Pastor-teacher Don Hargrove
Faith Bible Church
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
DDR & FBC PRAYER LIST #525
DEATH, Part 2: An Exodus
This doctrine is available at http://fbcweb.org/doctrines.html
The Bible gives us seven pictures of death: 1) a gift; 2) a departure or exodus; 3) a restful sleep; 4) a collapsing tent; 5) a sailing ship; 6) a permanent home; and 7) the last enemy.
Let’s take a look the second illustration: death as a departure or exodus. Let’s begin by opening the Word to Luke 9:30-31. The context is the Transfiguration. The King James Version (KJV) reads,
Luke 9:30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
The first thing we need to take a look at is the word translated “decease.” The original Greek word is exodos (ἔξοδος) and it is used only three times in the New Testament. The KJV translators were inconsistent in that they translated this exact word in Hebrews 11:22 with “departure,”
Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. (Heb 11:22 KJV)
whereas in Luke 9:31 and 2 Peter 1:15 they translated it “decease.”
2 Peter 1:13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (2Pe 1:13 KJV)
The word translated “departure” and “decease” in the above passages is the identical word in the original Greek (ἔξοδος). This is a compound word made up of the preposition ek meaning “out” with the common Greek word hodos which means “way” or “road.” Hence, exodos means being taken out of the road or the way. Related words include eisodos (εἴσοδος) with preposition eis meaning into hence “into the way,” and diexodos (διέξοδος) with preposition dia meaning “through;” hence “through the way.” ἔξοδος was used as early as Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) and Thucydides of Athens (460-396 B.C.) for moving out from one place to another as per an exit or door. The term never refers to any cessation or end. Death is not an end, it is merely an exodus, a transfer from this world into eternity.
“Exodus” or “exit” are much better translations for the Greek exodus (ἔξοδος) than decease. Decease is misleading. Let’s translate our three passages with “exodus” and see the clarity and consistency.
Luke 9:30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah,
Who appeared in glory, and spake of his exodus which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the exodus
of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. (Heb 11:22 KJV)
2 Peter 1:13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my exodus you may be able to call these things to mind. (2Pe 1:13 NAS
We can see that in the only three occurrences of exodos (ἔξοδος) in the New Testament that it refers to a going out, and exit – an exodus. As a matter of fact this word is “exodus” is the title of the second book of the Old Testament because it gives us the details regarding the exit of the children of Israel from Egypt. In the Old Testament exodus Moses led his people out of slavery, so now Christ’s exodus will lead us to our final destination. Christ’s exodus is proof that He can safely conduct us all the way from earth to heaven. There was nothing fearful about taking the journey from Egypt to Canaan; the people simply had to follow Moses, the servant of God.
Now to be fair to the King James translators it needs to be noted that the word “decease” was not entirely wrong when it was translated in 1611. It is derived from the Latin word “”decesses,” which means a going out of or from. However in modern parlance decease connotes an end or cessation. When someone speaks of someone who is deceased the connotation is one of an end of their life rather than an exodus into the next phase of life. In the Bible death is an exodus, a going out – in fact it is a liberation of life from bondage to true freedom. Death as an “exodus” gives us the Christian perspective on death.
Jesus, whose courage in the face of death is a model of us, referred to His death as a departure, and exodus – not a termination. There is nothing to fear of death anymore than there was of the Israelites of fearing the exiting from the harsh conditions in Egypt. When we exit this life we will simply follow Him, who has gone ahead. When the curtain parts, we shall not only find Him on the other side but discover that He is the One who led us toward the curtain in the first place. Just before His death, Christ told the disciples He was going where they could not come. Peter, who did not like what he heard, wanted to follow Christ everywhere. But Christ’s response was, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow later” (John 13:36).
Yes, now that He has died and been raised to heaven, we all shall follow Him. What gives us courage is to know that He does not ask us to go where He Himself has not gone. He who made a successful exit will make our exit successful also. Christ paid our debt on the cross, and the resurrection was our receipt. His resurrection was the “proof of purchase.” An exodus need never be feared if it is the route to a better land. As doctrinal believers we do not live in fear of death for Christ has not only made our exodus from the earth possible, He also freed us from slavery of the fear of death,
Hebrews 2:14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
The doctrinal believer is the believer who has the perspective of David, who not only had the most fantastic capacity for life in times blessing and trials, but also lived confidently that in the end he would be in the ultimate house of the Lord FOREVER!,
Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.