Life after death...!

(Message preached, Easter 2007)

Dutch version of this message: Leven na de dood!

Humanism is very clear about it: There is no life after death. Death is the absolute end of man. That's why we must not make so much fuss about abortion and euthanasia. After dying, it is over and out with man and animal. Humanism does not believe that Jesus arose from the grave and is  alive today. The faith in a resurrected Jesus is - according to the humanistic philosophy - nonsense.

Then this: In 1980 Canadian researchers claimed that they found in Jerusalem in a very old tomb some remains - bones - of Jesus Christ and his near family. They based their assumption on some names they found on the coffins: Mary, Joseph and some others of his near family. For some it was worldnews of the highest priority: Jesus had not been raised from death as the Bible tells but was buried and His remains were preserved. Some scientists were quick to draw the conclusion that the Christian Faith with its believe in the resurrection could be put away as a myth. But other scientists reject the claims based on findings of these remains and point out that the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph were given to many people in those days. But the TV documentary that has been  made shall no doubt cause much unnecessary unrest by many viewers.

Also a number of liberal, modernistic theologians is sure that Jesus was not raised from the dead. In our country, The Netherlands, a professor dr. H. M. Kuitert, who had a good Dutch Reformed upbringing, is walking in front of this group. He does not believe anymore in a life after death and in a eternal life in fellowship with a personal, eternal and almighty God. His books made many churchgoers seriously doubt about such important Christian articles of Faith and damaged their faith.

For many it remains a difficult question to answer whether there is life after death for human beings or not. Let me help you if you struggle with this important question. We know that there are more and more people that died in an operation or as a result of an accident but were reanimated. Many could clearly remember what they experienced in those moments they were dead. These stories often show that they had a clear consciousness in those minutes and they could vividly remember things they experienced in those critical moments.

One of the most exciting stories is the one told by a Nigerian pastor who died on the 30th of November 2001 after a serious car accident. He was declared dead by a physician and by the caretaker of a mortuary. After 42 hours however he came back to life, not in the least to his own bafflement. Witnesses declared that his body had already become 'as stiff as a dried fish.' Having come back to life he could remember what he had experienced during the time he was dead: Angels that escorted him to paradise where he saw the saints singing and worshiping. It was so beautiful that he wanted to stay there, he remembers. He saw the mansions Jesus prepares for his children, but he also saw hell and heard the terrible screams of those in it.

Most testimonies of those who had a death experience have the following aspects: A conscious leaving the body, floating to higher spheres, seeing a very beautiful light. And some saw a bright shining appearance - sometimes recognised to be Jesus. Some even heard a voice saying: "I send you back it is not yet your time to remain here." Most people who had such an experience do not dare to speak about it for they know that others will think them to be very abnormal and even to be mentally sick. But those who had such a 'death' experience testify of a deepened appreciation of life and its purpose.

We celebrate Easter 2007. We sing and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I appeal to you: When you believe in a crucified and resurrected Jesus, believe also in a ascended Jesus who will return and raise up to immortal life those who believed in Him. Yes, there is life after death!

Pastor T. J. de Ruiter in The Netherlands, April 2007


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