Recently I saw a post on FB that listed a few things the believer would experience “a minute after they died.” It was a nice reminder seeing it seems we have lost so many loved ones this last year. Scripture tells us, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9.)” Christians really cannot fathom all the joys we will experience for all eternity in Heaven with God Almighty. Still, we are given some glances into the mysteries of this “blessed hope” if we look closely at what Scripture tells us.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 we read, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling if indeed, when we have taken it off, we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So, we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Paul was a tentmaker by trade. As we often do, Paul used an analogy of something he was quite familiar with to explain something more abstract. He compared our physical bodies to tents, which house life. He goes on to say we want “to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up in life.” In other words, we want to have immortal bodies to cloth our souls. He continues to explain that God has prepared such for us and when we are “away from the body” we will be “at home with the Lord.” In short, we will be in God’s presence when we die and we will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” To the Christ-follower, aka Christian, we can celebrate knowing once our physical bodies die, we will be with God. Luke 16:19-31 records Jesus explaining about a rich man and poor man passing from this life to the next. The two are both conscious – able to think, feel, speak and remember. The two men also still know each other. Paul described it like this in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Although one man is in torment in ‘Hades,’ the poor man, Lazarus is with Abraham and they are ‘fully known.’” Likewise, when we die, we will know and recognize others and be able to communicate with them.
Furthermore, in Luke 16:22, Jesus said, “The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham” Unseen angels are made visible and they escort the believer into the presence of God.
According to Revelation chapter 4 and 5 we will also join angels in worshipping God. Revelation 4:8 says we will sing with the angels ““Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Although it is natural for humans to fear death, for those following Jesus Christ, we can take comfort in knowing we will be with the Lord.
While I don’t know that it will be exactly “one minute after we die,” it is Scripturally clear that when we die we will be: 1. Ushered into Heaven by angels 2. In the presence of God 3. Recognized and able to recognize others 4. Able to think, feel, speak and remember 5. Joining angels and those gone before us to worship God for eternity.
None of us knows all of the glorious details of our eternal lives with God in Heaven. However, the things we find in Scripture should excite, comfort, and encourage us! Our hearts break at the passing of friends and loved ones; still, we can have peace and joy knowing that those who follow Christ will be with Him.