Dying is an inescapable part of human life. But what's next? Learn the spectacular yet very surprising answer.
[Steve] What do you think happens after death?
> That is a mystery. That is a very big mystery.
>> Well, a lot of people have different opinions about where they go.
[Steve] What do you think happens after you die?
> Well, hopefully I go to heaven.
>> Well I should hope that's true, but I don't know for sure.
> There are some indications sometimes that me believing that that's not true at all, and that what happens here is all that's here.
[Steve] Death and dying are an unavoidable part of human life. But what's next? Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we investigate What Happens After Death?
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> We are gathered here today to pay our last respects and bid a sad farewell to the dearly departed.
[Steve] A funeral - your funeral could start with those words. Is that all there is to life? Could there be more? Let's examine what happens after death. After all, there are so many ideas.
What do you think happens after you die?
> There's a funeral, typically.
>> I think we go back into all into one.
> Well, it's supposed to be better than this, that's what I hope.
>> I could say I am a fairly religious guy, so I'm definitely a believer in the afterlife.
> It's a…paradise…
> I hope.
>> What I think is that's really the end. I don't think you go to heaven or you go to hell. I think you die.
[Steve] Now that's a shocking thought. Could he be right? Did you know that the Bible is overwhelmingly clear about death?
God's Word says that death is a state of unconsciousness. You don't continue on in some other form when you die - you return to the same state of consciousness you had before - none.
But then again, the Bible is just as clear that there is great hope for everyone who has ever lived and died to one day live again. There is a powerful God who has a plan for your future and the future of all humanity.
When you face death, the death of a loved one especially, you need something you can rely on. You need real comfort. You need something that gives you confidence and conviction. While condolences are helpful - you need more. Who wants hazy ideas and wishful thinking that falls so far short? Even if we don't realize it, each of us has a deep-seated need for the reassuring, and encouraging, unfailing Word of God. The Bible truly has the answers we want and we deeply need. Let's explore the answers to those questions today.
Here's a question you have to ask yourself: "Am I confident in my beliefs about what happens after I die?" Many are unsure and fearful of the thought. Polls consistently find that the fear of death and dying is at the top of things we fear most.
Why do you think so many fear death?
> Because it's the end, I mean when you're dead that's it. You don't get to come out and enjoy life anymore.
>> My mother was very afraid of it. I thought my dad was settled with it. He just didn't want to go.
> I guess one of the reasons why the books about people who have come back after they've died have been so popular because that gives insight to people about that kind of thing. Whether it's true or not, you know, it's conjecture.
[Steve] Why is it that so many people are afraid of death?
> The unknown. Who knows if that's right? Nobody knows until it happens.
[Steve] Many people who confess a belief in going to heaven or hell at death still aren't completely sure what happens next.
Can you know before it happens? Yes! The challenge is to view death like God does. We don't automatically know what lies beyond. But there is One who really knows - it's God.
Yet, can you know? Can you know when it comes to the subject of death? You see there's only one authentic, reliable source and that's God and His Word, the Bible.
You'll find it is possible to understand and have a real hope, if you count on the authority of Scripture. The truths revealed in Scripture is so much better than what you may have imagined.
I've found that, as a pastor, most people just don't think about death much until they are forced. When suddenly at a funeral, we have to face death. We can't ignore it. We can't pretend that it hasn't happened. And death brings many questions to mind. But God has a powerful, positive answer beyond the grave for you and all people that you'll want to understand.
All too many may face death like this:
> Where did Daddy go?
>> Oh honey, that's a hard question. He was an amazing dad.
> Julie's mom said that Daddy is in heaven.
>> A lot of people believe that. She was, she was trying to comfort you.
> When I die, will I go to heaven with Daddy and God?
>> I was taught that when I was a little girl, but…I'm just not sure.
> Does the Bible say that people go to heaven?
[Steve] Most of us have been told just that. We have we simply assumed that the Bible teaches you immediately go to heaven or to hell at death?
When I die I'm going to…
> I think there is something after death, but...
>> I believe that you come back, you just… You might come back into nature, some type of energy. You become energy.
