I fear death. What does the Bible have to say about the subject?
Even in the Old Testament there are accounts of hopelessness when it comes to death (Eccl. 3:19-21). Many religions attempt to get around the huge stone of death by imagining reincarnation of one sort or another.
There is, in fact, no hope outside of one simple yet profound fact: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The great stone has been “rolled away;” the division between the known and the unknown as been removed; the dead end of death has become a freeway to life unending.
In the Old Testament there was a distant hope of eternal life, but the means thereof were not discernable in that time. Life, in essence, revolved around “namesake” and leaving a legacy for generations to come was the goal. What happened at the point of death was an uncertainty, as the writer of Ecclesiastes exclaims, “Humanity has no more hope than an animal. Who is to say that the spirit of a human being ascends at death and doesn’t descend like that of an animal?” Truth-statements are not the point here, but the thought process is.
What follows is some common philosophy concerning death.
In the midst of life we are in death – Unknown
Some believe Death to be mysterious and inexplicable
William Morris – “Death have we hated, knowing not what it meant.”
Bacon – “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.”
Hamlet – “That dread of something after death.”
Some believe Death to be the one inevitable thing in life
Shakespeare makes Caesar say in Julius Caesar: “It seems to me most strange that men should fear; seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
In Cymbeline he writes, “Fear no more… and come to dust.”
Some believe Death to be sheer extinction
Roman poet Catullus pleading with Lesbia for her kiss says: “… Live and love! Care not for many things; but when our short day takes flight, sleep we must one endless night.”
Some believe Death to be the supreme terror, the unmitigated evil
Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, makes Claudio say: “Death is a fearful thing!”
Robert Burns – “But oh! Fell deaths untimely frost that nipt my flower so early!”
Some see Death as Escapism
Keats – “I am half in love with easeful death.”
Shakespeare in one of the sonnets cried: “Tired with all these, for restful death I cry.”
Nicholas Row – “Death is the privilege of human nature.”
Swinburne in The Garden of Prosperpine writes: “From too much love of living, from hope and fear set free, we thank with brief thanksgiving… That no man lives forever.”
Some are a little closer, and believe
Death to be a transition, yet still unknown
Longfellow – There is no death! What seems so is transition; this life of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life Elysian, whose portal we call death.”
George Meredith – “Death met I too, and saw the dawn glow through.”
Some believe Death to be an adventure
Barrie made Peter Pan say: “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
Charles Frohman’s last words (died in the Lusitania disaster): “Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.”
Unknown scholar – “Do you realize that in an hour or two I will know the answers for which we have been searching all our lives?”
However, due to Christ’s resurrection, think what you will of the philosophy of death, Scripture is clear to the truth of the matter:
Removal of the “Great Stone” called Death (Mark 16:4)
Death is an entrance into the personal presence of God.
“If we have lived in Christ, then we can also die with Him, certain that, in dying, we go to be forever with the Lord.”
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2Cor. 5:6, 8)
My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. (Phil. 1:23b)
But we do not want you to be uniformed about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1Thes. 4:13)