Right now, we are in the middle of ghost month in Taiwan. Traditionally, the Taiwanese offer many sacrifices to appease wandering spirits whom they euphemistically call "good brothers" and whom they think have gotten a one-month parole from Hell to roam the earth and bring bad luck to any who do not offer them worship. Many Taiwanese are also afraid to travel, take vacations, or to conduct any major affairs such as weddings during this time.
During this seventh month of the lunar year in which Taiwanese fearfully participate in rites to placate the dead, it is good for Christians to consider the truth about what happens to them after they die. As you make yourself familiar with the verses quoted below, you could get yourself ready for opportunities for discussions with your non-Christian Taiwanese friends.
The following is a link to a sermon by Jonathan Edwards entitled, "True saints, when absent from the body, are present with the Lord."
Please also read the following meditation written for the church here in Taiwan: (I will post a Mandarin translation as soon as it is translated.)
Thank you for your prayers for the Taiwanese people to come to believe in the true God.
- the Lintons
In Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus Christ says, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! and I hold the keys of death and Hades."
Christians do not fear Ghost Month. "Good brothers" do not exist. We know that when a people die, their bodies decay and their spirits depart from this world. They cannot have contact with this world; the dead have no power or influence in this world. There is also no reincarnation. There are two destinations that people go when they die. Spirits of unbelievers are bound in hell to await the Judgment Day. Spirits of believers are immediately present with the Lord in Heaven and await their resurrection. At the end of the world the Lord Jesus Christ will return a raise both the wicked and the righteous from the dead and Christ will judge them with justice.
Instead of fearing ghosts, people should think about their own sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:27-28 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
2 Samuel 12:23 "But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."
If you wish to read more about this topic please look at the following passages: Genesis 3:19, Luke 16:19-31, 1 Corinthians 15:12-23, Philippians 1:21-23, 2 Peter 2:4-10, 2 Peter 3:1-13, Revelation 7:9-17, Revelation 20:11-15
Please pray that Taiwanese will come to know the fear of the true God that leads to repentance and faith in Jesus.