> That's an interesting thought, too. Cause you can be…You're born a person. You can end up a dog; you can end up a bug.
>> There is a mixture of me feeling like there's a body that's here and there's more of a spiritual thing that's going up into the heavens.
[Steve] Different ideas yet the same concept - something lies beyond. Now these people aren't alone. A recent survey found that half of the world's population believe in some form of afterlife. But exactly what?
Many believe in reincarnation - especially those in Hungary and also popular in Australia and Brazil. Significant numbers believe they will cease to exist altogether at death - particularly those in Spain and France.
But when it comes to death, your death, is there something you can count on to give you hope? You don't need conflicting ideas. God wants you to be confident and optimistic with the truth of what lies beyond.
While many people are confused and even fearful about death - you don't have to be!
You can know what is ahead if you can look to God and rely on the authority of the Word of the Bible. I'd like to challenge you today. Will you truly examine what you believe and why you believe it? You can do this by ordering a copy of our free Bible study aid, What Happens After Death? It's an easy-to-read study that will give you much more information and can also provide you great comfort in grasping the real, God-given facts about death and what's beyond.
To request your free copy of this valuable study aid, simply call us toll free at 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or you can read What Happens After Death? online at BeyondToday.tv. If you live outside North America, please write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
Let's think about this a little differently for a moment. Most would probably agree on some pretty basic observations about death.
First, we know at death the physical things stay here. Our physical bodies don't go anywhere. Our possessions stay. They don't suddenly vanish. We know the famous saying: you can't take it with you.
So isn't it fair to say that because the physical comes to an end that any knowledge and skills that you've developed, also come to a conclusion when you die?
Now, some then say - if we do take anything with us - it must be something at the moment of death - and would have to be something non-physical.
Well which is it? Do we completely cease to exist at death? Do we lose consciousness? Or, do we retain some part of our consciousness in heaven or hell or someplace else?
The answer lies in the wisdom and guidance of the Bible. It's especially clear and hopeful. You don't want to overlook the simple truth of resting in the grave.
Yet, most have been taught something quite different.
> Yeah, I guess the soul is kind of what I'm thinking of when I'm thinking of the spiritual aspect that's continuing on. But I do have that dualistic - kind of my religious side - thinking that the soul is going into the heavens.
>> Yeah.. I do believe people have souls.
> A soul is that inner thing you cannot replace.
[Steve] Do you think that you have a soul?
> I think a neuron is the same as a soul, because they still don't know where a neuron came from.
>> I think a soul is a stain glass window of someone's being. That when light begins to shine through it. You know it when you see it. It begins to make sense. It's not something that you can put into words.
> That's a good question. Like your spiritual self. Maybe, I think.
[Steve] It is a good question.
Here's what the Bible says: "The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
American King James Version×). Man became alive! Now, that doesn't sound too complicated. In other words, He came to life. He started breathing. He became a living person.
Now if you look at the same passage in the King James translation, it says, "man became a living soul." Now that's where there's confusion. The word "soul" has been misused. Many misinterpret it. They think mistakenly it describes some part of a person that's separate from the body and lives on after death - an immortal soul.
But did you notice what it really says? God defines a "soul." What does He say? God says it is the person - the living being himself. According to the Bible - a person does not have a soul; a person is a soul.
God cares so much for us that He used His own hands to make man. He breathed the "breath of life" into the body, and the man lived. He didn't give Him an immortal soul that lives on in heaven or hell, instead He tells us the formula for life. The body without the breath is not alive; neither is the breath alive without a body.
There's more to discover in Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
American King James Version×. It says, "Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father. As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die."
It's not all that confusing. God says that souls, living beings die. Notice another Bible translation: "The life of every person belongs to me. Fathers and their children belong to me. The person who sins will die" (God's Word).
It is unmistakable. God is straightforward. He answers all of life's great questions about death. The Bible reveals two great truths about it.
First, He made people living beings who, at some point, will die and at death we cease to have consciousness.
Second - most important, the Bible reveals there's much more to the story. Death is not permanent. Everyone will have the opportunity for life again.
