The Doctrine of Resurrection from the dead includes:
- Historical resurrections in the Old and New Testament records
- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and its results
- The future resurrections of
a. The Righteous
b. The Unrighteous
Resurrection from the dead and eternal judgement are our last pair of interrelated doctrines. Whereas our previous four foundations are largely related to our past and present relation to God, these relate primarily to our future eternal destiny.
Two Great Appointments
All men will keep their appointment to die (with the exception of the very last generation of believers) and after this will follow a second appointment, the judgement. In order to be judged, all will raised from the dead to stand before God.
In this session we will look at the first appointment, death and resurrection.
- in Christian belief, the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead after his crucifixion and entombment
2. the rising of the dead on Judgment Day, as anticipated by Christians, Jews, and Muslims
In the Bible, resurrection is not merely ‘spiritual’. Christ was raised in His body (albeit constituted in a way unhindered by common physicality). All people will also be raised in their body to stand before God and be judged.
Resurrection – Illustrated in the Old Testament
The testimony of the patriarchs
i. Job 19:25-27. Job testifies of his faith in a resurrection.
ii. Psalms 16:9; 17:15. David declares his hope of resurrection.
Typically illustrated in history
i. Genesis 22:5; Hebrews 11:19 – Isaac is raised from the dead in a type.
ii. Jonah 1-2; Matthew 12:38-40 – Jonah’s resurrection from the belly of the whale typifies Christ.
The prophets foretell future resurrection
See Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-3; Hosea 13:14
Actual bodily resurrections from the dead
i. 1 Kings 17:17-24. Elijah raises the Tishbite woman’s son
ii. 2 Kings 4:18-37; 8:5. Elisha raises the Shunammite’s son
iii. 2 Kings 13:20-21. A dead man revived by Elisha’s bones!
Resurrection – Illustrated in the New Testament
i. Jesus taught both spiritual and physical resurrection – John 5:21-25; John 5:28-29; 6:39-54; Luke 16:19-31; 20:35-36
ii. Paul wrote of bodily resurrection – Acts 24:15; 1 Cor 15; 1 Thess 4:14-18; Philippians 3:11,21
iii. John wrote of the resurrections. Revelation 20:4-6
Actual bodily resurrections from the dead
i. Jairus daughter. Matthew 9:18-26
ii. Son of the widow of Nain. Luke 7:11-23
iii. Lazarus. John 11:43-44
iv. Peter raises Dorcas. Acts 9:36-42
v. Paul raises Euyticus. Acts 20:7-12
vi. The resurrection of Old Testament saints at Christ’s crucifixion Matthew 27:51-53
vii. The resurrection of God’s two witnesses in Revelation.
Christ is raised from the dead
John 20; Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24
There are over 104 references to Christ’s resurrection in the New Testament. The resurrection of Jesus is sure proof and assurance of the resurrection of all men. (Acts 17:30-31)
Christ’s resurrection is attested to in many ways. These proofs include; the empty tomb, the rolled away stone, His missing body, the eyewitness accounts of post-resurrection appearances and the transformed lives of his disciples and believers who followed.
His resurrection declares His victory over sin and death, and is the verification of the completion of His redemptive work on the cross.
“who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”Romans 4:25 NKJV
The death of Christ for our sins, and the new life into which we now enter through His resurrection can never be separated. Both are necessary for our salvation. If indeed Christ was not raised, His propitiatory death was powerless.
Paul states in I Corinthians 15:17:
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
The resurrection is God’s own vindication of Jesus His son (Rom 1:4) Jesus had not been recognised by the court of the Council of Jews, nor the court of Pontius Pilate Roman Governor. God reversed these decisions by resurrecting Jesus from the dead so proclaiming He was the true sinless Son of God
Jesus victory over sin and death were declared to all creation when He sat up in the tomb on Sunday morning. The reign of sin under Adam came to an end, and the victorious reign of Christ began:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”1Corinthians 15:22 NKJV
“so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 5:21 NKJV
Jesus resurrection became the very message of the early church. We are called to be witnesses of His resurrection also, proving by demonstration of the Spirit and of power that He is indeed alive. (Acts 4:33; 2:32; 3:15; 5:33)
The Nature of Christ’s Resurrection
- It was the resurrection and glorification of His actual physical body (Luke 24:39)
- It was a body of flesh and bone, not flesh and blood(Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:50)
- It was an incorruptible, spiritual body (1 Cor 15:42-47)
- It was a powerful body no longer subject to weakness and physical restrictions (John 20:19; Luke 24:31,51; Acts 1:9)
- It was an immortal body, no longer able to die (Hebrews 7:16)
- It was a firstfruit and sample of the bodies the saints will receive at Christ’s coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 35-38)
It should be noted that all mankind will be resurrected but that the purpose and result of those resurrections will be very different.
Revelation 20:4-6; Acts 24:15; Luke 14:14; John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; Hebrews 11:35
Resurrection of the Righteous
- The First Resurrection
- Resurrection of the just
- Resurrection of Life
- Awakening to Everlasting Life
- The Better Resurrection
Resurrection of the Righteous
- The Second Resurrection (which is followed by the second death)
- Resurrection of the unjust
- Resurrection of Damnation or condemnation
- Awakening to shame and everlasting contempt
The two resurrections are 1000 years apart. One precedes Christ’s millennial Kingdom, the other comes at its close.
Revelation 20:5-6 states:
“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.”
Both resurrections are for judgement. Those of the first resurrection are judged and receive eternal life and reward for their character and works in Christ. Those of the second are judged and are sentenced to eternal damnation for their character and works in life.
The Resurrection Body of the Redeemed (Romans 8:23)
Will be like Christ’s resurrected body
“Who shall change our vile body, that we may fashion it like unto his glorious body…”Philippians 3:21 KJV
Will be a real body of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39)
Will be a spiritual, heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15:42-29)
Will be incorruptible and immortal, no longer subject to death or decay (1 Corinthians 15:42,53; 2 Corinthians 5:4)
The Resurrection Body of the unredeemed
The nature of the resurrected body of the unredeemed is not explicitly described in scripture. They will certainly stand in their bodies before Christ to be judged after which they will be cast into Hell (the bottomless pit), forevermore to be tormented and separated from the life of God. This is what the Bible refers to as the “second death”.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8 KJV
There is suggestion that the body of the unredeemed will be destroyed and that they will remain as a disembodied, naked spirit for all eternity, suffering the torments of hell:
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”Matthew 10:28 KJV
The generation that remains at Christ’s coming:
When Christ returns the generation of believer’s alive at that time will forfeit their appointment with death, and will receive their resurrected Body without first dieing.
“But 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 them which are asleep. For the Lord himself 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.”1Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV
This event is often referred to as the rapture.
The exact timing of this ‘resurrection’ is debated among scholars. Some believe it will come prior to the tribulation period mentioned by Jesus and described in Revelation, and that that the resurrection of the martyred saints spoken of by John in Revelation 20:4-6 is a subsequent stage in the resurrection of the righteous, coming at the end of the tribulation period.