In the past six months, many dear friends and family members have gone to Heaven. When this takes place people always have questions like, “What really happens when someone dies?” “What is Heaven like?” “Do people go directly to Heaven or is there a time when the soul sleeps?” In this blog I want to take time to answer some of those questions.
1. What takes place at the moment of death?
I personally believe that God gives what I refer to as dying grace. In the Bible, God promises a peace that passes all understanding and grace for help in time of need and I can’t think of a greater time of need than the point of death for any person. As far as I know, in the scriptures, there are only three people who are recorded to have had spoken at the time of their death. One is in the Old Testament, two are in the New Testament.
The first example is Samson. Samson was a backslidden judge but he got right with God and he faced death with confidence and authority. He actually prayed, “Lord let me die.” He surrendered his spirit to Jehovah God and went to Heaven with confidence. The second example is Stephen. Stephen is the first recorded martyr in the Bible. The book of Acts records this:
“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Here again Stephen, in his final moments saw a glimpse of Heaven, was filled with the Spirit, and forgave those who were putting him to death. Then the Bible says, “he fell asleep.” I believe that Stephen had the confidence that comes with dying grace.”
The third person that spoke at His death was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. At the end of His life when Jesus spoke with confidence and surrendered His Spirit to God the Father, with confidence that His soul would be redeemed. I believe that at the moment of death, God gives us dying grace perhaps a vision of Heaven and the confidence to breathe our last breath committing our spirit to Him.
2. Do people go directly to Heaven?
- Jesus went to Paradise
- Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom
- Stephen saw the Lord in Heaven
- Paul taught that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord
3. What will it be like in Heaven?
I remember, when my dad died, when I was ten years old. I asked my mother, “Will he know who I am in Heaven?” The answer to that question is absolutely. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
The Rich Man knew Abraham and Lazarus on the other side. Stephen knew Jesus. Peter knew Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. After all, we will be the same people just absent from sin.
There will be memory in Heaven. The Rich Man remembered his life, remembered his brothers, and remembered his father. The pleasant memories that you have with those whom you loved here on this earth will be with you when you walk into eternity.
The Bible says there will be joy and pleasure.
Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
There is much to observe and to take pleasure in here on this earth. Imagine all that we are going to enjoy being with the Lord.
This list is in no way exhaustive. Heaven will be a wonderful place where we dwell with God our Father and our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout eternity. It is not a place to dread or a place to fear. It is a place to look forward too. If you have never trusted Christ as your Saviour, I encourage you to do that today because it is the only way to get to Heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
God bless you.
Remember… Seek First the Kingdom!