The wonderful thing about believing that Jesus died and rose again is the security of knowing that when we die, we will live forever in Heaven. Our hope of salvation is not based on how many good things we have done or how nice we are. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Those who die without believing in Jesus will live forever in torment, separated from God and Christians. Some religions would like you to think that people can be saved after they die, but this belief is not supported in the scriptures. The sad reality of this is that we will never see nor remember those people again. They will forever be blotted out of our memories.
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27).
“You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished” (Psalm 9:5,6).
When believers die, we will immediately be in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and those who have died before us. We will be overwhelmed with the beauty of God, Heaven, and multitudes of angels. At the rapture, God will raise up from earth all believers since the beginning of time. At that time He will give all believers glorified bodies so that we will know and love everyone in Heaven! Until that time, God has given us the gift of hope that all Christians will know, without a doubt, that heaven awaits with death comes our way.
We can see this hope of Heaven in King David when his son died. Up to the time of his death, he mourned bitterly over his sick son. When he found that his son had died, he no longer wept. “David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped…. He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:16,22,23).
The most significant proof of our being able to recognize one another after death was when Jesus met Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb and appeared to the disciples. The resurrected Jesus preached, did miracles, talked to many, and was seen by thousands of people, both friends, and foes. And then, 40 days after His resurrection, He ascended to Heaven, taken up in the sky, which was witnessed by many.
As a body of believers, we will serve and worship God in Heaven in ways that we cannot, at this time, comprehend. Because we are believers in Jesus Christ, we are the bride of Christ, and we wait with great anticipation for the day when we will be united with our Bridegroom, Jesus. This is like the betrothal period in biblical times, during which the bride and groom were separated until the wedding. This is why there is no marriage in Heaven. This does not mean that a former husband and former wife will not know each other; it just means that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ in Heaven. Our focus will be on our relationship with our Father and Son and Holy Spirit in Heaven. What all of this will be like, no one knows but God.
The closest we can come in our fallen state, is in reading John’s vision of the new heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, the “holy city “.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:1-5).
These are exciting times in which we live. Are we in the end times when Jesus will return and gather all believers up to be with Him? No one knows the time but God. As we wait for such a time, there is work to be done by all believers.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
Our advice to those who do not believe is this: Apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:37-39).