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of July 1998
Next up-date: August 1st 1998 (God willing).
What is the
thought behind Jesus' words regarding the resurrection?
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live". John 5:25.
We have not been asked for the obvious meaning in these words, but before we can look any deeper into this verse we should know that meaning, because the Spirit works from faith to faith, and therefore from knowledge to knowledge. Romans 1:17. In this chapter Jesus is speaking primarily of the resurrections which are to take place at His second and third comings. He spoke these words while He was being questioned by members of the Sanhedrin had who accused Him of breaking the Sabbath when He healed the paralysed man. John 5:1-16.
His claim that He was the Son of God, the Messiah that they were expecting, which He made in verse 17, was met by terrible anger in verse 18 and in an effort to change their behaviour and save them, He told them that He had the power of resurrection and this would prove His position. Verses 24-25. During His ministry He brought back to life the ruler's daughter (Mark 5:39-42), the widow's son (Luke 7:11-15) and His friend Lazarus (John 11:39-44). That was the "now is" part of the verse for HE WAS ALWAYS CALLING ON THE DEAD TO RISE, BUT FEW WOULD BELIEVE HIM. In the Old testament times there had only been four others before these.
1. The first ever to come from Satan's prison house (Isaiah 42:7), Moses, whom Christ resurrected a few days after his death (referred to in Jude 9),
2. the widow's son resurrected through Elijah, very soon after dying (1 Kings 17:21-22),
3. another child through Elisha (2 Kings 4:32-36),
4. and finally the man whose body touched Elisha's grave while it was being taken out for burial .... (2 Kings 13:20-21).
plus the three already mentioned:
5. Jairus's daughter
6. The widow's son
7. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha
8. Then there was the "multitude" of captives released when Jesus rose that Sunday morning after the crucifixion. (Matthew 27:52-53; Ephesians 4:8). It was prophesied,
"Your dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead". Isaiah 26:19.
9. Later, Peter was the instrument in raising the good woman Dorcas, and presenting her back to the church. Acts 9:40-41.
10. And finally, there was the young man Eutychus, who fell from a three storey window and was raised through Paul. (Acts 20:9-10).
All these, (with the exception of the "multitude" who went to heaven with Jesus) came under the deception of Satan again and died again later!! What a waste of faith!
However, Jesus also said, "the hour is coming" and by this He was referring mainly to the great resurrection of the righteous who will come from their dusty beds the day of the second coming. This was a leading message of the early church.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet".
1 Corinthians 15:22-25.
However, before this, there is to be a special resurrection of those who are to witness the second coming as it happens, for this is no sudden event and is to be seen by many, both "good and bad", as distinct from those who are all "good" and who will be raised after Jesus is here. Some of these are those who have followed His way after a certain point in time (Revelation 14:13 "from henceforth"), and others are those who crucified or "pierced" Him at Calvary (Revelation 1:7). On another day, Jesus told His accusers in the Sanhedrin that they would witness His second coming. (Matthew 26:64). This "special" resurrection is described in these words:
"And at that time shall Michael [this is another name for Jesus] stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many but [but not all] of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:1-2.
This verse brings to light another point in Jesus' speech that day - that there will be two distinctly different resurrections. One to "everlasting life" and one to "shame and everlasting contempt", or as Jesus put it, "They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation". John 5:29.
This brings us the last part of Jesus' statement. The resurrection of those who have consistently rejected His offer of salvation, and their ultimate end. This is more fully described in Revelation 20:5 and 15 where it is written:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished... And [then] whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire".
The God of life wants to have His children alive and enjoying His gift. John 10:10; Romans 6:23. It is not His choice that they should die, or remain in their graves. Ezekiel 18:31-32; and 33:11. Through Jesus He has been calling on them every day to "come out" of Satan's prison house, but few have responded in faith. However, near the end of time, there will be a change in the attitude of the righteous dead and they will be prepared to join with the living and rise with them to meet Jesus in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Before this, there will be a "special" resurrection composed of those who love Him greatly and those who fear Him greatly. Daniel 12:1-2.
Why die? Or if you must, why stay dead?
The God of life wants to have His children alive and enjoying His gift. John 10:10; Romans 6:23. Through Jesus He has been calling on them every day to "come out" of Satan's prison house, but few have responded in faith. However, near the end of time, there will be a change in the attitude of the righteous dead and they will be prepared to join with the living and rise with them to meet Jesus in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Before this, there will be a "special" resurrection composed of those who love Him greatly and those who fear Him greatly. Daniel 12:1-2.
Why die? Or if you must, why stay dead?
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