We know that sin entered the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve, and death entered into the world because of sin. I Corinthians 15:21-22. Isaiah the prophet was sent to King Hezekiah with a sad message. “Thou shalt die and not live”. As a definition for death, there can be no better than “Thou shalt die and not live”. Isaiah 38:1. We also know that:
- Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. Job 14:1-2 (KJV)
Knowing that we are sinners; Romans 3:23
Knowing that because of sin we are going to die, inasmuch as all have sinned; Romans 5:12
Knowing that our days are few; Job 14:1
Knowing that we do not go on and on living; Job 14:2
The next intelligent question to ask is:
The answer to that question can be found in the Bible. The wise philosophers of the past have bypassed that question by asserting that the real man resides on the inside of the material body and never really dies. Some even argue that the seat of man’s intelligence (the soul) resides in the lung, in the heart, in the brain, or in the stomach. That analysis goes opposite to the determination of God as revealed to Adam:
- If mortals die, will they live again? Job 14:14 (NRSV)
- But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. Gen 2:17 (NIV)
IN THEIR GRAVES
The multitudes marveled when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son. Luke 7:11 They marveled when he raised Lazarus from the dead. John 11:43. No need to marvel at that, he said, because “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out”. Just think about what a miracle that will be. “All who are in their graves” will come out. Not one or two or only a thousand dead people; but all. The NT is very clear that those who have died will come out of their graves as well as out of the sea. Revelation 20:13. Paul tied the resurrection of Christ to the resurrection of believers.
- A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out. John 5:28-29 (NIV)
- Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (NASB)
The Bible teaches a resurrection from death. Actually, the Bible teaches there will be two resurrections. Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29. It teaches a resurrection from the dead. How else could the prophecy in Revelation be realized?
Jesus was raised “from the dead”. This makes sense because to be raised “from” the dead literally means he was raised “out from among the dead ones”. Jesus was raised up and there were dead people left after his resurrection who were still dead and not raised. So Jesus was raised “out from among the dead”. After being raised he could look around and see that there were dead ones still in their graves. Look at the following references to prove my point:
- The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Rev 20:5-6 (NASB)
- That the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." Acts 26:23 (NASB)
- Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 1:3-4 (NASB)
- Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:12 (NASB)
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)
THE REST OF THE DEAD
There are references which refer to the saints as being raised from the dead. This can be seen clearly in John’s words, Revelation 20:5 Saints are raised and there are others still in graves following their resurrection. These will remain in their graves until a thousand years have been completed. What I understand from the following words of Paul is that “The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection”.“the dead in Christ will be raised first”.
- 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. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NASB)
I believe the Bible teaches that all will be raised from the dead; good and bad alike. There is just too much evidence to reject this understanding. But there is an order to the resurrection “of the dead”. I Corin. 15:23 Jesus was the first; the saints will be raised at his coming; a time when Jesus abolishes all rule, authority and power, thus putting all enemies under his feet. This must include the time of judgment when the rest of the dead will be raised and judgment will occur. Revelation 20:11-13
Please don’t rush past verse 23 without noticing this statement: “those who are Christ's at His coming”. Doesn’t that seem to be both inclusive and exclusive as well? At Christ’s coming those who are his, will be resurrected. That seems to me to exclude the wicked, don’t you think? Am I way out in left field or does that make sense to you? All rule and all authority and power cannot be abolished until such a time as:
- For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 1 Corinthians 15:21-25 (NASB)
Did you get that? “The iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time”. That sounds familiar to me. I think this involves the time of the great white throne judgment. When all nations are gathered before the Son of Man the will be separated as sheep and goats. The iron mixed with miry clay was destroyed by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. Daniel 2:45 He must reign till he has put all things under his feet. I Corinthians 15:25 We must allow for a period of time when he rules the nations and breaks them with a rod of iron. Psalms 2:9. The iron mixed with miry clay, the feet and toes of the great image representing world governments at the end, was smitten with the stone cut out without hands; was broken to pieces like the chaff of the summer threshing floor; and the wind carried them all away. Daniel 2:35.
- "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan 2:35 (NASB)
- Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Rev 20:11-13 (NASB)
Inasmuch as mortals die will they live again? Just as surely as Jesus was raised from the dead, just that surely the dead will be raised up. I Corinthians 15:16 Actually: resurrection is a common thread throughout the Bible.
Many are surprised that Abraham believed in the resurrection. Hebrews 11:19
Daniel also believed in a resurrection of the dead. Daniel 12:1-2
- The idea of resurrection was contained in Ezekiel’s famous chapter 37 where bone comes to bone, sinews covers the bones, flesh covers the sinews and God puts His spirit in the recreated person.
- Isaiah seemed to intimate the resurrection when he prophesied about the ransomed of the Lord returning and coming to Zion. Isaiah 35:10
- David believed in the resurrection. Psalms 16:9-11
- Failing to believe in the resurrection of the dead leaves one in a miserable condition. I Corinthians 15:19.
- Jesus taught the resurrection as did Peter and Paul. This hope is part of the comforting words Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to use when they comforted one another. I Thessalonians 4:18.
- It is the hope that keeps us from being ignorant about those who are asleep in death. I Thessalonians 14:3. As a matter of fact; apart from a belief in the resurrection:
Christ has not been raised
We are false witnesses of God
Our faith is vain
We are yet in our sins.
We are miserable
- Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ , whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. I Cor 15:12-19 (NASB)