Over the years I have heard some interesting reports of gravestones. One man had placed “I told you I was sick” on his before his passing. Another, one who personally knew Christ, had, “Be right back.”
Except for some poetical portions, in the Holy Bible death is viewed as a transition. In some cases the warning of a final judgment was attached to the topic. We clearly see from the Scriptures that when one surrenders to Christ they have no need to fear The Judgment (1 John 4:17-18).
Consignment to the Lake of Fire is based upon if our name is not in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15). It’s absence is supported by our works (Revelation 20:12) which not only have to be right, but pure. The only way this can be done is to be within Christ and have Him within us (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:10). Until that happens, we are spiritually dead (Colossians 2:13).
Such was the case of my parents and I. Prior to coming to Christ, we were all ladened with our sins. My parents would vehemently argue, foul and filthy language would abound, and we were held captive by sinful habits.
However, I surrendered to Christ when I was 17. By the end of the year, my parents also surrendered to Christ. There was a definite change in all of our lives. Numerous spiritual strides were made by Christ through us, although we faltered at times when we took our eyes off of Him. However, we kept moving spiritually forward. My mother was used of God in the gift of tongues. My dad became a deacon in the local church.
Previous years of smoking took their toll on mom and she passed around 1976. Dad would follow her about ten years later, succumbing to a heart attack.
Their bodies are buried in the south end of Arlington Memorial Park in Kearny, NJ. It has been years since I have been to the grave site, but whenever I go there, I am very pleased at the gravestone, for upon it is the word, “Maranatha.” That is a word of Aramaic origin found in 1 Corinthians 16:2 which can mean “our Lord will come.”
Whenever I think of that inscription, I am reminded of the many passages in the Word of God about the return of the Messiah, and that though those who have surrendered to them will face death (barring the rapture — see 1 Thessalonians 4:17), they will have a new body, like Christ’s, for all eternity (1 Corinthians 15:49): “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”