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00:01 We're here at Bethchurin. It simply means, House of Gates.
00:04 In the 2nd century A.D. when the Jewish leaders were buried,
00:08 they were buried here in the catacombs. 00:10 After the burial, the gates were put
across. 00:13 So there we have it. Beth meaning house,
00:16 and Churin, meaning gates. 01:50 Well, maybe you didn't even know that
there were catacombs 01:53 in Israel, did you? They're interesting,
aren't they? 01:55 In fact, there's a lot of very interesting
burial customs. 01:59 So many people have different ideas
about burial. 02:02 For instance, in India, the Hindus cremate
their dead 02:07 put them on a funeral pyre and then
light the fire 02:10 and burn the body completely. The Tibetans
have rather a 02:16 gruesome method of disposing of the
dead, very practical, really 02:20 because out there in Tibet on the roof
of the world, 02:23 it is very stony, very hard ground and
who wants to 02:27 dig a grave in a place like that? And
so what they do, 02:31 is they have special men appointed who
will cut the body 02:34 into pieces, and then they throw them
to the birds. 02:38 In fact, that is what the Parsees do.
You know 02:41 the Parsees who originally came from
Persia, driven out by 02:44 the Muslim invasion. And they worshiped
fire and water 02:48 and the earth, the elements. They don't
like to desecrate 02:52 these things. And so they have a system
whereby they have a big 02:56 round tower. They call it a tower of
silence. And then they 03:00 place the naked body inside this tower
on an iron grating 03:03 and of course the vultures come down
in about 10 minutes. 03:06 All that's left is the bones. That's
all. 03:09 Of course the Muslims believe in burial
and a form of 03:14 resurrection. And so there's some very
magnificent 03:17 Muslim burial places, for instance,
you're all familiar 03:21 with the Taj Majal, where Shah Jahan
buried his beautiful wife, 03:27 Mumtaz Mahal, many years ago. And that's
a 03:30 magnificent monument.
03:31 And then of course the ancient Greeks believed in the
03:36 preservation of the soul. So did the Egyptians.
03:41 In fact, they had a very interesting custom.
03:43 They had what they call this- they called a ushamti.
03:46 Its a little figure, about this big or sometimes smaller
03:50 sometimes bigger, and this figure carried a flail
03:55 and a sickle over his - in his arms, you see.
03:59 The idea is, put one of these in your burial place and this
04:04 fellow's will be animated in the life to come and he will do
04:07 all your farm work for you. So different people had different
04:11 customs, different ideas about what happens when you die.
04:14 And of course Christians have their own ideas about this, too.
04:18 You go to a Christian cemetery and they will read on the
04:21 tombstones where so and so has gone to heaven.
04:24 And most Christians believe you ought to go to heaven or
04:28 go to hell when you die your soul leaves the body.
04:31 Well, what's it all about anyway? 04:33 What does happen when you die?
04:35 Does the soul leave the body and go to heaven or wherever?
04:41 The best answer that we can get, of course, is from the bible.
04:45 Because, after all, that's God's answer. God ought to know what
04:48 happens when you do die. So we need to consult the bible,
04:53 to find out just what is involved in death. What happens,
04:56 Where are you 10 minutes after you die. Well, I'll tell you
04:58 one thing that you can get from the bible. The very first
05:01 message is this. You don't need to be afraid of dying.
05:06 This is not actually the tomb of Jesus Christ. Its the tomb of
05:12 Herod's family. But its very like it. And you can imagine
05:16 Jesus Christ, stepping out of this tomb and coming back to
05:21 life. He'd been dead. Really dead. Yet here he is
05:24 back to life again. Well what would you like to ask him?
05:27 I'm sure there's a lot of people who would like to ask him,
05:31 Jesus, what's it like to die? What's it feel like to be dead?
05:35 Actually here's somebody who's been through the experience.
05:39 No use asking a preacher or asking somebody who hasn't been
05:42 through the experience. Ask somebody who's been through it.
05:45 And Jesus has, and he gives us the answer. You know what it is?
05:48 It's found in Revelation, chapter 1 and in verse 17.
05:53 Where he said, I fell at His feet as dead, but he laid his
05:58 right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid. I am he who
06:04 lives and was dead, and behold, I'm alive forevermore.
06:09 So the right message that Jesus Christ has been through
06:13 the experience of death, the message he has for us is,
06:16 Don't be afraid. It's only a sleep. Don't worry about it.
