A Question I Was Asked:
"Following the Death of My Christian Husband, I Can't Wait For Death to Finally Be Destroyed. When Does This Happen?..."



My Reply:
It is desperately sad when we lose those close to us, but for those in Christ, we can still have complete confidence in the future. Of course, the Bible gives ample reason to believe that you and your husband will be reunited in Heaven even prior to your rising together in the Resurrection. But your question concerns the bigger question of when death itself will be no more.
We have to understand that death is biblically portrayed as being the consequence for sin, therefore while sin remains in the world so will death.

Christ's redeemed people suffer death - in common with all people - because we remain flesh and blood. It will take the final kingdom to change this state (1 Corinthians 15:50). Flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God in its fullest, eternal sense, although it is certainly true that believers are given every encouragement to see themselves as full inheritors even right now; so we are real citizens of the kingdom of God even now, and this is not just a play on words. But we cannot appreciate and enjoy all the benefits of that kingdom while still in the flesh. Death will be the final enemy to be destroyed. So there are really two reasons why death must presently continue to be a reality:

1. It continues to exist as the ultimate fruit of the old Satan-inspired/effected order.
As a banner held high, it proclaims the ultimate fruit of the mistaken decision taken in the Garden of Eden by our original parents. Men and women are never able to forget death for long since it is the inevitable and final fruit of a satanic age, a dark vail which we all must pass through.

2. Death will continue as the final reward for wilful sin and disobedience and will be inherited by those who are finally unredeemed. Romans 6:23. Christ will - entirely justly - execute God's judicial sentence of eternal death and separation from God upon those who have rejected all divine overtures. Paul shows us that the divine creation itself is sufficient witness that humanity is dealing with an all-powerful God so that - even without the specific revelation of Christ (which does not come to all in this life) - people are inexcusable in rejecting God (Romans 1:20). God - perfectly justly - insists on recognition, acknowledgement and obedience! II Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:12.

So although even now Christ is utterly sovereign over all things, only true believers enjoy citizenship of God's kingdom. The citizenship is real but cannot be properly enjoyed nor manifested in the present order of this sinful world. Eventually Christ will subjugate all His foes and the Eternal State will commence. At that time His Church will enter into the rich fulness of the final kingdom and the full radiance and glory of God will no longer be partly hidden. So, at that glorious future time, every former restriction caused by the old order will have passed away forever.

'Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolators and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.' (Revelation 22:14-15, NIV).

At that future time the tree, and the water of life are again opened up to all:

'The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.' (Revelation 22:17).

This is a Scripture which deals with an area where - without doubt - we would all like to know more, yet the Lord, in His perfect wisdom, has only allowed us a glimpse at the present time. Is this verse an evangelistic appeal back-projected to those of us who read it now? Or is this suggesting that after the Church itself has entered the 'Final State' (she is referred to here as 'the bride') there will still be many others not yet saved but the way will then be clear for "whoever wishes" to finally inherit Eternal Life and to join the saved Church in the glorious Final State? This is intriguing but the Scriptures never quite tell us as much as we would like to know and we just have to accept this. However, they tell us sufficient for us to realise that we should not merely assume that all those who do not currently know Christ are simply headed for Hell. There are other similar Scriptures which also strongly give the impression that - right at the last - God will leave a door open for many who did not know Christ during their physical lives to finally enter His kingdom.

'When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.'
(1 Corinthians 15:54-59).
Robin A. Brace, 2006.

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