Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." (John 4:24)
THE CHALLENGE OF PHYSICAL DEATH.
INEVITABLY, ALL OF US WILL FACE PHYSICAL DEATH. Some of us will die painfully, some peacefully, and some honorably. Some will fall asleep and never awaken; others will go out in a blaze of glory fighting for freedom on the battlefield. Think of the courageous men in the United States Navy with their carrier after the battle of Midway. Trapped in airtight compartments, they endured the remaining moments of life in darkness knowing that between them and the waves and the sky above was absolutely nothing but tons of water. Yet they had to sit there fully aware that sooner or later, the oxygen would run out and they would die. What would you do if you were in one of those airtight compartments, still alive but hundreds and hundreds of feet from the surface? Would you panic? Would you fall apart?
Nothing produces greater fear in the human race than the thought of physical death. Satan, as the ruler of this world, (John 16:11) uses death as a lever to frighten and worry man. (Heb 2:14-15) However, God never designed dying to be horrible or frightening for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The omniscience of God knows precisely how long you are going to remain on earth, and when He decides to take you home, it will be at the right time, at the right place, and in the right way. Until then, nothing can remove you from this life — no person, no circumstance, not even the devil and all the forces of evil — “...because greater is He who is in you than he who is in this world.” (1Jn 4:4)
God’s plan for every believer is to have a wonderful death, a time to be anticipated as the dessert of life. Whether facing danger or enduring a prolonged, painful illness, never does the believer need to fear or worry about death. God has assigned a specific death to each believer and He graciously supplies every need to make dying the best, the sweetest part of living.
God’s plan can be fulfilled only through the believer’s inculcation and application of the Word of God. Only the believer with maximum Truth resident in his soul has the capacity to appreciate and experience all of the fantastic blessings and happiness of dying grace. His death may or may not include great physical pain. However, there will be maximum tranquility of soul so that he departs from his physical body in a state of supreme happiness. Death for the believer with Divine Thinking in his soul; will be a walk across the high golden bridge of dying grace; from phase two into phase three. (Eternity) Dying grace is the ultimate departure from this life.
WHY PHYSICAL DEATH?
Before we can study dying grace, we must understand exactly what death is. The word “death” in the Scripture does not always refer to departure from life on earth. In fact, the Bible speaks of ten kinds of death. (Spiritual, (Rom 5:12) physical, (Php 1:21) temporal, (1Co 3:1) [Men of flesh or carnal] sexual, (Rom 4:19) the sin unto death, (1Jn 5:16) productional, (Jas 2:17) uselessness of the body of flesh, (Rom 8:10) the second death, (Rev 20:14) retroactive positional death, (Col 3:3) and experiential death, (Mark 8:34-38) to the old sin nature) For the purpose of this study we will focus on only two categories of death: Spiritual death-the separation or alienation of man from God, (Rom 3:23) and physical death-the separation of the human soul, which is the real person, from the body, which is man’s earthly tent. (2Co 5:1-4) To understand why man does not live forever on the earth, we must go back to the origin of Spiritual death.
In the Garden, God graciously warned Adam and the women that His judgment on disobedience, or sin, would be Spiritual death.
“But from the tree of the knowledge of good [God's Thinking] and evil [Satan's thinking] you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”(Gen 2:17) cf. (Heb 5:14)
We know that the statement “You shall surely die” does not refer to physical death because Adam and the women did not immediately die physically when they violated God’s Command. They did, however, immediately die Spiritually; (Gen 3:7) they lost their human spirit and acquired a sin nature.” You shall surely die” refers to Spiritual death, separation from God in time. Adam’s newly acquired status of Spiritual death also caused all the future generations to be plunged into Spiritual death. (Rom 5:12-14) With the exception of Jesus Christ, every person is born Spiritually dead. (Eph 2:1)
At the end of, (Gen 3:17) we learn from the phrase “all the days of your life” that physical death is a consequence of Spiritual death. At some point in time each member of the human race will die physically, separation of the soul from the body so that the person no longer lives on planet earth. The soul, however, never dies, but lives forever in Heaven, the Abyss or the Lake of Fire.
Physical death was therefore introduced as a vital issue in the angelic conflict. Since man was created to resolve this age-old conflict by choosing for or against God’s plan, his time on earth becomes significant. God allots each individual a specific number of days which he may choose for or against His plan. When this time runs out physical death occurs.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once [Physically] and after this comes judgment. (Heb 9:27)
GOD PROVIDES THE SOLUTIONS
GOD IS HOLY. (1Sa 2:2) God’s integrity — holiness, is composed of His perfect righteousness and justice. God’s righteousness is the Standard Principal of his integrity; His justice is the function of His integrity. What God’s righteousness accepts, His justice blesses. What God’s righteousness rejects, His justice judges? Since God’s righteousness can have nothing to do with Spiritually dead mankind, His justice can only condemn him. Yet knowing that man [Adam] would sin and fail, the love and integrity of God provided a way for man to have a relationship with Him. Man could come to God through his grace policy.
Grace is the expression of God’s unfailing love and integrity, the policy of His unmerited favor bestowed on sinful humanity. (Isa 30:18) Simply stated, grace is freely given and undeserved. God does everything for man based on the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Eph 1:6) Grace began in eternity past with God and is the Divine initiative that offers a relationship and blessings to mankind, totally apart from human merit, human works, or any other human resources. Mankind can do nothing to earn or deserve grace. God’s grace plan of Salvation not only demonstrates His perfect character, but ensures Satan’s defeat in the angelic conflict. (Gen 3:15)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
On the one hand, the righteousness and justice of God necessitate both Spiritual and physical death. On the other hand, His righteousness and justice are propitiated by the work of Christ on the cross; on our behalf.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:21)
God is now free to provide solutions to the greatest problem of man. The problem of man’s Spiritual death is solved by means of his non-meritorious faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. At the moment of Salvation, the new believer instantly receives a human spirit into which the Holy Spirit imputes eternal life making him Spiritually alive, or “born again.” (John 3:6-7) The problem of the believer’s physical death — fear — is solved through his inculcation of Truth and advance toward Spiritual maturity where he will inevitably receive wonderful Divine blessings in dying grace.
THE DEATH OF THE UNBELIEVER
For the unbeliever who does not possess eternal life, physical death presents a grim picture. In, (Job 24:17) Job says, speaking of the unbeliever facing death, “For the morning is the same as the death shadow.” (Corrected translation) The brightness of the morning means nothing to the dying unbeliever. He is so frightened by the thought of death that the time of day or his environment mean nothing to him; he is in a state of terror. Elihu agreed with Job about the unbeliever facing death in, (Job 34:22) when he said, “There is no darkness nor death shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” (Corrected translation) There is no place where the unbeliever can hide from the REALITY of death. When he dies, his soul goes to Hades to await the Last Judgment.
To the unbeliever death is a reminder that his time on earth is short. (James 4:14) Even if he lives a hundred years, that is still a short time compared to eternity. Death is also a reminder of this world’s fading glory. Human celebrity ship or vast wealth or any supposed key to happiness which has been frantically sought after in life is destroyed by death. Gaius Julius Caesar was a man of true greatness, a man of genius in every realm of life, but where is he today? He “appears” to be in Hades waiting to be transferred to the lake of fire at the last judgment. He as an unbeliever would be in Torments now and will be in torment forever. (Matt 25:41; Luk 16:23; Rev 20:14-15) What profit to him now are his greatness and well deserved fame and glory? None at all. For once a person begins to die, all these things fade away — sic transit Gloria mundi, “so the glory of the world passes away.” Only the eternal things remain forever!
