Wednesday, December 6, 2017

the two resurrections

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 12
mark this: (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
1 Corinthians is absolutely loaded with spiritual answers. At the same time, it raises just as many spiritual questions!
Stand in the Rain has been waiting for 1 Corinthians, because it's the perfect place from which to launch a series of articles that will (we hope) sort out some of the Bible's paradoxes.
Ten years ago, I stumbled across a reprint of the original (1909) Scofield Reference Bible. Printed in the back was a lengthy article called "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth."
As I read it, so many of scripture's internal "contradictions" melted away. And so, leaning heavily on Scofield's original, we present this abridgement to you. We hope, pray, and expect that some concepts which once seemed logically irreconcilable will start to make seamless sense!
The Bible teaches, clearly and emphatically, that all of the dead will be raised:
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)
But not all of the dead are raised at one time. A partial resurrection of believers ("saints") has already occurred:
The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53)
Two widespread resurrections will occur in the future. They will happen at different times and they will consist of different people:
Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29)
In the book of Revelation, the two resurrections are again mentioned together. Moreover, the interval of time between the two resurrections is given.
First, the resurrection of life:
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…This is the first resurrection.  (Revelation 20:4, 5b)
A thousand years later, the resurrection of judgment:
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended…Then I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  (Revelation 20:5a, 12-13)
Note: Resurrection concerns the bodies of the dead. At the time of physical death, the disembodied spirits of the dead are instantly in conscious bliss or woe. (See Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:22-23.)

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