He will swallow up death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. For the LORD has spoken.
he will be more to men than all this! Death, that dogs men's footsteps and darkens even their days with fear; death, that breaks in upon all dreams of perfect friendship and permanent joy; death, which, as invisible monarch, holds empire in so many breasts; - death itself shall be destroyed.
I. THE VICTORY CAME. It was not then. But the prophecy was fulfilled. Death had to bring its sacred spoils and to lay them at the feet of Christ during his earthly ministry. And when men wondered at his mighty power, Christ said, "Marvel not at this, for all... that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth."
II. THE VICTORY WAS COMPLETE. Death was swallowed up in victory. No province was left undisturbed. No delay intervened. No conflict occurred. Death knew its own Lord and King, and gave back at once its spoils. Thus we understand the words, "He led captivity captive." The very powers that once had held empire over men he now despoiled. And as in the Roman processions, the princes who once had spoiled others were now led captive at the chariot-wheels of a greater victor than themselves, so death was led captive at the chariot-wheels of Christ.
III. THE VICTORY WAS PERMANENT. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Now that Christ has risen from the dead, he has become the Firstfruits of all that sleep. The triumph of the Savior over the grave was designed to give great rest and gladness of heart. "And the Lord God will wipe away tears from Off all faces." It is immortal life that not only gives preciousness to friendship, but that gives relief from overwhelming tribulation. We sorrow, indeed, still; the hot rain of tears falls from the aching brain; but we sorrow not as those without hope. We comfort our hearts with these words of Jesus: "Let not your hearts be troubled.... In my Father's house are many mansions." - W.M.S.
I. THE TRUTH ASSERTED. "He will swallow up death in victory." The redemption of Jesus Christ deals with both parts of man's nature, his soul and his body. But the application of redemption to the body is as yet deferred. There is —
I. He who hath swallowed up death in victory is THE LORD GOD.
He will swallow up death in victory.I. THE TEXT SETS CHRIST BEFORE US IN THE ATTITUDE OF A CONQUEROR OVER DEATH. "He shall swallow up death in victory," it is said, and again in Hosea, "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction"; whilst still more strikingly in Timothy, we read, "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." But what is the kind of death of which the advent of Christ was to be the swallowing up? Not spiritual death, for how many are lying under its power now — many who have seen the day of Christ — but who yet have neither rejoiced in its light, nor yielded to its power! Neither does it ever attain to His covenant undertakings to swallow up death eternal. This too has its permitted victims, as well as the death spiritual, the one being, in fact, both the sequence and the penalty of the other. It is manifest, therefore, that the expression is to be limited to the death of the body — that death, which on account of the first transgression, was to pass upon all men, the penalty and the fruit of sin. Now this death is to be swallowed up — quenched, absorbed, as the original word implies — just as something which the sea might bury in its depths, or the fire decompose into its elemental forms.
II. BUT HOW IS THIS SWALLOWING UP OF DEATH BY CHRIST EFFECTED? To this we have a full answer returned by the apostle Paul. "The sting of death," he says, "is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Here it is first assumed that death has a sting, that there is a pungency of dread and horror arising from the contemplation of death, merely as a penalty, as something indissolubly linked with evil beyond itself, and a sense of the deserved frown of God. Hence, in order to show that Christ had made a conquest over death, we must show that He was victorious over the sting of death, and hath swallowed up sin in victory.
1. And this He did in His life. In this way did Christ obtain His victory over sin — obtained it too, not by the putting forth of the hidden powers of Godhead, not by any invoked succours which would be given at His bidding from the angelic world, but by means within the reach of the humblest of His followers to command. Thus, in the destroyed sting of death, was laid the foundation for its final abolition. Mortality was no longer the terrible thing to look upon it once was. Believers are bound up in the Saviour's conquests. "Because I live, ye shall live also; because I have overcome, ye shall overcome also: sin shall have no dominion over you, because I withstood its power in the wilderness, because death and the sting of death have been swallowed up in victory."
