Category Archives: death

Death – perspectives from Jesus and Lazarus, Part II

The best way to understand Christ’s conquest of death is to see the perspectives outlined in John 11.  First, Jesus delayed his return to Bethany.  Second, he arrived after Lazarus had been buried.  Third, he corrected Martha’s flawed view of him.

Fourth, in the nexus between Jesus and Lazarus, the Master demonstrated his power over death by precipitating the crisis that brought his ministry to his self-chosen goal.  This resurrection decided the Sanhedrin:  Jesus had to die.  Indeed, so immensely did the miracle impact Jerusalem and all Judea, the Sanhedrin determined that Lazarus also had to die, since his resurrection had convinced many people of Christ’s power.  The resurrected life is always an offense to unbelievers, who sometimes viciously attack it.

Fifth, in the nexus between Jesus and Lazarus, the Master demonstrated his power over death by making the resurrection a public event.  He ordered the stone removed, which frightened and offended Martha.  She certainly didn’t appropriate the meaning of Christ’s I AM THE RESURRECTION claim, but thought in Old Covenant terms or, at best, in the future state of God’s people.  Which is very true to life; what is too far beyond our comprehension is filtered through previous constructs.  Her reference to the body’s decomposition was certainly true to physical laws.  They buried bodies the day death occurred for just that reason.

By ordering the stone removed, Jesus guaranteed it would be an actual physical body rising from the grave.  It wouldn’t be a “spiritual” resurrection—anymore than Christ’s personal bodily resurrection was a “spiritual” experience in the hearts of his believers.  For Jesus, an actual bodily resurrection; for Lazarus, the same.  Only if Jesus could produce the body of Lazarus from the corpse inside the tomb would Jesus actually BE the RESURRECTION he claimed.

Then, to the amazement of all, Jesus called for LAZARUS—a real-life individual.  That’s the importance of using the name in the simplest, plainest, most direct appeal to his spirit.  He spoke it loudly so the spectators could hear his voice call it and see the body respond to it.  He spoke it personally because God considers us as individuals, while belonging to the whole, not residents of a Nirvana in which individuals are eclipsed by the whole.  His mighty verbal summons sounded beyond life in the spirit-world, where only One Voice reaches.  And there, among millions at rest, or in turmoil, one person heard, listened and instantly left…to re-appear in a tomb outside Bethany, Israel—where he stirred awake his corpse, who struggled his feet to the floor and…wrapped in grave windings, stalked his way outside, to hear Jesus Christ’s triumphant shout, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”   – Fini –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.

Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   

Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1 

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley) 

New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death – perspectives from Jesus and Lazarus, Part I

First, in the nexus between Jesus and Lazarus, the Master demonstrated his power over death, by delaying his return to Bethany until Lazarus died and was buried, instead of frantically returning to prevent his death.  The unspoken request in the sisters’ appeal was that Jesus would return once he knew of Lazarus’ condition.  Indeed, it embodied their sense that Christ’s love for the whole family would prompt his return.

Interestingly, when the centurion requested healing for his servant, Matthew 8:5-7, and Jairus brought news of his daughter’s imminent demise, Mark 5:22-24, Jesus immediately went to their homes.  Yet, with one of his dearest friends deathly-ill, he deliberately stayed away.

Jesus obviously retained absolute control of his ministry.  He had a plan, followed its self-imposed timetable and implemented its procedures as he determined—because he had absolute confidence in his death-defying sovereignty.

Second, in the nexus between Jesus and Lazarus, the Master demonstrated his power over death by arriving in Bethany four days after Lazarus was buried.  (Burials occurred the day of death.  According to Jewish legend, the spirit hovered over the corpse three days before departing for Sheol.  To everyone in Bethany, all hope of resurrecting Lazarus had vanished by the time Jesus arrived.  Lazarus had disappeared beyond recall.)

Which explains the Lord’s return only after all hope of recovering Lazarus was past.  Christ’s power over death couldn’t have been expressed as it was if he had been present even hours or a day after his friend’s departure.

Third, in the nexus between Jesus and Lazarus, the Master demonstrated his power over death by correcting Martha’s faulty perception of his nature.  Her faith in him as God’s Son remained true and unabated, but it lacked any immediacy of meaning.  At least Martha didn’t say, “if you had been here…but it’s too late now.”  She knew “even now God will give you what you ask.”  So far, so good.

