By MINISTER KEITH EVANS
The death of Kobe Bryant has for all intents and purposes been dominating the news and social media over the past couple of weeks. The superstar basketball player died in a horrific helicopter crash, along with his daughter and seven others in Calabasas, California.
If I've learned anything from the death of Kobe Bryant, it is that life is indeed an uncertainty for all of us. No man knows when he is going to die. Kobe Bryant was valued at over $500 million at the time of his death. His estate and businesses along with the lucrative endorsements were valued at nearly $2 billion. The mogul superstar had everything at his finger tips and was living the American dream, if there is such a thing. Death is such a cruel reality that both rich and poor, president and prisoner, saint and sinner alike will all have to face one day. One day you're living it up, and then the next you're laid out on a cold table in the morgue being examined.
Hebrews 9:27 says: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement." Death is for so many scientists and philosophers an enigma, a mystery that baffles the great intellectual minds. However, Christ brought a sense of translucency to this great mystery, and has shown to us what lies beyond the grave.
2 Timothy 1:10 says: "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." In the Old Testament of the Hebrew scriptures, the mysteries of beyond the grave were unambiguous and muddy. Jesus in Luke 16 spoke of two places that the dead go who are still conscious even after death. You see, all those that are dead are still conscious in Heaven or Hell, and that's scripture. The body is lying in the graveyard, but the conscious soul is in Heaven or Hell.
The Jehovah's Witnesses believe in the non-existence of the soul after death, while the Seventh-day Adventists believe in the soul sleep. The Jehovah's Witnesses of the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society have taken scripture out of context in so many important doctrines. Ecclesiastes 3:20-21 says: "All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth."
Here is where my Witnesses try to build their philosophical belief of men returning to the dust, and his spirit or breath returning to God. However, you have to read it within the context of Ecclesiastes which emphasises the theme "under the sun", which means from an earthly, humanistic perspective, and not from God's perspective. But I'm not trying to get sidetracked with different philosophies and religious beliefs on death and the afterlife.
The futility of the transient life in which we find ourselves in must present to us the question: Where will you spend eternity after you die? ] Death is a foregone conclusion and a certainty for all of us. For the unbeliever it will be a time of infamy and opprobrium to be cast into a lake burning with sulphur and fire. For the believer it's only a doorway into Heaven, where you'll see Jesus and His angels. Michael Jackson is dead. Whitney Houston is dead. Bernie Mac is dead. And now Kobe Bryant is dead. I mention these celebrities because they are all gone and couldn't tote their wealth, prestige or popularity with them into the other side. I'm not here to judge any of them, but the reality is they're either in Heaven or Hell right now for all eternity. Death is indeed the great equalizer that is on a rampage, taking with it anyone that God permits.
God doesn't make mistakes and He knows the day we are all scheduled to die. Give your life to Jesus and submit to His Lordship now! Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Hell is a place of eternal regret for those that were here with us but are now chained in a pit with the fires burning.
2 Corinthians 6:2 says: "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Kobe Bryant had 41 years. And I hope he made peace with the Lord Jesus and is in Heaven rejoicing with the saints and angels. But for now we can only speculate what we don't know for sure.
Will you surrender to Jesus today, my friend? Will you say yes to God, my friend? Death is an inevitability all of us will have to face one day. One day we will all die, barring the rapture, and that could be any day now.
• For questions and comments, e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org