Life After Death

Chapter 6: Man's Last Chance (Part 2)

Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new phase of existence!
 
 The Bible teaches that we will go through 3 Phases of Existence: (1) THIS LIFE, our spirit living in a mortal body, ending at death.This life is most important for in it we make the key decision that determines our eternal destiny. At death we cross a line where we cannot change the destiny we have chosen in this life - Heaven or Hell. If we are trusting in Christ, we have forgiveness and eternal-life and go to heaven, but if we reject Him, we are still under condemnation for our sin and we go to a place of punishment.
 
 Genesis 6:3: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be 120 years.” He will only strive with us to turn us back to Himself, during this life-time which is limited to 120 years at most. After that it is too late. 

*This is a general statement for all mankind - not just for the people who lived before the Flood as some limit it. 

 
 *Our eternal destiny is sealed at death. God has given us this life on earth as a time of grace to give us an opportunity to repent and receive His salvation. In this life-time He patiently holds back His judgement and offers us His free-gift of forgiveness, but once this life is over it will be too late to receive it. This life is the Acceptable time of the Lord, the day of salvation, but if we do not receive Him, upon our death we will have to start facing the day of Vengeance (righteous retribution) of our God (2Cor 6, isa 61). All mankind already stands guilty before God. That is the default setting, and unless you get forgiveness and acquital from God, you are already under the judgement and condemnation of God. Your chance to do this is in this life only. After death it will be too late. The final judgement is not a chance to reverse this judgement against you (it is not an appeal court!), it is simply a judgement for final sentencing and dismissal to the final place of punishment. 
 
Therefore at death, the unsaved, being still in their sins, are found and pronounced guilty by God and are sent to a place of punishment where they must await their resurrection and sentencing to their final judgement in the Lake of Fire. From this terrible predicament there is no further chance or hope of escape for the sinner (after death), for his time of mercy (this life), during which he had many opportunities to turn to God, will have finally expired and now he can only expect God’s righteous judgement. But while there is breath there is hope for salvation - for you and for those around you!
 
2Peter 2:9 says: “the Lord knows how to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgement.” This confirms that the punishment of the unrighteous starts at death, although it will only reach its fullness at the day of final judgement. 
 
We must not think that just because judgement is delayed in this life, that we will get away with our sin and rejection of God. In His longsuffering in holding back His judgement to give us a chance to repent. But we must not misinterpret this as softness or weakness for He will surely judge and when He does there will be no escape. He has demonstarted this in several judgements in history as the preceding verses tell us: 
 
2Peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; v5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one ofeight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;v7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked -9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment (in hell) for the day of judgement.”
 
Matthew 25:31-33 gives another picture of the judgement (the separation into 2 groups of the righteous and unrighteous, and release into a destiny that is fixed forever) that happens at the end of our earthly life: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory (at His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation), and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations (living gentiles) will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a Shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” 
 
 *Again we see that God divides all Mankind into 2 GROUPS. RIGHT v LEFT, COME v DEPART, BLESSED v CURSED- released into 2 prepared destinies.
 v34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdomprepared for you from the foundation of the world: 
35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 
36 Iwas naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give Youdrink? 
38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 
39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
v41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the Everlasting FIRE prepared for the devil and his angels (the twist: not ‘for you’).” 
 
 The fire was prepared for satan not man. God’s will for man is eternal life. It is only with great sadness that He has to send the unsaved to hell, because they walked in satan’s way (spirit and philosophy = the LIE) wanting to believe they were their own god (evolved beings) - Isaiah 14, Genesis 3).
*Their appeal against His judgement is unsuccesful.
 
42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 
43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 
45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 

 
v46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, 
but the righteous into eternal (everlasting) life.” 
 
*The same word ‘everlasting’ is used for the righteous and wicked.
 It denotes endless duration in the time-period (Age) under consideration, which in this case is the Age of eternity-future.
 
*These unbelievers will be raised for the Great White Throne 1000 years later - so they face 2 judgements, just as all unrighteous do (this is NOT the same as the Great White Throne): 
 
-First at the end of their physical life - determines forever guilt or innocence and thus final destiny (whether they have trusted Christ (sheep), and shown the genuineness of their faith by their works of love, or not (goats)-still in their sins.
 
-Then, at the End of Time resurrected at the Great White Throne, final sentencing according to works, and dismissal to final place.
 
*Now these people who have been condemned are those who survive the Tribulation, but are unrepentant. At this time they are killed, removed from the earth and their souls go down to Hades (Hell), the unseen realm under the earth. We know from Revelation 20 that they will not actually go into the Lake of Fire for another 1000 years (when they are resurrected after the Millennium). 

