Proper Preparation for Your Parting from This World
The Bible holds a sobering truth of which no one can dispute and according to the Word of God a date no one is going to miss. There is an appointed time for each person on this earth, a date known by God of which is sure to come. The Bible says, “Just as people are destined to die once and then face judgement…” (Hebrews 9:27) It has been well said, “There will always be taxes and death.” You may figure out how to cheat on taxes, you will not miss being pushed into the river of physical death. Prepared or not – death is sure to come, it is best to be prepared physically and spiritually. As we look at the truths found Hebrews 9:27, we must grasp the solemn facts: 1.) Mankind has an appointed date. 2.) Mankind will only die once. 3.) They will face judgement.
People have a tendency to look at death as an end, according to Scripture it is the entrance into eternity, forever in hell or heaven. The Book of Ecclesiastes teaches there will be a day “people go to their eternal homes while mourners go about the streets.” (Ecclesiastes 12:5) Jesus teaches of eternal life and eternal hell. (Matthew 25:46)
Death is the entrance, like a doorway is an entrance into the place mankind will stay forever. With physical death being the experience to eternity, it is imperative we make Destination Preparations.
Make time to focus on the truths in this series of teachings. Christians can enjoy Holy Spirit revelation as they meditate upon Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever, believes in Me, though he dies [physically], yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Catch these truths: Mankind Has an Appointment, It Cost to Bury Someone. Mankind Will Only Die Once, Mankind Will Face Judgement, Victory Over Death, You Must Be Born Again and Our Last Testimonial. The truths in these articles will set your spiritual hearts in good order for eternity. These articles can enable Christians to fulfill their call to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) to those blinded by the world view and the lies of the devil.
Mankind has an Appointed Date
Mankind has an appointed date with physical death. Physical death is a curse given to all mankind because Adam, the first man failed in the first dispensation of mankind, which was obedience to God’s spoken word. The Genesis account says, “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:18) Another Old Testament passage of Scripture says, “All go to the same place, all come from dust and to dust all return.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20) There is a New Testament Scripture, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men…” (Romans 5:12)
In proper preparation of life, Proverbs 6:6 gives wise advise, “Go to the ant… consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares…” Just like taxes cost, the preparing our bodies for burial and expenses left behind will cost our families a lot. Just as the ant has foresight to prepare her food for the months to come, without anyone but her Creator moving her, wise people start as soon as possible, preparing physically, financially and spiritually for their date with physical death. Ignoring or denying what our Creator has informed us about physical death will not prevent or delay the date He has destined for us all. The Psalmist asked this question, “What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?” (Psalm 89:84) “Sheol” (שְׁאֹל šeʾōl) is a noun meaning the world of the dead, the grave.
A Biblical answer holds a truth about the psalmist question. Hosea writes for the Lord, “I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from death.” (Hosea 13:14) All human flesh will be called forth from the grave, either the resurrection of Christians or the resurrection of those who died without Christ as Savior and Lord. The Book of Daniel tells us, “…those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) The Bible says Jesus was made lower than the angles so He may taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9) His victory over death, being raised from the grave, by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11) shows His authority over death. Christians put their trust in Him and they will join in the resurrection of those who died in Christ. Mankind has an appointed time to physically die, and their flesh will be resurrected from the grave. Which resurrection are you prepared for, the resurrection of Christians or the resurrection of those who have not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.
It Cost to Bury Someone / Christian Burial Oversight
After Jesus gave Himself unto death for the sins of mankind, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus laid Jesus in the tomb. In preparation for Jesus’ body, they placed Him in an empty tomb, one owned by Joseph. (Matthew 27:59-60) They wrapped His body with strips of linen mixed with myrrh and aloes, an amount of seventy-five pounds in weight in accordance to the Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38-40) Just as the servants of the Lord made sure Jesus got a proper burial, we must do our duty in burying our loved ones in accordance of the times we live in.
