The devil’s kingdom of death
The devil has the power of death because he is the originator of sin, and death results from sin. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). As transgression reigns in our lives, so death reigns, and so the devil reigns.
The Bible speaks of three kinds of death: (1) Spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 3:14). (2) Temporal death, the “first death,” described by Jesus as “sleep” (John 11:11–14; Revelation 2:10; 12:11). (3) Eternal death, the “second death” (Matthew 10:28; James 5:20; Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).
Christ’s defeat of death
Praise God, through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, He destroyed death. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). When Jesus died on the cross, the devil seemed to have won; for it seemed that even the Son of God recognized the devil’s power of death and yielded to it. But the devil’s power over death has been shattered, for though natural death still rules, the resurrection is now secured to the believers (1 Corinthians 15:20–22, 51–57).
Christ entered the strong man’s house (Mark 3:27), tied the enemy, and set his captives free. When the devil thought he had Christ in his clutch, when the tomb was sealed and Christ imprisoned in, the devil rejoiced. But, hallelujah, Christ came out victorious from the bound of death and got out of the grave, for “it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). Not only did Christ Himself rise, but “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection” (Matthew 27:52, 53).
And so, though the “strong man armed keepeth his palace, … a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him” (Luke 11:21, 22). The stronger man, Christ, got in the kingdom of death, and in death triumphed over him who had the power of death, took away his captives, and spoiled his house (Matthew 12:29); “and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
Eternal victory over death
Hence, death for the Christians is but a sleep; they rest in peace until the Creator raises them. For the believers, death will even be a blessed sleep (Revelation 14:13). Christ “hath abolished death” (2 Timothy 1:10). He has “the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). Paul declares, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed… “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” … thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:51–57).
And at the end, the originator of sin and the author of death will be utterly destroyed. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
In His service,