How will death be the last enemy?

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By BibleAsk Team


The concept of death as the “last enemy” and its defeat, coinciding with the end of sin, is a profound and multifaceted theme in the Bible. This topic encompasses the origins of death, its relationship with sin, the redemptive work of Christ, and the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises.

The Origins of Sin

The Fall of Man

The introduction of sin into the world is directly linked to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This pivotal event marked the entry of sin into the human experience and, consequently, the advent of death.

Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV)

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'”

In this command, God clearly stated the consequence of disobedience—death. The prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was meant to preserve life and maintain the sanctity of God’s creation.

Genesis 3:6-7 (NKJV)

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

The act of eating the forbidden fruit introduced sin into the world. This act of disobedience led to the realization of their nakedness and the subsequent experience of shame and guilt.

Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)

“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.'”

These verses illustrate the consequences of sin, including the introduction of physical death. The once perfect creation was now marred by toil and death.

The Consequence of Sin

The New Testament expands on the concept that death is a direct consequence of sin. The Apostle Paul explicitly connects sin and death, emphasizing their intertwined nature.

Romans 5:12 (NKJV)

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Paul explains that sin entered the world through Adam, and as a result, death spread to all humanity.

Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here, Paul contrasts the outcome of sin with the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. This contrast highlights the gravity of sin’s consequences and the profound nature of Christ’s redemptive work.

The Defeat of Death

The Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The defeat of death is intricately linked to the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent resurrection are central to Christian hope and the ultimate victory over death.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NKJV)

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

Jesus is described as the “firstfruits” of those who have died, indicating that His resurrection is the guarantee of the future resurrection for all believers. This passage connects Jesus’ resurrection to the promise of overcoming death.

Death as the Last Enemy

Paul explicitly identifies death as the “last enemy” to be defeated, which will occur as part of the final culmination of Christ’s reign.

1 Corinthians 15:24-26 (NKJV)

“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”

In this passage, Paul outlines a future time when Christ will deliver the kingdom to God the Father. Death is described as the last enemy to be destroyed, emphasizing its ultimate defeat as part of the completion of God’s redemptive plan.

The Transformation of the Believers

The resurrection of believers is a crucial aspect of the end of death. This transformation involves the change from mortal to immortal, signifying the complete defeat of death.

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NKJV)

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'”

This passage describes the transformation that will occur at the resurrection, where the mortal and corruptible nature of the body will be replaced with immortality and incorruption. The ultimate victory over death is realized when death is “swallowed up” in victory.

The End of Sin

The Atonement for Sin

The end of sin is directly linked to the atonement made by Jesus Christ. His sacrifice on the cross addresses the problem of sin and paves the way for its ultimate eradication.

Hebrews 9:26-28 (NKJV)

“He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

This passage emphasizes that Jesus’ sacrifice was a singular, sufficient act to deal with sin. His return will be for the ultimate salvation of believers, marking the end of sin.

The New Creation

The end of sin is also associated with the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, where sin and its effects are no more.

Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'”

This vision of the new creation reveals a reality where the former things, including death and sin, are eradicated. It represents the final fulfillment of God’s promise of a restored and perfected creation.

The Final Judgment

The final judgment marks the ultimate end of sin and death. The judgment involves the removal of all that is corrupt and sinful from creation.

Revelation 20:11-14 (NKJV)

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

The casting of Death and Hades into the lake of fire signifies their ultimate defeat and the complete end of their influence.

Implications for Believers

Assurance of Eternal Life

The victory over death and the end of sin offer believers the assurance of eternal life. This promise is central to Christian hope and provides comfort and encouragement.

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'”

Jesus’ declaration assures believers of eternal life, transcending physical death and offering a future of uninterrupted fellowship with God.

Victory Over Sin

Believers are called to live in the victory over sin that Jesus has achieved. This involves embracing their new identity in Christ and living according to His commands.

Romans 6:5-7 (NKJV)

“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

This passage encourages believers to live in the freedom from sin provided by Christ’s death and resurrection.

Hope in the Future Resurrection

The hope of resurrection motivates believers to endure present suffering and maintain a focus on the future fulfillment of God’s promises.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

The promise of eternal life provides comfort and hope, affirming the ultimate defeat of death and the realization of eternal life. The redeemed will never again commit sin; therefore, they can never again feel it’s sting (Nahum 1:9; Isaiah 11:9).

Conclusion

The Bible’s depiction of death as the “last enemy” and its ultimate defeat highlights the profound connection between death, sin, and redemption. Death, which entered the world through sin, will be ultimately defeated through the work of Jesus Christ. This defeat signifies the end of sin and the beginning of a new creation where righteousness dwells. The assurance of eternal life, the victory over sin, and the hope in the future resurrection are central to Christian faith and provide a compelling vision of the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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