Tag Cloud
: Mothers Abandonment Abomination of Desolation Abortion Abraham’s Bosom Abuse Accounting Activism Adoption Adultery Affection Affliction Afterlife Alliances Altar America Angels Anger Anointing Apologetics Apostasy Armor of God Ascension Ashamed Atonement Authority Baal Babylon Bad Baptism Betrayal Bible Bitterness Blasphemy Blessing Blessings Blindness Boasting Body of Christ Bondage Borders Born Again Bridegroom Calling Capital Punishment Celebration Character Childbirth Children Children of God Chosen Christ Christian Life Christians Christmas Church Civil Disobedience Clay Cleansing Comfort Commands Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Complaining Conception Condemnation Conduct Confidence Conflict Conformity Confrontation Confusion Connection Conscience Consequences Contentment Conviction Cornerstone Correction Cost Counsel Courage Covenant Coveting Creation Creator Crisis Cross Crowns Crucifixion Culture Curse Darkness David Day of the Lord Death Deceit Deception Decisions Defense Delegation Demon Demons Denial Dependency Design Desolation Destruction Devil Direction Disaster Discernment Disciple Disciples Discipleship Discipline Discontentment Discouragement Disease Disgrace Disputes Distraction Diversity Divine Division Doctrine Double Fulfillment Doubt Drought Drugs Duties Duty Earth Earthly Earthquakes Easter Edom Education Elders Elect Emmaus Emotions Employment Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enemy Environmentalism Equality Equipped Eternal Eternal Life Evangelism Everlasting Life Evil Evolution Exaltation Exalted Exclusion Excuses Exorcism Expectations Eyes Failure Fairness Faith Faithful Faithful Servant Faithfulness False Christs False Doctrine False Gods False Prophet False Religion False Religions Family Famine Fasting Father Fathers Favoritism Fear Fear of the Lord Feasts Fellowship Fig Tree Finances Fire First Coming Firstborn Flesh Flock Folly Foolishness Foreigner Foreknown Forgiveness Fornication Forsaken Foundation Freedom Friends Friendship Fruit Fruit of the Spirit Fruitfulness Future Gentiles Gentle George Wood Giving Glorified Body Glory God God’s Word Godliness Godly God's Will Good Good Shepherd Good Works Gospel Gospels Government Grace Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guilt Hades Hardship Harvest Hate Hatred Healing Heart Heaven Heavenly Hedonism Hell Help Herod Hidden Holiness Holy Holy Spirit Home Homosexuality Honor Hope Hopelessness Humility Husband Hypocrisy Ignorance Image Immanuel Immigration Impossibility Incarnation Individuals Indulgences Inheritance Injustice Inner Battle Instructions Insults Integrity Intercession Intermediate State Israel Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Temple John the Baptist Joy Judas Judgment Judgment Day Judgments Justice Justification Justify Key Keys Kids Kindness King Kingdom Kingdom of God Kingdom of Heaven Knowledge Lamp Law Lawlessness Leader Leaders Leadership Leftism Legalism Leprosy Lies Life Life-Span Light Like-minded Lord Lost Love Loyalty Lust Lusts Luxury Malachi Manipulation Marriage Martyrdom Martyrs Mary Master Materialism Maturity Meditation Men Mentoring Mercy Messiah Metaphor Millennium Mind Mind of Christ Minister Ministry Miracle Miracles Mission Mocking Money Mothers Mystery Nations Natural Gifts Naturalism Nature Near-Far Fulfillment Necessities New Covenant New Man New Testament Obedience Obstacles Obstructions Offense Old Man Old Nature Old Testament Omnipresence Omniscience One Mind Outcast Pagan Pain Palm Sunday Parable Parables Paradise Paranormal Parenting Passion Passover Patience Patriotism Peace Peer Pressure Pentecost People of God Perception Perfect Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personal Testimonies Perspective Perversion Pestilence Peter Pharisees Philosophy Piety Pilate Politics Poor Position Possession Possessions Posture Power Praise Prayer Preaching Preparation Pride Priority Privilege Prodigal Promise Proof Prophecy Prophet Prophets Protection Protestant Reformation Proverbs Providence Provision Punishment Purgatory Purpose Questions Racism Rapture Reason Rebellion Rebuke Reconciliation Redeemer Redemption Refuge Regeneration Rejection Rejoicing Relationship Relationships Reliability Religion Remember Remnant Renewal Repentance Reputation Resolve Rest Restoration Resurrection Revelation Revenge Revival Reward Rich Riches Righteous Righteousness Rights Riot Risk Rivalry Robbery Roman Catholic Church Rule Sabbath Sacred Sacrifice Saint Salvation Sanctification Sarcasm Satan Savior Schemes Science Scripture Seasons Second Coming Secret Seed Seek Self Self Control Self-centered Self-Control Selfish Ambition Self-Righteous Servant Servant-Leadership Serve Service Serving Sexual Immorality Sexual Sin Sexuality Shame Share Sharing She’ol Shepherd Sickness Signs Signs and Wonders Simplicity Sin Sincerity Singing Singleness Sinners Slavery Sober Society Sojourner Sojourners Son Son of God Son of Man Sons of God Sorrow Soul Source Sovereignty Speech Spirit Spirit Realm Spirits Spiritual Spiritual Battle Spiritual Birth Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Growth Spiritual Rulers Spiritual Warfare Stewardship Strength Stress Strife Stumbling Block Submission Suffering Supernatural Supper Surrender Syncretism Tags: Patience Taxes Teacher Teaching Tears Technology Temple Temptation Temptations Terminal Illness Test Testimony Testing Tests Thankfulness Thanksgiving The Curse The Day of The Lord The End The Fall The Grave The Holy Spirit The Law The Way The Word The World Theology Time of Visitation Times of the Gentiles Tithing Tongues Tradition Tragedy Transfiguration Transformation Traps Treachery Treasure Tree Trial Trials Tribulation Trifles Trinity Triumphal Triumphal Entry Trouble Trust Truth Unbelievers Uncertainty Unity Unpardonable Sin Utopia Value Victory Vigilance Vindication Virtue Virtues Voice of God Volunteer Warning Warnings Wars Watching Water Baptism Weary Wicked Wickedness Widows Wife Wineskins Wisdom Witness Witnesses Women Word of God Word of the Lord Works World World View Worry Worship Worth Wrath Yahweh Yeast YHWH Yoke Zion

