The Jihad on the Christian Cross
A 37-year-old Muslim migrant in Rome was recently arrested for homicide after he stabbed a Christian man in the throat for wearing a crucifix around his neck. “Religious hate” is cited as an “aggravating factor” in the crime.
This is hardly the first “religious hate” crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy. Among others,
- A Muslim boy of African origin picked on, insulted, and eventually beat a 12-year-old girl during school because she too was wearing a crucifix.
- A Muslim migrant invaded an old church in Venice and attacked its large, 300-year-old cross, breaking off one of its arms, while shouting, “All that is in a church is false!”
- After a crucifix was destroyed in close proximity to a populated mosque, the area’s mayor said concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture.”
The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering phenomenon—one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam’s innate hostility to Christianity.
For starters, not only is the cross the quintessential symbol of Christianity—for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism—but it symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims. As Professor Sidney Griffith explains, “The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross.” Accordingly, “the Christian practice of venerating the cross … often aroused the disdain of Muslims,” so that from the start of the Muslim conquests of Christian lands there was an ongoing “campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross.”
This “campaign” traces back to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He reportedly “had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with its figure upon it,” wrote one historian (Sword and Scimitar, p. 10). Muhammad also claimed that at the end times Jesus (the Muslim ‘Isa) himself would make it a point to “break the cross.”
Modern day Muslim clerics confirm this. When asked about Islam’s ruling on whether any person—in this case, Christians—is permitted to wear or pray before the cross, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Tarifi, a Saudi expert on Islamic law, said, “Under no circumstances is a human permitted to wear the cross” nor “is anyone permitted to pray to the cross.” Why? “Because the prophet—peace and blessings on him—commanded the breaking of it [the cross].”
Islamic history is a reflection of these sentiments. For instance, the aforementioned Sheikh al-Tarifi also explained that if it is too difficult to break the cross—for instance, a large concrete statue—Muslims should at least try to disfigure one of its four arms “so that it no longer resembles a cross.” Historic and numismatic evidence confirms that, after the Umayyad caliphate seized the Byzantine treasury in the late seventh century, it ordered that one or two arms of the cross on the coins be effaced so that the image no longer resembled a crucifix (Sword and Scimitar, p. 54).
Testimonies from the very earliest invasions into Christian Syria and Egypt of Muslims systematically breaking every crucifix they encountered abound. According to Anastasius of Sinai, who lived during the seventh century Arab conquests, “the demons name the Saracens [Arabs/Muslims] as their companions. And it is with reason. The latter are perhaps even worse than the demons,” for whereas “the demons are frequently much afraid of the mysteries of Christ,” among which he mentions the cross, “these demons of flesh trample all that under their feet, mock it, set fire to it, destroy it” (Sword and Scimitar, p. 27).
Reminiscent of the recent drawing of a cross in fecal matter on a French church, in 1147 in Portugal, Muslims displayed “with much derision the symbol of the cross. They spat upon it and wiped the feces from their posteriors with it.” Decades earlier in Jerusalem, Muslims “spat on them [crucifixes] and did not even refrain from urinating on them in the sight of all.” Even that supposedly “magnanimous” sultan, Saladin, commanded “whoever saw that the outside of a church was white, to cover it with black dirt,” and ordered “the removal of every cross from atop the dome of every church in the provinces of Egypt” (Sword and Scimitar, pp. 171, 145, 162).
Lest Muslim hostility to the cross still seem aberrant—limited to some obscure saying of Muhammad or “ancient history”—below is a very partial list of examples of how the crucifix continues to throw even “everyday” Muslims into paroxysms:
Egypt: A young Coptic Christian woman named Mary was mauled to death when her cross identified her as a Christian to Muslim Brotherhood rioters. Similarly, 17-year-old Ayman, a Coptic student, was strangled and beaten to death by his Muslim teacher and fellow students for refusing to obey the teacher’s orders to cover his cross.
Pakistan: When a Muslim man saw Julie Aftab, a Christian woman, wearing a cross around her neck, he attacked her, forced battery acid down her throat, and splashed it on her face—permanently damaging her esophagus, blinding her in one eye, and causing her to lose both eyelids and most of her teeth.
