Death is a dreaded phenomenon—the understanding of which is complicated by mythical cultures practiced without verification. Suicidal occurrences confirm knowledge deficiency among those involved. The Bible provides answers, but without valuing the authenticity of the Bible, confusion remains. Here is a simplified analysis, for those desiring knowledge, than relying on speculation. We will start by dealing with frequently asked questions on this topic:
Question 1. We hear that a person who believes in Jesus goes to heaven, after death. But why did God resurrect Lazarus—taking him out of his blissful life in Heaven? (John 11:1-27).
Answer: Lazarus was not in Heaven after his death at that time. Nevertheless, even after having been physically resurrected, Lazarus eventually died and his physical body remains dead, up this far (Revelation 20:4). There is no record showing that the resurrection of Lazarus was for eternity. When announcing the death of Lazarus, Jesus said Lazarus had fallen asleep (John 11:11-16). A person having fallen asleep cannot be conscious of what happens around him.
The only person known to have been resurrected for eternity, after death is Jesus. The rest, dying after becoming Christians, are like people having fallen asleep. Their physical bodies remain dead, wherever they are buried, waiting for future resurrection to take place at Christ’s second-coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Resurrecting Lazarus from death was one of the miracles, designed to help unbelievers to appreciate that Jesus was the Christ.
Question 2. Jesus told one of the two thieves on the cross, that on that same day, the thief would be with Jesus in Paradise. Is it true that the thief was taken to Heaven, immediately after his death on that same day? (Luke 23:43).
Answer: The spirit of Jesus, together with the spirit of that thief were to be preserved in Paradise, on that same day. At the point of His death Jesus declared: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46. While the body of Jesus was to be laid into His grave, His Spirit had already been committed to His Father in Heaven. This is basically what happens to every Christian, including the referred thief on the cross. Their spirits are preserved in Heaven, waiting for the promised resurrection at Christ’s second-coming.
But the thief would not be conscious of his existence, until after his resurrection. Like all believers, the thief will become conscious of the referred Paradise, after his resurrection at the second-coming of Christ. Jesus could also not have been conscious of that Paradise on that same day, as His body was in the grave for three days and three nights. As has been shown, His Spirit was in Heaven.
The body of a human being is not the actual being, who is spirit. But the functionality of a human spirit needs the physical body, to effectively operate. At their death, both the spirits of the thief and Jesus were committed to God in Heaven. But the thief awaits resurrection, to be conscious of that Paradise. Jesus was later resurrected after three days and three nights and was observed by His disciples and others (Matthew 12:40).
Currently, Jesus is the only known individual who is conscious of what goes on in Paradise. Though physical, His body has changed from terrestrial to celestial, at His resurrection. Like Lazarus, the referred thief escaped the damnable consequences of dying without Christ. Though currently not yet conscious of the referred Paradise. (Revelation 20:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 & 1 Corinthians 15).
Question 3. What about the story of Lazarus and rich man? Lazarus was taken to the side of Abraham after death, while the rich man was immediately associated with tormenting in Hades. What does all this mean to Christians? (Luke 16:19-30).
Answer: Once again, both men died. While Lazarus’ physical body perished in the grave—his real being—the spirit, was taken to Abraham’s side, where all the saints are preserved. Like all deceased Christians, Lazarus will be resurrected at the last trump when all the Saints get resurrected at Christ’s second-coming (Revelation 20:4). Lazarus is currently not conscious of what goes on in this life, as in state of unconsciousness in sleep.
The death of Lazarus is different from that of the rich man, as Lazarus would have escaped death, which intrinsically, means separation from God (Genesis 2:16-17). Lazarus would have been redeemed, to qualify to be on the side of Abraham. The rich man finds himself tormenting in hell, also typified in physical life. He experiences torment at his point of being resurrected in physical condition. This takes place after one thousand years of Christ’s reign (Revelation 20:11-12).
Having physically died, the rich man is not consciously aware of what happens to his spirit after death, as life makes sense to humanity, only when associated with physical nature. His conscious awareness of himself is only when in physical body (Revelation 20:5).
He may continue in the state of being unconscious, until after one thousand years of Christ’s rule, as long as not associated with the physical body. “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The interesting question ought to be what happens to the spirit of an unbeliever, as not typical of what happens to Christians? This is what this article covers in detail.
In his restored physical condition, after resurrection, the rich man is observed as tormenting in physical state of poverty, and desiring physical necessities. He would then not be identified with the wealth that he had accumulated up to the point of his death. He is not even conscious of how long it has been since the point of his dying. This will be the time that he observes Lazarus in the comfort of Paradise, as opposed to his own torment in physical condition.