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37)
Whatever enjoyment the unbeliever and or carnal believer had in life or whatever his accomplishments, all will become bitter memories. For the unbeliever there is no hope beyond the grave — only anticipation of eternal judgment.
The unbeliever and carnal believer facing death are also reminded that they dare not take tomorrow for granted. Death is a specter of the certainty of judgment for those who are unprepared.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; [Unbeliever] You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. [Carnal believer] (Psa 73:27)
The only preparation for eternity is the most important decision of life: choosing to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior (Acts 16:31) and for the believer to stay in fellowship and Think with Truth.
But as for me, [Spiritually mature believer] the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. (Psa 73:28)
On the one hand,
He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
But on the other hand,
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides in him.” (John 3:36)
For the unbeliever, death means eternal judgment in the lake of fire.
If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:15)
For the carnal believer, few lashes many lashes, (Luk 12:41-50) or the Abyss. (Matt 8:11-12; Jud 1:11-15; (2Pe 2:15-17; Rev 20:1-3)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast [Tartaroo; from Tartaros] them into hell [Tartaroo; the deepest Abyss of Hades] and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; (2Pe 2:4)
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we [Believers] do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we [Believers] escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us [Believers] by those who heard. (Heb 2:1-3)
There is no way we can or want to minimize the horror of death. (Mark 9:47-50) We must face this stark Reality if we are not prepared for eternity. (Psa 89:48)
For if we [Believers] go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the Truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. [From; Nah 1:2] Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the [New] Covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:26-31)
Yet, God does not tamper with the free will of anyone. (1Ti 2:4; (2Pe 3:9)
THE DEATH OF A GROWING BELIEVER
In contrast to the unbeliever and the carnal believer’s terrifying prospect, the death of a Spiritual growing believer in dying grace is absolutely fantastic. (Psa 116:15; Prov 11:4; Prov 13:14; Eccles 7:1; (1Co 15:55) Besides removing all fears and uncertainties of death, dying grace is superior to all the blessings in life because of Who and What Christ IS and His magnificent provision in His written Word. Through maximum Truth resident in his soul, the believer is able to look back on his life with no regrets and with great satisfaction. At the same time, he faces eternity with the exhilarated anticipation of meeting the Lord of Glory face to face. With unwavering confidence, the believer with maximum Truth in his soul looks forward to receiving his eternal blessings and rewards provided by God in eternity past. (1Co 2:9; Eph 1:3; Eph 2:7; Php 3:14; Rev 2:10; Rev 2:28; Rev 3:4-5)
Why is it that dying grace seems to be the exclusive privilege of those believers with maximum Truth in their souls? Would not a loving God want all His children to have great happiness in their last moments on earth? Can God be unfair? Absolutely not! It is impossible for perfect God to be anything but totally just and fair in everything He does. How, then, can we explain this apparent inconsistency?
BLESSING IN DYING
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are those who long for Him. [Patience and dedication to the persistent intake of Truth] (Isa 30:18)
All blessing is a matter of God’s grace. The omnipotence of God has the power and ability to bless the believer. From eternity past, the omniscience of God has always known exactly how to bless the believer. However, in the exercise of any of His Divine attributes God must conform to the demands of His own perfect righteousness. So God’s justice says, “Wait! Certain righteous Standards must be met before I can give anything by way of blessing to sinful man.”
Only God could Think of a way for sinful man to fulfill His righteous Standards and be blessed without compromising His character. God begins by imputing His Divine righteousness to the believer at the moment of Salvation. (Rom 3:22; (1Co 1:30; (2Co 5:21; Php 3:9) Imputed righteousness is the basis for our justification. Imputed righteousness makes the believer the object of God’s eternal, Personal love. Since God seeks the highest and best for the objects of His love, in eternity past he provided phenomenal blessings including dying grace for every believer. Imputed righteousness is also a target for all subsequent blessings from God. The imputation of Divine righteousness sets up a ‘grace pipeline’ that is encapsulated from any system of human works or merit and through which God can bless the believer. http://dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/Grace Pipeline.jpg
In every phase of the Divine plan, the believer functions under his nonmeritorious volition to believe in and appropriate the blessings God has accomplished on his behalf. First, because Christ, the Son of God was judged on the cross by God the father for all the sins of the entire human race, all we need to do is believe in the saving work of Christ for Salvation. (1Pe 2:24) Second because Christ has already paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, we simply rebound — name our sins to God — to recover fellowship with Him after we have sinned. ...God is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn 1:9) And finally, because His Thinking — the Word of God, the “Mind of Christ” (1Co 2:16) — saturates our souls by means of the grace apparatus for perception for learning Truth, (Operation Z) we can advance to Spiritual maturity where we have maximum capacity to be showered with magnificent blessings for living and dying. (Psa 138:2) However, to receive blessings from God, capacity for blessing must precede blessing. All capacity in the Spiritual life is based on knowledge of Truth. The more Truth the believer knows, the greater his capacity for blessing from God. Only from the soul filled with God's Thinking can God the Holy Spirit produce the inner blessings of tranquility, happiness and confidence to combat the usual panic, dread and instability that accompanying dying.
Behold, the eye of the Lord [A reference to Divine protection and blessing] is on those who fear [Stay in fellowship with] Him, [Mature believers who are occupied with the Thinking of God] On those who hope [Have confident expectation] for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul [Dying grace] from death. And to keep them alive in famine. (Psa 33:18-19)
Why is the “eye of the Lord” on those who are occupied with the Mind of Christ? Because the believer who has Spiritually matured is fully adjusted to God’s justice! He has followed the Divine plan by adjusting to the justice of God in Salvation, rebound, and Spiritual growth so that he has the capacity to receive dying grace blessings. Being occupied with Christ and His Thinking is Occupation with Christ. (MGG) — http://dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/Mechanics.jpg
God is therefore free to bless him, even with the greatest of all blessings for time.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly [Adjusted] ones. [Spiritually mature believers] (Psa 116:15)
As a Spiritually mature believer, your dying moments are highly valuable to God because they are His final opportunity to vindicate all of the Truth in your soul. Furthermore, bestowing dying grace demonstrates His Divine approval. You have glorified God in the angelic conflict. You have pleased Him and it gives Him great pleasure to bless you.
