When Morning Dawns

By David Berg

Leaving this life is just like going from one room to another and closing the door. It's passing from the flesh to the spirit, an abandoning of this world and a desire for the other. Everybody does it when they die.

It's similar, I presume, to what the astronauts feel in their weightlessness. Right now we're burdened by this old body. But in the spirit you don't have this weight. You're no longer weighed down with the flesh and burdened with the problems of the physical life. You've graduated from this grade of earthly life.

It's a wonderful feeling. You feel like you're floating on air when you're rid of the dead weight of this body. The one time I died for a few minutes, I thought, "Ah, this is great! I feel light as a feather; I never felt so good. I don't feel heavy anymore." I felt like I could just give a little shove and I'd float right off.

I was sitting up in my bed, but my body was lying in the bed behind me. I was sitting half in it and half out of it. But because I knew the Lord had more work for me to do here and more lessons for me to learn, I had such a will to want to come back that I prayed, "Lord, let me return to my body." Then all of a sudden I was back here in the natural, normal, material realm.

THE LONGEST JOURNEY

Many people don't like to think about death. It's something that is going to happen to everyone sooner or later, but most have made no preparation whatsoever for it.

So many people have got money, good jobs, families, homes, cars--everything. But they're getting old and death isn't far away and they're still not satisfied. They still don't have the answers. And they're afraid to die. Of course, it is a lot easier to be a skeptic when you're young and not looking in the face of daily death. But when you're about to die, you don't understand and you fear and you long for an answer.

Who all their lives live in fear of death, as the scripture says. "Who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15). Bondage through fear! They fear dying because they're not prepared to die. It's easy to die when you're a Christian--you know where you're going. We don't have to fear because we're ready to go.

It reminds me of the story of the king's fool. There was a famous king who had a favorite jester in his court, to whom he finally gave some property and quite an income and retired him because of his good work all those years in cheering up the king and making him happy. He gave him this very beautiful cane with gold wrought into the wood, and he said, "I want to give you this, my own cane, as a special present to you from me, because you have been such an encouragement to me and so good to me all these years." He said, "You're going away now on a trip because I have set you free, and I want you to take this cane with you. It's my special gift to you for being the greatest fool I ever had!"

Some years later the king's fool heard that the king himself was dying, and he came to his deathbed and began to sympathize with him. He asked the king, "Are you ready to go?" The king said, "What do you mean?"

He answered, "Are you ready to die? Have you made preparations for this journey into death?" The king said, "How could I make preparations to die? What do you mean?" And the king's jester said, "Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? Are you ready to go to heaven?" The king said, "No, I'm not." The king's jester said, "Well, since I last saw you, I have met Christ and have found Him as my Savior, and I am ready to go."

They were both close to the same age. The jester said, "Once I was going on a long journey, and you gave me this cane as a present because you said that I was the greatest fool you ever had. I have made my preparations for that journey, the longest journey we'll ever take, and one from which we'll never return. But you have not made preparations for that journey." He said, "So I want to give you back the cane. You're a greater fool than I am!"

OUR HOMECOMING

Death for us is no great loss, "for to die is gain" for the Christian (Philippians 1:21). It's all gain. If we die, sudden death, sudden glory! Our troubles are over. There's a little pain for just a moment because of this physical body, and then we're free. It's a sudden release. It's really wonderful!

Death will be sweet release to a new world and a new life. Because the minute we die, we're instantly freed spiritually, liberated from the flesh into the world of the spirit. This is why in the face of death the apostle Paul said, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Jesus took the sting out of it. We pass through death, yes, but without sting--through the grave with victory for us, not the grave. Thank the Lord. It's a homegoing, a relief, a deliverance; it's our coronation day!

There'll be light in the sky
From that palace on high
When I come to the end of the road;
Sweet relief from all care
Will be waiting me there
When I come to the end of life's road.
When the long day is ended
And my journey is o'er,
I shall rest in His blessed abode;
There the Savior I love
Will be waiting for me
When I come to the end of life's road.[1]

Death is freedom for the Christian. It's a wonderful liberation. For the believer in Christ, it is being set free from this old body that gives us so much trouble. What better deliverance can you have than to get rid of the whole thing? The old body's heavy, it's tired, it hurts and gets sick. But we will enter a new world of freedom from the shackles of the flesh, into the vast and boundless universe of the Spirit.

The end of the road for us will be just the beginning. "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"[2]

We will meet our departed loved ones again and be joined with them eternally in everlasting happiness in an eternal life of love and joy and heavenly happiness forever with the God of love and those we love.

(Prophecy:) "Oh, what a day that will be when you join Me in My kingdom for evermore. You will have joy that you have never known, and will see glories you have never seen, and will know that it has been worth it all. For I am the resurrection and the life, and he that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And he that believeth in Me shall never die, but shall rise to life and love and music and hope in a land with children that shall live forever in Me and My house that I have gone to prepare for that which cannot die but shall live forever (John 11:25,26; 14:1-4). So lift up your eyes and raise your heart and cling to your faith, and you shall live forever with Me in My Father's house in which there are many mansions."

