We seldom want to contemplate death—either ours or someone else’s. When a loved one dies, we grieve—as we should.
It is obvious, however, that our bodies weren’t designed to last forever. As Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
American King James Version×tells us, “It is appointed for men to die once.”
God did not design our bodies to last more than a few decades. Psalms 90:10 Psalms 90:10The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
American King James Version×reminds us that “the length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength” (NIV). With the medical advances, hospitals and technology developed over the last century, our life span is about the same as it was when this psalm was written several thousand years ago. Some will live more and some less, but that’s about what most of us can expect. Life is short, too brief to waste time on things that, in the end, are not all that important.
We shouldn’t be surprised when death knocks at the door. It’s simply the way we were made. As the grass that grows up and then withers, and the flowers of the fields that bloom for a few days and just as quickly fade, so do we flourish for a time before we wither and die (Isaiah 40:6-8 Isaiah 40:6-8 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass wither, the flower fades: because the spirit of the LORD blows on it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass wither, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×). Our physical bodies will age and wear out. God did not design them to be permanent.
However, that is not to say that this is the end. Faithful Job knew that he would rest in the grave until a coming resurrection. “If only you would hide me in Sheol [the grave], conceal me until your anger is past, and only then fix a time to recall me to mind! I would not lose hope, however long my service, waiting for my relief to come. You would summon me, and I would answer; you would long to see the creature you have made” (Job 14:13-15 Job 14:13-15 13 O that you would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
15 You shall call, and I will answer you: you will have a desire to the work of your hands.
American King James Version×, Revised English Bible).
Though death is sad, by no means is it the end of hope. God promises a resurrection to immortality for His faithful servants to reign with Jesus Christ and help Him administer God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:50-54 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
American King James Version×; Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×; Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×).
For those who have not known or accepted Christ, God will bring about a different resurrection at a later time so that they, too, can learn the truth of His plan and receive His gift of salvation. (You’ll learn more about this in the last chapter of this booklet.)
For greater understanding of what the Bible reveals, be sure to read our booklets What Happens After Death? and Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?