THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DEVIL THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
When Jesus died on the cross, he was laid in a grave, and remained for three days. Having made reconciliation for sin in his death, and having lived a life of perfection, the power of sin was destroyed: the grave could not hold him. Jesus was resurrected to life on the dawn of Sunday morning.
- We pointed out earlier that after God had condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus, it was no longer possible for the grave to hold him. This is because he destroyed the hold that sin had on mankind. Paul wrote:
- HEB 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Jesus destroyed (and that word might better be translated "murdered") the devil in his death. By doing so, he destroyed that which had the power of death. This immediately begs the question, what is the devil?
"Devil" is from the Greek word "diabolos." This is from two words "dia" which means "across" or "over;" and "bolo" which means "to throw." The word "diabolos" used as a noun, comes to stand for that power which causes us to be thrown over, or over thrown.
- Devil then, is the power which kills us and causes us to be overthrown. What is it? How could it be anything other than "the law of sin in my members"? That is the power that kills us, that which we inherit from Adam. That is the source of our will. Paul described it thus:
- Rom. 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
- This explains the source of our own temptations. It is our own human nature, or sin in the flesh: our own will. James wrote:
- JAM 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
- Jesus had his own will, as he was of our same, identical nature. This is the will he described when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene, on the night prior to his crucifixion. His "will" wanted him to avoid the ordeal. He never yielded to his own will, but always did those things which pleased his Father.
- MAT 26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
The flesh, with the sentence of death and its accompanying lusts, was what Jesus crucified and destroyed on the cross. This is what had the power of death. With the sentence of death ended in Christ, having never sinned, death could not hold him. This is the "devil" that had the power of death, that Christ destroyed "by dying."
- But there was another hold from which Jesus freed us: that was the hold of the Mosaic Law. Jesus, in going up on the cross, came under the curse of the law, for the law said that if any aspect of the law was not obeyed, then the force of the whole law was upon them. Paul wrote:
- GAL 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
- Now the law specifically said:
- DEU 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
- When Jesus voluntarily went up on the cross, in obedience to the divine command, he came under the curse of the law to carry it away; the same as he had done the curse of the law of sin and death. Therefore Paul wrote:
- GAL 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
With that which had the power of death destroyed and the Mosaic law fulfilled through the sacrifice of Christ, the grave could not hold Christ. After three days, on Sunday morning, God resurrected Christ to life.
- He was resurrected a mortal body. When Mary saw him in the garden, and when she finally recognized him, she went to hold him. Jesus told her:
- JOH 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
- Later that same day, Jesus is touched by his followers. What then is this "ascending" to his Father? It clearly is the raising from a "mortal nature" to an "immortal nature". It is that described by Paul:
- 1CO 15:52-54 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
When we are raised, we are still corruptible and mortal bodies, just as Christ was. But at the sound of the trumpet, we shall be raised from corruptible to incorruptible. Therefore Christadelphians believe:
XIII.--That on the third day, God raised him from the dead, and exalted him to the heavens as priestly mediator between God and man, in the process of gathering from among them a people who should be saved by the belief and obedience of the Truth.