Monday, September 7, 2015

Death, Resurrection & Beyond - Part III, the destruction of death.


This is Part III in the series on resurrection. You may read parts #1, and #2, before reading this one. If you haven't read them, it is quite possible that this post would offend your beliefs, so, be forewarned.

No discussion on resurrection can be complete without a study of 1 Corinthians 15th chapter, so, here we go. We are not going to dissect each verse from the chapter, instead, we will see some of the points which went unnoticed by many.

⑧ Death was destroyed way back in the first century!

As I have stated in the previous post, let us remember the grammar we learned in lower school, distinguishing between past, present perfect and future tenses. It is a matter of fact that when we study the Bible we do not focus on the tense of the statements; what we already know as past is past, even if a statement were in future tense.

While we read Jehovah telling Noah "I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth", we know that the event is several thousand years behind us, without even noticing the tense of the sentence. The story is well embedded into our minds that we don't even consider the tense of the sentence. But, can we do it all the time? What if there are statements about things that is well behind us and we haven't noticed it, because we have ignored the tense of those statements or we are preconditioned into thinking that they are ahead of us?

There are certain things about God, Christ and the Bible which are hard to believe and that is the exact reason why Jesus kept asking "do you believe this?" after stating something that we may find unbelievable.

The defeat of death, a prophecy and its fulfillment.

Please read the following passage a few times, noticing the tense. Remember in King James Bible "hath" means "has". And also that these words were written by Paul to his brethren in Corinth (Achaia) who lived in the first century. Please read these verses in as many translations as possible.

1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

Please note the two important points presented here:

  • Jesus has to reign till God puts all His enemies under Jesus' feet. - Vs 25
  • God has already put all things under Jesus' feet. Vs 27 - this is a completed act, written in present perfect tense. At the point of time at which Paul was writing this sentence, the act of God's putting all things under Jesus' feet was complete. 

  • There are hardly any reputed version that does not render this verse in present perfect tense or past tense.

    Here are some prominent versions rendering the passage in present perfect tense or past tense. (for the sake of brevity, only the portion relevant to this post is included here.) 
    (ASV) For, He put all things in subjection under his feet... [past tense]
    (Bishops) For he hath put downe all thynges vnder his feete:... [present perfect tense]
    (Darby) For he has put all things in subjection under his feet... [present perfect tense]
    (DRB) All things are put under him;.. [past tense]
    (EMTV) For "He has subjected all things under His feet.".. [present perfect tense]
    (ESV) For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." ...[present perfect tense]
    (Geneva) For he hath put downe all things vnder his feete....[present perfect tense]
    (GNB) For the scripture says, "God put all things under his feet."...[past tense]
    (GW) Clearly, God has put everything under Christ's authority...[present perfect tense]
    (ISV) for "God has put everything under his feet."...[present perfect tense]
    (LITV) For "He subjected all things under His feet;"... [past tense]
    (MKJV) For He put all things under His feet...[past tense]
    (Murdock) For he hath subjected all under his feet... [present perfect tense]
    (RV) For, He put all things in subjection under his feet....[past tense]
    (Webster) For he hath put all things under his feet... [past tense]
    (YLT) for all things He did put under his feet,...[past tense]

    What does it entail?

    If you are still with me, please read those three verses again, this time emphasizing on verse #26. While it is said that God has put all the things under the feet of Jesus:
    • are not all enemies (vs 25) included in all the things?
    • is not the last enemy, death (vs 26) included in all the things?

    Were not all the things put under the feet of Jesus even before his ascension?

    Mat 28:19 ... All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. -
    While all the power in the heaven and earth was given to Jesus, was not power over death included in it?

    Have you noticed that one of the most important mission of Christ was to destroy the work of the Devil and to set free those who were under the fear of death.

    Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
    Heb 2:15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
    Read the passage over and over again, till you realize that the the destruction of the Devil was something to be achieved by the biological death of Christ. It is not something to be accomplished by His second coming, whenever it is/was.

    Most importantly, death was defeated and abolished by Jesus Christ:
    2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
    At some point of time before Paul wrote this, death was already abolished by Jesus Christ. (Please note, again, the usage of present perfect tense.) Please, the talk is not about biological death, if it were, Jesus should not have experienced biological death.

    In short, all the authority was given to Christ well before His ascension. There is no scriptural way to disprove it. And "ALL the authority" includes the Devil and death.

    Conclusions of this section:

    • God's putting all his enemies under the feet of Christ has been accomplished some time before Paul penned 1 Corinthians 15th chapter - if you didn't get it, you may have to hone your grammar skills.
    • It is logical and legitimate to think that the last enemy - death - is included in "all the enemies" that were put under the feet of Christ.
    • The purpose of Jesus' mission on earth was to destroy the Devil and set people free from the fear of death - it is hard to believe that Jesus being the Word of God would return to God without accomplishing its mission. (Isa 55:11)
    • After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, Jesus asserted that all the authority in heaven and earth was given to Him (Mat 28:18) implying, all the enemies, including death and the Devil are under His feet. (Unless one can prove that ALL means SOME.)

    to be continued in Part IV (as and when it is ready)

    in Christ,
    Tomsan Kattackal

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