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Plain Truths of Perpetual Value:- 6

By Nelson Thomas, Mumbai

Fifteen Facts about Death

Summary: - Most frightening reality. Many even refuse to think about it. But how long can we avoid death. Sooner or later we will have to face it. Then its better, today itself, know more about death, and find the best way to prepare for it. Here are fifteen vital truths about death that the Bible, the word of God teaches.

Introduction:-

           There is no other book so clearly and comprehensively speaks about our death and beyond it. Truths about death found in the Bible not only enlighten us to live in view of our life beyond this world, but also encourage us to live a full life with hope, confidence and satisfaction. So let us try to see the basic truths about our death found in the word of God with out much explanation. Readers are encouraged to refer to the scripture portions and make a personal study on these points.

1. Death is the result of sin by the first parents Adam and Eve. Cf. Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Romans 1:32; 5:12, 17; 1Corinthians 15:21. God’s intention for man was to be in sweet fellowship with Him for ever.

2. Death is not annihilation but separation of body, soul and spirit. Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7; James 2:26; Matthew 25:40; Revelation 14:11, 13 etc
By death man does not cease to exist. Whether sinner or saint every individual will continue to exist even after death.

3. Bible speaks of different categories of death:-

a. Spiritual death. Took place when Adam and Eve committed sin. God did warn them of their death if they violate God’s word. But they did not die physically; it was separation from God their creator and His glory. They recognized it immediately and tried to find some solutions too. Cf. Genesis 2:17; 3:7, 21; Ezekiel 18:20; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18; Romans 3:23. 1 Timothy 5:6. Since we all are born to the family of Adam, it is our natural state that we are dead spiritually, we have no life of God, nor the facility to relate with God.

b. Physical death. As mentioned above this is the separation of our body, soul and Spirit. Physical death and every other form of human agony is also the consequence of violation of God’s law – sin - from the Garden of Eden. “In the sweat of face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19. We see the first physical death in Genesis 4:8. From there death has spread to the whole humanity and it reigns today. Romans 5:12; Psalm 90:10. cf. Psalm 49:14 Death feeds on sinners.

c. Eternal death. 2Thessalonials 1:9. This is the most dangerous type of death. It is separation from God and His blessings for ever. In connection with both the above mentioned types of death, God has made some solutions and we can still avail the benefit of it, but eternal death means there is no way out, away from God everlastingly. This death is also called second death. Cf. Revelation 2:11; 20:6; 21:8.
Apart from these three types of death, Bible also speaks of:-
           Death for sin – Christ’s death. 1 Corinthians 15:3. It was unique. Totally different from the death that we go through today.
           Death to sin. 1Peter 2:24. It is experienced by those who trust Christ as their saviour. They count themselves as dead to sin, self and the world. Cf. Romans. 6: 2, 6 —11; Galatians 2:20. Colossians 2: 20; 1Corinthians 15:31.
           Death in sin. It’s about one’s death, while living in sin. He lost every chance to get saved, till the end lived in sin. Ezekiel 3:18, 20.
           Death in Christ. That means one dies in the state of being in Christ, having faith in Him. 1Thessalonians : 4:16.
          We see the above mentioned four kinds of death taking place in Golgotha. Luke 23:39—43. Christ died for our sins, one of the two criminals died to sin by trusting Christ, the other chose to die in his sins, repentant criminal dying in Christ.
In this study out line our main focus is on our physical – natural – death.

4. Death is a sure fact but the time is uncertain. Cf. Hebrews 9:27; Psalm 90:10.
          It is an appointment fixed by God. We can not change it. Modern medicine may help us to postpone it for few days, but it’s inevitable and no one could say no to death. Cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; Job 14: 1, 2, 5.

5. Death is the leveler of humanity. Cf. Job. Luke 16:22, 23.
           It is at death man comes to realize that there is no difference between different classes. Whether literate or illiterate, rich or poor, civilized or uncivilized, all alike die and go through all the agonies of life. Yes, there were two exceptions. God in His sovereign grace chose to take two great men of God to His presence with out death. Cf. Hebrews 11:5; Kings 2:11.

6. Death is not the end our existence or consciousness. Hebrews 9:27; Luke 16: 23—29
           We have seen already that by death we do not cease to exist. Death is only a change of scene. We continue to live in another sphere. Just like a new scene in a drama, by death one show is over, another is begun. It’s like entering through a door to reach another room. Cf. Isaiah 38:10, 11. We will be very much alive and conscious after death.

          But what is at hand just after death? Bible speaks very clearly of judgment as the next major phase of man’s life after death. That too is part of the divine appointment. Cf. Hebrews 9:27. Hence, it is foolishness to think that there is nothing beyond death so we can live in any way today. Story of the rich man and Lazarus gives us many valuable lessons about the state of the dead without a doubt. Luke 16: 19—31.

7. Many have longed to be liberated from this body of death. Romans 8:24; Psalm 49:7—9.
           No effort by self or others can save one from death or grave. Even if postponed by the modern medicine or equipments like ventilator, no one has succeeded in escaping death forever or bringing back the dead one. It’s a very solemn desire, but impossible one indeed. Cf. Ecclesiastes 8:8.

