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Life After Death, Pt. 5

Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk, where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs. John, when I was a boy I just recently went back to where I grew up half my childhood, and I remember very clearly when I was a boy, we'd play hide-and-seek.

John: Sure.

Gary: Just down at the end of the street was a graveyard, a cemetery.

John: So do you hide in the graveyard?

Gary: It would have been the very best place to hide, because no one would have gone in there to look for you. But we wouldn't even go in there to hide; we were frightened in what we might find in there. Dark nights and we thought about these ghosts and these spirits out there, and all these dead people in there. We wouldn't go in there for anything, because we believed that when you die, you really weren't dead. Maybe some of these ghosts and spirits were lingering about the place.

John: There was something kind of spooky about that graveyard, huh?

Gary: Oh, definitely. In fact I called my sister, I said "Guess where I'm at?" She lives down south in Louisiana now, we were up in Pennsylvania, and I said "I'm at the old house." She said "Is that graveyard still down at the end of the street?" She remembered it and she said "Remember when we'd play hide-and-seek?" Yes, yes. Years later I met a gentleman who for a living digs graves.

John: OK.

Gary: We were talking about death, I said "What do you think what happens when you die?" He says "I don't know. I put them in the grave." He said "They're not going anywhere; they're still in that grave. They're sleeping, they're dead in that grave." He never looked at in the Bible. He just knew from his own experience, they're in that grave, because he worked around that all the time.

John: And he was right. The Bible says that the dead go down into silence. The Bible says the dead know not anything, it says that the dead sleep. Steven was asleep, Lazarus was asleep, and that little girl Jesus raised was asleep. Paul wrote we shall not all sleep, we will not go before them that are asleep. It's all the way thru the Bible. Now listen, this is Bible Talk, we want to encourage you to look at this biblically.

We know that this can be a subject that arouses some emotions, and you want for grandma to be in Heaven or your children maybe to be in Heaven, but we want that we study the Bible and find out what the Holy Bible says.

Gary: And that's why it's important for you to give us a call or write us. We're going to give that number and address at the end of this program and get our Bible study on this, get our little books, spirits of the dead that we're offering today that will give you the Bible insight on what happens when you die. We've already covered this topic, John, in numerous other programs, but today we want to answer some of the questions that come up because there are a number of texts in the Bible that seem to indicate that as soon as you die, you do go to Heaven or to Hell.

For example, what about Jesus, what he said to that thief that was dying on the cross next to him? Didn't he tell him "Today you're going to be with me in Paradise" and they died that day and they went to Paradise.

John: Well, according to how most Bibles read, but not all Bibles, Jesus said to the thief, "Verily I say to you, today you'll be with me in Paradise." Now consider the whole thing that they're on the cross, everybody's about to die, the thief said to Jesus, "Lord remember me when you come in your Kingdom." Now I can just about hear people say "That's right, Gary you got it." He said it and I was in the most recent funeral I was at, the preacher, he was emphatic, it says it right there, today you'll be with me in Paradise, I think he was trying to get his message to some of us.

But consider the context, Lord remember me, not today, but when you come in your Kingdom. But the Lord has not come in His Kingdom. We still pray Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come... the thief was not asking to go to Heaven on that day.

Gary: Let me tell you what people have done with this now, Protestant Christians, Catholic Christians, they teach there's a Purgatory, this intermediate state between Heaven and Earth. You're not good enough to go right into Heaven, you're going to Purgatory and you get bought out or earn your way out, but now Protestant Christians are teaching Paradise as some intermediate place between Heaven and Earth. When you die, you go to Paradise and you're in Paradise until you go to Heaven, but the Bible doesn't teach that, in fact the Bible tells us exactly where Paradise is.

John: It's very clear on this and I wish you'd listen to what Gary is about to say here on the location of Paradise, what Paradise is very clear.

Gary: Jesus told the thief, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise." Here's where Paradise is, to him who overcomes, Revelation 2:7, I'll give to you from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God so Revelation 2:7, Paradise is where the Tree of Life is. Now we know where that Tree of Life is because in the back of Revelation, Revelation 22:1, "John says he saw a pure river, a water of life, clearest crystal perceiving from the throne of God and of the Lamb and in the middle of the street on either side of the river was the Tree of Life."

John: That's pretty clear, isn't it?

Gary: So the Tree of Life is where the throne of God is so that has to be Heaven. Now Jesus said "Today, you'll be with me in Paradise." Was he telling that thief today you're going to go with me to where the throne of God is where the Tree of Life is? A lot of Christians believe that, that's what He seems to say.

John: Yeah, but come Sunday morning, Jesus and the thief are on the cross Friday afternoon, come Sunday morning and Mary Magdalene goes down to the tomb, she sees Jesus and Jesus is touch me not or detain me not, I have not yet ascended to my Father in Heaven so He says to the thief on Friday, today you and me are going to Heaven. He says to Mary on Sunday morning, I haven't been to Heaven. Now He's not talking to both sides of His mouth at once, He's telling the truth all the way around. Sunday, He hadn't gone to Heaven. He was saying to the thief, "Thief, I'm telling you today, you will be with me in Paradise."

Now many Bible translators have put the comma in the wrong place and don't howl about them, saying, "Oh, you're changing the Bible." How can we know where the commas go most of the time, where they're in the right place?

