DOCTRINE OF DEATH – WHAT’S NEXT?
YOUR PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE CONTINUES!
This doctrine will also be available in note & audio format @ http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html
One minute after we die, our minds, our memories, will be clearer than ever before. This is true of the Christian as well as the unbeliever. Note some of these details regarding earthly memory after a person dies in Luke 16:19-31,
19 "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. 20 "And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 "Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.' 25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' 27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father's house-- 28 for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "But he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'" (NAS)
The rich unbeliever knew his family on earth, pleading, “I have five brothers.” Death does not change what we know; our personalities will just go on with the same information that we have stored in our minds today.
Think back to your background: your parents, brothers, sisters, family reunions. Of course, you will remember this and more in Heaven. You will remember your childhood, the houses you lived in, the schools you attended, your college years, your boyfriends, girlfriends, dates, spouses, trials & tribulations as well as the “fun” times. You will remember your struggles in life as a young person with trying finding yourself as well as when you got older and faced health issues such as fatigue, aches and pains, and the prospect of cancer. You will remember if you were a person of integrity or a selfish person who always looked out for #1. You will remember all of your earthly vices and virtues. You will remember your attitude to doctrine and the Plan of God – if you rejected it or chose to build your life around it, if you had positive volition or negative volition. You will remember your friends and family members whether they be believers or unbelievers. You will remember your wedding and your children. You will remember your attitude regarding the local church – if your supported it or neglected and rejected it. You will remember the pastor God provided (if you have one) and he will remember you. You will remember your friends in the local church, the Bible classes you liked as well as those you did not agree with. Just think: believers with memories filled with Christian doctrine will actually have so much more to discuss and develop in Heaven than those without doctrine - those eternal things that really do matter. Yes, throughout all of eternity we will be learning and discussing more and more doctrine as we continue to unravel the majesty of God, His Matchless Grace, and His Word - yes, all 66 books of the Bible will be there.
Basically, you will remember everything that is in your memory and self-consciousness right NOW – and MORE (things you have forgotten). Do you actually think you might know less in heaven than you did on earth? Unthinkable! (In a future DDR I will address the issue of how you can be happy in Heaven while knowing a loved one is suffering in Hell or how you can be happy while looking back at disgusting things you may have done on earth, or how you can be happy while looking back at the prospect of a wasted Christian life). You are who you are in your personal knowledge and that will go with you to Heaven. As a man thinks in his heart so he is! (Prov 23:7). RIGHT NOW counts forever!
Once in Heaven you will soon get to met a host of others, some known to you in this life or through the pages of church history, others nameless in this world but equally honored in the world to come. On the Mount of Transfiguration, three of the disciples met Moses and Elijah. So far as we know, there was no need for introductions; no need for name tags. In Heaven there will be intuitive knowledge, for our minds will be redeemed from the limitations of sin imposed on them. In heaven our minds will not be limited to the physical organ of the brain with all of its physical and material defects. In heaven our minds will be free from the influence of our sin natures with all of the prejudices and sinful enticements.
Of course, we will not know everything, for such knowledge belongs only to God. But we shall “know fully,” even as we are “fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). In Heaven, we will know just like we do on earth, except more so. We will all be geniuses in heaven with regard to our mental abilities. No more forgetfulness. No more inability to think clearly. Our minds as well as true God-given personalities will continue, WE CAN EXPECT CONTINUITY! Heaven is the earthly life of the believer glorified and perfected.
After you die you will still be you as you meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.
2 Corinthians 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be face to face with the Lord.
The Bible teaches that life is divided into two general categories, living and dying. For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the experience of dying can be a glorious occurrence. Whether it is seeing a loved one passing on into the eternal state, or whether it is a personal experience that you have to face yourself, you will have the opportunity to trust in God to the fullest, and you will come to understand that He has saved His greatest blessing for the dying part of life. The believer who has been living in the Plan of God and utilizing the Word of God in life is ready to face death. In fact, dying will be his greatest experience.
Physical death is an experience that we all must face alone. Just as the spiritual life must be lived individually, so also the journey from life on earth to life in eternity will be unique for each of us; no two will have the same experience or departure. No one can live your life for you and no one can die for you. Apart from the Rapture generation just before the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, all believers will experience physical death. Living the spiritual life now through Bible doctrine is the only way a believer can prepare for his exit from this temporal realm and entrance into eternity with the Lord.
Dying is part of life. It is an appointment with God that all members of the human race will have to keep. If you have personally believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have a hope that death is not an end but simply a departure from one place to another – a far better place with your Lord. However, for the unbeliever who has refused to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, his appointment will be at the Great White Throne, also known as the last Judgment of Christ, prior to being sentenced to the Lake of Fire for all of eternity – with no chance of escape. We will all either bear eternal glory or eternal infamy.
On the Glory Road,