Life After Death


The Bible tells us that “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” Psalm 139:16. So, yes, God knows exactly when, where, and how we will die. God knows absolutely everything about us.
Is our fate sealed?

Does this mean we have absolutely no control over when we will die? The answer is both yes and no, depending on the perspective. The answer is “yes” from God’s perspective because God is omniscient – He knows everything and knows exactly when, where and how we will die. Nothing we can do will change what God already knows will happen. The answer is “no” from our perspective because we do have an impact on when, where, and how we die.

Obviously, a person who commits suicide causes his own death. A person who takes his own life would have lived longer had he not committed suicide. Similarly, a person who dies because of a foolish decision (e.g. drug use) “expedites” his own death. A person who dies of lung cancer from smoking would not have died in the same way or at the same time if he had not smoked.

Live each day for God
A person who dies of a heart attack due to a lifetime of extremely unhealthy eating and little exercise would not have died in the same way, or at the same time, if he had eaten healthier foods and exercised more.
Yes, our own decisions have an undeniable impact on the manner, timing, and place of our death.

How does this affect our lives practically? We are to live each day for God. James 4:13-15 teaches us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
We are to make wise decisions about how we live our lives and how we take care of ourselves. And ultimately, we trust God that He is sovereign and in control of all things.

Where will you spend eternity?
The free gift of eternal life is available to all. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36. We will not be given the opportunity to accept God’s gift of salvation after death.

Our eternal destination is determined in our earthly lifetimes by our reception or rejection of Jesus Christ. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor 6:2.

A wonderful eternal life
If we trust the death of Jesus Christ as the full payment for our sin against God, we are guaranteed not only a meaningful life on earth, but also eternal life after death, in the glorious presence of Christ.
 If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, do so now!


There is no specific Scriptural support for near-death experiences. Many people use 2 Corinthians 12:2-5 as a Biblical proof of near-death experiences. However, this is taking great liberty with interpretation and makes the assumption that Paul had actually died when he found himself in Heaven.
The passage nowhere states that Paul had died. It was a vision that God gave Paul of Heaven, not a near-death experience.

The Bible is the final authority
We need to be extremely careful in how we validate our experiences. The most important test of any experience is comparing it with the Bible. Satan is ready to cause deception and twist people’s thinking.
“But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” 2 Cor 11:14-15.

Trust that God is in control
Because the Bible is silent regarding near-death experiences, and scientific research has not been able to be performed reliably, we simply cannot accept the legitimacy of near death experiences on their face value.
It would be too strong to state that all near-death experiences are faked, imagined, or demonic, but there are still serious concerns, Biblically, about the validity of many near-death experiences.

It is interesting that when Paul was caught up to the third Heaven, he was forbidden to reveal to the Corinthian’s what he experienced (2 Cor. 12:1-9). Since God forbade an Apostle of Christ to discuss his vision of the afterlife, one wonders why/if would He allow other believers or non-Christians today to see, hear and discuss the same things.
We read many examples in the Bible of people being raised from the dead (1 Kgs 17:17-24; 2 Kgs 4:31-37; 13:20-21; Matt 27:52-53; Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56; Acts 9:36-43; 20:9-12). What is notable about these accounts is not one of them describes the goings on of the afterlife.
Having said that, we cannot judge the validity of another person’s testimony – particularly if it aligns with Scriptural descriptions of Heaven/hell. Many people have been led to salvation from reading about NDE’s and visions (eg: 23 Minutes in Hell by pastor Bill Wiese).
We urge you to use discernment, Biblical Revelation is extremely dangerous.


Soul sleep is a belief that after a person dies, his/her soul “sleeps” until the Resurrection and final Judgement. The concept of “soul sleep” is not Biblical. When the Bible describes a person “sleeping” in relation to death (Luke 8:52;
1 Cor 15:6), it does not mean literal sleep. Sleeping is just a way to describe death because a dead body appears to be asleep.

