35. Scriptural References to Death.
But since here it is written in the three Evangelists, “They shall not taste of death,” 5772 but in other writers different things are written concerning death, it may not be out of place to bring forward and examine these passages along with the “taste.” In the Psalms, then, it is said, “What man is p. 469 he that shall live and not see death?” 5773 And again, in another place, “Let death come upon them and let them go down into Hades alive;” 5774 but in one of the prophets, “Death becoming mighty has swallowed them up;” 5775 and in the Apocalypse, “Death and Hades follow some.” 5776 Now in these passages it appears to me that it is one thing to taste of death, but another thing to see death, and another thing for it to come upon some, and that a fourth thing, different from the aforesaid, is signified by the words, “Death becoming mighty has swallowed them up,” and a fifth thing, different from these, by the words, Death and Hades follow them.” And if you were to collect them, you would perhaps find also other differences than those which we have mentioned, by a comparison of which with one another and right investigation, you would find the things signified in each place. But here I inquire whether it is a less evil to see death, but a greater evil than seeing to taste of it, but still worse than this that death should follow any one, and not only follow him, but also now come upon him and seize him whom it formerly followed; but to be swallowed up seems to be more grievous than all the things spoken of. But giving heed to what is said, and to the differences of sins committed, you will not I think, be slow to admit that things of this kind were intended by the Spirit who caused these things to be written in the oracles of God. But, if it be necessary to give an exposition clearer than what has been said of what is signified by seeing the Son of man coming in His own kingdom, or in His own glory, and what is signified by seeing the kingdom of God come with power, these things—whether those that are made to shine in our hearts, or that are found by those who seek, or that enter gradually into our thoughts,—let each one judge as he wills—we will set forth. He who beholds and apprehends the excellency of the Word, as he breaks down and refutes all the plausible forms of things which are truly lies but profess to be truths, sees the Son of man, (according to the word of John, “the Word of God,”) coming in His own kingdom; but if such an one were to behold the Word, not only breaking down plausible oppositions, but also representing His own truths with perfect clearness, he would behold His glory in addition to His kingdom. And such an one indeed would see in Him the kingdom of God come with power; and he would see this, as one who is no longer now under the reign of “sin which reigns in the mortal body of those who sin,” 5777 but is ever under the orders of the king, who is God of all, whose kingdom is indeed potentially “within us,” 5778 but actually, and, as Mark has called it, “with power,” and not at all in weakness within the perfect alone. These things, then, Jesus promised to the disciples who were standing, prophesying not about all of them, but about some.
Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27.469:5773
Ps. lxxxix. 48.469:5774
Ps. lv. 18.469:5775
Isa. xxv. 8.469:5776
Rev. vi. 10.469:5777
Rom. vi. 12.469:5778
Luke xvii. 21.