The Truth about Resurrection

The Truth about Resurrection

A fundamental cornerstone of God's plan with His creation revolves around the subject of man being resurrected from the dead - this is in complete contrast to the fundamental beliefs concerning heaven-going and the immortality of the soul.

What is resurrection?

It is a raising of the body from the earth and a subsequent transformation of it to an immortal nature.  Consider the following passage from the Bible.

"Behold I show you a mystery, We shall not all sleep (or die), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:...and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" 1 Corinthians 15:51

This "change" is a marvellous process by which God will render a mortal, corruptible body immortal and incorruptible.  

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Resurrection is a two stage process, for before "this mortal can have put on immortality", the body which may have laid in the ground for many centuries must be reassembled and caused to stand again on the earth.   The standing is for a specific purpose - to be judged:

"...for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ" Romans 14:10

Jesus Christ is the judge and his Father has given him the task of raising the dead:

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his (Jesus') voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" John 5:28-29

It is the only hope of salvation

There is no mention in the Bible of immortal souls which can provide continuance of existence after death.  The apostle Paul, however, said that we could be "saved by hope"; hope of what? Hope of "the redemption of our body".

"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" Romans 8:23-24

For this hope, the apostle was prepared to,

"suffer the loss of all things"....."if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead" Philippians 3:8-11

What is a resurrected body like?

Jesus is the only example so far, for he is the "firstfruits of them that slept (in death)" (1 Corinthians 15:20).   He spent some time with his disciples after his resurrection and they described him.  From their description in Luke 24 we can see that -

  1. he had a body, hands and feet etc., and was not a ghost or a spirit.  (verse 39) 
  2. he could be touched by and converse with his friends, and he ate fish and honeycomb with them.  (verse 42
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb." Luke 24:39-42

However, his body, though substantial, was not flesh and blood. Jesus himself spoke of the nature of those who are raised to life eternal.

"Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." Luke 20:36

For those who are so blessed, the future will be marvellous.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

How can others be resurrected?

Jesus will return to the earth to bring many out of the ground to judge them.  Those judged worthy will be miraculously changed to incorruption by Jesus.

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" John 6:40

Where will resurrection be enjoyed?

Jesus said,

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" Matthew 5:5

He was quoting from Psalm 37 where the text continues,

"and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace". Psalm 37:11

He was not referring to the present  order of things but to a future one on this earth.  The Bible is about the earth and its inhabitants and their relationships to God who has made them both.  Nowhere does this God promise a reward in heaven for the righteous.   It will be on this earth when Jesus returns to reconstitute its politics and establish on it the kingdom of God.

This marvellous reward of a transformed body and a part in God's future kingdom on earth is promised to those who hope in His promises and obey His commands.   It is vain to hope, however sincerely, for what God has not promised.  It is vital to hope and strive for what He has promised.  All are free to do just this and for those who will do it there is a glorious and satisfying future indeed!