Posted by: rcottrill | January 9, 2013

Beyond the Sunset

Words: Virgil Prentiss Brock (b. Jan. 6, 1887; d. Mar. 12:1978)
Music: Blanche Kerr Brock (b. Feb. 3, 1888; d. Jan. 3, 1958)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Virgil Brock, Blanche Brock)

Note: The Wordwise Hymns link will tell you a bit of the history of the husband-and-wife evangelistic team that called themselves “the Singing Brocks,” and the interesting story of how this gospel song came to be written.

Virgil Brock continued in active ministry virtually to the end of his ninety-one years. He was a gifted song leader, and though he wrote the texts for many gospel songs, he depended on his wife to supply the music. He once said, “To me the theory of music seems more complicated than building a space ship!” Even so, his fifty years of song writing was recognized in 1969 with an Honorary Degree of Sacred Music, from Trinity College, Dunedin, Florida.

Oddly enough, the only time the word “sunset” is used in our English Bibles, it’s associated with a death.

“The battle increased that day, and the king of Israel [a mortally wounded King Ahab] propped himself up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening; and about the time of sunset he died” II Chron. 18:34, NKJV, cf. NASB, NIV).

And even here, the Hebrew word (shemesh) is ambiguous. It’s not exclusive to sunset, but is used of sunrise as well. Only the reference to “evening” in the context clarifies which is meant.

That being said, the association of the setting sun with death is appropriate. It speaks of the ending of day as a picture of the ending of a life. But we know from long experience that the conclusion of one day leads to the beginning of another. After there’s a sunset, there will be a sunrise.

In terms of our mortal lives, the ending of life’s day brings the daybreak of eternity. How short-sighted, then, to invest our time and energy in heaping up riches and possessions in this life (as the rich fool did in Jesus’ parable, Lk. 12:16-21), and not prepare for the eternal tomorrow. The Apostle Paul came to realize that even his Hebrew lineage, and his strict adherence to the Law of Israel, were not enough to fix his destiny as he’d hoped. He needed Christ (Phil. 3:4-9).

This is the heart of the gospel. All are sinners, and fall short of God’s righteous standard (Rom. 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But God, in grace, sent His Son to die in our place, as the sinner’s Substitute (I Cor. 15:3). Now, through faith in His saving work on the cross, we can be cleansed of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16; 5:24). There is no other way (Jn. 3:18, 36; 14:6; Acts 4:12).

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (I Jn. 5:11-12).

It is the one who is a child of God, through faith in the Saviour (Jn. 1:12-13; I Jn. 3:1-2), who can look, with the eyes of faith “beyond the sunset,” to see the eternal destiny that awaits the saints. For His children, the most precious aspect of the heavenly kingdom is surely that we’ll be with the Lord Jesus there (Jn. 14:2-3).

1) Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,
When with our Saviour heav’n is begun;
Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious morning–
Beyond the sunset, when day is done.

In that eternal dawning, there will be nothing to threaten or make us afraid (stanza 2, cf. Rev. 21:4), and we’re be reunited with all the faithful who have gone before us (stanza 4; cf. I Thess. 4:16-17). Such truths are a great comfort to God’s people (vs. 18). It’s little wonder, therefore, that a monument erected to the Brocks and their long ministry is inscribed with the words, “Beyond the Sunset.”

Questions:
1) Are you certain of where you’ll spend eternity? Because of the nature of this blog, I’m sure the majority who visit it are born again Christians. But if you are unsure of your standing before God, I encourage you to read this article again, and look up the many Scriptures referenced. Or check out the article God’s Plan of Salvation.

2) What are some other images of death and the entry into eternity that are used in our hymns? (If you’re stuck, see the Cyber Hymnal’s topical listing here of nearly four hundred hymns about heaven!)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Virgil Brock, Blanche Brock)


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