What was it like? To know that this is it; this the last time I have to think, to feel, to trust. Am I ready for this? Have I prepared for the end of my personal probation? Will Jesus accept me? Is my robe white? Did I baptize it in the blood of the Lamb?
Many believe the dead go straight to heaven, nirvana, the “ethers,” a reincarnated animal, or somewhere “out there.” Or they go to hell or Purgatory or some other place similar. The Bible states that we go into the grave and “sleep.” Period. Dust to dust—a phrase taken from scripture. On the day of Adam’s disobeying God’s express command, the Lord God told Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19).
“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. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 9:5,6). “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”(Job 14:12).
But Job continues with the good news that there is a resurrection at the end. “O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” (vs. 13-15).
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Ps. 146:3,4). In other words, we don’t go straight to heaven. With two exceptions, Enoch and Elijah, every typical run of the mill sinner has gone straight to the grave and hasn’t budged from there until judgment day when Jesus comes. Even the holy men like King David (Acts 2:34) and Moses (Jude 9) didn’t go straight to heaven after death. Moses eventually got a special invitation but David is still in the grave, according to the word of God. If the Old Testament holds any validity for Christians, then they should take God at His word unless, in the New Testament, He just as openly asserted that He changed the way He treats His dead as He had proclaimed it earlier in the Old.
Yet, ever true to form, the New Testament, firmly built upon the Old, reiterates and validates the Old Testament, even with the way the Lord ultimately reclaims His “sleeping” saints. That is, in a mass resurrection. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For 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: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (2Thess. 4:14-17).
Actually, this Biblical model of death is very comforting. Its good news to know that there aren’t any “spirits” traveling around, trying to communicate with us or to harass us. If there were spirits out there and I don’t act right, I would live my life nervously expecting some bad fall-out from the spirit world. This falsehood, borrowed straight from spiritualism, has paralyzed multitudes and nations for ages.
To learn that no one lives on after death until Jesus comes, when we forever join Him and live in His presence, has brought great relief to untold millions since this truth began to be brought to the world by the Hebrews. This lie adds no force to righteous living. Fear never turned anyone good. “Scared straight” is only a short term fix. Love is the only thing that results in life-long righteousness. Only if I love to be good will I always be good.
How did so many Christians come to believe spirits float around watching and communicating with the living? Actually this lie is the oldest in the world. “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:2-4).
Wicca, which claims to be the oldest religion in the world, but which is really the second oldest, is part of the whole occult regime. The occult is built upon the assumption that no one really dies, that the “soul” lives on. This idea came from the serpent in Eden at the very introduction of sin into the beautiful world which God made for us.
Why would the devil use this idea and keep it alive for so long? Because it offers him an inroad to his control of sinners, which we all are. For those who were the most curious and gullible, or just lonely, he led to believe they could communicate with the dead, which, according to God, die for good.
The wages of sin is death. The lily that dies, really dies. It molds into nothing. So dies the animal, and so dies the human. We all mold into nothing. The power of life God gave us returns to Him again, and we die, really die. No soul. No spirit to float around. No life in heaven. No NDEs (Near Death Experiences). No voices from dead loved ones.
So what does the big lie give Satan? When folks think they talk to their dead, they are really talking to a devil. That fallen angel perfectly imitates the intonation of the voice, the mannerisms so familiar to the surviving mate or child or friend, even the secret personal preferences known to no one else on earth but to the loved ones. Once convinced this is indeed their beloved departed, the living communicant is hooked and the demon controls more forcefully or with more innocently sounding lies that get spread around the family or the community or the local church. Lies about others in heaven who want to communicate with their surviving loved ones too. Soon God’s word means nothing when faith is pitted against a touch or comforting verbal words or a hug or a kiss. But who are the living touching? Who are they hugging and kissing? Not their dead loved one. They are being comforted by a visitant from the spirit world. They are hugging a demon.
So is disregarding the Bible for a supposed real experience really worth it all? Peter clearly disagreed. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2Pet. 1:16-19).
In other words, Peter saw Christ glorified and transfigured. He saw it with his own eyes and heard the voice from heaven. But, he confessed, We yet have a more sure thing than what I saw. We have the written word of God.
Jesus so depended on the scriptures that when hanging on the cross He was reciting the 22nd Psalm and hanging onto His Father. In the desert while fasting 40 days, the scripture was His constant meditation and His daily sustenance. Using the Old Testament He put Satan to flight. Christ, who could have spoken new scripture, relied on the firm written word that His Spirit had inspired holy men to produce down through the ages.
A religious experience holds no weight apart from the Bible. Speaking in an unknown tongue is no basis for a relationship with Jesus. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” (Ps. 19:7).
Hearing a departed family member contradicts everything the Bible says. Therefore it is false and of the devil.