My Question: Death Calendar?

Hi everyone. I Know God lives in a timeless reality and a thousand years is like one day to Him (this I believe). But reading Hebrews 9:27 (appointed unto men once to die) got me thinking. In the calendar of God (if He has any), does it mean we all have specific dates to die?? Or can I say God has a Death calendar for us all?? And are all death really from God??
The story of Hezekiah also got me thinking,God says he will die and then he prays and God elongated his life by 15years… So if we have appointed dates to die,how come his appointed date was postponed?
I know I have so many questions in one post but I pray God supplies answers through this family of God… Shalom

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@yahemba4 Great question :slight_smile: No, I do not believe we have specific dates ordained to die—that sounds more like the pagan idea of fate that our future is fated and nothing we do will change it. For example, in Norse mythology the Norns determine the fate of gods and men and that fate is inescapable. In contrast, it is clear that things we do impact how long we live—healthy living versus smoking, for example. And God gives us the freedom to make choices.

And also no, I do not think all deaths are from God. In fact, God created a world without any death, where we would live forever with Him. Death is always the result of sin; even death due to aging. God does not desire anyone’s death and certainly not death’s resulting from violence or evil, though God may bring judgment on the wicked that results in death—such as the death of Haman in Esther.

Hezekiah’s life was lengthened because of his repentance. In fact, we see exactly the same thing happen when the Ninevites repented at Jonah’s preaching and God relenting from judging them. Of course, God knew they would repent and He knew when each one of them would die, but that does not change the fact that their actions impacted the day of their death. And with Joshua and Caleb, we see that God actively sustained their strength even into their old age because of their faithfulness, though God does not always do so.

I think the following summarizes the Bible’s teaching on this subject:

  • God knows when we will die because He is all knowing
  • Our choices can impact when we die (smoking, unhealthy living, doing dangerous things…)
  • God can sustain our lives if we entrust them to Him

Bible Passages

  • Psalms 139 is poetry, so it is unclear to me that God literally has a book with all of our days written in it, though He does know our days
  • Job is talking about the fact that God has ordained the length of life for humanity (Genesis 6:3); not the number of days in Job’s own life
  • James points out that our life is ultimately in God’s hands

Psalms 139:16 - Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Job 14:5 - A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.

James 4:13-15 - Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Connect Thread

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I think these are great points and your entire response was helpful at least to me (I’m not the OP). One thing I might say pertaining to these three points is that every single day virtually all of us do dangerous things. Driving an hour to work on the interstate is more or less akin to putting your life in God’s hands as you can only control your own driving but not the countless other drivers within inches of you who are driving 4,000lb vehicles at high speed.

This is where I’d say your second bullet and third are linked together. I find it hard to believe (personally) that God could have plans XYZ for someone and then they get thwarted by a silly accident out of His servant’s control. Of course I could be wrong. It would seem more likely that he will sustain you regardless of things that may have otherwise killed you until you have fulfilled whatever He had in store for you during your time on earth. But then of course this would mean anyone who has died in an accident or shared a similar fate would have had such a fate foreordained by God which then goes back to the OP’s question of whether the date was set in stone (and in this case it would sound like it is) but I also don’t believe that to be true.

Suffice to say… this has been a long, round-about way for me to say that I have absolutely no clue how to reconcile the extent of man’s free will with God’s sovereignty (which I’ve actually created a post on just yesterday lol). Typically these two concepts are juxtaposed in terms of salvation and in regards to that it has been debated for centuries but I find it just as hard to sort them out when it comes to other matters including daily living.

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@N0tThe1ne I don’t have them sorted out either friend. I do my best to keep these Biblical truths in front of me:

  1. God loves us - the cross proves it
  2. The Spirit of Christ testifies to me that I am His child
  3. We are responsible for our actions - the Day of Judgment is evidence enough of that - and you can’t be held accountable for what you don’t choose
  4. God is at work in the world to help people to see His love and mercy and we are to be God’s hands and feet wherever He has planted us that others might know Him

I often wish life were more like a story, where the narrative is clear and there is a nice arc with an exciting build-up, climax, and clear resolution. A story where the characters’ actions somehow fit into a narrative and made sense. A story where God’s actions in my life were obvious and discernible.

But life is often not like that… Character’s doing great injustice go on afflicting the innocent and characters we wish would have stayed around longer exit the stage. The narrative of our own life is fuzzy at best and sometimes indiscernible.

And I think the best way to resolve this conflict, at least for me, is to remember that the story is much bigger than my own life. God has been at work since the beginning of time and my life is only a small part of that much bigger story. And even when my story does not make sense, I can trust that in the end God will redeem the heartache and the tears.

That is one reason I like reading stories like Lord of the Rings. The story is so big and the suffering so real. And the joy after the suffering painfully beautiful. The story God is writing in history will be that way too - strange and difficult and terrible and lovely and heartwarming all together - and one day joy with Christ that we can only glimpse in this world.

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@SeanO Thank you for the valuable perspective you’ve provided. I agree with you on all accounts! It is definitely good to keep in mind that the story is not about us but about God and we have the privilege and tremendous joy to partake and to know Him!

I like to think back to Joseph’s story as a microcosm of this whole subject. From his perspective at the time, a whole lot of things must have made no sense to him. Certainly if it was you or I there would have been a ton of confusion as to God’s plan for our lives. Little did Joseph know… God had a plan for him, but that plan was far greater than simply being about him…as you know, what happened to him was necessary in order for his people to be saved, but God’s plan didn’t even just stop at his people it had implications stretching all the way to Christ Himself and thus was ultimately about God.

I try to keep that in perspective when thinking about God’s interaction with me and my life. He could very well be preparing me for 15 straight years for something I’d have no way of seeing and those 15 years from my POV would seem like an eternity. Only looking back do things sometimes begin to make sense and even then there are times where God uses us for the benefit of others, to impact others for His glory that we are never even made aware of… but God still gets the glory.

I suppose this brings me to the point of realizing that just as scripture says, my life is not my own… it is His. It is not I who live but Christ who lives within me. When I ask for God’s will to be done I have to be willing for that to mean anything including the giving or the taking away of things, including me knowing or not knowing what is going on or what God is ‘up to’ and perhaps never really feeling a sense of satisfaction with my career or w/e the case may be. Truthfully this is pretty difficult… of course I want to constantly feel full of God’s presence, to see his guiding hand, and to know I’m doing what he would have me to do but if I’m being honest with myself then perhaps some of this is out of selfish desire rather than giving everything up to him and trusting in His character.

Love LOTR btw :slight_smile:

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@N0tThe1ne The story of Joseph is an excellent example :slight_smile: I am not sure if it is selfish to want life to make sense. God created us to live in Eden under His loving care, but we find ourselves in a world broken by sin. That dissonance always reminds us that we are not home and naturally leads to emotional distress.

I think the real danger is expecting anything in this world to satisfy that deep need for the Garden of God. The best we can do in this life is to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and patiently wait for His deliverance—both for times of refreshing in this life and His ultimate victory beyond the grave.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C. S. Lewis

John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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This is where I always end up in these conversations. Lol. I think it is meant to be that way. A bit of divine mystery. There are things that to know them we would have to be God. This seems like one of those things.

I do agree with @SeanO though. I do not believe that there is a fate to which we are fated. I often wonder if God has individual plan or plans in which individuals participate. In this way if a person does die “out of time” God’s plans are not thwarted as they did not rely on that individual. But, that person can no longer participate in them on this side of eternity.

Anything else would appear to violate our free will. These posts illuminates more of my thoughts on the free will/sovereignty discussion:

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I’m grateful for the comment. It was inspiring and educational… Thanks and God bless you

Thank you SeanO, great points you have there… Especially the three summaries you have concerning my question…it has really brought light to me on this issue. God bless

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