Shintoism calls it “Ama-No-Hashidate”; some of the New Age followers call it “Astral Plane”; Aborigines describe it “Bralgu”; Buddists have given it the name “Ching Tu”; “Djanna”, or the “Garden of Allah” is the Islam version; the Native American Indians called it “The Spirit Land”; Eskimos give it the title “The Land of the Moon”; Hindus describe it as “Nirvana”; “Pole Star” was the common title for it given by the Aztecs; “Sheol” was the chosen Hebrew term; while the Greeks called it “Hades”; and the state of the dead for the Norse warriors was called “Valhalla”; and many, many, others. For a more complete list please see: http://afterlife-knowledge.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?num=1202113237/0
So many names, so many different beliefs, for the place and/or condition of those who have died!
“What takes place, if anything, after a person’s spirit is separated from their body?”
“Where does their spirit go?”
“What can I do now to secure a future afterlife?’
These themes are addressed by every known religion.
Why are these subjects of universal interest? It is because death affects every one of us. Based on mankind’s experience over thousands of years, apart from a never before experienced act of God, has one thing held true…. every human being will eventually die.
What will it be like and how can we be prepared for it… the Bible gives us the clear, unquestionable answer to these issues we all face…
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:27-28)
In our text, we find the answer to life’s most pressing issues.
First, in verse 27 we find what will take place following our death…
The Bible tells us much about the “afterlife”. In today’s blog entry we will be centering on one of the most important aspects of the after life… the coming judgment.
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” – Here, we have the clear, undeniable proclamation … Following a person’s death, one of the aspects of the afterlife, involves a judgment of each work that has been performed while on earth. (Eccl 11:9, Rom 14:9-12, 2 Cor 5:10, 2 Tim 4:1, Judges 1:14-15, Rev 20:11-15).
The specifics of this judgment can be debated. Personally, I believe this judgment will come in two different phases. One judgment will involve those who have trusted in Christ, while the other phase will be the judgment of those who have never trusted in Christ. These details are really not important for our blog entry today. The important point is this… the Bible has made it absolutely clear that EVERYONE must face the judgment of their works by Jehovah God.
What are the possible results of this judgment?
For those who are unprepared, they will receive consignment to the lake of fire for an eternity… suffering the just punishment for the sins they have committed.
For those who are prepared for this judgment, they will be ushered into an eternity with the Lord, having their sins forgiven and their works of service rewarded (Matt 25:31-46)
So the real question is this…. “Are we ready for that time of judgment?” If not, “What must we do to become prepared”?
Second – in verse 28 we find how we can be prepared for this coming judgment
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
The key to being secure for our future judgment is found in the work of Christ on the cross. You see, it was on the cross that Christ took the punishment for our sins upon Himself so that we would not have to receive that punishment. (1 Pet 3:18, Eph 2:13-17, Rom 5:8-21, 2 Cor 5:21)
Notice that our verse also speaks of faith in the life of those who are prepared to meet Him at His coming. (These are the same people who are prepared for the judgment of their works, as well). They are the ones who, by faith, are looking for Him to come back at His second coming. This faith they have received from God as they turned from their sins to serve the living God. (1 Thess 1:9-10, Acts 26:17-18) By placing our trust in Christ, as the Savior from our sins and the Lord of our life, we can be prepared for the coming Judgment Day. “Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.” (Job 35:14)
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
I know of no better application than the verses found in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14…
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecc 12:13-14)
What is the commandment of God?
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)
To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”