Sealed in Death

by Kent Heaton

There is a remarkable thing that happens at the moment of death. When the spirit leaves the body and returns to Him who made us (Ecclesiastes 12:7) everything about our life is sealed permanently. There is no second chance for anything when death strikes. All of the accomplishments of life are ended. All of the opportunities given in life are over. The reality of death is the sobering truth of the finality of it all.

The Bible is our guide to the realm of the dead. Only from the mind of God do we have revealed the nature and character of life beyond this world. Without the revelation of God's mind to man the knowledge of life beyond the grave would be unknown. No book ever written can lay claim to that distinction. Abel was the first to experience this event when he was killed by his brother, Cain (Genesis 4:8). From that time until now all men that have died found their fates sealed in the twinkling of the moment of death.

Luke tells us the story of two men who shared together the experience of death (Luke 16:19-31). One was a rich man who lived life to the fullest. The other man in the story was a poor, miserable beggar named Lazarus who finally embraced mercy when death took his life. They both shared the same fate - their destiny was sealed in death. The rich man desired for Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool his awful pain. Abraham said this could not be done. The rich man then pled with Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to tell his five brothers how awful the place of torment was. Again Abraham denied the request.

The rich man never asked to be sent back. He knew that he would not be able to leave the place of torment. His life was filled with unrighteousness and because of this he would remain in torment. Lazarus, who bore the brunt of human cruelty in life, would remain in the bosom of Abraham; content to dwell with the saints of God. Neither one would be able to change their place. Only one wanted to be somewhere else.

Jesus taught that eternal life would be granted to those who believed on Him and were obedient to Him (Matthew 19:29; 25:46; John 3:15,16; 10:28; 17:3). Eternal life means that life is eternal without any change. However, the same rule is applied to those who are disobedient. "Everlasting punishment" is reserved for those who are wicked (Matthew 25:46) and the punishment is without end. There is no change. Jesus describes the final resurrection in John 5:28-29: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29).

Death seals the destiny of each person. The coming of Christ will seal the fate of all mankind. No one can be prayed out of torment. No one can be baptized out of torment (as the Mormon Church teaches). No one can get a second chance. Death seals the fate of everyone. This reality should make us pause and consider our lives before God. Jeremy Taylor wrote, "God hath given to man a short time upon this earth and yet upon this short time eternity depends." Your actions now will determine your eternal destiny (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). The mercy of God ends in death. The grace of God ends in death. The invitation to come to salvation ends in death.

When Jesus comes (II Thessalonians 1:7-10) the blood shed on the cross will never be offered again. Are you ready for the Lord to come? Are you ready to die?