Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Death

Jesus Died

Charles Dickens opens A Christmas Carol by stating that old Marley was dead and this fact, writes Dickens, must be understood lest anything wonderful is to come of this story.  Dickens goes on to say that Marley was as “dead as a doornail.”  In other words, Marley was truly dead.  The rest of the story would be nothing without this fact.

The same is true of the resurrection of Jesus.  Before the empty tomb, there is a cross.  Jesus had to die.  He had to be truly dead.  If Jesus is not dead, the resurrection is not true.  The story of the resurrection is only wonderful if Jesus is truly dead.

The Gospel writers go to great lengths to prove that Jesus is dead.  Let us just quickly go through how the Gospel writers present the death of Jesus.

  1.  Matthew – Matthew presents Jesus first being scourged by the Romans (Matthew 27:26) which was a violet process of whipping with a whip with bones on the end.  Many died at this point as their skin was ripped of their backs and their inner organs were often exposed.  Jesus is next taken to the governor’s headquarters were He is mocked and beaten by the soldiers (Matthew 27:27-31).  Finally Jesus is led away to be crucified (Matthew 27:32-44) and He finally dies after hanging on the cross for several intense hours (Matthew 27:50).  Pilate orders the body of Jesus to be given to Joseph of Arimathea who places Him in his own new tomb (Matthew 27:57-61).
  2. Mark – After Jesus’ arrest, He is led before the Jewish council where they mock Him and beat Him (Mark 14:53-65).  Mark records that the Jews hand Jesus over to Pilate so that He might be killed.  Pilate releases Barabbas instead of Christ and has Jesus scourged before His crucifixion (Mark 15:1-15).  The Roman soldiers mock Jesus (Mark 15:16-20) before taking Him to crucify Him (Mark 15:21-32).  Jesus hangs on the cross for several hours before dying (Mark 15:33-39).  Pilate, who is surprised to hear that Jesus is dead already, orders His body to be given to Joseph who buries Him (Mark 15:42-47).
  3. Luke – Like Mark, Luke records that the Jews mock and beat Jesus (Luke 22:63-65).  The Jews condemn Jesus to death (Luke 22:66-71) and bring Him before Pilate (as Jews could not put anyone to death because of the Romans).  Pilate sends Jesus before Herod since that is his jurisdiction but Herod mocks Jesus as well (Luke 23:6-12).  Pilate releases Barabbas (an insurrectionist and murderer) instead of Jesus (Luke 23:18-25).  Jesus is led away to be crucified (Luke 23:26-38).  Darkness falls over the land for three hours while Jesus hangs on the cross (Luke 23:44-45).  Jesus dies (Luke 23:46).  Pilate releases the body of Jesus to Joseph who buries Him (Luke 23:50-56).
  4. John – After His arrest, Jesus is led before the Jewish rulers who question Him (John 18:12-14).  The Jews condemn Jesus and send Him before Pilate (John 18:28-32).  Pilate questions Jesus and releases Barabbas instead of Jesus (John 18:33-40).  Pilate has Jesus flogged (John 19:1) and the Romans mock Him (John 19:2-5) and the Jews join in with this mockery (John 19:6-16).  Jesus is taken and crucified (John 19:17-27).  Jesus finally dies after hanging on the cross for several hours (John 19:28-30).  Pilate orders the legs to be broken of those on the cross which would ensure their death by suffocation (John 19:31-33).  A soldier sees Jesus is dead and to make sure he pierces Jesus’ side (John 19:34).  This likely pierced the sack around Jesus’ heart and revealed that He was dead.  Jesus is buried by Joseph in his own tomb (John 19:38-42).

All four Gospels reveal that Jesus is dead.  People have often come up with various theories about the death of Jesus and most are still with us this day.  For example, many Muslims believe the Gnostic theory that Jesus did not die on the cross but it was made to seem that way and many Muslims believe that Judas and not Jesus died on the cross but God made Judas to appear to look like Jesus.  This theory is simply false without any historical basis.  All four Gospels record that it was Jesus who died on the cross.  Even unbelieving historians acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross.  It is the resurrection they doubt.

Others teach the “swoon theory” in which Jesus merely passes out.  I like the reply J. Vernon McGee gave to a woman about the swoon theory:

A woman wrote J. Vernon McGee, “Our preacher said that on Easter Jesus just swooned on the cross, and the disciples nursed him back to health. What do you think?”

