Afraid of Death?
By Dennis Huebshman
Up to a certain point in my life, I was very apprehensive with the thought of having to face my own death. There was enough uncertainty that I didn’t really want to learn more, and thought that by ignoring it, I wouldn’t be concerned. (any emphasis throughout is mine)
Through a series of events that led to career changes, I ended up working in hospitals in my early 30’s as a Respiratory Therapy Technician. Over a period of about four years, and having worked in three different sized hospitals, I believe it’s safe to say I witnessed at least 500+ deaths. It covered all age brackets, and went from some just “falling asleep”, to some experiencing very traumatic events. After leaving this field, I went into Law Enforcement, and was exposed to even more varieties of death. I tried to use logic and become callus to this, but the issue remained.
It should be noted here, I was “religious”, but definitely not saved. Having been raised in a Christian home, I just took it for granted everything was alright with my eternal destiny.
Then, about 30 years ago, I had a “come to Jesus” moment, and I believe because of “prayer warriors” in my life, the Holy Spirit set me straight. A question went through my mind that plainly asked, “Are you really saved?”. Though I tried to say I was, I was led to start seriously reading God’s word for the first time in my life.
It wasn’t an immediate “conversion”, but soon I found that to be saved, I had to accept Jesus and form a personal relationship with Him. I had not heard of this before. The message came through loud and clear, that if I had stayed on my current path and left this earth prior to this time, my reservation would have been made for the Lake of Fire. I give praise and honor to the Father for not giving up on me, and being so merciful.
The positive side to all of this is the more I learned about my Savior, the less I feared the concept of my death. To be perfectly clear, I am not at all fond of the process of dying, but today if I take my last breath here, my next instant will be in the glorious presence of Jesus.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, “But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died so that you may not grieve like other people with no hope. (non-believers) (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring those who have died with Him”. This is a plain indication that since Calvary, anyone who has died that was a believer is with Jesus.
In Philippians 1:23, “Indeed, I cannot decide between the two (life or death). I have the desire to leave this life and be with the Messiah, for that is far better.” To be sure, our shell (body) will remain here, but that which is the real us (soul) will be in paradise with Jesus.
When we have a loved one that passes away, we grieve. This is perfectly natural as even Jesus grieved at the death of His friend Lazarus. (John 11:35) Thing is, Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus, but later Lazarus would have to die again. The second time, I believe Lazarus’ soul went immediately to a wonderful reunion with his best friend. I believe that Christians grieve because we’re a bit envious that our loved ones are with the Savior. After all, Christians do not say a permanent good-bye, but “until later”.
There will be a group of people who will not die on this earth, but will be taken up to meet Jesus in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-53). Naturally, we believers hope this will be the way we leave this earth; however, either way we win.
If I am alive when the Rapture takes place, those loved ones that died “in Christ”, will beat me by a split-second, in getting a glorified body from the Savior. They will have a process where their souls will reunite with their earthly bodies – no matter what condition it is in or how much is left – and will be converted immediately with a brand-new immortal, eternal body that will last forever in Heaven.
Then, right after this, those who are caught up alive, will convert to their new bodies. Then all will be taken to Heaven to be with Jesus and miss the Wrath of God on this earth. This will not be an event that will make the nightly news, as the entire process is predicted to take place in less than one second. (Twinkling/ Blinking of an eye).
Once we’re with Jesus, we won’t be issued harps and assigned a cloud to spend time on, as the secular world likes to depict Heaven. First, 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we (believers only) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he/she has done while in the body, whether good or evil.” This is for rewards, or the lack of, but not a punishment judgment.
We will be attending the Wedding Celebration of the Lamb as given in Revelation 19:6-9. By the way, we are the “Bride”! Afterwards, Jesus will return to put an end to the Tribulation, and begin His Millennial reign on earth. We will be returning with Him to serve in whatever manner He designates for us. No matter what our tasks will be, it will be glorious and a pure honor to serve Him.
As I mentioned earlier, I may not be fond of how I may die here, but at this stage, I’m not worried about that either. Last breath on earth, first breath in the presence of My Lord! The bad parts of this earth will not be remembered (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:4; Romans 8:38-39). That would cause sorrow in Heaven, and Jesus will wipe away all our tears.
On the other hand, I believe part of the torment for unbelievers in the Lake of Fire will be to be reminded constantly of all the occasions they had to turn their lives around, but didn’t. Best example I can give of this is the Rich Man and Lazarus story in Luke 16. It was clear the rich man understood his torment, and actually wanted Lazarus to be able to warn his brothers. The White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15 is not for rewards of any kind. It is to inform those going into the Lake of Fire of their doom, and punishment forever. There is no hope at this judgment.
I realize everyone has a different view of what death means to them. There will be some who will never be comfortable facing their end. However, there is a certain assurance of an eternal home with Jesus for all who truly accept Him. If you haven’t done so, now would be a good time to do so as we have no guarantee of another day here.
All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). It’s God’s promise and our assurance that Jesus is our Savior and is the only pathway to our Heavenly Home. (John 14:6) There is no second chance after death occurs, and no third option. Please, make the call today.