Turkey: A 12-year-old boy in Turkey wearing a silver cross necklace in class was spit on and beaten regularly by Muslim classmates and teachers.
Malaysia: A Christian cemetery was attacked and desecrated in the middle of the night by unknown persons in the Muslim-majority nation. Several crosses were destroyed, including by the use of “a heavy tool to do the damage.” Separately, a Muslim mob rioted against a small Protestant church due to the visible cross atop the building of worship. It was quickly removed.
Maldives: Authorities had to rescue a female Christian teacher after Muslim “parents threatened to tie and drag her off of the island” for “preaching Christianity.” Her crime was to draw a compass—which was mistakenly taken for a cross—as part of a geography lesson in class.
As Islam’s presence continues to grow in Europe, it should come as no surprise that attacks on crosses are also on the rise. Aside from the aforementioned attacks in Italy, the following occurred either in France and Germany, where attacks on churches and crosses have become endemic:
- A Muslim man committed major acts of vandalism at two churches, including by twisting a massive bronze cross. (Click for images.)
- Christian crosses and gravestones in a cemetery were damaged and desecrated by a Muslim (see his handiwork).
- A Muslim man who checked himself into a hospital for treatment went into a sudden frenzy because there were “too many crosses on the wall.” He called the nurse a “bitch” and “fascist” and became physically aggressive.
- After Muslims were granted their own section at a cemetery, and after being allowed to conduct distinctly Islamic ceremonies, these same Muslims began demanding that Christian symbols and crosses in the cemetery be removed or covered up during Islamic funerals.
- A German language report from notes that in the Alps and in Bavaria alone, some 200 churches have been attacked and many crosses broken: “The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background.”
In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that groups such as the Islamic State also make hostile references to the cross in their communiqués to the West: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah[.] … [We will cast] fear into the hearts of the cross-worshipers[.]” The Islamic State even once disseminated a video showing its members smashing crosses in and atop several churches in territories under its sway (since taken down by YouTube); it beheaded and stabbed a man with his own crucifix; and it published pictures of its members destroying Christian crosses and tombstones in cemeteries under its jurisdiction.
Similarly, in post “Arab Spring” Libya, a video of a Muslim mob attacking a commonwealth cemetery near Benghazi appeared on the internet. As the Muslims kicked down and destroyed headstones with crosses on them, the man videotaping them urged them to “break the cross of the dogs!” while he and others cried “Allahu akbar!” Toward the end of the video, the mob congregated around the huge Cross of Sacrifice, the cemetery’s cenotaph monument, and started to hammer at it, to more cries of “Allahu akbar.” Other Christian cemeteries in Libya have suffered similarly.
In Iraq, pictures emerged from a Christian cemetery that was vandalized by the Islamic State. Broken and scattered crosses appear. In one picture, the jihadis broke into a coffin, snapped off the head of the withered corpse, and threw the crucifixes surrounding it on the ground.
Such is the history and continuity of Islamic hate for the cross—that symbol which represents the heart of the Christian faith, namely the death and resurrection of Christ, two events Islam vehemently denies.
The jihad on the cross began with Muhammad, was carried out by early caliphs, and continues to this day by the jihadis of the world, not to mention the occasional “everyday” Muslim.
Note: For more on the long history of jihad on the Christian cross, see author’s recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.
Canada Moves to Ban Christians From Demonstrating in Public Under New “Anti-Hate” Proposal
Dark times in Canada. “Anti-hate” – who decides what’s good and what’s forbidden? Terror tied groups like CAIR? Antifa? Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced.
Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not bear being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed while everyone else lives in fear, while other groups curtail their activities to appease the violent group. This results in the violent group being able to tyrannize the others.
Islamic law forbids criticism of Islam, Quran, Muhammad. If they cannot be criticized, we are in effect accepting Islamic law as overriding the freedom of speech. This would establish Muslims as a protected class and prevent honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism.
