If A Man Die, Shall He Live?
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We want to continue thinking with you about the subject we have considered for some time—namely, Questions Which Demand An Answer . The question we are going to consider today is the fifteenth of sixteen such questions. We have referred to these as Questions Which Demand An Answer , because they are questions which are vital to our life. They are questions which are vital to our spiritual experience and our spiritual growth. The question which we have for our consideration today is one that, in the light of the materialistic age in which we live, will not hold a great deal of interest for very many people; for the question we are going to consider today is, If a man die, shall he live again? That question is found in the book of Job, chapter 14. I say, it is not a question that may be of a great deal of interest to a lot of people because of the materialistic age in which we live.

I have noticed in the last two decades an emphasis upon materialism among believers that makes me wonder if we would not rather continue living on this planet and not have our life interrupted by death or even by the coming of the Lord. I think the efforts to prolong life are an indication of that situation.

Of course, nobody that I know of particularly wants to die, but I notice that when it comes time for man's journey to be ended, there seems to be a great deal of emphasis on prolonging life without due regard to the quality of life as though this life is all there is, so I don't know how interested you will be in this question, If a man die, shall he live again?

Based Upon Universal Destiny

That is a question that came out of the heart of Job in the midst of a great deal of trouble as we are going to see before we are through. But it ought to be a question of real interest to everybody here today because it is a question that is based upon a universal destiny. I would ask you, do you know what your destiny is? Are you concerned about your destiny? I am sure that you would be thinking in terms of a personal goal in life, but I am thinking of a universal destiny that we all face. Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 27, says:

Hebrews 9:

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

This question, If a man die, shall he live again? , is based upon the universal destiny which we all face, and you and I face death as certainly as I am standing here before you now. If we all are going to die, should we not be interested in the question, If a man die, shall he live again? This question, which is based upon a universal destiny, keeps in mind the fact that the appointment for that destiny was made many years ago back in the Garden of Eden. You recall the words of Genesis, chapter 3, verse 3. God, having made provision for the welfare of His people, said to Adam and Eve:

Genesis 3:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

You are aware of the story. They ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they died. Oh no, they did not die that moment, for the literal rendering of the passage says, “dying thou shalt die.” Death set in and eventually they died.

An uninformed person might say, “What has all of that got to do with us?” I say that it has much to do with us, for that appointment that was made with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden became an appointment for every individual as the Apostle Paul has taught us in the book of Romans, chapter 5. Recall what is brought to mind there in verse 12. The whole chapter deals with a comparison and a contrast of Adam and Christ—the first man, Adam; the second man, Christ. In the midst of that comparison and contrast this statement is made:

Romans 5:

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; [That is what we were talking about back in Genesis, chapter 3, verse 3.] and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Notice the phrase, “death passed upon all men.” Every single individual is living under the sentence of death. Death has passed upon all men. Since men shall die, shall men live again?

Fear of Death

We have become somewhat hardened to death, most of us. With all of the emphasis upon death in television and literature and movies, we have become somewhat hardened. Yet, when you get down to the real nitty-gritty facts of life, we must recognize that all men live in the fear of death. You recall what is in Hebrews, chapter 2, verses 14-15. Speaking of the reasons for the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God says:

Hebrews 2:

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them [listen carefully] who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The human race lives in fear of death. It seems to me from what I have been able to observe that it is only after an individual has been informed that his days are not long upon this earth and he has time to accept that as fact, that he approaches death with any sense of peace at all.

If you will go back to the book of Job and notice chapter 14, verses 1-2. In preparation for asking the question we are considering, he said:

Job 14:

1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

This is Job's poetic way of emphasizing that he believed that death was imminent at that particular time in his life. His hope was weak, his knowledge was somewhat clouded, and he closed his meditation at the end of the second verse by saying, “He does not continue, cut down as a flower, cut down as the grass, and that is the end.”

Born Out of Despair

So I would like to suggest to you that this question we are considering is not only based upon the destiny of the human race, but it is a question that was born out of despair. I want us to notice how Job actually felt about life. There in verses 5-6, he felt that man was like a hired man in an unpleasant job, awaiting the end of the day. Notice verse 5:

Job 14:

5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, [notice] as an hireling, his day.

