'Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.' New England Primer, 1737.
According to the pollsters, a belief in Heaven is actually on the increase. Although the thought of Heaven may be popular, probably less thought is given as to how to get there than your annual holiday. It is only when events rudely awaken us that we are pressed into asking some of the serious questions about the place where most people expect to go. Sometimes the prompt is our children with a plaintive "Where is Grandma now?" Mostly, though, thoughts of heaven, and more particularly the death that precedes going there, are pushed out by the hedonistic lifestyle that most of us live. If the purpose of life is simply to enjoy it: then an absence of life (i.e. death) is a recipe for no fun at all! But still we believe in Heaven.
In this contemporary classic Scott and Sinclair discuss why no one really dies of 'natural causes', give true/false answers to the reasons people think will get them to heaven, explain what the Bible has to say about the future, what Heaven is like and how to be ready for death.
Facing death enables us to face life - knowing more about your future makes an enormous difference to the present. It's time you looked your future square in the face and thought 'What does it hold for me?'
K. Scott Oliphint is Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has degrees from West Texas State University and Westminster Theological Seminary.
Sinclair B. Ferguson is Associate Preacher at St Peter's Free Church in Dundee and also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina and prior to that, he was minister of St. George's-Tron Church in Glasgow.
If I Should Die Before I Wake is lucid, biblical and simply written. It is meant to raise questions: What happens when you die? It is meant to answer questions: that children ask parents, that non-Christians ask Christians, that Christians ask their own souls. It is worth reading carefully, taking to heart, and teaching to others.
David Powlison, CCEF Executive Director, Senior Editor, Journal of Biblical Counseling