Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Life after death: Where is Prince now?

The untimely death of Prince Rogers Nelson aka Prince shocked the world. Fans, friends, fellow entertainers, and even a president paid tribute to The Artist who touched so many lives in innumerable ways. Clearly, Prince was beloved by many. In the aftermath of his death, those who knew him talked about his genius and generosity, humility and compassion. No doubt Prince would be amused, and perhaps a bit embarrassed by all the attention. Prince enjoyed celebrity, but also cherished privacy. Surely, his death enhances one, and makes the other much more difficult.

When someone dies, we like to think of them as going to a better place.
Getty photos

When someone dies, whether famous or not, it hits close to home because it reinforces the inevitability of our own death at some point, or that of someone close to us. It's natural to try to ease the pain death causes by imagining the deceased person peacefully resting in a perpetual state.
She’s an angel now or God needed another angel in heaven. He’s in a better place or resting in peace (R.I.P.).—
Those who mourn Prince's passing are wishing the same things for him. Naturally, we have no way of knowing if our assumptions about his other worldly whereabouts are true, unless we know what Prince himself believed. This is what we do know. As a child, Prince was raised by his grandmother in the Seventh Day Adventist tradition. Adventist Christians believe in what the bible says about death.
Death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord.
Growing up as an Adventist meant that Prince was exposed to teachings that life after death, and a peaceful rest are certainties for anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior.
In 2001, the adult Prince converted to Jehovah's Witnesses after being recruited by fellow musician and friend Larry Graham. Prince took his new faith seriously, and often spoke about its influence on his beliefs, and his life.
You've gotta have belief, It's the only way to make it through this maze. And God is here, he's everywhere, he ain't dead, contrary to popular opinion. And he will come again and it will be the most beautiful, powerful, electric moment, the sky's gonna go all purple and red.—Prince
The Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine that Prince embraced later in life also shaped his beliefs about heaven and hell, Jesus Christ, salvation and life after death. What Jehovah Witnesses believe about death is very different from Prince's former Christian upbringing.
Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that man has a soul or spirit that has conscious existence after death. To Jehovah’s Witnesses, the word “soul” is interchangeable with the word “human.” They don’t believe that humans possess souls which are separate and distinct from the body; rather, they maintain that humans are souls. This explains why Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that a person ceases to exist after they die.—Hank Hanegraaff
In contrast, Christians believe death is a stepping stone to eternal life for anyone who believes in God's son, Jesus Christ. And that everyone gets the opportunity to decide where they'll spend eternity before they die.
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. John 3:16 CEV
I believe Prince knew he was dying as he lay on that elevator floor. Based on having seen others nearing death, I also believe that Prince wasn't alone in the natural sense when he died. I believe before his last breath, Prince was given one final chance to choose where he would spend his eternity. One can only hope that he made the one and only choice that would assure him of true rest and peace with God.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die...they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done.”—Revelation 14:13 CEV

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