by Tad Lindley
Every one of us was born from our mother’s womb. We had no choice in the matter. And at least some of us will die. If the Lord delays his coming long enough, all of us will die once. Doctors can prolong human life in some cases, but except for the coming of the Lord, death will come and we will breathe our last breath. People have given everything they own to shamans, medicine men, and doctors in order to stave off death, but in the end they exhaled and returned to dust.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). From the Garden of Eden until now, only two people are recorded to have evaded death: Enoch and Elijah. Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Genesis 5:24) In other words, Enoch walked so closely with God, that when his life was winding up, the Lord simply took him. He did not cross the threshold of death. When Elijah had reached the end of his time he and Elisha were walking, and it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)
Not even Moses escaped death. David’s tomb remains to this day. Death is an inescapable fact of life. Every airplane that takes flight must eventually touch down again, and every baby that comes into this world must one day leave it.
The second death
From the beginning until now, the dead have been buried in the ground, swallowed up by the sea, and burned in funeral pyres. The exit of the soul from the body marks what we call death. This is really just the first death. There will be a second death for many.
Daniel prophesied concerning the dead: and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2) When the wicked dead awake to shame and everlasting contempt, they will taste of the second death. First of all, death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). Then the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Revelation 21:8). The second death is an eternal death from which there is no escape.
Escaping the second death
The Bible tells of those who will not taste of the second death. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Revelation 2:11). Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). By this we know that just as there are many that will die twice, there are also many who will only die once. They will rise up victorious with Jesus and say, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55)
Born twice, die once
Jesus told Nicodemus this powerful truth: You must be born again (John 3:7). According to Jesus here is why we must be born again: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Unless we are born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God. You will see in your Bible that Jesus went on to be even more specific about this second birth: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Not only do we have to be born a second time, but that second birth involves being born of water and of the Spirit.
This second birth or new birth is available to all people. The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). He does not want anybody to experience the second death. If you are not born again, which according to Jesus means being born of water and of the Spirit, then you are on a path to dying twice. The time is now to repent of your sins and experience the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ through baptism in his name and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Be born again!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.