Guest blog: OUT OF THIS WORLD! Part Two: The Afterlife
Posted by Bob Rogers
(This is part two of a guest blog by my mother, Joyce C. Rogers, on what happens to us upon our death. Yesterday she dealt with the subject of near death experiences. Today she talks about out eternal destinations in the afterlife. She speaks from her extensive study of scripture, as well as over 20 books and other resources. Tomorrow she will share her bibliography, for your further reading on the subject.)
I studied Scriptures about Heaven and Hell when I wrote a Sunday School unit about the afterlife for Lifeway in the summer edition of 2005. Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, is considered a defining book on Heaven and the afterlife. He says death is not a wall but a turnstile. He uses many Scripture passages in his writings. Other books, such as Billy Graham’s writings, are worthy of reading. Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermons on Heaven are great resources.
Revelation 21 plainly tells us that there will be new Heavens and a new Earth. God will dwell with us on the new Earth. Everything will be new and perfect as it was in the beginning in the Garden of Eden before sin entered. The animals will not harm anything or anyone. The Earth itself will be changed. There will be no pollution. Vegetation will be perfect. There won’t be sin among people because God can’t live with sin.
This teaching about the new Earth is not well known. Many seem to think we will be in the present Heaven forever. However, in the End Times, things will change. We don’t have to understand it all, but simply trust God in the here and now and for the future. I think of I Corinthians 13:12 (NASB), “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
Revelation 21 tells us that God’s holy city, the new Jerusalem, will come down out of Heaven. God will live with men and be their God. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. The New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God. The city is described in its vastness and beauty. The 12 gates are 12 Pearls. The great street is made of pure gold. There will be no temple, no sun, no moon, no night, nothing impure, nothing shameful nor deceitful. This and much more is plain and obvious just from reading Revelation 21.
Some people think Heaven will be boring. When our son was about three years old, he asked “What will people do in Heaven, fly around naked all day?” We laughed, but he already had seen pictures of angels flying around, dressed with only a strip of cloth, as a picture of Heaven.
We will serve God in Heaven, Revelation 22:3 tells us. That could mean a vast number of ways to serve God. Music will surely be a part of worship. Maybe we will work in the nursery. Maybe we’ll paint pictures. Surely we’ll visit with Abraham, Moses, David and Paul. And of course, with our parents, grandparents and who knows what ancestors we may see.
Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermon titled “Will Heaven be Boring?” states that Heaven won’t be boring because God is not boring, we aren’t boring, our friends won’t be boring and our work won’t be boring. Instead, life in Heaven will be delightful in every way.
Randy Alcorn says for every one person who thinks he is going to Hell, there are 120 who think they are going to Heaven. But – Heaven is not automatic.
Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. All of us have sinned. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9, NIV).
As Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, NIV)
Many people don’t seriously think about what happens after
death. They don’t want to believe they will ever die, so they just don’t think about it and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, this attitude is foolish, to say the least.
Why would anyone choose to go to Hell when they could choose to go to Heaven? If you’ve never thought of it that way, please do so now. Don’t assume you will go to Heaven because you are a “good” person. Salvation is based on faith, not works.
Here are some things I learned or had confirmed during this study:
1. God is sovereign over life, death and eternity.
2. It is very, very important how we choose to spend eternity.
3. Just as Heaven is indescribably beautiful, Hell is indescribably horrible.
4. Heaven and Hell are real, physical places.
5. Life and value of babies, including preborn ones, is confirmed.
6. NDE experiences differ from dreams or hallucinations in that they make sense and they are clearly remembered, even after many years.
7. Those having NDEs stopped before entering the Gate of Pearl or the pit of Hell, from which there is no return.
8. Most of those going to Heaven don’t want to come back.
9. All of those going to Hell want to come back.
10. Those going to Heaven had a sense of warmth, love and well being.
11. Many told of hearing heavenly music, colors and more beautiful sights than they could describe.
12. Many told of seeing loved ones who had gone on before. These people were recognizable and welcoming.
13. We won’t be angels in Heaven. We will rule over angels.
14. God is not limited by time or space. Neither will we be.
15. Heaven will be absolutely wonderful!!! OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!
Copyright 2013 by Joyce C. Rogers
(Tomorrow I will post her bibliography of resources used for these two blog posts.)