Weekly Word

Entries in The Grave (3)

Tuesday
Sep182018

Your Personal End Times: What is after death? III

We will have the article up by the end of the day.  Meanwhile the audio is available below.  Thank you for your patience.

Purgatory audio

Tuesday
Sep112018

Your Personal Endtimes: What is after Death II?

Luke 16:19-31.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on September 9, 2018.

Today we will continue looking at the end times from a personal perspective rather than a global one.  In other words, we are looking at how our own personal world will end.  Up to now we have emphasized the biblical teachings that we are given one life to live on this earth and then we die.  At death those who belong to Christ go to be with Him in heaven at the right hand of the Father and in a disembodied state.

Today we are going to look at what happens to those who die, but do not belong to Christ.  As we will see, there is a heaven to gain and a place to be avoided or shunned.  So as we look at the Scripture today, ask yourself these questions.  Do I belong to Jesus?  Have I repented of my sins and put my faith in Jesus as the Forgiver of my sins (Savior) and the Leader of how I live my life (Lord)?  If the answer is not affirmative then give serious consideration to doing so today.  Don’t put it off.  However, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ then recognize the true fate of those you may be tempted to walk by without even a word of warning.

The unrighteous go into the grave awaiting the Judgment Day

In our passage today, Jesus warns his hearers that this life is not all that we have to deal with.  We do not merely go out of existence.  Rather, a good or bad fate awaits us on the other side of death.  Those who have lived their lives for themselves, and not for God, will go into the grave and await the Judgment Day.  This was part of Paul’s message among the Gentile nations in Acts 17:30-31. 

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.” (NKJV)

In our story there are two individuals who physically die.  However, they do not cease to exist.  The spiritual component to humans continues to exist within the spiritual realm, after physical death.  Throughout the Bible the fate of man after death is described as being held in The Grave (Hebrew- She’ol, Greek- Hades) and in a conscious state.

Another point to recognize is the unfortunate historical reality that early English Translations of the Bible used the English word Hell to translate 3 different Greek words.  Modern translations may still use the term hell in places, but give a footnote describing the underlying Greek word.  This conflation of three Greek terms into one English term has helped promote fuzzy thinking about what the Bible is really saying.  In our passage the place where dead spirits go is called Hades.  It is synonymous with the phrase The Grave.  Though the phrase can refer to the physical hole the ground, it typically is used of a spiritual place where spirits are held until Judgment Day.

