Friday, May 10, 2019

Is There... Life After Death? Part III

by Michael C. Garrett

This is a very important series. It asks fundamental question’s which all people yearn to know – Why am I alive? Why do I exist? Where am I going? What is my future? And if I die, will I live again? That’s at the heart of just about everybody on the face of the earth who’s ever become old enough to have some deeper mature thoughts.

On February 6th, down in Red Bay, Alabama, a horrible thing happened. A young man seventeen years of age, Bradley Wilemon, tragically died in a car wreck. We know of Bradley, and we know Guy LaMar, and his son Sam is married to Bradley’s sister. And so there is a little bit of a connection – I had never met Bradley, I wish I had. He just seemed like a wonderful young man, of what I could observe and what I could read about him. And I wanted to do a series on the topic – asking the question – Is there life after death?

And we began by talking about – you somewhere have to wrestle with the question Is there a God or is there not a God. Now, if in your heart you’re like Oh – Aron Ra – and you want to someday become the president of the Atheist Alliance of America, if you don’t believe there is a God, then don’t worry about it. But if you do actually in your heart somewhere believe that there is a God, and if you somewhere in your heart actually do believe that the Word of God – the Bible – is God’s Instruction Book to mankind, if you believe that then it’s incumbent upon all of us to ask the question – What does that Book say!? And, it has a lot to say. We talked about proofs of God’s existence. And the greatest proof of all I said, number 7 on my list – Miracles. Wonderful miracles performed by Jesus Christ and different servant’s of God in the past. And, we’ve been talking about the end-time prophets, where even greater miracles will be done in the future. And, some of those miracles that Jesus performed was – a man with a withered hand was restored back to life and normalcy. People who were blind or deaf had their functions restored. But the greatest miracle, is when you take human life which is dead, and you restore it back to life! And the last time we were here in this series I went through quite a few incidents where in the Bible it describes how people who were at one time DEAD – human beings – were restored back to human life! And to me those were very inspiring stories.

Well, today I would like to continue this thought process. By saying, that the majority of all religions teach some version of life after death. And the so-called Christian churches of the Western world teach that upon death – and this is most of the churches; there may be a few variations, but by enlarge the majority – a persons so called “soul” (whatever that is) either goes up to Heaven to be in “heavenly bliss” as they say, or it plummets to the depths of Hell – burning Hell to be tortured and writhing and suffering for all eternity.

Now it’s interesting – the Catholics and the Mormons have a third little wrinkle. The Catholics call it Purgatory. And I believe the Mormons call it something like terrestrial state – Terrestrial Kingdom, Degrees of glory. But they’re very similar – like if you’re bad, but not really bad you go to this Purgatory. And theoretically, as the Catholics say, you eventually over many years or centuries you work your way out of Purgatory back into the good graces of God. It’s a pretty far out theory, as far as I’m concerned. But they believe it. But as I said, “I don’t.” And I’m not responsible for rationalizing or making you believe, “Well, it’s alright if they believe that.” No, if they want to believe it, they want to believe it. But I don’t.

And, this idea of a “soul.” What is a soul? I must tell you of all the years that I’ve been around this earth - sixty-nine years now, and counting – I have NEVER heard anybody explain what a soul was supposed to be! “It’s sort of the person, but it isn’t the person. It’s sort of their thoughts and their personalities, but they don’t have a body anymore, so they’re some type of spirit.” And yet, the people who teach of an eternal hell fire…. this is a problem. If this thing which you call a “soul” truly exists, if it were to be true, it has to be spirit in nature, and spirit would not be effected by fire or heat. So, all of those stories that you people have taught over the centuries about “writhing in hell fire,” couldn’t be true. It would be more like having a vacation at the equator. I’m just saying, those people haven’t thought it through. So, a spirit would not be burned by fire, a spirit would not be writhing in pain. But these are things people just don’t think through.

