The Internet's favorite Unkle.

Posts Tagged: Afterlife

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tworoadsdivergedblog asked: Do you think there will be Autumn and hot chocolate in Heaven? Because that would be stupendous.

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Unka Glen answered:  Hot chocolate and and Autumn in Heaven? You bet. And what’s more: no calories in the chocolate. This is because calories, carbs, and fat grams are the work of Satan.

There will be both puppies and kittens in Heaven, but no fully grown cats. Any pet that knowingly poops indoors, and is selfish, goes to pet purgatory until they learn to repent. Don’t shoot the messenger on that, it’s not like I’m just making this stuff up.

There will be fishing and climbing and hiking, but no bugs or mosquitos. There will be long walks on the beach, and brilliant sunsets. There will be tea, and lots of different kinds of little cookies (apparently nobody will call them “biscuits” in Heaven…go figure).

There will be conversations, amazing conversations, about all we learned and saw. Humility will reign supreme as there will no longer be any denial. We will all be perfectly aware, that none of us came anywhere near to earning our way in there. Indeed, the thought will prove to be utterly laughable to us.

As such, other human beings will finally be tolerable. We will live blissfully free from debates that are really only exercises in building one’s ego, and of course there will be no more politics, no unwarranted fame, or ugly prejudice. 

There will be no religion, and thus no denomination, liturgy, dogma, doctrine, or theology. There will be no sinning in Heaven, so by contrast, there’ll be no real righteousness either. Just a simple relationship with God.

The heroes of the faith will all be there of course, and we’ll all have a full awareness of all the things, little and great, that we did to serve the Lord in our shockingly brief life here on Earth. And we’ll look on, joining that great cloud of witnesses, and watch the impact we had during our short life. 

We’ll see how a simple word of encouragement, or a humble blog post, became a turning point for someone. Then we’ll see how that someone passed that blessing along, and how that blessing became the flapping butterfly’s wings that, down through the generations, became a mighty movement of God. 

Then we’ll celebrate, as we sit by the fire with our hot chocolate, surrounded by those we love.

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 asked: Hey Unka. Where do people go when they die, if they are a follower of Jesus? I am a bit confused - the Bible talks about the dead being raised in 1 Corinthians 15, and again in 1 Thessalonians 4. Does that mean that believers do not go directly to heaven when they die? It sounds a bit like they do not enter heaven until Jesus’ coming. Where do they go? 

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Unka Glen answered: Not only can I answer this one, I can even give you multiple answers, and you can pick any one you like.

Answer #1 I dunno. Neither does anyone else, really. I mean, we can pretend that we can describe all this, but in truth, I think it’s all pretty impossible to picture. If I may use a nerd reference, I could describe the movie Star Wars, to someone who has never seen it, as the story of a farm boy, who meets a wizard, who helps him rescue a princess, who turns out to be his sister, and then he faces a bad guy who turns out to be his father.

If I then asked that person to tell me how they have that movie pictured in their head, and then compared it with the movie itself, it would probably bear almost no resemblance. That doesn’t mean that my description was wrong, just that, in many ways, you have to see it for yourself to get it.

Answer #2 When we read John 3:16, it promises eternal life to those who accept the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins. As previously mentioned here, the Greek word we translate as “eternal” is the word aionios. Helps Word-studies defines aionios as “simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time…it is time-independent.”

Now, I know what you’re saying, that from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, time is more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… stuff. And that may be so, but still, it makes it darn hard to talk about a timeline of heavenly events.

Answer #3 The way I look at all this stuff comes down to one simple and incredibly profound moment: a thief is dying on the cross next to Jesus, and he asks Jesus to remember about him. And Jesus says, “today you will be with me in paradise”.

Now, I don’t know exactly what Jesus meant by “today”, and I don’t know exactly what He meant by “paradise”, but it doesn’t sound like I’ll be waiting around bored, or haunting my relatives (who, in some cases, would really deserve it). What I do know for sure, is that paradise sounds good to me, and it’s way more than I’ll ever deserve.

One final thought on paradise: the Greek word for paradise is actually…paradise, or “paradises” to be precise. It’s a word the ancients used to describe a shady, well-watered garden, set aside for pleasure. Ya know, like the Garden of Eden.

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murezza asked: Okay, first off- you rock. I’ve been following you forever, and you’re super righteous and encouraging, and I appreciate you. So, I had a question concerning Jesus and Lazarus. What if when we ‘die’ (physically), we’re actually just sleeping until judgement day? It’s been troubling me lately along with a few other things. Help!

Unka Glen answered: Okay, first off: no, you rock. Secondly the question you’re asking comes from the account of Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead, where Jesus says “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up” (John 11:11).

So as to whether we sleep until Judgement Day, I can not only give you one answer, I can give you several.