8. Christ has defeated death by His own death. Hebrews 2:14, 15.
           The Lord Jesus Christ took our death, not just the physical death, but the eternal death and separation that we should have gone through as a result of our sin, and liberated us from the fear of death. Now death has no hold on us. Devil can not hope to take us along with him to the eternal death and hell-fire because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
           Not only had He died, rose again on the third triumphantly. He has abolished death and brought life and immortality. 2Timothy 1:10 Now He holds the keys of Hades and of Death. Revelation 1:18. Cf. Luke 24:46; Acts 2:24; 1Corinthains 15:20—23.

9. The fact of a sure death should teach and prompt us to prepare for it. Psalm 39:4; 90:12.
           Fascinating fact is that we bury our dead, worry about their dear ones but never care about our own approaching termination; we just live as if we will never die. Of course no need to be nervous about death, but we should be prepared for death that can come at any stage of our life. According to King David, any sensible person will number his days and complete his assignments accordingly. Cf. Psalm 90:12; Ecclesiastes 9:10; John 9:4

          Once King Hezekiah was warned of his impending death, but instead of preparing to leave peacefully he cried bitterly and pleaded for an extension. We read that expansion of life actually ruined his family, even the nation. 2 King 20:1ff. Isaiah 38:1ff.

10. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross help us to avert the brutality of our death. John 5:24.
           Just as we trust Christ as our saviour Lord, immediately we pass from the realm of death to life. Cf. John 11:25, 26. The spiritual death resulted from sin is rectified. Yes, we do die still yet that death will be different from the death of an unbeliever. Notice the next point, how a Christian’s death is portrayed? Thought of his death only humbles him to live more responsible, holy and spiritually-minded life. Cf. Psalm 23:4

11. Death of a Christian is portrayed in different ways:-

a. As sleep. John 11:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:14. For a Christian beliver death is only a sleep, to get up shortly.
b. A rest. Revelation 14:14. Essential break for some one who worked hard.
c. A departure. 2Timothy 4:7. Job 16:22.
Bible scholars say that the Greek word Paul used for ‘departure’ (analoosis) refers to three things:-
           i. A bullock leaving yoke after a day’s hard work – to go to shelter.
           ii. A soldier returning after a successful fighting.
           iii. A ship returning to the base after fulfilling it’s mission – like distributing provision to the needy in remote places.
That means Paul finds his death as a time to leave after his hard work, successful fight or mission to be at his base, with His master. 2 Corinthians 5:8
d. Dissolution of a tent. 2Corinthians 5:1; 2Peter 1:14. Our body is only a tent in which we dwell. At death, we dismantle it and fly away to be with Christ.
e. Great gain. Philippians 1:21. For a Christian death is not a loss, not an unfortunate event.
          So, Christian believer’s death is far different from an unbeliever. They believe the promises of Christ. Because Christ lives, he too shall live. As soon as a Christian dies, with out any gap period, he reaches the presence of Christ. He doesn’t need the prayers or any ritual of another man, for his spirit already rests with the Lord in peace. He finds it as an achievement; God finds it as a precious and blessed incident. Psalm 116:15; Revelation 14:14.

12. Believers in Christ will find final victory over death at the time of rapture. 1Thessalonians 4: 13—17; 1Corinthians 15:26, 49 –57.
          Believer’s death today is only like a shadow. Because the Lord took all the fierceness of death, we only pass through a shade of it. But there is a day of victory. When the Lord shall come to receive His own, every dead in Christ shall rise again, and the living believers will be transformed and all together shall be caught up together to be with Him in the air. It is then the words of Paul will be fulfilled, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? ….But thanks be to God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Corinthians 15:55—57.

13. Believer’s sure prospect after death inspires him to live for Christ and serve him sacrificially. Cf. 1Corinthinas 15:58; Philippians 1:21—25; 2Timothy 4:6, 7.
          Death does not terrify a born again believer. On the contrary it challenges and motivates him to live for Christ better. Because he knows time is short, the time to serve the Lord will end soon; a reward awaits him for the selfless service rendered. Cf. 1Peter 5:1—4; 1Corinthians 3:13—15; Daniel 12:13.

14. Every unbeliever will also rise again after death, but to eternal condemnation. Revelation 20:12—15
          Every dead, small and great from around the globe will rise again and stand before the great white throne of God. Each one will be judged according to his works. But believers in Christ, whose name will be found in the book of life, will not come to this judgment. Cf. Romans 8:1; Revelation 2:11; 20:6

15. One day death itself will be cast in to the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14.
Then Christ’s victory over death will be complete and absolute. Death will be the last enemy to be destroyed by the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:26; Isaiah 25:8. ‘Death, the greatest swallower will be swallowed up.’

Conclusion: -

          There is nothing more frightening than death to most people. Similarly there is nothing more real and uncertain like death. Remember, there is only one life; there is no way to improve earthly life once we die. How we ought to be aware of death and get ready for it.

          The only hope for man to face death peacefully and satisfactorily is to trust and receive Christ as His personal saviour and Lord. Then he will be forgiven, regenerated and reconciled to God. He will not be under condemnation again. Romans 8:1. So he will not have to go through that eternal death - the second death - after judgment.

          Dear reader, are you ready for death? If death comes to you today, what would be your be your condition? Do not forget, like that rich man of Luke chapter 16, many wail from the Hades today that none of their living friends may die as a wicked man and reach there.

          Be wise, think about it seriously. Your decision determines your destiny, no one will be responsible. May God open your eyes and help you to be saved from the eternal death, through faith in Christ.

NTK

Related topics:   1. Be saved  //   2.Message from a graveyard!   //  3. Brevity of Life - how to be ready


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