Resurrection, Part 5

So, we left off in our last video with Paul having addressed some matters relative to Him and His walk as a witness of Jesus resurrection, ending with him saying that he was the last in his list to have seen him, and then he described himself as a Jew, and a persecutor of the church, and then as one called out, and then a mighty laborer in the harvest of souls – which we talked about.

We wrapped up at verse 11 with him saying, “that whether it was me who preached or the other apostles I just mentioned, the Gospel was preached and you believed.”

And at this point he steps into the situation that caused this part of the letter to be written – someone there in Corinth – “or someones” were teaching that there was no resurrection.

So, he says at verse 12:

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 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.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Let’s jump back to verse 12 where he broaches the subject at hand, having firmly established that Jesus did resurrect and says

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

“Now,” Paul says, and I love that.  It is the words of a great rhetoritician, a logician – (in other words) “I am about to give you a truck load of evidence that Jesus rose from the grave as a resurrected being.”

So 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?

Here Paul makes a connection which says since Christ rose from the dead how can some of you suggest that there is no resurrection of the dead thereafter?

It’s sort of a good question, however.  I mean, why do we believe that just because Christ resurrected from the dead that others would too?  I mean, He deserved to rise from the dead, because he personally had no sin – that I can accept.

But where on earth do we – and they – get the impression that just because Christ rose from the grave that they and or we would too?


Paul is going to answer this for us – in part – through the argumentation to follow – but not fully.

And so when we really think about it, it is one thing to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but it is really an all together different thing to believe that we will too, right?

I mean, sure – we get it in theory – we place our faith on Jesus, he rose from the dead as the first fruits, and then we as believers will too – because we are His by faith.  But the interesting thing we cannot get around is that because of Christ and his resurrection – ALL will rise from the dead and not just those who have faith in Him.

Think on that for a minute – especially if you are one who resists Jesus vicarious work being beneficial to all regardless if they believe on Him or not.

Anyway, let’s start here.  Our belief in a resurrection for ourselves is extracted from scripture – lots of scripture.  And the general overview comes straight out of the Tanakh or Old Testament, including from:

Daniel 12:2, which says:

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

Right off the bat the precedent is set that resurrection of the dead will be for ALL – some to everlasting life others to everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:3 hits on resurrection again, saying

“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

David the Psalmist says in 17:15

As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Intimating that the grave is not the end of human existence.  Even Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible, says

Job 19:23-27

“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! “That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever! “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” 

It is believed that the stand Job speaks to here is the actual stand Jesus could and would make as the victor over all things which was had once he rose from the grave. 

Again to Psalms 49:15, where David wrote

But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah.

I like how that is written – from the power of sheol – a power possessed somehow by death and the grave over all who enter it – but the Messiah would redeem David from this power – and this Psalm is evidence of His faith in the fact

Psalm 71:20m which is often seen as Messianic, reads

You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Isaiah wrote in 26:19

Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

And finally, in the Old Testament, Hosea 13:14 says

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight.

It is without question that the Jews believed, over the course of their history, that there would be a resurrection.

By the time we get to Jesus’ day, several hundreds of years after the close of the Law and the prophets with Malachi, there were some of the House of Israel who rejected the resurrection entirely – they were the Sadducees.

Acts 23:8 reads:

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.

This set the stage for a lot of teaching on Jesus part relative to the resurrection.  For instance we read in Mark 12:24-27 how Jesus answered some Sadducees who tried to present him with an impossible situation where a woman is married by a series of brothers who were taking her to wife under Levirite law, and they wanted to know whose wife she would be in the resurrection.  In we read

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. “

Not only did the Sadducees question the resurrection, in Paul’s day, we read in 2 Timothy 2:18 that

men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

So, the topic was topsy-turvy in that day and age, but from Jesus to Paul we discover a great deal of passages about the resurrection.

It is not an easy task to understand them when or if we take them an assign them to ourselves in this age.  It’s not that there is not a resurrection that started with them then and continues on today, but these passages were specific to Jesus coming back and the resurrection beginning in that day and time for that day and purpose.

To make it simple, try and understand that all of them are describing what the resurrection will look like and be like to “them/then” which was sometimes in reference to those who were dead, and sometimes in reference to those who were living.

This is really important because “them/ then” were literally both raised from the actual grave – as Jesus was, and others were taken into the skies and changed in the twinkling of an eye if they were alive at His coming.

This makes application to us today a little tricky – it’s possible – but requires some thought and reference to context.

So first, let’s read what the writers and speakers in scripture said to THEM/THEN about the resurrection that was going to revolve around the Lord, that age, and His coming which would bring or initiate the resurrection plan once and for all.

In John 5:28-29 Jesus himself said:

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

I want to point out that the resurrection – how it is meted out here, from Jesus mouth, is based on the deeds done in the flesh.  That is what Jesus says.

The dead will come forth from the tombs – those who did good deeds to “a resurrection of life” and “those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgement. “

So then, we can say that the scripture says that the resurrection was based on deeds done.

