List of Studies

1. Introduction

In study: 'Death and the state of the dead' we see that scripture is very clear: when we die we return to dust.  In the grave there is no knowledge or awareness - the dead, like David, remain in the tomb, asleep. Therefore, without a resurrection of the body all mankind would be doomed to spend eternity in the grave. 

It was necessary even for the sinless Christ to have a resurrection - how much more necessary, then, for mankind.  Christ’s resurrection is the pattern - by it the redeemed have victory over death.  Indeed without a resurrection of the redeemed, all teaching on salvation is irrelevant.  

We must therefore have a clear understanding of this topic in Scripture.

2. The Resurrection of Christ

The resurrection of Christ was the sealing act of salvation - only at His resurrection was mankind freed from sin (see following, and section 3).

Christ's resurrection makes mankind’s resurrection certain (this was affirmed in the resurrection of those who rose with Christ, see study: ‘The Cross’,4.2). 

Jn 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

Note. In section 3 we see that both the redeemed and the lost will have a resurrection - thus all will indeed be made alive.

1Co 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1Co 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 

1Co 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

To be justified is to be made right with God by faith in Christ - see studies; 'Salvation 2: faith, mankind's response',3.4 and 'Righteousness restored',5.

2.1 Christ the firstfruits (Strong’s G536, ‘a beginning’)

1Co 15:20,23  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 

23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 

Christ is the most important one who is raised from the dead.  He rose on the feast of Firstfruits (see study: ‘The seven feasts of the year’, 2.3) - He is the first amongst many.  Christ’s resurrection has enabled the resurrection of all mankind - He has conquered and vanquished death for us.

2.2 Christ resurrected Himself

Many find the concept of Christ resurrecting Himself difficult to accept.  However, Scripture is clear.

Jn 10:18  No man taketh it [His life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Jn 10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 

Jn 2:19,21  Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I [meaning Himself] will raise it up. 

21  But he spake of the temple of his body.

If Christ resurrected Himself then He has total power over death.  How much more certain, then, is our resurrection.  If Christ was able to overcome His own death, how much more is He able to overthrow death itself. 

We cannot limit God’s power by thinking that Christ raising Himself is impossible - with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27)

3. The resurrection of mankind

The resurrection of mankind is one of the plainest teachings in Scripture.

3.1 The first of many

In study: ‘The Cross’,4.2 we see that upon Christ’s death the graves of many of the saints were opened, and they were resurrected with Christ on the third day (Mt 27:52,53).

Scripture does not say so, but it is reasonable to believe that those risen saints ascended to Heaven with Christ, and from amongst them the 24 Elders in the Sanctuary in Heaven (Re 5:8,9) were selected (see study: 'The Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary',5.1).

The saints who rose with Christ were the first of a 'great multitude' of the redeemed (Re 7:9) from all ages.

3.2 The resurrection of the redeemed

Is 26:19  Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 

Mt 27:52,53  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 

53  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 

Lk 14:14  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 

Ro 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 

Ro 6:8  And if we died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with him, 

1Co 15:51,52  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 

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. 

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 

Ac 24:15  And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 

1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

3.3 The resurrection of the lost

Da 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 

Jn 5:28,29  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 

29 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. 

3.4 Conclusion

It is abundantly clear that all mankind will be resurrected from the grave, some to salvation at the second coming of Christ (see study: ‘The second advent of Christ’, 8), and some to the resurrection of condemnation (God's 'strange act', see study: ‘The end of sin and sinners’, 3).

The hope of the redeemed is centred in a resurrection to eternal life, without which God’s plan of salvation would be futile and pointless. 

4. The mainstream resurrection muddle

Mainstream Christianity is muddled on the concept of a resurrection, as follows.

Roman Catholic.  Rome teaches that upon death there is personal judgement upon which a person is consigned to heaven, hell, or purgatory. On the last day when Christ returns there will be a resurrection of all mankind, who will then face a general judgement - after which some will find eternal salvation, and some eternal damnation.

Protestantism.  There is a great deal of differing opinion amongst the many protestant denominations.  Almost all teach that the soul lives on after death.  They also teach a general resurrection to an immortal body - either to a glorious body or a corrupted body.

Whichever shade of belief is adhered to, the question remains: if the dead are assigned their eternal fate at death, what is the point of a resurrection?

Resurrection example in Scripture. The resurrection of Lazarus by Christ (Jn 11:43,44) proves that no-one goes directly to Heaven (or Hell) immediately upon death.  If Lazarus had gone to Heaven when he died why would Christ, four days after his death (Jn 11:39), have brought him back to this evil world? - that would have been cruel indeed.

Furthermore, there is no record of Lazarus testifying that he had been to Heaven - he surely would have done so had that been the case. Indeed, it would have been a powerful first-hand testimony of what was in store for the redeemed, but Scripture is silent (precisely what happens at death is addressed in study: ‘Death and the state of the dead’).

The resurrection of Lazarus testifies to the true situation. The dead are unconscious until the resurrection of the body - either to eternal life, or to punishment and eternal death (see study ‘The end of sin and sinners, punishment and eternal death’).

5. Summary

The great hope of all who trust in Jesus is to spend eternity with Him, freed from sin and death.  Because in death we are asleep, this would not be possible without a resurrection from the grave.  Furthermore, without Christ’s resurrection we would have no resurrection ourselves - we are dependent upon Him for eternal life.

Scripture is plain - all die and pass into the grave, and in the grave we remain until the resurrection of the body, either to eternal life or to eternal condemnation.

List of Studies