Resurrection of the Dead
Hebrews 6:1-3 - Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. [Emphasis added are mine]
In this study we will be focusing on the resurrection of the dead. It is one of the foundations of the doctrine of Christ that needs to be taught and preached to all believers, young and old. There is a powerful, wonderful, liberating hope in the resurrection that needs to be understood and by the end of this study I hope you will see it application for today.
To start with, we will take note that in the 1st century of the apostles there was a lot heresy going around that the resurrection had already taken place. This lie has lived for the last 1900+ years and we still hear of this talk today. Today it is gift wrapped in form of the Preterist doctrine.
Today, there are people believing in reincarnation and people believing that there is no life after death. But for those in the kingdom, it says,
1 Peter 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [Emphasis added are mine]
There is a hope that we have because we know that our Savior rose from the dead. If our Savior had not risen from the dead then everything we are doing right now is in vain. There is no reason to believe in God. There is no reason to believe in life after death and there is really no purpose in living. If He had not risen from the dead, if he had remained dead and in the grave, then there is really nothing for us to look forward to. As Paul said (paraphrased), "We might as well just live out our lives, drink, be merry, get fat, get old, and die."
But there is a lively hope and a reality of something to look forward to – it is a hope that hold to, that we believe will become a reality.
In this study I want to talk about the resurrection from the dead, the redemption of our physical bodies, but also of the resurrection life we walk in now if we have been born-again of the water and of the Spirit.
Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection…” According to Vine's expository dictionary, the Greek the word "know" (γινώσκω, ginōskō) signified "taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand, or to understand completely." Vine's also states, "In the N.T. ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person knowing and the object known; in this respect, what is known is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of a relationship."
Since the man Jesus the Christ was resurrected by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11) and the Holy Spirit of Jesus now indwells us who have been born-again, what Paul was really saying was that he wants to know Jesus – His Spirit- intimately and deeply, walking in the power (Spirit) of His resurrection. Paul separated the power of His resurrection, which is now at present in His corporate body (and individually in every member of the body) and the resurrection of the dead. Paul wanted to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection now and to know Him intimately that he might attain to the resurrection of the dead, the translation of his body to his glorified body. However, before getting into that, let’s read some examples of resurrections that took place when Jesus was alive.
The prelude of John 11:23-26 was that Jesus was ministering with his disciples in another city. While He was ministering there, one of his very dear friends, Lazarus, died. But before he died Lazarus’ sisters sent some servants to go get Him because they wanted Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus surprisingly said, paraphrasingly, “No, not right now.” Instead of leaving immediately, He waited 4 full days, just so everyone was sure Lazarus was dead. The Jews knew that after 3 days a body’s corpse would start to decompose. So, when everybody knew Lazarus was really dead, Jesus then returned to where Lazarus had been buried.
John 11:23-26 - Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? [Emphasis added are mine]
Martha knew there was a physical resurrection to look forward to. She knew that there was going to be a physical resurrection of all the dead "at the last day". But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever tomorrow. He is not only, the only God of the past, the only God of the future, but more importantly He is now the only God there will ever be of the present.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection”. Martha was looking forward to something in the future, but Jesus was the Resurrection and the Life in the present. Martha did not realize that what she was looking forward too was standing right before her very eyes. Jesus also said He was “the life”. He was talking about right now!
If you want the resurrection and the life, today is the day you can receive it. Today is the day of salvation. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life", and He who believes in me (and this is something that I want you to remember throughout this whole teaching), "THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE." Hopefully by the end of this teaching we will understand and realize that though we are/were dead, yet we live and shall live. Let us go now to verse 38.
John 11:38-40 - Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? [Emphasis added are mine]
Previously, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life”. He now rephrases it by using these words “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” The glory of God is Jesus (II Corinthians 4:6), but in the context of this passage the glory of God is now tied to Jesus being the resurrection and the life.
