A Systematic Expository Study of the Bible

 

SPECIAL STUDY: THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

           

The subject of the resurrection of the dead has been much debated in the world. Philosophers without true revelation of God have propounded theories, psychologists working in areas of extra-sensory perception have proposed confusing possibilities, the politically-orientated Sadducees denied it (Acts 23:8; Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38) and a host of others believed it (Pharisees, Herod, Mary, Peter, Paul etc. John 11:24; Matthew 14:2; 1 Peter 1:3; 3:21; Acts 24:15, 21; 1 Corinthians 15).

The resurrection of the dead is taught in the Bible as clearly as the immortality of the soul. Every individual who has ever lived will be resurrected, some to honour and glory and others to everlasting shame and contempt.

 

THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION

Hebrews 6:2; 11:17; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 49:15; Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; John 5:25,28,29; 6:40; 11:23-25; Acts 24:15;

1 Corinthians 15:12-54

 

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is a cardinal doctrine of the Word of God and it is clearly established in both testaments. It is not just a theological convenience or assumption but a fact attested to by Christ our Lord (Matthew 22:23-33). Between death and resurrection, the soul resides in heaven or hell depending on its condition at death (Luke 23:39-43; Acts 7:54-60; 2 Corinthians 5: 1-8; Philippians 1:21-23; Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27). There is no intermediate state of atonement or suffering for sin or purgatory (Hebrews 9:27; Luke 23:39-43; 16:19-31)

At the time of the resurrection, physical bodies are resurrected and souls (from Heaven for the children of God; from hell for the sinners) are united with the resurrected bodies. Resurrected bodies will be immortal!

 

THE FACETS OF THE RESURRECTION

 

In scripture, two different kinds of resurrection are anticipated in God’s resurrection program: the resurrection to life and the resurrection to judgment.

 

1. The First Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:23; Luke 14:13, 14; John 5:28, 29; Philippians 3:10-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 11:35; Revelation 20:4-6

 

This is called “the resurrection of the just”, “the resurrection of life”, “a better resurrection” and “the first resurrection”. This is a part of the resurrection program that leaves some (the unjust) dead in graves for a later resurrection. The order of events in the first resurrection program is as follows:

 

a.  The resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3,4,12,20,23)

b.  The resurrection of the church-age saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16)

c.  The resurrection of Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19)

d.  The resurrection of the tribulation period saints (Revelation 20:3-5)

The first resurrection program is spread over many years as highlighted above.

 

 

2. The Second Resurrection

Daniel 12:2, 3; John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:4, 5, 11-15; Acts 24:15; Matthew 10:28

 

This is called “the resurrection of the unjust”, “the resurrection of damnation”, “the resurrection to shame and everlasting contempt” or “the second resurrection”. This is the resurrection of the unsaved dead at the end of the millennial age. All those partaking of the second resurrection receive eternal judgment at that time. There will be everlasting punishment in the lake of fire for all resurrected dead without names in the book of life.

 

THE FITNESS FOR THE FIRST RESURRECTION

John 14:1-3; 1John 3:1-3; Titus 2:11-14; 1Corinthians 15:23,58; Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:1-4;

Revelation 20:4; 1 Timothy 3:12; Jude 3

 

The state of a soul at death will be his state forever. Only the righteous can partake of the first resurrection and this implies righteous living. Steadfastness and faithfulness to the end and complete obedience to all the revealed will of God. It will take “earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints”, “keeping oneself unspotted from the world” and remaining pure as Christ is pure.

ONLY THE PURE AND HOLY WILL PARTAKE OF THIS FIRST RESURRECTION (Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14)

  

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