According to the ancient Egyptian belief on afterlife, it was believed that as part of judgment, the dead person addressed forty-two deities by name, declaring to each that he/she was innocent of a specific fault such as murder, theft, lying, blasphemy, and stealing of offerings from the temples of the gods. This was known as the protestation of innocence. Following the protestation of innocence, the dead person’s heart was weighed against the ‘Feather of Truth’ to see if it was pure. If the heart was heavier than the feather (with lies), it was eaten by the devourer (an organism that supposedly had a crocodile’s head, a leopard’s front legs and the back legs of a hippopotamus) and that person ceased to exist forever. In order to live forever, the dead person had to convince the gods that they were free from evil.
Unlike this belief, where eternal life is dependent on the person’s own ability to convince the gods of his or her righteousness, the Bible states that it is NOT an individual’s personal efforts in this life or the next that purifies the heart and makes on right (without falsity or lies) before God. It is by faith in Jesus Christ and not by our own works that one can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only by belief in Jesus Christ that righteousness is imputed on us and this makes us free from evil, and creates in us a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) that can be weighed on any judgment scale and comes out not only light from evil desires, but also right before God.
James 2:@3 (KJV)
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Romans 4:20-24 (KJV)
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
When viewing the special exhibition, “The Book of the Dead” at the British museum, I learned that one of the ancient Egyptian beliefs was that after a person was dead, that person’s living relatives could write letters to the dead. These relatives were known as the “cult of the dead”. One letter that was supposedly written/inscribed on a funerary stela/tablet around 2100 BC was the following:
“How are you? Is the west taking care of you, as you desire? Look, I am your beloved on earth, so fight for me, intercede for my name! Drive off the illness from my limbs! May you appear for me as a blessed one before me, that I may see you fighting for me in a dream. I shall lay down offerings for you when the sun’s light has risen and I shall establish an altar for you!” This letter was a plea for intercession by the living to the one who had died.
Those living today need an intercessor as well; one who will fight for them. The Bible informs us that there is one, in fact only one who is The Intercessor and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind and He rose from the dead to stand in the presence of God as the High Priest who intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). All we need to do is trust and believe in Him for there is no condemnation to anyone who believes in the Name of Jesus Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). Do you?
Romans 8:34 (KJV)
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
While visiting the special exhibition of the “Book of the Dead” in the British Museum, we came to learn that according to an ancient Egyptian belief, on the day a person dies (the day of burial), the dead person moved from the world of the living to the world of the dead. Other common world beliefs and religions ascribe to something similar as well.
However, unlike the ancient or current belief that a person moves from the world of the living to the world of the dead, when they die, the Christian Faith prescribes an antithesis. In fact, when a person who believes in Jesus Christ dies, they don’t move from the world of the living into the world of the dead, but quite the contrary; they move from the world of the dead (in sin) to the world of the living (for all who are in Christ shall live, even if they were dead (physically)).
Do you belief in Jesus Christ, the author of Life, in both this world and the world to come?
Romans 3:23 (KJV)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:22-23 (KJV)
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Sangeetha, Reuben and I were fortunate to see the ancient Egyptian “Book of the Dead”, which was on exhibition at the British Museum. The book of the dead wass displayed in seven sections to depict the journey that the person takes when they die. These include:
1. Preparation for the afterlife
2. The day of burial
3. The mummy in the tomb
4. Empowering the dead
5. Avoiding the disaster
6. Judgment and
7. The perfect afterlife
According to the ancient Egyptians, when a person died, they went on a journey through the world of the dead or ‘the netherworld’. So they put in the tomb a papyrus roll with written spells and pictures which was known as the Book of the Dead. They believed that the specialist knowledge and magical power contained in these texts would assure them of a safe journey to the perfect afterlife through the landscape (rivers, mountains and caves) and many guarded gates.
Unlike the Book of the Dead belief, the Bible teaches us that the safe journey to the perfect afterlife, which is to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, does not begin as a journey after the death of a person, but while he or she is alive. And instead of navigating through a netherworld using spells and texts, all one needs to do is to pass through THE DOOR (gate), Jesus Christ by faith and believing in Him to attain a safe journey to THE PERFECT AFTERLIFE.
Have you believed in Jesus Christ; THE DOOR? The journey is not later, but now. Where are/am you/I on that journey?
Hebrews 11:9-10 (KJV)
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
John 10:9 (KJV)
9 I [Jesus] am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.