Traveling I-376 into the city of Pittsburg gives you a glimpse into the radical experience that we Christians will have immediately upon death.
Those coming into the city's West End must pass through the famous Fort Pitt Tunnel which burrows straight through the towering Mt. Washington. As you follow the flow of traffic into the tunnel darkness slowly begins to encase you. The light of day fades as you descend deeper into the cavern.
About a mile out in front of you sits a small sheet of white light which is the mouth of the tunnel. The closer you get, the larger and more brilliantly bright it appears to get.
Once you reach it the darkness is immediately rolled back. There before you stands the city's dazzling skyline. The skyscrapers welcome you as the sun's radiant luster pierces your eyes.
To be sure, the city of Pittsburg cannot compare to the infinite wonders of heaven. But the parallel certainly is there. Our eyes will one day darken. This life will fade into oblivion. We will breathe our last. But that will not be the end.
Immediately, a whole new world will greet us. A whole new existence will take possession of us. In that next moment we will instantaneously be stunned by a radically new life, the sensation of which being wholly unimaginable.
On the cross, Jesus lifted the thoughts of the poor wretch dying beside him to that world. Christ consoled his penitence and his earthly suffering with the promise of immortal bliss in the heavenly dimension. That very day he would be with Jesus in Paradise.
Because he had trusted in Christ he was given the full assurance that, though his present existence would end, he would not die. He would be translated into that higher more glorious realm and partake of its infinite riches.
Over the course of the next several weeks, we will try, as best we can, to contemplate that world. Better yet, we'll try to grasp that moment--that moment of moments--that radical, life changing moment which will overwhelm us immediately after our demise.
We will ask ourselves: What will it be like? What will we experience when our eyes open on the other side? Though we will only be able to see through a glass darkly, we will attempt to gain insight into this supernal joy that will be revealed.
Here we simply note it's reality. The promise to every true believer is that upon death he will immediately precede into the fuller experience of his eternal life. Jesus affirms to everyone who dies in Him: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
Mark those words "fuller experience of your eternal life." Those who trust in Christ do not wait for eternal life. We wait for the fuller realization of it.
We know that at death this life will give way to something much more grandiose. But anyone who is in Christ possess eternal life now. Though we do not have the full experience of it, we do have full possession of it. Jesus said of his followers,
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish."
This reality is ours. It is currently ours. And the fuller experience, which is to come, is ours to savor now.
You may even say this: Scripture has not just given us a future hope, but it teases us with it. It gives us little clues and bits of information here and there. The whole of it has not made known, but enough has revealed to whet our appetites and make us crave it.
And over the next few weeks we'll meditate on these clues and begin to let our minds be drawn upward.
We invite you along in this study. We invite you to learn about the vast riches to be revealed. It is our hope that your soul will dabble in the wonders that await us. As we deal with this world's woes, we hope your burdens will be made light by the surpassing glory which is to come.
Learn More about the Afterlife
You can learn more about the future life through our End Times Study ebook. This free download gives you a Scripture based overview of doctrines such as death, life after death, the second coming of Christ, the millenium, and the resurrection.