Posted by: rcottrill | June 23, 2017

There Is No Death

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Words: Oswald Jeffrey Smith (b. Nov. 8, 1889; d. Jan. 25, 1986)
Music: Charles Austin Miles (b. Jan. 7, 1868; d. Mar. 10, 1946)

Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)

Note: Oswald Smith wrote over a thousand poems and hymns. From 1915 to 1959, he served as the pastor of Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada. He received a letter from Austin Miles on November 22, 1939, who was impressed with his poem There Is No Death, and who wrote the music for it, and had it published that same year.

Who is the oldest person you know? Likely many of us are acquainted with someone who has reached the century mark, or even surpassed it by a few years. (Most who do are women.) And living much beyond that is extremely rare.

The oldest person in modern times whose date of birth has been verified is a French woman named Jeanne Calment (1875-1997). She lived 122 years and 164 days. Canadian Mary Ray (1895-2010) lived 114 years and 294 days. Recently, the last known person to be born in the nineteenth century died. As far as official records show, there is no one left alive who was born in 1899 or before.

In the early days of human history, the Bible tells us of some individuals who lived for nearly a thousand years. Adam lived 930 years (Gen. 5:3-4), and Methuselah 969 years (Gen. 5:27)–the longest of any person on record. Some have been skeptical of this longevity, but several things must be kept in mind.

¤ In the days before sin entered human experience, conditions were optimal (cf. Gen. 1:31), and only gradually deteriorated afterward.

¤ The climate was uniformly ideal, there was no pollution, and human DNA was in pristine condition.

¤ Further, God wanted to populate the earth rapidly, so that man could have dominion over it, and take care of it for Him (Gen. 1:28).

¤ Also, He wanted a means to transmit His message to man accurately, before it was written down. Because His revelation passed through fewer generational links, early on, this was facilitated. (Methuselah may have lived long enough to have known both Adam and Noah.)

After the flood of Noah’s time, the climate became more harsh, and other conditions deteriorated rapidly. The common age of human beings dropped accordingly. Abraham died at the age of 175 (Gen. 25:7), and Moses at 120 (Deut. 34:7), and he speaks of a common limit in his time of seventy or eighty years (Ps. 90:10).

The Bible is filled with a litany of death from the time of Adam onward, yet it makes this remarkable statement: “Christ…has abolished death” (II Tim. 1:10). What? No death? Of course, many deaths are recorded in Scripture, including that of Jesus Himself, though He rose again. But the text is speaking of life beyond the grave. The Lord Jesus declared:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die [physically], he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).

“Whoever believes in Him should not perish [come to eternal ruin] but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:15).

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never [not under any circumstances] perish” (Jn. 10:28).

Oswald Smith wrote an unusual hymn about that called There Is No Death. Before we see some of the words, here’s how Dr. Smith spoke about himself and his destiny.

“Some day you will hear that Oswald Smith is dead. Don’t you believe it. At that moment I will be more alive than ever, for I have an indestructible life….Men may destroy my body, but they cannot kill me. They may damage the house in which I live, but I am immortal. Cut off my arms if you will, but I am still alive. Sever my legs, but still I live. Take off my head, and what have you done. You have damaged and destroyed my dwelling, but have not touched me.”

In 1939, Smith put this message into the words of a song:

1) There is no death, the Christian cannot perish;
God’s Word is true, eternal life is mine.
I once was dead, but now I’ll live forever,
For I am saved by Christ, my Lord divine.

There is no death, O glory, hallelujah!
The Son of God has suffered in my place.
He took my death that I might live forever,
And He has saved me by His sovereign grace.

2) There is no death, my sins are gone forever;
My Saviour died and He is all my plea.
Death cannot reign, for lo, its pow’r is broken,
Since Jesus lives to save eternally.

1) How does the confidence that, through Christ “there is no death,” affect your daily life?

2) How does the awareness that millions upon millions do not have eternal life in Christ affect your life day by day?

Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)


  1. Thank you for this reminder! I am convinced that we do not think about this as much as we ought. A friend of a friend that I admired greatly just fell asleep in Christ this week, so this is very timely for me.

    • Thank you for both comments, I agree with and appreciate both. God bless.


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