Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." This passage and many others show clearly that the Lord's kingdom cannot be found on the physical plane; it is a kingdom of spirit, existing within us. In the New Church we are taught that the Lord created each one of us to become citizens of His kingdom. Death, then, is a natural conclusion to our life in this world, and it introduces us into spiritual life. The only reason it seems that our bodies live is because the spirit lives within them. Our spirit is what thinks and feels, the part of us that moves us to act. This spirit draws its life from the Lord, and because it does that, it can never die. Only the body which houses the spirit in this world dies, for our bodies are made of matter, with no life of their own. At the time of death, the body is left behind, and the spirit is resurrected into a new life.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
The Transition to our Life after Death
For many people, in spite of the assurances given about death, the subject still contains things that bring about fear: fear of the unknown, fear of separation from loved ones, fear of punishment. But we are taught that these fears are unfounded. The spiritual world is the Lord's kingdom; it is like moving to another country.
Because the Lord is merciful, He cushions the transition as much as possible. It is both a gentle and a pleasant experience. A person who has recently died is put into the care of angels, who gradually awaken him or her. By about the third day after dying the person is fully awake and ready to begin a new life.
People awakening to their life in the spiritual world are amazed by what they see and experience. Newcomers are struck by the similarity between the spiritual world and the natural, this to such a degree that they imagine that they are still in the world, and still within their physical body. People still experience sensations, emotions and thoughts. The only difference between their spiritual and natural bodies is that the spiritual body is more alive, more in tune with them than before.
Preparing for Life after Death - while living in the world
The message given to us, therefore, is to really consider death - - our deaths. Picture ourselves moving into another world where our innermost thoughts and feelings become the reality of our lives. What would that be like to eternity? Fortunately, while we are in this world we are given the opportunity to re-adjust ourselves, to repent and reform, so that our inner reality becomes more heavenly, more balanced, and happier.
The spiritual world, when we are not immediately affected by death, seems a long way off. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, our final home hardly seems to be very important. But it is important. The spiritual world is not something "out there." It is within us. When we die, we will effectively cross from one room into another. Our consciousness will be interrupted for a mere three days!
If we believe in the Lord, then we must also believe in the life after death, and that belief must have more of an impact on our lives than simply feeling comforted at a funeral. The Lord has given us this information for a greater reason than mere curiosity - - He has given it to us for use so that we may learn to put aside selfish and hellish things, and instead turn to Him as the source of life for a spiritual resurrection - - even while we are still alive in this world. If we turn to Him, then we can take to heart His words to Martha:
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
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