May 1, 2020 Standard Bearer – Special Issue: “Since by Man Came Death…”

SB-May-1-2020-coverThe latest issue of the Standard Bearer has been released digitally (printed copies are not allowed at present due to the COVID-19 pandemic), and you are encouraged to download and read this timely issue. The May 1, 2020 issue is the second special issue in this volume year (96) and carries the theme “Since by Man Came Death….”

At the time the editors planned this issue (in January/February of this year), we had no idea how timely and relevant it would be in the face of the worldwide coronavirus situation. But now this crisis has put death and dying before all of us, and, while unbelieving fears are being exposed, true faith is also being tested. How can we face the awful reality of an unknown disease with its prospect of severe illness and perhaps death? What hope do we have in such times – for this life and for the hereafter?

The articles in this special issue address these questions and more – openly and realistically – yet also with sure faith and hope, because the answers come from God’s Word and from the biblical and Reformed confessions of Christ’s church based on that Word (penned in times of crisis like our own). If you are living with real fear right now, and are without hope, then this issue is must reading. But even if you are an established believer, and your faith is being tried deeply in these days, then these articles will speak peace to your heart and give you sure hope in Jesus Christ.

The editorial, “Confronted by Our Mortality and Our Last Enemy – Death,” was written by Rev. Ken Koole. We post an excerpt here today, urging you to read all of it – and the rest of the issue in the next few weeks. It will enrich your faith, strengthen your hope, and increase your love for the Lord God, in whom alone we have the victory over this mighty foe. By all means “take up and read.”

 But… but… is hope and gladness clean gone forever? Has God forgotten to be kind, that God whom we and our first parents have so highly offended? After all, death is His sentence and His “creature” set loose upon the human race and on creation itself. Is there no remedy? Just the sadness of farewell and the terror of what follows hereafter?

What can be said to the dying or to those struggling to cope with that empty spot due to a beloved family member taken and gone? What indeed.

Not this: this is evil. It is not God’s will or doing. It is just the Devil’s mischief. God is too loving and kind to have willed this to happen.

Not so. For, if the calamity was not what God willed, He was, evidently, powerless to prevent it. And then, to what purpose is this death? Really, to no good purpose at all, except to magnify Satan’s power prevailing against God’s will. All comfort is gone. We cannot put our trust in or turn to God as the Almighty after all. Who can be sure whether death will not have the last word and mocking laughter after all!

Powerless to prevent it, powerless to overcome it.

Away with such nonsense!

To be sure, death is an awful power, and as far as we mortal men are concerned, invincible. But there is one mightier than death, and that is the Almighty One, who is Jehovah God.

And God be thanked, to those living in the midst of death in a creation under the sentence of death, this Lord God has given a Word, a Word that gives us mortal men words to withstand the horror of death. Words that give hope so real that the believer can stand at the lip of the grave and say “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” Words of defiance when nothing but a corpse remains and the grave is about to swallow our loved one.

How can this be?

It can only be because of who Jehovah God is. The almighty Creator God to be sure, but also God triune, who as such is a covenant-making and keeping God. And not only within Himself, but also regarding a people, a remnant of the human race He would call His own.

How God’s people dealing with the awful power of death need to hear this!

How pastors and preachers need to remember this!

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