The amount paid by Nicodemus represents a very costly burial and we should be willing to help bury our loved ones. The Biblical text written by the beloved John indicates there was little time for Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea to go a purchase the spices or the linens. Therefore, everything was purchased before Jesus death on the Cross. Christians must make preparations financially, especially in making arrangements so God fearing people can oversee their funeral services in a way which glorify the Lord.
It is a blessing to have those who have a reverent fear of the Lord make the arrangements for your funeral. Servants of the Lord who have been faithful in the Lord’s work should enjoy having others who are faithful in the Lord’s work have the influential part of their life celebration service. Let us read of what God did for Jesus, “Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus. …He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (John 19:38-19) The Bible says, Mary Magdalene and Salome bought spices and perfumes so they might anoint Jesus’ body. (Mark 16:1, Luke 23:55) Nicodemus was given instructions by Jesus on what it means to be born again if they want to enjoy eternal life with Christ now, and in heaven. Joseph of Arimathea, was said to be rich (Matt 27:57), an important member of the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50) who apparently was both a good and righteous person (Luke 23:50) and one who lived with the expectation of God fulfilling the promise of the coming of the kingdom (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:51). Beyond these descriptions he was also said to be a disciple of Jesus…” (Matthew 27:57) According to Scripture, if you are a Christian, let the children of God have the key influences over your life celebration.
We are bound by regulations and law to bury our families, loved ones, especially those faithful in the Lord’s work in accordance to the customs of our day. If possible, it is a powerful statement to the community to have those who know the truths of salvation and are followers of Christ be in charge of testimony at the child of God’s life celebration service.
Let the Holy Spirit touch your heart with these questions: Are you prepared for your physical death? Are the proper arrangements in order?
Your Obituary and Last Testimonial
Physical death will come and Christians do not have to let the world view dictate what their life celebration message should be. In Luke we read of a passage of Scripture which lays out the importance of the Gospel being proclaimed above burying the dead. We read, “And Jesus said… ‘Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60) We need the professionals to assist in preparing our love one’s carcass for burial, they protect our community from the devastation which can come if the deceased are not prepared properly for burial.
Many scholars translate Luke 9:60 figuratively, “Let those who are spiritually dead take care of their own dead.” Frances, R.T. says, “This is a description of those outside the disciple-group as lacking spiritual life, “Let them bury the dead.” Christians have a command from Christ to make sure Jesus Christ is glorified in their life celebration services. It cannot be expressed enough, let those who have mature Christian character help you with your obituary and last testimonial. It is imperative your obituary include: First, make a statement which states they have through repentance trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. (John 1:12; 20:31; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21) Second, they had exercised their Holy Spirit gifts through sacrificial love for the good of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ and for the good of mankind. (1 Corinthians 12-14:3) Thirdly, they make the way for people to become a disciple of Christ. (Matthew 28:19)
Let those in charge of your life celebration testimony know: You know and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. What your Holy Spirit gifts are and how you sacrificially used them for the good of the Lord and all of mankind. Share with them your part in the Great Commission. Let people know your favorite Scripture and Christian music. Who you are married to (if that be your status)? People want to know who your children, grand-children and great-children are, along with your family members. Be sure to mention family members who have passed on. Share your hobbies, your poems, movies and secular music preferences. People enjoy knowing your community service, clubs and which memorial to support. Leave a final message by informing people what you want them to know and learn from God.
Is your obituary and last testimonial ready and good order, if you should pass on today?
