Who lives long in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Bible series "Best of Bible"

Biblically, death is the loss of life force, the breath of life. Even after death, the deceased remain in an indissoluble connection with the people of Israel through the grave and descendants. Nevertheless, people fear death because it leaves behind loneliness and is associated with painful grief. There is a new thought in the New Testament: the power of death is broken through Jesus' suffering and resurrection. Therefore it is easy for Christians to live with death.

Why there is death

Adam and Eve have not yet had to deal with death. Because in the garden of Eden there was only eternal life. Logically, death does not appear in the creation story. God created many things - but not death. Yet he did exist because God included him in his deliberations. Otherwise he would not have threatened Adam and Eve: If they were to eat from the tree of knowledge, they would have to die. As is well known, they do it anyway - and one punishment for this is that God expels them from Paradise. They have gambled away eternal life, from now on people have to live with death and in the end they will become “earth” again, from which they were “taken”. The first to die in world history is Abel, her son.

Quotation: "Do not eat of it, neither do you touch it, so that you do not die!" (Genesis 1-4)

Jumping death off the shovel

Today doctors sometimes have to deliver a death notice to patients who are considered incurable. The prophet Isaiah took over this role for the terminally ill Jerusalem king Hezekiah and announced to him: "Order your house, because you will die and not live." The desperate Hezekiah prayed to God with tears. He heard the pious monarch and gave him 15 more years of life. A story about Jesus is also about a miraculous healing: The Jewish centurion of Capernaum asks Jesus to heal his terminally ill servant. Jesus fulfills his request, not out of mercy, but rather as a reward for his firm faith. Epaphroditus, a colleague of Paul, later experienced that faith saves people from dying: "He was terminally ill, but God had mercy on him."

Quote: “I heard your prayer and saw your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your days ”(2 Kings 20: 1-20); other biblical passages: Luke 7: 1-10; Philippians 2: 25-30

Uncertain timing

Death is the only thing that cannot be calculated in life: it comes when it wants, as the saying goes, and thus absorbs biblical wisdom. This can be found, for example, in the Book of Job: "Suddenly people have to die and be frightened and perish at midnight." However, this uncertainty should not lead to panic, but rather a calm: "A time to be born, a time to die" . Whoever doesn’t bring this up, who thinks that they have to let it rip again at the end, according to the motto: “Let's eat and drink; for tomorrow we are dead! ”- he lives in sin, warns the prophet Isaiah.

Quote: "See, I have grown old and do not know when I will die" (Genesis 27: 2); other biblical passages: Job 34:20; Isaiah 22: 13f .; Ecclesiastes 3,2; 1 Corinthians 15:32

Just death

Death is just - in the sense that it overtakes all people, poor and rich, powerful and powerless, pious and unbelievers. “One thing is like another,” the preacher argues, and Jesus Sirach recognizes an eternal cycle: “Yesterday it was me, today it is you. This is how it goes with the human race: some die, others are born. "

Quote: “The wise also die, just as fools and fools perish” (Psalm 49:11); other biblical passages: Ecclesiastes 9.3; Sirach 14.19; 38.23

Death makes life more valuable

Does death change life in the good sense? Yes - provided it is not suppressed. One should always remember the “ancient law” that “we must all die”, recommends Jesus Sirach. Those who internalize this thought live less fearful. “Who are you that you were afraid of people who are dying, and of the children of people who pass away like grass?” Instead of concentrating on their own death, people should enjoy and use life like they do Psalmist praises: "I will not die, but live and proclaim the Lord's works."

Quote: “Teach us to remember that we must die” (Psalm 90:12); further Bible passages Sirach 8,8; 14.18; Isaiah 51:12; Psalm 118.7

Dying as "gain"

“Death, where is your sting ?!” Defiantly the apostle Paul puts death in its place, asks: “Death, where is your victory?” With that he does not mean that nobody has to die anymore. Rather: for a Christian, earthly death loses its meaning. The reasoning is highly theological: through the fall of Adam, death came into the world; this was quasi countered by Jesus Christ's death on the cross: Now all believers have a share in redemption and in eternal life. From now on, death can no longer separate man from God. With dying one comes closer to Christ, which is why Paul even has a “desire to part from the world” and describes dying as “gain”.

Quote: “We live or die, then we are of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15: 55f); other biblical passages: Romans 5:17; Philippians 1:21

In the end, death is conquered

After the terrible horrors of the end times, the believers are promised paradisiacal times: In the “new Jerusalem” God will dwell with the people, “suffering, outcry and pain” will cease. God will wipe away all tears "and death will be no more".

Quote: “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26); Another biblical passage Revelation 21,4

Uwe Birnstein