Does each person have a particular appointed time to die?
Topic(s): Death, Eternity & Judgment, Time
Many believe that since He is all powerful and all knowing, God takes people at their appointed time to die, and there is nothing that man may do to change or affect this. This concept of fate is not biblical, however. According to Greek mythology, there are three goddesses, or fates, who determine the destiny of men, and men have no control over the course life will take. People express the idea of fate as they say of someone who has died, It was just his time to go, or It was her time to die, nothing could be done for her, and she would have died no matter what anyone did.
There is no question that death is inevitable for all people, but the inevitability of death does not mean that either the fates have determined a particular time for individuals to die, or that God has predetermined a particular time when He has ordained a person must die. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:27-28). These verses do not teach that man has a fateful, specific appointed time to die, but that death is inevitable for all mankind, and just as surely as death is inevitable, judgment must follow. The key is for each person to prepare for the judgment by accepting the salvation offered by God through the sacrifice of Christ.
The false idea of a predetermined fate conflicts with the teaching of scripture that each person has the free will to choose how to live, and whether to respond to God's will. God chooses to love and redeem us. He has free will. We, created in His image (Genesis 1:27), also have free will. John writes, Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Since man sins and separates himself from God by choosing to transgress the law, he also has the free will to choose righteousness. The actions of others may influence when we die, but we have much control over when we will die. If we choose to risk our lives by abusing alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, speeding on the interstate, or engaging in other risky behavior, then we take our lives into our own hands. Along with the free will He gives us, God also makes us responsible for the consequences of our actions. He doesn't just take us [kill us] at some time He has appointed. We can choose to live as we should.
Since no one knows when he or she may die, each person needs to be ready to die at any moment. Paul recognized that in his service as an apostle, he had to be ready to die. For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men (1 Corinthians 4:9). He was ready to accept this death sentence, because he had already committed all he had to Christ. He said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).