THE TWO DEATHS OF JESUS CHRIST
No book on the subject of dying would be complete without a study of the uniqueness of our Lord’s death. Jesus Christ died twice on the cross; He died Spiritually by His separation from fellowship, (In His human nature) with the father (Psa 22:1) and then He died physically by dismissing His spirit. (John 19:30)
His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Isa 53:9)
Our Lord was on the cross for six hours, from approximately nine o’clock in the morning until three o’clock in the afternoon. While He endured tremendous physical maltreatment prior to and during the cross, (Matt 26:67; Matt 27:26-35; Mark 14:65; Mark 15:15-26; Luk 22:63-64; Luk 23:11; John 18:12; John 18:22; John 19:1-19) He was physically alive during the entire period. However, the three-hour span from twelve noon until three p.m. was the period of His Spiritual death when the sins of the entire world were poured out on Him and judged.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God. (1Pe 3:18)
When Jesus Christ shouted, (Tetelestai) “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for our sins. His substitionary Spiritual death — the separation of His impeccable humanity from God the father, and judgment on the cross, was the price of our so-great Salvation. (Matt 27:46) Of the four Gospel writers who tell us of His last moments on earth, only Luke records enough for us to identify the full passage that Christ quoted from the psalms:
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of Truth. (Psa 31:5)
This statement is of extreme importance to you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, for it reveals the basis for the dynamics of Jesus Christ throughout His unique and terrible suffering on the cross — both physical and Spiritual. “Truth” is the last word Jesus uttered during the First Advent. The inner dynamics of the Truth resident in the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ sustained Him for thirty-three years and while He was on the cross; are the same dynamics designed to sustain us in both living and dying.
Just as it was necessary for Christ to suffer Spiritual death and judgment to secure our eternal Salvation, so it was necessary for Him to die physically in order to be resurrected — raised from the dead with an immortal human body — and glorified at the right hand of God the Father. Without the resurrection, ascension, session and glorification of Jesus Christ in His resurrection body, in the presence of God the Father, our faith would be in vain. (1Co 15:12-17) Resurrection demonstrates that Christ has power over death; because He lives, we also will live. (Luk 20:38) The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us absolute confidence in the future, (1Pe 1:3-5; (1Pe 1:21) and is a source of tremendous comfort when we face death.
When the resurrected Christ ascended into heaven, He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. (Psa 110:1; Matt 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luk 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; Heb 1:13; Heb 10:13) The Lord’s session, the glorification of His humanity in a resurrection body, indicates that the justice of God the Father was completely satisfied by the Salvation work of His Son on our behalf. (Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Rom 4:25; Php 2:9) As a member of the human race, the Lord Jesus Christ has won the strategic victory of the angelic conflict; the judicial verdict of God the Father against Satan and the fallen angels has been demonstrated to be totally fair.
In addition, the glorification of Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16) necessitates God the Father calling out a new, Spiritual, royal family, and beginning a new dispensation, the New Covenant Church Age. Christ is the “first fruits” and the Spiritually Mature Church Age royal family will be next in line to be removed from the earth. (Rev 3:10)
Seated at the right hand of the Father, Christ continues His ministry as our High Priest, “always living to make intercession on behalf of them.” (Royal family) (Heb 7:25) Divine Thinking is the heritage of the royal family, as well as the source of capacity for every blessing in time and eternity. The Word of God resident in your soul as your number one priority guarantees that you will share in the supreme victory of all history! Because of our Lord’s Spiritual and physical deaths and His subsequent resurrection, ascension, and session as the Victor in the angelic conflict, God the Father has given Christ the riches of the universe which He will then distribute to Spiritually mature believers.
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I [God the Father] will allot Him [Jesus Christ] a portion of [The spoils of victory] with the great, [Spiritually mature believers] and He will divide the booty with the strong; [Growing believers] Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. [Substitutionary judgment for all] (Isa 53:12)
As part of the spoils of victory, the Old Testament saints were transferred from Paradise, or Abraham’s Bosom, into the third heaven in a triumphal procession with Jesus Christ. However, the greatest distribution of spoils belongs to Spiritually mature believers. Only the “strong” believer, who exploits the heritage of Truth that our Lord emphasized in His final breath on the cross, will have the capacity in his soul to receive maximum blessing in dying. When the believer’s life is Truth, part of the plunder of victory makes his death, dying grace.
JOB’S DESCRIPTION OF DYING GRACE
One of the most extensive descriptions of dying blessings in the Bible is found in Job 5. However, Job begins his comments on dying grace by reminding us that until God decides to take us home, there is nothing that can remove us from this life. God has a system of deliverance that is perfect.
“From six [Categories of] troubles He will deliver you, [Mature believer] Even in seven [Categories of trouble] evil will not touch you.” (Job 5:19)
Four examples of trouble are given in (Job 5:20-21) economic depression, social disaster, military defeat, and dying.
“In famine [Economic depression] He will redeem you from death, And in war the power of the sword. You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, [Maligning and gossiping] Neither will you be afraid of violence when it comes.” (Job 5:20-21)
God can deliver the believer from any catastrophe or disaster of life; none are too great for the plan of God. Furthermore, with the inner dynamics of Truth in his soul the believer can be completely at ease in any dangerous environment because he knows that the Lord Himself has allotted him a right time to die and that until then, nothing can remove him from this life.
“You will laugh [A relaxed mental attitude from the inner dynamics of resident Truth and capacity for life] at violence and famine; neither will you be afraid of wild beasts. [Any source of lethal danger, including automobiles or airplanes today] For you will be in a league with the stones of the field; [Ancient weapons of destruction; equivalent today to guns, atomic bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, etc.] and the beasts of the field [Dangerous animals which can kill a man] will be at peace with you.” (Job 5:22-23)
When God’s appointed time arrives, there is no power in heaven or on earth, not even the best efforts of medical science or the protective ability of angelic realm that can keep the believer alive. Danger does not bother the mature believer because he is grace orientated; he responds to the Divine initiative of grace from Truth resident in his soul. He looks forward to dying grace and the innumerable, eternal rewards and blessings reserved on deposit for him.
“And you will know [Through Truth resident in the soul] that your tent [Human body] is secure, [Fully aware of what is happening, and anticipating a good death] for you will visit your abode [House] and fear no loss. [From Crime] (Job 5:24)
The mature believer also knows that under dying grace he will be able to look back on his life with complete serenity, for he will not be worried about his family and loved ones left behind.
“You will know also that your descendants will be many, And your offspring as the grass of the earth.” (Job 5:25)
This does not mean you are going to have many children, rather that more mature believers will continue living after you are gone. This places your death in its proper prospective in relationship to the Lord and the angelic conflict. Knowing this while you are dying means you can objectively view those who remain left behind.
Once you begin to die, you are different from your friends. They are well and healthy. You have gone into a new sphere and it’s difficult for them to enter into what is happening to you. No matter how many people may be at your bedside while you are dying, they cannot go with you. Yet there is Someone who accompanies the believer through every stage of dying and He is the only One who can — the Lord Jesus Christ!
The believer in dying grace can help the living go on living. He can assist his loved ones to adjust to his departure. His stability and relaxed mental attitude help others to relax and put death in its proper prospective. His Spiritual maturity enables him to comfort those who must remain behind in the angelic conflict while he advances to a state of complete eternal happiness — a place of “no more sorrow, no more tears, no more death.” (Rev 21:4) God’s timing for your death is perfect, and part of dying grace is to die at the right time.
You will come to the grave in full vigor, Like the stacking of grain in its season. (Job 5:26)
There is a right time and a wrong time to pick corn; only the expert can tell whether a shock of corn is green or ripe. Likewise, in the Divine blueprint of your life, God is the Expert. God chooses the point in which to harvest you from this life so that as a Spiritually mature believer with Truth resident in your soul, your death will be the greatest blessing on earth. When you depart, we might grieve, but we also will rejoice in the victory of your crossing from dying grace in time to the blessings of eternity.
In conclusion, Job 5 stresses the importance of knowing the Word of God, the necessity of saturating your soul with Truth.
