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Even as a small child, I wondered whether there was life after death. When I asked my parents, they always answered, "You will live on as a good memory in the lives of those you leave behind." Though their response disturbed me, over time I grew to accept it. What in childhood began as a curiosity became, in later years, a crisis. At times a "death anxiety" would overcome me as I pondered the eternal nothingness which lay ahead.
My parents' generation of Jewish people was not the first to doubt the continuation of life after death. We know that as far back as the first century, the Tzedukim (Sadducees) rejected the thought as well. Acts 23:8 states, "For the Tzedukim deny the resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits; whereas the Perushim [Pharisees] acknowledge both." Arguments on this subject between Perushim and Tzedukim are also recorded among the discussions in the Talmud.
As a child, I certainly was not aware of this first-century controversy, but I was aware of Scripture verses like the one from Psalm 23 quoted above. However, my Tzeduki (Sadducean) leanings and the accompanying emptiness did not leave me until one January night in 1971 when I invited Yeshua into my life as Messiah and Savior. As I clearly sensed God's presence in my heart, I knew for the first time that I had an eternal spirit! With his incredible love, God destroyed my anxiety over death.
...rejoice that, after this life, I will continue to enjoy an abundant life with the Lord forever.