In the Bible, death means separation, not cessation. Did you catch that? The biblical writers didn’t believe your life ended—neither your consciousness, nor your existence—but that through death you were taken away from your people.

Of course, there are many kinds of death: physical death, vocational death, psychological death, etc. But in all circumstances, death is an enemy.

During his earthly ministry, Christ put death on notice. Jesus not only conquered death himself, but resurrected several people including Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and the widow’s son at Nain. Jesus’ followers, too, demonstrated his Spirit gave them power over death, such as the time Peter raised Tabitha, or when Paul raised Eutychus, or even that Paul himself was resurrected (likely, Acts 14.19-20).

Death thought itself victorious when it claimed Christ on the cross, but Jesus was playing possum, and by dying he robbed death of its prisoners and stole the keys to the “sting of death.”

Jesus died and descended into the depths of Hell. He did not suffer, for his suffering was completed on the cross. He preached to those tormented because of their sin, spreading the fragrance of himself even into Hell. He departed, bearing the keys of Hades and destroying death itself.

Death has been defanged, though its power to end life remains.