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Death:  Have they gone on to a better place? 

Gary Googe Nov 22

It seems this is something you’ll often hear from family and friends around the casket of a loved one and/or at a memorial service/funeral.  Is this the case for everyone when they die? Are they all going on to a better place? It certainly will be for some, but is this true for everyone? It seems there are many people who think that it is.  They conclude this if the deceased person was known to be a “good” person, thinking they surely must be in Heaven.  But are people correct in their thinking about this? Answer: People are only going to “a better place” if they’ve at some point accepted God’s provision for their salvation.  The Bible tells us their names must be in the Book of Life.  The Bible also tells us that if their name is not there, they will be cast into what is called the Lake of Fire.  That certainly doesn’t sound like “a better place” to me. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this.

Revelation 20:11-15

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Emphasis added]

Sometime people say the book of Revelation is not understandable.  Really? Why do you suppose then that it is named The Revelation of Jesus Christ? Doesn’t that title clearly indicate that it is a book that was meant to be understood?

Revelation 1:1-2

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. [Emphasis added]

Then let’s notice this next verse that is so often glossed right over as if it didn’t have tremendous importance for helping us understand the things that are written in the book.

Revelation 1:3

3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. [Emphasis added]

If the prophetic program had not been interrupted with the present Dispensation of Grace, these things mentioned in this book would have then come to pass.  But with that interruption and the insertion of this present age of grace, these things have all been put off to a future time.  When the Rapture occurs, the prophetic program will continue from where it was interrupted.  There will then be the prophesied seven years of what is called The Tribulation, ending with the return of Christ to the Earth and the establishment of His earthly millennial kingdom.  But meanwhile we are in this present age of grace where if someone dies as a believer, having accepted Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for their salvation, they immediately go to Heaven.  We gained our citizenship there the moment we were saved.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUO = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

Such will surely be “a better place” for us. But what about those who’ve not put their faith in this provision God made for their salvation? Do those people, too, go to “a better place”? People may choose to think that, but the Bible certainly doesn’t tell us that.

Revelation 20:15

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul tells us something similar.

Romans 2:2-10

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

Never think this judgment and the sentence that follows won’t be fair.  God has lovingly and graciously provided a way for anyone to escape this judgment.  But He surely will deliver people to the consequences of their rejection of His provision.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance [METANOIA = a change of mind]?

God has done everything that was needed to provide a way for people to be saved from everlasting punishment.  But He will surely honor their decision.

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent [AMETANOETOS = unwilling to change] heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

This is referring to the stubborn refusal of many to accept God and the provision He made for them.  Both outcomes are noted in these next two verses.

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth [the gospel message], but obey unrighteousness, indignation [AGANAKTESIS = anger] and wrath [ORGE = anger (another word for anger)],

9 Tribulation [THLIPSIS = affliction] and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

The doing of evil is a reference to all those things people do in their rejection of God and His provision for them.

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [Emphasis added]

Never think that such verses indicate that man is saved by his works of righteousness.  That’s not at all what is being stated here.  If it was, it would be a contradiction to what He clearly tells us elsewhere.

Ephesians 2:8-9  

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]  

Romans 4:4-5  

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]

For more information about the place of works in salvation, please see my articles about it.

Works:  What about verses that seem to demand them for salvation?

Salvation:  What part does man’s work play in it?

Physical death marks the end of man’s opportunity to gain salvation.  Some people have been taught to believe that somehow there will be another opportunity after death.  This is simply not true.  There’s no biblical basis for such anywhere in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Here again, please see my articles about this. 

Death:  Is there life after death?  

Death:  What does the Bible tell us about it?  

Death:  Are deceased Christians now in Heaven?  

This is a popular subject.  But, like other things, people need the truth about it.

I can readily understand and identify with people’s concern about the whereabouts of a deceased loved one.  All too often people don’t look into this matter until it is too late to do anything about it.  Our concern needs to be with the living.  If you’re familiar with the gospel message, you need to be sharing it with people.  If you’re not very familiar with it, learning about it needs to have top priority with you.  There’s nothing in life that is more important for you to know.  This is because if a person dies without accepting by faith the gift of salvation God offers them, they will spend all eternity in a place of intense suffering.  Here too, I have numerous articles on this website concerning all this.

Hell:  How can a loving God send people there?

Hell:  What does the apostle Paul teach about it?

Hell:  Will the suffering last forever?

To find any of these, just type a key work in the search box of the website, tap your enter key, and they should come up.

Never think for a moment that God doesn’t love all mankind.  As a demonstration of the love He has for all, He sent a Savior so that anyone can be saved from hell and the Lake of Fire.

Romans 5:6-8  

6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]

No greater love has ever been expressed toward any one of us.  To receive His love and the salvation He offers freely, put your faith in what Jesus Christ did for you, and you’ll gain salvation immediately and permanently.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4  

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

There’s no better time to accept this message than right now.  God knows all your thoughts.  You can accept it now and be saved.  You can then know for sure that when you die your loved ones will confidently be able to say you’ve “gone on to a better place.”

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