Behold this; [Think this] we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself. (Job 5:27)
DEATH IS GOD’S DECISION
The dying and death of every believer is a grace decision of the sovereignty of God based on God’s wisdom and His integrity. Therefore, we have no right to question the death of anyone. God IS absolute righteousness and cannot possibly make a mistake. God IS perfect justice and cannot be unfair. Omnipresent and omniscient God is a firsthand Witness, Who knows all the facts to determine the right time and the right way to remove each one of us. (Psa 31:15)
In (Eccles 3:1-2) Solomon says, “There is a right time for everything. There is a time to be born and there is a time to die.” (Corrected translation) God’s timing is perfect, and death is always God’s victory. He decides the time, the manner, and the place of our death and He gives us the victory. “For not only if we live, we live for the Lord, but also if we die, we die for the Lord.” (Rom 14:8) We belong to the Lord whether we live or whether we die. Furthermore, the Lord does not take every believer home in the same way. Solomon also tells us that each day we live is one more step toward our particular kind of death.
...For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel of the cistern is crushed. (Eccles 12:5-6)
In the Church Age we are born again into royalty and not with a silver spoon in our mouths, but with our lives suspended from a ‘silver thread.’ Even for privileged aristocracy, God controls the length of our days. Solomon’s poetic description of death reminds us that just as the meter of poetry is perfect, so God has within appointed each of us a death that fits perfectly. The “golden bowl” in this verse is a container of oil with a wick that draws oil to the top where a flame gives light, depicting life. The oil represents assignments and allotments within your life; the combination of oil, wick and flame represents the energy of life. This ancient type of lamp is a picture of your life span; the consumption of its oil is analogous to your death. Your lamp may develop a slow leak or the bowl may be smashed, but either way, the flame eventually goes out. To understand the last of Solomon’s illustrations, we must realize that the ancient world there were two problems that could prevent you from getting water from the well: the clay pitcher smashing against the side of the well, or a mechanical failure in the well’s wheel and pulley system. The wheels represent the actual muscle of the heart, while the line and the pitcher portray the circulation of the blood. These two illustrations describe two general categories of cardiovascular death: The shattering of the pitcher connotes the interruption of a great vessel which destroys blood volume and circulation; the mechanical failure of the wheel means a collapse in the heart itself. In other words, the smashed pitcher is analogues to death by hemorrhage, while the broken wheel on the well illustrates death by cardiac arrest.
Then the dust [The body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit [Soul and spirit] will return to God who gave it. (Eccles 12:7)
When a person dies, the real person, the soul, no longer occupies the body; it is simply vacant house. The uninhabited body decomposes into chemicals and returns to the soil or to the gases in the air. (Gen 3:19) So, what happens to a corpse is inconsequential. To have a memorial service to remember a loved one is wonderful, but it makes no difference whether the body is cremated or left on a battlefield or thrown in a ditch. What we need to remember is that after the death of the believer, his soul and spirit return to the Lord Jesus Christ. (1Th 5:23) Although God has always known when each one of us is going to die, none of us knows when mortality will give way to immortality. Life hangs by a slender thread that can be snapped any moment. Our physical condition is not an issue; God can take us just as easily in good health as in poor. Neither is age a criterion for the right time to die. Since God’s judgment is perfect, it is blasphemous to suggest that the believer’s death was a tragedy because he died young. It is also true that God sometimes takes the mature Christian at the peak of his Spiritual life. While its natural for those left behind to mourn, they should not grieve to the exclusion of Divine Viewpoint “as do the rest that have no hope,” (1Th 4:13) for there are certain common denominators that characterize all mature believers after death, regardless of how they die.
1. Face to face with the Lord. (2Co 5:8)
2. No more sorrow, pain, tears, death, regrets, or embarrassment. (Rev 21:4)
3. An eternal inheritance. (1Pe 1:4-5)
4. A new home. (John 14:1-6)
5. The perpetuation of eternal life. (John 10:28; (1Jn 5:11-12)
6. An interim and resurrection body. (Job 19:25-26; John 11:25; (1Co 15:55-57; Php 3:21; (1Jn 3:1-2)
7. Removal of the sin nature (1Co 1:8; (1Co 15:55-57; Php 3:20-21; (1Th 5:23)
8. Removal of human old sin nature good and evil. (2Co 5:10)
Neither your death nor the death of a loved one should ever be a source of worry or despair; death should never be an issue. Your only concern should be preparation for death, and the preparation for death is the same as for life: Truth resident in your soul. Truth gives you a relaxed mental attitude toward all potential death situations. When you understand dying grace, your Thinking about death is strictly a matter of applying your knowledge of God’s perfect character.
The believer can check his own Spiritual progress by his attitude toward death, and his attitude has an impact on his capacity for life. One of the keys to a tranquil life is not being afraid of death. Fear of death causes instability: “Cowards die many times before their death; the valiant never taste death but once.” The Spiritually mature believer lives in the light of eternity, one day at a time, fully adjusted to God’s Person and plan, prepared and eager for whatever life has to offer! (Psa 118:23-24)
What you do in dying demonstrates the dynamics of your life. If you have spent your lifetime accumulating Truth and advancing to Spiritual maturity, you will have a glorious death. However if you neglect and ignore Truth, God in His Justice permits your self-induced miserable life to reflect itself in a horrible death. Thus, since God has seen fit to make dying the reflection of living, your attitude toward death tests the quality of your attitude toward life.
EVERY BELIEVER HAS A CHOICE
How well you die or how miserably you die simply depends on one factor: whether you were positive or negative toward the Word of Truth. Just as you had a choice whether or not to believe in Jesus Christ for your eternal Salvation, so the justice of God has set up another issue in the angelic conflict for your free will. At Salvation, the object of your non-meritorious faith was Jesus Christ, the Living Word; after Salvation the object of your faith must become Jesus Christ the Written Word.
You have a choice between two antithetical roads in your Spiritual life. Your attitude toward God's Word EVERY DAY of your life determines cursing or blessing in life and agony or contentment in dying. If you adjust to the justice of God by utilizing the grace provision of His Word, then you will travel up the road to dying grace. But if you fail to adjust to the justice of God by ignoring or rejecting His Word, then you will stumble down the road of cursing, discipline, and self- induced misery resulting in sin unto death. You and you only choose this painful alternative to the glories of dying grace. You are the one who says “no” to the walk across the high golden bridge of dying grace and “yes” to a pitiful, miserable crawl to heaven.
DEATH OF THE REVERSIONISTIC BELIEVER
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you are negative toward the Word of God, whether just apathetic or overtly antagonistic, you are in the same reversionism. Analogous to apostasy, reversionism is the regression of the believer from any stage of Spiritual growth to the thinking of the unbeliever. (2Pe 2:20-21) In reversionism, characterized by perpetual carnality and a continual neglect or rejection of the Word of Truth, you create for yourself a life of misery. (Hos 8:7) The self-induced misery is then compounded by Divine discipline. You further intensify your discipline with more self-induced misery through the mental attitude sins of bitterness, pettiness, vindictiveness, implacability, jealousy, self-pity and arrogance. Until you change your mind about the Mind of Christ (1Co 2:16) and begin to recover your Spiritual growth, you will remain under Divine discipline the rest of your life.