Here a few months ago, Don’s youngest son, Benjamin, was back in town and the three of us ended up out at O’Charley’s. Don wanted to eat there, and Don’s daughter works there. Now Benjamin was a student at a Baptist institution. And, Benjamin did tell us, his goal in life was to become a singer. To become part of a singing group, and we wish him all the best luck in the world and good fortune. But somewhere in the process of that meal I Just made the comment – and I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again and I’m going to say it now – if I actually believed that God the Father and Jesus Christ had a plan where if you were a bad person (whatever definition that entails) upon your death they would torture you for all eternity, writhing in pain, in “hell fire,” if I actually believed that such a God existed – I could not love Them. Oh I might fear Them, but I wouldn’t love Them. And, Benjamin was shocked when he heard that. He said, “You wouldn’t love God!?” “Not if They were going around torturing people for all eternity,” I stated. And I’ve often likened it to someone like me who loves my kitty cat’s. And there’s people who love their puppy dog’s, or other pet’s. I mean, we, as Americans, we love our pet’s – I think a lot of the time we love our pet’s more than we love people. It would be like some pet owner taking his beautiful little pet into the backyard and roasting it alive. Because maybe it had peed on the floor or something. Just horrible! But that’s what some of you religious people have ascribed to God the Father, the same type of venomous hatred.

Well, turn to Ezekiel 18:4 – now, for all of you out there reading this, Protestants, Catholics, that embrace this idea of having a “soul,” and it’s either gonna go off to Heaven or it’s gonna go down into the pits of Hell upon human death, allow your eyes to see, to read, and attempt to wrap your mind around this. But here is what the Bible says. The last part of the verse – “…The soul who sins shall die.” Now, you religious people, you use the term “soul” because you’ve heard your religious leader’s use the word “soul” – and theoretically and hypothetically they have garnered the word “soul” from the Bible. So you think that the word “soul” means some type of existence other than your physical body. But the Bible says, “The soul who sins shall die.” And over in verse 20 it says the very same thing.

[Don speaks up and says, “Mike, in the Jewish Bible, it’s translated as “person.” It’s always translated as a person].

Don’s going into alternate translation’s here on me, folks. Well, we’ll get to his concept here in a moment. Verse 20 – “The soul who sins shall die.” Now, in truth, the Bible refers to many living things as being a soul. That’s all the word “soul” means. It means a breathing, living creature. And so in the Bible birds are soul’s, kitty cats are soul’s, and cows are soul’s, and so on and so forth. And so there is no meaning from the Bible of these sort of disembodied – resemblances of our previous life – it’s a very strange concept. Like I’ve said, I’ve really never heard anybody even attempt to explain it. And I think they don’t attempt to explain it because it’s unexplainable, because it’s not explainable. Again, as I said, in the Old Testament Hebrew, the word “soul” simply means a living breathing creature. And, I’m gonna make this statement – UNLESS God the Father and Jesus Christ directly intervene there is no life after death. There is no such thing as an “immortal soul.” And, you have to ask the question – where did the idea of an “immortal soul” come from?

If you would, turn to Genesis 3, and we’ll get insight into where this whole idea began. But before I go there – several years ago I was asked by a friend and a colleague, to travel down to Arkansas to speak at a funeral. And the man was a long time member of the Church of God, and his wife had died, and he wanted me – he instructed me the night before the funeral at the funeral home at the wake, the visitation – he told me, “I want you to tell these people the truth of God! I want them to know that there is no “immortal soul.” He said, “I do not want my wife’s death to be in vain.” And so I got up during the funeral and did as he asked. And there was a man down in the middle, and his eyes burned with hatred for me. And I actually thought he was not far away from leaping up on the stage and trying to do me bodily harm. But, I found out later that this man, a few months before, had a son to die. Maybe eight or nine years old, very tender age, a beautiful young child. And for some horrible reason – a disease or an accident; I don’t remember the details – but this young boy died. And this father had comforted himself all this time by knowing that his little baby boy was up in Heaven. And then to have me stand up on stage and to say something like, “UNLESS Jesus Christ and God the Father directly intervenes there is no life after death,” no such thing as an “immortal soul.” And the whole concept of an “immortal soul” began way back at the garden of Eden with our enemy Satan the devil in chapter 3, verse 4. Verse 1 – “Now the serpent was more cunning than [all the other creatures that were existing at the time] which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman [to Eve], ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’” – now, he knew very well that God has said this to Eve. Verse 2 – “And the woman said to the serpent [Satan the devil], ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, …’” – however, Verse 3 – “’but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” – and that is what God had said to Eve. Verse 4 – “Then the serpent said to the woman, …” – here’s the beginning, the origin, of the doctrine, and of the idea, of the philosophy that we have an “immortal soul.” “…’You will not surely die.’” – the serpent said to the woman. Verse 5 – “’For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing [or rather determining for yourself what is good and what is evil].’” – and indeed, mankind has. Mankind as a whole has taken on the idea that he knows more than God. That he can determine what is good and what is bad. But the origin of the idea began with Satan the devil. And, Satan the devil has inspired most of the religions of this world to believe that they have an immortal soul. Now, they teach it in different ways, but it all revolves around the same idea.

