Why is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead significant for me?

It was refreshing, though the situation certainly wasn’t. Sandy’s mom had spent a wonderful, joy-filled day with her and her ten-month-old daughter. But it took just one moment. What started as a minor health scare quickly escalated, resulting in an emergency trip to the hospital. Less than two days later, Sandy’s mother went home to heaven.

They weren’t ready to lose her. If they could have their way, she’d still be here. So what was so refreshing? “We ask that God’s will be done.” “I’m glad she is in Jesus’ arms.” Throughout the entire tragedy, that’s what Sandy wrote.

How could she be so upbeat? In the midst of mourning, she was a modern-day Martha. Martha, fighting through tears for her brother Lazarus, freshly laid in the grave, boldly proclaimed to Jesus, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24).

How could she be so confident? How can I be so confident? As a result of Adam and Eve’s first sin, death was introduced into the world. As a result of sin, I’ve lost loved ones. As a result of sin, I myself will lose my life one day. And as a result of my sin, God tells me there’s only one place where I deserve to go, hell.

How can I be so confident? Because I have a loving Savior. Where I struggle and fail each day to love and obey God, Jesus didn’t ever fail. Even when loving God meant dying for me, Jesus obeyed. His love for me took him to the cross. His love has taken away all the guilt of my sins.

How can I be so confident? Because I have a living Savior. Jesus died, but he’s not dead. His resurrection is more than just an occasion to commemorate once a year on Easter. It’s the proof that Jesus not only forgave my sins and conquered hell, it’s also the promise that because he lives, I also will live. When I die, in his loving and living arms, I will live!

Jesus’ resurrection gives me confidence. It makes me confident to say, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” I am refreshed in every joy and every sorrow because I know that my Redeemer lives. And when at last my earthly journey is done, I will wake to live forever with my Savior because my Redeemer lives.

Will I Rise from the Dead?

Christians say:  “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”  Christians believe Jesus when he says:  “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear my voice and come out.”  Essential to Christianity is the belief that every man, woman and child who has ever lived will rise from the dead on the day Jesus returns.  We call that day Judgment Day.

Right about now you may be asking yourself: “How in the world can Christians believe all those unbelievable things?”  I’ll agree with you.  The thought that all people will rise bodily from their graves someday, wherever and whatever those graves may be, is “unbelievable.”  But the God who tells us this is not in the business of only doing things that fit into the framework of our way of thinking.  In fact, Jesus once said: “With God all things are possible.”  If God brought the universe into existence out of nothing, as the Bible teaches, he certainly has the power to pull our bodies back together from the dust of the earth on Judgment Day.

So, the answer to “will I rise from the dead?” is a simple “yes.”  Perhaps the more uncomfortable question is: “What’s going to happen to me when I rise from the dead?”  The fact that it’s called Judgment Day sounds ominous.  You and I are going to be judged on that day.  When you consider that God, who is holy, demands that you and I be holy and sinless in order to escape his judgment in hell forever, then Judgment Day really sounds like bad news.

But there’s more.  The one who will come to call us out of our graves, the one who will judge us, is the same one who came to save us!  That’s Jesus.  About 2000 years ago he came to live in this world and give his perfect life in your place.  When he died on the cross he covered you with his holiness.  When he rose from the dead he proved that you, too, will rise from the dead.  He makes the same promise to you that he’s always made: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

And there it is.  There’s the way a person can approach Judgment Day with confidence, not fear.  Jesus has taken away all your sins. Clothe yourself in his holiness and enter everlasting life when you are called forth from your grave.  Believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved.

When is the resurrection going to happen?

When I was a child, one of the questions we couldn’t ask while on vacation was, “When are we going to get there?” Now that I’m a parent, I understand why. Without ground rules, children will ask that question every fifteen minutes.

Most people, certainly Christians, have a sense that this life is a journey to a place where we will spend an eternal vacation. We won’t get there in a car or even a spacecraft. Instead, God himself will bring all those who trust in Jesus to heaven. Even those who have died will come to life again when God is ready to bring his children to heaven.