06:19 And why don't we need to worry? Because he says, I have the keys
06:24 of Hades and of death, that is of the grave and death.
06:28 He's got the keys. He can open the door. He can let you out.
06:31 So, nobody needs to be afraid of dying, when you know that
06:35 Jesus Christ has been through it. He says, don't be afraid.
06:37 And he's got the keys to let you out again.
06:51 At the moment, we are visiting the church of Lazarus.
06:55 Actually the tomb of Lazarus is just up the lane a little bit
06:59 Well, I say the tomb of Lazarus, It's really not his tomb.
07:03 In fact, it's not even a tomb. It's more likely to be a water
07:07 system. But anyway, it reminds us of the story of Lazarus.
07:11 And it's a very dramatic story. Jesus Christ was down the other
07:16 side of the river Jordan when the message came to him
07:18 that his friend Lazarus was sick. He waited another 4 days
07:23 and then he said to his disciples, Our friend Lazarus
07:27 sleeps, but I go that I may wake him. 07:30 Well his disciples said, If he's sleeping
that's a good thing 07:34 But Jesus said in John 11, verse 14,
Lazarus is dead. 07:40 I want you to notice that he referred
to death as a sleep. 07:44 And really that's what death is, just
like going to sleep. 07:47 That's why you don't need to be afraid
of dying. You know, when 07:50 you see a little baby lying in it's
cot, you don't get all 07:53 excited and say, Hey, this baby isn't
doing anything. 07:57 No, its sleeping and you know that its
going to awaken out of 08:00 sleep. And so when people die, they
don't need to be afraid 08:04 of dying, because its just a sleep.
And you're going to 08:07 awaken out of that sleep. in fact in
Psalm 17 and in verse 15 08:14 the writer said, As for me, I will see
your face 08:18 in righteousness. I shall be satisfied
when I awake in your 08:23 likeness. So David was quite satisfied
to go to sleep 08:26 in death and then just awaken out of
that death. And so 08:30 nobody needs to be afraid of dying.
But what about the soul? 08:35 In the meantime, what happens to that.
Let me read to you 08:38 the bible definition of a soul. I'm
reading in Genesis, 08:42 chapter 2, and verse 7, where there's
a record of the creation 08:46 of man. It says, And the Lord God formed
man of the dust of 08:51 the ground. That is, made his body.
And breathed into his 08:55 nostrils the breath of life, - Breath
of life and spirit are 08:59 equal terms in biblical record. And
man became a living being, 09:05 or a living soul - same thing. Now let
me illustrate it on 09:08 the board. God, first of all made man's
body. 09:13 And then he breathed into his nostrils
the spirit of breath of 09:19 life, and man became a living soul.
Alright. 09:29 Now, when a man dies, what happens?
Just the opposite. 09:32 In Psalms 146, and in verses 3 and 4,
it says, 09:38 Do not put your trust in princes nor
in a son of man in whom 09:43 there is no help. His spirit departs.
He returns to his 09:48 earth. In that very day his thoughts
perish. Alright, 09:53 You see what has happened then, when
a man dies? 09:56 He was a living soul. His spirit left
and all that was left 10:04 was the body. And you know the old funeral
prescription, 10:09 ashes to ashes, dust to dust. All that
was left was the body. 10:13 So, what was the result? Well, we have
here in Ecclesiastes, 10:18 chapter 9, and in verse 5. For the living
know that they will 10:24 die, but the dead know not anything.
10:27 How can you, if its just a dead body? Well, you might say, Well,
10:31 where did the soul go to? Surely it went somewhere.
10:34 Not necessarily. Let me illustrate it this way.
10:37 Now, we have a light in this room, and it has a glass bulb,
10:42 and metal filament and its got electricity flowing through
10:45 is. So we have light. But now, let me just reach over and
10:49 flick the switch off. Now the light's gone off.
10:53 Where did it go? Did it go out the window, or under the table,
10:56 or where did it go? It didn't go anywhere. We simply turned
10:59 it off. Now, that's the way it is with the living soul,
11:03 the human being. Its alive, its got all the elements,
11:06 the material elements, but God switches it off. And so
11:10 life ceases to exist, and all you have left is the human
11:14 body. Now this comes as a bit of a surprise to some people
11:18 when they raise the question, but listen, doesn't the bible
11:21 teach that the soul is immortal? that it cannot die? No,
11:26 that's not what the bible teaches. Listen, I'm reading in
11:28 Ezekiel, chapter 18, and in verse 4, Behold, all souls
11:33 are mine. The souls of the father as well as the soul of
11:36 the son is mine. Listen, The soul who sins shall die.
