A Chronological Analysis of Scriptures on the Resurrection of the Dead
- Gen 3:2–3, The question of what happens in the afterlife goes back to the very beginning of man’s tenure on this earth as we can see from Eve’s discussion with the serpent. Out of fear of death, Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the tree of knowle.g. until the serpent tricked them to disobey YHVH and eat of it. The serpent lied to them by telling them that they could have immortal life and still violate Elohim’s commandments. Most men have believed this lie to this day.
- Job 14:12–15, Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, and we see that from early times until now, man has had a perennial interest in the afterlife. Job wonders what his fate will be when he dies. Will he die and that’s all there is, or is there an afterlife?
- Job 19:25–27, Job came to a place in his life where he obtained a faith about his fate in the afterlife. He knew that it hinged on his faith in his Redeemer. Biblically speaking, what was the mission of the Redeemer (i.e. Yeshua the Messiah)? It was to redeem man from the sting of death brought on by sin.
- Ps 16:9–10, Though this is usually viewed as a messianic prophecy, it isn’t confined to this interpretation. Who are YHVH’s holy, kadosh or set apart ones? The Messiah fits this catergory, of course, but so also do YHVH’s saints. As the apostolic writers teach us, as Yeshua died and rose again, so the saints who are in Yeshua will die and rise again.
- Ps 17:15, The term “awake” as in “awake from the sleep of death” is a Hebraism referring to the resurrection. David knew that YHVH created man in his own image for a purpose. If so, then why? It’s deductive reasoning. The creation of man wasn’t a pointless, dead-end endeavor on the Creator’s part. David knew the heart and character of YHVH well enough to know that Elohim had a higher purpose for man than just to live and then to die off. David also knew that man could have his perennial yearning for immortal life satisfied by the fact that man was created in YHVH’s image for a reason and that the reality of this fact would satisfy man’s deepest yearning for immortality.
- Ps 49:15, David knew that the answer to the problem of the grave’s power over man involves redemption. The grave has no power over those who have been redeemed. Redemption is what brings us into the Presence of YHVH — to be received of him. In other words, without redemption one can’t be received of YHVH.
- Isa 25:8–9, Ultimately, for the righteous life will prevail over death, and YHVH will wipe away man’s tears that are brought on by death. What is the ultimate cause of sorrow in man? It is death and the fear of it. YHVH will deliver his people from death. Those who wait on him in faith will rejoice in YHVH’s salvation through Yeshua the Messiah. Interestingly, the word salvation in verse nine is Yeshua.
- Isa 26:19, The dead shall live again; they shall arise or awake from the sleep of death. At the resurrection, the saints will come flying out of their graves in the earth. When the appointed time has come for the resurrection, the earth will no longer be able to hold the righteous dead.
- Isa 53:11, With regard to the Messiah, this verse contains the phrase, “and see the light” (of the resurrection back to life) according to the LXX and Dead Sea scrolls translations of the Tanakh (Old Testament). Though this was a prophecy about Yeshua, if it applied to him, then it will also apply to those who have placed their faith in him, and who have been buried and resurrected with him through the ritual of baptism. He was the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead. If he is the first fruits (1 Cor 15:20, 23), then there must be more to follow!
- Dan 12:2, 3, 13, As we progress in the Scriptures, more revelation comes forth on the subject of the resurrection. This is the biblical concept of progressive revelation. Daniel adds the idea not only of the resurrection of the righteous, but of the wicked as well. Rewards will be given to all. Some will have everlasting shame (it doesn’t say “everlasting life in a hell fire”), and some will have everlasting glory. This refers to the glorification of the saints when they receive their glorified bodies and will be born into the family of Elohim as his sons. John said that we will be like Yeshua whose face shined like the sun (1 John 3:1–2 cp. Rev 1:16) in its full glory. Daniel reveals that the resurrected saints will experience a similar reward.
- Hos 13:14, Though this is figurative language regarding the house of Israel being spiritually redeemed, we can see there is a literal application to this as well when compared to other scriptures on the subject. For example, the saints — many of whom are from Ephraim — when brought into the covenants of Israel through Messiah become the one new man (Eph 2:11–19), and will experience the reward of the saints in Yeshua which is eternal life and glorification.
