Approximately 10,000 B.C., God said to man, who was created to

live forever, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but

you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for

when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16). Man and

woman ate from the tree and the death process began.

Approximately 12,000 years later we read the headlines from the

Indianapolis Star, September 26, 1986:

Paranoid man shoots, kills paper carrier.

Israeli air raid kills one, injures two at Palestinian base.

Woman's suicide leads to deaths of spouse, 4 children.

Father, son charged in girl's slaying.

Girl, 2, dies in mobile home fire.

Killer of parents gets 30-year term.

Fatal accident closes I-69 south near Marion.

Death has been a part of man's existence from the very beginning.

Every age and society has had to face the reality of death on a

continuing basis. It is a subject that everyone must deal with

because it is an experience we must all share in. Most people avoid

the subject of death because they have no answers as to the origin and

meaning of this enemy of life. Man fears death because it is an

unknown to him. He does not know when it will occur or how it will

take place. Most people fear death because they do not know what

happens after death.

Each person has an attitude about death that will affect nearly

every activity of his life. These attitudes can be grouped into three

basic types; one is to fear death to such an extent that we become a

slave to our emotions. Another attitude is to ignore the thought of

death by becoming engrossed in living. The third attitude one can

have towards death is to accept it as a reality and to be prepared for

it, both emotionally and spiritually. Having the proper attitude

towards death is a result of understanding its various aspects.


As was stated earlier, death was not always a part of mankind's

experience. For in the beginning when God created man and woman there

was no death. Neither man nor animals experienced the termination of

life. Death was introduced as a sure consequence for sin, should man

so chose. God had to establish a punishment that would equal the

offense of disobedience to His Holy Word. Some would say that death

was too great a price to have to pay for simply eating forbidden

fruit, but the fruit was not the issue. The issue was the Holiness of

God. We cannot begin to understand how Holy God is unless we realize

that the slightest offense against God cost man all that he had -

life, both physical and spiritual.


When man first sinned against God, death entered the human race.

So vast was this death that the entire universe began to die, "The

creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by

the will of the one who subjected it (God - because of man's sin), in

hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to

decay." (Romans 8:20-21). But not only the creation but the entire

human race fell under the curse of death because of the sin of one

man, "...sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,

and in this way death came to all men..." (Romans 5:12). Again, it is

through death that we get a glimpse of the holiness of God, noting

that one offense (the eating of the forbidden fruit) caused not only

the offender's death but also all of his offspring, to include us!

But even the physical death of the entire human race cannot repay

the insult to our Holy God. In fact, the one offense warranted

something beyond mere physical death, it demanded a "Second Death!"

The physical death of the human race still left the insult to God

unpaid, so God called for a punishment after death. This second death

is a living death where the individual suffers in great torment for an

"endless" time in a burning lake of fire, "..The lake of fire is the

second death." (Revelation 20:14). This death after death is what

every human deserves, but God in His great mercy and love offers Life

to a sin-cursed race. Often times we question God about the death of

a baby, a young child or some "good person." But we are wrong to ask

God, "why did you let them die?" Our question should be, "Why do you

let any of us live?" We all deserve "death after death," but God

offers "life after life."


God is absolutely sovereign over death. We have just as much

control over our death as we had over our birth - none! Man does not

decide who will live and who will die - God does. Man cannot live one

second beyond the time God has determined, nor can he live one second

less, "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should

inhabit the whole earth; and He (God) determined the times (birth,

life, death) set for them and the exact places where they should

live." (Acts 17:26,Matthew 6:27). The Psalmist expressed God's

sovereignty over life in this way, "Show me, O Lord, my life's end and

the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.....All the

days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came

to be." (Psalm 39:4,139:16).

When I was living in California going to seminary, there was a

woman who lived in my apartment complex who had tried to commit

suicide numerous times. Once it was drug overdose, another time she

slashed her wrists, and she even tried electrocution. Each time she

should have died, but she could not. God would not allow it. Yet

another person is a jogger and eats all the right foods and is in

excellent condition according to the medical experts and suddenly dies

of a heart attack. God determines the day and means of death.

Today in our society we have some TV preachers who are teaching

the lie that God wants all Christians "healthy and wealthy," and if

you just have enough faith you can avoid disease and die quietly in

your own bed at an old age. They even claim that any Christian who

dies a violent type of death has failed to call upon the "power" of

God in their lives.

God does love His children very much but He still uses all types

of deaths to "bring us home." The Bible is full of godly men and

women dying agonizing and untimely deaths. For example, we have the

greatest man who ever lived being killed by having his head cut off.

(Luke 7:28, Mark 6:27). Also, in the Book of Hebrews we see numerous

Christians suffering terrible deaths, "They were stoned; they were

sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword...the world was not

worthy of them." (Hebrews 11:37,38). Most Christians today don't

suffer these type of deaths but that does not mean that God is

obligated to give us a quiet death in bed. God will chose the type of

death for a Christian that will bring God the most Glory.

