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nullifying death

But now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel     2 Timothy 1:10

nullify–1) to make null; especially : to make legally null and void, 2) to make of no value or consequence (Merriam-Webster)

null–1) having no legal or binding force, 2) amounting to nothing, 3) having no value, 4) a. having no elements, b. having zero as a limit, c. having all elements equal to zero (Merriam-Webster)

Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil     Hebrews 2:14

I saw Christ’s death in a new way from a recent message that was given at a Christian training conference (Message 8, “The Greater Jonah,” July 2012) on the minor prophets.  Christ’s death on the cross was not an act of defeat.  His death brought in His victory over death.  In the past I would think that it wasn’t until His resurrection that He defeated death.  But from the message, I discovered that His resurrection was actually the result of what He did during His stay in Hades.

While on the cross Christ was already “working” to destroy death.  Colossians 2:15 says that He stripped off the rulers and the authorities, shamed them openly, and triumphed over them.  Then Matthew 27: 51-53 describes the result of His death on the cross:

  • The moment He died “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (v. 51a), signifying that there was no longer a separation between God and man.
  • “The earth was shaken and the rocks were split” (v. 51b, c) shows that the strongholds of Satan on earth were shaken and broken.
  • Tombs were opened and dead saints were raised (v. 52a, b) shows the releasing power of Christ’s death and that He conquered the power of death and Hades.

Then after Christ was buried, He as the Spirit went to the rebellious angels (the spirits in prison, 1 Peter 3:19) to proclaim God’s victory.  Satan’s scheme to derail God’s divine plan had failed!  While the Lord Jesus was being put to death in the flesh, His Spirit was being “made alive.”  While He was dying, He was living!  Death has no hold on Him.   I had always imagined His three days and nights in Hades (Matthew 12:40) was a bitter battle against the “bad guys,” as He tried to break out of the pits of hell.  I was so wrong!  When the Lord Jesus went into the heart of the earth He had already won the victory, and He was just there to be the evidence of God’s victory.  Christ showed death that He had already nullified death’s power, “I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of hades” (Revelation 1:18).

Death has lost his sting.  The Lord Jesus entered into death, but death could not hold Him, because He is resurrection.  And as a believer, I have this death-defying resurrection life in me!

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