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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Are Life and Death under God's Control?

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Don Stewart
Though death is an experience that is universal, it is not out of the control of God.

Appointed Times

God has set appointed times when people will die. Job said.

The days of humans are determined; you have decreed the number of their months and have set limits they cannot exceed (Job 14:5).

The Apostle Paul proclaimed.

nor is He [God] served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor He made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and He allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live (Acts 17:25,26).

The psalmist wrote.

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).

Shorten Or Prolong

The Bible says that God can shorten or prolong a life.

Our God is the God of salvation; and to God the LORD belongs escapes from death (Psalm 68:20).

My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors (Psalm 31:15).


King Hezekiah of Judah was told by God that he was going to die. He prayed that the Lord would let him live longer. God granted his request. The Lord said to the prophet Isaiah.

Go say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: 'I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; and I will add to your days fifteen years' (Isaiah 38:5).


The prophet Daniel told the Babylonian King Belshazzar that God holds our very life and breath in His hands.

You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways (Daniel 5:23).


Death is an enemy to humanity, but it is not out of God's control. The number of days that we will live on this earth are ordained by God. He has the power to shorten or prolong it.
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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.