The Reality of Death

The month of April heralds the season of Easter, one of Christianity’s most popular celebration. Though the term Easter is not Christian in its origin, it commemorates that period of our Lord’s life that reflects His death on the cross and His resurrection.

Understanding The Resurrection

In his letters to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul describes the resurrection as the hope of every child of God, without which our faith would be in vain (I Corinthians 15:12-17). He stated “but if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”

As the reality of sin emphasizes the effectiveness of salvation, or sickness the effectiveness of healing, similarly, it necessitates a correct understanding of the reality of death to emphasize the magnitude and glory of the resurrection.

To resurrect means to quicken, or bring to life that which is dead. The Apostle Paul in his letter to Corinth made this fact clear by stating, “that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.” Again in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 he wrote, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” Careful notice should be taken to the fact that it is the dead in the graves that he is speaking about.

Our Lord Himself promises that His voice shall bring to life “all that are in the graves.” John 5:28-29. This great hope of the nation of Israel is also described by the prophet Isaiah when he declared God’s promise stating, “Thy dead men shall live…Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust…the earth shall cast out the dead..” (Isaiah 26:19).

In 1 Corinthians 15, one of the most popular chapters on the resurrection, Paul declared that “if there be no resurrection” all those who died, including the Lord Jesus Himself, “are perished”. (I Corinthians 15:12-18). As I mentioned before, to fully grasp the awesomeness of the resurrection we must first comprehend the awful reality of death.

Simple Truth About Death

The simple definition of death is ‘the cessation of life.’ In other words, to be dead means to be dead. To believe otherwise is to put our trust in the misconceptions of false religions.

The very concept of one’s soul being immortal is unscriptural and pagan in its origin and the faith of God’s children should not rest in the philosophies of the heathen.

As we reflect back to the creation of man, scripture records that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (spirit), and man became a “living soul”. (Genesis 2:7). When the spirit or breath is taken from man, he does not move out a ‘living soul’. Instead, man dies and awaits the resurrection. In clarifying this Solomon wrote, “that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts…as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they all have one breath…all go unto one place; all are of the dust, all turn to dust again”. (Eccl 3:19-20).

Job stated, “But man dieth…man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?…So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not wake, nor be raised out of their sleep….All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” (Job 14:10-14).

The book of Daniel emphatically states that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2).

Careful notice should be given to a few important facts:

1. The resurrection necessitates the dead being dead, and in their graves, or in the dust.

2. The Lord will return to resurrect the dead, and, at that time, take the overcomers (Bride) to Heaven.

3. Death is experienced by both body and soul.

The word of God portrays life and death as the two ultimate ends to man’s existence. The choice of our final destiny depends on the choice of our lifestyle. Scripture states that, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23).

Ezekiel declared that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Because of this, our Lord Jesus’ substitutional death on Calvary necessitated him pouring out “his soul unto death”. (Isaiah 53:12; Ezekiel 18:4). His soul was made an offering for sin. (Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 26:38). The reality of Jesus’ death required His Father’s power in raising Him from the dead. (Romans 8:11 & 10:9).

Let us face the fact that death is real. Our hope cannot rest in mere traditional or pagan fantasy that prefers to speculate the existence of departed loved ones in an imaginary safe haven.

It may be pleasant for us to fantasize that the souls of our loved ones who have departed this life are in Heaven, in the presence of God and His angels. But if this is so, who then, would the Lord return to resurrect? Should we all seek death to gain access to Heaven?

Last, but most important to remember, is the fact that in his effort to deceive Adam and Eve, Satan twisted God’s word by convincing them that death was not as real as God declared. (Genesis 3:4). This subtle concept influences the majority of mankind to this day.

My friend, death is real and certainly does have a “sting”, but our Lord Jesus offers us hope, for He is the resurrection. (John 11:25). There is coming a day when the graves will be opened and the dead resurrected. At that time, we can finally say, “O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). Praise God for such a hope!

REALITY OF DEATH

Please love me now while I’m alive
Amidst life’s storms of rage and strife.
For now I’m here and soon I’m gone
This breath God gave is not for long.

One rightly said, “Where there’s life, there’s hope”
Yet while alive we still in darkness grope
Our minds are plagued with greed and hate
Man’s love is drowned by man’s fallen state.

God tells to love the ones around
Even on our enemies must love abound
For life is short and but a breath
Today is life but tomorrow’s death.

So today, my friend, be good and kind
Be legs to the lame and eyes to the blind
Love today your friend and foe
For how long they’ll live we do not know.

For death may take the ones we love

We console ourselves they’re gone above
We say, “They’re in a better place
There up in heaven, in God’s embrace.”

But if this is what death is about
We need to dance and jump and shout
Should we not then open wide the gate
And for our loved ones covet this state?

But death is real, a thing I hate
It takes our peace and confuses our state
With loved ones gone we grieve and groan
Our dreams now shattered we’re left alone.

So now I say to friend and foe
Be not dismayed by what you know
Love, give and live as if it’s your last
For Life’s a breath and death comes fast.