Mar. 22, 2017

The Fear of Dying

I was having breakfast with a friend of mine one morning and the subject of religion came up. Although, I am not a religious person, I am a very spiritual one and have very strong beliefs. I pray, I believe Christ is our savior, and I believe God is always in control. My friend, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same kind of faith.

“I was raised Pentecostal,” she said of her upbringing, “and I firmly believe in the power of prayer; that there’s something above us. Anything positive is a good thing. I’m just not so sure about the after-life.”

“What’s wrong with the afterlife?” I asked.

She kind of laughed and said, “Heaven. I’m not sure it exists. Think about it; if heaven is so great, then why are people so afraid to die? Why does everyone fight so hard to stay alive?”

She rates a good point. I’ve thought long and hard about it. I’ve resorted to looking up scriptures and I’ve prayed to ask the One who knows that answer. I think I have a small idea why people are so afraid of dying.

Here are some of my ideas. First and foremost, the unknown. We don’t know what to expect. Even though Scriptures tell us we will sleep until Christ comes to judge us, many just cannot conceive the idea. And Christ will come. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Mathew 24:30 

 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” Mathew 24:31.

Still, we fear what we do not know.

Second: We’re taught (young) to mourn the loss of our loved ones as they will mourn us. “You’ll never see them again,” we’re told and so, we mourn because we, the living, will not see the deceased again. Naturally, we’re taught this is a sad event, not a happy one.

Scripturally speaking, in the book of Genesis we know that God tells Adam and Eve not to partake from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as they will surely die. When the Lord created them, Adam and Eve were not meant to ever die. They lived in the Garden of Eden for over a thousand years. So, when God said they will surely die, he meant they will become mortal and “eventually” die.

In Gen. 2:17, they (Adam and Eve) are told that in the “day” they eat of the forbidden fruit, they would die. But they didn’t. Instead, God provides a promise for a way out (Gen 3:15). At the cross, (Rom 3:24-25) God shows that he was just in not killing our first parents on that day because of the cross where Christ would die for our sins. God took the loss instead for those who would have faith in what Jesus did.

“It is appointed onto man once to die, and then the judgment.” Heb 9:27. Woe to him who dies the second death. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’” Rev 2:11 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” Rev. 20:6.

The White Throne judgment is the death we want to avoid. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” Rev 20:14

Satan, who is perceived to be the Angel of Death, or the Grim Reaper, understood God’s implication and lied to Adam and Eve saying, “You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. - For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 - This is the first lie.

Through this, death has been given quite a negative overcast. God himself threatens death to his own beloved creations: man and woman. If God is threatening it, it must bad.

Finally, outside of the unknown, I think it plays heavily on many about their own salvations. However, we are all sinners. God realized that we, as humans, will always sin. To save us, God sends us a gift, he sent us Christ, his beloved son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

The key to heaven is to believe that Christ, as the son of God, is the Son of Man. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2-8

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

There are many scriptures that tell us we are saved through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ and yet, it seems to be the hardest thing to grasp because, as I said, we are all sinners. God understands that too. He knows it’s a hard concept to wrap our head around and, therefore, we fear death. None of us are worthy of His love and yet, we receive it and should not fear death because of His love.

But. this is just my opinion supported by Scriptures. Thank you, Karl Wagner, for helping me with this.