Within the pages of the Apostolic writings lies a glorious truth and reality – the reign of the Age of Death came to an end, two thousand years ago!
Death reigned unto the Mosaic Age
According to Rom 5:14, “death reigned from Adam to Moses…” The reign of death prevailed unto the Mosaic age. That age ended during the time of the Apostles of Christ. What was the ‘Death’ that was reigning? Was it the death of the biological flesh body? According to the scripture, the Death that reigned over humanity was not the death of the mortal body. Instead it was the death of the Soul.
The death of the Soul was as a result of the absence of God within. It was the separation of eternal life from humanity. This was the ‘Death’ that reigned over mankind.
Even though God called Israel out from the world and placed them into Moses, Death still reigned.
In 1 Cor 10:2, the apostle wrote that Israel was “baptized into Moses…”
But even though this was done, and God through Moses gave to Israel the glorious oracles, the Torah, the covenants, the service of the Temple and adopted them; Death – the absence of God within – still reigned.
The Reign of Death Had Power over the Soul
The psalmist asked, “What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?” (Ps 89:48)
Sheol was the realm that the soul went when the biological body died. Because mankind lacked the presence of God within, whenever the flesh returned to the earth, the soul could not continue on to the heavenly realm. Thus it was confined to Sheol until the time when the reign of Death should end.
After Mosaic Age was the Christian Age – the Reign of Life
The great and glorious news is that in the age of Christ, Life reigns! “For if, because of Adam’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in Life through the one man Jesus Christ!” (Rom 5:17)
Because of Christ, the reign of Death which had prevailed over humanity for many millennia, was put to an end. Instead of Death reigning, Life now reigns through, or because of, Jesus Christ.
Christ Destroyed Sheol/Hades and the Reign of Death
Christ spoke of the destruction of the realm of Sheol. He declared, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it!” (Matt 16:18)
Hades was the Greek word for Sheol. Christ indicated that the realm of Sheol/Hades would no longer have power over the souls of mankind. He would be its destruction.
The ‘Gates of Hades’ indicate that Jesus viewed Hades/Sheol as a prison of souls, preventing them from continuing to the Father at the death of the biological body.
This, as indicated before, being due to the fact that the saints of old did not have the presence of God within. They had not been connected to the eternal life of God. So this was how death reigned. The soul could not transition into the heavenly spirit body and continue to be with the Lord whenever the earthly mortal biological body died. The soul instead, was imprisoned in Sheol/Hades.
Jesus however emphatically stated that in his reign, not only would this not happen, but he also went into that prison and released all its captives. Then he abolished, demolished and destroyed that prison!
The apostle wrote, “our Savior Christ Jesus, has abolished Death and has brought to light Life and Immortality through the gospel!” (2Tim 1:10)
In the Person of Christ, Eternal Life resides
Jesus had a mortal body, in which God dwelt. This was why he had eternal life in himself. Jesus was the first man in whom the presence of God was restored. The presence of God within him, meant that he had eternal life. When we are in Christ, we too are made to be just like Christ – having the presence of God within our mortal bodies. Once God is within us, we have eternal life within, and are no longer under the power of Death.
When we believe in Christ, we are given eternal life
Jesus said, “everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:26)
In Christ, whenever our mortal bodies return to the dust of the earth, our souls do not perish. As long as we have been in Christ, we are able to continue on in the realm of the spirit, to be present with our Heavenly Father.
When we believe in Jesus, we are instantly resurrected, while still in our Mortal Bodies
“Truly, truly, I say to you that the one hearing My word and believing the One having sent Me, he has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of Death into Life.” (John 5:24)
The wonderful truth is, once we receive Christ as the Son of the living God, we are instantly raised from Death to Life! This is because the presence of God comes into us. His presence bestows to us the Eternal life that we lacked. Thus our souls are no longer ‘Dead’, but made alive.
Moreover, the life of God within requires no judgment, for it is not our life, it is God’s life, thus we are no longer candidates for judgment, nor condemnation!
We can truly rejoice in the loving-kindness of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who have “abolished Death and has brought to light Life and Immortality through the gospel!” (2Tim 1:10)
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