No believer can violate God’s righteous standards or reject His magnificent provision of Truth with impunity. God loves His integrity and His righteous Standards demand that His justice administer punishment. Furthermore, every believer is the object of God’s Personal love. “Those who I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Change your thinking and rebound) (Rev 3:19) Divine discipline is the sum total of punitive action taken by the justice of God to correct, punish, encourage, train, and motivate the believer. Divine discipline is designed to warn the believer to rebound and to get back into fellowship with God.
Divine discipline is characterized by three stages. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man will open I will come in and have fellowship with him” (Rev 3:20; corrected translation) is addressed to the reversionistic believer. Knocking is warning discipline, the first stage. Having “fellowship with him” does not refer to Salvation, but to the status quo of the Spiritual life of the believer. If the reversionistic believer does not respond to warning discipline, he then comes under intensive discipline, the second stage. “Whom the lord loves, he chasten and skins alive with a whip every son he receives.” (Heb 12:6) Intensive discipline is designed to get the reversionists’ attention so that he might avoid what is called in, (1Jn 5:16) “the sin face to face with death” (Corrected translation of, pros thanatos) — the final stage of punishment from God.
THE SIN UNTO DEATH
There is a sin unto death. (1Jn 5:16)
The “sin unto death” or literally “the sin face to face with death” (Psa 118:17-18) is not caused by a particular sin, but by the believers rejection of the Word of Truth.
And the Lord said, Because they have forsaken My Law [Divine Thoughts] which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice nor walked according to it, [Them] but have walked after the stubbornness of their [Own thoughts] heart...” (Jer 9:13-14)
God can administer the sin unto death as either a strictly personal disaster or as a part of a national catastrophe. But in either case, the sin unto death is a demotion and a disgrace for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the Word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the LORD. [Sixteen years of negative volition] Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse. (1Ch 10:13-14)
There is no pain or discipline in the presence of God. (Rev 21:4) The sin unto death is God’s final opportunity to express maximum corrective discipline to the reversionistic believer. He goes through the dying process without the advantages of dying grace because he never recovered fellowship with God through rebound and did not change his attitude toward Truth. Without the inner dynamics of Truth in his soul, the reversionist has no capacity for the blessing of dying grace. He fears death. He goes through the dying phase in the worst possible irrationality and pain. His death is miserable, horrible, and monstrous in every possible way: a nightmare of physical pain and soul torture. His body hurts; his soul agonizes as he realizes how he has failed.
However, the reversionist is removed from this life with his Salvation intact. He still has thirty-nine irrevocable absolutes, which include being in union with the Person of Jesus Christ and possessing eternal life and imputed righteousness. The moment a reversionistic believer dies he is “absent from the body and at home face to face with the Lord.” (2Co 5:8) He is “in a place of no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain, no more death; the old things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4) At the Second Advent, he receives a resurrection body and ALL believers will be judged. (2Co 5:10) And Believers will receive thirty, sixty or one hundred percent of their inheritance, (Matt 13:8-9) or few lashes many lashes or the Abyss. (Luk 12:42-49) The losers will not receive their eternal blessings and rewards for phase three. Their eternal blessings will remain on deposit forever as a memorial to lost EQUAL opportunity to advance in God’s plan. (Heb 10:35-36)
THE SUICIDE OF THE BELIEVER
Sometimes the reversionistic believer is so disillusioned in his self-induced misery and discipline that he thinks committing suicide is a solution to his problems. This of course is total arrogance and a further manifestation of his rejection of Truth. While suicide may appear to be circumventing the sovereignty of God in deciding the time, manner, and place of death, every believer’s death was known to God from eternity past. Until God decides it’s time for the believer to come home, nothing can remove him from this life. This is why suicide attempts are often unsuccessful; those that succeed do so under the permissive will of God.
Some say that when a believer commits suicide, he cannot go to heaven. That is absolutely heresy! Anyone who has believed in Jesus Christ, no matter how he dies, is going to heaven until the Judgment Seat. (Matt 8:10-13)
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)
DEATH OF THE MATURE BELIEVER
Just as the mature believer functioned in his life under God’s grace provision, so he goes through his dying phase under dying grace. Not only does he have the inner dynamics from the Word of God, the Spiritual Thinking of Christ in his soul, (1Co 2:16) he knows the Lord is with him. (Psa 23:4) He will take the Truth he has learned in phase two with him to phase three. (2Jn 1:2) The same Truth that brought him happiness, tranquility, and contentment in time is intensified in dying. The point of dying is his moment; even the elect angels in heaven rejoice over the manner of his departure. (Dan 12:2-4; Dan 12:10; Dan 12:13) The mature believer’s dying testimony is the greatest of all testimonies; to glorify God in dying is the ultimate glorification of the Lord.
BIBLICAL HEROES AND DYING GRACE
Though they died in various ways, all of Old Testament heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11 died under dying grace. (Heb 11:13-16) As long as you are alive there is hope! No believer has ever reached the point of maximum failure without daily opportunities to change his mind about Truth, to listen and read Bible teaching, and to advance to Spiritual maturity. Appropriating dying grace and receiving eternal blessings and rewards are dependent upon your Spiritual advance.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses [Old Testament heroes] surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance, [Distractions to learning Truth] and the sin [Sin nature] which easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance [Persistent function of Operation Z] the race [Agon; agony of overcoming the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life] that is set before us. (Heb 12:1)
Abraham is an example of an Old Testament believer who experienced dying grace. Abraham reached the ultimate in Spiritual maturity by means of God's Thinking resident in his soul (Heb 11:2) so that he crossed that high golden bridge of dying grace to embrace his eternal blessings. The mechanics of his death are the classic illustration of dying grace.
And Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; [A great man of Spiritual maturity] and he was gathered to his people. (Gen 25:8)
Abraham inhaled, exhaled, and died. His soul and spirit rode out on his last exhale, and he died with no pain, no bitterness, no regrets-utterly “satisfied with life.”
For the mature believer, there is no tragic death, no matter how seemingly or how violent the circumstances. Even for a murder victim, dying grace still applies. For example, Abel was murdered by his brother Cain, yet he had a wonderful life occupied with the Lord up to the last moment. In fact, his death emphasized the power Truth had in his life.
By faith [Truth in the soul] Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony [Received approval] that he was righteous, God Testifying about his gifts, and through faith, [This same Truth resident in the soul] though he is dead, he still speaks. [Abel died physically because of the sins of ONE man.] (Heb 11:4) cf. (Heb 12:24) Christ died Spiritually because of the sins of ALL men!
Many of the Old Testament and Tribulational heroes have and will encourage us by dying because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God. (Rev 20:4)
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, (Tested by pressures) they were put to death with the sword... (Heb 11:37 )
Even though Isaiah was probably cut in two and Zechariah was stoned to death, (2Ch 24:20; Matt 23:34-35) these men had more blessing and happiness in transferring from time to eternity then some have in a lifetime. Why? Because God decreed the manner of their deaths and His perfect justice guaranteed the provision and blessings for their deaths. Their confidence in the Source of dying blessing and knowledge of His provision through Truth replaced all the fear of death so that they were Occupied with Christ and had maximum capacity for life and dying grace.
