“I Don’t Fear Death!”
NINE-YEAR-OLD Christopher Heslop was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as was Matthew, his 14-year-old brother. They had spent the October morning, along with their uncle, aunt, and two cousins, calling from house to house in their Christian ministry near Manchester, England. In the afternoon, they set out together on a sight-seeing trip to Blackpool, a nearby seaside resort. All 6 were among 12 people killed instantly in a motorway crash, described by the police as “an absolute holocaust.”
The night before the tragedy, death had been the subject discussed at a neighborhood Bible study attended by the Heslop family. “Christopher,” said David, his father, “was always a very thoughtful boy. That night, he spoke clearly about a new world and his hope for the future. Then, as our discussion continued, Christopher suddenly said: ‘The thing about being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that while death hurts, we know we will see each other again on earth one day.’ Little did any of us present realize how memorable those words were going to be.”
After the accident, the headline of the Manchester Evening News read: “I don’t fear death, said crash child,” and the article quoted Christopher’s exact words. How could a child of nine speak so confidently? What had Christopher been taught to believe?
Resurrection—The Sure Hope
“The most startling characteristic of the first Christian preaching is its emphasis on the resurrection,” says the New Bible Dictionary. It adds: “The first preachers were sure that Christ had risen, and sure, in consequence, that believers would in due course rise also. This set them off from all the other teachers of the ancient world.”
True Christians are just as different today. They do not toy with Greek philosophy, falsely attributing to man an “immortal soul.” Rather, they draw strength from Jesus’ declaration that ‘those in the memorial tombs, upon hearing my voice, will come out.’ That is the basis for Christian faith—the resurrection of those in God’s memory from death to life on a paradise earth.—John 5:28, 29; see also Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 15:14.
David Heslop and his wife, Ailene, taught their two sons this basic Bible truth and, as a result, now find great comfort themselves. “Naturally, we now think about the resurrection very much,” says David, “and if we ever feel down, as we do from time to time, we quickly start to think about the future and see our loss as just a temporary one.” Ailene adds: “It is like having somebody you love emigrate. You do not know how long they will be away but look forward to seeing them again upon their return.”
A Sincere Invitation
Would you like to share such faith? It is not difficult to do so.
Our opening article referred to a survey recently taken in England. Interestingly, when nonchurchgoers were asked which place of worship they would choose if they decided to go to one, 27 percent (the greatest number) specified the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Further, in reply to the question: “If you desperately wanted to know something about the Bible, Christian Faith, etc., who would you ask?” 19 percent replied: Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Wherever you live, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be pleased to help you build your faith on the teachings found in your Bible. All meetings at their Kingdom Halls and personal home Bible instruction are provided free of charge. Why not take the initiative and approach them? You will quickly gain not only comfort, as far as knowledge of death and the resurrection is concerned, but also hope of a new world of righteousness in which “death will be no more.”—Revelation 21:4.
[Box on page 11]
A Return From Death?
It is not unknown for “clinically dead” persons to be revived. Upon recovery, some claim to have had extraordinary experiences of ‘another life.’ There is, however, a medical explanation for this. States the London, England, newspaper The Independent: “It seems likely that these hallucinations occur when people are near death because the same areas of the brain are triggered by high levels of carbon dioxide or low levels of oxygen in the circulation.” Upon a return to consciousness, these hallucinations can give rise to the feeling of having died and returned to life.