Death often points us to the idea of going to heaven. Heaven means being with God, Jesus, our Savior. Who does not like heaven? Every body does. But, no one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven are not that excited to think of their own death. We may say, “Yes, Lord. I would love to be with you in heaven, but, please, not now.” In the words of the great technology mogul of Apple and Pixar, Steve Jobs, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life.” Death is the single best invention of life according to Steve because it points us to the greater meaning of life. But the Bible explains to us why people die. The reason is more than just keeping our eyes focused on what matters most in life. The Bible says death is the result of sin in the world. But God turned the scene around. The scene of sin became the scene of victory when Jesus died on the cross and resurrected on the third day. So, death points us to a view of eternity. And, because God turned around the scheme of the devil to something that is life-giving and hope-inspiring truth, we now see death in a different light. To soften the idea of death in which we could not fully grasp or comprehend, oftentimes, we hear people say that our loved ones who departed went to meet God in heaven. We never hear people say, they’ve gone to hell. While everyone seems to be sure that the dead are all in heaven, no one is sure if any dead person has gone to hell. Perhaps, it is just the belief or practice or simply a respect for the dead. But, the Bible tells us of another truth. Death means man has to face eternity. Eternity means heaven or hell. Eternity with God or eternity in hell.
“Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.”– Matthew 25:41 (WEB)
“In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.”– John 14:2-3 (WEB)
Death should point us to God’s judgement. I have seen some documentaries of near death experience out of curiosity. Also, when I was at a very young age, my mother had a near-death experience when she was attacked by severe asthma and I recalled her description of what she saw and how it felt like. It was pretty similar to what I have seen in the documented films of near death experiences. They tell the same story of walking through a tunnel then seeing a bright light. Then they saw every scene and every event they have gone through their life. This part is pretty scary. Imagine at that point in our life, nearing death, and every thing is flashed before our eyes. We see all the things we have done in the past. There is no hiding. In truth, I could not explain or get my head around the near death experiences. But I believe what the Bible says. When we die, we will be sentenced either to eternal life with God or eternal punishment in hell. When we die, not all people enter heaven as what some people believe or imply. When we die, we face heaven or hell. And while we are alive, we can choose where we want to live eternally. We cannot wait for death to come and choose heaven after we have died. There is simply no more hope for a dead person to choose. It is while we are alive that we have the chance and all hope to choose Jesus, follow Jesus, and receive His gift of life freely.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only born Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send his Son into the world, but that the world should be saved through him.”– John 3:16-17 (WEB)
“But now, being made free from sin and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification and the result of eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”– Romans 6:22-23 (WEB)
And a time will come when Jesus will come again with His angels to judge the world. We do not know the exact day or hour. Only God knows when. Like in the time of Noah, when all were busy drinking and in all merriment, the floods came so suddenly that the people were unprepared (Matthew 24:37-39). But they were told and they were warned. So with us today. Grab a Bible and read it. It is there. It has been told ever since. Listen to God and stay awake and prepared. For any time can be now.
“But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”– Matthew 24:36 (WEB)
“Watch therefore, for you don’t know in what hour your Lord comes.”– Matthew 24:32 (WEB)
When we face God in the judgement day, He will judge us according to everything we have done on earth. And this pretty much comes close to that picture of near death experiences when their whole life is flashed before them.
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.”– Matthew 16:27 (WEB)
“I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged each according to his works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”– Revelation 20:11-15 (WEB)
This is a reason to keep ourselves vigilant and firm in our faith. Let us keep persevering in obeying Jesus, loving Him, and doing His will. Be prepared all the time for the day of God’s judgement.
You have the choice to imprint your name in the book of life while you are alive. Give your life to Jesus. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Receive His grace so free and live life anew according to His will for you.
Jesus? Say “Yes” and say, “Now, O Lord!”