Physical death is the process of the falling away of the physical body to the dust. There is a lot of
misunderstanding about death among Christians today. As we search God’s Word for the scripture
to explain scripture, to lay to rest these misconceptions, remember one thing – Jesus
is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6).
Life is greater than death, the Saviour is greater than
sin, Heaven is greater than hell, and the Healer is greater than the disease.
Remember always that in the ultimate analysis and plans of God, physical death is a sure ENEMY (1 Corinthians 15:26). The last
enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Let us look at some of the misconceptions :
Appointed time to die
Many people misunderstand the commonly used phrase 'appointed time to die' because of a wrong reading of Heb. 9: 27. There
is no such thing as an appointed time to die, only that death or the falling away of this present body is appointed to all.
Hebrews 9:27 …. it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment :
This verse says that it is appointed unto men once to die and does not talk about an appointed time to die. There is a lot of
difference between the two.
Some believe that Paul propounded an appointed time for death because of II Timothy 4:6 which says, "For I am now ready
to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand."
Paul always longed to be in the literal presence of the Lord. Phil.1: 23, 24 "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to
depart and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."
Paul had a strong desire to depart from this world to be with the Lord and God grants the desires of His children. Ps.37: 4
"Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart". To such, I believe God will show the time of
their departure. Jesus knew the exact time of His death and He dismissed His Spirit on the Cross
John 13:1 - Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this
world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
John 19:30 records "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and
gave up the ghost."
In my early Christian walk, I was blessed to hear a few remarkable testimonies of how some elderly saints in their eighties
or nineties would leave this world. They would lie on their bed, gather all their loved ones around them, wish each one
good bye and singing the praises of Jesus who is the Resurrection and the Life, would close their eyes and depart. Hallelujah!
To die is gain
Many of God's saints confront deathly situations almost every day (1 Cor 15:31). Note here that this entire
chapter is talking about physical death) Such would definitely have a great desire to be in the literal presence
of their Master and to obtain that eternal rest from their labours.
Philippians 1:21 - 24 "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 labour:
yet what I shall choose I wot not.For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ;
which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you"
Many of God's generals often long to depart but they remain in this world only for the sake of the Lord's work.
Understand that it is more difficult to live for Christ than to die for Christ. Physical death in a sense is an escape
and a release from all the battles of this world but never forget that in the Ultimate Analysis, physical death is an
adversary, the Last Enemy of Man (1 Cor 15:26).
The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken
We hear this verse quoted in most funeral services. It is taken from Job 1:21 "Naked came I out of my mothers' womb
and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away:"
Job's statement is recorded faithfully but it is not accurate. The Bible faithfully has recorded all the actions and important
conversations verbatim. At the end of Job's account we see him repenting. Job 42:1-6 also records Jobs' confession.
Job 42:3 - "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I
uttered that I understood not: things too wonderful for me, which I knew not."
Please see The Case of Job.
Death of the saints is precious to God
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" - Ps.116:15
Many derive comfort from this verse and they should not be robbed of whatever comforts them at the time of a physical death.
God receives the saints who depart from this world but He does not kill them. But if somebody thinks that
God has taken their loved one or is comforted from such a thought, wisely avoid
trying to correct them at that time.
Let them be comforted, teach them later in love.
Earlier we saw that some who love the Lord very dearly long to be in His literal presence. We love Him, because He
first loved us. His love and longing for us is greater than our love for Him. The Lord'' greatest desire for us is that we
be with Him for all eternity.
Jesus said in John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also."
It is according to our faith and desire which God honours in critical conditions. But please keep remembering that in
the Ultimate Analysis, Death is the Last Enemy.
Three Score Years and Ten
Psalm 90:10 - "The days of our years are three score years and ten: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore
years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow: for it is soon cut off and we fly away."
Before the flood, men lived for over 900 years (Methuselah, Noah's grandfather lived for 969 years), After the flood the average life
span was 120 years.
Jacob lived 130 years. Gen. 47:9 "And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of
the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: Few
and evil have the days of the years of my life been and have not attained unto the days of the years of my life of my fathers in the
days of their pilgrimage."
As sin increased the life span decreased even further, so that in the days of Moses who wrote this psalm the length of life was 70 - 80 years.
But Jesus reversed all this. In Jesus, where sin abounds, grace will abound much more (Rom 5:20).
Consider this powerful Scripture :
2 Timothy 1:10 " …. our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"
Learn to see everything through the broken Body and Calvary. It is the power of God to them that will believe. "For the preaching of the
cross is to them that perish foolishness: But unto us which are saved it is the power of God." - I Cor 1:18.
All this is according to your faith. Mathew 9:29 - "According to your faith be it unto you". So take time to build your faith.
Now let us look at a few other scriptures, which give more light on God's will concerning death and long life.
It would be noteworthy to remember that there is no record of Jesus attending a funeral service. When He once came across
a funeral party, He raised the dead person and it wasn't a funeral anymore. He once said, "Let the dead bury their dead . . ." - Math.8:
- Ps 79:11 - "……preserve thou those that are appointed to die"
- Ps 102:19, 20 - "………the Lord looks down from heaven to loose those that are appointed to die"
- Ps 91:16 - "With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation".( Long life is till a person is satisfied with life)
- Prov 3:1, 2 - "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long
life, and peace, shall they add to thee."
- Eph 6: 2, 3 - "Honour thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and
thou mayest live long on the earth."
- Rom 5:17 - "…..by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift
of righteousness shall reign in life by one Christ Jesus."
- 2 Tim 1:10 - "….our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
- Heb 2:14 - "………through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil."
- Rev 1:18 - "……….I am He that liveth, and was dead and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell."
- 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."
Does all this mean we are not going to die ? Is this the question on your mind? This present body must change because we
cannot go to heaven with this body.
I Cor 15:50 says, ". . . flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." Jesus changes our body giving us a new body.
Phil.3: 20, 21 - "For our conversation is in heaven from where also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall
change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able
even to subdue all things unto himself:"
Our new body will be like the resurrected body of Jesus. After His resurrection Jesus could
Therefore the new body is very much like the present body, only perfect. This present body can therefore be changed by
- Be recognized
- Be touched and felt
- Eat food
- The power of the indwelling Spirit (Rom 8:11) "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
He that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you"
- The dead being raised as a foretaste of eternal life for spirit, soul and body. Jesus demonstrated this foretaste of victory
over physical death and also by commissioning His disciples to do the same Math 10:8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,
raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received freely give."
- Faith : Heb 11:5 "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death."
- Rapture of the saints : 1 Thes 4:16, 17 " ....and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught
up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air……"