Resurrection of the Dead
By: J.E. Gray
At first we studied the things that bring us into the church (salvation) then we considered the operations of the Spirit of God in the life of a Christian (demonstration). Now we wish to look at a “motivation,” the resurrection of the dead.
The subject of the resurrection is a subject of great hope “… of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question,” was the cry of the apostle Paul as he stood before his accusers. (Acts 23:6). This started a great confusion between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, for the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection but the Pharisees did.
The Bible certainly teaches us that there will be a resurrection. Paul went further to say in Acts 24:15 (I) “have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
Way back in the days of Job we find him crying out, “… all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” He had decided he would not like to live in this world always. He was looking forward to the resurrection. “… though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,” (Job 19:26).
The knowledge of the resurrection is very important. Many people would just as soon be left out of it and be forgotten, as they do not want to stand before God. (II Corinthians 5: 10) “… we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” Not only will the righteous rise but there will also be a resurrection of the unjust. This is why I say that the subject of the resurrection is actually a motivation. It should stimulate our desire to serve God. We should live our entire life time to be prepared for that great event. Live an entire lifetime for one single moment! It’s worth it! “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).
How it will be with us in that day is of utmost importance. That’s the reason why we should be motivated to serve God at all times. Some are trying today, as they did in days past, to confuse people concerning the resurrection. Paul referred to those who had overthrown the faith of some by saying that the resurrection was already past. In our day we also find some that say that the resurrection is already past. They say that the Lord came in 1914. In that case we are living in the “Millennium” Period. But we are certainly far from being in a time of peace in this earth at present.
The promise of the resurrection is an absolute promise. Whether we are ready for it or not it’s still going to happen just the same. We must prepare ourselves for it. Jesus declared himself to be “… the resurrection, and the life:…” (St. John 11:25). He said to Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, “… whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…” What was said in St. John 11 is a parallel to what is given in I Corinthians 15:53. The corruptible (dead) must put on incorruption (shall arise), and this mortal (the living) must put on immortality (shall be changed).
There is inspiration in the study of the resurrection. We have great hope that we shall not be left behind at that time, but that we shall be ready to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. These comforting words are true, again and again these promises were given. We are told that we should, “comfort one another with these words.” This message is hope to those that are ready, and horror to those who are not. It is consolation to those that prepare for it, and consternation to all who don’t.
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen,… then is our preaching vain, and your faith is God:… if so be that the dead rise not,… and… your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished,” (I Corinthians 15:12-32). Paul adds that if this is the way it is: “… what advantageth it me… let us eat and drink: for tomorrow we die.” But, NO! He says, “let me explain” “Behold (look) I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:51).
The gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is fulfilled in our lives by (1) repentance of sins (dead to sin), (2) baptism (in Jesus Name for the remission of sins) into his death, and (3) being raised up (from baptism) we should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
If your religion hasn’t changed you, then perhaps you should change your religion! It doesn’t help to trade one dead horse for another either.
Rapture or Wrath!
Rapture is a word not found in Bible terminology. The word means ecstasy, intense delight, great joy. Human languages do not have a word to fitly describe the moment of being caught up to be with the Lord; the gathering of his jewels. So, the word rapture is commonly used to describe that glorious event.
I tell you in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, where Lord? And he said unto them, wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together” (St. Luke 17:34-37). Today, in the U.S.A., is already tomorrow in Japan. At the same instant the saints will leave from every part of the earth some working (day) some sleeping (night). The rest of the people will be left here at that time, soon to suffer the wrath of God upon the earth.
“… Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” (Rev. 19:9). “… for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (v. 7) The “Marriage Supper” is that great reception which will be a glorious introduction into the eternal presence of the Lord in the “Father’s house”.
To be in the rapture “… the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from
the dead (must) dwell in you…” (Romans 8:11). The supply must be up
to date, (Matthew 25:8). We should be working giving the servants meat
in due season, (Matthew 24:45).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power…” (Revelation 20:6).
Daniel writes, “and many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (12:2)
By contrast, the day of wrath will be a horrible sample of what the lost will suffer forever in the lake of fire.
“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3).
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the son of man” (Luke 21:36).
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” (Revelation 3:10). “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand,” (Revelation 6:17).
A Millennium of a peace is described between the time of the rapture (and wrath) and the final stage of the resurrection and judgment. During this time the devil will be bound and the fierceness of wild beasts will be gone. Even the normal process of ageing will change during this period. (Revelation 20:2,7) (Isaiah 65:17-25)
(The above material was taken from the booklet Treasures of Truth.)
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