DEFINITION: Death is the end of life on earth. For the believer, death is the beginning of life in eternity with God. For the unbeliever, death is the end of life in this world and the start of an eternity without God–spoken of in the Bible as the “second death”.
FACTS ABOUT DEATH:
God never intended death. Death resulted because of sin (Genesis 3).
Death comes to everyone. The Bible says a time to die is appointed to everyone (Hebrews 9:27). Even the great prophet Elisha–who did many miracles of healing–eventually became sick and died (2 Kings 13:14). Death, bereavement, and loss are part of life.
Death is an enemy, and it is the last enemy that will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Through His resurrection, Jesus was the “first fruits” or the living evidence to prove that death is conquered although not yet destroyed. It is the terror and permanency of death that is disarmed for the believer (1 Corinthians 15:55).
After death, the spirit of believers go directly into the presence of the Lord. At the return of the Lord, the believer’s body is reunited with the spirit to dwell forever in the presence of the Lord. Those who die as unbelievers are eternally lost and their destination is Hell.
Psychologists have identified stages of grief over loss by death to include the initial shock of a grief-causing event; emotional release through weeping; feelings of regret that one should have done more or done something differently; anger because of the loss; and a period of inertia when one doesn’t care to go on or think they can go on. Psychologists say that the grieving period varies. It is longer for some, shorter for others.
But the Bible says that Jesus bore your grief and sorrow. The Bible says Jesus was not only familiar–acquainted with grief–but that He bore your grief and sorrow (Isaiah 53:3-5). Jesus bore your sin so that you no longer have to bear it. He also bore your grief and sorrow, so why are you bearing it?
For the believer, death should be a joyous time because you are going to be with the Lord. You are already living eternal life if you are a born-again Christian. You are just entering into a new phase of eternity through death. You are not to seek death, but you also are not to place such an undue emphasis on the present life that you prefer it to the one to come.
There is a sickness unto death. In John 11:4 Jesus said the sickness of Lazarus was not unto death so this means that there is a sickness unto death.
Divine healing is possible, even in the case of terminal illness. Many people have been supernaturally healed of fatal illnesses. But the goal of healing is not immortality. Even the people Jesus healed and raised from the dead during His earthly ministry eventually died. The Bible does not promise immortality in this world as part of the healing covenant. Do not be disturbed when Christians who believe and have ministered healing die from sickness. This happened to Elisha, yet years later his bones had enough supernatural power to raise a dead man. This confirms he could not have died because of lack of faith!
For the believer, death is the ultimate healing. We are saved from the penalty of sin when we accept Jesus as Savior and Healer. We can be continually delivered from its power, but only in the future when we go to be with the Lord are we saved from its presence. The same is true for healing. You can be healed from many ailments through prayer and/or medical help, but you will only be delivered from the presence of sickness through death or at the return of Jesus Christ. In death, God performs the ultimate healing. Death is swallowed up in victory because those who die in Christ are assured eternal life in the Kingdom of God and enter eternity whole in body, mind, and spirit.
The death of a child. Children are precious to God (Matthew 19:14) and we know that they go immediately into the presence of the Lord when they die. As believers, we are assured that we will be with them again someday. When King David’s child died, he declared “…I shall go to him..” (2 Samuel 12:23).
If you have lost someone in death who was not saved, the question of their eternal destiny must be left with the Lord. God is merciful, and it is possible that in the final moments of life they made a commitment to Him. You cannot know for sure, so you must leave unanswered questions with the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29).
DEALING WITH DEATH:
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, then confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Read John 3 in the Bible and see the topic of “Salvation” in this data base which details how to do this.
If you are a believer and have unconfessed sin in your life, confess your sin to God in the name of Jesus and He will forgive you. The Bible says that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). Confession is part of the model prayer that is to be prayed daily by believers (Matthew 6:9-13).
If you are a believer facing death, pray for God to give you the courage to be victorious despite pain and to go joyously into the presence of your Lord. You need not fear death, because it is not the end, it is the beginning of a grand and glorious life with God. You have the assurance of eternal life. Still, it is common to feel a bit nervous about the transition, as we all are apprehensive about new experiences, leaving loved ones, etc. Focus your attention on the resurrection and eternity. Study the following references: Job 19:25- 27; John 11:5-6; Romans 8:10-11, 17-18, 22-23; 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44,54-58; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Make proper preparations. Death is part of life, and preparing for it is not morbid–it is wise.
Make sure your legal and financial affairs are in order. In most cases, this is done by a will or a trust for which you may need legal assistance. These documents indicate who is to receive your material goods after you pass away. Express in writing your desires regarding whether or not you want your life extended by being hooked up to machines. If you do not want this, say so. Make a list of those who should be contacted at the time of your death. List any credit cards, accounts, etc., that should be closed after your death. Give instructions for your funeral and burial. If you have children who are under age, make arrangements for them, as well as household pets. Settle any issues you have with people–i.e., extending and receiving forgiveness, debts, etc.
If you are dealing with someone facing death, listen with compassion to their concerns. Ask pertinent questions that are raised by what they have to say. Do not discourage references made about death by someone who is terminally ill. Their questions and comments can open the way for you to help the person prepare mentally, spiritually, and practically for death. Pray that God will give them the courage to face death and go joyously into the presence of the Lord. Encourage the sick one to commit themselves to total trust in God, so that whether in living or dying, they know they are secure in His hands (Job 13:15; 19:16; John 10:29.)
Never give up hope. Even while making wise preparations for death, never give up hope for yourself or a loved one. Unless you know that it is their appointed time to die, continue to pray for God’s healing to be manifested, whether it be in this life or the one to come. Pray in the Spirit, since the Holy Spirit knows the will of God and will make intercession through you to God (Romans 8:26).
Call upon the Comforter. One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to comfort in times of grief and sorrow, so when you are overwhelmed with grief, ask the Holy Spirit to come and fulfill His purpose of supernatural comfort (John 14:6). As a believer, you have the Comforter resident within you. He is always available in your times of need. You are not alone. The Lord is near those whose hearts are broken (Psalm 34:18).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DEATH:
Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. (Psalm 31:9)
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18-19)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. (Psalm 39:4)
Why are you downcast, 0 my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)
But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:15)
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. (Psalm 68:20)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8-9)
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die … (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15)
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth; Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4, NKJV)
No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. (Ecclesiastes 8:8)
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. (Isaiah 25:8)
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (Isaiah 57:2)
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? (Hosea 13:14)
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living for to him all are alive. (Luke 20:38)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. (John 5:24-25)
I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. (John 8:51.)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. (John 14:16)
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26-27)
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. (John 16:20)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:8-9)
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:22-26)
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. (2 Corinthians 5:1-9)
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 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! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:21-23)
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10)
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (1 Timothy 6:7)
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
(See also “Grief” in this database.)