Admittedly, and to be fair, He is speaking of the resurrection that would commence at the end of that age – and for all of those who will participate in it when “the HOUR arrives” (which he and the apostles said was coming).  Nevertheless, I do not think the rules of the resurrection have changed since and I remain convinced that the resurrected bodies all people receive is based on their deeds.

But more on that later.

We read in Acts 24:15 that Paul says:

“having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”

Paul also said, when speaking before Felix in Acts 24:15

“having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

Luke, citing Paul, who speaking of the resurrection with some Greeks, says in 

Acts 17:18

And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.”

Then twelve verses later Paul says:

Act 17:30-32,

30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world (the land, the Roman Empire or even Israel – oikomenia, not kosmos) in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

Again, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:52 (our chapter today) and he speaks to those who were alive in that hour/day when Jesus would come and judge the oikomenia, saying:

“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

Speaking to that day, Paul writes in 

1 Thessalonians 4:16

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Again, speaking to that Age and the wrapping up of it, Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-32

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations (this is better translated all the tribes – as in twelve tribes) will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;

This act is described in Revelation 20 at the Great White Throne Judgement which wraps that age up and prepares us to enter into this current eternal spiritual age, which is described in Revelation 21.

We are ultimately going to get into what Paul writes about the actual resurrection later in this chapter  – how he describes it – so I am not going to cover those passages now, but let’s read some more instances where the resurrection is discussed.

In John 11:25-26 Jesus has a rather tricky conversation with Martha.  The setting was Lazareth had died and was laying in the grave for over three days – the length Jews gave to indicate truly dead.  This is how the conversation goes:

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 

These passages have Jesus talking to Martha about two things – resurrection and eternal life.

First of all, Lazarus is in the grave – dead.  And we read:

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

We don’t know what Jesus meant in verse 23.  But we know that Martha thought (and affirmed) that Lazarus would rise again in the resurrection AT THAT LAST DAY.

Having admitted to a belief in “the resurrection at the last day,” Jesus clarifies how vital a role that He plays in TWO DISTINCT THINGS – listen to what he says BACK to Martha

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection (I am the reason there will be a resurrection at that last day – but then he adds,) “and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

This is not speaking of the resurrection only – it is also speaking of the Resurrection to eternal life, which comes by belief on Him.  

See, resurrection is a gift to all.  And Martha admitted a believe in this resurrection.  But Jesus points out to her plainly that He is not only the Resurrection but that He is also the LIFE that can continue on past the grave – for all who believed in Him.

Then he says

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Of course, he is not talking about physical death there – that if people believe on Him they will never die physically.  That is not the case – we all die physical deaths – He is speaking of the second death here and He ties BELIEF ON HIM to living eternal lives later  “even though (some) were already dead” (physically).

The fact that Jesus is speaking of eternal life through a resurrected body obtained by faith is seen in how she responds and says  

27 Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 

So, again, where resurrection is mentioned by Martha, and Jesus proclaims to her that he is the resurrection, he adds, “and the life.”

And he ties having eternal life (though someone was dead) to believing on Him.

And Martha affirms this by admitting that she trusts that he was the Christ, the Son of God, which was prophesied that would come into the world.

In this exchange we see that eternal life is tied to the resurrected bodies we receive and that the resurrected bodies we receive are tied to eternal life.

This is extremely important information to retain relative to resurrection.

Yes, Jesus is the resurrection (for all, actually – as scripture makes plain) but He is also “the LIFE” and when people believe on him they will be Resurrected to eternal life.

Those who do not will be resurrected to damnation or limitations of some sort of another.

So, understand this clearly – I am committed to the following biblical ideas:

  • ïThat Jesus has paid for the sin of the world.  That he did not simply die as a man for our sin, but he died “AS MANKIND” for our sin and God has reconciled the world to himself through His Son.  No question.
  • ïWhat this means is no person will stand before God and he will tally up their sin and hold them to task for it – why?
  • ïBecause by the finished work of Christ Jesus the wages of sin (death) was paid – and all died in His death. This is the reconciliation.
  • ïHowever, this does NOT erase the fact that by faith in His Son that some will receive a resurrection to LIFE – to eternal life, and that the resurrection that they receive will, in fact, allows or permits them to experience life eternal.
  • ïThis then suggests that all who have NOT received Christ by FAITH will be resurrected – but to damnation or limitation of some sort or another.
  • ïIn  my estimation, I see this lesser resurrection as automatically placing them outside the New Jerusalem, and abiding in bodies that will have a really difficult time existing in the New Jerusalem where God and Christ dwell.
  • ïIt seems to me that the resurrected bodies received by all from God is what determine where all people will exist in heaven – some in the light that is God, and others outside of the city walls, where He is not.
  • ïThe permanency of these bodies, and their ability to change or adapt remains a question since the gates on all four sides of the New Jerusalem are open day and night.

Moving back into scripture, Jesus says in

John 6:39

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day (which references His return).

