Q: Who has the power of death?
It is not within man’s power and authority to have the dominion of death, this is painfully clear.
“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death….” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)
“What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?” (Psalm 89:48)
But God had promised to Israel that, after Assyria destroyed them, he would “ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.” (Hosea 13:14) This scripture Paul repeated and applied it to an even higher purpose, the resurrection of God’s people from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Thus, God says that he has the power of death, because He promised to raise us up from the dead. And God has demonstrated this power for us already, in the bodily resurrection of a variety of people, in both the old and new testament times, including the resurrection of Jesus. But the resurrection of Jesus was not merely a demonstration of God’s power, but an accomplishment of His power. Consider what Hebrews 2:14 says about this: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil”. Notice the doctrine, Jesus was born in flesh and blood like us so that he could die (as flesh and blood does). But death had zero grip on the perfect and powerful Son of God, and He was raised in power three days later. According to Hebrews, Jesus’ death effectively destroyed the accuser (the devil). “Destroy” is the Greek word “katargeo”, and it means to bring to nothing, to make of no effect. The “power of death” is not power over death, but the sovereignty and dominion of death. Thus, Jesus brought the devil’s dominion of death to nothing. In English, the statement “that he might destroy the one who has the power of death” is a little confusing. It appears a bit open-ended, as if it hasn’t happened yet. But in the Greek, the words “that he might destroy” are in the aorist subjunctive active, which conveys the point that this destruction (bringing to nothing) of the dominion of the devil concerning death was a definite outcome without continuation. Thus, the death of Jesus brought about the complete loss of the devil’s dominion of death, this will not need to be continually done by Jesus, it occurred once and it is absolute and final.
Q: Should a woman who is a Christian seek an occupation that would set her in a leadership position over men?
This is an interesting question to consider, but it requires a little bit of “out of the box” thinking, in that, we cannot simply go to a passage of scripture and find a direct answer to this question. To attempt an answer, we must rely carefully on biblical implications and inferences.
The role of the woman in the family and in the church have some similarities, but there are also important differences. Therefore, we can expect that there are likely also differences in the role of women in business. One might imply that because women are to be submissive to the men of the church, and to be submissive to their husbands in the home, that they should also assume a role of submission in secular organizations. But this implication is not scripturally valid. It is a mistake to understand the role of women in the public assembly of the church and apply it across the board to the role of women in the home, society, and business. Indeed, within the public assembly of the church, women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men but are to maintain a submissive role (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-12). But Paul also gives instructions concerning women who had the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit to either pray by the Spirit, or prophesy (reveal the word of God) by the Spirit. It is made clear, in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, that all such activity was done outside of the assembly of the church, but that such praying and declaring of the word of God was done by godly women, and that others were present, including men. The woman is still instructed to demonstrate humility when teaching the gospel to men by wearing a head covering. Again, this is all activity done outside the assembly; no head covering is every instructed to be worn by women when the church comes together for worship. Priscilla is a good example of a woman who taught others outside the church (Acts 18:26); Paul even calls her one of his fellow workers (Romans 16:3). And that is not the only woman that was a fellow worker with Paul in his teaching to the lost (Philippians 4:2-3). The Spirit of God had long promised that the advent of the church would be accompanied by both men and women who would prophesy (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:18). Thus, it is easy to see that the role of women, though always with humility and a submissive mind, is strikingly different outside of the assembly than their role within the assembly of the church. It is more logical, then, to assume that the role of women would also be unique in the private sector.
We do not have many examples of women working in the private sector. Lydia was a seller of purple, at least before she became a Christian. It could be argued that Priscilla was a tent maker, but the text could be understood a different way. Proverbs 31 speaks wisdom concerning a wife who is virtuous. The Hebrews word for virtuous means “strong, able”, it was a word used most often for mighty men of valor and for whole armies. The virtuous wife is described as taking perfect care in the raising of children and in housework, but she is diligent in accomplishing these tasks that she also is able to be a supplier to businesses, who pay her for the products that she makes (verses 24, 13, 14, 18). This is not the only business that she deals in, she also purchases land and plants crops (verse 16). Both the old and new testaments certainly paint a picture of women that cannot be found in the culture of the middle east today, but the pendulum has swung too far on our side of the world as well, just on the opposite end. Nevertheless, the scriptures never forbad women to hold secular jobs, or even have their own business. It is evident from the scriptures that in the secular world, the role of women can take the form of leadership, whether in business or in government. Consider the example of Deborah, who led as judge for 40 years in Israel (Judges 4-5). All the children of Israel, the men and women, would come to her and she would pass a judgment on every matter (Judges 4:5). This was the highest form of leadership in the public sector, and was approved by God.
Some may object, saying, Deborah was old testament and that is different than the new testament. Yes, the testaments are different, but some things remain the same, including the role of women. The submissive role of women in the worship assembly is not just a new testament concept, for Paul, referring to the old covenant said that this is “as the law also says” (1 Corinthians 14:34). And Peter, speaking of wives in the home, demonstrated that nothing had changed with the role of women, saying, “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands” (1 Peter 3:5). So, if from covenant to covenant the role of women remains the same, then the biblical examples of women taking leadership in business and government still stand approved by God today.
Article by Tanner Campbell