John 11:41-42 - Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. [Emphasis added are mine]
There was no reason for Jesus to be talking out loud to the Father, except for the fact that there were unbelievers all around Him. He did this for the sake of the people so that they would know that He was sent of the Father to do what He was about to do right now and give God the glory.
John 11:43-44 - And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, loose him, and let him go.
And so we see an example of what is a resurrection of the dead in the physical sense, but because Jesus is God and He is the God of the living – even now today He is the resurrection and the life now for those who are dead in the spiritual sense. Before any of us were born-again, we were all spiritually dead in our sins. The resurrection is not something that is only to be looked forward to. Let’s look at another example of a resurrection in the physical sense…
Matthew 27:50-53 - Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
It says here that when Jesus died there was an earthquake, the rocks were moved, graves were opened and after His resurrection – after He rose from the grave – those bodies came out of those graves and they appeared to people in the city. This is another example of a resurrection in the physical sense. Peter and Paul were arguing with others because heresies abounded that the resurrection had already taken place. Heresies probably started because of those people that had experienced the previous verse in Matthew. People started to believe that the resurrection already passed.
2 Timothy 2:16 -18 - But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. [Emphasis added are mine]
In this little verse you can see that by saying the resurrection is passed already, you take away the hope of the saints. We, as saints in the Kingdom of God, have a hope that there is indeed a physical resurrection to look forward too. If we take away this hope with this heresy that the resurrection has already passed we can cause many to lose their faith. Indeed, there is a lively or living hope because of the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ that we all can look forward too!
Hebrews 11:35 - Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: [Emphasis added are mine]
There is a better resurrection than the physical resurrections we have just read of. There is a better resurrection than just the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus eventually died again. There is a better resurrection than just opening the graves and having the one that was dead come out and meet the people in the city. These are all types and figures of a greater resurrection, that is the resurrection of the dead. If we partake of the resurrection of the dead (a.k.a the resurrection of the just – Luke 14:14 & Acts 24:15), having been found to be just, then we have obtained the manifest expression of eternal life. This is when we receive a glorified body spoken of in I Thessalonians 4:16,17.
Revelation 20:4-6,11-15 - And I saw thrones, and they 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 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. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Emphasis added are mine]
There is one resurrection of the dead. It is in two parts and each is considered a resurrection. The first part is the resurrection of those who are in Christ. They live and reign for an indeterminate period of time with Christ. The word used in English is “a thousand years”. The greek word for “a thousand” or “thousand” is “chilioi; pronounced khil'-ee-oy”. The Strong’s number is 5507 and is defined as a plural word of uncertain affinity. Therefore, they live and reign with him for an uncertain and unending amount of time.
In the second part of resurrection of the dead, both the small and the great are going to be judged according to their works and whoever is not found in the Book of Life will be judged according to their works. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire along with death and hell where the beast, Satan and the false prophet are waiting for them. This is known as the second death. They lived on earth and then died. They were resurrected for their final judgment and died again – hence the second death. However, for those in Christ, it says the second death has no power over them and they shall be priests and reign with God for a thousand years, another indeterminate amount of time. We died once, in and with Christ (see Baptisms), never to die again, unless of course we turn from the Lord and depart from Him and His ways.
II Corinthians 5:14,15 - For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [Emphasis added are mine]
If we judge that He died for us, then we consider ourselves dead in and with Him in His death. Since this is true, and He rose again, then we have also risen with and in Him and have obtained the resurrection of eternal life (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12;3:1).
At this point, allow me to set the stage and context of the following passages. Simplified, there were three main sects of Judaism - the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Essenes. They supposedly believed in the same God of the Old Covenant, yet like today with so many different denominations using the same bible, they all have their slanted interpretations. Among the differences in belief, the Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection. In the Jewish culture it was the responsibility of the women to bear children to continue the seed of the man. If the man died without having birthed a child, it would be the responsibility of the next of kin, the brother, to continue the seed of the dead brother by bearing children with his wife. Keep in memory as we start to read these passages that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection, yet they come to Jesus asking him a question about the resurrection that they don’t believe in. It was really hypocritical of them when you stop to think about it and it just shows their true heart’s intention. It was simply to try and trip up Jesus with some tricky question of a resurrection that they didn’t believe in (see the parallel passages in Matthew 22:22-29 and Mark 12:18-27).
