HOW TO OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION

The apostle Paul died a martyr for Christ. Christ was magnified in his body in life and in death.

“according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).

Dying for the sake of Christ glorifies God, but so does living for the sake of Christ. We are to live and die for the glory and honor of the Lord.

“If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:8).

Hebrews 11 is known as the great faith chapter for it chronicles some of the old patriarchs and saints who both lived and died in faith.

After listing the names of those who lived by faith such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, etc. the writer of Hebrews also refers briefly to others who did great exploits through faith. However, he ends with a statement that strikes at the heart of what is at stake when we live or die in faith.

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection (Heb. 11:32-35).

The way one dies and departs from this life can result in a better resurrection. These martyrs could’ve compromised or denied their faith and lived a longer life on the earth, but they chose to die for the Lord. And in doing so and not accepting deliverance, the Scriptures tell us that they obtained a better resurrection.

A better resurrection entails both how you lived and how you die and depart from this earth. We need to live right and die right.

EVERY MAN WILL PASS THROUGH THE GATEWAY OF DEATH

There is a place, dear friends where time meets eternity for every man. All human beings are appointed to die and be judged (Heb. 9:27). Are you ready for that moment? As you are reading this there are multitudes of people that are now struggling in the final throes of death. Some die in luxury, others in poverty. Some die in majestic palaces and mansions lying on beds spread with fine and costly coverings while others die in humble abodes, or worse, lying in dark prison cells. Some die in lonely forests, others in barren deserts or even in raging ocean waters. Some die laying under the scorching sun, yet others may die in the cold and bleak snow covered mountains. Some are murdered and others are killed on the battlefield. Some die a painstaking slow death while others die instantly in some way or suddenly in their sleep. Some die in indescribable suffering and misery while others die in peace. Some die surrounded by comforting or weeping family and friends while others sadly die alone and forgotten. We must all pass through the gateway of death, the common transition state between earth and eternity.

But once again, for the Christian and the Christ follower, to die is gain. To depart is far better. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That is glorious! And to those who live and die in faith there awaits a better resurrection.

I believe the Scriptures show forth that a better resurrection partly means that the glory of Christ will be manifested in our resurrected bodies in different measures. After all, if there is a better resurrection, it implies that there is one that is not so good, or as good. There will be a difference in how people experience God’s glory in the age to come. This glory and its ensuing rewards are dependent on our faith and obedience in this life and also in death. Did you know that the Pistol Star has a mass 100 times that of the sun, and it’s a million times brighter? Such is the resurrection of our bodies.

There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:41-42).

I think the prophet Daniel knew this best.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament,
and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Dan.12:2-3).

May we live and die in faith and make it our aim to be wise by helping turn many to righteousness, so that we may obtain a better resurrection and shine brightly forever.

If you are interested in these themes of death, heaven, and hell please like our Facebook page, Behind The Veil, and enjoy our television program on these themes. These programs will first appear on this page. They are offered in English but dubbed into Arabic for our Arabic speaking viewers. They are broadcast globally with the largest concentration of four million daily viewers in the Middle East. I hope they are a blessing to you and help to stamp eternity in your heart and ignite a passion in you for souls. 

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HOW TO DIE

The Bible tells us that death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26), but it is the death of our physical body. Our spirits are eternal and never die per se or cease to exist. To the true Christian and follower of Jesus Christ death is a transition into the presence of the Lord. How glorious!

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

The Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul that to die is gain and to depart this earthly life to be with Christ is far better.

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23b).

Do we really believe this?

In just the last few years I’ve met individuals who left their body momentarily and then returned. One was my former pastor who is now 82 years of age. He went in for surgery and left his physical body. He was just above it looking down on his family in that hospital room who were praying for him and calling him back. As soon as he came back into his body he said, “I’m back”. This man is a deeply spiritual man and moves in the supernatural, so this experience did not seem to startle him at all. He knows the Lord and the spiritual realm is real to him.

