Death no sting, Caernarfon, North Wales

How to face these days without fear … Part 16

To face these days without fear we must know that death will be swallowed up forever

Isaiah 24 and 25 is described as Isaiah’s Apocalypse. It describes an impending judgment on the earth when the Lord makes the earth empty and makes waste.  It describes how God will consummate His reign over evil.  A picture of universal judgement on man’s sinfulness.  We are in an era of grace. We are being given time. Time to repent and turn to the Lord to be saved and live wholly unto Him. But at some point this era will end. Isaiah 24:5 says, ‘The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, And few men are left.’  A time of judgement is coming…. 24:23, ‘For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.’ But to those who endure to the end and are considered His faithful ones, 25:6, ‘He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.’

Death is swallowed up in victory

Henry says – it is at our resurrection through Christ that the saying here shall be brought to pass; then, and not till then, it shall have its full accomplishment: Death is swallowed up in victory, 1 Cor. 15:54. This is a key to the rest of the promises here connected together. And so we have a prophecy of the salvation and the grace brought unto us by Jesus Christ… That death should be conquered, the power of it broken… He will swallow up death in victory, Isa. 25:8.  Christ will Himself, in his resurrection, triumph over death, will break its bands, its bars, asunder, and cast away all its cords.

The grave seemed to swallow Him up, but really He swallowed it up.  The happiness of the saints shall be out of the reach of death… Believers may triumph over death, and look upon it as a conquered enemy: O death! where is thy sting? When the dead bodies of the saints shall be raised at the great day, and their mortality swallowed up.., then death will be for ever swallowed up … it is the last enemy. Grief shall be banished, and there shall be perfect and endless joy: The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. Those that mourn for sin shall be comforted and have their consciences pacified. And there shall be no more sorrow, because there shall be no more death. The hope of this should now wipe away all excessive tears, all the weeping that hinders sowing.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry commentary

Death was never intended to be part of our experience

Death was never intended to be part of our experience. It is a consequence of the fall of humankind. We are created for life, for union, for harmony.. not death, desertion and enmity.  This is why I believe grief is so difficult to deal with. We are not hardwired to handle it.  But through the resurrection of Christ – death is swallowed up in victory.  A day is dawning when there will be perfect and endless joy.  We shall be comforted. 

Let this compel us

Let this compel us to live all the more whole-heartedly for Christ.  Knowing that there is a joy to come.  Hebrews 12:2 says we are to look.. ‘unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ For the joy that was set before Him.  As believers we have great joy set before us.  And so with this knowledge and understanding are well equipped to endure what is before us. From 2 Peter 3:12 ‘Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless’… ‘Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.’…’You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’

The New Heaven and the New Earth
(from Rev 21:1-7)
Out of the mouth
Of joyful rebirth
I saw the New Heaven
And the New Earth.
 
I saw the sea vanish,
First heaven and earth disappear
Then before me I saw,
The New Jerusalem appear.
 
Down from heaven came the Holy City
From God ready and prepared.
Like a bride dressed to meet her husband
Its beauty could not be compared.
 
I hear a loud voice from the throne saying
“The home of God is now among mankind”
The words exploded in my heart,
And overtook my mind.
 
They shall be His people,
With them He will dwell.
There will no more be death and sorrow,
Only truth to tell.
 
He will wipe away
All tears from their eyes;
There’ll be no more grief and pain,
Cheating or lies.
 
All the experiences of man,
The many things he’s feared
Are now forgotton;
All former things have disappeared.
 
Then the One who sits on the throne said
“Behold I make all things new”,
He said to me “write this because these words
Are trustworthy and true.”
 
I am the first and the last,
The beginning and the end.
I am the life
On which you can depend.
 
To anyone who is thirsty I will give
The right to drink from My eternal spring.
There is no charge, the victor will receive
From Me without paying a thing.
 
For in Me gloriously
Everything is done.
I will be his God
And he will be My son.
 
By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)

Prayer: Father I thank You and I praise You for all that is to come.  I thank You for your promises and assurances that death will be swallowed up in victory.  Help me, like Jesus, for the joy that is set before me to endure well and be willing to suffer all for Your name’s sake.  Forgive my shrinking back in times past.  May I be diligent to be found in peace, without spot, steadfast and standing in truth and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. In Jesus Name. AMEN

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