PART TWO – LEADING UP TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION
PAUL’S BURDEN OF PROOF – 2 Corinthians 12:1-6
Paul speaks from experience that there are events that follow our physical death. The burden is to prepare us, not for DEATH, but for the events that occur between your dying and your final destination.
WHAT DOES THE WORD OF GOD SAY ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF DEATH AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NIV)
 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.
 And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows–  was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
At death, we sometimes expect great pain, but Jesus says there is none.
When we die we suddenly find ourselves somewhere else (2 Corinthians 12:4).
One of God’s best spokesmen said, knowing that the home we live in on earth is like a “tent” and is destroyed or dissolved at death, and we have a building, a house, that God is building, an eternal house not made with hands. [2 Corinthians 5:1]
So you won’t stay around and “haunt” anything after death!
We are conscious after death (2 Corinthians 12:2 (b). ).
Although Paul’s related experience isn’t from his DEATH, most probably from a near-death experience fourteen years earlier. In Acts 7:55-56, we read of Stephen’s reaction to his soon to be death from stoning:
 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  “Look.” he said, “I see haven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” [NIV]
I want you to know that not only are we conscious after we die, but we are even more conscious!
Here are some arguments from Paul as to why we are more conscious than before.
- He saw, heard and experienced amazing things.
- His mental ability was so acute that he was able to compare this new life with what he just left.
- His new consciousness knew things from his former one that he couldn’t communicate.
Something in this place of existence in the third heaven forbade him to tell what he saw.
We stand before God and face judgment
Hebrews 9:27 says we are ALL “appointed once to die and after that the [certain] judgment (AMP),
There are several judgments mentioned in the Bible and I don’t want to take a detour here, so I’ll leave it at that. When you die, you are judged, The names of all the judgments I’ll leave for another blog study.
When you die your eternal fate is forever sealed (Luke 16:19-31).
In this parable told by Jesus, two men died and already at their eternal destinations. One was in a bad place and one in a good place. The one in the bad place prayed and asked God to let him leave from the bad place and go to the good one. God informed him that it was impossible for a great wall had been fixed.
Those who have placed their FAITH & TRUST in Jesus will never be away from His presence.
Romans 8:38, 39 (NIV) – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul has told us this incident he describes in 2 Corinthians 12, shows that he had been uniquely touched by God. Through his vision, we learned that PARADISE isn’t a shadowy waiting-room, but the euphoric place of unspeakable glory! Its GLORY is that of the ultimate heavenly glory, which is the glory of the Presence of the Son of God (Rev. 1:9 ff, 22:1 ff).
Therein PARADISE, the Third Heaven, the souls of the saints (Christians) are home with Christ, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), where they’re beyond the reach of sin. Without fear of being driven out as happened in the first Paradise. There they await the crowning consummation of their redemption, the union of souls and their resurrection body when the New Heaven and the New Earth will be introduced and all of God’s purposes in creation complete and eternally fulfilled.
In this TWO PART SERIES, there’s something I want to leave with my readers:
The LAST ENEMY to be destroyed is DEATH (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The 23rd Psalm
THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.  He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. [Rev. 7:17.]  He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.  Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.  Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days, the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place. [AMP]
There’s also something I want you to do:
Never again FEAR DEATH if you’re a committed Christ follower. If you are not yet a follower make it ASAP.
PHOTO/IMAGES: Google Image Search.
Bible Dictionary: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary by W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), Amplified Bible (AMP), Contemporary English Version (CEV), New King James Version (NKJV).