But when are we going to get there? When will God raise the dead and bring them to heaven?

God does not mind if we ask the question. In fact, he loves it when people seek him and inquire to know what he has said.

One of Jesus’ friends (Martha) once inquired about the resurrection when one of his close friends died (Lazarus, Martha’s brother). Jesus comforted Martha with words about the resurrection and asked her if she believed in the resurrection. Her answer helps us identify when the resurrection will happen, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24). The resurrection from the dead will happen ON THE LAST DAY.

But when is the last day going to come? The exact time when God will bring the world to an end (and raise the dead) is information he reserves for himself alone. During his life on this earth Jesus once said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 30:32).

On the one hand, we know exactly when God will raise the dead; he will do it on the last day. On the other hand, we have no idea when God will raise the dead; God hasn’t told us when the last day will come. Trusting that God will raise to eternal life all those who believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins is more important than knowing exactly when the resurrection will come, is.

Only in Jesus can we be sure that when it is time we will get there – that is, to our eternal vacation in heaven!

Does the Bible teach Reincarnation?

“The New Testament teaches reincarnation. It calls it by another name, ‘resurrection,’ but reincarnation and resurrection are really the same thing.”

Spiritists and some New Agers make this claim, but it’s utterly false. Resurrection and reincarnation are emphatically not “the same thing.” The resurrection of the body, which the Bible teaches is the restoration to life in glorified form of the same body that died and was buried, is exactly what happened with Jesus (See John 2:19-22 and John 20:19-31). Reincarnation teaches that only the soul survives death. After death, the soul enters another body to begin life over again as a new person, who (usually) has no memory of previous lives.

Not only does the Bible not support reincarnation; it strongly denies the possibility. “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” the writer to the Hebrews says (Hebrews 9:27). In the context of this verse, the point is that Jesus’ work of redemption is as final and certain as the fact of death is for mortal man. Just as people die only once–not multiple times, as in reincarnation–so also Jesus did not have to submit to multiple crucifixions in order to save us. Once was enough.

And that leads us to the most important difference between reincarnation and the Bible’s teaching. In reincarnation, multiple lifetimes are necessary for individuals to finish paying for their own sins. Suffering is explained as a consequence of the accumulated sins of previous lifetimes. Given enough lifetimes, the theory goes, people will eventually finish paying off all their accumulated debt. They will then enter into a purely spiritual existence and won’t have to be incarnated again.

The root of this theory, like the root of most false teaching, is the idea that we have to pay for our own sins by what we do. The Bible rejects this idea completely. Jesus’ suffering and death paid, in full, for all sins committed by all people of all time. That means that the endless series of lifetimes proposed by reincarnation is not only impossible, it’s completely unnecessary.

How can I be sure there is life after death?

The view that there isn’t a life after death is certainly a minority position. People disagree sometimes sharply on what life after death is like, but very few believe that this life is all there is.

Why is that? Perhaps one reason is that a thought like that is too sad to contemplate. The lack of permanence, the brevity of life, the desire for making a lasting impression–all that begs for something more.

Most people have always sensed this, and the Bible tells us why. It says God has “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

God created you with longings that nothing in this life can satisfy. He would be very cruel if he did not provide a life after death.

There is a much better way to approach your question.

Suppose that someone died in full view of people. Suppose he was certified to be truly dead, and that he was buried in a grave. Now suppose that, some days later, the dead man reappeared, obviously alive and well. Then suppose that he talked and ate with the very same people who had known him in life, some of whom had watched him die. Suppose that over 500 people saw this formerly dead man alive, and that these people spread the news of the miracle everywhere. Suppose further that they stuck to their story so stubbornly that some of them were martyred for it.

Your proof is the eyewitness accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).

What happens to us when we die?

What happens to us when we die? What an important question, because we all need and want to know the answer!