THE APOSTLE PAUL
Excluding the Lord Jesus Christ, who is perfect and unique, the Apostle Paul is one of the greatest believers that ever lived. His phenomenal breadth of Spiritual Thinking, and his understanding of the deeper Concepts of Truth are revealed in the Pauline Epistles. Second Timothy is of great significance to our subject of dying grace, because this Epistle contains the Divinely inspired, dying Words of one of the most Spiritually brilliant minds and one of the most Spiritually mature believers of all time.
Paul wrote 2 Timothy during his second imprisonment. According to, (2Ti 2:9) Paul was condemned before his trial and it was a foregone conclusion that he would not be released. As Paul sat down to write, he knew he would soon be executed. Even though Paul had suffered poor health most of his life, he was now enjoying fairly good health as he approached the moment of his death. His departure would be swift and violent; according to tradition, with one stroke of the lictor’s axe he would be decapitated on the Ostian Way.
But Paul’s mental attitude leading up to his execution reflected dying grace. In fact two years before his death he explained this perspective of death to the Philippians.
According to my earnest expectation [Intense concentration on Truth] and hope, [Confident expectation] that I shall not be put shame in anything, but with all boldness, [And openness] Christ shall even now, as always be exalted in my body, whether by life [Continued Spiritual advance] or by death. [Dying grace] For to me, to live IS Christ, and to die is gain. [Promotion] (Php 1:20-21)
Though Paul had colossal failures in life, he recovered, persisted with Truth, and seized and held the high ground of Spiritual maturity. His dying moments were free from regrets. (2Ti 4:7) He was not only prepared for death, but he was looking forward to his dying moment, knowing that it would be the happiest experience of his life. He would pass from life to death to eternity to be face to face with the Lord.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. (2Ti 4:6)
A “drink offering” refers to the custom in the ancient world of pouring fine wine out of a cup as an offering to the heathen gods. In this analogy, the soul of Paul would be poured out just as easily as wine is “poured out” of a cup. The Greek word used for “departure,” (Analusis) has five different meanings, all which relate to the Principle of dying.
The military usage of analusis means “to strike a tent and break camp.” In the analogy, Paul's tent his human body, and in death his soul would leave the bivouac of life and move into his eternal mansion in heaven. The naval usage means “to hoist anchor as a ship sets sail.” Paul knew that he would soon hoist anchor and leave the port of life to sail to the port of heaven. The agricultural meaning refers to a farmer unyoking his oxen after working them hard all day and providing shelter feed and perhaps even a rubdown to reward his animals and make them comfortable. Likewise, Paul is being unyoked; the labors of his life are complete and the great Apostle is about to enter into the blessings and rewards of eternity. Another usage of analusis refers to a prisoner being released from jail. Paul is released by death from the confines of time and life on this earth to enter into the freedom and glories of eternity. The final meaning of analusis is used in the sense of unraveling a mystery or solving a philosophical problem. Death unravels the mystery of eternity and dying grace resolves all the problems of life.
Paul’s awareness of approaching death did not hinder his enjoyment of life. Even though condemned, he was not brooding or pouting, vindictive or bitter. To the contrary, he was completely relaxed. Paul’s capacities for love, happiness, for blessing and for life continued undiminished in the sphere of dying. This is an important Principle of Truth: The knowledge of imminent death does not hinder the Spiritually mature believer’s capacity for life.
When you come bring the cloak which I left and Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. [Old Testament Scriptures] (2Ti 4:13)
With unwavering capacity for life, Paul lived in the best comfort despite the squalor of the Mamertine dungeon. The heavy coat Timothy brought to warm his body was a provision for his comfort and dying grace. Paul was also visited often by friends and loved ones, and was surrounded by his favorite books. He read and studied the Bible parchments until the day of his execution. For the Spiritually mature believer, life and all its blessings march on during the process of dying. Paul did not change his routine! He did not entertain self-pity! Whatever Paul had been doing in life, he continued to do until his dying moment, a beautiful illustration of dying grace.
God’s grace plan for you is to advance step by step up the glory road from Salvation to eternity by way of blessing after blessing. In Psalm 23, David described His grace plan.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; [Truth] He leads me beside quiet waters. [Filling of God the Holy Spirit] He restores my soul; [From sin nature thinking] He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psa 23:1-3)
To even enter upon the glory road and the life of blessing, you must first believe in Christ as your Savior. The Lord is the Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. “I shall not want” refers to God’s logistical grace blessing — everything necessary to keep you alive physically, (Psa 68:19-20) and to grow Spiritually, (Matt 6:11; Matt 6:25-34) and protection in the devil’s world. (Heb 1:14) “He makes me lie down in green pastures” refers to God’s provision for your perception of Truth: a right pastor-teacher to diligently study and faithfully communicate the infallible Word of God, a local church as a classroom, the canon of Scripture, the privacy of your royal priesthood, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the function of your human spirit. “He leads me beside quiet waters” is the refreshment, the happiness and tranquility of soul that comes as a result of applying Truth in your soul to the circumstances of your life. When you sin and fail, God’s provisions of rebound is the means of regaining fellowship with Him; “He restores my soul.”
When you take advantage of these provisions, you will eventually crack the maturity barrier where you glorify and please God. He is then free to bless you in five different spheres: Spiritual blessings which include Occupation with Christ, sharing God’s perfect happiness, and capacity for life, love, and blessing; temporal blessings which can include promotion, wealth and social prosperity, leadership dynamics; blessing by association to those in your periphery — family, business, church, community, nation; historical blessings to both your generation and your future generations because of your Spiritual impact; and dying blessings.
In the phrase “paths of righteousness,” the word for paths is the plural Hebrew word, (Ma’gal) meaning “a rut in which wheels revolve, “and should be translated “wagon tracks.” In the ancient world, wagons would follow the course of least resistance and as they traveled across the terrain their wheels would create ruts. As time went on, others would see those ruts and put their wagons in the same ruts, so eventually wagon tracks developed from place to place.
For believers in the Church Age, the “wagon tracks of righteousness” belong to the humanity of Christ. He went ahead of us and set down the original tracks. Our Lord Jesus Christ tested and proved the Spiritual life which He has given to us — the same Spiritual life which through the power of God the Holy Spirit and maximum Truth in His soul gave him the inner dynamics to remain impeccable, go to the cross, and bear the imputation and judgment for our sins. When you get into his righteous tracks and advance as He did, you not only gain momentum, but you gain capacity for blessing.
Following Christ’s lead in the wagon tracks of righteousness — advancing Spiritually — produces in you Spiritual capacity righteousness. This is a special capacity given to mature believers to enjoy their blessings both in time and in eternity and is tantamount to Occupation with Christ. Through the attainment of Spiritual capacity righteousness, capacity for living becomes capacity for dying. (Php 1:21) While capacity for living is related to your inculcation and application of Truth to experience, capacity for dying is actually LIFE as you have never lived it before. With Spiritual capacity righteousness, there is no fear in dying, only profit as you journey through your very own death-shadowed valley. Dying grace becomes a wonderful process of promoting the Spiritually mature believer to the infinite glories of heaven.