Back in December of 2014, my Father died. And I was the one who was to speak at his funeral. And the night before we had the visitation, and my great-niece – a very nice young lady; she’s in high-school - she’s bright, interested in things, and athletic, and has a very nice, warm, loving personality. But her mother has no interest in religion, and thereby this young girl has not grown up in a religious home. But, she has soaked up the culture around her. And I was sitting down for a few moments, and she sat down next to me and she says, “Uncle Michael, isn’t it so wonderful that grand-daddy and grandmother are back together in Heaven?” Again, she’s not even religious. She hasn’t been trained to be religious. They – like weed’s growing up in the garden basically – when it comes to religion. But still, she had gleaned this little “truth” - that grand-daddy and grand-mother is finally back together. Because Dad lost his wife about eight-years before. And he missed her badly.

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Until the day he died I think he missed her. And I didn’t know what to say to the young girl. I just held my peace. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. And I’m sure she was expecting me to go, “Oh yes! Their together in Heaven holding hands right now! Their walking down the great golden highway! Blah, blah, blah!” But I knew that my Mother was in her grave up in Patoka, Indiana. And I also knew that my Father, in just a little more than a day, would be up in the same location in his casket. And they will remain in their caskets until some future date. Because, you see, though a person dies, God the Father and Jesus Christ can bring them back to life! And what this series is about is describing that some people will be brought back to physical life and some people will be brought back to spiritual life. That it doesn’t work the same way for all people. There are different periods of time. And that’s what we’re going to explore in this series entitled Life After Death?

So, we appreciate you being with us. We ask that you pass this knowledge onto other people. Tell them about our website – If you can, put it on your Facebook or other social media. Try to spread the Word – that’s the best advertising we have. I hope that you will read, watch, look, read in your Bible, check up on me. Make sure that I am conveying to you the meaning of the Word’s which are actually in the Bible. And I thank you so much for being with us. We love all of you and our prayers go out for you. I know for some of you – if you were to adopt these ideas which we present, it might develop a crisis for you. Because you may have a family, or parents, or a spouse, brother’s and sister’s, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, who are very much offended by these ideas. Most people are very provincial when it comes to their religion. And they will not tolerate somebody deviating from their religion. And so the Jones’ over there they can be another religion, you won’t care. But how dare you, who are in my family, stray away from the family religion. Well, it comes down to a question – Are you going to believe God, or are you going to believe your family myth’s? Are you going to follow God and Jesus Christ, or are you going to follow your family? Are you going to believe in the Bible or are you going to believe in what your family believes? Assuredly, every one of you will stand – individually – before Jesus Christ! And it won’t get you anything when you say, “Well, I’m a such-and-such because my family was.” And what happens on that day when Jesus Christ says to you, “Do you remember seeing those articles and videos from Owensboro, Kentucky!? I was trying to talk to you! I was trying to reach you with a Message, and you closed your mind and you walked away.” You had a chance to have eternal life upon the Return of Jesus Christ! You could’ve been one of those very few and special saints mentioned in the Bible. Well, don’t miss out on that opportunity my friends. Read, study, research, read the articles, watch the videos, look the information up, read the Scriptures, and find out whether or not I’m speaking the truth. And if I am not then don’t worry about it – go out and play your golf, or do whatever you want to do. But if I am speaking the truth of God – please listen, learn, have that knowledge transform your life and be loyal to God the Father and Jesus Christ and not just a collection of human beings. As for me – remember one of the great patriots, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Well, as for me – Give me the truth of God and if my family doesn’t like me – so what. I can live without them, but I cannot live without Jesus Christ.

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