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Death amid power

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Elimu (Education Forum)' started by KAKA A TAIFA, Jun 15, 2011.


    KAKA A TAIFA JF-Expert Member

    Jun 15, 2011
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    Death is, either as a metaphor, a personification or an actual being, referenced occasionally in the New Testament, although it can be debated whether these texts are discussing death as a "person" or as a concept. If the former, one such personification is found in Acts 2:24 – "But God raised Him [Jesus] from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for Death to keep its hold on Him." Later passages, however, are much more explicit. Romans 5 speaks of Death as having "reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses," and various passages in the Epistles speak of Christ's work on the cross and His resurrection as a confrontation with Death. Such verses include Rom. 6:9 and 2 Tim. 1:10. Death is still viewed as enduring in Scripture. 1 Cor. 15:26 asserts, "The last enemy to be destroyed is Death," which implies that Death has not been destroyed once and for all. This assertion later proves true in the Book of Revelation.[h=3]In Islam[/h]In Islam, the concept of death is viewed as a celebratory event as opposed to one to be dreaded. It is the passage of the everlasting soul into a closer dimension to its creator that is seen as a point of joy, rather than misery, obvious mortal grief and sadness notwithstanding. Indeed, the Islamic prophet Muhammad demonstrated that grief was an acceptable form of what makes us human, however prolonged mourning at the expense of the living is inappropriate, especially in the light of the transition from one world to the next.
    Death is represented by Azra'il [Citation needed], one of Allah's archangels in the Quran:
    6:93: "If thou couldst see, when the wrong-doers reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, saying: Deliver up your souls."
    32:11: "Say: The Angel of Death, who hath charge concerning you, will gather you and afterward unto your Lord ye will be returned."
    [h=4]Rabbinic views[/h]The Rabbis found the Angel of Death mentioned in Psalm 134:45 (A. V. 48), where the Targum translates: "There is no man who lives and, seeing the Angel of Death, can deliver his soul from his hand." Eccl. 8:4 is thus explained in Midrash Rabbah to the passage: "One may not escape the Angel of Death, nor say to him, 'Wait until I put my affairs in order,' or 'There is my son, my slave: take him in my stead.'" Where the Angel of Death appears, there is no remedy (Talmud, Ned. 49a; Hul. 7b). If one who has sinned has confessed his fault, the Angel of Death may not touch him (Midrash Tanhuma, ed. Buber, 139). God protects from the Angel of Death (Midrash Genesis Rabbah lxviii.).
    [h=3]In Judaism[/h][h=4]Form and functions[/h]According to the Midrash, the Angel of Death was created by God on the first day.[SUP][4][/SUP] His dwelling is in heaven, whence he reaches earth in eight flights, whereas Pestilence reaches it in one.[SUP][5][/SUP] He has twelve wings.[SUP][6][/SUP] "Over all people have I surrendered thee the power," said God to the Angel of Death, "only not over this one which has received freedom from death through the Law."[SUP][7][/SUP] It is said of the Angel of Death that he is full of eyes. In the hour of death, he stands at the head of the departing one with a drawn sword, to which clings a drop of gall. As soon as the dying man sees Death, he is seized with a convulsion and opens his mouth, whereupon Death throws the drop into it. This drop causes his death; he turns putrid, and his face becomes yellow.[SUP][8][/SUP] The expression "to taste of death" originated in the idea that death was caused by a drop of gall.[SUP][9]
    [h=2]In Abrahamic religions[/h]In the Bible, the fourth horseman of Book of Revelation is called Death and is pictured with Hades following him. The "Angel of the Lord" smites 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (II Kings 19:35). When the Angel of Death passes through to smite the Egyptian first-born, God prevents "the destroyer" (shâchath) from entering houses with blood on the lintel and side posts (Exodus 12:23). The "destroying angel" (mal'ak ha-mashḥit) rages among the people in Jerusalem (II Sam. 24:16). In I Chronicles 21:15 the "angel of the Lord" is seen by King David standing "between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem." The biblical Book of Job (33:22) uses the general term "destroyer" (memitim), which tradition has identified with "destroying angels" (mal'ake Khabbalah), and Prov. 16:14 uses the term the "angels of death" (mal'ake ha-mavet). Azra'il is sometimes
    [h=2]Japanese folklore / mythology[/h]In Kojiki, after giving birth to the fire god Hinokagutsuchi, the goddess Izanami dies from wounds from his fire and enters the perpetual night realm called Yomi-no-kuni (the underworld) that the gods retire to and to which Izanagi, her husband, traveled in a failed attempt to reclaim her. He discovers his wife as not-so beautiful anymore, and, following a brief argument afterwards, she promises him she will take a thousand lives every day, signifying her position as the goddess of death.
    [h=3]Hindu Scriptures[/h][​IMG] [​IMG]
    Yama-bunta, the Hindu lord of death, presiding over his court in hell

    In Hindu scriptures, the lord of death is called Yama ('Kaalan' in Malayalam), or Yamaraj (literally "the lord of death"). Yamaraj rides a black buffalo and carries a rope lasso to carry the soul back to his abode, called "Yamalok"(the world of Yama - or the Underworld of the dead). There are many forms of reapers, although some say there is only one who disguises himself as a small child. His agents, the Yamaduts, carry souls back to Yamalok. There, all the accounts of a person's good and bad deeds are stored and maintained by Chitragupta. The balance of these deeds allows Yamaraj to decide where the soul has to reside in its next life, following the theory of reincarnation. Yama is also mentioned in the Mahabharata as a great philosopher and devotee of Supreme Brahman.
    [h=3]Hellenic[/h][​IMG] [​IMG]
    Thanatos as a winged youth, c. 325–300 BC, at Temple of Artemis, Ephesos

    Ancient Greece found Death to be inevitable, and, therefore, he is not represented as purely evil. He is often portrayed as a bearded and winged man, but has also been portrayed as a young boy.