Why settle for the false hope invented by men when you can have the true hope revealed in your Bible?
Do not settle for a false hope when the Bible offers so much more!
I suppose it is a sign of growing older when one falls into the habit of reading the obituary pages in the newspaper. Especially if you have been in one place for a very long time, you find the names of friends, neighbors and business associates written up on those pages. It is a sobering reminder of our mortality.
During a trip back to my home state a few years ago, I was saddened to find the photo and name of an old friend and former business associate. He had died of an extended illness, fairly common in older folks. The write-up described his accomplishments as a student, military veteran and well-known expert in the field of insurance. It went on to detail his love of baseball and other outdoor interests. It also recounted his exemplary love and devotion to his family.
This fine man was a very active member in his church, serving as a deacon and in various positions of responsibility within his denomination. He had many friends. Attending the funeral, I was not surprised to see the large chapel filled to overflowing with his many friends and business associates. Two presiding ministers offered touching and meaningful eulogies about my old friend, stating that his was, "A life well spent." They ended the service with a long prayer asking for solace and comfort for the family.
Sadly, the words they spoke were not truly comforting at all. You see, the ministers may have been very sincere, but they got it all wrong! More than once they stated that the deceased "is in a better place" and that "he is with the Lord in heaven" looking down on the proceedings. Yet they offered no Scriptural evidence to back up their claims—nor did they mention the resurrection of the dead even once!
How could trained ministers, having studied the Bible as the word of God, get it so wrong? How could they miss the plain message of the Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments? Jesus Christ gave the plain answer when speaking to the religious leaders of His day: "He said to them, 'All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition'" (Mark 7:9).
Traditions having nothing to do with what the Bible teaches have been adopted by most "mainstream" churches through the centuries. For countless millions, these invented ideas have replaced the plain teachings of the Bible. Lacking the truth of Scripture, most professing Christians today have lost their understanding of the purpose of human life and the reward of the "saved."
Put simply, the hope of the early Christians was the resurrection of the dead. There are many plain references to this in both the Old and New Testaments. The Apostle Paul gave this defense before Felix, the governor: "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15). He also wrote, concerning the death of man: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:50–52). The change he referred to occurs at the resurrection of the dead.
God has a plan, and it is revealed in the annual Holy Days that He has commanded to be observed. You can read about these Holy Days in Leviticus 23. Jesus kept them, the early Church kept them and God's Church today still observes these special days that reveal an understanding of the marvelous plan that God is working out on this earth. You can have this understanding, too. It is vital, if your life is to have real meaning, and for you to know what lies ahead for those whom God is calling in this age.