A tombstone in Bath, England
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
The local Journal-News paper recently ran a story about how “Fairfield school district copes with 4 untimely deaths“. In the last two years, that school district has had four students die of various causes. One died in her sleep, one died from cancer, one last year died of an “undiagnosed medical condition” and the other one last year was stabbed to death. These are young people who should be looking forward to a vibrant and energetic life.
In the Book of Genesis, right at the beginning, we are introduced to many of the major players that matter in our lives, whether friend or foe. We are first and foremost introduced to God as The Creator. As Creator, He knows what is best for all, and His commands are given to mankind for its own good. His way of life is symbolized by the Tree of Life.
However, we are also introduced to a serpent, which symbolizes Satan. He rebels against God’s commands, and He entices others to do the same. “Make up your own mind,” is what he broadcasts. His way of life can best be expressed as each person doing what is right in his own eyes, and it is symbolized by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Adam and Eve had to overcome not only Satan but also themselves. Eve in particular was drawn in by her own desires by what she saw and what she thought it would bring her (1Jn 2:16). Christians also war against the world, however. While their world certainly was very small (as in a population of 2), it is evident that Adam in particular was battling something slightly different than Eve. Unfortunately, both gave in rather than win the fight.
These three enemies (Satan, the world and our carnal nature) are often presented as the triad of resistance in a Christian’s life. However, there is another enemy presented in Genesis. Even before we read about the temptation of Adam and Eve, and even before we learn about the serpent, we are introduced to another enemy.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The first enemy we are introduced to is death. The others are implied. The consequences are made quite clear before even the battle lines are revealed.
It is not just the first and the last enemy, but death is the greatest enemy. Paul wrote that death is a dictator that tightens its grip upon all regardless of the depth of depravity of the one being reigned over.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
~ Ro 5:14
Think about the anguish of death. It is not just the pain that one undergoes in the process, but think of the pain of the loved ones left behind. Yet, somehow, there are those professing Christianity that maintain that death is not punishment enough — as though they would place themselves in God’s stead.
Death may be the first to be revealed,but it will be the last to be defeated. After Satan has been put away permanently, after all of the Children of God are made immortal and after all of the incorrigibly wicked have been destroyed, then death itself will have no hold on any who were once flesh and blood human beings.
God speed that day!