Through Death, Jesus Has Destroyed the Power of the Devil

5 Mins read

“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” (KJV, Heb. 2:14-15).

“Forasmuch then as the children”

The author of Hebrews was not concerned with the entire human race when he wrote these words. Instead, the context will give the proper interpretation. Hebrews 2:11 tells the reader that the one who sanctifies (Jesus Christ) and the one who is sanctified (the believer) are one. Thus, there is unity between the sanctifier and the sanctified. As a result, the author of Hebrews says that the sanctifier (Jesus Christ) is not ashamed to call the sanctified (the believer) a brother.

Shortly after, the author of Hebrews says, “…Behold I and the children which God hath given me” (Heb. 2:13). The reference is from Isaiah 8:18. The children in reference are thus spiritual children born through the work of Jesus Christ.

The Bible has a lot to say about the topic of the believer’s adoption and new birth. The fatherhood of God is a central teaching in the New Testament. The Christian is instructed to pray to God as Father. Elsewhere the Bible states that the Spirit of God testifies with the Christian’s spirit that he is a child of God. Finally, John states, “He came to his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God… Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

“are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same”

However, Jesus took on flesh and identified with His creation. Another common theme of Scripture is the humanity of Jesus Christ. In speaking of the humanity of Jesus, it does not disregard His deity while He was on earth. Nonetheless, it is essential to stress the humanity of Jesus when the Scriptures do.

Jesus became a man and thus embraced humanity in all that entailed. Some might think that Jesus had it easier than the rest. Yes, Jesus was not a part of the fallen race. He did not inherit the sin of Adam, and therefore He was not affected by the fall in the same way that others are. However, it is important to realize that any man would have committed the sin of Adam. Adam was not unique in his temptation toward sin. Instead, Adam did what all would do; he eventually chose sin over God.

But it is important to realize that Jesus did not infuse His manhood with His divine nature whenever things got tough. On the contrary, His life was characterized by a dependence upon the Father and walking by the Spirit. He took on flesh and showed man how to live as a man. He prayed to the Father, was in His Father’s house, loved God and man, stood for truth, lived by the Spirit, and resisted temptation.

“that through death”

As a man, Jesus could die. His death was essential in the redemptive plan. In actuality, redemption could not have occurred apart from the death of Christ. There really was no other way for man to be saved. The wages of sin is death. The work and the outcome of the work are clear. When someone sins, death is inevitable. God told Adam that if he ate from the tree, He would surely die. Not that He might die but that he would surely die.

God cannot die. It is impossible. However, man can die, and when Jesus took on flesh, He also took on death. But Jesus took on death for a purpose and not because He sinned. Instead, He Who knew no sin became sin for man. But death was not the end. It was a conduit.

“he might destroy him that had the power of death”

Through death, Jesus sought to destroy the one who had the power over death. What does it mean when the Scripture says, “the power of death?” The Greek word translated as power is kratos and speaks of dominion, might, power, and strength. Kratos is a relatively uncommon word that is translated as power. However, some of its uses are rather telling.

For instance, the Bible states, “Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power…” (Col. 1:11). Elsewhere Scripture says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe…” (Eph. 1:19). Here one can see the power of God influencing good.

Later, it will be apparent that Satan used the power of death to influence evil.

“that is, the devil”

Christ came to undo the devil’s work. God created the heavens and earth. He created the host of heaven, and all of creation was meant to glorify God. However, Satan sought to usurp God’s throne, but Satan fell like lightning from heaven when He did. Sometime later, Satan came as a serpent and deceived Eve. She took the fruit to Adam, and he ate it. Since then, the world has not been the same. Nevertheless, God desires to make all things new and rid the world of the enemy’s influential power.

“And deliver them”

Thus, deliverance must take place. God is a delivering God. The Greek word translated as deliver is apallasso which carries the meaning of releasing, removing, and setting free. Jesus has accomplished deliverance through His death and resurrection. However, God has not ceased to deliver but continues until that great day when He accomplishes His final deliverance. In other words, Jesus was not simply the Savior at a point in time. He is always the Savior in all things. For instance, Peter has said, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…” (2 Pet. 2:9).

“who through fear of death”

This portion of the passage is of the utmost importance. Satan uses the fear of death to influence evil behavior. Death has an evil influential power when it is feared. Satan cannot use death to influence evil unless death is feared. Thus, fear needed to be eliminated. Satan has not yet been eliminated, but His power has been broken through fear being banished and courage being instilled.

Fear is destructive in the life of the believer. Fear wars against faith and thus promotes doubt. Fear stifles love toward God and must be rooted out. Fear is also a subtle sin that is often given little attention, which is another reason why it is so deadly. Scripture says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare…” (Prov. 29:25). In actuality, all ungodly fear lays a snare.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the people not to worry about the basic needs of life. Seemingly the people were gripped with fear over what a new day might hold. As a result, they were constantly prioritizing worldly matters over kingdom concerns. Fear robs God of the glory due His name. Fear robs God of assuming His position as Father in the believer’s life.

Death is often feared. But where death has been conquered, fear cannot remain. Jesus died as a man and rose from the dead. He exercised His power over the power of death. Thus, the Christian need not fear, for Jesus has won the victory.

“were all their lifetime subject to bondage”

Fear ultimately leads to bondage. It sets up invisible parameters and influences the mind. The only way to totally do away with fear is for it to be uprooted by a greater power than the fear has. Fear is a powerful force, but God’s power is greater. The resurrection of Christ can go deep enough into the heart of man to unearth the roots that have sunk within. Jesus has defeated death and shown a watching world that the one who is in Him will also rise with Him.

Final prayer

Father, I thank You for the certainty of my future resurrection in Jesus Christ. I do not need to fear death because Jesus has destroyed the one who has the power over death. The devil cannot use death to influence me toward evil choices. You have made a way for my fear to be vanquished. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Explore Games and Apps



Get a daily email of trending scripture and updates. Be the first to see top stories and events.