The concept of Islamophobia has two meanings. Few ever make any distinction between them. One is the brutalization of innocent Muslims, which is never justified. The problem is that the label is also used to refer to analysis of how Islamic texts and teachings incite to violence.
Any criticism of jihad terror that examines its ideological roots in Islam is called Islamophobia, The word is used to intimidate people into thinking there is something wrong with opposing jihad terror. This deforms our response to terrorism by placing off-limits any examination of its guiding ideology, and effectively enforces Sharia blasphemy laws in the US by placing Islam, Quran, Muhammad beyond criticism.
If speech that offends a group is outlawed, that group has absolute power, and a free society is destroyed. A group that cannot be criticized cannot be opposed. It can work its will no matter what it is, and no one will be able to say anything to stop it.
Inoffensive speech needs no protection. The First Amendment was developed precisely in order to protect speech that was offensive to some, in order to prevent those who had power from claiming they were offended by speech opposing them and silencing the powerless.
A free society is by its nature one in which people put up with others being uncivil and offensive. The alternative is a quiet authoritarian society in which only one opinion is allowed and the others are silenced, and ultimately sent to the camps.
The quran is full of hatred and violence. Will Trudeau ban the quran?
Canada Moves to Ban Christians From Demonstrating in Public Under New Anti-Hate Proposal
The Canadian province of Ontario is considering legislation that would officially criminalize Christianity.
Big League Politics, May 20, 2019:
Legislation proposed in the Canadian province of Ontario would criminalize public displays by Christians deemed hateful to Muslims, the LGBT community and other victim groups designated by the left.
The bill, “Prohibiting Hate-Promoting Demonstrations at Queen’s Park Act, 2019,” bans any demonstration, rally or other activity that is deemed hateful by the Speaker from being permissible on legislative grounds – effectively insulating the government from Christian speech.
Life Site News explains that the nebulous nature of Canada’s anti-hate laws essentially give leftist legislators carte blanche to ban all Christian protest:The problem with this bill, however, lies in the fact that the definition of “hate” is uncertain under Canadian law. As a result, unfortunately, the use of the word “hate” can be a useful tool for some to prevent differing views from being expressed. That is, the word “hate” can be used to silence opposing views expressed when, in fact, the views are simply a reasonable expression of belief.
This concern is based on actual experience. Canadians have already experienced the contempt shown by the Supreme Court of Canada towards Section 2 of the Charter of Rights which provides for freedom of opinion, expression and religion. In the Trinity Western Christian University case (2018), a private Christian university’s moral covenant was deemed hateful and discriminating. In the Bill Whatcott case (2013), the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the effects of an expression used, not the communicator’s intent, are what is relevant. The court went on to conclude that “truthful statements and sincerely held beliefs do not affect the finding of “hate”. Mr. Whatcott merely expressed in his pamphlet the well-established facts about homosexuality which the court held to be “hateful”. It is worth noting that the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, presumably consisting of equally learned judges, had previously concluded that the pamphlet was not hateful. The Supreme Court of Canada prides itself on being a “progressive” court and has an established bias as evidenced in a series of decisions that have struck down laws based on traditional values. There is little likelihood that the court will protect tradition-based groups if they are denied the right to demonstrate at the provincial legislature.As Canada becomes more restrictive toward Christianity, they open their arms for the LGBT agenda and Islam to take a foothold in their culture.
The Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative coin last month to celebrate homosexual love as a core principle of Canadian society.
“Marking 50 years since a landmark decision that began a process of legal reforms to recognize the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians is a powerful way to recognize Canada’s profound belief in equality and inclusion,” said Marie Lemay, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.Meanwhile, the far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been revealed to be plotting different ways to bring ISIS terrorists to his nation and possibly be re-introduced in public life.
“None of the options are ideal and all present different challenges and risks,” said the three-page secret paper, which was heavily redacted after its release through the Access to Information Act.
As globalism and liberalism takes a stronger hold in Canada, the government can be expected to become even more hostile to Christianity and more hospitable to subversive agendas.
