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What is Death?

Just what IS Death? IS there a Resurrection?
Do the DEAD know what the LIVING are doing? Is SUICIDE unforgivable?
Where will you meet loved ones again? WHY does God allow CHRISTIANS to die?
Does death ever come as PUNISHMENT? What if one dies being unconverted? Is he lost forever?
Here GOD ALMIGHTY answers, from His inspired Word, the question — What is Death?


DEATH is the ENEMY of man — and we all hate it. We hate it most of all when death strikes very close loved ones, taking them away from us, out of our lives, away from our daily routines — just gone.

And most do not UNDERSTAND death.

Why is it that, with all our advancements in science and industry — our accumulation of knowledge, that we STILL do not know the answers to the biggest and most puzzling questions of all


Millions believe in some kind of life AFTER death. But no one seems able to

PROVE such an assumption. Some believe we NEVER DIE — but go on living, in one place or another, or in one form or another, for all eternity. Others believe we have always lived. They think life is a strange succession of different existences — each in a different form, in a different place.

But no one seems to KNOW for sure!


Just How Important IS It?

When public-opinion pollsters ask Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen their opinions about life, death, and the hereafter — they find most simply unconcerned.

They just don't like to think about it — especially happening to THEM. But when death strikes — suddenly

EVERYTHING IS CHANGED! Suddenly, we MUST pause, in our swiftly moving lives, to face death. And we are compelled to ask, "Just what is death?" And, for that matter, WHAT IS LIFE?

Can ANYTHING, after all, be more singularly important than the answers to THESE questions?

You're here. You live. But WHY?


Unsolved Dilemma of Centuries

Serious though these questions are — urgent though they be — man has not yet answered them! Science does NOT KNOW — says it can't know. Philosophers, theologians, anthropologists, historians, scholars of every stripe have put their minds to these fathomless mysteries for the many CENTURIES now, and have not found the answer!

Today, modern space-age science, and a dazzling array of technological achievements have created an awesome new Dagon for the Western world. The average citizen finds himself continually amazed at all that is accomplished in the name of "science."

He faithfully trusts this false god of science to lengthen his life span — transplant his kidneys when they fail, help him reduce or put on weight, change his very personality, and perhaps allow him to choose the sex of his progeny.

The modern world looks to its mechanical god — science — to SAVE it from all its troubles. People look to medical science to save them from sickness — to the physical sciences to produce the continual flow of goods and services to make their life one of physical ease and pleasure. They look to the "life" sciences to explain to them WHAT THEY ARE, and where they're going, and the MEANING of life.

But, somehow — DEATH STOPS IT ALL!

At death, science stops its mouth. A doctor, quietly sympathizing with grieved members of the family may say, in a kindly voice, "I'm sorry, there is nothing further medical science can do for him."

Today, the world exalts knowledge. It holds aloft the great institutions of "higher" learning. The leaders of mankind are the PRODUCTS of these same educational institutions — the "educated" men of the world.

But can anyone claim to be truly educated who does not know what HE is? Is "educated" the correct description for one who does not know WHY HE IS ALIVE — OR WHERE HE'S GOING, or WHAT IS DEATH, arid WHAT HAPPENS AT DEATH?

These men CAN know. They could have understood, LONG ago — had they not rejected the very foundation of all knowledge, the revealed Word of God!

But God has said of them, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge [in their education — their institutions of higher learning] God gave them over to a REPROBATE mind . . ." (Romans 1:28).

Death is a fearful, unknown BLANK to the great minds of this world. They simply do NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS!

But YOU CAN KNOW — if you're willing to know! Jesus thanked His Father that He had "hidden these things from the 'wise and prudent' and REVEALED THEM unto babes!" (Matt. 11:25)



If anything could be called "instinct" in the human creature — perhaps the "instinct" of self-preservation could.

We just automatically seek to PRESERVE, to protect, to LENGTHEN and HANG ON to our lives! BUT WE CANNOT! How FUTILE, how utterly HELPLESS we feel, when we are urging a loved one to "hang on" — to FIGHT TO LIVE — and see that life ebbing away right before our eyes!

But the average person just never gets around to thinking about his own death.

And I don't mean morbidity of spirit — or FEAR of death. I do not mean a constant contemplation of death — but the knowledge of how truly MORTAL, how TEMPORARY, how FRAGILE this physical, chemical existence really is!

Somehow, the average person feels himself almost indestructible.

He can imagine something terrible happening — to someone ELSE, but it's almost impossible to imagine it happening to himself. It's like a fear of the UNKNOWN. Since most people do not know WHAT is life, and WHAT is death — and WHAT HAPPENS at death, they simply prefer not to think about it.

