Intriguing Is Notion That In Heaven We'll Meet Not Just Relatives But Ancestors
There are tremendous consistencies among those who claim to have glimpsed the afterlife during "near-death experiences." A central one is that during the brush with death, after going through sort of a tunnel, and to a light, they were greeted by Jesus, angels, and deceased loved ones: those who had preceded them.
Let's focus on the deceased loved ones. Obviously, such a prospect comes as an enormous relief to those who have lost their closest relatives -- almost too good to be true, and yet true it appears to be. Barring condemnation, and even if there are long stays in purgatory, we all see each other again. We firmly believe that.
But how exactly will we relate to each other in the new surroundings of eternity? Are there still marriages? Do we look upon our earthly parents as our parents forever? And our children? What will those relationships be like?
Intriguing questions. And something to look forward to. What we get from those who claim to have experienced the afterlife is that it's far better than expected, and everyone loves everyone with purity. There is a sense of complete well-being and total awareness. Upon death, there will also be the full realization of why we lived on earth and an understanding of why all the people we met were the way they were. Many questions -- and "issues" -- will be answered.
In Heaven we will see right to the essence of each other and know the absolute truth about each person without condemnation. There will be no need, nor the possibility, for secrets. And what will it be like to encounter those with whom we have had less-than-perfect relationships?
Perhaps most intriguing at this time of the year -- when we gather with our families -- is the prospect that once we die we will encounter not just those who were close relatives on earth but all of our ancestors.
Can you imagine the endlessly enthralling facts we will learn about our great grandparents and their great-great grandparents and their great-great-great grandparents ad infinitum, or nearly ad infinitum? It will be fascinating for those whose ancestry dates to early America to see how they made it across the nation as pioneers, or to meet those in Europe or Asia or Africa from the olden days. Farmers. Cowboys. The Civil War. The Middle Ages.
For some, perhaps it will mean ancestors in ancient Israel -- and even at the time of Jesus!
We can only imagine what our ancestors did and we can only look forward to discovering how they affected us. Good thing we will have infinity to do this. According to genealogists, about 3.5 million people in the United States are descendants of John and Priscilla Alden of Mayflower fame, with their 11 children. We're not sure about such figures, but let's put it another way: Every person on earth is more closely related than a fiftieth cousin, say experts at Florida Atlanta University. Can you imagine getting to know every single person from your bloodline?
Now we get to the point: how the influence of parents can have ramifications down through the centuries. This teaches us the importance of raising children the Christian way and cleansing our lineages of spiritual baggage.
"Theoretically, one person's sin could affect millions of descendants, especially if the ancestral bondage were transmitted as far as the tenth generation, as it was in applying sanction for illegitimate birth in Deuteronomy 23:2-3," notes Father John Hampsch, a priest in California who has written extensively on the subject.
Such points out the need during family gatherings to pray for the deliverance of the entire lineage. Spirits can follow bloodlines. When you die, you will learn the mysterious reasons for many challenges.
In this regard, prayer and fasting leading up to a feast like Thanksgiving are important if we want to leave our lineages better off than what we were given. Taking Communion for those who preceded us can be of major help, according to Father Hampsch. "In general," he argues, "the holier your ancestors, the less intergenerational healing you will need, and by consequence, the holier you are, the less intergenerational healing your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will need, according to the promises of God's Word in Exodus 20:6 and 34:7."
Whatever the case, there is what they call the "thousand-generation" blessing in which we can ask God to bless not only those who have preceded us, but all of those who will follow -- all of those millions.
That adds an entirely new dimension:
When we die, we will not only meet all those ancestors, but also all those who descend from us. What joy it will be to see the good we have caused (when good we have left)!
When we don't leave a legacy of holiness, claim experts like Father Hampsch, we may leave both behavioral and physical problems. A classic study done with a well-known criminal family called the Jukes found that of 1,200 known descendants, 400 were self-wrecked by disease, injury, or mutilation, and 130 became convicted criminals.
Sin follows the generations. With prayer -- and again Communion, this time for descendants -- we can break that.
Often, we need to be healed from matters that are not apparent to us, but that the Holy Spirit can bring to our awareness. Let us pray for this too during family gatherings: that the Holy Spirit enlighten us to what issues we may have to resolve, and what "curses" we may have in break in the Name of Jesus. That's the sober side of it. We need to cleanse. In this regard, we all have work to do.
But back to the afterlife.
If you think it's good news that you live forever, and that you will see all your relatives again, contemplate the best news yet: According to thousands of testimonies, everyone in the afterlife appears as they were at about 25 years old. We will now see all our relatives not only as relatives but as peers and friends forever.
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