Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The last enemy

I watched a movie recently that had an unusually dramatic emotional impact on me. It is called “The Book Thief”. It was only a fictional story based on the book of the same name, but still I wept bitterly and sobbed to God as I considered the darkness and suffering that exists in our world.

The film was about a young girl who is adopted by an older couple in Nazi Germany; the family attempts to hide a Jewish man in their basement. The narrator follows all of the characters in the film to their death. The horrors and sorrows of war and evil were conveyed so poignantly.

Interestingly, the narrator of the movie was Death himself. He seemed a bit smug when he stated with deep-voiced certainty, “No one lives forever.”

"The Grim Reaper" by Funerium

In one way, he was correct; our mortal bodies will either die or be transformed (1 Cor. 15:51-52). Ironically, not even Death will 'live forever'. One day he will also be abolished. Of course, they didn't mention this in the movie, but it is mentioned – many times – in the Scriptures.

“He will swallow up death forever.” - Isaiah 25:8a

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” - 1 Cor. 15:26

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” - 1 Cor. 15:54b

“...our Savior Christ Jesus...abolished death...” - 2 Tim. 1:10

“...there will no longer be any death...” - Rev. 21:4

How will God abolish, destroy and swallow up this 'last enemy'? He will accomplish this in the same way He will abolish, destroy and swallow up all evil and wickedness - in the lake of fire.

“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” - Rev. 20:14

So, the first death will be destroyed by the second death. What kind of place is this lake of fire that can abolish the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23, 7:11)? Since God will make an end of sin (Dan. 9:24, Heb. 9:26), and sin gives birth to death (James 1:15), then it follows that death also will be taken out of the picture.

Goodbye sin, goodbye death! The darkness and old order of things will pass away (1 John 2:8, Rev. 21:4) – the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:17). Indeed, all things will be made new! (Rev. 21:5)

Sorry, Death - your power is limited and your days are numbered – so don't be so proud. Yes, I mourned and cried about your reign in this world, but a day is coming when all God's enemies will be destroyed – and you will be the last of them!

[For more information, you can read my Bible studies about what will happen to God's enemies in “The Adversaries” and also "The Wicked He Will Destroy" ]

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I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!