The moment we die, we face the judgement of God (Heb 9:27). For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:23). For unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in hell (Luke 16:22-23).

Our eternal destinations
Until the final Resurrection, though, there is a temporary Heaven – Paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 12:4) and a temporary hell – Hades (Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14). As can be clearly seen in Luke 16:19-31, neither in paradise nor in Hades are people sleeping. It could be said, though, that a person’s body is “sleeping” while his soul is in Paradise or Hades.

At the Resurrection, this body is “awakened” and transformed into the everlasting body a person will possess for eternity, whether in Heaven or hell. Those who were in Paradise will be sent to the new Heavens and new earth (Rev 21:1). Those who were in Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people – based entirely on whether or not a person trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation.


The Old Testament teaches that all people went to a place of conscious existence called ‘Sheol’. The wicked were there (Ps 9:17; 31:17; 49:14; Isa 5:14), and so were the righteous (Gens 37:35; Job 14:13; Ps 6:5/16:10; 88:3).
 The New Testament equivalent of Sheol is Hades.

Before Jesus’ Resurrection…
Prior to Christ’s Resurrection, Luke 16:19-31 shows Hades to be divided into two realms: a place of comfort where Lazarus was (Heaven) and a place of torment where the rich man was (hell).

Lazarus’s place of comfort is elsewhere called Paradise (Luke 23:43). The rich man’s place of torment is called Gehenna in Mark 9:45. Between Paradise and Gehenna (the two districts of Hades) there was “a great gulf fixed.” Luke 16:26.
Jesus is described as having descended into Hades after His death (Acts 2:27, Eph 4:9).

Unbelievers will face the Great White Throne
At the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it seems that the believers in Hades (the occupants of Paradise) were moved to another location. Now, Paradise is above rather than below (2 Cor 12:2-4).
Today, when a believer dies, he is “present with the Lord.” 2 Cor 5:6-9.

When an unbeliever dies, he follows the Old Testament unbelievers to the torment side of Hades. At the final Judgement, Hades will be emptied before the Great White Throne, where its occupants will be judged prior to entering the lake of fire.
“The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:14-15.

Believers will face a separate judgement
Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us: “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In the context, it is clear that both Scriptures are referring to Christians, not unbelievers.


The concept of reincarnation is completely without foundation in the Bible, which clearly tells us in Hebrews 9:27 that “we die once and then face judgement.” The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life by coming back as different people or animals. Jesus told the criminal on the Cross: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43. He did not say: “You will have another chance to live a life on this earth.”

What about John the Baptist?
Matthew 25:46 specifically tells us that believers go on to eternal life while unbelievers go onto eternal punishment.

Reincarnation has been a popular belief for thousands of years, but has never been accepted by Christians because it is contradictory to Scripture.
The one passage that some point to as evidence for reincarnation is Matthew 17:10-12 which links John with Elijah. However, the passage does not say that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated, but that he would have fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah’s coming if the people had believed his words and thereby believed in Jesus as the Messiah.
The people specifically asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, and he said: “No, I am not.” John 1:21.

Our lives are temporary
Passages such as James 4:14, which discusses the temporal nature of human life are inconsistent with a reincarnationist idea of living earthly lives over and over for centuries, millennia, or all eternity.

On top of all this, if human souls were reincarnated over and over, then how could some people in the Bible see the spirits of long dead people, like Moses being seen by the Apostles in Matthew 17:3 during the Transfiguration of Christ?
Belief in reincarnation is an ancient phenomenon and is a central principle within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Many modern pagans also believe in reincarnation as do some New Age movements and those who practise spiritism.


The first and perhaps most important question we should ask is whether or not these ‘memories’ are genuine.
Human memory is notoriously unreliable (just ask any lawyer or detective), and people frequently mis-remember events, believing they remember things that never actually happened.

Mistaking memories
In the case of those claiming to remember their past lives, one can easily imagine them mis-remembering images from TV shows or movies, mental fantasies from books they read years earlier, or mistaking dreams for genuine memories.

