Is death the gateway to heaven?

Most Christians anticipate a future spiritual or heavenly state of existence but think of it as coming after death. Even those who accept without reservation the teaching of Christ Jesus that the kingdom of God is at hand may at times think of heaven as remote. But as we gain a more spiritual concept of heaven, we cease to think of it as a distant locality. We begin to perceive it as a state of bliss that is reached, not through death, but by spiritual ascension.

When the two Marys in the New Testament account were looking for Jesus in the sepulcher, they were told, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said."Matt. 28:6; And, indeed, he was not there. They were looking for him with a limited perspective, but he had been the victor over death—and would soon outgrow all mortality.

Resurrection is a moving beyond belief in mortality to the understanding of reality, of spiritual being, which is deathless. To the material senses, Jesus went through death and resurrection, but his true identity, the Christ, was never touched by these events. The final proof of the eternality of the Christ came later with the ascension, in which Jesus rose above the limited vision of material sense.

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Fear found out
April 9, 1979

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