- Matt 22:23–32, Here Yeshua gives us some more insights into what life as a resurrected being will be like. He states that the resurrected saints will not be marry.
- Matt 24:31, Yeshua explains how the saints will be gathered at the resurrection. He will send his angels who will blow shofars, which apparently will awaken the dead from their sleep of death. When this verse is coupled with the resurrection verses in 1 Thess 4:16 and 1 Cor 15:51–52, we see that this is a description of the resurrection of the saints.
- Matt 27:52–53, The resurrection of some saints at Yeshua’s resurrection was a foretaste of the resurrection of the righteous dead yet to come. Probably the purpose of this event was to prove to the rest of us that the resurrection of the saints is real and not just a vain tradition or fable, and that we can place our hope in the truth of it because it actually happened once before.
- Luke 14:14, The resurrection is a time of the dispensing of spiritual rewards. The saints will be rewarded in the resurrection for the good they did during their physical life.
- John 5:28–29, The hour is coming when at the command of Yeshua, all those in the graves will hear his voice and will be resurrected. Those who have done good will be blessed with eternal life, and those who have done evil will receive condemnation. The wicked dead will come face to face with Yeshua at the white throne judgment (Rev 20:11–15). It is there that every knee will bow to him including the wicked en route to the lake of fire (Phil 2:20).
- John 6:39, 40, 44, 54, Yeshua will raise up and give eternal life to those who are his in the last day (at his coming). These are those who see and believe in him. Those who will be resurrected were those the Father called and drew to Yeshua. These same are those who “ate” Yeshua’s flesh and “drank” his blood. They “ate” or obeyed all of Yeshua’s word, and they were covered in his blood or had their sins washed away by his blood. These are the preconditions for being part of the resurrection leading to eternal life.
- John 11:23–26, Only through a relationship in Yeshua is eternal life available to a person. When one dies in Yeshua, though his body and soul die, his spirit will live, because spirit is eternal. His spirit man will be reunited with his soul and body at the resurrection.
- John 14:19, Even as Yeshua was resurrected from the grave and experienced life, so will those who are in Yeshua.
- Acts 24:14–15, The resurrection of YHVH involves both the just and the unjust. This is the great hope of the righteous.
- Acts 26:6-8, The resurrection of the dead is the saints’ great hope.
- Rom 8:10–11, 19, 21–24, If Yeshua’s disciples are willing to follow Yeshua to the grave (that is, die to their old carnal man), then he will lead them right into the resurrection of eternal life. As he resurrected from the grave, so will they. The Spirit of Elohim that dwells in us will give life to our mortal bodies. This is the promise of physical healing here and now, and ultimate healing at the resurrection. Spiritual life leading to eternal life flows to us from heaven downward through the Set-Apart Spirit into our human spirit and then into our mortal bodies. This is the river of life from heaven. This is our earnest expectation that brings about our adoption (called the spirit of adoption) into the family of Elohim (v. 15), and transforms us into children of Elohim and joint-heirs with Messiah (v. 16) of Elohim’s eternal kingdom. If we suffer with Yeshua, we will also be glorified with him (v. 17). Our resurrection is the glorification or redemption of our mortal bodies (v. 21). This is the hope of our salvation (v. 24).
- 1 Cor 6:14, As the Father raised Yeshua up from the dead, so he will raise us up also.