When Jesus promised Lazarus’ resurrection, however, she continued thinking in terms of Christ’s previous teaching—God will raise his people in the end.  Jesus immediately enlarged her understanding.  Eternal life was REAL NOW, not a FUTURE PROMISE.  Where Martha said God would give Jesus whatever he asked, Jesus countered that eternal life isn’t something he acquired for being obedient to God.  Eternal life is Christ’s nature and essence as God.  Therefore, since HE presently IS eternal life, not merely GIVES eternal life, belief in him brings eternal life.  The conjunction of verses 23 and 25 is very powerful.  Lazarus would rise whenever Jesus pleased to raise him, because Jesus, even as he stood before Martha, IS the resurrection.  The tense indicates a present fact with continuing implications.    – End part I –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpr

Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   

Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1 

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley) 

New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death – Jesus conquered . by dying, Part V

In this blog, based on Hebrews 2:14-15, the writer’s sanctified speculation on what happened when Jesus entered Hades.

A few years ago a mammoth rock in the hills above Pacific Coast Highway ripped loose and tore through all the barriers Cal Trans had built to prevent such a catastrophe.  When it finally came to rest on the highway, it proved too massive to move.  As I remember, engineers decided to drill holes in the monster, plant explosives, and blow it into smaller, movable stones.

Consider death as Satan’s solid, impenetrable “too big to move” problem, “too invincible to contest” issue.  A petrified black hole so dense that everyone entering it disappeared and never re-appeared.  Jesus willingly drilled himself inside the depths of death to its very core—and vanished.

However…not so fast.

Isaiah 14 records the activity in Hades when the Babylonian king descended.  Nothing in Hades felt any stirring when Jesus Christ, the Ancient of Days, entered, his lion-tamer’s eyes probing those depths like arc lights.  No one in Hades dared approach him, look at him, glance at him.

No one roused himself for the King of the World as they had for the king of Babylon.  No spirits approached to deride him as one once strong who had become weak.  None rose from their thrones to commiserate with him as one whose pomp had vanished, whose voice had been silenced.

No…everyone there  knew…he had come from earth, as all in Hades always had.  They also knew that something mysterious existed in him they couldn’t decipher, something regnant they couldn’t withstand.

For whatever cause he came, they didn’t know.  To what purpose they couldn’t imagine.  But they knew:  when he entered bridling with disdain of the death that seemed to disgrace him, he didn’t Belong There.  Though they couldn’t know he had come only to pay a visit, not to stay, and would soon be gone.  They couldn’t know it would be only HOURS.  They couldn’t know that God had him buried in a borrowed tomb because he wouldn’t need it long!

And that is our hope today.  However short or long our stay in Hades, it’s temporary, not permanent.  For whenever Jesus Christ shouts the dead alive and the living changed, we shall exit death once for all and enter into everlasting life through Jesus Christ in all his Glory.  Forever.  And ever.  Hallelujah.  Amen!    Finis

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

Death – Jesus conquered . by dying, Part III

This blog came from a memorial service for a Christian man.  Based on Hebrews 2:14-15, it explains that Jesus disarmed death as our unconquerable enemy by dying and rising again.

After Satan tempted Jesus without success over 40 days, he departed:  defeated, humiliated and enraged, but not convinced.  Indeed, believing he had regained the advantage even in retreat.  With Jesus perhaps poised at the limit of endurance.  Perhaps unaware how weak he had become.  Needing only regaining an awareness of his needs to break him.  Being so desperately exhausted and hungry he didn’t care.  Perhaps wanting only to get it over so he could eat and sleep and face the consequences later.

As always, Satan’s pride blinded him to the facts.  It never happened as he speculated, desired or hoped.  He approached and hoped to find Jesus in an exhausted stupor:  huddled in a crevice; arms wrapped around his withered frame, whimpering about being cold and hungry; begging for mercy.  He instead found Jesus glaring defiance and lashing to shreds the three temptations recorded in Matthew 4 as a summary of all those in the preceding 40 days.

While spiritual battles remained between Jesus and Satan, all of them contested during the Master’s ministry, the WAR had been WON by Jesus in the wilderness.  He drove God’s word like sharp iron stakes through the temple and into the brain of every Satanic temptation.  Which is why, when Grecians left Jerusalem to preach in Imperial cities, God didn’t dismantle the vast pagan apparatus Satan had built in them.  For it didn’t matter that the Devil had them in place and wanted them to remain.  God determined they would be removed, abolished by the greater message of Jesus Christ dying to forgive and rising to live again on the third day.  That Bull-Moose message took root below and bore fruit above wherever preached.   – End Part III –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death – Jesus conquered . by dying, Part II

The writer preached this message at the memorial of a Christian man.

