Christians Should Plan To Die, But Shouldn’t Count On It

  By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen

Death has been the common experience of humanity. It is hard to imagine how many persons have died throughout human history. If things continue as they have been for as long as humanity has existed, the 6 or 7 billion persons alive on earth right now will all be dead in less than 200 years.
      Death knocks on everyone’s door. It is absolutely non-discriminatory. It cares not if we are religious or non-religious, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, white, black, or some other color, from a cold climate or a hot one, short or tall, healthy or sick, privileged or under-privileged, young or old. No matter who we are, or where we are, the history of humanity says death will pay us a visit.
      Therefore, it is logical that we plan for it. For example, we can decide ahead of time how much will be spent on our casket. We can plan ahead by deciding where we will be buried. We can plan ahead by putting it in our will what will be done with our belongings and money.  We can plan ahead by deciding whether or not we will be an organ donor.
      Since death is completely non-discriminatory, we Christians should plan for it, too. But, we should not count on it! Well-taught Christians know that the Bible very plainly teaches that one day the Lord Jesus Christ will return from heaven to receive his own people unto himself.. When this happens, dead Christians will first be raised to life, living Christians will by-pass death, and all of them together will forever be with the Lord. Two of the places in which the Bible teaches this are John 14:1- 6 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18.
     This is what Christians commonly call “the rapture,” though the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible. It is a Latin term that means to be caught up. So, though the term is not found in the Bible, the concept clearly is. For in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18 we are told that Christians will be caught up to be with the Lord when he comes to take them to heaven.
     The Bible does not say when this event will happen. But it does say we should be living in expectation of it, for it could happen today. Although the rapture might not happen for a long time, it could happen now. That is why the apostle Paul, when speaking of this subject in Titus 2:11 – 14, said in verse 13 that we Christians should be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” We should be looking for it, for it might happen today!
     In the early 1970’s, I knew a pastor in Minneapolis, MN who had a sign on his office door that simply said “Maybe today.” If you asked him what it meant, he would say “Maybe the rapture will happen today!” In other words, he lived in expectation of the Lord’s return for his people. He truly believed it could happen at any moment, and hoped it would soon happen, for he was excited at the prospect of going to be with the Lord. He knew he might die before the rapture, but he knew the rapture could transpire while he was alive.
     This should be every Christian’s attitude. We should plan for death, but not count on it. We might get to by-pass death by the Lord’s coming for us before we die. Are we “looking for that blessed hope” ? As the pastor’s sign said, “Maybe today.”
      What to do if you are not a Christian. If you are not a Christian, the Lord won’t come back for you, for you don’t belong to him. If you want to learn why you need to become a Christian, and how to do so, click on the following link and read the Gospel message:

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