I was raised in the Methodist church, where I was taught loosely that when I die, I will immediately go to my reward in Heaven or to an eternal burning Hell. Later, I discovered that most Christian religions indeed teach variations and different twists on that same theme, including a heavy dose of pagan belief that man’s soul is inherently immortal. As a backslidden Methodist, I decided that I wanted nothing to do with a vindictive God who immediately sends stubborn sinners to an eternal Hell to burn relentlessly for trillions of trillions of years…and that’s just a “nice introduction”. No thanks!!
Upon joining the SDA church, I learned from Bible scripture and the very words of Jesus that death is actually like a sleep that puts all conscious thought and activity on hold until He returns to awaken all the saved, and to take us home with Him to Heaven. The unsaved will also be awakened one thousand years later, but only to live for a short time under Satan’s control. Then Satan and all his demonic angels, along with the unsaved, will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire.
Scriptural ”sleep” of death while awaiting Jesus return is good news in so many ways, but there’s
another layer of discovery that is largely ignored. As mortal human beings, we know all too well the realities, sadness and horrors of seeing death arrive for every person on the planet. We know that the mind ceases to function upon death, and that everything is ultimately totally erased.
However, Jesus revealed how He resurrected Lazarus from that very condition of decay, restoring in perfect detail every neuron of memory, personality, and operation of Lazarus’ mind…and body. That necessarily means that God had already “stored and saved” everything needed to recreate the living Lazarus. When Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus was sleeping (in death), He also revealed that the “stored and saved” Lazarus was indeed resting in the “spiritual realm” somewhere… but certainly not anywhere in this physical world.
The implications of this is that the “original complete and up-to-date real you” is already being stored “off-site” in the spiritual realm. That means that whatever happens to us here in this physical world isn’t as important as what is going on in the spiritual world. All people from all across the history of mankind are in “spiritual storage”, awaiting resurrection. Those who will be saved will receive immortal bodies upon Jesus’ return, along with the real person that was stored in the spiritual world. Those who will be still alive upon the return of Jesus, will instantaneously receive immortal bodies, but they won’t require a spiritually-stored mind “reload”. Those who won’t be saved will receive the same old mortal bodies again, along with the real person that was also stored in the spiritual world. No wonder God tells us that we can’t even conceive of what He has in store for us going forward!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.