Job was not wedded to this life as we are wedded to it. He had no real desire to stay with it. He said, “God, why don't You let me alone? You decide how long I am going to live, and then You wart me all the time I am alive. I feel like a man who has a job as a hired hand. He doesn't like his work and the only thing that he has to be thankful for is that by and by the sun will set and he will be able to go home from the job. God, life means so little to me, so little that I feel like a hired man in an unpleasant job.” Job said, “I want to know if there is anything left? If a man dies, shall he live again?”

Glance down at verses 7-10. Not only did Job feel like he was a hired man who had an unpleasant job; he felt like he was living his life for nothing. He said, “Even a tree is better off than I am.” Notice what he said:

Job 14:

7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

Do you get it? You cut down a tree; that's not the end of it. You may think it is, but the stump is still in the ground and the first little bit of moisture that comes its way, life will spring out of it and the tree will grow again. “At least the tree lives with the idea that it might sprout again, but I am living for absolutely nothing. There is no point in life at all.”

Then if you will glance down at verses 20-21, you will notice that Job said, “Life is not by suffering, and what little man may get in life, he won't live long enough to enjoy.” Notice:

Job 14:

20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

Do you realize what he is saying? “Lord, You are against man every day that he lives. You prevail against him, and You will change his countenance, and he thinks maybe something good is going to happen, but You don't let him live long enough to see it. You don't let him live long enough to let him see his sons prosper, and You don't even let him live long enough to see his sons learn some of the lessons that they need to learn.” Then he said, “If that is all there is to life, then there is not much left.”

Life After Death

The Apostle Paul echoed that same thought in I Corinthians, chapter 15, when he said in verse 19:

I Corinthians 15:

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

It is difficult for us, in the midst of our materialistic abundance, to fully comprehend the heart-rending condition of Job and the real reason he asked this question: “If a man die, shall he live again?” That is the question which we are considering today in order to find the answer, but to do that I would like to suggest to you that it is a question of a double meaning. “If a man die, shall he live again?” Some translations put the emphasis upon that word again . The suggestion is, is there a resurrection? But some translations render the question, “If a man die, shall he live ?” The reference there is to life after death.

You see, some folk ask the question, “Is there anything beyond the grave?” Some folk say, “I am interested in that, but I want to know if there is something beyond the grave. Is there anything beyond that?” “If a man die, shall he live again?” Skip down to Job, chapter 19, verse 25-27. Later on in Job's life of testing and trials, the trials parted and he was able to remember some of the things that he already knew and he uttered those precious words:

Job 19:

25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

I say to you that later on in Job's experience of distress, the trials parted and his mind was refreshed about what he already knew and he said, “Yes,” in answer to that question. “I know that my redeemer liveth, and I know that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and I know that I shall see Him.” That is as clear an answer as is found in the Old Testament to the question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

The Old Testament was not meant to be the complete revelation which the New Testament is, and there are truths which are hinted at in the Old Testament which are amplified in the New Testament, so I say to you, as I ask you to turn to II Timothy, chapter 1, and notice with me that the true answer to this question was not given and could not be given until the Lord Jesus Christ Himself came to the earth as the Savior of mankind. The Apostle Paul emphasizes that truth in verse 10:

II Timothy 1:

10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Truth through the Lord Jesus Christ, truth shrouded in times past is made manifest through the appearing of Jesus Christ. Notice He has abolished death. No, people still die and many will die, but He has abolished death as something to be feared. He has abolished death and He has brought life and immortality to light. Here is the answer to the question with the double meaning, “If a man die, shall he live again?” Jesus Christ has brought life and immortality to light.

The word life answers the first part of the question, “If a man die, shall he live?” Yes. Yes, there is life after death, thank God. The grave is not the end. He hath brought life and immortality to light. The word immortality is a translation of the Greek word athanasia . It refers to the body which includes the second part of the question, “If a man dies shall he live again ?” Yes, there is life after this life and there is a resurrection.

