By Pastor Jason Paul
An ancient Egyptian proverb says, “Death is but a doorway to new life. We live today, and we will live again. In many forms, we will return.”
The Egyptian proverb is only partially correct, though. Death is a doorway to new life; we are alive today and will be alive after we die. When we pass on from this world to the next, we do not come back to life in many different forms but to a life with God or being separated from God. The Bible tells us that we will be resurrected from the dead to live again. But it is up to you to choose where you will live for eternity.
The Bible tells us that for followers of Jesus Christ, death is a doorway to new life in eternity with God in heaven. A door that is open and made possible by Jesus Christ when he died on the cross for our sins.
Christian Author Randy Alcorn accurately states: “For the Christian, death is not the end of adventure but a doorway from a world where dreams and adventures shrink to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand.”
As Christians, we are comforted by knowing that death is not the end but the beginning of life with God almighty and Jesus Christ. Even the comfort of knowing where we are going doesn’t make death and losing someone any easier.
Over the last month, there have been deaths that have impacted the lives of others. My wife had an acquaintance who passed away in her sleep at 36. My co-worker just had her nephew passed away at the age of 30. Just think of the celebrities that just recently passed away. Death can come at any time to anyone at any age.
When I heard that my wife’s friend died at 36 unexpectedly, we felt deep sorrow for her family. She left behind a husband and two young children who must continue life without her. She was a believer in Jesus Christ and awoke in the presence of the Lord when she passed away that fateful day.
We each grieve the death of a loved one differently—those who grieve with hope and those who have no hope.
The Bible records Elijah’s last day with his friend and mentee, Elisha. Elisha and Elijah knew Elijah’s last day on earth, but Elisha did not want to accept that his best friend would no longer be with him.
I placed myself in Elisha’s sandals when I read about this event. Was Elisha fortunate enough to know that this was the last day on earth for his friend or not?
“When the LORD was about to take Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the LORD has told me to go to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel. The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the LORD is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” (2 Kings 2:1-3)
Elisha knew the Lord would take Elijah to heaven and did not want to accept it. In each city the Lord told Elijah to go to, Elijah told Elisha to stay, and Elisha’s response was always the same. “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” Each place they went had prophets who came to Elisha and asked him the same question, and Elisha had the same response.
2 Kings 2:5: Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the LORD is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”
As their story continues, Elisha and Elijah go to the Jordan River.
2 Kings 2:11-12 “As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.
Elijah did not experience physical death, but Elisha experienced the grief of losing a loved one. Even though Elisha knew Elijah was taken to be with the Lord in heaven, he was still grieved and did not want to discuss it.
When I read about this event, I asked myself what I would do if I were Elisha. What if I knew this would be my last day with my friend? Would I spend every moment with them and never leave? How would I react to my loved one differently when death was near? Would talking about the loss of my best friend help with my grief?
I know one thing. I would have been thankful that my friend knew the Lord, knowing they are spending eternity in heaven and we will meet again someday. We never know if we have a tomorrow, so we must live each day with others as our last.
Not only did Elisha grieve over the loss of his friend Elijah, but Jesus’s disciples grieved overseeing the death of Jesus on the cross. Their close friend of three years was now on the cross, accused of crimes he did not commit. As Jesus was taken off the cross and laid in a tomb, Christ’s disciples had lost hope. Their friend was dead.
Three days later, the story changed. Christ was resurrected from the dead to new life.
“Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:5-10)
The resurrection from the dead to new life and an eternity with Christ is why we have hope even when someone dies. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church about this same hope.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
However, The Bible also tells us that for the Nonbeliever who does not believe that Jesus is the son of God, death is a doorway to eternity, separated from God in a place called Hell.
Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow, and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
This begs the question. Where are you going to spend eternity? Which doorway will you enter when death comes?
As Christians, we will still grieve when we lose a loved one. We will still find a way to press on with the strength that God can give. If your loved one knows the Lord, we will be reunited in heaven. Death is but a doorway to eternity with God for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
To know more about receiving Jesus into your life, go to Steps to Salvation. – Abiding in the Faith