2. Again, Christ is said to swallow up death, because He has discharged the obligations of that law to which death owes all its authority. As death could have had no sting if it had not been for sin, so sin could have had no existence, if it had not been for the law. "The law is the strength of sin," says the Word. Why? Because where no law is, there is no transgression. "The law entered that the offence might abound." And this law never relaxes, never can relax. Holy, it can endure no blemish; just, it can tolerate no remission of penalties; good, it will not encourage disobedience in the many by misplaced compassions to the few; and they who are under this law must be eternally under it. Hope for us there is none, nor yet help, unless we can be redeemed from its curse, released from its thrall, discharged from its obligations by One who shall both magnify its claims and make it honourable; and Christ has done all this, and in doing it, He swallows up death, at least death as death, for the strength of this last enemy is now departed from him. The law which was Satan's only title deed thereto, is nailed to the Cross. It is all Emmanuel's land now — earth and paradise, seen and unseen, life and immortality. "He hath swallowed up death in victory."
3. And then, once more, we must include the grave as part of the conquered things spoken of in the text. Like death it has its victory — an all but universal victory. Distinctions it knows not, age it regards not: it is the house appointed for all living. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him." "O grave!" says the apostle, "where is thy victory!" Where, when thy keys are in the hands of the Saviour, when thy dust is a guarded deposit, when the bodies of the faithful committed unto thee are century by century throwing off their gross materialism, in order that in the regeneration of a glorified and spiritual body they may stand at the latter day upon the earth? For, that the prophet's ken looked thus far, is evident from what he says a little further on in the next chapter, "Thy dead men," etc. (Isaiah 26:19). Thus shall Christ swallow up death in victory; and it is added, the "Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces." The same forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into our world, brought therewith all our woe. If we had not known death, we had not known tears. The whole "body of sin will be destroyed"; the glorified spirit can neither falter nor fall again: all corrective discipline will be over: there will be neither lessons to learn, nor infirmities to subdue, nor murmurings to keep down, nor mistaken attachments to correct. No erring spirit will ever seek to escape from those holy mansions, neither can any graces languish which are fed from that eternal spring, but the whole company of the redeemed, sanctified throughout by the power of an Almighty Spirit, and made one with Christ through thee blood of the everlasting covenant, shall wait in devout ministrations on the King of saints in a service that shall know no weariness, and in a kingdom that shall know no end. "He shall swallow up death in victory, and wipe away all tears from off all faces." And now let us glance at one or two practical conclusions to be derived from our subject.
1. Thus, one effect of it should be to fortify us against the fear of death. This fear, I have said is an instinct with us — is incorporated as it were upon our lapsed and fallen nature; it is not necessarily connected with any anticipation of what is to follow, but springs from an apparently universal feeling that death is a punishment for sin; that originally man was not made to die, that some wrong has been done to the beneficent purposes of the Creator of which our dying is the bitter fruit. Then it is a part of Christ's victory to have the rule not only over death, but over all that region of the invisible to which death leads.
2. Again, our subject should suggest to us the wisdom of instant submission to the Saviour's authority. A two-fold end would seem to be contemplated in giving this absolute dominion over death, namely, that He should be omnipotent to conquer as well as mighty to save — a terror to His enemies as well as a protector to His friends, and one or other of these we all are. The whole world of responsible beings is divided into those who are under the sceptre, and those who are under the rod. But why should we make a foe of Him who hath assumed universal empire only that He might be our friend, only that nothing might be wanting to the completeness of His own work?
3. Is it needful that I should remind you that this blessed promise we have been considering, like all our Advent promises, belongs to believers, and to believers only! As there is a death which Christ has not swallowed up, so there are tears which the Lord God has not promised to wipe away, but which in righteous displeasure at His despised compassions, He will leave to flow on forever.
(D. Moore, M. A.)
II. THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PROMISE. But for God's eternal purpose in Christ Jesus, every son and daughter of Adam must have drunk forever of the cup of wrath which is without mixture, as a just reward for their enmity to God.
III. THE PERSONS AND THEIR CHARACTERS or descriptions that shall say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us," etc.
1. The removal of all sorrow. "The Lord God shall wipe away," etc.
2. There shall be the removal of the rebuke of God's people; by which I would understand death, which surely is the greatest reproach which God's people now lie under.
