—Treasure Beyond Measure

The Afterlife

John 6:51 1.95

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. (NIV84)

The thing that must be understood is that the life that the Bible speaks about is not the life of the body, but of the soul. Human beings are eternal beings, just like God, and just like the angels.

Genesis 2:7

...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV84)

The man was alive, physically, before God breathed into his nostrils. This passage is not talking about the creation of the human being, that is, the flesh and blood body. It is talking about the creation of the godlike inner person.

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV84)

Now I know that it sounds like this passage is saying that we look like God, but this passage is talking mostly about the inner man. It is not talking about our bodies. God does not have a body that is made out of atoms. He is a spirit being and has a spirit body.

The Nature of Man

John 4:24

"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (NIV84)


Hebrews 12:26-27

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (NIV84)

Heaven is not part of the "created things", that is, heaven is not part of this creation. Heaven cannot be shaken.

When the Bible says that we were created in the image and likeness of God it is talking about the part of us that we cannot see--our heart. My soul is of the god-type soul. The angels are of the angel-type soul. Those of the god-type soul and those of the angel-type soul are as different as say, dogs and cats.

It is important to understand that God is not a man, as opposed to a woman. God is neither man nor woman. And inside, we too are neither man nor woman.

Galatians 3:26-28

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV84)

Dead and Alive

Genesis 2:16-17

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (KJV)

Now notice carefully in Genesis 2:17 that God told the man that on the day that he ate from the forbidden tree that that day he would die. Did he? Did Adam die there in the garden on the day that he ate?

Genesis 5:1-5

This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man." 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died. (NIV84)

This passage says that Adam lived for some 930 years after he ate from the tree (or there abouts.) Did God make a mistake? No, Adam did die on the day that he partook from the forbidden tree, but the death was the death of the inner man, not the outer man of flesh. To be spiritually dead means that you have been disconnected from the Sustainer. Sin separated man from God. I am not talking about a state of mind, but rather of a true condition possible for man--spiritual death.

It was to reconnect man to the Sustainer that Jesus came and took the punishment that was due us, that is, death. Jesus defeated death on the cross.

Revelation 1:18

And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (NIV84)

From the time that Adam fell until Christ rose from the grave man was spiritually dead. The connection between man and his maker had been severed. Before the resurrection man was cut off from God and knowledge of God was difficult to obtain. It is important to realize this. Today, that is, after the resurrection, God could and would give his Spirit to any who would believe. The Holy Spirit in this function is called the Teacher and the Counselor.

John 14:15-17

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NIV84)

There are some very important things to be found here in this passage. First of all, obedience comes first. First you obey and then Jesus asks the Father to give you the Counselor. You must prove yourself worthy of receiving the Counselor. Now I know a lot of people are going to hop up and down and tell me that no one gets "saved" because they are worthy of it. I know this. This is not what I am talking about. If you want God's Spirit living inside of you, then you better start clearing out some of your rebellious ways and humble yourself and listen to God and obey him.

Matthew 11:11

I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (NIV84)

The reason that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest of the Old Covenant is because he of the kingdom has God's own Spirit living inside. This person has been reconnected to God, like Adam and Eve were before their rebellion.

Why God Did It

John 5:24

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (NIV84)

Notice the past tense in the passage above. Notice also that the life spoken of is not animal life; they had animal life before they believed. This again is talking about how their spirit is reconnected to God. Notice also that the one that is not condemned is the one that hears Jesus' word and believes. This is all-important. The reason that God made the universe was for this single purpose and that is, that perhaps you might humble yourself and seek God in truth and listen to and obey Jesus' words. There is nothing more important for you than this. This is true even if you don't know it, or don't believe it. You are an eternal being and where you spend eternity depends on what you do in this life.

Acts 17:26-27

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (NIV84)

Verse 27 tells us why God created the universe. "So that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him..."

I have heard many theories concerning the afterlife. People tend to believe what they want to believe. They shop around until they find something that sounds good to them. But my friend, does this sound wise to you? Is it not better to find out what God says and then conform to what He says? It is a fool that believes what they want to believe instead of the truth.

Source of Truth

The whole world was headed for destruction and so God brought forth a people that would teach the whole world the truth. God has revealed this truth in the Holy Scriptures, that is, in the Protestant Bible. Through the Bible is the only way you can know the truth. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches us the truth through the Scriptures. It is you searching for the truth and God revealing it to you, if you will believe.

Isaiah 50:10-11

Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand; You will lie down in torment. (NIV84)

God testified concerning the truth with many miracles and signs and wonders. We have the eye witness accounts as to what took place. We can choose to believe the Bible or not. Or you can choose to "see" the world in the light of "scientific fact" or as the above passage says, in the light of your torches that you have set ablaze. This is your choice.

Hebrews 2:3-4 shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (NIV84)

The Only Way

One of the popular beliefs is that if you are a good person you will go to heaven. This is not true. There are no good people; not from God's perspective. You can never be good enough. If it were possible for a person to be good enough to be justified in God's sight then why did Jesus have to die on the Cross? Be assured my friend that God would not have put Jesus through that unless it was absolutely necessary.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV84)

No one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. There may be a billion Moslems out there but not one will be with God in heaven unless they come to him through Jesus Christ. There may be a billion Buddhists out there but not one will be with God in heaven unless they come to him through Jesus Christ. There may be a billion Hindus out there but not one will be with God in heaven unless they come to him through Jesus Christ. God created the world and only God's method will work. Either you listen to God and obey or you will not, and perish.

