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Query for the Month
Next up-date: April 1st 2007 (God willing).
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Some perpetual questions ....
Do you know the difference
between the "love" that is of Christianity
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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].
Why did Paul consider the resurrection to be so important?
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.
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:
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.
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,
1 Corinthians 15:
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.
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.
The two are actually 1,000 years apart. And it is important that we be in the first resurrection.
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.
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.
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.
Just what was Paul trying to say when he wrote these words?
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