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The Deathbed, the Great Equalizer: Last Words Tell All

How far is it from here to eternity? How far is it from this moment we are sharing to the other side? When the time has come, when you have no more road to travel, just how long does it take to pass into eternity?
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The Deathbed, the Great Equalizer: Last Words Tell All

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It’s what we do in the loss and not in the gain.  It’s what we do in the battle and not at the picnic.  The old saying goes: “You won’t find out what’s in the teabag until its dropped in hot water.”  It’s through the fire and the water that our steel is forged.  Psalm 66:12:

Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

God’s Word teaches that we are living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), and all sacrifices must go through the fire (Mark 9:49). 

Our faith is tried during trying times, but there is an outcome that far exceeds any natural expectation.  I Peter1:6-9:

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Trials come not to overcome the BORN AGAIN but that we might overcome those trials by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).

Romans 5:3-5:

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

It’s in the trials and tribulations that God’s children are purified.  Be encouraged, saints! No trial that we will face will be bigger than Christ in us.  I Corinthians 10:13:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 

You and I will not fail.  The journey of the faithful is one of purification and truly marvelous to consider and to participate in. 

Dear friend, have you yet to be BORN AGAIN as Jesus said in John 3:3?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved.  Acts 4:10-12:

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In just moments, I will invite you to follow me in a simple prompt, and if you do, everything will change for you. Consider II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is surely true.  It is not “churchy talk.”  This transition is the greatest reality man can know.  Today, all your sin and its shame will be washed away by Christ’s cleansing blood. Today, all of Satan’s bondages in your life will be broken; the bigger, the better.  Today, you will begin the magnificent journey of Light. And, as you apply the childlike principles of faith, today will be the best day of your life, and just imagine: tomorrow will be better.  Here is the prompt I promised: Click onto Further with Jesus for childlike instructions and immediate entry in the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAYS SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Mark 16:15-16:

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

GOD SAID, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

GOD SAID, I  Corinthians 15:54-57:

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

MAN SAID: The Christian God and His Bible are so far out of touch with today’s reality! I mean, we’ve got “irreconcilable differences,” big time.  We don’t need God and we don’t want Him, either! Hang on.  What was that, doctor?  I’ve got two weeks to live?! Oh, God!  Save me, save me!!

Now THE RECORD: Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature 1104 that will once again certify the supernatural, inerrant bonafides of God’s Holy Bible.  All of these Word-centric features are archived here in text and streaming audio for your edification and that you might know of a certainty that the Word of God is true and righteous altogether.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one. 

Thank you for visiting.  May the glory of God fill you with Light and power. 

GodSaidManSaid frames it as the 180 principle, the principle of the opposites.  Think of it like this: A circle has 360°.  At the 180° mark, you are at opposite positions.  In the spiritual world, it is a foundational principle.  Examples of the 180 principle include:

◪ God is love.  Satan is hate.
◪ God is hope.  Satan is hopelessness.
◪ God is faith.  Satan is unbelief.
◪ God is light.  Satan is darkness.
◪ God is life.  Satan is death.

These are all like measures, but at opposite ends of the yard stick.  They are the 180. 

Through this life, the 180 will be glaringly clear, and hardly can a more perfect example be imagined than the deathbed.  The deathbed is the equalizer: Rich and poor alike must pass this way.  There are only two camps, the camp of the saved, whom Jesus calls the BORN AGAIN, and the camp of the damned, the UN-BORN AGAIN.  The difference between these two camps is truly as stark as day versus night. 

Each of the two camps approach death 180° out from the other.  For the camp of the blood-bought,  death has lost its sting entirely.  Death is looked upon with great expectation, even as a “graduation day.”  The God of the Bible makes marvelous promises to His children that are absolutely staggering.  By simply mixing childlike faith with the Word of God, these promises become ours, and what a comfort they are when nearing the end of the road! Several of God’s promises follow:

🕇 John 11: 25-26:

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

🕇 I Corinthians 15:54-57:

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

🕇 Revelation 21:1-5:

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

🕇 Revelation 22:1-6:

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

A heavenly expectation swallows the fear of death in one Holy Ghost gulp. 

Now, contrast the marvelous certainty of God’s promises with what befalls those in the second camp of the UN-BORN AGAIN who have refused Christ’s instruction, the imperative recorded in John 3:3.

In Mark 16:15-16, Jesus Christ speaks what is known as the Great Commission:

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Notice that there are only two options: Believe upon Jesus Christ and be baptized, and you’ll be saved; or do not, and be damned. What the unsaved have to look forward to is bleak indeed.  One need only remember the rich man in hell, crying for water to cool his tongue, which is in the torment of hell’s flames. The punishment never ends. 

The unsaved are terrorized by the grave.  While many of the ungodly are living in health and comfort, they will freely speak ill of God and His Bible, but when death comes knocking, they sing another tune! Of the coming judgment, Jude 1:15 reads:

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

The following excerpts were published by Pacific Standard under the title, “Do Atheists Have Deathbed Conversions?”

“Our tentative conclusion  is that even nonreligious people are tempted toward religious belief, if only implicitly, in the face of death,” writes Oxford University psychologist Jonathan Jong.  He is lead author of a paper entitled “Foxhole Atheism, Revisited,” published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology

Jong found that when reminded with death, “participants explicitly defended their own religious world view, such that self-described Christians were more confident that supernatural religious entities exist.” 

But when it came to nonreligious people, Jong found a disconnect between conscious beliefs and unconscious ones.  Like the believers, the nonreligious responded to death reminders by strengthening their commitment to their world view—in their case, the firm belief there’s no such thing as supernatural entities. 

But using an implicit association test, he found that after thinking about death, nonbelievers “wavered from their disbelief.”  Specifically, 71 students from the University of Otago in New Zealand were presented with a series of 20 nouns, which they were instructed to categorize as “real” or “imaginary” as quickly as possible. 

Jong reports  that “while believers strengthened their beliefs, non-believers wavered from their disbelief” after thinking about their own mortality.  Specifically, they were slower to label such concepts as “God” and “heaven” as imaginary. 

In other words, when death was on their minds, “believers more readily judged religious concepts as real,” he writes, “while non-believers found it more difficult to judge religious concepts as imaginary.” [End of quotes]

As you should suspect, Dr. Jong has his challengers. 

The last words of the famous individuals who follow were found on five different sources, which will be listed at the end of the feature.  The difference between the ungodly and the redeemed will be 180° obvious. 

🔾 Aristotle, a great philosopher:

In the face of death, he proclaimed: “I was born in sin.  I have lived unhappily.  I die in doubt.  Cause of causes pity me.”   

🔾 Beaconsfield, a politician:

“Youth is a mistake, manhood is a struggle, old age a regret.”  

🔾 Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist:

“Now it is nothing but torture and makes no sense anymore.”   

🔾 Karl Marx, social philosopher, revolutionary:

“Go on, get out.  Last words are for fools who have not said enough.”

🔾 Gandhi, Indian lawyer, ethicist:

At his death, he said: “For the first time in 50 years, I find myself in the slough of despond.  All about me is darkness. … I am praying for light.” 

🔾 Thomas Hobbs, political philosopher:

“I say again, if I had the whole world at my disposal, I would give it to live one day.  I am about to take a leap into the dark.”

🔾 Thomas Payne, leading atheistic writer in the American colonies:

“Stay with me, for God’s sake; I cannot bear to be left alone, O Lord, help me! O God, what have I done to suffer so much?  What will become of me hereafter? I would give worlds if I had them, that The Age of Reason had never been published.  O Lord, help me!  Christ, help me! No, don’t leave; stay with me!  Send even a child to stay with me; for I am on the edge of hell here alone.  If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one.”

🔾 Sir Thomas Scott, Chancellor of England:

“Until this moment, I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”

🔾 Voltaire, famous anti-Christian atheist:

“…I am abandoned by God and man.”  He said to his physician, Dr. Fochin: “I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months of life.” When he was told this was impossible, he said, “Then I shall die and go to hell!” His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe, I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.” 

🔾 Robert Ingersoll, American writer and orator of the Golden Age of Free Thought:

“O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul!”  Or some say: “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul, from hell, if there be a hell!” 

🔾 David Hume, atheist philosopher famous for his religious skepticism:

He cried loud on his deathbed, “I am in flames!”  It is said his desperation was a horrible scene. 

