A: No, it’s not true; people in the Old Testament did believe in life after death — although their understanding was not as full as ours, because God has revealed more about heaven to us.
I think, for example, of Job in the Old Testament. He passed through sufferings that most of us can barely imagine — not just physically but emotionally. Almost overnight, he lost everything — his family, his wealth, his health, even his friends. In the midst of it all, he felt he might be dying, but instead of shrinking back from death, he welcomed it. Why? Not only because he knew it would bring an end to his sufferings, but also because he knew that if he died he would go to be with God. He declared, “I myself will see him with my own eyes. ... How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:27).
Or think of King David, who wrote many of the psalms. When his infant son was taken from him by death, David affirmed his conviction that some day they would be reunited (see 2 Samuel 12:23). And his words in Psalm 23 have brought comfort and hope to countless generations of believers: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. ... And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:4,6).
This was their confidence — and it can be ours in even greater measure, because Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away our sins, and He conquered death and Hell forever by His resurrection from the dead. Is your faith and hope in Him?
Q: I’d like to become a follower of Jesus (like some of my friends), but I’m afraid I’d just end up being a failure because I know how weak I am. Nobody likes a hypocrite, but I’m afraid I’d end up being one. Can you understand my fear? — K.C.
A: Yes, I can understand your fear, and I’m glad you don’t want to end up as a hypocrite — claiming to be a follower of Jesus, but denying it by the way you live. Some of Jesus’ strongest words were directed at people who claimed to follow God but didn’t live the way they should.
Your fear shouldn’t keep you from following Jesus, however, and I sincerely hope it won’t. For one thing, God knows your weaknesses, and He can help you overcome them — not with your strength, but with the inner strength He’ll give you by His Spirit. Isn’t it better to face your weaknesses and turn them over to Him than to spend the rest of your life struggling unsuccessfully against them? The Apostle Paul declared, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
In addition, even when we fail (and we all do), God doesn’t reject us or cast us away. He still loves us, and He wants to forgive us and restore us. Do you remember Peter? When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied he even knew Jesus — not once, but three times. But Peter repented and Jesus forgave him, and Peter went on to become one of the greatest Christians of all time.
Don’t look at yourself and your weakness. Look instead at Jesus Christ and what He has done for you by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Commit your life to Him, and rejoice every day in His unchanging love.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.