We are not doomed to an ultimate conflict with no hope of resolution. The message of Scripture is one of victory—full, final, and ultimate victory. It is not our doom that is certain, but Satan’s. His head has been crushed by the heel of Christ, who is the Alpha and Omega.
We have different vocations with respect to the jobs and tasks God gives us in this life. But we all share in the vocation of death. Every one of us is called to die. That vocation is as much a calling from God as is a “call” to the ministry of Christ. Sometimes the call comes suddenly and without warning. Sometimes it comes with advance notification. But it comes to all of us. And it comes from God.
I am aware that there are teachers who tell us that God has nothing to do with death. Death is seen strictly as the fiendish device of the devil. All pain, suffering, disease, and tragedy are blamed on the Evil One. God is absolved of any responsibility. This view is designed to make sure that God is free of blame for anything that goes wrong in this world. “God always wills healing,” we are told. If that healing does not happen, then the fault lies with Satan—Or with us. Death, they say, is not in the plan of God. It represents a victory for Satan over the realm of God.
Such views may bring temporary relief to the afflicted. But they are not true. They have nothing to do with biblical Christianity. They are intended to absolve God of any blame, but they contradict His sovereignty.
Yes, there is a devil. He is our archenemy. He will do anything in his power to bring misery into our lives. But Satan is not sovereign. Satan does not hold the keys of death.
When Jesus appeared in a vision to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, He identified Himself with these words: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever-more. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:17–18).
Jesus holds the keys to death, and Satan cannot snatch those keys out of His hand.