Now, even though the Bible uses the Greek word Hades here, it does not mean that the Bible supports everything the Greeks believed about Hades.  It simply means that it was the best equivalent to the already existing Hebrew word/concept She’ol.  So what do we see here?  Lazarus goes to a good part of this spiritual place, and the rich man ends up in a bad part.  He is technically not in Hell yet.  However, it is clear from their experience in Hades what their judgment will be.

I will also remind you of a point that I made last week.  Until Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, the righteous could not immediately ascend into heaven.  They were held in the grave, but in a place of comfort and relief from all sorrows.  Once Jesus died and went into the grave, He was able to empty the good side of the grave and take all righteous spirits into heaven with Him.  So technically there are no righteous people in Hades today, like we see in this story.

Just as Lazarus was conscious and comforted, Jesus points out that the rich man is in conscious torment.  This is a term that can be used for torture.  However, we do not see torture devices and demons with bull whips here.  This word was also used for the torment of sickness or disease.  So the torment comes from his place and condition more than from any active torturers.  We are told that flames were part of his torment.  Now, the rich man is a spirit, i.e. he does not have a physical body.  Thus the flame is a spiritual equivalent to a physical flame in this world.  This brings up the point that spirits are able to “see” the spirit world and “sense” spiritual things without a physical body.  Though this makes sense intuitively, it does beg a question.  Just how does that work?  Of course Scripture does not satisfy our curiosity there.  So we see the rich man is in a place that is compared to a place of fire that leaves the inhabitants thirsty and without relief.  Thus they are in torments.

A point could also be made that the rich man also suffers from what we would call psychological torment.  Over and over again he would think of the many opportunities that he had to avoid this horrible fate and yet passed it up.

Throughout this story, Jesus hammers home the point that a good or bad experience in this life does not guarantee the same in the life to come.  Take time to think about how much of our life is spent pursuing material comforts and pleasures.  Was the rich man’s fate simply because he was rich?  Notice that Abraham is in the good side of Hades and yet he was a rich man.  Similarly, the thieves on the cross most likely became thieves because they were poor and saw an easy way to get money.  Yet, they both had very different fates.  The point Jesus is making is not just that all rich people go to Hades and are tormented.  Rather, it is that comfort in this life does not guarantee comfort in the life to come and a life that lacks comfort is not guaranteed the same in the life to come.  It was taught and believed by many that riches were proof of God’s blessing and therefore a type of assurance that one was okay with God.  Definitely riches can be a blessing from God.  But, if they pull our heart away from Him, or have been our desires all along, then they really are a curse.  The rich man did not really put his trust in the God of Abraham.  If he had, he would have been helpful to men like Lazarus. 

We can be guilty of the same today.  Are you taking your spiritual future for granted?  Most people think that they are righteous enough to make it to heaven, even if they aren’t Christians.  Yet, even if we call Jesus our Lord and Savior, it is only helpful to us if we actually believe him and follow him.  We cannot lie, lust, and blaspheme the name of Jesus as we pursue the pleasures of this life and think that things will go good for us in the life to come.  Beware that the judgment of ourself is often selfishly motivated and can set us up for a fall. 

Only the words of Jesus and his apostles can pull us back from the brink of self-deception and destruction.  We see this at the end of the story.  The rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his 5 brothers (Abraham doesn’t actually have that authority, only God).  It is interesting that he asks for this because Jesus himself would be executed later and then come back to life from the dead to preach the truth about Hades.  Abraham tells the rich man that the written Scriptures are enough to give us faith in God.  If a person won’t listen to the Words of God then they won’t respond positively even though a person comes back from the dead.  God is going to hold us all accountable for what He has revealed to the world about our coming fate.  No justifications or excuses will work when we stand before Him.  I encourage you not to label Christians as “crazy” and shut out God’s warning to you.  Otherwise the day of your death may come and go, and it will be too late to heed the warnings of Scripture.

How can I avoid this fate?

