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PHILIPPIANS – SERIES NR 6
ONE MINUTE AFTER YOUR DEATH
Philippians 1: 21-26

To the Apostle Paul, life was CHRIST. To him, life was centered in a Person. And so too his death = that also was centred in the same Person. And the death of a believer exceeds the best of what was on earth!

That is why the Apostle was in an inward struggle: he did not know whether he should remain on earth or whether he should depart to be with the Lord! To be with the Lord was the best by far, but should he remain in the body, he could be fruitful and mean a lot to the believers by helping them build up their faith and increase their joy! That was also vitally important to him. He did not want to remain in the body for any other reason but to serve the Lord!

Is that not a wonderful testimony? Of what the Lord can do for us – that we can talk about life and death in THAT way? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that does that.

But did you notice that the Apostle provided an answer to a very important question for us – a question we ask frequently… What happens to a true child of God the moment after his/her death?

All over the world and every minute of the day, there are believers who pass away in the Lord Jesus Christ – many believers every minute of the day. According to some internet sources, every 60 seconds, 105 people die on earth. Of these 105 people, between 8-10 are Christians, and every 5 minutes one Christian dies a martyr’s death. Therefore we could say that every 24 hours, approximately 14500 Christian believers die in Christ.

The period between a believer’s passing and the final resurrection at Jesus’ second coming, is not something about which we need to be unsure or confused or ignorant about.

Look at verse 23: “I (it is the Spirit-filled believer speaking – thus not anyone/everyone!) desire to depart and be with Christ”. Also 2 Cor 5:8 > “to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”.

Already during this period between our earthly death and before Jesus’ return, the believer is with Christ (from one second after death) and is given authority to judge and reign with Christ – according to Revelation 20! The unbelievers who have died are not with Christ but are in a consuming fire (Heb 12:29)!

We read something of that in Luke 16 > Here Jesus was talking about the Rich man and Lazarus. The former was not a saved person (his deeds showed that) while Lazarus was a believer.

Both died, and both were in a specific place immediately after death. The Rich Man was in a place of agonizing torment and he heard that he would stay there forever. Lazarus however, was by the side of Abraham in a place of joy and peace.

The Lord Jesus himself very clearly taught that unsaved people have no further chance of salvation after death, and are in a place of eternal pain. While the saved are in glory.

Philippians 1:23 utters a completely different kind of language to what we hear from people who believe in things like re-incarnation or purgatory or soul sleep!

The idea of re-incarnation comes from the Hindu-religion and is these days widely preached by the New Age-movement. Re-incarnation means that all humans re-appear after death in a different form of life – perhaps from a different nation or a different kind of animal – depending on how good one’s deeds (karma) were. You come from a life where you were something, and you pass on to a next life where you again will again be something. In your previous life you may have been of a different gender and lived in a different part of the world. Or perhaps you may have been an animal or a bird. Re-incarnation means that death does not exist – it is merely a constantly repeating cycle of one form of life to the next.

Some people receive information from evil spirits about their “previous life”. According to the Bible, that is a form of occultism. See Deut 18. Detestable practices before God. Also Isaiah 8:19-20, Lev 19:31. It is evil spirits who create the illusion that we can communicate with the dead. But Deut 18:11-12 absolutely forbids it. It is the domain of evil.

Purgatory is a medieval concept which gained ground particularly in the Roman Catholic church, namely that believers are not with Christ immediately after their death, but are first purified from their sins for longer or shorter periods in a kind of fire. Everybody will eventually move from purgatory into heaven – even if it takes hundreds of years of torment. Therefore, Christ’s death on the cross is not enough to free us from ALL guilt and condemnation. Purgatory is needed as an extra means of salvation.

The idea of soul sleep implies exactly what the term indicates, namely that a believer is in a state of rest almost like being under anasthesia – a state of deep sleep – until the second coming of the Lord takes place. Oblivious of what goes on around you. That is however, 100% contrary to the teaching of Rev 20: 4-6 and Phil 1:23.

