Friday, June 7, 2024

What Happens After Death? (Sermon)

Leonard V. Johnson    About

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GREETINGS Brethren and Friends in Louisville, Tennessee; Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; our brethren and friends in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Owensboro, Kentucky, and in Indiana! Welcome! Welcome once again to the taping of the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, here in Spring Hill, Florida. I’m Leonard V. Johnson, and it’s a great pleasure and an honor to be here with you on this beautiful day! If you’re watching this on God’s holy Sabbath day – Happy Sabbath to Everyone!

Death – it’s inescapable. Whether we live out our natural life span, or whether our life is cut short by a tragic accident, an incident, or a disease – this physical life will come to an end.

And then what?

And it’s that “then what” that I would like to speak about today.

What Happens After Death?

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon – the wisest man of his time; under the divine inspiration of the LORD God, the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote in Chapter 3 – “To everything there is a season, A Time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; …”

You might also recognize this from the rock group from the ‘60s – The Byrds – “To Everything There Is a Season.” The lyrics are taken almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

But, from the very moment of our birth, our physical life is limited. Do you know why this is?

Well, human cells die, basically, because of Apoptosis. 
The process of programmed cell death. Very little was known about the mechanism until Doctor Robert Horvitz in 1968, along with other researchers identified and described the process of programmed cell death.

Doctor Horvitz identified specific genes that trigger cell death in the cells of a millimeter-long soil-dwelling nematode named Caenorhabditis elegans. Without these genes, Dr. Horvitz determined certain cells could live indefinitely. In subsequent studies, he showed that similar genes are present in humans. In essence, they commit suicide. By proving the genetic component, Dr. Horvitz demonstrated that programmed cell death is a normal, fundamental, and controlled biological process in cells. Human cells deteriorate, tissues deteriorate, organs deteriorate, and our body deteriorates. And this deterioration ends with death.

We will eventually all die.

So, one of the most important questions is – what happens after death!? If we all end up dying, what is the purpose of living!?

This truly is a question of the ages. As far back as recorded time, mankind has been concerned about death and an afterlife. Is there life after death!?

Ancient Egyptians were greatly concerned about death. And their attempts to solve the enigma of life and death went far and wide. They believed that death led a person to the afterlife, where the person would lead an immortal existence. But, for this afterlife to happen, it was necessary to preserve the body of the deceased, so that the soul could identify the body that it belonged to.

Every civilization that has ever existed, including down to our 21st century, has pondered about life and death. And, nearly everyone has their ideas and opinions on this most vital subject.

Why is there such grave (no pun intended) confusion!?

Where can a person find the clear and plain truth concerning life, death, and an afterlife!?

arious comments to her article illustrate the mass confusion concerning life, death, and an afterlife which is rampant in the world. One person commented, “But the universe will end and take all life with it. … Who knows.”

Another writes, “Life is all about new experiences and stuff, there is no purpose. It’s just that we were born and humans are who we are due to evolution. People try to find ways to comfort them about death, when you die, you die just like every animal too. So really, don’t worry about finding your worth in living, it’s just a coincidence we are here.”

And then another commented back, “Well at fundament, you live to pass on your genetics, that is your prime biological function. One could say those who dwell on such unanswerable things will eventually take themselves out of the gene pool or use it to find a more effective way of passing on their genetics.”

The fact is most people do believe in some kind of life after death.

But, isn’t it time to understand the TRUTH concerning death and what happens after death!? And, there is only one reliable source available for learning this truth about life after death – our LORD God – through the living word of God! The Holy Bible.

So, I hope you have your Bible handy today! Because we're going to be going through some Scriptures and allowing the LORD God to explain to us just what happens after death!

The Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ is the very Creator of all life! But, what He has to say is probably not what you want or think. The majority of people would be surprised to learn and discover what God’s living word reveals about life, death, and an afterlife!

Well, contrary to popular belief, God’s living word nowhere mentions that mankind has an “immortal soul”! However, His living word does say that man is a living soul.

Turning to the Book of Genesis chapter 2 -

Verse 7.

So, man is not an immortal soul, man is a living soul.

The very Hebrew word – let us not forget that the Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language – for the word soul is NEPHESH. Which is the same word used for beasts and creeping things.

And, God's living word says that a living soul can die!

Turn with me to the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 18.

Notice verse 4.

Also, verse 20.

