As part of our new Jesus Is Coming Campaign (JICC), we will be writing and publishing articles about the major doctrines surrounding Jesus’s second coming. One of the most important of these creeds is the Resurrection of the Dead. Though a crucial facet governing the future fate of Christians, surprisingly few churches teach about it.
In its simplest and most basic description, the event called the Resurrection of the Dead is when the dead will be resurrected with a new body and rise to be with Jesus in the Last Days. This relates to being born-again and the eternal life. In this, it connotes that to be resurrected, one must be a follower and believer in Christ. While non-believers die when they come to the end of their earthly lives, the term used to describe Christians is ‘those who have fallen asleep’ in Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:14:
“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
Because Jesus rose from the dead, those who believe in Him can have the hope that there will be a resurrection of the dead.
Core Text: 1 Corinthians 15: 12 – 14
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Christ Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection of the dead, and the first to be resurrected with a new body. His body was broken and torn apart on Calvary but three days later, He rose again from the dead with a perfect body. Those who follow Him, though they may die, we will follow suit. On the Day of the Resurrection, following Jesus, we will rise again with a new and perfect body.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
There was much confusion in the early days of the church surrounding this event, due to the understanding that for all to be resurrected, everyone must undergo a physical/earthly death. There was a question of what will happen on the day of the event since they will still be Christians who are alive.
In answer to this, Paul explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, that those who are alive and remain on the day of the event will not prevent the dead from being resurrected. How to reconcile this discrepancy? Paul explains that all Christians who are alive on that day will be caught up together with the resurrected.
1 Thessalonians 4:15:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.”
Every Christian who has been called up to be with Jesus will be changed in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye.
1 Corinthians 15:52
52 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.
Our earthly physical bodies are made of dust. Science terms this as carbon material. In Genesis, scripture tells us that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground/earth (Genesis 2:7). No matter where our carbon is on that day, that will be raised incorruptible in the same way as it was with Jesus. Only God, through Christ, has the power to do this.
When we die we are as if asleep. Only our old bodies die; our spirit will be in paradise. How do we know this? Because science speaks of it, though through the lens of their understanding. Science calls it “microtubules” that leave the brain and continue to exist. Microtubules leave their “quantum state” but the information in the microtubules is not destroyed, rather, it is “distributed to the universe at large”. The Bible calls it our spirit who is now in a paradise dimension.
2 Peter 3:8
A day to the Lord is a thousand years. A thousand years is like a day.
For a person who has died one thousand years ago, when he is awake with a resurrected body, he will probably feel like he has just slept for just a day. Likewise, if he has died 50 years ago, he probably felt he just slept for an hour.
This answers the question of people asking “what is their spirit going to do while waiting for a thousand or two thousand years?” It is like a beautiful dream. That is why Jesus describes it as we are sleeping indeed.
God’s people already had the belief since the early days of the church that those who are saved will be resurrected during the end times. Today, we have a role to play. Comfort one another, and encourage each other to run the race, to not miss out on the rapture, and to pray and reach out to our loved ones who have yet to know Christ. Otherwise, if you miss the rapture, you have to go through the great tribulation which is truly horrible.
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