Christians living in a Muslim Country ‘143 Times More Likely’ to be Killed By a Muslim Than Vice Versa
By EMMA R. 18 March 2019
FTerrorist attacks against Muslims in the Western world, like the one that took place in Christchurch, are extremely rare.Friday’s carnage in two mosques in New Zealand, with the death toll currently at 50, is the first major event of its kind since the Quebec City mosque shooting over two years ago – which killed six persons, conservative writer Srdja Trifkovic states in Chronicles Magazine.Nonetheless, this terrible incident will dominate the headlines infinitely more than any comparable carnage involving Christians, notably the 2017 Palm Sunday church bombings in Alexandria, which killed 45 people, and was all but ignored by the Western media and politicians.If we put Friday’s killings in perspective, that perspective should include the fact that some 30 million Muslims reside in the Western world today, which makes the probability of any one of them falling victim to a deplorable attack in any given year roughly one in ten million.261 persons have been killed and many more injured, in attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims, in less than four years, in only one country, France (pop. 66 million).With 66 dead a year on average, Frenchmen are exactly ten times more likely to be murdered by a Muslim than a Muslim being killed by a non-Muslim terrorist anywhere in the Western world.The score is incomparably worse if we look at the situation of Christians in the Muslim world. It is the most egregious example of human right violations in today’s world: according to “Open Doors”, at least 4,305 Christians known by name were murdered by Muslims because of their faith in 2018.Aid to the Church in Need, in its latest “Religious Freedom Report”, warned that 300 million Christians, overwhelmingly in the majority-Muslim countries, were subjected to violence, making it “the most persecuted religion in the world.”This makes the odds of a Christian in a majority-Muslim country being murdered by a Muslim – simply for being what he is – approximately one in 70,000.Which means that a Christian living in a majority Muslim country is 143 times more likely to be killed by a Muslim for being a Christian than a Muslim is likely to be killed by a non-Muslim in a Western country for being what he is.
Media Silence Surrounds Muslim Massacre of Christians4
17 Mar 20196
Political leaders and public figures were falling over themselves this weekend to condemn the mosque attacks in New Zealand, while dozens of Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria to the sound of crickets.
The mosque attacks were indeed a horrific affair and worthy of universal condemnation. Presidents, prime ministers, royalty, and religious leaders rushed to extend their condolences to victims and their families — as well they should — while decrying the hate that purportedly motivated the shootings.
Without exception, the mainstream media gave top billing to the shootings, with newspapers carrying the story on their front pages and television news channels leading off their broadcasts with the story.
The bizarre aspect of the coverage was not, in fact, the attention paid to a heinous crime committed in New Zealand, but the absolute silence surrounding the simultaneous massacre of scores of Christians by Muslim militants in Africa.
As Breitbart News alone reported among major news outlets, Fulani jihadists racked up a death toll of over 120 Christians over the past three weeks in central Nigeria, employing machetes and gunfire to slaughter men, women, and children, burning down over 140 houses, destroying property, and spreading terror.
The New York Times did not place this story on the front page; in fact, they did not cover it at all. Apparently, when assessing “all the news that’s fit to print,” the massacre of African Christians did not measure up. The same can be said for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, the LA Times, and every other major paper in the United States.
The news shows from the three major television channels did not mention the story, and nor did CNN or MSNBC.
There are several possible explanations for this remarkable silence, and none of them is good.
Since, in point of fact, Muslim radicals kill Christians around the world with alarming frequency, it is probable that one more slaughter did not seem particularly newsworthy to the decision-makers at major news outlets. Muslims being killed, on the other hand, may strike many as newsworthy precisely because it is so rare.
A second motive for the media silence around the massacre of Christians in Nigeria may be geo-political and racial. New Zealand is a first-world country where such things are not supposed to happen, whereas many people still consider Africa to be a backwards place where brutal killings are par for the course.
Moreover, the slaughter of black Christians in Africa may not enkindle rage among westerners the way that the murder of white and brown Muslims in New Zealand would.
Finally, the story simply does not play to the political agenda that many mainstream media would like to advance. How much mileage can be gained from Muslims murdering Christians, when Christians in America are often seen as an obstacle to the “progress” desired by liberals? The left sees Christians in the United States as part of the problem and seeks to undermine their credibility and influence at every turn rather than emboldening them.
