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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Death

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Is generally defined to be the separation of the soul from the body. It is styled, in Scripture language, a departure out of this world to another, 2 Timothy 4:7 . a dissolving of the earthly house of this tabernacle, 2. Cor. 5: 1. a going the way of all the earth, Joshua 23:14 . a returning to the dust, Ecclesiastes 12:7 . a sleep, John 11:11 . Death may be considered as the effect of sin, Romans 5:12 . yet, as our existence is from God, no man has a right to take away his own life, or the life of another, Genesis 9:6 . Satan is said to have the power of death, Hebrews 2:14 ; not that he can at his pleasure inflict death on mankind, but as he was the instrument of first bringing death into the world, John 8:44 ; and as he may be the executioner of God's wrath on impenitent sinners, when God permits him. Death is but once, Hebrews 9:27 . certain, Job 14:1-2 . powerful and terrific, called the king of terrors, Job 18:14 . uncertain as to the time, Proverbs 28:1 . universal, Genesis 5:1-32 : necessary, that God's justice may be displayed, and his mercy manifested; desirable to the righteous, Luke 2:28-30 . The fear of death is a source of uneasiness to the generality, and to a guilty conscience it may indeed be terrible; but to a good man it should be obviated by the consideration that death is the termination of every trouble; that it puts him beyond the reach of sin and temptation: that God has promised to be with the righteous, even to the end, Hebrews 13:5 . that Jesus Christ has taken away the sting, 1 Corinthians 15:54 . and that it introduces him to a state of endless felicity, 2 Corinthians 5:8 . Preparation for death.

This does not consist in bare morality; in an external reformation from gross sins; in attention to a round of duties in our own strength; in acts of charity; in a zealous profession; in possessing eminent gifts: but in reconciliation to God; repentance of sin; faith in Christ; obedience to his word: and all as the effect of regeneration by the Spirit. 3 John 3: 6. 1 Corinthians 11:3 . Titus 3:5 . Bates's four last Things; Hopkins, Drelincourt, Sherlock, and Fellowes, on Death; Bp. Porteus's Poem on DEath; Grove's admirable Sermon on the fear of Death; Watts's World to Come. Spiritual Death is that awful state of ignorance, insensibility, and disobedience, which mankind are in by nature, and which exclude them from the favour and enjoyment of God, Luke 1:79 .

See SIN. Brothers of Death, a denomination usually given to the religious of the order of St. Paul, the first hermit. They are called brothers of death, on account of the figure of a death's head which they were always to have with them, in order to keep perpetually before them the thoughts of death. The order was probably suppressed by pope Urban VIII. Death of Christ. The circumstances attendant on the death of Christ are so well known, that they need not be inserted here. As the subject, however, of all others, is the most important to the Christian, a brief abstract of what has been said on it, from a sermon allowedly one of the best in the English language, shall here be given. "The hour of Christ's death, " says Blair (vol.i. ser. 5.) "was the most critical, the most pregnant with great events, since hours had begun to be numbered, since time had begun to run. It was the hour in which Christ was glorified by his sufferings.

Through the cloud of his humiliation his native lustre often broke forth, but never did it shine so bright as now. It was indeed the hour of distress, and of blood. It is distress which ennobles every great character, and distress was to glorify the Son of God. He was now to teach all mankind, by his example, how to suffer, and how to die. What magnanimity in all his words and actions on the great occasion! No upbraiding, no complaining expression escaped from his lips. He betrayed no symptom of a weak, a discomposed, or impatient mind. With all the dignity of a sovereign, he conferred pardon on a penitent fellow-sufferer: with a greatness of mind beyond example, he spent his last moments in apologies and prayers for those who were shedding his blood. This was the hour in which Christ atoned for the sins of mankind, and accomplished our eternal redemption. It was the hour when that great sacrifice was offered up, the efficacy of which reaches back to the first transgression of man, and extends forward to the end of time: the hour, when, from the cross, as from an high altar, the blood was flowing which washed away the guilt of the nations. In this hour the long series of prophesies, visions, types, and figures were accomplished. This was the centre in which they all met. You behold the law and the prophets standing, if we may speak so, at the foot of the cross, and doing homage. You behold Moses and Aaron bearing the ark of the covenant; David and Elijah presenting the oracle of testimony. You behold all the priests and sacrifices, all the rites and ordinances, all the types and symbols assembled together to receive their consummation. This was the hour of the abolition of the law, and the introduction of the Gospel; the hour of terminating the old and beginning the new dispensation.

It is finished. When he uttered these words he changed the state of the universe. This was the ever-memorable point of time which separated the old and the new world from each other. On one side of the point of separation you behold the law, with its priests, its sacrifices, and its rites, retiring from sight. On the other side you behold the Gospel, with its simple and venerable institutions, coming forward into view. Significantly was the veil of the temple rent in twain; for the glory then departed from between the cherubims. The legal high priest delivered up his Urim and Thummim, his breast-plate, his robes, and his incense; and Christ stood forth as the great high priest of all succeeding generations. Altars on which the fire had blazed for ages were now to smoke no more. Now it was also that he threw down the wall of partition which had so long divided the Gentile from the Jew; and gathered into one all the faithful, out of every kindred and people. This was the hour of Christ's triumph over all the powers of darkness; the hour in which he overthrew dominions and thrones, led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men; then it was that the foundation of every pagan temple shook; the statue of every false god totterd on its base; the priest fled from his falling shrine, and the heathen oracles became dumb for ever!

This was the hour when our Lord erected that spiritual kingdom which is never to end. His enemies imagined that in this hour they had successfully accomplished their plan for his destruction; but how little did they know that the Almighty was at that moment setting him as a king on the hill of Sion! How little did they know that their badges of mock royalty were at that moment converted into the signals of absolute dominion, and the instruments of irresistible power! The reed which they put into his hands became a rod of iron, with which he was to break in pieces his enemies; a sceptre with which he was to rule the universe in righteousness. The cross, which they thought was to stigmatize him with infamy, became the ensign of his renown. Instead of being the reproach of his followers, it was to be their boast, and their glory. The cross was to shine on palaces and churches throughout the earth. It was to be assumed as the distinction of the most powerful monarchs, and to wave in the banner of victorious armies, when the memory of Herod and Pilate should be accursed; when Jerusalem should be reduced to ashes, and the Jews be vagabonds over all the world."

See ATONEMENT; Person and Barrow on the Creed; Owen's Death of Death in the Death of Christ; Charnock's Works, vol. 2: on the Necessity, Voluntariness, &c. of the Death of Christ.


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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Death'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/cbd/d/death.html. 1802.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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