The Final Appointment

By Dr. Ken Matto

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

This is a subject that no one really likes to speak about but it is as much a reality as any other part of life. Every cemetery is a reminder that the day of our death is a reality. So many times we read about children dying at very young ages and we say that it was a tragedy and they should not have died. We expect old people to pass from this life in death but young children? I am 65 so I speak for myself too. How many times have we heard things like “they were taken too soon” or “they had a lot of good years left.” We deal with the death of people as if it is some type of coincidence that we are in charge of. The reality is that just as we had no control over our birth, we have no control over our death.

Some may bring in the question of suicide and ask “wouldn’t that person who is taking their life be in control?” The answer is still no. I have a close friend who is now a strong Christian that once put a 357 Magnum in his mouth and attempted to pull the trigger and could not do it, not that he was aborting his effort but the gun would not fire. He took the gun out of his mouth and aimed it at his bedroom closet wall and the gun then fired. Although he thought that he was in control of his death, he was not. Another case of suicide gone wrong. In 1979, 29-year-old Elvita Adams jumped off of the observation tower on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. At that moment, a 30 mph gust of wind blew her straight back up and she landed on a ledge on the 85th floor. She suffered only a fractured hip, and a security guard promptly brought her back inside through a window. On April 25, 2013, a Massachusetts tourist, Nathaniel Fimone, had been given a second chance after his suicide attempt—in which he climbed a fence lining the building's 86th floor observation deck just before midnight Wednesday and jumped off—was interrupted by the 85th floor. The 33-year-old landed one floor down and was taken to Bellevue with a broken ankle. These three examples show that suicide is not always successful and that a person is not in control of their death as they were not in control of their birth.

The biblical principle concerning the death of anyone, be it believer or unbeliever is found in Hebrews 9:27. Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: The key word in that verse is “appointed.” It is the Greek word “apokeimai” which carries with it the meaning of “laid away, reserved, be appointed, and be stored up.” In other words, Hebrews 9:27 tells us that we have an appointed time of death. If a person dies at 50 years old, that was their appointed time. If a baby dies at 3 days, that was their appointed time. If a teenager dies at 14 years old, that was their appointed time. There is no such thing as a person dying too young or too old. Every person dies according to the time that God has appointed for them. This is why we read verses like Psalm 90:12. Psalms 90:12 (KJV) So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. God wants us to be very conscious of our limited time on earth and wants us to use those days with wisdom applied. The unbeliever rejects the idea of a God controlling their lives and that is why when one of them die at a young age, they cannot deal with it nor can they ever get closure because they do not understand that birth and death are controlled by God and not us.

We hear terms like “they died in a car accident.” Was it an accident or was it their divinely appointed time? What about when 400 people get on a plane and that plane crashes? God had gathered all those people from different parts of the world because it was their appointed time to die. When 9/11 hit, all America was shocked but those 3,000+ who died on that day had reached their day of appointment. God uses tragedies such as car crashes, plane crashes, diseases, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and other things to bring about the death of those appointed to die at those predetermined times.

How many times have you heard about plane or car crashes and some of the people miraculously survive, and then without a scratch while others are killed? Some of the occupants met their appointed times and the appointment of others was at a later time. Understanding the biblical principle of being appointed at a specific time of death by God will give us better understanding of why people die in certain ways and at ages we think are too young. I do not want to be misunderstood that understanding this biblical principle will lessen the pain of losing someone. I shed tears at both my Mother and Father’s death but understanding this principle, I now can see that my Mother’s final appointment was January 12, 1999 and my Father’s was April 5, 2007. Since none of us know the day of our appointment, we need to be ready and you can only get ready by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.