“And as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment:”
The following is an excerpt from “The Biblical Path of Life” Year Two, Quarter One – Lesson 3:
“Ahaziah, wicked King Ahab’s son, became king of Israel. As we begin 2 Kings, we learn that Ahaziah fell through a lattice in his chamber and was sick (injured). He sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, to see whether he would recover.
“… The angel of the Lord appeared to Elijah with a word for the king’s messenger to take back to the king. He said, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?” (2 Kings 1:3b). The message continued with the words that the king would not recover, but he would die — because he sought an answer from a false god instead of the Lord. The messenger returned to the king and delivered the message from Elijah. The king wanted to know who this man was. Read the description the Bible gives us of His prophet, Elijah. “And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite” (2 Kings 1:8).
The king sent a captain with 50 men to Elijah with a message of his own. “… Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down” (2 Kings 1:9b). Elijah’s response? “And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty” (2 Kings 1:10). The king sent another captain and his fifty with another message. “… O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly” (2 Kings 1:11b). Elijah’s response? “And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. response? “1b).he king sent another captain and his fifty with another message. “ng to see who answered by fire; ___ ood gushe” (2 Kings 1:12). We see that the king sends a captain with his fifty a third time. However, see the difference in this captain’s actions and the words he spoke to Elijah. “13b.… And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. 14. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight” (2 Kings 1:13b-14). When the third captain came with these words and humble attitude, the angel of the Lord told Elijah to go with him and not to be afraid.
When Elijah went to the king, he gave the king the same message as before: because the king had not inquired of the Lord, but of the false god, Baalzebub the god of Ekron, the king would not get up off his bed but would surely die. What happened? “So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken …” (2 Kings 1:17a)…
“A Deeper Path: Aside from the fact that King Ahaziah inquired an answer from a false god, he asked the wrong question. He asked if he was going to die. He should have asked what he needed to do to be well. The question of which we need the answer is not if, or when, we will die — we know what the Bible teaches. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die …” (Hebrews 9:27a). Everyone will die sometime (unless of course Jesus returns first!). Nevertheless, see the important part of that same verse: “…but after this the judgment:” The part we should be concerned with is if we are “well” (the judgment) — whether we will live forever or spend eternity in hell. This is the question we should have answered in our hearts and lives: where will one spend eternity. To spend eternity in heaven is a gift — free; if only we will receive. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Notice that King Ahaziah was probably angry because the message Elijah sent reminded him of the God of Israel. Most people to whom you witness will not want to be reminded of God. When one is reminded of God, they become aware of the sin in their life apart from God (“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23). Does that make it harder for us to tell people about Jesus?
Remember when the apostles were imprisoned by the religious leaders for preaching the gospel of Jesus in Acts 5? When the angel opened the prison doors and let them out of prison, he told them to “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). Peter and the apostles went right to the temple, preaching the gospel of Jesus to the people. When confronted by the religious leaders who had thrown them into prison, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). That should always be our answer. We can see by Elijah’s response that he feared the God of Israel, not the king of Israel.”
Do you know where you will spend eternity?
Do you share the Gospel message with others, fearing God and not man?