"There Shall Be a Resurrection of the Dead"

            These are the words of the Apostle Paul. They are from Acts 24: 15, but he speaks of the resurrection in a number of places. In fact he definitely stresses the importance of the resurrection. In 1Cor.15:12 he has this to say. KJV"12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead.13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 818Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." Paul definitely claims that the hope in the resurrection is the basis for a hope in a future life. In the time he was living the idea was prevalent that there was a part of man that is immortal. Plato who was credited as being a wise man and who lived some four hundred years before Paul believed it. It is thought that the Egyptians several thousand years before that believed it.  Anyway it is a definite fact that the idea of man having a part of himself that did not die did not originate with the Christian religion.  The Christian church adopted that notion from popular culture and my intention is to present the idea that it did not come from the Bible.  Many down through time believed it. That didn’t make it so. The thought then and, still seems to be, that any hope for a life after death depends on not dying in the first place. Remember what the serpent told Eve? “You won’t die”.  Paul was countering that idea by stressing that dead people could be raised from the dead. If they weren’t dead how could they be raised from it? Paul obviously did not believe that man had a part, call it what you may, that did not die. His argument made no hint that it was just the body that he was talking about.

            The hope held out was for eternal life and I believe that one of the most important and unique features of our faith is the belief that everyone will have an opportunity for eternal life. This is not limited to this life but involves future probation. This is called a second chance by those that disagree with us. Since there is no scripture that says these things in so many words, I will try to present the reasoning and the scriptures for this conclusion.

            An understanding of what Jesus did is a necessary part of this. I have some pages going into that and our understanding of all of these things is different from that of orthodox Christianity. And yet all Christian people understand about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. I think all accept the fact that Adam and Eve were promised life as long as they didn’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now if death is a gateway to a better life it seems strange that God didn’t mention it to them. If they had not sinned and would have lived forever, wouldn’t they have missed out on this better life that people seem to be expecting? Since they did sin, did they go to this better place or to the place of punishment? Didn’t God tell them that the punishment was death? I think that all would accept the concept that death was the result of sin. It was plainly presented so in the Garden of Eden. In the 5th chapter of Romans Apostle Paul clearly states it such.

            If a part of man is immortal doesn’t it seem that the Bible should so state it somewhere. Contrary to that the Bible clearly states that only God has immortality. 1Tim6:16. Rom.2:7 says that immortality is something to be sought for. 1Cor.15:53 Says that this mortal must put it on. It doesn’t sound as though it is something one is born with.

            Why should it seem strange to believe that death is what it appears to be and when Paul says in the fifteen chapter of 1Cor. that our faith is worthless if there is no resurrection of the dead, doesn’t it seem that the issue is life or death? Where does Heaven and Hell fit into this? A quick answer to what Hell is, is the grave. I’m not here going into all the reasons for believing this. But all go to the Bible Hell. Even Jesus did. Psalms16:10. Heaven is a definite destination for some. Not all. Luke 12:34, Jesus says God will give the Kingdom to a "little flock". Matt16:24, "take up your cross and follow me". John 6:44,"no one comes to me unless the Father draws him". When Jesus was asked in Matt13:10, why he spoke to the people in Parables he said that it was not for them to know about the kingdom of heaven. Will they be having a second chance if future probation is allowed?

            Are we to believe that only a small number are to spend eternity with Jesus and the rest will be kept alive in an unhappy condition for no apparent reason? Acts 15:14-17, doesn’t say that. Here we are told that after God takes out of the world a certain group, "a people for his name", that he will then set up his kingdom that the "residue of men" might seek after the Lord. Here it is in KJV"14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."

            This is one of the places that comes the closest to saying in so many words what we believe. That all will have an opportunity to gain everlasting life. This doesn’t happen until Christ’s second advent. Another place is Acts 3:19-21, "the times of restitution" are mentioned here. Restitution would seem to refer to restoring something that was lost. What was lost? Life in the Garden of Eden. It seems so plain. Is this a second chance? Very few people compared to the billions that have lived have made a commitment to lay down their lives to follow Jesus. 1Cor6:1, says that the saints will judge the world. This is the purpose of the Millennial Age. Isaiah 26:9 says that when God’s judgments are in the world the world will learn righteousness. Jesus said in John 5:28 & 29 that all that are in their graves will hear his voice and come forth. Some that have done good to the resurrection to life (the followers of Jesus) those that have not done good to the resurrection to judgment. All those that in this life have not laid down their lives for Jesus, those that were not called by God, those that weren’t part of the "little flock". Is this a second chance?

            John 1:8&9 says "He is the light that lighteth every man". This must be future because more people have lived on the earth that have never heard of Jesus than those that have heard of him.

            Acts3:23 Peter here quotes Moses (Deut.18:15) as telling his listeners that God would raise a prophet (Jesus) that they should listen to. These people will have to be resurrected for this to happen.

            I haven’t mentioned the Ransom and it is the key to all of this. Adam sinned, death was the result. We all die because of that. Jesus gave his life to take the place of Adam and in so doing made it possible for all to be resurrected. 1Cor.15:22;Rom.5:12;1Tim.2:6

            Having said all this, then why are we allowed to live a few years here on Earth?  What is the meaning of it all?  First of course is that God is selecting a special group to be in Christ’s Church.  But most of mankind will not be part of that.  For them this life is a schoolroom to teach each one the difference between good and evil.  You remember that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil”.  Mankind have been eating from that tree ever since.  God had told them not to do it and because they disobeyed they died.  But in the process they had an opportunity to learn things they could never have learned any other way.  Death was even used for a useful purpose.  Had all been allowed to live, evil would have prospered even more than it did.  Each generation had a better chance to learn than if all past generations were present. Also the population would have gotten out of hand.  God’s plan was figured out from the beginning.  You remember in Genesis 3:15 He said “the seed of the woman will bruise the serpent’s head”? Jesus and what he did was part of the plan from the beginning.  For each person from an Egyptian Pharaoh to the present time, each one’s time in the grave will seem like an instant. And there will be a “resurrection of the dead”.  In John 5:28 Jesus says, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth;  

            This is just scratching the surface of this subject. I wish that all could understand it. They will of course. Heb.8:11 says so, this will happen in the promised Millenial Age "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."