The best way to determine a person’s success is by winning a contest in which the enemy has all the advantages.  The confrontation between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness is a perfect example.

Sent by the Spirit to the Jordan, Jesus received the baptism he sought.  Driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, Jesus welcomed the testing God demanded.

To the wilderness Jesus went; to it the Devil came.  Jesus the embodiment of righteousness; Satan the personification of evil.  Jesus anointed heir of God, Satan pretender to it.

In their spiritual brawl—winner take all, winner get nothing, not even travel expenses—neither asked nor gave quarter, extended nor received mercy.

However, to give Satan every advantage in the clash, God exposed his Son to stupendous bodily harm.  By inflicting 960 hours of fasting.  Leading to starvation and dehydration.  Reducing him to physical and mental and emotional exhaustion.  And most open to the Devil’s blandishments.

For forty 24-hour periods Satan struck.  Hour after hour.  Day after day.  With every deceit he knew.  Seeking an aperture into Christ’s life.

Without success.   – End Part II – 

Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

 

 

Death – Jesus conquered . by dying, Part I

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” Hebrews 2:14-15.  The next few blogs will focus on this great text.  The writer preached this message at the memorial of a Christian man.

One measure of a person’s success is what he achieves.  A better measure is what he achieves despite obstacles he had to overcome to do so.  The best measure is to concede all the advantages to an opponent before a contest begins, and still beat him—at his own game; where he rules; in his personal area of expertise.

Colonel Benjamin Grierson left La Grange, Tennessee April 17, 1863 commanding 1700 cavalrymen.  His orders, from General Grant, included:  riding through 600 miles of Mississippi owned and defended by Confederate forces; disrupting communications; destroying railroads, other military installations and stores; periodically fighting Rebel forces he could whip, fleeing enemy forces too large to confront.

All along his dangerous path he would also detach cavalrymen for specific independent duties.  Nevertheless, after the former Illinois schoolteacher reached Baton Rouge, Louisiana May 2, 1863, he telegraphed Grant that he found the South a hollow shell.  – End Part I –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

Death – ways to die

We have a 500 million to 1 chance of being killed on a 5-mile bus trip.  A 1 in 32 million chance of dying from a mountain lion attack.  A 1 in 354,319 chance of dying in a plane crash.  A 1 in 5,005,564 chance of dying from contact with hot tap water—really; a 1 in 9,380 chance of dying by suicide; a 1 in 15,585 chance of dying in a car accident.  San Diego U-T, 2/22/04

But if we want to know what chance in a million—or of any other number we consider—to die, we’re still 100% mortal, with a 100% mortality rate.  Living longer is possible, through better medical care, personal eating and exercise habits, more positively processing stress and anxiety, etc.  Living eternally here, in this life, isn’t, and it’s a waste of time to consider living even an average of 125-150 years, as some speculate.  The Biblical span remains in place:  70 years as a rule, 80 and beyond an exception Psalm 90:10.

How to prepare for the inevitable mortality chasing us IS our choice.  No one can decide it for us.  We can prolong ourselves past this life, and into the next, and qualify to enter that world.  But let us be forewarned:  intelligence won’t qualify us, where wisdom does; adding to prosperity of this life won’t qualify us, where enriching our life with Christ-honoring behavior does; dwelling in ever-more expensive homes graced with ever-more expensive furnishings won’t qualify us, but making a throne of our minds and hearts where Jesus can rule over us does.  And so forth.

It takes no special intelligence to know death is in our future.  It takes God-given, Christ-honoring wisdom to look beyond the INSTANT of dying to the life beyond.  Only wisdom that fears God and obeys him survives death to grant us a happy life with God.  Why would people content themselves with intelligence for this life when only Biblical wisdom teaches us through life to honor God and his Christ and leads us through death into God’s everlasting Presence.

 

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

Death – inevitable for all

In Psalm 90:3 Moses wrote that God turns “men back to dust.”  In 90:5 “You sweep men away in the sleep of death.”  In 90:9b, “we finish our years with a moan.”  Bleached bones and full graveyards previous to Moses verified his words.  Since we don’t leave corpses to rot, we fill cemeteries world-wide with dead bodies.  But no one ever defies God’s threat in Genesis 2:17, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

How comforting to know that researchers in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have agreed with God and Moses.  Unwittingly, of course; and conditionally, of course.  They admit that a limit exists to our life span, unless a “breakthrough” occurs to conquer the aging process.  Their studies in a “global database” prove that no such breakthrough is at hand or in prospect.  While women during childbirth live longer, and children with better pre-natal care and dietary improvements live longer, nothing keeps the aged from passing.  San Diego U-T, 10/6/16

True, a few people world-wide live beyond 100, some to the 120’s.  A few.  A miniscule number compared to the pre-Flood characteristic age of 800-900 YEARS.  And equally small compared to the Post-Flood characteristic age 200-400 YEARS.

