Originally published at https://www.rethinknow.org on March 15, 2021.
What does the Bible say about death?
I know even the word death can trigger a whole lot of emotions, painful memories, grief and fear. It’s a difficult topic to talk about. But it’s one that we shouldn’t ignore. Death is all around us and it should be something we lean into.
For anyone who’s faced death or the loss of a loved one you know it’s one of the most unnatural things you can experience. It permanently alters your life and has left many with their faith in shambles.
And I know most of us just prefer to live in denial about death. Thanks to modern medicine we can in essence live like we will never die. So we stick our heads in sand and pretend death won’t knock on our door. But it will. And I think it’s important we acknowledge that and seek wisdom from what the Bible says about death.
So, let’s look at this question: What does the Bible say about death?
What Does The Bible Say About Death?
So, what does the Bible say about death? The Bible is full of stories people dying, teachings about death, warnings about death, and comfort when facing death. In short, the Bible talks a lot about death.
Since this question (what does the Bible say about death?) is so broad I want to narrow it down by looking specifically at some key teachings about death.
If you want to read all the actual verses about the what the Bible says about death check out: Bible Verses About Death
Let’s jump in. What does the Bible say about death? Here’s 7 important truths about death.
1. Death Was Never God’s Plan
If you’ve ever lost someone you loved or faced death yourself you know it’s one of the most unnatural things you can experience. It’s almost as if we weren’t designed to go through it. Like we don’t have the capacity.
Death was never part of God’s plan. That’s why it feels so unnatural to deal with.
Look at the first three chapters of Genesis. We were never meant to die. We were meant to last. But when we turned from God and towards our own desires everything fell apart and death entered the picture (Romans 8:18–23).
Death feels unnatural because it is unnatural. We were created for life. Uninterrupted. And life with God.
What does the Bible say about death? Death was never part of God’s plan, it exists because sin entered the picture.
2. In Death There Is Hope
I don’t want you to grieve like the rest of humanity who has no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
In other words Paul is saying, I want you to grieve hopefully.
Notice he doesn’t say, don’t grieve. As Christians we should grieve the loss of a loved one. Grieving is natural and healthy. Paul is striking a balance. Tim Keller in says, Christians can and must both grieve profoundly and fully and yet do so with hope.
Why can we have hope? Because death is not the end. Actually it’s only the beginning. Jesus has defeated death and made a way for us to get to the way God intended us to live. We have a hope that on the other side of death is something beyond our imagination.
What does the Bible say about death? We should grieve with the hope of resurrection.
3. Death Is Still Difficult
Death is difficult. Remember in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that Paul says we are to grieve. We grieve because death is a significant lose. The Bible never hides that. Instead it highlights the pain death brings. Story after story details the sting of death.
Maybe the most shocking story of the sting of death takes place in John 11. John 11:35 masterfully records the sting of death in two short words: Jesus wept.
Tim Keller in On Death says, Here is Jesus, the Son of God, who knew quite well that he was going to do a great miracle and raise his friend from the dead. We would think, would we not, that he would be walking to the tomb quietly smiling and thinking to himself, “wait til you see what I”m going to do! Everything is going to be fine!” Instead he is weeping, grieving, angry.
Jesus knows the end of the story. He knows at the end of the day death will be now more. But still he weeps over the loss of a friend. Death is difficult.
What does the Bible say about death? The sting of death is real and the emotion that comes with it is natural.
For more check out: Why did Jesus Weep? (and why we should too)
4. We Don’t Suffer Alone
Whether you are facing death or dealing with the loss of someone you love it can be an incredibly isolating experience. Even when you are surrounded by people it’s common to feel alone, that no one else really understands what you are facing.
But you are not alone. And no, I’m not talking about the people around you. Although I think the body of Christ is an incredible support. I’m talking about something much deeper.
The Bible teaches us that God is with you. I mean literally with you. It’s in his name, Emmanuel, God with us. He left heaven and earth in pursuit of you. He went to the cross and rose from the grave so that he could also stay by your side. God is with you.
What does the Bible say about death? Whatever you are facing God is right beside you.
For more about God with us check out: What Emmanuel Really Means
5. One Day Death Will Be No More
We know how it will one day be… but we also know we aren’t there yet. We live with the promise of what is to come but in the reality of what still is.
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Because of what Jesus has done we can have hope. Our momentary trials and struggles are just that. Momentary. One day they will be no more. That should give us hope. On the other side of death is life.
That doesn’t make death easy. But it makes it purposeful. Much like the mother about to give birth. The process is excruciating and scary. But the life on the other side is so incredibly worth it. That’s why many have multiple kids.
The Bible teaches the same principle about death. Yes, it’s scary. Yes it could be painful. But on the other side is life beyond what we can even imagine.
What does the Bible say about death? Death is temporary, one day we will experience life without the threat of it ending.
6. One Day Things Will Make Sense
Sometimes death just doesn’t seem fair does it? A good father dies way too young and an evil person lives a long life and dies a peaceful death. Some live long lives and others are brutally cut short. The amount of pain and suffering in the world is hard to even fathom.
It can seem at times like God isn’t really in control. But the Bible tells us the problem isn’t God’s lack of control, rather it’s our vantage point.
Have you ever seen a tapestry? It’s a piece of thick textile that have intricate images woven into the front. But if you flip it around and look at the back it’s just a mess of threads. You can kind of make out a faint picture, you can kind of see the idea. But it’s tough, it just looks like a mess.
We live on the backside of the tapestry. We live on the side where it just looks like a mess. But one day God will turn it around, and we will see the beautiful and intricate story God has told through our mess.
What does the Bible say about death? One day things will make sense.
Where we are right now things just look like a mess. But the Bible teaches us that it’s just a mess from where we are standing. One day we will see the other side, and it will all make sense.
What does the Bible say about death? One day we will see how God took our mess and made it into something beautiful. One day things will make sense.
7. Eternity Is Better Than We Can Imagine
I used to think of heaven as a place where we play harps and sing songs to God all day everyday. But as I studied the Bible I realized that’s a terribly inaccurate picture of what eternity will be like. And thank God, because that sounds boring…
Eternity is living life as God intended it to be lived. Without the consequences of sin or the fear of death. We will experience the richness of relationships. The excitement of discovery. The joy of creating. The serenity of seeing unadulterated beauty. All while living in unity with God. The best experiences we’ve had in this life pale in comparison to what we will experience in the next.
The Bible describes heaven as the streets being paved with gold (Revelation 21:21). Is that a literal truth? Could be, but I doubt it… What the Bible is telling us is that what’s most valuable to us in this life will be what we trample on in eternity. This is a statement of the grander of eternity. It will be far better than we can possibly comprehend.
What does the Bible say about death? The life of the other side of death is far better than we can imagine.
Death is something we don’t like to think about. And I get that. But that Bible talks a lot about death and it’s message should give us hope. It doesn’t minimize the sting of death, instead it sympathizes with us. But the Gospel doesn’t leave us in despair. For all who follow Jesus there is hope that one day death will be no more and until then we have a God that’s walking right with us through it all.
Thanks for reading, I hope that you learn something and that this article helped you rethink parts of your faith. Before you leave I would love to hear from you! Which of the 7 lessons about what does the Bible say about death stood out the most to you?