God must bring Christians home through some type of death. If

all Christians died at home without any suffering then the churches

would not be able to hold all the people who would want to be a

Christian. The unbeliever would flock to the churches, but for the

wrong reason. They would come to get the type of physical death they

wanted instead of wanting to be subjected to Jesus Christ! Now I do

believe that for the most part Christians will live longer, and more

peaceful lives than the wicked. And the death experience for most

will be a peaceful one of natural causes. But we must never put God

"in a box" by not allowing Him to pick the time and mode of our


I knew of a sweet vibrant Christian lady who was very active in

the church helping other Christians grow in the Lord. One day her

father showed up at my door to tell me that Barbara had been murdered

the night before. I was shocked and dismayed, for I too had put God

"in a box." I did not allow God to take a Christian home through the

hand of a murderer. I slept with the lights on for the next week

until I read in the Bible, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the

death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15). God was saying that no matter

how a Christian dies it is a precious moment in His sight. You see,

God loved Barbara so much that he had determined that she should be in

His presence. He did not cause the murderer to kill her, but rather

put Barbara in the path of one who was bent on doing evil, thus

allowing the sin of a person to accomplish God's will (to bring

Barbara home). (Proverbs 16:4). One will say, but what a terrible way

to die, especially for one of God's beloved.

In the Scriptures we find many statements about the deaths of

Christians as being likened to "falling asleep." History has shown

Christians dying rather peaceful deaths in the midst of violence. For

example, we have the martyrs, during the Roman Catholic Inquisition,

when Christians were killed for their belief in salvation by faith

alone in Jesus, singing songs of joy as the fires consumed their

bodies. During one such burning at the stake, the dying Christian

cried out that he was in a "rose garden" and had great peace and joy -

despite the fact that his skin was already on fire!

There have been many modern-day deaths of Christians who have

experienced great joy and bliss during rather painful deaths. I do

believe that victims like Barbara actually are given a great sense of

peace from God as their death began. In my own life when suddenly

faced with crisis situations I have felt the "rush" of the presence of

God that assured me that it "was of Him!" I believe that when Barbara

first saw her attacker in her room, that she was given a sudden peace

from God, (call it "dying grace" if you will) that assured her that

God was calling her into His presence. This is similar to the account

of Stephen when he was stoned to death, in which he was full of the

Holy Spirit, and in peace prayed that God would not hold this sin

against those who were killing him.


What exactly happens when we die? First, we must understand that

the concept that there are people who have died and then returned back

to life, after having seen heaven or hell is just not true. I am not

talking about the Biblical accounts of miraculous raisings of the

dead. These miracles were done for a specific purpose of God, which

normally was to validate the giving of new revelation from God to man.

But since the closing of the Canon of Scripture, we find no more

people being raised back to life. In this age when a person dies - he

stays dead (at least until Jesus resurrects him to eternal life or

eternal judgment). In fact the Bible tells us that, " is

destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." (Hebrews

9:27). People who really die do not return to live for a few more

years. The idea that you can die and go to heaven or hell and then

return to live some more, is a lie straight from the "Pit of Hell."

I have read the accounts of those who claim to have died, went

down the "tunnel," heard the "buzz," and saw the "light." But

something beckoned them back to earth and they returned. These people

will testify that they can tell you what was occurring in their

hospital room or even "down the hall," during their "out-of-body"

experience. Who could argue that they did not have an "out-of-body"

experience. How else could we explain the fact that they knew what

was occurring in various parts of the hospital, while they were

"clinically dead" on an operating table? The answer is rather simple.

First, look at the result of the whole experience. It tells the world

that you can live any way that you want, then die, see heaven and

experience peace and then return. This makes the Bible a lie, for it

claims that after we die we go either to Heaven forever, or to eternal

torment. A new twist to the lie comes from those who claim that they

died and went into Hell, thus validating the Bible. This is equally

not true, because the big lie is that you can die, go into Hell, and

then get out of Hell! (Luke 16:19-31).

Where do these experiences come from? The answer is easy - Satan

has tricked them! You see he has great power and can give false

visions to people (i.e.,Joseph Smith - Mormons; Fatima - Catholics,

etc.). The details about what was occurring around the hospital are

easy when you have demons everywhere; they just make it part of the

vision. The person experiencing it all, really is being used by the

forces of evil to help deceive both unbelievers and the saved. Know

very clearly that after real death comes eternity, either in Heaven or

in Hell.

Death is often described as a door to Heaven, or a door to Hell.

For the Christian, death is like walking through a door. One moment

you are on the outside looking in, and then "swish" through the door

and are inside. One second, you are driving your car listening to a

Christian tape, and then "crash," you are through the door and into

the arms of Christ! In the same way the wicked die. But for the the

wicked, death is a terrifying experience, because suddenly they are

confronted with the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not their

Savior waiting with open arms; rather, He is their judge who will

throw them into torment. (Revelation 20:15).

