In my studies about “life after death” this week, I’ve become bored to death with the liberal scholars that suggest that the idea of life beyond the grave is a modern invention and was not even part of the Old Testament religious system. Listen, you all, no matter what you’ve heard in your secular philosophy of religion class, or your Old Testament Class at some University, it’s clear in the Bible that there was an awareness of life beyond the grave from the very beginning. It was the loss of this reality that instilled the sins of Lamech as well as those living at the time of Noah. It was the loss of that reality at the tower of Babel that brought man’s self-idolatry and a worship of the pleasures of this life. It was to Abraham that God began to renew the world with Faith!

It has been proven time and again that monotheism is not the product of an evolutionary development of human religious systems. A recent discovery at Ebla assures us of its existence long before the evolutionary chart suggests it emerged. It has roots in the oldest book of the Old Testament, the book of Job. Job asserts his faith in God amidst the greatest trials one can imagine and says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God…” (Job 19:25-26). Geisler (See “When Critics Ask”) argues that the phrase repeated in Genesis “gathered to his people” most “certainly seems to indicate more than merely being buried close to his kinsmen.” This phrase is used of Abraham (Genesis 25:8), Isaac (Genesis 35:29), and Jacob (Genesis 49:33). This last passage indicates that it wasn’t Jacob’s burial that was being discussed but his death. It reads, “When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” The gathering took place immediately upon death. Further, in Deuteronomy 32:50, Moses is said to have ascended the mountain where he passed away and was gathered to his people. As the book of Jude affirms, there is still not record of a burial site for Moses.

Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection were purposefully God’s plan to bring us back to a true understanding of the depth of God’s love for us all in the assurance of life beyond the grave. It was Christ’s message from the beginning and His ultimate promise at the end. John expressed it this was (1 John 2:24-25), “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.” In the Gospel itself, Jesus is quoted as saying, (John 11:25) “He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live.” Jesus has promised eternal life to believers, free from all tears, sorrow, and pain (Rev. 21:4). That is why when it comes to death; Christians are a people of hope.