Dr. C. S. Lovett's
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEATH!
“How can you speak with authority on the subject of death, Dr. Lovett, when you haven’t died? You haven’t been through it yet!”
That challenge came from a Christian radio commentator interviewing me on the subject of death. I gave a facetious reply, yet one that packed a lot of truth: “You don’t have to be a horse to judge a horse race.” We both laughed. Then I remembered how a doctor replied when challenged about his comments on cancer. He never had the disease, but he spoke with authority about it:
“No, I have not had cancer, but I have treated lots of cases, and I’ve seen some completely cured.”
THAT’S MY POSITION
As a staff chaplain at Los Angeles County General Hospital, I was with plenty of people who were dying. I saw death firsthand—at close range—lots of times. But that is not the basis of my authority. My authority is the Lord Jesus.
His credentials are impeccable. He has kept people from dying. He has raised them from death after they expired, and best of all, He’s gone through death personally and returned to show how harmless it is. What I will be saying is not based on my experience, but on His and His Word.
See that word harmless? That’s the one thing I want everyone to know about death. The average person is terrorized by it. To many, it’s the worst thing that could happen. But that’s a lie. There’s nothing to it. And where do you think that lie comes from?
“Since the children have flesh and blood (that’s us), He too shared in their humanity so that by His death, He might destroy him who has the power of death—that is, the devil –and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (Heb. 2:14-15 NIV).
Consider that fantastic passage. Note how the Bible speaks of man’s fear of death and who’s behind it—Satan. That is where that lie comes from. He says death is a terrible thing. But Jesus says it is harmless. Whom do we believe? If we fear death at all, we believe Satan. If we view it as a harmless transition, we believe the Lord.
JESUS PROVED HIS POINT
When I was a boy, we would swim the great canals that lace the San Joaquin Valley. By the time water reached us from the Sierra, it was usually slow moving and not too deep. But one day, we came upon a canal that was swift and spilling over. Should we dive in or not? We all hesitated, not daring to be the first. Finally, one of us jumped in. The current carried him away, but he scrambled up on the other side and started shouting: “Hey, come on! See I am okay, there’s nothing to it!”
That’s what Jesus has done. He jumped into death (via the cross) and came out on the other side. Now He calls to us, “Don’t be afraid! There’s nothing to it! See, I’m okay. It won’t hurt you either!”
“That’s OK for Jesus, He’s God!” Is that what you are thinking? Consider Lazarus. The Lord didn’t rush to Bethany when told of Lazarus’ illness. The fact is, He knew Lazarus was dead (John 11:16,13). Then He deliberately stayed away two more days, making four in all (vs. 39). He wanted Lazarus’ body decaying and rotting so that no one could say Lazarus wasn’t really dead. That way there would be no question but that Lazarus had passed through death.
When the Lord called him out of the grave, whom do we see? The same Lazarus, totally unchanged, totally unharmed. Death didn’t faze him a bit. Nor did it faze Jairus’ daughter, (Luke 8:41-55), or the widow’s son (Luke 7:14,15). Death was harmless in each case.
JUST WHAT IS IT THEN?
If death is so harmless, why are people so afraid of it? Because they don’t know what it is. They’ve never been taught. Very simply it’s the separation of the soul from the body. You see the soul is a prisoner of the body. It is not joined to the body any more than the clothes you are wearing. It is merely confined (like a jail) to the body and cannot be released until the body dies. Only at death does the body let go of the man inside. You cannot cut a man out of a body, you can’t even find him. But once the body expires, the man is released.
Man is not a body. He merely wears one as an earth-suit for the time he is on earth. Man is a spirit being, the image of God, and just like God (John 4:24). As such, he has his own separate life, totally independent of the body. Thus when the body dies, the man continues to live. He operates nicely without a body, for then he is immediately in the spirit world where people do not have bodies as we know them. In God’s world, no one has a body. He may have a spirit form, but certainly not a physical one (2 Cor. 5:1).
