For all who enter this world, death awaits. Death is the separating of the soul from the body. At such time when death occurs, the body remains on earth to sleep in the grave; the soul of the body, the ego, the “I”, the self, the personality enters into eternity fully aware.
For those who have trusted Christ as Savior, at the moment of death their soul receives a spiritual, glorified body, retaining the form and features of a body. Scripture speaks of Moses and Elijah appearing on the Mount of Transfiguration in their glorified bodies. Peter, James, and John were quick to recognize them as they stood before the disciples in the likeness of men (Luke 9:30). In Luke 16 the rich man was able to see Lazarus afar off, request of Abraham to allow the beggar to come to him, dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, as the rich man agonized in the torment of the flames of hell. He was recognized for who he had been during the rich man’s lifetime on earth.
Death only touches the body. The person lives on, his memory, his thinking, his being, intact. Abraham instructed the rich man to remember back over his lifetime when he received the good things and Lazarus the evil things, pointing out how Lazarus was now comforted and the rich man was now in torment. The rich man implored Father Abraham with a voice, a tongue, a mouth and the formulation of words to send the beggar back to his father’s house to warn his five brothers what lay ahead for them if they did not repent of their sins and call upon the Lord to save them before death overtook them, “lest they also come into this place of torment” where he was. Abraham reminded him of the Scriptures which the rich man had neglected during his lifetime, saying they have Moses and the prophets found written in the Old Testament to persuade them of their sin and need for the Savior. The rich man’s love for his brothers that continued on into the life beyond is evident of emotions that will still be a part of one’s being throughout eternity.
The Apostle Paul wrote after his vision of being caught up into the third heaven, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (II Corinthians 12; Philippians 1:21). As Stephen received the blows from the stones hurled at him at his death, he was able to say, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7 continues to record, “Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
In the life beyond there is recognition of loved ones and friends, memories remembered, emotions felt, familiar features retained in a spiritual body. In Heaven there is rejoicing around the Throne, worshipping God and saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come…Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created… Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 4-5).