11:41 That's plain enough, isn't it? The soul that sins shall die.
11:44 So the soul can die. But at the resurrection, again we get
11:50 back to the creation formula. In other words, body plus spirit
11:55 or breath of life equals a living soul again.
11:58 This is the valley of Gehenna. This is where all the rubbish
12:04 from Jerusalem was dumped. They brought it out of the dung
12:07 gate over there and dumped it into the valley here, and
12:11 of course the maggots got to work and the fires were
12:15 smoldering all the time. Jesus Christ referred to this where he
12:19 referred to the place where, their worm dieth not,
12:22 and their fire is not quenched. Now this also is probably
12:27 the valley of dry bones. Ever read about that in the book of
12:30 Ezekiel? Interesting. Chapter 37 And the hand of the Lord came
12:34 upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord
12:37 and set me down in the midst of the valley and it was full of
12:40 bones. Apparently there had been some battle and a lot of
12:44 people got killed and their bodies were just dumped down
12:48 here and the vultures had picked their flesh, and so
12:51 just a lot of dry bones are lying around. And so God said to
12:55 Ezekiel, Prophecy to these bones and say to them,
12:59 Oh, dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Fancy bones hearing
13:03 the word of the Lord. You see bones can listen if God speaks.
13:06 So I prophesied as I was commanded and as I
13:10 prophesied, there was a noise and suddenly a rattling,
13:12 and the bones came together, bone to bone. All the bones
13:15 gathered together and they're all fitted up as nice skeletons.
13:18 But then, that wasn't the end. Indeed as I looked, the sinews
13:23 and the flesh came upon them and the skin covered them over,
13:26 but there was no breath in them. Here they were, beautifully made
13:30 bodies, remade, and they looked alright but they were still dead
13:35 but there was no breath in them. Alright, what comes next?
13:38 Then he said to me, Prophecy to the breath. So I prophesied
13:43 as he commanded me and breath came into them and they lived,
13:46 and stood upon their feet an exceeding great army.
13:50 Now, can you see the process? Creation was the body plus the
13:54 breath of life, and it became a living soul.
13:57 At death, the living person died, the breath of life left,
14:03 and only the body was there. Now again, you've got the
14:05 reversal of this process, you see? And so here is a picture
14:09 of the resurrection. Now some people might say,
14:12 That's all very well; but, what if there are no bones left?
14:14 Suppose a fellow has been eaten by a tiger or he's been burned
14:18 in the fire. There are just no bones left. You don't need to
14:21 worry about that. You see God is not dependent upon the
14:25 original atoms from which we are made. He can use other atoms
14:28 and remake us just exactly as we were originally.
14:32 Job voiced this thought in chapter 19, verse 25, he says
14:37 I know that my redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last
14:42 on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know
14:47 that in my flesh I shall see God. It doesn't matter if your
14:50 body is destroyed. God can re- make it just the same.
14:53 And so the hope of people in this world is the future mortal
14:59 life as a result of the resurrection. Paul described
15:04 this in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and in verse 16,
15:08 where he says, For the Lord himself will descend from heaven
15:11 with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the
15:13 trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
15:17 What a great day that will be! But listen, I just want to tell
15:20 you something. There's going to be two resurrections.
15:23 Did you know that? Well, you better accept it because that's
15:26 what Jesus Christ said in John chapter 5, and in verse, 28.
15:31 He said, Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which
15:35 all that are in the graves will hear His voice.
15:38 It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, whether you
15:41 are ready or not, you're going to hear that voice.
15:43 And then, he says, They shall come forth, those who have done
15:48 good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done
15:52 evil to the resurrection of damnation. 15:54 Its terribly important you come up in
the right resurrection, 15:58 Isn't it? I'm sure we all want to be
16:01 in the right resurrection. Sometimes people get involved
16:04 in spiritualism and they're quite certain they've seen
16:07 a soul or a spirit. Others believe it's all an illusion
16:11 an maybe there is illusion and trickery practiced. But things
16:15 do happen and sometimes some quite frightening things.
16:18 We'll be coming to grips with this issue in our next program
16:22 where we visit Endor where the first recorded spiritualist
16:26 s�ance in history took place.