The Limited Duration of Our Earthly Lives

This is a subsidiary post of Earthly Life and Death.
It is also a subsidiary post of Time.

For as long as we live on earth we are just “infants in the womb.”  That is, as the infant’s first nine months in the womb are to the rest of his life, so is our life here on earth to the life we’ll live in eternity.  Therefore, let us live with a view of just how limited our time on earth actually is.

Key Verse

James 4:13, 14, 15  –  “…You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away…”


Luke 12:19, 20  –  This foolish man assumed he had “many years to come” on the very night he was to die.

Luke 16:3  –  The “management” or “stewardship” of our lives in this world will be taken away from us because of sin.  That is, we know we will die.  It is proper therefore to prepare for life after this one.

John 9:4  –  We do not have “forever” to serve Him on earth.

John 21:22  –  “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”  –  The Lord doesn’t owe us an explanation for how long we have – or anyone else has – to live.

2 Corinthians 4:17  –  “momentary”
2 Corinthians 4:18  –  “the things which are seen are temporal”

Hebrews 2:9  –  Here and elsewhere (e.g. Psalm 37:10 below) you will see that “a little while” is idiomatic for this earthly life.

Hebrews 11:25  – “passing”

Hebrews 13:14  –  “here we do not have a lasting city”

James 4:13, 14, 15  –  “…You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away…”  –  And there’s that phrase again, too:  “a little while.”

1 Peter 1:6  –  “a little while”

1 Peter 1:17  –  “the time of your stay on earth”

1 Peter 1:24, 25 (quoting Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8 below)  – “all flesh is like grass and…the grass withers”

1 Peter 5:10  –  “a little while”

1 John 2:17  –  “the world is passing away”  –  Compare with 2 Corinthians 4:18 above.


Genesis 6:3  –  Here the Lord begins limiting the life spans enjoyed by the earliest humans.

2 Kings 20:1  (same as Isaiah 38:1 below)  –  We may not know when we are going to die, but we surely know that we are going to die.

Psalm 37:10  –  See note on Hebrews 2:9 above.

Psalm 39:5, 6  –  “every man at his best is a mere breath”

Psalm 90:10  –  Even if we live as long as 70 or 80 years, how “soon it is gone!”

Psalm 90:12  –  “teach us to number our days”  –  Even if we don’t know the exact number, we do know that the number is finite and not infinite.

Psalm 144:4  –  “Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.”

Isaiah 38:1  –  (same as 2 Kings 20:1 above)  –  It was not death that surprised Hezekiah – it was the timing of it.  Yet we are not guaranteed a certain number of years, so there is no reason we should be surprised.  Dismayed, maybe – but not surprised.  However, even if we are dismayed, we ought to be dismayed only for the sake of others, not for our own sake (Philippians 1:21-26).  They are losing something; we are gaining something.

Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8 (quoted in 1 Peter 1:24, 25 above)  –  “all flesh is like grass and…the grass withers”

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