Church of God, New World Ministries

Building Your Faith In The Resurrection

When a man or woman is in a physical danger they fight for their life, they will use almost superhuman strength and energy to save their lives and they will not give up until all their strength is gone.

But, what about death? It is the opposite of life! It takes away this mortal life that we would defend with all our strength. We know that people down through the ages have had to die, but this is not a satisfying answer when we have to face death.

     The question is – is death the end of everything? Just what are our chances of coming back to life and living again? The truth is the only hope that we have is that of a resurrection, but what assurance, if any, have we of such an occurrence?

The only assurance that we have is in the pages of a book, called the Holy Bible. It does give us the answer to the question, if we die will we live again?

Since the resurrection is a great event, God has made known about the resurrections. Job knew about it 1500 years before Jesus Christ was even born. “After my skin is destroyed, this I Know, that in my flesh, I shall see God” (Job 19:26).

David writes “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me” (Ps. 49:15).

     So it is obvious that these two men were speaking of a resurrection, but not just any resurrection, but their own.

The prophet Isaiah wrote 700 years before Christ was born. He wrote of Christ’s own resurrection and others. “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust: for your dew is like the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isa. 26:19).

David also wrote about Jesus Christ’s resurrection in Ps. 16:10. Somewhere around 500 B.C. the prophet Daniel wrote about a future resurrection: “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people and there is a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered. Everyone who is found written in the book (the book of life) and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:1-2).

 But even before Daniel and Isaiah prophesied of the resurrection of Jesus Christ God referred to Christ’s coming. “I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (the seed) shall bruise thy (Satan’s) head” (Gen. 3:15).

Now, we know that Satan deceived Eve into eating of the wrong tree; and that brought death. If Adam and Eve had taken of the tree of life they would be alive today. But that’s not what happened, so a just God would make it possible for the dead to live again and have a chance for eternal life through that woman’s seed (Jesus Christ – Christ didn’t have a human father).

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10). Do we really get the significance of this? We are saved – by Jesus’ life.

David tells us that Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit in Ps. 2:7 and in Matt. 1:20. Now, when we have repented and been baptized and receive the laying on of hands we also receive this same Holy Spirit that was in Jesus Christ. And since we weren’t born with an immortal soul, we must have the Holy Spirit to receive eternal life.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is as important as the shedding of His blood and I Cor. 15:12-19 makes this very plain.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was such an important event in the whole earth; it was to prove that the Holy Spirit within a person would cause a resurrection to immortality after death.

What modern Christian doesn’t understand or grasp the fact that the whole Bible deals with one subject only, the formation of the Kingdom of God by God the Father. This Kingdom is also called the Family of God, and it will be a family of Spirit Beings with God the Father as the head; Jesus Christ will be the eldest Son, and those who come up in a resurrection with be the other sons and daughters.

The resurrection to immortality represents the vital transition from this mortal body by being born again into the spirit form and entrance into the Kingdom of God. Notice, “except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

From the time of Adam and Eve, when they sinned, God foretold the coming of One who would again give man an opportunity to immortal life.

 Jesus Christ was to bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15); Christ’s origin was to be through Abraham (Gen. 12:2-3) and through Judah, a branch of Abraham (Gen. 49:10).

David foretold Jesus’ resurrection about 1,000 B.C. (Ps. 16:10); Isaiah about 700 B.C. (Isa. 7:14; 26:19).  Christ even told of His own resurrection and that it would occur 72 hours after he died (Mat. 12:40). And it happened right on time, if Jesus Christ had not been resurrected, we would not be here today.

Just look at these past events that was prophesied over thousands of years and were fulfilled; doesn’t this give us confidence in the Great God who saw to it that these events came to pass? What ever God says in His Holy Word will be done.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was an entirely different type of event that has ever happened.

The pagans taught about immortal souls and that they would return to life after death in various other forms. The only problem with this is they couldn’t provide any proof.

 Jesus Christ did resurrect many back to a physical life, but only for a short time, to live out their physical life, but their resurrection was of no importance, except to the ones involved. But on the resurrection of Christ; depends the resurrection and eternal life for all of us:  “And if Christ is not raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (I Cor. 15:17-18).

The question is – do we understand it? If Christ had been an ordinary mortal man without the Spirit of God, he would have sinned sometime during his life; and could not have paid our debt for sin, which is eternal death! It took an unusual human being to go through life without sinning. He was known as the Messiah.  “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, we have found the Messiah (or Anointed One) which is translated the Christ” (John 1:42).

Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit – the power which strengthened Him against temptation from birth.

