Time or Eternity? ™

The Resurrection

In Eternal Life, Resurrection, Salvation on April 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

The resurrection has been the hope of all the people of God since the plan of redemption was first announced. It is the only hope; for death comes to all, and the only escape from eternal death is in the resurrection. In faith Job looked forward to the morning of the resurrection. In the midst of earthly sorrow and pain he exclaimed:—“O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me. “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” (Job 14:13-15)  Isaiah prophesies of the righteous who sleep in the grave, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust [in the grave]: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa. 26 : 19)  Paul, pleading his case before king Agrippa, states his position plainly: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” And then comes the epitome of the hope: “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8)  The “hope of Israel” is the hope of God’s people. For Israel embraces every overcomer,—every soul who shall stand at last victorious over sin and death. It is the “blessed hope” of Titus 2: 13.  Note that the foregoing text does not say that the “blessed hope” is the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, but it reads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing.” It is the gospel hope, the way of escape, the road to heaven, the gate to endless joy.  In the days of Paul, as with many in our time, the opinion of the Jews was divided regarding the resurrection. In the early days of his imprisonment Paul was brought before the Jewish council. He knew well his accusers, and perceiving that some were Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection, and that some were Sadducees who did not so believe, he cried out, “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.” (Acts 23:6) And immediately there was an uproar, the Pharisees siding with Paul and the Sadducees against him. So great was the contention that the chief captain of the Roman guard, “fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.” Vs. 10. See also Acts 24:15; 28:20.

In concluding the chapter on the resurrection we quote the following from the pen of J. S. Washburn:—”Christ is ‘the resurrection, and the life.’ John 11:25. He entered the tomb, descended to the lowest cell of the grave, Satan’s prison-house. When He ascended up to heaven at His resurrection, He carried with Him the keys of death and the grave. Of these scenes He says:— ‘”I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.'(Rev. 1: 18.)”Jesus opened the door on the other side of death. Without His resurrection, the tomb had but one door—the door of entrance. From it there was no door, no hope of escape. But through Christ the tomb has not only the door by which all men enter, but also a door through which all may escape—the door of the resurrection. Without the resurrection even the righteous have perished. See I Cor. 15: 16. “Enoch and Elijah were translated without dying. When Jesus comes, the living will be changed without dying. Translation is the only exception to the resurrection, and comparatively a very small number are translated.”Christ is the model of the resurrection. His body was not left in the tomb. It was the same Jesus that went into the grave who arose, but with a changed, glorified body.

After His resurrection He appeared and disappeared before those who had known Him. Evidently there was a great change in some respects in His appearance, yet He was the same. “So with the righteous who will rise as He arose, with glorified bodies. Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. “Note that it is impossible for any human being to go to heaven without a body. The Scripture knows nothing of a spiritual, immaterial essence floating through the heavens with intelligent, thinking power. When God created us in the beginning, perfect and beautiful, it was with a body. When He raises us from the dead, freed from every mark of sin and the curse, it is with a spiritual body, but all the same, the very same. “Those who saw Jesus when upon the earth, will know Him when He comes again—’this same Jesus.’ Those who have known us when upon the earth, will know us there—changed, glorified, the ‘vile body fashioned like unto His glorious body,’ yet the same. We shall see familiar faces in heaven, those with whom we are actually acquainted, whose memory and ours link us together—not entirely new individuals with whom we must become acquainted, but the same old friends.

How many times in this life have we sighed that the old friends, yes, even those articles that have become dear to us by association, could be preserved and kept rather than replaced by those that were new and strange. Yes, the same old friends, renewed, glorified, shall meet us in the morning of the resurrection. “Then, truly, shall we know even as we are known.” As from the dark tomb Jesus arose triumphant, turning His back upon the darkness and the tomb, and His face toward the sunrise of eternal morning; so, when the trumpet sounds, we shall rise victorious over all the sorrows and failures of the past, leaving death a conquered enemy, while before us stretches out an eternal, glorious future. O, the glory, the joy, the triumph, the eternal blessedness of the resurrection of the dead! “But we should remember that there are two resurrections. See i Thess. 4:16,17; Rev. 20:5,6.

There is a resurrection to condemnation as well as one to eternal life. See Acts 24:15; John 5:28,29. Between these two resurrections there is a period of a thousand years. “The first resurrection is of the righteous when Jesus comes, in which they are changed to immortality. The second is of the wicked a thousand years later. But the wicked come forth with the same bodies, the same weaknesses, the same passions with which they went into the grave. With the same malice and murder in their hearts as in the day when they breathed their last, do they rise to wage war against the people and the city of God. See Rev. 20:8. “All might have risen blessed and holy. No one need to have risen in the second resurrection if the opportunities which God held out had been accepted. Yes, all must rise in the first resurrection to eternal life, or in the second to final destruction and eternal death.

Shall we not choose our part in the first: resurrection?”

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