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.
This "change" is a marvellous process by which God will render a mortal, corruptible body immortal and incorruptible.
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:
Jesus Christ is the judge and his Father has given him the task of raising the dead:
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".
For this hope, the apostle was prepared to,
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 -
- he had a body, hands and feet etc., and was not a ghost or a spirit. (verse 39)
- he could be touched by and converse with his friends, and he ate fish and honeycomb with them. (verse 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.
For those who are so blessed, the future will be marvellous.
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.
Where will resurrection be enjoyed?
He was quoting from Psalm 37 where the text continues,
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!