All three of those views do not fit in with the clear teaching of Scripture.

In Rev 20: 4-6 the Spirit reveals to us what the true state of the believers and unbelievers will be in the period between earthly death and the second coming of Christ… What happens in heaven with those who have died in Christ before the second coming?

The apostle John saw “souls” sitting on thrones, therefore people without bodies. Two things are certain: a) they were really there, and b) they were truly alive!

In a way they also had a physical form, even though they did not have their resurrection-bodies, because John could SEE them. They were not invisible ghostly spirits.

We should not misconstrue the idea of SOULS. “Souls” are still real people.

After death, the believe retains in a wonderous way, all the attributes of a body, without having a body. Can speak. Can be seen. Retain all human qualities. For example, Moses and Elijah spoke on the mount of transfiguration, and they were so visible that Peter recognized them! ( Luke 9:27-36)

In Rev 20 heaven is presented as a large throne-room, the presence of God himself, where all believers are truly living and awaiting the resurrection.

Think of John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”.

Even though the believer dies, it is as if he/she has never died! It is as though nothing happened! Absolutely wonderful!

Let us become practical:

When a Christian-believer dies, he/she is, without earthly body, immediately with Christ and receives authority together with Him but yet retains bodily properties as human, is visible and recognizable as the person he/she was on earth.

Thus the body and human spirit separate immediately (cf. Stephen – “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”) but the spirit is not an invisible ghost. The person continues to be the human being who was the human being on earth.

Verse 4: they are now provided with “authority”.

They were oppressed, but now they have authority to judge. It is such a humiliation for the believer to have to die and to experience the breaking down of the earthly tent/body. What a humiliation is it not that the earthly body is to be buried under the ground! Yet it is at that precise moment (with no interval) that the believer is crowned with glory! What the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, is exactly that which God prepared for those who love Him!

About this we should have no doubt: Those who refused their salvation in Christ and trampled God’s grace during their live on earth, and did not actively accept Jesus as Saviour, and did not follow Him as Lord, can not in the least expect to experience the presence of the Lord as heavenly glory after death! It is the absolute delusion so many people have – the false idea that almost all people who die, end up in some or other “good place”. And we must, where possible, inform and warn people about this. It is we – who know the truth – who have the responsibility to inform and warn the people outside about this.

Believers in Christ however, are taken up in glory seconds after death and do not have to fear “second death”, because “second death” will have no power over them! That is hell or eternal judgment.

Often we think that the true church is so small and insignificant in comparison with the enormous number of people who live in unbelief. Yet the number of thrones in heaven are daily increasing in number! The after-life will surely not be a life of “idleness”. There is being “reigned”. There will be hard work and struggle. A life of great activity – without any tears and difficulties and temptations and sin!

When we look at a passage like Luke 16 (the Rich man and Lazarus) we see what attributes people will have after death:

1 Without a pause of a second, Lazarus was immediately with Abraham {cf. Stephen’s words: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” Acts 7:59}

2 Knowledge & memory will continue – the Rich man remembered his 5 brothers who were still on earth

3 We will recognized others, even though we did not know them on earth (Peter immediately recognized Moses and Elijah)

4 Love will continue. The Rich man continued to care about his brothers who were living in unbelief.

5 There is no Biblical evidence that those who die are able to see or communicate with those who are still on earth.

TODAY already, you and I can have 100% assurance of what exactly will happen to us a moment after our death. Jesus’ death on the cross and His written Word are our assurance. Take hold of it and put your hope upon the fact that He saved you perfectly on the cross. Give yourself to Him and trust Him as your personal Redeemer and Saviour.

We are so inclined to spend lots of time and attention in preparation for things which are momentary and temporary: Investments / overseas trips or holiday in the game reserve / exams. But the sensible person prepares himself for that which will endure for ever.

Sometimes we live like people who are having a great party on the top floor of a high building, unaware that a fire has erupted a number of floors down below.

Those who take notice of these things are the happy ones.