I have another pastor friend in Florida who told me that at 19 years of age he was bleeding to death from some kind of accident or injury. He testified to me that he left his body and was suspended a few feet above it looking down on the doctors who were working on him. Thankfully, he returned and went on to fulfill God’s plan for his life.

Many people, even true Christians, die before their time. There are reasons people die young or prematurely, but that’s a topic for another day. The point is that the Lord desires that we all live out our full lives and accomplish the fulness of His plan and purpose for us, exclusive of martyrdom, which is an honor and a glory.

Death can be very uncomfortable and fearful to those who die without Christ, and a large part of the ministry of the gospel is to persuade people to turn to Christ before it is too late. This ought to be the greatest joy of every minister. Only repentance from sin and faith in Christ launches your spirit into the presence of the Lord at the hour of death.

But to the believer death should not be a terrifying experience. We do not have to be afraid of death.

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14-15).

The Bible calls the fear of death a bondage, but by defeating the devil who had the power of death, Jesus has released us from the grip of this fear. So death for the Christian is actually a wonderful and glorious transition into a blissful eternity with the Lord and all the saints that have moved on, especially our loved ones with whom there will be a grand and joyful reunion.

It is important that we die right. It is important that we die a death that glorifies God. You might ask, “what kind of death glorifies God?” Since it’s faith that pleases God (Heb. 11:6), then it makes sense that to die in faith pleases the Lord. Even in the Old Testament, before Jesus had opened the way to the third heaven, and when paradise was still under the earth and not the glorious place it is now, the OT saints died in faith.

WHAT IT MEANS TO DIE IN FAITH

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Heb. 11:13-16a).

Not everyone dies in faith.  The disobedient and backslidden believer cannot die in faith until they repent and make peace with God. Sinners and those who have not surrendered to Jesus and do not know the living God, of course, cannot die in faith.

Additionally, those who are not able to forget their past sins and failures, who have regrets and hold grudges, and who refuse to forgive and release those they’ve been hurt by cannot die in faith. The pleasure seeking, worldly loving professing “Christian” cannot die in faith because of their attachment to the things of this world. In the Scripture above even the OT saints knew they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth who sought a homeland, a heavenly country. How much more ought we to have this mind-set in the new and better covenant! This world is not our home. It’s important to continually live for eternity and be prepared to face God at the hour of death. Until a man’s heart has been transformed by the grace of God he cannot possibly have a deep rooted desire to live for the glory of God. There are some who’ve allowed evil to grip their hearts to such an extent that they will even curse God at the hour of their death.

For example, a study was done on airplane crashes and final words that were spoken in the cockpit recorder before the pilot’s imminent death. Most were full of curses and profanity. This describes the death of the unrighteous. That is not how any of us want to die. Please don’t go out this way, but receive Jesus and be filled with His forgiveness and peace. On the other hand, God’s mercy is so great that He saves those who call on Him with their last breath. Many enter heaven this way, too, having lived for themselves and receiving no reward, but still making heaven. It is sad that they did not live their lives for the Lord, but it sure beats going to hell.

“Let me die the death of the righteous…” (Nu. 23:10b). The righteous die in faith with hope and confidence, and their death is most precious to the Lord. One big reason the death of the Lord’s saints is precious to Him is because of their precious faith. Putting the following scriptures together will help us see this clearly. 

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15).

“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing…” (1 Pt. 1:7-8).

“Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen” (Jn. 20:29).

Another minister acquaintance of mine died and went to heaven for nearly two hours. The Lord told him to go back to the earth because his work was not done. He was sad at the news and did not want to return. Most who’ve truly had a visitation of the Lord or out of body visions of heaven do not want to return.

I heard the story of Oral Roberts’ crusade director who also died and was upset when his wife called him back to his body. Those who’ve had even just glimpses of eternity and the blissful state of the departure from this sin and sick-cursed world wish to remain in heaven.

Death is indeed an enemy, not a friend because it separates us from our loved ones, but we don’t have to face it in fear, in doubt, or in weakness, but in faith, honor, and dignity.

