Questions And Answers On Heaven With The Late Dr Billy Graham
- May 8, 2018
Q: What happens to us in the first minute after we die? Do we enter heaven immediately, or do our souls go into some kind of a sleep until the end of time, when our souls and our bodies will be reunited? I’ve always had lots of questions about heaven.
A: The Bible doesnt answer all our questions about heaven and life after deathand the reason is because our minds are limited and heaven is far too glorious for us to understand. Some day, all of our questions will be answeredbut not yet. As the Apostle Paul wrote, Now I know in part then I shall know fully .
However, the Bible certainly does indicate that when we die we enter immediately into Gods presence if we belong to Christ. From our earthly point of view, death looks somewhat like sleepbut not from Gods point of view. Paul declared, We are confident , I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord . Elsewhere he wrote, I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far .
Later, we will be given new bodiesbodies that will never age or be subject to death, because they will be like Christs resurrection body. As the Bible says, The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed .
Is your hope in Christ? Death is a realitybut so is Gods offer of salvation in Christ. Dont put off your decision for Him, because you could be called into eternity at any momentand then it will be too late.
Do you know Jesus? You can. Heres how.
Salvation Demonstrated By Deeds
That leads us to the second purpose of the judgment. The first was that the judgment makes a public demonstration of the varying degrees of reward that Christians receive for the exercise of their faith in obedience. The second purpose of the judgment is to declare openly the reality of the faith and the salvation of Gods people by the evidence of their deeds. Salvation is owned by faith. Salvation is shown by deeds. So when Paul says we will be recompensed . . . according to what we have done, he not only means that our rewards will accord with our deeds, but also our salvation will accord with our deeds. Why do I think this?
The Parable Of The Talents
And most of us remember the parable of the talents in Luke 19:1227. Jesus compares his going to heaven and returning to a nobleman who went away and gave to ten of his servants one pound each with the command to trade with them so that his estate would be advanced in his absence. When he returns, one had traded so as to turn his pound into ten. And the nobleman says that his reward will be to have authority over ten cities. Another had turned his pound into five. And the nobleman said that his reward would be to have authority over five cities. Another had just kept the pound and done nothing with it. To this one the nobleman said, I will condemn you from your own mouth. And he took the one pound from him.
Now what this parable teaches is the same thing Paul taught, namely, that there are varying degrees of reward for the faithfulness of our lives. But it also moves beyond that and also teaches that there is a loss not only of reward but of eternity for those who claim to be faithful but do nothing to show that they prize Gods gifts and love the Giver.
Thats the point of the third servant who did nothing with his gift. He did not just lose his reward, he lost his life. Jesus says in Matthew 25:30, Cast out that slave into outer darkness in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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Further Investigations Of Life After Death
For more information and resources to help you understand life after death, check out these books about life after death. Whether youre a skeptic or a believer, youll find a few books to stretch your mind.
Guardian Angels Of Jewish Origin
It is also important to know that the concept of two angels being assigned to every individual appears in Jewish writings. That is, the concept appears to have originated from the Jews, and has infiltrated Christian thinking. We must remember that this Jewish belief is not inspired nor is it found in the Bible.
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Where Do We Go When We Die
The apostle Paul makes this clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16: For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep . For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
When Jesus Christ returns, as the apostle Paul stated it, the dead in Christ will rise first . For one to rise, one would have to come up from somewhere. If one had died and gone to heaven already, then the individual wouldnt be rising from the grave when Christ returns. He or she would be descending from heaven. Paul is clear that the dead wake up from their sleep and rise.
The Bible actually describes more than one resurrection of the dead. To learn when these resurrections will occur and who will be in them, read What Are the Resurrections?
Old Testament Bible Verses About Life After Death
In Christianity, the Old Testament refers to the time before Jesus was born. Take a look at the passages about life after death written somewhere between 1200 and 165 BC.
1. Psalm 23:4
King Davids Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death uses the same contrast he often conveyed for a discernible effect. Plus, these are some of the most widely known and oft-repeated words across many platforms and genres.
2. Daniel 12:23
The Book of Daniel is mainly concerned with eschatology, consisting of six stories about Babylon and four visions that interpret the history and predict the future of the victorious Jews.
Verses 12:23 confirm that those who are awakened by God will find happiness and shine brightly for eternity.
3. Ecclesiastes 9:5
Ecclesiastes is part of the wisdom books, written to raise the hard questions and offer more challenging solutions.
In it, verses 9-6 are about the awareness of life, which leads to ignorance after death. The point is to appreciate the moments we have because the days under the sun are limited.
4. Psalm 13:3
Consider me and respond, O Lord. Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death
Here, Kind David tells us that we should remember God by his use of the word consider. Rather than lie in wait or slumber to be retrieved by God, King David asks for some joy or enlightenment.
5. Proverbs 12:28
6. Lamentations 3:32
Even if He causes grief, He will show compassion according to His abundant loving devotion.
7. Isaiah 25:8
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Ecclesiastes 1: 7 Spirit Returns To God Immediately
The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Unbelievers and Believers body returns to earth as dust. But their spirits return to God . Two judgments await for Believers and final judgment for Unbelievers.
The spirit of Believers goes to be with Jesus in heaven.
Do We Go To Heaven After We Die Or Do We Wait To Be Resurrected
If you asked random people on the street what heaven was, theres a good chance most will answer, Its where you go when you die. This belief is held by many Christian denominations, and its embedded deep into our culture. So what does the Bible tell us specifically?
