Tag Archives: victory

The Death of Death | Bible Gleanings – June 4-5, 2022

Death. It fills graves and empties hearts. It is the ship that carries the soul across the infinite sea of eternity. It is the wind that blows out the burning candle of living. It is the door through which we exit life and enter everlasting delight or damnation. It is the period at the end of the final chapter of your story on earth.

Death is also a sentence—the penal verdict for transgressing the righteous law of the Judge of all the earth. The decree from His golden bench reads, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20a). The first criminals to be anathematized by this awful adjudication were our first parents, Adam and Eve. After they sinned in the Garden, the Lawgiver declared to them, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19b). And death is still the consequence for crooked culprits convicted of the crime of sinning against God: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).

Yet, somehow one of Scripture’s most malignant malefactors can confidently say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Paul violently persecuted Christians in the early church, but he was happy to die. How is death a petrifying retribution in Genesis, but a pleasant reward in Philippians? Apparently, the meaning of death changed somewhere between the Garden of Eden and the Roman prison from which Paul wrote this letter. As a matter of fact, the nature of death changed somewhere between two thieves on a hill called Calvary.

As Jesus desperately clung to life on a bloody crucifix, He assured the robber beside Him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Death would not be the thief’s painful conclusion—it would be his passageway to paradise because of the grace of Christ. The Lord of life put death to death by His death, securing eternal life for all who believe—including the swindler by His side (2 Timothy 1:10). Because of Christ’s work for believers, death is the gateway to glory, the staircase to salvation, and the elevator to everlasting life. It is merely the bridge between heaven and earth for those who have crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

This is why the Christian may sing and shout the words of 1 Corinthians 15:54-57,

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Hold the Fort | Bible Gleanings – March 5-6, 2022

The frightening thunder of artillery fire rattled slumbering Union soldiers at daybreak on October 5, 1864. The march of Confederate soldiers shook the ground as they rallied to seize the Union supply depot at Allatoona Pass. General Samuel G. French ordered his men to pound the Union fort with a hailstorm of shells and a merciless spray of gunfire while he moved north to enclose the garrison. Convinced he had the upper hand, French sent a note to John M. Corse, the Union general commanding the sought-after fort: “To avoid a needless effusion of blood, I call on you to surrender your forces at once and unconditionally. Five minutes will be allowed you to decide.” And before the clock ran out, Corse gave his answer: “Bring it on.”

French moved in to tighten the noose and unleash hell. Bullets smacked the dirt and Union soldiers knelt for cover. The crack of rifles grew louder as Confederate soldiers drew nearer.  And as pressure to surrender mounted, Union General William T. Sherman sent a message to Corse that read, “Hold the fort; for I am coming!” French withdrew by four o’clock, unable to break the stouthearted resolve of the Union soldiers and the fortitude of Sherman’s reinforcements.[1] This left the Union in possession of the rations and ammunition the Confederates desperately needed to tip the scales of the Civil War in their favor.

The Commander of heaven’s armies, the Lord Jesus Christ, sends the same message to all of His beleaguered and faithful saints: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). The devil’s bombardments may cause us to flee for cover (Eph. 6:16). The increasing number of those abandoning the Lord’s faithful army may cause us to feel outnumbered (1 Tim. 4:1). Trials and tribulations may hedge us in, causing us to despair for victory and relief (Psalm 13:1-2). But Jesus calls us to “hold the fort,” because He is coming soon to bring reinforcements.

Stay on the battlefield, for Jesus is coming to vanquish Satan and the kingdom of darkness (Rev. 20:10). Wield the sword of Scripture against false teaching, for the Truth is coming to send the “father of lies” scurrying in hopeless retreat (John 8:44; 14:6; Rev. 19:11). Stand firm in this hostile world, for the King is coming to subdue His enemies by the mere appearance of His glorious presence (2 Thess. 2:8). Fight for faith in your trials, for Christ is coming to trample pain, tears, and death once and for all (Rev. 21:4).

It is no wonder that Phillip P. Bliss wrote in 1870:

“Ho, my comrades, see the signal, waving in the sky!

Reinforcements now appearing, victory is nigh.

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still;

Wave the answer back to heaven, “By thy grace we will.”[2]



[1] Historians disagree on the timing of General Sherman’s reinforcements, but agree that Union victory at Allatoona would likely have been impossible without them—no matter when they arrived.

[2] Hymn-writer Phillip P. Bliss composed this chorus in the hymn Hold the Fort, which was inspired by the events that transpired at the Battle of Allatoona Pass during the Civil War.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).