But WE CAN DIE. And we DO. And we SHALL.

But, what happens then?


What IS Your Life?

Just what is this physical, chemical, brief experience we call "life," anyhow?

Now that you think about it the words like "life" and "death" are words almost NO one has ever researched, or looked up in a dictionary.

If you did try to find some "scientific" definition for life — you would find only some statements to the effect of "the state of being alive," or the ability of a "living" organism to utilize organic life in a living metabolism, and other such "double-talk" which would NOT, in actual fact, tell you WHAT LIFE Is!

But the Creator of all life does tell you what it is!

And He stresses its SOURCE, and its TEMPORARY qualities, and its UNCERTAINTY! Listen!

"Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away . . ." (James 4:14).

Always, God Almighty stresses the UNCERTAINTY of life. He says, "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19).

You are a physical, temporal creature — entirely dependent upon a metabolic process of muscles, nerves, sinews and bone — upon blood and air — upon food and water. You are a living organism — a terribly fragile, temporary creature.

You're MADE of the elements of the ground. Perhaps, in our modern societies, of food nicely served on "man-made" plates of fine china — we don't like to think of the fact our food is literally composed of so much "dirt" — and that we are, very literally, "dirt." But we ARE!

Your Bible reveals the LIFE of man is a purely CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL existence — that our metabolic process is the same as that of animals! (Eccl. 3:19) Nowhere does your Bible say man HAS an immortal soul, or that there is a "soul" in man. Rather, the Bible shows man is a soul. That is, each soul (nephesh, in the Hebrew) is a person, and can die.

Read Ezekiel 18:4 and 18:20 where God says, "the SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT [the SOUL] shall die." [Ed.: Read our forthcoming article entitled, "Do You Have an Immortal Soul?" in the November issue of TOMORROWS WORLD if you want to see this completely proved in your own Bible]

It is true there is a "spirit" in man (Job 32:8) — and this will be explained, thoroughly, in succeeding issues. But that Spirit IS NOT THE MAN — and is not CONSCIOUS APART from the man. Job, in the same book said, "But man DIES, and wastes away: yes, man expires [original — implying exhalation, or expiration of air], and where is he?" (Job 14:10)

In this same passage, God inspired Job to say, "O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I WAIT, till my CHANGE come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands" (Job 14:13-15).

Job spoke of being KEPT in the grave — and waiting for a CHANGE to take place — NOT of being alive DURING DEATH!


The Certainty of Death

You know several people who have died. Probably, some were VERY close to you — and you cherish the memory of them — remembering the way they were, the things they said and did — their personality and character. Yet, they're dead.

In the modern, "chic," God-rejecting world, death is IGNORED by most people. It's something that "happens" once in a while to soldiers, or victims in automobile accidents, or elderly people, or cancer patients, or those you read of in the newspapers. But most people simply do NOT LIKE TO FACE death. The idea is repugnant to them.

Still, as the old saying goes, "There's nothing surer than death and taxes."

Isn't it about time you WONDERED about death? Isn't it about time you began to ADMIT to yourself there is such a thing? And isn't it about time you PROVED to yourself the real TRUTH about it?

Remember again — there is NO "dead" person to whom you can talk. Science can't give you the answer. Philosophers say they do not know what death is, except that it is not life. There is only ONE source to which you can go to get the TRUE answer, and that source is the inspired Word of your God!

The Bible is, in a sense, the OBITUARY of the leading men that God USED throughout history. The greatest men of the Bible all DIED!

Perhaps we haven't thought about that. But it brings out a tremendous principle — and should give all of us COMFORT through life!

David was a man after God's own heart. When David prayed, GOD HEARD. The Psalms are, in many cases, actual prayers David prayed. One of those Psalms bears directly on the subject of DEATH!


David Died

David was afflicted — in what exact way we don't know. But he apparently was very NEAR DEATH!

He cried out in Psalm 102:1-5: "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.

"Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.

"For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

"My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin."

Finally, he cried out in verse 24, "O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days. . . ."

David cried out to God to lengthen his life — to save him from death!


David didn't die as a young man. He ruled Israel for forty years. David lived his full "three score and ten" and died at the age of 70.

But the point is that David did DIE!

In I Chronicles 29:28, we read this of David, "And HE DIED in a good old age, full of days, riches and honor: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead."

The Apostle Peter was inspired to say: "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is BOTH DEAD AND BURIED, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day . . . for David IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS" (Acts 2:29-34).

David lived a full life; God answered his prayers; he did have the mind of God (Acts 13:22).

But David DIED — and he is still dead. David is NOT in heaven. That's what your Bible says.

But WHY?

Why did David die? Why hasn't he received his reward? Will David ever be conscious again?