Saturday, February 21, 2015



To Mankind in General
  • An Inevitable Experience
Eccl. 2:15-16; 3:12, 19; 9:5 The man under the sun is here speaking. Two things are sure--death and taxes.  "A time to live and a time to die"

  • A Deep Mystery
Job 14:14 - Expecting death as the inevitable and fearing it.
Job 3:21 - Hoping for death, but it is eluding him.
                   Cf. Andrew Lang - "Modern Mythology"
"Men everywhere think man by nature is immortal and this needs no proof; but death is a mystery, which must be explained."

  • The Great Enemy
Death is an intrusion into the whole plan of God made necessary by sin. In this sense it is the
enemy to God and to men. 1 Cor. 15:25-26  "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Strong has some excellent material right here. Life is not fuel, but fire. No reason in the human frame why a man should ever die.

Cf. Walt Whitman "O Captain! My Captain!"

O Captain, my Captain, our fearful trip is done,
The Ship has weathered every rac, the prize we sought is won.
The Port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O Heart, heart, heart.
O the bleeding drops of red,
Whereon the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain, my Captain, rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up, for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths - for the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain, dear Father.
This arm beneath your head.
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O Shores, and ring O bells
But I with mournful treat
Walk the deck my Captain lies
Fallen cold and dead.

To the Unsaved
  • Loss of all they call Good
1 Cor. 15:32 - "For tomorrow we die"
Eccl. 5:15-16 Man under sun sees only the material side.

  • Escape from Intolerable Evils of Life
Job 3:21 Looking, longing, reaching for death.
Rev. 9:6   "Shall seek death"

Lucretius said - "You can do one thing no God can do, you can die." But he was wrong.

  • Precursor of Divine Judgment
Heb. 9:27  "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment."
Luke 17:1-5  In some sense death is the harbinger of final judg­ment.

To the Old Testament Saints
  • In General, a Gloomy and Dreadful Experience
Isa. 38:1-19 - Hezekiah and his prayer.
Job 10:20-22  "Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness."
Psa 6:1-6  "To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears."

Cf. Heb. 2:15  "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

Question: Why this attitude in Old Testament?
  • Israel's blessings generally connected with earth.  Cf. Isa. 38:11 "I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world."
  • Consciousness of sin aroused by the Law.
  • Lack of revelation concerning intermediate state.
But Old Testament Saints had some Light to Alleviate the Gloom.
Job 19:25-27 - "My Redeemer liveth"
Psa. 16:8-11 - Anticipation  victory over death
Isa. 25:6-8 - This is still future, and refers to the resurrection
Hos. 13:14    "I will ransom thee from the power of Sheol."

Note: Specific nature of Israel's hope?  Entirely Earthly

 To the New Testament Believer
  • Death no Longer Feared. Why?
Rom. 8:2 "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death."
1 Cor. 15:56-57 (Best) Sting has been taken away.  "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Heb. 2:14-15 "Destroyed Satan's power to accuse"
2 Tim. 1:10   Abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel
Rom. 8:38 Neither death ­1 Cor. 3:22 - "All things are yours . . . death" - Death has now become a slave. All it can do is take the believer to Christ.
---Some still in bondage - why? Voluntary or involuntary ignorance concerning what Christ has done.

  • Death Robbed of its Mystery. Why? Nature of the intermediate state has been revealed to us.
1 Thess. 5:10 "Died for us" . . . we should live with him.
Rom. 8:38, 39 "Death …..shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."

  • Death Becomes Door into Presence of Christ
Phil. 1:21-23 Loosed away upward to be with Christ, which is far better. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I want not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"

  • Death Sometimes is used as Iinstrument of Fatherly Discipline
1 Cor. 11:27-32 "For this cause . . . many sleep." "Chastened that we should not be condemned with the world."  Because of sin, thus breaking fellowship.

  • Yet Even the True Believer Naturally Shrinks from the Experience. Why?
2 Cor. 5:1-8 The believer is afraid of being unclothed (vs. 4)
Phil. 1:21 "And to die is gain" - The experience of dying is the means by which the believer can get the principal and the interest.
1 Thess. 4:12 - "We sorrow not as those who have no hope."

  • Best of all, Death is not Inevitable to the Christian
1 Cor. 15:51 (Best passage in Bible against a partial rapture)  "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed," Not some but all.

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