Oh Yes, There Will Be More: The Graves of My Saints Have An Exit

Today’s selected reading continues in the first epistle of the apostle Paul in the New Testament which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth. More specifically, today’s selected reading is found in verses twenty-eight through thirty-two of the fifteenth chapter. When this chapter opens, it opens with the apostle Paul seeking to declare unto the Corinthians the gospel which he preached unto them—the gospel which they received, and the gospel wherein they stood. The gospel which Paul preached unto the Corinthians, and that which he preached unto the Gentiles in Asia was one which he received by revelation of and revelation from Jesus Christ—namely, that Jesus who is the Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES! Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality that everything Jesus the Christ did while in the form of human flesh was to fulfill that which was written in the Scriptures. When we consider the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ it is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand that His death and crucifixion upon the cross was according to the Scriptures. This is absolutely incredible to think about and consider, for Jesus’ death happened and took place in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled—this in addition to the work of salvation and redemption which needed to be wrought according to the work upon the cross. As we consider the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross we must understand and recognize that no man took His life from Him, and that He offered it up willingly, but it was all done according to Scriptures in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled in and through His life. What’s more, is that when you consider His burial and resurrection, you will find that even in burial and ultimately resurrection everything happened according to the Scriptures. There was absolutely nothing accidental or coincidental about Jesus’ death upon the cross, nor His burial in a borrowed tomb, nor even His resurrection from the grave. Everything from His birth to His death, from His burial to His resurrection, and even His ascension unto the right hand of the Father was done exactly as the Scriptures foretold and prophesied it would happen. Oh that we would recognize and understand that from His birth to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father, absolutely everything surround the life of Jesus happened exactly as it was foretold through Moses and through the prophets of old.

As the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle of the apostle Paul unto the Corinthians unfolds in the New Testament, we find that after Jesus rose from the grave on the third day according to the Scriptures, He didn’t immediately ascend unto the right hand of the Father. It would have been very easy if Jesus had resurrected from the grave and been raised from death to life according to the Spirit, and to return and ascend unto the right hand of His Father, but That wasn’t at all what happened. I have previously written how resurrection demands revelation, for upon Jesus’ resurrection He would spend a full forty days upon the earth revealing Himself to specific individuals. If you read the four gospel accounts of His resurrection from the grave and of those forty days after the resurrection, you will find that Jesus appeared to those women who had appeared at the tomb very early in the morning on the third day. What’s more, is that if you read the twenty-fourth and final chapter of Luke’s gospel you will find that Jesus appeared to two men who were journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus—one of the men who we know to have the name Cleopas. Within the fifteenth chapter of this epistle we find that during those forty days after His resurrection from the grave, Jesus appeared to many more men and women. The apostle Paul records that after His resurrection He was seen of Cephas, and then of the twelve disciples. Paul would go on to write that during those forty days Jesus would go on to be seen of above five hundred brethren at one time—the greater part of those five hundred plus individuals whom Jesus appeared unto still remained during and at the time of the writing of this epistle unto the Corinthians, although some had fallen asleep. If you continue reading the fifteenth chapter of this epistle you will find that after this Jesus was seen by James, and then of all the apostles before last of all being seen by the apostle Paul Himself. We must recognize and understand that while it is true that ascension naturally follows resurrection, ascension isn’t the very next step in the process. Once Jesus had been raised from death to life and emerged from the tomb victorious over death, hell and the grave, He could not immediately ascend and return to His Father in heaven.

There was a process of revelation and manifestation which needed to take place over a period of forty days, for Jesus needed to ensure that the work and ministry of the body of Christ upon the earth would continue and remain. Had Jesus not revealed Himself unto the twelve, and had Jesus not revealed Himself unto the five-hundred, and had Jesus not revealed Himself unto the women, and had Jesus not revealed Himself unto the two men on the road to Emmaus, I am convinced the work which the early church engaged in after the ascension of Jesus Christ, and even after the arrival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost might not have happened were it not for this process of revelation. In fact, I am convinced that this revelation after resurrection was absolutely necessary to encourage the disciples, the woman who had followed Jesus, and various other men and women who followed Jesus prior to His ascension. Even after Jesus had been raised from death to life He needed to openly shew and reveal Himself as having triumphed over death, hell and the grave—not only to confirm everything He had spoken prior to His crucifixion, but also to fulfill that which had been written within the Scriptures. It’s quite interesting to note how Jesus appeared unto two men who were walking away from Jerusalem and unto the town called Emmaus, as well as unto Peter and his brother at the sea where they perhaps spent a considerable amount of days and nights letting down their nets into the waters. Why? Why would Jesus appear unto these two men traveling away from Jerusalem and Peter and his brother by the sea? What was so necessary that would prompt Jesus to make sure that He revealed Himself unto such individuals in the very places they were—two men traveling on the road to Emmaus, and two brothers by the sea after having returned to fishing? The answer is actually quite simple, for it’s in the revelation after resurrection that hope itself is resurrected once more. Now that Jesus had Himself been raised from death to life, He now sought to resurrect hope within the hearts of His disciples and followers. Now that Jesus had been raised from death to life according to the Spirit, He sought to resurrect the work and ministry which He Himself had spent three and a half years engaging in among His disciples while in the form of human flesh. I can’t help but wonder if the two men whom Jesus met on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem after He was removed from their sight and were part of the one-hundred and twenty that were in the upper room. We know that the eleven disciples, as well as Mary the mother of Jesus, and the women who followed Jesus were present together in the upper room.