Understanding what the Bible teaches about death and what happens after we die is key to understanding what heaven is. When someone you love dies, you naturally want to know what becomes of them. You might even wonder, Are they aware? Are they in pain? Is there some way I can contact them?
Because God knows this is a sensitive topic for a broken world like ours, the Bible lays it out as plainly as possible.
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen nor can see .
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. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun .
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake , some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt .
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to the God who gave it .
the body apart from the spirit is dead .
This may not be the image you were expecting to see, but it is a clear one.
Exactly. Hold that thought.
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Ecclesiastes : 5 People Of The Old Covenant
The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.
At least eight people in the OT went to heaven, including Enoch and Elijah. People who died before Jesus death and resurrection were under the curse of death.
But God so loved the world that He gave His son Jesus to open the gates of heaven for those who believe. Those under this New Covenant have this hope.
What This Means For Us Today
After catching a quick glimpse of heaven, Christs triumphant return, Satans demise, and a world made new, our short lives seem to shrink in perspective.
Yet its easy to still wonder, What does all this mean for me?What are we supposed to do with all this information? How is this supposed to affect us?
Here are 3 vital advantages this knowledge gives us in the here and now:
- Peace and hope, rather than fear. We can take comfort that death isnt something to be scared of. We wont be immediately zapped up to heaven, away from those we love, or sent to hell for eternal torment because we made mistakes in our lives. Death will seem little more than a nap once we awaken to see Jesus Christ in the clouds. And while we still trudge through our lives here on earth, He promises to stay beside us so we can face it bravely, awaiting the day when Hell come back to take us to our eternal home.
- Informed decision-making. This insight into Gods final judgment emphasizes how important our choices really are. Every day we are choosing to either take the side of God or the side of self, which is encouraged by Satan. Free will is one of the first gifts God gave us, and our choices ultimately decide where well be on the last day. It isnt a choice made onceits a daily choice. And God is the only one who truly knows our hearts.
The New Earth will be Christs Kingdom, and well reign together with Him.
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Bible Verses About Death
What does the Bible say about Death? What happens when we die according to the Word of God? We will all experience death in life and the loss of loved ones. Grief is a normal emotion yet feels completely foreign as we experience it. The reality of loss reminds us of our mortality and the longing for more.
God has promised to be with us and to provide us peace in the midst of pain. His word in the Bible also provide us with comfort of eternal life in heaven for those who have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. We have collected Scriptures that can help you process the grief of death as well as Bible verses about life after death. Find peace and resolution in the love and divinity of God from the Bible.
A Prayer in the Midst of Death and Loss: Our hearts are grieving with those who are hurting, for those who have lost loved ones, for those who have suffered such great tragedy at the hands of evil. We ask that you would be their Comforter, that you would cover them with your grace and mercy, surrounding them in peace during this dark time. Thank you God that you are surely with usâ¦thank you that you careâ¦thank you that your Presence is closeâ¦and that you weep with those who weep. We need you. We know and believe beyond any doubt, that your power and love will never fail. Amen.
Bible Verses About Taken To Heaven
With Your counsel You will guide me,And afterward receive me to glory.
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
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One Second After Death
What happens in the very next second or less after a person dies? The destination clearly depends upon whether a person has repented and trusted in Christ or whether they have rejected their only hope of eternal life . Paul seemed certain that after he died he would be present with the Lord. To be present with someone obviously means that they would have to be with them. When I got married, my fiancé had to be present with me or we could not have gotten married. I know that is a poor analogy but what I am saying is that Paul says to be absent from the body is in the next moment to be present with the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 Paul wrote that, We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lordand we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. I see nowhere in this text where there is a time differential between death and being in the presence of the Lord.
For those who bend the knee, repent of their sins, confess their sinfulness and desperate need for the Savior, and then put their trust in Him, there is a joyous destination awaiting you.
Four Simple Observations About The Judgment
Today we focus on a third truth about what happens when believers die. The verse we are focusing on this morning is verse 10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Let me make four simple and obvious observations about this judgment and then tackle the problem of why Christians will be judged if in fact Christ has already been judged for us , and if there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus .
All Christians will stand before Christ as judge. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Not just unbelievers, but we. And not some of us, but all of us.
Our judge will be Christ. It is Gods judgment too , but God has given him authority to execute judgment . So God the Son and God the Father are one in their judgment, but the Son is the one who stands forth as the immediate Judge, to deal with us.
Our judgment will be after we die. Thats implied in the text, but Hebrews 9:27 makes it explicit. It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. We dont need to be more specific than that this morning. We need only say that before we enter the final state of glory with our resurrection bodies on the new earth, we will stand before Christ as Judge.
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Temptation Is Not Sin Yielding To Temptation Is
With that background, Paul exhorted believers not to make the same choices the Israelites madenot to provoke God’s discipline by willfully sinning. None of us is above God’s discipline if we engage in sin. We must look for and take “the way of escape” God provides in every situation where temptation is found . To think our temptation is unique is to believe a lie. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” . There are no “new” temptations in life.
The apostle James argued that if temptation becomes serious, it is because we have allowed it to do so. Our own “desires” entice us away from God and desire “gives birth to sin” . God doesn’t tempt us, but He may allow temptation to enter our lives in order to give us opportunities to make obedient and mature choices.
Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, and He took the same means of escape that is available to usobedience to God’s Word . Temptation is not sin yielding to temptation is. There is always a righteous choice to be made if we are willing to seek it.