a path through the forest toward light

I have been thinking a lot about death recently.

I have been thinking a lot about death recently

My Mom recently died in her 90s. 

My younger sister recently died in her 60s. 

A former colleague died three years older than I am. 

Friends died younger than I am. 

I attended my first Zoom memorial service. 

The daily pandemic numbers are also a constant reminder.

The average age of death in America is about 80 years. For every Aunt Lucy who runs marathons in her 90s, there are people who die in their 60s, often unexpectedly.

Life in heaven will be different from life on earth…very different.

Jesus’ letters in Revelation 2-3

In Revelation, chapters two and three, Jesus gave John letters to seven churches under his care. The churches have strengths and weaknesses. They are praised and warned. Jesus tells them:

            I know……your toil and your patient endurance (Revelation 2:2, ESV*)

            You have abandoned the love you had at first (Revelation 2:4, ESV*)

            Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison (Revelation 2:10, ESV*)

            I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first (Revelation 2:19, ESV*)

            You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead (Revelation 3:1, ESV*)

            I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3: 15-16, ESV*)

The churches then, as the churches now, were mixed: some good, some bad, some containing good and bad.

John’ vision in Revelation 4-6

But a big change comes in Revelation 4:1.

Revelation chapters four, five, and six paint a very different picture. John is given a vision of heaven, the eternal home of Christians. John describes what he sees:

          At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of  jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the  appearance of an emerald… (Revelation 4:2-3, ESV*)

            And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes  all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, 

                “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8, ESV*) 

                  The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne           and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns    before the throne, saying, 

                “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:10- 11, ESV*) 

                  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth   and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 

               “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 

                  And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:13-14, ESV*)

Earth is mixed, scattered, and finite. Heaven is focused. It is the home of the Living God. We will be there. We will not be the focus. God will be.

On earth we live a life built on our finiteness, our fallenness, and relationships with those around us. Sometimes these relationships can be very difficult. Life in heaven will point to God and we shall experience him clearly.

What should we do?                             

While we are still alive on earth, we should focus on God. We should pray, learn God’s written word, and use our spiritual gifts to serve in his Church. 

We should point people toward God through the Gospel and through discipling other believers.

We should accumulate only what we need to live and not be magnets for useless clutter. Clutter distracts us from our life’s purpose.

Life in heaven will be different from life on earth…very different.

Questions for consideration:  

How have your thoughts about death changed over the years?

How will heaven be different for you? What parts of your finiteness and fallenness are you most looking forward to leaving behind?

* Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible

28 thoughts on “I have been thinking a lot about death recently.”

  1. Some really good insights here Dr. Krupp. I appreciated the blog and it did cause me to stop and think too. Our world has turned upside down and seems more like Bizarro World than what we used to know before March 15th. It is refreshing to remember Heaven and eternity will be nothing like that! Amen, Lord, please come soon!

    1. Eric
      Yes, in the midst of all that is going on, we have a secure and blessed future
      Yes, Lord, please come soon
      Bob

  2. Great thoughts Bob! We cannot even fathom all that He has in store as we finally see and worship Him with the multitudes of saints and angels!! I am so sorry for all the recent losses here on earth.

  3. Related to this was the book you recommended titled A Season of Mystery by Paula Huston. I have enjoyed the book and the emphasis on “being” over just doing. I can plan to do for the first half, but what about the second half. I can see myself putting these things into practice for the full season of the life remaining. Thanks for sharing your reviews and thoughts.

  4. Amen Bob. Thank you for the time you give to share. I am so sorry about your loss of family recently. Your thoughts and reminders are so full of glory. God bless.

  5. Excellent Dr. Krupp. Totally agree to focus on the eternal which couples with not loving the world and the things in the world. God is sovereignly in control!

  6. Bob,
    Thank you for post. As Christians we should always be mindful of death. It presents itself as the greatest graduation celebration known to the believer. Of course, we realize the process of getting there can be physically painful, but that experience is (or will be) obviously different for each of us. After re-reading Alcorn’s “Heaven” and Derek W.H. Thomas’s “Heaven on Earth” I can look forward with great anticipation to that guaranteed event.

  7. Thanks, Bob, for your wise and helpful thoughts on death. I think about this a great deal and appreciate your comments about “What We Should Do.” Redeeming our time for the Kingdom is the best way to spend our last years on earth.

  8. Thanks Professor Krupp, good words from Scripture as I sit in one of my Dr appointments talking about the reality of my life threatening health issues I deal with. With blood clots and an Aortic Aneurysm(to name a few issues) the reality of death looms often in my thoughts. I appreciate you equipping us and reminding us to both look to Jesus, and live for him above all else only continually. Please take care!

    Blessings,
    Chris Warner

  9. In answer to your question: “How have your thoughts about death changed over the years?” – I am learning to focus more on seeing life here on earth as preparation for what God has for us “after this.” My goals have changed more toward faithfulness to Christ, rather than ministry results that I personally desire.

  10. Howard Williams

    BOB I WILL SOON BE 80 & BLESSED WITH GOOD HEALTH. LAST SEVERAL MONTHS I HAVE BEEN THINKING MORE ABOUT HEAVEN AND IT HAS GIVEN ME MUCH JOY! JUST FINISHED AN EXCELLENT BOOK ON HEAVEN BY CHIP INGRAM. COL.3:1-4.

  11. Bob,
    In 2004 I went through a similar experience losing my step-mom, a very good friend, and my father in a tragic farm accident. I was also in an auto accident that put me in the hospital. I experienced a very deep sense of loss and brokenness. What I ultimately discovered reading the story of the alabaster box in all four gospels, was when the woman broke the box and anointed Jesus’ feet it released a sweet perfume that filled the house. My experience taught me that through our brokenness we release that fragrance of Jesus into the world. After going through this I realized a depth of compassion and empathy for others in my life. I realized that my brokenness and humility empowers the Gospel. Thank you for sharing your blog. It refreshes in my thinking the power of the alabaster box!

  12. Bob, You inevitably think more about our home going as we age…what troubles me about death is when,as I just read online a young minister who had a beautiful family with 4 kids, a small church in Texas and a heart to preach and help the less fortunate, was senselessly killed by a semi, when he stopped to help someone on the side of the road whose car was on fire. I know that all things work together for good …. but my sense of protection by protective angels or just simply the many promises of HIS protection as we serve Him here on earth is severely disturbed when I see that happen. …and yes I know the statistics are 100% that we’ll all die and meet our savior eventually ,but such a horrible testimony for GODS care while serving Him. Id like to think that the christians death serves some purpose, but accidents and sickness only seem to serve an ancillary purpose that we’ll never understand. The only redeeming value is how they lived their life and their ultimate joy at going home ,but that is little solace to a grieving family…..

    1. Marv
      Yes, trying to see the meaning in very difficult circumstances is hard.
      Thank you for your comment
      Bob

  13. Nick Timmerman

    Bob, I really appreciated this post, and I found the section on What We Should Do especially helpful. Life is filled with distractions, and considering our own end helps us to focus on the few things that really matter. I’m sure I will be pondering these thoughts throughout my day and week.

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