THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

 

By Gary Ray Branscome

 

The words, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4), tell us that our hope not only rests on the fact that Christ “died for our sins,” but also on the fact that He, “Was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). He is, “The resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25), “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1Corinthians 15:20), and, “Whoever lives and believes in” Him “will never die” (John 11:26).

This glorious hope is not only taught in the New Testament, but also in the Old, where we read, “Your dead will live, together with my dead body they will arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust: for your dew is like the dew of the fields, and the earth will deliver up the dead” (Isaiah 26:19), and, “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). Having that hope we can say with Job, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that He will stand at a future time upon the earth: And after the skin worms have destroyed this body, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19:25-27). Or with the Psalmist, “I will behold your face in righteousness: I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). As it is written, “You will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, O my people, and bring you up out of your graves” (Ezekiel 37:13). “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are your plagues; O grave, where is your destruction” (Hosea 13:14).

 

In dealing with skeptics who denied the resurrection, Jesus said, “Have you not read what God said to you, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). The same holds true for all of God’s people, for Christ said, “If a man keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51). In fact, resurrection is even implied by God’s words to the serpent, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He will bruise your head, and you will bruise His heel,” for destruction of the serpent implies a reversal of what the serpent caused (Genesis 3:15).

 

While the words, “Your soul will be required from you tonight,” tell us that the soul departs from the body at death (Luke 12:20). The fact that Christ will “raise” bodies “up again on the last day,” tells us that the soul will be reunited with the body at the resurrection (John 6:39). And, the fact that, “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake,” tells us that even if the molecules of which we consist are scattered among the dust of the earth, they will reassemble at the resurrection (Daniel 12:2).

“When the dead rise, the body that is sown in corruption; is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. As there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam a life giving spirit. However the spiritual did not come first, but the natural; and after that the spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As was the earthy man, so also are those who are of the earthy: and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of the heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy one, we will also bear the image of the heavenly one” (1Corinthians 15:42-49). “Christ… will transform our vile bodies, and make them like His glorified body” (Philippians 3:20-21). And, we will be “as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

 

Now not all of us will die, “But all of us will be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed, for our corruptible nature must be made incorruptible, and our mortal nature must become immortal. So when the corruptible has put on incorruption, and the mortal has put on immortality, then the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up in victory, will be fulfilled. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory(1Corinthians 15:51-55). “For as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring those who have fallen asleep in Jesus [i.e. the souls of those who have died in Christ, see 2Cor. 5:8] with him. For we are telling you only what the Lord has told us, that we who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first [i.e. the souls that Christ brings with Him will be reunited with their resurrected bodies]: Then we which are alive and remain will 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” (1Thessalonians 4:14-17).

 

The passages just quoted make it clear that all of the effects of sin will be removed from those who trust in Christ. Our incorruptible resurrection bodies will have no physical defects or any traces of age or suffering for all of those things are the consequences of sin. God will give us “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). Our bodies will no longer be subject to earthly infirmities. They will no longer be disfigured, corrupt, imperfect, maimed, and unsightly, but will be perfect in every way. In contrast, because the ungodly remain in their sin, and are under a divine curse, their bodies will come forth from the grave “Unto shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is never put out” (Mark 9:44). Having been raised from the dead they will be immortal, but will be subject to all of the pains of life, and destined for eternal disgrace and darkness as vessels unto dishonor (Romans 9:21, 2Timothy 2:20).

 

Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One God, what one does they all do. We see that in connection with Creation, where the words, “Don’t we all have one father? Hasn’t one God created us?” tell us that the Father is our Creator: while the words, “Who created all things by Jesus Christ,” tell us that Christ is our Creator (Ephesians 3:9). We see that again in what the Bible says about the resurrection, for it is written, “Just as the Father raises the dead, and gives them life; even so the Son gives life to whomever He will… The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God: and those who hear will live” (John 5:21, 25).