It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand the revelation after resurrection, for it was in the revelation after resurrection that prepared the disciples and followers of Jesus for the day of Pentecost and for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I am quite convinced that were it not for this revelation after resurrection, there might not have been many—if any—present in the upper room waiting for the promise of the Father. Consider what is recorded in verses twelve through fourteen of the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—“Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is form Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when theywere come in, they up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren” (Acts 1:12-14). There seems to be an indication from and within these verses that also included among the one-hundred and twenty which were present in the upper room were Jesus’ brethren—those who at one point despised and rejected Him. It is in the fifteenth verse of the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that we learn the exact number of those who were present in the upper room, for Luke the beloved physician writes the following words—“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)” (Acts 1:15). It is in verses twelve through fourteen we learn some of the names and identities of those who were present there in the upper room, while it is in the fifteenth verse we learn of the total number of those who were present in the upper room. What’s more, is that in verses sixteen through twenty-six of the same chapter we learn of at least two other men who were present in the upper room, for when they sought to fill the office of Judas, we find two names being mentioned to fill that office—“Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. In verses twelve through fourteen, and verses sixteen through twenty-six we learn the identities of certain of those who were present in the upper room. In verse fifteen of the first chapter we learn the exact number of those who were present in the upper room. In the first verse of the second chapter we learn of these one-hundred and twenty that they were all with one accord when the day of Pentecost was fully come, and it was those one-hundred and twenty in the upper room who experienced the sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the house which they were sitting. It was those one-hundred and twenty who experienced the appearance of clone tongues like as of Fiore, which sat upon each of them. It was those one-hundred and twenty there in the upper room who were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In order to understand this process of revelation even further, it is necessary that we journey back to the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel according to Luke. In the first twelve verses of this particular chapter we find certain women coming unto the tomb bring spices which they had prepared to anoint the body of Jesus which was in the tomb. Much to their astonishment and amazement these women found the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, the grave clothes still present within the tomb, and two men standing by them in shining garments. Immediately following the words of these two angels from heaven the women returned from the tomb and told all the things they heard unto the eleven, and unto all the rest. In verses thirteen through thirty-two of the same chapter we find the account of the two men who traveled on the road to Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem—perhaps find themselves in a place of discouragement, doubt, confusion and countless questions. In verses thirty-three through thirty-five we find these same two men returning from that place in Emmaus and going back to Jerusalem in order to confirm how Jesus was in fact risen from the grave, for He had appeared unto them on the road, walked with them as they traveled to Emmaus, and even went with them into the house where they were staying. In verses thirty-three through thirty-five of this chapter we find the following words—“And they rose up the shame hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread” (Luke 24:33-35). THE RETURN FROM THE TOMB! THE RETURN FROM EMMAUS! How absolutely remarkable it is within this passage of Scripture that we not only find a return from the tomb with the powerful message that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave as He said He would and as the Scriptures foretold, but we also find a second return, as the two men who originally traveled from Jerusalem unto Emmaus returned from Emmaus after having experiencing the risen Christ along the way, although He was not fully known unto them until He broke bread among them in their midst.