Luke 20:27-38 - Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto 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 unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus’ point was that when God revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush He told Him “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. When He spoke this to Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had already died. But God is not a God of the dead, but of the living. If God truly is not a God of the dead, then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must have been living in the eyes of God when He spoke this. The problem was they had an incorrect perspective of dead. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived by faith. So in God’s eyes they were alive with and in Him. Jesus rebuked them by saying, paraphrasingly, “Get out of here with this question – you don’t know what you are talking about. You seriously are in error about this because if you believe that there is no resurrection then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are actually dead and if God says that He was the God of these three men then God is a God of the dead and what sense does that make?” It doesn’t. That is how God debunked them. I share this excerpt because this ties into the reality of the resurrection.
Right now, speaking to those born-again, we have a witness from the Holy Spirit that we are children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16). In our spirit, Jesus is testifying that to us. Yet, that is not manifested in us and through us for all to see and recognize. It’s hidden. Just like Christ was hidden from humanity for so long, but at some point in God’s appointed fullness of time, Christ was revealed. In that same manner, at the appointed time, we will no longer need this witness because He will have that truth manifested when we are completed, perfected and established in Him in the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). It will be revealed to all and there will no longer be a need of a witness. There will no longer necessitate a hope of its fulfillment for Jesus will have fulfilled it. (consider all the following scriptures I Cor. 13:10; Gal. 3:3; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 3:12; Col. 1:28; Heb. 5:9, 9:11, 11:40, 12:23, 13:21, Jam. 1:4, 3:2, I Pet. 5:10; I John 4:17)
Now looking at Acts…
What did the Apostles preach concerning the resurrection? What is important to note is that when they preached the gospel, they included this truth with the gospel that “yes, there is a resurrection of the dead” because Jesus rose from the dead. The following excerpt is Peter preaching his first gospel message. The 120 in the upper room had just received the Holy Spirit - people were speaking in tongues as the evidence of this - and then he started preaching the gospel. He starts by identifying the man Jesus of Nazareth…
Acts 2:22-32 - Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [He has basically identified that this man who did all these wonders, healings, miracles and signs – this was God doing it through Him]
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. [Emphasis added are mine]
This was a prophecy of David recorded in the Psalms. I believe they thought that it referred to David, but it actually referred to Jesus Christ resurrecting from the dead and that his soul would not be left in hell, nor his flesh would see corruption. So when we preach the gospel this is the type of thing people need to know. They need to know that this man had been prophesied to die, but the promise was that His flesh would never see corruption, His soul would not be left in hell, and God would raise Him from the dead. Jesus Christ was prophesied many centuries before He manifested in the flesh and His purpose was determined before He was born of the virgin Mary.
Acts 4:2 - Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
They preached the gospel and they preached that through Jesus you could obtain the resurrection from the dead because people then just like today want to know what is going to happen when we die. They ask “Is that it? Or am I going to become some animal in the sea or in the air.” But this is the hope that we impart to them that when they give up their life for His, they can obtain eternal life and the promised resurrection from the dead. Just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, so can you obtain the resurrection from the dead through Jesus Christ.
Later on in Acts, we see Paul in a Greek city. Greek history shows us that the Greeks were polytheistic, believing in many gods. The Romans copied the Greeks in that they had a whole bunch of gods with some of the same attributes of the Greek gods. The Greeks made statutes of their gods. All their names – including our present names of the planets – came from the names of the Greek gods.