John 3:16 is the famous salvation verse which reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”  First notice that if we do not believe on Jesus we will perish.  That is because we are sinners.  Before you can embrace Jesus a person must admit that they are a sinner who is in need of being saved.  Once we realize that we are a sinner and own up to it then we believe on Jesus (i.e. put your trust in Him).  I am trusting that Jesus pays the price for my sin and that His teaching will help me to please God in this world.  He alone knows how to live this life in a way that is pleasing to God and does not surrender to Satan.  We cannot live however we please and label it as believing in Jesus.  Such a charade will not work on Judgment Day.  Lastly, we must confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior publicly before this world.  Those who do so will avoid a time of torment in Hades after this life.  They will go immediately into the presence of Christ and God the Father in heaven.  May the Lord grant us repentance from a life of taking our eternity for granted.  Listen to God’s Word today!

What is after death II audio

Tuesday
Sep042018

Your Personal End Times: What is after death?

Various Passages.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on September 2, 2018.

Today we continue to look at the end times from a personal perspective rather than from a global one.  Last week, we emphasized the biblical teaching that we are given one life to live on this earth and then we face judgment.  We also pointed out that God’s ultimate purpose is to resurrect all who have died and thus lift mankind out of this mortal condition in which we have found ourselves for ages.  However, there is a large amount of time between the death of most people who have lived and the time of the resurrection.  Note: In a later sermon, we will deal with the reality that there is a resurrection of the righteous and a resurrection of the wicked that do not happen at the same time, but are both at the end of the current age.  So what happens to people in between their physical death and their later resurrection?

Some passages use the terminology of sleeping and have led some people to believe that this is literal.  Thus they teach that the soul of an individual, after death, will go into an unconscious state and awake at the resurrection.  However, it is generally understood to be a euphemistic way of referring to death.  Too many passages exist in which we see the souls of those who have died as conscious and aware.  Yet, what does that look like?

Today we will look at the first of two possible experiences after death.  Scripture promises all who belong to Christ, both those who died before the cross and those after it, that they will be with Him in heaven when they die.

Those who belong to Jesus got to be with Him in Heaven

We cannot list all the passages that directly or indirectly make this point clear.  However, let’s look at several passages that give us a picture of what lies beyond death for those who belong to Jesus.

Luke 23:42-43 involves Jesus on the cross.  One of the thieves mocked Jesus, but the other one was clearly repentant.  He then says to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  The reply of Jesus is, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  Notice that Jesus emphasizes that it will happen today.  So is paradise a place in the grave (more on this later) or is it another term for Heaven, God’s dwelling place?  In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, the Apostle Paul speaks of a person who was “caught up to the third heaven,” and then describes it again as “caught up into Paradise.”  Clearly he is equating the third heaven and Paradise.  It was common to see the cosmos as having a first heaven, the atmosphere, a second heaven, what we call outer space, and the third heaven, a spiritual place where God dwells.  Another point to make is that the directional language used for Paradise is upwards, i.e. “caught up.”  The grave is never described in the Old Testament or the New Testament as being up.  It is always down, and in the dust of the earth.  So, Jesus is promising more than that the thief will join him in the grave.  The other thief would be in the grave as well (admittedly not with Jesus).  The promise is that he would be with Jesus in heaven.

This promise is made in other passages as well.  In Philippians 1:21-24, Paul describes his potential death as “a desire to depart and be with Christ.”  Basically, his argument is that it is good to be alive on this earth because we can labor for Christ and help each other.  However, it is a better condition to depart this life, i.e. die, and be with Christ.  There is no suffering and difficulty for us in that condition.  This is a clear equation from Paul.  He knows that for him to die is to be with Jesus.  Let’s look at another passage.

2 Corinthians 5:4-9.  In this passage it becomes clear that there are three possible conditions for a believer in Christ.  The first is that we are on this earth with a mortal body.  In this condition we should make it our aim to please the Lord because He is the source of the other two conditions.  Upon our death, those who “please the Lord” enter into the second condition, which is a soul that is with Jesus and without a physical body.  The second state is seen as more desirable than the first state.  Yet, the first is necessary to reach the second.  Even better than being a soul that is with Jesus and without a body, is to be with Jesus and to have a glorified body.  This passage emphasizes the promise of God that we will have a glorified body (also called a heavenly body) that is incorruptible and immortal, at the resurrection of the righteous.

