The Divine Kiss
“Brothers, keep praying for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:25,26)
Have you ever wondered what was meant by ‘divine kiss’? When I first read this term, I was curious; however, I could not gain any satisfaction from my research. It appears almost each commentator and theologian has different meanings.
Johnathan Stein, writing in ‘The Divine Kiss’, provides an example of the divine kiss, when he writes, “In contrast to the image of Moses begging to be turned into an animal, the Midrash grants Moses a beautiful death. At the end, God leans down from the heavens and ends Moses’ life with a soft, gentle kiss.” This is derived from Deuteronomy 34:5, where it is written, “So Moses, the servant of the Eternal, died there, in the land of Moab, at the command of the Eternal.” The Hebrew reads, al pi Adonai, “by the mouth of the Eternal.” Hence the legend about God kissing Moses at his moment of death. Thus, through this comment, the author defines the Divine Kiss as the Kiss of God.
J.W. Sheets, in his sermon, Introducing the Divine Kiss of God, noted, “The divine kiss is only a metaphor speaking of the deepest affections that God can give the human spirit. How appropriate it is for God to write about the deepest expressions of His affection through the language of bridal love.”
Scripture contains passages which speak of Holy Kiss and Sacred Kiss. For example, Rav Sha’ul, writing in 1 Corinthians 16:20, recommends his followers “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” In Psalm 85:10 we read – “Grace and truth have met together; justice and peace have kissed each other.” Here we may see the metaphor having direct application to the union of grace, truth, justice and peace. Clearly, one cannot have grace without truth, grace without truth leads to many lies, and justice cannot live without peace — justice without peace becomes vengeance.
There has not been a good deal of research into the moment of human death. One researcher, who is investigating the death process, Seamus Coyle, has postulated (a) study from 2011, however, showed that the levels of serotonin, another brain chemical that is also thought to contribute to feelings of happiness, tripled in the brains of six rats as they died. We can’t rule out that something similar could happen in humans. However, there is insufficient research to support this speculation.
To be very clear, the divine kiss is not a sexual act; it is a holy act emanating from the love Adonai has first shown us, which we extend to others who also believe in Him and follow His commands. This is agape love, the divine love from Adonai.
The Talmud, Berakhot 8a, shares with us: “The Gemara explains that the most difficult of all these types of death is croup [askara], while the easiest is the kiss of death. Croup is like a thorn entangled in a wool fleece, which, when pulled out backwards, tears the wool. Some say that croup is like ropes at the entrance to the esophagus, which would be nearly impossible to insert and excruciating to remove. The kiss of death is like drawing a hair from milk.” (Emphasis added). The rabbis added that the kiss of death, offered by Adonai himself, separates the soul from the body and draws it to Himself.
What does all of this mean? As I read what I have presented to you, I have more questions than I have answers. However, understanding Adonai’s love for each one of us, I cannot help but believe He is present, when we die. I believe, without proof, He wants our transition from our human to our heavenly life to be pain free. However, what if the pain some people feel during their death promotes a deeper faith in Adonai, the Eternal? I believe, again without proof, that going home should be a peaceful experience, without pain, even though pain may be present in the process of dying. What do you believe?
CONSIDER: I argue, believers have a different perspective of death than do non-believers. Believers perceive death to be a transition from a temporary, human experience, to a permanent, heavenly experience. What do you believe?
ACTION: Given that belief cannot be explained scientifically, although many have tried, Adonai has instilled His children with the understanding that belief stems from emunah, trust-in-action, or faith. When we have faith, we are willing to step forward and follow His commands, working for our God, as He would have us do. I urge all of us to consider what this means in our temporary life here on earth.
PRAY: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, we stand here before you this day, many of us at a crossroads. Which way will we go – forward towards You or another way, towards the adversary? I pray You will lead us on the correct path, the way that focuses on You and Your truth. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua, Mashichainu.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you fully and richly.
 Stein, Johnathan, The Divine Kiss: V’zot Hab’rachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:1,Union for Reform Judaism www.reformjudaism.org, 2021.
 Sheets, J,W., Introducing the Divine Kiss of God, Faith Life Sermons, https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/354895-introducing-the-divine-kiss-of-god-(1:2a).
 Coyle, S., Death: Can our final moment be euphoric, BBC Future, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200205-death-can-our-final-moment-be-euphoric.