Paul was on Mars hill and preached who Jesus was among all these statutes of all these different gods. He stood in a place where the Greeks gathered together to start philosophizing with each other – great truths and great wisdoms of man – like Plato and Aristotle. Paul put himself right in the middle of that and boldly declared this…
Acts 17:18-34 - Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens , I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. [Emphasis added are mine]
Paul preached of Jesus and His resurrection. When Paul spoke of how God raised up Jesus from the dead, that was “the resurrection of the dead” which He intertwined with the gospel. Now I want to go back over this a little bit. Notice here at the end of this passage Paul wasn’t baptizing anyone. He wasn’t praying for anyone to receive the Spirit. He knew where he was. He was with vain and foolish men who came here every day of every week to start philosophizing and arguing with each other and trying to get the better argument. He preached the gospel to them and they said at the end – let’s argue this again.
Paul knew he wasn’t sent to argue with the world, especially when they are going to be foolish about it. Our responsibility is to simply share and declare unto them the truth and if we sense in our spirit that they are receiving it, then we continue and go on with their response. Notice also that there was a scant few that received. Paul simply departed and those who believed followed and “clave unto him”. Paul discerned in the Spirit the hearts of those men and what they were really about. He knew exactly what was going on. They were blind and could not see.
Paul boldly and unashamedly said that all of creation testifies that there is a Master Creator and that through Him everything is being kept in order. There is an order that can be seen and an intelligence that can be perceived just by looking at the complexity of a flower. But it is the foolishness and the hardness of the heart of man that will not receive this simplicity. Paul discerned this hardness, but still preached them the gospel. Paul told his spiritual son Timothy to not argue with people who are vainly talking about genealogy and this and that. Don’t bother – get to the meat and stick with what is important.
Acts 23:1-8 - And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. [Emphasis added are mine]
This passage is interesting to note because Paul is preaching publicly from synagogue to synagogue. In doing so, the Pharisees and Sadducees became angry with him. In his detaining, Paul perceived that there were Pharisees and Sadducees present. Being wise as a serpent, Paul pitted them against each other. Paul used what he knew was true to pit them against each other by stating there is a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees didn’t want Paul preaching a resurrection of dead. This was something that Paul was constantly preaching. Yes, he was preaching Jesus and identifying who He was – God manifested in the flesh and dying for our sins and resurrecting again. But he included that all listening could obtain through Jesus the same resurrection of the dead, just as He did.
Acts 24:10-15 - Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, 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 and unjust. [Emphasis added are mine]
Here we see Paul emphatically stating that there is a resurrection! A resurrection for both the just and the unjust.
The resurrection of the dead is divided into two parts:
...of the Just
a.k.a - 1st Resurrection
Eternal Life - perfect in Jesus Christ
Natural to Spiritual body
Corruptible to Incorruptible
Mortal to Immortal
Never to die again...
... of the Unjust
a.k.a - 2nd Resurrection
Eternal Judgment - Damnation
Second Death - Cast into the Lake of Fire
I Corinthians 15:1-6 - Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. [Emphasis added are mine]
Fallen asleep is terminology saints used for those that have physically died, yet are in Christ. They used the term “asleep”, for they understood that they were not dead. We were baptized into Christ – that was when we died – we died to ourselves and we died in Christ. This is our first death and the only death we ever experience because we are not going to die twice. Jesus didn’t die twice. He doesn’t need to die twice. So neither do we. Remember what Paul said to the Corinthians…
II Corinthians 5:14,15 - …because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [Emphasis added are mine]
We died in Him. He died in our place. He bore our sins on the cross and we died with Him and we walk in that that we died in Him and we live now in Him and there is no more death for us. So when our flesh expires it is considered, but a sleep for us. So whether we live or die we are alive in Him (see Romans 14:8).
I Corinthians 15:7-24 - After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 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. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 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 cometh 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. [Emphasis added are mine]
Paul, rhetorically speaking, asks how can we preach Christ risen from the dead and say there is no resurrection? Christ abolishes that idea because He rose again. If Christ didn’t rise again then our faith is dead and those that have fallen asleep have also perished. But the truth is that He did rise from the grave and we believe that Christ rose from the grave. That is what makes Him different. That is what makes our faith different from all others. Our faith is dependent on this truth. Jesus Christ is the first to resurrect and afterwards when he returns to judge all men of righteousness, all the saints will resurrect in Him.