Assuming existence of a past life
How can we know with any certainty that their past-life memories are not one of these things? Is it really more logical to assume that their memories are genuinely from past lives rather than one of these other things?

While some modern “past-life experts” claim to find evidence for reincarnation by connecting things like phobias and physical ailments in currently living people with traumatic events in past lives, the past-life “experts” are assuming the existence of a past-life (or past-lives) in explaining current health problems, not showing that those past lives actually happened.

Who do you believe?
The fact of the matter is that there is simply no solid, scientifically acceptable evidence that the memories of past lives claimed by some people are genuine, rather than mis-remembered events or simply make-believe. Ultimately, the question comes down to whether we will find truth in the unreliable minds and memories of fallen and fallible human beings or from the timeless, holy, Word of God.
Christians can confidently assert that reincarnation is not a possibility for the human soul; when this life ends, our eternity in the afterlife begins.

Got Questions seeks to glorify God by providing Biblical and applicable answers to spiritually related questions. For more info: www.

Grace – A Gift

Many Christians have heard the word ‘grace’ but are clueless as to its Biblical meaning.
Following are some thoughts based on Scripture to help produce a balanced view of the subject:
1. Grace means ‘present’ or ‘gift’
As is commonly understood by almost all people today, a gift is something that cannot be earned. If it is earned it will cease to be a gift and would therefore be a reward or wages of some kind. There is nothing that can be done to earn God’s grace.
2. Grace is not a pretext to sin
The point of the initial verses of Romans 6 is to promote the power and immutability of grace in relation to sin. God and His grace will not be fooled by those who wish to use His holy grace as an excuse to continue or even increase sinful ideas, attitudes, actions, goals and relationships. Grace is about victory over sin, and mercy if failure occurs. It is not a license to mock God’s Holiness. See Jude:1:4.
3. Grace can be prevented
Grace can be prevented. Jonah 2:8 says that those who worship idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. When we worship God (added) grace is our portion. However, if we choose to worship idols, then we can prevent the grace that could possibly be ours.
4. Grace can be seen as potential (powerful) possibilities
Based on Jonah 2:8 as well, grace does not only refer to the power of the present, but also to the possibility of the future.
Without God’s grace, our future is robbed of any powerful manifestations of His grace.
5. Grace is often associated with power
In Acts 6:8, grace and power were often sibling causes of the Apostles’ effectiveness with grace functioning as the necessary predecessor. Without grace there will be no power and if you have some type of power, it is an expression of God’s grace.
6. Grace is associated with provision
Acts 4:32-37 records the event where believers sold their possessions and left them to the administration of the Apostles. It is important to note, however, that every need was met in the new fledgling community of faith. That’s because God’s grace provides.
7. Grace can be proved
Acts 11:19-30 tells the story of revival breaking out in Antioch. The Messianic Jews were still unsure if Gentiles could be saved, so they sent Barnabas. He saw evidence of the grace of God. What exactly was it that he saw? He observed the true work of salvation as it changes and transforms people into faith and love filled devotees of Jesus. Refer to Acts 15:11 as well.
8. Grace must be accompanied by our perseverance
Grace is a 100% a God-originated idea and action. Perseverance is 100% our responsibility. In Acts 13:43 Paul and Barnabas urge new believers to continue (make it a constant state of being and reception) in the grace of God.
9. Grace needs faith
Grace’s pathway to the salvation experience is faith. Romans 5:1-2 declares that we are activated into a gracious eternal relationship with God, by a faith response to the justification and righteous cleansing ability of the crucified and resurrected Jesus. It is a mouthful, but it simply means that we are saved by faith into a (salvation) grace.
10. Grace is proportional
Romans 6:1-2 says that as sin increases so does the effect of grace increase to meet the challenge to our salvation. Whatever the need may be, God’s grace is sufficient.
11. Grace is presence
In its fullest and purest meaning, grace is the honour of having something honourable and/or more valuable associated with your person, such as, the presence of God. That’s why we can sometimes say that a person may grace us with his/her presence.
12. Grace determines our proficiency
Romans 12:1-8 is clear that we all function in the Body of Christ according to the grace gift that God has given us. Therefore, as we do the grace of our gift, whether it is leadership or showing mercy, we should do so cheerfully because it is God’s gift to us to bless others with. If we do the action with the wrong attitude, the blessing might be lost and the grace of God made ineffective.
13. Grace produces a precipitate
1 Corinthians 15:9-11 says that the grace of God produced an effect of good old-fashioned work ethic in the ministry of extending God’s Kingdom. The precipitate from our lives should be a hard work ethic because of the grace of God and not a magical misunderstanding concerning the Lord’s grace to accomplish what He has empowered and called us to do.
14. Grace is perplexing
Even though we try and wrap our finite minds around Biblical concepts such as this, there is an element of mystery associated with many of them. Grace is no different. It is also an expression of God’s Sovereign Will. Therefore He is able to tell Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 that His grace is sufficient even without removing the thorn in his flesh. It’s like having a testimony of God providentially supplying you with petrol when you had no money or access to fuel. A greater testimony would be if you never got the fuel but the car still drove three hundred kilometres and got you where need to be without any fuel in it! 
PETER CORNELIUS is the Pastor of Seaview Baptist Church.  For more info:

