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Death's Obituary

Perhaps the greatest irony about death is that death itself is going to be put to death:

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Revelation 20:14 KJV)

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4 KJV)

What Are The "Gates Of Hell"?

"Upon this Rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19 KJV)

Sheol The word translated as "gates" in the verses above (it's the only reference to "gates of hell" in the Bible) is the Greek word (pronounced) poo-lay and means a door, or a barrier. The word translated as "hell" in the verses above is the Greek word (pronounced) hay-deez, and simply means the grave (to understand how the word "hell" is also used for a place of fire, see Where Is Hell?, also Planet On Fire!). The "gates of hell" as spoken by Jesus Christ in the example above means death, or more specifically, that which holds the dead locked in death.

At the fulfillment of the Messiah's mission, the "gates of hell" were temporarily breached for some of God's people; that is, their graves were opened and some of them were awakened from their "sleep" (see What Happens When You Die?). Some "which slept arose" and came out of their graves to resume their physical lives for a while, for the purpose of a further "witness" of the Messiah, both for the people of that time who saw them, and for the people of all time who read of them in the Word of God:

"And, behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom [see also Why Was It Torn?]; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints [see also What Is A Saint?] which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27:51-53 KJV)

The "gates of hell" will be opened, that is, the graves of the dead will be opened, for Judgment (see also When Will You Be Judged?)

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth [see also Resurrections]; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28-29 KJV)

In the end, "the gates of hell" for the righteous will no longer exist, because death, for the righteous, will no longer exist:

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:53-55 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is meant by "bind and loose"?
See Bind and Loose

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