Originally published January 19, 2015
What the world calls a ‘botched’ execution back in 2014 has brought new attention to the WAY people die. Such worldwide attention has not been given to dying since the advent of modern drugs, which will muffle, if not completely silence the effects of passing into eternity.
An Uncomfortable Scene
The so-called ‘botched’ execution of Clayton Darrell Lockett occurred on April 29, 2014 when according to Wikipedia: “he suffered a heart attack after a failed execution by lethal injection in the U.S. state of Oklahoma.”
I don’t exactly see how it was a failure, since in the end, “The wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) “…and he died.”(Genesis 5:5) But that’s what they call it.
Lockett, aged 38, who was convicted in 2000 of murder, rape, and kidnapping, was observed moaning, twitching, and attempting to lift his head in pain after he was supposed to be unconscious.
In the book, Last Words of Saints and Sinners, Herbert Lockyer provides a compilation of ancient and not-so-ancient accounts of both saved and damned on their deathbeds. If you’ve ever wondered if trusting Jesus Christ to save you is real, you need to get this book.
This book does not condemn those as saved or lost when listing their last words to give the reader a bias one way or the other. It simply categorizes by historical occupation, age in which they lived, and their manner of life, and then recounts their last, dying words.
What they say will shock you.
Testimonies of the past like President James McKinley (1843-1901) who chanted the refrain of a well-loved hymn, “Nearer my God to thee, nearer to Thee!” as he passed away shed light on the death of a Christian.
Others, like the chilling words of French Philosopher Voltaire, who cursed, “I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!” tell a tale as old as time- the perishing of a soul without hope.
These powerful exclamations at death used to be commonplace.A When one died- whether he was in pain or not- he was awake, and usually he was fully aware of the fact that he would be dying shortly. This world has fooled us into viewing death as a fantasy and unreal. It’s fooled us into thinking we will not die; and furthermore, that there is nothing after death.
But the Bible says, “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment.”
The news reported on the last words of Charles Warner, convicted of the 1997 killing of an 11-month-old girl on January 15, 2015. An account by CNN’s Jason Morris details his last words as the execution began: “My body is on fire.” A few moments later, “No one should go through this. I’m not afraid to die. We’s all going to die,” he said.
Many speculate that he was trying to have his execution called off for inhumanity, others, that he was helping his ‘brothers’ on death row to have their sentences stayed.
I just want you to think for one moment, just stop and think, please- what if we just heard the last plea of a man whose consciousness was being transported “where the fire is not quenched?” (Mark 9:46)
A Sober Warning
Luke 16:22-23 speaks of a man’s death after a life full of sin. Unrepentant, his conscious soul was taken with his sins to a permanent place of punishment. His experience after death is recorded for all to beware: “The rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.”
Do you believe the Bible? Some of these men didn’t… but they all do now.
A See for further illustration the book, “Dying Testimonies of Saved and Unsaved” by Solomon Benjamin Shaw, 1898