(Kim Riddlebarger – Ligonier Ministries) We’ve all thought about it. What happens the moment we take our last breath, our heart stops beating, and our soul departs from our now dead body? Truth be told, most of us fear dying, even if we do not fear death. Dying is often a painful struggle. Dying often occurs in a sterile, clinical environment and is usually an ugly process. However, by trusting in the promise that death means entrance into eternal life in the presence of the Lord, as well as trusting in the power of Christ to raise the dead, Christians need not fear the outcome of death even if we experience trepidation regarding the process of dying.
Stories and legends about death and dying abound. This is the case, in part, because the Scriptures do not describe the process of dying, although they do speak of several individuals who died but were raised back to life by Jesus. Lazarus comes to mind (John 11) among others (e.g., the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7:11–17). But we do not possess any firsthand account (including from Lazarus) of what these people experienced when they died. We can only but wonder what Lazarus was thinking when he died a second time, this time to enter eternal life. Now, we do know what our resurrection bodies will be like, since Paul gives us a remarkable description of the complete transformation that takes place when Christ returns and we are raised imperishable (1 Cor. 15:35–49). But there is not much biblical data on the intermediate state—that period of time when the souls of the believing dead await the resurrection of their bodies and the final and complete overturning of the curse (death).
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