Please pass this on to those who do not yet know the Lord or who are dying. The hope, comfort, and peace that comes from knowing their sins are forgiven and that heaven is their eternal home is worth it all.

If you are interested in these themes of death, heaven, and hell please like our Facebook page, Behind The Veil, and enjoy our television program on these themes. These programs will first appear on this page. They are offered in English but dubbed into Arabic for our Arabic speaking viewers. They are broadcast globally with the largest concentration of four million daily viewers in the Middle East. I hope they are a blessing to you and help to stamp eternity in your heart and ignite a passion in you for souls. 

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DEATH: THE TRANSITION INTO THE AFTERWORLD

I was born and raised Roman Catholic and I always thought that Jesus and His disciples were Catholic also. Actually, I thought God and the angels were all Catholic, and no one could go to heaven unless they were Catholic. Whenever I’d meet a Protestant I’d feel sorry for them because I thought all Protestants were destined for hell. How deceived I was! Many other denominations are taught the same way – that if you’re not in their denomination, then you are not really saved. Traditions of men have brainwashed many people and filled them with lies, thus making the Word of God ineffective in their lives (Mt. 15:6).

Heaven and hell are real. Many people, even so called Christians do not believe in hell. Many now embrace universalism. This belief system erodes the fear of God and diminishes all zeal for the lost. I have great concern for those who are bound by unbelief and the traditions of men. I have great concern for those who are deceived and lost. My heart breaks for them because their eternal destiny is determined in this life. If not for the grace and mercy of God I’d be in the same predicament. When death strikes, the eternal destiny of every human being has been determined and cannot be reversed.

All men have instincts and an intuitive knowing that there is life after death. To deny it is to go against your God given instincts and intuition. By conscience and by creation all men know there is a God and that death is not the end (Rom. 1:20). Eternity has been placed by God in the heart of every man (Ec. 3:11b). Death does not mean cessation, but transition into the spiritual realm. And Jesus and the entire Bible testifies of only two places where the dead can go – one is heaven and the other is hell. Jesus said that the way to hell is wide and many go there. The way to heaven is narrow, and few go there (Mt. 7:13-14). That fact alone grips my heart and I shutter to think of the multitudes that are already there and can never get out.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE LATE KENNETH E. HAGIN

When the late Kenneth E. Hagin was a sick and dying bed-ridden teenager he went to hell (I Went To Hell). Three times he descended into the dark regions of the damned. He was a church member, but he learned that just being a church member is not enough. Just attending church does not make you a Christian. One must be born again (Jn. 3:3, 7).

Brother Hagin describes his death:

“I could feel the blood cease to circulate. The tip of my toes went numb – then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down, down, down. Down until the darkness compassed me ’round about. The lights above faded away… “

This happened three different times and after each time he was brought back into his body. Each time he came into his body he came into it three different ways. Once he came in through the front porch of the house he was in, another at the foot of the bed, and the last time right beside his bed. Each time he leaped back into his body.

When he descended he screamed out, “GOD! GOD! I BELONG TO THE CHURCH! I’VE BEEN BAPTIZED IN WATER!” But belonging to a church and being baptized in water is not enough to avoid descending into hell and ascending into heaven. Up until this time he thought this out of the body experience was all a hallucination and not real.

Brother Hagin describes a kind of suction that pulled him down until a booming voice spoke (which he now assumes was Jesus), and the demonic creature who was escorting him to hell let go of him and he ascended back into his body on the earth. During his third descent he began to pray and ask God to forgive him of his sins and to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Thank God for His mercy.

Once Hagin came back into his body the final time he was no longer afraid to die. The weight of his sins had rolled off him and now he had peace with God. He was born again. He did die and leave his body a fourth time, but this time he ascended as a bright glorious cloud filled his bedroom. Both his mother and grandmother saw the cloud and testified of it that they could not enter the room until it lifted. Hagin’s life was spared and the Lord told him to go back to the earth because his work was not finished.