Anti-Christian bias has been rightly called “the last acceptable prejudice,” one that few bother condemning.
“No one much cares about offending Christians,” wrote the coalition of African-American pastors in an essay last Tuesday. “In fact, mocking, belittling, and blaspheming Christianity is becoming a bit of a trend in our culture. Anti-Christian bigotry truly is the last acceptable prejudice.”
“The hypocrisy on display is astounding,” the pastors continued. “Christianity is the dominant religion of our country. It is the foundation of our government and morality. And yet, Christians are treated as fair game for mockery and insult.”
Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world, but the mainstream media routinely ignore this fact as if it were unimportant or uninteresting. As a result, many people do not even realize how widespread the persecution is or that 75 percent of the victims of religious persecution around the world are Christians.
Whatever the reason — or reasons — for the media silence surrounding the most recent massacres of Christians in Nigeria as well as numerous other such events, it should give right-thinking people pause.
By all means, the lethal shootings of dozens of Muslims in New Zealand is a massive story and merits extensive coverage. But it only stands to reason that similar coverage should be devoted to the slaughter of Christians.
For the moment, it serves as a poignant reminder that a double standard is at work when it comes to news coverage, and that it is Christians who inevitably draw the short straw.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter
Nigeria: Muslims murder 85 People, Torch 100 Homes, Villagers “Living in Palpable Fear”
Will the Islamophobia never end?
“Herdsmen Kill 85 People in Kaduna Communities,” by John Shiklam, This Day, March 13, 2019:
No fewer than 85 people have been killed in attacks on three communities in Kaduna State by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
The deadly attacks were said to have taken place on Sunday and Monday.
The communities affected are Anguwan Barde and Gamu villages in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) and Gerti, Kaninkon Chiefdom in Jama’a LGA.
THISDAY gathered that the attacks in Anguwan Barde took place on Sunday morning when suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded the community and killed 35 people.
But the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Yakubu Sabo, who confirmed the attack on Anguwan Barde in a statement on Monday said 16 people were killed.
However, Danladi Yarima, a lawyer and former President of the Adara Development Association (ADA), said 35 people were killed in the Sunday’s attack on Anguwan Barde.
He said in the attack on Anguwan Gamu village on Monday, 46 people were killed with about 100 houses set ablaze by rampaging herdsmen.
Yarima said two of the corpses, including the wife of the pastor of an ECWA church in the village were recovered in a river.
“We recovered 35 bodies in Anguwan Barde and 46 in Anguwan Gamu. Some people are still missing because they ran into the bushes for their dear lives when the Fulani herdsmen invaded the communities. We don’t know whether they are still alive or not.
“We recovered two corpses in a river, including the body of the wife of the pastor of the ECWA church in the village,” Yarima said.
According to him, the policemen deployed to Anguwan Gamu had since gone back and the villagers are living in palpable fear.
He said there was massive exodus of women and children from the community to places considered as safe zones….
Do Christians Go Immediately to Heaven After They Die?
Where do Christians go the moment after they die? Is it immediately to heaven and for the unsaved, immediately to hell? Does the Bible say where the dead go and when?
One Second After Death
What happens in the very next second or less after a person dies? The destination clearly depends upon whether a person has repented and trusted in Christ or whether they have rejected their only hope of eternal life (Acts 4:12; 16:30-31). Paul seemed certain that after he died he would be present with the Lord. To be present with someone obviously means that they would have to be with them. When I got married, my fiancé had to be present with me or we could not have gotten married. I know that is a poor analogy but what I am saying is that Paul says to be absent from the body (dead) is in the next moment to be “present with the Lord.” In 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 Paul wrote that, “We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” I see nowhere in this text where there is a time differential between death and being in the presence of the Lord.
For those who bend the knee, repent of their sins, confess their sinfulness and desperate need for the Savior, and then put their trust in Him, there is a joyous destination awaiting you.
Pauls’ Final Days
When Paul wrote his letter to Timothy he understood that the time of his death was near. Whether he had overheard this from the guards, an angel of the Lord or Jesus Christ Himself we cannot tell but Paul seemed certain that he was going to die very soon.
