Reconciling Fear And Death....A Scriptures Study
Sometimes dying is a slow, unrelenting process.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."
There are 15 verses in Proverbs alone which talk of "fear" in terms of virah or reverence.
Each one speaks to us in terms of fear of the Lord. See if you agree: Proverbs 1: 7 & 29, 2:5, 8:13, 9:10 (above), 10:27, 14:26 &27, 15:16 &33, 16:6, 19:23, 22:4, 23:17, and 31:30.
Fearsome God, or Loving God?
A chaplain expressed to me his confusion at the differing perceptions of our Heavenly Father which he seemed to gain from the Old Testament, on the one hand, and the New Testament on the other.
He expressed it as the difference between a God to be feared, and awed, and a God of forgiveness, love, and kindness.
He was perplexed and seeking an answer.
I thought, and answered his question with an example.
My children's friends at first perceived me as a fearsome and strict authority to be held in a certain amount of awful uncertainty.
But when my children told them what I am really like, and they could see for themselves, their perception changed (hopefully for the better.)
A Heavenly Father speaking from the whirlwind, the thunder, and the burning bush, is certainly a God to be feared and held in awe. He is the perceived God who so concerned my chaplain friend.
But the Heavenly Father of the New Testament drew closer to us through the teachings and sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son.
The perception of a forgiving, kindly Heavenly Father is one of the precious gifts of Christ, Himself a gift to us from Our Heavenly Father.
The difference rests in the promises and blessings of our Christianity.
There are spiritual mountains for all of us to climb.
A man, like us, named Alma....
A man like us, named Alma, once asked, "I ask you men of the church, have you spiritually been born of God? Does your appearance reflect His love? Have your hearts experienced a great change?"
As background for his questions, he himself had a very sinful past which led to his conversion, and to a ministry.
He recounted that in this way: "I received strength again, and I could testify that I had been born of God, so that I might bring others a sense of that exceeding joy which I feel, and they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost!"
Truly, as Proverbs states in 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
He expressed the feelings of a favorite scripture of mine found in John 8:26-51 which can be summarized as Jesus saying to the Jews that believed Him, if they would keep the commandments His Father had given Him to teach, they would never need to fear death, for those truths would make them free of such fears.
Alma himself, said he had not feared death so much, as a sinful man, as he feared with very great horror how he would feel coming into the presence of God.
One day will see the setting sun of our lives.
What should we remember?
We do well to remember that the authors of the New Testament gospels wrote to us after they themselves had experienced the exceeding joys of being born of God.
They are writing to us of Christ's life, promises, teachings, blessings, and overcoming that death which so many still fear.
If that is a fear any of us have, we might pray: "Oh God, have mercy on me, for I am torn with bitterness in the everlasting chains of death. Amen"
Christ's atonement for our sins can clearly cut through those chains, if we do as He promised the believing Jews, and keep God's commandments and become spiritually born of God, serving Him with works of righteousness performed free of the fears which led us to wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and a faith that can endure all of life's challenges, even death.
© 2020 Demas W Jasper