Friday, April 22, 2016

The Vision (4.22.16): Appointed unto men once to die

Image:  Ancient Roman funerary inscription for eight year old boy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York

Image:  Grave site of Benjamin Franklin, Christ Church burial yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

We are left in the end to ponder this verse.  It is appointed unto men once to die.  Some obsess over and distort the Lord’s appointment of the time of our deaths.  Have you heard someone say things like, “Well, I guess his number was up”?  God is sovereign over all and he knows the time of our death, but that misses the point here.  He knows the end from the beginning.

We have a simple and solemn reminder that we will die.  It is a universal reality for all men and has been since the fall.

My family took a trip to New York City last week and we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I had the opportunity to walk through part of the Greek and Roman exhibition.  Some of the pieces I saw were ancient funerary art.  One that stood out was a marble grave marker for a young boy placed there by his father in the 1-2 century A. D.  It reads:

To the spirits of the dead. For C. Porcius Dionysius, who lived 8 years, 10 months, and 13 days. C. Porcius Dionysius [the father for whom the son was named] made this for the sweetest of sons.

As we drove home we also stopped off in Philadelphia and visited Christ Church and its burial ground where Benjamin Franklin was laid to rest in 1790 after 84 years of earthly life having gained great fame among men.  Washington said of him that he was “venerated for benevolence, admired for talents, esteemed for patriotism, beloved for philanthropy.”

All men die.  From little boys to old men.  From obscure men to famous men.

It is appointed unto men once to die.  Paul said:

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

But what happens afterward?

Scripture says that after death there is a krisis, a judgment.

What are the standards for this judgment?  Jesus teaches us those standards:

Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

So, the question is:  Have you confessed Christ or have you denied Christ?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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