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.