Notice what Scripture says: "Dead people do not praise the Lord; those in the grave are silent" (Psalms 115:17 Psalms 115:17The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
American King James Version×New Century Version)
Now if you had a soul and it kept on living, wouldn't that be odd? Why would you be still if you continued on? Wouldn't you praise God if you were in His presence? Well, of course! But because you're dead and in the grave, you can't.
Repeatedly, throughout the Bible, we're consistently told that the dead go to the grave and have no consciousness.
Here's an example that is powerful and revealing: "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten" (Ecclesiastes 9:5 Ecclesiastes 9:5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
American King James Version×New International Version)
The Bible's teaching is distinctly different from what most churches teach. Perhaps different than what your church teaches. God challenges all of us - challenges you, to take an honest look at what His Word says about the subject of death. How valuable is Scripture to you? Is it your guide to what you believe?
Here's another way to think of it: Consider the light from a light bulb. This one starts with a bulb with a filament inside. By adding an electric current to it - the result produces light. Now if we break the bulb or stop the electricity, the light stops. It ceases to exist.
Now in this example the light, is like our life. If the filament breaks or the electric current stops flowing, the light goes out - we cease to exist. We don't immediately continue on in some other form. But there's even more to the biblical story. And it is a hopeful one.
You can discover it and we'd like to help with our free study aid, What Happens After Death? It will help you solve those troubling questions you've always had about death and beyond. You can read or download, What Happens After Death? online at BeyondToday.tv. Or request your free copy to be sent to your home by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632.
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To order The Good News and our study aid, What Happens After Death? call us free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254]. Of course, you can read What Happens After Death? and The Good News online at BeyondToday.tv.
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There's no doubt that we all want comfort and encouragement when we're faced with the dreadful impact of death. The grief and pain that family and friends have to bear after the loss of a loved one is heartbreaking.
It's a stark reminder that death is terrible. Even God hates death. Yet the Bible teaches that at the moment of your death, you'll cease to be aware of anything, even your own death. So in reality, there's nothing to fear, because there is nothing at all. The Bible tells us plainly that death is the loss of consciousness.
In trying to find a sense of relief and comfort, so many turn to a mixture of ideas.
What do you think happens after death?
> I don't know. I look at it. That question is still, is still a great question. That's a great question.
>> I know it's reality and I know that….we all going to go down that path one day.
> Do the best you can. Move humanity forward. And, this is all you got.
>> Cause when you're dead, you're just in a deep sleep. You're going to the grave.
[Steve] That's right! Of all the ideas out there, here's the truth: The Bible does compare death to a sleep of unconsciousness.
Even Jesus Christ compared death to an unconscious sleep. He told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep. They misunderstood. "Then His disciples said, 'Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.' However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead'" (John 11:12-14 John 11:12-14  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
 However, Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
 Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
American King James Version×).
Jesus clearly associated death with sleep - and do you know what's critical? Sleep is only temporary! Resting in your grave, that's not a morbid thing. We rest in peace knowing the hope and expectation we have beyond the grave.
Here's a passage where we're given a hint of that great hope. "Humans are different - we die, and that's the end. We are like streams and lakes after the water has gone; we fall into the sleep of death, never to rise again, until the sky disappears" (Job 14:10-12 Job 14:10-12  But man dies, and wastes away: yes, man gives up the ghost, and where is he?  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up:  So man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
American King James Version×Contemporary English Version)
God loves us all too much not to have a plan to counter death. Even though we cease to exist at death in an unconscious sleep; not going to heaven or hell - we find that God has a solution to death!
God will awaken us - we will rise again as that passage said. We'll awake when the heavens, as we know them, will be no more. God does have a solution! And it's definite.
When you're confronted with death, don't you need something like that? You need something that's certain. Don't you want to hear the voice of authority? Something that provides true comfort and gives you something you can count on, something you can trust?
Expressions of sympathy and concern - certainly they are helpful but don't you need more? Who needs vague generalities? Nice ideas, they just fall short. Don't you long for the authoritative, comforting and reliable revelation of Scripture? - Now that's the true Word of God.
