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Don't be surprised when evil seems (for a while) to be stronger
than what is good.
The key word, when examining these "victories" is the word "TEMPORARY."
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The events that will occur during the end times are intended to encourage God's people of all times. They show us that, even in the worst of situations, evil's "victory" will only be temporary! The following verses focus on certain end-time events.
These same types of things have occurred throughout the ages - only not to the extent that they will in the future. Down through the ages, there have often been evil people, who have destroyed nations, and who have killed vast numbers of people. Sometimes they even claim to be "Christian" - even though they persecute and kill those who truly are the followers of Jesus! Such "victorious conquerors" may seem to be invincible, and they may even claim that God is on their side. But in the end, they are the losers. Jesus Christ will be the final victor and the judge over all. He, the righteous judge, will pay them back for all the evil they have done.
In this present evil age, God's people may be defeated - perhaps even put to death - by evil forces. But in the end, God's people will be brought back to life and will rule with Jesus for all eternity. Thus, their "defeat" is only temporary. Ultimately, they are the victors.
A. The rider on the white horse (at the beginning of these final days)
He will go out conquering / overcoming, with the intent of total conquest / victory over all - Revelation 6:2.
B. The "beast"
He will fight against the two "witnesses" and overcome / have victory over them - Revelation 11:7.
He will be given power to fight against God's people and to overcome / have victory over them - Revelation 13:7.
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In this passage, the focus is on the time death loses its power over Jesus's people. This will occur at the resurrection, when what is mortal is replaced by what is immortal (see the context).
A. For God's people, death and its effects are temporary
Death will ultimately lose its power over God's people: Death will be "swallowed up" in victory (v. 54). Its present-day "sting" and victory will be gone forever (v. 55). This victory is a gift from God, available only through Jesus Christ (v.57) - 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55, 57.
Sin and evil have already been overcome by Jesus. Those who belong to Jesus have been guaranteed ultimate victory - and in some respects, that victory has already occurred. The "losers" (the devil and everything that is evil) still put up a struggle in their losing battle, but we have the power (and the duty) to resist them. We are not to allow evil to overcome us.
We must remember that, no matter how difficult the way may be, God's people can already be described as "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). It can be no other way!
Throughout the centuries, people have been willing to die for Christ, rather than deny him. (This number is increasing each year.) Of such people, God says many praiseworthy things. Though the world hated them, the world is actually not worthy of them (Hebrews 11:38a). In the end, they will stand in God's presence as victorious over death. The others - those who persecuted them - will be the ultimate losers.
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Dennis Hinks © 2004