APPLIED CHRISTIANITY

Appendix B
Lost Loved Ones:  Hard Questions Answered
       Please do not consider this something that is just nice to read.  It is here to expand your understanding of the chapter
on "Loss of Loved Ones."  It is placed in the back as a handy reference for you in the future.  Read it now, and keep it in
mind for later use.  There are always people with such questions.  Here are some ways to answer those questions.  

       
 If God is so good, why does he make people suffer and die?  God does not do this.  Satan does this.  Luke
13:16 tells of Satan causing a woman to suffer for 18 years, and there are numerous other examples of Satan causing
suffering.  In fact, Jesus healed people as an act of overcoming Satan's evil work.  John 8:44 calls Satan a murderer.  

        To a Christian, death is not the enemy Satan intended it to be, for Jesus through his resurrection overcame death.  
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written
will come true:  "Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  
....Thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 8:28).  What Satan meant for bad
has been turned into good.  Death is the only door into heaven.  It takes courage to go to heaven, to go through that door,
but it can be done, and it is worth it.  Yes, the family left behind is painfully lonely, but is glad for the person who is now in
heaven.  

       
 I just can't believe there is a God, because if he existed, my child with so many years ahead would not
have died.  I will never set foot in a church building again.
 (This statement is usually made by people who do not
attend church much to start with, and whose faith is very weak.  Sometimes when people are not very close to God, he can
use events that Satan means for bad to help people draw closer to him.)  Have you thought about God very much in the
past few years ~ honestly?  You're thinking about him now.  You may be angry with God, but you are at least thinking about
him.  

        Sometimes it takes something startling like this to get our attention back on God.  Now use that anger.  Search to see
if God really does love you and your child.  The Bible will show you that he does.  A scripture from the book of Esther asks,
Who knows but that you have come...for such a time as this? (4:14b).  Now think of your child.  Who knows but that your
child was sent to you for such a time as this.  With your faith weak, your child may be able to tell you now in a strong
enough way, "God loves me and loves you too.  I am with God now; so please love him back so you can be with us some
day too."  This may have been your child's entire purpose for having been given to you.  Isn't that a wonderful purpose?  

        Compared with the uncomprehendable millions of "years" in eternity, what are a few years on a temporary earth
anyway?  That child may have been saved from a lot of pain and heartache later on in this life.  It is our eternal home that is
important and best, and your child got to go there earlier than most.  God does exist.  And he has not cursed you, but
blessed you.  

        
My dad never went to church.  Do you think he has a chance of going to heaven?  First, tell your friend you
are not the judge; that God keeps all of that out of the hands of we humans with our frail minds.  Then go on to explain that
you understand there are levels of reward and punishment (refer to the parables of the talents and cities).  2 Peter 2:20f
says, If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again
entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn their backs on the sacred
commandment that was passed on to them.  

        Also you may refer to Luke 16 but preface your statement with a reassurance that you are not saying where their
father is.  However, it does give us an example.  The rich man went to hell, and there he remembered his family and
begged Abraham to send someone back to warn them, for he still loved them and did not want the same thing to happen to
them.  This shows us that wherever our loved ones go, we can ease their minds somehow (somehow they are still aware of
us, but to what extent we do not know) by following God's ways as closely as possible.  And finally you can say that one
thing we know for sure; we have a loving heavenly Father who is not wanting anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  

        
My baby wasn't baptized.  Will that make a difference?  Ezekiel 18:2-4 says that the children will not bear the
inherited sins of the fathers.  The soul who sins is the one who will die.  In Mark 10:15, Jesus said in order to enter the
kingdom of God we must be like a little child.  Peter said in Acts 2:38, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the
name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.  A child has no sins and therefore cannot repent of them, neither is
it old enough to understand what baptism is all about anyway.  Your baby is safe in the arms of Jesus.  

       
 What is dying like?  The example of the rich man and Lazarus noted above tells us.  When Lazarus died angels
carried him to Abraham's side (Luke 16:22).  Hebrews 1:14 asks rhetorically, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to
serve those who will inherit salvation?"  It makes sense, then, that if we have angels (and perhaps each of us with a
particular angel) watching over us, that is the angel who comes and gets us for the "crossing over."  Is it dark?  Many
people refer to having courage when passing through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).  However, Amos 5:8
says the Lord turns the shadow of death into the morning, and Jesus himself said in Matthew 4:16, "To them which sat in
the region and shadow of death light is sprung up (KJV)."  Of course we remember Revelation 21:23:  The city does not
need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  

     
Where does a person go when they first die?  Jesus told the thief on the cross (who was still living in the Jewish
era, not the Christian era of baptism) that when they died he would be with him in paradise.  Paul said that he was caught
up to paradise, which he also called the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) but saw things he was not allowed to tell.  
Revelation 2:7 says the tree of life is in the paradise of God; and 22:14 says those who gain the right to the tree of life may
go on into the city of God.  It seems that paradise is for the saved awaiting the day of judgement when final
sentence/reward is to be pronounced and given.  Also, according to the rich man and Lazarus, there seems to be an
awareness of those awaiting hell in gehenna, and also of people left behind on earth.  

        
Will we know each other in heaven?  Jesus, while on earth, had an extensive conversation with Moses and Elijah
(Matthew 17:3).  Jesus said that people from all over the earth would take their place in the kingdom of heaven along with
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 8:11).  And, back to Jesus' reference to the rich man and Lazarus, they still were
identified as the same people.  All of these kept their identity.  

       
 If my sister dies and goes to hell and I die and go to  heaven, how can I be happy knowing where she is?  
Revelation 21:4 promises, 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.  If there is no mourning, this would mean that God will have a way of
eliminating the memory of people who are not there in heaven.  

       
 What is heaven like?  Although these have a symbolic meaning, there is probably a literal meaning of some kind
that could relate to a spirit(ual) world, descriptions of heaven are found in Revelation 4, 21 and 22.  There are twelve kinds
of precious foundation stones.  The gates are of pearl, the wall of diamond, the streets and city of gold.  God's throne is
diamond, encircled with seven great spirit lights, and over that a ruby glow, and over all of it an emerald rainbow.  The city
of God is 1,500 miles high and wide and long (2,250,000 square miles), and its wall is 216 feet high and deep (of course,
all symbolic).  

        
What will we look like in heaven?  John 14:2 says so beautifully that there are many mansions prepared for God's
children in heaven.  We usually think of them as houses for our spiritual bodies to dwell in; however, these are houses for
our spirits to dwell in, just like our present bodies of clay are just houses for our eternal spirits.  Aging Peter referred in 2
Peter 1:14 and 15 to putting off the present tabernacle of his body and dying.  

        Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4:  
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building
from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our
heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and
are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal
may be swallowed up by life.  

        1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-44,49 further explains:  But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised?  With what kind
of body will they come?"  How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant
the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has
determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that
is sown perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so
shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.  

        How can we apply this?  Our present earthly and intricately complicated bodies are simple like a seed by comparison.  
Like a little seed, they need to be buried to bring forth what they can really be.  Our heavenly bodies will be like a beautiful
rose in comparison to that seed.  We don't know the details; but what they will be with their beauty and power and
capabilities will be absolutely out of this world!
H  O  M  E
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