Mankind Will Die Once Then Face Judgement
The Book of Hebrews says, “people are destined to die once.” The appointment of God for mankind is to die once (ἅπαξ hápax). All relationships on this earth severed, no longer to be a wife or husband. The influential role of parent, friendship and all acquaintances on this earth will be no more. The high road is to put your best foot forward now, once you are gone, there will be nothing you can add. Death is leaving this world to enter the world of eternal blessings or eternal anguish. There is no changing your destination once you enter the realm of the physically dead. It is either a huge comfort for those who die in Christ or a matter of eternal terror for the wicked, those who die with their sins still holding them in bondage. The Bible says, “The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.” (Ezekiel 18:20b)
The “righteous” (צַדִּיק ṣaddiyq) here are the people of God who in conduct and character hunger to be conformed to God’s Holy standards. The “wicked” (רָשָׁע rāšāʿ) here are people who pursue their own evil desires although they live among righteous people. The final authority of God’s written Word over-rides all writings, all the world view points and false teachings. Any teaching that gives mankind a second chance or the opportunity to be interceded for by any other means other than turning to and trusting in Christ before physical death is false.
After the physical death of mankind “[they must face] judgement.” “Judgement” (κρίσις krísis), meaning having to face the verdict of guilt. At the White Throne Judgement seat of God there will be no slick lawyer to defend their case. God will hand out judgement. There is another judgement for Christians. It is referred to as the Judgement seat of Christ or the reward seat. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The Judgement Seat of Christ is a time in the future when there will be the divine evaluation of the faithfulness of those who have used their Holy Spirit gifts, the things the Lord has given them and their opportunities to serve God, Jesus Christ and mankind. This is the time when there will be the giving or withholding of rewards.
Faith, trust and faithful service to Jesus Christ insures eternal blessings and rewards at the Judgement seat of Christ. To reject the price Jesus paid on the Cross for the sins of the world leads to an appearance at the White Throne Judgement. Make proper preparations for time destined for all of mankind.
Victory Over Death
The Bible says, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) These passages talk about the day when Christians will get a resurrected body and will have a body which will live forever. There is another passage of Scripture which gives the hope of being with the Lord when our bodies pass into physical death. The Apostle Paul in writing about “Awaiting the New Body” wrote, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) The certainty of physical death being defeated is by having faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
There are some passages of Scriptures which should be read at the grave side service of the true born again Christians. The Apostle Paul writes, “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. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
The Bible says we are living letters, know and read of all men. Everyone can tell who really believes the Lord’s teachings and who does not.
The Lord’s victory over death includes spiritual death. Until people become born again in Christ they are spiritually dead, even though they are physically alive. Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.”
The Lord’s victory over spiritual death enables Christians to walk in step with the Holy Spirit as He enlightens them to the truths of God’s Word, which enables them to determine and live out God’s will for them. You can enjoy the Lord’s victory over spiritual death now, so you may make preparations to enjoy His victory over physical death for the children of God.
You Must Be Born Again
In preparation for victory over spiritual and physical death, we must be spiritually born again. Jesus taught Nicodemus, who was a spiritual leader of the Lord’s time, one should examine themselves so they can determine their final destination. “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. …you must be born again.” (John 3:3;7b) This truth completely changes how we live, which eventually leads us to our permanent destination. Therefore, it is imperative we have a Biblical understanding on being born again. The Bible tells us to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course you fail the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) The Biblical truth on born again is, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Born “again” (ἄνωθεν ánōthen) “being from God, from above. Meaning it only comes from God.”
Until you are born-again, you are spiritually dead. You may even attend church, use church language, and hang out with professing Christians. But unless you are born-again it is like dressing a corpse in clean, fresh clothing. God alone can give physical life when you are born, and God alone can give spiritual life to you in what Jesus calls being born-again.
When God supernaturally gives you a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in you, you become sensitive and alive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Only then are you able to determine and do the will of God. Once the Holy Spirit of God has entered your spiritual heart to implant the life of Christ within you, you will never be the same! Guaranteed!
Is your spiritual heart hungry to know the will of God for you? Are you hungry to know God’s truth while being exposed to a world view and the lies of the devil? Is there a prompting of the Holy Spirit moving you to seek God’s truths? Does the Holy Spirit confirm in you that you are a child of God? Make preparation for you final destination.