McGee replied, “Dear Sister, beat your preacher with a leather whip for thirty-nine heavy strokes. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his heart. Embalm him. Put him in an airless tomb for three days. Then see what happens.”

To be fair.  Jesus was not embalmed.  Instead, probably about 75 pounds of spices were wrapped with His body to prevent smelling during the decay process (John 19:39-40).  Yet still Jesus suffered much and for Him to rise up, take off the 75 pounds, roll away the stone, fight off the Roman guards placed there by Pilate himself, and be clean and in good health when He appears to the women on Sunday morning is a feat unto itself.

The truth is that the Gospels record the death of Jesus.  Some suppose He remains dead.  I believe with all that is in me that Jesus rose from the dead and He now sits at the right hand of God till His enemies be made His footstool (Psalm 110:1).  I believe that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28).  I believe that Jesus has conquered death by His resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).  I believe that Jesus arose bodily from the dead and He is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/25/2016 at 12:13 PM

Some Further Thoughts on the Death of Robin Williams

I have seen it all when it comes to the death of Robin Williams.  I have seen people defending him for committing suicide (some even calling it a brave decision).  I have seen people defending his right to take his life in the midst of his depression.  I have seen both worldly and Christians cheering on Williams as an actor.  I have seen people having “Williams Memorial” parties where they sit and watch Williams’ movies to celebrate his life (and his death I guess).  I have seen some Christians cheering Williams burning in eternal hell (no I am not kidding).  I have seen even one Christian rejoicing that Williams is now healed and in the presence of the King.

I have seen it all.

Williams’ death sparks a conversation about death that worldly people don’t want to face and that is that we all will die.  All of us will face the great equalizer in death.  On the same day that Robin Williams committed suicide, over 146,000 people died as well.  In the end, the 146,000 people who died the same day as Robin Williams are all the same: dead.  Their money, fame, fortune, poverty, disease, etc. could not help them.  They are all dead.  They all will end up the same as you and I: worm’s food (unless you cremate them).  From dust we came and from dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19).

Now in this post let me just address a few things.  First, as disciples of Jesus I don’t think we should make light of the death of anyone.  In Acts 12 the wicked Herod has James the brother of John killed (Acts 12:2) and he wants to kill Peter (Acts 12:3) but God hears the cries of the saints and He rescues Peter from sure death (Acts 12:5-11).  Later on, God strikes down Herod (Acts 12:20-23).  What you don’t see is the Church rejoicing in this.  You find the gospel going forth (Acts 12:24) but nothing is said that the Church rejoiced that Herod was killed.  Herod, no doubt, was an enemy of the gospel but the Church allowed God to handle Herod and they accepted His judgment.

My point is that the Church didn’t rejoice in killing of their enemies.  Paul the Apostle wrote in Romans 12:19-21 something completely different about this.  He wrote:

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus said that we were to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) to be like our Father in heaven.  

I don’t see room for disciples rejoicing that Robin Williams is dead or celebrating that he is in hell.  This is not from the Lord.  

That said, I don’t see that disciples should use Robin Williams as an example either.  This was a wicked man.  Let us not play games here about this.  Here was a man who had a vulgar mouth, made jokes about God Almighty, ridiculed Christ, was addicted to drugs and alcohol, etc.  That is only his public sins.  This was not a “good” man as some are saying.  This was a typical man.  A wicked man (Romans 3:10).  

Yet Williams is no different than us.  Without Christ and His grace, I too would be hell-bound (Titus 3:4-7).  Were it not for the grace of God in my life, I too would be lost in my sins (Ephesians 2:4).  Were it not for the cross, I too could be chasing women, addicted to drugs, bound up in my sins.  It was the grace of God and His grace alone that saved me.  It is tempting to belittle Williams and not see our own sinfulness and the grace of God intervening in our lives to save us.  Let us not ridicule Williams for his sinful life without stopping and pondering the grace of God in our lives.  In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, let us “remember our chains.”  

