Church of God, New World Ministries

Is There A Future Beyond The Grave?

Does it seem like that there isn’t enough time to accomplish all we would like to do in this life? Is it possible there are future opportunities, somewhere beyond the grave?

In April, 1955, Albert Einstein died at the age of 76. He was in a heated race that came to an abrupt end, and he lost.

Einstein once wrote: “I cannot tear myself away from my work, it has me in its clutches.” In other words, it was a race against time and time won.

Einstein worked at Princeton University, his office is still the same as he left it. A blackboard full of equations, a desk with reams of paper and an empty chair. What you see is the unfinished business.

One physicist once wrote about Einstein: “It seemed that the difference between life and death for Einstein consisted only in the difference between being able and not being able to do physics.”

Will this famous man Albert Einstein-- ever again have the opportunity to do physics again?

A British proverb says: “Time and tide wait for no man.”

Does time seem to move too quickly. We just can’t seem to have enough time to accomplish all that we would like to do. As we grow older, time seems to be moving much to fast. And then the inevitable comes, as it says at the end of some cartoons, “That’s all folks” The End.

Authors die leaving uncompleted books, composers leaving unfinished music, scientist die leaving uncompleted experiments, businessmen die leaving half-built corporations; parents die leaving growing children or grandchildren. And this happens every day.

We are all familiar with the Grim Reaper, the person is the personification of death. His human victims try to argue the Reaper out of taking his or her life, but to no avail.

They will say such things as: “But I have a wife and children, or but things are finally beginning to go right for me.” “I can’t die now, I’m right in the middle of an important project, I need more time!”

For most people, the mind rebels against the thought of death. Death seems to be our worst enemy, and the Bible labels it as such.

The Apostle Paul tells us “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26).

But man’s will, that strong will to stay alive, a refusal to accept his own mortality is very evident in today’s society.

Today, we have a crisis of body image: people are turning to plastic or cosmetic surgery, trying to recapture at least the appearance of lost youth. Creams are sold by the millions to remove aged spots, and wrinkles.

Today, researchers are hard at work, discovering ways to actually extend the human lifespan.

Eat this diet or that diet to lose the weight, and be healthier and live longer. There are exercise plans, vitamins and drug therapies all this to rejuvenate an aging body.

Now, it is true that eating certain foods and exercise is beneficial in prolonging youth. We can take certain steps to live longer. But we can’t stay young forever.

Eventually, this physical body just wears out, as all physical things do. All we can do is postpone it, but we cannot prevent it. No matter what we try to do to keep this body alive, the scripture cannot be broken: “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27).

So, what will happen to all these uncompleted plans, unfulfilled dreams, unfulfilled ambitions. Do they die also, never to be accomplished? Is there going to be future opportunities somewhere beyond the grave?

Some people believe there is nothing after death. Others claim that one’s immortal soul will spend eternity either in heaven or hell, depending on one’s conduct in this life.

Through the centuries mankind has pondered these ideas, but how many have failed to ask themselves what is next?

They have failed to realize that there is a future beyond death, and what a profound and awe-inspiring future it is.

What God has in store for mankind is an eternity of absorbing and creative productive activity. God offers us unlimited opportunities as his immortalized sons and daughters.

To embark on adventures of learning and accomplishing that we may never have dreamed of during this physical life of ours.

Do you realize that the vast majority of people on this earth have never heard of the name Jesus Christ?

Luke writes in Acts 4:12 “That the name of Jesus Christ is the only name whereby we can be saved.” Now, what kind of a God would condemn these countless billions of Hindus, Buddhists and others for no fault of their own?

On the other hand, the vast majority of people who have heard the name of Jesus Christ have been deceived into believing a false Christ and a false gospel:

“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it (II Cor. 11:4).

Here we see that Satan and his ministers masquerading, knowingly or unknowingly, as ministers of righteousness (vs. 14-15). These ministers have blinded and deceived these people.

Now, would a just God hold them accountable for not acting on vital knowledge they never received? The fact is, the overwhelming vast majority of this world are neither lost or saved.

God is not locked in some sort of spiritual combat with Satan for “souls.” If that were the case Satan is winning. Then we have to ask the question - is Satan more powerful than God? Satan can do only what God, for a time allows. And his time is about up.

The Great God is working out a great plan on this earth, and there is no power that can stop it from being accomplished. (If you would like to know how that Plan unfolds, enroll today in our Mini- Correspondence Course “God’s Master Plan of Salvation”).