In Luke 14:12-14 we read something radical.  He says to a man who invited him to eat with him:  

“When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot  recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

This is one of the passages that suggest to me that the rewards meted out to people will come in and through the Resurrection.

Constrasting the idea that our brothers the LDS teach about the resurrection (meaning that it is bodily and we will look exactly like we do now only at our best), John the Beloved says in 1st John 3:2

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be we know that when He appears (meaning upon His promised return to them), we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

Then we can wrap our tour through the scripture on resurrection by hearing what the Apostle Paul has to say about it.

One point he brings up is that about “glory.”  He speaks of glory in some in the resurrected here in chapter 15 but he touches on it in other places too.

For example he writes in Romans 8:17

“and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

We know since his glorification came at His resurrection that this is in all probability speaking of the glory that those who are his will receive when they are resurrected.

Colossians 3:4

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

This idea is echoed in Romans 6:5 where he says:

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Philippians 3:21, speaking of Jesus says,

who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

The Saints in Thessalonica were afraid that those who died would somehow miss out on the resurrection when Jesus returned to them and Paul addressed this in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, saying:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

Romans 6:8 reads

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Then getting right down to the point of our resurrection, Paul says in 1st  Corinthians 6:14

Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.

And 2nd Corinthians 4:14 adds

“knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

Then describing what will happen at his coming, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Paul says, with more detail and some insights into what this resurrection will actually look like, says in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4:

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 

Then he encourages the believers at Corinth even more and says one verse later:

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– for we walk by faith, not by sight– we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. .

Some interesting passages that add flavor to the idea of resurrection are

Hebrews 11:35 where the writer says:

“Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;”

This appears to reference some Old Testament  characters who were willing to receive torture here in this life, rather than sell out, all as a means to receive a better resurrection – again, speaking to the idea that some resurrections will have the one glory and others will have another.

We then have the “changed in a twinkling of an eye resurrection,” that Paul describes in 2nd Thessalonians, for those “who were alive at his coming.”

Now let me make a big pause right here as I am convinced what Paul describes here is what happens with all who have died (since the wrapping up of that age) and that this is what happens immediately when people die today and enter into the heavenly realm.

Because of this I see all NDE’s as mere glimpses into the afterlife, and not close to being exhaustive accounts because not of those were changed into their heavenly bodies, therefore their afterlife experience is severely limited.

This is why I do not think we have anyone coming back who can fully articulate the afterlife experience and why most reports – from believers and not are very similar but lacking any real signification.

In other words, to truly understand the afterlife, a deceased person has to have been given their heavenly body.  That is the passport to understanding things in a real personal way.

In any case, Paul, having demonstrated the evidence for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, proceeds here to demonstrate that all the dead would rise and he ties this to the fact that the Lord Jesus had risen.

In our next video we will enter into his logic – which is superb – but let’s wrap our time up by allowing me to make some observations.

First, the idea is that since Jesus resurrected, we will all also resurrect.

The resurrections of the worlds inhabitants have nothing to do, in the universal sense, with faith – all will experience a rising from the grave and being fitted with another body suited for their place in heaven.

Of course, belief does play an important role in the body we will receive, but the first point is all will be resurrected.

Now stay with me here.  Why wasn’t there a resurrection prior to Jesus for the Old Testament folk?

Because the grave had power over them and prohibited them from ever rising up again.  Why did the grave have such power?  Because “the WAGES of SIN IS DEATH.”

Now listen – the only way for all to rise up out of the “graves hold on them” is for the wages of sin to have been paid.

For all.  In other words, if there is a universal resurrection there is a universal payment for sin.

To argue for a limited atonement for sin would be to simultaneously argue for a limited resurrection of the dead – that would make sense, right?

But since we know all rise to a resurrected body, then we must admit that all have been released from the grave hold upon them, and the way that this is possible is because the wages of sin have been paid – for all.

Granted, there are different resurrections awaiting all – but in order for the unsaved to be released from the grave and be resurrected is that their sin had to have been remitted.

For this reason, I believe that 2nd Corinthians 5:14, when it says:

2nd Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all are dead.

Understand this passage – it is not saying that Christ died for all because all were dead in sin.  It is saying that because Christ died ALL have died.

Died how?

Died with Christ. Meaning, through His substituationary death for the sin of the world, which kept the world in the grave, we have all now had all of the wages for our sin paid through His death for all sin, and there is nothing to hold any of us in the grave any longer – even the most evil will rise and receive a resurrected body because they experienced death for sin through the vicarious death of Jesus.

So, I tend to see all people no longer dead in sin (as the world was because of Adam) but instead see all people as dead with Him as He “PAID in full” the wages of all sin through His substitutionary death.

And again, that is why all enter into a heavenly realm at death since Christ – the sin-debt has been paid.

But with what glory they receive in and through their respective resurrection will, in fact, determine their heavenly destination – specifically whether they are able to abide in the New Jerusalem (where God and Christ dwell) or if they are able to reside outside of it.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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