“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces,” Isaiah 25:8.
As the prophet saw it, the day would come when the Lord would destroy the covering thrown over all people, the veil that covers all nations. He saw death as making a victim of all mankind, but he saw its certain end.
When a worker in a Swedish nuclear power station set off the alarm that alerted the world to the Chernobyl disaster, a pall spread over all the Earth. The radioactive cloud carried death with it. But, the fear went further. All saw how easily human error could pollute the whole planet. A veil of death may yet cover all people.
In the agitation that followed Chernobyl, the young looked into the future and saw it bleak and, perhaps, without hope. The words over the entry to the Hades of Greek myth might well apply: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
But, has hope heard its death knell? The Word of God says no. Rather, the bell has tolled for death. In the farseeing vision of the prophet, God will engulf death.
In Hannover, Germany, you can still see the tomb of an atheist woman. The inscription declares that no resurrection will open that tomb. The seed that spoiled the atheist’s boast has grown large and tall. The Creator’s pine tree mocks those who declare the finality of death.
When Jesus died, hope died. Dreams died. Aspirations died. Plans died. The Church died. Redemption and salvation died when Jesus died. However, when He was resurrected, hope was resurrected. Plans were resurrected. Dreams were resurrected. Aspirations were resurrected. The Church was resurrected. Redemption and salvation were resurrected when Jesus was resurrected. Death died when Jesus rose from the grave. Until Jesus rose, sin could have no other result but the death of the sinner.
The death of death has another message for us. If death can be defeated, then those other situations that appear unalterable may also yield to Christ’s power. Sin has a victor — Jesus Christ. Fear has a victor — Jesus Christ. Doubt has a victor — Jesus Christ. The Lord declares that in Him, all things are possible. The resurrection of Jesus has changed forever what can be done for the sinner.
Who swallows up death in Victory? Jesus Christ, we might answer. But, Paul perceives more clearly than that. The victory is ours. Through Christ, our own death has lost its finality and power. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I Corinthians 15:57. My favorite text comes to mind as I complete this declaration of the power of the Savior’s resurrection: “I am persuaded, that death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8: 38-39.
“Faith is a mightier conqueror than death,” The Ministry of Healing, p. 62. –RCS