The Day of Death
Text: Ecclesiastes 7:1-6
I. As gloomy as it may sound, there are few things guaranteed in life, but I can say for certain that barring our Lord’s return, you will die.
A. Death is a fact of life. Those who are born will eventually die.
B. And life is short
1. Like spilt water on the ground - II Samuel 14:14
2. Like a shadow, leaving no trace, not stoppable - I Chronicles 29:15
3. Like a weaver’s shuttle or the wind - Job 7:6-7
4. Like a swift messenger, a swift ship, or a swooping eagle - Job 9:25-26
5. Like a flower - Job 14:1-2
6. Like a wind, just passing by - Psalm 78:39
7. Like a sigh - Psalm 90:9
8. Like the grass, leaving no trace - Psalm 103:15-16
9. Like a mist, or the vapor from a pot - James 4:14
II. Usually people live life as if it lasts forever
A. The failing of Israel was thinking things would last forever - Isaiah 47:7
B. Imagine a man who checks into a hotel room. On entering the room he calls a contractor to remodel it while he goes out an purchases new furnishings. At the end of the day he goes to bed and the next morning checks out of the hotel.
1. Sounds foolish to invest all that time and money just for a one night stay.
2. But remember we are here on earth only a short while. Are we spending our efforts on the temporary?
3. Mind on earthly things - Philippians 3:18-19
4. Romans 8:5 - Where do we apply our minds?
C. Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 - Take it to heart
D. Psalm 90:12 - Number our days and learn wisdom
E. We only get one shot at life - Hebrews 9:27
III. The reality of death
A. We don’t know when we are going, and we have no power to stop it - Ecclesiastes 8:8
B. We can’t take things with us
1. You can’t carry anything away - Psalm 49:17
2. We leave as we came - Ecclesiastes 5:15
3. You don’t know who will inherit - Psalm 39:6
C. We leave our bodies behind
1. Putting off this tent - II Peter 1:14
2. Absent from the body - II Corinthians 5:1-9
IV. Since the spirit leaves the body, what remains is no more than an empty husk.
A. How it is disposed of has more to do with local customs.
B. Dead bodies were considered unclean - Numbers 19:11-13
1. An unburied body was considered a defilement - Deuteronomy 21:22-23
2. Such makes sense. Dead bodies can rapidly spread diseases, as seen with the E-Boli outbreak a while back in Africa
C. Hence, most were buried
1. Abraham and Sarah were buried in a cave - Genesis 23:19-20; 25:9-10
2. Most burials were quickly done, but a few were delayed; in which case the body was embalmed - Genesis 50:2-5
D. It is also considered a kindness because it showed caring and respect - II Samuel 2:4-6
E. In Israel, dishonorable people where burned or cremated
1. Achor and his family - Joshua 7:24-26
2. The priests of Baal - II Kings 23:19-20
F. But sometimes circumstances called for cremation - I Samuel 31:12-13 (Saul, need for fast travel with dead bodies)
G. Eventually it became common place - Amos 6:10
H. No matter how it is done, the body returns to the ground. It does not remain - Ecclesiastes 12:7
I. Funerals are consistently spoken of as a time of mourning and grief.
1. The sadness is not that the person’s life is over because we know that the spirit lives on
2. The sadness is because we miss their presence with us. Example of Stephen - Acts 8:2
3. And when we know someone has not live righteously, a sadness that a precious life was wasted
J. Several of our customs have biblical basis
1. The leaving of will concerning burial - Hebrews 11:22
2. A funeral dirge or lamentation or remembrance is seen in the prophets - Ezekiel 19:1
3. Mourners and funeral music - Matthew 9:23
4. Funeral procession - Genesis 50:7-8
5. Tombstones - Genesis 35:20; II Kings 23:17-18
V. Knowing that we all will one day die, how then should we live our lives? - II Corinthians 5:8-11