Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fundamental Teachings Part 21

I would be remiss, and severely so if I did not mention the last and greatest resurrection, that of Christ Jesus the Son of God who rose from the dead. He is as first Corinthians says, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, for since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.

Yes, the doctrine of resurrection is a necessary and vital one in Christianity, because as Paul so aptly puts it, if the dead do not rise, ‘let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’

The Bible shows us in four distinct ways that the body will be resurrected.

The first of these is through Biblical affirmations of this truth, the most compelling of these being in the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:2-3, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

It would be easy for me to go off on a rabbit trail at this juncture, pointing out that those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and likewise pointing out that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We are however on a mission, with an established purpose in mind, so I will resist my urge to go into a rant of sorts and point out the need for the fear of the Lord and how it is to this generation’s detriment that we have stopped preaching it.

The physical body, is formed of flesh and blood, and is adapted for earthly survival. As such our spiritual bodies will be adapted to exist eternally with God, glorious and strong, likened unto the body of a resurrected Christ. There will be no more infirmity, there will be no more pain, there will be no more aches; we will have glorified bodies which will be in the presence of God for all time.

The second way the Bible shows us that the body will be revived or resurrected is through the declaration that our bodies are included in the act of redemption.

Romans 8:22-23, “for we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

Third way the Bible shows us that the body will be revived or resurrected is through the affirmation of Christ that we will have glorified bodies as His own. After Jesus rose from the dead, He did have a body, and it was made of flesh and bone.

Luke 24:39, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

The fourth way the Bible shows us that the body will be revived is by the reality of Christ’s return and of His judgments. When Christ returns, He will not judge the spirit, but men in their physical form.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Revelation 20:11-13, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. Then sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.”

Although the Bible teaches the reanimation, or resurrection of the dead, Paul also tells us that once we awaken, we will have spiritual bodies, or glorified bodies, and goes on to enumerate the stark differences between our glorified bodies, and our current physical bodies.

1 Corinthians 15:41-44, “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

So what we know of the resurrection of the dead, as Paul continues to explain it, is that there will be a continuity of sorts, even though we will have glorified bodies. If there would be no continuity, then the resurrection would be unnecessary and Paul eludes to this when he says in 1 Corinthians 15:53, that this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So what is the essence of this teaching on the resurrection of the dead? What is that we must understand and perceive from what the Word of God has to tell us?

First, that the resurrection of the body is a fundamental doctrine of the Bible, so much so that Paul included it within the elementary principles of Christ. When we speak of the resurrection of the dead, it refers to a literal resurrection or reanimation of the body which takes on new properties, becoming a glorified body.

The Second thing we must understand is that the resurrection of our bodies is essential, because Jesus redeemed us both in body, spirit and soul.

The fourth thing we conclude from the Word of God is that the resurrection is possible because Jesus rose from the dead.

The fifth and last thing we must be aware of, and this truth is evident throughout scripture is that there will be a first resurrection, of those who died in Christ upon His return, the resurrection unto everlasting life and there will be a second resurrection after the millennial reign of Christ, wherein the unbelievers, scoffers, and those who rejected Christ will be resurrected unto judgment.

Yes, the elementary principle of the resurrection is an intriguing one, and much more could be said, but alas we have run out of time.

What is true is the fact that the doctrine of the resurrection as well the Biblical evidence thereof cannot be denied. As such we must, as true followers of Christ have the unshakable hope that one day we will rise again, to meet our Lord in the clouds, one day we will hear the shout of the Lord, with the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God, and in an instant stand before His glorious presence. Our hope in Christ extends beyond this life, it extends beyond this present earth, it stretches far into eternity, because that is what our God is, eternal. In His limitless mercy He offers us a resurrection, He offers us life, He offers us eternity in His presence, and for this as well as His many graces toward us we must worship Him and thank Him in perpetuity.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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