THE HORRIFYING DEATH OF AN OLD ATHEIST WOMAN

Finally, in the same aforementioned book Brother Hagin tells a story of an old woman who during her earthly life never believed in heaven and hell and hated all preachers. She’d say things like, “The very idea! I’ll tell you – these preachers, trying to scare people, telling them there’s a hell and a heaven! Why, when a person dies, they’re dead just like a dog! Every church ought to be closed down and bombed! Every preacher ought to be killed! They’re just in it for the money.”

At the hour of her death her daughter called for Brother Hagin to minister to her. When she heard the word “preacher,” her mother jumped like somebody had shot her – yet her eyes never moved but were fixated. “Oh, Kenneth, Kenneth! You’re a preacher – tell me there is no hell! Oh, tell me! I said there wasn’t any hell. I said every preacher ought to be killed. I’m afraid! Oh, I’m afraid! I’m afraid! It’s so dark. It’s so dark. IT’S SO DARK! IT’S SO DARK! It’s…”

As she said those words she fell back on the pillow, died, and went to hell, crying, “It’s so dark! It’s so dark!”

God has given us His Word, the Holy Bible, to search out these things so we can most assured and know they are true. He’s also provided many witnesses throughout the centuries of the Church age that have testified of the reality of these things. Oh dear friends, let’s tell the world and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin, righteousness, and judgement (Jn. 16:8).

There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

If you are interested in these themes of death, heaven, and hell please like our Facebook page, Behind The Veil, and enjoy our television program on these themes. They are offered in English but dubbed into Arabic for our Arabic speaking viewers. They are broadcast globally with the largest concentration of four million daily viewers in the Middle East. I hope they are a blessing to you and help to stamp eternity in your heart and ignite a passion in your heart for souls. 

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THE FASCINATING VISION OF MARIETTA DAVIS: A VOICE SPEAKS FROM HADES

(This is a part of a blog series. I encourage you to read the preceding blogs to receive the full benefit of this most compelling vision.)

Marietta was quite overcome by this scene and the realization of human recognition in Hades. Of this she wrote: “One hideous expression closed the scene; being overcome—for I knew what I witnessed was real—I was immediately removed. When I noticed those spirits in Hades I had known on earth, I realized I knew them still. Oh, how changed they were! They were the very embodiment of sorrow and remorse.

Marietta left this scene and was permitted to go to another section in Hades. She said, “Again I descended as from an immeasurable height into an abyss inhabited by beings whose condition I did not at first discover, but who were finally revealed as more desperate than those from whom I just escaped.”

The degree of wickedness was much worse in this section. Just as there were different levels of perfection in paradise, so there are different degrees of wickedness in hell. Like attracts like. The less wicked inhabit a certain sphere and the more desperately wicked another.

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you (Mt. 11:20-24).

In the above scripture Jesus infers that mighty works give people a greater opportunity to respond to the gospel, but also a greater condemnation on those who reject Him. To whom much is given much is required (Lk 12:48). According to Jesus, even Sodom and Gomorrah, that wicked city, would’ve repented and not been burned to the ground had they witnessed His mighty works (Mat 10:15). Therefore they will be judged less severely in the day of judgment than the cities where mighty works were done without ensuing repentance. There are different levels of judgment.

The scene in Hades served as a great object lesson to Marietta because she saw that the wages of sin is death, and it was with unspeakable gratitude when a voice from heaven spoke to her that she had seen enough and would now be taken back to paradise.  Her angel guide then told her this: That those who seek peace by any other means than the Cross shall ultimately experience dreadful disappointment. But the angel also told her that they who have Christ shall never be a captive of that dark and dreadful place. 

“For every willing heart has a dwelling place prepared in heaven, and whoever seeks the Lord shall find Him a present help in time of need.”

