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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Who Has the Ultimate Power over Death: God or the Devil?

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Don Stewart
The Bible says that Jesus has authority over death. He testified.

I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades (Revelation 1:18).

However the Bible also says that the Devil has the power over death.

Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14,15).

How can both of these statements be true? Does Christ or the Devil have power over death?

Death Ruled Until Christ

Until Christ's coming, death seemed to rule humanity. In this sense, the Devil held power over people with the fear of death. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil.

He who does what is sinful is of the Devil, because the Devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the Devil's work (1 John 3:8).

This would include the fear of death that had a hold on people. Once Christ came and conquered death, the fear was forever gone. Death has no authority over those who have believed in Jesus.


When sin entered into our world death came with it. The author of sin and death is the Devil. The coming of Christ destroyed the works of the Devil in the sense that death no longer has the fear that it once had. Those who believe in Christ belong to Him forever, and nothing, even death, can keep the believers and Him apart. Therefore the ultimate power of death belongs to Jesus Christ, the one who conquered death and the grave.
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