One Year Past the Cross!
By Terrie C
March tenth marked my first year past the cross. I spent the day under a quilt with the flu. If you’ve even been in that position, it may not surprise you to know that I gave some time to thinking about the life after this one in between shivers. The concept of Heaven and Hell is certainly a widely accepted theory, but it always left me with questions. A serial killer and a person who didn’t accept Jesus as their “savior” would both be put in a place of torment for eternity? Even if the person honored God and went about doing good? And how would Jesus be my husband, when at other times, he was called my brother….or father? How do we use any word but incest in that situation? And what about that “No Jew or Gentile, slave or free, or male or female”? The Christian Bible says “all will be one in Jesus”. That always made me think of the “Borg” from Star Trek (TNG). I apologize if you’re not familiar with that term. In short, beings are assimilated into a living machine to be used as a collective. They lose all individuality. As the deed was done the Borg would announce, “You will be assimilated, resistance is futile!” It was hard for me to comprehend that we would be created so fantastically unique, yet turn into clones “on the other side”. Equally hard to believe a rapist slides in on Jesus’ robe without any consequence to his sin. That would contradict the Tanakh, which says we will reap what we sow. But I digress! I’m certainly not trying to give a Christian review on the afterlife. Suffice it to say, it’s cut and dry. Love Jesus or burn in Hell forever and ever, amen. But what about after we rip the backs out of our Bibles? What do the Scriptures that are Tanakh say about a life after this one?
It was interesting to learn that Tanakh doesn’t have many verses about the “World to Come”. The prophets give small glimpses, but overall, Tanakh isn’t focused on the “afterlife”. Its focus is more on “this life”. This is telling in itself! The verses we do have tell us that the “World to Come” will be good, and that we will always worship before our Creator. I’m not going to list those verses here because searching them out is such a rich experience! I highly encourage you to dive in and find them, though. There will be an accounting for this life, and Tanakh says one can be “cut off” from their people. It’s easy for me to imagine a golden scale, where the things I’ve done that align with God’s instructions are dropped on one side, each making a heavenly musical note. On the other side, my misdeeds will be plopped down, each marked by the sound of a “gong” being struck. My eternal destiny, in my humble opinion, will depend on which side that scale tilts to after every last detail is exposed. To me, it isn’t an issue of “earning my way in” but of letting the “good” prevail in my life. The ultimate good, it goes without saying, is my love for God, and how I demonstrate it.
Will there be a refining process for us to go through after our spirit comes out of this flesh? A waiting period? A reincarnation? A consequence to face for our unrepented sin? Oh, boy… there are lots of opinions and commentaries! Will our freed spirits pop into weddings and graduations to cheer our loved ones on? Will we hear them, should they speak to us outloud? I guess as long as we have a reasoning brain, we will utilize our imaginations in matters of the unknown. The really cool thing is that we don’t have to worry about it, and we don’t have to argue about it! We simply trust that God is who He says He is, and know that there will be more after this life. However He works it out will be the best way possible for it to work out for those of us who call Him “The One True God” and do our very best to walk in His ways. However He works it out, according to the prophet, Isaiah, “… it will come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, all flesh will come to worship before Me, says YHVH.” For me, that’s enough to know about what’s to come.
I was happy that feeling so miserable stirred me to think about the concept of a life after this one. The subject of what happens when we die was something I hadn’t looked closely at through this new lens. I utilized some of my down time doing just that! I gleaned from teachings regarding the subject, and from the wonderful insights of those wiser than myself. As always though, Tanakh was my plumb line. If any information can’t be backed with Scripture, I don’t keep it. From there I can see that many of the details of a life after this one aren’t going to be known until they’re experienced. That must be why the Scriptures point to choosing life more often than planning an afterlife. What we do now, in this life, should be our concern today. The infinite details are impossible for a finite mind to fully grasp, try as we might. I’ll just honor my God and His Tanakh, knowing that this life isn’t all, and that He is, was, and always will be exactly who He is! I’m not afraid to die anymore, I learned that last week. This life is a gift, and I will appreciate it every day I have it. But when my spirit breaks free from this body, it returns to the One who loves me enough to grant my every breath. I can trust Him with it, no matter the details. It was a pretty cool study to finish out my last week in my first year past the cross.
If you’re sojourning on this path with me, I’m glad you’re here! I look forward to watching God’s plan unfold with you. “See” you next week!