For the Believer, Death Is a Great Awakening

Death is like a great ocean, and we are on this shore seeing people depart. But every ocean has two shores, and every person we see depart is seen as arriving on that other shore. Death is not the end. Just as birth was our ticket to this world, so death is our ticket to the next. It is less of an end than a beginning.

If I told you today I would move you from the slums to a beautiful country estate, you would not focus on the life you were ending but the life you were beginning. Death, though a curse in itself, was also the only way out from under the Curse—and only because God had prepared a way to defeat death and restore mankind’s relationship with Him.

Hope you enjoy these reflections on what it will mean to leave this world of pain and suffering, and enter into Christ’s presence (drawn from my book Eternal Perspectives, now out of print but still available on Kindle):

“[Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” —PAUL, 1 CORINTHIANS 15:25-26

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” —PAUL, 1 CORINTHIANS 15:55

“By [Christ’s] 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

“There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” —JESUS, REVELATION 21:4

“May I view things in the mirror of eternity,
waiting for the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call,
hastening unto the new heaven and earth. . . .
May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today, let this be my best day.”

—The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

“My knowledge of that life is small, The eye of faith is dim, But it’s enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with him.”Richard Baxter

“H. S. Laird’s father, a Christ-loving man, lay dying. His son sat at his bedside and asked, ‘Dad, how do you feel?’ His father replied: ‘Son, I feel like a little boy on Christmas Eve.’” Jack MacArthur, adapted from Exploring in the Next World

“Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before. . . . Earth recedes. . . . Heaven opens before me!” D. L. Moody, on his deathbed

“I once scorned ev’ry fearful thought of death,
When it was but the end of pulse and breath,
But now my eyes have seen that past the pain
There is a world that’s waiting to be claimed.
Earthmaker, Holy, let me now depart,
For living’s such a temporary art.
And dying is but getting dressed for God,
Our graves are merely doorways cut in sod.”

Calvin Miller, The Divine Symphony

“Oh, God, this is the end; for me the beginning of life.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, just before he was hanged by the Nazis

“Here in this world,
He bids us come;
there in the next,
He shall bid us welcome.”

John Donne

“The gate of death is the gate of exit; the gate of Heaven is the gate of entrance; but these two are so close together that as the one shuts, the other opens. When a ripened saint was getting near the end of life’s journey, his friends said, ‘He is lying at the gate of death.’ He himself said, ‘I am lying at the gate of Heaven.’ Both were correct, for to the dying Christian the two gates are practically one.” James Campbell, Heaven Opened

“Most people think we are in the land of the living on our way to the land of the dying. But actually, we are in the land of the dying on our way to the land of the living. . . . Death is a conjunction, not a period. . . . Death is a conjunction followed by a destination.” Tony Evans, Tony Evans Speaks Out on Heaven and Hell

“Death. It is the most misunderstood part of life. It is not a great sleep but a great awakening. It is that moment when we awake, rub our eyes, and see things at last the way God has seen them all along.” Ken Gire, Instructive Moments with the Savior

“We consider it strange that Christians claim to believe that heaven—being present with God—is so wonderful, and yet act as if going there were the greatest tragedy. We believe that death will someday be destroyed, but it is still a painful experience which all of us must face. We believe that some Christians may have idealistic views of deathbed rapture and be unprepared for this enemy’s grim violence. God has not promised His children an easy death or deathbed visions of glory. He has promised an open door beyond.” Joseph Bayly, When a Child Dies

“When a Christian dies, it’s not a time to despair, but a time to trust. Just as the seed is buried and the material wrapping decomposes, so our fleshly body will be buried and will decompose. But just as the buried seed sprouts new life, so our body will blossom into a new body. As Jesus said, 'Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it dies, it brings a good harvest' (John 12:24, Phillips).” Max Lucado, When Christ Comes

“We have not lost our dear ones who have departed from this life, but have merely sent them ahead of us, so we also shall depart and shall come to that life where they will be more than ever dear as they will be better known to us, and where we shall love them without fear of parting.” —Augustine, letter to Lady Italica

 “Birth is such an excellent analogy for death. As surely as a newborn baby ‘dies’ from the womb-world into this world, so will our passing from life on Earth be a birth into another. . . . Babies do not cease to exist when they pass down the birth canal; they just don’t live in the womb any longer. The person in the womb becomes the person who lives in the world. The person in the world becomes the person who lives in Heaven.” Daniel Brown, What the Bible Reveals about Heaven

“Sleep, like death, is a temporary experience and ends in a great awakening. I think the image of sleep is used for death so often in Scripture because sleep and death are both universal experiences. . . . When I’ve worked hard, I look forward to lying down in a refreshing sleep. I don’t fear sleep or try to avoid it; I embrace it. We close our eyes in anticipation of a new day. For the Christian, death is falling asleep to all we have known in this realm and waking up in Christ’s presence.” Douglas Connelly, The Promise of Heaven

For more on the New Earth, see Randy’s book Heaven. You can also browse our resources on Heaven and additional books.

Photo by Ramon Kagie on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries