Job 10:21, 22
Before I go from where I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;…
I. DEATH APPEARS TO LEAD TO A LAND OF DARKNESS.
1. We cannot see what lies beyond. Science cannot penetrate this mystery of mysteries. At best she can but dimly surmise the existence of an "unseen universe." Philosophy may reason of the soul's immortality, but can throw no light into the tomb. The mind dashes itself in vain against the awful wall that separates it from the world beyond. One by one our most intimate friends leave us, and the dark doors open to receive them, but never a ray of light comes out, and "the rest is silence."
2. We shrink by natural instinct from death. Reason as we may, the grave is a horror to us. We people the land of the dead with terrors of the imagination. La Rochefoucauld says, "Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily,"
"Death is a fearful thing.
... To die, and go we know not where
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed lee;
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world, or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling! - 'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That ago, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death."
II. WHETHER DEATH WILL LEAD TO A LAND OF DARKNESS DEPENDS ON OUR USE OF LIFE. Nature, science, philosophy, all leave the future obscure. But God has lifted the veil in the gospel enough to give us guidance, warning, and consolation. We learn from the revelation of Christ that the unseen land need be no place of terror and darkness. What it will be depends on our present conduct.
1. Death leads the impenitent sinner into a land of darkness. For him the horrors of imagination cannot be too black. No one can conceive the chill desolation of the "outer darkness," the dread despair of seeing the "door shut" on a rejected soul. The darkness will consist in separation from God, from blessed companionship, from joy, from life - for the future existence of the lost is never called a future life. The dolorous words of Job are not too strong for the fate of lost souls.
2. Death leads the people of God into a land of light. The old-world gloom of the grove is dissipated by Christ, who has "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10). Here we have a great advance from the Old Testament standpoint, "The resurrection of Christ has thrown a flood of light into the regions beyond. It has shown us a "land of the leal," where the blessed dwell in light eternal St. Paul could even desire to depart and be with Christ, counting it gain to die (Philippians 1:21-23). All who have turned from sin to Christ may despise the darkness of death, for this is but the portal to the home of eternal life. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;