelite leader Moses, a man of faith who, “when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…” The KJV renders the last phrase as “the pleasures of sin for a season.” The pleasures don’t last! And they could be fraught with guilt, conflict and confusion.

The pleasurable sin may be gorging on the most exotic menu of meat forbidden by God’s law {Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14; see: Did Christ Cleanse All Meats?], indulging in sexual acts contrary to God’s law [see: The Faces of Love, The Rainbow Connection and The Deceitfulness of Sin], and the list of such pleasures can be quite long.

The pleasures of sin are often intense, accompanied by some physical, emotional and psychological highs. Even if people engage in lawful or legitimate pleasures, there is an end to the experience. Like music that starts slow then builds up in tempo to a crescendo and a climax, it suddenly ends, or softly fades away – and then it’s all over. Then silence! God’s word says that everything we might enjoy in this present age will all “perish with the using” (Colossians 2:22).

We sing about “Endless Love.” But is there really such a thing? Lovers may relish a long relationship, but how can their love last forever when one or both of the partners eventually die, as God has appointed for all men (Hebrews 9:27)? [See:  What Happens to Man After Death?]

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 declares the grim end of all human experiences: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten, Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished. Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.”

How can pleasures last forevermore?

In order for anyone to enjoy pleasures forevermore, one has — first of all – to have or receive everlasting life! That’s what it means to be able to stand in the presence of God in His full glory, as Psalm 16:121 says – for no mortal man can see God’s full glory and live (Exodus 33:17-20).

How then can we have everlasting life? That exactly was the question which a rich young man asked Jesus. Notice what Jesus told him: “…if you want to enter into life [everlasting], keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:16-17).

By our own human merits and power we cannot possibly keep God’s commandments. The apostle Paul wrote: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7).

It takes the Holy Spirit of God and of Christ to work in our minds and bodies so we can obey God’s commandments and thus live forever (Verse 13). [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience and The Higher Law of the Spirit.]

Isaiah 35:10 promises: “And The Ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

They will experience such joy that God and His angels in heaven have, as when even a single sinner truly repents (Luke 15:7, 10). As the ransomed and redeemed of Christ, true Christians will rule with Him at His return to earth (Revelation 20:6). They will help Him teach surviving mankind the way of God and lead them to repentance. What boundless joy they will experience as these mortal subjects of Christ’s rule come to repentance and eventually receive everlasting life also.

This is everlasting joy, with pleasures forevermore that all will enjoy in God’s glorious kingdom. Quoting Isaiah 64:4, Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). What a magnificent and glorious future awaits all true Christians, who love God and keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 5:2-3).

Can we even begin to fathom the joys and pleasures which we as Christ’s true followers will experience forever in God’s presence? Can you imagine what pleasures we will enjoy in God’s presence?

• While we will no longer marry nor experience the delights of marital sex (Matthew 22:30), but who knows what greater pure ecstasy will be ours in the loving embrace of God the Father , Jesus Christ, and other members of God’s divine family?
• As divine, immortal beings in God’s kingdom, we will not need food for sustenance. But Revelation 22:1-2 describes the “tree of life” in New Jerusalem, the eternal City of God. The tree will bear twelve kinds of fruit, one each month. The family of God will eat the fruit for the sheer pleasure of it such as we’ve never savored in this present life. The tree’s leaves will be for the healing or health of the nations. There will be “no sickness, toil, or danger in that bright world” to which we go (as the American spiritual song says, reflecting Revelation 21:4 and Isaiah 35:10).
• Excellent wines, taken moderately, are one of life’s delectable pleasures. Judges 9:13 says that wine “…cheers both God and man.” Jesus’ first recorded miracle was turning water into wine – and that of superior quality too (John 2:1-10).
• Fine, beautiful music is one of the human delights of this present life. Can it ever surpass the pleasures of heavenly and angelic music? Can the gifted in God’s divine family compose and make even more sublime music (Isaiah 35:10; 51:3)?
• God will re-landscape the earth and restore its Eden-like beauty (Isaiah 51:3).
• What excitement can we look forward to as we join God in “planting” the heavens (Isaiah 51:16)—perhaps starting new creations (Revelation 21:5)?

Meanwhile, we may – and will – suffer troubles while in this present world (Acts 14:22). But let’s take courage from Paul’s testimony: “For I consider that the sufferings of thus present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) – the “redemption of our body” [from death and decay] (Verse 23). Paul also comforts us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians10:13).

With the power of God’s Spirit we can overcome the temptations of Satan and his demons, the pulls of our evil society and our carnal, fleshly selves—all that could hinder us from making it to God’s glorious kingdom. [See: Does God Require Us to Do the Impossible?]

Let us overcome and endure to the end, and we will be saved (Matthew 24:13) – have everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom, and there enjoy pleasures forevermore in God’s presence!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
25022022