by Sunday Bwanhot, ECWA Chicago, Connect via firstname.lastname@example.org
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4
As a minister of the Gospel I have been in many Christian gatherings ranging from Conservatives to Pentecostals and everything in between. A repeated prayer refrain that you cannot miss goes like this: We will not experience death; we will not bury anyone, etc. etc. Certainly, the death referred to is physical not spiritual.
What is death? It is the physical separation of the spirit from the body. James 2:26. If we take the view that a person is made up of spirit, soul and body, then only the body dies while both the spirit (the real you) and soul (consciousness) live on. We know that there will be a resurrection when our new transformed bodies will reconnect with our spirit and soul. So, death is a temporary separation of the spirit from the body. It is not a permanent thing – whether the person is a Christian or not, this fact applies to all.
Where did death come from? Death was not part of God’s plan for man. He created us in His own image to live forever; but disobedience which led to the fall in the garden of Eden brought about both physical and spiritual death as recorded in Genesis 3. Death, however, did not eliminate the eternality of man. We will still live forever either with God in heaven or in hell with the Devil. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— Rom. 5:12; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23
The fear or terrors of death. Physical death is a consequence of sin. It is a punishment and no one enjoys punishment. It cuts us off from loved ones, life, ambitions and careers that we are pursuing. We dread death because we do not know what awaits us on the other side of life and will wish to remain in the familiar than the unfamiliar. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Heb. 9:27; Paul expressed that fear but with hope: What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom. 7:24, 25
The end of death. Yes, death reigned as a terror and an enemy until Jesus Christ vanquished it and triumphed over death. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. Rom. 6:9; “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Heb. 2:14-15.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Corth. 15:54b-57
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Rev. 20:14
Some good things about death:
Who can count the dust of Jacob or number even a fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Num 23:10
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15
When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God. Pro. 14:32
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. 2 Those who walk uprightly enter peace; they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 57:1-2
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. Luke 16:22
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Rom. 14:8
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. Heb. 11:13
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” Rev. 14:13
Other things we know about death from the Bible
It is to fall asleep and awake in the presence of Christ. You do not cease to exist when you sleep and we do not fear sleep. It is the same with death so we should not fear it.
Death frees us from a decaying body and the pain associated with it. We are expecting a perfect body with which we will live with Christ for eternity.
Death is the ticket to reconnect with loved ones who have gone ahead of us and are eagerly awaiting our “home coming”. Remember, this world is not our home. We will also have the bonus of connecting with Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, Esther, Mary etc. You can’t wait for this.
Death immediately connects us with our Lord and Savior who loved us and died for us. Nothing in this world can compare with seeing the face of Jesus.
Death, for all intends and purposes is now our ally and no longer an enemy.
And so, with Paul we should have these desires:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Phil 3:10
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; Phil. 1:20-23
Questions for you to answer
From these passages is it scriptural to pray against death? Is death not God’s plan for all people? After declaring and decreeing “No Death” will your word or God’s Word stand?
When you are heavenly minded you long to depart this world to be with your Lord. Remember how you felt when you accepted Christ? When you are earthly minded, you want Christ to delay His return, give you health and wealth so you can fulfill your own desires and not necessarily God’s agenda.
Be honest: why do you pray that type of prayer?
Humbly submitted for our edification and growth toward maturity.
Your comments are welcomed.
Rev. Sunday Bwanhot is a minister at ECWA Chicago and their ministry can be summarized as follows:
1. Sunday minister to Churches by training and equipping them and providing resources so that they can effectively minister to the immigrant people around them. We also bring pastors from different backgrounds and churches to fellowship together and learn from each other.
2. Direct Ministry: Sunday minister to immigrants directly through a wide range of activities: Befriend and help them settle in America; provide spiritual guidance, enfold them into existing churches or get them to start a Bible study group, counseling, visitation, hospitality etc. We planted a Church in Chicago and also lead the International Couples Fellowship – a ministry that ministers to immigrant couples as well as single young adults.