THE DEATH-SHADOWED VALLEY
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [Discipline] and Your staff, [Blessing] they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; [Spiritual prosperity] You have anointed my head with oil; [Spiritual maturity] My cup overflows. [Capacity for material prosperity] Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psa 23:4-6)
You own one of the most marvelous pieces of real estate this life has to offer, your very own death-shadowed valley provided by the Lord Jesus Christ in eternity past. The Hebrew noun (Tsal’mavet) is usually translated “shadow of death”, but is one word compounded from two nouns. The first noun, (Tsal) is the word for shadow; (Mavet) the second noun is the word for death. Best translated “death-shadowed,” tsal’mavet refers to your very own “death-shadowed valley.”
A shadow is defined as a “dark figure or image cast on the surface by a body intercepting light.” In the analogy, the dark of the shadow refers to your dying phase. In your death-shadowed valley you have the opportunity to intercept the light, the Truth in your soul. You will not fear the manner of your death because “You are with me.” The Lord Jesus Christ accompanies you through your death-shadowed valley. The Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, who guided you by His precedence in the wagon tracks of the Spiritual life, also guides you through your very own death-shadowed valley. The comfort and encouragement you derived from God's Thinking in your living phase will also comfort and encourage you in your dying phase. With the inner dynamics of the Spiritual life, you have nothing to fear in your journey through your death-shadowed valley.
Just as God provided everything for your Spiritual growth in life, so He provides everything for your dying phase. This is part of the Lord’s victory that takes the sting out of death. (1Co 15:55-57) Since this is God’s last opportunity to bless you on earth, He will make the dying grace blessing superior to all the prosperity, promotion, wealth, and success that you enjoyed in life. God intends for the last blessing in time to bring you the summum bonum of life. Your “cup overflows.” As a Spiritually mature believer, you have learned enough Truth to know your death is in the hands of the Lord. Whether you die instantly in a head-on collision or after a prolonged, painful illness, you are perfectly relaxed because you know that you “will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TIME AND ETERNITY
Dying grace can also be viewed from another perspective: the link between blessings in time and blessings in eternity. God has seen fit to provide a special bridge for the Spiritually mature believer as he crosses over the chasm from life on earth to life in heaven — the high golden bridge of dying grace. Stonewall Jackson beautifully expressed this crossing in his dying words: “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”
The author of Hebrews tells us that a Spiritually mature believer of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, could look from his vantage point on the high ground of Spiritual maturity into eternity and see his eternal blessings and rewards in a magnificent city. (Heb 11:9-10; Rev 21:2; Rev 21:10) The Reality of these eternal rewards, stated in many passages of Scripture, (2Co 5:10; James 1:12; 1Pe 5:4) can be expressed by the term “surpassing grace,” derived from literal translation of, (Eph 2:7).
In order that in the ages to come [Eternity] He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)
Surpassing-grace blessings, which are awarded to the Spiritually mature believer in eternity, are above and beyond the common denominators provided for every believer after death.
You enter dying grace saluting or acknowledging your surpassing-grace blessings from the near end of the bridge and complete the journey by embracing them at the other end. Your advance across the high golden bridge from time to eternity may take a long time or a short time, but during the transfer, God will give you through Truth resident in your soul and accompanying Spiritual capacity righteousness, the perspective of the blessings and rewards you are about to receive in eternity.
All these died [Old Testament believers who died under dying grace] in faith, [According to Truth resident in the soul] without receiving the Promises, [Surpassing-grace blessings of eternity] but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance. [From the high ground of Spiritual maturity in time](Heb 11:13 )
TRANSFER APART FROM DEATH
A Unique Transfer
For a very few believers, God assigns a unique transfer to heaven which does not involve death. Enoch, who lived before the flood, is an illustration of one category of transfer apart from death.
By faith [Truth in the soul] Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. (Heb 11:5 )
Dying blessing can be compared to a draw-bridge. Ordinarily the draw-bridge is controlled and lowered from the time side of the chasm, because it is a blessing related to time. The believer dies physically; his soul and spirit go to heaven while his body remains on earth. In the case of Enoch, however, the draw-bridge was controlled from the eternity side. He did not experience death. His body, soul and spirit — still intact — went to paradise. (Gen 5:24) Why was God free to bless Enoch with such a unique and wonderful transfer? Enoch’s blessing was related to his surpassing-grace rewards.
We must remember that God is free to give direct blessings to any believer who has adjusted to His justice to the maximum, the status of maturity that “pleases” God. Enoch fulfilled this Principle.
For he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. (Heb 11:5 )
How could Enoch please a perfect God who possesses absolute righteousness and justice.
And without faith [Divine Thinking resident in the soul] it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe [By resident Truth] that He is a rewarder [The source of blessing] of those who seek Him. [Through the daily intake of Truth] (Heb 11:6)
THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE
Like Enoch, the second transfer to heaven does not involve the believer’s physical death. At some point in the future, before the Great Tribulation, Spiritually mature believers of the royal family will be transferred to heaven, some possibly without even dying physically, and then go to the Wedding Feast. (Rev 19:7-9) No man knows the day or hour of this event, only the season. (Rev 3:10)
Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. (Matt 24:32-33)
THE INTERIM BODY
In, (2Co 5:8) the aorist active infinitive, (Endemeo) meaning “to be at home,” followed by the preposition (Pros) and the accusative of harmonious relationship, direct object (Kurios) means “to be present face to face with the Lord” and implies that after death our souls and spirits are housed in an interim body in heaven while we await resurrection. (Job 19:25-26; John 11:25; Rev 20:5-6) The Bible never speaks of disembodied souls. “Face to face” also means we will be recognizable in our interim bodies. For the believer in an interim body, death means no more sin nature, no more “mourning, or crying, or pain.” (Rev 21:4) There is no distinction made between the interim bodies of those believers who advanced to Spiritual maturity and those who did not. In an interim body, we have great happiness. We have a new home, (John 14:1-6) and a realization of eternal life. (John 10:28) This knowledge that loved ones are in a perfect state of happiness in an interim body is a source of great comfort to those we leave behind.
TO THOSE LEFT BEHIND
The believer in dying grace knows that he is leaving the best possible heritage to his children and loved ones: blessings by association. Because of his adjustment to the justice of God, his family and close associates will have blessing and security throughout their lifetimes. The believer with Truth in his soul dies with the assurance that the justice of God will continue for those he has left behind. But how does Divine provision handle the sorrow and loss of those left behind? Likewise, it is knowledge of the justice of God that is the basis for stability and blessing in the absence of a loved one. Any time God removes a person from this life, the decision is based on his perfect wisdom and integrity. Since God is the source of every friend or loved one we have, (James 1:17) we have no right to be bitter or to question God. Our response should be that of Job, who lost all his children at once.
...The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
God says in effect, “You go on living without this dear one, but remember you are not without Me and that you will see your believing loved one again. To develop capacity for life you must lean on Me, not on people. So I am keeping you behind to get better acquainted with Me in time.” We know that the death of loved ones who have believed in Christ is only a temporary separation; it is not the end at all, for we will see them forever in eternity.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
So with a lump in your throat you may say, “Farewell,” but you know that you will be reunited with your loved ones at either your own death or resurrection on the last day. (John 6:39-40; John 6:54; John 11:24; John 12:48) Until that rendezvous, you can rejoice in the knowledge that your loved ones are in a state of perfect happiness with the Lord. Our knowledge of the integrity of God also enables us to be objective about the unbeliever. We know that God will not tamper with the free will of any member of the human race. We also know that He wants EVERYONE to have eternal life and then grow to Spiritual maturity!
Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth. (1Ti 2:4)
Every member of the human race has every possible opportunity to hear Gospel information, and to choose for God’s plan of Salvation and blessing through faith in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the omniscience of God knew that certain persons would never accept Jesus Christ as Savior even if they were given additional time. Since the justice of God is absolutely fair and cannot be compromised, He must condemn the unbeliever to the eternal torment of separation from God which begins immediately after death. Even though there is no hope beyond the grave for the unbeliever, it is blasphemous to be bitter toward God regarding the death and eternal judgment of any person who freely chose to reject the saving work of the Son of God. Many consider it a tragedy when babies or young children die; yet it is far better that they should die and automatically go to heaven before reaching the age of accountability, (2Sa 12:23) than to die later in life possibly as an unbeliever and go to the Lake of Fire. It is also sinful to be bitter toward God for removing someone at an early age. As we learned from, (Job 5:26) God is like the farmer who knows exactly when the ear of corn is ripe and should be picked. Some ears ripen sooner than others; so it is with believers. In the angelic conflict, the purpose of each believer’s life is fulfilled at a different age. Even if death occurs at a relatively early age by human standards, that does not reduce the possibility of happiness, blessing, dying grace, or rewards to that person. We know that in the case of young children and all who die in Christ, we shall see them again. Reassuring though it may be, knowledge of this future Reality does not eliminate the grief of the moment, or the pain of missing the company of a loved one. God has allotted us a certain amount of time to mourn for those we love who have departed from this world.
A time to weep… And a time to mourn. (Eccles 3:4)
Greif is bona fide. Mourning is not wrong; it is a tender and even powerful part of life. The weeping of grief expresses great capacity for love. With Truth in your soul, you are able to stand at the graveside and take advantage of your time to mourn, to remember the missing friend or loved one and to honor him with auld lang syne. With Truth in your soul, you have no regrets. Neither does your mourning overpower you, but instead turns to the pleasant fragrance of memories.
However, there is also sinful weeping from bitter frustration, self-pity, and remorse. All regrets must be buried in God’s provision of grace: Rebound, forget it, and move on! There is no place for bitterness, doubting, hysteria, or abnormal grief as expressed by others “who have no hope.” (1Th 4:13) You must not allow grief over the death of anyone to destroy your life. God still has a purpose for your life, and He will provide for you to go on living even as He provides for dying. Women, especially, must be taught to adjust to the death of a loved one. (Jer 9:20) Since a woman is a responder in her soul, the removal of someone to whom she responds is a difficult situation for her. Friends and relatives might afford her immediate comfort, but as time goes on, these people move back into their places in life and she is alone, totally dependent on the Truth in her soul. If she lacks Truth, she is incapable of coping with loneliness and sorrow. But if she possesses the inner dynamics of Truth and Spiritual capacity righteousness, she emerges as a magnificent and noble woman, a person who has had one of life’s major heartaches and dealt with it beautifully.
THE CHALLENGE TO THE BELIEVER
Whether you are confronted by your own death or the death of a loved one, maximum Truth in your soul is the only effective response. Through your daily persistence in learning Bible Truth, you mold your response to the tests of living and dying in a manner that glorifies the Lord. With the Written Word giving you the assurance and blessing of the Living Word, you have Spiritual capacity righteousness, the perfect combination of stability, capacity, and happiness for both living and dying.
Paul understood this Principle when He wrote Philippians 3. He was challenged to keep advancing as he had not yet reached the objective in the Spiritual life, Maximum Glorification of God.
Not that I have already obtained it, [Removed from this useless body] or have already become perfect, [Completed the Spiritual life] but I press on [Persistent positive volition toward Truth] in order that I may lay hold of that [Full Spiritual maturity] for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Php 3:12)
At this point, Paul fully understands what he has achieved and where he is going in his Spiritual life. His accurate self-evaluation motivates him to keep advancing. Yet as Paul points out, all believers fail from time to time.
Brethren, [Members of the royal family of God] I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it [Attained full Spiritual maturity; MGG) yet; but ONE thing I do: forgetting what lies behind [Past victories, sins and or failures] and reaching forward to what lies ahead, [Spiritual maturity and Maximum Glorification of God] I press on [Keep advancing] toward the goal [MGG] for the prize [Surpassing-grace blessing] of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13-14)
Paul stresses the importance of getting back on our Spiritual feet as quickly as possible and continuing the advance toward the objective. We must not become subjective about our victories, sins and or failures. We must ignore them, keep pressing, and continue to make Truth our number one priority in life. Our positive attitude toward Truth is a guarantee of blessing to our loved ones, associates and nation as well. (Matt 5:13)
This Principle is especially pertinent in times of historical or national disaster, when suffering and death are very real and daily occurrences. How have believers faced national disasters in the past? How have they handled the threat of death over against a compromise of Truth? Did they fall apart? Did they give in? Note Daniel’s friends’ response, in the face of death to King Nebuchadnezzar.
“If it so be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Dan 3:17-18)
Rather than compromise Truth, they chose to rest in the infinite wisdom and omnipotence of God concerning the time and manner of their deaths. Job expressed this same mental attitude when he wrote:
“Though He [God] slay me, I will hope [Have confidence] in Him...” (Job 13:15)
This confident, relaxed mental attitude in the face of Satan’s most powerful scare tactic — death — has always been and will always be achieved by believers in the same way.
Remember as you begin your journey through your very own death-shadowed valley, that your loved ones cannot go with you. Only the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word, accompanies you. Even though you may be attended by the best medical care, only Truth, the Written Word, resident in your soul can sustain you during your dying moments. Socrates, an unbeliever, said, “You are never truly successful until you dye well.” The Divine Viewpoint variation is: If you live well by advancing to Spiritual maturity, you will die, even better, for dying grace transcends anything in life.
By now, your outlook on death should be quite different from the human viewpoint expressed around you. With Truth in your soul, you are not afraid of death. You anticipate dying as you would your favorite desert, knowing that the blessings of dying grace will be superior to the best of life.
Here is the question you must answer to the Lord: If you were told that you had only four hours to live, what would you do; what would you Think during your last hours on earth? Would you be Occupied with Christ and His Word or obsessed with your failures? Would you be filled with regrets or possessed with contentment? Would you be kicking yourself or be relaxed?
In dying grace you will be able to look back on your life without regrets or bitterness, and with deep satisfaction. You can say with Apostle Paul:
I have fought the good fight, [Overcame the lust of the eyes; the lust of the flesh and the pride of life] I have finished the course, [Maintained Spiritual maturity until death] I have kept the faith. [Guarded the Truth resident in my soul] (2Ti 4:7)
As did Paul, you can also look forward to eternal, glorious life with the Lord — a life filled with indescribable blessings and rewards.
In the future [Eternity] there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, [Eternal rewards] which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; [At the Judgment Seat of Christ] and not only to me, but also to all who loved His appearing. [Personal love for God] (2Ti 4:8)
Like the victory wreaths awarded for outstanding achievements in the ancient Roman world, rewards in the Spiritual realm are God’s eternal response to those believers who have fully adjusted to His justice, remained faithful to His Word, and advanced to Spiritual maturity. Consequently, when you stand in your in your resurrection body before the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will hear His Words:
...Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, [Divine Thoughts] I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master! (Matt 25:23)