Easter 2024: God Swallows Death

Mar 21, 2024



Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better." 


"This imagery is picked up even more eloquently in Hebrews 1:2–3, where Christ is the one "through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word" (NRSV). The motif of wisdom and its associated imagery was employed by Israel's sages and poets to search out the nature of the inner life of God and his powerful and eternal word. In the NT the story and imagery of wisdom is discovered as a garment ready made for the figure of Jesus." [1]



God swallows death


 Paul describes Christ's victory, "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54–57.


Paul taunts death, using lines from the prophets. Hosea wrote, Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? Hosea 13:14. Isaiah wrote, 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:7–8. God swallows death. There was an ancient god called Mot, the Hebrew word for death. Texts written in ancient Ugaritic tell about this mythological figure with a large throat who would swallow all living things and take them to the underworld. In a massive reversal, God swallows Mot, death itself.  


Dramatically, Jesus destroyed the shroud of death by swallowing it. He took it into himself like a deadly poison. He died to destroy death. We celebrate Christ's victory because God swallowed death forever.

Death, like a serpent, bites with poison fangs, but Christ removed the poison, so death cannot harm those who belong to him. It's harmless, impotent.


Death is not the natural conclusion to human life but an enemy to be overcome. When you understand resurrection, you might fear the process of dying, but you don't fear death itself. It holds no power over you. God gives you victory over death through the Lord Jesus Christ. You are immortal.


[1] Ryken, Leland et al. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery 2000: 956–957. Print.


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