Here’s the 6th installment in this series:
Biblical Common Sense – Death – An ENEMY!
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:26 says: “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” Now everyone knows what an enemy is. It is someone or something that harms or opposes us. However the typical sentiment one hears at a mainstream Christian funeral is that death has taken the deceased to a “better place”. Other variants often expressed can be “God has called so and so home”, or “The Lord needed another member of heaven”. But does anyone stop and think about what this actually means? Such ideas mean that death isn’t so bad. For the saved, death would be taking us to the best possible place we could ever hope to be!
Yet Jesus himself does not seem to view death as such a friend. He sure seems to view death as a bitter enemy. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died and Jesus saw Lazarus’ sister Mary crying and distraught he never told her to cheer up that her brother was off in a “better place”. No Jesus himself “groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). And then “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). [For a detailed account of all the important truths of John Chapter 11, please read my Life after Death – According to Jesus & Martha paper here on KR.] Then the night before his crucifixion Jesus was “very distressed & troubled” (Mark 14:33) in thinking about his death and even prayed to God if there was any other way to accomplish his mission (Mark 14:36). And finally on the cross just before succumbing to death, Jesus cries the cry of anguish and despair from Psalm 22:1 by crying out “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”. This verse that Jesus spoke is meaningless if at death he was going to immediately be transported up to heaven with God. Instead he should have said something along the lines of “I’ll see you in a few Dad!”.
Anyone with basic common sense and some direct experience of life knows death is not a friend. Death is indeed a bitter enemy. All living creatures have an instinctive fear of death. Scripture plainly describes death in non-friendly terms. King David wrote that in death nobody can praise God and that death makes us utterly and totally silent (Psalm 115:17), and that there’s no way to remember God or give him any praise (Psalm 6:5) in death. Job wrote that in death a man “lies down and does not rise until the heavens are no longer” (Job 14:12). The awful power of death is even said to be wielded by the devil (Heb 2:14). Yet we are assured in Isaiah of death one day being swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8/1 Cor. 15:54), and that this will be brought to pass at Jesus’ return (1 Cor 15:23). Then at long last death will be permanently eradicated in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).
All of this along with common sense should tell us that death is not a friend that gives us a pleasant limo ride to God’s “Pearly Gates”. Enemies do not do the grand act of kindness in giving us our greatest hopes and dreams. No an enemy robs us and takes from us the greatest things of value we have. That cruel enemy by the name of “Death” does this all too well. It robs us of all we are. It removes us from life.
Biblical Common Sense Series:
14. Death – An ENEMY! (current page)