Appointed Once to Die

by Frank Jones


And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

Death is no stranger to this world but mankind lives in a passion of denial. "Death will never happen to me," they say within their heart. "Science will surely bring men and women to the place of immorality." Doctors are the pastors of this nation. Hospitals are their temples where tithes and offerings are given willingly at sicknesses' beckoning. Mankind bows at the work of men's hands in the medical field.

Of course, this is a much generalized comment. Every believer should express gratitude and thanksgiving for every "discovery" the Lord gifts to men. However, the denial of the coming appointment of death and judgment in the modern church is deafening. So little preaching on hell and fiery judgment of condemnation from the pulpits! When was the last time you heard a message - proclaimed earnestly, with tear and plea - of the coming Day of Judgment and the necessity of rebirth in Christ?

One's appointment can occur even within a church service. Apparently the following occurred at William Grimshaw's church, August 8, 1756. The burden for people's spiritual condition was exceeding great over their physical condition.

As Mr. [George] Whitefield mounted the temporary scaffold to address the thousands spread before him, he was observed to engage in secret prayer for a few seconds. Then casting a look over the multitude, elevated his hands and in an energetic manner implored the divine blessing and presence. With a solemnity peculiarly his own, he announced his text - "It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment."After a short pause as he was about to proceed, a wild terrifying shriek issued from the centre of the congregation. A momentary alarm and confusion ensued. Mr. Whitefield waited to ascertain the cause, and besought the people to remain still. Mr. Grimshaw hurried to the spot, and in a few minutes was seen pressing through the crowd towards the place where Mr. Whitefield stood. "Brother Whitefield (said he, with that energy which manifested in the strongest manner the intensity of his feelings, and the ardour of his concern for the salvation of sinners), you stand amongst the dead and the dying - an immortal soul has been called into eternity - the destroying angel is passing over the congregation, cry aloud, and spare not!" The awful occurrence was speedily announced to the people. After a lapse of a few moments, Mr. Whitefield again announced his text. Again a loud and piercing shriek proceeded from the spot where Lady Huntingdon and Lady Margaret Ingham were standing. A thrill of horror seemed to spread itself over the multitude when it was understood that a second person had fallen victim to the king of terrors. When the consternation had somewhat subsided, Mr. Whitefield gave indications of his intention of proceeding with the service. The excited feelings of many were wound up to their highest point. All was hushed - not a sound was to be heard - and a stillness like the awful stillness of death spread itself over the assembly, as he proceeded in a strain of tremendous eloquence to warn the Christless sinner to flee from the wrath to come. (Faith Cook, William Grimshaw of Haworth, Banner of Truth, 193-194)

The command of the King is still to proclaim His name into all the world. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love them by giving to them, not silver and gold, but Christ Himself. Give them the greatest, most infinite treasure of Highest Worth - give them Jesus and warn them of the wrath to come!