This was a parable, not revealing the exact period of existence of the two men, before their death. Except that they recognize each other at point of resurrection. For the rich man, that resurrection takes place after one thousand years of Christ’s reign (Revelation 20:5). But as long as not connected with physical body, the rich man’s spirit is not conscious of what happens around him.
Question 4. Does a person experience rest, in dying?
Answer: The only person who experiences rest in dying is the one who dies after having received Christ. This is why Jesus says: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) (ESV). A human being is spirit, which does not necessarily perish at the demise of a physical body, as insinuated by Jesus: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” Mark 9:43-44) (KJV).
The fire being referred to here is not necessarily the sulphuric fire denoting what takes place on the judgement day. This is referring to the suffering and torment that an individual experiences due to living an unGodly life. That life is associated with all the anguish that takes place, as experienced in this sinful world. Most people currently living in this world, have experienced it, one way or the other.
Jesus is talking about the spirit of a person who dies in sin. That person’s flesh would perish at death, but the spirit, identifying the actual being, lives on, as waiting for the final judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). For instance, a person who commits suicide, assuming to end his/her misery, is mistaken. The person remains in misery, until able to confront and overcome the cause of misery. This is by means of taking advantage of being alive in physical flesh.
We have to first appreciate what death is and what death is not. Death is the cessation of life, as consciously appreciated by physical humanity. In other words, death is the opposite of life, as consciously understood by those still living. However, Death was first described by God at the Garden of Eden, the context of which is described in cutting off humanity’s relationship with God.
Man was created in God’s image. Basically, this means that, as it is impossible for God to die, the Man, created in God’s image has the attributes of eternal life. (Genesis 1:26-27). But the story of Man is known today, through the formation of Adam—sustained by flesh and blood (Genesis 2:7).
Adam, is projected as being the opposite of that which was created in God’s image. This is as Adam represented all humanity—expected to pass a simple test, before qualifying to be in Godly image. It is well-known as recorded in Chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, that Adam failed the test. That means Adam represented humanity, in failing the test, which had been given as follows:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17) (ESV).
In Genesis 3 it is narrated that through his wife, Eve, Adam failed the legendary test of entering into eternal life. The man, Adam, as formed of the dust of the soil, had not yet been in God’s image. Adam’s formation in dust of the soil produced a temporary existence. This was designed for him to eventually pass or fail the test that would qualify or disqualify him from being in God’s Kingdom.
We have to first appreciate that in Adam’s loins, were the entire humanity. In other words, the failure of Adam meant that the entire humanity had failed the test. From then onward, no human being would ever qualify to be in God’s Kingdom. People would be born to temporarily survive, only to die and be forgotten about. This is as clearly described in the Book of Job:
“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not” (Job 14:1-2) (ESV).
What Job says is obvious, as we all know it to be true. This is as having lost our loved ones through death, which comes at an unexpected time. There is no enemy of humanity that surpasses death, which continues to torment humanity, even as I write. Solomon puts it aptly in the Book of Ecclesiastes. A dead person has got no share in what happens with those still living:
“It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath……But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:2-6) (ESV).
If humanity were to meditatively analyse these Scriptures, not a single one would ever adopt pride as something to be cherished, in this life. This is notwithstanding having accomplished anything of note, in this world. This includes having become Head of State or Government. Job says we are like a flower that is here today, but withers, as to no longer exist, afterwards.
We have to particularly take not of the emphasis: “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.” This show another approach that enables a person to appreciate the insignificance of vanity.
Death is the opposite of life. When alive we are conscious of what could happen to us, including knowing that we will die. But, after death, we are back to the point at which we were in before being born into this world. However, the consciousness of an individual is sustained in physical nature. But the actual individual is not the physical person, who is spirit.
When a person complains of his/her body being painful, he/she says this, as actual owner of the painful body. That owner of the painful body is not physical, as to be identified with the body. The body of a deceased person belongs to a person, no longer dwelling in that physical body.
The privilege of being in the physical body, enables one to be conscious of being alive—thereby being able to make negative or positive decisions. Negative decisions imply obsession with anti-survival activities, while positive decisions imply preoccupation with issues of survival value. See [Freedom is of the mind]
The life of a human being is sustained in Godly image, which is spiritual. The test of Adam meant that his failure to pass the test, separated him from the source of living—implying cessation of existence. This is just as after uprooting a plant from the soil—being the source of its life—the plant withers.
The source of humanity is not necessarily the soil, but God, who created humanity in His own image. Humanity is spiritual, just as God, in whose image humans were created is Spiritual. Without God, a person is as good as dead.