Before a holy God none of us are worthy.  Before a holy God none of us deserve heaven.  We deserve His just wrath.  But thanks be to God for rescuing us from our sins (Romans 5:8-9).  It was not me that saved myself from the wrath of God.  It was God in Christ saving me from His wrath (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As Dr. R.C. Sproul wrote, “We are being saved from the wrath of God by the sacrifice of God.”  I didn’t earn this salvation.  I didn’t make myself worthy to be saved by being a little better than Robin Williams.  I am saved only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

I pray that this truth, the truth of God’s grace, will flow in our minds and hearts as we consider the death of those around us.  We too will die but what separates us from the world is the Lord Jesus and HIs grace (John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57).  We are not like the world who grieve because they have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13) but we rejoice that Christ is risen from the dead and He is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Christ alone saved us from death and He alone gives us the assurance that there is more than the grave.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/14/2014 at 12:00 PM

What We Learn From Robin Williams

Robin Williams is dead at age 63.  He died, according to news sources, from suicide.  He joins a list of over 300 actors who have committed suicide.  Ironically, the world longs to be like these “stars” and to have their fame and fortune yet Williams struggled his entire career with various “demons” including cocaine abuse, alcohol, and depression.

I don’t want to make light about Williams’ death.  After all, we all will face death unless Christ returns (Hebrews 9:27).  All of us are going to die (Romans 6:23).  This is the way of humans.  We have sinned against a holy God and thus we have earned what we deserve, death.  Your death and mine are coming.

Yet what we learn from Williams’ death is much.  Here was a wealthy man, a man whom the world loved and adored.  Here was a man who made many laugh with his comedy and many cry with his acting.  His movies ranged from funny to weird and everything in-between.  I was not a big Williams fan but enjoyed him the most in the 1992 Disney film, Aladdin.  I also give him some credit for his acting in Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society.  Williams’ films were not always wholesome such as his vulgar language in Good Will Hunting or even Mrs. Doubtfire.  

As far as Williams’ religious views.  He was raised by an Episcopal father and a Christian Science mother.  Yet he seems to have embraced agnosticism (as there are not true atheists according to Romans 1:21).  Williams mocked Christianity at times and made many jokes about God.  He said that cocaine addiction was God’s way of telling you that you have too much money.  His comedy routine was full of vulgar and sexuality.  Williams was a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party and poured thousands of dollars into liberal causes such as abortion rights and homosexual marriage.  In essence, Williams was just what the world wants from a Hollywood actor.  Sinful.

In the end, Williams died depressed.  A man who had used his humor to entertain millions dies depressed and lonely.  He had struggled nearly his entire career with drugs and alcohol abuse yet he never repented of his sins.  He tried and tried to overcome his “demons” but they controlled him (Genesis 4:6-7).  Williams could have found peace.  He could have found victory over his flesh.  He could have had the power to fight those demons yet he never repented, never turned to Christ Jesus in saving faith.  Instead he mocked the Creator of all.  He mocked the Bible.  He mocked the truth that could have set him free.

Williams now knows there is a God (unless you believe in soul sleep).  His life is over.  His time is gone.  Some are seeking to find mercy in the Lord and some have been posting on Twitter and other social sites that God could have given Williams grace at the last-minute.  Therefore, they argue, we should not be quick to cast Williams into hell.  After all, he did so much good.  But I remind you friend that the Bible says that there is none righteous (Romans 3:10).  I remind you that all our good works are nothing before a perfect and holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  I remind you that our only hope for salvation is found in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  I remind you that are only time of repentance is now (Luke 16:27-31).  There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that we have hope once we die apart from trusting in Christ now.

The lesson we learn from Williams’ death is that we too will die and nothing can stop that.  Further, your money will not bring happiness.  Success will not produce peace.  Having women or men will not bring satisfaction in this life.  We must repent of our sins to find peace (Romans 5:1).  We must not love this world (1 John 2:15-17) but instead we must love Christ above all else (Luke 14:25-35).  The promise we have is His presence no matter what we face (John 16:33).  Jesus promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  No matter what may come, I have the assurance that Jesus is my strength and that nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:31-39).

In closing, let us pray that God sends a revival to Hollywood and that many of them will repent and trust in Christ alone to save them.  Let us pray that the “demons” that controlled Robin Williams (and many others in Hollywood as well) will be cast out by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/12/2014 at 4:21 AM

Dr. Stanley Horton Has Gone Home

I was sad to hear that Dr. Stanley Horton passed away on July 12, 2014 at the age of 98.  Dr. Horton was a well-respected scholar with the Assemblies of God and he wrote many books including What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit which was one of the first books I ever read on the Holy Spirit.  He also served in various educational capacities for the Assemblies of God before his retirement.

