Great hope following this life
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God revealed to at least two apostles that their physical death was approaching. Both wrote of that revelation in the New Testament through Holy Ghost inspiration.
Peter referred to his physical body as a tabernacle. Second Peter 1:13-15 states, “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”
Peter and Paul experienced a confidence in physical death. They understood they were going to be with the Lord.
Peter said it would be a short while until he must put off this my tabernacle. Paul, meanwhile, wrote in Second Corinthians that the eternal things are in view.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the thins which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – II Corinthians 4:16-18.
Paul then also explains that the Christian has great hope following this life. He also referred to the physical body as a tabernacle.
He writes in II Corinthians 5:1-2 that, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”
In the same chapter, Paul expressed confidence with the transition. There was no fear in death.
“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in this body, we are absent from the Lord. (For we walk by faith, not by sight,) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,” – II Corinthians 5:6-8.
In another area of the Bible, Paul made a comparison. The only way he could describe being with the Lord is “far better” than being here.
This is how he put it in Philippians 1:21-23, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour; yet what I shall choose I wot not, For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.”
How did Paul know that? He perhaps received a glimpse. He is referring to himself out of humility in the following verses: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body; I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter” – Philippians 1:2-4.
It was the same “paradise” in which the thief on the cross who sought Jesus was told he would be.
Certain verses in the fourth chapter of Second Timothy are usually read at funerals of men and women of faith.
Paul wrote the verses through inspiration of God. But the interesting aspect is that Paul was writing of himself prior to his physical death. He had the utmost confidence that he had laid down his life for the gospel and that he was going to be with the Lord. There were no doubts in his mind. He had valiantly served the Lord, and the time was coming to receive his reward.
This is what he wrote in II Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
David put it this way in Psalms 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
Sam Kaufman pastors The Church of God at 405 13th Ave. N in Alex City. Contact him at 432 266-0154.