Alan Platt – Urban Influencer

In the words of John Maxwell, “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” And for those who serve under pastor, teacher and author, Alan Platt, this is certainly a testament to his leadership style.
As the leader of Doxa Deo (a church network across South Africa, New Zealand, the UK and Germany), Alan is committed to instigating change (for the Gospel’s sake) specifically in cities, the engine room of transformation.

An agent of change
Through Alan’s primary gifting in leadership and teaching, he has established a unique approach to effective ministry and influenced a wide spectrum of organisations, denominations and church networks internationally. His impact extends beyond the church to the influencing of the business sector, education and society at large.
We caught up with Alan to find out how Doxa Deo remains relevant in our post-Christian society and find out more about the man behind the ministry!

Q. Did any specific event influence your conversion to Christ?
A. Growing up in a Christian home, I gave my life to Christ at a very early age. Although I had my own prodigal journey, I never turned my back on God. I did however have a deep experience all on my own, while doing border duty in the army. In a moment of solitude, God arrested my life and refocused my intention to give the rest of my life serving Him and His Church.

Q. How did God confirm that you were meant for ministry?
A. Since I can remember I have had the conviction that I wanted to work in a full time capacity for God. Growing up in a somewhat legalistic environment, I was often more convinced of my calling than of my salvation. Knowing that I wanted to give my life serving God, the options at that point in time were either becoming a pastor, engaging in a para-church missions organisation or becoming an evangelist.
I did not really sense that any of these three were exactly what I was to do. However I went and studied at the AFM Theological College and became Youth Pastor for 8 ½ years. It was in that season that I realised that my primary gifting was to identify, raise and work with leaders, establishing teams that would be effective for the Kingdom. I loved the strategic element of mobilisation within a shared vision and values environment. I was also clearly a teacher at heart and developed a deep love to understand the Word more accurately.

Q. You have been in ministry for 30 years as the Leader and Founder of Doxa Deo. Did you ever imagine you would have 21 churches in over 9 cities around the world? How did you get to this place of influence?
A. Jesus said, that the Kingdom of God is as a mustard seed. Its beginning is very small and then grows into a significant tree. This has been our experience as we have been faithful in the small things God has entrusted to us. I am also extremely grateful for the
incredible leadership team that God has graciously allowed me to father and lead.

