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Who says time is closing in on you?

None of us seems to find enough time to accomplish all we would like to in this life.
Do unrealized potentials die with us?
Or are there future opportunities — somewhere beyond death?
The answer may surprise you!


When Albert Einstein died in April, 1955, at the age of 76, a heated race came to an abrupt end.

Einstein lost.

In his later years, the famed physicist worked feverishly to synthesize a revolutionary new theory.

"I cannot tear myself away from my work," Einstein wrote. "It has me inexorably in its clutches."

It was a race against time — and time won.

A photograph of Einstein's study in Princeton, New Jersey, taken shortly after his death, shows a blackboard full of equations, a desk overstrewn with reams of paper — and an empty chair. The unfinished business is all too apparent.

"It seemed that the difference between life and death for Einstein consisted only in the difference between being able and not being able to do physics," a fellow physicist had once written.

Will Einstein ever again have the opportunity to "do physics"? Time and tide wait for no man, observes an English proverb. For most, time moves too quickly. We simply cannot find enough time to accomplish all that we would like to accomplish in our lives. As we grow older, time seems to fly by at an even faster rate.

Then, inevitably, comes the "end." Authors die leaving uncompleted books; composers die leaving unfinished symphonies; scientists die leaving uncompleted experiments; businessmen die leaving half-built corporations; parents die leaving growing children or grandchildren.

It happens every day.


The Grim Reaper

We are all familiar with the proverbial story of the skull-faced, scythe-wielding "Grim Reaper" — the personification of death. His human victim invariably tries to argue the Reaper out of taking his life, but to no avail.

"But I have a wife and children," the doomed man pleads. Or, "But things are finally beginning to go right for me; I can't die now!" Or, "I'm right in the middle of an important project; I need more time!"

Such are often the thoughts that arise as one faces the prospect of death. Even those who claim to desire death as relief from painful physical afflictions or because they "have nothing to live for" are in many cases really saying that they would like to be healed or to find something to live for.


Turning Back the Clock

For the vast majority of people, the mind rebels against the thought of death. Death is seen as an enemy. Indeed, the Bible labels it as such (I Corinthians 15:26).

Man's refusal to accept his own mortality is clearly in evidence today in so many ways.

As the years pass by, many people begin to experience a "crisis of body image. " Increasing numbers are turning to plastic or cosmetic surgery in an attempt to recapture at least the appearance of lost youth.

In search of a more substantial remedy, researchers are hard at work discovering ways to actually extend the human lifespan. Innumerable diets, exercise plans, vitamin and drug therapies and other approaches have been devised, reputed to be effective in rejuvenating not-so-youthful bodies.

It is certainly true that food does make a difference, that exercise is beneficial, that some drugs are effective in prolonging youth. One can take steps to live longer.

But stay young forever?


Eventually, the physical body will simply wear out, as do all things physical. This can be postponed, but not prevented. It is inevitable. And whether death finally comes at 80 or 100 or 120, it still comes "too soon" for most.

Some few people have even gone to the length of having their bodies frozen and stored at the time of, death, hoping to be reanimated and rejuvenated at some future time when advances in scientific knowledge make such a feat possible. Though most scientists remain highly dubious about the prospects for success, the very fact that bodies are being frozen shows just how desperate some are to hang onto physical life.


What Next?

In the absence of the discovery of some sort of elixir-of-life or fountain-of-youth drug in your lifetime, there is no alternative but to view death as inevitable.

"It is appointed unto men once to die," the Bible declares (Hebrews 9:27).

So what, many ask, of uncompleted plans? Unfulfilled ambitions? Unrealized dreams? Will they simply die with us, never to be accomplished? Or are there future opportunities — somewhere beyond death?

Some would have us believe there is nothing after death, that this physical life is all there is. Others claim that one's "immortal soul" will spend eternity either in "heaven" or in "hell," depending on one's conduct in life. (Write for our free booklet Is There a Real Hell Fire? for an in-depth look at this question.)

