It Is Not Death To Die

It Is Not Death To Die

It is not Death to die, to leave this weary road,
and join the saints who dwell on high,
who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
and wake in joy before your throne,
delivered from our fears.

O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.

It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
and rise with strong and noble wing
to live among the just.
It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
that sets us free from mortal years
to praise forever more.

O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.


Based on a hymn by Henri Malan (1787-1864) that was translated into English from French by George Bethune (1847), Bob Kauflin brings us a new and updated version of the song. Found on Soverign Grace’s Come Weary Saints album, this really is an excellent song and epitomizes for me the art and skill and creativity to update an old hymn. I’ve included the original lyrics here, to get an idea of what was being dealt with. As well, Joseph Sweetner wrote the original music in 1849, and so new music had to be written for it also.

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears,
And wake, in glorious repose,
To spend eternal years.

It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breath the air
Of boundless liberty.

It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong exulting wing
To live among the just.

Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.

As it were, this seems to me to be a great and insightful exposition of John 11:25-26, where I am assuming that he is basing the hymn on.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

The reality is that death should never be scary for us. My fear to die and to leave my life here on earth comes out of an ignorance of how wonderful and glorious that moment after death will be for us. It comes from distrust and insecurity, and a failure to take scripture at its word. Yet the afterlife  will be wonderful, and we can’t even understand how precious and all-satisfying it will be. We die, but we do not taste death. Ever. When I hear that “Those who trust in you will in your mercy find , that it is not death to die.” It makes me so thankful that God in his mercy saved me and allowed me to put my trust in him [Ephesians 2:3-5]

At the same time it makes me fearful for those who have mistaken the patience of God with God’s acceptance of their rebellion. It is profoundly dangerous to mistake the mercy and patience of God with unbelievers as God signing off on their sin and their utter disregard for the sacrifice of His son. It’s coming. These people are storing up wrath for themselves, and the Bible uses one word repeatedly for what happens when God shows up. It’s the word “terror.” The Bible says that there will be men who ask God to throw mountains on top of them to hide them, but there will be no mountains. Why? Because the earth and the sky flee from His presence. When these people die, death will take them. And overwhelm them, and in an instant they will be afraid.

But for us, for the redeemed, it will be something altogether different

One Response to “It Is Not Death To Die”

  • John English

    This is a truly beautiful hymn. When my mother-in-law died in 1994, we found in her papers a hand-written obituary for her own mother who had died in Marietta, OH in 1927. This obituary includes verses 2, 4, and 5 of the “new and updated version” of this hymn which you attribute to Bob Kauflin. The words are exactly the same as what you have published above except that the word “eye” in verse 2 is “eyes” in the obituary. Unless Kauflin did his version prior to 1929, I suspect another hymn writer is involved. I’m not trying to start a controversy. I just think it would be good to know who penned these beautiful words.


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