Many people attempt to guess at an answer, even people whom many others trust! The guesses are all over the place. Some people think that we will reincarnate as a new life after we die. Others think we continue as a ghost over a favorite spot or maybe as an angel over a favorite friend.

Our eternal God gives the trustworthy answer in the Bible for his believers. He moved one of the authors of the Scriptures to write:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

We no longer have to grieve like everyone else who may still be guessing about what happens to us when we die. The question has been answered for us. By his death, Jesus paid for our sins. By his resurrection, Jesus guarantees that those who believe in him will have life with him after death. We will spend eternity with him in glory!

Now, since we know that those who fall asleep in Jesus will enter life in heaven, we want to dedicate ourselves to reading, studying, and applying God’s Word! We want to make sure that all our loved ones know the truth about God’s love for them in Christ, so that trusting our Savior we don’t have to wonder what will happen to us when we die. We know with confidence that we will be together forever with the Lord in heaven.

What Happens to the Soul before Judgment Day?

“I miss my uncle so much! But I just know that, somehow, he’s with me right now, watching over me.”

Some people find comfort in thoughts such as these after they’ve lost a loved one. Are such thoughts valid? Are the departed still “hovering” near us? What does the Bible say?

Death, the Bible says, is the separation of body and soul. The body returns to the ground to await the resurrection, and “the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

When Christians die, their souls are immediately with the Lord in heaven. Jesus said to the penitent thief who hung on the cross next to his, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). We can comfort a dying believer, as well as ourselves, with the same assurance.

What is life like for those souls who are with Jesus in paradise? The Scriptures say little about this, and we should be careful not to say more than is written in the Bible.

In his story about the rich man and poor Lazarus, Jesus says that Lazarus was comforted at Abraham’s side after he died (Luke 16:25). The apostle Paul stated that he desired “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). We can be similarly confident that those who have died trusting in Jesus “are away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

“God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Are the souls in heaven aware of events on earth? Solomon wrote, “The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).

The souls in heaven are aware that time is passing and that God’s plan of salvation is progressing (Revelation 6:9-11), but that is about all we can say with confidence. They no longer influence the events of earth. Rather than wonder what Christians are doing in heaven, it is more important for us to be Christians now, so we can join those who have gone before us.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).

When Does the Soul Go to Heaven?

It is often fear that lies behind that question.  As if death wasn’t terrifying enough without imagining some state of unrest or unconscious oblivion while we wait and wait and wait for Jesus to return to take us to heaven.  To answer quickly up front, your soul goes to heaven immediately when you die.

Jesus often talked about life going on into eternity.  He didn’t just mean that our loved ones who have died would live on in our memories.  He literally meant they would live on forever.   Look closely at this conversation between Jesus and Martha, the sister of Lazarus who had just died.  “’Your brother will rise again.’  Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die’” (John 11:23-26).  Martha believed that her brother would rise on the last day of the earth’s existence, which the Bible refers to as Judgment Day.  Jesus further comforts her by pointing out that Lazarus would not have to wait that long to experience the joys of eternal life.  “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  Our soul goes to be with Christ immediately when we die.  In that sense, we will never die, even though our body remains here until Judgment Day.

God’s missionary Paul was in constant danger because of his bold confession about Jesus.  He spent a lot of time in court and in prison.  He found comfort in knowing that if he had to die for believing in Jesus, it would be a blessing.  “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).  To “depart” and to “be with Christ” were simultaneous events.  There is no allusion to a long period of time in between.  Ecclesiastes 12:7 speaks the same way.   “And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (or soul) returns to God who gave it.”

The clearest statement comes when Jesus is on the cross next to another dying man.  “Then he (the criminal) said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.  Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43). Jesus puts a time stamp on the soul’s trip to heaven with the word “today.”  When Jesus gave his life on that very day, he paid for every sin and paved the path to heaven for everyone who puts their trust in Him.  When he rose from the dead three days later, he secured the promise he just made to that dying man and to all of us.  Jesus turned death from a curse into a blessing—a blessing that starts the moment we close our eyes for the last time.