Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 29 (22): Death is Swallowed Up in Victory - Scene 3 (49-51)


There is no recording for this on Wikisource, HERE is a link to Choir of King’s College, Cambridge:

The Choir of Kings College, Cambridge is one of the definitive recordings that I recommended in the Introduction. If you are unable to go to a performance, watching the entire video might be very enriching for you. This particular recording shows the location of each movement in the notes below it. 

Scene 3 - "The victory over death and sin"

49. Secco recitative (Alto)

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' (1 Corinthians 15:54b; Isaiah 25:8)

50. Duet (Alto/Tenor)

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56, Hosea 13:14)

51. Chorus

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)


1 Corinthians 15:54-57

Yesterday we learned that our temporary, decaying, death-doomed, earthly bodies of flesh and blood will be changed into perfect bodies that will last into eternity in heaven with Him. 

Today, the emphasis is that we are no longer "death-doomed"! Death has been "swallowed up" in victory. The Greek word for "swallowed up" is katapínō, from kata, down, pínō, to drink. Figuratively it means "to overwhelm." God had promised this in Isaiah's prophecy:

He will swallow up death for all time, 
 And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,  
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; 
For the Lord has spoken. 
And it will be said in that day,  
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 
(Isaiah 25:8-9)

This Greek word for victory comes from the root nike (pronounced NEE-kay, not the way we pronounce the sports brand). Nike was the Greek goddess of victory. As you can see from all of the verses in this scene, victory is the key word!  

It may have seemed as though Satan had the victory in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:13) and even at the crucifixion, but God gave us a promise of victory over Satan and death in Genesis 3:15:

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise [crush] you on the head,

And you shall bruise him on the heel.

Satan's little wins were just bruises to the heel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, the woman's "seed," Jesus, crushed Satan's head by dying for our sins and rising from the dead to give us life everlasting! We were cursed with death, but death's power has been removed by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
The music in the duet of "O death, where is thy sting?" is almost taunting against death and Satan, as Paul meant it to be! 

Then Paul goes into a theological digression. Death came through the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in the Garden and sinned (Genesis 3:17-19). The Law came later and revealed or "showed the strength" of sin to us. And what we deserved from that sin was death (Romans 6:23). Jesus bore our sins and the curse of the Law on the cross becoming a curse for us (1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:13). Then He rose from the dead, and because He lives, we will live too (John 14:19)! 

The present tense of the verb "giveth" makes 1 Corinthians 15:57 literally read, "But thanks be to God, who keeps on giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

He is the God who keeps on giving. The battle continues to be won in our everyday life. The music in this chorus is giddy with excitement, and we should be too! 


The battle is won! Satan and death have been defeated FOREVER! 
We have much to be thankful for. Do you live into that victory in your day to day life? Many believers live as if they were still dead! 
Remember the word for victory is derived from the Greek word "Nike"? The slogan for Nike in modern day is "Just do it." 

Paul follows the verses in this scene with his own "Just do it" exhortation:

Therefore (since God keeps on giving the victory), my beloved brethren, be 
- Steadfast (stand firm, not turning away from the faith) 
- Immovable (not to be moved from its place by others) 
- Always abounding (present overabundantly or to excess, overflowing) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain (useless) in the Lord. 
(1 Corinthians 15:58)
Are you living in victory or defeat today?

Are you living as though alive or dead?

I pray you can live in your true victory today!


Let's go beyond what you have ever done before. The New Year starts in a few days. How can you stretch yourself this year in ways you never have before? What are some goals that you can set for growth and for living into that victory that you continually have in Jesus Christ? 

If you are joining this blog just for Messiah, might I suggest the three year journey through the Bible Book Club? I believe the Word of God strengthens us in that victory. This is one way to go deeper. 
In the Bible Book Club, we read 1-2 chapters each day over a three year period. You do not have to do it in three years, and you can set your own pace. Just keep reading and applying the Word of God to your life! 

Also, I have all the books available for download HERE.
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