The Tragic Death of Voltaire the Atheist


Death is such a beautiful thing, and death is such a horrible thing. It’s actually both, depending wholly on the passing pilgrim. Death is just as beautiful as a saintly life or just as dark as an unbelieving life. No one can doubt that death is inescapable. The words of God have spoken, “… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Death is such a landmark of life that it must be designed as one would write their will.

The noted French atheist, Voltaire, died a frightening death. Let me quote for you the exact record as published, “When Voltaire felt the stroke that he realized must terminate in death, he was overpowered with remorse. He at once sent for the priest, and wanted to be ‘reconciled with the church.’ His infidel flatterers hastened to his chamber to prevent his recantation; but it was only to witness his ignominy and their own. He cursed them to their faces; and, as his distress was increased by their presence, he repeatedly and loudly exclaimed, ‘Begone! It is you that have brought me to my present condition. Leave me, I say; begone! What a wretched glory is this which you have produced to me!’

“Hoping to allay his anguish by a written recantation, he had it prepared, signed it, and saw it witnessed. But it was all unavailing. For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times in plaintive accents, he would plead, ‘O, Christ! O, Lord Jesus!’ Then, turning his face, he would cry out, ‘I must die-abandoned of God and of men!’

“As his end drew near, his condition became so frightful that his infidel associates were afraid to approach his beside. Still they guarded the door, that others might not know how awfully an infidel was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said, ‘For all the wealth of Europe I would never see another infidel die.’ It was a scene of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration. Such is the well-attested end of the one who had a natural sovereignty of intellect, excellent education, great wealth, and much earthly honor.” (Dying Testimonies of Saved and Unsaved by Rev. S B Shaw, pp. 49-50.)

Reading of such a dying experience is overwhelming, even to us who are secure in salvation. Human emotions are a powerful source and no one can live and die without them. Our present generation has mainly escaped the horror of unpreparing for death by the use of drugs to kill all pain. Sadly, the beauty of a Godly death is also lost in our drug culture. The new “right” of the health world is the right to be free of pain. In most cases, the pain or joy is simply transferred to the immediate moments after death. We are spared both the joy and the screams.

Our Bible teaches us the absolute beauty of a saint’s death, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Isaiah spoke by prophecy of the triumph that Jesus Christ would accomplish over death, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8). Apostle Paul echoed this great prophecy, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:55-57).

Now, let’s visit a great saint of God in his death. This Godly man has often encouraged me by his bravery in martyrdom. A great persecution was raging in the city of Smyrna and the cry was heard, “Let Polycarp be sought for.” He was taken and the proconsul gave this aged man an opportunity to recant his faith and trust in Christ. “He nobly replied, ‘Eighty and six years I have served Christ, who has never done me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?’

“When he was brought to the stake, the executioner offered, as usual, to nail him to it; but he said, ‘Let me alone as I am: He who has given me strength to come to the fire, will also give me patience to abide in it, without being fastened with nails.’

“Part of his last prayer, at his death, was as follows, ‘O God, the Father of Thy beloved son, Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thyself; O God of angels and powers, of ever creature, and of all the just who live in Thy presence; I thank Thee that Thou hast graciously vouchsafed, this day and this hour, to allot me a portion amongst the number of martyrs. O Lord, receive me; and make me a companion of saints in the resurrection, through the merits of our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. I praise and adore Thee, through thy beloved Son, to whom, with Thee, and Thy Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, both now and forever.’” (Ibid., p. 17.)

A young man that had put off the call of the Holy Ghost and blasphemed Him, lie dying. His doctor had pleaded that he repent. Burying his face in his pillow he stated, “Oh! I have missed it at last” and then he died. A young lady wonderfully saved in a great revival became ill and had bid all her loved ones a happy goodbye. As she was dying, she joyfully told her sisters, “Don’t weep for me. Jesus is with me, I will not have to go alone.” She looked up as seeing someone special coming for her and then said, “Come on, I am ready to go.” She was gone!

Death can be so beautiful. Stephen, the first of the seven elders chosen to care for the widows, was arrested. After his powerful sermon to the angry mob, he was stoned to death. As he died, the Bible records his parting testimony, “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:56-60).

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4 Responses to “The Tragic Death of Voltaire the Atheist”

  1. Andrea McDougal says:

    I loved this article! I am a woman minister, Evangelist and I really enjoyed reading this article! Thank you! And, I thank the Lord for so great a salvation that death will have no sting and the grave will have no victory! Many bleassings, Andrea “Andy” McDougal

  2. James Powell says:

    Fanstatic article! It is truly a tradgedy that when an individual is on their death bed that the still won’t seek forgiveness.

  3. David Hou says:

    It is very interesting to know that Jesus has experienced it all. It is much more interesting as He give us a peek into Life after Death. Luke 16:19-31

    Everyone will have their own individual experience of life, like the richman or the poor man vs. 19-21 But everyone have to die eventually for there is no fountain of youth or life vs. 22

    Death is the cut off point, no more second chance for anyone unless there is divine intervention.
    Death is universal yet no one wants to die but everyone have to die because no one can break this divine appointment of death ordained by God.

    Death can be a fearful event… a journey into the unknown for those who don’t know where they are going. Death can be an exit from existence. Death can be a cycle to return again in another person or in another form. Death can be so many things to those who do not accept the Bible as God’s sole divine revelation for mankind.

    Death to a Christian, a believer in the saving grace of Jesus Christ is a hopeful event… the transformation of one into immortals, living the life of immortality as the Great Immortal Himself. 1 Tim. 6:13-16; 2 Tim. 1:10 Death to a Christian is a break away, a release from this body of sin, sickness, disease & sufferings. We should not fear death but be willing & ready to embrace it when it comes our way. The fear of death should not bind us. Hebrews 2:14-15

    In Luke 16:22 The richman(a Jew)died & the poor man Lazarus(God is my help)died. Yet dead is not the end but the begining of another life as there is life after death… period.
    It is interesting that Jesus gives us the insight into the next world after both had died.

    There is a Heaven and Hell, paradise and hades, New heavens and Lake of fire. Revelation 20:13-15; 21:1-8

    Both man retained all their faculties. They can speak, hear, see, feel, understand, remember etc… You can read it all from vs. 23-31

    God has given humanity 70 to 80 years of life or more as some lived over a 100 years old to return to Him and to know Him through the sacrifical death of His Son Jesus Christ. All can be saved and that is the desire & will of God but alas the will of man is always contrary to His.

    Our destiny is in our hands. We can choose eternal life or eternal death. We have “all the time within our life time frame” to choose & decide where we want to go after we lived our life on earth.

    So be wise in our choosing…if we miss it we miss it with all eternal regrets… no more second chances, no more lets try again. Ponder seriously on the choice that these people make in the above article as you have read. Read it again & share it with others… your love ones.

    Their choice will be their destiny, your choice will be your destiny…. up or down, heaven or hell.

  4. John Burgess says:

    How great is the good news that the Way has been made so we can enter into the holy rest of God & be in His presence forever, by the blood of the Lamb! How tragic that this simple message is seldom preached today for fear that it might offend a world that believes that it holds the future in its hands & doesn’t want to know that there is only one Sovereign & that is the Lord Almighty. The Way of peace is made at immeasurable cost for all who would believe.