(Modified) Henry Van Dyke (died 1933) wrote, “I am standing upon the seashore and watching the ship slowly sail until the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone says about the ship, “She is gone!” I responded, “Gone where?” Then I realize the ship is gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull as she was when she left my side. Then I realized that on this shore someone said, “She is gone.” But then on the far away shore some shout, “Here she comes!” And that is dying.” At death we say, “She is gone, but in Heaven they say, “Here she comes.”
In some foreign countries they do not say “He is gone, but he has arrived.” One man said to a husband, “I’m sorry you lost your wife.” He replied, “I did not lose her, I know exactly where she is.” Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life (Rom. 10:28). Only Scriptures reveal what really happens at death? “Then shall the dust (body) return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). Paul at the end of life said, “The time of my departure is at hand” (2 Cor. 4:6). Note: You cannot have a departure (ETD) without an (ETA) arrival. Paul also states, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8). When I attended Dade County High school a roll call was made each morning. Students were either absent or present. Those present said, “present.” Silence meant absent. At the time of death for a Christian, you remain silent here, but immediately you can shout “present” there. In reality, Christians never say “Goodbye” but “I will see you again.”
Scriptures are the only absolute, assurance, and authority of God. God Who cannot lie (Titus 1:3) promises, “We shall ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13). One day, “together – forever.” In eternity all “in Christ,” will be absent “here,” but eternally present “there” (1 Thess. 4:13; Rev. 21: 3-5). The end? No the beginning. Home at last!
Note: There are only two groups of people from the one family of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:20; Acts 17:26) (1) Those in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16). (2) Those without Christ (Eph. 2:12). Well, this is what happens to those in Christ. But what happens to those without Christ which have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13)? Well, that is another story with a different ending. Absent? Present?
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