Archive for May, 2011

Whether you are lamenting or rejoicing, God is faithful!

May 31, 2011

“British scientist James Smithson never visited Washington, DC, but his name is prominent in the nation’s capital. In 1829 Smithson left half a million dollars to the United States to establish an institution for the “”increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”” The Smithsonian Institute, with its sixteen museums, zoo, and collection of more than 140 million objects, was begun in 1846 with Smithson’s generous donation.

We want to begin a collection of our own this month. This collection may appear to be more modest than that of the Smithsonian, but it is certainly more valuable: it is a collection of God’s mercies. Throughout this …month, we are going to celebrate God’s faithfulness. To do this, we [will] draw on Scripture passages that will encourage, remind, and teach us that our God is eternally faithful. And along the way, [I] also pray that these studies will challenge you to faithfulness in your own life.” TITW

Our text for today is Lamentations 3:19-26. The word faithfulness in Hebrew in verse 23 is ’emuwnah’emuwnah means firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness. In a more simplistic sense, faithful means that you are true to your word. This is the definition that we will operate from over the next month as we look at God’s faithfulness.  God is true to His Word.  What He says is what He does, always! The writer in Lamentations revels in God’s faithfulness regardless of his emotional estate.  In fact, the writer credits the character of God as the main reason he could endure the sorrowful and sour moments of life.  Aren’t we all looking for an effective method of dealing with bitter moments of life?  God is the answer for that as well as for everything else.  God never promised us a bed of roses.  Truth be told, God told us that life would be filled with hardship and trouble. Listen to what Job says about that in Job 5.  Verse 7 says, “7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”

Since we know that God is true to His Word, we know that trouble will befall us.  Let us depend on the faithfulness of our great and mighty God as we seek to survive and thrive in trouble.








Atonement = Propitiation

May 30, 2011

In my last installment on atonement, I want to expand our concept of atonement.  In more word for word translations of the original text, the King James and New American Standard versions of the bible do not use the word atonement.  The word used there is propitiation.  What does propitiation mean?  It means to propitiate.  Okay, as if that made things any clearer.  Let’s define it.  First according to, it means to make favorably inclined; appease; conciliate.  Next according to Strong’s concordance, it is an appeasing or propitiating.  In the New Testament, it is either one of two Greek words: hilasmos and hilastērion.  Appease is to bring to  a state of peace, quiet, calm, ease or contentment. Conciliate is to win an enemy or opponent  over by displaying a willingness to be just and fair.  God, through the incarnation, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, appeased His wrath and transformed man from adversary to ally by His justice executed on the cross of Christ.  It was Christ’s suffering that met God’s requirement for sin to be punished.

We find this expressed in 1 John 2:1-2 ” 1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world”(NAS).Here we are.  The whole world will be held accountable for its sin.  God, in Jesus Christ, has provided a heavenly and complete means for man to escape the eternal consequence of his sin. If we fail to take God’s offering, we are accountable ourselves.  This is what John 3:36 tells us “6 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NAS)”

It really is this simple.  If you want your sins atoned or for you no longer to be an enemy of God but an ally/friend, you must not only cognitively accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior but also surrender the will of your heart.  Christ is the conciliatory offering of God.  For those who remain at odds with God, He will not show you any mercy at your death or at His coming which ever is first.  He has provided a way (John 14:6), but you must take it.

Atonement Defined: Biblically

May 29, 2011

We have gone here and there in trying, with brevity, to underpin what is atonement and why it’s needed.  For those of you who are inclined to read the Word, this text today hits at the heart of the issue.  Man either thinks that he is his justifier or that Jesus is his justifier.  No other religion asserts that man sins and need his sin atoned for beyond what man could ever do.  This is the distinction from other religions which generally assert that man must just ask to be forgiven.  This simply renders their god unholy and unjust.  To be just, there must be a consequence to violating the ways of any asserting deity.  The notion that man could effective atone for his own sins is one of the major issues the writer of Romans addresses in Romans 3.  The position that man in unable to atone for his sin without being eternally damned demonstrates that Christ met. Listen to these series of verses near the end of the chapter.

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin), through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

It is clear throughout scripture that man is a sinner, and sinners need their sin atoned.  It is clear that Jesus is the only one who can eternally atone for the sins of mankind.  It is through faith in Jesus’ birth, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father that provides atonement for the sin of anyone who believes that and commits to living his life in light of all that Christ espouses.  Of Christ, Hebrews 9 captures it this way “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”  Those who are waiting on Him are those who have put their faith and action in Him.  Then and only then will one have his sin effectively and eternally atoned.

Day 2: Atonement

May 27, 2011

In the post Atonement,  we stated that ultimate atonement is the reconciliation of man with God through the incarnation, life, sufferings, sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. We know from Romans 3:23 that every human that has, that is or that will live sins.  What’s the big deal about sin? Isaiah 59:2 says “2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”    The basis of sin is that it separates man from God.  If you are separated from the love of your mom, dad, spouse, child, family, friend, it hurts.  We miss the benefits afforded from being united with that person.  Here it is not so much a physical distance but a spiritual one.  Our spirits/soul is separated from God’s Spirit by sin.  If not united, we are divided.  The old adage of United we stand, divided we fall is so true with man.  Sin caused us to fall from unity with God.  We lost our connection with God.

God desires to be united, to be in fellowship with man, but our sin prevents that from happening as God is holy and we are not.  The heart is the life center of our bodies.  Without a functioning heart, we die.  Similarly, the spirit of man is the life center of our souls.  Without a functioning spirit as designed by God, we die.  Spiritual death is being separated from God.  Remember, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6. When we sin, our condition is set.  We are separated from God and dead unable to bridge that gulf.

God, long before the incarnation of Christ, began showed that He was willing to provide a way for that gulf, that wide chasm to be bridged. It began in Genesis but the word atonement first surfaces in the book of Exodus.  The most prominent Hebrew word used for atonement in the Old Testament is kaphar. It means to

1) to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch

a) (Qal) to coat or cover with pitch (as in Genesis 6:14)

b) (Piel)

1) to cover over, pacify, propitiate

2) to cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for

3) to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites

Basically, the idea is that our sin needed to be covered, to be made up for.  Covered because it presents us as unacceptable.  This is a poor example, but it’s like when your car is involved in an accident.  It’s damaged.  It’s still the same car, but the original form has been marred by the accident.  Maybe a fender or quarter-panel is all smushed.  The panel need to be repaired or replaced.  Since we each person could not be born again (physically) as a result of their sin, there needed to be a means to cover or repair their sin.  God instituted priests as a means to do this.

We will continue tomorrow.  Be blessed today.  Remember that Jesus is the eternal priest.  Salvation come through Him alone.


May 26, 2011

I am posting today as a matter of reflection and clarity.  Last night after church, my daughter asked what did atonement mean.  I responded by stating that it meant to make up for, but I knew that was an incomplete answer.  We continued to talk as I tried to give examples to help her understand.  While I know that true understanding can only be given by the Father, it is my responsibility to make concepts about the Lord as simple as possible.  It got me to thinking.  Of the people who read this post, who could really explain the atonement of Christ, so I would just like to take a few days to think with you, talk with you, build with you.  Generally speaking, atonement is the reconciliation of man with God through the incarnation, life, sufferings, sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  Sounds good, but what does that really mean.  I will try to get it this to where my 8 year old will understand.  Lord, I need your help. defines atone as make amends or reparation, as for an offense or a crime,or for an offender: to atone for one’s sins. Amends is defined as 1. reparations or compensation for a loss, damage, or injury of any kind; recompense. Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition of atonement is too long to list here. In summary, by the atonement of Christ, we generally mean his work by which he expiated (atoned) our sins.  As a matter of introduction, atonement is almost used exclusively in the Old Testament.  There it is primarily the word kaphar which means to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation.  In the New Testament in the KJV, it is only found in Romans 5:11. There it is the word katallagē which means to 1) exchange a) of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values; 2) adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favour a) in the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ

Think about how Christ covers, purges or reconciles man. How does He do that?  Why is that necessary?  Is those needed for you?  What does atonement mean?  Let me know what you come up with.

More Claims: Whose the real prophet?

May 25, 2011

In the post Jesus’s Claims surrounding His Death, many claims were presented.  We also gave saw God’s distinction between a false prophet and a true prophet.  Remember in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, God says “21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Today, we will only look at two claims.  One of Jesus and one of Peter.  Again, we see who is the true prophet.  Mark 14:28-31.

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
30 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

Here you have claims of Jesus and Peter.  First, Jesus says that He will rise then He would go ahead of the disciples into Galilee.  Peter declared that he would not fall away even if all the disciples did.  Jesus stated more specifically that Peter would disown him three times before the rooster crowed twice.  Peter claimed that he would die before he disowned Jesus. Well, this passage is so familiar that if you did not read any further you would know the outcome of the claims of Jesus and Peter.

Jesus did rise from the dead.  Jesus did go ahead of the disciples into Galilee.  Peter did disown the Lord three times before the rooster crowed twice.  All just as Jesus said and contrary to what Peter said.  In that case, Peter was false.  God did use that series of events to establish Peter as the “rock” or foundation of His church. Later, Peter did give his life for the Lord both in service and in martyrdom.  We all we have to decide if we will believe Jesus as a true prophet.  If we do, we have no other choice than to surrender our lives to Him.  In doing so, we have the full blessing of God which yields eternal life.  If we don’t, Jesus declared that we stand condemned already which results in a life and eternity separated from God and His goodness.

Who is the real prophet?  That is an all-important question you must decided.  Your eternal estate hinges on how you decide.  Choose wisely.

Jesus’s Claims surrounding His Death

May 24, 2011

Over the past few days, we have talked about people making claims.  Everyone makes claims.  Some claims are true; some are false.  This is nothing new.  In particular, men have made claims about God and man.  All the way back in the Old Testament, the term prophet was coined for those who claimed to have heard God speak relaying that message on to man.  With all the deception in the hearts of man; how could one determine whether the person was a true or false prophet.  God made that distinction clear for man.  In Deuteronomy 18:21-22, God says “21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” In Jesus’ cases, Jesus made claims about God and Himself.  In fact, that’s one of the issues that created trouble with the Jewish rulers at that time.  Jesus’ claims and the results and response from them caused the leaders to be envious and afraid.  It appeared that Jesus’ claims were coming true.  Consequently, they were afraid that the vast majority of the people would begin to follow Him; thus, they would lose their power and position, so they began seeking a life-ending plot against Him.

Again, Jesus made many claims; some of which, I am not knowledgable enough to begin discussing. Despite that, I will start where I am though which is Mark 14. To remind you, a claim is anything one asserts or maintains as a fact; something that is true.  All of the “I am” statements are claims that Jesus made about Himself.  In Mark 18, Jesus made a myriad of claims.  Let’s hear what they are:

  • 1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.” – v1-2 The chief priests declared that they would not kill Jesus on the Passover, but Jesus’ claim over being the sacrificial lamb, clear allusions to the Passover lamb, had to be fulfilled.  Jesus was crucified on the Passover.  Chief priest claim false.  Jesus’ claim. True!
  • She has done a beautiful thing to me. v6  This is in reference to Mary anointing Jesus with the very expensive  perfume.  Why was this beautiful?  It paid homage to Him as He prepared to die for the sins of man. True!
  • The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. v7 – Jesus claimed that He would not always be with the disciples but the poor would.  Physically, Jesus did leave the disciples when He ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of the Father.  True! 
  • I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. v9 – Jesus claimed that what Mary did was so important that it would be included in the annals  of the gospel.  We are here today talking about Mary’s use of the very expensive perfume.  True!
  • Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. v10 –  In Mark 10:32-32, Jesus predicts His betrayal, death, and resurrection after three days.  True!
  • 13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”  16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. True!
  •  When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” v18,20 0 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.- Again Judas. True!
  • 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. v21 – Here Jesus reasserts that what is written about how He would die is true and what the chief priest stated in verse 1 is not accurate.  He died as predicted. True!
  • “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” v 25 – Jesus tells them that He will not drink with them again until united in the kingdom of God.  Still awaiting this to happen, but True!
  •  27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” v27 – the disciples scattered when Jesus was crucified.

There is a lot that has been presented here.  I will cut it off today.  Look at the depth and accuracy of what Jesus said would be true.  Tomorrow we will look at the rest of the verses.

Another “I am” claim by Jesus

May 23, 2011

In the post I am the resurrection and the life II, the notion of claims was discussed.  In fact, every human alive has either been exposed to a claim or has made a claim himself. We discussed how we interpret claims.  When we discern that claims are empty, we begin to quickly abandon faith in the person or entity that provided the empty claim if we are in our right mind.  When the claims of a person or entity are continually proven true, we, again in our right mind, are drawn to him/it like flies to the aroma of a summer-time bbq grill.

Today, we explore another of Jesus’ claims.  Now, we must pay special attention to the events and the surrounding of this claim.  Our text is Mark 14. Jesus has been anointed.  The people have shouted “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” Mary has poured expensive oil on his feet. Jesus has proclaimed His death and claimed His betrayer as well as his abandoners and the one who would deny Him three times before the rooster crows thrice.  All of those claims brings us to the crescendo of this passage.

While Jesus has been making true claims throughout this passage, the peak moment is marked by people making false claims about Jesus.  Let’s see:

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’”59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ,[f] the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

Tomorrow, we will summarize all of the other claims in this passage that proved to be true.  Today, we are looking at the main claim of Jesus.  Of the false things accused, Jesus did not respond; however, of what He had claimed, to be the Messiah or Christ and the Son of God, Jesus replied, “I am”.  Jesus publicly claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God.  Either Jesus was telling the truth or he was not.  I choose to believe that Jesus was telling the truth. I happen to believe His claims in John 11:25-26 . Specifically, what did Jesus say ? ”25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” As such, I had to make choice, so do you.  Follow Him as Lord and Savior and never die or die spiritually by spending eternity separated from God.

“What cha gonna do?”

I am the resurrection and the life II

May 21, 2011

In one’s life, he/she may hear many claims from individuals or companies.  You may be familiar with this through advertisements such as the Goodyear Tire slogan:”The best tires in the world have Goodyear written all over them”.  The Gillette razor company offers its slogan too: “The best a man can get”.  We also have the ubiquitous slogan from Verizon Wireless: “Can you hear me now?? Good!!” Lastly, we all know Kentucky Fried Chicken’s slogan: “Finger-lickin good.” People, companies and organizations are always making claims which are aimed at meeting a want or a need. We have to discern whether those claims are too far-fetched to consider or if they are plausibly true.

Like wise in John 11, Jesus made a famous claim to meet our most pressing need.  What did he claim? Listen to verse 25: 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” What’s different about Jesus’ claims is that He requested and required a response.  Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”  The this was that Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life.  Through Him, resurrection to life eternal is not only possible but is guaranteed to those who trust in Him as Lord and Savior.  Listen to what Jesus told Martha in verse 40: ““Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”  Jesus was still hammering away at Martha’s belief and depth of belief and understanding of who He was (is) and what He would do.  Lazarus was raised for them to deepen their faith.  He was raised for us for the same reason but also to show us that the resurrection has less to do with the physical.  It more about the spiritual aspect of a person’s spirit/soul.

Chuck Smith puts it this way “I’m the resurrection and the life. If you live and believe in me, you’ll never die.” What happens to the child of God that we say died? What has happened is that he has his spirit, which is the real me, has moved out of the tent, the temporary abode that God has made for my spirit, into the house, the building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This tent in which I am living is only a temporary measure for me. You never think of a tent as a permanent residence. It’s always transient; we’re moving on… And so, God has a new body for me. It’s a body that’s designed for the heavenly environment. It is a body that is my eternal abode; it is a body that cannot and will not age. It is a body that cannot know pain or suffering. It is a body that can’t be incapacitated by a virus or disease or whatever. It is a body that won’t get tired, and won’t have a bulge in the middle. The new body, the building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

The believer in Christ has been given eternal life; thus, dying is not a possibility. 1 John 5:11-12 says,”And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  According to the Word of God, Jesus’ claim is true.  If you believe in the Word of God, you have to accept that life is only in the Son, Jesus Christ.

Do you have the Son?  If you do, you have “the life”. If you don’t, you do not have eternal life.  You will live eternal but outside of the presence and goodness of God. Get the Life.

I am the resurrection and the life

May 20, 2011

In yesterday’s post, I am judge, the notion of the end of the world and judgement was partially addressed.  In that post, I alluded to was the importance of what happens to us after our physical death.  I also shared that if one has belief (trust in Christ as Savior and Lord) in Jesus, he has crossed over from death to life.  How could that be?  How could one who is a living breathing person crossover from death to life before he actually died?  The answer lies in what Jesus said in those verses and what Jesus says in our text for today, John 11. Specifically, what Jesus says in John 11:25.  Again, this is another entry in the “I am” proclamations of Jesus to reveal more of who He is to us.

I will not profess to know the entire essence of all of Jesus’ statements, but I will tell you that they are foundational to faith in Christ.  It is foundational to who He is and why He was God incarnate. This is not the first time nor the last that Jesus claimed to be the life.  Remember the post I am the Life? There I shared several verses where Jesus claimed to be the life.  I happen to believe His claims in John 11:25 too. What did Jesus specifically say in John 11:25?  “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Resurrection as defined by is the act of rising from the dead. Resurrection as defined by the Greek word anastasis used in this text is a raising up, a rising from the dead. In the most commonly perceived means, resurrection refers to one rising after one has physically died. That is, one’s heart stopped pumping blood resulting a cessation of life functions of breathing, talking, walking and the like. In John 11, Jesus evidences that He can give life to the body. He raised Lazarus after he had been dead four days. As with everything Jesus did, He performed that task so that people would believe that God sent him; thus believe in Jehovah-God.

There is another meaning for resurrection.  The physical resurrection to life can not happen unless this resurrection takes place.  This resurrection is the one that brings life.  It is a spiritual resurrection – reviving of the spirit of man.  This is where God breathes life into the spirit of a person. Several passages captures this transformation.  Let’s listen to Colossians 2:

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Ephesians 2 also tells us that “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air …But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions …And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”  Now that folks is the true resurrection.

All of mankind will experience a resurrection, but only those who have trusted in Christ will have eternal life.  Matthew 25:45 says, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Jesus is calling us to the true and blessed resurrection of life, not death.