The Fate of the Damned

Another theory that I have heard concerning the afterlife is that the wicked simply cease to exist, that is, there is no eternal place of punishment. People say to me that God who is loving and kind would not create a place of eternal punishment. Well, that sounds reasonable, but what does the Bible say. What does God say will happen to those that refuse to listen to him and obey?

Revelation 20:10

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (NIV84)

It doesn't sound like they cease to exist to me. I know that this is an unpleasant thought, but consider that this is a warning. This paragraph is a mercy to you; warning you of what might happen to you, if you persist in your rebellion.

I have a warning for you too. Please read the following parable.

Don't be Fooled

Matthew 25:1-13

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (NIV84)

All ten of the virgins thought that they were going to heaven. The virgins in this parable are those that think that they are Christians. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Only the virgins that have the Holy Spirit will be saved. In this parable only fifty percent of those that think that they are saved are saved. The sad thing is that if the Lord were to come today much less than fifty percent would be saved. You see, my friend, the events leading up to the Coming of the Lord will serve to solidify the believers. Many that are insincere will leave and many that are looking for the truth will come.

Matthew 24:10-14

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (NIV84)

This passage is talking about the time just prior to the Lord's Coming. Many will fall away and be lost. Only those that stand firm to the end will be saved. I offer this warning in love to those that believe that they are saved and going to heaven.

Matthew 7:21-23

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (NIV84)

This is not my warning, but that of Jesus Christ. Oh my friends how I wish that I could grab hold of many and shake them and command them to open their eyes and see. How sad it is to see so many traveling down the path of the lost, and thinking that they are saved and going to heaven. I can't begin to tell you how much I wish that I could make people listen. But it is not for me to make people listen. Those that want God will seek him in truth and God will reveal himself to them. I am only a voice. I am not the people's ears, or eyes.

Now, because this point is so very important I want to make it clear by quoting another passage.

Matthew 25:41, 46

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (NIV84)

You will exist forever my friend. This is a fact. Either you listen to God and live in heaven with him forever, or you will be cast outside and live in eternal punishment forever.

What I am saying is not politically correct. It is not happy news. It is not what most people want to hear. But, what would you have me tell you? Would you have me spin you a happy little tale? or would you have me tell you the truth? I for one want to know what is the truth, then I can decide what I want to do.

Personal Rewards

I have something more to say concerning the afterlife, and that is that all is not equal in heaven nor in the Lake of Fire.

Luke 12:47-48

"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (NIV84)

Clearly what you do in this life affects how things will be in eternity.

Matthew 6:20

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (NIV84)

You will be rewarded for the good that you do while living in the body.

The Cost of Salvation

My friend, please don't listen to modern doctrine. Don't listen to those that tell you that salvation is free. Don't live and act like you have a free ticket to heaven because you said the magic words, "Jesus is Lord", and so think that all is well. Your ticket to heaven is not free. It cost Jesus Christ a horribly painful and humiliating death on the cross.

Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (NIV84)

In these parables heaven cost the man everything that he had. It is not free. You can think of heaven as a savings account that yields a very high rate. If you don't put anything in then you won't get much out. But, if on the other hand, you with great effort, invest heavily, then you will reap a great reward.

Mark 4:20

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." (NIV84)

Play God's Game

1 Corinthians 3:12-14

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. (NIV84)

If you have your faith in Capitalism then you probably like the game Monopoly. To win the game of life, you must invest everything that you have into God and his plan. In a sense it is free, because you really only give to God what is already his. Everything that you are and have comes from God. It belongs to him and he has loaned it to you to see what you will do with it. It takes faith to offer up your life to God. It takes faith to forgo what you want for what is right. It takes faith to treat others in love, that is, doing what you do because it is better for the other person. It doesn't take any faith at all to recite the "Sinner's Prayer", get baptized, and go to church. Faith is about giving up what you want in this world because you see a better world down the way. Faith is about giving up what you can see for what God has promised.

You Must Choose Now

There is something else that you should consider concerning the afterlife. Once you die the physical death your fate is sealed. You cannot then cleanup your act and be accepted.

Luke 16:23-26

In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' 25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' (NIV84)

The rich man didn't like it in hell, but in hell he was and in hell he will stay. This parable tells us that it is impossible to get out of hell once you die.

The last thing that I want to say is that hell is not permanent. Hell is a temporary holding place in which the damned are held until the Great Judgment Day.

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (NIV84)

Hell and Hades are the same place. Notice that on the Great Judgment Day Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the place of eternal damnation.

All of this is so very important. Boy! I wish that I could reach people with this news. Most people in the world are going to perish. Most are lost.

Be One of the Few

Matthew 7:13-14

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (NIV84)

Jesus is not kidding when he says that many are on the road to destruction, and few are on the road that leads to life. I repeat again, because it is so very important, that most of those that think that they are Christians are not. Most have been deceived in these evil times. If you want to find life then sell all that you have and invest in the kingdom of heaven, that is, read the Scriptures and believe what they say and conform to what God desires.


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