The death of humanity took effect after Adam had eaten the forbidden tree—having violated the command, previously given to him. In other words, humanity died at the very point of Adam’s partaking of the forbidden tree, as the Lord had decreed:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17) (ESV).
After the couple had eaten the forbidden tree, the discourse continues in Genesis 3:8-24. Adam, was to languish towards his demise, after having taken a forbidden tree—confirming the reality of his death. From then on, humanity endures the curse of hard labour, leading to eventual demise, but with a perfect promise. See [The Seventh Day Sabbath is a sign of God’s Kingdom].
Both Adam and Eve are dead—unable to know anything that we know today. However, the demise of Adam did not mean the end of Adam, spiritually. While the body dies; the spirit—previously encased in that physical body, lives on—as describing the essence of human life. But that spirit remains inadequate and useless, without the physical body.
Adam and Eve ended their relationship with God after having eaten the wrong fruit. While their bodies decayed in their graves, their spirit, describing their real being, could not find sanctuary. Their spirits remained in what is described as hell or perdition. Without the physical body, the spirit survives in very uncomfortable conditions, as also unable to connect with the Creator.
Such spirits are known to interfere in the lives of their physical offspring, when communicating through what is known as ancestral worship. The deceased ancestors incarnate with the living—utilizing bodies as spirits—known as masvikiro in Shona or amadhlozi in Sindebele.
This is because a spirit cannot operate without a physical body. The ancestral spirit of a deceased person can enter into another living person’s body. Thereby finding refuge to then communicate and advance what the deceased person failed to accomplish during his/her life-time. But all this depends on the willingness of the living person; whether to accept the incarnation of that ancestral spirit, or not.
The problem of humanity is that death is unpredictable. Surprisingly, it appears as if humanity fails to appreciate the reality of death, even though having witnessed their loved ones passing on? Death is a dreaded phenomenon, but there is nothing new about it, as the preacher puts it plainly:
“It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice” (Ecclesiastes 9:2a).
As people living today, we all know that we are going to die, at some point. But we do not know exactly when each of us succumbs to death. I suppose the only privileged people—knowing when they would die—are those having been sentenced to hang. But, even then, the unforeseen events could change that.
The testimony of President Mnangagwa is that he miraculously escaped from being hanged for political activism, as a juvenile. I suppose, as he waited in cells, he had assumed that his life would not last long—following the pronouncement of his death sentence.
Jesus was also privileged to know His day of death and burial, including His resurrection (Matthew 12:38-40). But for ordinary humanity, knowing or not knowing the specific day of death is immaterial, as the effects of death are the same. You may die after an accident, or die peacefully.
You may also die after a very long illness, as being aware of the imminence of your death. There are many people who die anticipating—taking time to communicate with their loved ones for the last time. Yet others die still expecting the best of their goals and objectives.
But the common denominator is that once dead, you cannot do things that you would have intended to accomplish in your life-time. Without connecting with one’s Creator, that person is in hell. Whether incarnating in other people’s lives, or being recycled into another birth, one would still be in hell. But, as long as unbelieving that Jesus is the Christ, a person is as good as dead.
Through Scientology auditing—using Electromagnetic meter reading—people dying without Christ, may get recycled in physical life through conception with different parents. The young children we see, may have actually been adults before—having lived their lives over and over again, through different parents.
That person occupies another physical body through another conception, with different parents. In other words, the spirits of unbelievers continue to live on, in being recycled in physical existence, through repeated births, over and over again. The spirit of an ordinary person is different from that of a true Christian. Redemption refers to obtaining rest, as to no longer experience the misery of death, in this life, anymore (John 8:51).
Let me hasten to mention that Scientology does not necessarily teach anything about the Bible. But it provides the study technology—designed to help any person engaged in any field of study to understand the subject fully. Through that study technology, a Bible student can discover Biblical truths without necessarily being influenced by contaminated educational systems of this world.
One could acquire expertise in deducing truth from falsehood, without influence from other sources. But what is fascinating about own discovery of knowledge, is becoming convinced and confident of what one knows to be truthful. Like Jesus, the person stands up, with conviction, for what he/she understands.
That knowledge is different from what is sustained in world’s educational systems. In this world a person is awarded a degree, having produced a dissertation that includes mentioning other renowned Scholars—even those of yesteryear. Though certified, with pomp and fanfare, such people lack conviction in what they claim to understand—as based on other people’s discoveries.
Having not experienced life in Jesus, the unbeliever continues with the cycle of experiencing life in hell. Whether in perdition, or in current physical flesh—the unbeliever faces different challenges each time. That person lives for what the preacher described as vanity, in this world (Ecclesiastes 2:18-26).
