Is Death The End?
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each according to their works.”
Revelation 20:12–13 (NKJV)
Nothing is harder for us to face than the death of a loved one. It is especially hard when the death involves someone comparatively young, as we can feel that they have been cheated out of life. In some ways even harder is when the death is very sudden and unexpected, for example someone who dies in a car crash, or a soldier on active service. Even more horrifying is when that soldier survives the battlefield, but is killed walking down the street here in the UK.
For most people death seems to be the final act of a person’s life. Faced with death, we find our emotions are turned upside down and, for a time, it seems nothing can bring us comfort or relief. But death is the normal conclusion to life and one that we all face. In our modern society we can forget that the process of grieving is natural and normal. It is understandable that the death of a loved one or a close friend leaves an unfillable hole in our lives. The grieving process helps us to come to terms with our loss. You don’t forget a loved one but you learn to function without them. Life goes on even when it seems it should not.
So is death the end? Christians believe it is not, based on the Bible where it tells us in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto man to die once, but after this the judgement.” The entire Bible tells the story of God’s desire to have a loving relationship with humanity. Jesus Christ, who was wholly God and wholly human, came to earth to die for us and to conquer death by his resurrection. Christians know that death is not the end but a new beginning. We believe that after the return of Christ, over a period of time, all those who have died will be resurrected and so we will see our loved ones again.
That does not mean that a Christian does not suffer at the death of a loved one. It is still a painful, difficult, emotional process and there is still the need go through the grieving process. But Christians have hope beyond death and have confidence that it is not the end. Can we give you any evidence of that? No, it is a part of faith, believing that God is what he says in his Word, and that he has a plan for all humanity. The verses in Revelation above and in Hebrews 9.27 are clear, and there are other Bible verses that tell us more and give us confidence.
We know that for anyone, a Christian or a person of no faith, death is one of the toughest trials of life. We can’t wave a magic wand and make the pain go away. But we can give you hope that death is not the end but a new beginning which is far more exciting than anything we can imagine. (1Corinthians 2:9) Nor is the judgement spoken of to be feared, because it will be judgement tempered with love and mercy, but that’s another subject.
Loving Father, help us to understand that death, which in this life seems so final, is not the end. Christ conquered death for us, just as He paid the penalty for our sins. Comfort those who have lost loved ones and give them hope.
Study by Keith Hartrick
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
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