He gives us His tremendous promise: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×).
Jesus prophesied that He would return to earth. You can count on it. He foretold of a time of great trouble. A world in turmoil will signify that His return is drawing near. That seems just ahead. He tells us: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice" (John 5:28 John 5:28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
American King James Version×).
When He returns, Christ will awaken the dead who have been faithful. He's not talking about reuniting bodies with their immortal souls. That's just not biblical. Resurrection though is biblical. That's what Jesus taught for the dead and those true followers who are alive when He returns.
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 1 Corinthians 15:51-52  Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
American King James Version×).
Imagine that: you'll no longer be subject to sickness, pain or death anymore. "This body that decays must be changed into a body that cannot decay. This mortal body must be changed into a body that will live forever" (1 Corinthians 15:53 1 Corinthians 15:53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
American King James Version×God's Word). So you won't grow old. You won't become diseased or wear out.
Now, that's something tangible! That's something certain, something you can count on! As faithful followers of Christ, we can trust Him. "We are called children of God and we really are his children…We know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him….He is pure, and everyone who has this hope in him keeps themselves pure like Christ" (1 John 3:1-3 1 John 3:1-3  Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
American King James Version×Easy-to-Read Version)
Now did you notice two significant aspects to that passage? First, in the same way children of humans are also human and part of the human family, children of God become part of the wonderful eternal family of God because we're promised, "we will be like Him".
Did you get that? This is His promise: that we will be like Him and be part of His family for eternity.
The other key factor? The solution to the certainty of death can't wait until the return of Christ. That real solution has to start now. If you have the hope of overcoming death through the resurrection, you must keep yourself pure like Christ - you must be like Him.
"Everlasting life is on the way of righteousness. Eternal death is not along its path" (Proverbs 12:28 Proverbs 12:28In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
American King James Version×God's Word)
Or said differently: "Doing what is right is the way to life, but there is another way that leads to death" (Proverbs 12:28 Proverbs 12:28In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
American King James Version×Expanded Bible Version).
Now what is that way of righteousness? We have to ask ourselves: Who is my master? Do my actions show who's in charge of my life?
It's a good reminder to us - You can't put off doing what's right. "Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to him" (Romans 6:16 Romans 6:16Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
American King James Version×Contemporary English Version).
So who do you obey? "If someone claims, 'I know him [well]!' but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words…. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived" (1 John 2:4-6 1 John 2:4-6  He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
American King James Version×The Message). So the question before you is, will you choose to be obedient, and follow the true teachings of Jesus Christ?
The time will come when our physical lives will end. Just as that light bulb went dark, we will cease to exist, we'll rest in our graves. But there is a solution to death. Thankfully, our loving Creator has a plan to give all people the opportunity to be resurrected to eternal life. God will light the way to a life far better than this temporary existence that we have now.
I would like to help light a lamp for you on that path of righteousness - on your spiritual journey with our free study aid: What Happens After Death? It will help you discover the details of Jesus' teaching. It is a study guide that gives an in-depth understanding of death and the life promised in God's wonderful plan for you.
And of course, if you seek understanding, if you desire knowing what the Bible speaks today - to what's going on in your world - be sure and order your free subscription to - The Good News. We have a copy ready for you!
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Now imagine that you've just learned you have a terminal disease. How would you face death? Would you be fearful, merely counting down the hours and the minutes to that fateful day?
Or, would you spend your remaining time partying - degrading yourself in immoral fantasies despite the consequences?
Or, perhaps you'd try to avoid it at all cost? Attempting to change your eating, your exercise, your daily habits. Trying to forestall the inevitable in every and any way possible.
Well let's face it: we all will die. The only solution to death is a spiritual life of obedience to Christ now and the hope of the resurrection from death later.
That's how God wants us to face death - with hope and confidence. We have His promise that after we rest in the grave, Jesus will return to wake us up in a much better place.
Now with that perspective, we can look forward to the time that "Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54 1 Corinthians 15:54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
American King James Version×).
Thanks for joining us today. Be sure and tell your family and friends about Beyond Today. And tune in again next week and join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today, I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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