I recall once when I was in pilot training, watching an Air Force

film in the Base Theater, suddenly, the lights came on and the

Commander came in and announced that there were several tornadoes

spotted in the vicinity of our Northern Texas base, and that we needed

to go to a shelter. For the unbeliever death is like that, an

interruption in a movie. The lost person thinks he has everything

figured out, but is really living in a dream world. Suddenly, the

lights will come on, and he will be made aware that the fantasy is

over and that Jesus Christ is truly the God of the Universe who called

him to believe in Him by faith - and faith alone. But then it will be

too late, for he had to have made the decision for Christ before he


So the believer goes to be with the Lord, and the unbeliever goes

into the fires of Hell. But what about babies, young children, and

those who are retarded to a point of not being able to reason. Are

they condemned to the fire because of the sin of Adam? The Bible

indicates that there is a special grace that God gives to allow them

to enter heaven because they had not reached the "age of

accountability." We see this with King David in the Old Testament who

prayed for his infant son who was dying. God took the life of the

little boy, and David said, "But now that he is dead...Can I bring him

back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2

Samuel 12:23). David spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

and indicated that he, David, would someday go to be with his little

son. David was a believer who was redeemed and upon death went "non-

stop" to Heaven. Thus we can draw the obvious conclusion that those

who have not matured to the point of being able to make a decision for

Christ are covered under the Blood of Christ. Note that the sin of

the baby (original sin) still had to be "paid for" on the cross of



What should be our attitude and action based on the proper

understanding of death?

A. For the Believer

Death is determined by God and we can rest assured that He will

remove us at the proper time that will bring Him maximum glory. We

are not to live in a constant state of anxiety about the possibility

of death, for us or our loved ones. As a pilot I am sometimes prone

to think about a sudden disaster striking my family, and this brings

on anxiety. But at this point I recall a powerful Bible verse, "Have

no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked."

(Proverbs 3:25). God has called us to live a life of peace, so that

the unbelieving world around us will see our joy and seek it for

themselves. If we fear death, then what hope can we give anyone?

Yet, there should be fear in our hearts of a different sort, which is

the fear of disobedience to God. We find in the New Testament that

God has taken some Christians off of the "globe" for their willful

continuous sins. Remember the account of Ananias and Sapphira, who in

their hearts lied to the Holy Spirit, and God struck them dead before

the church as an example of His demand for personal holiness. (Acts

5:1-11). In 1 Corinthians 11:30 we also have the deaths of some

Corinthians, due to their unworthy manner of receiving the Lord's

Supper. The point is that our behavior as Christians does have a part

in the decision God makes about the "number of our days."

One important note is that if we are removed from the earth

because of our continued disobedience, the very next moment will find

us in the loving arms of Christ. He will not remind us of the fact

that we left the earth because of sin, rather He will pour upon us His

sweet gentle love, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember

their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:12). For the Christian, death is the

beginning of an eternal bliss. When the Lord takes away one of our

dear Brothers or Sisters in Christ, or takes our little child, we can

rejoice in our tears, that they are happier in Heaven then they ever

were here on the earth. We will miss their presence, but can look

forward with confidence to sharing all eternity with them.

B. For the Unbeliever

If you have read thus far and have allowed the Spirit to speak to

your heart, then your response should be one of repentance. Without

Christ your sins have not been dealt with and you are liable for not

only physical death but also the second, spiritual death in the lake

of fire for all eternity. Do not delay falling on your knees and

confessing to Jesus that:

1. You are a sinner who is rightly condemned to hell for your sins

against a pure and holy God.

2. You want to receive the "free gift of salvation," that is not

based on anything you can do, but on what Jesus did at the Cross.

3. You submit complete control of your life to Jesus, being willing

to do all that he will command you to do.

4. You are willing at the very next opportunity, to be Baptized in a

Bible believing Church. Be aware that the Baptism does not save you;

it is simply an outward sign of the inward reality of your conversion.

And is the first step of obedience God calls you to make as a follower

of His Lordship.



OK! New Christian...What Now? | Bible verse for every letter of the alphabet.| Church History Summary.| The Christian Message.| Election. | Is Hebrews 6 a warning? | Seven Incontestable Questions. | Ironside: Agnosticism. | Issues Of The Heart - J. MacArthur. | Natural Laws and God's Laws. | Possession: The Devil Made Me Do It! | The Preisthood Of All Believers. | Why Jesus? | Knowing Why You Believe - Evidence - Bible. | Discussions With Unbelievers. | Inerrancy. | What Does It Mean To Be A Christian? | First Adam; Then Eve; then what? | What Will People Think? | Perfect For All Time. | Jesus Is Lord. | Spiritual Strength And Power. | The Biblical Calendar Of History. | Studying Your Bible. | Computer Analysis Of The Books Of The Bible. | Early Christianity - Is The Record Sound? | The Bible - The Most Popular Book. | Credentials Of The Bible. | Doomed - to Hell. | Faith And Works In The Plan Of God. | Others Can But You Can't. | Impositions - giving to God and by God. | Why Did Christ Die? | The Successful Christian - #1. | The Successful Christian - #2. | Is It What We Say Or What We Are? | Forty-day Bible Study. | Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? | How To Overcome Sin - Charles Finney. Death. | Why We Reject This Version. | How Does God Keep His Promises? | Radical Genesis Evangelicals.

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