Before I go any further, there is something worth noting and making mention of within the thirty-fifth verse of this particular chapter, and that is how Jesus wasn’t known unto these two men until He engaged in the breaking of bread with and among them. They had spent perhaps the whole journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus walking with Jesus as He taught them from Scriptures how the Messiah must needs be crucified, buried in a tomb, and ultimately raised from death to life. Despite the fact that they walked and talked with Jesus during that whole trip, it wasn’t until He came in among them, and ultimately broke bread among them that their eyes were opened and they recognized who it was who walked and talked with them along the way. Luke records something incredibly powerful in this particular verse, and that is how these men told the eleven disciples and those who were with them what had happened to them along the way, and how Jesus was known of them in breaking of bread. Please don’t miss the significance of these words, for there is something about the breaking of bread that is truly remarkable and powerful in our midst. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which we find in the second chapter of the book of Acts after the day of Pentecost had come, after the Spirit had arrived and been poured out, after Peter had stood up and addressed those present in Jerusalem, and after upwards of three-thousand souls were added to their number on that day. If you begin reading with the forty-second verse of the second chapter you will find the following words:

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one according in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

You will notice twice within this set of verses the reality of the breaking of bread, for in the forty-second verse we find the early church continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, AND IN BREAKING OF BREAD (Acts 2:42). Again in the forty-sixth verse of this same chapter we find that the early church continued daily with one accord in the temple, AND BREAKING BREAD FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, and eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize this concept of breaking bread—especially in light of that single verse Luke includes in his first treatise concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. Luke is sure to record and include how those two men who had traveled on the road to Emmaus with Jesus did not know who it was who walked and talked with them until they engaged in the breaking of bread. “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:30-31). It was in the breaking of bread these two men knew who it was who not only walked and talked with them along the way, but also who it was who sat down to meat with them within the house. Oh, please don’t miss or lose sight of the significance and importance of this, for it is possible that we can walk and talk with others, and yet truly and really know them. It is possible to travel along the same road and travel the same path as others, and yet truly and really know them. It isn’t until we actually enter into the breaking of bread with them that both they themselves are known, and we ourselves are known. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women are afraid of the breaking of bread because they know and understand that it is in the breaking of bread that they are known, and those before and around them are known. When I read of the early church engaging in the breaking of bread from house to house I can’t help but find within this reality a powerful truth that those present within the early church were not only known, but also sought to know and be known. What about you? Are you at all interested in knowing and being known? Are you at all interested in engaging in the process of breaking bread from house to house with others in order that you yourself might be known, and in order that you might know those whom you are interacting with? You don’t break bread with others unless you want to be known of and by them, and unless you want to know them for yourself. I am convinced that it is about so much more than just coming together on Sunday morning and worshipping together, but there must also be the act and process of breaking bread with one another—perhaps even from house to house as they did in the early church—for it is only in the breaking of bread that we can know and be known.

When you come to the thirty-sixth verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke’s gospel you will find the account of the report of the two men who had traveled on the road to Emmaus with Jesus, and had experienced the breaking of bread with Him, and how they were still speaking to those who were present on that day. Beginning with the thirty-sixth verse of this chapter we find that while these two men thus spoke among them in their midst, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them. Consider if you will the account of Jesus’ appearance unto those who were present on that day—“And as they thus spake, Jesus HImself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while HE blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great job: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:36-53).

It was in the revelation and manifestation of Jesus to and among His disciples, and all who were present on that day that we find confirmation of the words which He had spoken unto therm while He was yet still with them, as well as instruction to tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. This is worth taking note of, for had Jesus been raised from death to life and been resurrected from the grave on the third day and immediately ascended to the right hand of His Father in heaven, I would dare say that all hope, all peace, all joy, all comfort might have very well died with Him. I believe with all my heart that the reason we find the disciples, the women, and all those who made up the one-hundred and twenty which were present in the upper room was because Jesus chose to reveal Himself unto Cephas, unto James, unto the disciples, unto the apostles, and unto upwards of five hundred. I am convinced that it wasn’t merely the arrival and outpouring of the Spirit which gave birth to the earth church, nor even the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, but it was also in the revelation we find the foundation for the early Church. Consider if you will the words which Luke wrote and recorded within the first chapter of his treatise concerning the body of Christ upon the earth—“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: TO WHOM ALSO HE SHEWED HIMSELF ALIVE AFTER HIS PASSION BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, BEING SEEN OF THEM FORTY DAYS, AND SPEAKING OF THE THINGS PERTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:1-8).

When we read the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation we must understand that this chapter begins and opens up with the revelation of resurrection before transitioning to the power of resurrection itself. As you begin reading with and from the twelfth verse of this chapter you will find that the apostle Paul transitions from the revelation of resurrection to the power and outcome of resurrection—namely, the resurrection of the saints of God in the last day, and His ultimate triumph over death, His triumph over the grave, and His triumph over hell itself. In dress twelve through twenty-three we find the power of the resurrection as it translates within the lives of the saints of God, for the apostle Paul seeks to not only show the absolutely necessity of the resurrection, but he also goes on to describe how it is in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ that we ourselves have hope. Consider if you will the words the apostle Paul writes beginning with the twentieth verse of this chapter—“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man is his own order: Christ is the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). I absolutely love the words the apostle Paul writes within these verses, for within these verses is the powerful declaration that Christ’s resurrection was only the beginning, for there would be countless more resurrections that would take place. On the third day it was Christ’s tomb and grave which was opened, and it was Christ who was raised from death to life, but that was only the beginning and the first of many resurrections. This very reality was seen even before Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and laid within the tomb, for within Matthew’s gospel we find a glimpse of what this will look like on that day. Beginning to read with the fiftieth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter we find the following words written by Matthew—“Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:50-53).