Translated by Marthie Wilson

PHILIPPIANS – SERIES NR 6
ONE MINUTE AFTER YOUR DEATH
Philippians 1: 21-26

To the Apostle Paul, life was CHRIST. To him, life was centered in a Person. And so too his death = that also was centred in the same Person. And the death of a believer exceeds the best of what was on earth!

That is why the Apostle was in an inward struggle: he did not know whether he should remain on earth or whether he should depart to be with the Lord! To be with the Lord was the best by far, but should he remain in the body, he could be fruitful and mean a lot to the believers by helping them build up their faith and increase their joy! That was also vitally important to him. He did not want to remain in the body for any other reason but to serve the Lord!

Is that not a wonderful testimony? Of what the Lord can do for us – that we can talk about life and death in THAT way? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that does that.

But did you notice that the Apostle provided an answer to a very important question for us – a question we ask frequently… What happens to a true child of God the moment after his/her death?

All over the world and every minute of the day, there are believers who pass away in the Lord Jesus Christ – many believers every minute of the day. According to some internet sources, every 60 seconds, 105 people die on earth. Of these 105 people, between 8-10 are Christians, and every 5 minutes one Christian dies a martyr’s death. Therefore we could say that every 24 hours, approximately 14500 Christian believers die in Christ.

The period between a believer’s passing and the final resurrection at Jesus’ second coming, is not something about which we need to be unsure or confused or ignorant about.

Look at verse 23: “I (it is the Spirit-filled believer speaking – thus not anyone/everyone!) desire to depart and be with Christ”. Also 2 Cor 5:8 > “to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”.

Already during this period between our earthly death and before Jesus’ return, the believer is with Christ (from one second after death) and is given authority to judge and reign with Christ – according to Revelation 20! The unbelievers who have died are not with Christ but are in a consuming fire (Heb 12:29)!

We read something of that in Luke 16 > Here Jesus was talking about the Rich man and Lazarus. The former was not a saved person (his deeds showed that) while Lazarus was a believer.

Both died, and both were in a specific place immediately after death. The Rich Man was in a place of agonizing torment and he heard that he would stay there forever. Lazarus however, was by the side of Abraham in a place of joy and peace.

The Lord Jesus himself very clearly taught that unsaved people have no further chance of salvation after death, and are in a place of eternal pain. While the saved are in glory.

Philippians 1:23 utters a completely different kind of language to what we hear from people who believe in things like re-incarnation or purgatory or soul sleep!

The idea of re-incarnation comes from the Hindu-religion and is these days widely preached by the New Age-movement. Re-incarnation means that all humans re-appear after death in a different form of life – perhaps from a different nation or a different kind of animal – depending on how good one’s deeds (karma) were. You come from a life where you were something, and you pass on to a next life where you again will again be something. In your previous life you may have been of a different gender and lived in a different part of the world. Or perhaps you may have been an animal or a bird. Re-incarnation means that death does not exist – it is merely a constantly repeating cycle of one form of life to the next.

Some people receive information from evil spirits about their “previous life”. According to the Bible, that is a form of occultism. See Deut 18. Detestable practices before God. Also Isaiah 8:19-20, Lev 19:31. It is evil spirits who create the illusion that we can communicate with the dead. But Deut 18:11-12 absolutely forbids it. It is the domain of evil.

Purgatory is a medieval concept which gained ground particularly in the Roman Catholic church, namely that believers are not with Christ immediately after their death, but are first purified from their sins for longer or shorter periods in a kind of fire. Everybody will eventually move from purgatory into heaven – even if it takes hundreds of years of torment. Therefore, Christ’s death on the cross is not enough to free us from ALL guilt and condemnation. Purgatory is needed as an extra means of salvation.

The idea of soul sleep implies exactly what the term indicates, namely that a believer is in a state of rest almost like being under anasthesia – a state of deep sleep – until the second coming of the Lord takes place. Oblivious of what goes on around you. That is however, 100% contrary to the teaching of Rev 20: 4-6 and Phil 1:23.

