Some idolize Nelson Mandela while others vilify Him. One thing is for sure. He lived into his 90s and then died, just like every other man. Some lived to exceptionally long life, as indicated in Genesis 5, but they too died.  No man can escape this reality, which is something that should send us to our knees.

The Book of Ecclesiastes written by King Solomon leaves us with some sobering words.
“1 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him.
2 It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath.
3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 (ESV)

All men go to the grave because all have sinned. Such is the fruit of rebellion.

“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-
13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”
Romans 5:12-14 ESV

What a bleak and vain outlook it is for the sons of men!

Even so, that is not the end of the story. Two men did escape death: Enoch and Elijah. They point to the reality that there is life after this one, that God rewards righteousness, and those in Christ have been given the great gift of eternal life.

“50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (ESV)

That last part is especially encouraging, for our labors in the Lord are not in vain. Solomon ends,

“13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)

All things will be brought before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Let us therefore, lay up treasure in heaven as we work diligently to be used as instruments of God to glorify His Name and grow His Kingdom. In doing so, we will grow in the knowledge of Him experiencing His eternal love, joy, and peace that passes all understanding.