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A well known author once wrote these words: “the path of glory leads but to the grave.” Then a MORE famous author once wrote a letter in which he stated that the path of special suffering leads to glory BEYOND the grave. His name is the Apostle Peter.
The path of most of the people who have gone on to the grave was anything but a path of glory. Only God knows how many people have left this world and have gone to the grave. But men have guessed the number to be over twenty billion. Of this number, more than ten billion have been uncivilized, unevangelized, and uneducated heathen. Most of them have died in poverty, misery, and degradation.
Perhaps you have read the first Book in the Bible, the Book of Genesis. In the first chapters of that first Book we read of a wonderful man, a man made in the image and likeness of God. That wonderful man was in a wonderful Paradise, communing with Almighty God. Then something happened. What was that something? Three letters tell us. S...I...N. Sin has played havoc with the human race. “The wages of sin is death.” As we come to the last chapter of that first Book we read the biography of another wonderful man. His name was Joseph. This is the way the chapter ends, “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”
What a contrast from the beginning of the Book of Genesis to the end! Adam in the image of God in Paradise. Joseph in a coffin in Egypt. If Adam had not sinned, Joseph would not have been in Egypt or in a coffin. Yes, Joseph was about as fine and noble as any man who ever lived on this earth. But he too went to the grave. "To the grave”! Not a very happy thought, but the funeral cars are constantly passing us on the way to the cemetery to keep us reminded that we, too, are on the way to the cemetery, whether we are numbered among the noble or just the ordinary.
There was another very noble man, a great king, in whose life there was much glory. But the time of his departure arrived. He said, “I go the way of all the earth. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David” (1 Kings 2:10 ). Let’s read the account in 1 Kings 2:1-3 , "Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself."
More than one thousand years after that great king died another great and noble man died; perhaps, with ONE BIG exception, the greatest natural man who ever lived on this earth. Note his farewell message, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6-8 .
Where is this great man now? Is Paul forever dead? It was Paul who wrote, "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8 . But note again his words in 1 Corinthians 15:19 , "IF in this life ONLY we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
As we think of David, and Paul, and our own loved ones, who have gone to their graves, the old questions of Job are ever new, "Man giveth up the ghost and where is he? If a man die, shall he live again? Who has the answer?
The first question, “Where are the dead?” causes us to think of these strange words, recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:3-7 , “In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the door shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets; Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit return unto God Who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.”
Now, let us read with the words we just read from Ecclesiastes 12 , the story of a great Christian hero, Stephen, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, LORD Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, LORD, lay not this sin to their charge, And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 .
The Apostle Paul might well have thought of Stephen when he wrote 2 Corinthians 5:8-9 , “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.”
There were times when the Apostle Paul wanted to depart to be with Christ. Philippians 1:22-23 . That meant that his path led to glory BEYOND the grave. Therefore he said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are NOT WORTHY to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in US.” Romans 8:18 . And then, “When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4 .
Now, let us compare the words spoken by the LORD Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth, with that wonderful truth He later revealed to the Apostle Paul, where He said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29 .
Then the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, (that is the last trump of this Dispensation of Grace and NOT the last trump absolutely), for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 .
You see, the grave is simply a stop on the way!
UNDERSTAND THIS: We are ALL either on the way to eternal glory or to eternal perdition, meaning Hell. HOWEVER, the wonderful, startling news is that some are going to eternal glory without going to the grave. Think of the joy of the redeemed ones who will be Raptured in the twinkling of an eye. No funeral. No grave. But glory eternal.
So, did Moses make a mistake in his choice? Hebrews 11:25-26 says, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward”
Moses was not near sighted. He looked far beyond the pleasures of sins and the treasures of earth. He believed the truth of 1 John 2:16-17 , where it says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is NOT of the Father, but IS of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Every life is a sacrifice. The sinner sacrifices heaven and eternal glory for fun, fortune, fame, or just plain old unbelief. The Christian, the Child of God, sacrifices the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life for an eternity with Christ in glory. Yes, the members of the Body of Christ are going to heaven to share the glory of Christ, BECAUSE of the sacrifice of the LORD Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”
Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved FROM WRATH through him.”
Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Can you imagine that any person living in the United States of America does not know what is beyond the grave; or that anyone in this country does not know how to escape eternal Hell? Hear these solemn words in John 3:36 , “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” Hear again Hebrews 10:39 , “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
The time we spend this side of the grave is a nothing compared with the unending eternity after we leave this world. BUT we must decide on our eternal destiny and destination BEFORE we die or BEFORE The LORD Jesus Christ comes. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”
So, the question...After death and the grave, then what? Judgment! The wrath of God. There is NO purgatory, probation, or another chance. And teh wrath of God is certainly NOT for members of the Body of Christ. However, YOU can settle the matter of your eternal destiny right now. Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that NOT of yourselves (NOT of water baptism, NOT of going to church), it is the gift of God: NOT of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath BEFORE ordained that we should walk in them.”
Be wise...BELIEVE and RECEIVE The LORD Jesus Christ right here and now!
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )