THE RIGHTEOUS CERTAINLY SHALL NOT DIE!
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord”
We see that apparently everyone dies so who can say: I shall not die? There are among men those who cleave to the living God during this present life who can positively say: I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord, also some see the living Lord before them. Scriptures tells us that Enoch and Elias did not die but were taken alive up to heaven and immortal life, which confirms the truth that there is life that never ends.
Jesus Christ’s all important work during His incarnation is in His death and resurrection, part of His perfect plan for victory. Throughout the Church for two-thousand years we joyously celebrate Pascha, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Christ is proof of the resurrection of all mankind either into eternal life or eternal death according to what they choose in the present life, The apostles and many Saints died but many of them appeared to men from the other world proving further that there is life after death. The whole goal of Christian life is to become worthy of everlasting life in the heavenly kingdom. Both those who were taken up and those who died are alive with Christ in the immortal kingdom.
Each of us Christians must fully realize and proclaim to others that we possess eternal life which we received by our faith and trust in Jesus /Christ, the Life of the world. The Devil was the instigator who deceived man causing death to enter the world. Christ destroyed death’s power and through faith in Christ we are granted eternal life in place of eternal death and punishment. King David with great certainty proclaimed: “I shall not die but live and proclaim the works of the Lord.” We too, like David must be able to say with conviction: I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord. The risen Lord is the foundation of our Faith and our eyes have seen and our ears have heard more than the eyes and ears of King David.
The devil is the enemy of both God and man and Christ victoriously took away his authority among men whom he had previously tyrannized. The devil found that he had become similar to smoke following the resurrection of Christ, and death has became like a fog through which we pass into the beautiful sunny fields of immortality.
Death to unbelievers appears to be the end of everything but among all men there exists the concern about what happens after death, there is concern but little genuine interest. For they know in their consciences and too a degree realize that they should somehow prepare for the life which most certainly follows the present life.
Knowing that there is life after this life, and that we have knowledge of good and evil it follows that we must realize that we are free to think and choose as we will, and will have to answer. With this freedom which God has given us there came a great responsibility, and scriptures speaks of this in many places. For we will be judged by our works and be rewarded or punished accordingly. He sent His apostles to establish the Church and bring the many people into it. God desires the salvation of all men and all men should desire their own salvation if they desire life.
Let us rally under this banner: “I shall not die but live . . . ”, for this is the truth which we received from the Lord, who victoriously put death to death and granted us eternal life and the great mercy. Jesus sent His apostles in this manner: “and when He had said this: Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you remit are remitted unto them, whose sins you retain are retained to them” (John 20:22-23). The preaching of the Gospel and forgiveness of sins are now about two-thousand years old and are still maintained in the whole Orthodox Church, used both at the preparation for Baptism and during the mystery of Repentance.
If we live the good life in the Church, dedicate our entire lives to Christ, partaking of His honorable mysteries, we may be ranked among the righteous and be enabled to joyously declare: “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Christ is risen from the dead having destroyed death’s authority for He trampled down death by death and gave life to all that had previously died in faith and hope.