Time or Eternity? ™

The Resurrection

In Resurrection on April 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

One of the most important events connected with the second coming of Christ is the resurrection of the righteous. A most graphic pen picture of this crowning event of the ages is given by the apostle Paul. His words of comfort to the sorrowing have been as balm to many bleeding hearts. He says:—“I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede in receiving the reward] them which are asleep. “For the Lord Himself [“this same Jesus”] shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”(1 Thess. 4:13-18)  Christ comes on a cloud of angels. He remains “in the air,” directing the gathering of the saints. Our Lord says of Himself, “He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt. 24:31) Paul says, “The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [the living righteous] shall be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:52. He also says that we shall “meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thess. 4:17)

From Christ’s position on the cloud, He sends His angels to all parts of the earth, wherever they may be, the righteous are raised with incorruptible bodies, the living righteous are changed from mortality to immortality, and all are borne “from the four winds” (all parts of the earth) to the cloud where Christ awaits them, and are then taken to the paradise of God, to the mansions which Christ went to prepare for them in the New Jerusalem. See John 14:2.  Such, in brief, is the prophetic description of the resurrection. It may be well also to study this subject as to its importance in the great plan of redemption.  To Martha at the raising of Lazarus, Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) This was said in faith, but when, a victor over the grave, He came forth from Joseph’s tomb, it. became a reality. The power of death was broken, the resurrection was assured. Upon the resurrection of Christ Paul builds a strong argument regarding the resurrection of the just at the last day. He says:—“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 Christ is not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is // our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (I Cor. 15 : 12-14) These are strong words. Paul links the raising of Christ from the dead so closely with the resurrection of the just that one is not possible without the other. If Christ be not raised, there will be no future resurrection. If there be no future resurrection, then Christ is still lying in Joseph’s tomb, and all the work of the gospel is vain. The apostle adds:—“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.”(1 Cor. 15:15-18) And to show the utter folly of a faith without the resurrection, he further says, “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.” (1 Cor. 15 :15)  What a sweeping refutation of the claims of natural immortality is Paul’s argument: If the righteous go to their reward at death, then it could not be said that the dead in Christ “are perished.” And if the dead were enjoying the bliss of heaven before the resurrection, their faith had certainly not been “in vain,” and the gospel was a reality, resurrection or no resurrection.

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