II. THE HYMN OF TRIUMPH which is sung by the risen saints at the time referred to in our text. "And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us," etc. It is impossible for us fully to enter into the triumphant feeling contained in this verse, whilst we are ourselves in the valley of humiliation and woe. The language is the language of victory, and that we have not yet received. There are parts, however, in this hymn which we may already join in. The language of our text is the language of present realisation of expected triumph. "Lo, this is our God." There is the manifestation of Jehovah. "We have waited for Him." In times past "we have waited for Him." In sorrow, in distress, in agony of spirit, "we have waited for Him." When death has entered our family, and when bitter grief has entered our hearts, "we have waited for Him." And the darkness, the mist, and the cloud have all cleared away. "We have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." The double truth, then, presented to us in our text is the assertion of coming victory and the assurance of the joy which shall be ours when that victory is achieved.
(E. Bailey, M. A.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
The Evangelist.There are four degrees of this victory.
I. THE FIRST WAS OBTAINED BY CHRIST IN HIS OWN PERSON, in single combat with death and hell. Christ taking upon Himself our sins, death assaults Him with all his strength and terror, and appears, at first, to get the better. It kills Him and lays Him in the grave. But as Samson arose by night, and carried away the "gates of Gaza, bars and all," so Christ, though shut up in the grave, and a great stone rolled upon it, arose in the night, and carried away the gates and bars of death and the grave, and bare them to the top of Mount Zion, to be His footstool in heaven.
II. The second degree of this victory is THE ALTERING OF ITS NATURE TO ALL GOD'S PEOPLE. Before, it was a passage into prison; now, it is a passage out of prison. It was the way to darkness, misery, despair, and torment; now, it is the way to light, peace, triumph, and immortal joy. Before, it was loss, as he who died lost all his possessions; now, it is gain.
III. The third degree is THE ALTERING OF OUR JUDGMENTS, AFFECTIONS, AND APPREHENSIONS CONCERNING DEATH, which is often strikingly seen in the dying experience of believers.
IV. The last is in THE GENERAL RESURRECTION. "Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written."
(The Evangelist.)I. THE HOLY AND HONOURABLE VICTOR. "He," the King of glory; "He," the Lord Christ; "He," the Father's co-equal and co-eternal Son; "He," who is called in the 6th verse, "the Lord of hosts"; "He," who, though He "thought it not robbery to be equal with God, made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross," that He might obtain the victory over death specified in the text.
1. The victories of His life and death in His own person.(1) His single-handed combat with the tempter.(2) We find Him attacked by the devil's sharpshooters — the Sadducees, the scribes, and the Pharisees.(3) Our glorious Victor now enters the very territory of "the king of terrors," that He may vanquish him in his own dominions.(4) Let us advance from this point, just to mark His victorious proceedings in the invincible operations of His grace; for, you must know, when He comes down on earth to carry on the triumphs of His redemption, He finds all the persons for whom He shed His precious blood, "dead in trespasses and sins"; and "He will swallow up" that "death in victory."(5) This glorious Victor will carry on a civil war in the hearts of His people.
II. THE INTERESTS SECURED BY THESE VICTORIES.
1. The interests of the tribes of Israel, and we may just write upon these interests one sweet passage of Scripture: "So all Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation."
2. Moreover, the official character of Christ is herein honoured, and that is an interest peculiarly His own.
3. While the honour of Christ is to be maintained by His victory, and emblazoned before all worlds, the relationship existing between Him and His Church is dear to His heart.
III. THE SACRED, THE SWEET PEACE, EVERLASTINGLY SETTLED BY THE VICTORIES OF OUR GLORIOUS VICTOR. Sovereigns generally profess that the object of their fighting is to settle peace upon honourable terms, so that it shall not be easily disturbed; and they do not care for proclaiming peace until it has been settled upon such terms that it is not likely again to be easily broken. Now, our glorious Conqueror has settled peace for His whole Church; nay, He Himself has become her peace.