If the vast majority of all people who live today or who have ever lived are neither lost or saved, where are they now? And for that matter, where are those true Christians who have died throughout history?

The answer is quite simple they are in their graves. Solomon writes in Eccl. 9:5 “The dead know not anything.” Also, in the book of Psalms it says: “His (that is mans’) breath goes forth, he returns to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Ps. 146:4).

All the people who have died through the centuries, whether true Christians or not, loved ones, your relatives, they are all asleep in their graves on hold as it were-- awaiting future disposition. Or a final settlement of a matter.

Since we have no fountain of youth drug, we have no alternative but to view death as inevitable.

The Bible’s use of the word soul (in Hebrew Nephesh; in Greek Psuche) these two words designates one’s physical life.

We all know the soul is mortal, not immortal, it can die. Ezk. 18:4, 20 tells us so.

Now notice this, understanding that the soul is mortal makes it very easy to comprehend Christ’s statement: “No man hath ascended up to heaven” (John 3:13).

Now notice another statement by Christ to His Apostles: “That whither (or where) I go, you cannot come.” (John 13:33). Now if the apostles were not to go to heaven, how could we expect to go?

What will become of these billions who have died - who today lie unconscious beneath the earth?

Now that we know that man doesn’t have an immortal soul that continues living after death, the only hope for a person’s future is a resurrection, a rising from the dead. The Bible teaches the resurrection not the immortality of the soul. In fact, the resurrection is our only hope of inheriting eternal life.

The Bible speaks of three resurrections from the dead. And every person who has ever lived will be in at least one of them!

The Apostle Paul describes the first resurrection: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ ( that is true Christians who have died throughout history) shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain (true Christians still living) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thess. 4:16-17).

At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the righteous will be resurrected to immortal spirit beings by the power of the Spirit of God, born again. These resurrected saints shall be Spirit as God is Spirit, immortal as he is immortal, divine as He is divine. Born into His Family as His very sons and daughters. This first resurrection is also described in I Cor. 15:51-54).

For those who did not participate in the first resurrection, they will come up in the second resurrection as mortal physical human beings again. But they will remain in their graves until after the 1000-year reign of Christ is up (Rev. 20:5).

The prophet Ezekiel was permitted by God to see in vision this great second resurrection, that is in (Ezek. 37).

Finally, those who steadfastly refuse to follow God’s way, those who are given a chance now, in this life for immortality, but turned it down. They will have their part in the 3rd resurrection which is the 2nd death in the lake of fire. From which there will be no resurrection (Rev. 20:13-14).

The Bible reveals a great future for the immortal, born-again sons and daughters of God.

But how can we know that what the Bible says is really true that we will live again? Because it has already happened. Jesus Christ the very one resurrected will be the means of our resurrection.

The Apostle Paul was inspired to write this: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your moral bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).

Jesus Christ guarantees it! Look at what He said: “I am the resurrection, and the life, he that believes on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

Christ was the first born among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), the firstfruits of them that slept (I Cor. 15:20), firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18). From these verses, it is obvious that others are destined to follow him.

Now we know that there are people who alleged that Jesus’ resurrection is a mere fable and fabrication, with no basis in fact.

Notice what Paul wrote in I Cor. 15:17-18 that every thing hinges on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection: “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain (meaningless): ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (This verse also shows us that true Christians who have died are not in heaven.)

If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are without hope. Christ’s death wasn’t something behind closed doors His death was witnessed by hundreds. Some people drank and ate with Him and conversed with Him.

Paul writes: “God raised him from the dead: and was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who bare his witnesses unto the people” (Acts 13:30-31.

People do not become martyrs to what they know to be false. The belief of the early Christian Church was absolute, based on personal testimony or eyewitness testimony. The fact of Christ’s resurrection is as firmly established as the assassination of Julius Caesar.

Paul tells the Philippian Church: “And he, Christ, likewise, shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). This is our destiny, if we choose to accept it.

As resurrected glorified immortalized saints born into God’s Family as his divine children, we will “Inherit all things (Rev. 21:7), shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

We are going to inherit the vastness of the entire universe, it will be ours to work with through eternity.

Hebrews 2:8 will finally come to pass: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his (man’s) feet.”

There will be New Worlds to build, new horizons to conquer, and the entire universe to mold and shape. We will be granted undreamed-of powers and abilities, unhampered by the physical limitations of time and space, nothing will be beyond our potential. This is the fantastic future that God is offering us beyond the grave.

 
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