by Phillip Vanwinkle
FEBRUARY 12, 2016

The Death of Death

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:55 these words: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Paul wrote these words as only an inspired man, and one who had seen the other side could write.  He came back to this side, and things would never be the same. And write he did! He gave us over half of our New Testament. Paul completely understood that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, death was no longer able to be victorious over mankind.

January 1993 was an interesting time in my life. One of my heroes died. The Death of Superman was painted as the title of the January issue of Superman. It chronicled how he died saving the world, and how “Doomsday” destroyed him in a fight that ripped through various cities of the United States.

After his death, some imposters came forth to try to fill the void. They were well-intentioned, and most tried to carry on the legacy of Superman, yet without the same power that he had. But with Superman dead, the world would surely be lost. And the world once again needed a "Superman."

His death would not last long, however. Whether it was the outcry from fans, or some other reason (perhaps financial), the writers for the Man of Steel brought him back to life.

Even back then it just didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly happy to have my hero back again—a living, actual Superman was much easier to read about than a handful of wannabes. But what these writers did was something that completely changed comic books, as well as my perspective on them from that day on.

To this day, anytime I read a comic book where the main character dies, I laugh to myself and think “He’ll be back in a few months; he is just laying low someplace getting better.”

These writers did not really give us the death of Superman, but the death of death. From then on, death was not final anymore in the world of comics.

While I recognize that Superman is completely fictitious, I do take some real-life lessons from those events that surrounded me then.

One thing that crossed my mind at that time, and still does, is that the death, burial and resurrection story did not originate with Superman. The writers already had a surefire winner in knowing about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They knew that the resurrection of Christ would indeed change everything.

Another thing is that the death of death does indeed change everything. Now I know that even though I have loved ones who have passed away, I will see them again. Paul would write in the same chapter, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The differences between the Superman story and the Truth of Jesus Christ are legion. I will mention two of them.

Difference #1 between Jesus and Superman

As mentioned earlier, Superman is complete fiction, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and produced by DC comics in 1938. But Christ Jesus’ resurrection is the basis for Christian belief. His resurrection has been found throughout the centuries to have withstood the harshest critics. The faith of Christianity is not based upon fables written by creative minds, but rather fundamental truths from the throne of Heaven, and backed by strong earthly evidence. Our hope is based not on blind faith, but upon evidence. We know He lives, because the evidence tells us He does. We do not "hope" in Superman, for even as children we realized that Superman never actually lived, never actually died, and was never actually resurrected. But our Lord did, and His resurrection changes everything.

Difference #2 Between Jesus and Superman

The second difference that we will discuss is this: While the fictitious Superman’s resurrection changed things for himself and a few he may have saved from temporary pain, Christ’s resurrection changes everything for everyone, forever. No longer do I need to live in fear of death, for there is no victory in the grave. Christ overcame death, so that we could approach the throne of God knowing that He hears his children. The "death of death" was Christ’s crowning achievement. After He conquered death, He went to the throne of God and sat down, His sacrificial work being completed. The stone was rolled away, and the downcast disciples were invigorated once again. It has been properly stated, “He did not roll the stone away so that Christ could go to Heaven; He rolled it away so that we could.”

The evidence of the stone being rolled away is the fact that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Withstanding 2,000 years of scrutiny, the evidence still remains, solid and steadfast. We may go to Heaven because Christ overcame death.

The author of Hebrews wrote:

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; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

By His death, He released mankind from being subject to the bondage of death. He defeated death, as well as the one who had the power of death, the devil.

While we might receive momentary enjoyment from reading things like comic books or watching shows about heroes, the fact is, true joy and true peace only come from being a child of God. So we will end this article with some words of peace from the apostle Paul:

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:14-17)

Christian! Take heart—we do not live in fear of death, for our Saviour has gone before us and has conquered death for us!

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