Death: A Bible Perspective
Death is a manifestation of sin, whereby the soul is separated from the body which rots away into its components parts; the soul is sent to paradise or Sheol waiting the coming of Christ.
Have you thought about death
Have you ever thought about death? Some have had a love one die and have thought about death, but what about your own death - have you thought about that?
Do you know what a dead person looks like? Would you touch a dead body? In Australia we shier away from death, don’t we? Few have seen a dead body and fewer have handled a dead body, yet not so many years ago, it was part of life – a dead relative would be brought into your home where the body was viewed by all, and handled by the immediate elder family member. That is, death was a public act in the life of a person – now it is a hidden act. Your body is whisked away to the morgue, the body is made up to look life-like, and a few will view the body, perhaps speak to it, not realising the soul is somewhere else.
Although death is inevitable – all will die – we don’t talk about it. Have any of you taken a class in death? How many discussed your own death at school, or work or club? Indeed we tend to cover up death don’t we? When old great aunt Sally was diagnosed with cancer, we whispered amongst ourselves – spoke often about Sally, about everything else but never her impending death – yet at her life’s end, she needed to face up to the fact her soul was about to be judged and passed into hades or into heaven. Why didn’t we speak to her about her impending death, and why didn’t we speak about her death between ourselves? We are even worse with children – yet don’t they have the right to know they will die at some point, and can make a decision for Jesus – even at a young age? This is not always the case. I have seen strong Christians who were dying speak often of their impending death – much to the discomfort of those around. A cousin actually arranged her entire funeral; but all these were confident of what was to happen post death – they believed that Jesus Christ had saved them.
Indeed a cursory glance at modern media or scholarly journals shows the world has not come to terms with death. It replaces the words death and die with euphemisms, where these words are replaced with something else which sounds more acceptable, more pleasant, or they cover up the reality of what death is. I marvel at the unbelieving world that hold fast to the theory of evolution which teaches that death is inevitable, and is the returning of your chemicals to nature, yet it cannot face death itself. It believes that your thoughts are but mere chemical reactions, but does not refer to a person as dying, but some euphemism. We don’t even talk about our dead Aunt Sally, but the fact she ‘past away’ – “passed away where to?” I ask.
There is a view that our great grandparents had a much more robust view of death than our modern sophisticated world today – for they had Christianity, which deals more with death than birth – indeed the gospel is about the choice we have of what happens to our soul upon death. This view of course requires the truth of humans having a soul. The rule is unambiguous; the wages of sin is death; all have sinned, therefore all will die. Death is more than separation of soul from body. All souls – that includes yours - are judged. If found wanting, the soul will be cast into hell – this is the final death or true death, as you are separated for all eternity from God (and anyone else for that matter). Initially an unsaved soul is placed in Sheol (Hebrew: ?????), also called Hades (Greek: ?δου), and from there you will be judged in the last days, then cast into hell, if found wanting. You cannot be found wanting if your sins have been paid for – this only the Lord Jesus Christ can do, as it requires one who is perfect to do so.
For those that believe in Jesus Christ, they will be taken to Paradise upon death. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus and who confessed to him was told he would, that day, be in paradise (Luke 23:43) – indicating on death one is translated to paradise immediately. We know little about paradise, for Paul who had a glimpse of it in a vision was forbidden to speak about it (2 Corinthians 12:4). We do know that within the place called Paradise, there is a tree which is the ‘tree of life’ (Revelation 2:7), which also was in Eden at the time of Adam and Eve. A reference in Genesis indicates the tree of life does exactly that – its fruit prevents a person from dying – one eating the fruit of it would live for ever (Genesis 3:22). The tree of life is also referenced in Revelation chapter 22 which speaks of the new heaven. "On either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2
Paradise is also a resting place – on this earth we have no rest, but in paradise we will – "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God" Hebrews 4:9.
Life is living with God the Father after our body dies. To do so you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. An example given in the bible by a man enquiring about being saved: Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31.
Promise of punishment for sinners
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; Romans 2:5-9
Last judgement – those in Sheol (Hades) will be judged: then Hades itself will be cast into Hell
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:10-14
All humans will die
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28