🔾 Sir Francis Newport, head of an English atheist club:

To those gathered around his deathbed: “You need not tell me there is no God, for I know there is one, and that I am in His presence!  You need not tell me there is no hell.  I feel myself already slipping. Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know I am lost forever!  Oh, that fire!  Oh, the insufferable pangs of hell!  Oh, that I could lie for a thousand years upon the fire that is never quenched, to purchase the favor of God and be united to Him again.  But it is a fruitless wish.  Millions and millions of years will bring me no nearer the end of my torments than one poor hour.  Oh, eternity, eternity forever and forever!  Oh, the insufferable pangs of hell!” 

🔾 Charles IX, French king:

Urged on by his mother, he gave the order for the massacre of the French Huguenots, in which 15,000 souls were slaughtered in Paris alone and 100,000 in other sections of France, for no reason than that they loved Christ.  He finally died, bathed in blood bursting from his veins.  To his physicians, he said in his last hours: “Asleep or awake, I see the mangled forms of the Huguenots passing before me. They drop with blood.  They point at their open wounds. Oh! That I spared at least the little infants at the bosom!  What blood! I know not where I am.  How will all this end? What shall I do?  I am lost forever! Oh, I have done wrong.”

🔾 David Strauss, leading representative of German rationalism who spent a lifetime erasing belief in God:

“My philosophy leaves me utterly forlorn!  I feel like one caught in the merciless jaws of an automatic machine, not knowing at what time one of its great hammers may crush me!”

🔾 Joseph Stalin, Soviet revolutionary and politician:

In a Newsweek interview with Svetlana, his daughter, she told of his death: “My father died a difficult and terrible death. … God grants an easy death only to the just. At what seemed the very last moment, he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room.  It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry.  His left hand was raised, as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all.  The gesture was full of menace…the next morning, he was dead.”

🔾 Anton LaVey, Satanic bible author and high priest of the Satanic worship religion:

His dying words were: “Oh my, oh my, what have I done, there is something very wrong.” 

Now consider the dazzling contrast between the lost and the found:

🔾 Harriet Tubman, African-American emancipator:

The great African-American emancipator Harriet Tubman died singing.  Her last words were, “Swing low, sweet chariot.” 

🔾 Bessie Smith, Blues musician:

“I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord.”

🔾 Thomas Becket, Archbishop:

Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in his cathedral in 1170 after he had offended King Henry II.  He told his killers, “If all the swords in England were pointed at my head, your threats would not move me. I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the church may obtain liberty and peace.” 

🔾 George Washington, first president of the United States:

He composed his limbs, closed his eyes, and folding his arms upon his chest expired, saying, “Father of Mercies, take me to Thyself.”

🔾 C.H. Spurgeon, preacher:

Nearing the end of his life, he said: “Tranquil and happy, though very weak.  My theology is very simple.  I can express it in a few words and they are enough to die by.”  After a pause, he slowly said, “Jesus died for me.” 

🔾 Michael Faraday, chemical scientist:

When on his deathbed, he was asked, “What are your speculations now?”  “Speculations?” exclaimed Faraday.  “I have none!  No speculations now.  I KNOW whom I have believed.  My soul rests on certainties.” 

🔾 Charles Dickens, author:

“I commit my soul to the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and I exhort my dear children to humbly try to guide themselves by the teaching of the New Testament.”  

🔾 Albert The Good, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria:

He constantly repeated “Rock of Ages” on his deathbed.  “For,” said he, “If this hour I had only my worldly honors and dignities to depend on, I should be poor indeed.” 

🔾 Augustus Montague Toplady, author of one of the most evangelical hymns of the 8th century, “Rock of Ages:"

During the final illness, Toplady was greatly supported by the consolations of the Gospel: “The consolations of God, to so unworthy a wretch, are so abundant that he leaves me nothing to pray for but their continuance.”  Near his last awakening from a sleep, he said, “Oh what delights!  Who can fathom the joy of the third heaven?  The sky is clear, there is no cloud; come Lord Jesus, come quickly!” He died saying: “No mortal man can live after the glories which God has manifested to my soul.” 

[End of quotes]

As a minister of the Gospel in a small country church, it has been my privilege to bury the dead and to often be in their presence when death was imminent.  We all have an appointment with death.  Hebrews 9:27:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

There is a sickness or situation unto death. 

On December 18, 2015, my 29-year-old son Asa, a mighty man of God, died without last words of the kind mentioned above, for he died in faith, believing that he would arise from the cancer that was ravaging his body in mere moments.  The day before he passed, my son Jeremiah and I sat with him, read the Word, and spoke of the glories of the faith.  Asa told his brother: “I’m going to buy you a boat,” and to me, “Dad, you’ll never have to work again,” though what I wanted was to work with him in our marketing agency.  When this mighty man of faith passed, he died in holy peace and expectation.  What wasn’t said in words was written on his face and captured by his open eyes, even a sense of wonder and great glory, as though he saw what our natural eyes cannot.  There was awe, a wonder, and a peace that passes all natural understanding. 

A year or so later, I received a call informing me that a great servant of the Lord, who had battled multiple afflictions for many years, was in a Pittsburgh hospital on her deathbed.  I immediately drove there; when I entered the room, I was taken aback by what I saw.  Sister Nell was sitting up, cross-legged, in her hospital bed without any back support, and she was writing notes! I knew sister Nell for over forty years and saw her two to three times each week, or at least 4,160 times, and never before had she looked so young , joyful, and vibrant.  I said, “Sister Nell, I was told you were on your deathbed, but you have never looked so energized and full of life!” This is what she said, and how she said it: “I’m going home, brother Dave!”  After a slight pause, she added, “don’t you pray for me.”  That last sentence was certainly not spoken in jest.  Sister Nell was going home and she wasn’t interested in an extension of her time here on earth.  I told Nell I would pray for God’s perfect will, and would anoint her for departure.  She told me she was awaiting her sister, who was flying in from Georgia, and after the visit, would be going home. While we were conversing, a nurse came into the room with Nell’s medication, causing her to retort: “What for?! I’m going home!”  

Just before I left that afternoon, I asked my dying sister to do me a favor: “Sister Nell, when you get to heaven, and see brother Asa, tell him that we love him and miss him every day, and tell the saints that Maranatha sends its greetings.  In Jesus’s name, we’ll see them soon.”  Nell paused for several seconds and said simply, “I’ll do it.”  Hallelujah!  I know the message was sent and confident it was received.  A short time later, Nell’s sister arrived. True to her word, shortly after the visit, sister Nell went home.  “I’m going home, brother Dave!” 

There is scarcely a greater contrast between the BORN AGAIN and the lost than the contrast discovered on the deathbed. 

You have heard some of the last words of the world’s great of both camps, but how about some of the last words of Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, who hung a naked pauper upon Calvary’s hill:

🕇 Luke 23:43:

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

🕇 Luke 23:34:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

🕇 Luke 23:46:

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

🕇 John 19:30:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

What a contrast.  What simplicity. 

Church history reports that the Roman emperor Nero ordered the execution by decapitation of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul had this to say in II Timothy 4:6-8:

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Young brother Stephen is being stoned to death as a result of his defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the condoning and watchful eye of one called Saul of Tarsus. Acts 7:60 records brother Stephen’s last words:

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The Saul of Tarsus who oversaw the death of brother Stephen became the Apostle Paul. 

King David’s last words are recorded in I Kings 2:1-3:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,

2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man;

3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

The deathbed is truly the equalizer and the 180 could not be more dramatically demonstrated.  A day of reckoning awaits all of us.  If you have yet to surrender your life to Jesus Christ, click onto “Further with Jesus” and make your decision now.  Your deathbed will be filled with hope and great expectation, hope and great expectation that will not be denied.

GOD SAID, Mark 16:15-16:

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

GOD SAID, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

GOD SAID, I  Corinthians 15:54-57:

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

MAN SAID: The Christian God and His Bible are so far out of touch with today’s reality! I mean, we’ve got “irreconcilable differences,” big time.  We don’t need God and we don’t want Him, either! Hang on.  What was that, doctor?  I’ve got two weeks to live?! Oh, God!  Save me, save me!!

 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Final Words of Famous Men

Finding Faith Too Late,” PreachItTeachIt.org

Elder, G., “Professing Faith: Last Words of the Dying Range from Religious to Profound to Profane,” RedlandsDailyFacts.com, January 31, 2018

Jacobs, T., “Do Atheists Have Deathbed Conversions?,” Pacific Standard, June 14, 2017

Mendoza, M., “A Collection of Last Words,” PsychologyToday.com, April 4, 2017

Pratte, D., “Famous Atheists’ Last Words: Unbelievers, Death, Dying, & Judgment,” Gospelway.com, 2021

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