Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Only Authority on Heaven
No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. —John 3:13
The number of people who believe in the afterlife is higher than ever. A recent global survey was conducted, asking people about their belief in God and the afterlife. Of the 18,000 people polled across 23 countries, 51 percent were convinced there is an afterlife and a God. In the U.S., belief is even higher, with 76 percent of Americans believing in heaven.
Belief in the afterlife is not unique to our time. Almost every culture believes there is something beyond the grave. The Egyptians believed that, of course. Archaeologists recently discovered a solar boat in one of the Great Pyramids, supposedly for Pharaoh Khufu to use to sail the heavens in the next life.
Ancient Greeks would often place a coin in the mouth of the dead to pay the fare across the mythic river of death into the land of immortal life.
American Indians would bury a warrior with a pony, a bow, and arrows so that he could ride into the happy hunting ground.
In Greenland, Eskimos who died in childhood were traditionally buried with their dog, intended to guide them through the supposed cold wasteland of death.
All of these views are skewed or outright wrong. But one thing they have right is the belief that there is life beyond this life. Even in the time of Jesus, many of the Jews had an aberrant view of the afterlife because they didn’t look at what the Scripture taught.
According to Jesus, there is indeed life beyond the grave. Why should we accept His word over the word of another? Jesus is qualified to speak on the topic because He came from heaven, and He has returned to heaven. That is why Christ—and Christ alone—can address this topic with authority.
Summary sentence: According to Jesus, there is life beyond the grave. Why does He have authority to say this?
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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