Gary: But you have to address this issue, John 20:17 is the one you are quoting, very clearly Jesus says "I've not yet ascended to my Father." This is Sunday morning...

John: Oh, it's clear.

Gary: Now, was Jesus lying to the thief then on Friday if he said "Today you're going to be with me in Paradise." With me in Paradise where the Father is on His throne? No, he wasn't and the fact of the matter is the original Bible manuscripts didn't contain punctuation, chapter divisions or verse divisions until the 13th to the 16th centuries.

John: Now the place that's really easy to see this is chapter divisions. You notice that some of those chapters end and start in places that don't really make any sense. They just put them where they thought it was best and most of the time they were right and a couple of times they could have done better.

Gary: Even in our modern King James Bible, the old King James Bible, KJV, you'll see misplaced commas. I'll give you an example, Acts 19:12 and let me read this for the sake of our listeners the way it's punctuated. Look it up in your old King James. He's talking about Paul here, "So that from His body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them and evil spirits went out." When you look at this, there is no comma after sick and what the way it appears is the handkerchiefs or aprons are sick.

John: That's true in how it reads and how it sounds.

Gary: Now I've seen some sickly handkerchiefs, but I've never seen any possessed by evil spirits that out of them, the diseases depart. What he actually meant with the proper punctuation so that from His body were brought out onto the sick, comma, handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them and the evil spirits went out on them and that is from the sick people. So the punctuation is a big issue and in this verse in Luke where he says "Today, you will be with me in Paradise." If you put the punctuation where he says "Verily, verily I say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise."

John: And look at what that does to what's going on, here you have a thief, deserves to go to Hell, no question about it, but he repents and the Lord says to him "Verily I am telling you right now man, you will be with me in Paradise." That's the assurance Jesus gives to every repenting sinner. OK, you've repented now, let me think about it or let me wait, let me put you in probation, but you've given me your heart and I am giving you present assurance that you will be with me in Paradise. That is really very hopeful, that text was given to encourage and instruct the hopeful faithful Christian,

Gary: It is, now there's another text that is often misunderstood to teach as soon as you die, you go to Heaven or to Hell and that is absent from the body present with the Lord. In fact that's the favored text, what do you do with that John, 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. Absent from the body, you're going to be present with the Lord so as soon as I die, I leave this body and I go into the presence of God.

John: Explained this to a dear lady, I was working in Tennessee and I read this to her. I said "Let me read to you the verse" because she had said "No brother John, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." I said "How did you know that?" she said "I just attended a funeral and my preacher preached it just that way." So would you like me to read that text to you? Oh, sure. I love the Bible and I'm reading verse 8, "We are confident" 2 Corinthians 5:8, this is the absent from the body text, listen up here, "We are confident I say and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

It does not say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, I read that to the lady. She said "Well that's not the verse. There's another verse." I said "Oh, no sister. This is the only verse in the Bible that says anything quite like this. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, there's another verse in the Bible because I heard my preacher read it."

You look at this in context starting off in verse one, we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God and a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Let me shorten this, truncate this, Paul is talking about his body. He says even if I died, if my body would dissolve, I'm going to get another body not made with hands, in Heaven, God made in Heaven just originating with God, God's going to make another body for me.

This is a fellow who had been beaten and ship-wrecked and stoned, the common belief is he had bad eyesight. If anybody could do with a new body, probably would be the apostle Paul. He's saying "I don't want to be naked, that is just dead and in an intermediate state. My hope is to be clothed upon that mortality might be swollen up of life."

Gary: Now that's the key point.

John: That's the key.

Gary: Because that's the timing. One day we will be absent from this body and present with the Lord, but in two Corinthians 5, there's no sense in the timing of this except right there, he says "That mortality might be swallowed up of life" and this is two Corinthians by the way. In the first book of Corinthians, he told the Corinthian believers did he not John, when mortality would be swallowed up of life?

John: Yeah, he said that at the last trump, verse 52, "this mortal shall put on immortality", verse 54, a very same idea, almost exactly the same words as 2 Corinthians 5, mortality might be swallowed up of life so this is when this thing takes place, it takes place at the last trump or at the second coming of Jesus. My friend respectfully, the Bible doesn't say that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Paul who wanted a new body in men, so do I, I've got an eye and it's not much good. I've got a bad back, my neck is being beaten up from playing too much rugby, I've got a knee that clicks of... you know and I'm in good shape compared to you. OK, I'm kidding about that, but I'm making a point here.

I'd love a new body too, there are many of us who would be able to say "I'm willing to be absent from this body, be present with the Lord and receive a new body at that time." That's the sentiment that Paul is expressing. He wanted to be with the Lord and he said "I will be one day at the last trumpet."

Gary: It will happen and we will have all of these physical infirmities just dissolve away. When God gives us eternal bodies, by the way which will be recognizable, will carry some of our features that will make us recognizable in Heaven, but we will not have the infirmities, the defects that we have today and will live forever and ever and that's good news if we've accepted Jesus as our savior.

John: Now hope is in Jesus Christ, the Bible says is the resurrection and the life and friend, He wants to be all that for you. You can trust in Him, you can confess and repent as the thief on the cross and know that you too will be with Jesus in Paradise. Thanks for joining us today here on Bible Talk.

Man: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free, informative, Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Spirits of the Dead. The toll free number is 866-Biblesays. That's 866-2425372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk Radio.

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