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Beloved, precious soul, I am pleased to present this subject to you as a gift, hoping you
will find it both practical and valuable for your life here on planet Earth, and even afterwards.
After death, WHAT?
Alarming, Vivid and Indelible Impressions
Registered by the Mind
What has been for you, esteemed reader, the most impressive, traumatic or unforgettable impression of your life to the present time? Perhaps some brush with death? A surgical procedure with your life itself on the line. An automobile accident. Being robbed. Finding yourself suddenly in mortal danger of drowning, being dragged away by rushing currents of water or caught up in tornadic winds. Shaken by strong earthquake shocks. Maybe a heart-stopping, surprise, face-to-face confrontation with enemy forces, or menacing villains. Being present just when a very special loved one was taking his/hers last agonizing breaths. Or, on the positive side, your wedding day, the birth of your first child, graduating with a university degree, obtaining that dream job, opening your own business, winning a big lottery prize.
When the mind is impacted by such highly dramatic impressions, it takes snapshots of events and circumstances: people present, their particular involvement and physical surroundings (operating room, streets or highways; buildings, rooms, auditoriums and furnishings; roofs or tree limbs flying through the air, roads turned into streams, fire arms or other weapons, etcetera). Though many years go by, when some reference or question causes the mind to remember, it can instantly reproduce the scene in exact detail, as if it had just taken place.
Now then, whatever may have been the most extraordinary and unforgettable impression of your life to the present, there surely yet awaits you a far more sensational one. Nor will you be able to exempt yourself from it, whatever your social, economic, political or religious status may be; your fervent desire, fear or will. I think you may have already divined that reference is to the very tremendous impression you will experience when, having taken your physical body its last breath, you pass, as a spiritual being, without a human body, from the material-carnal dimension, through the Door of Time, to the totally spiritual dimension. Just so! That is, precisely, what I am contemplating -for you, and for me. An impression so great and surprising that, astonished beyond measure, you will open the eyes of your soul to the widest, with thunderstruck amazement… and so will I.
Seeing what? ANGELS!
What indisputable evidence supports this answer?
The testimony of Jesus Christ in his story of what happened in the case of the beggar Lazarus, when this poor man’s weak, sick and badly mistreated physical body died. Jesus said: “…and he was taken by the ANGELS to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:19-31).
This graphic is interpreted as illustrating, abstractly, the passage of the soul
from the material dimension to the fully spiritual one.
If you do not believe this testimony, even ridiculing Jesus Christ and the Bible, we cordially invite you to not only examine but also seriously try to refute Evidence for Believing, available on such sites as www.apologeticspress.org or, in Spanish, www.editoriallapaz.org/salon_ateisimo.htm]
Going through the Door of Time, Lazarus, upon entering spiritual territory, sees angels! True angels, and not the fantasy ones of visions and dreams. Angels loyal to God the Father, who arrive to take Lazarus “to the bosom of Abraham,” that is, to Paradise1. What impression flooded Lazarus’ mind when that humble being suddenly found himself in the presence of those angels? Without a doubt, so indescribably marvelous, profound and incomparable as to leave him speechless! That fantastic initial impression being followed immediately by an uncontainable irruption of great spiritual joy when he realizes he is eternally saved from all suffering, injustice and the weight of a carnal, mortal body. Safe from all evil ones and all evil -eternally! In that instant he begins to bask in the joy that will be his for the endless ages to come. “…enter into the joy of your Lord.”2 Smiles and congratulations on the way to Paradise! Consolation and rest there,3 while awaiting the resurrection and eventual transferal to the permanent heavenly home.
That experience Lazarus had when he abandoned his physical body and crossed over into the fully spiritual dimension… I also want to have it! What about you, precious soul so very much loved by God?
These steps lead to the rooms of the great house of the rich man. Behind the columns and doors, the rich man, his family members and guests “fared sumptuously every day,” while Lazarus lay “at his gate”, “full of sores”, “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.” Luke 16:19-31
Lazarus was privileged to have that experience, not because he was a beggar or sick, but because he was a good and just person who believed in God, despite the tragedy he was living in his very own fleshly body.
A believer in God, unconditionally, whatever may take place4. Obedient to the “good and agreeable and perfect will” of God,5 to the divine Truth which purifies the soul through the blood of Christ6. Just7, merciful and loving to all8. And “…faithful unto death”.9
These stand out among the actions and attributes that prepare one to have such a happy encounter with God’s angels immediately after the death of the physical body. Have you taken the steps of hearing the gospel so that you might have an intelligent faith10, repenting of your injustices, damaging hardness of heart, vices or crimes11, confessing with your lips that Jesus is Lord12 and being immersed (baptized) in water “for the remission of sins”?13 Do you practice being just and merciful? Do you live a holy life? If your answer is “Yes,” then, tremendous! But, if your answer is “No,”, beware! A thousand times so! Please do not be filled with vain illusions, we beseech you. Because that beautiful experience Lazarus had, so full of wonderful impressions and emotions, will not be yours. Rather that of the selfish, avaricious, unmerciful rich man who appears in that same story of Jesus.
Compassion, mercy and generosity, yes. Avarice, no, nor pride,
indifference, stinginess or evil treatment.
“The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ Luke 16:22-24.
When the rich man’s physical body died, as a spiritual being he also goes through the Door of Time between the material and spiritual realms. And on the other side? What a tremendous impression he suddenly has! The greatest by far of all his existence to that point. But, nothing positive about it. Rather, hair raising and terrifying. The whole scene full of coldness. Dense, swirling darkness. A silence that makes the soul tremble violently. Naked fear! In that instant, that unhappy man understands that all is lost for him, eternally.
Do angels come for him? I do not know. Jesus Christ does not mention any in his story, immediately stating the painful condition of the rich man in Hades. He was “in torments.” Even so, I consider it probable that angels were awaiting the arrival of the rich man in the spiritual realm, certainly not with smiles and congratulations, but with silence and chains, rhetorically speaking, to take him to Hades. My opinion is based in part on the involvement of angels in the process of separating the unrepentant evil from the good and casting them into a place of punishment.14
So then, you and I decide which of these two extreme impressions, extreme to the highest degree, we would like to experience. That which Lazarus experienced. Or that which the rich man had. I have decided for that of Lazarus, and I am struggling to assure God grants it to me when the time comes. What is your decision? Do you need additional guidance? More spiritual help?
I am at your service, without obligation or cost on your part.
1 Luke 23:43. Jesus said to the repentant thief crucified with him: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
2 Matthew 25:19-23
3 Luke 16:25
4 Hebrews 11:1-6; 1 Peter 1:6-9
5 Romans 12:1-2
6 1 Peter 1:22 7 Acts 10:34-35
8 Matthew 12:7; Matthew 23:23; Romans 2:12-16; James 2:13
9 Revelation 2:10 10 Romans 10:17
11 Acts 3:19 12 Romans 10:9-17
All English site by Homer Dewayne Shappley
Spirit of Prophecies
www.apologeticspress.org Much material on many, many Bible subjects. Special emphasis on the defense of the existence of God and the inspiration of the Bible.
World directory of churches of Christ www.churchofchrist.cc
Churches of Christ in the United States www. www.21stcc.com/ccusa/