When my time comes, I hope I die in my sleep. I’m not afraid of dying, you understand. It’s just that I don’t like the idea of going through a lot of pain when I die. I suppose many of us think that way, right? We’re not afraid of death – but we are afraid of pain.
When Jesus died on the cross, He not only faced death, He also experienced a lot of pain. In fact, crucifixion was one of the most painful ways a person could die. In Acts 2:24, Peter said, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death…” Now the interesting thing about this statement is that when Jesus lay dead in the tomb, He was not in pain. The pain of the crucifixion was over. Now in death, the pain was gone.
So there is a pain associated with death that is independent of any physical pain that may have caused the death.
The word “pain” in this verse is the Greek word “hodeen,” which is a word used to describe “birth pain” (the pangs of labor involved in childbirth). The word is used three other times in the New Testament, and each time, it is a reference to the pain associated with the events of the Last Days (the tribulation period and the Day of the Lord).
So when Peter uses the word to describe the condition of death, he is saying that death, apart from the hope of the resurrection, is an intense pain – like the labor pains of birth. This is because death is a product of sin, which leads to eternal damnation. And that is as painful as things get.
But, praise God! In the resurrection of Christ, He loosed the pains of death and made it possible for all who put their faith in Christ to be victorious over death. As Paul said, “O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey — Without Christ – death brings a painful eternity. But with Christ – God looses the pains of death.