Homilist.In nature God is constantly "swallowing up death in victory." In spring He opens a million graves and floods the world with life. Indeed everywhere He makes death the minister of life. Death generates, nurtures, and develops life. But the text points us to His victory over the mortality of man, and let us trace the march of the triumphant Conqueror in this direction.
I. WE SEE HIS FIRST CONQUEST IN THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. The strongest victim death ever had was Christ. The Jewish Sanhedrim cooperated with the Roman power and did all they could to keep his Victim in the grave. But the Conqueror of death appeared, invaded the territory of mortality, broke open the prison doors, snapped the fetters, and led the prisoner out into a new and triumphant life.
II. WE SEE HIS NEXT CONQUEST IN DESTROYING IN HUMANITY THE FEAR CF DEATH. The essence, the sting, the power of death, are not in the mere article of dissolution of soul and body, but in the thoughts and feelings of men regarding the event. To overcome, therefore, in the human mind all terrible thoughts and apprehensive feelings concerning death, is the most effective way to triumph over it.
III. WE SEE HIS CROWNING CONQUEST IN THE GENERAL RESURRECTION.
1. There is nothing incredible in the general resurrection.
2. There are circumstances that render the event exceedingly probable.
3. The declarations of God render it absolutely certain.
(Homilist.)I. THE ENEMY is so formidable that he is justly termed "the king of terrors." The conquerors of the earth have themselves been conquered by this universal destroyer. Though he is nature's destruction, and consequently nature's aversion, nature knows no method of resisting his violence. You cannot avoid the approaches of this enemy; but you may prevent them from issuing in your destruction.
II. THE CONQUEROR OF DEATH. The dignity of His person, and the greatness of His power capacitate Him for this conquest. The Prince of life, who had life in Himself; who had power to lay down His life, and power to take it up again; He, and He alone, could conquer death.
III. THE WONDERS OF THIS CONQUEST. That our Lord might fairly and in the open field encounter the king of terrors, He came into the first Adam's world, where this formidable foe had carried his conquests far and near, and where none was found able to withstand him. He came into it an infant of days. This gave death and hell a strange, though but seeming, advantage over Him. They flattered themselves that they should be able to destroy Him, while a helpless infant. They attempted it. They murdered all the other infants in Bethlehem, from two years old and under. The Child Jesus alone, who came to fight with death, and triumph over hell and the grave, escaped their hands. Death and hell, though foiled in their first onset, do not despair. He appeared "in the likeness of sinful flesh." Hence, they flattered themselves that, though they had not destroyed Him, when an infant, by the sword of Herod, they might destroy Him, when become a man, by enticing Him into sin, which gives to death its destroying power. The prince of this world tempts Him to despair, to presumption, to self-murder, to worship the devil. But, though he set upon Him with all his power and policy, he could find no corruption in Him, to kindle by his temptation. Had He appeared, which He one day will do, as the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person, death and hell would have fled from Him. But He came to this world, "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." The powers of darkness hoped that the toils, the anguish and perplexity which He endured, would sink and discourage Him, or would lead Him to leave His work unfinished. Here again they are disappointed. What occasioned the most exquisite anguish, did not occasion one irregular desire, or one repining thought. By a few years' obedience, performed in such trying circumstances, He brought in an everlasting righteousness, and accomplished what all the angels of heaven could not have done in millions of ages. God made Him sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Prince of life is laid in a grave. There His enemies hope to detain Him. But the joy of the wicked was short. He, who, by dying, had fully paid our debts, in being raised from the dead receives a public and ample discharge. Such was the wonderful victory obtained by Jesus. For believers is this victory obtained.
IV. THE COMPLETENESS OF CHRIST'S CONQUEST OVER DEATH.
1. The great things which He accomplished on earth.(1) There was not one criminal action, one sinful word, one irregular thought or desire, of which His people were guilty, which He did not expiate.(2) Jesus hath not left one precept, one jot or tittle of the law unfulfilled. The law is friendly to the believer, for the believer's best Friend and Head has done it infinite honour.(3) Christ hath redeemed His people from every part of the curse.(4) The devil hath the power of death; and there is not one devil who was not overcome and led in triumph by Christ on the Cross, where the powers of darkness certainly thought to have triumphed over Him (Hebrews 2:14).(5) Christ, by His righteousness, hath obtained the power to overrule death and the grave, with all that precedes, accompanies, or follows them, for the spiritual and everlasting good of His people, in a blessed subordination to His own glory.