But notice that their final destiny (to go into Everlasting-Fire) is already determined by the Lord at the time of their death.They have been found guilty and their doom is sealed. 

At death they go immediately into everlasting punishment (v46), that is their everlasting punishment starts at death (which includes fire - v41, Luke 16), even though they only go into the Lake of Fire at their resurrection 1000 years later.
In the Intermediate State it is just a punishment of soul. In the Eternal State it is a punishment of both body and soul.
 
Therefore at death, the unsaved, being still in their sins, are found and pronounced guilty by God and are sent to a place of punishment where they must await their resurrection and sentencing to their final judgement in the Lake of Fire. 
 
*Every man’s final destiny is determined and fixed by God at the time of his death.
  
(2) The INTERMEDIATE STATE, when our spirit leaves our body at death. We continue to exist, but as a disembodied spirit. It is a temporary state in the interval between death and resurrection.At death mankind is forever separated into two groups. One (the righteous) have eternal life, the rest go into eternal death.

*There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

 
*In Modern times we have many stories of people who have died and been later resusitated. they left their body and had experiences of heaven and hell.
*Dr Richard Kent - www.finalfrontier.org.uk/
*Dr Maurice Rawlings - Beyond death’s door.
 
(3) At Christ's Return we will enter Phase 3, the Final and Eternal State, through resurrection and final judgement. 
 
The ETERNAL STATE starts with our resurrection of the body, when we will be a spirit united to and living in an immortal resurrection body. As physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body, resurrection is the reunion of the soul and spirit with the body (1Kings 17:21-22, Luke 8:55). Ultimately we will all receive a resurrection body and then stand before Christ to face His judgement, at which point He will release us to physically enter into our eternal state, either of eternal punishment (for the unrighteous) or of eternal glory in Heaven (for the righteous). After man’s resurrection and judgement, he enters his Eternal State or Final Destiny. This is our real ultimate hope. The Intermediate State, when we exist just as a spirit, is just a temporary waiting period until this day of resurrection and final judgement. 
 
 Every man has 2 appointments that he cannot miss: 
Resurrection and Judgement. Straight after our resurrection we will stand before God to face His final judgement and sentencing. 
 
 As man must give an account for what his life in his body, he must first be resurrected and then stand before God to be judged. 
 
 Although our eternal destiny is determined at death (from what we have chosen in this life), we will have to await the day of resurrection and judgement, before we receive our public sentencing and pronouncement of the degree of our eternal rewards or punishment according to our works, and are then released to enter into our final eternal state. 
 
 God will ultimately resurrect all men, but in 2 groups, the first resurrection of believers and the 2nd resurrection of unbelievers. 
 
 Believers in Christ have already been forgiven and justified through their faith in Christ, and so will not be condemned like unbelievers, for they have already been forgiven and declared righteous by the Judge on the basis of the blood of Jesus and His righteousness. Therefore they have already been delivered from the judgement of condemnation, so when they die they go in spirit to Paradise, where they await the resurrection of their body and the judgement of their works where Christ will assess their lives and their service to Him, and reward them accordingly, so that the more faithful they were to Him the greater degree of eternal glory and honour they will receive. Their works will be judged and they will be rewarded with a degree of eternal glory that is according to how faithful they have been to God in their life.
 
 Unbelievers will stand already condemned before the Judge and will receive their final sentencing of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire, the degree of punishment being determined by the degree of their sin against God in their life. Unbelievers at death are in a state of sin and are already guilty and under God’s judgement of condemnation, because of their sin and their rejection of Christ. Therefore they go to a place of torment (punishment) after death, which is a temporary holding cell for convicted prisoners until they get their final sentencing from the Judge at the Great White Throne. At that point they are sent to their final and permanent place of confinement and punishment - the Lake of Fire.At that time, they will be judged and sentenced according to their works, so that the more they have sinned, the greater degree of punishment (torment) they will receive in the Lake of Fire.
 
 We read about this judgement of condemnation at the end of time in Revelation 20:11-15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” 
 
 Revelation 20:11-15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them (end of space-time). And I saw the (spiritually) DEAD, small and great, standing (resurrected) before God and books (the record of their lives) were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life (God’s Family Album where He keeps the names of all His children). And the DEAD were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books... they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”

Home

Books

About Us

Events

Teachings

Bible Commentary

Media

Shop

Donate

Contact

Print

OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
OX2 7PL
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Print

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK
OX3 7QH