Life Beyond the Grave Gen 1: 26 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Is there something in the words of God that should have caused even people in the Old Testament to know that there is life beyond the grave? Yes.
In Gen1:26– God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness” – God is eternal so that some part of man must also be eternal.
In Gen 2:7 – God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” – unlike animals whose spirits return “downward to the earth,” the “spirit of man … goeth upward,” [Ecc 3:21]; his spirit returns “unto God who gave it,” [Ecc 12:7] – so there is something of God in the man that continues on even after his flesh returns to the dust [Gen 3:19] – of course, we know from the New Testament that “something” is his soul.
In Gen 3:22-24, Cherubims were placed at the east of the garden of Eden to keep the way of the tree of life, to keep the man from taking of the tree of life and living forever – it’s a good thing that God did this or it is possible that the now corruptible flesh of Adam could have continued living without dying and the soul could never have been freed from this corruption to inhabit a new body.
In Ex 3:6 God tells Moses, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now it is certain that the “living soul” of man [Gen 2:7] continues to live after his physical death because God says I am, not I was, their God, indicating that they are still alive. Are you skeptical? Then look at Matt 22:29-32. The Lord expected the Sadducees to know from Ex 3:6 that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
Listen, Job knew that he would keep on living beyond the grave [Job 19:25-27], David knew that he would keep on living beyond the grave [Ps 17:15], and Peter, James and John saw Moses alive after his death [Deut 34, Matt 17:1-4].
So, when Jesus ministered on earth, he made sure that there would be no legitimate doubt in your mind about life beyond the grave. He told you absolutely, in Lk 16:19-31, that no matter whether you die saved or lost, you would keep on living beyond the grave. The rich man was alive in hell and Lazarus, the beggar, was alive in Abraham’s bosom [the dwelling place of the souls of saved men before the resurrection of Jesus].
Before his own crucifixion, the Lord revealed, in a most unmistakable way, that there is life after death when he raised Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother, from the dead four days after he was buried [Jn 11]. In his discourse with Martha he expressed a marvelous truth concerning himself. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life…,” [Jn 11:25-26]. In other words, it is through Jesus Christ alone that saved men rise to new physical life after their death.
At the very beginning of his ministry he announced that he would rise again in three days after being destroyed [Jn 2:18-22]. He explained to his disciples in Jn 12:24 why this had to be so [Heb 2:14-15]. Then Jesus proved that he indeed is the resurrection and the life by dying, being buried for three nights and three days and then by rising from the dead physically to never die again [1 Cor 15:1-8]. Over 500 eyewitnesses could testify to his physical resurrection.
What Jesus accomplished in his death, burial and resurrection is proof positive that there is life after the grave. Through his resurrection he gave hope to Israel that the promise of the prophecy of Ezekiel in Ezek 37 was absolutely true. Their graves will open and they will return to their land. Paul’s defense before the Pharisees after being imprisoned in Jerusalem was “the hope and resurrection of the dead,” [Acts 23:6].
So, what’s the point of all of this? Simply, there are two things. First, there is a philosophy today that all life on earth occurs between birth and the grave and there is nothing beyond death. That philosophy is a vain delusion. Even the heretical teachings of false doctrine testify to the understanding that something goes on beyond the grave [reincarnation, necromancy, ancestral worship, etc].
Second, look at the context of Mk 8:29-35, when Jesus first revealed to his disciples that he would die and rise again. He showed them, and therefore us, we have to lose our lives for the Lord’s sake and for the gospel’s sake in order to save it. That is our lives should be lived like Christ’s for those things that take place beyond the grave. The pleasures, cares, lusts, and concerns of this life on this side of the grave choke out the fruitfulness of our lives. We need to be dead to these things and alive to those things that are beyond the grave.