Death and the tree of life

I have found out a few things about death that really make sense to me. In the beginning there was the Garden of Eden and God had made it perfect. It is described in genesis 2:8-14, “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom He had formed.” There were beautiful trees that bore fruit, rivers, gold and precious stones. Also the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the garden. Verse 15, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” The only thing Adam was not allowed to do was eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then God made the animals and birds, and He also made Eve. Adam had a companion, he had a whole bunch of pets and there were fruit trees that supplied him with an unlimited supply of fruit. Absolute bliss. What could be better? Well, the devil got in and, found a weakness and brought sin into the world.

In Genesis 3, God bans people from the Garden for ever and He pronounces the curses that they put themselves under by disobedience. One of the things god says to Adam is in Genesis 3:19. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out on it you were take.”  In verse 22 God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” I don’t think that man was meant to live forever in his human body. Human bodies age and are fragile. I am speculating that the tree of life was a shadow of Jesus. If you ate from it you received eternal life. Because Adam and Eve were disobedient and brought curses over the earth, the tree of life was no longer an option for them or for the rest of mankind.

Death had become a curse. If people died they went to Sheol or Hades. Hades was the abode of the dead and is personified in the Old Testament as the power of Satan and his demonic forces. Revelation 1:18, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death”

Ehpesians 1:20- “[The power of God] which He worked in Christ when He raised His from the dead and seated Him in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named. Not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body. The fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

In verse 27 of the sermon that Peter gave in Acts 2, he quotes David (Psalm 16:10) where he says, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Not will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Therefore, Sheol or Hades is the place where the dead went in the Old Testament. Jesus came to earth as a man, never sinned, and was crucified. Because He was sinless He could go down to Hades and take the keys of sin and death from the devil. Basically Jesus took the curse out of death by offering eternal life to those who believe in Him. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 20:13-14, “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. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of fire.”

For those who harden their hearts and do not accept Him as savior, death should be feared, but for followers of Jesus death is not a bad thing at all.

Death where is your sting?

Last week my mother in law passed away suddenly. I am at peace with her passing because she had lived a long life and she knew the Lord. There was no prolonged sick-bed or suffering. I believe she was ready to meet her Maker. I do not often think about death but when someone this close passed away it made me think. I am quite sure that the Bible doesn’t lie and that everyone who have given their lives to Jesus will not perish but receive everlasting life. At this stage all the details of how or where or what everything will look like does not concern me.

Acts 13:36 – 39, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

These verses are so profound. Firstly, it says that David served God’s purpose for him in his own generation. Therefore it proves that every person has a purpose. We just have to make sure that we are in conversation with God so that He can lead us on the path of that purpose. Secondly, he fell asleep. There are a lot of verses in the bible that compares death to sleep. I found 8. So, it death is compared to sleep it isn’t final. If you go to sleep, at some stage you wake up again. If we die, we will at some stage wake up again, only not in the same place or in the same body. Now, David saw corruption, but David lived in the Old Testament and David wasn’t washed by the blood of the Lamb. Ephesians 4:8, “Therefore it says, ‘When he ascended on high he led a host of captive and gave gifts to men.’ (In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”
1 Peter 3:18 – 20, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited, in the days of Noah…”
I believe that after Jesus died and went to hell to take the keys of death from Satan, he also preached to those who had never had the chance to hear the gospel. Revelation 1:17-18, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
The death of Jesus was very sad at the time, but three days later, when He was resurrected and appeared to his disciples it was a time of joy and triumph. He had the chance to walk with them for 40 days before He ascended to heaven, and then later the believers received the Holy Spirit. When I look at death in this light of Acts 13:39 which says, “and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” death becomes much less frightening if you look at it in this light. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “O, death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We need not fear death if we know Jesus. We can be comforted that those who go before us are only asleep and that we will see them again. Obviously we will be sad that they aren’t part of our lives at the moment, but death isn’t forever, it’s just a stepping stone into the eternal joy of being with your Heavenly Father.