All three of those views do not fit in with the clear teaching of Scripture.

In Rev 20: 4-6 the Spirit reveals to us what the true state of the believers and unbelievers will be in the period between earthly death and the second coming of Christ… What happens in heaven with those who have died in Christ before the second coming?

The apostle John saw “souls” sitting on thrones, therefore people without bodies. Two things are certain: a) they were really there, and b) they were truly alive!

In a way they also had a physical form, even though they did not have their resurrection-bodies, because John could SEE them. They were not invisible ghostly spirits.

We should not misconstrue the idea of SOULS. “Souls” are still real people.

After death, the believe retains in a wonderous way, all the attributes of a body, without having a body. Can speak. Can be seen. Retain all human qualities. For example, Moses and Elijah spoke on the mount of transfiguration, and they were so visible that Peter recognized them! ( Luke 9:27-36)

In Rev 20 heaven is presented as a large throne-room, the presence of God himself, where all believers are truly living and awaiting the resurrection.

Think of John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”.

Even though the believer dies, it is as if he/she has never died! It is as though nothing happened! Absolutely wonderful!

Let us become practical:

When a Christian-believer dies, he/she is, without earthly body, immediately with Christ and receives authority together with Him but yet retains bodily properties as human, is visible and recognizable as the person he/she was on earth.

Thus the body and human spirit separate immediately (cf. Stephen – “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”) but the spirit is not an invisible ghost. The person continues to be the human being who was the human being on earth.

Verse 4: they are now provided with “authority”.

They were oppressed, but now they have authority to judge. It is such a humiliation for the believer to have to die and to experience the breaking down of the earthly tent/body. What a humiliation is it not that the earthly body is to be buried under the ground! Yet it is at that precise moment (with no interval) that the believer is crowned with glory! What the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, is exactly that which God prepared for those who love Him!

About this we should have no doubt: Those who refused their salvation in Christ and trampled God’s grace during their live on earth, and did not actively accept Jesus as Saviour, and did not follow Him as Lord, can not in the least expect to experience the presence of the Lord as heavenly glory after death! It is the absolute delusion so many people have – the false idea that almost all people who die, end up in some or other “good place”. And we must, where possible, inform and warn people about this. It is we – who know the truth – who have the responsibility to inform and warn the people outside about this.

Believers in Christ however, are taken up in glory seconds after death and do not have to fear “second death”, because “second death” will have no power over them! That is hell or eternal judgment.

Often we think that the true church is so small and insignificant in comparison with the enormous number of people who live in unbelief. Yet the number of thrones in heaven are daily increasing in number! The after-life will surely not be a life of “idleness”. There is being “reigned”. There will be hard work and struggle. A life of great activity – without any tears and difficulties and temptations and sin!

When we look at a passage like Luke 16 (the Rich man and Lazarus) we see what attributes people will have after death:

1 Without a pause of a second, Lazarus was immediately with Abraham {cf. Stephen’s words: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” Acts 7:59}

2 Knowledge & memory will continue – the Rich man remembered his 5 brothers who were still on earth

3 We will recognized others, even though we did not know them on earth (Peter immediately recognized Moses and Elijah)

4 Love will continue. The Rich man continued to care about his brothers who were living in unbelief.

5 There is no Biblical evidence that those who die are able to see or communicate with those who are still on earth.

TODAY already, you and I can have 100% assurance of what exactly will happen to us a moment after our death. Jesus’ death on the cross and His written Word are our assurance. Take hold of it and put your hope upon the fact that He saved you perfectly on the cross. Give yourself to Him and trust Him as your personal Redeemer and Saviour.

We are so inclined to spend lots of time and attention in preparation for things which are momentary and temporary: Investments / overseas trips or holiday in the game reserve / exams. But the sensible person prepares himself for that which will endure for ever.

Sometimes we live like people who are having a great party on the top floor of a high building, unaware that a fire has erupted a number of floors down below.

Those who take notice of these things are the happy ones.

Translated by Marthie Wilson

Category Philippians Series

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