So, the very false understanding concerning the idea that man has an immortal soul falls flat. This idea came straight out of ancient Babylon and Egypt. And, it was popularized to the masses through Greek philosophy – especially through the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

Notice the 1912 Jewish Encyclopedia Volume 6 - and I'll leave a link below for you to go and research this yourself - but the 1912 Jewish Encyclopedia in Volume 6 writes concerning the soul -

“The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture. … The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic"

Orphic is an adjective that can mean related to Orpheus, a mythical musician, poet, and mystic entrancer.

Along with "Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended, …”

Now, as I have spoken of before, I had a friend who was an ordained minister from the Open Bible Churches, who was teaching that death didn’t mean death, but life – eternal life. However, in TRUTH, God’s living word reveals that when you die – you are dead. You do not reincarnate into another human body. You do not fly off to heaven. You do not go down into the depths of a hell. Recall, that we spoke about the subject of a hell last week - "What Is Hell?"

Sadly, this supposed heaven or hell scenario for an "immortal soul" is another of mankind's fantasies. According to God’s living immutable word, the dead do not see, do not hear, do not think, do not feel – the dead know nothing.

Turn with me if you haven't already to the Book of Ecclesiastes that we quoted at the beginning. This time chapter 9.

Verse 5 - 6.

Now, keep your marker here a moment, but turn with me to the book of Psalms chapter 146.

Truly at the moment of death – the body loses consciousness and life ceases. Along with thoughts and emotions.

Book of Psalms, Chapter 146, and notice verse 4.

God’s living word is clear and plain. It is not convoluted. Death is death. For when we die we go the way of all flesh, and in this respect, we are no different than any animal –

Here in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 again.

Notice verses 19 and 20.

Mankind, composed of dust returns to the dust of the earth. The man that returns to the dust is the soul which was. Therefore it is the soul that disintegrates into the earth. Notice the following verse – verse 21.

Yes, there is a spirit in man.

The Prophet Job speaks of this spirit in man. Turn to the Book of Job. Chapter 32.

Verse 8.

And, this spirit in man returns to the LORD God who gave it. Again, the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 this time.

Verse 7.

Animals do not have a spirit. Man needed this spirit to empower his brain with mind power. On your notepad, jot down for reference 1st Corinthians 2:11. This human spirit enters the human embryo at conception. Another reason why abortion IS MURDER! The spirit is like the “hard drive on a computer” – it stores information. The spirit essence is NOT an immortal soul or an eternal spirit. The spirit in man is NOT the man. It is something in the man. It has no life of itself. At death, it has no consciousness of itself, for it sleeps. Like a tape recorder, it forms a permanent record of the qualities of mind and character built by a man during his lifetime. And much like a used tape is stored lifelessly on a shelf till activated in a recorder, so also does the spirit of man “return to GOD who gave it” after death, until the resurrection when life is again given to a person. This was the way that our Lord Jesus Christ – through His servant – explained it to me and I hold fast to this that is good. Furthermore: the spirit in man was transmitted from Adam. Spirit comes from the father from a sperm cell – from Adam all down through all humanity.

Immediately after the Apostle Peter was filled with God’s Holy Spirit on Pentecost 31 AD, he spoke of King David –

Let's turn in our Bibles to the New Testament - the Book of Acts chapter 2.

Notice verse 29.

Also verse 34.

Notice what the Magnificent One - our Lord, Savior, High Priest, and Elder Brother says concerning this in the Book of John, chapter 3.

Verse 13.

A great many want to argue against our Lord Jesus Christ’s living word here – saying, “Jesus was only talking about His validity and His authority.” Well, listen to the context in which this is said – “’ If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’” With eyes, you still do not see, and with ears, you still do not hear. Our Lord Jesus spoke with no ambiguity to those who are blessed and received the gift of the Holy Spirit – the very mind and power of the LORD God!

The LORD God – the family of God; the Elohim – said, “’ Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; …”

The ultimate potential for human life is to eventually be born into the very family of God! Not as one popular answer earlier states: “Life is all about new experiences and stuff, there is no purpose.” THERE IS A TREMENDOUS PURPOSE! And, sadly, it is a great mystery to the religions of this world! We are on this Earth for a stupendous reason!

Again, the Prophet Job. He knew why we are here!

He once reached a point in his life in which he lost everything he loved dear to him. He lost all of his children to a tornado, as well as all of his wealth and belongings to thieves and fire. He became afflicted - very possibly with what is now called hyper-Immunoglobulin E syndrome – a condition that affects several body systems, particularly the immune system. A condition called Job's syndrome or Buckley syndrome in certain medical circles.

“ … painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” He was physically stricken by Satan the devil. The idea of death must have seemed sweet to the Prophet Job at that time.

Notice again the Book of Job, Chapter 14.

Verse 14, and 15.