When morning dawns, farewell to earthly sorrows,
Farewell to these troubles of today.
There'll be no pain, no death in God's tomorrow,
When morning dawns and shadows flee away.
How little then these trials of life will seem,
How light the heavy burdens we have borne;
The deepest sorrow, like a passing dream,
Will be forgotten in that blessed morn.
So trust in God, however dark your way,
No matter what hard turns the road may take;
Hold to His hand until the break of day,
When in His likeness we shall then awake.[3]

LIFE AFTER DEATH--WHAT IT'S LIKE

God's visible creation is an illustration of the spiritual realm, of that which is invisible. Everything God created, everything God made, all the visible creation, is in some way an illustration of something spiritual. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead" (Romans 1:20).

So therefore the spirit world is probably not so different from this present existence that we can't even comprehend it or can't even understand it. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to relate to it.

After Jesus comes back to the earth to establish His kingdom, we're going to have supernatural bodies, eternal bodies, spiritual bodies like the Lord had when He was resurrected. He said we were going to have bodies like His. His new resurrected spiritual body could materialize or dematerialize, appear or disappear. Think of that! It could pass from one dimension to the other through locked doors and solid walls. (See John 20:19, 26.)

Our old, decaying, natural, physical body will go back to the dust. We will trade in our old, worn-out, earthly model for an entirely new heavenly model that can even fly.

But just because you'll have a spiritual body, that doesn't mean you won't be human. You're going to have a lot of the same characteristics that you have now, just as Jesus did after His resurrection. He could even eat and drink and they could feel Him and touch Him as well as see Him, and yet He was in a miraculous supernatural body, His new resurrected body. (See Luke 24:36-43.)

It's still going to be you. You're even going to look a lot the same, only better. So although you may have the same characteristics that you have now, you'll be better off and in more direct communication with the Lord, actually experiencing the fullness of the realities of God and the world to come.

It's a beautiful place to be, full of beautiful people having a beautiful time. The spirit world is wonderful!

THE PARDON FROM DEATH

God is not a cruel tyrant, a monster who is trying to frighten everyone into hell, but a God who is trying to love everyone into heaven. "For God is love" (1 John 4:8). He wants to help you and save you and make you happy with His love. In fact, this is why He created you: to love and enjoy Him forever, to enjoy life as well as death.

But, sad to say, at some time or other we have all been selfish and unloving and unkind to others--and even to Him, our own loving heavenly Father. In fact, we have even deserved to be put out of His presence for our disobedience, willfulness, and rebellion against Him and His Holy Spirit, who, like a mother, yearns over us and tenderly tries to care for us.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). In other words, we are all sinners; we've all been bad and we all need to be saved. "For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

It's just like a pardon: God has offered pardon to the guilty. He sacrificed His own Son for our sins. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). God loved you so much, He gave Jesus to die in your place, to take your punishment for you. Jesus is God's gift of love for you.

This is why Jesus could promise to those that believe on Him, "Thou shalt not taste of death" (Matthew 16:28). If we receive Him and His forgiveness and free gift of eternal life, we'll never really die in that sense of spiritual death, or taste the agony of death and separation from God.

This spiritual death is the worst death of the lost--a spiritual suffering in which their spirits will suffer after this life in the world to come. But Jesus in His death suffered not only physically but also spiritually, such as the unsaved suffer in the afterlife for their sins. Otherwise He could not have suffered for our sins. But He did suffer for our sins.

When Jesus died on the cross for us, He not only died in body, but He suffered even the feeling that the sinner has in the death of the spirit. This is why He cried out from the cross, "Father, Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). Exactly what this death of the spirit is, we don't really know. Jesus calls it hell, for some, like fire. It's a terrible, terrible thing whatever it is, some kind of suffering for your sins.

But Jesus, God's Son, was so sorry for us that He took our punishment for us. "That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man ... that through (His) death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:9, 14, 15).

To receive this pardon, we must simply be sorry for our sins, believe in Him, and receive His love. He stands at your heart's door and begs to come in. Jesus promised: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20). You can have Him and all He has to give, which is everything, right this minute, if you'll just sincerely pray this simple prayer and ask Him to come into your heart:

"Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all my sins. I believe You died for me. I believe You are the Son of God, and I now ask You to come into my life. I open the door and I invite You into my heart. Jesus, please come in and help me to love others and tell them about You so that they may find You too. Help me to read Your Word and understand it by Your Spirit. In Jesus' name I ask. Amen."

If you receive and love and live for Him now, you can enjoy Him and heaven forever. And once you believe on and receive Jesus, you can know that you have eternal life here and now. You don't have to wait till you die to find out whether you're saved or not, because "he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36). Here and now.

IN CONCLUSION

Are you ready to go? Departing from this life to the next is wonderful if you have Jesus. But there's so much work to do here on earth. For us, death would be the easy way out, but we have to live that others may get ready to die. It's our business to try to stay alive so that we can carry on the Lord's work. We've got to try to live a little longer to carry out what God wants.

But when your time comes and you die, then you've finished your earthly task. It will be your graduation to the heavenly world of the hereafter with a crown of glorious eternal life with Him and your loved ones forever!

Just make sure you're prepared by receiving Jesus as your Savior so you will be ready when He comes for you, and you'll know you're safe and bound for heaven. Receive Jesus today. May God bless you with salvation. And God bless you with a good death. Happy flyaway! We'll wake up forever in the heavenly kingdom of God with peace and plenty and love for all forever.

  1. "At the End of the Road" by A.H. Ackley, 1946.
  2. From the hymn "When We All Get to Heaven," by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1898.
  3. "When Morning Dawns," by A. H. Ackley.