Hebrews 9:24-28

car accident occurred in the small town where I was a pastor. A
mother and three children from out-of-town were injured and taken to
the emergency room. I was called to the hospital and asked to wait
with the nine-year-old daughter. I tried to calm her and give
assurance. She asked me several times, “Are we going to live?” Her
question has often come to mind over the intervening years; as far as
life is concerned I could have answered her question with a no. That
is the truth from Hebrews 9: 27 – It is appointed for men to die once,
but after this the judgment.

We must face life’s greatest certainty – death.

might forget an appointment made with the hair salon, or the auto
mechanic, but death is an appointment we can’t miss. It doesn’t
matter what you have planned on the schedule; this appointment takes
precedence. You can’t fail to show up for it; you can’t forget it.
People keep trying, like those who have membership in a cryonics
mausoleum – “freezing morgues” – they’ll thaw you out later when a
cure is available and you can go on living. However, freezer burn
doesn’t sound too good.

We do not know how,
when or where death will come. It might come quietly and calmly like
Joseph, Joshua and Solomon. It might come tragically like Eli who fell
and broke his neck, or Absalom who didn’t look where he was going and
hung himself in a tree. You might be killed like John the Baptist,
the victim of a woman’s wrath. You might die in remorse like Zedekiah
who witnessed the death of his two sons and then had his eyes gouged
out. The how, when and where are secondary; we must face the
certainty of death. “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return”
(Gen. 3:19). Are you ready for this appointment?

We must prepare for the judgment that follows death.

death we face another appointment – judgment. Webster was once asked
the most significant English word; he answered “accountable.” Many
people live as if there is no accountability. Kenneth Lay wrongfully
operated the Enron Corporation and continued to live in luxury after
his conviction. Waiting for the judge to pronounce his sentence he
died of a massive heart attack. Was he prepared for the final

Death is itself a judgment. Adam
and Eve were driven from the garden and access to the tree of life as
judgment for their sin. That judgment has passed upon all of us
sinners (Rom. 5:17, 6:23). Beyond physical death is the “second death,”
eternal separation from God. Which word will you hear at that
judgment? “Welcome, you blessed of my Father!” or “Depart, I never
knew you.” Maybe you are saying, ‘It doesn’t matter, preacher; when
death comes that’s the end.” On what authority can I rest that

Prepare for death and judgment with Christ.

decided to take the word of Jesus who went through death, arose to
life and “to those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second
time, apart from sin, for salvation” (v. 28). The word “appear”
occurs three times in the text (vv. 24, 26, 28). Warren Wiersbe (The
Bible Expositor Commentary, Vol. 2, 312) describes these as the
“three tenses of salvation” and all are based on Christ’s finished
work. Because Christ obediently appeared “to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself,” all who know Christ in repentance and faith can
face death and the judgment without fear.

what are you waiting – that big opportunity, that special someone,
retirement? Some people are just waiting to die – actually, they’ve
never really lived. Some carelessly or deliberately choose death,
with no security for a meaningful future. In this Thanksgiving season
all who know Christ can be thankful our future is secured. We eagerly
wait for Him and the completion of the work started when we first

brief provided by: Bill Whittaker, President of Clear Creek Baptist
Bible College in Pineville, KY

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