Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

They Have it Good!



We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV


Death seems so Final

I have received word this week of two more friends who have passed into eternity.  That makes five in the last two months.  One was younger than me, two were about my age, two were older than me.  But they all died.  Where are they now and what are they doing?  All of them said that they knew that the Lord Jesus had died for them and that He was their Savior.  Based on what they said and based on what the Bible says, all five are now “absent from the body but present with the Lord.”  Death is not final.  Death is not the cessation of existence,  it is only the cessation of life on this earth.


Where is the Lord?  

He ascended into heaven after having been raised from the dead and showing Himself to the disciples for forty days (see Acts 1:9-11).  Stephen saw Him in heaven standing at the right hand of God as he was being killed for the faithful preaching of the Gospel in Acts 7.  So I take it that all of my friends are now “in heaven.”  Do they have a body?  They do not have their final glorified bodies yet as that will be given to them when they are changed at their resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51).  The first part of our present chapter implies that we are clothed upon the moment we die but what kind of clothes will that be?  I do not know but I do know that in every passage where someone is seen after they die, they do not appear to be naked; but they do seem to be recognizable.  The rich man in Luke 16 who died and went to hell recognized Abraham, a man he had never met on this earth.  Peter and James and John recognized Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. These were men that they had never met on this earth.  So what kind of a body awaits those who die as they await their bodily resurrections?  I do not know.  All I know is that the dead are conscious and seem to know what is going on in the earthly sphere.  Moses and Elijah talked with the Lord about His coming crucifixion (Luke 9:31).  The present body of a Christian is described as sleeping but the person is not the body.  The person who inhabited that body does not sleep.  For the unsaved, they are tormented and awake in hell.  For the believer they depart to be “with Christ” which Paul says is “far better (see Philippians 1:23).”


What are They Doing?

We are not given a lot of information as to what the Christian who dies during this present dispensation does after death.  We are told about martyrs praying for vengeance during the tribulation period.  We do know that the bride prepares herself for the wedding feast during the tribulation period or the early part of the millennium (Revelation 19:7).  But we are not told what Christians who have died do in heaven as they await the rapture and the resurrection of life.  I do suspect however from Luke 16 and the story of the transfiguration of Christ that they are interested in what is happening on earth.  I do not think that they become guardian angels though I do believe in guardian angels.  At some point rewards are given out in heaven and I personally believe that happens the moment a Christian dies.  In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul says, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day (the day of his execution which he knows is coming), and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (epiphany) (2 Timothy 4:8).” I believe the first thing a Christian sees upon death is the Lord—a person who is saved has a true epiphany. They see Christ in heaven much like Stephen did.  Paul would have been thinking about the day of his death when he refers to that Day in this epistle.  That day may include the judgment seat of Christ or the day of rewards but if so Paul was expecting that to occur when he died. 


So while I am speculating, I think that Christians who die see the Lord and get their rewards and then in some way take an interest in what is happening on earth.  It only makes sense that they spend time worshiping the Lord and perhaps serving Him in some way.  But whatever their occupation is, they are present with the Lord.  And Paul says that is “far better.”  Better than what?  Better than this life that is for sure.


Somehow I do not think anyone who has died “in Christ” would ever want to come back to this earthly scene.  I have often wondered how Lazarus in John 11 felt about being raised from the dead so that the Jews could again make plans to kill him.  However, I am sure that the unsaved dead would give anything to come back to earth and have a second chance to trust in Christ. We know what they are doing after they die.  Luke 16 says that they are tormented in flames and they are praying that their friends and relatives do not come to their place of torment.  But second chances are given on earth.  They are not available after death.


I think my friends are resting from their earthly labors and are enjoying the blessings of being present with the Lord.  They don’t have to worry about storms and fires and diseases and political intrigue. They don’t have to pay bills, make hospital visits or go to funerals.  They have a retirement home that is like no other.  They have it good.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of November 25, 20018

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