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What Happens After Death?

But what does the Bible teach about death? There's more confusion on this subject than almost any other subject in the Christian church. How many of you have visited a church cemetery? Have you ever walked through a cemetery, not because you're there for a funeral, and just read some of the tombstones? It's quite an education. Solomon said, “Better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting for that is the end of all men.” It's a prudent thing to do to walk around in a cemetery, and sometimes sobering when you realize people’s lives were all summed up with a little dash, gives you perspective.

I've noticed something, I remember sometimes we take the kids out in Texas and we'd visit these cemeteries behind the old Baptist churches and Church of Christ churches, and they had their own local cemetery. Even on the tombstones in the same church yard, it was clear they did not know what happened when people die.

For instance, one tombstone would say, "Our dearly beloved mother now resting in peace in Jesus' arm, waiting for the resurrection trump,” which is accurate. But the next tombstone would say, "Our mother is now walking on the golden street singing with Peter, James, and John." or something like that, and you're wondering, “Well, is she sleeping waiting for the resurrection or is she walking on the golden streets, where is mum?” And it became very obvious there is confusion on this subject.

I heard about a tombstone, some people even in death have a sense of humor. Think Dr. James Dobson, I saw him a few weeks ago at a convention. He said that his father told his mom to put on his tombstone, "I told her I was sick." But they didn't do that. One man had on his tombstone a poem that went something like this, "Stop my friend as you go by, as you are now so once was I, as I am now you soon will be, so prepare yourself to follow me."

And there was as a school boy who read that in a tombstone, he pulled out a crayon and he scribbled a little PS and it said, "To follow you I'm not content until I know just where you went." Which makes sense, you want to know where they go. Everybody is confused about that.

Let’s look at how God created man and we'll understand something better about what happens after you die. The Bible says in Genesis 2:7, "The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." So here in the beginning, God formed man from the clay and after He -- They say that everything in your body is probably worth about three dollars when you just add up all the chemicals.

I mean the materials that were comprised of, the Calcium, and Magnesium, and the different elements, is not that expensive, and we turn just back into dirt, the bodies we know what happens. The Lord assembled man, and he re-organised all the molecules exactly the way he wanted them. and there was Adam's body perfectly formed, but the lungs were not breathing, the heart was not beating, and the Bible says, “God breathed.” He aspirated this breath of life into Adam's nose, and he became a living soul. He became a soul when God combined the breath of life with the elements of earth.

What happens when a person dies? Well, it's the reverse of that. It says, “Then when you die the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit--” and that word spirit there means breath of life returns to God who gave it, and when you read that in Ecclesiastes 12, he says not only is it the spirit of man but the spirit of animals. When any living creature dies, we know what happens to the body, it decomposes, and the breath of life returns to God who gave it.

Some people think that breath of life is the conscious soul in you that pops out and flies off to be with the lord. That’s not biblically accurate, the word there is breath. Question number three, we're going to talk about that. What is the spirit that returns to God at death? Job gives us the answer, Job 27:3, "And all the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils." Now, for those who think that spirit of God is some little bitty ghost that flutters out of a person when they die, why would he be hanging out in your nose?

Hopefully we don't all have a spirit in our nose, right? So when he says the spirit of God is in my nostrils, is it clear to you it's the breath? The word there in Hebrew is נְשִׁימָה, and in Greek it's πνεῦμα. How many of you men know what pneumatic tools are? They are tools that are run by wind, air. And when someone gets pneumonia, it's believed it comes from an ill wind. And so that word is breath. It's the breath of life that returns to God who gave it.
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