- 1 Cor 15:12–58, The resurrection of the dead is a main cornerstone of our faith (vv. 12–19). When we are baptized for the remission of sins, we’re baptized in hopes of the resurrection even as we were symbolically “resurrected” out of the watery grave at the time of our baptism (v. 29). What are the mechanics of resurrection? All around us in nature, we see quiet witnesses of how resurrection works as Paul illustrates using the seed analogy. A seed must die first before it can bring forth life (vv. 35–38). He goes on to illustrate that there are levels of rewards in the resurrection. Some people will have more glorious rewards than others (vv. 40–42). As we learn from other scriptures, one’s level of rewards will be based on one’s good works during their physical lives. Yeshua, the Second Adam, is at the center of our hope in the resurrection (vv. 45–49). Our resurrected and glorified bodies will resemble the glorified Yeshua (v. 49). Those who are alive at Yeshua’s second coming will die physically and be resurrected to glorification in a split second at the last trumpet (vv. 50–54). Through Yeshua we have victory over sin (the wages of which is death, vv. 54–57). This hope keeps us steadfast and immovable in our faith as are moving forward in our spiritual walk in Yeshua (v. 58).
- 2 Cor 4:14, As the Father raised up or resurrected Yeshua, so he will resurrect the saints.
- 2 Cor 5:1–5, Elohim is preparing a spiritual body for each saints that is from heaven. Living in our earthly habitation (our body) isn’t easy. It is a burden and causes us to groan. But the time is coming when mortality will be swallowed up by immortality. This promise of immortality is guaranteed by the Set-Apart Spirit that now lives in us, which is eternal and immortal. The Spirit of Elohim that currently resides in us is like a down payment on our new house (i.e. our body) that YHVH has made for us.
- Phil 3:10–11, 21, We must push forward in our spiritual walk by following the example of Yeshua of enduring suffering here and now, so that we will arrive at the goal of the resurrection where our lowly earthly bodies will be transformed to be like Yeshua’s glorious body.
- 1 Thess 4:14, 16, The saints will be resurrected, caught up to meet Yeshua in the air, and then they will return with him to the earth. This truth should bring us great comfort.
- 2 Tim 1:10, The light of the gospel message reveals the truth of our victory over death resulting in immortal life.
- Heb 6:2, The resurrection of the dead (coupled with eternal judgment) is one of the foundational doctrines of the gospel truth.
- Rev 20:4–6, 13–15, Those who get through the end times without worshipping the image of the beast (and taking his mark) will inherit eternal life and rule and reign with Yeshua for a thousand years during the Millennium. The first resurrection is mentioned twice in this passage. This refers to the resurrection of the righteous at Yeshua’s second coming. If there’s a first resurrection, there must be a second one later on. At the white throne judgment, all the righteous not in the first resurrection (who lived during the Millennium), and all the unregenerate wicked (who died in their sins from the beginning of the world until that time) will be resurrected to appear before King Yeshua. All will be judged for their works. Those found written in the Book of Life will inherit eternal life, and those not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
1 Corinthians 15:14, If Messiah is not risen.Yeshua the Messiah is at the center of the redeemed believer’s life and belief system. Prior to his incarnation, the entire Tanakh pointed to him; the Gospels are about his life; the rest of the New Testament (appropriately called the Testimony of Yeshua by John the apostle in the Book of Revelation) reveal him in his fullness. Since then, we all look back to him as the focal point of all history before and after him. Next to the humanly incomprehensible miracle of his incarnation, what rises in preeminence about him is his resurrection. This fact is perhaps the most unique aspect of Yeshua’s life that sets him apart from all the other religious figures that have come and gone over the course of human history. As Paul states in this verse, if Messiah didn’t rise, then the preaching of the gospel is a pointless dead end philosophy—the redeemed believers faith is meaningless.
Why is the resurrection so vital to our faith? Besides the fact that the resurrection of Yeshua is unique in the religions of men, it proves that Yeshua knew what he was talking about when he spoke about life, death, eternal life. His life, death and resurrection makes him an expert on life, death and the afterlife. He has lived on both sides of reality. He went into the realm of death, defeated it, and then came back from the dead to show man how to procure immortality by defeating death. Unlike reincarnation, Yeshua came back as himself and testified to what he had experienced. No other religious leader offers this to his disciples.
What’s more, Yeshua’s resurrection defeated death, which is man’s ultimate enemy. The followers of Yeshua no longer need to fear death, which is the mother of all human fears. This reality is the believer’s ultimate source of hope and joy as Paul so superlatively writes later in verses 54 through 57 of this chapter.