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."
This "change" is a marvellous
process by which God will render a mortal, corruptible body immortal
"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 judgment seat of Christ" (Romans 14:10).
Jesus Christ is the judge and his
Father has given him the task of raising the dead: "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 (Romans 8:24); hope of what? Hope of "the redemption of
our body" (Romans 8:23). 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
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 for he was "equal to the angels to
die no more" (Luke 20:36).
The resurrected body knows no pain,
sorrow or crying: for the former things will be passed away. (Revelation
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 himself
was quoting from Psalm 37 where the text continues "and shall
rejoice himself in the abundance of peace". He was not referring
to the present dispensation 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.