I Corinthians 31-38 - I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus , what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. [Emphasis added are mine]
What Paul meant by “I die daily” is that he was putting his life on the line every single day. He went before Roman governors, guards, and to prisons where he was beat up for preaching this gospel. In Rome, they believed in many gods. Caesar was even revered as a god. That is one of the reasons why Christianity was under such persecution in the first century. Christian’s would not bow down to Caesar.
Paul talked about putting his life on the line every day to the point of death if necessary (i.e. Paul was stoned to death and thrown out of the city because they thought he was dead). Paul said this because he not only knew Jesus Christ was alive, but he also believed in the resurrection of the dead. He looked forward to it. If there wasn’t a resurrection that Paul could look forward to, then why risk his life daily?
I Corinthians 15:33-38 - Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, how are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? [Emphasis added are mine]
Paul is writing to Corinthians, a church he established. He preached the gospel to them and got them going and left them to gather themselves and start building the church in the city. So he is telling them to get it together – they were in their flesh. He tells them to wake up and live to righteousness. Stop sinning. Others didn’t have the knowledge of God, but they did, yet they were living in sin. Then some came to question “how are the dead raised up?” People came against the reality of the truth. Satan comes against that truth because he knows he can make you fall away if there is nothing else to look forward to.
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [Emphasis added are mine]
Paul tells them that a seed sown in the ground will not grow unless it die first. You don’t plant the big tree first. You sow the seed. Literally a seed dies first to bring forth life to grow. That is why resurrection can be seen in nature, in the seeds planted, because through the death of the seed, it brings forth the life of the tree and later brings forth the fruit. God sowed in them (in us) the seed, which was Christ, and because they (we) obeyed the gospel. Christ died in their (our) place and they (we) died in Him, and this has allowed that seed to grow them (us). Day by day they (we) grow more and more conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We are not immediately perfect when we receive the gospel. We have been imputed with the righteousness of God by faith in Christ. But our total and complete perfection, will be fulfilled in the day of Christ Jesus. The seed (Jesus Christ in us) has been planted, but He takes time to grow. The Kingdom of God is in us growing more and more day by day as we learn to yield to the Holy Spirit for Him to grow and completely manifest Himself through us.
I Corinthians 15:42-58 - So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [physical bodies]; it is raised in incorruption [spiritual bodies]: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. [Emphasis added are mine - contrasting the physical and the spiritual]
Paul is constantly contrasting natural (physical body) with the spiritual (glorified body of the future) and he continues contrasting the two in this manner.
And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [Emphasis added are mine]
He now contrasts the first Adam and the last Adam. We have been born as the first Adam – natural body, but we are going to be raised as the second Adam – spiritual body.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 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?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. [Emphasis added are mine]
This is a description of what will happen to us at the resurrection of the just (righteous). We will be changed: from mortal to immortality, from corruptible to incorruption, from earthy to heavenly, from the first man Adam a living soul to the last Adam (Jesus Christ) a quickening spirit, from a natural body to a spiritual body, from weakness to power, from dishonor to glory.
Phillipians 3:7-15 - But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Winning Christ is the goal of every true Christian. Everything else is loss and considered dung in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ, being found with the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, knowing Him and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and being made conformable to His death, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus – perfection! Halelu Yah!
This last scripture speaks of what takes place at the resurrection of the dead for the righteous.
II Corinthians 5:1-10 - For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
The earthly house is referring to our mortal body. The building God made without hands is our glorified body that He is already prepared for us, the eternal one in the heavens. The one thing we long for is being out of this body, to obtain “…a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).
Many times in the Old Covenant the word “naked” was associated with shame. Paul says we don’t want to be found naked when the time comes to be clothed. In other words, we want to be found accepted by Him, when the time comes to be clothed from heaven. We don’t just want to get rid of this body, we want to be clothed in that eternal body which comes from heaven that will swallow up this earthly body.
This is the resurrection of the dead.
© copyright 2001 Jesus M. Ruiz