2. The completeness of Christ's conquest over death, as demonstrated by His exaltation and His glory. He was raised from the dead by His God and Father, as a just God and a Saviour. God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name. The height of His exaltation speaks the greatness of His victory. Had it been otherwise, He would not have been invested with a full authority, and a sufficient power to raise from the dead, in glory, all the bodies of His saints, wheresoever they have died, or how long soever they have been buried in the grave; and to change their bodies also, who shall be found alive, at His second coming. The second coming of Christ will be the fullest demonstration that He hath completely conquered death.
(J. Erskine, D. D.)I. I propose to make SOME REMARKS ON THIS SINGULAR EXPRESSION, — "He will swallow up death in victory." The very sound of the words conveys the idea of a terrible conflict. A poor expiring worm of the dust is the occasion and subject of the contest. But, while we awaken and humble ourselves by just views of the formidable nature of death, let us rise to confidence by observing how the expression of the text brings into this conflict the infinite zeal of Deity. The effect, in the experience of dying Christians, must be an abundant sensation of victory.
II. Let us inquire BY WHAT METHODS THE WISE AND MERCIFUL GOD RAISES HIS PEOPLE TO THE POSSESSION OF VICTORY OVER DEATH.
1. This is done by a clear and powerful revelation of the glory of God.
2. By a powerful application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the conscience. Such has been the uniform experience of Christian martyrs, grappling with Satan, and with death in every terrific form (Revelation 12:11; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
3. The heavens are opened over every dying believer. Your God swallows up death in victory by showing you the fair fields, rivers, fruits, of His paradise in the heavens.
4. He discovers to you the vanity of all earthly objects, He impresses you with the unavoidable imperfection and misery of your sojourning condition. In that new birth, which brings the sinner near to God through Christ, the soul rises into a new world, and is no longer capable of grossly idolising earthly objects, as it once did. At the same time, the true enjoyment of lawful, created things commences.
5. In order to the final triumph, the Lord grants to His people a blessed finishing of their sanctified desires, respecting objects within time. This fulfilment of desires within time, relates either to particular points of inward, spiritual attainment, or to subjects of special concern respecting the cause and kingdom of Christ upon earth; and, in some cases, to blessings and deliverances, bestowed in reference to individuals with whom the Christian is peculiarly connected.
6. That this work of God may become perfect, the soul is raised up above the pains of the body.
7. The uncouth strangeness of the world of spirits is taken off, by faith's piercing views of the invisible God; the Mediator reigning in human flesh; the character of redeemed spirits; and of spotless angelic beings, with whom the Christian, about to be unloosed from earth, feels a kindred alliance.
III. THE DIFFERENT PERIODS AND SITUATIONS IN WHICH VICTORY OVER DEATH IS ENJOYED BY THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH.
1. This blessed victory is enjoyed, by a gradual anticipation, from the day of their effectual calling and conversion to God.
2. This anticipated enjoyment of victory tenderly and powerfully impressed on the Christian soul by sympathy with his dying friends and brethren.
3. At length the solemn, appointed period arrives. It is the happiness of the established Christian to know that no new, untried course is now to be sought for. He has only to go over his old exercises of faith, resignation, patience, and spiritual desire.
4. This victory over death is enjoyed by the soul during the period of its separation from the body.
5. We now advance to that scene of victory, which the tongues of men and of angels cannot describe (1 John 3:2). Application: — From this subject various duties open to view, which peculiarly bind those who are in any degree assured that they are in the way towards such victory (2 Peter 3:14).
(J. Love, D. D.)I. CONSIDER THE VICTORY BY WHICH DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP. The words refer to that encounter which the Redeemer had with the king of terrors, when He suffered in the room of sinners. Here, among other things, the following, in an especial manner, deserve our attention.
