Death! #7

Sunday, May 17, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Second Timothy 1:9-11 states: “[9] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, [10] But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: [11] Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” As saints, people who trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have a hope that, when this earthly life ends with death, it is really not the end!

First Corinthians chapter 15 speaks of resurrection life: “[18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The Bible labels death an “enemy.” It was not in God’s original design in creation. Adam’s sin caused it. Therefore, the Lord has gloriously conquered it before (Christ’s bodily resurrection), and He will magnificently overcome it again (all subsequent bodily resurrections). Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Death! #4

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Only after an arduous lifetime of backbreaking work does man’s soul finally separate from his physical body. He would “return unto the ground.” The LORD God added, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” While the Book of Genesis is frequently dismissed as figurative or allegorical myth, we cannot help but see this as literal history. Are we not physically placed into actual ground at our burial? Why, yes. There is no other way to look at Genesis: it says what it means and it means what it says.

Draw your attention to the wording: “for out of it [the ground] wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” We compare this to Genesis 2:7, Adam’s creation: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Job 4:19 speaks of man, “How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?” And, Job 10:9 is directed to God, “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?” “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). 

Adam’s physical body was indeed literally derived from the ground or dirt. The name “Adam” is from the Hebrew word meaning “red, ruddy.” God used preexisting material—a reddish clay, evidently—to shape the first human body. This is not at all far-fetched. An interesting scientific fact is presented here—and, again, we have no other option but to take Genesis literally. Elements found within Earth’s crust are also necessary for life, and they actually form the human body: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and so on. Once the human body dies, its component elements return to the soil as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How shall Elijah ‘restore all things?’

Death! #3

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Responding to Adam’s deliberate alliance with Satan, the LORD God placed a curse on creation. Keep reading in Genesis chapter 3:

“[13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. [14] And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: [15] And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Satan was cursed.

Eve and women were cursed: “[16] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Mankind as a whole and all the natural world were cursed: “[17] And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;….”

Verse 19, today’s Scripture, is the pinnacle of that curse: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Life for Adam and Eve will henceforth become complicated and difficult. After all that suffering, only then will that earthly life end… with death….

Death! #2

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Continue in Genesis chapter 3: “[5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Adam made a conscious choice to follow his wife in listening to Satan. He deliberately disobeyed God’s instructions to him.

“[7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. [9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

This “fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was part of the test God placed before Adam and Eve. Would they, like Lucifer had done to become Satan earlier, take it upon themselves to decide what is good and what is evil? In other words, would they attempt to take God’s authority and place it on themselves? Yes, and they indicated that attitude by eating the forbidden fruit. Consequently, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Indeed, death is now our lot in this sin-cursed world….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were the ‘Rechabites?’

Death! #1

Monday, May 11, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Funerals, cemeteries, and coffins are rather disturbing sights, are they not? There is a certain “unnaturalness” to them, right? It simply does not make sense for death to end life, does it? Why is the human body born just to live a short while and then die and undergo such horrific decomposition? No matter how hard we try to soften it with phrases (for example, “passed away” instead of “died,” “casket” as opposed to “coffin,” “memorial park” not “cemetery,” et cetera); or glamorize it (with extravagant ceremonies, pricey graveclothes, embroidered box liners, elaborate vaults and crypts, and so on); death is an inescapable certainty. Why?

Turn to Genesis chapter 2 for the answer: “[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” This first man’s name was Adam, and JEHOVAH God ordered him not to eat the forbidden fruit. If Adam did, he would “surely die.” It was indisputable or certain.

Move over to chapter 3, concerning Adam’s wife Eve and her encounter with Satan: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:….” What a lie….

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

Sin Divides #12

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

The God of creation designed human life to function the same way life operates within the Godhead. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (unselfishly) seek each other’s benefit and glory rather than their own, so creation was intended to reflect those relationships. Adam was created in God’s image and likeness to be the manifestation of Divine living. The Creator issued parameters—doctrine, or teaching to be believed and obeyed—within which Adam (mankind) was to conduct himself. Harmony existed between God and man, and man and woman, until that Divine revelation was ignored in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered by Adam’s unbelief and disobedience. The doctrine that unifies was intentionally forsaken. Accordingly, selfishness and disharmony permeate human civilization.

When we reflect upon all the world’s problems—and there are more than we can fathom—let us remember that it was sin that caused (and still causes) them. Think of those suffering tremendously with sickness and disease. Creation is cursed because of Adam. Consider the endless wars, crimes, divorces, poverty, ignorance, homelessness, and so on. These are the results of poor decisions. We are stuck in a perpetual cycle of operating outside of God’s will for human existence.

Try as hard as we might, we will not eliminate the selfishness (evil) that resides in every human heart. Legislations, incarcerations, hospitalizations, denominations, conversations, proclamations, denunciations, corporations, approbations, aspirations, ordinations, educations, sensations, and orations cannot eliminate sin. What we need is expiation (payment for sin). What we need is salvation (deliverance from sin). What we need is sanctification (set apart for God’s purposes). What we need is justification (righteousness of God).

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Sin Divides #8

Saturday, February 8, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Let us read today’s Scripture—written 700 years before Christ—in context: “[1] Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. [2] The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. [3] That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.

[4] The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. [5] Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. [6] For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Had Adam held to the sound Bible doctrine God gave him, had Eve held to that doctrine, their marriage would not have become so complicated! If Cain had retained sound Bible doctrine, he would not have murdered his brother Abel! Moreover, had Israel guarded the sound Bible doctrine JEHOVAH God gave her through Moses at Mount Sinai, her people would not be in the spiritual mess of the Prophet Micah’s time! Yea, had sound Bible doctrine not been abandoned, none of these painful family rifts would have ever resulted….

 

Sin Divides #7

Friday, February 7, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Let us imagine a world where man is enjoying unrestricted fellowship with his Creator, husband and wife are moving together as one unit in the right direction, brother is loving brother, sister is looking after sister, parent is nurturing child, and neighbor is caring for neighbor. There are no selfishness, evil thoughts, malicious words, wars, poverty, divorce, abuse, murder, theft, sickness, suffering, death, and so on. Here is the way life once worked—how the LORD God intended it to operate.

In just a matter of seconds, Adam wrecked it all. When he followed Satan in his rebellion against God, he acted deliberately. “Adam was not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam knew exactly what he was doing, and he did it! Now, what was once simple is complicated beyond our wildest imaginations. Life is hard. It is painful. Harmony is long gone. Nature is messed up. Civilization is a disaster. World peace—especially in the Middle East—is tirelessly sought but perpetually elusive. Even if we destroyed all weapons, and secured all people everywhere in handcuffs and leg restraints, the fact remains that sin is alive and well in every human heart. No matter how hard we try to curb our behavior, we cannot reform our nature. It will not work!

Notice James chapter 4, the first two verses: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” There is a war inside us humans, and it manifests itself outwardly in strivings and contentions….

Sin Divides #6

Thursday, February 6, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Genesis chapter 4 opens: “[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell…. [8] And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. [9] And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In chapter 3, we saw sin caused two divisions: it split man from God, and it separated man from woman. Free will attacked, marriage struck, Satan proceeded to destroy the family unit in chapter 4. Unbelieving Cain mercilessly killed his believing brother Abel! The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John comments: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:11-13).

Here is where we loop to today’s Scripture….