The process of death

Psalms 22, 23, & 24 portray the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most likely these psalms came to David through divine inspiration while he was praying in the spirit. The interesting thing about these psalms is that when you look at them as a collection, a series of passages that fit together as a single message, you can see what the process of death looks like for a believer.

Death is an agonizing experience because our bodies dominate our attention. We are aware of almost everything that happens to our bodies and can feel physical pain to the point where it causes us to pass out. David said in Psalm 22:14, “I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”

The vivid description David gave made it clear that Jesus’ experienced excruciating pain when he died on the cross and yet he never passed out or lost consciousness before he died; he was fully aware of the pain in his body. Part of Jesus’ victory over death was the conquest of fear. Death is the ultimate fear for a lot of people. Because Jesus was able to contain his fear during the process of dying, Christians can also and many martyrs have proven that it is possible.

Once the body and soul are separated, the experience we have of life changes. David said in Psalm 23:4, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” It is believed that when a Christian dies, he immediately goes into the presence of the Lord. In Jesus’ case, I believe his father came to his side as soon as he breathed his last breath. The journey from Earth to Heaven is a mystery, but it is clear that Christians do not travel alone.

Entering into Heaven is likely to involve the passage through a gate or gates that are designed to contain God’s glory. If God’s blessings, righteousness, and power were not contained, they would overflow the entire universe. David said in Psalm 24:9, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Jesus unlocked the gates of Heaven. Before him, no man could enter in. When Christians die, they will follow in his footsteps and enter into God’s glory.

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