1. His exhausting the power of death by submitting to its stroke. When He died, it was under the pressure of Divine wrath; but that sacrifice was sufficient, and no more can be demanded. The stroke by which the Redeemer fell left no remaining strength in His enemy.
2. His manifesting, by His resurrection, that He was completely delivered from its dominion.
3. His enabling His people to overcome the fear of death.
4. His preserving His people safe in death, so that they are not hurt by its sting when their bodies must submit to its power.
5. His delivering His people completely from every remains of its power, by the resurrection of their bodies at the last day.
II. THE HAPPY CONSEQUENCE of this victory in the swallowing up of death. The phrase "swallowing up" is expressive of the most complete destruction.
1. Death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ, so as that it can never appear as an enemy to hurt Himself. The guilt with which He was charged as the surety of sinners gave death all its power over the Redeemer. By expiating that guilt, however, the power of death is taken away.
2. Death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ, inasmuch as it is by this victory deprived of all power to hurt any of His people. There is now no death of which the people of God have cause to be afraid.(1) Death cannot separate believers from God.(2) Death cannot deprive believers of the society of their brethren in Christ.(3) Death cannot rob the children of God of their spiritual privileges.(4) Death cannot prevent believers from the full enjoyment of that happiness and glory which Christ hath put. chased and prepared for them in the heavenly state.
(G. Campbell.)I. THE COMBATANTS; the two mightiest that ever encountered. Upon the one hand is death, with his devouring mouth, a champion who never yet could find his match among the children of men, till the great "HE," in the text, entered the lists against him, even Jesus Christ, who being man, was capable of feeling the force of death; but being the Lord of hosts also (ver. 6), could not but be conqueror at length.
II. THE ENCOUNTER OF THE COMBATANTS, implied in these words, "He will swallow up death in victory." Though death could not then reach Him the deadly blow, it pursued Him, shot out its poisonous arrows against Him all along, till they came to a close engagement on the Cross, where it wrestled Him down even into the grave, the proper place of its dominion. So the Mediator got the first fall.
III. THE ISSUE OF THE BATTLE. Death, who in all other battles wins whatever party loses, loses the day here; the victory is on the side of the slain Mediator. The slain Saviour again revives, gets up upon death, stands conqueror over it, even in its own territories, breaks the bars of the grave, takes away the sting it fought with against Him, and puts it and all its forces to the rout; so that it can never show its face against Him any more (Romans 6:9).
IV. THE MEDIATOR'S PURSUIT OF THE VICTORY, till it be complete for those that are His, as well as for Himself. The vanquished enemy has yet many strongholds in his hand, and he keeps many of the redeemed ones as prisoners, that they cannot stir; others of them though they can stir, yet can go nowhere, but they must drag the bands of death after them. But the Mediator will pursue the victory till He totally abolish it out of His kingdom, that there shall no more of it be seen there forever, as a thing that is swallowed up is seen no more at all.
(T. Boston, D. D.)I. THE BATTLE.
1. Under what character has the Lord of life fought this battle?(1) As the Head and Representative of the elect world.(2) As their Redeemer and Deliverer (Hosea 13:14). The prey could not be taken from the Mighty One, without both price and power.(3) An a Captain or General at the head of His people (Hebrews 2:10).
2. The attack made upon Him by death.(1) Death brings up its strength against Him, i.e., the law.(2) Meanwhile he that has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) advances against Him; Satan sets upon Him in the wilderness with most grievous temptations.(3) The congregation of men dead in trespasses and sins stir up them. selves against Him (Isaiah 53:3). Judas betrays Him, the Jews gape on Him like a lion, crying, Crucify Him; Pilate condemns Him; He is scourged, crowned with thorns, smitten on the crowned head; His body, racked till it was all out of joint, nailed to the Cross, hangs there mocked, and pierced with a spear.(4) Death comes with its sting upon Him, and pierces Him to the heart, and casts Him down dead.
