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The resurrection

Query for the Month

of

March 2007

Next up-date: April 1st 2007 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!


Query:

Acts 24:14-15

 But this I confess to you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [the saved] and unjust [the unsaved].

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 Why did Paul consider the resurrection to be so important?

 

Answer:

The word “resurrection” is not in the Old Testament, and any thoughts on the matter were very hazy in the minds of the patriarchs and the Jews.  There were occasional references to life after death, such as the one Job made, but it required the resurrection of Jesus to make it clear.

Job said:

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Job 14:

1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down [as quickly]: he flees also as a shadow, and continues not. 3 And do you open Your eyes upon such a one, and bring me into judgment with You? [It didn’t seem fair to Job, but, as we will find out later, God has a plan which will answer this objection.  Every single rejecter, including babies, will have ample time to show their choice.] 

4 [Job continued] Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one [no human]. 5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with You, You have appointed his bounds that he cannot pass [but we can cut it short]; 6 turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day. [Jesus told us that we are to be more than hirelings, we are to be His friends. John 15:15.]

7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9 yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. 10 But man dies, and wastes away: yea, man gives up the Ghost, and where is he? 11 As the waters fail [evaporate] from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up: 12 so man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 

13 O that You would hide me in the grave [right now], that You would keep me secret [hidden], until Your wrath [the seven LAST plagues] be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! [The resurrection was only a dim hope in that day.  It is since the resurrection of Christ that we have been sure about it.]

14 If a man die, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change [in the resurrection] come. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You: You will have a desire to the work of Your hands.

***************(End Quote)

But nothing was clear-cut regarding life after death from Adam to Christ.  Although Moses had been resurrected only a few days after his burial not everyone understood that 

Jude tells us about it:

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“Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil [while] he disputed about the body of Moses, durst [dared] not bring against him a railing [angry] accusation, but said, ‘The LORD rebuke you’.” Jude 1:9.

Another translation puts it this way:

9 The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn't have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don't. God will take care of you!”  Jude 1:9. (MSG)

***************(End Quote)

There were other instances of resurrection in the Old Testament – Elijah and his helper’s son, 1 Kings 17:17-24; Elisha and the widow’s son, 2 Kings 4:32--36; the man who was lowered into Elisha’s grave, 2 Kings 13:20-21, but right up to the time of Jesus there were some who argued against such a happening, preferring to believe that death ended it all, or that they went straight to heaven after death. 

For instance,

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Luke 20:

27 Then came to Him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked Him [what they thought was a trick question],

28 saying, “Master, Moses wrote to us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother [Deuteronomy 25:5-6].

29 “There were therefore seven brothers: and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.

31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also.

33 “Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she?  For seven had her to wife”.

34 And Jesus answering said to them, “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.  

37 “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the LORD the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to Him”.

39 Then certain of the scribes answering said, “Master, You have well said”.

***************(End Quote)

The Sadducees like to argue these kinds of questions with the Pharisees and had never received a satisfactory answer.  They thought that if such a thing could happen, and men and women were resurrected from the dead, then their life would have to go on as before.  Jesus met their query with the information that marriage does not exist after death, and then tried to establish His point by showing that because the living God is the God of the living, those dead men and women would have to come alive again one day.

He spoke as if Moses had said the words, but meant that Moses wrote them, because it is written,  “Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’.  And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God”.  Exodus 3:6.

Among the common people and the Pharisees Jesus didn’t have such a problem.  One day He said to a group, “When you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just”. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God’.” Luke 14:13-15.  But most men had a perverted understanding of how that life after death came about.

Jesus resurrected a girl from her deathbed, Luke 8:49-56; the widow’s son on his way to be buried, Luke 7:12-15; and, of course, His friend, Lazarus after four days in the tomb. John 11:38-45.  These three, and the three from the Old Testament, all died again later, and are still waiting the general resurrection.

Christ Himself was literally the eighth person whose resurrection is recorded in the Bible. 

So we should see that the doctrine of the literal resurrection of the dead is found mainly in the New Testament.  In fact, this doctrine underlies every other one, and Paul referred to it when he was describing his call to the work of God.  “ [I am] Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our LORD, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power . . .  by the resurrection from the dead”. Romans 1:1-4.

Later, when writing to the Greeks in Corinth, he said,

***************(Begin Quote)

1 Corinthians 15:

12 Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.

***************(End Quote)

The problem with the Corinthian believers was that they were still under the influence of the old Greek philosophers who taught that man has an immortal soul, and therefore a resurrection was not required.  That belief had been accepted by many Jews, along with many other Greek ideas. The teaching surfaced every now and then amongst the professed believers, just as it is often taught today.  In fact, most professed Christian leaders today emphasise their belief in an immortal soul as if it were an established fact, even though it cannot be sustained from the Bible.

Why is the resurrection so important?

Christianity is the ONLY religion which teaches that it has a God who became human and who died for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21), and who came back from the dead to show His power (Romans 4:24-25).  (Most heathen religions don’t even need a Saviour because they don’t have any sense of sin or its wages.  They merely state that men need to improve their lives as they are reincarnated to try again!)

Christianity is the ONLY religion which teaches that men are killed by their sins (Romans 6:23), and need to be called forth from the “grave” into a new life, which is what the physical resurrection is picturing.  It is written, “And you has He quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now [still] works in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved)”.  Ephesians 2:1-5.

And in another place, “ [You are] buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all [past] trespasses”.  Colossians 2:12-13.

***************(Begin Quote)

Hebrews 9:

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others [animal blood].

26 For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world [at the end of their time] has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation [for the physical resurrection].

***************(End Quote)

So we should see that judgment and resurrection go together, the one following the other.  There is a condition of spiritual “death”, then the spiritual “judgment” of that condition, then a “resurrection” from it.

Another point is that there are two separate physical resurrections.

***************(Begin Quote)

John 5:

25 [Jesus said] 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. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

***************(End Quote)

The two are actually 1,000 years apart.  And it is important that we be in the first resurrection.

***************(Begin Quote)

Revelation 20:

4 And I saw thrones, and they [the Christians] sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.

This is the first resurrection. 

6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 and shall go out to deceive the nations which are [then, after their resurrection] in the four quarters of the earth, [called] Gog [the leader] and Magog [the followers], to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

***************(End Quote)

This teaching has been largely forgotten or ignored in today’s professed Christianity, but it is still true, none-the-less.  Why is it necessary to be resurrected? We need to live again to receive our reward. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works”. Matthew 16:27.  What is the reward?  “Then shall the King say to them on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’.” Matthew 25:34.  The “works” referred to here are not the “good works” of the saint, as many suppose, but the “work” of accepting or rejecting the offer of everlasting life from God.

Conclusion:

There are two physical resurrections mentioned in the Bible, 1,000 years apart.  The first is to re-create those who accepted the Son of God’s sacrifice; the second is for those who rejected His offer.  After that, all will face the Son of God to understand their situation.  Matthew 25:31-46.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

 

Next query. To be discussed from April 1st, 2007.

 Next query:

***************(Begin Quote)

1 Corinthians 14:

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

***************(End Quote)

 Just what was Paul trying to say when he wrote these words? 

 

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