We didn’t need a study to prove we can’t live without dying, but scientists and researchers love to create studies to prove they CAN DO research.  Meaningless, yes.  Unprofitable, yes.  But it satisfies them and think it somehow impresses us.

Right now, on this very day, cemeteries world-wide will find hearses carrying in bodies.  None will carry out living, resurrected people.  Hearts will break from those leaving the dead behind.  (In reality, they leave only the body behind. The spirit in the body has departed, leaving the living behind.)  Nevertheless, ongoing death proves the truth of God’s word and mocks the pretensions that humanity COULD, SOMEHOW, reverse it.

Better for us to read God’s Word, to believe in God’s Son, so we can defy eternal death by rising from the dust in new bodies when Jesus Christ calls everything alive in his Return.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Death – various perspectives for

While sorrow, loneliness and despair afflict survivors, consider the far worse scenario King Jehoram experienced in ancient Judah II Chronicles 21:1 ff, especially verse 20.  Leading his people from God when succeeding his father Jehoshaphat, Jehoram died after eight disaster-ridden years.  And…”He passed away, to no one’s regret….” verse 20.  Better to have survivors grief-stricken over one’s death than they should forget one as soon as possible.

**************

One young man took President Lincoln’s death so personally he died by suicide.  He left a note that he wanted “to join Abraham Lincoln.”  War Years IV, 337.

The only death Jesus demands of his disciples is death to self-will, A.K.A., self-denial.  Followed by LIFE everlasting in God’s Son.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to patch Christ’s new garments to our sin-worn habits; or pouring his new wine into our old, cracked beliefs.

*************

After criminally not guarding Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, Washington D.C. policeman Joseph Parker wandered the streets.  At 6 A.M. the next morning he herded a hapless street-walker into the station to prove he had been doing something.  Charges against her were dropped.  Charges against him were NEVER filed!

God’s servants need-never, indeed must never, disobey him flagrantly, then try to compensate by some useless gesture, acting as if we have really been on duty after all.  If we sin, confess it.  Never try to draw attention from it by some act of morality or generosity.  God never forgets unforgiven sin, even if we do.  As he never remembers forgiven sin, though we sometimes do.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328

Death – coming not altering life-habits

Doc Holliday spent his final days in a hotel in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  His diet had long included alcohol, which did nothing to minimize the effects of the tuberculosis consuming his body.  Nor did his habit change in Glenwood.  Each morning bellhops carried breakfast to his room—a bottle of whiskey—a service he rewarded with a generous dollar tip. #Last Gunfight, 300. While we think imminent death would automatically change a person’s thinking or alter his habits; automatically turn his thoughts to God; automatically make him regret his sins, we’d be wrong on all counts. We can’t know for sure, but their refusal to change may include a fear the subject rouses.  Knowing they’re not ready to meet God, by ignoring their mortality people think to postpone their rendezvous even AFTER death.  Or maybe they think they will naturally go to heaven, having paid for their sins by dying.  That’s the Jewish view.  After all, repeated surveys have shown that, while we’re not sure so-and-so is going to Heaven, we’re confident we are. Maybe they hope God will be merciful to them even if they haven’t been to others.  After all, isn’t it his job to forgive?  Or maybe they’re counting on God remembering them in death even though they’ve forgotten him in life.  After all, wouldn’t he send only the worst kind of person to hell—not someone who simply left him alone and didn’t seek any favors?  Or whatever other reason exists why people don’t change their self-focused obsession even when death is in the city; even when it’s in the neighborhood; even when it’s outside our house; even when it’s KNOCKING on our door, calling OUR name. The fact is, we’re hopelessly stupid if we don’t let even approaching death excite repentance of sin and pleading for God’s grace.  True, death-bed repentance hardly fulfills the purpose of Christ’s magnificent FULL life he gives believers over a life-time John 10:10.  But what possibly could be worse than dying impenitent?  Than dying without a personal relationship with God Almighty, the Consuming Fire Hebrews 12:29?  For what will we do when we have left a world to which we no longer have relevance and entered a world for which we have made no preparation?