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Death in the monotheistic religions

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Danzas de la Muerte(The ”danzas de la Muerte” are representative for the crisis in Spain in the Middle Ages. They are called “dance of Death in English. Burning Guyot Marchant, 1486.)

In the Bible, the fourth horseman of Revelation 6 is called Death: The Angel of the Lord mowed 185,000 men in an Assyrian camp (2 Kings; 19:5).

When God decides to kill the firstborn Egyptians, he orders to the “destroyer” (shâchath) to save the houses marked with blood on the lintel and doorposts (Exodus, 12:23). The angel of destruction, mal’ak ha-mashḥit, unleashed against the people of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 24:15).

In Chronicles (21:16), King David sees “the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, drawn sword in his hand stretched toward Jerusalem.”

In the book of Job (33:2), we find the term “destroyer” (memitim) that tradition has identified with the “destroying angel” (mal’ake Khabbalah), while the Book of Proverbs (26:14) mentions the “death angels” (mal’ake ha-mavet). There is also the name of Azrael as the angel of death.


According to the Midrash, the angel of death has been created by God on the first day. His area is paradise, from where he reached Earth in eight days, even though the pestilence sets only one. It has six pairs of wings.


The Grim Reaper(The Grim Reaper on the tombs of the churches, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombe_du_cardinal_Aldobrandino_-_San_Pietro_in_Vincoli.JPG?uselang=fr)

Death is sometimes mentioned in the New Testament, either in the form of impersonation, or as a statement of fact. She is equated with the evil angel Samael. There is a hint in the Acts of the Apostles (2:24): ” But God gave him back to life, having made him free from the pains of death because it was not possible for him to be overcome by it.”

After a few passages, however, are more explicit. The Epistle to the Romans 5 speaks of death as being “dominated the period from Adam to Moses,” and various passages in the Epistle talk about work of Christ on the Cross and Resurrection as a confrontation with Death. Verses of this sort include the Epistle to the Romans (6:9) and the Second Letter to Timothy (1:10).

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:26) says, “The last power to come to an end is death”, which implies that Death was not destroyed once and for all, in the sense that every Christian should be taken to overcome death in turn.

In Mexico

La Calavera Catrina(La Calavera Catrina, of José Guadalupe Posada (1913).)

The Christianization of Mexican society was through religious syncretism with the Mesoamerican rituals and beliefs.

The result, in the Christian (and even secular) tradition of contemporary Mexico, that Death is symbolized in forms inherited at the same time by Mesoamerican, Christian and Mexican traditions. For the feast of the dead, in particular, it depicts Death by many performances, such as Catrina or calaveras.


In Islamic tradition, the Angel of Death is called Malak Al Mawt.

Al-Ghazali, in his book The precious pearl (Ad-Doura al-fâkhira) compiles a set of traditions, from the Koran, the Sunna, spiritual masters sentences reported in symbolic form, on the death in Islam.

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