Q. What is Doxa Deo’s ethos?
A. The name Doxa (Greek for glory) and Deo (Latin for God) is an intentional combination of languages to reflect the bringing together of different peoples in one new understanding that man is destined to be the exhibitor of the Glory of God. One of the old Church Fathers, Irenaeus, made this statement: “The Glory of God is man fully alive”.
For that to be fully experienced and expressed, the Lordship of Jesus Christ needs to become a tangible reality, not only in our personal experience of salvation, but also in the very construct of our society and world. Therefore education, arts, business, government, sport, the media, social society as well as the Church, all have to be aligned to the influence of the Lordship of Christ.
We therefore do not just want to be a church for the church, but a church for the community. Our people see themselves not as members, but as partners of a dream to see cities and communities transformed. We therefore refer to them as being ‘City Changers’, not coming to the church for a programme, but discovering that they are the programme!
The activities of Doxa Deo therefore are outward focused, engaging intentionally  the different spheres of society. One example is our engagement in education, where we not only have our own schools, but have a programme to have a permanent presence in state and public schools, where we now effectively engage over 130 of these schools on a daily basis. We have an office that co-ordinates not only the placement of youth workers, but also a facilitation empowerment of headmasters, teachers, parents and coaches in the different educational environments.
We are therefore celebrating not only what God is doing in the four walls of the church, but rather what He is doing through the ‘Church’ affecting our society at large. Although we started as a predominantly Afrikaans ministry, God has graced us to establish works in inner city centres, as well as partnering with township churches to empower their impact, and also now rolling out English churches in the suburbs of the cities where we are involved.
Q. You are married to Leana and have two children. Are either of them in ministry with you?
A.  We are blessed to have two beautiful children: Duncan 24, who works for a Social Media Company based in the USA, although his office is in South Africa. This is after completing his honours degree last year at the University of Pretoria.
Amy 23, studied fashion, and after working as a Visual Merchandiser with a well-known Australian based retail brand, has decided to take a break to do some missions engagement, as her heart has always been to serve the disempowered children of Africa.
Both our children love Jesus and have been deeply mentored by my wife Leana, whom I truly honour as an incredible woman of God and a devout mother. She has affected the worldview and values of our children very deeply.
Leana is active in ministry with me and has been an pillar of strength in the many years of ministry, where I know literally hundreds of women in the ministry look to her as a role model, and for that I am deeply grateful.

Q. You travel around the world and advise churches and leaders on strategy; what exactly do you teach and impart with others?
A. I believe God has a heart for cities, as the biggest portion of humanity today are urban dwellers. Therefore God will also have a strategy for the Church to deeply impact city environments. God is graciously affording me the opportunity to be able to share on many international platforms the opportunities and possibilities for the Church in the 21st Century.
The challenges for the Church today are very different to even 10 or 20 years ago and it is within that context that we need to tap into the frequency of what God is downloading to the Church about becoming more effective in the new construct of globalisation, urbanisation, and rampant secularisation of our world. I believe the Church is to be central in offering hope to a very confused and leaderless world.

Q. What trends are you noticing globally in regard to Christianity and the role the Church plays?
A. One of the deepest challenges all over the world is materialism and consumerism, which leads to a very shallow spirituality. Christianity, when truly understood, repositions man in a ‘contentment’ relationship with God, that dwarfs our insatiable appetite for ‘stuff’. “All these things”,  Jesus said, will be given to us if we first seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Q. Many South Africans, under financial pressure and cynical about ­service delivery and the government, are pessimistic about our ­future. Even some Christians feel this way – what is your advice to people ­living in this spiral of hopelessness?
A.  South Africa is an incredible paradox. On the one hand it is this most marvellous country with so much promise, and on the other hand, we often experience deep disappointment and even anxiety about where we are headed. This is not unique in history, nor to our country.
The Early Church found themselves within a social construct which was extremely challenging. It was within that reference that they were always encouraged to put their hope in God and to make a contribution as light bearers in a broken and confused world.
Likewise we are called to make a contribution in our nation at this time. We cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. We must stop cursing the darkness and light a fire! We have to engage similar to Nehemiah, who set up the people to build a wall, taking the responsibility in your direct area of influence to change that which you are able to affect.