And, the Apostle Paul doesn’t want us to be ignorant –

Turning now to the Book of 1st Thessalonians, chapter 4.

Verses 14 - 15.

How is it that a man dead, in the grave, will live again!?

Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the answer! Not any man - not any Greek philosopher! Not any religious person! But the very Creator of all life - called the Word, now called our Lord Jesus - He gives us the answer Brethren and friends!

Let's turn again to the Book of John. Chapter 5.

Verses 28 - 29.

Speaking of two separate resurrections. And last week I mentioned that we do have an online PDF booklet entitled, "The Two Resurrections." I'll be sure to leave a link below to this God-inspired and eye-opening booklet today for you to go and read. "The Two Resurrections."

There is an accounting for your behavior in this life! And, you will be in one or the other resurrection. But, what does the LORD God mean by a resurrection!?

Let's speak of the first resurrection briefly. The Apostle Paul describes to us that a first resurrection will take place at our Lord Jesus Christ’s Return.

1st Thessalonians chapter 4.

He begins in verse 13.

Verses 14 - 16.

Turning now to the last Book of God's living word - the Book of Revealing - the Book of Revelation, chapter 20 we read The Apostle John speaks of this same FIRST resurrection -

Revelation chapter 20.

Verse 4 and 5.

Verse 6.

We see this first resurrection spoken about also in the Book of Romans chapter 8.

Verse 14.

And, as we’ve been mentioning for several years – the five cities on the plain of Jordan were allowed to be destroyed because there weren’t even ten righteous people in the city of Sodom. And, brethren, let us not sell ourselves short – but we should wonder – is it that Almighty God is holding back the utter destruction of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth of Nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand respectively – because there are maybe ten in one-million righteous people within these nations!? It should make us wonder. Is that number depleting as time goes by!? In prayer to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ – a thought crossed my mind – just before the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP very few saints of God will be left. There will come a time when the LORD our God cannot find ten righteous people! As ‘this generation’ continues in many of these cities the cup of their iniquity becomes full. And the LORD God has no choice but to exact judgment upon that nation. It is something to ponder.

As our Lord Jesus says concerning the end time – “ … ‘ because lawlessness [sin] will abound the love of many will grow cold.’”

All those in the first resurrection will rise out of their graves as wholly spiritual sons or daughters of Father God and brothers or sisters to our Lord Jesus Christ! They will never have to face death again.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this in the Book of 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

Notices verses 50 to 54.

He is speaking of those who are called by Father God, and who wholeheartedly repent and change, who are properly baptized and had hands laid upon them, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit in this life – receiving the glorious promise of eternal life through the Holy Spirit which imparts the LORD God’s divine nature.

But, what about the billions and billions of people who had lived and had never even heard of our Lord Jesus Christ ─ the Savior for all mankind!? Or, never knew enough of our Lord Jesus' gospel message. All our peoples past, present, and immediate future, who were and are kept from the glorious knowledge of the Eternal One!?

What about them?

Let's speak about the second resurrection unto physical life - briefly.

The Apostle John was told by our Lord Jesus Christ, “’ What you see [in Spirit], write in a book …’” And he describes a SECOND resurrection

Turning again to the Book of Revelation chapter 20, about where we were earlier.

Verses 11 to 13.

Notice that the Book of Life is also opened. Meaning that they are then offered to receive eternal life. It truly will be a time when the whole of humanity will come to know the LORD God – the family of God! And a time when they are offered true and heartfelt repentance, proper baptism and of hands laid upon them, and the gifting of the Spirit of God!

Brethren and Friends - Our LORD God’s message is clear ─ and as the Apostle Paul admonishes, it’s time to awaken from the darkness and see and receive the Light!

The LORD God’s living word is sure! Do you believe it? Do you trust it? Because it will happen!

Any claiming to be an atheist, an agnostic, or even an atheist spiritualist (whatever that means), will not change the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God. His living word is sure! Nor will you claiming to be a humanist change the reality concerning life, death, and what happens after death.

Our LORD God even warns that just because one disbelieves, it will not be an excuse

Turning again to the Book of Romans, this time chapter 1 -

Verses 18 to 20.

The LORD God warns us in the Book of Galatians chapter 6 -

Verses 7 to 8.

Brethren and Friends - our potential is grander than anything even Hollywood could ever imagine! Life makes more sense... when you understand its purpose!

Thank you for being here with us on this beautiful day! We dearly love you and are praying for you. We hope that you continue to pray for us here! Until next week, this is Leonard Johnson for the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries signing off.

Goodbye for now.

God Speed.

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