In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul writes:
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
There are a few things that are important to note in Paul’s words here. First, he says that his “departure is near.” This departure being near is written within the context of this paragraph where he says that “there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” What day!? It seems clear that Paul’s departure is near and that then there will be awarded to him “the crown of righteousness” on that day! Do you see that? He is near his earthly departure and what awaits him is a crown of righteous to be given to him on that day! It appears to be the same day that he departs that he will receive this crown. He could have modified this sentence to the effect of saying, “Then, at the Lord’s return, I will receive the crown of righteousness” but he doesn’t. He says that it will be awarded to him on “that day!”
It’s important to note that the books of the Bible are not in the order in which they were written…that is, they are not in chronological order. This is true of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. There are many books in the Bible that are in the order in which they were written, but certainly not all of them and so when we see that 2 Timothy is followed by Titus and Philemon, which were also written by Paul, this doesn’t mean that they were written after 2 Timothy. Most Bible scholars believe 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter and this may be why he is giving Timothy departing letter.
Lazarus and the Rich Man
When Jesus mentioned what happened to the rich man and Lazarus after they died, there was no mention of a holding period or an interval of time between their death and their destination. Lazarus lived in poverty and want while the rich man lived in splendor and plenty but when they died, they went separate ways.
In Luke 16:22-24 Jesus said
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
- There is no mention of the false idea of a “soul sleep.” When the Bible mentions that they slept with their fathers or they had fallen asleep, that meant that they were dead…but not gone (John 11:1-14).
Two important things are in this story. One is “when they died.” What happened when they died? The rich man went to “Hades, where he was in torment” while Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. The place that Lazarus was at seems to be what is called in the Jewish vernacular, “Paradise.” Paradise is thought to be the abode or dwelling place of the Old Testament saints. Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly I say to you. Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 223:43). Any time Jesus says “truly” or “surely” as some translations say, you can be certain that Jesus was putting an exclamation point on what He was saying. Jesus said surely or truly the thief would be with Jesus in Paradise. When would the thief be in Paradise and when? It would be “today” and he would be with Jesus. That very day Jesus promised the thief would be with Him in paradise. After Jesus’ death, Paradise may have been changed into being in the presence of the Lord or in heaven because of the atoning work at Calvary so that the Old Testament saints and those who died in the faith will be present with the Lord (2 Tim 4:6-8).
Another related reading: What Does The Bible Say Heaven is Like?
Stephen Sees Jesus in Heaven
When Stephen was stoned for proclaiming the gospel, he sees the Lord, Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God in heaven.
We read this account in Acts 7:55-60:
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Again, there is no mention of soul sleep. As Stephen was dying, he actually saw heaven open up and there was “the Son of Man (Jesus) standing at the right hand of God.” Stephen must have known that he was going immediately into the presence of the Lord for he says “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Here is a dying Stephen, seeing Jesus in heaven and asking him to receive his spirit.” That sounds like he is immediately being “absent from the body” only to be “present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). How clear that is.
Interesting reading: What is a Spiritual Body? (What is your body going to be like in heaven?)
If you are not born again, then you will have no opportunity to go to heaven when you die but will the very next moment be in torment. You will wait in torment, like the rich man is still waiting today. You will await the Great White Throne Judgment where all who are in their graves and those unbelievers still living at the time of Christ’s return will be judged (Rev 20:11-15) but God has provided a way for you to be redeemed. For those who bend the knee, repent of their sins, confess their sinfulness and desperate need for the Savior, and then put their trust in Him, there is a joyous destination awaiting you.
For the Christian, death is not a problem because we know that 2 Corinthians 5: 1- 6, 8 speaks about our eternal destination:
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” and “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
That is where you’ll be one second after you die…that is if you are born again. A person that’s born twice (born again and a natural birth) will never die but a person who is born only once (a natural birth but not born again) will die twice; once in their mortal body and then in the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15). I pray you choose the former.
Related Post: Where Is Heaven? Where Is Hell? Does The Bible Say?
Resources: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide
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