Paul said that the Lord Jesus Christ brought these things to light. He not only brought them to light, but He illustrated them in two instances in His life. Turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 11. As you turn there, keep in mind that this is the record of the death of Lazarus and the grief of his sisters. When they saw the Lord Jesus Christ, they said, in verse 21:

John 11:

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

The Lord Jesus Christ dealt with them on the basis of this question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” Notice verse 25, where we read:

John 11:

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

She was like a lot of people. “Yes, I believe you are the Son of God, but I don't know anything about the particulars.” Well, the particular is this in verse 25:

John 11:

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

It is important for us in rightly dividing the Word of Truth to recognize that these words were said to explain to Martha the difference between the resurrection of the body and continuing life after death because if you glance up there at verses 23-24, Jesus said:

John 11:

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

She had a limited knowledge. She believed that there would be a resurrection. She believed that her brother would rise at that time, but in verses 25-27, Jesus Christ said, “You don't know the whole story. It is not only a matter of resurrection; it is a matter of life before that resurrection of the body from the grave.”

Turn, please, to John, chapter 14, and notice verses 1-3 and then verse 19, those familiar words in which the Lord Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light to His disciples who were concerned with His leaving them, and He said to them:

John 14:

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Then down in verse 19:

John 14:

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

This passage of Scripture is read so often at funeral services that we think when it says, “I will come again and receive you unto myself,” that He is talking about death. He isn't; He is talking about the hope of the Church. He is talking about the same thing that Paul is talking about in I Thessalonians, chapter 4, when he said, “Don't be ignorant like a lot of people are ignorant. Keep in mind that those who have died in Christ will one day rise when the trumpet sounds, and split seconds later, we who are alive will hear that sound and be caught up together with the dead to meet the Lord in the air.” “Shall he live again?” Yes.

Job, in the midst of all of his despair, could listen to the glad, glorious, good news that this life is not all that there is. There is something better by and by. I don't know what awaits us as the human race. I do know that the Bible teaches that before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, things are going to get very difficult. I don't know how difficult. I don't want it to happen any more than you want it to happen, but I tell you this. Life could well be unbearable before it is all over to the extent that the hope that is ours is the answer to this question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

Eternal Separation from God

I have been thinking with you about this question and its answer from my own standpoint, and the standpoint, I trust, of nearly all of you, the standpoint of someone who has received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and who looks forward to life after death; but because I must declare the whole counsel of God, I ask you to turn in your Bibles to the book of Revelation, chapter 20, as I remind you that just as certainly as there is a life after death, just as certainly as there is a resurrection for the believer, there is a life after death and resurrection for the unbeliever that should bring terror to his heart.

This passage of Scripture to which I have asked you to turn expresses it better than I can. Notice the paragraph that begins with verse 11:

Revelation 20:

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

When God is through dealing with man upon this earth, He is going to sit upon this throne called the Great White Throne and all the unsaved of all the ages and of all the universe will stand before Him. You see, the soul never dies, and when the soul of the unsaved man leaves his body in this age, it goes to Hell. As we read in this passage of Scripture, Hell stands before God. The body is placed in the grave when the unsaved man dies, and sometimes it is forgotten about, but God hasn't forgotten it. When this Great White Throne is set, then this body will be raised from the grave like the dead body of the believer, but where the dead body of the believer is glorified (changed), where it might live throughout all eternity in pure joy, this body is cast into the lake of fire where it suffers for all eternity.

I have no time to talk about how a body could go to Hell without being burned up, but that is God's business. I believe His Word. I have no time to discuss whether it is right, whether it is wrong, whether it is fair, whether it is unfair. It is my responsibility to declare the whole counsel of God, and so I remind you that in Revelation, chapter 20, death and hell were cast into the lake of fire; that is, body and soul were cast into the lake of fire, and with this second death, this is the second separation of man from God. It lasts for all eternity.

Conclusion

Christians, you have heard the answer to the question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” The answer is, “Yes.” But Sinner, the person who has not received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, give more serious consideration to that question than you ever have because you are going to live somewhere forever throughout all eternity.


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