Death is Swallowed

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Death is Swallowed Up


54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,a] this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54 NLT)

            Read the above verse slowly and consider its meaning carefully. The first two words are adverbs. The first adverb is then. The word then is used to designate a time, a time when something is to happen. When is also an adverb. It designates a time that an event happened. So, we could start the verse: “At that time, as our bodies are being transformed, then the scripture will be fulfilled.”

            I can’t help it, but I must ask: “when is then.” Then, is when our dead and decaying bodies are transformed into living and never aging bodies. When that occurs then the scripture is fulfilled. The scripture that will be fulfilled is Isaiah 25:8, which reads: He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken! (NLT)

            If there ever was a scripture, I want to see fulfilled it is Isaiah 25:8. What, I particularly would like to see is God swallowing up death. God is going to one day swallow up death the great devourer who is relentlessly swallowing life. Everywhere we look we see death gobbling up people, towns, crops, animals, and resources. Death and its henchmen, disease, disasters, accidents, wars, poverty, and famine swallow life as locust swallow the crops. Death has an insatiable appetite. Death is a monster who pursues the young and the old; women, children, and men; it purses the strong and the feeble. Death wants to swallow life. It makes me angry to see the monster we call death initiate pandemics and epidemics.

BUT ONE DAY that all comes to a halt. The end of Isaiah 25:8 ends with the declaration “the LORD has spoken. What has he spoken? He has announced that when he breathes life into all that those death swallowed up; that at that moment, in one gulp, He will swallow death. It is not that death is beaten, broken, and left lying dazed along the side of the road in disgrace. No! death is swallowed. God extinguishes death. There is nothing left. All of death’s henchmen and comrades are annihilated. There is nothing left of any of them.

This is possible because God has raised Jesus from the dead. The message of Easter is that Jesus has risen. But that is only half the story. Because God raised Jesus, he will raise us. There is the whole story of Easter. Because He lives, we can live. Death has been swallowed up. It is annihilated. That is an idea worth celebrating.