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What happens when we die?

This is the sixth episode in a series I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In this series, we are addressing some of the most basic and fundamental questions that we as human beings should answer. In today’s episode we will discuss life after death.

First episode: How do we know if God exists?

Second episode: How can I believe in a God whom I haven’t seen?

Third episode: Are we as powerful as we think we are?

Fourth episode: Should we be afraid of God?

Fifth episode: Does God have the right to tell us what to do?

(Scroll down below the video if you prefer to read a transcript.)

Transcript:

Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This is the Sixth episode in a series I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In the first episode, we concluded that when we observe the world we live in, the logical, intelligent conclusion is that there is a living, intelligent being out there somewhere who created the universe and everything in it, including us. In the second episode, we concluded that just as there are historical documents that testify to the existence of people like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, so too there are historical documents that testify to the existence of God. In the third episode we concluded that when we observe the world we live in, the logical, intelligent conclusion is that God is by far the most powerful force in the universe and that there is nothing in the universe that can stop God from doing anything He wants to do. In the fourth episode we concluded that just as we need to know when to fear electricity, wild animals, and storms so that we know how to be safe, so too we need to know when to fear God because He is much more powerful than any other force in the universe. In the fifth episode we concluded that since God created all things, He has the authority to tell us what to do, and since He is the most powerful force in the universe, He has the ability to enforce His authority. In a future episode we will talk about the meaning of life, but today we will discuss life after death. What happens when we die? I am using parables throughout this series to discuss these topics, so let’s get started with today’s first parable:

The Obstacle Course

Once upon a time, an athlete went to run an obstacle course. At the starting line, he looked up the hill at the obstacles and noticed that the course seemed to end about 200 yards up the hill. He concluded that the course would take less than an hour. Then an old man walked up to him and offered him a backpack full of water and energy bars, telling him he would need it to survive the course. After the athlete declined the backpack because he thought he could survive an hour without it, the old man said, “I designed and built this course. When you get to the top of that hill, you will realize you have only just begun.”

Would you take the backpack? Notice that the man who was handing out the backpack was the man who built and designed the course. If anyone would know how long the course is and what it takes to survive the course, it would be him.

Life works like this. As we go through life, all we see are the 50-100 years we spend here on earth in our earthly bodies. We can’t see anything beyond that; therefore, it is tempting to conclude that life here on earth is all there is. However, several thousand years ago, God interacted with humanity in various ways, including coming to earth Himself in bodily form.  During this interaction, He stated very clearly that there is life after death and that there is more to our existence than what we see here on planet earth. Furthermore, He left written record of His teachings about life after death so that we can know that our existence continues after we die. Just as the old man was telling the athlete what he needed to have in order to survive the part of the obstacle course that he couldn’t see, so too God has told us what we need to do to prepare for life after death: the part of our existence that we cannot see. And just as the old man had the best knowledge about the course because he designed and built it, so too God has the best knowledge about life after death because He designed and created life. Now let’s look at a second parable:

The Graduation Party

Once upon a time, a high school student spent three years preparing for his graduation party. He agonized over every detail: the day, the location, the starting time, the guest list, the menu, the dress code, and the activities. Absolutely nothing was left to chance for his big party. The day after his party an adult asked him what he was planning to do for a career. He responded, “I have no idea. I have not given it any thought.”

This student had his priorities completely backwards. He put a lot of time and effort into preparing for an event that only lasted a couple hours, but he spent no time preparing for a career which would last decades.

We humans need to make sure we don’t make the same mistake with our eternity. Just as a graduation party is a mere moment in time compared to our total life here on earth, so too life here on earth is a mere moment in time compared to life after death which lasts forever. And just as the student should have realized that preparing for a career was more important than preparing for a graduation party, so too we need to realize that preparing for eternity is more important than preparing for life here on earth. Now let’s look at a third parable:

The Team.

Once upon a time, a coach formed a soccer team to travel around the world on a goodwill tour. During the tryouts, there were some players who demonstrated superior athletic skills and talent, but they were disrespectful to the other players and they resisted instruction from the coaches. Meanwhile, there were other players who did not have the best athletic skills or talent, but they worked very well with each other, and they submitted completely to the authority of the coaches. When it came time to choose the team, the coach chose the less talented players because he wanted players who would act like a team and who would be coachable and pleasant to work with.

When athletes try out for a team, the natural assumption is that the coach will choose the players with the most skill and talent. However, in this instance the coach valued teamwork more than athletic talent, so he chose the players who would work well together rather than the players with the most talent. He was able to do this because he was the one who formed the team, he was the coach, and he had the authority to decide which criteria to use to chose his players.

Eternity works the same way. God is the creator of everything, and He is the ultimate authority in the universe. He has the authority to establish the criteria that is used to determine our eternal destiny. God’s criteria is simple. If we acknowledge God’s existence and authority, and if we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, then we will spend eternity in heaven with Him. If we do not do these things, then we will spend eternity in a lake of fire.

So what is the conclusion from all this?

Once we realize that God exists, and that He created us, then it follows that He knows better than anyone else what will happen to us after we die. Our Creator has told us that there is life after death and that we will either spend eternity with Him in heaven or we will spend eternity separate from Him in hell. Just as a coach has the authority to choose who will be on his team, so too God has the authority to decide who will spend eternity with Him. In order to spend eternity with God, we must acknowledge His existence and authority, and we must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

 

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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”