Mankind has pondered these ideas for centuries. Few, if any, have failed to ask themselves, "What next?"

The answer to this burning question is that there is a future beyond death — and what a profound and awe-inspiring future it is!

What God has in store for mankind — as shall be amply demonstrated — is an eternity of absorbing and creative productive activity! He offers us unlimited opportunities — as his immortalized sons and daughters — to realize our many unrealized potentials, to embark on adventures in learning and accomplishing that we may never have dreamed of during our physical lifetimes!


Not Just for a Few!

Before examining this great destiny in greater detail, it is important at this juncture to clear up a widely misunderstood point.

We are not here describing a future destined for an exclusive few. Rather, it will be the destiny of the overwhelming majority of all people who now live or have ever lived!

Understand this: The vast majority who have ever lived have never heard the name of Jesus Christ — the only name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12)! What kind of God would condemn these countless billions of Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists and others for no fault of their own?

Moreover, the vast majority of people who have heard the name of Jesus Christ have been deceived into believing a false Christ and a false gospel (II Corinthians 11:4). Satan and his ministers, masquerading knowingly or unknowingly as ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14-15) have blinded and deceived these people. Would a fair and just God hold them accountable for not acting on vital knowledge they never received? By no means!

The simple fact is that the vast majority of people in the world today are neither "lost" nor "saved"! Likewise, the vast majority of those who have ever lived since the time of Adam are neither lost nor saved!

Don't be misled. God is not locked in some sort of spiritual combat with Satan for "souls." If that were the case, Satan would clearly be winning! Is Satan more powerful than God?

Satan can do only what God, for a time, allows. And Satan's time is about up! God is working out a great purpose on earth — and no power can prevent it from being accomplished!


Where Are the Dead?

If the vast majority of all people who live today or who have ever lived are neither "lost" nor "saved," where are they now? And, for that matter, where are those true Christians who have died throughout history?

The answer is simple: they are all in their graves!

Notice: "The dead know not any thing," the Bible clearly teaches (Ecclesiastes 9:5). And again: "His [man's] breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:4).

Those who have died over the centuries and millennia of history — including many of your relatives and loved ones, whether true Christians or not — are all "asleep" in the grave, "on hold" as it were, awaiting future disposition.

The Bible use of the word soul (in Hebrew, nephesh; in Greek psuche) designates one's physical life. The soul is mortal, not immortal. It can die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). The journalist who declared that "1500 souls perished in the sinking of the Titanic" was using the word correctly.

Understanding that the soul is mortal makes it easy to comprehend Jesus' statement in John 3:13: "No man hath ascended up to heaven. . . ." Jesus also told his own apostles that "whither [where] I go, ye cannot come" (John 13:33). If the apostles were not to go to heaven, how could we expect to?

So what, then, will become of these billions of dead who today lie unconscious beneath the earth?


Three Resurrections

Since man does not have an immortal soul that continues living after death, the only hope for a personal future is a resurrection — a rising from, the dead!

The Bible teaches the resurrection, not the immortality, of the soul! The resurrection is our only hope of inheriting eternal life.

Actually, the Bible speaks of three resurrections from the dead. Every person who has ever lived will be in at least one of them!

The apostle Paul describes the first resurrection in I Thessalonians 4:16-17:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ [true Christians who have died throughout history] shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain [true Christians still living] shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the righteous will be resurrected to immortal spirit life by the power of the Spirit of God. They will rule with Christ during his thousand-year reign on earth. They will be changed from mortal to immortal — "born again," to use the biblical terminology. (Write for our free booklet, Just What Do You Mean — Born Again? for an explanation of this much-misused phrase.)

These resurrected saints shall be Spirit as God is Spirit, immortal as he is immortal, divine as he is divine! They will be born: into his Family as his very sons and daughters!

This first resurrection is also described in I Corinthians 15:51-54.