Death! #5

Friday, May 15, 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….

Genesis 35:18 says physical death occurs when the soul separates from, or exits, the body of flesh and blood. What becomes of the physical body? Exactly what Genesis says, the rest of the Scripture repeats so eloquently.

“They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust(Job 17:16). “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust (Job 20:11). “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust(Job 34:15). “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust (Psalm 104:29). “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again(Ecclesiastes 3:20). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Scripture also speaks of physical death more bluntly, as in Job 21:26: “They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.” Of course, these “worms” are maggots, indicative of the decaying or rotting process. Job 24:19,20: “Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.” Yet, we bring to mind that classic Bible passage of hope: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

Due to sin, physical death is a part of life. Nonetheless, the saint is aware of another reality—bodily resurrection….

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?’

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 #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….

The More Powerful Words #5

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

Friends, as advanced as we are, no matter what we endeavor to do, we must use parts of God’s creation. How far-fetched is the belief that we are self-existent! Whether the geological materials we extract from Earth to manufacture our tools and machines, or the biological tissues we excise from other humans in order to preserve life, or the oxygen molecules we breathe and the water molecules we drink so we can perform simple daily tasks, we must utilize what really belongs to the Creator God. We are bound to His universe, and He has granted us temporary usage of it. Had He not been a God of grace, so longsuffering and tolerant of our nonsense, He would have surely and literally wiped us all from existence by now!

Someone once wisely observed, “We think we are so smart just because we can explain a few processes in the natural world.” Again, the Scriptures are true when they remarked, “knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Let us be honest, friends. While we know more than our ancestors did, we still know far less than the Lord does. In our own puny heads, we strut and prance, “Look what I know! How knowledgeable am I!” We flee to the “refuge” of science, where boasters gleefully exclaim, “We have no need for ‘god’ now! We can explain the universe without appealing to religions, myths, and deities!”

Considering the heights of the heavens and the depths of the oceans, where scientists and their instruments have yet to travel, we can rest assured that “science” is—like us with our tiny brains that interpret its evidence—fallible and limited. There is much more to learn from God’s creation, so we dare not inflate like balloons.

Now, here are some more powerful words. If we could invent those natural laws instead of merely explain them, if we could create from nothing a universe of matter that those laws govern, then we would really have something worth bragging about! Alas, we are not the mighty Creator… we are but lowly creatures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: Why did God let James die but deliver Peter?

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Monday, April 22, 2019

“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).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what are the ‘Cherethites’ and ‘Pelethites?’

Why Death Loses

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV).

Behold, the deathblow to death!

Secular scientists claim “natural selection” (the heart of evolutionary theory) is nature’s mysterious method of “selecting” against weak and sickly traits while simultaneously ensuring beneficial characteristics are passed on to offspring. Organisms, if they do not adapt to their environments, die (making reproduction impossible). (On a larger scale, such vague genetic “selections” allegedly originated Earth’s millions of species of life over four billion years.) Since natural resources are limited, not all members of all species can survive anyway. Death is therefore viewed as advantageous: it eliminates the bad, that the good may have a chance to exist and thrive.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense in the lost person’s mind, but we with spiritual eyes simply cannot agree that death is suitable. Romans 5:12 declares: “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:….” Originally, immediately after Creation, sin and death were nonexistent on planet Earth. It was not until Adam, the first man, intentionally followed Satan did our world (and human race) fall. Death made its grand entrance all those millennia ago… and has been stealing from us ever since!!

If death were “natural”—God’s intention from the very beginning—then He would have no reason whatsoever to abolish it with resurrection! Today’s Scripture in context: “[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. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Death loses simply because the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected and won, thereby giving us the victory too!

Bible Q&A 545: “O ye of little faith?

God’s Precious Thoughts

Friday, August 3, 2018

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17 KJV).

Do we agree with King David?

Today’s Scripture is part of a song that underscores God’s infinite knowledge. He knows our daily routines and actually reads our very thoughts—even future ideas (verses 1-3)! God realizes the words our tongues will utter (verse 4). David speaks of God directing him in life (verse 5). “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (verse 6). Regardless of what he does or where he goes, he cannot escape God’s gentle presence (verses 7-12).

“[13] For thou hast possessed my reins [innermost being]: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. [14] I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. [15] My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” We see God’s attention to detail, awareness He had well in advance. The very attributes of our bodies follow the Creator’s scheme. He knew all such intricacies of human anatomy long before there ever was a human body!

In light of all that, David writes more praise: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (today’s Scripture). He is unable to place a value on God’s knowledge. Interestingly enough, he lacked a complete revelation from God. We in the Dispensation of Grace have a finished Bible canon today with 66 Books. David had one-sixth of our Bible (and certainly he did not know God’s mysteries, hidden wisdom, that we now know through the Apostle Paul). Saints, how much more we should thus say, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 🙂

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

 Sunday, April 22, 2018

“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).