Torchbearers for Christ
Saturday, September 30, 2023
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If a man die shall he live again”? (Job 14:14)
Man dies and wastes away.....and where is he?” (Job 14:10)
When Job asked these questions he was gravely ill and, not surprisingly, his thoughts turned to the possibility of his dying and the hereafter. He continues with this theme saying, “So man lies down and does not rise till the heavens are no more. Men will not arise or be roused from their sleep......I will wait for my renewal to come.....You will call and I will answer You.......You will not keep track of my sin” (Job 14:12-15).
If you were to ask people whether there was a life after this one, you would no doubt receive a variety of answers. While thinking of this theme, I asked a few folk that very question. Some just said “nobody knows”, while others felt they were “just too busy with the here and now to think about the next life.”
How sad this is, that so many men and women plan carefully for their future in this life, for their retirement and for their old age, and there their planning stops. With very good reason, God protested against the indifference of men and women in former times saying, “Oh that they were wise, that they would consider their latter end” (Deut. 32:29). In one of His parables, the Lord Jesus told the story of a wealthy farmer whose land had produced a bountiful harvest. He thought, “What shall I do because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, ‘This will I do, I will pull down my barns and build greater and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee’” (Luke 12:13-20).
So the questions Job asked are really of paramount importance, and thankfully God has not only told us about the next life, but also how we may prepare here and now to spend eternity with Him, and enjoy the blessed assurance that “it is well with my soul”. Let us then consider the wonderful promise of the Lord Jesus as He answers Job’s question, “If a man die shall he live again?” In John 5:24 (NIV) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes on Him that has sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” In verse 28 Jesus continues, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” The Lord Jesus here speaks of two resurrections: the first taking place in this life when one is born again, and the second when Jesus returns.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV) “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that those who are still alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those that have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Let us close our study with an excerpt from 1 Corinthians, 15 where we read so much about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and born again believers. “Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality....then the saying that is written shall come true, ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NIV).
The teaching about the second coming of the Lord Jesus and the resurrection of the dead was intended to be deep comfort to those who have lost a loved one. We have this blessed hope of being “caught up together with them” to meet the Lord in the air, and so being forever with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).   Hallelujah!
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has traveled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.