Sharon Harris is wife, mother, English teacher, amateur photographer, and gardener.

Is it possible to not be afraid of death? What happens as soon as I die?

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Question: Is it possible to not be afraid of death? What happens as soon as I die?

Answer:  Yes, when you are a Christian, there’s nothing to fear about death because you are certain of your next stop for eternity – heaven!

In Luke, chapter 16, Jesus revealed a few details of what dying and arriving in heaven is like.  Luke recorded His account of two very different men who died and what happened next. During the men’s lives, the rich man had thought only of himself, refusing to help the poor man by relieving some of his suffering:

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side [in heaven]. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So, he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’  But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”   Luke 16:22-31

Some are afraid of dying, and rightly so, because they are not ready to meet God and his Son Jesus face-to face.  Others fear the unknown; however, you CAN know about God, heaven, and hell by reading the Bible. There’s much we can know and look forward to – when you are a Christian!

The youngest disciple, John, lived longer than the others among the group of 12 men who first followed Jesus and spread His teachings after His death and resurrection. His final work of writing about an encounter in his old age gave us the thrilling Bible book of Revelation, or “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”.  At that time, John was being held on the prison island of Patmos. From his report, he was alone and “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day”, which means that he must have been walking along and praying, when Jesus appeared to him and revealed what will occur on earth in the future:

“I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’ I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand, He held seven stars, and coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.’” Revelation 1:9-19

As you can read, John was so surprised and terrified that he fell down at Jesus’ feet “like a dead man”. As was Jesus’ practice when He lived among His disciples, He reached out and comforted John with the words He used often, “Don’t be afraid.”

Some people fear seeing God or Jesus, His majesty and all-powerful glory. They are afraid He is waiting to punish them for the bad lives they lived.  However, when you have accepted God’s free gift of forgiveness by accepting that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins, then you don’t have to be afraid ever again. Your sins are forgiven and forgotten by God (Psalm 103:12, Hebrews 8:12). Your physical death just the beginning of a new, joyous existence with God, Jesus, and many others. Your arrival in heaven is a celebration and reunion with those who went before you! Death for the believer is a graduation day, a deliverance from the difficult days of living as a human being on the earth. All of heaven celebrates as the “saints”, or Christians, arrive to join them in their eternal home – Paradise! (Luke 23:43)

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints, His servants.”  Psalm 116:15

Because we have these promises in the Bible from God of how wonderful heaven and eternity with Him will be, we no longer need to be afraid to die!

“Death, where is your victory?  Death, where is your sting?” I Corinthians 15:55 and Hosea 13:9-14

“Since ancient times, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the imagination of man all the wonderful things God has prepared for them who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9 and Isaiah 64:4

How can you be sure that you will be ready to meet God and enter heaven, not punishment in hell, when you die, and your spirit leaves this earth?

Talk to God about it now. Don’t put it off!  We never know what might occur today or tomorrow.  Now is the time to get in a right relationship with Him – as adopted into His family, not an outsider as the rich man was.

Say or pray something like this:

Dear God, I accept that your Son Jesus died on the cross as punishment for my sins. I am very sorry for all the wrongs I have committed, and I thank you for forgiving me when I ask. I want to come to heaven when I die and spend forever with you. Thank you for hearing my prayer! Amen.

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