The main questions that has to be answered by everyone on this earth is what happens to us when we die. There is no greater question you need to resolve than the question of what is beyond this life. Many people spend their lives trying not to think about it but everyday we are faced with this question as we hear stories of people who have died.
Everyone has a thought of what happens to us when we die and some are even taught that nothing happens to us we just turn back into molecules and exist forever in the circle of life. I believe we are a special creation created by God and we are designed to live forever. The people of Jesus day were not questioning if we would live forever but what kind of life it would be.
Although there may be differences of belief almost every culture believed in Life after death and that we go somewhere.
“The early Egyptians reveal this belief in their care of the dead; the Babylonians in their dread of it as a sad and doleful existence. Socrates held that life continued after death; the American Indians looked for a future hunting ground. Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism all hold that man continues to exist after death. “ (Lectures in Systematic Theology , Henry Clarence Thiessen Pg 380)
Where does this universal belief in the afterlife come from?
Although Atheist are doing their best to squelch any thought of the afterlife there is no doubt that the majority of people believe we go somewhere when we die. Even Atheist are looking for comfort when we pass from here because they say our molecules will float around the universe forever. So whether it is reincarnation, becoming guardian angels, looking down on us from high or Heaven or Hell, many people have thoughts about the afterlife.
I believe they have these questions because God put it on every human being He created.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
God stamped on each one of us a desire to know that there is something beyond this life and you have to deny that sense inside yourself in order to say we are not existent at the end of our lives.
So the question that many people have about the afterlife Jesus answered in this passage of scripture. But according to Ecclesiastes we realize God has made it where we cannot have all the answers. Not knowing fully is what has kept some people from believing in the afterlife. They believe that if you cannot know fully then you cannot really know. Of course we all live our lives everyday not fully knowing the answers to the things we participate in but that does not keep us from participating. A simple example is we do not know who make bridges and many of us do not know how they are made. To say you will not cross a bridge over water because you do not have all the facts is ridicoulous. You take what you do know, bridges get you across the water or cliff, and you take a calculated risk which is you drive or walk across it.
The Afterlife is the same thing. You do not have all the answers but you do know that a Historical figure named Jesus Christ came down to earth, claimed to be God Himself, Died on the cross and rose again which was seen by many witnesses. Yes we do not have all the fact of how Christ takes us from this life to the next but we trust what we do know and trust Him for what we do not.
If you are going to be a follower of Christ then you have to know what He says about the afterlife and the questions some may have about it. We not only owe this to ourselves to know but to also help others in the main question they have to answer before they die which is; Where do we go when we die?
Remember these religious groups hated each other but they hated Jesus more. The question the Sadducees asked could have been one they asked other people before in order to stump them with their belief that the resurrection is something dumb to believe in because if there was a resurrection then it would be chaos in Heaven with who was married to who.
You were obligated by Mosaic law to take care of your brothers spouse if he died with no children. What they were really saying if people followed the law then they would be committing polygamy in Heaven. They were trying to trap Jesus, discredit Him as a teacher and they were also trying to show how dumb it was to believe in the afterlife.
Like many Atheist do today they come up with weird scenarios for what we fully do not understand.
“You are deceived”
Deceive means to lead oneself off course or stray from the truth
Please do not miss this rebuke from Jesus because I think Jesus would rebuke many of us the same way. Many Christians are not being deceived but they are deceiving themselves when they believe false teachings.
“You do not know the scriptures”
Remember these religious leaders prided themselves on knowing the scriptures and so this rebuke would have been a slap in their face.
Many in our culture and in our churches do the same thing when they twist the word of God to make it say what they want it to say and it comes from them not knowing what the word of God says even though they think they do.
“You do not know the Power of God”
What the religious leaders were saying indirectly is that this was a problem that was too big for God to even handle. They were saying that God could not raise someone from the dead. We have a tendency to not trust in the power of God.
Although we may believe God has the power to raise us from the dead do we believe He has the power to handle our daily lives?
“In the resurrection neither will men marry nor will women be given in marriage.”
Heaven is not going to be like earth and there will not be marriage relationships as we have right now. The relationships we will have with God and each other are beyond our imagination and knowledge but they we will be perfect unions with our creator and each other.
For some they are saddened thinking they will not be with their spouse for eternity and for others they are glad. Again, the focus in Heaven will be God Himself and we will not only have perfect union with Him but also with each other. So in other words, our union with each other will go beyond even the greatest marriage on earth.
“But they will be like the angels in heaven”
This has to be read in context because we do not believe that people become angels when they die. Angels were a separate creation of Gods for a different purpose and function.
This statement is talking about marriage and reproduction not anything else because the focus of the passage is on marriage. This is one reason you have to read the Bible in context and be careful taking one verse and applying it because you may be using it out of context.
“Now concerning the raising of the dead (resurrection) have you not read? “
Exodus 3:6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Jesus quotes scripture from the Law of Moses because the Sadducees believed that the books of Moses were the main source of knowledge of God and the rest was just commentary about the books of Moses.
The way that Exodus 3:6 is written shows that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive. So the point is that they are alive in Heaven.
“He is not the God of the dead but of the living”
The Sadducees were the ones who were stumped and they have no reply. Jesus used their source of teaching on themselves and showed them that we will live beyond this earth. God created us for eternity and we will live with Him or away from Him depending on if we accepted what Jesus Christ did on the cross for our sins. (John 14:6)
1) Christianity is based on there being a resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:12-17 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
We are wasting our time if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. But because Jesus rose from the dead we know that God has the power over death. Jesus Christ not only laid down His life but He had the power to take it up again. (John 10:17) Jesus laid down His life and took it up again so that we could be in a right relationship with God. So if you do not accept what Jesus Christ did on the cross then you will not enjoy eternity with God.
2) Everyone has to answer the question of where do we go when we die and how do we get there.
John 3:16-20 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Everyone has to do something with Jesus Christ. Have you personally answered the question of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done? Do you believe He was just a good role model? Do you believe He is one of the ways to God? Jesus made it clear that He was the only way to God (John 14:6) and it was by His death and resurrection from the dead that we can be with God for eternity.
3) We do not have to dread death
Psalm 16:9-10 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[a] rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
Sheol is interpreted 31 times as Grave and 31 times as Hell so you have to read the verse in Context. We as Christians will not remain in the grave but be brought to Him. This does not mean that those who die apart from Christ will eventually be let free from the place the Bible calls Hell. This verse is a promise for those who have believed that what Jesus did on earth was pay for our sins. This means that if you think you are good enough then you will never be able to get into Heaven. It is not by our works but the works of Christ. It is a free gift offered to us because He chose to love us. (John 3:16-17)
4) We should enjoy our lives
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Everything we have on this planet is a gift from God including our work. We will give an account one day to how we did with the things that God has given us but knowing this life is short we need to enjoy it as we continue through it. Yes there is heart ache and pain but it is temporary compared to the awesomeness of knowing one day we will be with Him if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We can rejoice that this life is not in vain and the purposes of God are bigger than we will know this side of Heaven.
Yes there will always be people who question whether or not there really is an afterlife but as Christians we have a hope that is not based on just wishful thinking but in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Our Hope is based on the fact that Jesus Christ did not just die for our sins but He rose again and was taken up to Heaven in from of many witnesses.
John 11:25-26 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”