Life in a physical body is very unnatural for the image of God. That is why our time on earth is short. But it makes possible the faith life. In a body, man is limited to the senses of the creature (feel, smell, hear, see, and touch). Consequently, he is forced to respond to God’s revelation of himself by faith. This is as God planned it.
WHAT ABOUT THAT DEAD BODY?
What should we do with the corpse once the man is through with it? The devil has ideas about that too. He wants people to lavish their money and agonize over it. He is the unseen sponsor of the extravagant funeral. He doesn’t want Christians to consider, for one minute, the joy of the graduate in the presence of the Lord. He wants believers’ eyes on that corpse. He wants them so bound to it, that they will be unaware that Jesus has set us free from all such fleshliness.
As for that decaying body, of what use is it! God is through with it. As long as the believer was in it, it served as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). But once he’s out of it, the Spirit has no desire to indwell a rotting corpse. With both occupants gone, that body is of no use to anyone. There’s only one thing to do with it—dispose of it.
There are two ways to dispose of dead bodies—bury or burn. It doesn’t matter which you choose. There are no heathen nations around us that burn children alive, as were around Israel. So we don’t have to worry about the old Jewish prohibitions against burning bodies. As for the difference between burial and cremation—there is none. Bodies oxidize whether in a grave or an oven. The same process occurs in either case. In the ground the oxidation is slow, in an oven, it is fast.
HERE IS MY POINT
This is not an article on body disposal. I really don’t care which method people use. But I am concerned for an hour that is swiftly approaching when many of us could be martyred for our faith in Jesus. I know there are those saying it is impossible, but I believe it is possible you and I could be confronted with the mark of the beast. To refuse will mean death. That’s why I write as I do. When it comes to choosing between death and receiving the mark, it helps to know death is harmless. If we don’t have to die, fine. But being prepared can erase the fear.
Did you know death is one of the most fantastic things that can happen to a Christian? You were too little to appreciate your entrance into the world, but you ought to enjoy your exit. And you can, if you learn . . .
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEATH!
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2022 Personal Christianity. All rights reserved.
SINCE YOU ASKED!
Question: “I’m confused and need help. Some have said no specific reference to the rapture can be found in the book of Revelation. If you disagree, please tell me where you see the rapture in this mysterious book. I want to settle it in my own mind.”
Answer: True, the word “rapture” does not appear in the Revelation, but I see the event very clearly in Chapter 11 where the two witnesses went up to heaven in a cloud (vs. 12). In fact, they were called, the same as those in the rapture passage of 1 Thess. 4:17 where a lot of detail is provided. It can be shown that the Lord is descending in a cloud and the believers who are alive at the time are caught up to meet Him in the air.
A companion passage is Chapter 14:14-16, where the earth is harvested of its fruit by one “like a son of man” seated on a white cloud. The symbolism is quite clear. But you must read on to note the second harvest, where the unsaved are brought to their judgment.
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: This is a great book with good insight on how to recognize the devil at work in your life. Highly recommend it to any Christian who is spiritually mature. (T.A. White—online)
I first read this book (DEALING WITH THE DEVIL) shortly after being saved, I would strongly recommend it for new and old Christians. This book gives you a practical insight into the warfare that we are in and helps you to recognize the enemy before there is a crisis. Reading this book gave me the tools I needed to fight the devil and win because it taught me how to use God's word and to depend more on the power of God and less on myself. (E. WInt—online)
LOVETT’S LIGHTS ON JOHN (2021 edition): 381 pages. The "Lights" in this book reveal the hidden meanings and show how they relate to other great truths of the Bible. Available on Amazon.com sells for $15.99 HERE.
WITNESSING MADE EASY (2019 edition) helps motivate you to get out of your comfort zone in small easy steps. Purchase on Amazon.com for $14.99 HERE.
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL has been updated and revised (2018 edition) for today’s readers. Are you tired of having Satan put dreadful things into your mind? Available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99 HERE.
THE PREPARED LIFE book is a valuable resource for you and your family that can help you be prepared to deal with today’s problems and end-times events. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 HERE.
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