I absolutely love Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death and crucifixion, for within Matthew’s account we are confronted with how through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too are given authority and power over death itself. Within this particular portion of Scripture we not only find the graves opened, but we find that many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city. Mathew’s account seems to suggest that it was as a result of Jesus’ death that the graves were opened, but it was a direct result of His resurrection that the goes of the saints which sleep arose, came out of their graves, and went into the holy city. Essentially there are within Scripture three distinct revealing which were a direct result of resurrection. In the eleventh chapter of John’s gospel we find the revelation of Lazarus after he had been raised from the dead, for not only do we find him emerging from the grave with grave clothes which were removed, but we also find him sitting at the table with Jesus in the house of his two sisters. Within the four gospels we find the revelation of Jesus after His own resurrection, for not only did He reveal Himself to the two men on the road to Emmaus, not only did He reveal Himself unto the disciples, not only did He reveal Himself unto the women at the tomb, but He also revealed Himself to upwards of five-hundred. Within the gospel of Matthew we find the revelation of those saints whose graves were opened upon Jesus’ death, and whose bodies came forth from the grave upon Jesus’ resurrection. How absolutely amazing it is that even with the gospel of Matthew we find that Jesus’ resurrection was only the beginning, for the tombs and graves of countless others would also open, and those who were once dead would emerge. Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t the only resurrection that is recorded towards the end of Matthew’s gospel, for we find that when Jesus emerged from the grave victorious over death, He caused the bodies of countless saints which had slept to come forth from the graves. MY DEATH IS ONLY THE BEGINNING, FOR THERE WILL BE MORE! MY RESURRECTION IS ONLY THE BEGINNING, FOR THERE WILL BE MORE! MY ASCENSION IS ONLY THE BEGINNING, FOR THERE WILL BE MORE!

Progressing even further within this fifteenth chapter of the first epistle of Paul unto the Corinthian congregation we find the following words written recorded concerning the ultimate triumph and victory that comes as a direct result of the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection would only be the beginning, for His resurrection would mark the beginning of countless other resurrections which would take place—a reality which was expressed within the gospel of Matthew. When you come to the twenty-fourth verse of this chapter you will find glimpses of the ultimate authority and triumph of the resurrection of Jesus as expressed by the apostle Paul—“Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 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. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advangageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:24-32). Consider if you will the words which the author of Hebrews wrote in the second chapter of that particular epistle—“For unto the a ngels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that though death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devils; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:5-17).

To help illustrate the tremendous power and authority of Jesus’ resurrection over the grave, it is necessary that we direct our attention to the first chapter of the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, for when speaking unto John the apostle, Jesus makes the following declaration concerning Himself—“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I AM HE THAT LIVETH, AND WAS DEAD; AND, BEHOLD, I AM ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, AMEN; AND HAVE THE KEYS OF HELL AND OF DEATH” (Revelation 1:17-18). I AM HE THAT LIVETH! I AM HE THAT WAS DEAD! BEHOLD, I AM ALIVE! I HAVE THE KEYS OF HELL AND DEATH! With these words Jesus emphatically declares and proclaims—not only that He was dead, not only that He was alive and had risen from the dead, but also that He held the keys of hell and of death. With these words we encounter the tremendous reality that Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t merely the beginning of countless resurrections, but His resurrection would ultimately strip death and hell of the authority and power they once held. What’s more, is that through the words of the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews we find that through His death he destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil. How massive was the mistake which the devil made in having Jesus crucified and killed, but much more was the mistake of putting Him in the grave, for there was a work that needed to be done, which could only be done in death. There was a work which Jesus needed to do in death, and that was destroy Him which had the power of death, and to lay hold of the keys of death and hell. Jesus’ resurrection was only the beginning of countless other resurrections, and His resurrection is a prelude and precursor to the ultimate reality when death and the hell are cast into the lake of fire as is written in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ resurrection pointed to the resurrection of countless others, for having triumphed over death and the grave He could raise countless more—all those whom He calls His brethren—from death to life. With Jesus Himself having triumphed over death, hell and the grave, He makes that same reality evident and manifested to and for His brethren—all those who believe on Him.

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