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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?”


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.