We do not like to think about death – except at Halloween. This once a year fright night brings around all sorts of “undead” to haunt the neighborhood in search of goodies. As expected there is also the usual crowd of scary movies released just in time for the spookie holiday. I thought I would use this time to think about death in a more serious way.
Death has not always been inevitable. In Genesis 2:9 the text mentions the “tree of life.” This particular tree produced fruit that would allow man to live forever (Genesis 3:22-24). Unlike the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) man could eat of the tree of life always (Genesis 2:16). So death was not a necessary part of life in the beginning.
Tragically, that changed. Man sinned (Genesis 3:6). God removed man’s access to the tree of life as a penalty for his sin (Genesis 3: 24). Man immediately died spiritually on the day he sinned and began to die physically. There was no anecdote for physical death in this life. Since we no longer have access to the tree of life we also die, just like the first family.
“…it is appointed unto man to die once, and after that comes judgment…”
“For what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
“All flesh is like grass…the grass withers”
These are just a few of the passages that remind us of the brevity of life. We are here for a few years and then we pass. We hope that we leave a strong legacy behind (Revelation 14:15). No matter how important we are, we will die. Usually our death comes much sooner than we expect. Our concern must be eternity.
We do not cease to exist at death. There is consciousness beyond the grave. Lazarus found comfort beyond the grave while the unnamed rich man found himself in severe pain(1) (Luke 16:19-31). The words of comfort in Revelation 21:3-4 describes conscious relief from the trials of life while Revelation 20:15 details the eternal home of the unrighteous.
So while we ooh and ah at the “spirits” of the weekend, let’s think of the reality of our brief life and of our eternal resting place._____
- This is the meaning of the word “torment” in Luke 16:23. It translates the Greek word, BASANOS.(↩)