A big population of the world fear death. It is a taboo topic in many communities.
I always had a fear of death as far back as I can remember. I feared being anywhere near hospitals. The morgues were a no-go-zone area for me. I could not imagine being a doctor or a health clinic staff because besides being afraid of seeing dead people, I also had a phobia of blood! I skipped funerals of family members or persons I knew.
I overcame the fear of death after going through a series of beautiful spiritual transformations. One of those transformation happened when I came across persons who had experienced death but lived to tell the story. Their stories lit something in me. It was like an aha moment, and the revelation taught me that above all else, I am a spirit being in a body! I can only compare my experience to a baby eagle who discovered that it didn’t belong to the confining chicken pen it was raised in! It realized that it had freedom because it could fly!
I started researching on the phenomenon of death. I was wowed by what I found! My findings and the endeavour to know my Creator, contributed to a gradual victory over these phobias!
I also had other ridiculous phobias, such as the fear of heights, snakes, darkness, strangers to mention but a few.
When I learned that a phobia is a spiritual bondage, I was set free! John 8:32 (NIV) Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The bible quotes these words that have been religiously taken for granted! When you are spiritual, you have no room for meaningless religious mindset! You experience the true meaning of being free! I finally got it, real spiritual freedom!
Now, I look forward to my spiritual home. There are moments in my life that the excitement overwhelms me. I have realized that not everyone around me feels the same, so, I keep my spirit grounded to lead a normal life!
Death is nothing but a ticket to our eternal home. This assurance is embedded in my spirit! It was put there by the Holy Spirit once I believed in my Creator and started living in humility as a spiritual being and not as a chest-thumping physical being that lives in a misery of loneliness trusting in everything else other than the giver of life Himself!
We are spiritual beings made in the image of the Creator. The Creator is a Spiritual Being! Once out of our bodies, we are at the mercy of God or the bottomless pit when demons live!
Our bodies are made of organic materials that decay back to earth once we pop out of the bodies. The following three scriptures summarizes my complete understanding of who I am and the process of death.
John 4:24 (NLT) for God is Spirit…
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female …
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV) and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Our soul is a spirit made in the image of God. I believe the soul is breathed into our body by our Creator at some stage during fetal development.
The soul is made with eternal consciousness, has complete functions of knowledge and all senses. The body was made for the soul while here on earth and not the other way round! The soul does not need the body to function or exist. However, when in a body, its functions are filtered to what the body has to offer including intellect. The soul is also limited to how well the body can execute these functions on earth. You could be blind, deaf or have other bodily impairment, the soul isn’t but it has to put up with that! I am sure you get the picture.
Lets now talk about the inevitable final stage of the human body, that’s death.
When is a human dead?
I have heard people including the non spiritual say , “He is gone or she is gone!”. Meaning that a person had died and the spirit has left the body. This is the perfect description of death. I don’t need to add or subtract anything!
Once the spirit is gone, the body grows cold and as expected a few hours later, the process of decay starts . Within months or years the flesh however good looking, turns into dust, and becomes part of the earth.
First Death Experience involves the body
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NLT) For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
The word spirit in the above scripture refers to the human soul.
During the first death, the human soul does not die with the body. It lives on and goes back to the creator who gave it in the mother’s womb!
Second Death Experience involves the soul
When the soul leaves the human body and goes back to the creator, it is then destined to enjoy life with the creator in heaven or face its death in a non-consuming painful fire in hell which is the second death!
Revelation 21:8 (NIV) But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)
…”…God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
These are the kind of deaths I knew of or envisioned. The first death, that is, the demise of the body and the second death, that is the damnation of the soul or what we simply call, the soul going to hell.
Some human bodies didn’t remain here on earth after the soul left but were taken to heaven together with the soul. How this happens is beyond human understanding. There are three examples we know in the bible. Jesus was one of them but Jesus faced physical death first where he died, was buried but rose again on the third day. Enoch the great-grandfather of Noah and Elijah the prophet who opposed Jezebel and King Ahab and killed all the prophets of baal god were the other two people who’s bodies were transitioned with them to the next world.
Genesis 5:24 (NIV) Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
2 Kings 2:11 (NIV) As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
Acts 1: 9 (NIV) After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
What are Near Deaths or Out of Body Experience?
This is when the spirit pops out of the body but comes back. Persons who experience this, report a retention of their consciousness and knowledge in the spirit while out of the body. A clear demonstration that what is now known as consciousness is a spiritual function and not something from a physical part of our body like the brain! This is where science parts way with the spiritual which is a higher realm of existence! Whereas, witnesses on the ground have reported bodies of these people as dead, life supporting machines have their readings flattened, the people involved have been more alive than before in the spiritual realm !
No doubt that Near Death Experiences confirm to us some truths about the next life. It is up to you to judge and confirm it through the scriptures.
Paul in the following scriptures experienced a near death experience (NDE). What is certain is that he was out of this world. He wasn’t sure if he had his body or it was just his spirit.
Many people who go through a near death experience (NDE) describe things similar to Paul’s. Some of them also go to a paradise while others go to hell.
2 Corinthians 12:1-3 [TLB]
This boasting is all so foolish, but let me go on. Let me tell about the visions I’ve had, and revelations from the Lord. Fourteen years ago I was taken up to heaven for a visit. Don’t ask me whether my body was there or just my spirit, for I don’t know; only God can answer that. But anyway, there I was in paradise,
Lazarus and the rich man, a story of humans in paradise and hades in Luke 16 from verse 19.
‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. ‘The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. 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.”’
One of the criminals crucified with Jesus.
The criminal that was pardoned by Jesus on the cross was expected in the next world that very day. Since the body was not expected to go anywhere after the criminal died, Jesus addressed the person (soul) in the body. “…“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23: 39 …Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
They were both to meet in paradise after their souls popped out of their bodies.
The popping out of the human spirit from the body is clearly demonstrated by Jesus’ death.Matthew 27:50 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. The spirit here is small s, meaning the soul in His human body.
Some Current Near Death Experiences
Our believe in Christ should be based on the bible only. We can judge what we hear and see just to make sure that all is in line with the bible teaching to avoid entertaining lying spirits that come as angels of light. 1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons
We are advised in the bible to discern the spirit behind what we receive.
1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I have never had a near death experience personally but my research led me to some very detailed experiences that seem to confirm what is in the scriptures. I have read with fascination the experiences of Dr Mary Neal and Dr Eben Alexander. Coincidentally both are medical doctors, and were never keen on religion before their near death experiences! I recommend their books below.
I sincerely hope that what I have written in this article has been of much help to your understanding of death and this knowledge has lead you to some spiritual freedom!
May the Almighty God richly bless you.
[Article Author: Joseph GM]