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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WE DIE: PART IV: BY THOMAS KALAPPURAYIL

In Matthew 13:10-17. Jesus tells us why he teaches in parables. If we take this parable literally, we may think that Jesus teaches us important decisions in heaven are taken by Abraham. But we know that Jesus is the King of Kings and He is our Lord, all of us who will be in heaven will be ruled by Him. In Mathew 13:44 the scriptures say “Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field”. If we take this literally, Jesus is teaching us that it is okay to hide the treasure that one finds and to buy the land . He is teaching us to cheat (hide a truth). But in James 4:17 says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin”. In this parable in Mat.13:44, Jesus is teaching us that any one who understands the truth about heaven, will live for that even if he has to; lose everything in this earth.
Also through the parable in Mat.25:14-30, Jesus is teaching us that everyone should use their God given talents (spiritual gifts) to the maximum to bring people to heaven and we are all judged according to the knowledge we have and what we do with that knowledge/gifts. He is not teaching here to put the money where ever we get the maximum interest.

Another scripture that we can misinterpret to believe we shall go to heaven or hell immediately on death is Luke 23:43 where Christ say to the thief on the right side “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. This is actually a punctuation mistake. (All the punctuations and divisions according to paragraphs and chapters are all done later on.) We shall see how the meaning will change when the coma (,) is placed after ‘today’. “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise (Today you see me as a helpless man who is torch red and crucified, but I promise you , that I shall take you to paradise.) I shall prove it to you this is correct according to the scriptures. If Jesus meant to say the thief that he would be with Jesus in paradise(heaven) on the same day as soon as he died, Jesus has to be in heaven on the same day(Friday). Let us look at what Jesus told Mary Magdalene, the first person Jesus appeared after His resurrection. John 20:17 says “Jesus said to her, ‘do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” So it is clear that Jesus had not scended to heaven on Friday as soon as He died. So Luke 23:43 should be read as “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.

Yet another scripture we can misunderstand is 2Cor.5:8 which says “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”. If we read 2Cor. 4:16 onwards and 5:9&10, we shall know that Paul is teaching us to live a Godly life because we have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Even if we take it literally, the next conscious thing we shall see after our death will be the second coming of Jesus.

If we did go to heaven or hell immediately, then that’s saying, Lazarus was in heaven for four days and Jesus brought him back, to suffer again on earth after four days of enjoyment with God. Also, why should Jesus weep when He heard that Lazarus was dead (John 11:35), instead He should have been happy and should have comforted Mary and Martha telling he is enjoying in heaven. Peter and Paul resurrected one person each and Prophet Elisha resurrected another. Jesus resurrected more people, at least one person would have told the apostles and they in turn would have written for us how it is to be in heaven or hell.
The fourth scripture that could be misunderstood is 1Sam.Chapter 28. When the Philistines are coming to attack Israel, king Saul is consulting God, but God is not answering him because Saul is not walking in the way of the Lord at that time.

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