An Appointed Time

Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples”’ – Matthew 26:18.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted. – Ecclesiastes 3:1; 2.

Lake Superior State University of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan has issued its 26th annual extreme list of words “banished from the Queen’s English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness, which the world needs ‘now, more than ever.'” They received a record 3,000 nominations for the list this year with most of the nominations being received through their Website. Nominations were, and are being accepted apparently from everyone who takes the time to nominate. This year’s list contains 23 words and phrases such as “must-see TV,” “got game,” “mental mistake,” “frozen tundra,” and “an undisclosed, secret location.” Last but not least according to the list was the phrase, “untimely death,” sometimes used by obituary writers and others. The phrase according to some would indicate that some deaths are more tragic than others. Donald Burgess of California asks, “Has anyone yet died a timely death?”

The answer to the question asked by Donald Burgess is, “Yes!” Some have indeed died timely deaths. At the top of the list, is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus began His physical life on this earth at the proper time, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…(Galatians 4:4).” He also died at the proper time, “My time is at hand (Matthew 26:18).” There is a “time” to be born and a “time” to die according to Ecclesiastes 3.

If there is a “time” to die, then it is reasonable to assume that there is a wrong “time” to die. The Bible also addresses this in Ecclesiastes 7:17 and says, “Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: why should you die before your time?” It is possible to die ahead of schedule before your appointed days (Hebrews 9:27) upon this earth have been completed. The word “appointed” in Hebrews 9:27 comes from the Greek word “apokeitai” meaning “reserved, awaiting, laid up.” It has been appointed a proper time for us to die and for Christ, which is mentioned in the next verse, “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:28).” Since there is an improper time to die, how could that happen? Man has a free will. We can choose to commit suicide. We can choose to do unwise things such as mountain climbing without the proper skills, driving to fast, using illegal drugs, and we know we can be unwise in a vast number of other ways, which could lead to death. That is why we are warned in Ecclesiastes not to be foolish.

We can die in peace when we die in the Lord at the proper time. Simeon is an example of this. Simeon was “just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25).” “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26).” When Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus into the temple, Simeon “took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: ‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation (Luke 2:28-30).'”

Let us live, not as “foolish”, but justly, and devoutly so that we too may “depart in peace” at our “appointed” time.

(There is an appointed time for your death. Are you prepared?)

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