Paul wrote about death being the last enemy and the future resurrection of the saints from death in his first letter to the Corinthian Church: “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24–26).
The apostle tried to correct the false teachings that crept in that church which denied the resurrection. He taught that because of Christ’s resurrection, His followers are assured of theirs (1 Corinthians 15:13). And this will take place either by their dying and being raised from the dead in immortal, incorruptible bodies (v. 42), or by their being changed to that state without seeing death; for they cannot enter heaven as they now are (v. 50).
Death – the Last Enemy
The end of death will coincide with the end of sin. When there is no more sin, there will be no more death, for death is the natural consequence of it (Romans 6:21, 23; James 1:15). Some maintained that there is no resurrection and that death is the end of every soul. But the apostle gave the startling reply that in God’s plan there will be finally no death, for death itself will be eradicated (Revelation 21:4).
People inherited death from Adam who was tempted by Satan (Romans 5:12). But the deceiver will be destroyed forever (Revelation 20:1–10). In God’s eternal kingdom, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
Death Swallowed Up in Victory
Paul proclaimed, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:54,55). This citation was taken from Isaiah 25:8. When, at Christ’s coming, the amazing transformation from mortal to immortal has taken place, the dead saints and the living saints, will then triumph over man’s great enemy. The redeemed will shout for joy that they will never again be cursed by death.
The phrase “O death” is an allusion to Hosea 13:14. In this happy triumphant cry both death and the grave are addressed by all the joyful saints, who will be delivered finally from the pain, suffering and separation caused by death. This enemy that has controlled all men since the fall will be taken away from the redeemed at the second coming of Christ. The redeemed will never again commit sin; therefore, they can never again feel it’s sting (Nahum 1:9; Isaiah 11:9).
In His service,
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