Another angel spoke to Marietta and gently admonished her for her previous lack of faith. “Why are you inclined to the scenes where evil passions reign? Why does your being vacillate between the spheres of good and evil? Learn from this, that he whose heart is not established in truth, whose nature is not controlled by the law of holy love, is exposed to the attracting influence of evil.”

The angel then explained the law which determines where a soul goes at death, and that God does not willingly send men to Hades, but at death their spirits are attracted to the region of those with whom they are in harmony with. The pure and holy naturally ascend to the realms of the righteous while the wicked, in obedience to the law of sin and death, gravitate to the region where evil prevails.

There is truth to the above statement.

Your inward nature will determine your destination. You must be born again!

UNHOLY NATURE DISCORDANT WITH HEAVEN

At this point Marietta was allowed intimacy into the pure harmony of heaven, beyond what she was permitted before, but she was not prepared for this experience. Immediately she realized that her own nature was discordant and out of harmony with the intense holiness and purity of heaven. She was no longer able to harmonize with the prevailing law, and according to her own words, her “unholy nature was discovered”. During those moments she suffered agony and supposed that because of her discordant condition, she was lost beyond redemption.

The angel, however, reassured her and explained that it was a benevolent Creator that did not permit the wicked to enter heaven. In paradise their suffering would become infinite. The unregenerate souls could not harmonize with the purity of heaven and their sufferings would be vastly aggravated beyond what they would endure in Hades.

That is a fascinating reality that agrees with Scripture and assures us that the character of God is not at all to punish and torment people in the afterworld. It is also the reason that after the fall of man God set cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life, so that man would not partake of it and live forever in his fallen state. How tragic that would’ve been!

“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24).

And thus is revealed why no unclean thing can enter the holy city, as John the beloved saw in the book of Revelation (Rev. 21:27).

Likewise, the angel declared that God would never permit a child of any sanctified soul to come under the deadly magnetism of evil.

“Marietta, behold the goodness of God in the law of being. How unjust it would be for a righteous Creator to permit any of these little ones to perish by being attracted to the regions of darkness and the place of the wicked. Their tender and pure natures would writhe in pain beneath the passions of evil and insatiable desires. In very deed, God might be considered unjust should His law exposed the innocent.”

Likewise, there would be a manifest lack of mercy, should any unholy and discordant spirit be allowed into the harmony and holiness of heaven, since their suffering would increase in proportion to the degree of light and supreme good that dwells in the abode of the pure. Herein is displayed the wisdom and goodness of God. Absolutely no discordant element in the spirit world mingles with the pure and harmonious.

Marietta was told not to weep, because she had found her nature was not fully in harmony with heaven. “For a ransom is prepared in a healing fountain that you may wash, and by which all the impurity of your being may be removed. In this rejoice greatly since through mercy, redemption is offered, and those who could not otherwise attain perfect joy are exalted from prisons to mansions in our Father’s kingdom. For this grace the saints in heaven praise God, and never cease continually to utter hymns of thanksgiving to Him Who is their Redeemer.”

    

Marietta was then permitted to return to the earth to tell her amazing story. Nine months later at a time she herself predicted, she returned to the land of paradise to be with her Redeemer forever. Marietta went to heaven for 9 days to prepare for a 9 month ministry and witness on the earth. She departed this earth at the young age of 25. That alone is amazing and unexplainable except to say it is the sovereignty of God.

Personal Comments: The most memorable thing I’ve learned from this narrative was a more thorough understanding of hell that I never received from any other source. Please read these descriptions carefully. Marietta was taught that the hell fire is actually in the person’s soul, a part of him, when he gets to hell, and something there causes the flame to ignite, whereas in the body, the flame was restrained to human limitation. So I came to understand that all the bitterness that was ever in your soul, drags the soul to the place where it can catch fire and take over. So the fire of hell is fed by the lost soul’s own bitterness and rebellion, and God has nothing to do with it. This is extraordinarily enlightening, making the reader understand that God is not a torturer, and why it seems that the torment does go on forever. Marietta really did not know that her story would educate people for more than 150 years now. What a beautiful literary treasure!

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