Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Pastor David Azbell
Death - Not an End
Death: Not an End
Death comes in many forms and have differences in the suffering prior to the death. Some die suddenly and tragically, some go more slowly and with more prolonged suffering. One things is for certain, we shall all die. We do not know how, when, or where, we do however know the why. We are told why we all shall die ,Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The wages of sin is death, sin entered the world through Adam,Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Therefore we have an understanding as to the why we all die. The where,when and how is what remains unknown. Since we have an understanding as to the why, and we will not know the how,when, and where lets focus on what. What will happen upon death?
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 KJV
(13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which
are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which
sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
In this the first epistle of Paul he begins in verse thirteen to offer comfort
to the Thessalonians. They had suffered great loses and were bereaved. Paul
starts out here in this verse by stating he doesn't want the people to be
ignorant concerning those which have gone to sleep. Paul used this statement several times in order to cause special attention to what he was about to say. Rom_1:13;Rom_11:25 ; 1Co_2:1;1Co_10:1; 1Co_12:1;
2Co_1:8; and 2Pe_3:8
Notice he did not use the term death or died, instead used the term sleep. This is significant for a reason, death is an end to those who do not believe.
However to the believer it is a period of rest. Those whom die with out
believing have no hope, therefore Paul uses the term sleep as an explanation
that they have not ended life, merely went into a deep relaxed sleep.
Death should not be a complete mystery, for we know we shall die. However in many circumstances there is more mystery than in others. Some die very sudden and tragically, these come by many times the hands of others. Some one may be shot and killed, some may be in a traffic accident, some may have sudden heart failure and so forth. These deaths are some times more difficult for those of us left behind then those who have suffered long illnesses such as cancer or other diseases that the outcome is expected.Many times we find ourselves asking why did this happen. We have the promise of eternal life in John 3:16 however we still must leave this place. There are many unanswered questions when one leaves us, and some will remain unanswered until the time that we will be reunited. Now we have the promise of eternal life so one would ask what happens upon death here on earth?
Lets look at this a little, first Paul tells us not to be ignorant about those
which are asleep. They are asleep in the arms of Jesus resting in paradise. We can look at some examples in order to better understand this. First we will look at the story of Lazarus and the rich man.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the
angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Lazarus the beggar died and was carried into the bosom of Abraham, also known as Paradise.Lazarus was free from the torment of hell and the rich man was not free from the torment. In another words, the rich man could not buy his freedom from torment. The price for sin is far more then money can pay. Even though the rich man had great wealth he would suffer torment in hell and the beggar received peace and protection in the bosom of Abraham. This can be better explained by looking at Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
See we come into the world naked and thus we leave this world naked. This is speaking of more then just clothes. This is significant in meaning, because it shows the rich man could not take his wealth with him to buy him freedom from the torment of hell. Now lets look at the story of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.
Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Even hanging on the cross in extreme pain and suffering for all mankind Jesus showed is power of Love and forgiveness. By promising the criminal on one side that today he would be with him in paradise. Now we can go back to 1 Th 4:13 and understand what Jesus was saying. Today they would sleep in Paradise, so lets understand what Jesus was promising. Paradise is a word of Persian origin, and is used in the Septuagint (LXX) as the translation of Eden. It means "an orchard of pleasure and fruits," "a garden" or "a pleasure ground", something like an English park. It is applied figuratively, to the celestial dwelling of the righteous, in allusion to the garden of Eden.
Sep'tuagint, The. (The seventy). The Septuagint, or Greek version of the Old
Testament, appears at the present day in four principal editions: --
Biblia Polyglotta Complutensis, A.D. 1514-1617;
The Aldine Edition, Venice, A.D. 1518;
The Roman Edition, edited under Pope Sixtus V, A.D. 1587;
Facsimile Edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, by H. H. Baber, A.D. 1816.
So Jesus promised the criminal that today they would be in paradise, a place in which all whom sleep in Jesus lay sleeping until the time has come. God has promised us eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Death from this earth and all earthly things will come. However it is not an end for those who believe. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, thus defeating death so shall we all be rose again.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are
alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are
Paul goes on to explain that the ones who still remain alive will not be able to
prevent those which are asleep from coming back. According to Paul those which are asleep shall rise first.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
The Lord shall descend from heaven and will with a shout, the voice of the
Archangel, and the trump of God shall awaken those which are asleep first. They shall be awakened and will meet up with Jesus in the clouds. Then and only then will those which remain alive shall be called up to meet up in the clouds.
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with
them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with
So here is the promise, first those which sleep will be awaken first then we
shall all meet up in the clouds to be with the Lord forever more. We will never
know the how, when, or where, however we have comfort in the why and what. We know why we all die, and we can now the what will happen. As long as we believe in the pure grace of God and that Jesus paid the debt we will know what will happen to us. Death doesn't have to be scary, nor does it have to be painful.
Death can be a painless transition from the pain and suffering of the earth to
the peace and comfort of Jesus Christ.
We will always mourn the lose of those who have gone to sleep in Jesus. We are not told not to mourn, instead we are told that there will be a time to
mourn.Ecc 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
We will have time to mourn the lose, yet we know that what is our lose is there gain. See they have gained rest in paradise, they are sleeping in the arms of Jesus all the while he shall be watching over our dust. They may have left this place and all earthly possessions and people for a time, however they have gained victory. We are further told in Matthew that those who mourn will be comforted.
Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Jesus states that we shall be comforted, and through the word of God we can find great comfort. We have already looked at the what shall happen. We can have comfort in the fact that the departed know rest in total peace and beauty. They are asleep in paradise under the watchful eye of Jesus Christ. They will not return to us but we shall go to them. The promise is that they shall be awakened first and remain in the clouds and then we shall be called to meet up with them.
Mourning shall have a time, we shall be comforted and some day we shall be
reunited. Though we will miss them they have not been lost. The separation is
only for a time. And then the time will end and we will be brough together to
be with them and the Lord forever more.
Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus holds the keys to heaven and hell, and we have a choice. We can choose eternal peace or eternal torment. We can choose Jesus Christ and his promises, or we can choose earthly things and the promise of defeat. It is our choice which we choose to do, God will not force the choice. He has given us his word, and through Grace has given us victory through eternal life. Salvation is as easy or as hard as one wants it to be. The promise is that all who believe in
Jesus shall have eternal life. The promise is that works can not save us, only
the shed Blood of Jesus Christ can do this. We have the choice of believing
that Jesus died and rose again defeating death and thus defeating the victory
of the grave.
Jesus came to earth for two reasons to serve man and to be the final blood
offering for all sin. He showed us through his ministry how to serve one
another and God. He suffered the same temptations that we suffer, he served,
and finally he was beaten and crucified. Only to arise three days later thus
defeating death and becoming the first fruits.
We may be mourning the death of a loved one, yet we can have the comfort of the
promise of eternal rest. We can choose the power of Jesus Christ, we can choose
to no longer fear death. God did not instill fear, instead he gave us great
power and authority. He has given us the opportunity to have eternal life and
to serve the only living God. We can choose to no longer fear mankind and those
things that can kill the body.We only need to fear that which can kill the soul.
We came from dust and the body will return to dust, we have no choice there.
However we do have a choice of eternal torment or eternal peace. Which will you
choose? Man can not save your soul only Jesus can, will you allow him to save
your soul today? He stands at the door and knocks, and all he asks is that you
would open the door and let him in. He only asks that you would receive his
promises and believe in him who sent him.
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