Quite the morbid thought, something that we don't discuss openly in life very often, while we are among the living what is the point. We would rather not talk or even think about it, regardless if we understand the implications of life in the meaning that it will one day end, at least for us, the reality is the death of life. The death of our bodies brings loss, grief and the unknown. What does scripture have to say about it? Even more importantly what does scripture have for us, can it comfort us in that moment of losing a loved one and the days, months and years that follow, or if we are even facing it for ourselves, what are the promises that God gave us regarding death.
Why do we die? A simple question, right. Scripture tells us that it is the consequence of man's fall due to being deceived.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Interestingly, it was God who killed the first animal and made an atoning (spilling of blood, covering of sins) for mankind (man and woman). In this act God shows us the type and shadow of the coming Christ who will shed His blood for us and cover our sin, an atonement made by God.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
Our present state
In living our lives we are in a constant state waiting for that day when this body will draw its last breath and stop moving, will decay and pass into history and memory in the view of this life and world. But. We have a promise from Jesus the Christ who says that He is indeed the resurrection and the life. As Christians, this is why we look to Jesus for assurance of both our salvation and life. We may face our bodily death one day, but we can be reassured that in Jesus Christ we are to be resurrected bodily and live eternally.
Before raising Lazarus from the death, Jesus comforted Martha with these words:
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Before Christ came, the old testament believers had the same view of faith as they looked forward to their coming salvation in the atoning work of Jesus. There are many statements of faith from ancient believers but here is a sample from Isaiah.
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
New testament promises
It is because of Jesus Christ that we have hope for our bodily resurrection and eternal life in Him throughout the ages to come. This life is not all there is. We have promises from scripture that we will be physically brought back to life, a better body, a better life.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Trouble in this life
This life seems to hold plenty of trouble for us, Christian or not it seems we are bound by tragedy, loss and grief, continually, within our own perceptions as well as in reality. There is much we don't see and yet know but we can have assurance that this place and reality is not forever.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For this light momentary affliction (trouble) is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (temporary), but the things that are unseen are eternal.
In the end, we have an eternal promise
Jesus promised us that in death and in life we will forever be with Him. He has prepared a place for us.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Revelation 21:1-6 (grab a Bible and keep reading to the end)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.