Q. Finally, you recently wrote your first book. Tell us more…
A. Many people expected me to write a book on leadership. While this is to follow, I wanted my first book to be about the Gospel. The book is an attempt to help people understand how they can effectively live from the reference of the accomplished work of Christ. Everything we do and believe flows from a point of departure, a premise, a conviction. If our premises are wrong, our whole life moves in the wrong direction.
This book is not about ‘doing’ – it is about ‘discovering’ as Rob Hoskins stated in his endorsement: “If you are tired of trying to be good, worrying about eternity and earning your way to Christ’s love, this book is liberating.”
The English version is called ‘We start at Finish’. The Afrikaans is  ‘Volbring– dit is waar ons begin’. To order the book, or for more info see 
Interview by Jackie Georgiou

What Is The Perfect Will Of God

God has a wonderful plan for our lives. But because God has given us the freedom to choose whether or not we are going to follow His Will, it seems there are actually four possibilities as to how we can respond to discovering God’s Will for our lives.

We could be content to remain ignorant of God’s Will. This is not you, because if it were, you would not be reading this right now. You obviously have a deep desire in your heart to discover God’s Will for your life, and you are going to make that discovery.
We could know God’s Will and follow it in part but still settle for less than what God had in mind. This is the biggest challenge most people face. But settling for less than God’s best for our lives is often the easy road, and good things are the greatest enemy of the best things.
We could know what God wants us to do, but choose to disobey Him and do things our own way instead. This is disobedience, and it is the head-on collision of God’s Will and the stubborn rebellion of human flesh.

We can choose to contend for nothing less than God’s best in our lives. This is the big challenge for many people, because impatience to get what we want is a powerful force. But if we really believe God has a perfect will for us and that His Will is always better than ours, we will be willing to wait for it and fight for it if necessary.

There is a perpetual conflict in the Christian life between what is “good” and what is “God.” For example, I have seen Christians marry the wrong spouse because they were unwilling to wait for God to bring the right one along. God allowed them to do what they wanted and in some cases even turned bad situations around for His glory.
Yet whenever we choose to disobey and do things our own way, something is lost that can never be restored. God will forgive and heal, but He will not turn back the hands of time.
Knowing God’s perfect will
God has a “good” will for your life, but He also has a “perfect” will. His perfect will and the blessings that accompany it are reserved for those who are willing to be radically obedient and to wait when necessary.
Those who are slow to learn this lesson will make many trips around the wilderness and endure much unnecessary hurt and loss.
Wait for God’s best
There are moments when God’s way will seem so difficult, so prolonged, and so unrewarding, while our idea will seem much easier, much quicker, and so much more enjoyable. But it is only an illusion.
Looking back, we will always find that God’s plan is so much better than ours. There will never be an exception to this rule, so you might as well just decide from now on to yield to the Lord’s Will, do it His way, and wait for God’s best.

Yield your life into His hands
I wonder sometimes if one day the Lord will show us what our lives would have been like and how He would have blessed us if only we had obeyed. A well-known poem written by an unknown author says:

When I stand at the
Judgement seat of Christ,
and He shows me His plan for me
The plan of my life as it might have been
had He had His way and I see

How I blocked Him here, and checked Him there and would not yield my will,
Shall I see grief in my Saviours’ eyes;
grief, though He loves me still?
He would have me rich, but I stand there poor, stripped of all but His grace
While my memory runs like a hunted thing,
down the paths I can’t retrace.
Then my desolate heart
will well-nigh break
with tears that I cannot shed.
I’ll cover my face with my empty hands
and bow my uncrowned head.

Now Lord, of the life that’s left to me,
I yield it to Thy hand.
Take me, make me, mould me,
to the pattern Thou hast planned. 
DANIEL KOLENDA  is the president and CEO of Christ for All Nations Ministries international. For more information or to purchase some of their resources,  see