I did a quick study on Biblical images of death in the New Testament and found five primary word pictures. Here they are listed in the acronym D.E.A.T.H.
- Departure. Paul describes his death as a departure. Phil. 1:23 says, “… to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” The language suggests hoisting the anchor and sailing out to sea.
- Exodus. Death is an exodus (an exit door) from earth to heaven. Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus, “…about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:31)
- Asleep. We read in John 11:11 that Jesus says, “Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.” At death, the soul does not sleep but goes to be with Jesus. At death, the body sleeps until the final resurrection.
- Tent. Paul calls our bodies tents in 2 Cor. 5:1, “…if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God.” Death is trading an earthly, mortal, and frail body for a heavenly, immortal and indestructible body.
- Home. Jesus promised in John 14:2, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Death for the Christian is moving into the Father’s house. Perhaps we will never be more alive, than after we die. Death will end our pilgrim’s progress, and bring us home.
As Christians, we are not free from the PAIN of death, or the GRIEF of death, or the REALITY of death, but we are to be free from the FEAR of death and the POWER of death.
Hebrews 2:14 says, “… only by dying could he [Jesus] break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”
What assurance we have in Christ! In Him, we are free in living and free in dying.