II. THE VICTORY CHRIST OBTAINED.
1. How it was obtained.(1) By His death. This was the decisive stroke. "That through death He might destroy death, and him that had the power of death." It was such a victory as Samson's last victory over the Philistines, when he pulled down the house, and died himself with the Philistines in the fall of it; and therefore He cried upon the Cross, "It is finished."(2) By His resurrection.
2. What sort of victory it is Jesus hath obtained over death.(1) A dear bought victory; it cost the glorious Conqueror His precious life.(2) A complete victory in respect of Himself, though not yet in respect of His members (Romans 6:9).(3) A glorious victory, saints and angels singing the triumphant song.(4) An everlasting victory. Death's power is irrecoverably broken.
III. THE PURSUIT.
1. Christ looses the bands of spiritual death.
2. He looses the band of legal death.
3. He destroys the body of death in the believer.(1) It is crucified, and its destruction is ensured in the conversion of the soul to God (Romans 6:6; Galatians 5:24).(2) It is weakened and mortified more and more, in the gradual advances of sanctification (Romans 8:13).(3) At the death of the body, the body of death is utterly destroyed.
4. He dries up all the sorrows of death.
5. He brings all His people safe through the valley of the shadow of death.
6. Now, death has nothing of Christ's but the bodies of the saints, not a foot of ground in His kingdom but the grave; and these He will also wrest out of his hand at the resurrection.
7. In consequence of the absolute victory over death, it shall be shut up, and confined for the ages of eternity to the lower regions (Revelation 20:14).
IV. PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT.
1. Be lively Christians, as those that are alive from the dead through Jesus Christ.
2. Join issue with the Conqueror in pursuing the victory in your own souls.
3. Join issue with the Conqueror in pursuing the victory in the world, especially in the places where ye live.
4. Believe this truth with application in all your endeavours after holiness.
5. Be weaned from the world, and long for the day when death shall be swallowed up in victory.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)
(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)
(S. Cox, D. D.)
(S. Cox, D. D.)
(S. Cox, D. D.)
1. Those, for instance, who while professing to entertain this great hope, practically put it away from them, and who therefore sacrifice the future to the present; — is not the veil still on their hearts, the web about their feet?
2. So, again, in a less but sufficiently obvious degree with those who so misconceive of life and death as to sacrifice the present to the future; who miss or forego all the sweet and wholesome uses of the world because they have not learned, what yet the Gospel plainly teaches, that wisely to use and enjoy this present world is the best of all preparations for the world to come.
3. And even those who, despite the Gospel teaching, will think of dissolution as death rather than as victory over death, or as separating and alienating them from the dear ones of whom they have lost sight, rather than as bringing their "lost ones" nearer to their true life and binding them to them by closer because by invisible and spiritual ties, — even these have their eyes still dimmed by the veil which Christ came to lift, and their feet still entangled in the net from Which He came to deliver their feet.
(S. Cox, D. D.)
(S. Cox, D. D.)
(S. Cox, D. D.)
I. THE PROMISE OF SWALLOWING UP DEATH IN VICTORY. This promise, as well as that which follows it, may have a primary allusion to the resuscitation of the Jewish people after their captivity, but this is only an allusion, as in Hosea 13:14. What the ultimate meaning is we learn from. the glowing words of St. Paul: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption," etc. It was a glorious promise when first given, but its full meaning was not known, nor will it be completely understood till it shall be actually fulfilled. Yet the revelations of the Gospel enable us to form an enlarged idea of what that fulfilment will be.
1. The death of our Lord Jesus Christ, as an expiation for sin and a homage to the claims of law, has removed, to His people, that which chiefly makes death terrible. That with man, the lord of the inferior creatures, the body should die just as they do, is sufficiently humbling. Yet, serious as this is, it is not the most solemn feature of the case. "After death the judgment," and, to a godless soul, how terrible that audit! But to a believer sin is forgiven. "The strength of sin in the law." But the law is satisfied, yea, magnified by the Redeemer's expiatory work. Peace may now, therefore, take the place of that apprehension which before was the only alternative to senseless unconcern.