The logical answer: Jesus was using a common euphemism for saying someone is dead, when He said that Lazarus was “asleep” (koimaó in the original Greek). That is to say, if I tell you that grandma is “pushing up daisies”, I mean she’s passed away, I don’t mean that she’s literally pushing daisies somewhere. 

The theology nerd answer: When we die physically, our spirits are free to exist on a plane of existence that’s outside of time. That is to say, our spirits wouldn’t be “waiting” from their point of you, only from our point of view.

The biblical answer: The Bible says that after I die, “I will know, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12), in other words, we will be conscious of everything, unlike now, when we see only see “a dim reflection” of spiritual realities. To be asleep is to be unconscious, the Bible describes something quite the opposite.

The honest answer: I dunno, and neither does anybody else. But Jesus is emphatic that the afterlife will ROCK for those who call on His name, so smile darlin’, because it’s gonna be great!

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emptypen asked: Hi Unka Glen! Thanks so much for all you do. I was wondering what your thoughts are about “the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2 NKJV). The phrase seems to be the same in all versions of the Bible that I’ve seen, but I’ve never heard it before - other than from Mormons, but that’s a whole different ballgame. I don’t think it’s super doctrinally important or anything, but I was just curious. Thanks again!

Unka Glen answered: You are right that it isn’t super important doctrinally, but as you also point out, some people have tried to make it into some funky doctrine. So let’s work this out. First, the verse in question: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.” (2 Corinthians 12:2 NIV)

The Old Testament actually referrs to seven Heavens. Wow, huh? So does that mean I get to go to a better heaven than these losers? Can I get a better grade, and go to A+ Heaven? No. And sadly, that won’t stop the relentless urge on the part of Christians to rank themselves relative to each other. Your rank is the same as mine: Sinner Saved By Grace.

So if there are seven Heavens, how do we decide who goes to the really good one? Well, here’s the thing, I didn’t say that there were seven DIFFERENT Heavens, because in fact, I’m saying it’s seven different ways of referring to Heaven. A tad disappointing, I know.

But we can boil them down to three Heavens for the sake of simplicity:

1. The Sky, as in, everything in the atmosphere above us.

2. The Firmament, as in the place where the sun and moon and stars are (outer space).

3. The Dwelling place of God, as in, ya know, the real heaveny Heaven (the spirit realm).

If you think about it, we use the word “heaven” in roughly the same way today, we refer to the stars moving through the heavens, and so on. But when we’re referring to full-on Biblical Heaven, we’re referring to that third definition of Heaven, and thus when Paul refers to someone who caught up to the third Heaven, he simply means that third definition of Heaven I listed, not just someone who was lifted up in the sky or something.

As for me, I have a funny feeling that when you see me in Heaven, I’ll be the one with burnt-off eyebrows, face smudged with soot, smelling of sulphur, and a really shocked expression on my face, as I mutter, “man, that was close.” I’ve been a bit naughty, and perhaps naughty enough to be left to dangle for a bit. Nonetheless, I will be there with all the straight people.

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jesusfreak5610 asked: Hey Unka Glen!! I recently had a friend challenge something. We were talking about different religions vs Christianity and what happens to people after this life. He told me he was a Christian but that he believed that whatever faith people accepted, be it Hinduism, Reincarnation, Islam, etc., they go to the respective afterlife of that belief. I know that the Bible states that no one can get to the Father unless they accept Christ. But I don’t know how to respond to him in a Godly way.

Unka Glen answered: So your friend stared into space, came up with this cute idea about the afterlife, and then he decided that his idea, that he just came up with, is now… the truth? And you’re wondering how to break that down? I mean, it’s an interesting and cute idea, but, ya know, this is not how we discover the nature of reality. 

Okay, so let’s track this wacky train of thought, shall we? So, the first thing he was taught in whatever liberal arts class he took in college, was the idea that truth is subjective. What’s true for you might not be true for me, man. So, like, don’t subject me to your reality, man. That’s like your truth, man.

From this brilliant and insufficiently scrutinized observation, he made the bizarre leap that if truth is subjective, then whatever he comes up with, that has to be true. So if it feels true to me, it is true. This is, of course, a big ol’ pile of poo (to use an academic term). What those liberal arts professors were trying to say, is that by definition truth is obviously objective, absolute, and universal, it’s our perception that’s totally subjective and often flawed.

Two plus two equals four. That’s not my own personal subjective truth, that’s just how it is. For me, for you, for everybody. This isn’t an opinion, this isn’t a theory. Two plus two equals four, that is true. Period. The truth can be discovered, deduced, taught, observed, or theologically arrived at, but truth is not, nor ever will be, whatever cute idea I just make up in my head.

None of that really matters though, because your friend knows that the world doesn’t organize itself around his imagination, (otherwise Victoria Secret models would be hand feeding him bacon right now), so the real thing for us to ask ourselves is: why would he make up this particular fantasy, and then repeat it to you? I think the answer is clear— he dislikes the idea that sweet, devoted people, doing their best to live a devoted spiritual life, might find out that they picked the wrong religion. 