Believers in Jesus can be confident that when they leave this life behind, they will not cease to exist or go into an unconscious state.  Rather, we will be in the presence of Jesus in a spirit form, of which we have very little information to satisfy our curiosity.  Right now Jesus is at the right hand of the Father awaiting the command to come to earth and set up His earthly kingdom.  Also, there are countless believers who are with Him waiting for the day that they will receive their resurrection bodies and join Him in His triumphant return to Earth.

Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16

So what about this story that Jesus told?  For the sake of time I will assume you have read Luke 16:19-31.  In this story there is a very poor man who is full of sores and has to beg for his food.  His name is Lazarus.  There is also a very rich man who is apparently healthy, has costly clothing, and never wants for food.  It is clear that the rich man did not help Lazarus.  The only consolation Lazarus received was dogs licking his sores.  Both men die, but they have very different fates.  Lazarus is carried by angels to a place referred to as Abraham’s Bosom.  It is not clear if this is just a description or an actual name for the place.  We are told that the rich man is buried and then finds himself in torment in Hades.

Now Hades is a Greek term that is synonymous with the Hebrew word She’ol.  Both of them essentially refer to the grave.  Though it can be used to refer to a physical grave, it typically refers to a spiritual holding place for the spirits of those who die.  In the story the grave is depicted as having two compartments, a place of torment for people like the rich man and a place of comfort for those like Lazarus.  Clearly the main teaching is that we should be careful how we live our life because our life on earth directly impacts what we will experience after death.

In the days of Jesus it was believed that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing, and so the rich man may have felt that surely his condition after death would be just as fair.  Similarly, a person like Lazarus would be seen as cursed by God, and could not hope for a good condition after death.  Notice the reversal of fortunes.  Those who live selfishly, without thought for God and their fellow man, will be in torment when they go to the grave.  However, the souls of the righteous (whether destitute as Lazarus or else) will receive comforts and no longer suffer.  Both cases are depicted as spiritually alive and conscious. 

Why isn’t Lazarus in the presence of God?  It appears that until Jesus actually paid the price for the sins of the world, those who put their faith in God had to wait in the “nice side” of the grave to enter His presence.  Once Jesus paid the price on the cross, he then went into the grave.  There he proclaimed his victory over sin and death.  This would be good news to the righteous, but a shattering of any hope for the wicked (see 1 Peter 3:18-20).  Some believe that Ephesians 4:8 refers to Jesus leading the righteous captives out of the captivity of the grave and into heaven.  Whether this verse is intended to reference this or not, it seems stretched to think that only believers after the cross could go to heaven after death while those before the cross must stay captive in Abraham’s bosom.  In John 8:47 and John 16:15, Jesus taught that everyone who “belonged to the Father” would believe on Him.  Thus all that belonged to the Father (before Christ came) essentially belonged to Him.  Would not that which belongs to Christ be with Him?  The price has been paid.  At this moment all the righteous and faithful of every generation back to Adam are with Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and believers who die today immediately join that multitude in Heaven.

There are objections to taking Luke 16:19-31 literally.  They say that this is just a parable and thus is only emphasizing that our life on earth sets us up for a good or bad experience in the afterlife.  Thus they would ignore the descriptions as merely props used to get an idea across rather than specifics.  The problem with this is that if this is a parable, it is the only one where one of the characters is named.  An even bigger problem is that the parables of Jesus were always true-to-life.  Jesus did not tell Aesopian Fables involving turtles and hares.  His stories always represented real experiences that happened every day.  Why would this be the one parable where we would say the story does not represent real experiences that people who are dying have every day?  There is no strong reason.  Thus I believe that the story is intended to give us a real look into the grave and give us a rough picture of what it will be like.

Today, I encourage you to think about your life.  We are not all as destitute and seemingly cursed as Lazarus, and most likely you are not as well off as the rich man in the story.  However, it is important how you live this life because it will impact what you will experience after your death.  If you want to be in the presence of God when you die, then I encourage you to put your faith in Jesus, rather than in yourself or the things of this world.  Admit to God that you are a sinner in need of saving.  Believe that God sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins and that His teachings are the way for you to live your life.  Then publically confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Those who embrace Jesus in faith have a bright future ahead of them in which not even physical death and the grave are bad things.  They simply become our promotion from the teaching grounds of this life into the presence of God Himself.  Choose to follow Him today!

What is after Death audio