Revelations from the Word

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Fear the one who has power over death

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell (gehenna); yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:4-7).

Gehenna [made of two Hebrew words, gay and hinnom, Joshua 15:8], which was what they called the valley of Hinnon, to the south of Jerusalem, was where they threw and burnt the carcasses of animals. It is the symbol of eternal death which awaits the wicked, that is to say the lake of the fire of the last judgement (Revelation 20:14). 'Scheol' in Hebrew and 'Hades' in Greek mean 'the pit' (hell), a place of torment where sinners wait for resurrection for the last judgement. Because he wanted to be equal to the Lord, Satan was thrown into the pit [scheol] (Isaiah 14:15 and Ezekiel 31:15). Satan seduced Adam and Eve and by doing so sin entered the world; by sin, death (Romans 5:12) and the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15). Satan has then, because of sin, authority over death.

However, the people of Israel with whom God made a Covenant, benefited from divine protection, "But God will redeem my life from the grave [scheol] he will surely take me to himself" (Psalm 49:15). Satan said to God, speaking about Job, "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has" (Job 1:10) and God replied "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands but on the man himself do not lay a finger" (Job 1:12). Through the story of the rich man and poor Lazarus, Jesus reveals that the rich man went into hell [hades] to be plagued by torments, while Lazarus rested on Abraham's breast (Luke 16:23).

Jesus came to earth to abolish, by His death, the power that Satan had over death (Hebrews 2:14). He descended to hell but His soul didn't stay there, because God raised Him on the third day (Acts 2:31). Jesus is now alive and He holds the keys of death [thanatos] and hell [hades] (Revelation 1:18). Satan then, has no longer the power of death over those who belong to Jesus-Christ. Hell [hades] has lost its victory and death [thanatos] has lost its sting (sin) (1Corinthians 15:55). It is why those who die in Christ go to be with Him to await resurrection (Luke 23:43).

Before we were born, God wrote the number of the days of our life in His book "Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16 NIV). Jesus has given His authority to His church over the gates of hell [hades] in order to release the captives of Satan (Matthew 16:18) and so that we can live all the days that God has planned for us. When Jesus-Christ comes back, the dead in Christ will be resurrected to be with Him. But the other dead will wait for the end of the Millenium to be resurrected to be judged according to their works. But death [thanatos] and hell [hades] will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-14). When we have given our life to Jesus, we are no longer slaves to fear and death for Jesus-Christ has made the power of death that the devil has over us, helpless (Hebrews 2:14-15). The death of those who love God, is precious in His eyes (Psalm 116:15), so do not fear Satan, the hairs of your head are numbered and you are worth more than sparrows.