Heck, I don’t like that idea either. Yes the New Testament does talk about the condemnation of those who reject the gospel message. But what about those who were never given a clear offer of salvation to reject? The answer is kind of buried in a lot of other details in Romans 2, but the basics are that non-believers will be judged according to “the requirements of the law that are written on their hearts”, and according to the sense of conscience they are given.

So in a sense he is almost right, some people who’ve never really heard of Christ, have devoted themselves to their own best understanding of God, and they did the best they could to follow their conscience, and on that basis, one presumes that some of them will be getting into a pretty kick-butt afterlife, even if it wasn’t the sad little afterlife they’re expecting.

Stick with the actual truth. If you do the math, it’s always better than what people make up.

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hanani-godisgracious asked: Hey, Unka Glen. I was reading Revelation today when I came across something that I’ve seen before but have never really understood. Maybe you can help. “Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits [sevenfold Spirit] of God.” ~ Revelation 4:5 Do you know what the sevenfold Spirit of God is? Do they have different attributes, like the fruits of the Spirit? Or is it just symbolism about God’s perfection? Thanks!

Unka Glen answered: I’ve got not one, but three answers to this, and you can pick any one you want…

1. I dunno. The Book of Revelations is mostly a mystery to me, and I think parts of it are meant to be a mystery…for now. I am certain however of this: the whole book can be summarized thusly: Be ready.

2. Having said that, the general consensus is that this probably represents the seven different ways the Spirit works in our lives, seven different attributes of the Spirit, as you put it.

3. If anyone tells you that they definitely have Revelations all figured out, and this person is wearing a two piece suit, and has a soaring voice, and is trying to scare the bejeebers out of you, and this person has something they’d like to sell you, then it’s time to change that channel.

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mycondolences asked: Unka Glen, I have a question… it is said that we came into this world naked, and we shall leave naked. I’ve always thought that to refer to physical property, items, and things of that nature. But what about non-physical things, like skills, and knowledge, and memories? Do those go with us into the next life?

Unka Glen answered: In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” That says to me that I will not only know all the stuff I know now when I get to Heaven, but that I will know and see much more.

Also, when Paul refers to a “great cloud of witnesses” watching the race we run, referring to previous heroes of the faith that watch over us as we serve the Lord, it makes me think I’ll have the chance to see the impact of my life on the world, as it plays out after I’m gone.

That certainly gets me focused on living my life a certain way.

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Anonymous asked: I’ve always wondered, what happens in heaven? If we are married before we die, are we there with our spouse? Families? Or are we kind of beginning a whole new individual life where we don’t know anyone from this world? (if that makes sense)

Unka Glen answered: Jesus actually answered your marriage question directly in this verse. As for what we’ll know, this verse I think says it all, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Also, if you look at Hebrews 11, Paul talks about the heroes of the Old Testament, and starting with chapter 12, he refers to this group of people who came before us as a “cloud of witnesses”. Then he compares us to an athlete in an arena, where these people who came before us are watching and cheering us on. To me, that would suggest that I could see the impact of my life play out after I pass away, which certainly motivates me to live it a certain way.

Anonymous asked: One of my parents are Catholic and prays to Mary and the Saints. He once told me that praying to Mary is like having an extra person to carry your request to God. Kind of like if you had a prayer request and had one of your friends pray for that same request. What is your opinion on praying to the Saints or Mary? Is praying to the Saints wrong or pointless? Jesus made the way so that we can be in direct communication with Him without intercession right?

Unka Glen answered: You’re right, when Jesus died, you remember that the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in two, that is to say, there were no longer any human go-between connecting us to God, and that Jesus Himself then became our high priest. Also, when I lived in Texas I had a good buddy who was a retired priest, and he would say the same thing you said, that we don’t really pray to the saints, we just ask them to pray for us the same way we would ask a friend to pray for us. The problem there, is that I suspect a good number of Catholics are a little fuzzy on that particular doctrinal distinction.

Anonymous asked: I have a question about the Sabbath. Is it Saturday or Sunday? My grandma told me the Sabbath is on Saturday and Christians changed it so they can separate themselves from Jews. I researched online and saw that Sunday is the worship day for Satan? I asked some Christian friends of mine and they said that Jesus worked on the Sabbath so any day is Sabbath really. I’m just confused.

Unka Glen answered: You’re getting a lot of inaccurate help here, but let’s keep this one simple. Paul says, in Romans 14:5 “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” That’s Paul’s way of saying: pick a day, it doesn’t matter which, and make that YOUR day to honor and worship God. Or you can honor and worship God a little bit every day. The point is to do the honoring and the worshiping. God knows your heart. He isn’t concerned with the days of the week.