A person dying today, without Christ, may be physically conceived—entering into another different genealogical experience. This includes being born in different continents—but still experiencing misery—as associated with living without God. The spirit of that person may become dejected, without physical body, but still susceptible to misery even when encased in physical body.
It is possible for a child to adopt any parental genes. But that child would be a totally different individual—as compared with his/her adopted genealogical parents. It is possible for a child to adopt the trade, profession or interests, of the newly adopted genealogical parents—but being different, nevertheless.
The adoption of such trade or profession would just be coincidental. According to the Scientology Electromagnetic meter reading, the person may adopt the habits of either of the new parents as engrams. An engram is an adopted behavioural pattern that is influenced by other factors like previous painful experiences in a person’s life-time. But the person remains without consciously knowing why such abnormal behaviours identify with his/her character.
The spiritual identity of that individual would be different from the adopted behaviour of the genealogical parents. The lives of those parents may also be artificially practiced according to their previously adopted engrams. This describes the misery of humanity in physical nature.
In other words, I may have lived my physical life as a white man in my previous life. Only to acquire a different race, at my next genealogical conception. That means becoming identified as black African or Asian.
This revelation implies that a newly born child is not, necessarily, appearing on earth, for the first time. The child portrays a person having previously lived in different physical lives, as many times as can be imagined, since creation.
The person would, obviously, not remember what would have happened in his previous lives, due to forgetting mechanism, inherent with humanity. The person assumes having come on earth for the very first time, at birth. But not being aware of having lived other lives elsewhere, before current birth.
As long as not having learnt the futility of putting value in physical flesh, the person continues toiling, and suffering in this world, over and over again. The problem with that person is inability to know God and being God’s Child.
The person, may assume having previously enjoyed life—as having been born by rich parents, for instance. But, as long as dying without knowing God, chances are that the person may next be born in poorest of families in Africa, for instance. Life in physical nature, is hell. The problem would still be in lacking truth about his/her actual personal identity.
The most important datum is that the real person—dying and being conceived over and over again, through multiple genealogies, is not physical. That person would have just borrowed the genes of his/her new parents, through conception. But the person remains to be the spirit, whose origin is from God.
The person may unconsciously behave as one influenced by the circumstance of his/her previous life, even though identified with new parents. This is why at times good parents may produce bad children—while bad parents may produce good children. The person may have previously been female, but being male, through new conception.
This explains the homosexual phenomenon that has baffled humanity. A person having been female in previous life becomes confused, when wearing a male body in the next life. Hence the tendency for feminine behaviour when a person would be known as being male, or vice versa.
Physically, we are of our fathers who raised us up and did everything to support us, including sending us to school. But spiritually, we are alienated to those physical parents, though being unaware of that reality.
Those obsessed with Law-keeping in Christianity, are known for dogmatism in marginalising the homosexual people. But that is out of ignorance of the background in the life of an individual being negatively evaluated. People condemn other fellow humans, supposing that they would be servants of God, yet the opposite would be true. This is also why the Preacher declared:
“It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2) (ESV).
Jesus instructed His disciples not to judge anyone (Matthew 7:1-4) or to call anyone on earth their father (Matthew 23:9). The only Father of humanity is God, who is spiritually cognizant of each individual—not necessarily only by race or physical structure, but spiritually.
The individual may not know God, but God knows that individual, even in his lost and confused condition. A truly converted person can never condemn anyone, but empathises with those still in sin. As enlightened, that person fully appreciates the predicaments of those languishing in sin.
A free person is equipped with empathetic abilities. This is why the disciples were murdered, without seeking revenge, against those murderers. Those murderers did not understand the disciples, but the disciples understood them, from the disciples’ vantage point of freedom.
When pronouncing a curse on Adam, God declared: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19) (ESV).
Some women hold bad feelings for being born female, when they may have preferred to be male, or vice versa. But throughout the period of a person’s time track, the person would have lived either sexes, as many times as can be imagined. It is unnecessary to boast about being male, or female.
The person created in God’s image is not identified by sex, necessarily. That person is spirit, just as God, in whose image the person was created is Spirit. Interestingly, when a person says: “My body is painful,” that shows awareness of actual identity—as conscious of not being represented in painful physical body.
To escape from hell in physical nature, a person needs to identify with his/her creator. This has become possible through the services of Jesus Christ. This life ceases to be adorable, to those having obtained true identity in Christ—except when desiring to salvage others from their sinful predicaments. Such redeemed people are not scared of death anymore.
The redeemed are like the Preacher, who realised that all was vanity, except fearing God and doing all His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, it has become possible for humanity to reconnect with their Creator. What makes this possible is moving out of falsehood, but embracing truth from the actual source at all times (John 8:31-32).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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