01 – What happens when I die?
What Happens When I Die?
I have made a very unscientific study of what goes on at funerals. According to the religious preferences of those involved and according to the societal influence, the style and tone of funerals may vary widely. Some are short and sweet (well, maybe not “sweet”) while others are long and drawn out affairs. Aretha Franklin’s funeral in 2018 lasted eight hours! Some are very formal while others seem to be off the top of the head. Some are restricted to just the family and others are community events. But one thing that is common to all is what people say.
In every funeral that I have ever attended (regardless of whether the deceased was a “saint” or a self-proclaimed atheist), more than a few people said, “He/she is in a better place.” Has there ever been a funeral where that phrase was not uttered? I think not.
Beyond the very obvious and unlikely proposition that every one of those people actually is in a “better place” there is another anomaly involved here. This practically universal concept flies in the face of some established theories about God’s judgment. Somehow, people understand more about God’s plan than they know. (Personally, I believe that there is an inherent knowledge, placed in us by our Creator, that guides us on many levels and this is one of those inherent bits of knowledge.)
Before I go any further with this thought, let us visualize a guilty person standing before the judge (actually THE JUDGE of all – in this instance). Where and when will this scene take place? “Well, the “Great White Throne Judgment” (GWTJ) of course! (cf., Rev 20:11-15) Everyone knows that!”
You are correct, of course, that God judges sinners at that time, but that does not agree with the “knowledge” that we are subconsciously utilizing when we utter that very common phrase, “He IS in a better place!” You know that the GWTJ does not occur until after the earth has been subdued by Christ. See the conflict? We say that a person IS (presently) in a better place but how can that be if the judgment has not yet been made about WHERE the person will spend eternity?
The reality is that there will be several different judgments – not just the single Great White Throne Judgment. There may be others but I have identified seven judgments that God has ordained! I realize that is not universally accepted but almost everyone’s “inherent knowledge” agrees with this concept. Now, we need to see if the BIBLE supports this idea.
I will cover each of these seven judgments in some detail in the present series. But first, I need to establish a few more concepts.
Starting with the next article about “Where do we go when we die?“