The Resurrection of the Just
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 1 Thess. 4:13.What is set forth as the basis for hope and comfort?
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep, in Jesus will God bring with Him.” 1 Thess. 4:14.
When will this resurrection of the saints take place?
“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 [precede] them which are asleep. 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.” 1 Thess. 4:15,16.
What will then take place?
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:17.
With what are we to comfort one another?
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:18.
NOTE.-The hope of a resurrection from the dead to a life immortal is the great hope set forth in the gospel.
Concerning what did Christ tell us not to marvel?
“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; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28,29.
What is said of those embraced in the first resurrection?
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Rev. 20:6.
Upon what one fact does Paul base the Christian hope?
“Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, 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. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Cor. 15:12-19.
What positive declaration does the apostle then make?
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:20-22.
NOTE.-The resurrection of Christ is in many respects the most significant fact in history. It is the great and impregnable foundation and hope of the Christian church. Every fundamental truth of Christianity is involved in the resurrection of Christ. If this could be overthrown, every essential doctrine of Christianity would be invalidated. The resurrection of Christ is the pledge of our resurrection and future life.
What does Christ proclaim Himself to be?
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25,26. “1 am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Rev. 1:18.
NOTE.-Christ changed death into a sleep. Absolute death knows no waking; but through Christ all who have fallen under the power of death will be raised, some to a life unending, some to everlasting death.
What question does Job ask and answer?
“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shall call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” Job 14:14,15.
Why did Job wish that his words were written in a book, graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever?
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Job 19:25,26.
How does Paul say the saints will he raised?
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.” 1 Cor. 15:51,52.
What great change will then take place in their bodies?
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It 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.” 1 Cor. 15:42-44.
What saying will then be brought to pass?
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Cor. 15:55.
When did David say he would be satisfied?
“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Psa. 17:15.
What comforting promise has God made concerning the sleeping saints?
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” Hosea 13:14.
What else has He promised to do?
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4.