Now suppose Jesus Christ had died, but set no time as to when he would be resurrected. And suppose after a year or so later his body disappeared. That means that you and I would have no evidence whatever that we would ever be resurrected and become immortal. His body might have been stolen.

But Christ did give us evidence. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign that Christ was the Messiah. Christ said he would be three days and three nights in the grave, not a day and half that is taught today.

Satan is trying to take our very evidence of a salvation hope away from us. Christ was put to death late Wednesday and rose the third day, late Saturday evening.  God has seen to it that these two world important events – the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was well witnessed.

     So the Pharisees took great precaution to see that his body did not disappear or was stolen. A guard was set and a great stone was rolled over the tomb entrance. But none of that made any difference, Christ did disappear, He had been resurrected the third day.

Mary Magdalene, the disciples and about 500 people saw him at one time (I Cor. 15:6). Fifty days later in Jerusalem, a large number gathered from all over the world to observe Pentecost and await the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    Now look what happened: “Being greatly disturbed that they taught (the apostles) and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).

This is what the great historian Edward Gibbon wrote in his book the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “The resurrection is one of the best authenticated facts in all history.” He goes on to say: “it is no wonder that so advantageous an offer (resurrection and eternal life) should have been accepted by great numbers of every religion.”

    What Gibbon was saying is that the world was convinced of this resurrection; a resurrection to become a different type of being, a resurrection to immortal life in the family of God!

One of the greatest lies that Satan has fostered on this world is that we have an immortal soul. And if you accept Jesus Christ, you will go to heaven when you die, and if you don’t, you will go to hell! This is not true! The Bible does not teach any such thing.

The Bible says “the first man was of the earth flesh and blood” (I Cor. 15:47). The word nephesh which means flesh, whether animal or man, was translated creature in (Gen. 1:14).  The Bible tells us that both man and beast both die and both return to the dust of the earth (Eccl. 3:19-20).

Any man or woman that has died is still in the grave to this day. Peter tells us that King David “is still dead and buried, not in heaven” (Acts 2:29). Think about it, if anyone were in heaven, purgatory or even hell, then they are still alive; making the resurrection of no importance. How do you resurrect a live person? If theologians are true, and they are not, then those in heaven, purgatory or hell are still alive.

But a person that dies, they are still dead; making a resurrection necessary. Brethren do you see, how Satan’s ministers have deceived the people into believing a lie?

Notice Acts 24:15 “I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust.”  What Paul was telling Felix was that every person that has died will be resurrected.

“The hour is coming, in 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 judgment” (John 5:28-29).

    If you are reading our articles for the first time, it might interest you to know that the Bible speaks of three resurrections: the first resurrection is called the “better resurrection” and it is described in I Thess. 4:17 “For the Eternal himself shall descend from heaven with a great shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump (last trump) of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”

“I saw thrones and they sat upon them and judgment was given unto them and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (John 20:4).

Now the second resurrection happens a thousand years later (Rev. 20:12). So, all those people who were born before Christ, and who never heard of Jesus Christ, and those since Christ who were not called into the knowledge of the truth, will come up in this resurrection.  It is called the Great White Throne Judgment.

Remember that the Bible says “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.” But the Holy Spirit was not available to people on the earth until after Christ ascended.

Notice when God is going to give these people His Spirit: “Ye shall know I am the Eternal, when I have opened your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land” (Ezk. 37:13-14).

This is describing all those who never knew Christ during their lifetime. This is speaking of the second resurrection. It may seem strange that there are so many resurrections, but God the Father is forming a spirit family from mortal human beings on this earth. He is also seeing to it that we develop into Beings of character, Beings that can ultimately be trusted with the great power that God will give us; and this takes time. God is going to enlarge his kingdom gradually. An increasing number will be given immortality at each resurrection. Matthew 13:31-32 describes the manner of growth of this kingdom.

Only one person has been born into this kingdom so far, that was Jesus Christ. These resurrections to immortality which are to give birth to the citizens of this earth to the spirit-kingdom have not started yet, but will at the return of Jesus Christ.

Those people that are called, chosen and faithful will be transformed into spirit beings and will be used to govern the mortal beings here on this earth. When it is all said and done, all mortal beings must be in this Spirit Kingdom or cease to exist! Those who reject this calling will be raised up in the third resurrection and be burned up (Rev. 20:13-15; Mal. 4:1-3).

The Bible really does make sense once God’s plan is understood. Is it any wonder that the apostles, who were witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ to immortality, were so joyous that they went diligently up and down the land preaching this hope – the hope of the resurrection?

 
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