The materialistic world in which we live resounds with the careless, nonchalant motto, “When you’re dead, you’re dead!” It’s tossed around casually, even arrogantly, and seems to be a licence for behaviour that ranges from self-indulgence to outright selfish cruelty. The thought that there is no eventual accountability for our behaviour relieves multitudes from moral responsibility, a conscience that keeps us in check. It releases us to pursue every kind of personal pleasure and gratification. If nobody lives beyond the grave, then “Heaven, Hell and Judgement are merely bogeys which frightened past generations” [JB Philips]. Is the concept of life after death just wishful thinking? A dream conceived by the thought that ceasing to exist is unbearable?
The Feast of Unleavened Bread includes the Day of Firstfruits, and the message of this feast day was fulfilled when Yahshua rose from the dead, demonstrating to hundreds of disciples [1 Corinthians 15:6] that death had been conquered. Paul declared, “But [Messiah] has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” [1 Corinthians 15:20]. As we celebrated this event recently, the power of that understanding and assurance flooded the room where we were! Around the world, millions of us enthusiastically believe in the resurrection of our beloved Yahshua, and that He has defeated death forever.
As the daughter of a minister and, eventually, a minister in my own right, I have been in the presence of death many times. It is rare to find the ‘when you’re dead, you’re dead’ attitude surviving times of deep loss. A great many people secretly cherish a hope, if not an actual belief, that death is not the end. This wishful thinking becomes an unshakeable conviction when we learn to trust our lives to Yahshua. He proved that death was not the end, and He promised His disciples [and consequently us] that those who do trust Him will pass through death, even as He did [John 14:2-3].
The body can die, of course, but it’s not the end; it’s an incident along our way which changes nothing! Linked to the vibrant life of Yahweh through Yahshua, we cannot die! His gift to us is eternal life.
Photos are copyright Val Warsop, Rejoicing In The Resurrection at the Feast of Firstfruits