2. As the Saviour's death not only obtains deliverance for believers from guilt and condemnation, but is the channel by which grace "reigns through righteousness unto eternal life," death becomes to them the gateway of life and the passage to Heaven. Here God educates them by the discipline of life, and often of the chamber of sickness, for His kingdom and the receiving of the promise. Then He calls them home to the possession of it, and it is death which brings the summons.
3. Still the earthly house lies in ruins. Death seems as yet to triumph there. But even those ruins are to be built again.
II. THE WIPING AWAY THE TEARS OF SORROW. The two things are intimately related, and the second springs out of the first. Death is one of the prolific causes of sorrow. Whilst unreconciled to God, the thought of mortality, if a man thinks seriously of the great problems of his being at all, casts a dark shadow over his anticipations of the future. And even among Christians the separations which death occasions are a frequent cause of sadness.
(E. T. Prust.)
Sunday School Chronicle.Tennyson tells, in the "Idylls of the King," of a knight who fought with death. And when he had overcome him and pierced through his ghastly trappings, "there issued the bright face of a blooming boy." So Christ has conquered death for us, and, penetrating its terror, has brought, not death, but "life and immortality to light."
(Sunday School Chronicle.)Whitfield, the prince of sacred orators, was preaching to a crowd concerning the love of God: its height, its breadth, its infinity. A poor, ignorant, neglected child heard him, and drank in all he said with open eyes and open heart. Some little time afterwards the poor girl was smitten with a deadly disease. A Christian visited her bed of straw. "Child," said he, "are you afraid to die?" "No," she replied, "I am not afraid to die, I want to go to Mr. Whitfield's God."
(P. Norton.)Robert Hall's death: — Mrs. Hall, observing a change on the countenance of her husband, became alarmed, and exclaimed. "This cannot be dying!" He replied, "It is death; it is death — death!" Mrs. Hall then asked him, "Are you comfortable in your mind?" He immediately answered, "Very comfortable — very comfortable!" And exclaimed, "Come, Lord Jesus, come —" He hesitated, as if incapable of bringing out the last word. One of his daughters anticipated him by saying "Quickly," on which her departing father gave her a look expressive of the most complacent delight.
The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.
I. Let us notice THE TEARS ON SOME FACES.
1. How many little children weep when they might have been made to rejoice! We often expect more from children than they have either wisdom or strength to perform. Many a child weeps himself to sleep when he might have sung had he been rightly treated.
2. There have been rivers of tears upon the faces of the wives of our country.
3. There are many tears shed by widows.
4. There are the tears of the bereaved.
5. Then there are the tears of that class of people that the world does not like to talk of — the "unfortunate."
6. And then there are many who were once members of our Churches, who have wandered out of the way; and there has been no kind hand to fetch them back.
7. Remember the tears caused by the crushing weight of the mountain of poverty. Charity organisations are excellent systems, but it is unwise to overdo it. Because there are so many deceivers, it does not prove that there are not some who suffer. Let us be just to the poor.
8. There are many tears shed by women whose faces are very plain. They are passed by in favour of those who have better figures and prettier faces.
9. A large proportion also of those about us are crippled, and they often are neglected.
II. THE TEARS OF THE WORLD HAVE NOT BEEN SHED IN VAIN. The tears of slavery have brought about freedom; the tears of ignorance have been the cause of education being placed within the reach of every healthy child in our land; the tears caused by pestilence have compelled us to cleanse our towns and villages; and the tears shed under the scourge of oppression have given to us freedom of conscience. The tears of poverty have given to us the desire to alleviate it. The tears of pain and sickness have brought about our splendid medical system — the hospitals and dispensaries of our country. Tears often lead to joy. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy often cometh to us in the morning.
III. THE TEARS OF AFFLICTION AND TRIAL ARE NEEDFUL. If affliction had not been necessary, Christ would have borne it upon His own head. Afflictions are to us like sandpaper, to make us smooth and polished to take our place in the society of Heaven. Trials are to us in the testing of iron. A heavier weight is placed upon the iron in the workshop than it has to bear in its service outside; and so a heavy weight is placed upon you here.
IV. THE TENDER HAND. It is the hand of a Father, of a Lover, of a Saviour, of a Friend; it is the hand of the Lord God!
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