Someone told me that when I was young and it really stuck with me. “When you die, you die like a dog.” It’s a real simple way of expressing one of the most prevalent ideologies on earth: atheism and unbelief. If you look at things that way (and I did for years), then you just have to laugh and smirk at anyone who says something about Jesus returning to this world. It’s just ludicrous.
Because, when you look at things that way, there’s just no life after you die. You usually think of yourself as not much more than a complex nexus of neurons, a composite of carbon, calcium and water, the highest form of life on this obscure little planet. And how many millions of people look at our existence this way? Many.
What can you say to them? They hold a fierce, entrenched view of the life we have. So what do I say when I meet someone who has those views and challenges my faith in God? I usually just say something simple like, “Well, there is a spiritual world.”
There is a spiritual world
I’ve found that many, if not most people will sooner or later admit that “perhaps” there’s “something” more than what we can see and feel and measure with instruments. So many people have had personal experiences, or their relatives have, where someone from the past, a relative who’s passed on, has appeared to them in a dream or in their minds to speak to them, sometimes even to warn them of a danger or to speak words of comfort. This is such an often-experienced event that many people will candidly admit, if they are honest, that it’s happened to them or someone they know.
And of course, that’s the truth. There really is a spiritual world. And if there is, that means that we’re not just a collection of atoms. We’re more than that. As the famous atheist-turned-Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis said, “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”
I can honestly say that the biggest turnaround in my life occurred when I very reluctantly had to admit that there is a world beyond my mind and politics and shopping and all the little things I was caught up in.
Naturally we find that this is what the famous characters from ancient times were saying all along. Ancient prophecy had some very major things to say about this, especially when it came to that unique king that would come one day to the world.
Like we saw in that verse from Micah that we’ve read, “But you, Bethlehem, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth He which is to rule my people Israel, whose going forth is from old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5: 2)
It not only predicted that the king to come would be from Bethlehem, but it also said this ruler to come was “…from old, from everlasting.” In other words, he was pre-existent, even before he was born in this world.
But what about life after death? King David, the greatest of ancient Israel’s kings, prophesied of the unique king that was to come. In one of his writings, speaking to God, he said, “…you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10)
David foresaw that the king that God would send to the world would not “see corruption.” In other words, the king to come would not suffer the fate of every other human being, in finally being laid to rest in a grave and their flesh decaying.
This was one of the most unique things about the life of Jesus. After his crucifixion, he was laid in a grave outside Jerusalem. But, according to the Bible, on the third day after his death, he rose from the dead, just as he’d told his disciples he would.
Now you may not believe that. I certainly didn’t when I first heard it. But I didn’t know it had been prophesied centuries before that there would be a king to come who would not “see corruption.” I didn’t know there were prophecies that he would be “born in Bethlehem”, that he would be “born of a virgin”, and so many more.
Usually, at some point, it comes down to a matter of the truth, and how much you want it. Many people like facts, I always have. But when you’re faced with truth that challenges much of what you’ve believed till then, there comes what is called “the moment of truth.” It’s sort of funny it’s called that.
But if there’s a phenomenon of prophecy which has been foretelling the future for thousands of years, if there’s a spiritual world greater and more real than the physical one we live in, if there’s a life of the soul that goes beyond the physical life of our bodies, then this could lead us to a very different view of our existence.
It would mean that we don’t just die like a dog. We go on. Our soul will go on, after our body ceases to work. And in this reality, realm and existence, that unique king came and died and rose from the dead. If there’s a spiritual world, if there’s prophecy that foretells the future, then this is all utterly possible.
And that king that was to come, Jesus of Nazareth, said that he would come to this world again.
Talk to you soon, Mark