Dr. Horton continued to travel the world teaching the Bible up until age 92.  He was general editor of the Assemblies of God systematic theology text.

One a personal note.  When I was first saved in the early 1990’s (before the Internet), I had some theological questions so I wrote a letter to Dr. Horton.  To my surprise, he sat down and wrote me back in his own hand.  I have never forgotten that simple gesture toward this young disciple.

I rejoice that Dr. Horton is now resting in His Lord.  His faith has now been made sight.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/13/2014 at 4:12 AM

Posted in Books, Death

Tagged with , ,

On the Death of Steve Hill

I was sad to hear the death of Steve Hill, the controversial evangelist who led the Brownsville revival back in the mid 1990’s.  Hill was only 60 years old but had been battling cancer for the past few years.  His battle is over and he has won the victory (1 Corinthians 15:55).

I visited the Brownsville revival three times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  My first visit was in August of 1996.  I was a young 21-year-old man then and went with a critical spirit.  To that point I believed that the Brownsville revival was a joke and was not of God.  However, after staying for a week in Pensacola, I left seeing some bad and some good coming from the revival.  To this day I still believe that there was much flesh involved in the revival but I do know some men who are still saved and still in love with Jesus after getting saved at the revival meetings.

In those days, Hill was the most popular evangelist in the Pentecostal movement.  Every evangelist wanted to be like Hill.  They wanted his success in his altar calls, his anointing, his hunger for God.  Sadly, they often tried to mimic him rather than seeking God.

I heard Hill preach several times and once at the General Council meeting of the Assemblies of God in Orlando.  Hill’s message was not deep nor profound but simple: repent.  Hill preached hard on repentance of sin and turning from sin and living a holy life pleasing to the Lord.  Hill emphasized prayer and fasting.  His book, Time to Weepemphasized this point.  I enjoyed that book much.

While I didn’t agree with Hill on all issues and could write on the problems I saw at Brownsville, I do believe he loved the Lord Jesus.  He burned with fire for the lost.  He was not afraid to preach the gospel and for that, I am thankful.  You might disagree with Hill here and there but I rejoice that he did preach Christ and called people to repent.  I will rejoice with him in glory in due time.

)

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/11/2014 at 12:46 PM

Posted in Revival

Tagged with , ,

Howard Hendricks (1924-2013)

I was sad to read today from Christianity Today of the passing of Dr. Howard Hendricks.  A great man of God has received his reward (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Dr. Hendricks was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for many years.  I used his book, Living by the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, with teenagers back when I worked with teens.  His book was an easy to use basic biblical interpretation book.  His wisdom and wit were well-known and his books reflected that.  While in college I had to read his book, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive.  At the time, I didn’t think that the book was very useful but boy have I learned from it since.

Praise God for godly men such as Dr. Hendricks.  He is now resting in the Lord’s presence and worshiping his King.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/20/2013 at 2:57 PM

Death is Hard

Death is hard.  I know what the Scriptures have to say about death, that death is defeated (1 Corinthians 15:54-55) and that for the child of God, death is powerless (Hebrews 2:14-15).  I know that death cannot separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).  I know that Jesus will deliver me from death (2 Timothy 4:17-18).  I know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26).

Yet I struggle with death.  Death seems so final.  Those who die, we will never see again on this earth.  I have to live out my life in the hope of seeing them again in eternity.  I have pictures.  I have memories.  But I don’t have my mama.  I can’t hold her.  I can’t touch her.  I can’t hear her again.  I can’t be a boy again with her as my mama.  I only sit here hating cancer and hating death.  I do know the promises of God and this gives me hope but I long to be with my mama now.  Not later.  Now.

Rest assured that I trust in the Lord.  He is my strength.  I find He is a wonderful comforter for me.  I shall continue on in the Lord knowing that my salvation is secure in Him (Philippians 1:6).  Jesus is my everything and He will bring me safely into His kingdom.  Then I shall see my mama again.  I shall see the great saints of God long gone.  Until that day, I will press on to know Christ and bless Him in this life (Philippians 3:8-11).

I sure do miss mama though.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/16/2012 at 9:50 AM

Posted in Death

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: